‘All I know about the Danjuma’s death?’ Chief Gab repeated the question, the surprise he felt could be heard in his voice.
Yes, I mean your involvement in their death.’ Tarasha replied.
‘But ermm… Tarasha, what do you need that for?’ Chief Gab asked, making it clear he was unwilling to talk about it.
‘I work to kill people for you and you should expect me to discover along the line how the victims are connected to you.’ Tarasha explained.
‘But Tarasha, I explained to you on the first day we met physically.’ the man argued. ‘I told you how we were all connected together and how they cheated and killed my family and friend, Onwuli. Did you think I was lying then?’
‘No, I didn’t think you were lying neither do I think you are now, but I just need you to give me a honest reply to my request. I do need the information and will need some others soon to be able to hunt and pull your enemy down, I’m changing the strategy I planned on using and I require more information that can bring him down.’
There was silence at the other end for a couple of seconds, then a release of breath was heard before the voice. ‘Danjuma and his wife Lydia were doctors. They got involved with us when the wife Lydia had a patient who died after taking a drug, it happened that the drug was being distributed in the country by us under the shadow of the registered company of Nnamdi Okafor, the health Minister who was the first person I sent you to. The Doctors had to help us cover up and verify the drug but they refused to. They had to leave Lagos after the troubles got too much but then they move to Borno where they were killed by the Boko Haram insurgents.’
There was a brief moment of silence after Chief Gab finished talking.
‘Are you sure that’s all?’
‘Yes or what else do you want to know?’
‘I want to know the whole truth, tell me the truth about their death.’ Tarasha said in a serious tone which sounded like a threat to Chief Gab.
‘Hmm…’ the Chief let out a deep breath. ‘The Boko Haram guys actually killed them but it was set up by us.’
‘You and who?’
‘Me? Not me,’ Chief Gab denied. ‘Actually a larger number of people in the group agreed to the plan since they posed a threat to us.’
‘And so, who gave the contracts to the killers?’ Tarasha asked.
There was another long silence.
‘Chief Elvis did, he knew someone in the Boko Haram camp.’
‘And who was that person he knew?’ Tarasha asked immediately, not giving the man any second to rest.
‘Yes, answer the question.’
‘This is not what I sent you.’
‘Don’t you think leaving that Boko Haram guy alive could cause problems for you later?’
‘Hmm…’ there was a short hiss. ‘The man is Inspector General Rikau. Were you the one that tried to kill him yesterday?’
‘Thank you for your answers Chief Gab, we will talk more later,’ she said and ended the call without giving him a chance to speak again.
‘Omotara, did you order for something online?’ Henry walked in asking as soon as she ended her call.
She narrowed her eyes at him, ‘Order for something online?’
‘No, I did not.’ she shook her head.
‘But there’s a lady from an online food store and their car waiting outside for us at the house on the other end.’
‘Oh!’ Tarasha let out breath from her mouth as she remembered that it was the day for the online shopping store to deliver the foodstuffs they get monthly to the house. ‘Just ignore them, I’ll change the address of the delivery soon.’
They watched from their car as the lady flipped her hair backwards, shading her eyes from the sun with the other hand. She had been at the gate for close to ten minutes now and had used the gate bell several times without getting any response from inside. She was also seen using her phone and trying to call someone but never seemed to connect successfully.
Five minutes later, she turned back and entered into the car that brought her, they stayed for five minutes more watching the gate before driving off.
Fabian started the car engine and put on his seatbelt, he turned the rearview mirror to check if the makeup Esther had done to his face was still intact. She had done it so well that no one will suspect that he was makeups, it was a perfect one for his face and skin colour. Esther was sittng right by his side in the car and also had her face made up, which wasn’t too much or strange for a lady. Fabian flashed a smile at Esther and sped onto the road like a crazy person, leaving her surprised and staring at him with her mouth agape.
‘Don’t tell me you’re going after that EasyShoppers car,’ she stared at him with her eyes opened widely.
‘What else would I be doing? That’s our best bet to get access to those guys right now,’ Fabian replied her as he turned on the trafficator.
‘Are you sure it’s the right thing to do now?’
‘Yes, it is.’ he replied firmly.
‘But then reduce your speed, you don’t have to get both of us killed because you want to catch up with them, we can always go to their stores any other time.’
‘I don’t want us to go to another branch of their office but this particular one they receive supply from.’
