Tarasha Episode 79

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Cole was walking up and down the front of the hospital premises, looking now and then towards the gate for sign of the boss, she was supposed to be there already, to make matters worst, her line was not going through. Maybe she had other plans, he thought for a minute. In another minute, doubts began to rise in his heart again. What if something had gone wrong somewhere? What if she wasn’t going to come? Does that mean they wouldn’t escape? No, Benny actually, not the three of them. He and Aisha could leave without waiting for the boss, she didn’t ask them to wait. Benny was the one that needed a new car to escape and that was the only part the boss had to play in the task, bring a new car in which Benny could escape, as he would not be able to do so in the same car he came with.

Cole started to think of an alternative to help Benny in case the boys did not show up. He took out his phone.

‘Go ahead with the execution even if you don’t get a signal from the Boss,’ he typed into a text message box. ‘I’ll be waiting to take you out once you’ve changed your disguise.’Cole sent the message and hoped that Benny would be able to receive it immediately. He continued to look around for signs of the boss.

A minute later, he saw some police cars coming through the gate. He began to walk towards the gate and the cars coming to check the leaders of the entourage. He turned back immediately he saw Agent Dakolo and other officers seated in the first car. He quickly returned to his co journalists to announce the agent’s arrival. In a spilt second, the crowd of journalists had began to gravitate towards the park where the police cars were driving to.

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Dr Tobi followed after the nurse hurriedly and in some minutes, they both got to the senior doctor’s office. The door was locked and there was no sign of the doctor’s presence, Dr Tobi placed his hands on his waist, waiting for an explanation from the nurse. Just before Dr Tobi opened his mouth to complain, she took out an access card and opened the doctor’s office, that kept his mouth shut. She must really be a trusted nurse for the senior Doctor to give his access card, he thought. She ushered him in first before she entered behind. The doctor entered and stared around the office, placing his hand on his waist again. He turned back to see the nurse locking the door.

‘Where is the senior Doctor?’ He asked her.

‘The senior Doctor asked me to call you here,’ she replied.

‘That’s not the answer to my question,’ Dr Tobi barked angrily, ‘where is he?

”I don’t know,’ she answered nonchalantly and walked towards the office table. She leaned against the table and posed in a seductive manner.

‘What’s the meaning of all these? Where is the Doctor?’ Dr Tobi continued angrily, too angry to even notice her pose, he turned away towards the door. ‘Didn’t you tell him I was in the theatre? Why did he still have to call urgently for me?’Dr Tobi turned back few seconds after he heard no response, his face was filled with anger as his eyes met with the nurse’s. Then his anger increased and was mixed with disgust as he now noticed her pose.

‘By the way, who are you and when did you start working here? I’ve never seen you in this hospital before.’ Dr Tobi said, his disgust expressly heard in his voice.

‘Wrong question at the wrong time,’ Aisha said with a chuckle and catwalked towards him. She stopped at his front and bent her face to kiss his neck. He pushed her away and stepped back. She gave an evil laughter and brushed the hair covering her eyes backwards with her hand. ‘You’re looking good Doc, I just thought it won’t be a bad idea if we had a quick one here.’

”Are you crazy? Please open this door and let me return to my work.’ He barked.

‘You’re not going anywhere doc,’ Aisha said and took out a gun, she took off the wig on her head and then she pointed the gun at him, walking slowly towards him. She made him raise up his hands and she searched his pockets to see if he had any communication device or phone to use but found none She then asked him to move back to the direction of the table, motioning him to sit on the visitor’s chair. Then she cut the wires of the landline on the office table and walked back to the door, still pointing her gun at him.

She unlocked the door and put back on her wig. Then she hid the gun back under her nurse uniform before stepping out of the office.Dr Tobi got up from the visitor’s seat immediately and turned round to the other side, he quickly pulled out the drawer to see if he could get a phone but unluckily for him, there was none.

++++

Officer Clem got back to the ward with one of the younger boys that had gone to control the journalists with him. To his surprise, the patient’s bed was empty when he entered.

‘Where’s he?’ He shouted at the officer that was left alone to watch over Henry in the ward.

’Sir, the doctors have taken him to the theatre.’ The officer answered.

‘Okay,’ officer Clem’s heart was calmed a little.

