‘And are you sure of all these things you’re saying?’ Dakolo questioned.
‘Yes, I am. I’ve been following this for sometime now and I’ve been trailing the police officers in charge themselves. So I get to know what’s happening and don’t depend on what the officers say like other journalists do.’ Dave replied.
‘But that is dangerous, hope you know?’
‘Yes, I do know it is dangerous but I tread carefully. I followed you for months while you were in charge of the case and you never discovered me,’ Dave said with a smile.
Dakolo narrowed his look at Dave’s face, shaking his head slowly. ‘How do I believe that you did follow me? I couldn’t have been so careless not to noticed anything.’
‘Well, I’ve been following you and I can tell you some of your activities. I even know about the meeting you had with the Vice President and some other top security officers on Samantha Osman.’
‘Oh! Do you also know what we discussed there?’
‘No, I don’t know that. It was a closed door meeting,’ Dave lied even though he knew all the details of their discussion and that his involvement in the case began as a result of that meeting.
Dakolo frowned and stared blankly at the wall. ‘That day we discussed about Samantha Osman and how she could cause more harm to our security and even our economy as she would scare of investors. And we also contemplated on getting an undercover that day, I don’t know if there has been anyone yet, or do you know if there’s an undercover working on this case?’ the man stopped, expecting a reply to his question.
‘Undercover?’ Dave repeated, looking somehow startled. Dakolo nodded in response. ‘No, I don’t know. I mean if I know about the undercover, it means he or she is not doing his job well.’ Dave answered. He knew if there was anyone that was supposed to work as an undercover in the case, it was himself and that was one of the major instructions he was given when the case was delivered to his team and he was appointed to handle it. But then, it starts with first knowing the criminal organization before acting as an undercover and if things would work out as planned, Lizzy would be the one playing the role.
‘Well, that’s true.’ There was a long silence and then Dakolo got up. ‘I’m committed to seeing the end of Samantha Osman, I don’t just care whether the case has been taken from me or not.’
‘But it could earn you a query and could even lead to a dismissal from the force,’ Dave warned.
‘I really don’t care as far as I see Samantha Osman go down the drain first.’
Tarasha wiped off the table neatly and arranged the books back on them, putting the heavier ones down and the lighter ones on top. The late Nasiru Attahiru’s book was second in the arrangement and her mother’s diary was third. She had read the former several times and had even sourced for more information from different places to confirm what she read in the book.
Now she knew all about the notorious group that was led by the Vice President and how they operated in their days. It had also brought to her knowledge more secrets of the Vice President and Inspector General which she could use to plan against them and bring them down but she didn’t have proofs to any allegations she could make against them.
However, she had located several areas and places where the proofs could be present and she had taken opportunity of the last twenty nine days to map out how she would gain access to these places, look for the evidences and also keep them with her. She had done her planning and strategizing in very convenient ways that enabled her to relax well for her quick recovery and also made the job less tedious.
For example, she had used the street and road maps data into making computer and mobile applications and games and whenever she played these games, she mastered the roads and buildings, getting used to fast escape routes and short cuts which will be needed when the main operation starts.
One thing she had not been able to look into was her mum’s diary. She didn’t really believe there would be so much information about the notorious group in the diary as the group operates secretly, even without their families knowing about them. Tarasha believed the diary would contain more of her mum’s happy moments – she had always known her mum to be a happy woman – and less than one percent of what she needed for her operations but she still intended to search for and read her mum’s account of their treatment by the notorious group.
Her phone beeped on the table and she picked it up to check the notification. She had gotten an email from an unnamed city in Russia. It was an email she was expecting because she had sent a message first.
More strategies and ideas had been coming to her each day on how she could kill her remaining targets without necessarily having to fight with Rex again. The recovery process of the past days had not been able to take off her mind the torture she experienced from Rex even though her body was stronger and the wound – her weak point – which Rex used in defeating her that day was also healing fast.
