spoke again stubbornly.
‘Hey man! Is there anything you need to achieve with the answer I’ll give you to the question?’
‘No, I just want to know. Why did you decide to make yourself look like a big doll?’
Tomi and Dr Ekwueme tried their bests to conceal their laughter at Henry’s description of her but they couldn’t hide it enough, even Tarasha laughed briefly.
‘You will know the reason tomorrow morning, if you’re observant,’ Tarasha replied and turned her focus back to the TV.
There was silence in the room for the next few minutes as they waited for the evening news to begin. Dr Ekwueme replayed the day’s event in his mind and then something struck his mind as he remembered Henry calling Samantha a big doll. Henry had called Samantha Osman a different name which sounded like Omotara but the doctor wasn’t sure of what he heard. He glanced at Henry’s face and at the faces of everyone else in the living room, he knew it wasn’t the right time to ask Henry the question
Stephanie felt a bit of relief after her morning devotion and her hopes were renewed. For some reason, she believed that everything could still work out for her favour.
She reached for her phone and unlocked it. She swiped down the notification bar and found three missed calls. She wondered how she had slept so deep that she didn’t hear when the phone was ringing the night before. She dialed back the unknown number.
‘Hello,’ she said into the phone.
Silence greeted her from the other end.
‘Hello,’ she repeated again. There was no answer. She brought the phone down to look at the screen, the call was still on. ‘Hello,’ she said for the third time.
‘Good morning Steph,’ a masculine voice finally replied.
‘Good morning,’ she replied.
‘How are you doing this morning?’
‘I’m fine, what about you?’
‘Okay… Please, who am I speaking with?’ she asked, trying to figure out whose voice it was.
There was a sigh, and before there was a response she already knew who it was.
‘Yes, its Dave.’ he answered.
‘Steph, I’m really sorry for betraying your trust, I wish we could see again and talk, I’ll be able to make you understand.’
She also wished they could see and talk, she had a lot of things she wished to tell him but she still wasn’t ready to give up her stand.
‘I don’t think there’ll be need for that,’ she replied. ‘I don’t think we can work together.’
‘Steph, why are you being adamant?’ Dave asked boldly. ‘I need you and you also need me to work with you.’
‘What in the world gives you the impression that I need you?’ she asked angrily, annoyed at the fact that he thought himself so important. ‘I’ve done so many things on my own and this would be one of them.’
She ended the call immediately and flung the phone to the bed. She sat at the edge of the bed and covered her face with her palms. The phone began to ring but she ignored it, being sure that Dave was the one calling back.
She heaved a sigh as she pondered deeply. She wondered if she hadn’t taken it too far. He was truly right when he said she needed him but it also didn’t mean he was irreplaceable. She had made the choice not to work with him because of his unreliability and it meant she had to find a replacement for him.
Who could the replacement be? The question bothered her mind so much. And then she thought of Samantha Osman. There seemed to be some fear in her mind for a while but she managed to ease off her mind. She recalled that Dave had sent Samantha emails while they worked together. She racked her brain for a while and finally remembered the email address.
She sprang up from the bed and proceeded to the table where her laptop was. She was going to contact Samantha Osman directly.
In a fully air conditioned room, fairly lit by a short fluorescent bulb at the center, a table long enough to accommodate four people on each sides and one each at both ends of the center stood under the bulb with the chairs arranged around neatly. Both sides of the table were occupied by four men each, all of them neatly dressed in fancy black suits and black shoes. A ninth person was in the room and it was a lady, seated at the front end center of the table, addressing the men while they listened carefully to her.
Cole was seated at the first seat at the right hand side of the lady and would speak occasionally when she asked him to. The lady was Samantha Osman, in a different form. She was disguised as a totally different person with no inkling of resemblance to her real self. The skin mask worn on her face matched perfectly with the colour of her skin and except one be told and showed convincing proofs, one would not believe he wasn’t seeing the speaker’s real face.
‘Excuse me Samantha,’ one of the men interrupted and raised a hand up slightly.
Everyone looked in his direction and so did Tarasha. She stopped talking to hear what he had to say.
‘How do we know if all you’re saying is true?’ the man asked. He was one of those assassins still trying hard to believe that the slender lady in front of them was the Samantha Osman he had been hearing about. The only thing that had kept him in the meeting was the money that was offered to be paid to them.
‘It’s not your business if my personal stories are true or not, your business is to carry out the instructions and get paid.’ Tarasha answered, shutting him up with her words. She took note of his face.
