She sped down the free expressway like someone in a car race competition, not because she was in haste but because it was one of the things she enjoyed doing most. It brought back memories of her first meeting with Henry to her. It had been when she was on a leisure powerbike ride, she remembered him always trying to stop and talk to her but she never would stop. She also remembered the last time they met along the Lagos Ibadan expressway, where she had sent a stone to his forehead. A smile appeared on her lips on remembering the short cry he let out that day.
She also began to wonder if she was now changing Henry to be an assassin too. He had surprised her with the way in which he handled the truck, what surprised her most was that Henry never mentioned again the man who he hit with the truck, he never looked like he was concerned about the man’s survival.
One of the new phones in the passenger’s seat distracted her attention as it rang. She took a glance at the screen and slowed down the car’s speed before picking up the phone in her hand, the caller’s number was unsaved. She recited the number to herself in a bid to see if you could recall who the owner was. A frown appeared on her face as she recognized it as Aisha’s, she wondered how it was possible for Aisha to start calling now, after several hours of quietness and no communication and after she had concluded that both of them had been captured. She slowly pulled up to a curb before swiping the green icon, she placed the phone to her ear without speaking.
‘Hello Boss,’ she heard Aisha’s voice sound calm and undisturbed. She didn’t reply, instead she waited for Aisha to talk again and see if there will be any inconsistency noticed.
‘Hello,’ the voice came again normally. There was no underground voice or noise but Tarasha still did not reply. The call was cut from the other end. Tarasha patiently waited for the call to come again. It came and she repeated the same thing she had done the first time but now she heard underground voices after Aisha had mentioned ‘Hello’ thrice without getting any reply, but she couldn’t make out what was being said.
The third call came and she answered and spoke immediately. ‘Hello Aisha.’
‘Boss…’ Aisha’s reply came slow as shaky revealing that there was no expectation of her speaking this time, there was brief silence after. ‘Ermm…ermm… The phone has been switched off since and I…I…’
‘What are you saying?’ Tarasha cut in impatiently. She was already aware of the situation, she knew that Aisha was not talking on her own but only repeating something she had been forced to say. The silence she kept at the first and second time she answered the call had worked, it had made Aisha’s mind unsettled and made her not to perfectly remember what to say.
‘Actually, I was caught by Don’s men but I escaped.’
‘How did you escape?’ Tarasha played along.
‘I was left alone in a room with two men and I took them out with the weapons hidden under my clothes,’ Aisha replied.
‘Oh! But what about Cole?’
‘I’ve not seen Cole but I think he has been captured already, all my efforts to reach him has been futile.’
‘Ermm… Boss, are you coming please?’
‘Coming to do what?’ she asked with a mean voice.
There was silence for some seconds and then Aisha could be heard sobbing, ‘Boss, my parents are still with them and Cole has been caught too, I don’t know what else to do.’
‘Think of what to do and stop being a sissy, I can’t come there. I have other things to do, like taking out the Vice President before tomorrow.’
‘Sort it or yourself,’ Tarasha said in a very mean voice and ended the call.
‘Boss, Boss…’ Aisha called as the phone beeped off. She continued sobbing as she looked up to Don’s face. Don snatched the phone from her.
‘Can you see that the person you’re willing to stay loyal to is not ready to help you?’ Don chided her. Aisha continued to sob. ‘Look here,’ Don said as he placed his hands on the arms of chair and squatted before her. ‘Samantha is not someone you should remain loyal to, she’s only concerned with using you and not concerned about your welfare. She allowed you come here alone without giving you support and now she has refused to help even when she knows you are helpless.’
Don rose up to this feet and turned back. Stainless and Stone were sitting behind him, facing a computer set while Stone was the only one working on it. ‘Take her out,’ he motioned to a man standing by the door before he joined Stainless and Stone at the table and bent forward to look into the computer.
The room was a very small one, dark and only lit up with the light from the computer monitor’s screen.
‘Her location was not detected?’ Don asked Stone after studying the map on the computer for some seconds.
‘Yes, her location is protected.’ Stone replied.
‘And are you sure we’re doing everything correctly, don’t you think we need to report to Rex?’ Don asked, directing the question to Stainless.
