Omotara pushed open the room door with her left leg as she carried in the tray which contained the sliced bread, plate of fried eggs, a cup and a jug of tea. Jefa smiled on seeing her, he sat up and dragged the short stool closer to the bed for her to place the tray.
‘But why do you bother? I thought you were going to call me to the dining table when the food was ready.’ Jefa said, smiling as she dropped the tray on the stool.
‘I just thought not to bother you, you don’t need to come there when you can enjoy your breakfast here.’
‘Hmm…’ Jefa took in a deep breath as he watched the hot vapour rise while Omotara poured the tea into the mug from the jug. He didn’t remember ever being served like this in his life. He wished he could listen to Tara’s pleas to allow her get an accommodation for him close to herself.
‘You have to eat now, the nurse said you have some medicines to take by eight o’clock,’ Omotara said to Jefa, taking a glance at the wall clock.
‘Thank you,’ Jefa moved closer and placed his hand on the tray, wondering whether it was the bread he should take first or tea. He finally had to take the bread first and quickly when he noticed that Tara had her eyes on him and was smiling.
‘I have to go out soon,’ Omotara said, few seconds after Jefa began to eat. Jefa took a quick questioning look at her,
‘I thought you were just coming from work, won’t you take a rest at least?’ He asked with bread still in his mouth.
‘I’ll rest when I return,’ she replied, smiling. ‘It’s important that I go out now.’
‘Okay, if you say so. But please, do come early so you can rest well.’
‘Yeah I will, please call me on phone if you need me to get anything for you.’ She said before walking out of the room.
‘Good morning Ken,’ Dakolo greeted as he walked into the station. Ken was gathered with some other officers at the reception.
‘Good morning sir,’ Ken and the officers turned to salute the Agent.
‘How far Ken?’ Dakolo said, extending his hand to Ken for a handshake. ‘Has there been any success report on the anti-bomb squad’s trial to remove the bomb in the car?’
‘No sir, what they are talking about now is moving the car away from the compound.’ Ken replied, walking alongside with Dakolo.
‘That’s interesting! Those mechanisms are weird you know. Until now I’ve never come across such in all my years of experience.’ Dakolo said. They began to climb up the stairs together.
‘I’ve never come across them too.’
‘Well…I think the best option now is to move the whole car like they’ve said. When are they moving it?’
‘They’ve written to authorities for the urgent provision of the heavy duty vehicle needed.’
‘Okay,’ Dakolo opened his office and walked into the office with Ken.
‘I’ve sent the sample from the bottle to the hospital already, ‘ Ken said as they took their seats.
‘And have you gotten a reply from the Doctor confirming that he has received it?’
‘Not yet, it’s just eight o’clock and the Doctor would just be resuming, I’ll wait till eight thirty and call if I don’t get a reply by then.’
‘Good morning nurse,’ a young man with brown coul coloured hair greeted as he approached the reception.
‘Good morning sir, what may I do for you?’ A slim dark nurse answered him.
‘I need to see the head laboratory scientist’ the young man said.
‘What’s your card number?’ The nurse asked.
‘No card number,’ he replied, shaking his head. ‘I only want to see the officials in charge of the laboratory, I’m not a patient.’
‘Why sir? Do you need a lab test or something?’
‘Yes nurse, kind of.’ He brought out an ID card and displayed to the nurse. ‘I’m also a lab scientist, a Clinical Pathologist. I work in Government City Hospital, Capetown South Africa.’
‘Okay, so do you have an official letter referring you to this place?
’ ‘No, actually I’m here on a personal visit. I actually came to Nigeria for a short visit with some of my friends and we discovered some liquids, that’s why I need to see the lab scientist.’
‘Okay,’ the nurse said and took some steps away. She dialed a number on the landline and said some few things before returning to the visitor.
‘You may be seated, a nurse would come and pick you up now.’
‘Oh! Thanks,’ he replied with a smile and joined some others at the reception seats. In a short while he saw the nurse pointing him to a younger nurse dressed in a different colour of uniform with an ID card around her neck. He got up and approached the new nurse.
