Tarasha walked into her room to hear the sound of her phone’s ringing tone. She wiped her wet hands with a napkin and picked the phone on the table, Chief Gab was the one calling her.
‘Hi Chief,’ she answered the call.
‘Hello Tarasha, it’s me Chief Gabriel.’ The man’s voice sounded from the other end.
‘Yea, I know,’ Tarasha replied, wondering why the man was introducing himself again.
‘I called to tell you that I’ve transferred all the outstanding payments to your bank account including the salaries of your workers for this month.’
‘I’ve not checked my messages yet, so I don’t know if I’ve received an alert.’ She said as she sat at the edge of her bed. ‘I hope you sent the accurate numbers.’
‘Yes, I did.’
‘Okay, I’ll get back to you once I confirm.’
Tarasha ended the call and checked the time before putting down the phone. It was twenty minutes left for the news about the Inspector General which she had scheduled for posting. She fell back into the bed with her hands spread wide.
She closed her eyes and took in a deep breath. She began to think of the steps she needed to take next. Things were moving too slowly and she didn’t like the way they were going but wanted to stick to the plan because of her promise to Henry not to go the killing way. She was monitoring the Inspector General now and could tell his location at any point in time with the fingerprint tracking machine.
Her thoughts were distracted as someone opened the door. She paused to listen even though she knew it was only Henry who could open the door without knocking as they shared the room together. She counted every of his step from the moment he closed the door till he got to the side of the bed where she was laying. He also sat and laid beside her.
They both remained in silence for a long while, both busy with their imaginations even though they could feel in their hearts that their thoughts were connecting to each other’s.
‘Are you thinking about me?’ someone asked.
Tara froze for a moment, wondering whose mouth the question had come out from. She turned her face to his side and met him already looking at her.
‘Why do you think I should be thinking of you?’ Henry asked back and Tara realized that the question had come from her.
‘I don’t know.’ She replied and turned her face back to the ceiling. She could still feel his eyes focused intently on her face.
‘Is it because you’re also thinking about me?’ Henry asked.
She turned back to him. ‘I don’t know.’
‘You were not thinking about me?’
‘I was,’ she answered and looked up again.
‘You just said you don’t know.’
‘Yes, I don’t know why I think you also should be thinking about me.’
Henry took in a breath and swallowed in. He turned his face to the ceiling, ‘I was thinking about how happy we could be together once this is all over.’
‘Would that day really come?’ Tara asked with a sad look on her face.
Henry turned his face back to her immediately, wondering why she sounded like she was so full of doubts. ‘Of course, it would come. Don’t you want it?’ Henry asked, staring straight into her eyes. He could see something he had never seen before in her eyes, fear – fear of the future.
‘I do want it,’ she answered and turned her face back up. ‘But it seems to be coming too slow.’
‘Patience Tara, we need patience to fight the rest of this battle and win.’
‘I hope we win with patience soon, because I’m already running out of it.’
‘Please don’t, lets hold on till the end.’ Henry said in a pleading tone.
Tara was about to reply him but an alarm sounded on her phone. She reached for it and checked the screen before rising up. ‘It a minute to the publishing time of the new post, we have to go create discussion topics for it on social forums.’
Henry rose hesitatingly with her. ‘How I wish someone else could do that right now.’
‘Every other person has his responsibilities,’ Tara replied. She stripped off her shirt and opened her wardrobe to take out another.
‘Yea, Tara!’ Henry called out loud. He seemed to have just remembered something.
She turned back and gazed at his face.
‘I got a credit alert from Chief Gabriel; he just paid the outstanding salary debts and this month’s salaries.’ Henry said.
‘Yea, is it complete? He called to tell me.’
‘Yes, it’s complete.’ Henry replied. He followed behind Tara who had finished putting on the new top and was proceeding to the door. ‘How have you being paying everyone if you’ve not been receiving payments from him?’
‘I pay from my money,’ she replied him. ‘I have and can get enough to pay triple of the salaries for a whole year.’
Henry’s mouth was left agape. He knew she was speaking the truth and was amazed at the level of her wealth.
‘Sh*t!’ Dave cursed as he landed on the ground to dodge the bullet. He rolled to the back of the sofa close to him and pulled out his gun. He peeped carefully to check Chief Nonso and found the man already lying on the floor and trembling. He dashed out from his hiding place and took two three shots towards the place where the gunshot came from. He hid behind another sofa where he could see Chief Nonso, the man had gotten up and was trying to leave the place with his head bowed in fear.
‘Hey! Come here,’ Dave called him in whispers. The man looked back in fright and his eyes met with Dave’s, he quickly turned and journeyed towards Dave.
