Tara is not dead, the person you saw wasn’t her.’ Henry argued with Cole as he led him to the backyard of the building.
Cole did not reply him immediately until they took five more steps. ‘I’m pained by her death too but I won’t live in self deception. I’ve showed you the pieces of her clothes already and I told you I saw Inspector General Rikau and his men carry her body away.’
‘You could have seen another girl for all I care, I won’t believe she’s dead until I see her body and confirm that she has stopped breathing.’
‘Then, I’m not with you on that.’
Henry stopped and turned, he stared at Cole’s face for a second before he continued walking. ‘I’ll go in search of her alone if I have to,’ he said as he turned from the side of the building into the large backyard.
‘That will be suicidal,’ Cole said in a warning tone.
‘I don’t care,’ Henry replied.
There was silence for the next few minutes as Henry searched for something around the walls of the building.
‘That’s a window, how can you think there’s an entrance there?’ Cole questioned, watching in disbelief as Henry hands fumbled around the glasses of a particular window. Henry ignored him and moved to the next window.
‘This is the only entrance from behind,’ Cole continued to talk, pointing to a door at the centre of the long wall. ‘And we can’t enter through it also, the switch for the front lasers are the same for this.’
Henry stopped and turned to look at his face, as if questioning the trueness of his words.
‘I know this because we installed them together,’ Cole explained.
‘You installed the lasers together with her but I’m sorry you didn’t install every other thing with her.’ Henry said as he walked past the door at the centre in front of which Cole stood and walked past the windows of the other rooms until he got to the last window at the left side. He touched something at the top left edge of the window glass and shifted back suddenly as he felt a movement. He stared at the point for a while and then stepped back forward. ‘We have the hidden entrance here,’ he said with a note of victory in his voice as he touched the same point he touched before and began to unscrew something with his fingers. Cole moved closer and stared intently at him .
There was a soft sound of sliding of glasses after Henry finished unscrewing the metal. The remaining block walls below the window gave way and the window glasses extended mechanically to the ground. Then the glasses slid into the side walls, revealing a door of normal height but a window size breadth.
Cole’s eyes shone widely as he was dazed by the revelation. His eyes danced slowly up and door the electronic metal door which looked new was coloured shining silver. His gaze moved to Henry’s face. Henry had stepped back, though wasn’t looking amazed as Cole but his face showed confusion. The amazement on Cole’s face vanished and he frowned at Henry. ‘What’s the matter? Didn’t she tell you the lock code?’
Henry remained quiet as he stared with a narrow look. There were so many codes he had seen and he didn’t know the one to use.
He finally stepped forward again after two minutes of gathering courage. He reached for the screen which was at the position of the door handle and a box for the code appeared with the numbers 0 to 9 below. He typed in numbers which appeared as dots on the screen, it blinked red with a low warning sound accompanying as he typed the fourth number. The dots disappeared and an empty box showed again.
Henry stepped back again to think on which of the codes it could be, he had only two trials left and if he failed, their chances of entering into the building will be very slim. He stepped forward after another three minutes and typed in another set of four numbers. It was rejected by the system again.
He turned to Cole with a sigh of frustration. After some minutes he spoke, ‘Can’t we just break this door by destroying it totally with bullets?’
Cole stared at him thinly. ‘We’re going to beef up the security that way. If a bullet touches this metal door, I’m sure we’ll turn on lasers at this entrance too.’
Henry heart felt broken at Cole’s reply. His shoulders dropped and his eyes closed briefly and opened again.
‘Didn’t she tell you the code?’ Cole asked again.
‘She didn’t tell me the code or anything about this entrance, I found out myself.’ Henry answered.
There was a long moment of silence and it seemed all hopes were lost.
Henry stepped forward again, he took in a breath and began to type a new code. A different sound was made at the input of the last digit and a blinking large red triangle showed on the screen.
Henry stepped back and glanced at Cole’s face. Both heaved sighs of frustration.
‘Oh finally!’ Chief Elvis entered into the large room beaming with smiles. Chief Rikau rose up from the seat and met him with a smile.
