Madam Henrietta was surprised to find herself alive when she opened her eyes. At first, she thought she was already dead, but after she looked around and saw the medical equipments and other things in the room, she confirmed she was still on the earth. She got up and sat at the edge of the bed but wasn’t able to move around because of the drip connected to her hand.
She stayed awake for more than thirty minutes without seeing anybody or hearing anyone’s voice. She found herself lost in thoughts. All the worries she had while in the police’s custody returned to her mind and she began to worry about being in Samantha Osman’s custody. She also wondered how she survived the gunshot in her belly. She raised her cloth up to check and found the place already covered with bandages.
She was so lost in thoughts that she did not hear the sound of the door opening. Not until Tarasha almost got to her front before she realized that someone else had joined her in the room. A sudden shock gripped her heart as she saw Tarasha’s face, she trembled and almost left her skin as Tarasha stopped in front of her.
Tarasha let out a light smile on seeing the woman’s face. She couldn’t explain the feeling she had inside her but she knew seeing her mother alive was the cause of the feeling.
‘Good morning madam Henrietta, how are you doing today?’ she greeted with a smile.
‘Fine,’ Madam Henrietta replied briefly with an expressionless face. She was afraid but at the same time wondering why Tarasha is smiling at her.
‘Sorry, I had to shoot you yesterday,’ Tarasha apologize as she moved closer. She rolled up the woman’s blouse to check the wound behind. ‘I had to do it to help us leave that place easily.’
Madam Henrietta stared carefully at her as she checked the wounds, pondering on the last sentence she said.
‘So, you didn’t shoot to kill me?’ she asked with stammering lips.
‘No, I don’t have a reason to kill you,’ Tarasha replied as she covered back the wound. ‘We came there to help you out.’
Madam Henrietta was speechless. She stared at the young lady’s face in awe.
Tarasha turned back and located a chair behind. She pulled it closer and sat on it.
‘The wound would heal quickly as far as you keep feeding well,’ she continued talking after crossing her legs. She unlocked the phone which she had taken out of her pocket and checked the time. ‘You must be feeling hungry now, aren’t you?’ she asked. She did not wait for the woman to answer before she continued. ‘Your food would be brought in soon.’
Madam Henrietta couldn’t find words to say even though she felt she needed to apologize for what she said in the video made by the policemen.
There was total silence for a couple of minutes. Madam Henrietta had several thoughts running through her mind. She had doubts about Tarasha’s intentions. She couldn’t understand why she would say she had no reason to kill her even with the video that was recorded. She also wondered what was next after that, she wondered if she was going to be set free again or if she was going to be punished for not following instructions the previous time. Her eyes widened as she suddenly remembered someone.
‘What about Stephanie?’ she blurted out.
Tarasha raised her head and stared into the woman’s eyes. ‘She’s fine and with her mother.’
The woman closed her eyes and heaved a sigh of relief.
‘What about your own daughter?’ Tarasha asked.
Madam Henrietta had a confused look on her face as she opened her eyes. She narrowed her gaze on the young lady’s face, ‘Steph… Stephanie is the only daughter I have.’
Tarasha felt hurt at the sound of her reply. She was quiet for close to a minute before she spoke again. ‘Stephanie is the daughter of Lewis and Atinuke George, I’m asking about your own daughter.’
‘My daughter?’ the woman seemed more puzzled. ‘I don’t have a daughter apart from Stephanie.’
‘You never had a child of yours?’
The woman stared blankly for a moment and then let out a deep breath.
‘I never had a child of mine,’ she replied, shaking her head slowly.
Tarasha squinted at her with so much confusion in her heart.
‘How long will it take you to locate any of their security installments?’ Rex message popped into Nicholas’ phone.
He tapped the space and the keyboard came on. ‘It’s completely hidden safer than the previous place, I’m sure only Samantha has full information and even Cole doesn’t have.’ he typed his reply and sent to her.
‘Do they not have a control room in the facility?’ Rex’s reply came in.
‘They do but I can’t gain access yet, the systems are locked.’ Nicholas replied.
‘You can have an idea of the security facilities they have in place by just looking around,’ Rex replied.
‘Henry spends almost everyday in the control room, there’s no way I can get in and start looking around without him suspecting me.’ Nicholas complained.