Dave sprung up from his hiding place and shot twice towards the passage where the bullet came from again, directing the Chief with his left hand to hide in the spot he just stood from. He hid again at the initial place and turned to talk to the Chief who was hiding behind the other sofa.
‘How many entrances and exits do you have in this house?’ Dave asked the chief.
‘One at the back, and two others at the left and right sides of the house.’ the man replied.
‘Who is that person shooting and what does he want?’ Dave asked again, really hoping to get an answer from the man.
The man stared back at him with a pity look on his face. ‘I don’t have an idea who it is or what the person wants, the only person that was in the house with us was your partner.’ Chief Nonso replied.
Dave hissed gently. He knew the man was trying to insinuate that Stephanie was the shooter but Dave didn’t think it was possible, of course except his suspicions about Stephanie working with Samantha Osman was true. He however was it couldn’t be true. It made no sense. If Stephanie had wanted to kill him or the man, she had gotten enough chance to do so without any problem, her phone which he found on the floor also further proved that she had been captured by whosoever the shooter was.
He didn’t waste much time on thinking. He needed to act fast before the enemy.
‘Sir is there any other place we can leave this house apart from the front gate?’ he asked the Chief again in whispers as he refixed his gun.
‘No, the whole place is fenced, the gate is the only way to get out of this compound.
‘Okay,’ Dave paused and looked around the place for thirty seconds. ‘You go out through this door at the count of three, wait for me at the corridor, I’ll meet you in a second. Do you get me?’
Chief Nonso nodded in reply. He watched as Dave handled the gun, wondering how a journalist was handling the machine so perfectly and what made him come to the interview with a gun. He remembered the SSS officer’s words and began to suspect that Dave and his partner were not real journalists.
‘Okay,’ Dave looked up and stared at the man’s face. He was ready with his gun in his right hand and his phone in the left hand. He was dialing a number. ‘1…2…3,’ he counted and the man sprang up to his feet immediately and headed for the door. Dave also got up at the same time and began to shoot sporadically at the opposite side as he also moved to the front door walking backwardly. ‘Wait,’ Dave stopped the man from steppingdown the balcony. He jammed the front door of the house and pulled the chief to hide behind his body. He moved closer to the rear of the balcony leaning against the wall and tried to peep to see if anyone was coming. He raised his gun and almost shot but his fingers could not pull the trigger. He saw a man dragging Stephanie by the neck and holding a gun to her head.
‘Hey Mister!’ the man dragging Stephanie said with a crooked smile. He stopped about six metres directly opposite the corridor where Dave was standing and pointing the gun from. He held Stephanie close to his body with his arm tightened around her neck and his positioned at the side of her head.
Dave was still pointing his gun at the man but he didn’t dare to shoot. He noticed a black spot on Stephanie’s face and he clenched his teeth in anger, he knew the man must have punched her in the face. Stephanie was looking directly into his face and shivering in the man’s hands. Dave knew that her life depended on any step he would take at that moment and he was feared making any mistake that would cause her to be killed.
He placed his gaze on the face of the man behind Stephanie for a moment. The face looked familiar but Dave couldn’t place where he had seen it before. He thought it could be one of Samantha Osman’s boys whom he had seen during his investigations on her.
‘Let’s strike a deal,’ Stainless finally began to talk. He tightened his grip on Stephanie’s neck harder and looked directly into Dave’s face. ‘You release the man to me and I release her to you,’ he said, talking about Chief Nonso who was behind Dave.
Dave was careful not to turn back to look at the Chief but he was sure that the man was hiding his face behind his.
‘What do you want him for?’ Dave asked.
‘The same thing you want him for,’ Stainless replied with a smirk.
Dave looked at Stephanie’s face again. He couldn’t bear to see her in pains like she was in at that moment. He took a quick glance at the face of the man behind him. He knew it wouldn’t make sense to release the man to get Stephanie but he was willing to do it to ensure the pain stops for her.
‘I came here for an interview,’ Dave replied. ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’
‘Shut up! You *****ng lying b******.’
‘Hey, take it easy,’ Dave said and tried to take some steps forward but stopped on seeing Stainless threatening look with his fingers close to the trigger. ‘Hey! Be careful, don’t touch the trigger,’ Dave said in a frightened voice.
‘Step back and release the man to me, I know you’re here because you know his connection to Samantha Osman, you know he sponsors her.’ Stainless shouted at him.
Dave heart skipped a beat, he tried to speak again in defence but no words came out from his mouth. He stayed quiet, staring into Stainless’ eyes. He tried positioning his gun well as he studied Stainless’ body and hands movement with his eyes to see whether he could get a clean shot into his forehead. Suddenly, he heard the door open from behind. He turned thinking that Chief Nonso was the one trying to run back inside the house out of fright but he didn’t have the opportunity to see who it really was. Something hit his head and he fell to the floor and blacked out.
