Tarasha Episode 67

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Henry had been left to sit alone in the dark room for more than an hour without seeing anyone or hearing anyone talk. He rested his head on the table and began to think about the woes he had brought upon himself by becoming friends with Omotara. He remembered that she tried to resist their friendship but his accursed self was the one who continued to push even with the embarrassment and soldiers harassment she had caused him on their first encounter. He didn’t stop until she gave him her number and agreed to have lunch with him. Remembering all that now, he wondered why he still had so much feelings for someone who had caused him so much pain and who he had not even spent up to three weeks being friends with.

An annoying thing was that he felt a strange kind of satisfaction that the police arrested him instead of her, he didn’t think he would love to see her go through the rigorous prosecution by the police especially as she was already involved in the fraud crime. He thought of how he was going to escape from the trouble he was in. He could only see two ways out, either to spill out all he knew about her or to pretend not to know her beyond their few days friendship. The former would be the best option, the latter could even get him into deeper trouble.

A flash of light came in as the door opened, three people walked in and the last one closed the door. On came a fairly bright light hung on the ceiling directly above where Henry was seated. Henry could now see the faces of the officers proceeding towards him. Dakolo sat directly opposite him behind the table while Ken sat beside Dakolo and the third officer took a standing position.

‘I’m not saying anything until I see my lawyer,’ Henry protested without waiting to hear any word from the officers first.

‘Your lawyer is not here yet but don’t worry, you’ll have enough time to discuss with him. We’ll grant you bail after these few questions we’ve got for you. ‘ Dakolo replied in a calm voice.

‘I’m still not answering any question,’ Henry said stubbornly. Dakolo smiled.

‘You want to make things hard for yourself then, we will have to force you to speak.’

‘I’ve spoken enough to you already, I want to see my lawyer first,’ Henry insisted, trying to feign confidence even though he was scared of facing their torture sessions.

‘You’ve not spoken enough yet, you’ve not told us all you know about that girl Evelyn Alexander.’ Dakolo said.

‘I told you all I know already. She’s a business woman who came from Canada, we met and became friends. She invited me to accompany her to Chief Jubril Lawal’s party and I did, what else am I supposed to tell you?’ Henry began to answer the questions again unconsciously.

‘You said you never left the table at that party but she left you for several hours and even left the venue without you, how could a good friend who took you to to a party do that?’ Dakolo played along. ‘Who was the man who you said came to pick her.’

‘I don’t know him nor do I remember his face. All I know is that they were discussing business and they went to the exhibition centre.’ Henry answered, consciously omitting the first question. Dakolo paused for a moment and stared at Henry’s face.

‘Who stopped the cameras at the event centre from working?’

‘How am I supposed to know that? My job description in the NSCC does not involve securing cameras for event centres.’

‘But you were in the event centre at that time.’

‘Yes, I was there. Seated and enjoying the show like other guests.’ Henry replied in a stern, determined voice. ‘Don’t you guys understand, for someone to have obstructed their system that day, the person must have gotten into their control room.’

Dakolo’s phone rang. He stood up and walked away from the table before answering the call, he spoke in low tones for few seconds before he returned. ‘We’ve reinvestigated the Canadian number and we’ve gotten the report,’ Dakolo continued the session, planning a trick in his mind. Luckily for Henry, he was absentminded and didn’t hear the last statement immediately, it took him sometime to process what Dakolo said, so the response he gave was not the “shocked response” Dakolo was expecting.

‘Who reinvestigated it?’ Henry asked, acting indifferent.

‘You don’t need to know that,’ Dakolo said in a threatening voice and got up to sit on the table. ‘The important thing is that we’ve discovered who you are, we discovered that you’re a liar and a criminal.’ Henry chuckled, he didn’t fall for the trap.

