‘She has to be this,’ Dave said, pointing to a name in a table of several rows and six columns. Several other names were on the column the name was and the name he pointed to was A.K Evelyn. ‘Her full name is Alexander Kimberly Evelyn,’ Dave said to the head security officer standing behind him. He was seated at the front of a computer after being given the permission to go through their payments.
‘Is that the name on the credit card?’ The man behind Dave asked. He leaned forward to see the name on the screen, placing a hand on the backrest of Dave’s seat.
‘It’s one of the names, she uses several names on the same card.’ Dave replied.
‘How then are you sure this is the person you’re looking for? What if the initials do not mean what you think?’ the man asked, pulling a seat closer to sit.
Dave took out his phone and unlocked it. He opened the messages and scrolled down, searching for a particular sms. ‘Here,’ he said, handing the phone to the man. ‘That’s the text I extracted from the bank concerning her transaction with this hotel. The date and time of transaction, amount paid, transaction number matches correctly only with this name on your record.’
The head security officer compared the details on the phone and on the computer screen to confirm.
‘It’s true. So how are you planning to go about it?’ he asked after verifying.
‘We have to confirm first if she’s in the room right now.’
‘Do we need to call the police?’
‘No, not yet please. She’s just a suspect and I have to prove that she is the right person first. Right now, we can’t level any accusation against her.’
‘Then how are you going to prove it?’
‘You’re going to allow me, I know what to do. You can watch and monitor me but I’ll only call for your help when I need it.’
Martin Ekwueme opened his eyes to find himself in a large bed which wasn’t his. He turned and looked around the room he was, he had never been there before and couldn’t remember how he got there. He sat up and placed his feet on the ground. He found his sandals placed on the ground close to the bed. He turned and looked back, he noticed a drawer at the other side of the bed with the stool at the front. There was a tray containing plates which were covered, a bottle of water and a glass cup. The man could perceive the delicious aroma of the food in the plate even though he couldn’t tell exactly what the meal was.
He closed his eyes in his confusion, trying to remember what he was doing in that room and how he got there. He tried hard to recall but couldn’t still figure it out. He must have slept for a very long time, he thought. Maybe he was in his son Mr Ekwueme Jnr’s house, he thought. The last thing he remembered was he and his son in the car driving to his house in Ngozika Estate, then he remembered the boy telling him he was leaving to see the mother and would be coming back to take him to Nnewi after he (the father) must have had enough rest. Then a dream, he remembered; his wife had come to meet him in that dream and warned him not to tell the children about his past deeds.
He frowned as he recalled the masked girl which looked like the girl he met at the hospital that morning. Was that real or also part of the dream? He wasn’t sure. But the girl claimed to have placed a bomb in his son’s car. Does that mean his meeting with his wife was real or was it his meeting with the strange young girl that was part of the dream? Now, he was totally confused.
He looked towards the door as he heard a sound from the direction. The knob turned and in came the answer to his questions. The young lady in the supposed dream. She still had the same clothes on with the exception of the jacket. It looks real, the man said to himself. The sleep he had must have done some damage to his memory. He couldn’t remember anything from the moment she took off the mask in the ‘dream’.
‘You’re awake,’ Tarasha said as she proceeded to the other side of the bed. She carried the stool with the tray and plates on top and turned to the side the man was facing. ‘Here’s your dinner, I hope you like Nigerian jollof rice.’ she said as she opened the cover.
Confusion was written all over Dr Ekwueme’s face. He was hungry because he barely tasted the lunch he was served at home and the aroma of the jollof rice was intimidating but he didn’t consider the option of eating it. He needed answers to the questions in his mind. The memories he could recall, were they part of a dream and what he was experiencing at the moment.
‘I know you are wondering how you got here,’ she said to him, as if she could read his mind. ‘I injected you Benryl, so you can’t remember no matter how hard you try.’
