The roads were clear on this perfect sunny afternoon. The traffic jam and rush on the street was at the lowest minimum. Henry was driving while Omotara was seated with him at the front seat. They seemed to be involved in a deep heart talk with each other as both of them smiled occasionally. After driving for some few minutes, they halted the car in front of a drinks store and Henry pushed the horn twice. In one minute time, Jefa came out of the store and proceeded towards the car. He entered into the backseat and the couple greeted him warmly. Then they continued the ride.
‘I’ve got something for you two,’ Jefa spoke from the back seat and handed a small white polythene bag to Omotara.
‘Oh, ice cream!’ Omotara flashed her teeth as she opened the polythene bag to see the contents. Henry also peeped and smiled.
‘Thank you, Uncle Jefa.’ Henry said in appreciation.
‘It’s nothing,’ Jefa replied. Omotara took her own ice cream cup and took off the seal. She took a spoonful and widened her eyes in excitement as she fell in love with the taste. She turned to look at Jefa who was smiling at the back.
‘I never knew you had such a good taste too,’ she joked.
‘Come on, I’ve got a better taste than you two.’
‘You think so?’
‘I know so.’
‘Hehe, no problem if it makes you feel better anyway.’ She said and added a short laugh. Jefa gave her a playful punch on the shoulder.
‘Better leave Uncle Jeffery,’ Henry joined playfully. ‘He’s a gentleman and gentlemen always make a good choice of things like this.’
‘You can say that again if it will make both of you sleep better tonight,’ Omotara said with another round of laughter.
‘I feel like taking beef roll too.’ She added, to Henry.
‘Beef roll and ice cream?’ Henry questioned.
‘Well, it’s none of your business what I combine.’Omotara answered playfully.
‘Okay Boss,’ Henry saluted in the same playful manner, ‘just mention when you see any store where it is sold, so we can stop by and you’ll drop to get it yourself.’
‘Huh?’ Omotara queried, pouting her lips and staring straight into his eyes. Henry sighed, trying his best to focus on the road.
‘So I should be the one to get it for you?’ He asked with a raise eyebrow.
‘Yes, or you want me to lecture you on what it means to be a gentleman again?’ She spread out her hands to emphasize her point.
‘Gentlemanliness is not defined that way,’ Jefa cut in from the back, ‘he’s been a gentleman enough to agree that we stop by a store to get one for you when you’re only a few metres to the house.’
‘Hahaha, Uncle Jeffery is an ancient Gentleman. Well, enough of the talks.’ Omotara raised up her two hands girlishly to halt the conversation.
‘Stop, there’s a store over there.’ She said, pointing to a small neat kiosk at the other side of the road. Henry took his time to pull over and then glanced at the direction she was pointing at, he took a glance back at her.
‘You know my favorite,’ she winked at him. He sighed and pulled off his seatbelt. He opened the door and stepped out.
‘You just want to trouble this guy,’ Jefa said to her as they watched him look out for vehicles before crossing the road.
‘No, I’m just helping his destiny come quicker.’ Omotara replied in a stern voice. She turned back to look at Jefa, her happy face had changed into something different, she now had a smirk on.
‘What do you mean by that?’ Jefa questioned with a raised eyebrow.
‘Just watch and see,’ Omotara answered and then looked towards Henry’s direction. He had already gotten the beef roll and was waiting to cross the road with a nylon bag. He was seen dipping his hand into his pocket, his phone was taken out, he answered a call and placed it on his ear. Just then, he stepped into the road and started walking back. Suddenly, a sand carrying tipper truck appeared from nowhere and was rushing towards him.
Jefa finally jerked off from his dream, sweating profusely in the cold air conditioned room. He rolled out of the blanket and turned on the blue light. He wiped off the sweat from his forehead after sitting up. What manner of dream was this? He asked himself. This was the third nightmare he had had within a very brief period of days and there seemed to be a connection between the three. In the first dream, Omotara was the one who was attacked. In the second dream, he, Jefa was pointed a gun and in this third dream, a vehicle was rushing towards Henry.
In the first and the third dream, it wasn’t clear if Omotara or Henry was killed but it was obvious that their lives were in great danger but in the second dream, the bullet of the gun clearly pierced into Jefa’s head. Jefa buried in face in his palms in frustration, his wounds suddenly began to ache him again. He had never been a clairvoyant person but with the way the nightmares are coming, he believed that God was giving him premonitions of something about to happen very soon.
