Tarasha could see the car closing in on her and she was sure that she would be overtaken before she got to the junction. She rolled down all the windows and took out her revolver in readiness, she placed it on her lap and focused back on the road and the mirrors.
The Zenvo was right behind her, it was only a matter of seconds before it got to her front. She held up her gun and suddenly hit the brakes hard.
Dave was taken by surprise as he never expected her to hit the brakes. The bullets hit the car unexpectedly and shattered the glasses causing him to loose control. The gun in his hands dropped as he struggled to control the wheels, but the bullets kept coming and he had to bend his head. He ran the car off the road and the right side tyres entered into the drainage just before it got to the junction, making the car slant upwards with the left side up.
Tarasha took a few seconds to observe the Zenvo. She reversed the car about five metres back and halted. Then she stepped out of the car holding an extra gun in her hands. She continued shooting at it as she walked forward. She was determined to end the life of whoever was in it. But as she got two metres close to where the car had fallen, she began to hear sounds a vehicle coming from behind. She stopped and looked back, she could see the headlights of a vehicle coming afar off.
‘Damn it!’ she let out a painful sigh. Cole had told her that the other cars pursuing her were far off and she wondered how this one could get to meet them so quick. She turned back and proceeded into the car hurriedly, she drove on to the junction and turned into the new road. She sped off on the free expressway.
‘What do we do now?’ Henry asked Cole in low tones, his eyes still full of fear.
‘We just have to wait for some minutes,’ Cole replied gently and then placed his forehead on the table.
Henry got up and began to pace around the room, his heart beating fast and his lips trembling. All he could imagine were the bad things that could have happened to Omotara, she had asked them to crash the NSCC cameras and the communication lines and there was no way they could see her or talk to her anymore, that means they would not know whatever happened to her.
‘When do we open back the systems?’ Henry stopped to ask Cole.
‘I don’t know for certain, but we have to give her enough time to do away with the guy trailing her.’ Cole replied without looking up.
Henry continued pacing around and making noisy sounds with his breath.
‘Calm down man, worrying isn’t going to change anything.’ Cole said to him.
Henry paused for a while and stared at Cole. He tried to reason the words said to him but he still couldn’t calm himself. He continued to pace around with his arms folded across his chest.
The door to the control room opened gently and in came Tomi. Cole’s eyes met with hers, he could tell she hadn’t slept yet.
‘You guys are still working?’ she asked, with her eyes fixed on Cole after taking a glance at Henry.
Cole wanted to ignore her but he decided to reply on a second thought. ‘Yes,’ he said and looked up, shaking his legs slowly from side to side.
She walked closer to him and sat on the seat beside him. She was in her night gown which wasn’t covered properly, Cole could see everything underneath. He wondered if she had been at his room waiting for him like she was fond of.
‘What’s the matter?’ Tomi who was now looking at Henry asked Cole.
‘Well, we don’t know what’s up with the boss right now and that’s why he’s seems worried.’ Cole replied her.
‘Can we put it up back now?’ Henry asked, returning back to his seat.
‘No,’ Cole said in a strong tone. ‘It’s not up to an hour yet, it’ll take her up to ninety minutes to keep them totally off track.’
Henry heaved a sigh of frustration, he shook his head and then placed his forehead on the table.
Dave winced in pain as the SSS officers laid his back to the ground. He fastened his right hand palm to the left upper region of his back where a bullet had entered in between his shoulder blades. His palm was soaked in blood already. Blood was also dripping down his head where he injured slightly. It would have been a worse situation if he didn’t have his seatbelt on.
‘Just leave me here, keep following her.’ he managed to say to one SSS officer who was putting on a similar mask like his.
‘No Agent, we can’t leave you here like this. We have to take you for treatment with the car.’
‘No, go after her. You call the ambulance to pick me up here.’
‘There are no signals, we stopped getting directions from the Security Cameras office. We were coming from the front and we got to know it should be this direction when we heard gunshots.’
‘Oh shi*t,’ Dave cursed. He was in pain but he was still determined not to let Tarasha go. He closed his eyes as a gentle breeze swam across his face. He heaved a sigh of frustration, he knew for sure she had escaped again.
‘Careful,’ the SSS officer cautioned the other security officers as they lifted Dave into the car.
Martin Ekwueme sat at the edge of the bed where he had been for over thirty minutes waiting for his host to return. He had been awake for more than one hour and did not make any attempt to escape. He discarded the thought the only time it had crossed his mind for the fear of making a futile effort. He was sure she was somewhere around the place or that she had other people around and could be testing to see what he would do. The hunger he felt when he woke up forced him to take the meal she had served him since afternoon which he refused. Since then he sat at the edge of the bed, taking his time to think about his life and his family’s, and spent more thinking about what Samantha was going to do with him.
