Tarasha closed her eyes and heaved a sigh of frustration after reading to the end of the page. She closed the book temporarily, placing her finger on the page she was supposed to read next. She flashed a look at Henry who was now fast asleep and just changed his position in the bed. She continued to read from the next page and she read how her mother, Adunni was chosen by her village to be the first female child to go to the university because of her brilliance. She had been sent to a lecturer of the desired school who was also an indigene of the village and she got raped. It was stated there that the lecturer was also a chief, but the title which he held wasn’t stated.
Now that she knew that her real mother’s name was Adunni, she scrolled to the next date in the diary, hoping to find her father’s name there.
In the next page which covered the summary of the day after, Lydia Danjuma had put down Adunni’s side of the story. Tarasha learnt that her mother was raped at the lecturer’s office but the lecturer’s name was still not written there.
She wondered what Adunni, her real mother looked like and wondered where she was at that moment. She hoped her mother would be a kind and lovely woman like Lydia Danjuma was. She scrolled to the next page, anxious to read the rest of the story but what she saw on the first paragraph broke her heart.
‘I got to the clinic this morning to discover that Adunni was nowhere to be found, she had escaped the hospital leaving her baby and a note behind in the ward. She told us in the note how the baby had been a curse to her and how seeing the baby every time would forever make her unhappy for loosing the opportunity to further her education. She said she has decided to leave the baby for us or whoever needs it and go in search for a brighter future for herself.
We tried to no avail to search around for Adunni but there were no traces of her. The hospital does not have any security guard except for a young lanky man who stays at the gate, and he never saw her leave the vicinity. I guess he slept in his small office all through the night.’
Tarasha let out a deep breath after reading it. She tapped her power button to turn the phone screen off. She closed her eyes and fell into the bed. She realized that there was no point seeking for who Adunni was and if she were still alive. The woman considered her as a curse and that is what she had really been to the nation. She felt it sweet however, to be a curse and pain to people.
Adunni could go to hell if she wanted. She decided that the person she would always recognize as her mum would be late Lydia Danjuma.
Tarasha eyes popped open just as she felt a hand across her breast in the bed where she laid, she knew it was Henry and didn’t bother to protest. Memories of the night before ran through her mind again and she suddenly remembered that they had work to do that morning.
She realized that she had been distracted by the news of her real maternity that she forgot to make the necessary plans for their operation that morning. The first thing that was supposed to happen was her meeting with Dave which she wasn’t sure what going to hold anymore.
‘Henry!’she called with a loud voice as she sprung up to her feet. She hurried to the table and pulled the chair to sit on it. She opened up her laptop and clicked on the boot button.
‘Tara,’ Henry replied with a sleepy voice, rubbing his eyes as he sat up.
‘Let’s get to work, get Cole to make arrangements for the cars while you set up the NSCC cameras and servers to the point to the venue of the event.’
Henry yawned loudly and stretched, dragging his feet as he proceeded to the door.
‘Be fast about it,’ Tarasha said to him in a loud and strong tone.
Dave folded his arms and watched as the vehicle drove out through the hotel gate. He heaved a sigh and closed his eyes, the car was out of sight when he opened his eyes. He turned back and proceeded into the hotel. Stephanie was gone and probably gone from his life forever.
He got back into his room after two minutes and settled on the seat behind the table hurriedly. He turned on his laptop which was already positioned on the table. He had so much work to do which he had delayed because he was trying to stop Stephanie from leaving, but since she had eventually left, life had to go on.
A notification box popped up the screen immediately the system finished booting. He zoomed it and found out that he had received two new emails into two different email addresses. The first was sent from Samantha Osman to the email address associated with his news blog and the second was sent to his work email address.
He opened the first one and quickly read through, Samantha Osman had sent a message asking him to confirm if he would be coming for their agreed meeting. The second was from the NIS office and he was being queried for leading a team of men to the wrong place without getting enough information first.
He hissed as he got up to his feet and headed for the bathroom.
ABUJA, MADAM HENRIETTA’S HOME
Stephanie alighted after the cab pulled up right in the compound. She paid the man and walked towards the boot of the car to get her bags. The driver followed to help her get the bags out. She took a quick glance at her wristwatch and sighed. She should have gotten home earlier but the driver had arrived at the airport twenty five minutes late.
