**45 minutes later**
Esther sat at the passenger’s side in the car alone. She had her legs crossed and her eyes fixed on the tablet device on her laps. She kept checking her wristwatch from time to time and would look out through the open window occasionally to see if Fabian was coming forth. After a long time of waiting, she noticed a man dressed in the security men’s uniform walking towards the car. She placed her eyes on him as he approached further and discovered from his manner of walking that it was Fabian coming.
He got there in no time and took off the cap from his head. ‘Move to the driver’s side,’ Fabian said to her in soft tones.
She did as he said and Fabian entered and settled in.
‘How did it go?’ she asked, staring at his face as he began to take off the buttons of the security uniform.
‘It went well,’ he replied, now unbuttoning the sleeves. ‘They didn’t have much useful information about Kimberly Alexander, I only got the phone number she uses to call them. Now, I’m monitoring her phone number and theirs, we will intercept once there’s a connection between both.’
‘And what’s the next step after that?’ Esther asked.
Fabian did not answer immediately, he took off the uniform top and flung it to the backseat of the car, leaving only his white underwear vest on. ‘Let’s take it one after the other,’ he said and strapped on his seatbelt. ‘Now, you need to get us out of here before someone discovers the unconscious security guard at the toilet and the data resource manager under his table.’
‘I see…’ she said, giving him a searching look as she strapped on her own seatbelt. ‘I hope they won’t stay so long in their unconscious state,’ she said as she started the car engine.
Daniel’s eyes wandered around as he entered into his bookstore. He had received a call few minutes ago from one of his employees that someone asked to see him for a large supply of books which could only be authorized by him. The bookstore was a large and there were so many people in it buying and checking books on the shelf. He saw someone that looked familiar sitting on a leather bench close to the sales desk and wondered if that could be the person who wanted to see him. His face met with the man’s but he looked away to other points in the store to see if there was anybody else waiting around.
‘Good morning sir,’ one of the employees called unto him.
‘Yea, good morning.’ he said, looking at the middle-aged woman’s face.
‘That’s the man who wanted to see you,’ she said, looking towards the man on the bench who Daniel had considered to be the one.
‘Okay, thank you.’ he said and the woman walked away. He began to walk towards the man on the bench.
The man rose to greet him as he got closer. ‘You must be Mr Daniel,’ the man said with a smile.
‘Yes, I am. Good morning sir,’ Daniel said, bowing slightly to show respect as he offered a handshake, the man was older than he was.
‘Good morning Mr Daniel,’ the man answered with a smile and took Daniel’s hand in his.
‘Please, you may have your seat sir.’ Daniel said and he turned to the chair behind the desk. He allowed the man to settle before he continued, ‘I heard you wanted a special supply of books…’ he began but suddenly paused. He narrowed his eyes and placed a firm stare on the man’s face. ‘I think I’ve met you somewhere before, ‘ he said. ‘You look so familiar.’
‘No, I don’t remember us meeting anywhere,’ the man stated and smiled even though Daniel was still staring at him like he was sure of his assertion. ‘Can we really discuss here?’ the man asked, his eyebrows gathering together.
‘Yes, are we not talking about books and the supplies you want?’
‘No, we’re talking about something different.’ the man said and cleared his throat. ‘I’m Inspector Dakolo from the Abuja Police Headquarters,’ he added, taking out his identity card.
Daniel already knew he was Inspector Dakolo but just had to say he looked familiar for the man not to know he was recognized. The only thing he was bothered about was the reason for the man’s visit.
‘What can I do for you Inspector?’ he asked and stared at the man’s face in silence, hoping it wasn’t that he was being investigated. He controlled two bookstores in town, both in his name though he wasn’t the real owner. The bookstores were just a tool given to him by the agency to hide his real job from the world.
‘I’m here to get some information about a certain man who I’m investigating, he listed your name as one of his guarantors in his recent job.’ Dakolo paused and waited to see if Daniel would know who he was talking about but Daniel continued to stare at him silently, a look of confusion forming on his face. ‘I’m talking about David James who recently began to work at the NSCC office,’ Dakolo stated.
‘Oh!’ Daniel blinked. ‘What about him?’
‘He’s been missing at work for some days now and they’ve been so worried at his place of work,’ Dakolo answered.