‘You gotta find a way man and stop wasting time like a dumb ass, remember that your mother and son’s lives are at stake.’ Rex threatened.
‘I promise, I’ll find my way and get back to you as soon as I can.’ Nicholas typed his reply and sent. It marked read and he waited for some seconds to see if Rex would reply but Rex went offline less than a minute after.
Rex put the phone on the table and got up from his seat. He knew he had to find his way to get to Samantha Osman and wasn’t depending on Nicholas, Nicholas’ input might just be a plus for him. He opened up the laptop on the table and tapped the boot button. His phone began to ring while he waited for the computer to boot.
He picked up the phone and checked the caller, it was Elvis Richards. He felt tempted not to answer the call as he did not know what to say, he had failed the man terribly and he understood that no excuse was acceptable.
It stopped ringing and began to ring a second time. He swiped the green icon hesitatingly add delayed for some seconds before taking it close to his ear.
‘Rex… Rex,’ he heard the Chief’s voice at the other end.
‘Hello Chief,’ he finally spoke.
‘Rex, where are you? I need you to come to Abuja as soon as you can,’ Chief Elvis said.
Rex wondered what the man needed him for in Abuja. ‘Do you have a plan against Samantha or you have another task?’ he asked. He was not ready to carry out any task that wouldn’t lead to or increase his chances against Samantha yet, all he wanted to do was to finish off Samantha Osman before considering any other task.
‘You have to come around Rex, Samantha Osman already won against me but I need you to help me go out of this unhurt. You have to be here,’ the man pleaded.
Somehow, Rex felt indebted to the man. He decided that if the man had a good plan that would work to make him get out unhurt really, then he was going to get involved. Getting the man out unhurt would also mean Samantha did not win at the end.
‘I don’t know if there’ll be a flight to Abuja today,’ Rex said.
‘Yes, there is. It leaves for eleven o’clock this morning and I’ve booked your space already, i send you the necessary documents immediately after this call.’
LOCATION : ABUJA
Elvis Richards heaved a sigh of relief, now knowing that Rex was coming to Abuja. He stared at James who was sitting in front of him and expecting a reply eagerly.
‘He agreed to come here,’ Elvis Richards said to James.
’That’s good, I really do hope he would have a good strategy to get you out of here safely,’ James replied.
‘I trust he would,’ Elvis Richards replied confidently.
‘But where did you get him from?’
‘I told you he’s an agent from an assassin clan in Russia, he’s one of their bests and it cost me a lot to bring him down here,’ Elvis Richards replied.
‘I’ll trust your word since you believe he is our solution to this.’ James replied concludingly.
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‘You never had a child of your own, does that mean you are barren?’ Tarasha asked, her voice seemed a bit shaky. She was disturbed in her heart at the thought that Madam Atinuke could have told her something incorrect, perhaps the woman wasn’t in her complete senses when she told her Madam Henrietta was Omotara’s mother.
‘No, I wasn’t barren. I actually got pregnant twice, my womb was destroyed after I aborted the second child.’ Madam Henrietta answered her.
‘And what happened to the first pregnancy?’ Tarasha asked her.
The woman drew in a deep breath, she stared at Tarasha’s face for a little while as she tried to put words together. ‘I gave birth to that baby alive but it was never mine because I gave it out the same day and heard that she died eight years later.’
There seemed to be a sudden release of tension in Tarasha’s heart. She let out a deep prolonged breath which she had held in for seconds.
‘Who did you give the baby out to?’
‘Doctor Danjuma and his wife,’ she answered in a low tones. She looked remorseful as tears began to form in her eyes. ‘They saved me from death that day and also saved my child, they tried to help me and promised to watch me as I train my child but I was too scared, I was scared of my past, I was scared to be a mother yet. I had so many dreams that I thought I could never fulfill with a child.’ she stopped and exhaled deeply.
Tears had begun to roll down her cheeks slowly. ‘I was forced to breastfeed the child the only day I did, it felt annoying to me, it wasn’t the life I desired at that time. Even though Mr Danjuma and his wife showed me love, I still could not erase the voices of the people in the village who told me I was a shame to humanity and a disgrace to my mother and my father’s house. That baby was the item of shame and disgrace, every time I looked at it, I remembered the shameful process by which I got pregnant.
