Tarasha Episode 85

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**February 10, 2031 **

The nation woke up to be greeted by the sad news of the Senate President’s demise, the other news in circulation was Henry E.G’s abduction. The atmosphere was filled with sorrow and grief, most of the citizens were asking God questions of what the nation did that warranted the loss of some of their respected citizens. No one knew exactly what the problem was but some of the citizens began to carry rumors that the victims of the assassinations could have been members of a particular cult group. Immediately the Senate President was confirmed dead, President Emeka and his Vice called for an urgent meeting with the security staffs and top police officers. He told them about the need to double up their efforts like never before, he also asked that top officers who they thought could make the work fast should be summoned to headquarters in Abuja immediately.

Meanwhile, work at the NSCC continued to go fine. The cameras were working well and the officials especially Kimberly, were coming up with new innovations that would improve the quality of their job.

__9.30am__

Chief Elvis Richards stepped out of his bathtub and picked the towel from the rope, he stared into the mirror as he cleaned his body. As soon as he got out of his bathroom and entered in his room, his phone beeped, it was a text message notification. He moved closer to the table where his phone was and unlocked it, he was actually expecting a message from the Governor of his State of origin. The message he saw there was a strange one and it made him begin to think deeply.

‘How are you planning to pay for your sins?’ he read it again and again. After thinking deeply for a moment, he decided to check the sender as the ID was not displayed where it should be, the name he saw on checking was ‘Samantha Osman’. A sudden fear gripped his heart and he held the phone close to his chest, he could feel and hear the sounds of his fast beating heart. He tried to check for the phone number carrying the name but there was none, he also tried to reply the message but the message could not be replied. He stared blankly at the wall, having only one prayer point in mind; a prayer for the assassin whom he had hired to be stronger than Samantha Osman.

++++ __11pm, same day __

‘Thank you,’ Henry said to the driver as he came out of the cab. The cab drove away immediately. Henry covered his head with the hood of his pullover and then stared round the place before crossing over to his gate. He knew where the cameras on the streets were, so he made sure that he wasn’t facing anyone or revealing his face. He pushed something on the gate and a flat box rolled out for him, he pressed in a code and the gate opened for him to enter.

Soon, he got into his house and proceeded straight into his upper rooms where he locked totally and made inaccessible to anyone else. After about two and half hours of working upstairs, he came back with two bags, one strapped to his back and one held in his hands. He took another glance at the three seater sofa where he laid while Tara set up the drip, he also recalled how she appeared to him suddenly after the darkness that day disappeared. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath before walking out of the place.

++++ **Next Day, 10:50am**

The security at the Vice President’s House was tightened up immediately he got the first message. He had immediately called the Inspector General to tell him of the development and then asked for competent officers numbering about twenty who could join his large security team.

‘Good morning sir,’ Tarasha stood up to greet as she saw the man coming towards her in the living room.

‘Good morning Kim,’ Chief Elvis greeted back. ‘Please have your seat,’ he said, taking a seat directly opposite hers. He first busied himself with something on his phone for a minute before he started to converse with her. ‘How are you Kim?’ he said, still doing some final pressing on his phone.

‘Fine, thank you sir.’

‘Okay, I’ve heard about the good works you started already and I want to commend you; you’re really good at what you do.’

‘Thank you sir,’ she replied with smiles.

‘I also got reports from you about thrice but sorry I didn’t acknowledge receipt, it’s just that I already have someone doing a similar job for me,’ he said.

‘It’s okay sir,’ she replied, wondering who could be doing the job for him or if the man was just saying without meaning it.

‘Okay, the reason why I called you here today is simple,’ he continued speaking with a tone of seriousness and then adjusted himself on the chair. ‘I heard about your recent work of raising alarms through the camera system whenever one of the suspected assassins’ appearance is captured by the camera, is that true?’

‘Yes sir, it is.’

‘Can you do the same for me in this house?’ he asked.

‘Yes sir, it can work.’ she replied.

‘What about my office and other houses?’

‘Yes sir, it can work anywhere it is installed.’

‘Nice, I want you to install the process here for me. How long will it take you to do it?’

‘Hmm… A week for installing the process at a new location.’

‘Okay, when are you going to start the job? I mean start installing it in this house.’

‘As soon as you want it and once I’ve been permitted to be absent from the office for that duration the job is going to take.’

‘Permission? Who’s going to permit you?’

”Ermm… My boss sir,’ she replied stammering.

‘Forget about the permission,’ he said with a wave of the hand. ‘You’re working for me and I’m permission myself.’ he added and both of them smiled. ‘So how do you start?’

‘I’ll start by first locating the points at which all cameras are in this house.’

‘Okay, come.’ he said and got up immediately. ‘Let me show you who you’ll work with.’

___ February 13, 2031- 3 days later___ **5pm**

Benny rose immediately to his feet as he saw the big loaf of bread being tossed to him from the small opening. A bottle of water was also thrown to him. He picked the loaf of bread and began to devour like a hungry lion, that was the only meal he had gotten in three days now. He wondered why Stainless and Don were still keeping him alive, even though they were sure he wasn’t going to ever tell them what they wanted. Maybe they wanted to punish him by giving him a slow death, he thought.

He gulped down the water after finishing the bread in one minute. Surprisingly, another loaf of bread of the same big size was tossed to him again with another bottle of water. He picked them up this time with suspicion in his heart, was it that they had finally agreed to kill him by putting poison in his meal? He stopped to think for a while. After a minute of considering everything he could, he began to devour the second loaf too. Even if they wanted to kill him, he had no problem with that, he thought he was better off dead already. In another two minutes, he was done with the second loaf. He gulped down the second bottle of water and gave a loud belch, then he moved to the corner where he always sat and rested his back on the wall.

After ten minutes, he began to feel dizzy. He knew it must be a result of the bread he ate as he had just woken up from a long sleep before eating the bread. Maybe it was his death finally coming, he positioned himself properly in readiness to die, thanking Don and Stainless in his heart for giving him a peaceful death.

++++ **5.30pm**

It was the third day of Tarasha working in the Vice President’s House, and the man was getting closer to his death but he seemed to be very confident by the security measures he had put in place. Chief Elvis had already informed the police about the threat messages he was being sent on phone but warned them against releasing information to the press. The police had tightened the security in his house and in the area where he lived in, the NSCC regional office for the area had also kept the place under close observation.

Tarasha drove home quietly, her plans were going on smoothly. After taking out Chief Elvis, then she would have been through with her work for Chief Gab, though her contract period wouldn’t expire until a year after. Immediately she’s done with Chief Elvis, she’ll go one after the other for those who destroyed her family’s peace and kept her brother in pain for years, starting with the Inspector General.

Tarasha was already driving into the street to her home when she noticed that a car had begun to follow behind her. She monitored the car for a while and decided to play along, she drove past the house and continued to watch the car. It followed her for a while but she could see that it was with reluctance after passed the house; then she knew that the person or persons in the car must know that she had driven past her house. After driving for twenty minutes more, she stopped to think for a while and then turned back. She had a feeling of fear that something could have happened to her brother at home, but she discarded the fear immediately, there was no way anybody was going to enter into that house without her receiving an alarm on her device and there was also nowhere her brother could have gone without her knowing.

She began to drive back home but before she got back to the house, she noticed that the car had stopped following her. As she got to the balcony of her apartment, she noticed a visitor’s shoe at the entrance; then she heard two people laughing inside. She could deduce that it was her brother who had a visitor but the surprising thing was how the visitor had come in without her receiving an alarm of intrusion on her device. She ensured that her gun was ready in her pocket before she entered into the house.

‘I think Tara is back,’ she could hear her brother say as she opened the door.

‘Oh! Okay.’ a familiar voice replied. She walked into the living room to meet a very big shock. Henry was seated comfortably with her brother, watching television and sipping wine.

