They all sat quietly in the room, awaiting Tarasha’s return. Nicholas had his phone in his hand but was unable to do anything with it. Cole’s watchful eyes was giving him a hard time and he began to have a feeling that Tarasha had warned him (Cole) to be very vigilant because she was suspicious of betrayal already.
He knew he was putting his life in great danger with his moves but he preferred his life to be in danger than for his beloved mother and his five year old son who lives with his mother to be wiped out by Rex. For this reason, his loyalty to Rex must remain unshaken.
Rex had found him through his mother. After he escaped from the base that night, he managed to find his way to Badagry just like he told Cole. Two days after he was still trying to recover from his wounds was when his mother placed a call to the friend he stayed with at Badagry. She had called and ask the friend of his whereabouts, claiming there was something really important she needed to tell him. Respecting the agreement between them, the friend had told the mother that he had not heard from Nicholas a long while but would reach her if he hears from him. The friend told Nicholas about the call immediately. The next day the woman called his friend again to ask if he had heard from Nicholas, and also mentioned that the matter she had to discuss with him was about life or death.
Nicholas had to call her the next day and inform her that some of his friends had reached him through his emails and had informed him she claimed she had something urgent to see him. It was then she told him that someone had been putting letters containing death threats in the school bag of his son. The school had denied knowledge of any letter and the boy had also confirmed that he always found the envelope in his bag every morning when he got to school which meant that it was put in his bag from home or before he got to school.
The night Nicholas decided to visit his mother and take a look at the death threats was the night he met Rex. In less than one hour after he got to the house, a knock sounded on the door.
‘Are you expecting somebody?’ Nicholas asked his mother as he stared at the door.
She shook her head in negative. He got up from the seat where he was comparing the letters, he dipped his hand into his pocket and held his gun by the handle but did not bring it out. He proceeded towards the door and peeped through the door hole, he saw no one there.
‘Who’s there?’ he asked aloud but got no response. He turned back and glanced at his mother.
‘It could be one of the neighbors kids, sometimes they knock the door playfully.’ the mother said to him.
‘I think you should go into the room with Charles for now,’ he said to her.
‘Why? Is there any problem?’ she asked.
‘No problem mum, please just obey.’ he said in a pleading voice and with a pleading look.
She decided not to argue with him. She carried the young boy in her arms and picked a nylon from the centre table and walked straight into the room. The apartment was a two-room self contain, so the living room led straight into the bedroom.
Nicholas pulled out his gun after watching them go in. He hid it behind his body and opened the door to check. He could see nothing suspicious except for the neighbors who’s going about their normal activities. He thought of asking the neighbors who knocked at the door but changed his mind and stepped back inside.
He walked back to his seat full of thoughts. He knew for sure that he was the main target of the death threats to his child and that was why he came at night but he also knew that it was possible that the house was being monitored and that his presence in the house was known. He had tried to figure out who could be after him. He thought about all his recent jobs, the only person that could be coming after him was the Samantha Osman’s Gang, maybe they had discovered he wasn’t dead yet and they wanted to kill him to prevent him from letting out the little secrets he had learnt while being with them for a short while.
Another knock sounded at the door before he got back to his seat. It got him more suspicious and he walked back to the door hurriedly. He checked through the peephole and saw the image of a man standing outside. The man was dressed in all black and held a black item in his hand. He was certain that the person sending the death threats had come for him.
‘Who is it?’ he took a step back from the door and asked. He got no response. He asked for the second time and still got no reply. He held his gun firmly in his right hand and turned the key with his left, he turned the knob and opened the door swiftly.
He was surprised to see the Pastor of his family church standing at the door. The man was more surprised to see him at the door, pointing a gun at him. The black item he was holding was a small paper Bible wrapped in black coloured case.
‘Oh! Sorry Pastor,’ Nicholas apologized as he put down the gun. ‘Good evening sir.’
He gave way for the man to enter but the man remained at the entrance. He took some steps back and then put the gun in his pocket. The Pastor entered and closed the door.
‘Good evening bro Nicholas, we need to talk,’ the man said and placed a hand on Nicholas shoulder as they walked to the seats.
Nicholas wondered why the man was visiting at such an hour, he knew that his mother must have given him the news of his presence.
‘Bro Nicholas, what are you doing with a gun?’ the man asked.
‘Sir, I would talk to you but I don’t want my mother to know about this please.’ Nicholas pleaded.
‘Speak on brother,’ the man said with an indifferent look.
‘I work as a body guard where I work, we are not allowed to use the guns outside our working place but I had to bring it here when my mother told me about the death threats.’ Nicholas lied.
