‘I’ve found him,’ Nicholas said into the mouthpiece attached to his chest, looking from the driver’s side where he sat.
Stainless had just gotten to the BT close junction and was looking around for signs of Nicholas. He spotted a red car at the other road carriageway and stared at it for a couple of seconds. Then he took out his phone and was about to redial the number that called him last but he saw someone step out from the driver’s side of the car. He exited the dial pad and returned the phone into the pocket.
He stared in wonder at Nicholas who was now watching the road so as to cross and meet him. He wondered if the car Nicholas had come out from was his or was borrowed. If it was his, then it meant that Nicholas had hit the jackpot and was now making more money. The Nicholas Stainless used to know was a local assassin who used to carry out petty jobs most of the times and was only involved in bigger jobs when Don Dan needed his services.
‘Stain,’ Nicholas stopped beside him and greeted with a crooked smile.
‘Nicholas,’ Stainless replied and extended his hand for a handshake. He was still staring at the car, not because it was bigger than what he could afford but he was surprised as to how Nicholas got the money for the vehicle, did it mean Nicholas was now handling bigger jobs?
‘Where do we talk?’Nicholas asked him, looking around.
‘Do we plan to talk for a long time?’Stainless asked, considering leading Nicholas to where he came out from.
‘No, it’s a brief talk but we need to be comfortable.’
Stainless looked around one more time. ‘I was in a Game House with my guys, would you come there with me?’
‘A Game House?’ Nicholas looked around briefly again, his eyes lingered on his car for a longer time. ‘Can I pick my car and park somewhere here and we can talk inside?’
Stainless stared at his face for a while, he wasn’t too comfortable with the idea of staying in Nicholas’ car to talk but it was still a better option than the noisy Game House. He hesitated for a while but finally agreed, ‘Let’s just cross and get in.’
They crossed to the other side of the road and stopped beside the bed. Nicholas opened the driver’s seat in order to unlock the other doors.
‘You have something on that seat,’ Stainless said as he turned to the passenger’s side.
Nicholas eyes fell on the bag at the passenger’s side, he hissed and stared for a second. ‘Please, can we use the back seat?’ he said as he released the doors to the backseat, acting as if he didn’t want to move the load on the front passenger’s seat away.
Both of them entered into the backseat and settled in. Nicholas turned on the air conditioner of the car and they began to talk.
‘I have a simple deal for you, it only requires you to give me few words.’ Nicholas began, having Stainless listening to him attentively. ‘It should not take more than ten minutes for us to complete this whole deal and I’ll pay you five hundred thousand naira right here.’
Stainless squinted at Nicholas’ face. He wondered what Nicholas wanted from him that he was willing to pay half a million naira for in ten minutes and how Nicholas even had that kind of money. ‘What deal could you want to make with me?’ he asked in low tones.
‘It’s simple,’ Stainless drew in a short breath. ‘You’ve been working for the Vice President recently, and you sent Alex to kill a particular Madam Henrietta yesterday but he couldn’t…’ Nicholas paused to look at Stainless’ face, he noticed the surprise and continued. ‘I want to know why you want to kill her and what you are planning to do after that.’
Stainless was shocked beyond words. His mouth was left agape and his eyes opened wide. He wondered where Nicholas got the information from and what the intention was. He was more bothered at Nicholas’ audacity to even ask him. He realized that he was in a dangerous position; in the car of someone who knows something that should be his secret. He tried to open the door but as he turned to the other side, someone was already standing beside the door. He placed his fingers on the inner door handle but the door was opened by the man outside before he could open it. The man entered into the car holding a gun, he pushed Stainless into the middle of the seat.
Two other men entered the car, one into the driver’s side and the other the passenger’s side.
Stainless knew he had gotten into a trap. He blamed himself for being so stupid and not suspecting that Nicholas was up to something. He stared at Nicholas’ face with a mean look, wishing he could lay his hands on his neck that moment but there was a gun in Nicholas’ hand now and the gun touching his belly placed by the man at the other side stopped him from making stupid moves.
Nicholas had a crooked smile on his face and stared back straight into Stainless’ eyes unblinking.
‘Stainless,’ one of the men seated at the front seat called.
Stainless turned slowly to the front, he looked at the man at the passenger’s side whom the voice had come from. He squinted as he stared at the side view of the man. The voice sounded like one which he had heard before but he couldn’t recognize the face from the side.
‘Stainless, you haven’t given an answer to Nicholas’ request,’ Cole said, looking at Stainless’ face through the rearview mirror.
Stainless’ eyes fell on the rearview mirror and his eyes met with that of Cole. Their eyes locked for a moment before he looked away.
‘Cole, what do you want from me?’ Stainless asked, still keeping a mean look and trying to act like a boss.
‘Exactly what Nicholas requested from you,’ Cole replied, still staring at him through the rear view mirror. ‘You tell us the truth without struggles and you go with the five hundred thousand naira, but if you make us force it out of you, you get nothing but we’d still get what we want. Either ways, we win.’
‘And what makes you think I will give in to you or that you can force it out from me?’ Stainless questioned.