‘Please come with me sir,’ the new nurse said to him and led the way. From her stature and her voice, he could tell that she was less than twenty years old.
‘Are you also a full time nurse here?’ His curiosity led him to ask.
‘No sir, ‘ she replied him smiling as they climbed up the stairs. ‘I’m an IT student from the university of Abuja.’
‘Oh! I can see, that explains the ID card you have on your neck.’
‘So for how long have you been here? I mean how long have you started your IT here?’
‘It’s two months now.’
‘Okay, that means you should know your way around the place well.’
‘Hmm… Yes, I do.’
‘Ermm…’ The young man wanted to continue his questions but they already got to their destination. The student nurse knocked on the door and opened after listening for a response. She ushered him in and closed the door behind.
‘From Government City Hospital, Capetown?’ The aged clinical pathologist behind the desk asked, raising his thick lens glasses.
‘Yes sir,’ the young man replied.
‘Do have your seat,’ the pathologist pointed him to one of the visitors seat. ‘You may leave now,’ he said to the young nurse who curtsied and turned away.
‘Thank you sir,’ the visitor said and settled into one of the chairs, he also thanked the young nurse before she stepped out.
‘Yes, Good morning. What can I do for you?’
‘Morning sir, like I told the nurse downstairs, I came to spend my holiday in Nigeria with my friends and we discovered some fluids which I’ve been conducting some tests on but I’ve not been able to access enough facilities to do so, that’s why I need to make use of your laboratory to finalize my research.’
‘Where’s the fluid and where did you get it from?’ The older man asked, relaxing back into his chair. He dragged his eyeglasses down a little and gave the young man a searching look, more interested in the hairstyle.
‘Here’s it,’ he took out a bottle from his bag and handed it to the man. ‘We found the liquid in a bottle at a garden.’
‘What have you concluded on it so far?’ The young man replied by handing him a paper which contained the answer to the man’s question. ‘Hmm,’ the old man let out a deep breath after going through it.
‘Please may I see your ID card?’ The young man took out the ID card and displayed to the man. ‘So where are your friends whom you discovered the fluid together?’
‘We were supposed to come here together but one of them had an emergency to attend to.’
‘Okay,’ the man said and rose to his feet. He picked his lab coat from where it was hung and put it on. He then picked the fluid bottle from the table. ‘Let’s go to the lab.’ The young man got up and followed him immediately.
The pathologist led him out of the office and walk in direction of the lab. The young man’s phone rang and be quickly halted to answer the call.
‘Hello… What?’ He shouted as if something bad had happened. ‘Alright, I’m coming now.’
‘Hope there’s no problem?’
‘Ermm… Sir, there is one. I was just informed that one of my colleagues was just involved in a fatal accident. I’m sorry, I have to go now.’
‘It’s okay, but can we get your phone number?’
‘Let me get yours sir, I’ll call you once I get home.’ The young man said and quickly typed in the number as called by the pathologist.
‘Okay sir.’ He turned to the opposite direction.
‘No, take here. This place is faster.’ The pathologist said. The young man turned back and took the direction he was asked to take.
The lab scientist saw the man off to the stairs before returning to his office, still with the bottle in his hands, staring at it from time to time.
‘Thanks officer, I’ve gotten your message and I’m starting work on it now.’ Doctor Tobi was speaking into the phone in a very formal tone. ‘Well, Henry should be better now. I’m just resuming duty and I’ve not checked on him yet…. Okay, thanks.’ He finally ended the call and dropped into his swivel, he picked up the document and began to read the report that accompanied the sample.
As he progressed in reading, a serious look began to form on his face. He picked up the bottle containing the sample from time to time and stared at it as if to ask the content if it was really it that had such a report written for. After sometime, he got impatient and got up from his chair. He picked the bottle and document, he dipped them back into the box they had come with and proceeded out of his office, planning to go straight to the lab. He did not take more than five steps when he realized that he had not performed the compulsory morning ward round. He reluctantly returned to his office and sat back on his seat, he picked up a file which contained the list of all patients he was responsible for, he picked the file and quickly hurried out to check the patients.