‘Hello Tara.’ he said to her with a crooked smile as their eyes met. ‘did you miss me? ‘

++++ *5.30pm*

Benny didn’t die but was still dizzy and finding it hard to close his eyes. A strange kind of ache visited his head, almost running him mad. He couldn’t understand himself anymore, everything had turned double; the door, his shoes, the floor and even his body. The Nigerian praise song, ‘Everything na double double’ began to ring in his head. Not long after, he heard Don and Stainless coming closer to where he was. They got to the door and opened it gently, more light entered in through the door, making Benny to block his eyes with his hands. They both stepped into the place and approached him slowly, Don squatted before him.

‘You refused to tell us the location of your boss right?’ Don said in a mocking tone, Benny gave no reply. ‘I know it’s more than just loyalty, you must have been sleeping with the wh*ore,’ he accused in a threatening tone. Benny’s vision was becoming clearer as he could now see Don as one and not two anymore but he felt very weak in his body, it was as if his whole body except his brain was paralyzed. ‘Tell me, how sweet is she In bed?’ Don continued taunting. ‘Is she very good in the act like my Aisha or she’s manageable or useless?’ Don rose to his feet and continued with his speech, ‘I’m sure her body on bed must be like a log of wood, poor thing!’ he exclaimed in a mocking tone. ‘But what I don’t understand is how she could get you to be loyal with the poor s-x she offers you. Maybe I’ll bang her one of these days to see what you’re enjoying.’

‘You…can…never,’ Benny said, his lips were heavy and trembling. ‘She…is not like…your Aisha whom I have banged her brains off.’ His last words infuriated Don and it earned him a blow on his mouth. Benny’s headaches increased and his vision became blur again. Stainless and Don dragged up Benny together and began to pull him out of the place. Benny could not resist as he was being carried out, he only hoped that they were taking him out to kill him finally but his hope did not materialize yet.

They placed him on a metal chair and made him sit up right, they chained his arms to the armrest of the chair and chained his legs too. Then Stainless picked up a syringe and drew into it some liquid from a bottle and then passed it into Benny’s veins. Benny felt weak and hot all over his body, then suddenly he felt cold again and began to see visions. Don and Stainless standing at his front had turned to cartoon characters, Pinky and the Brain.

He began to laugh hysterically as he saw them dancing together, hitting their butts against each other. His laugh earned him another resounding blow from Don, his vision suddenly became clear again, like a miracle.

‘Now, tell me. Where does your boss operate from?’ Don barked at him.

‘I…will…never…tell…you…that,’ Benny spoke in low tones.

‘Tell us and stop suffering yourself,’ Stainless said as a kind of advice.

‘No…you two should…stop… suffering yourselves… Just kill me now,’ Benny replied. Don threw him another blow. Benny felt like his head had fallen but it was still there; just that it had become too heavy for his neck to carry.

‘Inject him again,’ Don said to Stainless who repeated the process with the syringe again. Don supported Benny’s head with his hands, ‘Now, tell me Benny boy, where does your boss operate from?’ Benny gave a short weak laugh, he closed his eyes and opened again. Don removed his hands from his head making his neck bend sideways again.

‘My…boss operates…operates from Cotonou,’ Benny said and added another short weak laugh. Don wanted to blow him again but Stainless restrained him.

‘Don’t let him pass out without us getting what we want; remember we were told to keep injecting him and even leave him for a while if he doesn’t speak immediately. Don breathed heavily and stepped back for Stainless to take over, not wanting to spoil things with his anger. Stainless injected Benny the third time and waited for five minutes before asking the question this time.

‘Tell us where you boss operates from.’ Benny stared at his face sleepily for a while before speaking,

‘we… have two main places of opera… operation…in…Abuja.’ Stainless quickly picked up his phone to write down the information Benny was about spilling.

‘One… is… in Gwagalada and…the other one…Asokoro. The addresses are…’ Benny said everything in details before his eyes closed and he slept off.

******

Tarasha’s bag dropped from her hand to the floor, her heartbeat increased and her eyes became full of frustration.

‘Henry, what do you want here?’ She asked angrily.

‘Is that how to welcome a friend who you haven’t seen for a while?’ Henry replied, still sitting comfortably.

‘And who told you that you are my friend?’ She slammed.

‘Hey Tara, calm down.’ Jefa interfered, he got up from his seat and faced his sister. ‘Did he wrong you so much that you don’t want to see him here at all?’ Tara gave her brother no reply but fixed her eyes on Henry who was smiling mischievously.

‘Uncle Jeff, I think we can fix this ourselves,’ Henry said, standing up from his seat. He touched Jefa’s shoulder in a calm manner.

‘Are you sure you don’t want me to come in?’ Jefa turned to look at Henry’s face.

‘No, we would handle it ourselves.’ Henry said with a smile.

‘Okay,’ Jefa said. He took another long stare at Omotara’s face before he turned back and walked into his room. Henry and Tarasha stared at themselves eyeball to eyeball quietly for almost two minutes, there was a tensed atmosphere around them. Henry smiling face gradually changed into a serious one while Tarasha maintained her furious gaze, soon her hand was going into her pocket.

‘Calm down Tara, don’t bring out the gun yet.’ Henry stopped her in a loud tone. ‘I’m not planning to run away, why don’t you hear what I have to say before you kill me?’

‘Shh…’ Tarasha hushed him with a frown and pulled him away, not wanting Jefa to hear their conversation, she knew Henry was speaking very loud to ensure Jefa could hear from his room. She pulled him to the front of the entrance door and stared into his eyes coldly. ‘What do you want from me?’

‘You want to kill me…’ Henry continued loudly.

‘Oh Shi*t!’ Tarasha frowned at him for speaking on top of his voice. She thought of taking him outside to talk but the neighbours could hear their voices, so she had no other choice than to pull him into her room. Henry went straight to the bed and sat comfortably, watching her as she locked the door and threw the keys behind the bed. ‘I could kill you, you know?’ Tarasha said in a threatening voice.

‘I’m not afraid to die in your hands,’ Henry replied, he got up and started walking around the room. ‘You tried to kill me and failed, now I brought myself to you,’ Henry said as he got to the table where her laptop was placed.

‘What do you want from me?’ Tarasha asked.

‘I want to ask some questions, I hope you would give me the answers,’ Henry said.

‘I’m not obligated to give you any answers,’ Tarasha said coldly. ‘In fact, I think it’s time for you to leave; I don’t want to see you near me or my brother anymore.’

‘You don’t want to see me?’ Henry asked tauntingly.

‘Yes, I don’t want to see you,’ she shouted.

‘But I need you to answer my questions or you’ll keep seeing me until you kill me.’ Henry replied.

‘Get out of here,’ Tarasha commanded, leaving the way to the door. Henry stood unmoved and kept looking into her eyes, he took in a short breath. ‘If you don’t want to answer my questions, then you have to kill me but you should let Uncle Jeff witness my death.’ Tarasha was getting angrier, not understanding his intention, she moved closer to him slowly, dipping her hand into her pocket. She didn’t plan to kill him but to scare him to leave. Her heart was beating abnormally and her body vibrating all over, there was a strange kind of overwhelming fear around her; one that she had never felt whenever she tried to scare or kill someone. It was as if she was the one in danger of death.

Henry didn’t step back for her in fear, he was as calm as a dove, he was little bit confident that she wouldn’t kill him because he knew she was intelligent. He knew there would be questions and doubts in her heart as to whether it was a set up by the police for her. Tarasha stopped at his front and stared into his eyes, she took her hand out of her pocket when she saw that he was unmoved. She looked away from him and opened up her laptop on the table. She quickly pressed the boot button. The fear in her heart began to increase even as she stood very close to him, but she choose to ignore and act like the fearless assassin that she was.

