Tarasha Episode 61

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~~~~ **Friday Morning** 1am

‘No Omotara, No’ Jefa was shouting as his eyes popped open. He was sweating and breathing heavily. He used his palm to wipe off the sweat on his face and stretched on the chair. He realized that he had slept off while reading the diary. His dream was consistent with his situation but it somehow made him scared. He had seen seven year old Omotara playing with some kids in his dream, in the large compound of their house in Lagos as at then. She was playing happily with the rest of the kids until he walked in through the gate. She stood up from their midst where she was and stared at him, looking terrified. He wasn’t planning to flog or scold her, so he couldn’t understand why she was terrified.

She began to step back slowly without turning back, towards the building of the house. Her friends gradually disappeared into thin air. ‘Come Omotara, come. I’m not flogging you’ he said in the dream. She refused and continued to step back, looking more terrified with the steps she took. ‘Why are you running away? Come and play with your friends’ he repeated but she was adamant. A tall man appeared from behind her, looking deadly with a blood stained dagger in his hands.

‘Omotara stop’ he cautioned, himself terrified also but she didn’t listen. It was already late when she turned back, the strange man was only one step behind her. He was shouting her name as he woke up. Jefa made a quick but deep prayer for Omotara’s safety and ended it with the cross sign.

The chair creaked as he relaxed back, the diary was still open on his lap, on the same page he read before dozing off. He flipped to the next page.

“Today, we transferred Adunni to the General Hospital where we work. I carried the baby to see Adunni, Adunni fed her baby with her b—-t milk for the first time. She was glad to do it. But we couldn’t live her baby with her, she’ll be sleeping most of the times and won’t be able to look after the baby.” He scrolled to the next day, it was longer than usual.

“Adunni is gradually getting better and would be discharged from the hospital tomorrow. She spoke with us today, revealing to us the circumstances surrounding her pregnancy and childbirth. Adunni who is just eighteen year old was brought up by her single sickly mother. She finished her secondary school education last year. Being a bright and promising young girl, her village decided to send her as their first female child who would get a university education. She was sent to see a son of the land who is a lecturer in the State university and discuss about her admission process with him. She went to his home in the village and met him. He promised to help her secure the admission, asking her to come see him in his office at the state’s capital where the university was.

She travelled to the capital the third day after. He welcomed her warmly into his office and closed the doors to have a quiet talk and career advice session with her. All was going well until the man got up from his seat and turned round the table to sit in front of her. His first move was to encourage her to unbutton the upper part of her shirt since the place was hot and the power holding corporation had seized electricity flow. To cut short the matter, she was r*ped and forced to leave the office immediately. He threatened her not to tell anyone, else that would be the end of her dreams of the university education. She made up her mind to keep the ordeal to herself and take it as a sacrifice for her greatness. But he didn’t keep to his own part of the agreement.

She was surprised when she got back to the village that day and he had already called and lied to the village King and Chiefs that she tried to seduce him. They believed his story against hers and decided that it was useless to help an immoral person. The whole village turned against her and her mother for trying to spoil the image of the most successful son of the land. Few weeks after, Adunni discovered that she was with child. All these resulted to her mother’s depression state and she died two months after. Adunni was left alone with no one to help her. She became sick at the ninth month of her pregnancy and began to treat herself with local herbs.

