Location : Abuja
6:30AM Next Daynow
‘I’m sorry about what happened yesterday.’
Lizzy woke up to find the text message from Dave’s number on her phone.
‘I plead with you in God’s name, let me know when you’re in Lagos, so that we can see.’ another message popped in as she pondered on the first with the phone still in her hand.
She took in a deep breath after reading. Dave’s plea looked sincere and full of regrets, but she had made a commitment to the other party already. Moreover, it wasn’t Dave’s first time of sounding or looking sincere with an apology which never stopped him from disappointing her.
She dropped the phone beside the pillow and got out of bed. She turned back again briefly to check the time on the phone. Her flight to Lagos was for eight o’clock that morning. She pulled the switch of the bulbs and the night light turned off while the white day light bulb turned on. Just as she turned towards the bathroom and was about making her way there, her phone began to ring. She stopped and let out a breath. It must be Dave calling, she thought. Maybe he had now found a way to speak with her without getting into trouble, like he claimed he would. He always did find a way when it came to apologizing, and the way was always a good one. She turned and reached for the phone but she was disappointed, Dave wasn’t the one calling her. She answered the call and placed it close to her ear.
‘Hey Sweetheart,’ a male voice sounded from the other end.
‘Good morning,’ she greeted the caller reluctantly.
‘Good morning, how was your night?’ the caller asked in a mischievous tone. Lizzy was yet to answer when he spoke again. ‘Oh! Your night must be damn boring. I forgot that you were alone, and Dave whom you are madly in love with must have shagged that pretender SWAD leader mercilessly overnight.’
‘Enough of that man, don’t you think it’s too early to beat around the bush?’ Lizzy replied angrily. She forced out a breath after letting out her anger. But then she felt it was unnecessary to get angry at the caller, he was saying the truth like he always did. She had refused to believe him from the scratch when he told her that Dave was never going to reciprocate her crush for her but she never listened but decided to remain hopeful until Stephanie George came into the picture. Even after the SWAD leader came into the picture she still had some hopes left but it all went gradually as Dave played true to the caller’s every word about him and showed himself running crazy over Stephanie George instead of giving attention to her.
‘Oh! I’m sorry dear. Well, I just called to congratulate you once again for the good decision you made yesterday to agree to the terms. I know you would never regret it. Your flight is by eight o’clock this morning, don’t forget. We would be on the same flight but as usual, we should act as strangers. We would see properly when we get to Lagos and find a strategic location to meet.’
‘Okay,’ Lizzy replied.
The call ended and Lizzy checked the phone’s screen, there was a new message from Dave. ‘Please reply my messages, I beg you.’ The message read.
She sniffed in and shook her head. That was it, Dave was good at begging and apologizing but it never meant he wasn’t going to be the jerk he was. She began to imagine the reasons he couldn’t call but was sending her messages instead. The picture of him being in the bed with Stephanie George kept appearing in her mind. She could see both of them naked under the sheets, their legs culled around each others and Stephanie’s head on Dave’s chest. That must be the exact reason Dave wasn’t able to speak with her on phone, he didn’t want Stephanie to hear him speaking with another woman, she concluded in her mind.
‘I will call you when I get to Lagos,’ she finally typed a reply she never meant, just to stop him from disturbing with further messages. She sent it and flung the phone back to the bed.
She proceeded to the wardrobe with a determination in her heart. She was going to meet him in Lagos, not to give him an opportunity to reciprocate her feelings towards him but to sell him out totally.
‘Good morning,’ Tarasha smiled as she sat in the bed beside Madam Atinuke.
‘Good morning, you must be Samantha Osman.’ Madam Atinuke smiled back at her. ‘Thank you for taking care of my daughter and for willing to help us fight my husbands killers.’
Tarasha smiled in reply. She wasn’t sure of what to say.
‘She also saved me from a rapist some time ago,’ Stephanie said as she approached them from the door.
Tarasha glanced at Stephanie and forced a smile on, even though she felt uncomfortable with the praises.
‘Thank you for all that you do for our family,’ Madam Atinuke thanked again.
‘You’re welcome,’ Tarasha replied, almost in whispers. She wasn’t feeling shy or timid before the woman but it just felt strange sitting in her presence.
There was silence for while.