‘You’re scared,’ Henry said after shifting back a little as the computer began to boot. She took a quick glance at him and turned back to the laptop without replying. ‘There’s no need to check anything, I didn’t inform the police or anyone else of my coming here, so nobody is outside. Your cameras are also working, I only made them stop operating for ten minutes.’ Henry said to her, making her freeze for some seconds. She took another quick look at him, wondering how he knew exactly what was in her mind.

‘What exactly do you want from me?’ she stood straight and asked again in a serious tone.

‘I want to know why you wasted several lives just to get me and now I’m here and you can’t even kill me,’ Henry slammed at her. She stared at him in silence, not knowing what to do or say. Was he really right about her not being able to kill him or was she the one sparing him because it was not the proper situation to kill him? ‘Can’t you answer?’ he shouted at her. ‘Do you think God would be happy with you for wasting several lives?’ he paused to look into her

‘Hehe,’ Tarasha began with a short laugh which turned into a roar of laughter. Henry became the confused one now but her position about God quickly came into his mind.

‘But seriously do you think all these things you’re doing wouldn’t come back to hunt you?’ he asked again. She stopped laughing suddenly and looked into his face, her fear had disappeared; now she saw Henry like a weakling; the same way she saw those who reverenced God.

‘Who’s gonna bring them back huh?’ she asked mockingly. ‘Your god who is a great murderer himself?’ she continued speaking and began to walk in a circle round him. ‘I’ve not killed half of those who your god has killed and I’m not hoping to beat him in the records, he’s too good in the act of murdering people.’ She stopped at his front and looked into his face, ‘I kill for people who pay me, I don’t kill because I’m a blood sucking viper; those who I kill are worthy of death in one way or the other.’

‘Nobody is worthy of death, why would you say they are worthy of death when you’re not the God who created them?’ Tarasha laughed aloud again,

‘believing in god is enough reason to be worthy of death, how can you believe in a blood-sucking flesh eater and say you don’t want to die?’

‘Omotara, God does not kill, God does not love to see his people die,’ Henry said calmly.

‘Hehe, god doesn’t love to see his people die? Maybe that’s why he doesn’t come down to kill them himself, he doesn’t see them die but he sees them after they are dead and takes delight in their blood and pain.’

‘Shut up, Tara! Don’t blaspheme, God is love,’ Henry said briefly, running out of words to say to her. ‘God helps those who submit to his authority and give him the right over their lives.’

‘God is love?’

‘Yes, God is love.’ Henry stated.

‘Love doesn’t exist, that means if God is love, god does not exist.’

‘Love exists, Tara. Love exists,’ Henry said. ‘Or tell me why you’ve not hurt your brother, tell me why you’re keeping him here and protecting him, isn’t it because you love him?’ he paused to look at her face. She was quiet as she pondered on his words. It was true that she was supposed to have killed Jeffrey under normal circumstances but she didn’t understand why she kept him and the feeling she always had when she thought about him as her brother, could that be love? ‘You love him as your brother and that’s why you’ve kept him here,’ Henry said and took another brief pause. ‘And why are you scared of killing me?’ he asked a question which made her shake visibly. She took a quick glance at his face and frowned at his accusation.

‘I’m not scared of killing you, I’ve not killed you right now because it’s not right place to.’

‘No, Samantha . You’ve not killed me because you are not bold enough to do so. You’ve taken out more secured people even at unideal places, so why can’t you take me out?’

‘So what are you insinuating?’

‘You can’t kill me Samantha, YOU CAN’T KILL ME!’ he shouted.

‘Shh, lower your voice please and don’t call me Samantha again.’ she replied.

‘I won’t lower my voice,’ he continued.

‘People call you Samantha Osman, so why shouldn’t I call you that?’

‘Are you crazy? People in other apartments could hear you.’ she said in a scared tone.

‘People in other apartments?’ he said and gave a short laugh. ‘No, Tara. You’re not scared of people in other apartments, you’re scared that your brother could hear. Your fear has even made you to forget that you have this room soundproofed. This shows that you are desperate not to allow your brother know who you really are. You don’t want it to hurt him, do you know why?’ she was silent. ‘Because you love him Tara, you don’t want him to become disappointed on hearing that you’re an assassin.’

‘You don’t know anything about me Henry, I’m not scared of allowing anybody know who I am. They die immediately if they are not supposed to know,’ she said, trying to put up a bold face.

‘But why have I not died immediately?’ Henry asked.

‘Stop making yourself look special,’ she slammed. ‘I don’t love you and never would I do.’

‘Hehe,’ Henry chuckled. ‘Now, you just unconsciously agreed that love exists but you say you don’t love me?’ he said and waited for her response but she didn’t reply. ‘I agree that you don’t love me, but I know you love your brother and want to protect him, that’s why you’re so scared of letting him know the real you.’

‘I don’t love anyone, I could kill him now if I want to.’

‘Haha,’ Henry laughed again loudly. ‘The look in your eyes says opposite; you won’t kill him Tara, he means a lot to you and you want to protect him.’

‘I don’t…’

‘Stop arguing,’ he interrupted her. ‘Accept the truth, strong people accepts the truth; they don’t deny even when they know they’re lying to themselves.’ he said and paused to see her response; he was making the desired effect. ‘Tara, you are better than what you think of yourself. You’re better than a tool made to kill people. Think about it; your brother, you want to make him happy, you don’t want to see him cry, you want to put a smile on his face at all times but what about those people who your work has caused to cry, whom your work has thrown into eternal pain?’ He paused again. Tarasha felt suddenly weakened by his words, her bones felt lifeless and she pulled out the chair and sat on it, tears formed in her eyes. ‘Think about the fulfillment you feel when your brother is happy, think about how you feel happy when he smiles,’ Henry continued. ‘Don’t you think you’ll feel happier if you could make a lot more people smile instead of making them feel pain and giving them sorrow?’ Henry moved closer and squatted before her, looking into her eyes directly. ‘Why have you allowed someone lie to you about God being wicked? Why have you allowed other people’s words and theories control your life? Why should you deny love just because you were taught it doesn’t exist even though you feel it?’ he said and got up again, he began to walk around. ‘Strong people don’t allow what others have said to control their lives, they live and discover what is right, they let go of whatever they’ve learnt before whenever they find out that they’ve been wrong and they try to live right when they discover the right way.’

He stopped in front of her again and squatted. He placed his elbow on her knees and held her palms in his. He could see the tears formed in her eyes as he looked. ‘Why don’t you release those tears?’ he said softly. ‘Don’t keep them in stubbornly; it would mean holding back the things you’re supposed to let go.’

‘I can’t let go of anything ,’ she said stubbornly and got up. ‘I’ve gone too far already.’

‘No,’ he rose up with her and stood behind her. ‘Don’t allow that mentality stop you from doing the right thing. You can start a new life, you can live a life of value; making other people’s lives better. I know you’ve been through a lot but don’t allow those memories keep you like the scoundrels that caused you pain, that would mean that they succeeded. But you can prove them wrong, help others like you avoid the pain, help them get a better life.’ A knock sounded on Tara’s door, she remained still and there was no answer until Henry spoke. ‘Uncle Jeff, is that you?’ Henry asked, going towards the door.

‘The key is here,’ Tara said softly to him. He turned back, remembering that she had thrown the key behind the bed. He picked up the key and went ahead to open the door. Jefa popped in his head, he glanced at Omotara and looked back to Henry.

‘I wasn’t hearing anything, so I wanted to find out if everything is alright.’ Jefa said.

‘Yes, everything is alright.’ Henry answered.

‘Okay,’ Jefa glanced at Tara once again and stared around the room before closing back the door. Henry locked the door and turned back to Tarasha.

‘I think it’s late, it’s time you go,’ Tarasha said to him, folding his arms.

‘I don’t have anywhere to go, I’ve been sleeping outdoor for days.’