Our only few days together were horrible for me, I had nightmares everyday of that man touching me again with his filthy hands and I remember how he denied raping me and lied that I tried to seduce him in his office. Nobody believed my side of the story because he was an important and responsible man in the village, only my mother believed me. But the same problem killed her, her small thriving business went down because no one in the village wanted to do business with or associate themselves with the woman who taught her daughter how to seduce the village benefactor. I watched her die of pain and I couldn’t do anything to save her, I was heavy with the baby and everybody I ran to never listened to me because I was an item of shame and even the kind hearted ones had been warned by the village elders not to involve themselves in anything that concerned me or my mother.’
She paused to sniff in and clean her eyes.
‘I tried to take my life after my mother’s death but I wouldn’t just die and everytime, the baby would still kick to inform me that she was alive and still willing to come out anytime soon,’ she let out a brief smile at this point and sniffed in before she continued again. ‘But everytime she kicked, I was reminded that I was an item of shame and the living thing kicking inside of me was the reason. Sometimes, I had dreams that the baby would become someone great and be a solution to the problems of many if I kept it but everytime I woke up to reality and found myself on the streets of the village, streams and farmyard, the people and environment constantly reminded me of how the child came and how shameful it was to keep it. The torments overshadowed the good dreams and as the delivery period drew closer, I began to have only nightmares. I couldn’t keep the baby because I thought I would die of the memory, but…’ she took another pause and closed her eyes briefly. ‘I wish I had listened to the Danjumas, perhaps, I could have gotten a better life and the baby would have remained alive if I kept it myself.’
She ended her story and wiped her face again with the white sheet on the bed. She looked up and was surprised to see tears in Tarasha’s eyes.
Tarasha saw the surprised look in Madam Henrietta’s face and realized that the tears in her eyes was the cause of the surprise. She quickly tried to wipe her face but it was late, it had already created an effect in Madam Henrietta’s mind.
‘What’s wrong? Is anything the matter?’ Madam Henrietta asked. For the first time, she clearly saw the humanity in Samantha Osman. She had always thought Samantha was a ruthless assassin who had lost every iota of feeling and sympathy and always believed that her seemingly kind acts were just a pretense to get her prey.
‘Nothing,’ Tarasha forced out a smile. ‘I only remembered a similar story.’
‘You had a similar story to this?’ Madam Henrietta asked. She had suddenly become interested in the assassin’s personal life. ‘Can you share with me your story?’
‘Don’t bother about my story, you would find out very soon.’ Tarasha replied. She drew in a breath and wiped her face with a handkerchief. ‘So do you know the baby’s name?’
‘Her name was Omotara,’ she replied.
‘So how did you confirm that she died?’
‘She lived with the Danjuma’s family and they were reported to have died in a terrorist attack. At first, the kids were reported to have been kidnapped alongside other children but few days later, all the kidnapped kids died in an accident.’
‘Were the names of the kids involved in the accident listed out?’
‘Yeah, two of the Danjuma’s kids including my Omotara was listed.’ Madam Henrietta’s eyes got filled with tears again as she answered.
‘What if you found out that your daughter did not die in that accident?’ Tarasha asked.
Madam Henrietta raised her brow. She had never considered the possibility of her child having survived the accident announced.
‘If she did not die?’ she mumbled, staring at Tarasha’s face and wondering what she was driving at.
‘Do you know anything about the said accident?’
‘No, I don’t.’
‘So, why would you say it is possible my child survived out of those that died.’
‘I didn’t say that, I only asked what you would feel if you found out she did not die in that accident. That could mean she was never involved in the accident,’ Tarasha replied.
Madam Henrietta stared thinly at Tarasha’s face without words to say. Tarasha seemed to be confusing her unnecessarily with her words.
‘So, you were raped by a Chief right?’
‘He was also a lecturer who you went to seek admission help from?’
‘Yes…he was,’ she replied slowly, trying to remember if she had mentioned that the Chief was also a lecturer.
‘So you gave birth to the baby in a forest and you were taken to a hospital by the Danjuma’s but you fled after three days of being admitted?’
Madam Henrietta was unable to close her mouth from the shock she got from Tarasha’s mentioning of the details she did not speak about.
