Tarasha – Chapter 20 Part 2

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‘Damn it!’ Cole exclaimed in anger as Ken shielded Henry from the bullets and the people dispersed in fear, Henry was also seen running away. Cole hurriedly reversed the car and angrily released two more bullets into Ken’s body, then he opened the door and stepped out of the car with his gun. 
‘Drive the car and keep tracking me,’ he said to Aisha, putting a piece in his ears which worked as a communication device and also a tracker. ‘Tell me at once if the police or any threat comes into sight.’ He said before running after Henry in the same direction he saw Henry take. 
_________
‘You’re welcome sir,’ Agent Dakolo greeted all smiles as he received the handshake offered him by the Vice President. 
‘I heard about your success in bringing Henry to town and back to the hiding place,’ Chief Elvis said smiling, Dakolo nodded in affirmation. ‘Congrats, I hope you’ve made success in other areas too.’
‘We’re trying sir,’ Dakolo replied as he began to lead the man to the car they brought to take him from the airport. 
The Vice president looked more refreshed, healthier and confident on his return. He kept on smiling as he watched the crowd of people and journalists who had come to have a view of him at the airport, the security officials were doing the bests in shielding the lookers from coming closer. 
Dakolo watched as the chief’s personal security officer opened the door to the back seat of the car for him, he waited for the Vice President to settle inside the car first before he hurried on to the car he was going with. 
‘You’ve had several missed calls sir,’ Inspector Clem said to him as he entered into one of the cars which was going to be following behind the Vice President’s. 
‘Let me see,’ he replied, taking his phone from the Inspector. 
‘This is from the office,’ Dakolo said as he stared at the missed caller’s ID. 
‘Yes,’ Inspector Clem affirmed and started the car engine. They began to drive slowly after the Vice President’s car which had also moved, there were two other cars in front of the Vice President’s car. 
‘I would call later when we get out of the airport,’ Dakolo said as he dropped his phone and put on his seatbelt. Inspector Clem’s phone began to ring. 
‘They’re calling me from the office sir,’ Clem said to Dakolo, not wanting to take his hands off the wheels. 
‘Oh! Maybe it’s quite urgent then, let me call them right away.’ Dakolo said and picked up his phone again, he waited for Clem’s phone to stop ringing before he dialed the office number on his. 
‘Hello Agent, it’s officer Koko answering ‘ a voice came through as the call was answered without delay. 
‘Officer, what’s up?’
‘Sir, there was a bomb blast this evening,’ the voice announced. 
Dakolo sighed, he hated to hear bad news like this especially at a time like this when he was planning to go home straight after they leave the Vice President. ‘What time was that?’ he asked. 
‘Exactly 5.55pm,’ the officer replied. 
Dakolo raise up his hand to take a glance at his wristwatch, it was 6.42pm. ‘That’s sad, but have you contacted the anti bomb squad?’ he said; it was his friendly way of telling the officer that he had no business with the matter. 
‘Yes, I’ve told them already.’ the officer replied. 
‘Good, they’ll take care of it.’
‘Sir, we’ve located the place and the police station in the area, we have sent some officers to the place.’
‘I’ve heard you,’ Dakolo said in a stressed tone, wondering why the officer was reporting details to him when he wasn’t the IG or agent in charge. 
‘The place is Rugbe village sir, Abuja North.’ the officer said. 
‘Ehn? What village did you call it?’ Dakolo replied, half shouting. 
‘Rugbe Village sir, the AIG insisted that I get the information across to you,’ the officer said. 
‘Thank you,’ Dakolo said hurriedly and ended the call. 
‘Rugbe village sir?’ Clem asked as they drove out of the airport but got no response from Dakolo. 
Dakolo quickly dialed Ken’s number but his call wasn’t answered, he tried three more times before trying to reach the phone in the house which was used by the doctor but the line wasn’t connecting at all. He tried some other officers numbers and none was connecting. 
‘You have to pull over here,’ Dakolo said to Clem. 
+++
Henry’s heart was beating fast as he watched Cole searching all around for him. He froze in the bush and dared not to make any movement, Cole was carefully listening and would hear the slightest noise he makes. There was a white bird behind him in the small empty space picking somethings on the floor. 
The whole village was dead quiet, everyone had run into their houses to hide themselves and their children. There was no other person in sight, not even the village security guards; Henry couldn’t blame them, he was sure that the weapons and expertise they had could not conquer Cole, he also knew that the village may have never experienced such vandalization of property they had seen the bombs do to the house. 
He saw Cole’s face and recognized him at once, ‘Tara’s boy,’ he whispered silently to himself. 
He shook in fear as Cole looked towards his direction as if his whisper was heard. Then Cole noticed the shaking in the bush and began to move closer in his direction. 
Henry was scared to death as Cole continued to march towards his direction with his eyes fixed there, then luckily for him the bird behind him flew out of the bush. 