‘Everything was done according to Rex’s guidelines, I don’t think that’s where the issue lies. Rex himself already told us to expect her to be fully secured. The only way we could have gotten her was by allowing her find a location through the wristwatches we seized from them, but that would have only worked if she was coming. It’s obvious from the phone call that she’s more concerned about killing the Vice President first.’ Stainless replied.
‘She failed yesterday,’ Stone cut in. ‘That Rex must have prevented her right?’
‘Yes, I’m sure he did.’ Don replied Stone but a confused look appeared on his face afterwards. ‘But he was not just supposed to prevent her, he was supposed to kill her. We all heard her talk today, so it’s obvious she isn’t dead.’
‘It couldn’t have been easy to stop her,’ Stainless put in. ‘She is a crazy assassin and Rex would have gone through a lot to stop her from killing the Vice President yesterday, it would be more difficult to kill her.’
‘But isn’t Rex supposed to be as crazy as her? Or even crazier?’ Don countered.
‘I don’t think we need to argue on this,’ Stone cautioned. ‘The good thing is that we are still ahead of her in this game, we know her next move and we can tell that to Rex now. You never can tell, this could just be her waterloo.’
‘With this our team, it surely is her Waterloo.’ Don remarked confidently.
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15 minutes later
‘What’s up Don Dan?’ Rex said into the phone after taking in a long drag from the pipe.
‘Rex, I don’t think she’s ready to help them at all. She sounded harsh to the girl some minutes ago.’ Don replied.
There was a brief moment of silence, Rex seemed to ponder and consider the possible meaning of his report. ‘I think she may still feel disorganized from her failure of last night,’ he sounded not too sure. He took in another long drag, ‘I believe she’s trying to reorganize and strike back as soon as possible.’
‘Yes, she expressly stated that she needed to eliminate the Vice President today or tomorrow.’
‘That should be her plan,’ Rex agreed. ‘I don’t think she’ll bother herself yet with matters of her subjects. I understand perfectly how Nefary assassins behave, they never meddle with other affairs until they finish their primary assignments
‘I see boss… So I think you should watch out for her,’ Don advised.
‘Definitely, Yes. I should not miss her this time and… Ermm…’ Rex tone changed a bit. ‘Do you know about any other person working with her?’
‘I don’t know about that, but it’s very possible she has gotten other hands to join her,’ Don replied.
‘I’m asking you this because someone unexpectedly showed up last night to help her, I don’t know who that person was but I don’t think she was expecting him either.’
‘I don’t have an idea who that could be boss,’ Don replied in an unsure tone.
‘I want you to force out every single information you can from the girl in the next one hour and make a recording which I must get immediately you’re done,’ Rex said in a concluding tone as he took another drag.
‘Right away boss,’ Don replied and the line went off.
Several thoughts ran into Aisha’s mind as she sat alone in the small room. The building seemed to have so many rooms of different sizes and for different purposes. Ever since she had been forcefully made to agree to work with Don, she had been untied and even given a meal which she refused to eat for the fear of been poisoned, even though the organs in her stomach were all crying out for food.
She stared around the room, feeling pains in her stomach. It wasn’t as if she had never stayed for a longer time without food but the manner at which she had been tied for several hours had caused more pains. She began to regret rejecting the food. At least, she would have gotten more strength if she had taken it and even if she was poisoned and she died, it would have saved her the misery of betraying Tarasha and expecting the calamity that may follow.
After some more thoughts, she realized that it wasn’t really the fear of death that made her reject the food, but the panic and fear of what could come as a result of her agreement to work with Don. She had seen Cole shake vigorously and make loud inaudible sounds, she understood that he was either trying to express his disagreement and warn her of the possible consequences of her actions.
But this wasn’t just about her life, her parents were also involved. She had caused her parents so much hurt and pain in the past and done them so many wrongs, maybe this could be her last chance to do something right for them.
She became alarmed as she heard some footsteps approaching the door to the room she was in, she stared around unconsciously again, trying to see if there was anything she could use as a weapon but there was none. The room was empty except for her and the chair which occupied it.
From the sounds of the footsteps she heard, she could tell that more than one person was approaching. The footsteps stopped at the door and she could hear someone engage in a speech with someone else afar. Unfortunately, their conversation was done in Igbo language which she didn’t understand.