‘Agent Dakolo,’ he called calmly. ‘Was that the result of the reinvestigation? Who I am? I thought it was an investigation of number you did not an investigation about me.’ Henry didn’t believe in his heart that any reinvestigation had even occurred. Dakolo bit his lips and got up from the table angrily. It was obvious the trick didn’t work for Henry but instead of Henry’s confidence to show innocence to Dakolo, it further proved how hardened Henry was.

‘Release him to the lawyer after telling him the terms of the bail.’ Dakolo said to Ken before storming out of the room.

~~ 5pm

‘Thanks,’ Tarasha said as she paid the filling station attendant and closed the fuel tank.

‘Hey! Please’ she called back the attendant who was about going to attend to someone else.

‘Yes,’ the lady replied her impatiently.

‘How do I get to Ordoz Palace road from here?’ She asked.

‘You’re almost there, just drive straight down and ask again.’

‘Oh thanks,’ Tarasha said and turned to enter into the van. She put on her seatbelt and drove out of the filling station. She had been trying to follow the map to locate Henry’s house for over thirty minutes now and she was almost getting confused, thinking that she wasn’t on the right track. She got to the road and drove straight down as directed. Soon enough, she needed not to ask any question again as she recognized the street. She also located his house without stress. She kept driving several metres away until she got to a suitable place to park the van. She halted the vehicle and stepped out. She straightened her black shredded Jean trousers and her black shirt. She began to walk back the several metres to Henry’s apartment.

Henry’s apartment was a duplex that was rented for him by the NSCC when he joined them. The house had a high fence surrounding it like most of the houses in the area. As an observant person that she was, she noticed a guy taking a stroll down the road like her too. From the way he was dressed and how he comported himself, Tarasha was able to decipher that he had been asked to keep an eye on Henry’s house. She saw him staring at the gate as she passed, she played along too and strolled by without stopping in front of the house to raise suspicion.

As she passed the gate, she noticed two more persons. That was when she began to think about tryng to attack Henry in his house, it may not be the best strategy to use, she would need to make another plan ready in case this one doesn’t work out. She took a fifteen minutes walk to no destination and then returned to her van.

Another idea came into her mind, it was still possible that her first strategy would works fine.

~~~

Henry finally returned to the NSCC office with his lawyer at exactly fifteen minutes past five. His lawyer drove them in his car.

‘I would have preferred that you go home straight to rest,’ the dark skinned, big eyeballed lawyer said for the umpteenth time.

‘I have a job I need to round up,’ Henry insisted.

‘It’s okay,’ the lawyer finally gave up. The car was brought to a halt in the same park where Henry and Tarasha’s car were parked, under the same shed as Tarasha’s but had two cars separating them from Tarasha’s car previous position. Henry quickly stepped out of the car without waiting for the lawyer to turn off the engine. He proceeded to where his car was and still met it there but the blue car he had placed a tracker on had been driven away and the space was empty. He felt a bit of joy in his heart as hopes of finding Omotara again began to rise in his heart but all his hopes were dashed in few seconds, after his eyes met with the tracking device on the floor.

He walked towards the parking space to confirm and it was really it. He wondered how it got detached from the car, no one could have noticed it where he hid it except he was seen while doing it. Or maybe he didn’t fix it properly. He bent down to pick it up and check, it was obvious that the tracker did not fall off itself but someone had detached it.

‘What’s that?’ His lawyer asked as he appeared at his back.

‘Nothing,’ he replied and hid the tracker in his palms. He turned and proceeded to his car. ‘I’m going home.’

‘I thought you wanted to work in the office.’

‘I changed my mind.’ Henry said, searching his pockets frantically for his car keys. He then remembered that he left it on his table in the office.

~~~

6.30pm Tarasha had driven round the street to check the position of Henry’s house and how possible it was for her to get in through the back. Luckily, there was. The building on another street whose compound backed Henry’s house was a paper company that already closed their activities for the day by five pm. Although the company had provision for two security men to man the gate overnight, she was sure that it would be easier to pass through them than facing the spies that the police had placed in front of Henry’s house. All she needed now was for the day to get a little bit darker.