Stephanie joined in the bed but sat behind, resting her back against the headboard while Tarasha and Madam Atinuke were seated in front close to the corner at the edges.
Madam Atinuke kept her gaze on Tarasha’s face without taking it off while Tarasha stared at the wall in front.
‘Samantha, how old are you?’ Madam Atinuke asked.
The question came unexpected to Tarasha. For a moment, she did not know what age to reply with, whether her age according to the Nefary Clan or her age according to her mother’s diary.
Before she could come up with a reply, someone interrupted with a knock at the door.
‘Who is that?’ Stephanie replied, staring at the door from where she was seated.
They heard Doctor Ekwueme’s voice.
‘Please come in Doctor,’ Stephanie said.
The door opened slowly and the doctor stepped in. He walked in closer and stopped in front of Tarasha and the woman. They exchanged greetings and the doctor asked about the woman’s health.
‘How are you doing Madam?’
‘Fine,’ she replied.
‘I can see,’ the doctor said with a discontented look. From the weakness of her voice, he could tell that she was gradually getting back to the previous condition of her health before she was taken out of the special care center. She was sounding a little bit stronger because of the effect of the boosters which were mixed with her drugs.
The doctor glanced at Tarasha. ‘Thanks, the drugs have been gotten for me.’
‘You’re welcome,’ Tarasha replied with an expressionless look.
There was silence for the next one minute. The doctor located the sofa in the room and sat on it.
‘Dr Ekwu…eme,’ Madam Atinuke said stuttering as she peered at the standing doctor.
The doctor smiled, ‘You finally recognized me.’
The woman’s mouth was left agape, ‘What are you doing here?’
The doctor laughed at the question. ‘Treating you, and living my life.’
‘How is your family and where are they?’
‘They’re perfectly fine in Anambra State,’ the doctor replied.
A phone began to ring, even though the ringtone wasn’t loud, everyone still looked towards Tarasha in whose pocket it was ringing from.
‘Please, excuse me,’ she said as she got up from the bed and took out the phone. ‘Henry, you’re ready?’ she said into the phone as she approached the door.
They watched her open the door and step out.
‘I think I know her,’ Madam Atinuke said aloud about two minutes after Tara left.
The doctor took a quick glance at her. He squinted at her for a while, ‘Where do you know her from?’
‘I can’t remember,’ the woman replied.
‘You can’t, why don’t you try remember?’
The woman squinted for a while and then closed her eyes.
Stephanie and Doctor Ekwueme stared at her expectantly for over a minute but then she surprised them by an unexpected outburst.
‘They took everything I have, my husband, my children and they want to kill me. I would not allow them, I would not let them go scot free with their crimes,’ the woman suddenly got up and began to shout, with her hands at the neck region of her cloth as she attempted to rip it off.
The doctor was shocked. He had never seen her that way and wasn’t expecting it at that time but Stephanie was proactive.
‘Doctor Ekwueme,’ Stephanie said as she sprang out of bed. ‘Please get out of this place immediately.’
The doctor looked at the young woman and then got up hurriedly. He proceeded towards the door as fast as his legs could carry him. Stephanie also joined him but stopped behind the opened door.
‘Mum please, calm down.’ Stephanie said in a pleading tone.
The woman who was displaying on her own had her attention gotten by Stephanie. Her blouse was already torn almost halfway, revealing her underwear partially.
The woman stopped her violent attitude for a moment, she turned to Stephanie and squinted at her like she was trying to recognize who it was. Suddenly she opened her eyes wide again and then pointed a finger at Stephanie.
‘You,’ she said in an angry voice and began to rush towards the girl.
Stephanie hurried out and locked the door with the key from behind. She dropped to her knees and began to sob
The doctor was still there, he was resting against the wall in front of the door. He heaved a sigh as he saw the look of disappointment on the young lady’s face.
He tried to imagine what could have triggered the ill mental condition in the woman. There was nothing else he could think of than the request he made of her to try remember where she knew Samantha Osman from.
He waited for a minute and then flashed a glance at Stephanie to see if she was calmer now.
‘Steph, have you ever seen your mother like this?’ Dr Ekwueme asked, even though he was sure that the answer was yes.
‘Yes, it’s not the first time but I was hoping that it won’t happen again.’ Stephanie replied.
