Aisha stopped right at the middle of the road since there were no vehicles coming forth. ‘Are we going to drop her just like that?’ She asked, taking her hands off the wheel.
Tarasha paused for a minute to stare at Aisha, trying to figure out what she meant by the question. ‘There’s no need to harm her, she seems nice to me.’ Tarasha said and glanced at the officer with an evil smile.
Inspector Sandra fastened her eyes on Tarasha’s face, she knew Tarasha was making a face at her but couldn’t see the expression as a result of the shadow that covered it.
Tarasha walked past her to the end of the bus and knelt before her backpack. She opened and began to search for something, conscious of Inspector Sandra’s eyes which were on her.
‘Boss, she has seen our faces,’ Aisha paused and let out a short breath. ‘What about the other officers who saw your face there?’ Aisha asked.
Tarasha glanced back at her briefly and then turned to continue with her to search in the bag. She rose up after picking out a wallet and picked the gun which she had placed on the ground beside her foot.
She proceeded towards the Inspector slowly. ‘Nobody there saw my face clearly, the makeup is not completely cleaned yet and I turned off the lights at the gate. Even this officer would not recognize me the next time she sees me,’ she said in reply to Aisha’s last question, now squatting in front of Inspector Sandra She placed the tip of the gun against the Inspector’s nose. ‘I would have made her forget completely that she saw anyone like Samantha Osman but I sent her an errand…’ Tarasha stopped abruptly. She stared away blankly, appearing to be thinking about what to do.
‘Boss, I think we’re staying too long already,’ Aisha said to her with the aim of reminding her that they had paused driving.
Tarasha sighed and placed the wallet in the other hand on the ground, she opened it and took out one of the neatly arranged pins in it. ‘She just have to forget about this completely,’ she took out the cap from the pin and took it closer to the Inspector’s arm. Sandra tried to resist but Tarasha overpowered her with just a hand and inserted the pin just below her shoulder. The Inspector’s eyes closed slowly and she fell into an unwanted deep sleep. Tarasha closed back the wallet and tossed it behind to the bag. She rose up dragging the Inspector’s body to the door, she paused to push open the door and stepped out first. Then she carefully lifted the Inspector’s body to her shoulder. She walked round past the front of the vehicle and dropped the Inspector carefully on grasses in the road median strip.
She walked towards the driver’s side of the bus instead of going back to the passenger’s back side where she came out from. Aisha moved to the passenger’s front seat before Tarasha could open the door.
‘Get down, bring my bag and that wallet,’ she ordered hurriedly. Aisha responded swiftly and was out of the bus and to the back in no time, she returned to the front seat with the backpack and the wallet.
Tarasha zoomed off immediately and they both remained in silence for the following few minutes. Both had entirely different thoughts on their mind. For Tarasha, she was thinking about getting Cole and then Henry at the base. She was also seriously fighting the thoughts of Stephanie from drifting back into her mind. She had forgotten temporarily about the book and author she discovered in the library.
Aisha on the other hand was full of thanks for being finally out of the Don’s imprisonment but the most important thing on her mind that gave her worries were her parents but she decided not to ask about them from Tarasha at the moment but wait for the right time.
‘Do you know the where they took Cole to?’ Tarasha finally broke the silence.
‘There’s no bomb here,’ the officer kneeling before the box on the balcony said to the other three officers standing behind. ‘The explosive has been disconnected and only the timer is working, she placed it to deceive you.’ he said as he rose to his feet.
‘She deceived you,’ the officer who waited out of the first eight said, in mockery of the security guard.
‘You would have been deceived too if it were you, it looked so real,’ the security man shot back at him.
‘I would have taken her out if it was me,’ the officer argued.
‘That girl is a witch, the bullets in my gun disappeared into her bag.’ the security man said in a stressed tone.
The other officers with the security man and the previous officer exchanged looks and giggled in mockery of the security man’s words. They began to climb down the verandah.
