7:45AM NEXT DAY
Rex eyes fell on the Inspector General’s body as the man began to make some movements in the bed. Rex was tied in a chair while the Inspector General was tied to a bed in the same room
He had woken up that morning to find the Inspector General fast asleep on the bed in the same room with him, he realized that Tarasha’s men must have brought the man in the last night while he was asleep. The drugs they injected him which made him weak had also made him unable to know when they brought the man in.
The Inspector General finally stirred awake after stretching for some minutes. He turned his neck all around until his eyes landed on Rex. He was shocked at first, then he tried to sit up but realized he could make no movements. He resigned and continued staring at Rex with his shock still on his face.
‘Rex, what are you doing here?’ He managed to voice out.
Rex stared at him without saying anything. Then he looked away and stared straight at the wall
‘Rex,’ the Inspector General called again but Rex gave no response. He closed his eyes and took in a deep breath. He didn’t know what to think. He couldn’t imagine that Rex was also kidnapped by Samantha Osman and was tied down just like him. Before he could make any conclusion in his mind, he heard the sound of the door opening and footsteps walking in. He tried to look towards the door as possible as he could and he could see the people walking towards them.
A total of three people had entered, Tarasha, Nicholas and Basit. The men stopped behind while Tarasha stopped in the space between the Inspector General’s bed and Rex’s chair.
The captives at the both sides turned their gazes to her.
‘Hello Guys,’ Tarasha said with a crooked smile, glancing at both sides one after the other. Then she walked to the side of the Inspector General and stopped at the left side of his bed, where both men could see her well. ‘I would like to talk to the both of you, but separately first.’
‘Nicholas, I want you guys to take this man to another room,’ Tarasha said without looking up, her eyes still fixed on the IG’s face.
She stopped and waited for the men to roll out the bed before she walked to Rex and stopped in front of him. ‘Rex, where is Chief Nonso?’ she asked, looking directly into his eyes.
Rex maintained a straight face, breathing gently and staring back into her eyes unblinking.
‘You know you’re going to tell me this eventually, so why are you wasting my time and your time?’ Tarasha asked, as she walked back to where the men stood previously. They had dropped a bag there. She opened the bag and pulled out a pack of syringe and ampoule and then she walked back to him with the pack visible in her hand.
Rex stared at her hand, he could tell the possible content of the ampoule but he wondered if Tarasha knew how to use it or not.
She stopped in front of him and took out the ampoule in the transparent pack, she raised it to the front of his eyes for him to read what was written on the label.
Rex remained calm even after he confirmed the content. He kept his gaze on her face and remained silent.
‘This is only going to work on you after you undergo a lot of torture, why don’t you save me the time and save yourself from the pain?’ Tarasha said temptingly.
Rex remained silent and kept looking into her eyes. Tarasha also kept staring into his eyes for a moment until Nicholas and the other man returned. This time they came with whips and some other torture materials.
Tarasha walked back to the bag again. She took another pack of syringe and ampoule out, the content of the new ampoule was to weaken Rex’s body. She injected him the second liquid and the men soon took off the ropes on Rex’s hands and legs and threw him to the floor. They began to torture him.
‘Good morning Vivian,’ Agent James said into the phone as he stepped out of his father’s room.
‘Good morning sir,’ Vivian greeted from the other end.
‘Hope you slept well,’ James said.
‘Yes, I did, how about you?’
‘I did too,’ James replied.
‘How’s father doing now?’ Vivian asked.
‘He’s very much better, we left the hospital already,’ James replied.
‘Wow! That’s good, I would call him right away to talk to him,’ Vivian said in an excited tone.
‘Not now Vivian,’ James said in a lifeless tone as he stepped into the living room.
‘Not now? Why? I thought you said he was okay now,’ Vivian replied in a suspicious tone.
‘He wants you to come to Lagos today,’ James replied.
‘Yea, he wants everyone of us to undergo a test,’ James said.
‘A test? What kind of test?’
‘You’d know when you get here, I’ve tried to talk him out of it but he insisted that we must all go through the test.’
‘Tell me, what kind of test?’ Vivian asked insistingly
‘A Medical test, just take it like that,’ James said.
There was silence for a brief moment, then James spoke again.
‘We’ve arranged for your flight, all you need is to be at the airport by 10am.’
‘Ermm… Are you sure all is well? Dad himself warned me to avoid making any trip recently to avoid been discovered by Samantha Osman or her men,’ Vivian said doubtingly.
‘Yea, everything is alright. Just check your mail and confirm the flight, dress up early so you don’t miss it.’ James said.
The call ended and James heaved a sigh before he settled on the seat. His phone beeped and he raised it up to check the screen, he had a new mail.
‘This young man looks so innocent,’ Dr Ekwueme said to Tomi. His palm was placed on a patient’s forehead who was lying on a bed in the medical room.
‘Most expert assasins and dangerous people do have their faces looking innocent especially when they’re unconscious or asleep,’ Tomi replied him.
The doctor glanced at her, she sounded so sure of her assertion. He didn’t know whether to credit the certainty in her voice to her long years of experience in treating criminals or just believe that she spoke what she felt.