‘Oh! And did they declare him missing at the NSCC?’ Daniel joked with a broad smile on his lips. His smile quickly faded away when he realized that the Inspector saw no joke in what he said. ‘I don’t really know his whereabouts for now, but the last time I heard of him, they said he had an accident and was badly injured but I’ve not seen him for a long time now.’
Dakolo took a minute to consider the man’s explanation and concluded that it may be true since he saw Dave with bandages on the head and wrist that morning. ‘So, how do I reach him?’
‘Let me check for his phone number,’ Daniel said and hurriedly searched his pocket for his phone. He took it out and dialed Dave’s number. ‘It’s switched off,’ he said looking at the man’s face but dialed the number again and put the call on loud speakers for the Inspector to hear the response.
‘How about his house? Do you have his address with you?’
‘Ermm…’ he closed his eyes and moved his head from side to side trying to remember something. ‘Allow me for another minute, I think I saved the text somewhere on my phone.’ he began to press his phone again. ‘David James is a regular customer of this store, he reads and buys books a lot.’
It took him about two minutes to get the address he was searching for. He passed the phone to the Inspector to have a look.
‘This is the same address he left at the NSCC,’ Dakolo said after looking at the address severally within forty seconds. He returned the phone to the owner. ‘So you don’t have any other information we can use to find him?’
‘Any other information like?’
‘His family’s address, their home or maybe any of his siblings you know.’
‘I don’t know any of his family members or any of his other friends. He’s just a regular buyer here who became my friend because we share the same philosophies, I don’t know so much about him.’
‘You don’t know much about him but you signed to be his guarantor?’
‘Well, I just thought I should help him since he was badly in need of a job.’ Daniel answered with a stupid shrug.
Dakolo stared at his face for a while, feeling irritated at the stupidity of Daniel as displayed in his last statement. ‘You signed for someone who might just be a hardened criminal and he’s nowhere to be found now, you will have a lot of questions to answer if we don’t find him.’ Dakolo said and stamped his fists on the table, attracting the attention of some of the people in the store. ‘And don’t think of playing any stunts, we’ve got our eyes fully on you henceforth. The best thing you can do to yourself is to inform me immediately you have any information about him,’ he said and dropped a sheet of paper on the desk. ‘Call me when you do have something to say.’ With that, Dakolo turned and walked out of the store. Several people’s eyes followed him as he exited the place.
Daniel picked the paper containing the Inspector’s number and stared at it briefly. After that he picked his phone again and unlocked it. He scrolled down the menu and clicked on an unnamed application. It opened and displayed two icons on the dashboard, one for phone calls and the other for text messaging. He clicked on the text messaging option and began to search for the number he wanted to send it to. He selected the contact ‘David James’ but quickly unmarked it again. He scrolled up and marked the contact stored as ‘Agent DJ’. Then he began to type in his message into the box.
With the unnamed application he was using to send the message, the network providers would not have a record of the text message neither would their system have any idea of the transaction.
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‘It’s been a while you took me out and paid for my meal like this,’ Esther commented as she munched the food substance in her mouth. ‘It’s only when you need help you behave like a good boy.’
‘Must I be the one to take you out and pay for the meals? Can’t you take me out and foot the bills?’ Fabian gave a reply sooner than she expected and it got her surprised. It seemed like he knew that the question was coming and had already prepared an answer for her.
‘I thought you were the man,’ she said, giving him a side look. She dropped back into the plate the fork she was about to take into her mouth.
‘Which law says it’s the man that must foot the bills?’ Fabian said and continued eating without looking at her face. ‘You’re so used to men buying the stuffs for you. Sometimes, I feel envious of you. You get to go to several places free of charge with the men you investigate and they buy a lot of things for you but I do the buying except if it’s a very rich sugar mummy and not a young girl. The crazy thing is that most times we are underfunded by the agency and we put in our own monies to get the job done.’
‘And I put in my own body to get the job done,’ she snapped. ‘Do you think I like touching those men, especially the obese ones?’
‘Oh!’ Fabian dropped his fork and stared at her face. ‘You think I enjoy sleeping with the women because I am a man?’ he asked with a narrow look. ‘And you don’t even sleep with the men except in very extreme cases which comes rarely. Men can easily get deceived and carried away by just giving them a simple massage, lap dance or…’ he ran out of words, wriggling his fingers. ‘You know the rest of the things you do to them. But the women do not get carried away by those things easily, you have to really go down on her first…’
‘And how many times have you had to do that?’ she cut in. ‘How often do you get to have those kind of jobs? I bet you can’t mention more than one right now,’ she said and looked straight into his eyes, waiting for him to prove her wrong.
