Don eyes located the bow tie under the table where it rolled to. He pointed his flashlight downwards as he bent to pick it. He touched the tie with his hand and picked it, but as he was about to rise up, his eyes met with something else, he slowly bent down and pointed the light to the object under the table. He had not yet figured out what it was when the sole of someone’s shoe kissed his face and pushed him backwards, he landed painfully on his back with a scream.
‘Damn it!’ Don cursed as he saw the figure struggle out from under the table. He hadn’t seen the face but he automatically knew who it was. He picked his phone which had fallen to the ground and struggled to his feet. With the pain he felt on his back, he still followed after her immediately. He picked his pistol on one of the tables he had left it and pointed it towards her at the door but she was out before he could release two shots.
Aisha jumped down the corridor but unluckily for her, she jumped into the hands of one of Don’s parading men. He sent her sprawling to the ground knocking her out with two heavy blows on her face.
Don came out to meet her on the ground, he pointed his gun at her as he moved closer.
‘No boss, don’t shoot.’ his man pleaded with him. ‘We’ve got the vehicles closer and we’ve settled the Security men, let’s leave now from the back without making so much noise.’
Don seemed to think for a while before putting his gun into his pocket hesitatingly. ‘Pick her up,’ he said. The guy dragged Aisha up and placed her on his big shoulders. ‘How much did you bribe the Security men with?’ Don asked as he waited for the guy to lead.
‘We didn’t pay anything, most of the Security men here are Ojo’s friends,’ the man replied and led the way to a dark and narrow space between two buildings.
‘Hey girl,’ Tarasha called in low tones as she walked over the bodies and got closer to the door of the toilet. She opened the door and looked in, there was no sign of Stephanie in the place. She stepped back outside the toilet and looked around to see if Stephanie was hanging around, there was still no sign of her. She hissed angrily and hurried back through the way she had gotten into the place. She took out her phone hurriedly and unlocked it, she clicked on a tracker app and waited a minute for it to load. From the reading on the app, she could tell that Stephanie was still in that building. She got angrier and regretted coming back to get Stephanie, the girl was only a distraction to her main purpose and she wasn’t supposed to have allowed the distraction.
Stephanie had made matters worse disobeying Tarasha’s instruction by leaving the toilet where she was asked to hide. Tarasha decided to return to the couple and leave Stephanie to find her way if she could or die due to her stubbornness.
‘Get in,’ Tarasha said in a ordering tone to the couples which she led from the building at the back to where the bus was parked. It took them over ten minutes to walk there because of their weak bodies, but Tarasha was patient enough, only hoping in her mind that none of Don’s men was going to arrive while they delayed with their sluggishness.
She proceeded to open the gate while the couples got into the car. She also picked the device she had attached to the front of the gate and the explosive mechanism she set up behind the security house. She hurried back to the bus and closed the big passenger’s door before turning to the driver’s side.
She drove out in less than a minute and dropped again to close the gate, after parking the bus just few metres away from the gate.
She paused on getting halfway in closing the gate and remained still to listen, she thought she had heard something from the building. Even though she was angry that Stephanie had disobeyed her instruction, she still didn’t feel alright leaving without her. Her plan was to drop Stephanie and the couples in front of a police station and alert the officers to pick them while she goes on her way.
She closed the gate after waiting for few seconds without hearing anything else and hurried to the bus. She hopped in and turned the vehicle into the free road, she drove slowly towards the U-turn and made a turn to the other carriage way which linked to the road where she parked the car she came with. It took another two minutes to get to the place the car was parked. She stopped the bus there and dropped to take some things from the other vehicle, she put them into the boot of the bus.
She turned back and looked towards the warehouse again, she felt a bit guilty for leaving Stephanie behind but couldn’t do anything about it since Stephanie was the one disobeyed her instructions. She closed the boot and walked back to the car to lock the doors properly, then she turned to the driver’s side of the bus and entered the vehicle.
As she started the vehicle engine and pulled the seatbelt, she felt a slight wave of headache, then she Rikau’s face suddenly flashed through her mind again. She closed her eyes to absorb the pain but it seemed to worsen it. She saw herself again as a small kid under Rikau’s body using one of his hands to hold her two tiny hands and dipping one into her pant. Then Stephanie’s face and the way she struggled flashed through her mind again, she could see the picture of Ojo pants pulled down and him trying to have his way violently.