‘Get up, we need to talk about it, we could find a way to control it.’ The doctor urged.
‘Is everything okay?’ another voice joined them.
They both looked towards the entrance of the passage area and saw Tomi standing there, with her eyebrows raised in a questioning mood.
‘No problem nurse,’ the doctor replied. He turned briefly to Stephanie and motioned for her to get up. ‘What of Samantha?’ the doctor turned back to the nurse.
‘She’s gone out with Henry already,’ Tomi answered.
‘He’s gone out, at the same time with them but to a different place I believe.’
‘Okay,’ the doctor said. He then turned to Stephanie, ‘Let’s go, we need to talk about your mother.’
Stephanie continued staring at the door for a while, she could still hear noises from the room and was reluctant to leave her mother suffering alone.
‘Let’s go now,’ the doctor encouraged.
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‘I served the Inspector General myself,’ Nicholas said as he followed Cole from the car garage towards the main building.
‘So all hostages have been fed and you’re still the only one who knows that we have the IG here?’ Cole asked in low tones, being conscious of the environment.
‘Yes boss, I’m the only one who knows. And I’ve got the keys with me alone,’ Nicholas replied with the same low tones.
‘What about the drugged guy, is he awake now?’ Cole asked about Rex.
‘Yes, he is but should be asleep again.’
‘We have to wake him up now,’ Cole said as they climbed up the balcony.
His phone began to ring as they stepped into the first room. He stopped to take it out of his pocket and checked the screen, Patricia was the caller.
‘Victor, our flight landed some few minutes ago.’
‘Wow!’ He smiled. ‘I’m glad to hear that.’
‘So when are we seeing?’ she asked.
‘When will it be convenient for you?’
‘Well, I won’t be so busy today until tomorrow, I only have to wait for them to get us to the hotel we are going to be lodged first.’
‘Okay, call me after and tell me what time would be good for us to hang out.’
‘Alright, I will be expecting your call.’
Cole smiled as the call ended. He put the phone back into his pocket and proceeded quickly to join Nicholas.
In a dark tinted Venza Jeep. Lizzy was seated alone at the backseat, dressed in a black trouser suits and white inner shirt. She looked smart and ready for a corporate activity. The driver of the vehicle sat at the front alone. He was also dressed corporately and he had dark eyeglasses on.
They had been driving in silence for about thirty minutes from the airport. They drove into an IT company and waited in the car garage for five minutes. Two people joined them in the vehicle, one at the front seat and the other with Lizzy at the back. They drove out of the company and continued the journey.
‘How was the flight?’ the person seated beside Lizzy asked.
‘Great,’ she replied without giving the person a look.
‘Yea, I know it was great.’ The person replied with a smile. ‘We were on the same flight, I know you didn’t see us. So what’s our first move?’
‘We have to wait until I make my own moves first,’ Lizzy replied confidently, not intimidated by the confidence of the one talking to her.
‘Do make quick moves, we can’t wait to deliver.’
‘The moves would continue after you fulfill your first part of the deal.’
The person beside her chuckled, ‘I’ll make the first payment right away.’
A device was taken out. After a minute of working on the device, a beep sounded on Lizzy’s phone. She took it out to check and confirmed the transaction.
‘Received,’ she said with a straight face.
‘Yea,’ the reply came with another chuckle.
They drove and discussed for some more minutes until they got close to a bus stop. The vehicle parked and the two people who joined them alighted. Lizzy’s car drove off.
The two watched as the car drove out of sight before they crossed to the other side of the road and got into a blue rover parked there.
Henry and Tarasha sat at a table in a restaurant. They had plates of beans and plantain served in front of them and were eating quietly until Tarasha broke the silence.
‘Where do we go next?’ she asked.
‘I think we should go to Orile now,’ Henry replied.
Tarasha paused to think for a moment. She recalled the pictures of the survey of the area and couldn’t but agree with Henry that it was the next place they should go.
‘Tara, what plans do you have for everybody else after we complete the whole mission finally?’
Tara was about to take a spoon of beans but dropped it as the question hit her. She raised her brows at Henry. She could tell that the question Henry was trying to ask her was if she had plans for them at all.
‘Why do you ask?’ she replied.