‘Are you sure you’re saying the truth bro Nicholas?’
‘Yes, I wouldn’t lie to you Pastor.’
The Pastor took some seconds to think, he wasn’t convinced with the explanation but he decided to skip the discussion for that moment. ‘I’m here concerning those death threats the young boy have been receiving…’
There was an interruption.
‘s***!’ Nicholas cursed as he looked towards the door and saw the knob turning. The Pastor hadn’t given him chance to lock the door after letting him in. He quickly dipped his hand into his pocket but before he could pull out his gun. A man had stepped into the house.
He recognized the man’s face at once. It was one of the hostages who was kept in the Samantha Osman’s building before it was attacked. The same one who attacked him in the room where he was asked to keep watch over the hostages.
‘What the hell do you want here?’ Nicholas cursed. He was already on his feet as he couldn’t pull out the gun without standing.
‘Remember your mother and your child are in the room, don’t let’s make so much noise to attract them,’ Rex said confidently in his foreign accent. He began to approach Nicholas with confidence.
‘Stop there, else I’ll shoot.’ Nicholas threatened but Rex was unshaken.
He walked to the dumbfounded Pastor and inserted a pin into the man’s neck. Then he turned to the back of the chair and stretched his hand beyond the curtain of the bed room, he pulled the door and locked it with the key to prevent Nicholas’ mother and the son from stepping out.
‘Put the gun down, we need to talk.’ Rex said, turning back to the sitting area.
That was the beginning of his work with Rex. Rex had made him understand that working with Samantha Osman was never worth it and that Samantha only used and dumped people. He also made him understand that it was possible Samantha would have killed him after their mission if it had been successful, citing an example that it was for the same reason she never bothered about the men who were killed at the attack.
Since then Nicholas was won to Rex’s side with the promise of better payment and the safety of his family.
The job was dangerous but Nicholas knew he had to continue doing it to preserve his family. He had sent the address of the base to Rex the first day he got there but Rex had decided not to attack immediately because he believed that he (Nicholas) still had a lot more of secrets to learn from the Samantha Osman’s gang before an attack at their base could be successful.
All through his stay, Rex had insisted for him to identify all the secret exits and entrance into the base and he had tried his best to discover all the exits but still never discovered the underground exit through which the team escaped.
Tarasha finally returned after two hours of leaving. Henry who was already sleeping off stirred awake at the sound of her entrance.
‘We’ve got to move now,’ she announced to all of them and they began to adjust themselves. It was time to move to a new operation center.
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Location: Abuja Teaching Hospital.
‘Vivian, how is Dad doing?’ James asked as he rushed into the ward in the hospital. Vivian got up from her seat and rushed to embrace him.
He held her tight in his arms for a while and walked her to the bed.
‘He hasn’t opened his eyes since morning,’ Vivian said in a weak voice. ‘They said he had a heart attack.’
‘Heart attack? But that’s impossible, I’m not aware he has any heart condition.’ James replied.
He stared at Chief Elvis’ face for a while. The man looked strong even in the sick bed. He knew the sudden collapse must have resulted from the new video released by Samantha Osman.
He also still had a bandage covering his forehead and on his wrist. He had just landed in Abuja with Inspector Dakolo when he heard the news of the man’s sudden collapse and from there he rushed to the hospital.
‘I need to see the doctor,’ he said as he released Vivian’s hand which he was holding.
As he turned back to move, the door opened and a Doctor came in with Ayo and another man following behind.
‘Good afternoon Doctor, please what really happened to my father?’
‘Good afternoon officer James,’ the Doctor greeted back but didn’t answer the question. He walked straight to the sick man to perform some checks.
‘Good morning officer,’ Ayo greeted. ‘He collapsed this morning after a meeting,’ Ayo began to explain.
‘I was told he had a heart attack,’ James said.
‘No, the doctor says it isn’t a heart attack.’ Ayo replied. ‘He doesn’t have any ailment that could lead to a heart attack.’
James heaved a sigh. ‘So what is the real cause of the collapse?’
‘The doctor would explain, he wanted us to get here first.’
They remained in silence for about two minutes, waiting for the doctor to finish his checks. He finally took off his stethoscope and hung them around his neck.
‘He would be fine, it’s nothing serious actually. He’s just been so stressed out and has been going through a lot of tension recently, he needs a lot of rest. I would suggest he takes a leave from work,’ the doctor said.
James took a glance at his father, he heaved a sigh of relief.