‘Where’s the theatre where they took him to?

”Ermm…’ The younger office stammered. ‘I don’t know.

”You don’t know?

”Yes sir, the Doctor said they won’t take long. He said that they won’t stay up to forty minutes before returning him here,’ the younger officer replied shakily.

‘How many minutes is it now?

”Twenty sir,’ he replied after taking a glance at his wristwatch.

‘Okay,’ officer Clem heaved a sigh. ‘But you should have asked, Agent Dakolo would want to know where they took him to and do you remember that we are supposed to arrest the lab scientist immediately they finish?

”Yes, Dr Tobi said he’ll make a call to us before the man decides to start leaving.’

++++

’Where are you?’ Dakolo asked the receiver of his phone call.

‘I’m back at the ward now,’ the receiver replied.

‘And how is Henry?

”He has been taken to the theatre,’ the reply came a little bit hesitant.

‘To do what?

”To administer the new cure, the Doctor said it was time to wash off the poison in his blood cells.

”And which officer is manning the entrance of the theatre when you’re in the ward?

”Sir… Ermmm… None sir, I wasn’t here when they came to pick him up, so I don’t know which theatre they have taken him to.

”Are you…’ Dakolo gritted his teeth angrily, he looked out through the window and saw the source of the noise coming towards him. He quickly wind up the window glass before the journalists got nearer. ‘You better go and search for the theatre now and make sure that he’s safe, if anything happens to him; I’ll make sure you spend the rest of your life behind bars.’Dakolo threatened and put down the phone.

‘Clem has messed up?’ Ken anxiously asked.

‘Yes,’ Dakolo replied, taking deep heavy breaths, we need to go in there immediately.’ He said and took his pistol, he opened the door aggressively not minding the journalists who were standing by the car.

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Benny was getting impatient waiting for the signal from the Boss, he was supposed to have gotten it now that Aisha have tricked the Doctor away . He didn’t know if he should continue without the signal or not. After some minutes of staring at and receiving back awkward stares from the nurses, he finally felt a vibration in his belt. He was about heaving a sigh of relief but stopped in the process, the vibration came twice, meaning that it wasn’t a signal to go ahead but to listen to a message. He stepped back a little from the nurses who were still staring at him. He took out a small wireless one side earphone from his pocket and placed it into his ear, listening to the voice play of the message sent from Cole.

He returned it into his pocket after listening and walked back to his former position, making a loud, long hiss. He stared at the nurses’ face, they were looking at him quietly but their looks were accusing enough as he wasn’t supposed to bring in any gadget talk more of using it in the theatre. He took off his nose mask and hissed again.

‘Please someone needs to get Dr Tobi, I’m running late already, my people are already getting impatient.’ He said in a complaining tone. The nurses communicated quietly with eye signals and one of them proceeded to the door and walked out after taking off her nose mask. One more nurse left for Benny to get rid of. He gave her an evil eye as she stared at him.

‘Why are you looking at me like that?’ He accused. The nurse took her face away immediately,

‘I wasn’t looking at you sir,’ she managed to say courteously.

‘Better,’ Benny replied, satisfied that he was able to make her take her eyes off him, at least temporarily. He walked closer to the patient and stared at him for a while, then he looked at the nurse again, her eyes were on him once more, she quickly took them off as he caught her. Benny smiled, he knew that they must have being warned about him.

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Cole was satisfied with the way the journalists had surrounded officer’s Dakolo’s car. Just when he got his recorder and was about to join them when his phone vibrated. He took it out to see what it was.

’I’m not fit to join you for the task anymore, use your car to get Benny out.’ He read as he flipped down the notification bar. He clicked on the message to reassure himself that it was really the boss who sent it. Although, a message like that coming from the Boss was strange, he was glad that she at least communicated to them. He quickly forwarded the message to Benny and started to proceed further but he stopped after taking only few steps. The manner with which Agent Dakolo was walking and ignoring all the journalists showed that the man wasn’t ready to give them his time at all.