‘Good evening, Your Excellency.’ Chief Rikau greeted with a slight bow.
‘Thank you Chief Inspector,’ Chief Elvis replied without looking at Rikau. His eyes were fixed on the lady’s body placed on the floor. Her body was placed on her left side and her hands and legs were still tied. ‘Samantha Osman,’ he smiled devilishly as he proceeded towards the body.
The room was a scanty one with few sofas and a wooden chair. It was stuffy and lacked fresh air, it smelt like a weed joint for smokers and there were also wraps of unused weed on the floor and used sticks of cigarettes. Bottles of alcoholic drinks, some broken and others intact also laid on the floor even though every other thing about the room appeared neat and clean. Inspector General Rikau was sitting in the room with two men standing at different sides of the room. The Vice President had also entered with his personal security officer, making it a total of five people now there.
The Vice President had received the text message informing him of the victory from Rikau while in a meeting with the President and governors of some states. He had been so excited about the news and couldn’t focus anymore on the meeting, so much that the President noticed and even asked him what the matter was. He had lied to the President and the others sitting that he just developed a headache and chest pain and was excused from the meeting after some more minutes of acting uncomfortably and unfocused.
As he moved closer, his three legs- two legs and the walking stick – made soft sounds that were audible to everyone there because of the quietness of the place. He finally got to where she was laid and slanted his head to look at her face properly.
‘She’s the one,’ he said after staring close to one minute. ‘She’s Kimberly, that girl that worked at the NSCC. She deceived us all but now she will pay and her sponsors with her.’ he shouted in a loud voice which reverberated around the room.
He paused to stare at her face again and kept staring for long. All of a sudden, she rose and tore off the ropes from her hands and legs. She grabbed his neck and squeezed it as he screamed. He had begun to vomit blood before the other men could run to his rescue.
‘Are you okay sir?’ Chief Rikau asked, staring at Chief Elvis in surprise as the man held his neck and made funny sounds.
Chief Elvis opened his eyes to see Samantha still on the floor with the ropes firmly on her hands and legs. His walking stick had fallen to the floor and he was grabbing his neck with his two hands. He dropped his hands and quickly looked around, he met the eyes of the other men staring at him. He knew he had just acted a funny drama and that they all had laughter suppressed which no one dared to let out. He looked back to Samantha’s face, she was still giving him nightmares after being captured. He had to find out who sent her and kill her with his hands after that as soon as possible to stop the nightmares.
‘Did Rex bring her here?’ He turned and asked Chief Rikau.
‘No, I did.’ the Inspector General replied.
He turned back to Samantha, ‘Does she need medical attention to be conscious?’
‘No, Rex said she’ll be unconscious for more than six hours and will be very weak when she regains consciousness.’
‘So we have to wait for six hours to get her to talk?’ Chief Elvis questioned, raising up his wrist to check his watch.
‘It might be longer than that,’ Chief Rikau replied. ‘Rex only injected her with something to make her unconsciousness six hours longer, he did that probably to give us more time.’
‘That means I have to wait till tomorrow and I don’t think I can do that,’ he said as he stamped his feet on the ground angrily. One of the men helped him with his walking stick and handed it to him.
‘So what do you suggest we do?’ Chief Rikau asked, staring thinly at the Vice President’s face.
‘You, what do you suggest we do?’ Chief Elvis directed the question back to him.
‘We don’t really have a choice if we want to hear her talk,’ Chief Rikau answered. ‘We just have to wait until she’s conscious.’
‘And do you think it’ll be easy to get her to talk to us?’ Chief Elvis questioned.
‘No, but we’ll ensure she goes through a lot of torture, she’ll surely give in quickly.’
‘Cool.’ Vice President Elvis remained silent for some few seconds. His eyes ran around Samantha’s body in disgust. ‘I think we should tie her in a different way.’ he said and turned to the other men standing in the room with them. ‘I want you guys to move her into another room where you can find something to tie her standing.’
‘Sir?’ the men responded in unison, not understanding the instruction.
