‘Good morning Cole, do we have any message yet?’ Tarasha asked as she walked into the living room with a mug containing warm tea in her right hand.
‘Morning boss, Yes, we have a reply already.’Cole replied. He stretched and yawned on the long sofa where he spent the night in. His phone dropped from the sofa to the floor and he quickly reached for it.
‘When did the reply come in?’ Tarasha asked as she gulped down the remaining contents of the cup.
‘Late last night, you were asleep already.’Cole replied. He already sat up and was trying to access the mail from his device.
‘Do you have it there?’ Tarasha asked as she dropped the cupnoisily on the centre table and joined him on the three seater sofa.
‘I’m trying to get it,’he replied her and adjusted himself to give her space on the seat.
It took Cole a minute to get the mail, he handed the phone to Tarasha and rested his back.
Tarasha read it through for a few seconds and looked up. ‘They accepted?’ she asked in surprise as she stared at Cole’s face.
Cole let out a breath and only stared back at her in reply. Tarasha rose to her feet and began to pace around slowly in thoughts. After some minutes, she stopped for a second beside the centre table and picked up the cup of tea she had dropped there, wanting to take a sip but she realized she had finished the tea before dropping the cup. She smashed the cup angrily on the floor.
‘Boss!’Cole stared at her in surprise, lifting his two legs up to avoid stepping on the broken cup.
‘Sorry about that,’ she flashed a look at him and apologized. ‘Please get Tomi to clean it up.’
Colereturned to the living room a minute after but sat at a different place. Tomi joined seconds later with a sweeper and something to pack the dirt.
‘How many of the assasinagents have you been able to reach?’Tarasha asked Cole some minutes later. She was now seated on the three seater as Tomi had finished cleaning the place.
‘I reached ten of them before two a.m, I got responses from three of them instantly and got two other responses this morning already,’he replied her.
‘Are they positive responses?’ she asked.
‘Yea…’Cole said with a note of confidence. Then his look changed again and he frowned. ‘Maybe,’ he answered again, this time with so much uncertainty in his voice.
Tarasha raised her brows at him, expecting more explanation.
‘Most of them were anxious to know about the pay, and except for two of them, they really wanted to know the reason you needed them.’Cole added.
‘Did you tell them it’s for a special mission?’
‘Yes, I did. But as it is, they’re anxious to know what the special mission is.’
‘Have they agreed to meet with you?’
‘Three have, and I agreed to cover their flight expenses. I should get the responses from all others before twelve noon today.’
‘And where did you choose to meet with them?’
‘I’ve not gotten a specific venue yet, I’ve only made arrangements for their hotel rooms. I will decide the venue when I get enough responses.’
‘Please ensure you do, you can make use of my personal account for the money transfers when you’re ready.’she said as she got up on her feet to leave.
‘Okay boss,’Cole said, nodding his head gently. He watched her walk away slowly before moving back to the three seater sofa to continue his sleep.
**New General Hospital, Gbagada**
‘Good morning Dad, I hope you’re feeling better now.’James greeted his Dad as he settled on the seat beside the bed.
‘James, Good morning. Yes, I am feeling better.’ Chief Elvis Richards replied in a thick baritone voice. ‘I saw you here when I woke at midnight.’
‘Yes,I had to make use of the chair overnight.’
‘And you allowed them sleep comfortably in other rooms?’ the man questioned, referring to his guard and his assistant. One was standing close to the door while the other was sitting some distance behind.
‘Well, I just felt like being the one to watch over you.’
‘Nice of you, but you should still have let them, that’s what they’re paid to do. I’m sure you’re here in Lagos for something important and you’d need to rest.’
‘It’s no issue Dad, I really wanted to be the one to stay here.’
‘Well, how did you get to know so quick I was sick?The news couldn’t have gone so far when you got here yesterday.’
‘I was actually here when it happened, I was part of the event.’ James answered.
‘You mean you were part of the hospital opening?’
‘Yes, I was but I didn’t come in for the exhibition.’
‘Okay, that’s strange. I’m not aware that you’re a fan of functions like this.’