AGUDA HOUSE, ASO ROCK.
‘Inspector General Rikau,’ Vice President Elvis shouted into the phone as he walked into his room. He was previously seated at the living room and watching a TV program where the speakers were analyzing political issues when his daughter Vivian joined him in the living room and showed him a news headline on the PobsOnline website stating that Samantha Osman had released new allegations against the Inspector General of the nation.
‘But PobsOnline website isn’t a news website but a fiction story site, how are you sure this news isn’t fiction?’ He had asked his daughter with doubt in his eyes. She clicked on the topic to read the full post and the father joined her in reading. Samantha Osman had accused the Inspector General of being a leader of a section of the BokoHaram group which troubled the nation over fifteen years ago.
The Vice President took the phone from her and typed in a news website address into the navigation bar. The top item on the newly loaded website had a similar heading to the news on the PobsOnline website. He opened the post and read the article; it contained almost the same content, only written in other words. It was then he picked his phone and proceeded to his bedroom.
‘Hello sir,’ the Inspector General replied from the other end. His voice was cool and calm, he seemed not to have heard about the news.
‘Have you heard all the things Samantha Osman said about you?’
‘About me?’ the Inspector General asked with a doubting tone, he seemed not to believe that she could have said something about him.
‘Yes, she just published an article about you and I’m afraid all the things she alleged in the post are true just like mine.’
‘I don’t understand you sir, what did she say I did?’
‘She talked about your involvement in Boko Haram and Child trafficking, and she also mentioned every detail on how you progressed to being a police officer and Inspector General.’
‘Oh! Yarosullulahi!’ the Inspector General exclaimed in Arabic language, calling to God for help in trouble. ‘Let me confirm this please.’
The Vice President dialed another number immediately the call ended. ‘Hello,’ he said in an impatient tone immediately the call was answered. ‘Carry out another one tonight, and increase the fatality,’ he said to the receiver without replying to the person’s greetings.
He sat on a stool beside the bed and placed his forehead on his knees, letting out a deep breath. Samantha Osman was frustrating his plans and threatening his existence and he was running out of ideas already. There was one more person to call, he raised his head slowly and took in a very deep breath before dialing the number.
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‘Move man, move,’ Rex said to Chief Nonso who was now without help. The man raised his hands in the air and climbed down the balcony shakily, he took a brief look at Dave who was now laying motionlessly on the floor.
‘Boss, what do we do to her?’ Stainless asked about Stephanie as Rex stepped down the balcony after the Chief.
Rex stared at Stephanie’s face for a moment. ‘Just let her be, the only person we have a business with here is this man.’
‘What about the SSS officer?’ Stainless asked again, pointing to Dave on the balcony.
‘We still need that dude alive, he’s been very helpful to us.’
Stainless pushed Stephanie violently away and ordered her to stay on her knees before turning back. He walked quickly into the gateman’s office where the frightened gateman was hiding, thinking he hadn’t been seen. Stainless came out few seconds later after a gunshot was heard.
Rex was already standing by Chief Nonso’s car side, still pointing a gun at the man. Stainless quickly opened the gate and hurried to join his boss. Rex got into the backseat with the man while Stainless drove the car.
They drove out of the compound leaving Stephanie on her knees and the gate wide opened.
Stephanie got up to her feet immediately after the car was driven out of sight and rushed to the gate to check their distance. She rushed back into the compound to meet Dave, Dave was already trying to get up from the floor.
‘Dave, are you okay?’ she asked in a frightened voice as she knelt beside him and tried to help him to sit up.
‘Arrgh, what happened to me?’ Dave groaned with his eyes closed tightly and his hands on his head.
‘Hey! Are you okay?’ Stephanie asked, supporting his back with her arm.
‘Steph, what happened here?’ Dave asked. He managed to open his eyes and turned back to look at Stephanie.
‘They hit you with something on your head and you fell to the ground,’ Stephanie replied to him.
‘Arrgh! Dave groaned in pain and he closed his eyes as he held his head with his hands again. He let out a deep breath and shook his head briefly before opening the eyes. He placed his two hands on the ground and began to look around the place, his eyes searching for something which seemed important.
‘They took him,’ Stephanie said, realizing he was looking for Chief Nonso.
Dave suddenly remembered all that happened, he remembered the sound of the door opening and he turning back to see what the Chief was up to only for him to see an iron rod wave across his face and hit his head. He didn’t see the face of the person who hit him but he was sure it wasn’t the Chief.
He hadn’t prepared for it, he had thought that there was only one intruder in the house and wasn’t expecting anyone else to surface from elsewhere.
‘Let’s get out of here,’ he said to Stephanie as he managed to get on his feet. Stephanie held his hand to help him maintain balance as she followed behind. ‘We need to leave immediately, before the police shows up.’ Dave said as they walked out through the opened gate.