Cole hissed and turned back, then walked away from the place.
+++++
Aisha stopped by the side of the bush where the map on her phone was indicating Cole’s location, in less than a minute, Cole came out of the bush. She gave way for him to enter into the driver’s side. 
‘Did you find him?’ Aisha asked after Cole kicked off the engine and drove away. 
‘No,’ Cole replied bitterly. 
‘And we’re going back?’ she asked in surprise. 
‘Yes, do we have any choice? The police would soon be here and it would be difficult to leave then.’
‘But what would the boss say?’ Aisha asked in fear. 
Cole gave her a sharp funny look, ‘she won’t say anything; we’ve done our best. We did the major thing she asked us to do, bomb the whole house.’ 
‘But we missed our target,’ Aisha said. 
‘We didn’t miss our target, we brought down the house.’ Cole insisted. ‘We even went farther than she instructed, we went closer to the house to check and even pursued after Henry E.G.’
‘But we still missed the target,’ Aisha argued stubbornly. 
‘Yes, maybe we missed the real target though,’ Cole said without showing much concern.
‘The Boss would be mad at us,’ Aisha said with her widened eyes staring at Cole, wondering why he was so confident. 
‘No she won’t,’ Cole replied with confidence. ‘It’s wasn’t just the both of us that missed it, the boss missed it with us.’ 
‘What do you mean by that?’ 
‘She was quite sure that he’ll be in the house, so she asked to take down the house believing that he would be in it.’ 
‘But I’m scared,’ Aisha said shaking her head thoughtfully. 
++++
**2 hours later**
It was night already but the place was as bright as noon. The halogen lights placed there by the police officers helped them defeat the limitation of darkness in carrying out their investigations. Different police teams had flooded the scene of the bomb blast, the anti bomb and anti terrorism squad were scrutinizing the destroyed property and trying to locate where the bomb could have be placed while members of the medical team were carrying out the remains of the victims into the ambulances. Members of Dakolo’s team were asking questions from the eyewitnesses of the explosion and taking down notes. Several journalists were also there taking pictures, videos and asking questions.
Dakolo who was supposed to be with his team leading the questioning couldn’t do that but stayed with the medical team, looking at each body they carried out. He had seen Ken’s body already and that had almost brought tears out of his eyes but he decided to hold it in because he was sure he would do worse when he sees Henry’s body.
One after the other, the anti bomb squad brought out the bodies, this was the eighth body now and Henry’s body had not been brought out; maybe because his room was at the far end of the building, Dakolo thought to himself. He was still looking out for Henry’s body when Inspector Clem came to meet him. 
‘Sir, we found out that Inspector Ken wasn’t killed by the bomb,’ Clem said to Dakolo. 
‘Yes, I know; the officers I met here told me that.’the Agent replied, not bothering to take a look at Clem who was speaking from behind.
‘And we also found out that he wasn’t the real target of the shooter, Henry EG was.’
‘Of course Henry was the real target of the bombers,’ Dakolo said. 
‘I’m talking about the person who shot Ken sir; it was Henry who he wanted to shoot.’
Dakolo paused first to process Clem’s words, then he turned to listen again, ‘wait, do you mean Henry was with Ken when he was shot?’
‘Yes, the eyewitnesses said that the terrorists were two; a male and female. They came in a red car and after the second explosion, they drove towards the house and saw Ken with Henry,’ Clem tried to explain pointing towards the place where the car had met with Henry and Ken. 
‘I don’t understand,’ Dakolo said, stepping down from the hill with Clem, they began to walk towards the place. 
‘This is where Inspector Ken’s body was found,’ Clem said after they got to the place where the shooting happened. He was pointing to a blood stained place close to a tree in the bush. ‘Henry was standing here, talking with one of the villagers; I spoke to the villager myself.’
‘Okay,’ Dakolo signaled for him to continue. 
‘He confirmed that Henry was talking with him when the red car drove close to them, a gun was pointed out from the driver’s side and then pointed at Henry who had his back turned to the car. But Inspector Ken saw the gun first and shielded Henry, thereby receiving the bullets in his body.’
Dakolo heaved a sigh, not of relief but of pity. He knew that Ken was too experienced to just die after escaping from a bomb blast; especially in a place where there were several bushes and trees were he could hide. 
‘But how are you sure that Henry was the one with Ken?’ Dakolo asked. 
‘Inspector Ken wouldn’t have done that for a junior officer, the doctor and Henry EG are the only two people he could have done that for.’ Clem said. 
‘That’s true,’ Dakolo agreed, nodding thoughtfully.
‘Besides, the villagers seem to recognize Henry EG; they described him as the sick person who used to take a walk with the doctor and two officers.’ 
‘But where’s Henry now? What happened to him?’
‘Sir, he could have been taken.’ Clem replied in a sad tone. 