She was gathering firewood in the bush when her time for delivery came ” Jefa placed a finger on the page where he stopped and closed the book. He let out a deep breath and got up, he took the picture under the table and placed it between the pages of the diary where he stopped reading.

~~~ 8am

‘Good morning Mr Sylvester’ Henry greeted as he walked into the control room.

‘Good morning Mr Henry’ Sylvester replied, raising his eyes to look at Henry from behind the computer where he was seated. He was looking smart in his black suit and blue inner shirt, Henry was also dressed in the same way.

‘Are you ready for the meeting?’

‘Of course, I am’ Henry answered, taking his seat behind a computer on the row before Sylvester’s.

‘We got another application last night’ Sylvester announced.

‘Application for what?’

‘Application for the job’

‘Well…’ Henry seemed interested. ‘Does it qualify for an interview?’

‘Yes, this CV is particularly interesting. Come take a look at it’ Sylvester invited.

‘No need for that’ Henry declined, putting his focus on what he was doing. ‘Just keep it, we may review it later’

‘It’s okay’ Sylvester answered and got up from his seat.

‘We’ll be leaving by 9am’

~~

‘Agent James Elvis!!’ hailed the deputy commissioner of police, Kwara State. ‘Welcome once again to the state of harmony’

‘Thank your sir’ agent James replied, smiling back to the DCP. They were both seated in the extension of DCP’s office, which had comfortable sofas to relax in.

‘I believe you’ll have no problems in this state especially as it is your state of origin’ the DCP continued. ‘How’s his Excellency, your father?’

‘He’s fine, I believe’

‘What was his response when he heard that you’ve been transferred to this state?’

‘I don’t know, he didn’t say anything. You know he has never been in support of my work in the force’ James answered, taking a sip from the cup of juice on the table.

‘That’s strange, considering his effort in tightening the security of the nation. One would think he would even compel his children to join the force’

‘He thinks it’s too dangerous and that I’m not strong enough’ James answered.

‘Well, that aside. Back to your job here.’ The DCP sat up. ‘We want to strengthen our anti assassination and terrorism squads and we believe that you can make it work. That’s why you were sent here, your job would begin fully on Monday. Now you’ll be taken to the house and allowed to rest. You’ll find every information you require for your job in your office when you resume on Monday’

~~~

Officer Dakolo was in his office, gathering the files he would be taking along for the meeting. He was dressed in his special agent’s uniform for the occasion. His doorbell rang. ‘Come in’ he said without paying much attention’

‘Good morning sir’ officer Ken saluted after closing the door.

‘Good morning officer Ken’ Dakolo replied, without looking up. ‘You may have your seat’ he offered and waited for Ken to sit before he continued. ‘Are you prepared for the meeting?’

‘Yes sir, I am’ Ken smiled. ‘ I actually came to ask if we’ll be moving together’

‘Yes, of course. No need to go separately’ Dakolo answered, taking a glance at Ken’s face. ‘What’s the time now?’

‘It’s 8.15am’ Ken replied after taking a brief look at his wristwatch.

‘Okay. Hope you’ve got all files ready?’

‘Yes sir and there’s something new’ Ken answered, sounding serious.

‘Something new?’ Dakolo turned his eye focus to Ken.

‘Yes sir and I think it’s important we look into it’

‘Now?’ Dakolo frowned. Ken nodded in affirmation. ‘What are you talking about?’

‘It’s the reply from the US headquarters. It just came in this morning’ Ken removed a paper from the file in his hands and handed it to Dakolo. Dakolo read for two minutes.

‘Have you sent the substance sample they sent to the forensics?’

‘Not yet sir, I wanted to tell you before I do’ Ken replied.