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Omotara poured in the broken parts of the phone that fell from her hands into the dustbin and returned to the living room. She picked up the new phone which she had brought out and inserted her sim card. It was the same phone she used to call Cole. She then proceeded towards the room Jefa was, after switching off the TV. The return of Rikau Saliu into her memory hadn’t come back alone, it had brought so many other things to her. It had brought back the ill feeling of being molested again, the angry feeling of watching her parents and one of her brother’s die and also that determination to kill all those men who had attacked their house. All these feelings which had disappeared a long time ago during her trainings in the Nefary Clan had now come back stronger. Now she wanted to find out more from her brother.

She gently opened the door to the room and walked in, Jefa was lying on the bed with his face buried in the pillow. He turned upward on hearing her come in and slowly sat up, avoiding her gaze. She walked towards the bed slowly and sat in it, directly opposite Jefa. She was quiet for a short while, thinking of the right way to begin her discussion until Jefa spoke first.

‘Aren’t you going to work anymore?’ He managed to look at her face.

‘No, I had to take today off. I called the office already.’ She replied. ‘Since you still insist that you’ll be going immediately after you get well, then I think I have to spend more time with you now that you’re still here.’Jefa kept quiet and stared blankly, glancing occasionally at her face. ‘I recognize him now,’ Omotara said, making Jefa give her a quick look. ‘I remember him very well.

”I’m sorry ,’ Jefa said slowly in a sad tone, his face showing regret. ‘I’m sorry for bringing back those sad memories to you; that’s why I have to leave your life forever. You see, I’m a sorrowful man, always filled with grief and pain in my heart, I don’t want to infect your happy life with my sorrow. I’ve lived my life always praying, wishing and hoping that this evil man and others like him are brought down, but my sorrow and pain keeps increasing everyday as I see them keep rising and becoming greater everyday.’ Jefa went on lamenting

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The message vibration came again, Benny stepped back to listen like he did previously. The forwarded message from Cole was read into his ear. Another message came in immediately as he was about to take off the earpiece, he paused to listen.

‘You have to be fast now, Agent Dakolo has instructed the police to start looking for the theatre and he’s also coming upstairs.’ The second message read.There was a sudden rush of adrenaline in Benny’s body as he took off the earpiece, he proceeded towards the nurse immediately and took her out with a heavy blow. Then he took out the ampoule from his inner pocket and picked the syringe which was earlier used to inject into Henry the sedative. He drew out some of the contents from the ampoule into the syringe and quickly moved to Henry. He held one of Henry’s arm and injected the liquid into his veins.

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’It’s okay brother, I understand your pain. I feel the same way too but there’s nothing we can do about it,’ Tarasha said in a sad tone and moved closer to him. ‘But one thing I know for sure is that they can’t escape from their punishment for life…

”I’m sorry Tara,’ Jefa who seemed not to be listening to her but lost in his own thoughts cut in. ‘I’m sorry for not being able to protect you as your elder brother, I’m sorry for failing to keep my promise.’A light smile appeared on Omotara’s face as she tried to recall if he ever promised protection for her or the rest of his younger siblings. Then she remembered how he always claimed to be Superman and that we could rescue his younger ones when they were in trouble. Her smile broadened but was short-lived and transformed into a evil one as she remembered something else; she remembered his face that fateful day when their father was being killed, how helpless he looked when their mother was being molested and even when she herself was being mishandled by Rikau.

Her eyes began to turn red in anger again but she quickly composed herself, remembering that she was in his presence and had to keep the innocent and helpless girl’s look on her face. The redness in her eyes formed into tears that stuck there, without dropping off. After about three minutes of silence by the both of them, Tara cleaned her eyes and sniffed in.

‘I want to know what happened to you, where have you been all these while?’ She asked. Her phone began to ring before Jefa could answer. She checked the screen, it was Cole. She excused herself and stepped out of the bed to answer the call.

‘Hello boss,’ Cole’s voice came through.

‘Hello,’ she replied.

‘Benny just completed the task successfully and he’s with me and Aisha now, we’re returning straight to the base now.

”Nice Cole, I’ll call you later.’ … she turned to her brother ‘So brother, tell me.’ Jefa looked away for some seconds, staring blankly at the wall. Then he got up slowly from the bed and walked to the window. He opened the curtains and stared outside.

