Tarasha walked into the living room tiredly. She had left the other operation base angrily after several hours of trying to force out words from Rex to no avail.
‘Welcome boss,’Cole and Tomi stood up to greet simultaneously.
Tarasha took a glance at them and replied, ‘Hey.’
The doctor only glanced back at herand watched until she walked out of sight. Tomi and Cole returned to their sitting position. The Doctor turned back to the television which his eyes had been fixed on for a long time. He realized he wasn’t even following what was being aired and the others in the living room with him were also not paying attention to the TV, their focus was on the devices in their hands. He hoped that Samantha would meet Henry before coming back to the living room. He knew she was definitely going to ask about Dave James if she returned to the living room without speaking to Henry first.
He had seen Henry few hours ago and explained to him how Dave James’ Parents were his benefactors and how he saved the boy’s life years ago and handed the boy back to his parents. He had begged Henry to help plead with Samantha Osman to spare Dave’s life. He and Henry had concluded that Henry would try to convince Tarasha to wipe off Dave’s memory totally after getting what she wants from him instead of killing him.
Tarasha ignored the control room and the other rooms and walked straight into hers. She took off her clothes immediately and got into the bathroom to take a shower. Few minutes later, she returned looking refreshed and met Henry already seated in the bed.
‘Good evening Tara,’ Henry greeted as he laid his eyes on her.
She smiled, ‘Hi Henry.’
‘How did it go with Rex?’
‘Rex is immuned to the mixture, so it will take us sometime to get him to talk’ Tara replied in a not-too-happy tone.
‘I think I have gotten some things out of the device that could be of help,’Henry said.
Tarasha flashed a quick glance at him as she walked to the wardrobe. ‘That’s good news,’ she said as she unwrapped her towel from her body and began to wipe the remaining wet areas. This left her bare back uncovered to Henry.
Henry stared at her fixedly. It wasn’t the first time he was seeing her back but it was the first time he noticed a tattoo at the middle. He felt like moving nearer to have a closer look but he felt it would be strange and obscene to move closer to her while she was naked.
‘What exactly did you find?’ Tarasha asked, realizing that Henry had been distracted by her naked behind.
‘Three locations, I scrutinized the three but I can’t seem to detect which is the most feasible location where Chief Nonso could be hidden.’ Henry replied, still thinking about the tattoo. It looked like something he had seen recently but he couldn’t tell where he saw what he saw from.
‘Which places are the three locations?’ Tara asked, now sounding more interested. She began to put on her clothes.
‘Mile twelve, Orile and Badagry,’Henry answered.
‘Are those places on this planet?’Tara asked, the names sounded very strange to her.
‘He he,’Henry chuckled.’They are three different parts of Lagos.’
‘Do you know all the places?’
‘I’ve only heard of them, I have not been to the three.’
‘But are you sure they are in Lagos?’
‘Yes, I am very sure.’
She let out a breath and turned. She was now putting on a pant and bra, holding a free gown in her hand.
‘I think Cole would know all the three places, he stayed in Lagos for a longer time than I did and he has worked around here for so long. He would be of great help.’
Tarasha stared blankly for a while, considering Henry’s suggestion. Then she turned and picked abrush for her hair which was already growing and had transformed from the smooth skin cut. After putting on her gown, she turned back towards Henry.
‘I know Cole would know the locations but I can’t go in search of the Chief with Cole, he needs to be around to monitor what we are leaving here and at the other base.’Tarasha said to Henry.
‘Okay,I’m sure anyway that the places wouldn’t be difficult to locate.’
‘I hope it is so.’
There was silence for a minute. Tarasha settled at the other side of the bed silently.
‘Tara, I have something important to discuss with you.’ Henry broke the silence.
‘What’s that?’she asked in reply and sat up.
‘It’s about Agent Dave James,’ Henry replied, he adjusted himself and faced her.
Tara squinted. ‘The doctor talked to you about him, right?’
Henry squinted also, wondering how she could think so quickly that the doctor had spoken with him.
‘Yes, he did.’ Henry replied. ‘He wanted to know the fate of Dave James, but then he pleaded that we leave the agent alive.’
‘Is that all the doctor spoke to you about?’
Henry paused for a minute wondering what else she expected. ‘Yes, that’s all he requested.’
‘He didn’t tell you what they discussed when I left them in the medical room.’
‘The doctor happens to know Agent Dave James and his family but he didn’t recognize. He treated the Agent when the agent was a little boy but didn’t recognize him until the agent spoke up and reminded him.’