‘That lady is an strange truly, the way she moved from here to the other compound so quietly still baffles me,’ the officer behind spoke, making the others look back.
‘Are you sure you were watching properly?’ one of the officers asked.
‘You cannot but watch properly when Inspector Sandra is there,’ he replied them and began to proceed down the verandah. They all began to walk back towards the gate. ‘I wonder who that lady is, she displayed expertise in everyway. She held Inspector Sandra so firmly and covered her body with the Inspector’s so well that one would have shot the Inspector if he tried to shoot her.’
‘Soon we will unravel the mystery behind it and see if our suspicions are true,’ one of his Co officers replied. Everyone breathed in at his response, they all had the fear in mind that Samantha Osman could have been the lady since Aisha Bello who was connected to her had her parents previously locked in that building.
‘Didn’t you say there was someone in this place?’ he asked, pointing to the security building as they approached the place.
‘Yes, my colleague, he brought in a visitor.’ the security man answered, looking worried as he climbed up the three steps stairs to the security building door. He knocked the door thrice softly and waited. There was no response. He knocked thrice again, this time harder. There was still no response. ‘Tobi!’ he allowed shouted as he began to push the door forcefully. The door finally gave way and he walked in, only to rush out back coughing.
‘What’s that?’ the officers asked him, pointing in their torchlights.
The room was lit in with a blue night bedroom light. They could see as they moved closer to the entrance, traces of light smoke in the room.
One of the officers pointed in his torch with one leg on the third step and the other on the second, covering his nose from the odor of the gas flowing outside from the room. His torchlight focus got to the bed in the room and he could see two half unclad people, a man and a woman sprawled in the bed. ‘I think the room was poisoned with a gas,’ he said aloud as he turned back, down the stairs and coughed out twice.
‘It must have been through this place,’ another officer said, showing to them a hole made on the net at the window of the building.
‘We have to get them out before they die, that’s if they’ve not been killed already.’ the security man said in a frightened voice.
‘The gas doesn’t kill someone, it only makes one weak, it’s a very light gas but we need to cover our nose with something sprinkled with kerosene before entering.’
‘I have kerosene but it’s also inside this building,’ the security man replied.
‘Except the kerosene is at the entrance, I don’t think anyone can last ten seconds if he enters this room.’
‘Officers, we need to go back into this other place now, there are some men who are unconscious but still alive there, we have to move them to the hospital as soon as possible.’ the senior officer said as he proceeded towards the gate.
The others followed him except for the security man, they met with three other officers waiting for them outside the gate.
‘Do we still need more officers to come here?’ One of the officers asked, directing the question to the one they had met at the place.’
‘The officers who went after Inspector Sandra’s captors may need…’ he paused suddenly as they all heard a familiar sound. Gunshots. They could calculate the distance of shots from where they were, the direction was the one their colleagues had taken.
**Happening at the same time**
‘Is everybody ready?’ Stone shouted at the boys who on his order were setting up their guns to attack the police. The police were still shouting for them to stop and giving them a hot chase but limited by the median strip that separated the dual carriageways.
‘Yes,’ about six of them answered Stone’s question in unison.
‘Since they’re still in their vehicles, only those at the window sides facing their cars should shoot…’ Stone stopped abruptly to take out the ringing phone from his pocket. ‘Aim at their tyres,’ he continued after seeing the caller’s ID. ‘Let them…’ two gunshots hit the bus at the side and all the boys ducked including the driver which almost caused an accident.
‘Stop the bus!’ Stone finally commanded. They were about turning to round a road curve which led onto a bridge and another normal road from their carriageway and was supposed to lead down from the bridge to the other carriageway the police vehicles were. It meant the vehicles would sooner or later meet on the bridge as there would be no more median strip separating them. The down part of the road was not an option for Stone’s team as it led to somewhere else entirely, only the bridge led to the warehouse where Don was from that place.
The bus screeched to an halt just before they got to the curve. ‘Open fire and aim at their tyres and the drivers,’ Stone ordered the boys.