Tarasha walked into the house at 2:15am. It had been another work for her to go through the security at the estate gate but she did without killing anyone but only leaving them with minor injuries and in an unconscious state. She also injected into their bodies the substance benryl to make them totally forget their encounter with her and make them unable to explain their ordeal when they woke up the next morning.
Martin Ekwueme’s mind skipped a beat as he heard the sound of the keys working at the door, he knew Samantha was back for him. Soon she entered and closed the door. She stopped behind the door to look around the room, it was just the same way she left it. She looked at the man’s face, he was also staring at her. The look on his face showed he had been expecting her for long.
As she proceeded towards him she noticed he kept his gaze on her face but it was no longer a look of delayed expectation, he seemed to be interested in something on her face. Then she realized that her face would still full of the temporary marks and sweat left by the mask she had just taken off. She wiped her face with her hand and sat at the other end of the bed.
‘I see you’ve been doing fine in my absence,’ she said with a wry smile as she sat at the other end of the bed.
He still continued to stare at her face in silence. He wondered where she was coming from and what she had been doing that made her sweat so much. But the strange thing about it was that her face was the only part of her body sweating profusely. He watched as she wiped off the sweat and stared back at him. Her face still looked innocent and young like that of Tracy his last daughter and for a moment, for a moment, he doubted again that she was really Samantha Osman.
‘It’s midnight already, you should rest more now, we would continue by morning.’ she suddenly changed her mind and got up from the bed.
She proceeded to the door and was about to turn the knob when he said something.
‘Are you really Samantha?’ he repeated when her expression showed she didn’t hear him the first time.
She stayed for a moment but didn’t turn or say anything in reply. Then she opened the door and walked out without giving him a reply.
**12 minutes later**
She just finished having her bath but was still in the bathroom when she heard her phone ringing. She wiped her face with the towel before wrapping it around her body. She knew the caller would be no one else but Cole.
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‘She’s not answering,’ Cole said in reply to Henry, dialing the number again.
Henry was still looked deeply terrified but Cole was more relaxed. Tomi had slept off on the chair beside Cole and wasn’t conscious anymore of anything happening around her.
‘Let me try,’ Henry said, getting up to pick Cole’s phone which he had dropped on the table.
‘She’ll call back when she sees the call,’ Cole said, trying to discourage him from dialing again.
Henry ignored and dialed back, the call was answered at the first ring.
‘Cole,’ she called as she answered.
‘Omotara,’ he called with his eyes widening in surprise. ‘Are you okay?’
‘I’m fine Henry, I’ve gotten to the house now. Did you just reset the communication lines?’
‘Yes, about five minutes ago,’ he replied.
‘What about Cole, is the NSCC system also back in operation?’
‘Yes, it is.’
‘Handover the phone to Cole.’
Henry obeyed silently.
‘Boss,’ Cole said with a note of happiness in his voice.
‘Have you checked if the guys are still out there?’
‘Yes, I’ve checked but I can’t find them anywhere. Are you now at Udoka estate?’
‘Okay, I’ll switch to the cameras there in some minutes and call you back.’
Lizzy yawned and stretched as she got out of the bed that morning. She sat at the edge she placed her elbows on her knees. She buried her face in her palms and managed to say a few words of prayer. Then she reached for her two phones beside the pillow and unlocked the iPhone. She swiped down the notification bar and was quite worried that there was no message yet from Dave. She opened her WhatsApp instant messenger and opened the chat with Dave, he had still not received the message she sent him the last night to ask about his trip. She was sure Dave could take care of himself and if he was going to get into trouble, it wouldn’t be on his first day of arrival at the place.
She unlocked the android phone also, she was also expecting Victor’s annoying message which always come in before she woke up. She never wasted her time to read his love messages but always replied with ‘Thanks, I love you too. Have a nice day,’ or any other similar phrase.
She opened the Google chrome browser on the android phone and typed in the PobsOnline url. It loaded in a few seconds. She scrolled through the updates but stopped when she got to the centre and found no topics of interest to her. She opened another tab and navigated to the desert reporters website. Her mind skipped a bit as she saw the first topic on the news portal. ‘Police and SSS battle with suspected Samantha Osman agent in Crescent Moon Hotel, Anambra – Over twenty confirmed dead, six officers injured.’
She quickly clicked on the headline and waited for it to load. She then knew the reason for Dave’s inability to reply her message or call since the last night.