She carried her bag and proceeded into the house while the cab man reversed the car and drove out of the compound.
She inserted her key into the door hole and turned it, but it didn’t open, a sign that it was locked from behind. She was surprised. The only person that could be in the house was supposed to be in Lagos with Elvis Richards. She then realized that it was possible Madam Henrietta had left one of her maids in the place. She stepped back and pressed the door bell. To her surprise, she heard madam Henrietta’s voice demanding for who was at the door.
She was in shock. Her mind replayed the scene at the airport again and she affirmed in her heart that it was really Madam Henrietta whom she had seen the day before, her eyes couldn’t have deceived her.
‘Who is it?’ Madam Henrietta asked again, this time her voice was closer to the door.
Stephanie was still too shocked to reply but the woman checked her face from the peephole of the door and identified her.
‘Stephanie!’ Madam Henrietta exclaimed in surprise as she opened the door. ‘You didn’t tell me you were coming today.’
Stephanie was still shocked to see her and she didn’t realize that the woman’s hands was spread out for an embrace.
‘Hey! What’s wrong?’ the woman asked with raised eyebrows.
‘Oh! I’m sorry mum,’ Stephanie finally came back to herself, realizing that her mother was in front of her. She hugged the woman briefly and proceeded into the living room leaving her mother at the entrance.
‘Steph, is there any problem?’ Madam Henrietta asked after locking the door back.
‘No mum, I’m just feeling a bit tired.’ Stephanie replied and sunk into the sofa and kept her bag on the floor beside her leg.
‘Are you sure it’s just tiredness,’ the woman asked and sat on a seat beside her.
‘Yes,’ Stephanie replied. She let out a deep breath and finally took time to look at the woman’s face well. She was putting on a white singlet and black shorts and was sweating profusely like one who had just finished a strenuous exercise. Stephanie didn’t notice the smell of burning paper(smoke) on her body.
‘Are you coming from Lagos?’ Madam Henrietta asked.
‘Yes, I took the 8AM flight,’ Stephanie replied.
‘Okay, I hope there’s no problem.’ Madam Henrietta let out a sigh of relief. She had also flown to Abuja that morning and the flight had left about the same time. She was sure that what saved her from the embarrassment of them running into each other was because she followed the Vice President’s crew who returned to Abuja that morning on a separate plane.
‘Ermm… No problem,’ Stephanie replied, still looking confused. She suddenly remembered the previous conversation she had with the woman and remembered that she said she would be traveling out of Abuja very early that morning. ‘But Mom, you said you were going to be leaving Abuja this morning.’
The woman mouth opened in shock as she remembered that she truly said she was going to travel that morning. ‘I… I…,’ she stammered for some seconds before she was about to come up with a good lie. ‘I actually wanted to travel but I have to wait because of my friend.’
‘Your friend, mum? You never told me about this friend you have in Abuja.’
‘Yea, Steph. We’ve never really had time to come to this state together except for now.’
‘Well,’ Stephanie let out a deep breath. She continued to stare Madam Henrietta’s face, still baffled as to how the woman was in Abuja. ‘Were you by chance in Lagos yesterday?’ she finally asked when she couldn’t hold it in anymore.
‘Lagos?’ Madam Henrietta opened her eyes wide in pretense. ‘I’ve not been to Lagos yet. Why are you asking? Didn’t we talk yesterday?’
Stephanie faked a smile. ‘Nothing Mum, don’t mind me.’ she said and picked her bag from the floor.
‘Yes mum.’ She got up to her feet and proceeded hurriedly with her bag to the room.
‘Stephanie, are you sure everything is alright?’ Madam Henrietta asked as she watched the girl go.
‘Everything is alright mum!’Stephanie shouted back.
She heaved a sigh of relief after Stephanie had gone out of sight. She wondered what made Stephanie ask if she was in Lagos. She realized that it could be the same reason she called the day before to ask where she was. Maybe someone who knew her had seen her and reported to Stephanie. She had to thread more carefully, she had gone a long way with Stephanie and couldn’t afford to lose the girl’s trust now.