Jefa rolled out of the bed and turned on the white bulb. He took a glance at the wall clock, it was already close to eleven pm. Then he stared around the room to see where his clothes were kept for him by Omotara, he had to start packing immediately. He would leave by the next day since it was obvious that the reuniting with each other would cause tragedy, the nightmares alone already spells doom for them, he didn’t want to wait until the physical manifestations begin.
He proceeded to the wardrobe when he couldn’t see any of his clothes or bags around, he tried to open it but it didn’t open. He looked around to see if there was any keyhole hidden somewhere but he found none, it seemed that the wardrobe lock was electrical. He struggled to bent down and search under the bed but there was no pin under the bed, under the bed looked recently swept and mopped. He gave up searching for his clothes and returned to sleep in the bed. He would make sure he leaves the house the next day after Omotara returns in the morning. He will try his best to explain his decision to her before parting finally.
Don and Stainless were now in one of the underground rooms of Stainless’ caban. The room which was a long abandoned old arsenal looked like a mud house that was about to collapse, sands dropped on their heads occasionally. The arms and ammunitions were all cover in sand and dust. A fully charged lamp by the top left corner of the room served as the source of light in the room. Stainless had inherited the whole place from their former Master and Boss, Scot whom Don murdered after a disagreement.
Don kept staring at Stainless from time to time, partially in anger and then in thankfulness. He was angry that Stainless could theaten him so much with a gun which had no bullets in it when he himself had a gun which was fully loaded in his pocket. And he was thankful because he wasn’t dead, until now he never believed that he could be so scared of death.
‘Here,’ Stainless passed an old hard cover book to him from his bag.
‘What’s this?’ Don asked, taking a close look at the book.
‘Some of my old deals with Elvis Richards are in there,’ Stainless answered.
‘I don’t think we should be searching about Elvis’ old deals now, I think we should be more focused on who sent Tara… Samantha.’
‘Tara…?’ Stainless raised an eyebrow with a questioning look. ‘You’ve been mentioning that since, are you still hiding something from me?’
‘I told you I was going to tell you more after the meal,’ Don answered.
‘And now we’ve finished the meal and we’ve even left the house.’
‘Yes, I’ll tell you. Let’s take it one after the other.’
‘I still think we need to find out Chief Elvis’s connection with Samantha Osman also, it may help us in getting her.’ Stainless suggested.
‘I don’t really think there’s a connection between them until now, Elvis Richards is scared that she’ll be coming for his life soon, that’s why he’s hunting her. She doesn’t even know that he’s after her. And who knows, he may not be part of her targets.’
‘But what’s the purpose for his fear?’
‘He mentioned to me once that all the people that Tara… Samantha has brought down were once involved in a deal with him, except for the Rivers State Governor.’ Stainless closed the bag he was searching in and got up, he folded his arms and stared at Don.
‘Now you’ve got to tell me the connection between Tara and Samantha Osman, you’ve made the mistake of calling Tara almost more than half of the times you wanted to refer to Samantha.’
‘Tarasha is her real name,’ Don finally said, ‘she was exported down to Nigeria, I don’t know which country she was exported from but report says that she looks like an African.’
‘Tarasha,’ Stainless mumbled under his breath, wondering what African country and language the name could be from.
‘Have you met with her before?’
‘No, except for today when we both met her for the first time.’Don answered reluctantly, wondering if Stainless was deaf and didn’t hear the answer when he had told him earlier that day.
‘How do you know so much about her?’
‘She works for Chief Gab,’ Don stated.
‘Chief Gab!’ Stainless exclaimed, ‘where the hell is that man?’
‘He’s kicking, he’s in Nigeria.’
‘Wow! I never knew he’s done with his jail term.’
‘He was released some years ago.’
‘Okay, I think I remember when the media reported it but since then we’ve not heard anything else about him.’ Stainless said before bending down to bring out a long gun. It was covered with dust.
‘He’s not been making public comments, so the media may be quiet about him.’
‘Interesting! But where’s he getting the money he’s using to send Samantha…I mean Tarasha these errands?’
‘That’s best known to him,’ Don remarked with less concern.