‘Taken by who?’
‘The villagers said he ran this way,’ Clem said pointing to a narrow path along the bush and the shooter got out of the car to pursue him. That was the last they saw of Henry E.G and the bombers.’
‘Have you gone in that same direction?’
‘Yes sir, we’ve searched everywhere.’
++++
Omotara and her brother Jeffrey were both seated in the living room after dinner, watching the channels TV news. About three times already, a breaking news segment had been broadcasted but details of the news was just being told. 
‘Our correspondent has been able gather information which proves that the house bombed was the place the police had hidden Henry EG to protect him from another assassination attack but as at this moment, it has been confirmed that a young man and woman carried out the bombing of the place. It has also been confirmed that nobody found in the house survived; this could mean that Henry EG had also died with other victims of the bomb blast. Thirteen people including Henry EG, Dr Tobi, three maids, Officer Ken and six other police officers were occupants of the place. Only six bodies have been recovered now; the bodies found includes Dr Tobi’s, four police officers and a maid. A brief question segment with the anti bomb squad of the police reveals to us that there are still bodies yet to be brought out of the place.’
‘Oh God, please preserve Henry’s life,’ Jefa cried with teary eyes. He covered his face with his hands and began to make some silent prayers. ‘Did you know he was in Rugbe village?’ Jefa asked his sister after he was done praying. 
She didn’t give a reply immediately but paused to think, she never wanted discuss Henry. She couldn’t understand what she felt anytime his name was mentioned. She sometimes wished for him to survive and at other times was anxious to hear the news of his death.
‘No,’ she finally replied, trying not to show any feeling or empathy. She faced the television without taking a glance at her brother’s face. 
Jefa stared silently at his sister’s face for a while before he spoke again. ‘Why do you act as if you don’t love him?’
Omotara’s breath seized for a moment, she turned and stared at her brother’s face. ‘Love?’
‘Yes, you love him and you pretend not to.’ 
She chuckled,  ‘I don’t love anyone brother.’
‘No Tara, you love Henry. I can see it in your eyes.’ 
‘You see nothing in my eyes sir, you are misinterpreting. Right now, I’m tired and the only thing in my eyes is the crave for a restful sleep.’ 
‘But he loves you too, so why are you resisting?’ Jefa asked her in a serious tone. 
She wanted to respond but she felt a lump in her throat. She stared at him for a while and then shouted in a loud voice, ‘did he tell you he loved me or why are you pushing this so far?’ she got up and began to walk to her room hurriedly. 
Jefa just watched as she walked away, he was more convinced that she was in love with him. What he couldn’t decipher was why she was hiding it, maybe Henry had done something grievous to her, he thought. 
*
‘Where are you now?’ Tarasha said into the phone after locking the door to her room. 
‘I don’t know the name of this place but our hotel is just thirty minutes drive from here,’ Cole replied.
‘Okay, I’ve listened to the news she I confirmed your job, well-done’ she said. 
‘Boss,’ Cole interrupted, not wanting her to commend him further. ‘Henry wasn’t killed,’ he stated. 
‘Huh?’ Tarasha eyes widened in shock. She didn’t expect Henry to still be alive even after so many people have had to die for him.
____
‘Who’s there?’ Henry could hear someone shout from inside the compound. He knocked the gate again and the person shouted the same way but this time closer to the gate. 
‘Can’t you knock properly?’ a man asked as he opened the gate to the village clinic. He looked more like a security man, though he wasn’t dressed in any uniform. He gave a suspicious look at Henry who was looking like a war survivor. 
‘I’ve been knocking for some couple of minutes now,’ Henry said and pushed his way into the compound. He began to walk straight into the clinic. 
Soon, he was inside and was already being attended to by a nurse. 
‘Sir, you have to deposit five thousand naira for us to continue the treatment,’ the nurse said after applying first aid to the wounds especially the bleeding places. 
‘I don’t have any money here,’ Henry stated. 
‘You don’t have any money and you came in for treatment, do you think this is a free hospital?’the nurse shouted.
‘I’ll pay you,’ Henry said confidently. The nurse stared at his face with questions in eyes like how he was going to pay without money. ‘Don’t you know me?’ he asked. 
She stared at his face for another one minute before she spoke. ‘Are you the Henry, the NSCC man?’ she asked. 
‘I’ll pay you but not today’ he said without responding to her question. 
She didn’t give any reply either but continued with the treatment. She bandage his head where he had a cut, his stomach and his arm. After a total of thirty minutes, she was through with him. 
‘I’ll be back,’ she said, cleaning her hand with a towel. ‘You can lie on the bed if you want.’
He got up immediately she walked out and went to the door, he opened it slightly and peeped outside. 
In ten minutes time , the nurse returned to the ward with an elderly nurse and a doctor but Henry was nowhere to be found. 
…to be continued
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