‘Yes, look here Henry. News outlets have already started giving reports about an accident along the road but Tarasha has checked it and noticed that it was only an arranged accident.’
‘Arranged accident, what does that mean?’
‘No accident occurred, it was only set up to look that way.’
‘For what purpose?’
‘To make the event look like something other than a kidnap.’
‘I don’t still understand.’
‘You don’t have to understand bro,’ Cole slammed at him, tired of explaining the situation.
‘I need to understand, it’s my mother we’re talking about here.’ Henry fired back.
‘They took your mum out of the place in an ambulance like an injured person who they are taking to the hospital.’
‘Is she truly injured?’
‘No, she isn’t, they only made it appear like that. The ambulance took her somewhere else and not a hospital.’
Henry took a pause to think about Cole’s explanation and make sense out of it.
‘But how long do we have to wait for Omotara?’
‘I directed her to a place she can find a car but she can’t arrive here anytime earlier than tomorrow morning.
‘And what assurance do we have that nothing would have happened to my mother?’
‘You’ve not replied the message, have you?’
‘There’s no way those guys are going to know that you’ve gotten the message.’
Stephanie took a brief pause to look out through the car windows as they met a traffic jam. She checked her wristwatch for time and sighed on seeing that it was already evening, it meant she only had a short time to spend with her mum if she wanted to return to town that day, the other option which she hadn’t considered was to stay longer and sleep over in a nearby hotel and return to school very early the next morning. Weekends were always the best period to make visits but she had been busy with functions for the past week.
It was the second time she was visiting after her foster mother – madam Henrietta – had left for the United States. Their relationship had normalized even though the woman still reminded her from time to time how she wanted them to live in the same country. Stephanie couldn’t think of leaving yet, not until she could get her real mother to be in her own custody.
Her life had returned to normal, she had gone back to being the President of the SWAD team and returned to her normal activities in school. The betrayal amongst the SWAD team members had also been arrested by the police and security for her in the school premises had been tightened up by the rest of the SWAD members.
Just as the roads cleared and vehicles began to move normally, Stephanie’s phone notified her of an incoming call. She took it out of her bag and stared at the screen for a moment, trying to recognize the unsaved number.
‘Hello, who am I speaking with?’
‘Good evening Steph, how are you?’
‘I’m fine, thank you. So who am I speaking with?’
‘It’s Dave, remember me?’
‘Dave… Sorry, I don’t really remember, can you tell me where we met?’
‘We met at the hospital after your encounter with Samantha Osman,’ the voice replied.
‘Oh! The guy that came like a Doctor?’
‘Yes, how are you?’
‘I’m fine, how about you?’
‘Nice to hear from you again.’
‘Yea, really nice. So have you heard recently from the police?’
‘They came about two weeks ago to ask if I could now remember what happened?’
‘And what did you tell them?’
‘That I can’t remember anything of course.’
‘Thank God, do you recognize the officers that came to you?’
‘Agent Tim and officer James.’
‘Okay, please let that secret be kept between us for now. If anyone knows you remember, your life would be in danger.’
‘Thank God you know, I just hope Samantha Osman would meet her Waterloo very soon, so that we can forget everything about her.’
‘Hmm… But I don’t really think she’s someone bad.’
‘She’s an assassin, she has killed several people for money and that is bad enough. Don’t pity her because she didn’t hurt you.’
‘Well, I’m just saying how I feel.’
‘I understand you but it’s dangerous to have compassion on assassins or other hardened criminals, they would take advantage of that and cause more harm to the world through you.’
‘I’ve heard you.’
‘Good. So have you heard from her recently?’
‘Heard from who?’
‘From Samantha Osman.’
‘No,’ she sounded surprised at his question. ‘I don’t have her contact and she doesn’t have mine, what do you expect her to reach me for?’
‘Don’t get pissed dear, I was just asking.’
‘I’m not angry, I’m only surprised. Do you think my mind would be at rest if ever I come across her again?’
‘I understand you. Why don’t we just forget about Samantha Osman and the police for now. How’s school?’
‘School is fine, how is work?’
‘Fine too, just been stressful these days. How were you able to cover up all you missed during your absence from school?’
She chuckled. ‘I have friends who helped me with notes and explanation on some difficult courses, so I didn’t find it difficult to level up with the others. We just finished our exams last week and I think I did well.’
‘Oh! That’s good. So it means you’re on break right now?’
‘Yes, on first semester break already though I’m still busy with the SWAD activities and some other functions in school.’
‘Alright, I hope we’ll be able to spend some time out when you’re finally available.’