‘Benryl!’ the man voiced under his breath. He remembered the substance; it induced instant sleep for few hours and a two hour memory loss in the one whose blood it mixed with in the body. He remembered that the substance was discovered in Nigeria some months ago even though it had been found in some few other developed countries before.
The doctor racked his brain to remember when it was first discovered in Nigeria. He suddenly recalled and it brought a sudden tension to his heart. The person who introduced the substance to the history of Nigeria was an assassin and there was no record of its use anywhere or by anyone else yet.
‘You should eat, you’ll need it I tell you.’ she said with a convincing smile for him to eat.
‘Who are you?’ he said, staring at her thinly.
‘Oh! My bad, I should have introduced myself earlier.’ she said and took two steps backwards, rubbing her palms gently on her laps. ‘They call me Samantha Osman in Nigeria,’ she said as she folded her arms across her chest, standing with her legs slightly apart.
His fears were confirmed. Samantha Osman was the assasin that introduced the substance in the country by using it on her victims. But what he couldn’t understand was what she wanted from him.
‘What do you want from me?’
‘Nothing much really; just your cooperation. Don’t be scared; I’m a very pleasant person to work with; if you’ll only cooperate.’ she said, in a kind of mocking tone.
The man stared at her speechlessly. There was total silence in the room for a moment. He could hear the sound of his heartbeat whose rate had doubled.
‘You need to eat now, we have so many things to do together. I’ll be back in thirty minutes time.’ she said and proceeded out of the room.
Some minutes later
Dave adjusted the belt holding his trousers on his waist for the second time in the elevator. His eyes met with the other man in the elevator and the man smiled. The concierge’s uniform which Dave was given to put on was obviously not his size. The trouser looked like a baggy on him while the shoes he had on were so small.
The elevator finally stopped at the tenth floor and Dave gracefully exited. As he stepped out of the elevator and proceeded on the corridor, he was conscious that he was being watched by the head security officer through the cameras. He checked the label at the door of each room as he walked and soon located the room assigned to A.K Evelyn. He stopped at the door and turned to face the camera. He made a sign with his hand towards the camera hoping that the man was watching at that moment.
He turned back to the door and brought out the key given to him. He decided to still push the bell button in case they had been wrong about her absence. He used the button again and waited for another thirty seconds before he inserted the key into the keyhole. It made the sound that it was unlocked after turning twice. Dave looked around the corridor again, there was a couple kissing and hugging each other in the passage as they walked to their room.
He turned the knob and pushed the door gently. He entered slowly and locked the door from behind. He quickly located the switch and turned on the light. His eyes hovered around the room for a moment. It was neatly arranged and it looked like no one had used the room that day. The reports of the cleaners had stated that she allowed no one into the room that morning, claiming that she wouldn’t need their services until the next morning, so she must have cleaned and arranged the place by herself that day or probably used it carefully. That further convinced Dave that he would get something very useful in the room but he hoped that she wouldn’t return while he was still in the room. They had not been able to pick out her face from the footages from the security cameras but he had agreed with the security head that he should be alerted when a lady enters the corridor of the tenth floor.
He proceeded to the wardrobe straightway after looking around and being sure that there was nothing in the room to check. It wasn’t locked so he opened it easily. There were no clothes hung but two bags on the shelves; a backpack and a briefcase. He checked the backpack first, he pulled the zips of the large section apart widely.
His heartbeat was racing faster now. He could see things he was expecting to see there; two neatly arranged pistols by the left side placed on top of a pack of cartridges. On the right side, there was a set of medical equipments in a transparent rectangular case placed on top of a black polythene bag which had a box in it. Dave felt the urge to check what was inside the polythene bag but controlled himself, he didn’t want to touch something he would not be able to arrange back in the position it was before. He zipped up the section and put the zips together at the side which he met them.