‘And is that the only reason he wants us to keep the agent alive?’
‘Doctor Ekwueme says he was very close to the family and they were his benefactors, he wouldn’t feel good seeing them lose the first son and breadwinner of the family.’
‘Is he sure the Agent is not playing a fast one on him?’Tara asked as she got up from the bed.
‘The doctor is sure,’ Henry replied and also got up from the bed. ‘He knows everything about Mr James who is the father of Agent Dave.’
‘I need to talk to him,’Tara said as she placed her hand on the knob of the door to open it. Henry was right behind her.
She suddenly stopped as she tried to turn it, she was hearing a sound. She flashed a look at Henry’s face and he stared back at her blankly. Soon they heard a knock at the door.
Tara opened the door immediately and startled Stephanie who wasn’t expecting a quick answer.
‘Good evening,’ Stephanie gapped.
‘Hi,’ Tarasha replied.
‘I…came to see you,’ Stephanie said, stuttering.
Tarasha stared at her silently for some seconds before opening the door and ushering her in.
‘Thank you,’ Stephanie said as she stepped into the room. She saw Henry standing behind Tarasha,’Good evening.’
Henry noddedand smiled back in response to her. ‘I have to excuse you two,’ he said, flashing a look at Tara as he walked out through the door.
Tarasha closed the door and stepped back towards the bed side. ‘How is your mom doing? I haven’t come around to see her yet.’
‘She’s doing fine,’Stephanie replied with a smile.
‘You can sit on the bed,’ Tarasha said to her.
‘Thanks but I don’t think I need to sit down,’Stephanie replied.
‘Okay, let me hear what you have to say to me.’
Stephanie stood speechless for a moment. She was carried away with Tarasha’s real look- the look without makeup and lowly cut hair. The Samantha she always see during the day always had a wig to cover her almost hairless head. Even though she still looked very beautiful, her hairstyle made her look strange.
‘As you already know, my mother is now awake and I’ve told her about you already.’ Stephanie began.
Tarasha interrupted. ‘What did you tell her about me?’ she asked with a raised eyebrow.
‘I only told her that you helped us get her out from where they tried to kill her and that you’re helping us in the case against the Vice President.’Stephanie answered.
‘Okay, proceed with what you were saying.’
‘I also told her of the burnt documents but she says she’s willing to testify in court if we need her to,’Stephanie paused and raised a brow as a smile appeared on Samantha’s face. ‘I told her you would like to see her and ask her some questions.’
‘Yes, I would love to see her and ask some questions from her but we have all the documents we need against the Vice President.’Tarasha said.
Stephanie narrowed her gaze, wondering if Samantha heard what she said rightly. ‘I’m talking about the documents Madam Henrietta burnt to ashes.’
‘Yes, I know what you’re talking about. Did you see the documents before she burnt them?’
‘No, I got to the house to find the place I kept them empty and I saw the ashes at the backyard.’
‘What documents did you keep?’
‘The pictures and files given to Madam Henrietta by my late Dad’s lawyer and some of those I got with the journalist Dave James.’
‘Did you ever give them to Dave James to hold?’ Tarasha asked.
Stephanie squinted and racked her brain to recall. ‘Yes, Dave but he only held them while we were together. I never left them with him.’
Tarasha thought for some seconds, ‘Did he know where you kept the documents?’
‘Yes, he knew.’
‘I recovered the original copies of the missing documents from him, he must have swapped them with a photocopies where you kept them.’
Stephanie’s lips were left ajar for a moment. She couldn’t believe that Dave had taken the documents behind her and she couldn’t even imagine how he did them.
‘But how could he have made extra copies and swapped with the original documents?We were always together if I wasn’t in the house and we also came to Lagos at the same time and even together.’
‘Did you ask yourself how he got the documents from the authorities at first?’Tara asked a question which hit Stephanie. ‘If he could break into secure place like the nation’s ministry’s offices without them knowing there was a break in, you think your house was more secured than those buildings were?’
Stephanie let out a breath. She then remembered who Dave was, a specially trained top secret agent.
‘So we have all that we need against the Vice President?’Stephanie asked with an excited tone.
‘Yes, we do. But that doesn’t stop me from coming to see your mother,I’ll be there once I finish with what I have to attend to.’ Tarasha said. ‘So is that all you want to talk to me about?’
‘Ermm… No, I also want to thank you for helping my mother. I’m very grateful to you,’ Stephanie said in a soothing voice.