‘So it’s Chief Gab who is behind all these killings?’ Don gave no reply but kept gathering the bullets he was picking. There was silence for a while before Don spoke again.
‘If we can get Chief Gab’s list of targets, we can know all her moves.’
‘That’s true but how do we do that?’
‘We have to travel to Lagos, I can easily break into Chief Gab’s apartments.’
‘Then let’s travel tomorrow, or can you send your people from your Nanl Gang to do it?’
‘We can’t travel tomorrow when we already know her immediate next move. Let’s tackle that first.’
‘Huh? How do you know her next move?’ Stainless turned to stare at him in surprise. Don shook his head as he saw Stainless’ surprise. He had thought by Stainless’ action that day, Stainless had become wiser but he was just proved wrong.
‘Don’t you know her next move?’ He stared back at Stainless in surprise.
‘Ermm…I don’t know.’ Stainless scratched his head. Don gave a chuckle, he felt like taking out a gun to blow off Stainless’ dumb brain immediately but he restrained himself, he still needed to keep Stainless to finish off Tarasha’s execution. Don was sure that Stainless was also keeping him alive because he was interested in conquering Samantha Osman. After that goal was achieved, he knew that only one of them would be left alive as the fastest between the both of them would kill the other immediately.
‘Her next move would be to look for us,’ Don stated and returned to what he was doing.
‘Look for us? Why?’ Stainless Asked another set of questions. Don was obviously irritated by the question. He was now sure that Stainless’ dumbness was the reason Elvis Richards did not entrust the job to him.
‘She saw both of us in Henry’s house, I’m sure she came there to get something. She’ll want to find out what we were doing there and who are, especially I that called her by her name.’
‘Hmmm… True,’ Stainless could not but nod in agreement. He wondered why he had not thought about it that way, the only people he was expecting to be after him was the police. Now, he could understand the reason why Don excelled better than him at the job.
‘Then we’ve got to prepare in case she comes here for us but I don’t think she’ll be coming soon now that the police are keeping an eye on the place.’
‘Don’t talk like that, she’s super intelligent, she always has her way of getting past the police.’ Don cautioned.
‘Does that mean that she’ll come immediately?’
‘Most likely, I believe she was looking for something in Henry E.G’s house. Maybe something she forgot the last time. If she doesn’t find it there, she may think that we have whatever it is. That gives her more reasons to look for us.’
‘Great! Then we don’t need to struggle since we are expecting her. We’ll just wait for her here. I would call back some of my men.’ Stainless said, with a note of confidence in his voice.
‘We’ll get many boys to join us but what we need more importantly is the brain to match hers. If we act stupidly, we’ll end up putting ourselves in trouble.’ Don cautioned again. ‘Remember Robin Kahn,’ he quickly added to emphasize his point.
‘That’s true, so what do you suggest we do?’
‘We’ll use a method I learnt from her,’ Don paused and turned to Stainless with a crooked smile. ‘The same method she used for Robin Kahn. She knew that Robin was coming, so she set him up to come to a place which she knew better than him, then she set traps there for him. We have a better situation.’ Don paused to clear his throat. ‘We know she’s coming here and we also know she’ll be coming during the night time cos she can’t enter during the day when she’ll not be able to hide herself from the police monitoring. We’ll set enough traps for her and I’m sure she’ll walk into it.’
Tarasha made her way out of the room again carefully, this time she went in direction of the study. After walking for one minute, she was able to locate the study, it was locked and there was a need for an access card to unlock it. She quickly rolled up the tight skirts and took out two screwdriver- like metals, she began to unscrew the access panel.
Three minutes had passed and Benny had not gotten any message from Tarasha. His heart began to fear at the thought of leaving Cole in the explosion that was about to rock the house. He began to think of anyway possible to reach Cole and help him out. He took out his connection device and punched in Cole’s code. He fixed the earpiece in his left ear, just as it was about connecting, the Senate President returned to the living room.
‘Your friends have not still returned?’ Mr Nasiru asked with a worried look on his face.
‘Sir, I’m not very happy with what is happening.’ Mr Alfred replied in a sad tone.
‘I’m really sorry sir,’ Nasiru tried to calm him, ‘but do you know of any substance that the both of them may have an allergy for?’
