Stainless could perceive the thick odor of weed emanating from somewhere inside the house. He began to wonder if Don was already up as early as that and the only thing he could think of was to smoke. Stainless gulped down the bottle of water and flung the empty bottle into the waste bin. He closed the door to the refrigerator and turned off the light in the kitchen before exiting the place. He began to trace the smell to where it was coming from.
True to his thoughts, he was led to nowhere else than the room where Don had passed the night. He pushed widely open the door which was left ajar. Don took a glance back at him and turned again to face the mirror in front of which he was sitting.
‘Don, this thing you’re smoking, don’t you think it still attract unnecessary attention to us here?’ Stainless asked, charging towards Don.
Don didn’t not reply immediately but took in another drag and let out a huge mold of thick dark smoke.
‘When did it become illegal to smoke in one’s residence?’ Don asked, giving Stainless a nonchalant attitude.
‘But I only come to this place to hide, I never announce my presence to the neighborhood.’Stainless argued.
‘And who’s announcing your presence?’
‘You, don’t you know they’ll be perceiving the smoke all around and would surely know that it’s from here.’
‘Okay, you win.’ Don finally agreed to stop, knowing that Stainless wasn’t going to take no for an answer.
There was a long silence between them. The duo stared at their reflections shown in the mirror facing them. Stainless was putting on a white turned brown single and a blue boxers while Don was in his black trouser jean with nothing to cover his chest.
‘Don’t you think you need to cut your hair again? You’re looking like the wanted man again.’ Stainless broke the silence, trying to mock Don but Don didn’t feel mocked, he also had been thinking of cutting his hair too and shaping his beards, which was contrary to his style before he was declared wanted.
‘I don’t think she’ll come anymore,’ Don said, ignoring the last remark made by Stainless.
‘Who else? Samantha.’
‘Okay but why do you think so? Weren’t you the one that suggested she’ll be coming very soon for us and we are already making plans to trap her?’
‘She won’t be coming soon anymore, I think she has a lot to do already.’
‘What do you mean?’ Stainless sounded confused.
‘She kidnapped the Senate President yesterday.’
Stainless was dumbfounded. He closed his eyes for a while to assimilate the news. ‘You mean she wasn’t hiding from the police like we were yesterday?’
Don stared at his face without responding. The kind of look in Don’s eyes already expressed his reply. Stainless could read it as, ‘do I look like someone who doesn’t know what he’s talking about?’
‘But how come? How could she do it that same yesterday? Are you sure she was the one we met at that house?’
Don still didn’t reply immediately, he just remained calm staring at Stainless’ face, he folded his arms.
‘If she’s not the one? Then who could it be?’ Don asked, getting up from the seat.
‘So what do we do now?’
‘We have to go look for her,’ Don replied.
‘But the plan was that she’ll come to meet us.’
‘Plan has changed Stainless, ‘ Don said. ‘She would not come to look for us now, I don’t even think she’s thinking of us yet.’
‘Then what do we do?’
‘We’ll go in search of her.’
‘But that would be dangerous,’ Stainless opposed. ‘We don’t have any idea of where she operates from right now and she could lead us into a trap, we don’t know her next plan yet.’
‘We know her plan,’ Don retorted, Stainless gave him a quick surprised look. ‘Yes, we know her next target.’
‘The Vice President, that’s why the man is impatient about the matter. I think Tarasha is doing more than just political assassinations for Chief Gab, it’s a vengeance mission and Chief Elvis has been able to trace it, so he knows he’s the next in line.’
Jefa wondered who was knocking on his door early as that. He rarely had visitors, so he thought it was one of his neighbours who had come to relay the landlord’s message to him. Jefa rolled around the bed, using his hand to search around for his torchlight. Then he noticed that the mattress was larger than usual and raised above the ground level. He sat up and that was when he realized that he wasn’t in the room of his rented apartment. The events of the recent past days flashed back into his mind, he then remembered that he was in his younger sister’s house.
The knock came again and he heard Omotara’s voice. ‘Come in, I didn’t lock the door.’ He said on top of his voice.
Omotara gently opened the door and stepped in, she turned on the light and paused to look at her brother who was squinting to accommodate the new brightness the light had introduced.
‘Good morning… Ermm…sir’ she stammered as she wondered what the right words were to address him with. She had long forgotten what it meant to have an elder brother or even how to greet one. ‘Good morning brother,’ she greeted again as she proceeded towards the bed and sat by the side.
‘Good morning Omotara,’ Jefa replied with a smile. He rolled out of the blanket and placed his legs on the floor.
‘How are you feeling this morning?’