He wriggled and scratched his head on the hot seat he put himself. He was still trying to come up with an answer for her when his phone beeped. He quickly took it out and unlocked it.
‘Holy shi*t!’ he exclaimed after taking close to a minute to check the notification.
‘What’s it?’ Esther asked.
‘I just got a message from Daniel, he said Agent Dakolo is on a search for me.’ Fabian replied, looking up at her face.
Esther raised her brows and shook her head slightly, wanting more explanation as to why the Agent was searching for him.
‘He saw me that day before yesterday with the bandage on my head and he also knows I work at the NSCC,’ he explained to her.
Esther’s shoulders dropped. ‘So what are you going to do now?’
‘I don’t really know,’ Fabian said and placed two fingers on his lips. He stared blankly for a short while. ‘I think I would have to leave you to help me monitor the EasyShoppers, just for a short while, I have to see the Agent. But do remember that you need to clean off the disguise and switch to your look as Lizzy, just keep the name Esther.’ he began to tidy up his things on the table.
‘I do remember all that but are you really sure of what to do right now?’
‘I think I am. I just have to do something before the Agent spreads the word too quick.’ he answered, getting up from his chair.
‘Alright, but do make sure you don’t get into more troubles.’
‘I won’t. Thanks for helping out.’ he said as he dipped his smaller phone into his pocket and dropped a bigger one on the table. ‘I’m leaving the car with you,’ he said, showing her the car key on the table. ‘Please send me a message if anything comes up and you need to act.’
‘Okay, I’ll do that. I just hope the office does not call me up for an assignment.’
‘Tara, Rex is back again.’ Henry came into the living room saying to her.
She took her eyes off the late Senate President’s book which she was still reading for a minute to look at Henry. She fixed her gaze back to the book before speaking. ‘What did you see him try to do?’ she asked as she folded her the page she was reading and dropped the book. On a second thought, she picked up the book again and rolled her wheelchair closer to the bag of books and dropped it in. She had continued reading the book for up to one hour and had found nothing else about her parents or her family. All that was left were boring details of the other deals the then young politicians involved themselves in.
‘He was just searching around the house, I saw him throwing some tiny particles around.’ Henry replied her question.
‘In what direction was he throwing them?’ she asked another question and began to wheel herself towards him, putting in so much effort to do it with speed. He quickly walked to her and held the wheelchair by the back, leading her into the corridor away from the living room.
‘I don’t really know what directions he did…’ Henry mentioned his words slowly, still thinking as he said them. ‘But I think he was throwing them towards the origin of the laser scopes security at the different points.’
‘That’s means he was checking if the lasers are still on,’ she said as he wheeled her on. ‘I believe he will discover now that we have left the facility.’
They continued on another corridor until they got to the control room. Henry wheeled her to the front of the main control system. It was on and was showing a video of a section in the structure at the other end. Henry held the mouse and closed the player, an option of views of the different parts of the house covered by the cameras displayed like a DVD selection page. He zoomed the selection page for a clearer view and began to scroll down, searching for which part Rex was now. He located it not too long after and selected it. Rex was at the same corridor from which the lasers had sent him running back the night before and was treading carefully, looking back and forth everytime.
He stopped at the entrance of a door and took out his phone, he was seen dialing a number. The call was answered and he spoke to the person at the other end for only thirty seconds before he put the phone back into his pocket. He then turned back suddenly and his eyes searched round the walls until he located the camera focus on him. He pointed his gun at it and sent a bullet straight to it.
Henry was alarmed as their screen went blank. He looked at Tara with a trembling eyes, ‘He knows we are watching him just like the other day,’ he said.
‘Yes, he knows but he also knows that we are not in that facility anymore.’ she replied him.
‘What if he discovers the underground?’
‘He cannot,’ she stated emphatically. ‘The only way he would is if someone tells him about it.’
‘Hmm…’ Henry hummed, not too sure whether to believe her or not. The cursor showed on the blank screen as his hand touched the mouse.
‘We actually don’t have a business with that other facility anymore, there’s no way he can connect this place to that except he gains access into the Ministry of Housing documents but he wouldn’t even think of it having an underground which connects somewhere else.’
The phone on her lap began to ring as she was still talking. She answered the call and adjusted her wheelchair backwards before speaking. ‘Hi Chief Gab.’