‘I hope so too.’
‘When will that time be?’
‘When I’ll be free?’
‘I can’t really say for now. I plan on spending more time with my mum during this break, it’s a very short one.’
‘I thought your mum has gone back to the States.’
‘Ermm… No,’ Stephanie realized he was talking about Madam Stephanie but decided not to talk about her real mother. ‘She’s in Nigeria.’
‘Okay but it doesn’t stop us from spending an hour or two together.’
‘I know but.. Please Dave, you have to call back later. I’m in a cab and I’m close to where I’m going to.’
‘Alright then, till later.’
Jumoke sat in the dressing room gisting with the other nurses who were getting dressed and making preparations to resume duty. She was dressed up and ready to resume duty already, she had gotten to the hospital hours before the time of resumption.
‘That man messed up the ward big time, the cleaners had a difficult time making the place neat again.’ One of the six nurses in the room said and the others burst into laughter. Their subject of discussion was a dirty patient who through his admission in the hospital kept messing up the room, giving the cleaners extra work to do and making the environment uncomfortable for the nurses and doctors whenever they needed to attend to him there.
‘Thank God I was never assigned to handle his case, I could have given him a piece of my mind.’ another nurse said, forming a ‘no-nonsense’ look on her face.
‘I think one of the nurses on morning duty tried to correct him and it almost turned into a fight,’ the first nurse said again.
‘Na wa o,’ Jumoke commented as she and the other nurses laughed again. She couldn’t pay attention to their gist anymore as her phone began to ring then, she took it out of her purse and saw the incoming caller’s name, Dave.
‘Hello Dave,’ she answered the call and proceeded towards the door to leave the noise area.
‘Good evening Jumoke,’ he replied in a pleasant tone.
‘Good evening Dave, it’s nice to hear from you again, I thought you were never going to call.’
‘I’m sorry I don’t call as often as you do but I’m trying to do better.’
‘You’re really doing better these days, the last time you left for work, you didn’t call or send a message for several months until you miraculously appeared again.’
‘Well, I refuse to take that as a compliment. I just called to find out how you’re doing.’
‘Thanks, I’m doing fine, how about you?’
I’m also doing great. How’s the hospital?’
‘Fine.’ she replied with a smile.
‘Well, do you guys still get visits from the police?’
‘No, it has stopped a long time ago.’
‘Dave, when are we seeing again?’
‘Hmm…’ Dave accompanied his hum with a sigh, that was the question he was expecting. ‘I don’t really know, I just have this project on Samantha Osman that’s taking so much of my time. I’m planning to move completely to Lagos when I’m done with the job.’ He sighed again. ‘It’s getting tiring already, like she’s never going to be discovered. No one seems to have seen her or have information about her and that’s what’s making the job so difficult.’
‘What do you need from people who have seen her?’
‘I just need to ask them a few questions,’ Dave replied. There was silence from the other end, so Dave continued. ‘I think she threatened those who didn’t die after meeting her and that’s why they’re so scared of talking about her to anyone.’
‘Yes, they would be scared. What if she finds out? It could lead to their death.’
‘How in the world is she going to find out? She’s not every where for God’s sake, how would she get to know of their private conversation with me? A lot of people are just too scared to take a simple move that could cause a great change and victory for the country,’ Dave said in a loud aggressive tone.
‘Hey! Calm down Dave,’ Jumoke said in low tones. ‘Can you call me tonight between eleven thirty to twelve?’
‘Eleven thirty to twelve? Isn’t that too late? Are you at work?’
‘Yes, I’m at work and that’s when I’ll be able to talk to you.’
‘Hope there’s no problem?’
‘I have something to tell you Dave,’ she replied in low tones, taking a glance back at her colleagues who were now silent.
‘Okay, I’ll call you then.’ Dave replied and hung up from his end.
Jumoke closed her eyes and took in a deep breath holding the phone with her two hands close to her chest. She could see Samantha’s face clearly in her mind. She recalled how Samantha was carried into her room and treated that night and also remembered the warning given to her.
‘Who was that?’ one of the nurses asked in a tone of mischief as she turned back into the dressing room. The other nurses in the room also had their eyes fixed on her inquisitively.
‘Just a friend,’ Jumoke answered and returned to her seat without looking at their faces again, she knew where they were driving at.
‘You’ll be calling someone who’s just a friend by eleven thirty?’ she was questioned further.
‘It worked, she’s going tell something good when I call back tonight.’ Dave said in a calm tone and dropped the phone on the table. He pulled the laptop closer to his front and began to type using his keyboard.