‘Good morning Agent Dakolo,’ Mr Sylvester said in reply to Dakolo’s greeting and gestured for him to have his seat.
‘Thank you Mr Sylvester, I’ll go straight to my reason for visiting which you already know. I’ll like to find out every detail about this Dave of a guy and how he was employed here.’
‘Sir…’ Mr Sylvester began in low tones. ‘Dave applied for employment some days after Kimberly Alexander mysteriously disappeared. And we employed him immediately since he had the necessary qualifications to fill in the gap. And he has been working with us since then until some days ago when he suddenly stopped coming without leaving any message to explain or notify us of his absence.’
‘Okay, you said you have tried to reach him and you couldn’t.’
‘Does he not have a guarantor or a referee?’
Mr Sylvester paused for a moment. ‘Yes, he does. I’ll have to check it right away.’ He opened his drawer and began to search for something. He brought out a key and a phone from the drawer and closed it back. ‘I’ll have to call for it to be searched out for me.’
‘It’s okay but before you do that, I want you to also help me with details of his last days here. What his activities were before he left and the exact date he stopped coming.’
__20 minutes later__
‘What’s in your boot?’ the security man at the EasyShoppers Abuja headquarters asked Fabian at the gate.
‘There’s nothing there,’ he replied.
‘Can we see it?’
‘Yes, of course.’ he said and pushed the button for the boot to open. Another security man at the right hand side began to walk towards the boot as he saw the cover opening up. He looked into the boot briefly before signaling to his colleague that they had nothing in it.
‘Alright, you may go in.’ the security man said to Fabian and the latter drove in after closing the boot.
He came down from the car with Esther after parking in the space provided and they proceeded straight to the main building. The glass door opened for them as they got to the entrance and they walked into the large and reception hall and went straight to the desk.
‘Good morning, you’re welcome to EasyShoppers. How may we help you?’ a lady with a calm voice addressed them.
‘Good morning, what services do you render here?’ Fabian asked, without looking at the lady’s face. His eyes wandered around the place like he was searching for something he lost. He returned his stare to the lady’s face to meet her staring at him in surprise. Esther was also giving him a reprimanding stare. That was when he realized that he had asked an irrelevant question. Or how would a grown up man like him make a visit to a company without knowing what they do there?
‘This is our head office in Abuja. We run an online store where people order for foodstuffs and home equipments and we also provide home delivery services.’ she finally gave a reply, disregarding the silliness of the question.
‘Sorry for troubling you,’ Fabian replied with a smile. ‘We are licensed journalists working for Desert Reporters,’ he said and took out an identity card from his front pocket to display. ‘We need some information about this company of yours and I’m sure you wouldn’t be the right person to provide that to us, so we would like to see your boss.’
‘Okay,’ She said and paused for a while, sizing up Fabian and Esther with her eyes as if to confirm if they were smart enough to be Journalists. ‘I’ll have to make a call first, please have your seat.’ she said, pointing them to the visitor’s seat behind.
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Cole was sitting right in front of Tarasha, his knees touching her wheelchair and hers touching his chair. Tomi stood beside them holding a box from which Tarasha picked the makeup tools and materials and applied them on Cole’s face. After sometime, Tarasha stopped and gestured for Tomi to drop the box on the ground and signalled that she was free to sit on the short stool beside them. She took half a minute to see the transformation she had done to Cole’s face and was satisfied with what she saw. A look at Tomi’s surprised face further proved that she had done a good job.
Tarasha pointed to the medium sized rectangular mirror and Tomi handed it to her, she turned it to Cole and held it for him to see. A smile formed on Cole’s face on seeing his reflection in the mirror. What he saw was a totally different face from his and he had no fears of being recognized.
Tarasha returned the mirror to Tomi and adjusted herself on the chair. ‘So I want the XL series, don’t get another type and allow them show you the car before you start answering questions of who you’re to buy it for. You can call me after that and I’ll tell you where to meet the delivery woman and transfer the goods into the new car.’ she said and rolled her wheelchair back, away from him.
‘Alright boss,’ Cole got up to his feet and used a towel to clean his hand dry.
‘Please do have your seats,’ the manager of the EasyShoppers online store company offered them seats before sitting on his own chair. ‘So I heard you guys are from Desert Reporters,’ the man said with a smile, adjusting himself on the seat.
‘Yes, you heard so but we are not really from Desert Reporters,’ Fabian replied him.
‘Huh?’ the man’s smile quickly changed to a frown.