‘This guy isn’t an assassin,’ the doctor continued as he stepped back to use his stethoscope. ‘He’s a journalist who has been on Samantha’s tail for a while.’
‘I’ve heard about him, Dave James.’ Tomi replied. ‘He gave the information that made us come to Lagos but chose to betray us at the last minute.’
The doctor remained silent for a while, he hung his stethoscope back around his neck and stopped to stare at the patient’s face for a while.
‘This young man looks so much like someone I know,’ the doctor finally voiced out.
‘You seem to know a lot of people Doc, I know that should be the case because you’ve lived so many years on this planet,’ Tomi said.
The doctor looked around and located a chair, he walked to the chair and carried it to the right side of the patient’s bed. He sat on the chair and stared at the face intently for a while before he relaxed his back.
‘Yes, he definitely looks like who I know.’ he said aloud, though he was talking to himself.
Tomi stopped what she was doing and looked at the doctor’s face, surprised that the doctor was sitting with the patient instead of going to rest in his room.
‘Who exactly does he look like?’ Tomi asked.
The doctor leaned forward to see the patient’s face one more time. ‘He looks like…’ he was saying when the door of the room opened and Cole stepped in.
‘Doctor, I can hear some noises coming from the room beside yours, is she awake already?’ Cole asked as he entered.
The doctor stared blankly at Cole for a while, trying to remember the room beside his. He had been working much more than a person of his age should work in the past few days and tend to forget a lot of things.
He finally remembered that Mrs Atinuke George had been taken away from the medical room and put in the room beside his since she left the critical stage.
‘Oh! It’s possible that she’s awake now,’ he managed to get up to his feet as he remembered. He proceeded towards the door and walked past Cole.
Cole eyes met with Tomi’s as he looked around the medical room. They stared at each other’s faces for a while and Cole was the first to look away, he felt somehow guilty but he shrugged it off. He turned and walked out of the room without looking back again.
Doctor Ekwueme walked as fast as his old age could carry him towards his room. Before he got there, Madam Atinuke was already standing outside the door in the corridor.
‘Where am I?’ she asked as she saw the doctor.
The doctor paused and stared at her with a smile. ‘Relax madam, you’re in safe hands,’ he said in his weak old voice.
The woman turned round and glanced at every corner of the corridor, she didn’t seem to believe his words as a frightened look appeared on her face. Her gaze settled on the doctor again and she was about to speak when someone appeared behind the doctor.
‘She’s awake,’ Cole said as he saw the woman and stopped beside the doctor.
‘Yes, she is.’ The doctor replied.
‘Who are you people?’ Madam Atinuke asked but did not get any answer. She watched the men stare at her for a while after which their gazes moved from her to something behind her. She looked back slowly and saw someone stepping closer to her slowly from the other end of the corridor. It was her daughter, Stephanie.
Stephanie could not believe her eyes. Her mother was alive, standing right in front of her. She had only come to check her in the room and was expecting to see the woman lying down on the bed unconscious with the drip line still fixed into her veins.
‘Steph…’ Madam Atinuke called in a low voice, surprised to see her daughter.
‘Mum,’ Stephanie called back and ran to hug the woman.
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‘Boss, Madam Atinuke is awake,’ Cole said to Tarasha as she entered into the computer room.
‘I received the doctor’s text message on that,’ Tarasha replied him, with very little enthusiasm in her voice. She walked towards the table and settled in the seat behind him. ‘I got your text, you said you’ve gotten the identities of the men in the video.’
‘Yes, I have but those men are people that I’ve never met in my life. I’ve never even come across their names,’ Cole said.
‘Let me have a look at them,’ Tarasha said, fixing her gaze on the computer screen. Cole was still trying to locate the pictures.
‘Here,’ Cole said, opening a picture showing two men’s passport photographs side by side and their respective names under each passport.
Tarasha stared at the picture for a while also, she had never seen any of the men or heard their names.
‘Have you found out where they work?’ she asked.
Cole quickly minimized the window and maximized another app which showed a detail profile of the men in the citizen’s directory. Tarasha took a minute each to go through each of the pictures.
‘Things could have changed, these profiles were saved based on information gotten from the last population census. Is this all you’ve got about them?’
‘No, I also located their facebook profiles and twitter handles,’ Cole replied.
‘Are the profiles public?’
‘No, they weren’t but I was able to break into the private profiles. There is no difference between the details they have in the citizen’s directory to what they have in their facebook and twitter profiles.’
‘So, there are no additional details on social media about them?’
‘None,’ Cole answered.
‘Did you check their recent posts?’
‘Yes, both profiles and timelines have not been updated for about seven years.’
‘Oh!’ Tarasha chuckled. ‘Well, there should be other ways to get them. Have you tried to trace the addresses on the citizens’ directory?’
‘Yes, the addresses aren’t valid residential buildings anymore.’
Tarasha stopped for a while to think.
‘But I have found ways we could get them,’ Cole said and waited for Tarasha to pay full attention to him before he continued. ‘I have traced two of their close family members each, both on the citizen’s directory and social media.’
‘Oh! That’s cool but I hope we can get them through their family members.’