‘You should send it immediately.’ He said and stared at the paper again. ‘It would have been nice if we got this earlier. With what it states, the assassin team in Nigeria here is related to the one in the United States. They function with the same instruments and similar strategies. ‘ He handed back the paper to Ken, ‘let’s handle the meeting with what we have gotten before, we’ll come back to this’

~~~ **Saturday Morning**

The meeting with the President went well. All attendees left there fired up and determined to stop the assassination menace at every cost. The Vice President had during the meeting warned the security officials to be careful and always remain optimistic. ‘The assassinations have not yet began, they are still doing their test run’ he had said. ‘I believe this group have a more dangerous motive and what they’ve done so far is a ploy to weaken the security by making the concerned bodies give up their hopes of capturing them. Once this is achieved, they would launch more attacks and aim for more government officials.’ The vice president also promised to work closely with them as an experienced officer that he once was and see to it that every useful knowledge he has would be provided to them.

Amidst several other things he said, the President, Emeka Vincent finally ended the meeting encouraging the bodies to put in more effort and ensure that their purpose was achieved in two months. Sylvester had arrived into his office not long ago and settled down when he received a call from the reception that someone was waiting to see him.

‘But you know I don’t see anyone on Monday early mornings’ he answered the caller.

‘She insisted that you asked her to come’ the secretary replied in low tones.

‘I did?’ Sylvester asked, trying to remember if he really fixed an appointment with someone.

‘Yes, that’s what she said’

‘What’s her name?’

‘Kimberly Alexander’

‘Huh?’ Sylvester squinted, trying to remember where he had seen or heard the name before. He remembered, in the new CV. Could it be that he had mistakenly sent her an invite? ‘Let her come in’ he finally said and ended the call. He hurriedly logged on to the company’s mail to confirm if he sent her an invite. His doorbell rang. He minimized the mail window and opened the app to check the monitor cameras outside his office. He saw the person at the door, a lady dressed in black suit carrying a small black bag.

‘Come in’ he said, unlocking the door with the remote control on his table. She opened the door and walked in gently.

‘Good morning sir’ she bent her knees slightly after closing the door.

‘Please come in’ he repeated and she walked forward briskly and stood beside the visitor’s seat. ‘Have your seat’

‘Thank you sir’ she sat down and placed the bag on her lap.

‘What may I do for you?’

‘Sir’ Tarasha began. ‘I’m Kimberly Alexander, I read about the urgent vacancies and I decided to check here’

‘I’ve gotten your mail already, why didn’t you wait for a reply?’ Sylvester frowned.

‘Sir, since it was announced as an urgent vacancy and I didn’t get a reply immediately. I decided to show in person in case my mail wasn’t delivered.’

‘It was delivered, you should have been patient. In fact, your mail came late’ Sylvester intensified his crown. ‘And how come you were referred here directly? Someone else was supposed to attend to you before sending you to me’ he said with slight anger in his voice. He picked the landline and began to punch the keys.

‘I asked directly for you’ she said softly. ‘I demanded to see Mr Sylvester’

‘What?’ He stopped dialing.

‘How did you know my name?’

‘I read about the corporation and I knew you would be the one to attend to me’

‘Well…’ His doorbell chimed. Sylvester paused and checked the computer again to see who was at the door, Henry was the one. He unlocked the door. Henry walked in slowly staring into a tab and reading something.

‘Oh! You have a guest’ be exclaimed on seeing the lady seated on the visitor’s seat facing Sylvester.

‘Yes’

‘Okay, let me drop this with you and go’ Henry said and began to step forward slowly.

‘You may need to see her, she’s the lady who sent in the last CV’ Sylvester explained.

~~~~

‘You may need to see her, she’s the lady who sent in the last CV’ Sylvester explained. Tarasha turned her face down, patiently waiting for Henry to turn to her front and probably take a look at her face. He wondered what his expression would be, but whatever his would be, she was ready for him, she already kept a straight face for him.

‘Oh!’ Henry paused. ‘You invited her for an interview already?’ He gave Sylvester a look of disappointment.

‘No’ Sylvester objected. ‘I didn’t invite her’ he tried to explain but Henry turned back already.

‘No need to disturb your interview, I’ll come back later’ Henry said as he opened the door and stepped out.

‘I didn’t…’ Sylvester got up from his seat to explain better but Henry did not wait to listen. Sylvester felt deeply angry with Kimberly, she had got Henry to believe that he invited her for the interview after which they had planned together to work with those available first and not employ for the main time. He heaved a sigh and turned his gaze to her, the expression on her face showed that she was sorry for the misunderstanding caused.

‘Just get out’ Sylvester said calmly, his anger reduced a little by the remorse shown on her face.

‘I’m sorry sir’ she pleaded. ‘I didn’t mean to…’

‘Leave please’ he insisted, his voice sounding harsher.

‘I’m…’

‘Leave’ he slammed angrily, trying his best not to raise his voice. Tarasha picked her bag and got up hurriedly, she proceeded to the door. Sylvester sat back into the seat and began to shut down the computer system.

‘When should I return sir?’ Her voice came softly again after he thought she had left. He looked up and heaved a sigh of frustration, staring at her face coldly. She stepped out and closed the door. Sylvester got up after the computer was completely shut down. He noticed a file on the table and picked it up.

‘Kimberly Alexander ‘ the title read. He hissed and dropped it.

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++++

Dakolo was silently reading to himself the result of the test by the forensics team, Ken was seated in the visitor’s seat behind the table. The test report proved their claim positive, the substance used by the assassin group in the USA was the same used by Samantha Osman’s group. Other details apart from the substance sample was also sent. The other details included the report from the CCTV camera system control point and medical reports on the bodies of victims.

‘It’s confirmed. A deadly group of assassins have been unleashed into the world. Only God knows where they are from’ Dakolo said after he was through reading it. Ken only glanced at his face and sighed in response.

‘Make sure you do send every detail we have also to them’ Dakolo said to Ken, handing over the paper back to him. He took out his phone and dialed the NSCC office. ‘Hello Mr Sylvester, I’ll be in your office in the afternoon time, I need to get a copy of the reports on all you’ve done on rectifying the breach problem.’ He ended the call and stared at Ken’s face. ‘Let’s go see Mr Debo’ he said and got up from his seat. Ken also got up immediately.