The guy bit his lips slightly and swallowed in.
‘You all would get details soon on your individual movements, until then, remain alert and ready.’ She concluded and got up to her feet. ‘Good day Gentlemen,’ she said before proceeding out of the meeting room.
Cole also got up after her and flashed a look at all the men’s faces before he proceeded out of the meeting venue.
Back at the base, Henry and Dr Ekwueme were having breakfast at the dining table, exchanging silent looks at each other. Both of them had questions in their minds for each other but were waiting for the first person to start the conversation.
After finishing his own meal, Dr Ekwueme manned up and began the conversation.
‘Don’t you think today’s meal is different?’ he asked as he made use of the toothpick gently.
Henry lifted up his gaze to the man’s face. ‘Well, it doesn’t taste anyhow unique to me.’ he said with a shrug.
‘I know but it isn’t the normal meal for today in the time table,’ the doctor replied.
Henry still had some food left in his plate and was trying to take the rest with his spoon but the conversation and what he had in his mind did not make him concentrate. He dropped the spoon into the plate and faced the man, placing his elbows on the table and his chin on his two palms.
‘Maybe we just have to do with it because of this new environment,’ he shrugged. ‘Or do you have a problem with it?’
‘Yes, my health.’ The doctor replied. ‘I shouldn’t be taking much of these kinds.’
‘Oh!’ Henry released a breath. ‘We could talk to Tomi to make the required change then.’
‘I think the person we do need to talk to is Tare,’ Dr Ekwueme said.
‘Why her? She isn’t the one who decides what meals we have.’ Henry raised a brow.
‘But I think Tomi would take Tare’s instructions seriously,’ the doctor said, deliberately mispronouncing Tara for the second time and hoping Henry would try to correct him.
‘There’s no need to bother, Tomi isn’t that hard, I’ll talk to her, but it’s left for you to come up with the right time table.’
‘I still think we should talk to Taree…’ the doctor paused for a minute and closed his eyes like he was trying to recall something. ‘Is Tare the Yoruba name you call her?’
‘Tare?’ Henry raised a brow. Then he relaxed his shoulders and rested his back on the chair, he folded his hands and stared at the man suspiciously. ‘Does she have a Yoruba name?’
‘I used to hear you call her a particular name,’ the doctor said.
‘Her real name is Tarasha, is that what you hear me call her?’ Henry asked, trying to be careful enough. His stay for a while with the assassin team had enabled him to be able to detect when someone is asking a question to fish out information deliberately and not just for sake of knowledge.
‘No, Cole calls her that more often. The name you call her sounds like a Yoruba name.’
‘Her name is Tarasha, I call her Tara which sounds like the Yoruba version of Omotara, so sometimes, I call her Omotara too.’
‘Oh! But what kind of name is Tarasha?’
‘I don’t know what tribe it’s gotten from, but it’s definitely not Nigerian.’ Henry replied.
The man remained quiet for some seconds to ponder on the answers Henry gave him while Henry just continued to stare at him.
‘Why did you ask?’ Henry asked, leaning forward again.
‘Well, to me, she doesn’t sound like Yoruba, her accent is foreign, but she looks African. So I was kind of inquisitive when I heard you call her Omotara yesterday. And even though I have heard you called her that several times while we were at Abuja, it only caught my attention yesterday.’
‘Well, I just choose to call her that. Her name is Tarasha and her official name in Nigeria is Samantha Osman.’
‘I see…’ the doctor pondered, nodding his head gently.
Henry let out a breath and stared at the man for a while, he realized that it was the best time for him to chip in his own question too. ‘So, where did you guys go yesterday?’
‘You mean me and Samantha?’ the Doctor asked.
‘To check out some houses, she’s trying to get a link to one of the Vice President’s dead victim’s relative.’
‘Was that victim an important person?’
‘I don’t know,’ he replied. ‘I don’t know who to classify as important or non-important to her.’
‘That’s true,’ Henry gapped. He rested his back again and folded his arms. ‘I have been worried because she’s been acting strangely for the past few days, even though she tries to put on a different outward show. She’s been reading a lot. I think part of what she’s been reading is one of the books you gave her.’
‘I don’t understand,’ the doctor narrowed his gaze. ‘How is that supposed to be a problem? I believe she’s only trying to gather enough information and make plans.’
