Tarasha jammed the boot of the car after putting in the last of her four bags. All contained arms and ammunitions except for the smallest bag of the four which contained about three electronic devices, some of her clothes and her make up kits.
Henry stood behind the boot of the car with his arms folded and a sad look on his face.
‘I’ll be more careful this time, all you need to do is monitor and take note of every signal you get from me ‘ Tarasha said as she turned to face him. He didn’t reply but kept staring at her face. She rubbed his shoulder with her palm and planted a kiss on his lips before turning to the driver’s side of the car.
Henry watched as she started the car engine and reversed out of the parking space, she drove slowly towards the gate and it opened up in response to her input of command on the remote control. She drove out through the gate and it closed behind her. Henry turned slowly and walked into the house with his head bowed.
His mind was not at rest letting her go alone but she had insisted that it was better he stayed behind. After the alarm by the wristwatch the last night, it had gone off suddenly again without giving any useful information. Then she had communicated calmly to him some of her plans and succeeded in making him promise not to interfere but only to do the monitoring which she had assigned to him.
Even though her plans sounded perfect, well thought and laid out, Henry was not ready to keep the promise he made, he had intentions of following her to Lagos.
Cole and Aisha could barely sleep all through the night in the room where they were kept. They were placed side by side tied to their chairs, made to face the wall, with a distance of two metres separating them.
They could not communicate or even see each other as the sense organs for both functions have been covered, they could only hear the noise and movement of the chair against the floor when either of them tried to adjust.
Both of them were startled as the door flung open suddenly and they heard footsteps of people walking into the place. With the sound of the footsteps and the way it gradually diminished, it could be told that the people entering were positioning themselves. More footsteps joined soon and voices of young men could be heard giving orders.
‘Madam, move quick.’ one of Ojo’s boys said as he directed a blindfolded aged woman into the room with the tip of his long gun. One of the other boys was doing the same to an aged man behind, the man was also blindfolded. Ojo entered into the room after his boys and closed the door. He walked quietly to where Don was standing at the middle and bowed slightly, murmuring some words.
Don nodded in reply. He released his fingers which he had previously clasped together behind him. ‘Bring them over here,’ he motioned to the boys who had ushered in the aged couple.
Aisha shivered and tried to turn as she heard a female’s voice, it sounded so familiar. But it was impossible to turn with the way she was firmly tied to the chair.
‘Turn the girl here,’ she could hear Don say and then footsteps in her direction followed. Soon she felt some hands on her arm at the both sides and her seat was lifted and turned one hundred and eighty degrees, the chair was placed on the ground again.
‘Take off her blindfold,’ Don said. The boys responded, one of them turned to the back of the chair Aisha was seated and loosened the piece of clothing used to cover her eyes. The marks of the blindfold could be seen around her eyes and her head, her wig had already been taken off before she was tied so she only had her low cut on.
Aisha squinted for the first thirty seconds after her blindfold was taken off. She could see two blindfolded adults, each standing by both sides of Don. Don was standing about four and half metres away from Aisha’s position. It took some more seconds for Aisha to completely recognise the people standing beside Don, they were her parents. She struggled as her face turned furious, trying to release herself and making inaudible sounds with her mouth but she ended up make the chair fall to the left side, to Cole’s direction. Cole moved his legs and made an inaudible sound, wondering what was going on.
‘Come on, don’t be a fool,’ Don slammed. ‘If you ever think you would be able to free yourself from that, you must be stupid. You should calm down and listen to what I have to say.’
She stopped struggling to loose herself after hearing him talk but kept trying to talk and scream which was still inaudible as her mouth was covered.
‘Lift her up guys,’ Don said to the boys. They answered and returned her to her previous position. ‘Stop shouting now, it won’t help you.’ Don cautioned her. She continued, but with a lower voice.
Don took slow steps closer to Aisha’s mum and whispered into her ears, ‘I told you I’ve got a pleasant surprise for you today woman, are you ready to see it?’
Mrs Bello shivered all over but remained quiet. Don gently loosened the blindfold from the back of her head, then he proceeded towards the man too and took off the blindfold after whispering the same thing to him. For some minutes, the couple struggled with their eyes to accommodate the new amount of light entering. Then they looked briefly looked around the place, they saw the tied girl and another tied person facing the other side. They seemed not to recognize Aisha and continued looking around to see the surprise Don was talking about.
Aisha’s shoulders dropped as she watched them stare at her, she looked down for a moment, thinking they had recognized her but their gaze on her did not last up to ten seconds. Aisha felt sad as they couldn’t recognize her, but she couldn’t blame them, they had not seen her for several years and she wasn’t even sure if the makeup disguise she used had fully faded.
Don stared at the couple’s face intently, enjoying himself as he saw the sadness on Aisha’s face.
Suddenly, Mrs Bello’s eyes locked with Aisha’s, the woman squinted at first and then shone her eyes again, she seemed to have figured out who the tied lady was. Mr Bello glanced at her and saw her staring at the tied woman, he also stared to see what she caught her interest.
Aisha bowed her head again, it felt as if their eyes were piercing through her skin and burning her underneath. All of a sudden, she didn’t want them to recognize her anymore. She did not think she could bear the pain of recounting the sorrow, grief and shame she had caused them. She just wished Don would allow them stay out of the deal or release them since he now has her.
‘Come on, don’t you recognize her woman?’ Don asked Mrs Bello in a taunting manner. ‘How can a woman not recognize a baby she carried in her belly for nine years?’ he added.
Don’s words seem to hit Mrs Bello with surprise, she blinked her eyes and shook her head. ‘Aisha,’ she called out as tears formed in her eyes.
‘Yes woman, that’s your wonderful daughter. What a wonderful way to reunite!’ Don said with a roar of laughter.