The first thing she checked after the article loaded was the time it was posted, 5:32am, that was some minutes ago and it explained the reason the news had not made the PobsOnline forum front page yet. The content of the news read;
‘Between the hours of 10:30pm last night to 1am, the whole Ngozika Estate area was filled with terror as sounds of gunshots rent the air causing all business centres that works till late night close early and left the roads deserted so early – this causing so much traffic jam in other areas. Our correspondent who was a guest in the hotel that night gathered that the lady suspected to be Samantha Osman lodged in the hotel five days ago with a different name and was traced to the place by a SSS agent whose identity is yet to be revealed. It was reported that the assasin exchanged gunshots with the officers and security men in the hotel building, leaving dead security officers whose numbers have been counted up to this time as twenty one and six others badly injured. The head security officer of the hotel stated the reason of her escape to be the sophisticated weapons which she used against them. He claimed that they couldn’t respond to her in the same manner she shot at them because of the fear of hurting the innocent guests of the hotel.
Our source also revealed that the SSS agent who traced her to Ngozika Estate and whose identity is still been hidden by his colleagues at the SSS is badly injured. ‘
Lizzy paused at this. Her mind began to beat faster. She continued:
‘Several of the guests at the hotel were seen this morning leaving with their luggages as early as five am.
More details to be revealed later.’
Lizzy released a deep breath after reading the article. She was greatly afraid that something terrible had happened to Dave. She picked her iPhone again and dialed his number. It rang again for several minutes but wasn’t answered by anyone.
Udoka Estate, Anambra
Tarasha had woken up already but felt too lazy to get up from the bed. She didn’t plan to do much that day, her main reason for coming to Anambra was already being fulfilled; the Doctor was in the same building with her.
The last night had been an exciting one for her, she had for some weeks never had the opportunity to race so fast on major roads and she felt good to have someone giving her a hot chase, it was a kind of exercise that she needed often.
Her phone began to ring where she plugged it to charge and that gave her the push she needed to get up from the bed. She dragged herself to the place the phone was plugged and disconnected it from the charger. Cole was the one calling her.
‘Good morning boss,’ Cole greeted.
‘Yeah Cole, morning. What’s up this morning?’
‘Been up to check the footages this morning, there’s nothing that links you to Udoka Estate.’
‘Good job man,’ she let out a smile.
‘Thank you, and I also wanted to find out if you need something else this morning.’
‘Well… I think I just need some guns and another face mask.’
‘Oh well, what guns do you need and how do I send them?’
‘I’ll send you the specifications of the guns in a text but of course you should be able to get a transporter to get them to Anambra.’
‘Yes boss but… Don’t you think you need us there?’
‘Don’t bother, I’m almost done with what I came for, I don’t think I’ll need you to come. Just send the guns and mask, I’m not sure I’m going to use them but they’ll be useful in case any unforeseen situation comes up.’
‘Okay boss, if you say so. But have you read the news today?’
‘No, I just got out of bed.’ she took the phones off her ear briefly to check the time. ‘It’s almost eight, I’ll join the news in some minutes and also read online.’
‘Yeah, I think you really need to do.’
‘Thanks Cole,’ she said in a soft voice which made her sincerity obvious.
‘I’m doing my job boss,’ Cole replied.
Tarasha ended the call and let out a breath. She walked to the wardrobe and took off her night gown, leaving her panty and bra on. She opened the bag and took out the only gown in it. It reminded her that she needed to go out to shop for more clothes. She put on the gown and proceeded to the living room where the television was set up, the one in the room had not been connected to a decoder yet.
As expected, the previous night’s event was what made the headlines at all news stations. The media houses provided the videos of the hotel taken after she left there and showed the places where the deaths occured. The dead bodies had been taken away already but the traces of blood were still on the floor and on the walls. It was also reported that an agent of the SSS was the one who traced her to that destination but the agent’s name and identity was not disclosed or known by anyone.
Tarasha took time to brood on the situation, wondering how she was traced to the place. Then she realized it must be through the credit card like she had been suspecting, the SSS Agent must have gotten the details from someone or a company she paid money with the credit card to. She wondered who or where could be the source of the Agent’s information. She had to find out so as to ascertain that there were other things which couldn’t link them to her from the same source. She also needed to know who that SSS agent was before she leaves the state.
She reached for her phone and dialed Cole’s number, she instructed him to destroy the card details and cancel the connections to the bank. She was still wondering how the credit card was traced to her when she heard a sound from behind. Martin Ekwueme was walking to the living room. She put her legs down from the three seater, for she was sitting with her legs crossed on the seat and her back resting partially on the armrest and partially on the corner of the backrest.