*******

The morning was calm and cool, Henry had just opened his eyes from the best night rest he had had for days. As he calmly took in air in the fully sure conditioned room, Omotara’s last words to him the last night began to play back in his head.

‘Just leave my room,’ she had said to him after he mentioned that he had nowhere to sleep.

‘Where should I go?’ he replied her with a question.

‘Go anywhere you like, just go.’ she said and waved him off.

‘Okay, I’ll sleep outside the gate. I think there’s a shop there with a neat balcony that I can spend the night.’ Henry had replied and turned towards the door, he took two steps forward and placed his hand on the knob.

‘Do you really want to sleep outside?’ she turned back and asked in a concerned tone.

‘But you just said I should go anywhere I like,’ Henry paused and replied.

”Ermm… You can sleep in the living room.’

‘Are you sure you want me to stay there?’ Omotara hissed and turned to lay her bed properly,

‘please sleep anywhere you want,’ she tried to act coldly but he could hear it deep in her voice that she was concerned about him. He then unlocked the door to her bedroom and walked out. He proceeded to the living room and completely turned off the television which was already partially off, as it was programmed to do when nobody was watching. He searched for the switches to the bulb in the living room and found the box, he turned the lights off and then laid on the three seater sofa, staring up at the ceiling which had lost it colour due to the absence of light. He was like that for the next one hour, unable to sleep; he kept on reminiscing on all that happened that day. He thought about Omotara, if his words have made the desired impact on her. Would she change and turn over a new leaf? He wasn’t clear as to what would be the outcome of his discussion with her. She was an assassin, one who had been used to killing people and he believed that she must have learnt a lot of things that had formed her and formed her beliefs, how could he then just change her with a night’s discussion? His heart began to pound in fear as he thought of her waking up the next day to be the same assassin that she used to be, maybe all the words he had said to her would have even been washed away from her memory. Maybe she would have even developed enough confidence to murder him the next morning.

He was still lost in his thoughts when noise of a door opening caught his attention. He looked through the darkness and only saw something that looked like someone’s nightgown, it could only be Omotara because the noise was coming from the direction of her room. Maybe she was restless like he was too, he thought. He began to hear her soft footsteps and then the light was turned on, he used his palms to cover his eyes to shield the light from entering too much, then he slowly removed his hands after his pupil was able to accommodate the light. She stood some centimetres away from him, in her cream coloured night gown, with her arms folded and her lips pouted in a serious manner. Her skin shone under the light, her face still looked beautiful even though she wasn’t smiling.

‘Why are you not sleeping?’ Henry asked and sat up, covering his mouth with his palm as he yawned. She moved closer to the three seater sofa slowly, then she stopped at Henry’s front and looked into his eyes. She closed her eyes, let out a deep breath and sat on the sofa, facing him directly.

‘I can’t let go of these things, I can’t let go of killing, that’s who I am. I was created to kill, I was created like god; to be a murderer…’

‘Shh…’ Henry hushed her, ‘Don’t say that anymore, God is not a murderer, God does not kill. Those guys lied to you, God did not send them. God is good and would never wish for anybody to die gruesomely.’ Tarasha stared silently at his face for a while, the words of her brother rang back in her head. ‘God has been good to me.’

‘Okay,’ she finally continued. ‘If God is really good, then I don’t think I know the good God, the only god I know is the one at my home, the Nefary City. That god killed always and taught us how to kill, he taught us through his several servants how the other gods operates, the ones of the Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and several others. I wasn’t created by these other gods and I don’t serve any of them, I was created by the god of the Nefary Clan and he created me to kill…’

‘No! The god of the Nefary Clan or whatever you call it didn’t create you, you were created by the only true God who created the heavens and the earth.’

‘You don’t seem to get it Henry,’ she said and got up from the seat. ‘I can’t stop killing, that was what I was born to do.’ Henry got up and stood in front of her, he held her hands and made her sit back on the sofa.

‘Listen to me,’ he said, looking into her eyes. ‘You were made for something better, not to kill. Don’t let the bad people have the victory over you. They’ve made you do a lot of wrong things already but you’re still young and you could still do a lot of other things that will impact the world better.’

‘No, Henry. I don’t think so,’ she said and looked away from him. He tried to turn her face to his but she resisted for some few seconds. ‘I’ve only come to ask you one question,’ she said after turning her face back to him.

‘What’s that?’ he asked.

‘I know you have me already if this is a trap but I can’t find anything around the house and I’m confuse,’ she paused to see his reaction but his face was expressionless, so she continued. ‘Tell me the reason you’ve come here, even though you know I want to kill you.’ Henry stared at her face expressionlessly for a second and then he smiled,

‘I came here just to tell you the things I told you.’ She seemed confused about his answer, she didn’t talk but the confusion was well written on her face. ‘I’ve been watching you for some days now, been monitoring you using the street cameras. I decided to take the risk and come to you.’ Henry paused and took in a deep breath. Tears filled Henry’s eyes, a drop rolled down from the left, ‘I don’t want you to continue the way you are, you may end up badly. I want you to choose another path that isn’t of destruction, so that you can have a fulfilled life and enjoy your future.’

‘And is that the reason you came? So that I can change?’ Omotara asked in a loud voice and got up from the sofa again. ‘And what is a fulfilled life? How does one enjoy life?’ Henry got up and faced her, this time he placed his hands on her shoulder.

‘Tara, I learnt from Uncle Jeff that you’ve been with him for a few weeks now. I know you’ve spent some quality time with him. Tell me, that feeling you have whenever you’re with him and that excitement in your heart when he’s happy, do you wish to have them everyday and everytime?’ Henry paused to wait for her answer, she didn’t reply, but from the look on her face he could tell what her answer to the question was. ‘I know you wish to feel like that everytime,’ Henry continued talking, he took his right hand off her shoulder and rubbed his palm on her cheek, then he repeated the same process with the left and returned the both hands to her shoulder, holding the shoulder muscles. ‘That feeling is fulfillment; you feel fulfilled when he’s happy, you feel fulfilled when he’s smiling, you feel fulfilled when you’re with him. You know why? Because that’s what gives you real joy. You never feel the same way no matter who is executed by your hands, am I right?’ he waited for her reply again but got none. ‘Look at me Tara,’ he said and turned her face back to himself as she tried to look away. ‘You enjoy life when you’re with those you love. That’s why I came to you.’ he dropped his hands off her shoulder and turned his back to her, taking some steps forward.

‘That’s why I came to you, I couldn’t stop myself from loving you even whenever I remember that you sent people to kill me, I only wish to see you happy always. I had to muster courage to come here, I don’t care if I die or not.’ Henry paused and turned back again. ‘I don’t just want to die without having the chance to see you enjoy your life. I know you Tara, I see it in your eyes. You’re a person who can show love to the world, you’re a person who can inspire young ones to be strong and take hold of the future, you’re a person who can change the world with your strong passion and will.’ He stopped and stared straight into her eyes, ‘if only you can convert this negative energy into positive.’

‘… You guys have not slept yet,’ sleepy Jefa was saying as he walked out from his room towards them.

‘Not yet,’ Henry turned back with a smile.

‘I’m going to bed,’ Omotara said and proceeded to her room immediately.

‘Goodnight,’ Henry said to her as she walked away.

‘Are you not going with her?’ Jefa asked after she had entered into her room.

‘Going with her? You mean sleeping in her room?’

‘Yes,’ Jefa replied.

‘No,’ Henry said with a smile. ‘I’m staying here,’ he added, pointing at the three seater sofa.

‘No, why? Didn’t she allow you stay in her room?’

‘No, not that.’

‘Okay then, come into my room.’ Jefa offered.

