Cole flew out of the bed quickly and reached for his guns on the drawer. He put one of the guns behind his belt and held the other in his right hand, hiding it at his back. He proceeded to the door carefully as the knock continued. He heard his name being called in the same manner again.
‘Who is it?’ he shouted, hiding behind the door.
‘Henry.’ the voice replied.
‘Henry?’ he asked to be sure. The voice was Henry’s voice but there was so much panic heard in it that Cole knew there had to be trouble.
‘Yes, open up.’
‘What’s the matter?’ he asked, not willing to open the door yet.
‘Just open the door first,’ Henry insisted in a strong tone.
Cole stepped to the front of the door and held his gun in readiness as he reached for the lock, he turned it and dragged the door open immediately.
Henry quickly shifted back and raised his hands in the air at the sight of the gun pointed at him. He held a tablet in his right hand.
‘Who’s with you?’ Cole asked, moving carefully to the door. He looked around outside his entrance before dropping the gun. ‘Come in,’ he said to Henry and waited at the entrance.
He closed the door after Henry entered and locked it firmly.
‘What’s with the gun you carrying about?’ Henry asked, a disturbed look on his face.
‘You knocked and called my name as if there was trouble,’ Cole replied, trying to calm himself.
‘Yes, there is trouble.’ Henry said with a shaky voice. He turned on the screen of the device in his hand and typed in the password.
‘What’s the problem?’ Cole asked, with the side of his lips raised in contempt. But it changed as he looked at Henry’s face and noticed the seriousness.
‘I tried to call Omotara already but she’s not answering,’ Henry began with a panicking tone.
‘Just tell me what the matter is.’
‘Here,’ Henry showed him something on the tablet device. ‘Someone has kidnapped my mum.’
‘Huh?’ Cole’s eyes widened in shock and he collected the device from Henry. ‘Is this your mum?’ he asked, staring at the picture.
‘Yes, she was taken this morning. On her way back home.’ Henry said.
‘How did you get this picture?’
‘It was sent to me.’
‘By the kidnappers.’
Cole gave him a suspicious look, ‘How did they get your contact?’
‘They sent it to my public email.’
Cole kept his gaze on the floor as he began to ponder on the situation and what the enemy was trying to achieve with the strategy.
‘We have to do something quick,’ Henry said, his voice still full of panic. To him, Cole was being too slow and thinking too much about the matter.
‘Henry, you just have to calm down. We must not do anything in a hurry,’ Cole replied in a warning tone.
‘You say I should calm down?’ Henry widened his eyes at Cole. ‘Just take a look at the message they sent with it.’ He opened the email proper for Cole to see. ‘They’ve given me twenty four hours to meet them or they send pieces of my mother’s body to me in a body bag.’
‘Hmm, Rex…’ Cole said in whispers and let out a sigh.
‘Yes, Rex. The same threat he made to me.’
‘But he didn’t give you the same twenty four hours deadline.’
‘Yes, he didn’t.’ Cole replied, staring blankly at the wall. His mind was far away, searching for what to do in Tarasha’s absence.
‘Cole, I need to do something fast.’ Henry said, shaking him by the shoulders.
‘Yes, we’ll do something fast. Let’s go to the control room.’ he said and turned back to the bed, he walked to the drawer beside it and returned one of the guns and picked a bunch of keys.
They got into the control room a minute later and they began to boot the computer systems. ‘Do make a call to Tarasha again.’ Cole told Henry.
‘She’s still not answering,’ Henry replied after an attempt.
‘Send a text message telling her of the new development.’
Henry obeyed Cole’s instruction by sending a brief message which communicated what they needed to.
‘Cole, why are we here?’ What exactly are we supposed to do here?’ Henry questioned.
‘Where else should we be?’ Cole asked as he took his seat behind the main system.
‘Did I tell you that I was demanded in the message to send a confirmation of receipt?’
‘You didn’t tell me, I read it in the email myself.’ Cole replied. ‘Take a chill pill, let’s try get their location from here first.’
‘They sent me their address already.’
‘Did they put any phone number you can reach them on?’
‘No, I didn’t see any.’
‘Is this the man?’ Tarasha asked, staring at a man’s picture on the laptop screen.
‘That was him when he was younger,’ Chief Gab replied, swiping across the gallery. ‘These are his family members,’ Chief Gab stopped at a particular picture of a family of six; the Doctor and his wife with their four children- two guys and two ladies, the youngest one amongst them was close to Tarasha’s age. ‘All his kids are grown up.’
‘Are they all living in Nigeria?’ Tarasha asked. She took out her vibrating phone from her pocket and glanced at the screen to check the caller, it was Henry again. She had decided not to answer his calls until she was done with the meeting with Chief Gab, thinking he was just calling to ask of her well-being. She dropped the phone back into her pocket and concentrated on what the man was telling her.
‘I don’t know where all his kids are right now, but I know that none of them studied in Nigeria. The first one graduated as a medical doctor from the united States and the second a Mechanical Engineer. Only the two younger ones studied in other African countries.’
‘I have to get these pictures into my device,’ she said as she took out her phone again. ‘Would you turn on your hotspot?’
‘Okay. Do you know if the man is retired or still in service?’
‘I think he is legally retired now but he still works as a consultant for different hospitals.’
A message entered as she swiped down the notification bar to turn on the WiFi. She turned it on before clicking on the message. It read;
‘Omotara, my mother was attacked on the road and kidnapped by unknown men. They’ve asked that I come meet them at a certain location in twenty four hours time or they chop her body into pieces.’
