‘Hold on,’ Tarasha said in whispers as she pulled Jumoke to hide with her behind the shadow formed by the sogboard of a mall. She watched two vehicles drive past at the other carriageway before coming out of the shadow.
‘Arghhh…’ she winced in pain as she stepped back into the road with Jumoke staring at her like a mysterious being.
‘That was the police, they are going for the vehicle we just dropped off.’ Tarasha explained to her, referring to the two cars that had just passed by. That was the first time since the last forty five minutes that Tarasha would explain any action to her.
They had come out of Jumoke’s apartment forty five minutes ago, with Tarasha holding with her a tablet device which she took from her backpack and her smaller phone in her pocket. Jumoke had given her an open-back top to put on and a freer pair of shorts. Tarasha had given her the key to the taxi and sat at the passengers side, asking to start driving without telling her any participation destination.
Jumoke was already scared and was vibrating all over when she drove for over twenty minutes without Tarasha asking her to stop or turn into anywhere. Tarasha ignored all her questions and concentrated on her tablet device for the twenty minutes drive. It was after she finished what she was doing on the device that she paid attention to the road. Tarasha waited until they got to a dark place and asked that the car be brought to an halt. Jumoke already began to confess her sins under her breath and also say her last prayers, thinking that Tarasha had brought her there to kill and dump her body.
She had seen some very small knives attached neatly to Tarasha’s undies before and thought that was the instrument that was going to be used to cause her death. Tarasha ordered her to step out and also came out of the car. Then she said it was time to find a taxi which would take them back to Jumoke’s apartment. They couldn’t find any that was willing to go that distance and began to walk down slowly, hoping to get a good Samaritan who would help them back. It was while they were returning that Jumoke realized that all Tarasha wanted to do was to drop the car far off.
A taxi finally came their way and agreed to take them to their destination at a fairly good price. Tarasha and Jumoke entered into the backseat and sat quietly as the driver drove down the road.
‘Can I use that please?’ Tarasha requested, pointing to her tab which Jumoke was holding. Jumoke quickly handed it to her and maintained the distance between them at the backseat. ‘How much did it cost you to treat me?’ Tarasha asked after two minutes of silence.
‘Ermm… I didn’t really have to buy anything. I had some of them at home before and I recently renewed some of the drugs from a pharmacy.’
‘How much are you paid when you treat people?’
‘I don’t treat such cases,’ Jumoke replied.
Tarasha stared at her for some seconds while Jumoke looked away fearfully.
‘Are you scared of me?’ Tarasha asked.
‘Scared? Oh no,’ Jumoke lied in a shaky voice. Even she knew Tarasha couldn’t be convinced with the shakiness of her voice as she spoke.
‘Then how can you have those instruments at home if you don’t treat such cases?’
‘I do treat such cases, what I mean is that I don’t do them frequently.’.
‘Okay, how much do you charge when you do?’
‘I don’t charge anyone,’ she said.
‘So you remove metals…’ Tarasha paused in cautiousness of the cab driver with them. ‘You remove metals free from anyone and everyone’s body?’.
‘No, you’re the second person I’ll do this for. My boyfriend used to be the reason I had those things at home. He comes back with wounds like broken bottles in the flesh and I have to get it out .’ Jumoke said without thinking.
‘What job does your boyfriend do?’ Tarasha asked again.
‘Here, please.’ Jumoke said to the driver of the cab as they got to their destination. She paid him and hurried out of the car, trying to evade Tarasha’s question.
Tarasha followed closely behind as much as her strength could carry her, she noticed Jumoke’s effort to avoid the discussion and decided to stop the questioning.
The day was still dark. Agent JD or DJ as he was fondly called by colleagues drove down the road in a normal speed. He pushed the button on the remote control as he got closer to the ‘Yellow House’. The Yellow House which is the headquarters of the SSS is located on the northern edge of the three-arms zone on Aso drive in Maitama, Abuja.
The gate opened automatically and he drove in, driving past the first three buildings to a parking space behind the third building. He hurried out of the car and found his way through the back of the third building.
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–National Intelligence Service Headquarters–
He walked hastily down the hallway of the underground building and turned into another hallway, the door to the last room opened as he moved closer.
‘Good morning sir,’ he greeted as he entered the large office and approached the table.
‘Agent James David, you are nine minutes late.’ the chairman said without looking up.
Agent Dave stood still and remained silent.
‘You never wanted to answer my call, why?’ the chairman asked, this time staring straight into Dave’s eyes.
‘I didn’t want to abort the mission, I was at a very delicate stage.’ he replied in a composed manner.
‘But I called you, you should know I won’t call you if the reason for the call is not more important than the mission itself.’ the chairman queried.
‘I’m sorry sir,’ Dave apologized bowing his head slightly.