‘No, thanks. There’s no need…’

‘I insist,’ Jefa cut in. And that was how Henry found himself in Jefa’s room. He didn’t find the man in the room when woke up, after some minutes of stretching and turning lazily, he finally decided to sit up. Jefa walked in that moment, he was holding a new toothbrush and toothpaste. ‘Good morning sir,’ he greeted Jefa.

‘Good morning Henry, did you sleep?’

‘Yes, thank you sir. What about you?’

‘I also did,’ Jefa said, stretching forth the toothpaste and brush to Henry.

‘Omotara has gone to work already, she left so early, immediately after preparing breakfast.’

‘Hmm… It’s okay.’

_____

‘Can I become a better person?’ this question kept on ringing in Tarasha’s head as she drove to her office, even after settling down to work. It was nine o’clock now and she was supposed to be at the Vice President’s house by 10am. She was already halfway in her plans to take out the Chief, she already studied the in and out of the mansion. She knew when and where to walk in and walk out. All she was waiting for was the right time to strike. Now Henry’s words were echoing in her mind, she thought of going with what Henry had told her but she finally decided that it was going to be after she took out the Vice President. She may consider leaving the Inspector General since his matter was already a long forgotten one but she just had to take out the Vice President which would mean completing the mission Chief Gab had brought her in for. She would end it that day, she had everything she needed to take out the Vice President already.

++++ 10am

‘It’s time babe,’ Cole said to Aisha who was still dressed in her black underwear. She rose up immediately and put on her gown. She passed the bag containing the weapons to Cole who had it strapped to his back. Aisha picked up the bag containing the kits for makeup which they were going to use for changing their disguise.

++++ 11am

‘Good morning sir,’ several officers saluted Dakolo as they passed by him and Clem. The place was crowded with several uniformed and non uniformed police officials. They had come to pay their last respects to officer Ken and carry out the official parade required to be done for officers who died in service.

‘Ken lived a great life dedicated to the service of the country, he fought for his country and gave his life for what he believes in.’ Dakolo was saying to Clem and other officers. ‘It’s our job to protect the citizens and we would continue to, Ken has died for this good course; and we know that one of desires is that the police force continues to wax stronger.’ he ended his speech with a salute and walked away with Clem. ‘Agent James Elvis would be coming to work with us, I believe that with his input, we would be able to defeat the assassins.’ he said to Clem.

‘Alright sir, but what are we going to do about the Henry issue?’

‘Since we’ve placed new boys to watch over the place, that should be enough for now.’ Dakolo replied. ‘The mistake we made before was to stop watching, that was why it was broken into.’

‘But sir, do you think someone else could have broken into Henry’s security room?’

‘That is what I’m still baffled by,’ Dakolo said, looking confused. ‘The fact that the security room was broken into suggests that it was Henry who entered into the house himself. His bank account was also debited, the bank says it was through the ATM. Nobody else except Henry would know the details of his ATM card. The only thing that makes me strongly doubt it was Henry is because Henry’s memory has been lost, so he couldn’t have remembered any details about his card details or house, since he doesn’t even know himself.’ Dr Tobi who was making efforts to help him regain his memory is now late, his final burial is tomorrow.’

_____________________

Henry sat quietly in the car, with his eyes fixed to the tab. He was monitoring Omotara’s car through the streaming from the street cameras. The last place he saw her drive into was the Vice President’s compound. With the security beef up at the chief’s mansion, Henry could tell that the man was already receiving threats and was getting himself ready for the assassin’s arrival, not knowing that he was already working with the assasin. At fifteen minutes to two, he saw the Tara’s car been driven out of the compound. Then it was driven a little distance from the man’s house, into Godax hotels. Henry could see her park the car and take off the seat belt, she made no movement for fifteen minutes which suggested she was waiting for someone or something. Henry minimized particular footage and checked the other ones capturing the surroundings, he could find nothing, so he opened back the footage capturing Tara’s car after eight minutes. Henry stared intently at the screen as he noticed that someone had joined her in the front seats of the car, then he noticed another person at the back seat, a lady. Tara was talking to them. The visitors stepped out of the car after five minutes, the man had a big bag strapped to his bag which he gave to the lady, then the lady turned to the back of the car to take something from the boot.

Then Henry saw the man’s face, he recognized him at once, it was Tara’s boy, the same one who killed Ken while trying to shoot him. His heart began to beat fast, he knew that they were up to something.

______

‘Room 654 on the tenth floor, the window is directly opposite to the left side of the Vice President’s House. You focus on the place where you see the transparent glass wall, it’s a small extension of the house. I’m going to bring the man there between 2.30pm and 3pm, I’ll be showing him how the surveillance camera works. We would be there for fifteen minutes, so you have enough time; it shouldn’t take you more than two minutes to aim at him. I’m going to be looking for the radiated red light on his chest and once I see it, I’ll count to three with my fingers, then you send in two bullets. Okay?’

‘Okay boss,’ Cole replied. Tarasha then turned her face to Aisha at the back,

‘in this car boot, there’s a cleaner’s uniform and ID card in a black bag. You take it and go to the left side of the hotel, you’ll find a dressing room. Change into it and take in Benny’s bag to room 654 for him. You won’t be screened by the security because you are going as a staff of the hotel.’

‘Okay boss,’ Aisha replied.

‘Good, everyone should do their tasks properly,’ Tarasha said and then added a warning, ‘mistakes this time would be heavily paid for’. With that she dismissed them, Aisha went to the boot to take the bag while Cole went straight into the hotel. By 2.10pm, Tarasha drove out and proceeded straight back to the Vice President’s house.

+++++ 2.20pm

Henry was standing directly opposite the Godax hotel, he was sweating in the pullover he had on but couldn’t take it off so as to keep hiding his face. He checked the past footages from the street cameras and saw that she had driven out already but not with the two people that joined her in the car. He tried to find out how her two companions entered but he couldn’t, so he concluded that they could have come from inside the hotel. What Henry had in his mind was that the assassins were planning to do exactly what they did at Rugbe village but the footages from his device just showed him that Omotara had driven back into the Vice President’s house, and so he knew they wouldn’t bomb the place without allowing her come out first. He turned back and entered his car, planning to wait until he sees Omotara come out of the VP’s house.

After ten minutes of waiting, he decided to check around with his self-customized binocular. He took the covering off his head and looked through the binoculars, first all around the streets and then to the hotel, he was still checking around when he saw a straight long red line being emitted from window of one of the rooms on the upper floor of the hotel. He came out of his car to check where the line was reaching to, he couldn’t see it until he climbed on his car with his binoculars, then he saw where the line ended.

***

‘All these cameras have been optimized to recognize the suspected faces and also send alarm signals to the main point,’ Tarasha was explaining to the Vice President and the three security men who were following him, they came out from one of the rooms in the house into the extension at the left side of the house.

‘The cameras here are responsive and they adjust themselves based on the light available and the image being captured.’ Tarasha continued explaining. She led them closer to the transparent glass wall, she asked the Vice President and his security officials to move back for her to explain something else. They obeyed and paid rapt attention. The Vice President’s phone began to ring, he took it out from his pocket, silenced it and signaled for Kimberly to continued. Just ten seconds after she continued, the phone rang again. Chief Elvis picked it out and checked the caller again, it was still the same unknown caller. He silenced it again and held it in his hands. He apologized and asked her to continue.

‘The light that comes into here varies with time of the day, weather and even season of the year, that’s why the cameras here had to be optimized specially.’ Tarasha explained, facing the Vice President and his crew. Then she saw what she was looking for on his body, the blur thin red light, it was still moving to and fro, she knew it was Cole trying to focus on his target.

The Vice President’s phone rang again, he looked at the screen and silenced again, then he gave the phone to his security officer to attend to the caller. Tarasha continued with her explanation while keeping an eye on the light.

‘Sir,’ his personal security official called him softly after taking some seconds with the phone.