‘Good afternoon Tarasha, I have gotten another house for you to use now.’
Dave ignored the prying eyes of the other NSCC officials as he walked through the offices. He greeted back those who cared to greet him first and just ignored those that were looking at him like they had seen a ghost.
‘Mr Dave!’ someone shouted from behind.
Dave turned back and his eyes met with Dapo’s. ‘Good afternoon sir,’ he said with an indifferent look.
‘Where have you been?’ Dapo asked with eyes wide open in surprise.
‘It’s a long story,’ Dave said and took in a breath. ‘Is the chairman on seat?’
‘Yes, he should be.’ Dapo got to the same place with him and they began to walk on together. ‘Inspector Dakolo from the Police Headquarters was here for you this morning.’
‘Inspector Dakolo?’ Dave feigned a surprised tone.
‘Is that not the man previously in charge of Samantha Osman’s case?’
‘Yes, you’re right.’
‘What does he want from me?’
‘I don’t know for sure but I think it is connected to your disappearance for so long.’
Dave sighed and shook his head and they walked on in silence until they got to the point for Dapo to turn to his office.
‘Alright man, goodluck with the chairman.’ Dapo said as he walked away.
‘Good afternoon,’ Dave stopped at Mr Sylvester’s secretary’s desk.
‘Good evening Mr David!’ she was also surprised to see him. Dave smiled at the expression on her face. ‘You want to see Mr Sylvester?’
‘Yes, is he in?’
‘You may go in, or isn’t he expecting you?’
‘No, he’s not.’
‘Okay, wait a second. I’ll inform him right away.’
She picked up the landline receiver on her table and connected to Mr Sylvester. ‘Mr David James is here to see you sir,’ she said and a smile appeared on her face as she got a reply. ‘Yes, the same Mr David James.’
‘You may go in now, ‘ she said to him and he bowed slightly before proceeding.
Dave opened the door slightly and walked in slowly, poking his head in first before his legs and other part followed. He closed the door and stood behind it for a second, his gaze meeting Mr Sylvester’s eyes which was fixed on him. The man was carrying a very stern gaze on his face and Dave could read his demand for a reasonable explanation even without the man saying anything yet.
‘Good afternoon sir,’ Dave greeted and began to proceed forward slowly.
‘Good afternoon,’ Mr Sylvester replied in a muffled tone.
‘I was attacked at my house by armed men and I got badly injured,’ David began his explanation immediately. ‘I’ve been at the hospital for days now.’
Mr Sylvester shook his head in disbelief, he narrowed his look at Dave wondering why the young man had decided to lie to him and even choose a stupid lie. He rested his back and folded his arms with his eyes still on Dave’s face. ‘So you got attacked by armed robbers and was badly injured but none of your neighbours knew about the attack or even your whereabouts.’
Dave knew the man didn’t believe his words but wasn’t bothered if he did or not, all he wanted was to have a story to say. ‘I didn’t say armed robbers sir, armed men.’ He corrected.
‘Armed men? What are you talking about?’ Mr Sylvester looked away for a second and picked his phone.
‘They were not robbers and did not take anything from me. They only came that night and forced me with their guns to follow them without making any noise. I got dropped on the road after being thoroughly beaten.’
‘Sorry to say Dave, this your story sounds somehow ridiculous, more like it was made up.’ Mr Sylvester adjusted himself on the seat, placing his elbow on the left armrest while he typed on his phone with the fingers on the other hand.
‘Sir, I know it does…’
‘Please, have your seat Dave.’ the man interrupted.
‘Thank you sir,’ Dave said and took his seat. ‘Sir, I know it might sound ridiculous but it’s the truth. Those guys met me that night and asked that I leave the house with them, pointing their guns at me.’
‘And did they tell you what they wanted?’
‘Hmm… No,’ Dave looked straight into Mr Sylvester’s eyes. The man had stopped typing on his phone and Dave knew that the man must have sent a text message to someone which was most likely Agent Dakolo.
Both men’s gazes remained on each other’s faces for a long moment as both thought to themself in silence.
‘Cole,’ Tarasha’s voice sounded through the phone’s speaker as he answered.
‘Boss,’ Cole replied.
‘I’ve called the EasyShoppers administrators and I’ve asked that they deliver the goods to you at the parking space at Leads way.’
‘Alright boss, I’ll be going there immediately.’
To be continued