The bad memories suddenly blacked out, leaving her with a more painful headache. She slammed her two hands on the steering wheel and took off the seatbelt. She opened the door and stepped out of the bus. She closed her eyes and took in a deep breath. She opened her eyes as she heard murmurings from inside the vehicle, she looked towards the couple but couldn’t see their faces as the darkness in the bus covered them. She knew they must be wondering who she was and why she was acting all strange. Even she couldn’t understand her strange behaviour but she knew the cause of newly developed headache was the thought of leaving Stephanie behind in danger. She felt there was a strong connection between her and Stephanie but she couldn’t just explain what it was.
She took out her phone again and unlocked it, the tracker app was still running and it indicated that Stephanie was still in the building.
‘Don’t turn on the light,’ she said to the couples, pointing her phone’s flashlight into the vehicle through the window. ‘And , don’t make any noise. Don’t let anyone discover your presence here. I’ll be back, there’s still someone in that building I need to get out.’
Aisha could feel the cold chains on her hands and legs as her eyes opened in the darkness, she could also feel the roughness of the ground she laid against the sides of her body. She tried to stretch her legs and arms but she couldn’t as her body hit the restriction walls by the sides and pains accompanied the effort.
She soon got to realize that she was in the boot of a car which was in motion. She closed her eyes in pain as she tried to remember what happened to her.
‘Ouch!’ she let out a cry as her head hit the sides of the boot. The vehicle had driven over a road bump impatiently.
‘She’s awake,’ she could hear a male’s voice from inside the car and she desisted from making any more sound. She remembered clearly now how she had tried to escape from Don but ran into one of Don’s men, she couldn’t recall what exactly he did to her. She remained calm and quiet so that she could listen more to the conversation of the men in the car but didn’t hear anything else, they had stopped talking only after muttering a few words to each other.
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‘What’s the situation right now?’
‘Under control boss,’ Don replied Rex. He was seated tiredly at the front seat in a different car from the one Aisha was.
‘You messed up already, there’s no way you’re going to get that guy called Henry anymore, the girl already warned her boss,’ Rex said and there was a brief silence. ‘The next thing you should do is make sure your hostages and their parents remain with you. Cut off all communication from them right now until I give you further instructions.’
‘Make sure you don’t make any more mistakes, you might pay for the next one you make,’ Rex concluded with a serious warning.
‘Yes boss,’ Don said before the call ended. He turned off the phone’s backlight and squeezed it in his fist, he was still terribly mad at Aisha but he was grateful to his man for restricting him from killing her, that might have gotten him into another trouble with Rex.
He continued to consider the options in his mind, he needed to find the best way to punish her, she truly deserves to be punished for playing fast with him and the stress she made him go through. Even if it was severe beatings, he was surely going to make her pass through.
In less than ten minutes, they would have gotten back to the warehouse and he’ll unleash his fury on her, probably take off one of her hands
Tarasha navigated through the house carefully, using the compass app installed on her device which was connected to the little device she gave to Stephanie. It took her sometime to locate the object because of unfamiliarity with the building and it’s doors. After a total of five minutes, she was able to locate Stephanie where she laid unconscious on the floor, bleeding. Tarasha rushed to her and knelt by her side, trying to find where she was bleeding from. Her phone beeped at the same time, she scrolled down the notification bar and saw the warning notification. It indicated that the device Aisha was using to communicate to her was closer.
She quickly tucked the phone into her pocket and lifted Stephanie easily to her shoulder. She turned and hurried out of the building immediately. Her phone continued to beep aloud as she got out through the gate and crossed the two carriageways. She increased her speed into the straight road as she spotted some vehicles coming from her right hand side. She paused after hiding herself in the shadow formed by an electricity pole to prevent the occupants of the vehicle from seeing them, she took out her phone and silenced it. She continued towards the bus after the two vehicles passed. She got to the bus before they reached the U-turn which led to the carriageway to their gate.
A thought flashed through her mind as she entered the passenger’s side of the bus where the couples were. She wanted to go back and attack the cars, so that she could save Aisha at once. But another look at the bleeding Stephanie made her change her mind. For some reasons, the urgency in her heart to save Stephanie was more than the urgency she felt to fulfill the real purpose of her coming which was saving Aisha and Cole with their parents.