‘Yes, you’ll relay the message to me later.’ the Vice President replied him reluctantly, not willing to take his mind off Kimberly’s explanation.

‘Sir, let’s watch it from here and see if you’ll notice anything’ Tarasha said and began moving towards the man now, she stopped and stood some centimetres by his left side near the second security officer, the red light on the man’s chest had now been balanced. She began to push some buttons with her fingers on the device in her pocket while waiting for Chief Elvis to make his observation.

‘1…,’ Chief Elvis stared at the camera, trying to make the observation, that was the same process he had gone through for every section of the house they had been to.

‘Sir, there’s a dangerous security threat.’ the man’s security officer said aloud.

‘What is it?’ Chief Elvis took a quick glance and shouted at the security officer for disturbing him.

‘2…’

‘Sir, we have to move you out of…’ the security officer persisted and moved close to the man’s front, trying to persuade him to listen.

‘3…’ Tarasha pushed the third button. As Chief Elvis moved back, annoyed by the security officer’s persistence, the red blur light on his chest moved down and two bullets pieced in through the glass wall and entered into his right lap.

+++++

‘Shi*t!’ Cole cursed loudly as he missed the target. The man had suddenly moved back at the Boss’ count of three. He quickly refocused the sniper and tried to aim at the man again but he saw one of the body guards squatting before the fallen man, he quickly placed his focus on the bodyguard’s head and fired two shots in it. Before he could get another clear aim, two more bodyguards had entered into the place and immediately come to the transparent glass wall. He saw one of them looking at the holes made by the bullets on the wall and trying to trace where it came from, he quickly sent another bullet into the guards chest. Before he knew it, more of the guards had entered. There was no way he was going to have a clear shot at the Vice President again, the game was over.

_____

Henry kept trying Chief Elvis’ phone number even though his call was being rejected. He continued to walk fast towards the gate of the man’s mansion, hoping to get there before the assassins release the bomb or whatever they had to release. He began to think of better ways to reach the Vice President, maybe the man wasn’t even at home, he could be at a meeting and his phone could be with one of his assistants, he then decided to send a message to the number. He stopped some few metres at the opposite mansion to the Vice President’s own.

After the message was marked delivered, he decided that that was the best he could do, he turned back to return to his car. That was when he noticed that he hadn’t covered his head with the hood since he removed it. Suddenly as he took two steps, there came the sound of two gunshots, he needed no prophet to tell him where the shots came from. He increased his speed and began to run towards his car, then more gunshots were heard from the same direction.

__________

As expected, Kimberly the NSCC official ran for cover when she heard the first two gunshots. More bodyguards entered into the place and rushingly carried the Vice President outside, they also led her to safety. She ensured that her eyes were full of tears as she watched them calling for an ambulance and rush the Vice President for first aid.

‘Hope you were not hurt?’ one of the guards asked with deep concern in his voice.

‘No, thanks.’ she replied in a teary voice. He tapped her shoulder and went back to his work.

Tarasha quietly walked away from the living room, cursing under her breath. The plan had failed, the man was going to survive the two bullets in his laps.

______ ** One hour later**

‘Send the names of the guest who took room 654 to the office right now,’ Inspector Clem said to one of his assistants. He was standing in the security room of Godax hotels with three other police officers, three security officials of the hotel and the receptionist who was on duty.

‘Is this him?’ one of the security officials asked the receptionist as he paused and zoomed a video clip on the computer.

‘Yes,’ the receptionist answered, looking into the screen. She saw herself attending to the guest, he had only a small brief case with him.

‘Did he not pass through the security screening or how was he able to take in a sniper into the room?’ Inspector Clem asked.

‘I personally checked this man, there were only two clothes and a laptop in the brief case.’ one of the security officials answered Clem.

‘Then does that mean the weapon was already in the room?’ Clem asked.

‘Sir, we don’t have such weapons with us, I only suspected him.’ the receptionist said thoughtfully. ‘He insisted on using room 654 even when I told him that there were better rooms available that wouldn’t need him to go that far.’

‘Do you not have regulations guarding how you assign rooms?’

‘We have sir, but he said he was a geographer and that he had something to do with his laptop on the tenth floor at that particular side of the building.’ the receptionist replied.

‘And how did he know room 654 was the perfect room for his geographical work?’

‘He said he had used the place before,’ she replied.

‘Okay,’ Clem said and then turned to the security official controlling the computer.

‘Haven’t you seen how he left there?’

‘No,’ he was replied. ‘But there’s something here you need to see. Here’s a lady at the door of room 654,’ he said pointing to the screen where a cleaner was standing with a big bag and knocking on the room’s door. The door was opened and the cleaner entered, she walked out two minutes later without the bag.

‘Interesting!’ Clem exclaimed. ‘Then it means one of your cleaners took the weapon to him.’

‘No,’ the computer operator replied, he rewound the tape. He paused when the focus of the camera was on the cleaner’s face, then he zoomed. ‘She doesn’t look like any of our cleaners,’ he said before minimizing the window. Then he opened a folder which contained the passports of all the cleaners. ‘She’s not one of us,’ he said after comparing the faces of all those in the passports to the face zoomed in the video.

‘On low cut again!’ Clem exclaimed. Everybody’s eyes in the room turned to him. He stared more at the face in the video, ‘that’s Aisha Bello, a member of the Samantha Osman assassin group disguised in another form.’

____ **2 hours later**

‘I don’t think Henry could be seen there, maybe it was someone else,’ Dakolo said to Clem as they made their way to the computer room.

‘It’s him sir, the NSCC cameras captured his face and even the car he drove in.’ Clem replied.

‘When was the file received from the NSCC?’ Dakolo asked.

‘Fifteen minutes after it was requested for,’ Clem answered.

‘Okay,’ they entered into the computer room and went straight to the screen displaying the videos. The computer operator rewound the footage and stopped when it got to Henry’s place, he began to play the footage backwards. Agent Dakolo watched in awe, shocked to see Henry whom he thought was lost somewhere or hidden by the assassins. Henry was seen trying to make a phone call directly opposite the gate of the Vice President’s mansion, then it was taken back to the car he came out from. He was seen entering the car to pick the binocular, then he climbed the top of the car and looked through the binocular. The computer operator paused the video, he studied the binocular and observed the angle it made with the ground. Then he minimized the footage and traced the angle from the point Henry stood. Another footage popped up and the Vice President’s mansion was showed, then it was traced again to Godax hotels.

‘Interesting! He was even watching the Vice President’s house and Godax hotels. That means he knew what was about to happen,’ Clem commented.

‘He was also at the front of the Vice President’s house when the gun was shot twice.’ the computer operator added. Dakolo was speechless, he was frustrated and his eyes were teary. He couldn’t get himself to believe that Henry was working with the assassins. Henry who had not fully recovered, who was even attacked at the hospital and Rugbe village by the assassins.

‘Sir, I knew it.’ Clem began in a strong tone. ‘Henry E.G was playing a game all along.’ Dakolo gave him a sharp look,

‘how do you mean?’

‘Sir, looking at it from the hospital when the South African Dr David’s imposter came, if he actually came to hurt Henry, they wouldn’t have injected the cure instead of the poison. I think the plan was to take Henry out that day but because of the police’s presence, they couldn’t. Also, I believe Henry E.G was pretending all along, he knew his mother, he knew everyone, he had his memory and he even had contacts with the other assassins; that was why they could plan together and bomb the hideout in Rugbe village. Think about it sir; why was he the only one that wasn’t killed by the bomb? Even Inspector Ken that wasn’t killed still got killed by one of the assassin’s gun. Then they escaped with Henry.’ Clem let out his thoughts. Dakolo hated to admit but he knew Clem had made sense and wasn’t far from the truth. The assassins must have also played a game with Henry’s poisoning, that was why the sample for the cure had to be left in Henry’s house. If they really planned to kill him, they wouldn’t have dropped the cure. Henry was surely one of the assassins, Dakolo was dead sure about it.