‘But this babe could kill you when she finds out that you’re playing with her feelings,’ Lizzy who was seated beside him replied.
‘But I don’t have a choice, I just have to do it this way.’ Dave countered.
‘You do have a choice, you don’t have to lie to her and make her think you have feelings for her and that she has a future with you when you’re planning to dump her after the whole game.’
‘Lizzy, I do not have a choice. I’m just doing the same thing you do to the men to fulfill your purpose.’ Dave said, facing her.
‘I don’t do the same, I don’t toy with feelings of innocent men. Whoever I play the game with must be a criminal himself.’
Dave looked away from her and kept his stare on the laptop’s screen as he pondered on her words. He shook his head after a brief moment and took a brief look at her, ‘I’ve gone too far to stop now, there’s nothing I can do about it.’
‘I know you’ve gone far, I just have pity for the lady, it’ll cause her a lot of of pain at the end.’
‘Do you also pity the guys you break?’
‘No, they are criminals and they need no pity.’
‘I see,’ Dave said and turned back to his laptop.
‘What are you going to do about Jumoke?’
‘I’ll think about it later, let’s settle the matter at hand first.’
A deafening silence dominated the next five minutes, Dave worked on the laptop while Lizzy watched and jotted down the necessary details from his work.
‘What you need to do is gain Cole’s trust first and gain access to his devices, from that we can extract his usernames and passwords for a lot of things. I want you to also chip in general talks about Samantha Osman during your conversations and hear how he responds.’
‘Alright, I understand all that you need from him but it may take a very slow process, depending on how gullible he is. I’ll have to show him some care first before he gets to trust me.’
‘I don’t really think it’ll be slow, the guy is in love with you already,’ Dave said in a confident tone.
‘Well, I’m still doubting that and I’m getting more afraid. I told you before that he acted too simple to get, I don’t think an assassin trained like Samantha Osman should have given in so easily.’
‘Hey Liz, I think you’re getting something wrong here.’ Dave took a brief pause to open the saved profile of Cole on the computer. ‘Cole is not as trained as Samantha Osman and if he even received any training, that’ll be just gun training and some little self defence stuffs. So stop looking at him from the same angle you’re viewing Samantha, he was just a cultist in Don’s cult who graduated and started to practice assassination.’
‘I see… He really can’t be as trained as I was thinking.’
‘Yea, that’s even if he ever received any form of training.’ Dave emphasized. ‘He might just be an errand boy for Samantha.’
‘Hmm… But there’s still one thing bothering me that makes me think he has fallen yet.’
‘He hasn’t called or sent any message since we parted ways yesterday.’
‘Is he supposed to send any?’
‘Yes, his actions yesterday depicted him as someone who was in love but since we departed yesterday, he has not called or sent any message till now, not to even ask of my well-being.’
‘I told you he went directly to the club yesterday, he would need to rest after the heavy boozing.’
‘I know, but this is past six, evening already and someone who is supposed to be crazily in love with me hasn’t called to find out if I arrived safely or even thank me for the outing.’
‘You’re saying the truth, is it possible that something has happened to him?’
‘I don’t think so but I think we should just wait and see how it goes.’
‘What if you call him?’
‘Hmm… Maybe I should send a message instead. I’ll have to register this number on Whatsapp now.’
Dave got up from his seat to stretch his body and before he could finish, his phone began to ring. He took the phone from the table and glanced at the screen, it was Inspector Dakolo calling.
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‘Cole, what’s happening now? Have you spoken to her again? She’s not answering my calls.’ Henry said on entering into Cole’s room. He closed the door and stood right behind it. He could see Cole still working on the NSCC footages and trying to connect them.
‘You should have sent her a message. But I know she’s gotten a car already and she’s driving back to Abuja.’
Henry took a glance at his wristwatch, ‘It means she would get here before five tomorrow morning, isn’t it?’
‘Well, I think she’s not driving by herself. She might get here earlier if the driver is conversant with the roads.’
‘Okay,’ Henry said and sat on the bed quietly. Both of them remained in silence for more than five minutes.
‘So did you eventually take your lunch?’ Cole asked, getting up from the chair to stretch.
‘Cool. I think I need to take a little rest now.’ he said and picked his phone from the table, then he eventually rolled into the bed. He positioned the pillow well and placed his head on it. He then took out his phone and unlocked it, he swiped down the notification bar and began to check the notifications one after the other and later clicked on the Whatsapp message notification.