‘I’m not aware of anything,’ Mr Alfred said angrily, he took a glance at his wristwatch, four minutes was gone already. ‘They’ve been eating well since we got to Nigeria and they’ve not been selective of anything.’
‘Ermm… Maybe I need to check out on them.’ Nasiru said and was turning back.
‘No sir,’ Mr Alfred stopped him. ‘I think I have to call the office first.’
‘No please, don’t do that.’ Nasiru pleaded, ‘it’s just a little thing that we can sort out.’
‘No, I’m not calling to report you, I’m calling the medical unit to find out if they had any previous case or records like this.’
‘But are you sure that’s the right thing to do?’ Nasiru asked in fear, not wanting for his relationship with their foundation to be destroyed.
‘Yes, don’t worry. They’ll be no problems.’ Mr Alfred said and got up.
‘I need to get to the car and take my second phone. Please can you show me the way?’
The guard flung Cole out of the toilet to the floor outside mercilessly, he stepped out of the toilet and closed the door. Cole felt his body weaken more as he landed on the floor, his head almost hitting the wall. For some seconds he left his eyes closed and opened it again when he didn’t hear sounds of the man’s movement. He saw the guard standing in front of the toilet’s door, staring at him. Cole took his gaze away and turned his neck to another side and there he saw the tranquilizing pin he had wanted to use earlier. It was not out of his hand reach but he felt too weak at the moment to stretch forth his hand and he wouldn’t even want to do it while the man was staring at him. The guard started taking slow steps closer to him, Cole tried to turn but couldn’t, he felt the metals in his pockets again. Then he saw something, something which he could use. He remembered his boss’ saying that anything could be a weapon. Some hope returned to him and he managed to dipped his hand into his inner pocket, acting as if he was grabbing his stomach in pains so that the man wouldn’t suspect anything.
He gave a very faint smile on seeing the man’s shoe lace carelessly loose and dragging on the floor. The guard kept marching to him with slow steps. He stopped right in front of Cole face, close to the wall and squatted, staring straight at Cole’s face.
‘Who sent you?’ He barked. Cole turned his face away but the man turned it back to himself and added a slap. ‘I said who sent you?’ He barked again. Cole’s fingers by this time already touched the metals he needed, a tiny rope clip and a short knife. He stretched his free hand and placed it on the guard’s left shoe. The guard glanced at the movement but took it for granted as he believed that Cole was too weak to do anything dangerous to him. ‘You won’t talk?’ He shouted once again.
‘She sent us,’ Cole finally answered, still doing his work on the man’s shoe. He had gotten a hold of the lace and held it softly. Then he noticed something else on the man’s left shoulder, there was kind of swelling which wasn’t on the other side. To Cole, it looked like the man had a dressed wound there.
‘Who is she?’ The man asked in low tones, mentioning the words one after the other. Cole stared at his face and gave a smile, bringing confusion to the man.
‘Even if you kill me, you can’t cause our mission to be aborted. She never fails and won’t fail this either,’ Cole said, with the hope of buying more time.
‘Who the hell is she?’ The man slammed and stood to his feet to take out something from his pocket. With that Cole removed his hand from the inner pocket and clipped the man’s shoe with the metal clip, he mustered enough strength to get up and drag the clip, making the man fall to the ground with a thud. Immediately, Cole followed up by driving the knife into the man’s shoulder where he noticed the swelling. The man responded with a loud groan that echoed round the room. Then Cole turned to search for the pin where it was, he located it and carefully picked it up. He drove it into the man’s neck at once.
Tarasha had just picked the book and was about proceeding out of the place when she heard some voices approaching. With what they were discussing, they had seen the door left ajar.
‘The study is not locked?’ A coarse voice expressed the owner’s surprise. ‘How come? The man never leaves it open.’ The accompanying voice said. Tarasha quickly hid herself beside the door. Someone pushed the door open a little and closed it back.
‘What may have happened to the access panel?’
‘Maybe the man is trying to change it,’ the accompanying voice replied.
‘Whatever,’ the hand drew the door close again but it still went ajar. Tarasha waited until she heard their voices and footsteps no more. She quickly opened the door and peeped, there was no one else in the corridor. She stepped out and looked left and right, it was time to set up the other bomb and leave the place. She started following the route where she had come from. Her connection device beeped.
‘Cole,’ she called.
‘Boss,’ Cole spoke in a low voice.