________ **5pm**

Omotara walked into the house quietly and went straight into her room without greeting Henry and Jefa who were seated in the living room. Jefa got up and followed her immediately, he was worried about her but before she entered into her room and locked the door before he could get there. Jefa sighed and returned to the living room, ‘I thank God she is safe.’ Jefa said to Henry who was looking less bothered.

‘Yes, thank God she’s safe. Thank God the Vice President is not dead too.’ Henry said. The silence continued. Henry busied himself with the phone. ‘May I come into your room? I have something to say about your attack on the Vice President.’ he typed into his message box and sent to Omotara’s number which Jefa had given to him.

*

Omotara ignored her brother’s knock and began to take off her clothes slowly. She felt stupid and useless, this was the second mission she had failed. The first was failing to kill Henry and the second was failing to kill the Vice President. All started when she began to develop feelings for Henry. She hated to think about it, it made her head ache. She thought she was made to kill, that was how she lived her life for the past fifteen years and she had never failed in any of her tasks until the past few weeks. If she was really a killing machine and was created to kill, then why was she failing to perform her tasks? Why were feelings taking over her body if she was a machine that was created not to have feelings? Or was Henry right when he said that she had been lied to?

As she pondered on these questions, her phone beeped and she picked it up to check the notification. She had already taken off her top and was left in her bra and black trousers.

‘May I come into your room? I have something to say about your attack on the Vice President.’ she read the message from an unknown number. The only person who came into her mind was Henry, but she decided to reply the number first.

‘Henry?’ she typed and sent. In less than twenty seconds, the reply entered.

‘Yes.’

‘Come,’ she sent back and went to unlock the door. The knock sounded on the door after a minute. ‘Come in,’ she said. Henry walked in slowly and closed the door. He stood still in front of the door and stared at her.

‘What do you have to say?’ she asked in a cold voice. ‘And how did you know about the attack on the Vice President?’

‘I told you I’ve been watching you through the NSCC cameras, you’ve been keeping the operation running effectively.’ Henry replied.

‘D–n! Don’t you have any other thing to do that to stalk me?’

‘Yes, I don’t have any other thing to do for now.’ he replied calmly.

‘What do you have to say?” She asked after a silence of ten seconds.

‘I tried to stop you from trying to kill him but I failed,’ Henry said, unaware that it was his text message that eventually saved the man.

‘You can’t stop me, no one can stop me ; we only had a little miscalculation.’ she said and turned away from him, she began to take off her bra.

‘God stopped you,’ Henry said. Tarasha turned her face and gave him a sharp look, then she turned back again. ‘It wasn’t the man’s time to die yet, so God prevented it.’

‘You can say whatever you want to say, but he’s still going to die soon, even before he fully recovers from the bullets in his lap.’ Henry was moved by her words and the fact that she admitted she was still going after the VP, he moved closer to her and stood beside her. He avoided looking at her half naked body and focused his eyes on her face.

‘Omotara, what has he done to you?’

‘Nothing,’ she replied blankly and stared back into his eyes.

‘Then why are you after him?’

‘I don’t breach contracts, he’s the last person on the list of my contract in Nigeria, I have to take him out.’

‘You don’t have to,’ Henry said in a pleading tone. ‘Whoever gave this contract to you is misusing you, this is not what you’re meant to do, you are meant to do something better in life.’ She sighed and stared at him for some seconds,

‘Well, Henry. I’m not convinced yet about all these stories, I’m not convinced about God or love, I’ve never felt God or love in my life, how do I know they’re real and not just deceptive feelings you’re trying to get into my head?’ Henry heaved a sigh of frustration, he didn’t know how to answer her question but he just had to talk.

‘Look here Tara, you don’t have to feel it before you believe it, that’s what is called faith. You believe and it works for you.’

‘Haha,’ she suddenly laughed loudly. ‘What you’re saying is hogwash man, yesterday you talked about the feelings of Love for strong people, now you’re saying I don’t need feelings to believe in your God or Love again? I know you have been brainwashed already but you can’t brainwash me like they’ve done to you.’

‘I’m not trying to…’

‘Shh…’ she cut him short. ‘Do not tell me about God or Love again until you can show them to me.’ she said, staring straight into his eyes. ‘Now leave this room,’ she shouted.

Henry was confused on what to say, he wasn’t knowledgeable about the things of God, so he didn’t know what else to say to her but he remembered once hearing a preacher say that you don’t need to know much about the Bible before becoming a soul winner. He decided to go back and pray about the issue. ‘Get out!’ she shouted at him again when he was sluggish at moving. He began to proceed slowly to the door. ‘And don’t try to stop me again, I won’t spare you.’ she added before he got to the door.

**February 23, 2031**

The days rolled by in silence. Activities in the country and it’s capital went on as usual. The Vice President had been flown to the US for treatment and safety and only little news about him was disclosed by the press because they got little information themselves, the government made sure that everything about the Vice President’s treatment and safety was done secretively. Omotara and Henry avoided themselves like plagues even though they stayed in the same house. Both of them went out early in the morning but a different times and also returned at different times in the evening. Henry avoided staying in the living room, so did Tara; she always remained in her room everytime she was in the house while Henry stayed in Jefa’s room.

After several days of not greeting or talking to each other, Henry finally knocked on her door this Sunday morning. Omotara did not waste time in opening the door as she thought it was her brother knocking, she was shocked when she met Henry smiling at the door. She tried to close it back but he stopped it with his leg and pushed the door open.

‘What do you want?’ She said as she proceeded straight to the bed. He closed the door and stood with his two legs slightly apart,

‘Good morning Omotara.’ She turned to face him and stood straight, she folded her arms and gave him a contorted look without replying his greeting. ‘I see you’ve been trying to avoid me for the past few days,’ Henry added, not bothered about her not replying.

‘Hear who’s talking,’ she said with a mischievous smile.

‘But I’m saying the truth,’ Henry insisted.

‘Well, if that’s the only thing you’re here to talk about, I believe that this conversation is not necessary.’ she said with a dismissing note.

‘I’m not here to talk about that, I’m here to invite you to lunch with me,” he replied.

‘Lunch?’ she rolled her eyes in surprise. ‘And what makes you think that I’ll accept your invitation.’

‘You will,’ he said briefly and paused to see her reaction. ‘I can already see it in your eyes that you need something like that.’ Henry added and moved closer to her.

‘Come on, stop this trash. You see nothing in my eyes.’ She said and moved back.

‘Don’t let us argue, you’ll go with me this afternoon.’ Henry said, raising up his hands as a sign of surrendering. ‘Why don’t you dress up now and let’s go to church together?’

‘Never would I go to waste time with you in such a place again.’

‘You call it wasting time?’ Henry moved closer to her again.

‘Please, I don’t have time for this religious bullshi*t this morning,’ she said and turned to make her bed. He drew nearer to her and placed his hands on her shoulder, she turned back sharply and gave him a warning look. He was a bit scared but he refused to be moved. They looked into each other’s eyes for close to two minutes before the frown on Tarasha’s eyes began to vanish. She tried to move away but he placed his hands on her shoulder again and stopped her from moving, she felt intimidated by his boldness.

‘Henry, what do you want?’ she asked softly.

‘I told you what I want already,’ he replied.

‘And I said I’m not interested in going anywhere with you, what else do you want?’ He looked into her eyes for some seconds before replying, she tried to move away again but he pulled her back.

‘I want you,’ he finally replied. She gave him a questioning look, he smiled and rubbed his palm on her cheek. He touched her lips, it was soft and inviting. His head moved closer and hers, until their lips met.