‘You should be sorry for yourself,’ the chairman barked and stared at him from head to toe with a look of contempt. He rested his back in the swivel, placing a finger on his lip in a thoughtful manner. ‘I want you to give me a comprehensive report of the mission till date, starting from the day you took the job to this minute.’ the chairman ordered.
Dave narrowed his eyes questioningly, he stared at the chairman for a while. ‘But I’ve been submitting the reports to Agent Wasiu, weekly and monthly.’ he argued.
‘I’ve got everything you submitted to Agent Wasiu already, but those ones are summaries. I want you to prepare a comprehensive report, I’ll give you three days to do that,’ the chairman said conclusively.
‘Si.. sir?’ Dave stammered as if he didn’t hear what the chairman said.
‘You heard me right Dave,’ he said in a strong tone, staring at him with raised high brows.
‘Are you withdrawing me from the case sir?’ Dave asked boldly.
The Chairman stared at him thinly and rested his back in the chair again. ‘Some of the case terms of working have been changed and you don’t appear to be the type that can work with the new terms.
Agent Dave couldn’t believe his ears. It was the first time there would be a trial to withdraw him from a case. He had been in the Agency for only few years but had cracked hard cases and never failed at any. His success in the past cases had qualified his team to be chosen for this. His team leader, Agent Wasiu always picked him to play the front role and he had never failed in delivering at the right time.
Agent Dave began to work on the case after the failed assassination attempt on the Vice President’s life. He was interviewed and employed at the NSCC as a replacement for Evelyn after she mysteriously disappeared. Agent Dave had since been following Samantha Osman’s possible movements and was the man monitoring the gate of the venue of the Inspector General’s grandchild’s naming from the betting shop.
‘And what are the new terms for the case?’ Agent Dave asked after a long moment of silence.
The chairman was reluctant to answer. He leaned forward and heaved a sigh, ‘You have to report weekly to me and share all evidences.’
‘Sir?’ Dave eyes shone in shock.
‘You heard what I said Dave, prepare a comprehensive report and sign out of the case.’ The Chairman said in a strong tone.
‘But that’s against our working conditions sir,’ Dave argued. ‘It stops to be a secret case when a report other than an encoded one is given and the evidences been shared to a person who’s not a member of the team.’ Dave argued.
‘So who’s asking you to share any evidence with someone who’s not a member of the team?’
‘Sir, you are not a member of the team.’
‘Hehe,’ the man chuckled and shook his head. ‘You think you know the Agency’s working terms more than I do right?’
‘It’s not that sir…’
‘Just keep quiet,’ the chairman cut in. ‘Sign out, you’re handing over the case immediately.’the chairman said conclusively and picked his pen. He opened a jotter and began to scribble something down.
‘Who am I handing over to?’
‘We don’t know yet until Agent Wasiu signs it off to another team.’
‘But why will Agent Wasiu do that?’
‘Why wouldn’t he?’ the chairman shot an angry look at him. ‘The other option he has is to dismiss you from his team and that’ll mean demotion for you.’ he said and continued to write.
‘But I’ve done nothing to deserve that,’ Dave argued.
‘And I think that’s why he’s considering leaving you with him. This offer would fetch him a lot of money and any other Agent who complies. It’s only because he’s fond of you he’s not dismissing you.’
‘Money?’ Dave’s eyes widened again in surprise. ‘You never told me about the money involved.’
‘You don’t accept such, that has been our experience with you. I remember you exposed a minister three years ago and a former governor a year ago when they offered you money to alter your operation.’
Dave sighed and stared blankly to the window behind the man. He knew that the Vice President must be at work again. His investigations have revealed to him several of the Vice President’s secrets and how the man was desperate to kill Samantha Osman. He knew from then on that Samantha wasn’t just an Assasin but had a connection with the Vice President’s past.The Vice President must have offered the NIS chairman a lot of money so as to use the information from the NIS like he was doing with the information from the police in his personal pursuit of Samantha Osman.
‘Sir,’ Dave called after some minutes of silence. The chairman turned his gaze to him, raising an eyebrow. ‘I think I can agree to the terms,’ he stated and the chairman stirred in shock
‘You can agree?’
‘Yes sir, but I need to know how much will get to me from this.’
‘You’ll get nothing less than five million naira.’
‘Oh!’ Dave exclaimed and a smile gradually appeared on his face as he thought of what he could use the money for. ‘I agree, I will work with the terms.’
‘Wow! Excellent,’ the chairman exclaimed with a broad smile on his face. He stretched out his hand to Dave for a handshake and Dave reached out for it. ‘I always knew you are the best for the job. From the coded reports I see, the case has made a lot of progress since it was transferred to your team.’
Dave bowed in respect as he shook the man’s hand warmly.
To be continued