He opened the next section, there was a laptop and it’s adapter in it. He thought of bringing it out but he realized that it would make him spend more time than he was supposed to and he might not even be able to use if it was protected. He closed the section and moved to the briefcase. He was careful in touching it, so as not to move it from the position. He studied the briefcase, it was secured with fingerprint lock. The only way he could see what was inside the briefcase was to destroy it but that wasn’t an option.
He decided to check all the corners of the wardrobe to ensure there was nothing left to see before he closed it. He saw a whitish substance at an edge at the ground side of the wardrobe. On a first look, he thought it was cocaine but as he looked well and touched it with two fingers, he realized it was dust that had dropped from the joints of the wooden wardrobe. He rose up and closed the wardrobe gently.
Then he turned and looked around the room, his eyes searching for a place to attach the camera bug he brought with him. He knew he had to hide it somewhere her bug detector would not be able to screen, that was if she would put her bug detector on which he really doubted, she would have no reason to put on a bug detector except he leaves a trace behind.
His eyes met with bathroom door as he searched around for where to hide the bug. He realized he had not gone to check inside the bathroom if there was anything there.
He got to the bathroom and stepped in. There were two black clothes – a black shirt and trouser – hung neatly on the line above the bathtub. He stepped forward to examine the two clothes. He noticed that there was a little swelling at the pocket of the trouser. He touched it to see, there was a hundred dollars note in it.
‘Oops!’ he exclaimed as he noticed that the dust on his fingers had rubbed up at the front of the pocket. It was little and there was a ninety five percent probability of it going unnoticed but Dave didn’t want to leave any traces, he moved closer to clean the little trace of dust. He held the trouser in position with the other clean hand and wiped the stain with an handkerchief. The stain was gone. He looked around the bathroom again, there was nothing else to see. He quickly proceeded out of the bathroom, not knowing he had stepped on a folded white piece of paper on the floor.
‘You’re hurting yourself by not eating,’ Tarasha said as she closed the door and proceeded towards the direction of the man. She held a small handbag with her. She stood at his front and folded her arms, ‘Well, my work has to continue whether you eat or not.’
She moved the tray away from the footstool and placed it on the ground. Then she took out two guns from her pockets before sitting on the stool. She placed the guns on her laps before she began to talk.
‘You’ve been cooperating so far, I can see that you’re a wise man.’ Tarasha said with a crooked smile. She had expected him to try to call for help by making noise for those in the surroundings to hear and she would have been forced to torture him and tie him up but he was quiet all through which she thought very unusual of someone that was kidnapped, but she was already used to meeting unusual people.
‘Let’s go straight to the point,’ she said and adjusted her sitting position, guarding the guns in her hands for them not to fall. ‘I’m here to find out a few things about your work with Vice President Elvis Richards and his gang of friends. I learnt that you worked closely with them,’ she stopped to get a confirmation from him but he remained still, staring at her without saying anything. ‘Talk to me man,’ she frowned at him and picked up a gun.
‘Yes, I worked with Elvis Richards before he became the Vice President.’ the man finally replied in a weak voice.
‘What did you do for him?’
He stared at her speechlessly again, hesitating to reply.
‘You don’t want to cooperate anymore?’ she asked with a raised brow. ‘I could take out your wife and two children this night and show you the videos for your viewing pleasure if you refuse to cooperate.’
The man shivered visibly at her threat. The life of his family mattered more to him than his life and he couldn’t imagine them having to die for his own sins.
‘What work did you do for Elvis Richards and his friends?’ she asked again.
‘I was their Doctor.’ he answered, this time his voice was both weak and shaky.
‘Don’t lie to me,’ Tarasha frowned.
‘I’m not lying, I was their Doctor but not for personal or family medical issues.’
‘What were you to them? And how did you even meet them?’
The man sniffed. Tears began to form in his eyes. This was a secret he had kept for years, the same one that broke his marriage. He had told no one in his lifetime, none, not even his wife. His wife had discovered it herself and hated him for it. He couldn’t imagine himself narrating everything; it was just like telling someone how wicked and cruel he was; or he had been in the past.