Henry narrowed his gaze at her. He changed the position of his head and nodded to the other side. ‘I was just thinking about Dr Ekwueme, Stephanie and the two elderly women. The public thinks they’ve been kidnapped, I don’t know how they’re going to go back to their normal lives.’
Tara was quiet for a while. She had thought about his question already and had a plan fixed but didn’t know how Henry would react to it.
‘They would all return to their normal lives, I have plans to make them appear rescued after the death or judgment of the Vice President in court.’ She answered. ‘But what about you? How would you return to your normal life?’
Henry squinted at her. ‘My normal life? I do not have a normal life anymore,’ he paused and cleared his throat. ‘My normal life is the one with you.’
‘What about your parents and family? What would you do with them after all is done?’
Henry gasped. He suddenly remembered that he had it in mind days ago to do a check on his mother when he travelled to Abuja with Cole but all that happened was him waking up to hear that he couldn’t go on the trip anymore because he collapsed and was unconscious for about forty eight hours.
‘I will only make sure that they remain fine and live well, I can’t leave you.’
Tara chuckled. She relaxed her back and continued with her food silently. After some seconds, she raised her hand and checked her wristwatch.
‘We need to hurry up, we don’t have much time by our side.’
In a black Range Rover. Victor is seated at the driver’s seat while Patricia is on his right. Both look tired out after having some hours of fun together. They had been together since 2 pm that day and now Victor had come to drop her in the hotel she was lodged in. They both sat in silence for a long while at the parking lot. The ringtone of Victor’s phone disturbed the silence.
Victor took out his second phone. He glanced at the screen. The caller’s ID displayed was ‘Boss’. He began to feel uncomfortable, it would be difficult for him to communicate effectively with his boss with Patricia beside him.
‘Hello Boss,’ he finally answered the call after hesitating for a while.
‘Cole, we just located the exact spot Rex has Chief Nonso in Badagry and luckily for us, there are security cameras around the area. We already surveyed the building and we found out there are some guys guarding the place. We don’t know for certain how many they are, but we can guess they are not less than twelve, we also do not know how strong they are. I’m going in alone and I’ll need you to watch from the base and communicate with Henry and I, I would try as much as possible to bring the men outside the main building.’
‘Okay boss, but I need some minutes to get back to the base.’ Victor said into the phone.
‘How many minutes do you need?’
‘Thirty minutes maximum boss.’
Victor dropped the call and glanced at Patricia. She already knew he needed to leave immediately.
‘It’s okay honey,’ she said and pecked him before stepping out of the car.
He reversed out of the parking garage and drove out of the hotel.
As the range Rover drove away, Lizzy walked into another car at the other side of the garage. ‘Drive after the black car,’ she said to the driver.
The driver obeyed and turned out of the garage.
‘I realized he hired the vehicle, there was no need putting a tracker on him,’ Lizzy said into a phone as the car drove into the road, still having the black range Rover in sight.
‘So, how are we going to get him?’ the voice from the other end of the phone replied.
‘I’m after him now and would follow him to their present location, his boss gave him thirty minutes to get there.’
‘Be careful Agent, you should tell us as soon as you get his location.’
‘Yes sure, I would.’
45 minutes later.
Lizzy checked her time again. The time was far spent and Victor had been seen coming out of the car rentals service he rented the vehicle from. They (Lizzy and the driver) had watched him drive into the place to return the car and had not seen him come out in the same or a different car.
It was when the rentals service began to lock their gates that Lizzy realized that Victor must have left without them knowing. She concluded that he must have used a very good disguise technique for them not to know when he left.
She tried to recall all those she had seen come out of the place and there was only one instance that Cole could have escaped through. A car with three guys in it had come out of the place five minutes after Victor drove in with the Range Rover. She did not pay much attention to the car then because all the guys all had so much beards and it appeared like they were a beard gang of some sort but then she remembered that the guy that was seated at the backseat of the car wore the same type of shirt Victor wore.
‘Damn it!’ she cursed aloud. ‘We’ve been fooled, he left already.’
‘How could he have left, through the back?’ the driver who was also a trained NIS officer asked.
‘Through a very good disguise method,’ she replied.
She heaved a sigh and closed her eyes. She rested her head against the headrest as she began to think of what next to do. Then she suddenly remembered Tomi and realized that she wasn’t making good use of Tomi. She tapped her phone out and searched out Tomi’s number.
To be continued.