‘Seeing her read is not the problem, the strange thing is that for the last two days, she puts too much of her emotion into it. I can barely get her attention when she’s reading and I can clearly read signs of sorrow or pain on her face.’ Henry said in a sad tone.
‘I don’t know the cause for that, I just think she has a soft heart and she’s trying to make the best out of the books she’s reading.’
‘You really think she has a soft heart?’ Henry asked with a wry smile.
‘Yes, I do think so.’ The doctor replied thoughtfully. ‘Behind the assassin she is, is a soft hearted person who is easily hurt and who craves for love and attention.’
‘Hmm…’ Henry cleared his throat and then let out a breath. Maybe she was really soft hearted, Henry thought. At least, he knew that she wasn’t the same person she used to be when he first discovered she was an assassin. He knew her to be a ruthless killer at first, but in the recent times, he had seen her show pity and concern where he didn’t expect her to.’
‘I have to use the restroom now,’ Dr Ekwueme said as he got up to his feet hurriedly.
‘Okay,’ Henry nodded at him with a smile.
He stared at the remnant of his food for a while, he had totally lost appetite. He picked up the plates on the table and took them to the kitchen for Tomi.
As he walked back from the kitchen to the living room, he could hear the voices of Cole and Tarasha returning. He kept his gaze at the door even as he walked to the sofa in the living room. The door opened and Cole entered first.
‘Hey!’ Cole greeted Henry as he joined in the living room.
‘Welcome,’ Henry greeted back. He turned back towards the door as it opened for a second time. He was surprised on seeing the face of the lady who entered, he took a quick glance at Cole. ‘Cole, you came with someone?’ he asked in whispers.
‘Hi Henry,’ Cole was yet to answer him when Tarasha greeted.
Henry was more shocked and he stared at the new lady’s face who was walking towards the living room. Her voice sounded exactly like Tarasha’s voice and her walking steps were exactly the same. ‘Is this some kind of joke or something?’ he stared at Cole.
Cole gave no reply but fixed his eyes on the android phone he was using. Tarasha stopped and sat beside Cole on the long sofa.
‘Do we have any message?’ Tarasha asked, ignoring the confused look on Henry’s face.
Henry stared in shock for few more seconds before he was able to recover himself. Then he remembered he had seen the face before in the underground room of one of their previous operational base. He felt stupid for having not realized that what she was putting on was a skin mask. But he could still justify his stupidity because he had never observed anyone else using it apart from what he had seen in movies.
‘Tara, you’re putting on a mask?’ he asked, now feeling more relaxed. He remembered her answer to him when he had asked why she had a haircut the previous night and he realized it was so that she could use the mask.
Tarasha didn’t give a reply to his question but she repeated the one she asked him before. ‘Do we have any new message?’
‘Yes, two new messages.’ Henry replied. ‘One from Rex and another from Stephanie George.’
‘Stephanie George?’ Tarasha frowned. ‘What does the girl want?’ she asked herself.
‘Yes, Stephanie George. She said she has some information about a particular person and would like to meet with you.’
Tarasha chuckled. She was amazed at the audacity of Stephanie to ask for a meeting with her. ‘What was Rex’s message?’
‘He sent the venue for a meeting with the Vice President,’ Henry replied.
‘What’s the venue?’
‘Online?’ Tarasha frowned.
‘Yes, he wants you to have a video chat with the man.’
‘What the f***!’ Tarasha flared up. ‘The motherf****** thinks we’re joking here.’
She got up from the seat and began to walk away from the living room.
‘And there’s another important information I got,’ Henry quickly added with a loud voice to stop her. He got up from his seat and turned to her.
‘What important information?’
‘The Inspector General is trying to sneak out of the country.’
‘A day has not been chosen yet, I’ll let you know when it has.’
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Presidential Quarters, Lagos.
‘Vice President, she rejected the idea of the video chat.’ Chief Elvis heard Rex’s voice from the phone speaker.
‘What do we do then?’
‘We have three options; insist on the video chat, fix a physical meeting or renew our threat on Chief Nonso’s life.’ Rex replied.
‘I think it will be dangerous to agree for a physical meeting.’
‘You’re scared man,’ Rex said with a chuckle.
‘No, I’m just being careful.’
‘No, you’re scared.’
‘Whatever you say Rex, what matters is the step to take next right now.’
‘We don’t have to be in a hurry, you only have to make sure you’re protected and safe at all times.’
‘I’m trying my best to be safe always but how do we know when she’s trying to launch an attack?’