‘Oh! Damn it!’ he closed his eyes and cursed aloud on seeing the last message received few seconds ago which was from Patricia. It had totally skipped his mind to reach out to her since the last night and didn’t feel good she had to be the one to send him a message first.
He could still feel the touch of her soft lips on his and the scent which filled his nostrils when he got closer to her and could see her walking down the road again, with her steps showing more elegance than that of a professional model. His heart longed for every part of her, her heart, soul and body.
‘Is there any problem?’ Henry turned to ask Cole.
‘No problem,’ Cole quickly opened his eyes.
Henry could see from his smiling face that there was no problem and that something on his phone was the cause of the reaction.
Cole exited the app and opened the dialer. In less than thirty seconds, he was connecting to her number.
‘Good evening Patricia, I’m sorry I’ve not reached you since yesterday. How are you doing?’
‘It’s okay, I’m fine. How about you?’
‘I’m also fine.’
‘So how was work today?’
‘Not bad, yours?’
‘I sent you a whatsapp message not too long ago.’
‘Yea, I just saw it now. I’ve been busy all through the day.’
‘It’s okay, so can we chat on Whatsapp?’
The call ended and Cole opened the WhatsApp application again. He could feel Henry’s eyes on him, but decided not to return the look. He clicked on the chat with Patricia and typed in a message in reply to hers. After sending his message, he clicked on her picture above the chat to view her profile.
The first thing he did was to enlarge the picture and stare at it for a long while, smiling to himself as he admired her beauty. Then he exited it as he got the beep for her reply. He noticed from her profile as he was about to reply the chat that the WhatsApp account was newly registered and wondered for a second why she only recently created an account on the messenger.
Henry watched as Cole smiled all to himself and his phone. He felt bad but looked away immediately, he shook his head and ran his fingers into his hair simultaneously. He knew it would be out of place for him to expect Cole to be sad as he was, the guy had done what he could do already by being busy all day trying to connect the footages which could help them locate his mum. Henry took out his phone also, hoping to also relax his mind a little by chatting with Omotara or anyone else available.
As he unlocked the phone, he could see the email icon blinking at the notification bar. He swiped it down and clicked on the new message. The message did not waste time in loading and then he saw something that shocked him, a video of his mum’s whole body tied to a chair alone in a room, she was sweating profusely and her mouth and eyes were covered.
The video showed every part of her body and the tight ropes on it, then it also showed the sides of the room, there were no windows or visible openings except a small closed door. The view was repeated again and then a message appeared at the end,
‘We know you ignored our first message, you may also choose to ignore this. But it’ll be nice for you to know that the oxygen in this room would be used up in nine hours time and she would be left to fight for her life without oxygen. It’s in your hands; you either kill her or allow her live. You have the address already.’
Henry was shivering and sweating all over by the time he finished reading the message. He jumped up at once and first rushed to the door not knowing what to do, then he rushed back to Cole’s table.
Cole looked up at that moment and saw the panic, he sat up and stared at Henry while the other searched the table. ‘What’s the matter?’ he asked.
‘I’m going to get my mum now, I won’t forgive myself if she dies because of me.’
Cole stared at him for a moment like he didn’t understand the language he spoke, then he turned back and looked at the phone, he knew it had to do with something Henry had seen there. He reached for the phone and tapped the play icon on the video.
By the time Cole finished watching the video, Henry had already gone out with the car keys and a pistol. Cole rushed after him and met him outside, walking towards the car.
‘Hey bro, wait,’ Cole shouted, running after him. ‘I called the boss already and she’ll call back in five minutes to tell us what we need to do.’
‘I’m not waiting for Omotara any longer, I don’t care if I die or not, I have to make sure that nothing happens to my mum.’ Henry replied without looking at him.
‘Calm down bro,’ Cole held his hand as he was about to open the door to the driver’s side.
Henry dragged his hand out of Cole’s and opened with the second hand. As he anted to enter the car, Cole held him firmly again by the arm above his elbow.
‘Come on, get out of my way.’ Henry stepped back and sent Cole a heavy blow on the face which sent the latter staggering backwards. He entered into the car and started the engine while Cole gently massaged his hurt face.
Cole raised his head and watched as Henry drove towards the gate. He knew Henry’s mind was made up and there was no way he could be stopped took out his phone and redialed Tarasha’s number.
…to be continued
I asked a question sometime ago about Tarasha’s age.
Omotara was given birth to in 2006 and the year is 2031. There has been no details about the day and month but if you’ve been following properly, you should be able to guess right. You can still put down your answers and I’ll check through the comments this week and check if anyone has gotten it.