‘I was sent unconscious that day, so I don’t know how, when and where we were separated. I woke up to find in a strange place with several other of my age mates. Nothing much happened that day, it was late already. Our… My sufferings began the next day. We…’ **Flashback — From May 28, 2014 **

The captives were woken up the next morning with the noise from a giant bell. Those who did not wake up after the bell rang were woken up with strong whips by two evil looking lanky men. Jeffery was part of those who woke first so he didn’t have to receive the early morning ‘tea’ like some others. He even hardly slept, the huge mosquitoes feasting on his body and singing and dancing around like Indian lovers were enough to keep one awake all through the night. They were led outside the room, could it even be called a room? It was something worse than a Nigerian police cell. One after the other, they all had to bend down to walk out through the narrow-dwarf door.

Jeffery opened his eyes as he got out through the door to see his new environment. Before his eyes could notice any other thing, the faces of five wicked looking men standing in a straight line in front of the boys were the first thing he saw. Most of them had long unkempt beards, their heads were also covered with a scarf like material and a black piece of material wrapped around the scarf to hold to their heads. There were also several cutlasses , rakes and hoes on the floor.

‘Oya, make una bend down pick the one you fit use well.’ One of the man stepped forward and spoke in a thick northern accent, instructing them to move forward and pick their desired tool. The boys stood still, confused about what they were going to do with the farm tools. Except for those who had been whipped before, no one else picked a tool immediately.

‘Ehen, una no hear abi?’ the man who gave the instruction yelled at them. Slowly and hesitatingly, the boys stepped forward and picked up different tools of their choices. ‘Good,’ the man continued. ‘Now, make una look around.’ he said pointing round the place. Jeffrey looked around like the other boys, he noticed that apart from the small prison where they been allowed to sleep and the space in front of them, there was only a narrow pathway, the rest of the place were filled with huge bushes and trees, looked like they were in the middle of a thick forest.

‘We wan clear three plots of land to build bigger place for una and to get bigger space,’ he continued, after being satisfied with the view of the place that the children already had. ‘We wan make una clear the thing for three days.’ Jeffrey looked around once more, then he turned to look at other boys with him, they were numbering up to fifteen, all within the age range of 12 to 16. He began to wonder how fifteen young boys were going to clear the huge bushes on the land in three days, especially with someone like him who didn’t even have the experience and knowledge of holding a cutlass and how to use it. ‘Oya make una come o,’ the task manager continued, assigning some boys to his men.

‘We go give everybody im portion and na until you finish am una go chop, una hear?’ The boys answered him with silence and he didn’t even wait to get a verbal response before he turned to the the boys he assigned to himself and led them to the portions of land they were to clear. Jeffrey followed his own man and he was showed his portion, he almost fainted on seeing it, it was surely going to take him days to finish that day’s portion only. However without waisting time, he began to strike the ground with the blunt side of the cutlass until he was corrected by the man. He then began to use the correct side but it wasn’t so much of a difference as he was only striking too much without making the desired impact.

The thought of his younger sister and brother came back to his mind as he did his job. He wondered where they now were, he wondered if they had been made to do the same kind of tedious job like this. He remembered his father and mother’s death too, he thought of their unfulfilled promises and dreams, he remembered how they had promised to give each and every one of their kids an excellent future.

Just few minutes into the job, he was already tired, he looked around to see most of the boys still working, the only ones who had paused like him were the ones who needed the whip to wake up. He summoned courage and continued to work but his strength was failing him gradually. At the time he was thinking of finally stopping was when he started to hear sounds of whips accompanied by loud groans and screams. He also saw the man standing by his side with his whip in his hand in readiness to land it on the first weak person under his watch. He took a quick glance at other boy who had his portion allocated to him by the same man; the skinny looking boy did not seem to be tired yet and was making quite some progress on his own portion.

Jeffrey was inspired by the boy’s attitude and tried to add more strength, he thought to himself that if a boy who didn’t look as healthy as he was could work like that, then he should be able to do more. As the frequency of the whips heard behind increased, so did Jeffrey’s strength reduce. After twenty minutes of working in total, he fell to the ground for the first time. The man who had been waiting for him to stop working or wait to rest moved close to him and landed him a whip on the back. Jeffrey turned and twitched in pain, groaning loudly as he rolled on the floor. For the man, he was too slow in responding, so he landed another whip on his body. Jeffrey passed out.