‘I mean, tie her standing up. It could be between two poles, her two hands should be tied separately to the poles’ the Vice President explained, using his fingers to demonstrate.
‘His name does not exist on the registrar, his firm’s name does not exist and there are no records of him on the citizens database.’ Dakolo thought aloud. He was in the cameras department of the police headquarters. He was in the office with officer Tracy and the lady who had provided him with footages earlier. ‘This just sounds too alike,’ Dakolo mused.
He raised his wrist to check the time and shook his head with a sigh, he never expected to stay that long in the office because of an abduction case and a traffic law offense.
‘I’m sure that girl is connected to the kidnap,’ he said again, looking at officer Tracy’s face as if to ask for her input.
Officer Tracy was about to talk when the door to the office flung open and Agent Tim walked in with a junior officer.
‘Good evening Inspector Dakolo,’ Agent Tim greeted as he approached where they were seated.
‘Good evening sir,’ Dakolo replied with a frown on his face.
‘I was just sent a memo from the director,’ Agent Tim continued, offering Dakolo a handshake. ‘It’s about the abduction case you are on.’
Dakolo’s frown deepened as he feared what was about to happen. ‘Yes, I just sent him a quick report about thirty minutes ago.’
‘He mentioned that in the memo,’ Agent Tim said, taking out a neatly folded paper from his back pocket. ‘Here, sign,’ he said as he unfolded the paper and handed it to Dakolo.
Dakolo collected it and scanned through. What he feared had just happened, he had been asked to transfer the case to Agent Tim since it involved more than what an ordinary inspector was supposed to handle. And Agent Tim was chosen specifically because of the resemblance of the case to Samantha Osman’s operations.
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Henry’s face lit up in happiness as the door gave way surprisingly. He and Cole glanced at each other with brief smiles and Henry attempted to proceed inside but Cole stopped him by grabbing him on the left shoulder. ‘Let me go in first,’ Cole said, raising his eyebrows to reassure him it was for safety reasons.
Cole gently pushed the door further, the passage was dark except for the reflection of the evening light that could enter through the opened door. He took out a phone – Tarasha’s phone which he had gotten from her bag- and put on the flashlight. He took a step in and looked all around – the ground edges, the ceiling edges and walls.
‘Let’s go in,’ he gestured for Henry to follow him.
In less than five minutes time, both were in the main living room of the building. Cole was first to sink into one of the sofas while Henry stood behind the three seater sofa and stared at the walls of the living room as if it was his first time of entering the place.
‘Don’t you think we should put out the lasers now?’ Henry broke the silence.
‘Can you put them out?’ Cole stared back at him.
‘No, I don’t know how to but I thought you said you installed them together with Tara.’
‘Yes, and I can put them off but I don’t think there’s any need to do that for now.’
‘Why?’ Henry asked, giving Cole a narrow look.
‘Because we could still be attacked,’ Cole replied. He rose up and began to loose the buttons on his shirt.
‘Attacked by who?’
‘By Rex, the guy that killed Tarasha.’
‘Omotara is not dead,’ Henry corrected again.
‘She is, get that into your head.’ Cole fired back, sniffing as he shot Henry a cold look. ‘I saw them carry away her dead body and the pieces of her clothes are a proof of her death.’
‘She’s not dead until I see her body.’ Henry shot back.
‘You must be sick,’ Cole stated and took his eyes off Henry’s face to take off the last bottom on the shirt.
‘What would they need her body for if she’s really dead, they would have left it there.’ Henry spoke.
Cole flashed a look at him again. He took off his shirt and wiped his face with it. ‘Why should they leave the body of their arch enemy Samantha Osman there? Wouldn’t it be implicating if the police met it there?’
‘If anything would have been implicating, it would have been the bag and cloth pieces they left behind.’
‘No, her body would have been more implicating. The police would be more curious to know how Samantha Osman’s body got there.’ Cole shot back his argument.
‘Who is the Police?’ Henry asked, giving him a narrow look. ‘Isn’t it their Inspector General you claimed took her body away?’