‘I do not think she wants to kill you anymore, except what she has against you is a personal vendetta. But if she truly works with a sponsor or this Chief we have in our custody who you claim to be the sponsor, their purpose would be to get something from you.’ Rex answered.
‘But I don’t have anything they could be interested in, except wanting to tarnish my image so that I fail in my presidency bid,’ Chief Elvis said.
‘That could just be it…’
‘But…’ Chief Elvis interrupted. ‘The assassination attempts started before I declared that I would be contesting.’
‘You should know better Chief, they already knew you were one of the most likely candidates.’
‘You’re right, so what is your plan?’
There was silence for a minute.
‘When are you planning to leave Lagos?’ Rex asked.
‘As soon as I’m fit enough to fly.’
‘Don’t you have an idea when that would be?’
‘A few days time, I believe. Two days at most.’
‘Okay, that’s fair enough. I would fix a meeting for us in few days time.’
‘Where and when would the meeting take place, so that it doesn’t clash with my activities?’
‘I’ll consider your schedule while fixing it,’ Rex replied.
The next day
Tarasha scrolled down slowly through the citizen’s profile portal. It was until she got to the sixteenth ‘Lewis Andrew George’ option that she found the profile which matched the one she was looking for. She clicked on the more details link and was directed to the page showing the full profile. She began to read it carefully, she scrolled down to check his current address when she saw it clearly stated that the man was dead. She scrolled back up to see who the man’s spouse was and found the name Atinuke George, she clicked on the name and waited till the full profile loaded. She was disappointed to scroll down and find it stated that the wife was also dead.
She heaved a sigh of frustration and fell back into the chair tiredly. A beep sounded on her phone. She slowly reached for the phone to check the message. It was an email from Rex, she clicked on the notification and the message read:
‘New Date for physical meeting fixed
June 26, the venue would be communicated later. ‘
She minimized the email application and opened the calendar to check how many days they had before the stipulated date. She returned to the email application and closed the message. She scrolled down the inbox to read the other messages which had been attended to by Cole and Henry. She saw the message from Stephanie George and skipped it at first, thinking it will be a waste of time to read it. After scanning through the other messages, she scrolled back up and incidentally stopped at Stephanie George’s message again. She finally decided to open it after giving it much thought. She began to read and the message almost seemed like an informal letter to her, with so many unnecessary details and words of thanks to her for saving her life and saving her from rape by the kidnappers. She got tired and yawned twice already but as she was about to close the message, her eyes caught a line that made her stop.
‘I have some information concerning the murder of Mr. Lewis Andrew George and I think it may interest you because the Vice President commanded their murder.’
Presidential Quarters, Lagos.
‘Here sir, your drugs.’ The Vice President’s assistant said to him as he put the pack of drugs in front of the man on the dining table. A maid had just cleared the plates of food from the table.
‘Thank you,’ Chief Elvis said as he began to take the tablets out one after the other and use them according to the prescription.
The assistant arranged them back neatly and was about to leave when Chief called him back.
‘Hey! What about the errand I sent you on the night before the Hospital opening? You’ve not given me a response yet,’ Chief Elvis said.
The assistant seemed to be confused for a while and narrowed his gaze until he was able to recall.
‘Sir, I have the information we need already but I was hoping to tell you when you get better.’ The assistant replied.
‘No, tell me now, I’m ready to listen.’
‘We found Atinuke George’s location, she’s in a special care centre. She has a condition which makes her go wild occasionally and her memory isn’t fully intact.’
‘So, she goes wild only occasionally?’ Chief Elvis questioned.
‘That means she is calm most of the times,’ Chief Elvis said and heaved a sigh. He thought for a while, and then he nodded his head and began to speak. ‘Now that Samantha Osman is digging out everything against me, I do not want to leave any trace.’ He stopped and drew in a deep breath. He pondered for another couple of seconds. ‘I don’t want a situation where her memory would return, so I want you to take her out. Try make the death look as natural as possible so that the care center would not make noise about it, Atinuke has already been confirmed dead in records. Her daughter Stephanie George poses no threat to me because she doesn’t have the slightest idea of what happened to her parents, so we can leave her alive.’
‘When do you want her taken out?’
‘As soon as possible,’ Chief Elvis snapped, giving the man a sharp look. ‘But before her, I want you to take out Henrietta first. She could also become a threat to us later.’
To be continued
The days of much talks are over and crazy action is about to set in. Make sure you drop your comments. Next update comes Thursday night (most likely very late).