‘Yes Dad, I actually wanted to see you and have a talk with you. I’ve not been able to do that since the last time I met with you at your house.’
‘Yes, we’ve not spoken since then.’ the man said in a low voice, stretching his body gently in the bed. ‘I really do hope this conversation you want with me would not end the way the last one ended.’
‘No, it won’t.’ James replied, letting out a smile. ‘But we can’t talk now, and I think I’m talking too much with you already, you should be resting.’
‘I’m talking with my mouth James, that isn’t where the sickness is.’
James smiled, ‘I saw the doctor after freshening up, he told me you were awake and asked me not to bother you with talks.’
The Vice President sighed and looked away, wondering in his mind what James had to talk to him about and why James was sounding so friendly. Maybe it was only because he was on the sick bed and James was having pity for him in the condition.
He turned back and looked at his assistant. ‘Where’s my phone? Do I have missed calls or messages?’
‘Yes, you do.’ the assistant replied and proceeded towards the Vice President after taking out the phone from his pocket.
‘Not now Dad,’ James snatched the phone from the assistant’s hand. ‘You just had breakfast and your medications, the doctor asked that you rest well. Your assistant would continue attending to the messages for you.’
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Dr Ekwuemesat quietly in his bedroom , reflecting on what his life had turned to. He wasn’t feeling unhappy or depressed, but he still felt things were not the way they ought to be. Actually, he had been more relaxed and been with less trouble in his mind since he had been with Samantha Osman. He couldn’t tell if she was like a protective covering of some sort but that was what she appeared to have been for him. His nightmares and premonition of evil had ceased since he started leaving with her and his heart had been filled with strange feelings of fulfilment knowing that he was in a team of people who were determined to punish the bad eggs in the country. He was also happy that he would have the opportunity of proving to his beloved ex wife that he could still make things right.
Strangely, he had stopped missing his family and the hospital but he didn’t wish to return to them if the Samantha Osman team did not succeed with their assignment. He only hoped that all would be well with his family and the hospital before everything ended.
A gentle knock at the door disrupted his thoughts and he looked up. The knock sounded again.
‘Please come in,’ he said after adjusting himself on the bed.
The door opened slowly and Tarasha walked in. She closed the door and stared at him for a few seconds before proceeding to the bed. She sat beside him and looked blankly into his eyes.
He stared back at her without saying anything, wondering what she had come to do in the room. He had seen her in the living room when he went for his breakfast and they had spoken casually, she hadn’t given a hint that she was coming to see him.
‘Doc, I have some questions to ask and I hope you do give me answers.’ Tarasha finally began to speak after leaving the man to wander in his thoughts for more than two minutes.
‘Of course,I will give you answers as long as I have them.’ the doctor replied.
‘It appears that you were very close to Dr Danjuma’s family before their death.’ she said.
‘Yes, they were like family friends to my family.’
‘So, that means you know much about their personal lives, and their kids.’
‘Yes, I think I do.’ the doctor replied. ‘But I’m not sure what you really want and why you’re asking about them.’
‘I only need to connect some things, the Danjuma family was one of those families destroyed by Chief Elvis Richards. We cannot ignore them if we want to bring down the Vice President.’
‘Okay, I’ll give you answers to your questions as long as I have them.’
‘Thank you, I gotta start now.’she paused for some seconds before she continued. ‘What happened to the Danjuma’s case against Chief Elvis Richards after their death?’
‘It was swept off, there was no one to continue. But even while they were alive, Chief Elvis won against them, Danjuma only threatened to take up the case again.’
‘So the whole of the Danjuma family was killed?Were there no relatives?’
‘The relatives of Dr Danjuma who I knew didn’t stay in Lagos and since Danjuma died, I never heard from them or about them.’
‘Is there a possibility that any member of the Danjuma’s family survived the assassination?’
‘I don’t think so, I know that they wanted to wipe the whole family out, I don’t think they changed that wish.’
There was silence for a moment.
‘What about the girl child of the Danjuma’s? You mentioned that she wasn’t their child.’
‘Yes, she wasn’t. They only saved and helped the mother and baby.’
