The three cars drove into the compound one after the other raising heaps of dust behind. The back door of the first car opened and Stainless stepped out with his phone to his ears.
‘We just got there boss,’ he said as he walked towards the main building with a cigarette in his mouth.
‘Are you sure it’s safer than where you were before?’
‘Yes, even Don does not know this place.’ Stainless replied.
‘Talking about Don, you have to send some boys to watch the place and tell him when it is safe to leave his hiding spot.’ Rex said.
‘Okay boss, I’ll tell Stone right away.’
‘Good, I’ll be leaving here as early as 5am today and would also require you to provide transport arrangement to your location for me. Get to work as quick as possible.’
‘That’s nothing much, it’s done already.’
‘That other guy who promised to work with you for money and to get back his parents, don’t start anything with him yet. Also make sure he doesn’t find out that his parents have been taken out by Tarasha already. I will tell you what to do with him when I get there,’ Rex said slowly in a concluding tone.
‘Now, send men immediately to watch for Don or…’ Rex stopped abruptly, he seemed to have gotten a new idea. ‘This is what you should do; order your men to take note of the number of police officers there, attack them if they’re a number you can attack and rescue Don. If they are more than you can beat, let them report and you get back to me as soon as possible.’
‘We can’t all just leave this place now,’ Inspector Sandra who led the team said. ‘In fact, I don’t think any of us should go in, this man might have just called to pull us into a trap.’ she added, looking suspiciously towards the security man.
‘I swear, the bomb is at the front of the library and it was reading, there’ll be about five minutes left now.’ the security man defended himself with a shaky voice, his hand raised high as one of the officers had his gun tip to his back.
‘Lead us in,’ Inspector Sandra finally said, leaving the back of the car to come and stand behind the security man. She pointed her gun at him as she directed him towards their gate. She signalled for three of her men to follow her and for other three to stay in front of the library gate.
Three men stood at different directions of the library gate while four people including Inspector Sandra went in, the remaining one officer was left at the car in front of the warehouse gate where he stood at alert with his gun pointed towards the library gate. The three men standing outside the Library gate spaced themselves and pointed their guns towards the gate.
Just as Inspector Sandra and the rest three entered into the gate with the security man, the bulbs at the gate of the warehouse went off, adding more darkness to the place which was already made dark with the lights at the library gate off. The men turned their guns towards the gate and shot sporadically but they didn’t see anyone or anything else move. Inspector Sandra rushed back outside immediately with the three she entered with.
‘What’s that?’ Inspector Sandra asked charging carefully towards the gate with her long gun pointed.
‘The lights went off,’ one of the men standing outside replied her as both of them moved slowly towards the widely opened gate with their guns readied.
‘But how can that be? We met no one inside,’ Inspector Sandra sounded confused. ‘Do the gates have the same control for the lights?’ she asked, looking towards the Security man who was standing outside the Library gate.
‘We have less than five minutes to stop the Bomb,’ the security man answered, totally unconcerned about her own question.
‘We don’t have any of the anti-bomb squad members here, we’ve called for reinforcement from the office, we can only hope they answer fast.’ she replied him. Taking out a torch light from her pocket to point towards the now dark widely opened gate.
‘But we’re all going to die if that bomb goes off,’ the Security man implied in a fearful tone.
‘We’re not all going to die,’ Inspector Sandra replied in a confident tone. ‘The person who placed the bomb is still around and would not ignite it now.’
With the tiny torch between her lips, she marched slowly into the warehouse compound again, two of her men following while the rest stood at alert outside the facility.
She turned her head sideways as she walked past the opened arm of the gate. As she attempted to turn to check behind the opened arm, a strong hand gripped the fists in which she held the gun. She gasped and tried to shoot but her hands were twisted before she could make any move, the gun dropped from her hands and she fell to her knees weakly giving out a loud scream, the pain from her twisted arms speedily transferring through her whole body.