She stepped out of her car and sat on the bonnet to take fresh air. Several people were returning from work to their houses in their cars and commercial tricycles while younger people sometimes could be seen in pairs and larger groups walking leisurely.

Tarasha ran her hand through her hair as the soft breeze landed on her face. She glanced around the area where her car was parked, the drivers of other cars were either in their cars or had left the cars there but none was seen hanging outside like she did. She decided it would be better to take a walk than to remain on the bonnet. Her phone rang as she opened the car to take it out.

‘Hey Cole,’ she said after answering the call.

‘Boss,’ Cole was half panting. ‘It all went well today.’

‘Where are you?’ Tarasha asked, ignoring his last statement on hearing the sounds of him panting.

‘At the football pitch,’ Cole answered.

‘This evening? I thought you should be resting.’ Tarasha replied, surprised at his boldness to tell her that he was on the football field.

‘No boss, it’s been a long while and I wasn’t sure if I’ll get the chance to do this soon again.’

‘Okay, so what’s up?’

‘She agreed,’ Cole said with a note of excitement. ‘We’ll be returning to Abuja for a meeting scheduled with the Vice President on Friday. I just got the email inviting us seconds ago and I thought I should tell you first.’

‘Bravo!’ Tarasha applauded as she closed the vehicle’s front door. ‘Excellent job so far, but hope there was no complication in anyway.’

‘No, there wasn’t.’

‘Good.’

‘Boss, would you like to read the email? Should I Forward it to you?’

‘No, don’t bother. I’ll read it directly from the mailbox.’

‘Okay, boss. That’s all for now.’

~~

6.30pm Jefa was attending to his customers in the shop when his phone vibrated in his pocket, there was an incoming call. After serving a particular set of customers drinks, he took out the phone and checked the missed calls log. The number that called him was unsaved in his phone but he recognized it, it was Henry’s. Thoughts of Omotara raced back into his heart immediately and he felt a sharp pain in the chest at the thought of never seeing her again. He considered calling Henry back but remembered his decision earlier that day to stay away from Henry and anything else that could unite him back with Omotara so as to avoid the disaster that may follow.

Henry began to call again as he wanted to put it in his pocket. He silenced it and went ahead to pocket the phone. Barely one minute later, it began to ring again. He silenced it again by tapping the volume button without removing it from his pocket. It rang for the fourth time and he took it out of his pocket, he couldn’t resist the urge to answer it anymore.

‘Hello,’ he spoke into the phone.

‘Hello sir, have you heard any word from Omotara?’ Henry’s voice sounded impatient, the car horn and hoots heard was an evidence that he was on the road.

‘No, why do you ask? She doesn’t know me.”

‘It’s possible she might have tried to contact you already. I told her about you, so don’t say that she doesn’t know you.’

‘Erm…. Anyway I want us to stop searchin…’

‘Sir…’ Henry cut in. ‘ If she ever tries to contact you, tell her to stay out of town and remain in hiding for now ‘

‘What do you mean?’ Jefa asked in a serious tone. From the way Henry sounded, it was obvious that Omotara was in a sort of danger. The call ended without Henry answering. All attempts Jefa made to reach him after proved futile as Henry did not answer his calls until later, Henry sent a text message that he was driving and would call later.

~~

7.30pm With the black bag strapped to her back and her hand gloves on, Tarasha raced towards the high fence separating the company from Henry’s compound and climbed it. She rolled into Henry’s compound and made sure she landed with the lowest possible noise. She detached the rope hanging around her belt and dropped it on the floor. It was the remains of what she had used to tie up the security guards in the paper company. She had injected into their bodies Benryl which will make them sleep off for several hours and even forget totally what happened before the sleep but she still had to tie them up and cover their mouths with tapes in case she spent more than the time she planned to.