‘I’m feeling better, the treatment has worked quite better than what I received in the hospital.’ Jefa replied happily. Omotara smiled back at him mischievously, if only the man knew that some hard drugs which she mixed with the medicine were part of the reason why he felt so strong, he wouldn’t be so glad about his new feeling.
‘How was work?’ Jefa asked.
‘Fine,’ she smiled, taking a look around the room. She noticed that it had been disorganized. ‘What happened here?’ She asked with a slight frown.
‘Nothing,’ Jefa’s smiling face gave way for a deep frown as he remembered his dream and the plan he had to leave Omotara house and life forever. ‘I was trying to search for the clothes you brought for me.’
‘But why? I thought I showed you another collection of new clothes.’
‘I want to return home this morning Tara, I want to go back to my house.’
‘Why brother? You’ve not even finished receiving treatment, the nurse is still here.’
‘I’m strong already,’ Jefa got up and jogged on the spot to emphasize his point.
‘No, you can’t go home now. This is your new home.’
‘No, I don’t want to stay with you. I don’t want to bring my bad luck upon you.’
‘What do you mean brother? What are you talking about?’
‘I’ve been having a lot of bad dreams recently. It started since I saw you and began to look for you. All those dreams have been pointing to something; they’ve been warning me not to reunite with you, it could cause a disaster.’
‘Come on, don’t worry. Dreams most times are just a reflection of the contents of our minds and nothing really serious; that means you’ve been scared of meeting with me.’ Omotara said with a smile, moving closer to him on the bed. She had an unusual feeling of warmness when she talked with him, something she had not felt for a long while.
‘No, these dreams are real and the signs have began to show already.’
‘No, they are not real.’ Omotara argued, placing a palm on his knee. ‘Just clear your mind off the wrong pictures.’
‘They are,’ Jefa remained adamant. ‘I was listening to the radio late last night after another bad dream and I heard that your boyfriend has been seriously sick in the hospital for some days now, since the same day I had the accident.’
‘My boyfriend?’ Omotara muttered, looking lost.
‘I don’t want to disturb the peace between lovers, I also don’t want to bother you with my problems now that your boyfriend is also seriously ill and needs your attention.’ Jefa continued without paying attention to her face. He held her palms tightly in his.
‘My boyfriend? Who is that?’ She asked in a low voice, hoping he wasn’t referring to Henry.
‘Isn’t he your boyfriend? Or are you people married already?’
‘Married? I’m not married to anyone.’
‘I’m talking about Henry, Henry Ekene. His love for you is always seen in his eyes anytime he speaks about you.’ Jefa revealed.
Omotara slowly released his hands and stood up from the bed, she folded her arms and turned her back against him to hide her facial expression which had turned evil at the sound of Henry’s name. She hated thinking about him now, she hated all the emotions which he had brought back into her life and regretted allowing the feelings to control her to the point of forgetting the ampoule in his house.
Jefa got up and stood behind her, he placed a hand on her shoulder. ‘He loves you, I know he truly loves you.’ Tarasha’s heart melted at Jefa’s words and her shoulders dropped, her heart began to beat fast as Henry’s helpless picture flashed back into her mind. She could remember the disappointed look on his face when he saw her in his house and that look he kept when she was done setting up the drip.
‘I was going to his house that day, he called me to warn you if I see you anywhere, not to come into town for now. He sounded concerned about you, like you were in trouble of some sort.’ Jefa paused, he noticed her countenance, it looked like she was sobbing. He held her elbow from behind and turned her to face him. Her eyes looked teary, he thought she could burst out loud in tears any moment from then. She buried her face in his chest and he embraced and patted her back, consoling her for what he was unaware of.
All through the night, Chief Elvis kept turning around the bed, unable to have a good night rest as he met with a nightmare anytime he closed his eyes. A girl with a masked face was always pursuing after him, telling him to confess his sins to the nation and whole world else she would kill him sooner than he expected.
A message entered into his phone and it beeped. He quickly got out of the bed and picked the phone on the drawer. His mind began to beat fast as he saw the notification, his email message had been replied to already. He opened the message and quickly read through. The Villary Gang had gotten his message and confirmed his previous relationship with them. They also attached in the message two phone numbers which he could use to contact his old associate, Matvei.
Chief Elvis quickly copied the number and pasted it on his dialpad. He clicked the dial command and placed it on his ears.
‘Hello,’ a gruff voice came through.
‘Hello Matvei,’ Chief Elvis smiled as he could recall the voice of his old time Russian associate.
‘Who is this and how can I help you?’ The voice continued in a thick Russian accent.
‘It’s your friend Matvei, it’s Elvis Richards from Nigeria.’
‘Elvis Richards,’ the receiver seemed to think for a while, maybe trying to recall the name. ‘Elvis Richards?’ The voice repeated.