‘Get up,’ Tarasha pulled her up and turned her body, making her back lean on her chest. She placed an arm around her neck tightly and a gun to the side of her head.
‘Move back or I blow off her brains,’ she threatened as she marched out holding the female Inspector as an hostage. The officers all stood at alert, pointing their guns towards Tarasha but none could pull the trigger at the sight of their boss.
‘Drop your guns,’ Tarasha shouted at them. They remained firm with their guns, most of them having their torchlights in their mouths while Tarasha had the light on her forehead. She cocked the gun placed at the side of the Inspector’s neck and stopped at the middle of the entrance.
‘Drop your guns,’ Inspector Sandra squealed out in pains. The officers obeyed slowly and one after the other. Tarasha waited until the last one obeyed the order before taking two steps forward.
‘Now everybody move back, ‘ Tarasha ordered again. The men were hesitant for a while until she tightened her arm around inspector Sandra’s neck again. They move back slowly until they all got to the spot she directed them with her head to, far away from their vehicles and where they dropped their guns to the middle of the road. She looked downwards and whispered something. The permeable iron cover placed over the drainage to allow for vehicles passage in through the gate was pushed up noisily and Aisha got out of the place, dusting off her body.
‘Get in and drive out that bus,’ Tarasha ordered Aisha, pointing back into the compound.
Aisha walked past Tarasha into the compound without saying anything. She turned to the place the bus was parked and entered into the driver’s side which was still opened as Tarasha had left it when she drove in with it. The engine had automatically gone off after some minutes. Aisha started the vehicle and began to drive out the bus in reverse motion. Tarasha moved to the side of the fence to allow the bus pass.
It took close to three minutes for Aisha to drive to a free space because of the police vehicles parked in front. Then Tarasha joined her in the bus still holding Inspector Sandra hostage.
‘Are we closer now?’ Stone rubbed his eyes and yawned as he asked.
‘Yes, just about twenty five minutes drive to the place.’ the driver of the bus replied him.
‘Okay… Remember that we are not getting to the place, we will stop far away and walk there to check.’ Stone reminded him.
‘Yes, I remember that but I’m still doubting the possibility of we not coming across any police officer or security man around the area if we walk,’ the driver replied.
‘I doubt that too,’ one of the other guys from the passenger’s seat behind supported. The number of boys in the boys totaled up to to nine.
‘Are you students of Rael University also?’ Stone asked, glancing at the face of the guy who joined the conversation.
‘No, I’m not but some of us here are.’
‘Except for the police officers that are at the place, we won’t meet any other because Don with the help of Ojo has settled all the security officials around the Rael University area.’ Rex said and chuckled. ‘Your forces are better now but not totally free from corruption. I hear that’s how Ojo pays them everytime he wants to operate. He only tells the bosses that he has a silent job to do and the bosses call off every other officers on duty and ask them to avoid the whole area.’
‘Wow! I understand now why we haven’t been accosted by any Security Official with our driving around for the past one hour.’
‘Shh… Stop the vehicle,’ Rex said, placing a finger on his lips. He was looking through the front glass at something coming from afar.
The driver dimmed the front lights first before gradually bringing the vehicle to a halt. He turned off the engine totally.
‘Are you seeing that too?’ Stone asked as he glanced at the driver who was also staring towards the same direction.
They could see from afar the headlights of a bus coming towards their direction from the other carriageway, the headlights became brighter and brighter as the bus came closer.
‘Could we be wrong? Are police officers on patrol?’
‘Boss. I can see a vehicle coming this way,’ Aisha called onto Tarasha.
Tarasha rose up slowly from the ground behind the driver’s seat where she sat near the hostage and looked out through the front glass. ‘Could that be officers on patrol?’ she asked.
‘I don’t know,’ Aisha answered, reducing the speed of the vehicle. ‘But I think they’re also slowing down.’
‘Take that turn,’ Tarasha said, pointing Aisha towards the turn into another straight road.