Mr Debo was the personal assistant to Chief Jubril Lawal, the one who was sent to the NSCC to rectify if the Canadian number was original. He had been invited for questioning by the police. Debo was ushered in to meet the agent and Ken in the interrogation room. He was dressed casually, looking somehow distressed.

‘Good morning sir’ Dakolo greeted cheerfully after the man was seated comfortably.

‘Good morning Officer’ Debo replied, sniffing in. He used his handkerchief to wipe his face and his nose. He looked at Dakolo in the face, they were about the same age so he felt no need to be timid.

‘Thanks for honouring our invitation’

‘You’re welcome’

‘Okay, let’s go straight to the point.’ Dakolo adjusted his seat in readiness for the real business. ‘I’m hundred percent sure that you are aware that investigation on the death of Chief Jubril, your late boss is still ongoing’

‘Yes’

‘I know you’ve been questioned before but I also know it was a brief one and it only happened on the day of the assassination at the events centre’ Dakolo paused to look at his face for a confirmation. He continued talking after getting one. ‘We’ll like to get more details from you since you were there on that day. We are also aware that you were his personal assistant and that means you were very close to him.’ Debo nodded slowly to confirm Dakolo’s assertion as there was a pause again. Dakolo continued. ‘I’ll like you to work with us by answering all questions we would ask you. We may be repeating some questions we’ve asked you before, please answer them again like you haven’t heard them before. The reason is that we want some clear cut answers that you may not have been able to give us that day, probably because of the panic caused by the whole disaster’ Debo shrugged, signaling for them to begin with the questions. Dakolo looked him in the face, he folded his arms and relaxed his back. Ken clicked open the audio recording icon on his device.

‘In the past few months, has there been any suspicious movement Chief Jubril was involved in? Did he make new friends? Or get involved with a strange friend you’ve but being seeing him with?’ Dakolo posed the first set of questions.

‘No’ Debo frowned as he pondered on the question. ‘He didn’t make any new friends, even those invited for the party were all old friends and associates which I’ve always known him to be friends with’

‘Do you know all of these old friends that were present in the party?’

‘Yes, I was in charge of sending the invitation letters to the guests’ Debo replied. ‘I have a list of all the guests we were expecting that day’

‘Okay, was it only these expected guests that graced the party?’

‘No, some came with friends. Their friends were also notable people though. Some came with their aides. We had to prepare extra gate passes’

‘No suspicious attendee was noticed?’

‘None.’

‘Was there a video coverage of the event or how do you know if an unexpected guest came?’

‘No, the Chief did not want the press in his party, they were locked out. The only coverage that could have seen any unexpected person was the security cameras installed in the hall but there was tight security at the entrance, so the person that carried out the assassination couldn’t have been our guest’

‘Are you saying that you’re sure that your guests are innocent?’

‘No, I’m not saying they are innocent but I’m saying that the killer didn’t come in through the entrance meant for the guests because their was a proper system installed to search and detect any dangerous materials or weapons’ Dakolo paused for a while, still staring straight at the man’s face.

‘Was the Chief involved in any fight or argument close to that day?’

‘No, none that I’m aware of’

‘Did he start a business deal with a new person, group of people or company?’

‘Ermm… Yes, there was this young lady that wanted to start a deal with the Chief, she was from Canada’

‘A young lady?’ Dakolo asked, Debo nodded in affirmation.

‘Only the young lady? Which company was she sent from?’

‘Yes, it was only that young lady recently. She was sent from her father’s company in Canada’

‘Have you had any previous deal with this company?’

‘No, it was the first time we had anyone from Canada who wanted to partner with us’

‘Okay, but did you have anyone else who wanted to or struck a deal with your company recently?’ Dakolo asked, his tone showing that he disregarded the young girl’s option.

‘No, that was the only one’

‘Okay, let’s move to…’

‘That girl was suspicious’ Debo put in quickly, a very serious look appeared on his face. ‘Chief Jubril did not totally trust her. He asked me to make an investigation on veracity of her contacts in Canada’

‘Hmm…’ Dakolo seemed more interested now. He bent forward and placed his hands on the table.

‘Did you make the investigation?’