‘They killed the gateman also,’ Stephanie informed Dave. Dave seemed not to have heard, he was managing to walk in pains.
‘Arrgh!’ Dave closed his eyes and winced in pain again. His vision was blurry and his legs still shaky, he leaned on Stephanie for support. They both stood by the road side and waited for the road to clear before crossing to the other side. They crossed to the other end and proceeded straight to the car. Stephanie got into the driver’s side while Dave entered into the passenger’s side. She started the engine and drove off in few minutes, they began to hear police sirens approaching from the return lane as they drove on.
‘Where are we driving to?’ Stephanie asked Dave.
‘Back to the hotel,’ Dave replied. He had taken out his phone and was trying to dial a number.
‘Why? I think you need quick medical attention now,’ Stephanie suggested.
‘No, back to the hotel,’ Dave replied in a strong tone. ‘We can’t go to the hospital now.’ His phone call was answered and he began to speak to the receiver. ‘Hello sir,’ he said into the phone.
‘Agent Dave, we heard some gunshots, hope all is well.’ The receiver replied.
‘Yea, thanks for your help but things have gone wrong, I didn’t plan for what we met in there. It happened we had enemies in the house waiting to kidnap the man. They have him now and I don’t know where they’ve taken him to.’
‘That’s serious, what do you intend to do now?’
‘I need another favor from you guys.’
‘Please do not mention anything about my involvement or yours in this to anyone, not even trusted NIS officers, please.’ Dave pleaded.
Dave gasped and closed his eyes after the call ended. He rested his head and took in a deep breath. He stayed in the position for two minutes before opening his eyes again.
‘Steph, I think we need to make contact with Samantha Osman.’ He said to Stephanie, placing his gaze on her face.
‘How do we do that?’ Stephanie asked and took a brief glance at him.
‘I was thinking of contacting her through the forms available on the websites but that may not really be effective,’ he said and took in a breath. ‘We would make our allegations public tomorrow. With that she might try to contact us and find us herself.’
‘Are you sure that would work?’
‘I think it would work better than the first idea.’
‘But what reason do we need her to contact us?’ Stephanie asked, staring at her face with a doubtful look. ‘And is it true that Chief Nonso sponsors Samantha Osman? Is that why we held the interview?’
Dave was shocked by her questions and turned away sharply. ‘Where did you get that from?’ He had asked already before remembering that the man who held her hostage accused him of knowing what she mentioned. He bowed his head slightly and closed his eyes for some seconds.
‘So it’s true?’ Stephanie continued. ‘You knew that Chief Nonso sponsors Samantha Osman and you brought me here to help you get information from a criminal associate?’ She asked him, looking disappointed at him. ‘What if they killed me?’ she added in a sad tone.
‘I’m sorry Steph,’ he raised his head and looked at her. ‘I’m sorry I lied to you, I’d explain better when we get back to the hotel.’
Stephanie sighed and shook her head.
‘For now, we can’t take this car back to the hotel, we have to discard it somewhere.’
Stephanie turned to him sharply again, her eyebrow gathered together and her lips twitched, demanding for an explanation on why they had to discard the car.
‘Trust me Steph,’ Dave said calmly, looking into her eyes. ‘I’ll explain everything to you.’
SAMANTHA OSMAN’S BASE
All the members of the gang were seated in the usual fashion in the living room, listening to the news and making comments. The news headlines were read out by the Newscaster and one of the items read stated that Samantha Osman and her gang had attacked another store in Lagos State and got away with goods not less than five million naira, leaving three people dead and five others injured.
‘These guys are desperate,’ Henry voiced out. The rest of them continued to watch in silence.
Fifteen minutes into the news, Tarasha received a message alert on her phone. An email had entered. She opened the mail app to read and was shocked at the pictures she saw. Chief Nonso had been captured and was tied to a chair in the pictures. There was a male figure standing beside him which looked familiar. She realized that it was Rex.
Another mail entered and she opened quickly. It contained only few texts. ‘Your godfather is in our custody, you have twenty four hours to drop the allegation against Chief Elvis Richards or you get his dead body sent to you.’
Tarasha gaped out loud and sprung to her feet in a manner which alarmed the others. They all fixed their gazes on her while she stared blankly at the wall.
‘Our current strategy is failing,’ she began, not looking at anyone in particular. Cole reduced the volume of the television to hear her well. ‘Chief Nonso Abel has been captured by the Vice President and they’re threatening us to drop all allegations we have against him. We have to change our strategy; the new plan is to kill anyone at the slightest opportunity we have.’
Tarasha is about to employ more desperate and dangerous measures. The story gets more exciting as the gets nearer.
To be continue