‘Speak up Cole, have you gotten away from the man?’
‘Yes, he’s down. Cole tried to raise his voice.
‘Ermm…’ Tarasha delayed the reply as she thought of the best step to take now that Cole was free.
‘Boss…’ Cole called when he heard nothing again from the other end.
‘Cole, find another security guard whose clothes you can use and take the clothes.’
‘Huh?’ Cole sounded surprised, he wasn’t expecting such an order now that he just had a hard time defeating one guard. ‘Cole,’ Tarasha chuckled, noticing his surprise. ‘If you could defeat the the man’s personal security official, you can take out anyone else.’ She added to encourage him.
‘Sh*t! One is here already.’ Tarasha heard Cole mention before the connection was cut. She took out her phone and dialed Benny.
‘Where are you now?’
‘I just finished timing the bomb and I’m about to leave with Aisha. The Senate President is walking at the front of his house. I’m waiting for Aisha so that we could both take the escape route.’ Benny replied Tarasha, watching the Senate President and his wife standing in front of the house while Aisha was coming towards the car from the house.
‘How many minutes has it run for already?’
‘Just one,’ Benny answered after glancing at where the bomb was placed in the car.
‘So that means it took you nine minutes to go out of the house?’ Tarasha questioned, in something more like a scolding manner. Benny was quiet. ‘Set the time to thirty minutes now and return into the house, I’ll send something into your phone for you to show the man.’ She ordered and the call ended. Benny stepped back into the car and picked up the detonator, he entered in the password and stopped the reading, then he set it afresh for thirty minutes.
‘What’s happening?’ Aisha asked as she got near the car. She had been in darkness all the while since it was only Benny the boss was communicating with, the only thing she knew was that Benny gave her the signal to follow him when he was going out to the car.
‘Nothing,’ Benny smiled and stepped out, then he closed the door. ‘I’m just following the boss’ instruction.’
‘But you’re not telling me anything.’
‘Don’t worry, I’ll tell you everything you need to know.’ Benny said and grabbed her by the arm and they both returned into the house.
Cole rose up to face the new guard who just entered. The slim guard was staring around the room with great awe of the disarray in the place. He took a glance at the Chief’s personal bodyguard laying lifeless, his face clearly showed his shock on seeing the man down. He raised up his head and stared at Cole with a frowned face.
Cole rushed to the guard as the man’s hand made way into his pocket. He landed a kick on the man’s belly and the man staggered backwards, his body closing back the door.
Nasiru and his wife began to walk back slowly into the house with their guests, there was an unvoiced tension and unusual silenced amongst them. Benny took out his phone and unlocked it, he clicked on the chat application and opened the conversation box with Tarasha. She was already typing in a message.
‘Show the pictures I send you to the man,’ the message entered as they stepped into the living room.
‘Okay Boss,’ Benny replied and proceeded with Aisha to the three seater sofa to sit. Another message came in shortly,
‘is his wife still with you?’
‘Make sure that she and her husband does not leave there but show only the husband the message.’
‘Okay Boss,’ Benny answered and the messages paused for a minute.
‘I think I need to go check your colleagues now,’ The Senate President said after he saw that the guests were seated for a while. His wife was seated at the opposite sofa to them.
‘No need sir, I have a message for you.’ Mr Alfred said and got up.
‘What message is that?’ Nasiru answered reluctantly and walked back to Mr Alfred who was also walking towards him.
‘Here,’ Mr Alfred clicked on the loading picture. A blurry image first appeared and it became clearer in few seconds.
‘What?’ Nasiru screamed out loud on seeing the photo. There was his daughter Fatima tied to the bed, with an explosive device around her body. Aisha and Mrs Nasiru got up immediately in shock as they heard the man’s scream. Two of the guards also came into the living room from different directions.
‘Calm down mister,’ Mr Alfred said to the man in a low voice, ‘we don’t want to harm her if you’ll cooperate with us.’
‘Yes, I would cooperate.’ The man said nodded his head in agreement, almost in tears already.
‘Now tell your guards to return, assure them that there’s no problem.’ Benny said to his ears.
‘Go back everyone, everything is fine.’ Nasiru ordered immediately.
‘Correct,’ Benny smiled. He checked his phone again, there was another text message and more pictures.
‘Tell the man to sit with you as if nothing happened and wait till I come.’