‘Talk to me,’ Tarasha said in an encouraging voice on seeing the tears running down the man’s cheeks.
He sniffed again and cleaned the tears with the back of his hand. He seemed to have become a woman as he now cried easily nowadays. He sniffed in the mucus already formed in his nose before he began to talk. ‘I helped a particular group of people run a baby factory years ago, that was where I met Elvis Richards. Then, he found out…’
‘What’s a baby factory?’ Tarasha cut in.
‘A house where young pregnant prostitutes, mostly pregnant teenagers were kept. They are delivered of their babies and allowed to go without the babies. The babies were usually sold in return for money of which the mothers get a little percent. I don’t know how they sell them, my job was to coordinate the nurses that took care of the delivery.’ the man explained with a drop of tears rolling down his face.
Tarasha stared blankly for a while, trying to imagine the scenario. She never thought Elvis Richards corps have involved himself in such dirty and petty things that the doctor had just narrated.
‘That was before Elvis Richards became rich, he didn’t own the baby factory but he was the police backup for the people who ran it. That was where I met him.’
‘And so when did you start working for him and his friends?’
‘I met him again after I had stopped the job with that baby factory after working for three months with them. I decided to turn a new leave after confessing Jesus in a church. I abandoned my hospital which wasn’t thriving and dusted my certificate to look for a job. I found one at a big hospital and I began to work there faithfully. I did well and got promoted quickly. After some years, the hospital had grown bigger then. I had a Doctor who worked under me, his name was Danjuma. He was so close to me, we moved from friends to brothers. He got to treat a very rich and patriotic businessman’s daughter who was a victim of fake drugs. The businessman didn’t take it lightly and wanted to make sure the source of the fake drugs is exposed. I never knew that Dr Danjuma and his wife were being pressured and threatened by some people who were in charge of importing those drugs who also heard about the incident, that was one secret Danjuma kept from me. They told him to change the report so that the businessman could end his rage but Dr Danjuma would not give in. The case lingered because these guys who brought in the fake drugs were being backed by a very powerful politician, I don’t know who that politician is till date. Danjuma never suggested anything about it to me, maybe he didn’t want to get me into his troubles. Those pressuring him got to know that I was his senior, they came to me to influence him, Elvis Richards was their leader, then he had become bigger financially and was occupying a higher rank in the force. I told them I couldn’t influence Danjuma to do such but Elvis Richard who knew me threatened to expose my past, I had to give in. Danjuma soon left town when the pressure was much, even the rich businessman could not guarantee him safety as there was a richer man on the bad side. As Danjuma’s senior doctor, I decided to handle the case myself after Danjuma left and I worked it in Elvis Richards and his people’s favour. Danjuma never knew I was the one who took over the medical case.
Well, I thought it was all over after that ended, but Elvis Richards came back. I was far older than he was but he was arrogant because he had the support in high places. He was doing well in the police force and getting praises but was doing evil underground. I was threatened and forced to continue working with Elvis Richards. He was into child trafficking, I became the Doctor who certified the health of these kids. I also treated some criminals secretly, some members of the then Boko Haram terrorist group. Surprisingly, there was a lot of support for us. A lot of people are benefiting from the Boko Haram insurgency so they wanted it to continue. Then I lost my conscience and did many other awful things…’
‘Hold on for a minute,’ Tarasha cut in again. ‘I think we have to continue later and I also need some specifics and not just this story you’re telling,’ she said checking her wristwatch. ‘I’ve got to pick something outside now before it’s late.’
She opened the small handbag which she placed on the floor and took out a syringe and ampoule. She drew into the syringe the content of the ampoule. The man was already staring at her, looking very scared.
‘Here, it’s just something to make you sleep.’ she handed the empty ampoule to the man to read the label. ‘Be good,’ she said with a wry smile and took his hand gently. He didn’t object. She located the appropriate blood vessel and released the contents of the syringe into it. The man began to doze off even before she removed the syringe. She laid him gently in the bed.