‘Yes and we only work as per time journalists,’ Fabian continued.
‘But what do you want then?’ the man asked, looking around as if to raise alarm.
‘Relax sir, we’re not here for something evil.’ Fabian said with a light smile. He took a brief pause and took out two identity cards from the breast pocket of his shirt, he returned one and showed the other to the man. ‘We’re from the State Security Service and we’ve come to find out something important from you and also seek your cooperation.’
‘But how do I know you’re saying the truth? How do I know that you’re truly from the State Security Service?’ the man asked in a doubtful tone. His eyes peering into Fabian’s as Fabian returned the identity card into his pocket.
‘I just showed you my ID card.’
‘Yes but they also saw your ID card before referring you to me. I was told your ID card confirms you guys as journalists,’ the man retorted.
‘Yes, the ID card I showed them confirms me as a journalist but didn’t state that I work with Desert Reporters.’ he said, bringing out the ID cards again. ‘It states my position as a journalist but still under the State Security Service, your workers did not understand it.’
The man kept a straight face at them, still doubting Fabian’s words.
‘Here, take a look at this.’ Fabian said and handed him the SSS identity card. ‘Turn behind and you would find my registered number there, you can search it up online to confirm.’
The man fixed his gaze on Fabian ‘s face for a while, contemplating whether to do as Fabian suggested or just ignore and deceive them.
‘Try it,’ Fabian encouraged with a shrug. He rested his back against the backrest of the seat and kept his gaze on the man’s face.
The manager finally turned to his computer system and opened the browser, he typed in the agent’s registration number into the search engine box. He looked up after two minutes and returned Fabian ‘s card. ‘It shows that the number is truly registered under the Abuja headquarters but didn’t confirm the names of the card holder.’
‘My name is Fabian as the ID card states,’ Fabian said, you can confirm by calling the phone number you see on that screen.
The man took a glance at the computer screen and then picked up his phone on the table, he typed in the number on the screen and dialled it. Fabian ‘s phone began to ring. He raised it up in the air to show the man.
‘Okay, so is she from the SSS too?’ he asked, looking at Esther as he dropped the phone back to the table.
‘Yes, we came together.’ Fabian was the one who answered.
‘Okay, so what can I do for you?’
‘We want some information about a client you guys tried to deliver something to this morning.’ Fabian began, he collected a sheet of paper from Esther and handed it to the man. ‘That’s the address.’ Fabian waited for the man to read it. ‘We want all you know about the client. The name, how frequent she orders for your products and her contact details if you’ve got it.’
‘Well,’ the man let out a breath as he put the sheet of paper back on the table. ‘I can only give you the person’s name and tell you how frequent she orders but her contact details is a No No,’ the man stated, shaking his head side to side to emphasize his point.
‘Why can’t we get her contact?’
‘You shouldn’t be asking me that; I believe you guys are on an investigation and you should know I truly want to help you but as a company, we’re supposed to protect our customers. I have to get a paper written from the authorities to give you anyone’s contact.’
‘Alright, I understand but there’s one more thing I need you to do for us.’
‘What’s that?’ the man raised his brow.
‘Your delivery truck returned today without supplying this house we’re investigating. I think the owners were not around or unavailable at that time but I believe they’ll call back when they’re around for your guys to come back.’ Fabian said and paused to see if the man was following.
‘Huh… So what happens with that?’
‘We want to take charge of the delivery once they call back,’ Fabian replied.
‘What do you mean?’
‘We want to deliver your goods to them for you,’ Fabian replied.
‘Huh?’ the man’s eyebrows gathered together as he tried to reason out what Fabian said to him. ‘No, that won’t work.’ the man said shaking his head.
‘Sir, be rest assured that nothing bad will happen. We’re not going to hurt them.
‘No,’ the man repeated in a strong tone, still shaking his head.
‘I said No, Officer Fabian.’ the man snapped, with his eyes widened at Fabian .
‘Okay sir,’ Fabian forced a smile. ‘I understand perfectly well and I commend you for doing your job well. Maybe we’ll come back for that later after meeting with the necessary authorities to permit it.’
‘Maybe…’ the man said, stressing the word longer that he should.
‘Alright, for now. We’ll just make do with the name and any other information you can provide us.’ Fabian said, forcing a smile on his lips again.
‘Okay then, I call for someone who will search out the address and tell us the name of the client who receives order at that place.’ he said, picking up his office phone. He placed a stern gaze on their faces as he punched in the digits.