***Present***

‘Sorry brother,’ Tarasha interrupted her brother’s narration. ‘Which forest was that? Can you remember?’

‘Ermm… Sambisa forest, I think. That was their main operation centre then,’ Jefa replied.

‘That’s in Nigeria here right?’

‘Yes,’ Jefa stared at his sister with a surprised look. ‘In Borno State.’

‘Okay, and were the men that were with you Nigerians?’

‘Yes, they were. Why are you asking?’

‘Nothing, I just wanted to relate some things. You can continue please.’

**Flashback continues**

Jeffrey woke up later that afternoon feeling very feverish. At first he thought he was dead and had gone to heaven because his vision was blurry and he was feeling wet, but as the rains poured more on his face, his vision became clearer and he staggered to stand up, that was when he realized that he was in a new environment. He could see some boys running from the rain into an old brick building at the left side. This new place was more of a developed land and had several buildings surrounding a large open space. Jeffrey trudged forward to the same building he saw the other boys running to, shivering as he walked. He was the last to get there, the door to the building was already closed. He knocked tiredly and waited for a response. A young boy of his age opened the door and popped out his head, he closed back the door and opened it again after ten seconds, motioning for Jeffrey to come inside.

Jeffrey entered, still shivering and the boy closed the door behind. There were several other boys in the room, numbering up to twenty seated on the neat carpeted floor. All eyes were on Jeffrey as he looked around the room, a man seated on a short stool and dressed like a cleric beckoned on him to come closer. As Jeffrey moved forward, he saw one of the other boys that was at the previous place with him, one of those who were whipped before they woke up.

Later that day, he got to realize that their abductors are from a very organized group which had several sections. He had earlier been selected to the other place because he was seen as strong due to his body structure and rigidity but when his weakness showed during the clearing of the land, they had no choice than to transfer him to this other section where he would fit in more perfectly.

***Present***

Tara’s phone rang again, disrupting Jefa’s narration. She sighed as she took out the phone, she glanced at the screen to check the caller and then excused herself and stepped out of the bed to answer the call.

‘Hello sir… Yes, I’m going to still come but not as early as I proposed… Maybe one hour late…okay.’ she ended her call and returned to the bed. She apologized to Jeffrey and asked him to continue.

‘Isn’t that your boss?’ Jeffrey asked instead of going on with his narration.

‘Yes,’ Omotara sighed, ‘I’ll be going back to work briefly in an hour time.’

‘Ermm… I hope I’m not the one disturbing you, we could continue our discussion some other time, it’s better you start leaving for work now. I even thought you took the day off already,’ Jefa said.

‘Yes, I won’t be going for night duty today. I only have to drop something there.’

‘Then why don’t you go now?’

‘I already told them I’ll be coming in an hour time.’ Jefa sighed. ‘So continue, please.’ Jefa closed his eyes and took a deep breath before he continued his story.

‘I was given drugs to take care of my illness that day, there were no much activities as the rain continued to pour down until night time. The next day, we were not woken up in an aggressive manner like the day before, although, we woke up very early too. I and several other new intakes like myself slept in the same room. We were ushered outside the room and led to another room by the far left end. It was a prayer room. There, we met people praying the Islamic way and we were asked to join them. Those who were Muslims joined them while I and two other people only watched them in confusion.

Later that day, we began our Arabic lessons and I started from the lowest class. A year later, I had become a Muslim by force and was still being trained. Although I enjoyed it because we lived in peace; I thank God because I thought my sufferings could have come to an end.

The third year when I was beginning to think that our hosts were just nice Muslims like our friends at home was when they started to contort the message they earlier preached to us. They started teaching us violence against non-believers as against their message of peace and kindness which they taught us at the low levels and which every good Muslims believe in. They told us that those who refused to believe in the same message like they did were worthy of death; including fellow Muslims like them; though they majored more on those who didn’t believe at all. They turned the peace loving Islam god to us a monster and a blood sucking viper…’

‘Sorry brother,’ Tarasha interrupted again, ‘is God ever peace loving?’ Jefa stared at her in surprise at the kind of question she asked.

‘Of course, God loves peace and doesn’t command evil.’