Cole closed his eyes for a moment, he stared at the mirror again and let out a short chuckle. ‘I’ll give you the last opportunity to take the five hundred thousand naira offer, and if you refuse, we’d go by it the hard way.’
‘F*** you Cole, I ain’t taking any offer.’ Stainless slammed.
‘Then, we’d do it the hard way,’ Cole said and turned to look back for the first time since he entered the vehicle. He smiled evilly at Stainless and then winked at the guy beside Stainless. The man took out a syringe from his body and drove the needle into Stainless’ shoulder. Stainless eyes closed and he fell into an unconscious state immediately.
‘Nice job Nicholas,’ Cole commended and then turned to the driver. ‘You’ll take him to the base and we’d meet you guys there.’
With that Cole and the third man at the back seat stepped out of the car. They waited at the roadside and only proceeded after the car drove off.
‘Get the other car to the opposite side, and meet me in the Game House.’
Madam Henrietta’s could not put her mind to rest for the few hours they had used on the journey. She could not seem to comprehend the reality that she was travelling in the same vehicle with the deadly assassin. Her greatest confusion was still the fact that Stephanie was comfortable with it.
It was a Toyota sienna jeep, Tarasha was alone at the backseat while Madam Henrietta and her daughter at the middle seat and the driver alone at the front.
Tarasha lay with her body partially on the seat and her legs raised up and leaning by the side of the window glasses. She held an android phone with her two hands across her chest and her fingers were working on the keypad. The phone beeped, signifying the entrance of a new message. She swiped down the notification bar and clicked on the WhatsApp notification.
‘Stainless hasn’t budged yet,’ she read the message from Cole.
‘We shouldn’t expect him to budge easily but have you found out anything else?’ Tarasha typed and sent in the reply.
‘We haven’t been able to connect any part yet, the other guys with him do not know the full plan. All we know is that they’re waiting for the death of Madam Henrietta to drop someone else. We have one other person who is also close to Rex as hostage but I’m not sure he knows the plan too.’
‘You’ve got no idea of the person they want to drop after Madam Henrietta?’
‘Yes, we have no idea. Stainless seems to be the only one who has, I’m not too sure of the other hostage.’
‘Keep trying to break the both of them and also track down anyone that tries to contact them.’
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‘Cole, his phone is ringing,’ Nicholas said to Cole as he entered into the dark room.
Cole was seated there alone with his laptop and a cigarette in his hand. He turned to look at Alex who was walking towards him. ‘What’s the caller’s ID?’
‘Rex,’ Nicholas answered.
Cole’s eyes widened and he took in a deep breath at the sound of the name. Alex got to him and handed the phone to him. Cole stared at the screen for a while, the phone was ringing again. He couldn’t answer and only waited until the call ended.
‘Have you tried to track the location of the caller?’
‘Strangely, the call has no source.’ Nicholas replied.
Cole nodded, he wasn’t expecting Rex to be trackable.
‘What about the guys that went to get Tobi’s mother?’ He asked Nicholas. Tobi was Stainless’ close partner. Cole and his partner who waited to go into the Game House had tricked him out of the place and brought him with them as the second hostage. Tobi didn’t seem to have the information they needed but they found out that he had also had personal contact with Rex and planned to use him get information from Rex.
‘I called them few minutes ago, they should be here in fifteen minutes time,’ Nicholas answered, after taking a glance at his wristwatch.
‘We’ll wait till they arrive,’ Cole said to Nicholas. He silenced Stainless’ phone which was just given to him and dropped it on his table. Then he nodded at Nicholas as a sign of dismissal. He put the cigarette in his mouth and took a deep drag.
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25 Minutes later
Tobi could hear the footsteps sounds coming towards the direction of the room where he was tied. He wondered if the men were coming to torture him more or they were coming to release him, after all, he had told them he didn’t have the information they needed and he was not going to give them no matter what they did to him. He had already sustained so many injuries on his face and body as they tortured him but he was determined not to give in.
Tobi was a short heavily built man with strong muscles. He led a pack of touts in Lagos and worked hand in hand with Stainless whenever the latter had a job in the state. The only cases where Stainless would not work with him were when the job at hand was not given directly to Stainless.
The door opened some seconds later and Cole came in first, leaving the door open. He stopped in front of Tobi, giving two metres space between them.
‘I have a surprise for you boy,’ Cole said to Tobi with an evil smile.
Tobi gnarled at him. He had known Cole for a long time and knew him as he grew in rank with Don Dan. They had never been at peace even though they had known each other for a long time, reason being that Cole was Don Dan’s man while Tobi was on Stainless’ side. Cole wasn’t a match for him when it comes to physical strength and combat but Cole was far better with guns and cars.
Tobi felt like pouncing on Cole but he was handicapped by the strong ropes used to tie him to the chair. He felt foolish for having been deceived by Cole. They had lured him with money just like they had done with Stainless and he foolishly got into the car with them where they forced a syringe needle into his arm.
Tobi could hear sounds of more footsteps coming towards the place but he still fixed his eyes on Cole’s face until Cole turned sideways to the door and spread his hands wide as if to usher someone in from the door.