‘Do you know who the mother of the girl is?’
‘I think I met the mother once or twice, she was a young lady then.’
‘How old was the girl child when you met the mother?’
‘I can’t remember that.’
‘Did you know when she was born?’
‘No, I don’t. I only knew after the birth when Lydia Danjuma assumed the role of the mother.’
Tarasha felt her heart ache at the sound of his last words but she held herself in and refused to make any outward expression.
‘So, can we find this girl’s mother?’
‘Huh?’ the doctor’s face thickened with a frown. ‘Find the girl’s mother? I’m not sure. What do you need her for?’
‘I do think she must be very close to the Danjuma’s family for Mrs Lydia to agree to cater for her baby and if she really was close, then I can get some information from her.’
‘No, I thought I told you before that they only found the young girl in a bush with the baby. They never knew her before then.’
‘Oh! So Lydia Danjuma found the mother and baby in a bush and decided to take home the baby?’
‘No, I think the mother needed help. And Lydia didn’t find them alone, she was with her husband when they found them together.’
‘Oh! What a nice couple they must have been.’
‘Yea, they were nice people.’ Dr Ekwueme said in a sad voice. ‘Its sad that the world is cruel and it doesn’t matter if you’re nice or not, evil happens to anyone.’
‘Why should evil happen to everyone?’Tarasha asked with a sad expression on her face. ‘My parents believed in a God they always prayed to and they believed he would help them avert evil. Alas! That God was only a figment of their imagination, he never existed.’
Dr Ekwueme flashed a quick look at her face, surprised to hear her talk like that. ‘Are you an atheist?’
‘What does that mean?’ she let out a chuckle. ‘Let’s go back to our discussion, is there anyway to find Dr Danjuma or Mrs Lydia’s relatives?’
‘I’m not sure,’ Dr Danjuma paused to think. After a while, he heaved a sigh and looked into her eyes. ‘I know a particular family that used to visit them often, I’m not sure who was related to who but I’m sure they were family.’
‘How well do you know this family?’
‘Not too well, we only met a couple of times at social functions.’
‘Do you know the family name?’
‘Do you know where they stay?’
Tarasha sighed tiredly. ‘That means there’s no way to find them since you know nothing about them.’
‘I know that the man was an estate agent at a time, he showed us some houses he was in charge of and tried to encourage us to buy them.’
‘Do you still remember the location of those houses?’ she asked, raising her eyebrows hopefully.
‘Yes, I think I do.’
‘Great, prepare now. We’d leave the house in the next one hour.’ she said and sprang up to her feet.
‘Sir, you’ve had four missed calls from a particular number. He asked to speak with you directly.’ the Vice President’s assistant said to him.
‘Who’s the person?’the Vice President asked, letting out a yawn.
‘He said his name was Rex.’
‘Rex?’ his eyebrows raised. The assistant and some of the Vice President’s close guards had met Rex but they didn’t know his name or the full details of what he did with the Vice President. He tried to sit up and was assisted by his assistant to rest his back against the headboard. ‘Dial the number and give the phone to me.’
The assistant carried out the instruction and gave the phone to the Vice President.
‘Hello Rex,’ the Vice President said into the phone.
‘Vice President, I just fixed a meeting with Tarasha for you, when would you be fit enough to meet with her.’
‘You did what? How could you do that without asking from me?’ the Vice President flared up.
‘Relax your Excellency, I have a plan.’ Rex said confidently from the other end.
‘This your plan shouldn’t involve me, I won’t have the time to meet her.’
‘You would man, I would fix it in a good way. All you need to do is tell me when you’re leaving the hospital.’
‘I’m not in support of this Rex,’ the Vice President said tiredly.
‘When are you getting out of there?’ Rex replied adamantly.
‘I’m leaving today,’ he replied reluctantly.
‘Good, I’ll fix the meeting for next tomorrow.’ Asked
‘No Rex…’ Chief Elvis tried to argue but Rex had already ended the call.
He heaved a sigh and shook his head. Then he passed the phone back to his assistant and closed his eyes to think.
What’s Dr Danjuma and Tarasha about to find out in the next episode?