She could hear the vehicles horning at the gate before she closed the door to the passenger’s side and turned to the driver’s side quickly, she started the engine and drove off immediately, having no particular place in mind, all she wanted was to drive to anywhere safe enough to treat Stephanie but she didn’t even have the materials to use.
‘Get down and check why that r*tard is not answering,’ Don shouted angrily at the person driving the car he was seated in. They had horned severally without anybody responding from the compound.
The driver opened the door and stepped out of the car immediately. He proceeded to the gate and entered the compound through the smaller opening.
‘Usman! Usman!’ he shouted the name of the person supposed to be at the gate. He looked around the compound to see if anyone was coming forth but there was none. He felt something was missing as he bent down to open the gate passage for vehicles. He opened widely the two arms of the gate and walked back into the car.
‘Where the hell is Usman?’ Don asked him as he entered the car.
‘The small gate was opened and I didn’t find him there,’ the driver replied and closed the door.
‘It’s past 12am and the gate is not locked, ‘ Don looked alarmed and angrier. Everyone and everything seemed to be pissing him off the more. ‘Is there nobody else in?’
‘I didn’t see anyone, they’re most likely in their own positions’ the driver replied and then drove the car into the compound. The car behind followed closely.
Don stared around the compound with a tiny gaze as the car pulled up at the small garage at the left side of the building. The driver killed the car engine and stepped out of the car immediately, he turned back towards the gate to close it. The other vehicle had also parked behind them. The compound was well lit with the Security lights at the gate and the outer walls at each side of the building.
‘What the hell is Ojo doing? Where is the bus that’s supposed to be here?’ Don shouted angrily, so loud to the amazement of the guys coming out of the other vehicle. ‘Did he think I wasn’t going to return tonight? Did he go out or send someone with my vehicle?’ Don blared on as he marched back towards the front entrance.
He stopped close to the boot of the other car as two men lifted Aisha out. She still looked unconscious to them as they dropped her to the interlocked floor.
‘I’ll be back to deal with this sl*t,’ Don said, tightening his fists as he turned towards the entrance, his anger for Ojo and the urge to unleash his fury on him growing. As he approached the corridor at the front entrance, he looked around the compound again, it looked rough and so disorganized, he wondered what Ojo must have done to disorganize the whole place. He hurried up the corridor and pushed the main entrance door open, shouting out Ojo’s name.
‘Don will most likely execute Aisha today, she played a very dangerous game on him,’ Stainless was speaking as he circled round Cole. ‘And from the way he’s speaking, he won’t hesitate to kill your parents if you don’t cooperate with us.’ He stopped in front of Cole and blew some smoke from his cigar to Cole’s face. He tried to speak again but a cough came instead, he wasn’t as addicted to and good in smoking as Don was. ‘We know you’re scared of what Tarasha can do to you but she won’t be able to do anything if you deliver her to our hands according to plan.’ Stainless continued after he regained his voice.
‘Enough of your talks, what exactly do you want me to do?’ Cole cut in angrily.
‘Sell Tarasha to us dude, deceive her and make her fall into our trap. Once we capture her, you’re free to go with your parents.’Stainless replied to him sharply. Stone stood up from where he was seated and smoking heavily, he stood two metres at the front of Cole where he could see his face properly.
‘I don’t just want my parents alone. After getting them, how do I fend for them?’ Cole seemed to gain some strength in his voice, he stared thinly into the four eyeballs fixed on his face. ‘I’ll help you capture Tarasha if you add a million naira to the prize.’
Stainless and Stone stared at him in surprise for some seconds, then they turned to stare at each other’s faces.
‘Is that your only condition?’ Stone was the one who spoke. He took three steps closer to Cole and stared deep into his eyes.
‘Yes, with my parents.’
‘We’ll fix that when it’s daybreak and start work immediately. Deal?’ Stone said and turned to look at Stainless. The look on Stainless’s face revealed he consented to Stone’s proposed deal to Cole.
‘Deal,’ Cole replied firmly.
Stainless and Stone stared blankly at each other’s faces, Stainless plans seemed to be working well. Unknowingly to Stone, Stainless was only doing it out of his selfish purpose of gaining Rex’s heart. If Don could fail with Aisha and he succeeds with having Cole work for them, then it would make Rex believe more in him.
To be continued