Henry’s ward was the last one he visited, he met only one police officer watching over Henry instead of three. He didn’t bother to ask about the others but just proceeded to check the patient. Henry was seated with his back rested. His face looked dull, he had drastically reduced in weight and his bones were appearing under his neck, he was pale shadow of his former self. The Doctor opened the file and began to write in something as he got to Henry’s front. The patient made no visible body movement, neither did his face or eyes move in response to the person who just stepped in front of him.
Doctor Tobi moved closer to Henry and stared into his face, he used his fingers to widen Henry’s eyes and carefully observed the colour. He jotted down some things before leaving the ward and proceeding back to his office. He picked up the box he was supposed to take with him to the lab and with the file still in his hands, he walked back out of the office, then to the nurses station and dropped the file with them before proceeding to the lab.
‘How did it go?’ Tarasha asked Benny as he opened the door to the passengers side of the car.
‘Fine,’ he replied, taking his seat.
‘Everything went as planned?’
‘Yes, there were no errors made.’ He answered, taking off the attached beard to his chin. He ruffled his coloured hair with his palms.
‘Don’t worry, you only need to rinse well with water and it’ll be gone.’ Tarasha said to him. He stopped ruffling the hair and took off the waist bag and moved it to the back seat. Tarasha started the car engine and drove off in silence. Benny kept stealing glances at Tarasha all the time, she looked relaxed and refreshed of some sort, he wondered what or who she went to meet in the house.
They got to their destination after forty five minutes drive. The living room was already set as instructed by Tarasha. A backdrop had been improvised to one side of the parlour and a one seater sofa decorated and placed in front of it, the other sofas were moved away to create space in the middle. Tarasha and Benny took into the house the bulbs Tarasha had gotten from town. Tarasha climbed on Benny’s shoulder and inserted the new bulb to the lamp holder while Cole set up the camera.
‘Go get the man,’ Tarasha ordered Benny after everything was set for the recording. One minute later, Benny returned with the handcuffed man and led him to the seat prepared for him.
‘Well, did he make any other call?’ Tarasha speaking only to Cole’s hearing.
‘Yes, to the same number,’Cole replied in the same low tone. ‘He told them that we were planning to record a video of him but he didn’t know what we were expecting him to say yet.’
‘Hehe,’ Tarasha chuckled, ‘that means he’s not ready yet, he still needs some special preparations for this video.’ Her phone rang and distracted her attention. She took it out and looked at the screen, then she took some steps away before answering. ‘Hello sir,’ she spoke into the phone.
‘Hello Evelyn, I’ve been waiting for your reply.’ Mr Sylvester’s voice came through.
‘Yes sir, I’ve been trying but getting the same results on my laptop. I need to come make use of the app facilities in the office, I’ll be coming this afternoon.’
‘Okay please, I’ll expect you. Greet your mother for me.’
‘Okay sir,’ she said and ended the call. She switched off her phone before putting it into the pocket of her trousers.
‘Boss, what do you say we do now?’ Cole asked in low tones.
‘You know, I think the man trusts me a lot,’ Tarasha said to Cole’s hearing alone, glancing at the Senate President who was also looking towards her. ‘I think he trusts me because he heard me recite the Quran in the car, he still believes that I’m a Muslim like him. That’s why he’s feeling comfortable that I promised that we won’t kill him, he trusts my word and he’s not panicking, else he would have communicated with more aggression in his phone calls. He needs more preparation,’ she paused and turned to take another look at Nasiru again.
‘Bring him here,’ she said loudly, to Benny. She signaled for Cole to leave the front of the three seater sofa where he stood. Benny led the man gently to Tarasha and made him sit before her on the sofa. Tarasha placed a foot beside the man’s knee on the chair and bent to stare into his face.
‘Did you really believe me when I said we weren’t going to kill you?’ She asked gently but in a strict voice. Nasiru was quite surprised at the question but he made no visible expression and no response. ‘Did you really think I wasn’t going to kill you?’ Tarasha asked again. Nasiru stared into her face for a while before finally replying.