‘But…’ Tarasha was looking confused and lost, Jefa was someone who had faced the same challenge as her and he was still thinking that God was peace loving while she always had the mindset of god; if he ever existed, as a blood hungry tyrant and wicked soul.

‘God loves peace Tara,’ Jefa smiled for the first time since he began his narration.

‘But then, why did he kill our parents?’ Tarasha asked. ‘Why did he send his men to do all those things they did to us?’ Jefa smiled again and moved closer to her, he stretched his hand to her face and rubbed his palms on her cheeks.

‘God is peace loving, he is love, he didn’t send those men to us.’

‘But they said…’

‘They lied,’ Jefa cut in, ‘I know this because God has been good to me; he brought me out of prison and gave me another chance.’

‘You went to prison?’

‘Yes, I did. For some years, I’ll tell you how it happened.’

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*****

‘Doctor, where have you been?’ Dakolo asked as he saw the Senior Doctor coming out of an office. ‘We’ve been looking for you everywhere.

‘I’ve been looking for the access card to my office,’ the Doctor replied and began to lead the way to his office.

‘We heard that an operation on our patient, Henry is ongoing.’ Dakolo followed the Doctor behind, with inspector Ken and Clem who trotted after them like a little kid who had just been scolded.

‘Yes, Dr Tobi is in charge of that,’ the doctor replied without stopping to listen. He never liked interacting with the police.

‘We need to know where the theatre is, I need my men to stay around there.’ Dakolo pressed on.

‘Agent please, we are carrying out our jobs as medical professionals and we would not allow you to interrupt or disturb us.’

‘Come on Doctor, we are not disturbing. This patient’s case is a serious one and we need to keep an eye on him always.’

‘Are you not the agent that signed for the operation to go on?’ the doctor paused to ask.

‘Yes,’ Dakolo paused too and placed his hands on his waist.

‘Then why are you getting worried about the operation again?’ the doctor asked and continued his walking.

‘I told you before, this patient’s case is a special one.’

‘And we have a special professional to take care of him or do you think we’ll allow you enter into the theatre with them? Dr Tobi is one of our bests here, so let him do his job.’ The Doctor said and began to climb the stairs leading to office block. ‘By the way, why are you coming to me today?’

‘We couldn’t find the other doctors.’ The doctor sighed and continued to walk up the stairs. ‘See doc, I’m not asking that we should be allowed inside the theatre, all we need is to stay around the place.’ Dakolo retorted. ‘And I heard you call Dr Tobi a professional, was it professional for him to have told the media about the patient? And he even had orders from the police not to, he still went ahead to tell the media.’ The doctor paused in the middle of the stair case and stared at Dakolo’s face.

‘I think there’s a mix up there, Dr Tobi couldn’t have told the media, he’s too professional to do that.’

‘Then how do you explain the Media’s presence here today and why would they even call his name when he’s not the one who told them? How did they get to know his name?’ The doctor took a step forward and paused again to think.

‘I don’t think it’s doctor Tobi, I heard of a foreign lab scientist working with him. It could have been the lab scientist who carelessly mentioned it to someone else.’

‘Exactly!’ Dakolo exclaimed. ‘It is that lab scientist that we really need to be careful of, that’s why you should get us to the theatre right away.’ The doctor took another step forward, he paused to think and then turned back.

‘I’ll take you there but you’ll not enter into the place until the operation is finished.’ He said and began to lead them down the stairs again.

++++

Dr Tobi was relieved when he began to hear sounds of people coming upstairs, he stood by the door, ready to raise an alarm by banging on the door. Few seconds later, the sounds began to subside. Dr Tobi listened carefully and began to bang on the door furiously but it was too late, the people approaching had already turned back and left. He returned to the visitor’s seat frustrated, he wondered why the most senior doctors’ offices in their hospital were always located far away from other places.

All through his imprisonment in the office, he had been wondering who the disguised nurse was and the purpose for locking him up in the office. His mind began to raise doubts on Dr David, was it possible that the lab scientist wasn’t truthful and had an ulterior motive? But even if that was true, there was no way he was going to carry out an evil plan and escape from the hospital, the police will definitely lay their hands on him before he walks out of the building. His heartbeat increased as he thought of the patient and what could have happened if Dr David really had an ulterior motive, that would mean the patient would be killed or his situation made worse. Dr Tobi would never forgive himself if that was the case, he was the one who had trusted the wrong person.