‘Oh F***!’ Tarasha cursed in a loud tone.
‘What is it?’ Chief Gab who was still marking all the pictures turned to ask her.
She shook her head and let out a short breath. ‘There’s an issue at the base in Abuja.’
‘What issue?’ the Chief asked.
‘Vice President Elvis has another assasin who has been on our trail for sometime now and he’s just pulled a new move.’
‘Never mind, I’ll take care of it. You just send the details of the Doctor to me. Now, I have to return to Abuja as soon as possible.’
__15 minutes later__
‘They sent the message from Kurudu.’
‘Yes, that’s the same place I was asked to come meet them. Is the place in Abuja?’
‘Yes, it is. According to the map here, it’s just twenty one minutes drive from Asokoro.’ Cole replied.
‘Then we have to go there immediately,’ Henry got up to his feet at once.
‘Go where?’ Cole shot a look at him.
‘Go to where they are at Kurudu.’
‘But we can’t go without making necessary plans,’ Cole countered.
‘What time do we have to plan before they do anything to my mother?’
‘And do you think rushing there would guarantee your mother’s safety?’
Henry allowed Cole’s words to sink for a while but the fear of losing his mother wouldn’t just allow his mind settle. ‘Cole, we need to do something fast. I can’t just relax and watch my mother die because of my involvement with Omota… I mean with Samantha Osman. She doesn’t deserve such, if anyone should die, it should be me.’
‘I understand you perfectly well and I know how you feel but we can’t just rush into it, rushing without planning could make us lose on both sides.’
‘What then do we do?’ Henry asked weakly, he pulled a chair closer and sank into it.
‘Let’s wait for the boss’ instruction,’ Cole replied.
‘Wait? What if she never replies?’
‘She would reply, I’m sure of that.’
Cole’s phone began to ring just as he finished with his reply to Henry. He picked it up and checked who the caller was, then he turned the screen to Henry, ‘She’s calling already.’
‘But…but why didn’t she return my calls since I’ve been trying to reach her?’ Henry wondered aloud
‘Boss,’ Cole answered the call.
‘Hi Cole, I got a text message not too long ago, did he tell you about it?’
‘Yes, he did, I asked him to send the text.’
‘What’s the situation like?’
‘His mother is in Rex’s custody and he has promised to kill her in twenty four hours if he doesn’t meet him in a certain place in Kurudu.’
‘What does he want from Henry?’
‘He didn’t say, Henry was only asked to come.’
‘How did they get to Henry?’
‘They sent the message to his public email address.’
‘Have you tried to confirm the origin of the message and the location of the sender?’
‘Yes, I have confirmed already, the location is the same as the address given for Henry to meet them.’
‘That’s interesting,’ there was a silence of five seconds. ‘What is Rex trying to achieve with this again?’
‘Of course to get your attention again, I’m thinking he’ll be personally handling this one.’
‘So what do you think we need to do?’
There was a long silence. Cole’s mind suddenly went blank even though he had been putting some ideas together before she asked, he never expected her to put the ball in his court.
‘Boss, now we’ve determined their location but we’re not sure if that is where they really have his mum. I think we should call them out to meet us somewhere else, it’s dangerous to meet them in the address given to us.’
‘They won’t agree to that,’ Tarasha said immediately after his suggestion and a deafening silence which lasted for almost two minutes. ‘Don’t make any move yet and do not reply their messages, forward to my email a copy of the message sent to Henry.
The call ended and Cole was faced with Henry’s eager eyes staring at him and ears waiting to listen to the details of the call.
‘She asked us to forward the message to her email address and wait for her instruction.’
‘How long do we wait?’
‘Let’s forward the message first, Tarasha would not waste time in getting back to us.’
One hour after Cole spoke with Tarasha, he and Henry remained in the control room acting in the instructions she had given then after reading the mail. Henry sat tiredly at a seat behind Cole’s, his face up and his back head resting on the top of the plastic chair backrest.
‘The vehicle crossed the cameras areas before the attack, and there was also no record of the vehicle leaving that place or turning back through the same road.’ Cole said, turning back towards Henry.
‘Does that mean that the driver of the car and the other passengers have not left since?’
‘I don’t know what it means, we have to check if there’s any record of accidents along the route at the same time they passed.’
Henry stretched and yawned as he raised his head from the table where he placed it on, he looked around the control room, Cole was gone and the computer systems were off. He got up from the seat and stretched again. His head began to pound heavily as panic for his mum’s safety returned to his mind again.
He walked out of the control room to look for Cole. He saw a meal neatly served on the dining as he walked through the living room, he knew they must have left it there for him but he wasn’t ready to eat until he was sure he knew what to do about his mum.
He met Cole working on a laptop when he got to his room.
‘Cole, have you spoken to Omotara again?’
‘Yes, I have.’
‘And where is she now?’
‘She’s still in Lagos.’
‘Why? I thought she said she was coming back immediately.’
‘She wanted to, but there’s no flight returning to Abuja today and she has not been able to hire a car to bring her back.’
‘But she has to tell us what to do even in her absence.’
‘She already told us what to do.’
‘Do nothing and wait for her.’
‘Yes, look here Henry. Reports about an accident along the road that car took has started coming in but Tarasha has checked herself and noticed that it was only an arranged accident.’
To be continued