Tarasha looked back when she heard sounds of slight movement, she saw the police officer dragging herself on the floor towards her slowly and trying not to make any noise, she was trying to get up silently and possibly disarm Tarasha.
Their eyes met and the Inspector paused in shock and intense fear.
Tarasha smiled wryly. ‘Calm down bae, we’re going to drop you off soon,’ she said as she squatted before her. She touched the Inspector’s fingers which was placed on the floor but the Inspector withdrew quickly and shot a furious look at her. Tarasha smiled again. ‘If you do anything stupid, I’ll send you to hell,’ she threatened with a devilish chuckle.
Tarasha rose up and turned as the vehicle turned into another direction. ‘Are they still coming?’ she asked, peering through the glass.
‘They halted already,’ Aisha replied, increasing the speed of the car.
‘Drive faster, and let’s drop this officer somewhere soon.’ Tarasha said. She turned and squatted before the Inspector again, ‘I have an assignment for you,’ she said in low tones.
The Inspector stared deeply into her eyes.
‘That girl Stephanie,’ Tarasha continued. ‘Make sure you fish out all others who have a hand in her kidnap.’
‘Isn’t that one of our buses?’ the driver asked, his eyes following the bus as it turned.
‘I was about to say the same thing,’ the guy at the immediate back seat joined. ‘It’s the same as this one. ‘
‘A girl is the one driving it,’ Stone said.
‘Could that be her?’ the guy behind Stone asked, directing his question to no one in particular. They watch the bus turned at a far distance and took a straight road with led to a bridge.
‘Could it be who?’ Stone asked, glancing back at him. Every other person’s eyes also turned to him.
‘I mean Samantha Osman,’ he replied, stuttering.
‘Don said she took out all the boys already, I believe she’s the one escaping,’ Stone replied, still peering towards the direction taken by the bus.
‘Should we go after the bus?’ the driver asked.
‘Huh? Go after what?’ Stone replied in such a way that panic was revealed.
‘I mean the bus…’
‘That’s not the instruction we were given,’ Stone said in defense as he could feel the eyes of all the boys on him and their minds accusing him of being fearful. ‘We have to follow instructions. We were asked to help Don, not to pursue Samantha Osman.’ he added, taking out his phone from his pocket. ‘Start the car and continue driving,’ he ordered the driver as he opened the dial pad on his phone.
‘I should drive after her?’ the driver asked a stupid question as he turned the key.
‘F**k you! Continue in the same direction we were going before,’ Stone barked at him in rage. He could hear suppressed giggles and whispers from the guys at the back, not that they also wished to go after Tarasha but watching a supposed leader scared was funny.
Stone shot a furious look at them as he placed the phone to his ear, they maintained silence immediately. The driver turned the vehicle into the road and continued in a straight direction.
‘Stainless, we just saw Samantha Osman drive by…’ Stone said into the phone.
‘You saw who?’ Stainless exclaimed, getting up from the bench he was sitting on outside the building.
‘Samantha, she drove past us in one of our buses.’ Stone’s voice sounded from the other end.
‘And what did you do?’ Stainless asked in an excited tone.
‘What should we have done? Attack her or go after saving Don according to what we were sent?’
‘Oh!’ Stainless sounded somewhat disappointed and added a sigh. ‘So what are you doing now?’
‘Doing what we were sent, I just thought I should inform you about it,’ Stone said in a concluding tone.
‘Okay…’ Stainless said, not knowing what else to say. He was about to end the call when a question popped up in his mind. ‘How did you…’ he tried to speak but the line went off already.
He quickly opened the call records and dialled back Stone, his call was answered almost immediately. ‘Hey, how did you know she was the one?’ he asked immediately the call was answered. ‘I don’t think you’ve seen her before, have you?’
‘We saw a girl at the driver’s side of the bus, didn’t Don say she attacked the warehouse?’
‘Yes, he said so. How close were you to her?’ Stainless asked again.
‘We were…’ Stone began but his voice faded away slowly.