The thought of facing Rex or another surprise like him again was the major reason she had decided for her body to be healed completely before going for any major operations that would involve a gun war or a combat. She was sure Rex knew a lot about her already while she knew none about him except that he was sent by the Vice President and the Inspector General.
Her fight with him had been the toughest since she finished her training at the Nefary Clan and began to work for them. Not that she had not met or fought with men who were stronger than Rex before, but it wasn’t just about the strength, there are tactics involved for every fight and she always had it better than those strong men. Her specialty in the use of her hands and calculation of the body movement of her enemy was always her weapon used in defeating anyone she faced.
But Rex was totally different, she was totally unable to calculate him except for a few attacks he made which she dodged. But that was a normal part of any fight, Rex also dodged some of her moves, except it was a fight against an inexperienced or weak person, it was always expected that each fighter dodges some casual moves.
There was something about Rex which she also had but thought he could be better at than her, it was his intelligence in calculating his enemy’s movement. He was even able to detect her weak point early that day and had wasted no time but focused on it and decapacitated her. She would have been long dead if not for the Vice President’s instructions that she be brought to him alive. And that was what she was desperate to do before getting her main operation started again, ensuring that there was no loophole or weak point that the enemy could use.
She clicked open the email and scrolled up to read her own message which started the conversation. It was sent to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. It read;
‘Good day Queen
I’m in a certain African country right now on a contract and I had an encounter with a strange man called Rex. His composure is exactly like that of one of us and he carries a sign on his mask. It’s a sign that I can’t really explain but that has been seen several times on Lord Nefary’s board. I hope you are in Russia, I need you to visit the clan and check for the names of other assassins in Africa right now.’
The reply was sent to email@example.com twenty one days after the initial message. It read;
I received your message and I acted as soon as I could. I visited the clan and after searching, only your ID was on record for assassins in Africa.
I believe a picture of description of the sign you saw would be helpful. As you know, different signs are added to Lord Nefary’s board from time to time.’
Tarasha placed her fingers on the keyboard and began to type her reply immediately.
‘I do need you to make another visit. The sign on the mask had a animal’s face embedded in it, that’s the only description I can give except I see it again.
And also check for any missing Zonal or Regional Lord or any of them that has been transferred recently. Do get back to me as soon as you can.’
She clicked on the send button after checking through her typed message for errors and dropped the phone on the table.
**April 13, 2017**
Cole could spot the EasyShoppers van waiting for him in the park they met the last time. He drove into the place and parked just beside the van. He could see the hair a lady seated at the driver’s side of the van, she was looking towards the other side. As he turned off the car engine, he wondered if it could be Patricia again because he didn’t expect that the EasyShoppers company would have a lot of ladies involved in driving their delivery vans.
He opened the door and got out of the car still looking at the lady seated in the car. She turned at that moment and their eyes locked. Cole froze on the spot, he could feel currents flowing down from his head to toe. Patricia opened the door and stepped out of the van. She turned to his car and stopped at his front. Both stood still, looking into each other’s eyes for almost a minute.
‘Good afternoon sir,’ she finally broke the silence. ‘I believe we will go straight to transferring the goods this afternoon since there’s nothing I’ve been instructed to inform you.’
‘Good afternoon,’ Cole greeted and closed the door which he hadn’t closed when he saw her face. His body shivered as he watched her walk to the back of the van. She wasn’t putting on the EasyShoppers uniform as the day wasn’t a workday. Instead she was putting on a crop top and a black trousers which she looked more like a leggings displaying her full features and hiding nothing of her body shape.
He was getting aroused as he watched her backside dance up and down as she moved. He cursed under his breath and wondered what she was doing with that kind of clothes, he considered it inappropriate for the job and began to doubt the EasyShoppers’ professionalism even though he didn’t doubt Patricia’s s*xiness and heavy endowment.
Surprising to him most was the EasyShoppers logo he saw at the back of the crop top she was putting on, it only meant that the cloth was giving to her by the company which would also mean that they encouraged their female workers to use the sex appeal with male customers. He wondered however how that had to do with their job and began to have suspicions.