Tarasha felt confused for a while. She had an unexplainable feeling. She wasn’t used to sincere gratitude and didn’t know how to respond to it but she suddenly remembered what she was supposed to do if it was an act. She smiled sheepishly and opened her hands wide for a hug. Stephanie ran into her embrace and hugged her tightly. It still felt absurd for Tarasha, the feeling was more than an act and the hug felt warmer than it used to feel when she hugged other people.
‘I have to go now,’ Tarasha mumbled out when Stephanie still clung to her and showed no signs of letting go soon.
‘Thank you,’ Stephanie said again as she released her. She stared at Samantha’s face for a while, smiled and then stepped back.
‘I need to see doctor Ekwueme now, I hope your mom is still awake when I finish with him.’ Tarasha said as she proceeded towards the door.
‘I’m sleeping in her room tonight, the doctor says it’s safe to do so now. So I’ll be the one to answer you when you knock.’ She said, following after her.
‘Alright, I’ll be there once I’m through.’ Tarasha said and opened the door for Stephanie to step out.
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Doctor Ekwueme’s eyes fell on Tarasha’s face immediately she stepped into the living room. She stopped a step after the entrance, ‘Doc, we need to talk in private.’
Dr Ekwueme swallowed hard as he got up to his feet. He flashed a look at Henry who was seated by his side again before he proceeded towards Tarasha. He had been told by Henry already that Tarasha had gotten his request. Henry had also told him to put his mind at rest and be sure that Tarasha would grant his request.
Tarasha waited patiently for the doctor to get to her and motioned for him to step into the corridor that led to the other parts of the house. ‘Let’s go into the medical room,’ she said and followed behind. She walked as slow as the aged doctor walked. ‘Have you taken dinner?’
‘Yes, I have.’ The doctor replied, taking a glance at her face. She held his hand to support him and they continued the walk silently.
He kept glancing at her face from time to time, hoping that she would begin to talk to him already but it seemed she was resolved for them to get to the medical room first.
It took them some extra seconds to get to the medical room. Tarasha opened the door and allowed the doctor in before she entered. She proceeded quickly to the bed Dave James was lying in.
Dave had his eyes firmly closed and was motionless. Tarasha stared at him for some seconds while she waited for the doctor to join her.
‘You are beginning to walk slower these days,’ Tarasha said to the doctor, giving him a side look.
‘Yes,’ the doctor squeezed his face. ‘I’m having some pains on my right legs and I think I need some treatment for it.’
‘But why didn’t you talk until now?’ she asked.
‘I thought it was something that would leave like it usually does but I remembered that I’ve not been using the same drugs I take daily at home.’
‘We should get the drugs for you tomorrow, first thing before doing anything else.’ Tarasha said before fixing her gaze back on Dave’s face. ‘Is he still pretending or he’s really asleep now?’
‘David,’ the doctor called, stepping closer to look at Dave’s face. There was no response from Dave.
Tarasha smiled lightly with her eyes still fixed on Dave’s face. ‘He needs to die, he’s a dubious person.’
The doctor was shocked at Tarasha words and quickly turned to stare at her face, but Tarasha had her eyes still fixed on Dave’s face.
‘You really still want him dead?’ the doctor asked in a shaky voice.
‘Yes, why not?’ she answered. ‘He’s fake, he’s fully awake and listening to us. I guess he’s trying to fool me,’ she added and laughed. She had seen Dave’s eyes move when she mentioned that he still needed to die, so she knew he was conscious and listening to them. She moved away from where she stood and turned to look at the shelf where some mixtures and syringes were stored.
‘I don’t think he’s awake,’ the doctor said, moving closer to Dave. He placed his palm on Dave’s cheek and felt Dave respond to his touch. He also realized that Dave was awake and only pretending to be asleep.
‘He must have lied to you about who he is, I don’t think he is really the son of the James you know.’ Tarasha said and turned back to them. Dave still had his eyes closed.
‘Come on David, open your eyes. We know you are listening to us,’ the doctor said, tapping Dave on his cheek.
Dave finally opened his eyes and saw the doctor standing right beside him. He looked to the left of the doctor and saw Samantha Osman standing beside and looking at him. He remembered the face perfectly well. She was the same girl he had seen on low cut driving in the Chevrolet, the only difference was that her hair was now lower.
Tarasha took her gaze off his face and continued to speak with the doctor, ‘We really do not need him anymore, all we would do is keep him here until we finish all we have to do. After that, we wipe off his memory and let him go as a new and free man.’
‘No, don’t wipe off my memory.’ Dave found himself protesting in low tones.