‘What’s the matter?’ Mrs Nasiru stood at her husband’s front and asked.
‘Nothing o, nothing.’ Mr Nasiru sang back like a terrified child, his body trembling all over.
Tarasha climbed down the bed after attaching the bomb to Fatima’s body, then she started to pull off the maid’s uniform. After a minute, she had stripped to her underwear and was proceeding to pick her previous clothes, her connection device beeped.
‘Cole,’ she called as she answered.
‘Boss, I’m in the security guards uniform now.’
‘Do you have a cap with you?’
‘Ermm… I will take the cap now.’
‘Better, meet us in the living room. Connect me if anyone confronts you. And if you get there before me, ensure that the target and his wife does not leave there.’
‘Okay boss,’ Cole said and the connection was closed.
Tarasha began to put on the clothes hurriedly, she turned back to Fatima who was staring at her, tied to the bed with the bomb attached to her body. She was too terrified to scream or move as Tarasha had threatened that the bomb would go off if unnecessary movements were made or if there was any attempt made to detach it.
‘Sorry baby,’ Tarasha said with a smirk, ‘sometimes, the children partakes from the Father’s sins.’
‘What do you want from me?’ Nasiru asked from Mr Alfred, now seated but still trembling.
‘Calm down mister, you’ll find out soon.’
‘I said what is the matter?’ Mrs Nasiru shouted at her husband in an angry manner. Benny gave the man a threatening look to warn his wife.
‘Will you sit down woman,’ Nasiru shouted back at her.
‘Something is clearly wrong, I’ll alert the security’ She said and began to hurry away. Aisha followed after immediately to stop her.
‘No madam, you can’t do that.’ A man dressed in the security’s uniform walked in from the corridor of the inner rooms and stopped at her front.
‘Cole!’ Aisha exclaimed as she saw the security man’s face.
‘Yea baby, I’m with you.’ Cole winked at Aisha and took out something from his pocket.
‘Who the hell are you and what authority do you think you have to stop me?’ Mrs Nasiru tried to push Cole away and proceed on but Cole pushed in a pin into the side of her neck. She felt dizzy immediately and collapsed into Cole’s hands, he carefully placed her on the floor.
‘Please don’t hurt her,’ Mr Nasiru screamed and stood up.
‘Get seated man,’ Cole took out a gun and pointed at the man, ‘she’s not dead, she’s only taking a nap.’ Up to five security officials rushed into the scene at once, two from the same place Cole came from and pointed the guns at Cole. Then Benny got up and held the man neck, he pointed his gun to the man’s head.
‘Tell them to drop their arms or you and your daughter would be killed.’ All the men directed their gun focus to Benny now.
‘Drop your guns,’ Nasiru said to the men. They slowly began to comply.
‘Hello Senate President,’ Tarasha came in from behind the guards. She walked to the man’s front and stood. Then she took a quick glance at her men, Cole, Benny and Aisha before returning her gaze to the man. ‘Come on Benny, treat the Senate President with respect.’ She said in a tone of mockery. Benny slowly took off the gun from the man’s head. Cole bent down and began to pack the guns of the security men.
Tarasha took out her phone from the bag she had carried with her upstairs. She turned on the screen to check the time.
‘We only have fifteen minutes to get out of this house,’ she announced loudly. She took out a timer from her bag and showed it to the man, it was at thirty minutes and twenty three seconds, counting down.
‘The bomb on your daughter’s body would be going off when this time counts down to the end. The place where the control point of the bomb will require fifteen minutes drive from here.’ She said, staring at the man’s face squarely. ‘Well, fifteen minutes if there’s no traffic.’
‘Who are you?’ The man managed to mutter, squeezing his face bitterly.
‘Hahaha, you’re asking questions?’ Tarasha laughed out loud. ‘I will do you the honour of replying.’ She cleared her throat and folded her arms.
‘Your people call me Samantha Osman.’ The man’s face fell, a tear dropped from his eyes.
‘I’ve been expecting you, but please spare my daughter and my wife.’
‘Only you can do that now, just follow us quietly and tell your security officials to remain calm until you return.’ She ordered.
Cole, Benny and Aisha kept staring at their boss in surprise. This was not their initial plan, what she was doing was far from their plan but they had complete trust in her. …
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to be continued