He stood still for a moment, thinking about what could be happening. Then he took out his phone and dialed the EasyShoppers’ office number he had.
‘Omotara,’ Tarasha blinked and turned as she heard the call of her name. She knew Henry had entered the room and was behind her all along but decided not to give him attention, thinking he will leave when he sees her busy so as not to get distracted from her thoughts.
‘Yea, Henry.’ she replied him with a smile.
He squinted his eyes at her as he moved closer. ‘You don’t look happy, what are you thinking about?’
‘Nothing, I have no worries.’ she replied him.
‘But it shows on your face, you didn’t know when I entered.’
Tarasha smiled. ‘Of course I knew when you entered. I wouldn’t have missed that in my deepest sleep.’
‘Oh!’ he paused and sat on the bed facing her. She turned her chair from the table to him and shifted it that they both sat directly opposite each other. ‘So what was on your mind? Don’t tell me there is nothing.’
Tarasha drew in a breath. ‘Nothing really, nothing different from what I’ve been brooding upon these days.’
‘And what’s that?’
Tarasha paused for a while and rested her back against the backrest of the chair. She folded her arms and stared at his for a while. He now looked more handsome and relaxed, the few weeks rest had helped cure the impact the stress was having on him. It made her remember how he looked when he was in prison and how he refused to let out information about her and also how he convinced her that day to turn away from assassination with the selfless sacrifice he was ready to make for her. She also remembered the taste of his lips and gentleness with which he handled her and of course, his inexperience in handling women. Another memory of him she had was his demeanor on the day he had to bath her. She didn’t know when she let out a loud laugh.
‘Hey! What’s so funny on my face?’ Henry asked with a smile, rubbing his palms on his face as he wondered what was so amusing to her.
‘I was thinking about us when you entered,’ Tarasha lied to change the tone of the conversation. She was finally glad she gave him a chance to speak with her as his presence seemed to have eased her mind after the message she got from her fellow assassin. They never had the opportunity to sit and talk during the last thirty days as Tarasha always had her door locked when she was in except meal times or time to use her drugs or give out instructions to her workers. She had also spent a lot of time with everyone else in the living room, having jovial chats and on about four occasions playing video games with Henry in the presence of the two others but this was their first time of being alone to talk.
‘But what were you thinking about before I entered?’ Henry asked.
‘Nothing, I just finished arranging my books and cleaning the room.’
‘Hmm… I see,’ Henry replied and took in a breath again.
There was silence for the next couple of seconds as both stared at each other without having words to utter. Tarasha began to smile at him again.
‘Now, you have to tell me what’s amusing you on my face today.’ Henry said as she laughed briefly again.
‘You are amusing,’ she said. ‘Sometimes, you look like a ten year old kid to me.’
Henry’s eyebrows gathered as he watched her talk and he frowned at her in a playful manner, though he felt a bit embarrassed.
‘Thank God, I’m not ten year old.’ he said. ‘I’m sure I’m older than you.’
‘Oh!’ Tarasha shone her eyes widely. ‘You must be a very old man to be older than I am,’ she joked.
Both of them laughed briefly and there was a brief silence again.
‘Come to think of it Tara, I really do not know your age.’ Henry said thoughtfully.
‘Oh! You want to know?’
Henry made a ridiculous face at her.
‘I’m sixteen years old,’ she said.
Henry chuckled and shook his head. He hadn’t expected that she would answer him but he felt it funny that she could tell him she was a teenager. ‘Why do girls always like to hide their age?’
‘Girls love to hide their ages?’ Tarasha asked in a surprise tone. ‘Well, I’m not hiding mine.’ she said and then a frown appeared on her face as a thought popped up in her mind.
‘Yea, I’m sure you’re not hiding it. Sixteen must be your football age,’ Henry joked.