The doctor only glanced at him and looked away. ‘Why don’t we wipe off his memory right now and let him go?’
‘I’m thinking he could still be of help to us, he’s been following after me for some time now and I believe he has a lot of information I may need as we get closer to rendering the Vice President useless.’ Tarasha replied. ‘After that we wipe off his memory.’
‘No, please don’t.’ Dave pleaded. He was terribly scared. He couldn’t imagine what it would be like waking up not to remember anything about himself, most of the things he had learnt in life and everything that he had.
Agent Dave’s phone began to ring again and Cole took it out of his pocket. He checked the screen, the contact named Lizzy was still the caller. She had called more than thrice that night already and Cole did not answer any of the calls. As he stared at the screen, he felt the urge to answer the call and listen to what the caller would say at first. But just as he tried to swipe the green button, Tarasha walked back into the living room without the doctor.
‘Boss, this same contact has been trying to reach the agent for some time now.’ He said as he sat up.
Tarasha paused, she was on her way to the dining table. ‘It could be his colleague,’ she said aloud as she thought of what to do. ‘Have you unlocked the phone?’
‘Yes, Henry did after unlocking Rex’s.’
‘Let me have it,’ she said and proceeded to the dining.
Cole took the phone to her there and returned to his own seat. She opened the call dialer and selected the SMS option for the last missed caller ‘Lizzy’. She quickly went through the previous messages to check the pattern of their messages.
‘Babe, I’m in a tight situation and can’t talk now. Can we chat on WhatsApp?’ she typed and sent as a SMS before opening the WhatsApp application.
She quickly read through the previous conversation between Lizzy and Dave and discovered a lot in less than two minutes. One of the main things she picked from the conversation was their discussion about Stephanie George. From the tone of the replies sent by Lizzy, Tarasha could tell that Lizzy was jealous about Dave and Stephanie’s closeness and probably had a crush on Dave.
Vice President quarters, Lagos.
‘I heard they are coming to question me tomorrow.’ The vice president said to James as James walked into his bedroom.
‘Yes, I heard it too.’ James replied, after sipping the alcoholic wine from the glass cup. He had the bottle of wine in his right hand and a glass cup in his left.
‘It’s really getting messier,’ Chief Elvis said with a tone of regret. He was seated in his bed, his back resting against the headboard and his waist down covered with his blanket.
‘You don’t need to get tensed Dad, I’ve got your back. Just remain calm. When they come, do not admit to any of the charges.’
‘Are you sure it’s going to work?’
‘Yes,’ James said in a confident tone. He glanced at his father and wondered why the almighty Elvis Richards was suddenly behaving like a sissy. He poured wine into the cup again and gulped it down hungrily.
Location : Abuja
Time : 10:48PM
That night, after reading a romantic novel titled ‘Love And Justice’ on Please website, Lizzy had decided to give Dave another chance in her life. She still crushed on him despite all Dave had done to disappoint her. She had made up her mind that if he answered and received her well, she wouldn’t listen to the other party that offered her money to get the same information she was giving Dave.
She opened her whatsapp messenger immediately she received the SMS. They began to chat and the conversation began to annoy Lizzy even from the beginning. Dave was not about to change his feelings towards her.
‘Sorry, this place is surrounded by untrusted and naive people who could hear our conversation if we talk on phone.’ A message entered from Dave after they had exchanged pleasantries.
‘It’s late, are you still with someone right now? Or should we talk at midnight?’ Lizzy typed and sent her reply.
‘I’m in the same room with Stephanie George, I wouldn’t like her to hear our conversation and I also can’t go out to answer the call.’
‘You’re with Stephanie, I thought she was kidnapped by the Vice President.’
‘No, she has been with me all this while.’
‘But why the f*** didn’t you tell me?’
‘I’m sorry babe, it skipped my mind.’
‘How the hell could it have skipped your mind?’
‘I’m sorry Liz.’
‘What’s your schedule for tomorrow?’
‘Not fixed yet.’
‘I’m coming over to Lagos for an assignment, can you make time to see me in the afternoon.’
‘Oops, sorry I would be busy.’
‘I thought you just said your schedule isn’t fixed.’
‘Yea, but I can’t just leave Stephanie, she needs me by her side.’
‘F*** you Dave, goodnight.’
Angrily, she exited the app and switched off the phone. She reached for another phone under her pillow. She unlocked it and quickly typed some words into the message box.
‘I agree fully to your terms,’ she sent to an unsaved number.
To be continued