He made the call and asked for someone to come to his office. A man knocked on the door a minute later and was allowed in, he proceeded straight to the table and stopped beside Esther’s seat. He bowed slightly in courtesy to his boss and also acknowledged the presence of the visitors.
‘Come closer, ‘ the manager beckoned on the man and the man obeyed immediately. ‘Look here, I want you to search out this address, fish out every detail you can get and send them to me as soon as possible.’ the manager said and handed the sheet on which the address was written to the man. ‘How long will it take you?’ he asked, looking at the man as he read what was on the paper.
Fabian passed something tiny to Esther while the men were discussing. It took Esther only a glance at it to know what Fabian wanted her to use it for.
‘It’ll take us only five minutes,’ the man replied to the EasyShoppers manager.
‘Okay,’ the manager turned looked at his guests’ faces. ‘Is five minutes okay?’
‘Oh yes! It is,’ Fabian replied.
‘Good, go and get it done.’ the manager dismissed the man.
‘Oh shi*t! What’s this?’ Esther jumped up from her seat suddenly and held the man who was to get them what they requested for. She quickly released him and pointed to the ground.
‘It’s a rat,’ Fabian joined in, looking at the floor as if he had seen something while the manager and his co-worker searched around the floor for what the guests had seen but saw nothing.
‘A rat in my office?’ the manager glanced at Fabian ‘s face and then placed his gaze on Esther’s face.
‘It looked more like an electronic mouse, do you guys have those monitors here?’ Fabian asked the man.
‘Electronic mouse?’ the manager took a look at his co-worker’s face. The co-worker bowed again and turned to leave. ‘We don’t have such here?’ he said to Fabian .
Esther returned to her seat, looking down around the chair.
‘Maybe it’s been used by your security staffs,’ Fabian smiled. ‘Most of them make use of that technology now.’
‘Well, I’ll find out from them.’ the man replied and shrugged. He pulled his laptop closer and rested back against the backrest of his seat.
‘Are you okay?’ Fabian said in whispers to Esther but made sure it was loud enough for the man to hear.
‘Yes, I am.’ she replied back in low tones.
Fabian let out a smile and turned to the front, he also rested his back just like the manager did. He took out his phone from his pocket, unlocked it and opened his tracker app.
‘ I’m so sorry, I just realized that you guys just need to take a drink. So what can I offer you while the guy prepares the information,’ the manager spoke, not out of sincerity but just to make the place not too silent.
‘Oh! Thank you sir but we’re very okay, we had a meal some minutes before coming down here.’ Fabian replied, taking some seconds to look away from his phone to the man.
‘What about you? Would you like something to drink?’ he turned to Esther.
‘Thank you, I’m okay sir.’ Esther refused politely.
The manager got the email containing the answer to his request after six minutes in total. ‘The information you need is here,’ he announced to his guest.
‘Wow!’ Fabian sat up. He passed his phone secretly to Esther.
‘Here, it’s coming out.’ the manager said and rose to his feet. There was a printer at the left side of his office, he walked to the place and took the output produced. ‘Here we go, ‘ he gave the A4 sized paper to Fabian before he sank into his seat.
Fabian scanned through the paper briefly and looked up at the man’s face with a smile. ‘Thank you so much,’ he said and looked at the contents of the paper again.
Client: Alexander Kimberly E
Mode of Service: Receives supply for household goods once in a month.
Mode of Payment: Before delivery
Last time supplied : Today
Reason for failure of delivery: Client’s absence at venue of delivery
He stopped after reading the third line and folded the paper neatly. ‘Thank you once again sir,’ Fabian said as he rose up to his feet. ‘We will now take our leave.’
‘You’re welcome,’ the manager rose with them and shook their hands before seeing them off to the door.
‘Fabian, ‘ Esther called after they got out of the office into the secretary’s office. She had her eyes fixed to the phone he had passed to her secretly in the office.
‘Yes,’ he answered, rearranging his shirt and tucking in the flown out part.
‘The direction is left,’ she whispered to him and took the phone closer to him to show him something on the screen.
‘I’ll handle it, you wait for me at the car.’ he whispered back and collected the phone from her. They began to proceed out of the secretary’s office together. ‘Have a nice day ma’am,’ Fabian said to the secretary before walking out.
…To be continued.
Who is Fabian and Esther? They have been introduced in the story before.