She threw in a gum into her mouth and began to chew softly, she placed her hands on her waist as she stared at the building. It was time to execute the other part of the plan. She took out her phone and dialed Henry’s number. Henry’s case must be solved that night.

*******

‘Can you zoom it a little?’ Dakolo said to the officer seated in front of the computer. He and Ken were behind and viewing the screen.

‘It’s okay,’ he said and bent to have a good look.

‘Alright, next.’

‘Looking at Henry in the picture, I don’t think he was involved in the crime. He doesn’t look like someone who had just murdered the Chief.’ Ken commented. ‘He looks somehow distraught in the video, his eyes were wandering around like someone who was in search of something there.’

‘Maybe he was really there to search for the car that brought him like he told us.’

‘But the range Rover was nowhere to be found. How could his friend that had brought him along to the party leave without him?’

‘Hmm… That’s only explainable by him.’

‘There’s nothing to explain there,’ Dakolo said, biting his lips. ‘That girl is Samantha Osman and she only used him to fulfill her aim.’

‘True but…’ Ken paused for a while to think. ‘There’s still something fishy about his response to our questions, I feel like he’s hiding something.’

‘He’s definitely hiding something,’ Dakolo agreed. ‘You know he may be feeling guilty of the part he played in the crime and may not want us to find out.’

‘But why should he still hide it? If he was used, he should open up to us so that we can all nail the assassins together.’

‘Hmm…’ Dakolo pondered deeply on Ken’s words.

‘What is he hiding and why is he still hiding it?’ He muttered to himself.

‘You know he may be scared of the consequences that may follow.’ The junior officer seated on the chair turned to listen to the conversation without making his own contribution, he had been following the details of the crime from the first day.

‘Only God knows what he could be hiding,’ Ken said to himself, but still loud enough for the others to hear.

‘Sir…’ The junior officer finally joined in, facing Ken.

‘Is it not the lady that came in with Henry E.G on the kidnap case for interrogation that’s the suspect here?’

‘Yes,’ Ken answered, staring at the officer in surprise of the excitement in his voice.

‘I can’t really recall her face, but I remember that the camera in the interrogation room was on then, we might have captured her face.’

‘My goodness!’ Ken exclaimed with a gasp.

‘Do you have the videos here?’

‘Yes, I’ll search the video out in two minutes.’ The officer said and turned to the computer. Dakolo and Ken positioned themselves at his back to look at the screen.

After a minute, Dakolo dragged a chair from the front of another computer and sat on it.

‘Here’s it,’ the officer opened a folder of several videos. ‘These were all the videos recorded that day.’

‘Let’s see the exact one,’ Ken urged the officer. After three minutes of playing and stopping videos in search for the exact one, they finally found one. Henry could be seen walking into the room behind a uniformed officer who was ushering then, then he was followed by Evelyn Alexander. She had an unkempt hair on, some part of her attachment were covering her face.

‘D–n!’ Dakolo cursed under his breath. ‘Why the hell is she looking down?’ He threw a question impatiently, to no one in particular. As they proceeded to the seats prepared for them, Evelyn Alexander raised her head up but at the same time began to rub her palm on her face, like someone who was just getting up from a deep slumber and couldn’t remember where she was.

‘Wait!’ Dakolo shouted. ‘Rewind,’ he said, pointing at the screen. ‘Pause!’ Her face was lifted towards the camera now, her left eye was seen partially but the right eye was covered with her palms and a part of her face, she continued to scrub her face with her palm as if her eyes were itching her until they got to the seat where the officer ushered them to. Henry sat first, but she carried her chair and turned it to the other side of the table where she could sit and back the camera.

The video showed the officer trying to ask her why she changed the seat positioning but she answered by pointing to her eyes and the bulb in the room. The officers watching could decode that she was complaining that her eyes couldn’t accommodate the light. Evelyn Alexander sat backing the camera all through the interrogation.