The man ambled to the living room and sat in the one seater close to her. ‘Good morning… Samantha,’ he greeted.
She didn’t honour him with a reply immediately. She stared at him wondering if she wasn’t making him too comfortable around her by not inflicting pains on him.
‘I’m greeting… Samantha,’ the man said to her, thinking she was lost in thoughts.
‘Good morning old man,’ she replied coldly in a bid to remind him that she wasn’t his friend.
‘You didn’t close the doors of my room,’ the doctor said with his eyes full of surprise.
Exactly! Tarasha thought, that was the reason he was becoming so free with her, maybe he was thinking she was a nice girl he could joke with.
‘I thought you’ve been a good boy, you didn’t give me troubles last night, so I’m just treating you as one – a good boy.’
The man chuckled and scratched his chin with his finger. ‘What if I tried to escape when you went to sleep?’
‘You wouldn’t have made it out of the door alive,’ she answered him sharply with a wicked smile, pointing with her brows to the door which led out of the living room.
The cheerful look on his face disappeared, he seemed to be thinking deeply as he kept his gaze on her face.
‘You don’t stare at me anyhow, I could kill right away.’ she threatened the man, meaning every word she said.
She felt she had become feeble. Before she came to Nigeria, she had never had a hostage who was so bold to talk to her like that, they would always tremble at her presence. But like she had previously admitted, she started to become weak when she didn’t kill Jefa and allowed herself to love him and when Henry had also been allowed to resurrect her feelings. She felt she was loosing all the ‘values’ she got from the Nefary clan and needed to get back on her feet if she wished to be successful in her mission.
‘I’m sorry if I angered you,’ the man made a sincere apology and looked away. ‘It’s just that… I’m close to eighty and I’ve seen different young girls like you, you look too beautiful and innocent to be Samantha,’ he said, looking up at her face again with a smile. ‘I’m not scared of death anyway.’
Tarasha was deeply infuriated. She gritted her teeth. She would have pointed a gun at him if she had one by her side. The man was taking her for granted.
‘I’m sorry but whenever I look at your face, you remind me of my daughter and some of those young nurses at the hospital.’
Tarasha wanted to punish him for continuing despite seeing that she was angry but something struck her mind and her muscles relaxed as he mentioned ‘nurses’. She remembered Jumoke instantly. She had sent money to Jumoke using the traced credit card, could it mean that the SSS agency had traced her to Jumoke and extracted the information from the nurse.
‘I’m hoping you kill me very soon, I’m tired of this life.’ the man bursted out with a sudden change in countenance. ‘Kill me already, I’m tired of waiting for the judgement of my sins.’
She gave him a side look and lowered her brows at him. ‘I’m not here to judge you, I’m not here to kill you. I only need some information from you.’
‘No, you have to kill me quickly. I’ve been expecting you. I’ve seen you in my dreams even though in the image of a man, I know you would kill me soon, why the delay?’
Tarasha stared at him in silence as he let out his frustration wondering what the cause of his sudden mood change was.
‘I’ve lived my life for the last twelve years after I retired regretting all my past deeds and wishing I could correct them. I’ve done everything I could to feel fulfilled. I engaged myself in charity activities, tried to help the poor with my hospital but I still feel my life is a waste.’ the man continued to vent out his frustration, tears were rolling down his eyes now.
Tarasha saw an opportunity to make use of him through his emotions. ‘But why did you do those things you did in the past? You are a brilliant doctor who had a good future, was it because of money?’
The man’s tears increased, he dropped from the chair and sat on the floor. ‘I was covetous, I was in a hurry to make money and secure a good life,’ he said, sobbing and coughing. ‘When I tried to stop, those men came again and threatened me into it, I joined back and lost my conscience, I became an animal.’
The man’s face was soaked in tears like that of a baby. Tarasha felt it funny but tried to suppress her laughter. Strangely, she felt no pity for him in anyway like she had been feeling recently.
‘Wipe your tears Dr Martin,’ she said. ‘You see, I think there’s still one thing you need to correct in life if you want to ever feel forgiven.’ she said to get the man’s attention. He reduced his sobbing and wiped his face with his palm, he stared at her waiting for what she wanted to say. ‘Those men who made you do evil, some of them are still alive today and occupying high positions, doing more evil under the guise of developing the nation. I’m out to fish out all of them and punish them and it’ll be easier if you would work with me, you’ll also be doing the world a great favour and that way, you could make an amendment to your past sins.’
The man’s lips trembled. He stopped crying totally and stared blankly at the ground. Tarasha knew she had gotten him, he was on her side.