‘What’s football age?’ she asked him, with the frown still on her face. She wasn’t lying, sixteen was the age she knew. It was the age recorded for her in the Nefary Clan. She had lost count of her age during her years in the Nefary clan as there was no count of days nor years there. She only remembered that she was celebrating her birthday on the day her parents were killed but couldn’t remember what year it was.
The Nefary Clan also made it difficult for the assassins to calculate their exact ages as they never started counting from the day the abducted kids were brought into the clan but from the day they had fully gone through a series of tests which certified that they should be trained as assassins and this series of tests varied from one to five years for different kids.
This age confusion was one of the strategies the Nefary Clan used to keep their assassins in bondage and also make them unable to create links to their pasts. And that was the reason for Tarasha’s frown, she realized that she didn’t know her real age. It had never occurred to her and wouldn’t have if she was working like the assassin she was meant to be and not having anything personal with Henry. She had been asked several times of her age by people she had come in contact with and had also written different ages in documents she had submitted in different organizations but this was the only time she was asked and needed to say the real age.
‘You don’t know football age?’ Henry shook his head at her. ‘Well, never mind.’
A brief silence ensued again with Henry staring at her face while she stared blankly at the wall behind.
‘Is there any problem Tara?’ Henry asked, after watching the frown on her face for a while.
‘Nothing,’ she said and forced a smile, trying to brighten up again.
‘You sure? You’ve been keeping a sad face since I asked you about your age.’
She tried to smile again. ‘Nothing, only a bad memory.’
‘Oh! I’m sorry I made you remember something bad.’
‘No, it’s not your fault.’ she said smiling and shaking her head. She closed her eyes and took a breath in. Then she opened her eyes and looked back to the table behind. Her eyes went straight to her mum’s diary, that was the only place she knew she could find her real age. Now, she had another reason to read the diary. She decided that moment to set aside a day to go through it from the front to the back page.
She turned and looked at Henry’s face again, he was staring intently at her.
‘So what about the games I sent to your device, have you been playing them?’ she asked.
‘Hmm…’ he pouted. ‘I’ve been playing two of them, I think you sent me three, or are they four?’
‘Just three. Which two have you been playing?’
‘Ermm… The one I love most is the one named Ajuba, I hope I got the name correctly. ‘ he paused to confirm and she nodded in affirmation. ‘I love racing games naturally but the reason I take interest in Ajuba is because the roads are so similar to some of the road networks in Abuja, where did you get the game from?’
‘Well, I’ll tell you that now but let me know the second one you’ve been playing.’
‘The second is the climbing game, truth is I don’t really enjoy that. And I’ve only played the third one once, I didn’t really get it and I left it when I got confused.’
‘Well, you don’t have to enjoy the games, you just have to play them, I sent them all to your device for a reason even though I know you’ll also catch fun with them.’ she began to explain. ‘The games were created by me…’
‘I know,’ Henry cut in.
She chuckled. ‘The first one was patterned using the Abuja street and road maps. The reason for the design is for us all to learn and master the road networks for easy driving and escape when necessary. The second game which involves climbing is for you to master buildings of different storeys and heights and how to climb up and done using ropes and the window frames when necessary. The third game that got you confused is designed to make you master the use of weapons. All these masterings only works mentally but it’ll make it easier for you to learn when you face the real world.’
The smile on Henry’s face had completely vanished by the time she finished explaining. The thought of them having enemies again brought sadness to his heart. He wished that their days of peace and calmness would just continue without having to go back to fighting Rex, the Inspector General or any other enemy.
‘But Tara, do we really need to go and fight these people? They don’t know where we are right now, why can’t we just live as new people and forget them.’
‘Live as new people?’ Tarasha blinked and shook her head. ‘That can’t happen until all these enemies are dead. Have you forgotten that you’ve been declared wanted?’
Henry heaved a sigh of frustration. ‘But we can just run away, leave this place or leave the country completely.’
‘No, we will not do that. Never!’
Question For The Week
– What is Tarasha’s real age?