Cole paused to think for a moment. Henry was making some sense but he wasn’t ready to give in to him, he was sure that Rex couldn’t have left Tarasha alive, he had heard Rex several times talk about how he couldn’t wait to send her to the grave.
Henry continued to speak when Cole was silent, ‘The inspector General himself took her body away, what say do you think any other police men would have in this. And do you think anybody else knows how her face looks? They only know her as Samantha Osman but no one has seen her real face, so if they had left the body there, no one would have recognized her as Samantha Osman.’
The words sank slowly into Cole’s mind, he stared a bit at Henry thoughtfully but still refused to acknowledge that Henry was making any sense. He looked away and walked towards the flat screen television, he turned it on and picked the remote control in the shelf.
Henry eyes followed him as he returned to the seat and faced the television. Henry left the back of the three seater and sat on a one seater facing Cole. ‘This is not the time to remain quiet and do nothing,’ Henry continued. ‘Her life may just be in our hands right now and her salvation depends on the action we take.’
Cole did not move a bit but kept his eyes on the television which was still loading. So many thoughts flashed through his mind. He remembered Benny and Aisha again and tears welled up in his eyes. He coughed and used the back of his hand to clean his eyes. He blinked and kept his look on the television, conscious of Henry’s eye on him.
He remembered again how he used to believe against all odds that Tarasha was still alive and would come out victoriously when Benny and Aisha had already thought she was either dead or that all hopes of her escaping the situation were lost. But now he was trying hard to believe the possibility of her still being alive. With the determination to kill her and competency he had seen in Rex, it was almost impossible to believe that she would escape death.
The loading on the television finally completed and a breaking news was being aired on the national TV station. Cole’s eyes almost popped out as he saw a car he recognized on the screen, racing crazily on the road, a police vehicle was racing after it. The scene also caught Henry’s interest and both of them for a moment, placed their focus fully on the news.
They watched as the car continued to swerve pass different cars and vehicles until it got to a U-turn and slowed down, then it picked up suddenly again and turned into the road after the police car came closer. They watched as a car at the other carriageway screeched to a halt and the police vehicle hit the back. Then the car being chased slowed down again and out came someone with a gun, releasing bullets that finally made the police car lose control totally.
‘That’s Omotara,’ Henry screamed on seeing her show out of the car.
‘Yes, it is.’ Cole replied calmly. He had seen the car when he entered into the compound earlier that day on Rex’s assignment. ‘That was before her death. I believe it was when she was chasing after Rex.’
‘She’s isn’t dead,’ Henry corrected again. Cole sighed and blinked. ‘Why was she chasing him?’
‘You were the one who was sent to the NSCC right?’
‘Yes, I was the one.’
‘I believe Rex took you as a hostage to lure her to his den. That guy is just so intelligent.’
Henry stared blankly at the wall. He remembered how he was attacked by the strange man and how he blacked out since then.
‘She escaped with someone else’s car, onlookers said she carried out someone from the boot of her car into the car she hijacked…’ a journalist was reporting the news.
‘That should be me,’ Cole cut in, looking at Henry’s face. ‘And I really found myself in another car.’
Both returned their focus to the television screen and the car with which Tarasha was racing was shown again, this time it was stationary, the four doors of the cars were opened and there were policemen surrounding it.
The scene faded out and the Inspector General was shown with some journalists and mics before him. He was putting on the same clothes Cole had seen him earlier on. He began to talk on the death of the policemen and accidents that occurred during the chase of the car. Both Cole and Henry watched the man in disgust, the anger was visible on their faces.
‘He killed her parents, killed her brother and now he has her captured too.’ Henry said angrily to himself but it sounded loud enough for Cole to hear.
Cole flashed a quick and shocked look at him and their eyes met. He was shocked to hear what Henry had just spoken out. He looked away and stared blankly at the wall wondering if Henry knew what he had just said. If it was true, then it just made sense to him why Tarasha had always seen the man Rikau with so much hatred.
‘Let’s find her together,’ Cole sprang up to his feet suddenly, staring at Henry with a determined look.
To be continued