Tobi looked at the door and was shocked on seeing the person who entered first, his mother flanged on both sides by two men, her hands and legs tied and her mouth also covered with a tape. He squirmed and trembled on the chair and struggled to set himself free but the ropes were too strong for him, and the liquid that was injected into his body also made him weak.
‘Save your strength dude, you’re going to need it later.’ Cole said in a mean voice. He walked closer to Tobi and stopped in front of him.
Tobi only glanced briefly at Cole’s face, his focus was on his mother. He could see the shock on her face and knew she would have wished to say something if the tape wasn’t covering her mouth.
‘What exactly do you want from me?’ Tobi turned to Cole and asked in a determined voice. He didn’t know Cole would go as far as to get his mother. He was now willing to tell them all they needed to free his mother.
‘I have an offer for you,’ Cole began. ‘We can help your mother forget everything that happens here if you’d tell us what we want but if you don’t , we would help you take off her head and serve you her blood to drink.’
‘F*** you Cole, what the hell do you want? I told you I don’t know what the plan is already.’
‘And I don’t believe you. But if you truly do not know what Stainless is up to, we’d give you your phone to call Rex and ask him some questions that we’d tell you,’ Cole said, handing Tobi’s phone back to him.
‘Rex isn’t directly involved in the first murder, he gave Stainless the orders already and left him to carry it out.’ Tobi voiced out.
‘Oh! So you know about the plan for the first and you don’t know the second?’ Cole gave a crooked smile as he returned the phone into his pocket since Tobi wasn’t collecting it. ‘What’s the second plan? I’m sure you know it,’ Cole said in a mean voice.
Tobi shot a narrow gaze at Cole. He took in a deep breath and glanced at his mother’s face again. ‘Promise me you’d let her go if I tell you.’
‘You have my word Tobi, you know I may be anything else but I always keep my word.’ Cole replied.
‘There’s a sick woman that Madam Henrietta kept in a special care center at Ikoyi, we’re to drop her after Madam Henrietta is dropped.’ Tobi said.
‘Which woman are you talking about? What’s her name?’ Cole asked.
‘I don’t know her name offhand, I have the details written somewhere which isn’t here,’ Tobi replied.
‘So, until Madam Henrietta dies first before you can kill her?’
‘Rex is around the care center already, waiting for us to call and inform him that the first woman has been dropped, but whether she dies or not, the deadline is to kill the sick woman tonight.’
‘So you and Stainless have no role in killing the second woman?’
‘We do have, even though not major roles but we are supposed to join them there at seven pm.’
‘Tell me, what’s your own role?’ Cole asked and then squatted. He seemed not to be ready to end the questioning yet.
Tobi heaved a sigh of frustration and shook his head, he glanced at his mother again. He was already giving out too much information and he knew he couldn’t escape trouble from Rex and his men even if he did save himself and his mother from the present one.
‘I see you’re scared of what Rex could do to you but you should also consider your mother’s life before you make the decision to lie to me.’
‘I won’t lie to you,’ Tobi voiced out in frustration.
‘Good, now continue telling the truth. Tell me what your role is.’
Tobi heaved another sigh. He stared intently at Cole’s face and began to explain in details. It took him two minutes to finish the explanation.
Immediately he finished, Cole took out his phone from his pocket. He unlocked it and stopped the recording which was ongoing, he saved the file and renamed it.
He turned back to the men who brought in Tobi’s mother. ‘Take her away, make sure you treat her nicely.’ he said to them. He began to proceed towards the door slowly.
‘What the hell is this?’ Tobi shouted. ‘This isn’t our agreement.’
Cole stopped and turned, ‘I haven’t broken the agreement yet, your mother is under good care, she would be allowed to go once I find out that all you’ve told me is true.’
With that Cole walked out of the room and slammed the door shut. He selected the renamed recording file and forwarded it to Tarasha on WhatsApp.
He received a reply from her twenty minutes later and returned back to meet Tobi in the room and carry out Tarasha’s new instruction.
‘When are you letting my mother go?’ Tobi asked as he spotted Cole walking in.
‘Tobi, your mother is safe and would not be hurt as far as you don’t mess up.’ Cole replied as he walked towards him. ‘I have a new deal for you,’ he squatted before Tobi and said with a smile.
‘F*** you Cole! Let my mother go first,’ Tobi said angrily.
‘Relax your nerves man,’ Cole said and paused for a while to allow him calm down. ‘We would not only let your mother go but let you go too if you work with us.’
Tobi squinted, wondering what Cole was trying to offer.
‘I work for Samantha Osman,’ Cole continued. ‘She pays very well and can also guarantee you security from Stainless and Rex even if they find out that you gave them out.’
‘Samantha Osman,’ Tobi muttered under his breath with a thoughtful look. It seemed to him like a nice offer to with a well feared assassin but he wasn’t known as a betrayal and wasn’t ready to be labeled as one.
‘But there’s a warning,’ Cole continued while Tobi was still considering the offer. ‘Your mother is still with us and would be hurt if you ever try to play smart.’
Tobi considered the offer for some more minutes. He then looked up and gave Cole a thin stare.
‘Go to hell man!’
To be continued