She tightened her fists and got up from the chair as her urge to find something to defend herself increased but the pain she felt especially in her belly as she rose up made her discard the idea almost immediately and sat back. She wondered why she was even thinking of defending herself now that she was in their terrain and obviously outnumbered, worse still her hands and bones felt weak and lifeless.
The door opened gently and in came Don and Stainless, she instantly concluded that Stainless was the one who spoke in Igbo as she had never heard Don speak Igbo.
‘How are you doing dear?’ Don asked with a calm smile which was unusual of him. It made her recall the first day they met in the Polytechnic, it was that smile that had deceived her, making her feel like he was just a nice undergraduate willing to assist a fresher without any bad intentions. The result few weeks after was that they began to date and he seemed to be of help to her in every aspect of her stay in school.
Before the first semester exams, he had already slept with her several times, albeit never in his apartment. He had lied to her that he stayed with his aunt and that they couldn’t meet in his aunt’s house. She herself wasn’t a ‘good girl’, so she never minded meeting him in a hotel and sleeping with him. Several times, they even had sex in a car which he claimed to be his uncle’s who wasn’t in the country at that time.
During the second semester exams was when she noticed she was pregnant for him and confirmed from a doctor. Unluckily for her, the Doctor was an old friend of her mother whom she didn’t recognize. The Doctor had let out the teenager’s secret to her mum and that had been the first problem she had with her parents.
To cut the long story short, Don had invited her to his ‘new apartment’ after been told of her pregnancy for them to plan. On getting there, she found an apartment with inner walls decorated with paintings and drawings which were cultic. Don had then revealed his association with his cult and his position as the major hitman and second in command to her, for the first time in her life, she saw him pull out a gun that day and he even gave it to her to play with.
She was shocked at his revelation at first but didn’t maintain the shock for long, he had been showing signs for a long time which she chose to ignore. The idea seemed scary to her at first but Don with sweet words had painted it to her in a good light, saying it was just something they joined for protection of themselves. This made her gradually accept the idea until she joined in her second year.
Don made sure she didn’t fully go through the rigorous process of the initiation and made her maintain a low profile. After joining the cult was when Aisha found out Don had several sex machines who were also in the cult and that was why he hid his apartment from her for a long time. She was at first devastated that she was just one of the tools he used in calming his sexual urge but after much apology from him and explanation from his friends that she was indeed special to him, she decided to forgive him when he promised to let go of other girls. This promise he kept until he became the leader of the group, then she had been involved for three years although not deeply because Don resisted her, but there was still no turning back for her.
She soon got used to his adventures with several girls and later surrendered as one of his tools after Don’s power grew all over the city as he moved from school cultism to minor assassinations and then major political assassinations. It was also in the cult Aisha met with Benny and Cole as they were initiated about the same time but were strangers from each other until they started to work with Don after graduation.
Not to forget about Aisha’s pregnancy, it was aborted, against her parent’s advice, that made her move totally from their house into Don’s house and she totally left their tutelage to be with Don.
‘Hey!’ Don called, waving his palm in front of her eyes as she seemed totally lost in thoughts. ‘Are you ready to start your work with us?’ Don asked after she seemed to have come alive.
‘What am I supposed to do for you or with you?’ she asked, consciously dodging the straight ‘yes or no’ answer.
‘Is that a Yes?’ Don asked with a smile on his lips.
‘I thought I already started work with you with the call I made earlier,’ she retorted.
‘Well, that’s just preliminary. We’re just going to the main part now.’
She thought for few more seconds before coming up with an answer. She thought of how mad Tarasha would be at her when she finds out about the betrayal. But she waved off her concern about Tarasha’s wrath on remembering her parents, she remembered Tarasha’s harsh tone to her when she pleaded with her earlier on phone. If Tarasha wasn’t ready to help them (she and Cole) and wasn’t concerned about their plight, why should they be loyal to her? she asked herself. Tarasha definitely deserves the betrayal she would get, she concluded in her mind.
‘Yes, let’s start work. I’m ready.’
‘Good, you’ll start by telling us what you think is her next game plan’.
…to be continued