‘You,’ he said and paused, he took quick glances at Cole, Aisha and Benny and then returned his gaze to Tarasha. ‘You don’t look like a killer.’ He finally said with a serious look, moving his head slowly. Tarasha smiled at his words and then took her legs off the sofa. She paced around for some seconds and then turned back to him. ‘You don’t look like a killer,’ Nasiru continued when Tarasha kept looking at him without saying anything. ‘For some years of my life now, I’ve been working with people who are passionate about helping people and you look like one, I can tell you have a good heart.’ Tarasha paused and stepped back to think for a while. Did the man really mean what he said or was he just trying to gain pity from her? She asked herself.
She took another glance at his face and concluded from his facial expression that he wasn’t saying it to gain pity. But did her face really look like somebody who was passionate about helping people? Like someone with a good heart? No, it couldn’t be. That was a description for weak people and she couldn’t take it. She couldn’t be weak. She closed her eyes tightly for a while and then realized what must have caused the hogwash the man was seeing in her. It must have been her recent heart talk with her brother, that had spark off emotions in her again. She remembered the warm feeling she felt while talking to him, that could be the reason why she suddenly looked like a person with a good heart. And that was it, that was the reason they had always been warned during her training times not to give room for emotions at all. It could make one weak and render one useless at the end of the day.
She was angry with herself, for allowing herself to relate with her brother so passionately. Now, she had to allow him leave her life like he wanted, forever or she would be forced to render him useless like Henry or better still, kill him. She opened her eyes again and this time it was bloodshot. She was breathing heavily but slowly. She moved back slowly to Nasiru and placed her foot back on the sofa, staring back into his face. This time, a sudden fear beclouded Nasiru’s heart immediately. He began to tremble visibly. Tarasha didn’t look the same to him anymore, she had been transformed into the devil just by closing her eyes.
‘Sorry man, I’m not that person with a good heart.’ She said as she dished out a deadly blow to his face.
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‘This report looks quite similar to this,’ the clinical pathologist, Mr Albert said to doctor Tobi.
‘Sir, who was the person who brought this other sample?’ Doctor Tobi asked in reply. Both of them were standing behind the long lab table, they were tripod stands, pipettes and several other laboratory apparatuses on the table in front of them. There were also some other people in the large laboratory, mostly young Doctors, standing at the left end of the lab.
‘It was brought by a Doctor from Capetown South Africa. He said he discovered the liquid here in Nigeria with his friends,’ Mr Albert replied him.
‘When is he coming back?’ Doctor Tobi asked.
‘I don’t know but he said he’ll call me later. He had to leave because he had an emergency,’ Mr Albert said.
‘Okay, I need to find out from him what else he has found out about the liquid. I want to run some more tests on it, it seems that it’s going to be the antidote to the situation of one of my patients.’
‘But since when have you gotten this sample?’
‘Just this morning, it was sent to me from the forensics team of the police headquarters.’
‘Ever discovered anything like this before?
‘Not really, but traces of the liquid were found in the blood samples of the patient. I think it’ll be a cure for his situation.’
‘But there’s a notable difference between the two samples, the one you brought seems to boil faster than this other one.’
‘Yes, that just shows that there’s something in this one which is absent in yours.’
‘Of course, that’s what it shows.’ Mr Albert said. Both of them stared in silence for a short while.
‘You said the sample was brought by the police? Mr Albert broke the silence.
‘That means you’ll have to get back to them before you take any step, especially before altering the chemical composition of the liquid.’
‘Hmm… Okay sir,’ Doctor Tobi replied, pondering in his heart whether to follow the man’s suggestion or not.
Alright then,’ Mr Albert began to take off his hand gloves. ‘I’ll wait for the young man’s call and get back to you immediately I get it.’ He said and patted Tobi at the back before walking away. Doctor Tobi remained still staring at all the instruments and liquids which were before him.
The sample brought to him could partially cure Henry’s situation if used properly but he also needed to be careful in administering it, so as not to waste or use it wrongly or inefficiently. That’s why he had to wait for the stranger whom the clinical pathologist said had a similar sample of liquid.
‘Congratulations Chief,’ Chief Nonso smiled broadly as he walked into Chief Gab’s sitting room.