‘Who are you?’ she asked in low tones, staring narrowly at her face.
Tarasha smiled. ‘So tell me, who was this Chief Lecturer who molested you?’
Madam Henrietta trembled in fear, still squinting at Tarasha. It seemed to her for a moment that she was sitting in front of a person with supernatural powers who was reading her past.
‘Who was the Chief?’ Tarasha asked again, seeing that she delayed the answer.
‘Chief Gabriel Oluwamurewa,’ she replied.
‘Is he still alive?’
‘Yes, I believe. He was sentenced to prison a long time ago and it was rumoured recently that he got out but no one knows where he is now.’
‘Ermm…’ Tarasha squinted as something rang in her head. ‘What did you call his name?’
‘Gabriel Oluwamurewa,’ the woman answered.
‘He was arrested for importation and distribution of fake and substandard drugs couple with some other financial crimes?’
Tarasha’s heartbeat increased without her consciousness. The description given by Madam Henrietta perfectly matched Chief Gab’s. She felt it strange that he could be her father, after working with him for several months there had been no connection whatsoever. Even the books which contained his past which he shared with her never contained the records or any information linking to her birth.
‘Is there a problem?’ Madam Henrietta asked as Tarasha got up. She had noticed a change in the young lady’s mood and did not understand her reactions.
‘No, there’s none.’ Tarasha replied without turning back. She couldn’t face the woman for the fear of revealing her weakness.
‘Do you know anything about Gabriel Oluwamurewa?’
‘No,’ Tarasha replied, still without turning back. ‘Sorry, I have to go now,’ she quickly added. ‘Your food would be brought in soon.’
Madam Henrietta watched in awe as she walked out of the room.
Tarasha walked straight to her room to find Henry seated at the edge of the bed. He had his head bowed with the forehead resting on his palm and the elbow resting on his knee.
Tarasha’s mixed feelings temporarily disappeared on seeing Henry’s position, he didn’t bother to take a look up even when she entered. She knew something was obviously wrong with him.
‘Henry, what’s wrong?’ she asked as she moved closer. She sat beside him and placed a hand on his shoulder.
He lifted his head slowly, his eyeballs were slightly red and his face gloomy.
‘I’m feeling a terrible headache, I can’t even think or do anything properly.’ he managed to reply.
‘Have you told the doctor?’ She asked.
‘Not yet,’ he replied. ‘I’m still wondering what’s happening to me.’
‘Let me get the doctor immediately,’ she said and tried to get up but he held her back.
‘What did he say happen to me the last time?’
‘Which last time?’ she asked as her eyebrows gathered together slowly.
‘The last time I collapsed and was in coma for some days, I’m feeling the same way I felt when I woke that day and I’m scared I may collapse soon again.’
‘No, that won’t happen.’ Tarasha got up. She remembered the collapse story that was told to Henry and recalled it was only made up but it wasn’t time to tell Henry the truth about it yet. ‘I’ll go get the doctor for you now.’
She walked out of the room and returned to minutes later with the doctor who walked straight to Henry.
‘Henry, please tell me exactly how you feel.’ the doctor said..
Henry explained in details to the doctor the feeling he had. After listening for few minutes, the doctor took out a thermometer to check his temperature..
‘I think this is a result of stress,’ the doctor gave his verdict. ‘You’ve not properly recovered from the last time and you’ve been giving yourself so much stress recently.’
‘But what really happened to me the last time?’ Henry looked up and asked.
The doctor flashed a brief look at Tarasha’s face and she looked back at him expressionlessly.
Henry caught the doctor’s gaze and detected that he was hiding something which Tarasha knew about.
‘So much of work then, barely time to relax and calm your nerves.’ the doctor fumbled.
‘I see….’ Henry replied and then looked at Tarasha’s face.
‘Let me get some drugs for you right away,’ the doctor said and excused himself.
‘Tara, talk to me. Is there something the doctor is hiding from me?’
Tarasha stared at his face. ‘Hiding?’
‘Yes, it seems like I have a terrible health condition and he doesn’t want me to know yet.’
‘There’s nothing of such Henry,’ Tara replied.
‘Please Tara, tell me the truth.’ Henry pleaded.
‘Nothing man, no one is hiding any truth from you.’
To be continued