‘Take it back again,’ Dakolo ordered. The video was rewind again to the point where her face was lifted towards the camera. ‘Pause,’ Dakolo said. ‘Can you see where she’s looking to?’ He asked Ken.

‘Yes, she’s facing the camera directly.’ Ken answered.

‘Look at her pocket,’ Dakolo continued, pointing to the screen. There was a blinking red light seen on her pocket.

‘I’ve heard of camera detectors, I’ve never seen one but I believe that that must be one in her pocket.’

‘It is,’ Ken affirmed, keeping a serious look on his face. ‘That’s how it works.’

‘Take it back a little,’ Dakolo ordered the junior officer again. ‘Pause… Play.’ Dakolo stared at Ken’s face and gave him a “I told you look”. She started rubbing her face immediately the blinking started, she then took a glance at her pocket and traced where the light was pointing to.’ Ken shook his head in agreement. They were now more certain that the lady was Samantha Osman or another lady who was part of the assassin group.

‘Did you see her face that day?’ Dakolo turned away from the video to Ken who was still trying to watch the video.

‘Yes sir…I can’t picture how she looks like but I’m sure I can identify her when I see her.’

‘Are you sure? With the way she was unkempt?’

‘Ermm… Not too sure sir,’ Ken scratched his head. ‘But she wasn’t really unkempt except for her hair, the excuse she gave that day was that she had to hurry out of the house and couldn’t comb it properly.’ Dakolo took in a deep breath and rested his forehead on his palm tiredly. He glanced at his wristwatch, it was 7.35pm. They were supposed to have left for their various homes by that time. He got up and started pacing around.

‘That girl used Henry, she’s one of the assassins.’ He said in a thoughtful manner, though loudly.

‘It’s very obvious that he was used sir,’ Ken added.

‘That means we may have to change our way of investigating and interrogating Henry. He’s very important to us, now that we know he had a close relationship with one of the assassins.’

‘Yes sir, I agree.’ Ken said. He placed a finger on his lips as he thought deeply, silence took over the atmosphere for some minutes. Dakolo and Ken suddenly glanced at each other as the same thought struck their minds.

“D–n! I hope we’ve not made a costly mistake already,’ Dakolo spoke first, half shouting.

‘Are you thinking the same thing with me sir?’ Ken eyes, his eyes widened in anxiety.

‘We’ve made a huge mistake by letting Henry go. We might have put him in danger that way.’ Dakolo said before sinking into his seat again.

‘Yes, now that he has been invited for interrogation in our office, the assassins may be after his life so that he doesn’t spill out any information that would implicate them.’

‘D–n! I have to warn him now.’ Dakolo hurriedly took out his phone, he was about to dial a number when a call came in, from the Vice President.

‘Good evening your Excellency,’ he answered the call after a little hesitation.

‘Good evening Agent Dakolo,’ Elvis Richard’s voice came through. ‘Where are you?’

‘I’m still at the office sir,’ Dakolo replied impatiently, hoping that the man would rush all he had to say.

‘I want you and Inspector Ken to come and see me now.’ Elvis Richards said in an ordering tone.

‘Sir, we have…’

‘Shhh… I’m supposed to work along with you guys but you made an arrest today without telling me until I found out by myself.’

‘Sir, it’s not…’

‘Just come over with Ken and explain yourself, I’ll be expecting you in ten minutes. It takes less than eight minutes to drive from your office to my residence. I’ll be waiting for you.’ With that the call ended and Dakolo stared at Ken, frustration clearly written on his face.

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~~

After speaking with Jefa over an hour ago, Henry had still not gone home. He was seated in a restaurant where he had just taken his dinner. He refused to get up from his seat after he finished the meal but was staring at the television set absent-mindedly. The temptation at first was to go into a beer parlour and try some alcohol. He had heard about how alcohol could help people get rid of their worries temporarily, he was also willing to get his worries off his mind. But he was able to resist the temptation after coming to the conclusion that what he needed was a permanent solution and not a temporary one. It was until one of the attendants came to his table that he realized he was the only customer left in the place, the restaurant was already being locked up by the workers.