‘We administered some drugs to make him rest well, he would be awake soon and is fit to go home by evening but you all just have to make sure he has enough rest and peace.’ the doctor said and looked at every of his listeners face one after the other, a gesture to emphasize to them that the man’s recovery depends on all of them.
‘Thank you doctor,’ James said in a calm voice. He looked at his father’s face again. He knew it might be impossible to get the man feel peace considering his present circumstances. He knew the man would never feel peace as far as Samantha Osman remained unstopped and the videos were still being released.
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LOCATION: POLICE HEADQUARTERS, ABUJA
Dakolo walked on silently to the office of the Acting Inspector General Of Police with his heart heavy and full of worries. It was the first time he would be meeting with the AIG since the man had been acting. He didn’t know what kind of man he was, whether he was just like his predecessor IG Rikau or if he was honest.
If the man was just like IG Rikau, then it meant he was aware of how Madam Henrietta was snatched from his hands. He had watched the video uploaded by Rex and had noted the claim that the woman was now in the police custody. He had expected that the police deny the claim and dissociate themselves from the video but no such denial was made, instead the Lagos State Commissioner Of Police had confirmed that the woman was truly in the police custody.
How they got to know about the woman’s return into the country remained a mystery to him. He couldn’t suspect James as James life was almost lost in the process. He was so confused about it and did not know what step to take.
He finally got to the AIG’s office and pressed the bell button. The AIG’s voice sounded five seconds later and he was asked to come in. He opened the door and walked in slowly.
‘Good afternoon sir,’ he said with a salute.
‘Inspector Dakolo,’ the AIG replied in a calm voice, stressing each syllable of his words than usual. He stared at Dakolo’s face thinly for a while. ‘I’ve gone through your records and I’ve seen your works, you impressed me.’
Dakolo remained quiet, he didn’t know whether to say a thank you. He began to hear a sound which distracted him. For a moment, he didn’t know where the sound was coming from until he saw the AIG’s eyebrows gathered together and staring at his face. He realized that the sound was from the phone in his pocket. He quickly picked it out and tried to end the call but the phone did not respond quickly, causing him more embarrassment. He held the power button down until it switched off.
‘I’m sorry sir, that was my wife, her calls always have to ring out.’ he apologized.
The AIG wasn’t impressed with his explanation. He took up a letter from his table and stretched it to Dakolo. Dakolo stepped forward to take it. ‘That’s your letter of suspension, I decided to give it to you after reading through your records.’ he paused as stared at Dakolo’s face for a while. ‘But I’m still interested in listening to the explanations for your actions.’
Dakolo stood still without making any move for a moment. He wondered if he should tell the man the whole truth, the man sounded interested in knowing it. He had expected that the man would dismiss him without hearing from him.
‘By the way, where is your partner?’
‘Agent James got a call that his father collapsed, he rushed to the hospital.’
‘Okay.’ the AIG stared at his face for a while. ‘Why don’t you sit and tell me what you did and why you did it?’
LOCATION: All-Rounda Hotel, Lagos.
He woke up to a new world with a sneeze. He stared blankly at the white coloured ceiling for a while until he sneezed again. He could feel some pains in his head as he managed to sit up. He looked around the room where he found himself. Everything around was clean and shiny. He looked up to the left side and found the source of the cold air – the rectangular shaped air conditioner. He got out of the bed and looked around. He located a three seater leather sofa with a table in front of it. He found his way there and sat on the sofa.
There were some items on the table, he began to check them one after the other. The first was a student association identity card bearing a picture that looked like his. The name written was Frank Thomas. There was another identity card beside, a national youth service Corp card bearing the same picture. He checked the date of the new ID card and then picked the student ID card, he realized that the student ID card had expired few months ago and the person whose name was Frank was now a serving youth corp member. There was also a diamond bank debit card on the table bearing the same name and then a receipt with the same name on the table, it was a hotel receipt showing payment for lodging in a room for a week.
A thought suddenly struck his mind as he touched his chin. He realized he had so much beards just like the man in the picture, he touched his hair also and found it bald just like the man in the picture. He got up from the chair and began to look for a mirror to check his image. He located the door to the restroom and quickly got in where he found a mirror. He looked at his face in the mirror, it was the same man he saw in the identity cards.
He tried to remember how he got where he was but he couldn’t. The only picture he had of his former self was different. The shiny skin covering his head and his beards almost made him not recognize himself.
He closed his eyes and tried to find his way back memory lane. His new look reminded him of someone, his father.
‘We’re in a new centre of operation,’ the long awaited message from Nicholas popped up on Rex’s phone.
He clicked on the reply button immediately. ‘Keep your device trackable,’ he typed and sent.
To be continued