He sank into the chair and let a deep breath from his mouth, he closed his eyes and prayed silently for God to avert any possible evil that wanted to take place.

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The assassins nodded their heads to the hard core rap music blasting from the speakers in the car as they drove back to their lodge, Cole behind the wheels and Aisha by his side. Benny was seated at the back, having an awkward feeling but trying hard to conceal it by nodding his head to the music and humming the lyrics like the others. He tried to lighten up his mood by smoking cigarettes but anytime he lit up a stick and placed it in his mouth, he will feel quite uncomfortable and throw it out through the window. This continued all through their journey till he made a decision to be happy anyhow, when he saw that even Aisha and Cole who hadn’t played a major role in the task were feeling happy and enjoying themselves. But everytime, he tried to put on a smile, Dakolo’s face would pop up in his mind again and the smile would diminish. Instead of being happy and glad about his narrow escape from the man- they had met along the staircase when Dakolo was rushing upstairs, the man had paused to stare at his face even though the brown hair, beards and makeup he used to disguise were already removed-

Benny kept on feeling like he had done something wrong that would make the agent be able to trace him and in the process nab the whole group.

‘Come on Ben,’ Cole shouted taking his hands off the wheel and turning to the back to tap Benny. ‘You’ve nailed it already, stop looking like someone that was caught.’ Benny tried to fake a smile to make Cole return his focus to the road, Cole did.

‘Do you have any liquor in this car?’ Benny asked, raising his voice because of the loudness of the music.

‘No liquor man, this is a journalist’s official vehicle.’ Cole shouted back with a playful smile. ‘Just enjoy the music and your cigarettes for now, we’ll stop to get any wine of your choice once we see any store.’

Soon, they got to a popular bar and Cole pulled over close to the gate. Without turning off the engine, he opened the door and stepped out, he peeped at Benny through the back window and knocked. Benny rolled down the glass.

‘What wine would you like to take?’ Cole asked.

‘Ermm…’ Benny struggled to recall the name of any wine, his mind was far away. ‘Don’t worry,’ Cole cut in with a loud laugh, ‘I’ll get you your favourite.’ He said and walked away immediately. Six minutes later, Cole came out of the bar with a white polythene bag. From the shape formed on the bag, one could tell that there were three cartons of wine in it. He opened the door to the driver’s seat and passed the bag to Aisha, then he stood straight by the door and took out his wallet from the inner pocket of his jacket, he put back his debit card into the wallet and returned it back into the jacket before entering the car.

Something struck Benny’s mind as he watched Cole remove and put back the wallet into his inner pocket. Then his mind began to flash back to the events of the day, he remembered observing the cure in the ampoule in Dr Tobi’s office and then exchanging it with the ampoule containing the death poison in his pocket. His body began to shake and sweat began to form on his forehead; he recalled the picture of himself in theatre taking out the cure from his pocket and administering it to the patient.

‘Damn!’ he exclaimed and slammed his palm on the backrest of the driver’s seat.

‘What’s the matter?’ Cole and Aisha turned to him, asking simultaneously.

‘Just drive this da*mn car out of here,’ he slammed at Cole who was staring at him in surprise. Aisha who was already taking out one of the cold wine bottles to give to Benny put it back into the nylon. Cole lowered the volume of the music and drove into the road, the rest of their journey was done in silence.

++++

‘Doctor!’ A nurse came crying at the feet of the Senior Doctor as they met at a landing of two opposite stair cases. The nurse had with her three other doctors, including the first doctor who attended to Henry in the hospital, the Pathologist whom Dr David had the first contact with and another unknown one while the Senior Doctor had the three officers with him.

‘What’s happening?’ the Senior Doctor pulled her up and stared at the faces of the three doctors behind for explanation. Four Security officials appeared from behind the three doctors.

‘She came crying to us also, she said the lab scientist working with Dr Tobi has attacked the nurse left with him and injected the patient with a different mixture.’ the older Doctor was the one who replied.

‘Damn!’ Dakolo exclaimed from behind and took out his gun immediately, the other policemen followed his example.