‘Sir, you have to leave now.’ The lady said, rapping her knuckles on the table.

‘Oh Thanks!’ Henry said and took his car keys from the table. He searched his pocket for his phone, it wasn’t there, be remembered he had left it in the car. He immediately proceeded out of the building and got into his car, he drove off few seconds later.

~~

“Why the hell isn’t he answering his calls?” Dakolo murmured on their way to the Vice President house in a car, Ken was driving. Dakolo ended the call and dialed another number. It didn’t take so much time before the officer answered.

‘Hello sir.’

‘Officer, where is he now?’ Dakolo asked.

‘He just left a restaurant and I believe that’s he’s on his way home now.’

‘Where are you?’

‘Following him behind, but not too close so that he doesn’t notice.’

‘Make sure you don’t take your eyes off him, he may be in serious danger.’

‘Okay sir.’

‘I’ll call you very soon again, you may need to reveal yourself to him and stop him from going home.’ Dakolo added few other things before ending the call.

‘It won’t be easy for the officer to stop him from going home.’ Ken spoke, few seconds after Dakolo ended the call.

‘Yes, that’s why I want to reach Henry first.’ Dakolo replied, dialing Henry’s number again.

‘He’s still not answering.’

‘Maybe you should try someone else who can reach him,’ Ken suggested. Their movement was slowed as there was a little obstruction on the road by a faulty tanker. Dakolo quickly took the suggestion and dialed Sylvester’s number.

‘Agent,’ Sylvester voice came up tiredly.

‘Mr. Sylvester, you have to reach Henry for me immediately. Try to convince him not to go to his house, he can go to the NSCC staff house or somewhere else where there is better security.’

‘Okay, I’ll try and get back to you sir.’ The call ended and Dakolo let out a deep breath hopefully.

‘Sir…’ Ken called, ‘what if Henry is close to his house already?’ The road became clear at the moment, Ken took a glance at his wristwatch before speeding off.

‘That’s true, I should have asked their location from the officer.’ Dakolo said thoughtfully. ‘Maybe I should just tell the officer to stop him right away,’ Dakolo took out his phone. He sighed as a call came in.

‘It’s past fifteen minutes now, where are you?’ Elvis Richards barked.

~~~

Tarasha covered her nose as sparks of dust were emitted as she drilled in the screwdriver-like metal into the keyhole of Henry’s backdoor. The door gave way and she returned her instrument into the bag. Her phone beeped as she was about to enter into the house. She took it out and put it on loud speaker.

‘Agent,’ she heard Sylvester’s voice.

‘Mr. Sylvester, you have to reach Henry for me immediately. Try to convince him not to go to his house, he can go to the NSCC staff house or somewhere else where there is better security.’ Another voice which Tarasha guessed to be the agent’s voice sounded.

‘Okay, I’ll try and get back to you sir.’ With that the call ended. Tarasha kept her phone back into her pocket. The information didn’t stop her from proceeding inside. She took a small torchlight from the side of her bag and used it to brighten her path as she walked into the darkness in the house. After walking for some minutes, she was able to locate a living room, she sat on a stool and took out an Android device from her bag. She unlocked the screen and opened an app. A map displayed, she smiled. Henry was still coming in the direction of the house. But even if he changed direction, it wouldn’t stop her from going after him anywhere he changed direction to, he had to be taken care of that day, no postponement. She got up and began to walk deeper into the house, searching the walls with her torchlight.

~~

Henry’s was just few metres to his gate when his phone began to ring again. He glanced at the screen, Mr Sylvester’s ID was displayed. He took his left hand off the steering and picked the phone, he switched it off and threw it to the backseat. …

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To be continued