‘Chief Nonso,’ Chief Gab looked up and dropped his legs from the footstool.
‘Yes, congratulations to us.’ He got up and walked to his friend to have a handshake and also briefly hug each other.
‘Wow! It’s easier than I thought.’ Chief Nonso said, all smiles as he took the seat next to Chief Gab.
‘Yeah… All we are waiting for is the news of the Nasiru’s death which is going to happen soon.’
‘Ah!’ Chief Nonso stressed in a relaxed manner.
‘That’s inevitable, the news of his death would soon fill everywhere.’
‘Yeah… So what would you like to drink?’
‘Nothing really, I’m in a hurry.’ Chief Nonso said and sat up. ‘I have to go back to the office as soon as possible, so I’ll appreciate if we could go straight to the reason you called.’
‘Okay,’ Chief Gab cleared his throat and readjusted his seating posture to a more serious one. ‘I may need to leave this country soon, I need to go and hide somewhere.’
‘Huh? Why?’ Chief Nonso questioned with a serious look.
‘Tarasha called me yesterday and she actually warned me to be careful, she said that Elvis is already aware that she’s coming for him.’ Chief Gab explained.
‘Yeah, and you know that they all believe that I’m out of the country and sick somewhere in Benin Republic.’ Chief Gab said in a kind of questioning manner.
‘Yes,’ Chief Nonso replied.
‘And you also know that Elvis has volunteered himself to work with the police on Tarasha’s case?’
‘Good. My fear now is that Chief Elvis may reveal to the police some of our connections and they may name me as one of their suspects. That would make them start to trace me and they would find out with time that I’m here in Nigeria, hale and hearty.’
‘Hmm… I get you.’ Chief Nonso took in deep breath and squinted as he pondered on the situation. ‘We really need to do something drastic about it, ‘ he said after some few seconds of silence.
‘Yeah, thank you. That’s why I’m thinking that I leave the country silently to another African country apart from Benin Republic that I can easily get to without the use of an airplane.’ Chief Gab suggested.
‘Okay, so which country are you thinking about?’
‘Any country would be good, we just need to make sure that they are not able to trace us or our movements at all.’
‘Hmm…’ Chief Nonso paused to think for a while, he placed an elbow on his knee and his chin on his palm. ‘But what about Tarasha now?’
‘I’ve not spoken to her about my plans yet but I have an appointment online with her later tonight and I’ll reveal it to her.’
‘Okay… But how do you deal with her from there?’
‘That’s simple, we’ll continue using technology since she doesn’t even like coming face to face with me.’
‘Alright then, let the arrangement begin.’ Chief Nonso said and relaxed his back on the backrest of the sofa, staring deeply frontwards.
‘What other businesses did you do with your group, the heavy seven?’ Tarasha asked, accompanying the question with another huge blow to the Nasiru’s face. The man fell off the chair with a loud scream. His face had already been battered, his mouth was swollen and blood was dripping from his lips. Tarasha pulled him up to the seat again and straightened his face.
‘I swear, I can’t start mentioning all. We did a lot and I’ve forgotten most of them.’ The man struggled to say with tears dropping from his eyes and his body vibrating in pain. ‘I’ve recounted the major ones I remember already.’
‘But where’s the rest of this book that has all your deals?’ Tarasha asked him, dragging him by the collar as she placed her right foot on the sofa again.
‘We used to have several copies of the book until the group split into different parties. We decided to burn it off so that we don’t keep evidence of our corrupt deals for the police to find and use against us later in the future but every one burnt their except for Chief Elvis. I, late Chief Onwuli and Chief Gab discovered it in Chief Elvis’ study. When we asked him why he kept it against our agreement, he said for us to remember some details of our deals, in case we had any situation we needed to recall. Then we told it to the whole group and all concluded that we divide the book into four parts, two were given to the part of the group in the opposition party while the remaining parts were taken by me and Chief Elvis.’
‘Well… I hope you live to tell the story on another day, ‘ Tarasha said and stepped away from the sofa. She turned to Benny and made a signal for him to get the man. ‘He’s ready for the video now.’ Benny dragged the man up and led him to the sofa placed in front of the backdrop. He made him sit well before returning to where he was previously standing.