‘We can make a trial,’ Cole said encouragingly.
‘I do hope so,’ Tarasha repeated as she got up to her feet. ‘I’ll be back,’ she said and proceeded straight towards the door.
Stephanie sat at the other edge of the bed watching happily as her mother ate the lunch of fried rice served to her.
Her happiness knew no bounds that day. Madam Atinuke had gotten up looking more healthier and stronger than she used to be. Even though her voice was still imbalanced like before and she was still slow, there were still signs of better health. Stephanie couldn’t wait to see Samantha Osman and thank her for saving her mother’s life from the Vice President and also helping her get better.
Someone knocked on the door when the woman was almost done with the meal. Stephanie glanced at the door and glanced at her mother, the older woman was expecting her to attend to it.
‘Come in,’ Stephanie said from where she was seated. She stared at the door intently, waiting eagerly to see who was coming in. The door opened slowly and Madam Henrietta stepped in.
Madam Henrietta closed the door and stood still for some minutes right behind it without releasing the knob. Stephanie and Madam Atinuke’s eyes were directed towards her but she couldn’t look at them, her eyes were staring at the ground.
She didn’t believe that Atinuke could come alive again. Not because she wanted the woman’s death, but she just didn’t believe that someone with such mental and physical illness like that of Atinuke did not have anything to live for anymore.
She finally summoned courage and looked up, her eyes met with that of Stephanie’s, Madam Atinuke had continued with her food. She walked towards the bed and stopped some metres by the side of Atinuke.
Madam Atinuke looked up and their eyes met. She dropped the spoon into the plate and squinted at Madam Henrietta’s face. ‘Henrietta, it’s been a long time,’ she began in a shaky voice. Henrietta looked down at that moment. She felt guilty and could not look Henrietta in the eyes anymore. She had condemned her to death all the while Stephanie still hoped she could live and be well again.
‘Thank you for taking good care of Stephanie,’ Madam Atinuke continued. ‘Thank you for taking good care of your daughter.’
Madam Henrietta was surprised at her last statement and looked up. She glanced at Stephanie’s face and also saw the girl looking at her with a light smile.
There was silence for a moment but a lot was still being communicated in the silence.
‘I’m sorry,’ Madam Henrietta finally found her voice. ‘I’m sorry for not checking on you all these days.’
‘Sorry? You don’t need to be sorry,’ Madam Atinuke said joyfully. ‘You have been taking care of my daughter and that is far better than coming to see me. You took care of her like yours and made sure she lacked nothing in life, I am very grateful to you.’
Madam Henrietta burst into tears, she couldn’t find words to say anymore. Stephanie got up from her sitting spot and walked to Madam Henrietta to embrace her.
‘Do you want to see her now?’ Dr Ekwueme asked as he walked through the corridor with Tarasha. He stopped at the door to Madam Atinuke’s room and raised his hand to knock, only waiting for Tarasha to permit.
‘Is it necessary I see her now?’ Tarasha asked, squinting.
‘Well,’ the doctor put down his hand slowly and shrugged. ‘It depends on you, I only thought you would like to see how she’s doing.’
‘Would she be able to give me answers to my numerous questions now?’
‘Hmm… I think we should give her some more time.’ The doctor replied.
‘Let’s proceed to the lab then,’ Tarasha said.
The doctor turned to lead the way.
‘How well is the woman now?’ Tarasha asked as they proceeded.
‘She’s okay, back to her normal self.’ The doctor replied.
‘Her normal self?’ Tarasha questioned, not too sure of what he meant by the statement.
‘I mean her former self,’ the doctor replied. ‘The only thing that happened is that she stepped out of consciousness, we didn’t do anything to take care of her previous mental or physical state.’
‘Can’t something be done about it?’
‘I don’t think anything can be done to help her case, only few people do come out of her condition and what cures them has not been discovered or ascertained yet.’
‘So it means her previous condition couldn’t have gotten better?’
‘It could have,’ the doctor said, stressing the word ‘could’. ‘But if it happened, I wouldn’t say it’s a result of the therapy she underwent, it would have to be tested and proven if I make the assertion.’
They got into the medical lab and Tarasha closed the door behind her.
‘He should be awake by now,’ the doctor said as they proceeded to the bed Dave was sleeping in. Dave’s eyes were still closed and he didn’t look like he had woken up before they came in.
‘Looks like he’s the lazy type,’ Tarasha said when she got to the bed side and found Dave still asleep.
‘Those drugs are meant to weaken his body, his own way of responding to weakness could just be sleep.’ The doctor said.
Tarasha stared at him for a little while before turning to leave. ‘I have only few words and questions for him when he’s awake.’
Dr Ekwueme watched as she closed the door after stepping out. He turned to look at the patient again and met a surprise. Dave’s eyes was opened and he was staring at him.
‘Please be quiet Doctor,’ Dave pleaded in low tones.
Doctor Ekwueme would have responded in a loud voice but for a reason remained quiet. The voice of the young man sounded like a voice he was once familiar with.
‘You look and speak like your father,’ Dr Ekwueme said in low tones as he moved closer to the bed.
To be continued