‘Yes, I started it. It wasn’t completed before the Chief was murdered’

‘What investigations did you start with?’

‘I tried to confirm if the number calling from Canada was really from Canada and also trace it to the company there’

‘So?’

‘I was supposed to get a reply on it the day after the Chief’s birthday’

‘And you’ve not gotten the reply till now?’

‘Yes, I didn’t ask for it since then’

‘How were you working on verifying the contacts? Did you come to the police?’ Dakolo asked with a frown.

‘No, the Chief sent me to his friend at the NSCC, Mr Sylvester. I was later referred to Henry E.G who was the only one who could do the job. He…’

‘Henry Ekene George?’ Dakolo cut in to confirm, wondering why Henry had never mentioned to him that he once worked with the late Chief Jubril.

‘Yes, he was working on it and promised that he’ll be ready…’ Debo stopped as he remembered something. ‘The report was supposed to be ready in three days but when I went to the NSCC’s office on that day, Henry wasn’t there. Mr Sylvester mentioned that he had gone to the police station to make a report on his kidnap’ he continued.

‘Kidnap?’

‘Yes, he was kidnapped with his girlfriend then, I don’t know for how long they were with the kidnappers’

‘True’ Ken joined the conversation to confirm Debo’s words. Dakolo turned to look at him as he began to explain.

‘I’m in charge of that case. He was kidnapped with a friend but they didn’t stay up to a day in abduction’

‘The police stepped in?’ Dakolo questioned.

‘They actually escaped before the police stepped in. The kidnappers had a disagreement’ Ken answered.

‘So, have the kidnappers been arrested?’

‘No sir, we couldn’t arrest them that day. They escaped before we got to the place. The place is locked up till date’

‘Okay, what is being done on that case?’

‘We…’

‘Sorry’ Dakolo cut in to add another question. ‘Have the files of the kidnap case also been submitted to me?’

‘Yes sir’ Ken answered, Dakolo nodded for him to continue.

‘I made thorough investigations with my team last week and the people suspected to own the place are dead.’

‘Dead?’

‘Yes sir, they are dead but we’ve been able to verify how they died or the cause of their death but while checking the citizen’s details on the forum, their names have been marked as dead’ Dakolo took in a breath and turned back to Debo.

‘What’s the name of the lady and which company from Canada was she from?’

‘Her name is Alexander Evelyn from AA, Alexander Amaechi Ltd’ Debo answered.

‘Can you recognise her if you see her?’

‘Ermm… No’ Debo stated. ‘I didn’t see her face properly, I don’t even have an idea of how she looks’

‘Huh ho! How is that possible?’ Dakolo sounded with a note of disbelief.

‘She was brought in by Chief Jubril’s son, so she didn’t have to interact with me. She had direct access to the man himself’ Debo explained. ‘And her hairstyle always made it difficult to see her face from the side view’

‘Hmm… I see. And the son is late also’ Dakolo said loudly, to no one in particular. Ken and the interrogatee remained silent ‘We have to reach Henry E.G and find out what his result on the investigation was’ Dakolo continued. ‘Now, let’s move to the party day’ Dakolo relaxed back into the seat again. Debo adjusted himself also. ‘You were seated on the table next to Chief Jubril’s’

‘Yes’ Debo confirmed.

‘Did you notice anything that was going on with him?’

‘I… Didn’t notice anything strange while I was seated. I wasn’t seated for most of the duration. Chief was always sending me on errands’

‘Were you there when the murderer walked into the Hall?’

‘Yes, I was but I didn’t see anything. I was under the effect of the gas released. I only opened my eyes after the antidote was sprayed and found the Chief in his pool of blood’ Debo began to sound emotional.

‘Hmm…’ Dakolo gave another brief pause, trying to decide if he should stop the interrogation for the time being since the man’s mood was already changing. He sat up and decided to ask few more questions.

‘Do you suspect anyone?’

‘None, except for the lady from Canada. It’s just beginning to make sense to me now. She must have been a part to the kidnap of Henry E.G, maybe in an attempt to stop him from destroying their plans. I think she was a fraudster’

‘Yes, but the crime we are talking about here is not fraud, it’s assassination’ Dakolo said, he stared straight into the man’s eyes and asked, ‘do you think that lady could be Samantha Osman, whom the police are in search of?’ There was a twitch on Debo’s face, he stared up and down again, wondering if he had really come across the infamous and notorious assassin. …

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to be continued