___ ** Mayo Clinic, Rochester, New York **

‘D–n Matvei, he’s not as efficient as you said he is,’ Chief Elvis cursed loudly into his phone. His right leg was bandaged from the top to the knee and hung on a suspender. The bullets had been removed but reports from the doctors suggested that he may never be able to use the leg anymore. The first bullet had entered into upper region of his thigh while the second one into his knee.

‘Elvis, he only arrived in Nigeria few days before you were shot, so there was no way he was going to know about that attack.’ Matvei replied in his thick Russian accent.

‘He came into Nigeria on the same day I returned from my medical leave, so that is already enough time to study the environment.’ Chief Elvis said. ‘I even gave him two people to work with.’

‘Is it up to two weeks already?’

‘Yes, it is.’

‘Okay, what instructions did you give to Rex?’ Matvei asked.

‘What kind of question is that? I asked him to go after Samantha Osman.’ Chief Elvis replied.

‘That’s all you did?’

‘Yes, isn’t that’s why I requested for him to come to Nigeria?’ Matvei gave a short laugh,

‘ I’m very sure he’s doing his job well. Rex is one of the best assasins in the world now.’

‘What do you mean by that? If he really good as you say and he is going after her, then she couldn’t have still tried to kill me.’ Matvei laughed again,

‘You fool, you asked him to go after her and he’s doing that. He does only what he’s asked to do, I’m sure he’ll get and kill her soon. Nothing concerns him with you.’

‘Nothing concerns him with me?’ Chief Elvis asked in surprise.

‘Stop being a dummy man,’ Matvei said mockingly. ‘You didn’t ask him to protect you, so he has no business whether you’re dead or alive, all he’s going to be doing is going after that Samantha.’

‘What? So you mean I have to ask him to protect me specially.’

‘That’s another job entirely, he can do that if you ask him to. But remember, Rex is an assasin, a killing machine and not a bodyguard.’ Chief Elvis heaved a sigh of frustration, he was tired of the pain and torment. He had returned to Nigeria after his medical leave when boldness and confidence because of Rex’s arrival into the country on that same day. And his boldness had increased after he also spoke to Rex and gave him the vision, he had been inspired by Rex’s firmness and fearful look.

_____

‘I hope Chief Elvis is safe,’ Stainless commented as they drove in the Hyundai sonata. He was driving and was seated at the front with Don while Rex who had been working as their boss for more than a week was seated at the back. Rex was a man of very few words, that was if he could even be qualified as a man; he talked like a robot with calculated words and made them brief always. However, he had a very handsome and innocent face when he smiled but it becomes scary whenever he was giving an instruction or communicating something serious. He had a fairly dark skin like that of a black American, coiling hair and neatly carved moustache, only his Russian-like accent would make one know he wasn’t an American or he didn’t live in America, one couldn’t really tell where he was from. He was way younger than both Don and Stainless but he seemed not to consider that as he ordered both of them around like small boys. For him, Don and Stainless had been almost useless for his mission since the Chief introduced them to him. He was supposed to be given a month to learn about his new environment and strategize, but with them, he told the Chief two weeks would be enough. But contrary to his expectations which had been raised by Chief Elvis when they were being introduced to him as leaders of two of the top most assassins gang in the nation, he found them ineffective.

Most of the technical things he needed to know about the environment were discovered by himself, the only things they were able to provide him with were the names of the places and the routes to take in and out of them which he considered useless as the electronic maps on his devices could provide him the same information. The only thing that made them useful to him was their hostage, Benny.

Rex was the one who mixed the solution they injected into Benny’s body before he revealed Tarasha’s locations to them.

‘Boss, have you gotten any other information from the Chief since he left?’ Don asked, turning to Rex at the back seat.

‘No,’ Rex replied briefly. To him, the welfare of the Chief didn’t matter, all he wanted to do was finish off the lady assassin whose real name he had been said to be Tarasha but was popularly known as Samantha Osman.

‘We are few metres close to the place,’ Stainless announced and pulled over to a space at the left hand side which was supposed to be for vehicles returning.

‘So, here is Gwagalada?’ Rex asked in his thick bass voice.

‘Yes,’ Stainless replied. ‘That’s the gate,’ he added, pointing to a gate some distance away at the other side.

‘Keep driving,’ Rex ordered. He picked out a device and held the both sides in his two hands. Stainless returned to the other lane and kept driving towards the gate, they drove past few metres away without any instruction from Rex. After they drove close to a bush was when Rex instructed for them to drive back. Stainless reversed the car.

‘There are no cameras watching outside that house,’ Rex said. ‘But we need to find out how the place looks behind the gate. We’ll wait around till night time.’

______ 2pm

Tara and Henry ate silently, stealing glances at each other’s faces. For Tara, it was the first time she was on a date with someone she wasn’t planning to extract any information from or kill, it was the first date she agreed to without having any plan. This was different from the first time she had lunch with Henry at Elymax hotel, then she did it to extract information about the NSCC from him. This time, she didn’t know why she did it exactly, she just knew she couldn’t reject. The kiss she had shared with him earlier that day was the worst she ever had, it was short and unexciting but it still kept her longing for more. Henry was a bad kisser, she concluded. The first time she kissed him, she was trying to cover up her act in her attempt to extract an information from his laptop and get him to follow her to Chief Jubril’s party, this time, she couldn’t tell the reason for it, all she knew was that Henry was bad in the act.

Henry ate in silence but his heart was filled with thoughts and questions. He wasn’t of the school of thought which proposed love as blind but he began to consider the thought to be accurate now. This was he in love with an assassin, he who believed in the sanctity of human lives was madly in love with one who killed without thinking. His kiss with her in the morning had been the worst kiss he ever had, even the first one at the NSCC’s house was better, he considered her a very bad kisser. He didn’t mean for the kiss to happen but it did anyway, he wasn’t even planning to touch her or have any romantic activity with her. All he wanted was to see her change and see her express real happiness which he hoped he could help her find. He had gone to church with Jefa after Tarasha had refused to come with them but he ensured she didn’t refuse to go out for lunch with him.

They finished the meal eventually and there was no excuse for the silence anymore, Henry had to take the bull by the horns.

‘Omotara,’ he called softly, looking into her eyes. She stared back at him expressionlessly. ‘What are you thinking about?’ he asked.

‘Nothing,’ she replied briefly.

‘Nothing? You mean there’s nothing on your mind right now?’

‘Yes, what is supposed to be on my mind?’

‘I am,’ Henry said.

‘You?’

‘We should be on your mind, I mean.’

‘We? You and who?’

‘Both of us,’ Henry said.

‘There is no ‘us’, huh?’

‘There is.’

‘Hehe,’ she chuckled, ‘look here. I could…’ she paused to look around and then placed her hands on the table and poked her head forward. She lowered her voice so that only Henry could hear. ‘I can kill you at anytime,’ she said in a tone which suggested she was serious about it. Henry was disappointed at her answer, he wondered why she had to bring killing into every of their discussion.

‘Why don’t we forget about who’s killing who right now and focus on us,’ he said.

‘There’s no us, but there’s always going to be death.’ She replied stubbornly. She knew what he was going with the conversation and was trying to avoid it.

‘Okay,’ Henry said with a smile, understanding her plot to avoid the discussion. ‘Let’s talk about us before you kill me.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘I love you Tara,’ he said and paused to see her reaction, she didn’t make any facially. ‘I want to know if you feel the same way about me. I need to know that before you kill me as you say.’

‘I don’t know what is love, so I don’t love you.’ she replied coldly.

‘So I mean nothing to you?’ he asked. ‘And what happened in the morning, you don’t see it as anything?’

‘What happened?’ she asked and paused to see his reaction. She knew what he was talking about and the truth was that it meant something to her and she was longing for more but she couldn’t bring herself to admit it. ‘If you’re talking about the kiss, it was horrible and it meant nothing. I’ve kissed several other men and I ended up killing them, most of them claimed that they love me just like you are doing now.’

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