Aisha bowed her head, unable to look into the eyes of her parents. Mrs Bello attempted to run to her daughter but was stopped halfway by the boys.
‘Hahaha…’ Don laughed in a wicked manner. Tears were already flowing down rapidly from the woman’s eyes and Aisha’s face were also filled with tears. ‘Not so fast woman, Aisha is now a celebrity, you can’t just run to her like that.’ he said and then proceeded towards Aisha slowly. ‘I see you’ve been trying and struggling to say something since,’ he said to Aisha as she raised head up when he stood in front of her. ‘Now, I’ll give you the opportunity to say whatever you want to say.’ he took off the tape used to cover her mouth and moved away from her front to let her have a clear view of her parents.
Don looked delighted as he watched Aisha bow her head again, too ashamed to say anything.
‘Oh! You mean with all the struggles you’ve been making since, you don’t have anything to say?’ Don taunted her.
‘Don could you please take them away for now, let them stay out of this, we would settle our deal between ourselves’ Aisha requested in a low voice, wanting only Don to hear.
‘No, I can’t take them out of here baby,’ Don replied her back in a low voice too, making a mischievous face at her.
‘You know well that they…’
‘Aisha, is that really you?’ someone cut in, her mum. Aisha heartbeat increased, tears rolled down her cheeks. She continued to stare at Don’s face by the side, doing her best not to look at her parents.
There was silence for several seconds, then Aisha decided to plead more with Don to take them out for the moment. ‘Please take them out and let’s discuss your terms,’ she begged.
‘Oh! Haha,’ Don gave out a surprising laughter, turning his look towards Mr and Mrs Bello. ‘She wants you out of this place,’ he said, still laughing. Aisha could sense his intentions of making her parents feel bad about her.
‘The girl both of you have been longing to see does not want to see you, she has asked me to get you out immediately.’ Don continued in the same manner as he proceeded back to his previous position beside the couple. ‘It only means one thing; you disgust her.’
Aisha shivered angrily at Don’s last words. Her eyes met with her parents’ own again and she could read the unspoken question in their hearts, they wanted to know if she really asked that they be taken out.
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Aisha tried to speak but words refuse to come out of her mouth. Don’s awful and taunting remarks were not helping matters as they echoed severally in her brain.
Aisha saw the look of disappointment that had formed on her mum’s face. She couldn’t refute Don’s claim and had no other explanation to make. She felt like having the ground open up and her swallowed in it.
‘I’m sure you’re aware that your lovely daughter works with the notorious assassin, Samantha Osman. But I don’t know if you know how loyal she is to the assasin,’ Don said, facing Aisha. Then he turned to the parents, ‘I and my team are from a non governmental group, employed to work secretly and nab the assassin. We want every information we can get to reach Samantha Osman and that’s why we had to take you forcefully,’ Don paused a little, he put on a sad face and looked at them apologetically. ‘I’m sorry for all the troubles we’ve put you through but we just had to fish out Aisha’s location through you, so that we can also fish out Samantha Osman’s location.’ he apologized in a calm voice and paused for half a minute before he continued. ‘To our surprise, after capturing Aisha, she told us that nothing would make her betray the evil woman, Samantha. That includes torturing you two. It means your lives are not important to her, she prefers for you two to die, rather than give up Samantha Osman. Like I said before, you two disgust her.’
Aisha shone her eyes on Don’s face, deeply shocked at the intelligent manner at which Don was lying about her and trying to turn her parents against her. Her eyes met with her mother’s again. The woman looked like one who had believed all Don’s words and had given up on life already.
Why would the poor woman not give up on life when the person whom her life depended on was Aisha? Someone who had run away from them over ten years ago and had never looked back. Her devilish exploits in the country was enough to make her parents feel that Aisha no more had human feelings and didn’t care who died or live.
The sound of the cocking of a gun jerked off Aisha to life, Don was pointing a pistol to her father’s leg.
‘Now, the first thing I want to ask of you is to make a call to Samantha. You’re going to tell her that you’re okay and give her the impression that you’re making progress with what you’ve come to do here. You would be injected with a special solution to prepare your mind and make you sound calm. We will hide your location and…’ Don stopped as he already saw Aisha shaking her head in refusal.
‘I can’t do that, I can’t deceive her, she would find out.’ Aisha blurted out amidst tears.
‘You see,’ Don turned to her parents. ‘She doesn’t care if you get killed or not,’ Don said and released a quick shot into the man’s right foot.
The poor man let out a scream and dropped to the ground crying.
‘No, please!’ Aisha screamed out, her sobbing became loud. Her mother was crying louder.
‘Hey you!’ Don motioned one of Ojo’s boys as he turned to the other side of the man. ‘Come and straighten out his left leg for me,’ he said in a pitiless manner. The man’s leg was stretched out while he still winced in pain from the impact of the first and the bleeding.
‘I’m going to give you another chance. At the count of five, if you don’t agree to my offer, I’ll take out his second leg but if you do, he’ll be rushed out right away for treatment. Your time starts now. 1…’
Aisha’s eyes met with her mother’s who was crying and pleading with her. At the same time, Tarasha’s picture flashed through her mind again.
She could see Cole moving and making inaudible sounds where he was tied to. She didn’t know what he was trying to say but she felt he was possibly trying to encourage her not to agree.
A strange headache began to trouble her at that moment, everything around her suddenly became blurred and it seemed as if she was in a trance. Her mother’s pleas and cry became louder and Cole’s movement increased and his sound also grew louder. She felt like covering her ears and shutting her eyes from them all but then, she heard the fourth count.
‘4…’ everywhere suddenly became quiet. Don cocked the gun.
‘I agree,’ she said and sniffed in tears.
Don smiled victoriously. ‘Take the man out for treatment immediately,’ he ordered his boys.
To be continued