Five minutes later, Stephanie returned to the living room with a more confused look. She was still putting on the same clothes even though they now looked ruffled.
‘Steph, you must be very hungry,’ Madam Henrietta said as she heard the girl’s footsteps approaching.’I prepared noodles this morning…’ she was saying as she turned back but stopped when she saw how the girl looked.
‘Mum, did you move those files in the cabinet?’Stephanie asked with a frown.
‘Which files are you talking about?’ Madam Henrietta raised a brow.
‘The ones I came to Abuja for, you told me they were here.’ she got to the woman’s front and stopped.
Madam Henrietta let out a tired sigh and shook her head. ‘Steph, what do you need those things for?’
‘Those things mum?’ Stephanie exclaimed and widened her eyes in amazement, wondering why her mum was referring to the documents like unimportant ones.
‘Yea, what do you need them for?’
‘Mum, those documents contain proof to my father’s innocence.’
‘And what do you need them for?’
Her mouth opened widely in shock, she couldn’t believe her ears. ‘Mum, I don’t believe that you’re asking me that.’
‘What’s there not to believe? I want to know what you need them for.
Stephanie gasped. She tried to speak but couldn’t find words to express herself.
‘Look here Steph, those documents are best thrown into the garbage bin, they can’t do you any good.’
‘Mum! Don’t tell me you threw them away.’
‘They’re on the field at the backyard.’ Madam Henrietta replied with a nonchalant attitude and turned her face from her.
Stephanie made her way to the backyard hurriedly. She hoped that the woman had not done anything to make the documents useless or damaged. She got to the field at the back and began to look for the documents around but found nothing, except for some fresh ashes at a corner of the field.
She was about to turn back and go into the house when she saw Madam Henrietta coming towards her from behind. The woman had her arms folded across her chest and her lower lip folded in as she walked.
‘Mum, I can’t find the documents you’re talking about.’
The older woman walked past her silently and stopped at the corner where the ashes were.
Stephanie suddenly realized that the documents were what had been burnt to ashes. She screamed out loud in agony.
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PRESIDENTIAL LODGE, LAGOS.
‘Good morning your Excellency,’ the Vice President could hear the voice accompanying the knock at the door.
He stepped out of the bathroom with the towel wrapped around his waist and moved closer to the door to answer his assistant.
‘Please, give me some more minutes to dress up,’ he said and turned back towards the wardrobe.
He could feel his head pound with every step he took and he could feel hotness under his skin. He however forced his body to keep moving and to prepare for his outing.
Twenty minutes later, he was dressed in a white shirt and black trousers, putting on a navy blue tie. He sat at the dining table, eating his breakfast slowly. His security officers were standing close to the wall at the other end of the dining table. They were already dressed in their military outfits and were fully ready for the outing.
The nylon containing his medicines and a glass cup of water were brought closer to him after he finished the meal.
‘Do I need to use this thing again?’ he asked in a disgusted tone. ‘It’s not working; I’m feeling worse now than when it started.’
‘I think it’s the more reason you have to take it sir,’ his assistant said in a humble tone.
He stared at the medicines for a while before he picked them hesitatingly to use.
EVENT – Launch of the New General Hospital
The whole place was filled with activities. There were several foreigners and more citizens of the country present at the launch of the hospital. The new hospital facility was one of the best new facilities in the world. It was built with so many equipments and tools which were not readily available in most hospitals of the world.
For the event, the gate of the hospital was opened and party tents were arranged on the field.
Tarasha sat quietly with Henry in the car, watching those who came for the event from afar with the aid of a viewing device , both citizens of the nation and the foreigners. At exactly twelve am, the entry of the Vice President was announced.
Tarasha felt disgusted as she saw people come from right, left and center because they wanted to greet the Vice President. Two security officials stood beside the man but several others stood at different strategic places of the event ground.
Soon, Tarasha found what she was looking for. She saw the security official who just arrived and was taking a previously occupied spot by another official. It was Cole in the security official’s dress. That was a major step in their plan, finding a way to get close to the Vice President to ease his kidnap.
To be continue On Monday