‘You were what?’ Stainless asked but the immediate reply he got was silence.
‘Shit! We just ran into the police officers now,’ he heard Stone’s voice before the line went off.
Eight minutes earlier
‘Pick your guns and let’s go after them right now,’ one of the senior officers in the team barked at the rest.
‘We must be careful, we still need those men breathing inside.’ another officer of the same rank countered him, not ready to move.
The officer who gave the first order paused to think for a second. ‘But we have to save Inspector Sandra, we can’t let them go with her.’
‘She said she was not going to hurt her except we disobeyed,’ the second officer recounted Tarasha’s words.
‘Are you going to believe the words of a criminal?’ the first officer retorted.
‘We have no choice, she threatened to kill her if she finds out we’re following.’
‘So do we just sit and watch?’
‘No, we will get those guys who are alive, they could have some information for us, if we all leave here now, she might have gotten away already or kill Inspector Sandra like she threatened. We have a better chance of getting the criminal if we can extract information from the sedated guys we found inside but if we all leave now, the sedated guys would have escaped before we return or before another group comes here.’ His phone rang out loud, stopping his co-debater from giving a counter-argument. ‘Hey you… On your way? Where exactly are you?’ he said into the phone. ‘Drive faster…’ he concluded the call. ‘A six man backup team is on the way,’ he said to the waiting ears of the remaining officers.
‘What do we do now?’ the other debating Officer asked.
The other smiled, feeling victorious that his co-debater was now asking what to do from him.
‘Some of us could go after that bus while only one or two of us should stay here,’ he said. ‘The backup team is only two minutes far from here.’
‘Who’s going and who’s staying?’ the officer asked, already making his way into the car.
‘I will stay with him,’ he replied, looking towards the library security man. ‘You can go with the others.’
‘Boss,’ Stainless said into the phone, after inhaling from his cigarette. ‘The boys just ran into the police.
‘Right now?’ Rex’s voice sounded.
‘Yes,’ Stainless replied. He took in another drag, ‘And they also claimed to have seen Tarasha from afar.’
There was a longer silence from Rex than expected. ‘Was she the only one they saw?’
‘Yes, she was driving away with one of our buses.’
‘Did she attack them?’ Rex asked.
‘No, I don’t think she saw them, they didn’t go after her.’
‘She would have killed them all if they did,’ Rex said. There was silence for few seconds. ‘Can your boys handle the police?’
‘It depends on the number of police officers, we paid the usual ones working around the area already, the ones they meet can only be from the emergency squad and they can’t be so many at this time of the day but they can increase as the day matures.’
‘I’ll call you back in two minutes,’ Rex said, his tone suggesting he needed to attend to something urgently.
‘I’ll call you back in two minutes,’ Rex said and quickly cut the call to receive the other incoming call. ‘Don, where are you now?’
‘I’m out of the place, I got out through the back fence immediately I noticed that the officers were far away.’
‘Cool, some guys are out to pick you already, call Stainless now.’
**Meanwhile, Stone and the boys immediately after his call with stainless**
‘Stop right there,’ The boys in the bus could hear the officers shout from the other carriageway. Luckily, the median strip separated their vehicles and there was no close contact.
‘Keep driving,’ Stone instructed the driver who increased the speed drastically. The only options they had were to face the officers or keep running away in the forward direction. They had passed the only close turn which route Tarasha’s bus had taken, so there was no turning or going back as that would mean entering into the police hands.
The police vehicles at the other carriageway made a U-turn on the same road and sped crazily back. The resemblance of the bus they saw to the one Aisha and Tarasha drove away with had made them think it was the same bus. The way they turned the vehicles could have caused an accident on a normal day as their new direction was opposite of what the carriageway was meant for but because of the hour of the day, the roads were free of cars and pedestrians.
‘I think those are the officers we’re on our way to check,’ Stone said as he read the inscription of the police vehicles “Rapid Response Squad”. ‘They’re not much,’ he continued. ‘We may have to face them.’
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