‘Take us to that theatre now,’ he shouted. Dakolo kicked the door to the theatre open and rushed in with the other officers, the nurse whom Dr David had taken out was still on the floor. The Senior Doctor rushed quickly to the patient and placed his hand on his neck, then he took the patient’s wrists and placed two fingers between the bone and the tendon over his radial artery to feel his pulse.

‘Where’s Dr…’ the Senior Doctor was asking when Agent Dakolo’s voice interrupted.

‘Block all exits and entries into this building and the compound right now,’ Dakolo shouted at the hospital’s security officials. He placed his gun on officer Clem’s neck.

‘I’ll make sure you rot in jail if that so called lab scientist escapes,’ he threatened before rushing out of the theatre, officer Ken followed immediately while officer Clem followed slowly.

‘Where’s Dr Tobi? Where did he go to?’ the Senior Doctor finally asked the question which was interrupted by the agent.

‘He left since you sent a nurse to call him and hasn’t returned since then,’ the nurse replied.

‘Me? Sent a nurse to him?’ the Senior Doctor glanced at the other doctor’s faces to see if the nurse was referring to them but they all had their gazes on him too and the nurse also fixed her eyes on him.

‘Yes sir, you.’ the nurse affirmed.

‘How would I send for him when I know that’s he’s in the theatre, I would never do that.’ the doctor refuted.

‘But the nurse came twice and insisted that you said he should come, she had your department’s uniform on.’

‘That’s impossible, I’ve been looking for the access card to my office since I left the journalists.’ the doctor said and faced the other doctors, as if to ask for their support. ‘Well…’ he turned back to the patient. ‘Let’s sort out this first,’ he held up Henry’s hand again and then his neck. He collected the stethoscope from one one the other doctors and used it to listen to the patient’s heartbeat. ‘He seems fine to me,’ the Senior Doctor said. He stepped away for another doctor to move closer while he went to the trays containing the ampoule and other instruments. He raised up the full ampoule and then the half filled one.

‘This was the one we brought in,’ the nurse explained, pointing to the full ampoule. ‘I don’t know how the other one got in.’

‘We need to conduct a quick test,’ the Doctor who had just finished examining Henry spoke.

‘Yes,’ the Senior Doctor agreed. He picked up an unused syringe from the tray and cut off the nylon.

++++ 35 minutes later

The whole hospital was set into confusion as the police searched everywhere, even wards of patients who were seriously sick and needed no disturbance were not exempted. After searching around without finding anything, Dakolo turned his focus to journalists who were thrown into surprise at the sudden madness of the policemen.

‘Hey!’ Dakolo called out to some journalists who wanted to enter their cars on seeing him. They had all wanted to leave immediately the police started searching around but couldn’t as the exits were locked already.

‘Enough harassment of the Press already,’ one of bold journalists confronted Dakolo. ‘We came here to do our job and the police has scattered everything and turned it around, you are harassing us, claiming that we attacked one of your patients whereby none of us even crossed the reception.’

‘How did you get into this vicinity?’ Dakolo asked him, ignoring all his previous rantings.

‘How does that matter right now?’ the journalist barked.

‘Let us go, you’re oppressing us and violating our rights.’ Other journalists came to stand by his side with their cameras chanting ‘yes’ and encouraging him.

‘Someone gave you the information right? Did you bother to find out if it was true before you smuggled yourselves in here? How did you even get to enter? It shows that someone inside here must have planned it with you. Who led you people in?’ The journalists looked around for a while, trying to see if they could locate Cole and Aisha who had planned with them and gave them the strategy to enter.

‘That does not matter, the police has something to hide and we know it.’ the journalist said and was encouraged by the others. Dakolo who had gotten a clue about them being led by a particular person from their looking around smiled.

‘You can’t find the person right? It shows that you’ve been used to accomplish a purpose.’ Dakolo said and moved closer to the journalist. He placed a hand on his shoulder gently, the journalists shook off the hand and stepped back. ‘Henry EG has just been poisoned again, you guys distracted the police and the doctors, you are all suspects. It’s better you answer by questions now or provide the person who gave you the information and led you in to clear your names.’ The leading journalist and his friends looked around again for the people who led them in but they found no signs of them. …

to be continued

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