Crescent Moon Hotel
Tarasha took in a deep breath as she entered into the hotel room. She turned on the light and proceeded to the wardrobe to search for the piece of paper which she came for. She checked the section of the backpack where some clothes were before remembering that the paper was in the back pocket of the cloth she hung in the bathroom. She closed the backpack and took the briefcase out of the wardrobe, she placed it on the bed, she would be taking it with her to the house. She then proceeded to the bathroom to take the piece of paper.
In the dark security room.
‘It looks like she’s still going out this night, she has gone straight into the bathroom’ Dave said to his partner who was seated absentmindedly on a seat some metres away from him. Dave’s laptop was on his laps and he was watching the lady who had just entered the bugged hotel room. She had a face cap on and that was preventing him from seeing her face because the camera bug was attached at the middle of the ceiling where a dark design was.
‘You’re going to see her face soon, when she relaxes on the bed.’ Dave’s partner who’s name he had found to be Clement replied.
Back in the hotel room.
Tarasha removed the cap on her face as she entered the bathroom. She reached for her trousers and dipped her hand into the back pocket. A frown appeared on her face as her fingers touched nothing. She paused to recall carefully. She remembered that she didn’t change the paper before leaving the hotel room but she had carelessly hung the trouser in the bathroom, forgetting there was any paper then. She looked into the bathtub to see if it had fallen inside. Then she looked at the ground, it was there, just beside the bathtub. She picked it up with a frown, it had been stained, she could tell the stains were from the soles of someone’s shoe. She raised her leg up to check the soles, it wasn’t her shoe, the soles of her shoes were dirtier. It had to be someone else’s.
But she was the only one who entered the room that day. She had given instruction for the cleaners not to clean the room, or did they come in to clean the place after she left?
A note of alarm was raised in her mind. She wore her face cap back and walked back into the room with the trouser and paper in her hand. She went straight to the drawer and picked the phone provided by the hotel. She dialed their customer service.
‘Hello, did anyone come to clean my room today?’ she asked.
‘Humm… What’s your room number please?’
Tarasha replied with the room number.
‘Please a minute to check.’ there was silence for more than one minute. ‘No ma’am, you requested earlier that you wouldn’t need our cleaning services till morning tomorrow.’
‘What? Did any of your other workers enter the room while I was away?’
‘No, nobody did. We would not come into the room without your consent.’
She dropped the phone even before the receiver finished talking. Someone had entered into the room, she was sure. Could someone be trailing her? She had noticed some restrictions on her credit card which was the reason she was creating another whose number she wrote on the paper she came to pick.
She took out her mobile device from her pocket. She unlocked it and turned on her bug detector. She then walked to the wardrobe to take out a black mask from the backpack.
‘Damn it! She’s suspecting already that someone came into the room,’ Dave said in a loud angry voice that attracted the attention of his partner.
‘What?’ Clement asked.
‘She just made a call to the customer’s service to find out if anyone came into the room.’
‘That’s crazy but you said you left no trace, ‘ Clement said, getting up to join Dave.
‘Oh now, she’s put on a bug detector,’ Dave exclaimed as he zoomed the video and saw what Tarasha’s was doing on the phone. ‘Please alert your security officials Mr Clement and call the police, we need a good number of officers with us.’
Dave got up and dropped the laptop on the chair. He quickly reached for his bag and took out two guns. He fixed the cartridges into the guns and proceeded to the door.
Clement was already talking to the police on phone. Dave waited for him to finish with the call.
‘Raise an alarm to protect the other guests in the hotel, and block all the exits. I’m going up to the top floor, I’ve got my earpiece on, feed me with details.’ Dave said as he opened the door and stepped out
‘Samantha ain’t getting away from justice tonight,’ he swore under his breath.
Would Dave be able to stop Tarasha? What do you think?
To be continue