‘Yes, Elvis Richards, I and my associates used to supply you fresh raw materials from Nigeria.’ Elvis explained more.
‘Oh!’ The gruff voice exclaimed. ‘It’s been a long while, your voice sounds older now.’
‘Yes, yours sounds older too.’ Elvis replied with a brief laugh.
‘Well, that’s the effects of aging.’ Matvei remarked. ‘So what’s the purpose of this call? You want to start business with us again? You want to supply us goods?’
‘No, not that business now. I know whom to call if it’s to start supply again’
‘Humm… I hope you’re not talking about Vlasdislav,’ Matvei said.
‘Yes, of course Vlasdislav. Is there any problem?’ Elvis asked, noticing the uneasiness in Matvei’s tone.
‘Vlasdislav has betrayed us, he’s betrayed the Villary Gang, he doesn’t work for us anymore. He took some trainees with him to an enemy gang.’
‘Wow! That’s interesting. So he works for another Gang now?’
‘Yes, he works in the Nefary Clan. I’m aware that they have one of their bests in your country now.’
‘Huh? One of their bests?’
‘Yes, a girl who is one of their bests is in your country now. It was reported on the world news how she kidnapped your Senate President at night time in your place.’
‘Huh?’ Elvis widened his eyes in shock at the quick spread of the news. ‘That’s exactly the same reason why I’m calling you.’
‘Huh? Did you think she came from us?’
‘No, I don’t have an idea of where she was from. You see, the person she kidnapped last night was one of my colleagues who was part of the team that used to send you raw materials.’
‘Oh! So your Senate President was part of the team?’
‘Yes, but he wasn’t the Senate President then, so was I not the Vice President then too.’
‘Oh! You’re the Vice President now?’ Matvei said with a roar of laughter. ‘Your country keeps voting in corrupt leaders.’
‘Ermm… Don’t talk like that, I’m not corrupt anymore, that’s why I stopped doing business with you.’
‘Okay, I see Mr Changed man.’ Matvei said with a mockery tone. ‘Why then did you search for my contact again?’
‘Yes… Ermm…’ Elvis struggled to find words. ‘That girl, who you say is from your enemy Gang has killed all the rest of my business partners. Only two of us are left alive and the Senate President who happens to be the second person has also been kidnapped by her gang. I’ll be her next target. The police are helpless about the situation and that’s why I’m calling. I need another assassin who can help me kill her and whoever is her sponsor.’
‘Do you know who her sponsor or sponsors are?’
‘No, I don’t.’
‘But that should not be difficult to know. It should be one of your associates. As at the time of your deal with us, you were the only Nigerians we had business with, and Vlasdislav was the one communicating directly with you. I’m sure it would be someone who still has Vlasdislav contact.’
‘Ermm… I don’t care who it is right now. All I need is another competent assassin who can protect my life.’
‘But I thought you guys said you’ll never need use of assassins then when we offered to give you ones that would help your political careers.’
‘Yes, I know we said that but my life is in danger now and I seriously need protection. You can’t start judging me by what I said twenty years ago, things have changed. I need your best man right now.’
‘Okay, you need our best man?’
‘Yes, your best man.’
‘That’ll cost you a lot of money.’
‘There’s no problem, I can pay anything.’
‘Cool then… Call me back tomorrow.’
‘Why not later today?’
‘No, call me by three am your time tomorrow.’
‘It takes time to select the best or isn’t that what you want?’ Matvei scolded him.
‘Okay,’ Elvis finally gave up.
‘Now, I’ll send the billing information to your email in thirty minutes time.’
‘It’s okay,’ Elvis replied. After some few seconds of more unnecessary talks, the call was ended. Elvis returned to his bed and sank into it. He began to think of the next step to take, it might take sometime for Matvei to help him arrange the assassin and he wasn’t sure Samantha would wait that long before coming for him, he needed to do something quick.
He began to think of Gabriel who was possibly still alive, could it mean that Gabriel was the one sponsoring Samantha? But how could it be? Gabriel had nothing left and was terribly sick without care from anyone. There was something more to it. Maybe there was another unknown enemy elsewhere whom his group had greatly offended.
He also began to think of leaving the country for a while but his position and responsibility as the Vice President of the nation would not permit him to do that. He tightened his fists and banged his hands on the mattress in frustration.
His phone rang again, distracting him from his temporary madness. He climbed off the bed and picked the phone. The call was from Don.
‘Sir, I’m in your living room now.’
‘Okay,’ Chief Elvis replied and took a long pause to think of what more Don could do for him. ‘ Ill join you soon,’ he finally said, rubbing his beards.
… To be continued
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