‘I want you to tell a summary of all your wicked acts in five minutes,’ Tarasha began. ‘A summary,’ she stressed again to emphasize. ‘Then in one minute, you’ll encourage Chief Gab to cooperate with us and give us the money we need.’ Tarasha paused for a while and moved closer to the man, she stared at his face for some few seconds and then pulled him by the little hair on his head and bent his face backwards. ‘Do you understand all I’ve said?’
‘Yes, but…’ Nasiru struggled to say, Tarasha released his head. ‘But I can pay you all you need if you had asked me.’
‘No,’ Tarasha made an evil chuckle. ‘You don’t have enough money anymore,’ she turned to Cole and made a signal to him. Cole understood and quickly walked away from the living room. ‘We’ve been using your money all this while, the bags of rice and other materials we made available were funded by you. We got all the money from your bank accounts.’ Tarasha continued talking. ‘And we still need you to do something for us,’ she paused and turned to Cole who just returned.
Cole handed to her a tablet device. She swiped open the screen and began to punch in some commands. After two minutes, she handed over the device to Nasiru, placing it on the man’s handcuffed hand. ‘We want you to confirm all the transactions we’ve made on all your bank accounts through the mobile apps, so that the banks don’t come looking for us. ‘ she said to him with an evil smile. Nasiru raised his hands closer to his eye and read through the several bank account statements that had been opened to him in awe, so much money had been transferred from his bank accounts without him being alerted. He began to sob silently, his hands began to shake and the device almost fell from his hand.
‘Shi*t!’ Tarasha cursed as she stopped the tablet from falling. She stared at him with a smirk and bit her lips, she placed it back on his hands, supporting it with her own hand. ‘You have to log in to your mobile apps and make your thumb print to confirm that you really carried out the transaction.’
‘And are you sure that he’ll return to his normal state of mind if you’re able to manufacture the cure with this sample?’ Dakolo asked Doctor Tobi.
‘No, I’m not assuring you yet but I believe that his condition would be improved by whatever we are able to manufacture from the sample,’ Doctor Tobi replied him.
Dakolo turned to look at Henry who was still in the same sitting position he had been since he woke, staring blankly without responding to our recognizing any sound or his environment.
‘And what if your assumption turns out to be wrong?’ Dakolo turned back to the Doctor. ‘Would he have to live like this for the rest of his life?’
‘Ermm… Yes,’ Doctor Tobi stated blankly. ‘But what we have are not just assumptions, with the several tests we’ve made on the samples, I can say that they’ll be a reasonable improvement in his state.’
‘Hmm… But Doc, I made a little study about his condition after the other Doctor told us the name and I got to find out that nobody who had ever suffered from the same condition survived or came out from it.’
‘Yes, but none of those conditions were induced. In Henry’s case, the poison was introduced into his blood. It could have be possible that if we had gotten the sample earlier, his condition wouldn’t have gotten this far. The poison has eaten deep and it’s still eating deep. By next week when you come here, you’ll surely meet him worse than this.’ Doctor Tobi explained.
‘Huh?’ Dakolo widened his eyes in fear.
‘That’s the truth officer.’
‘But why don’t you start working on the sample, so that you can administer the product to him on time.’
‘I’ll start working on it as soon as possible, I’m only waiting for the other Doctor who has the similar sample.’ Dakolo took in a deep breath and placed his hands on his waist as he stared thoughtfully. ‘You know Doc, part of the reason I’m here is because you mentioned that someone else came with the same sample.’ Dakolo began in a warning tone. ‘I came with four more policemen, they’re outside and they’re going to join the other three in watching over Henry.’ Doctor Tobi stared at him and opened his mouth in surprise. ‘Yes,’ Dakolo continued, ‘the only person that could have that sample would be the same person that dropped it.’
‘But this person was from Capetown, South Africa.’
‘You believed that?’ Dakolo questioned, squeezing his face. ‘Please notify the officers here once the person comes back.’
‘Okay, I’ve not met him yet but I believe I will when he returns. I’ll tell the officers and call you on phone too.’ …
to be continued