Unluckily for the officers, they had stopped at only two shots because they thought it was the same vehicle that had Inspector Sandra in it and they had also reduced their speed as they made to turn into the other carriageway, thinking that they had succeeded in making the driver of the bus give up.
The three guys at the right side of the bus released fire towards the police vehicles through their windows. Stone stepped out from the bus and moved o guards forward to join in the shooting. The police vehicle in front was the first to tumble and burst out in flames while the other continued in motion until Stone aimed directly at the driver of the car, it lost control and ran into the huge rectangular pole separating the bridge from the road below.
‘Anybody hurt?’ Stone asked as he stepped back into the bus hurriedly. His phone which he left on the seat was ringing again. ‘Watch carefully,’ he said to the boys before he picked up the phone.
‘Stain,’ he answered the call as he sat and jammed the door.
‘Don escaped from the warehouse and he’s at the street behind the warehouse,’ Stainless conveyed sharply.
‘Oh! Where’s the street behind the warehouse?’ Stone sounded confused.
‘Give the phone to the driver,’ Stainless replied and Stone quickly obeyed. The driver spoke with Stainless for thirty seconds and handed back the phone to Stone with the call already ended. He started the engine and turned away from the entrance of the bridge into the road beside.
‘Calm down, they’re coming to get you,’ Stainless said into the phone.
‘They should be fast, I heard several gunshots about two minutes ago. I think Tarasha is still around and trying to get away,’ Don replied in a deep voice.
‘I spoke to them now, they should get to you in less than ten minutes.’ he said and ended the call after listening to Don’s reply. He was not too happy about Don being saved but he had no option but to follow Rex’ orders. Even though he and Don were working together for the moment, they still remained rivals and he never took this fact of his mind. He wanted Don out of the picture as soon as possible, so he could continue to relate with Rex directly and not through Don like it had been before.
‘I never heard them say it boss,’ Aisha repeated for the third time without getting any visible reponse from Tarasha. Tarasha seemed not to be listening at all. Her gaze was fixed forward and hands firmly on the wheels.
’14/16, Ejiro Street, behind Rael University Campus.’ she spoke out unexpectedly like a student who had just remembered a line she crammed. ‘That’s where they took Cole to? Do you know there?’ she turned her face to Aisha with a firm stare.
‘Can you come again please?’ Aisha asked politely.
’14/16, Ejiro Street, behind Rael University Campus.’ Tarasha recited the words again, exactly the same way she had been told at the warehouse.
‘I know the street, I think we can find the building with that number if we drive there.’ Aisha answered
‘How far is it?’ Tarasha asked.
‘Not far,’ came the sharp and brief answer. ‘But we’ll have to take the next turn back or go through another route which is longer,’ she added, staring intently at Tarasha’s face as if to encourage her make a quick decision.
‘We’re not going there,’ Tarasha said. ‘Its a waste of time. They’ll be expecting us and would have left there or set traps for us.’
Aisha heaved a sigh, still staring at Tarasha’s face, wanting to ask her what they were going to do about Cole.
‘There’s nothing we can do about Cole now,’ Tarasha said in a low depressing tone.
Aisha closed her eyes and took in a deep breath as she rested her on her arm against the dashboard. She raised up her head as the question she had been wanting to ask drifted back into her mind.
‘What about his parents?’ she said, asking about hers indirectly.
Tarasha could sense the tactic in her tone but answered anyway. ‘Your parents are fine and his are fine also, they’re in a hospital and should be transferred to the police care from there.’
Aisha felt a heavy load lifted from her shoulders on hearing Tarasha’s words, there was a calmness in her mind and even her body reacted to the good news. She slowly placed her forehead back to her arm which she rested on the dashboard.
‘What’s the time now?’ Tarasha asked after some few seconds of silence, there was an urgency in her voice.
Aisha raised her head and began to search frantically for where to check the time.
‘There’s a phone in the front opening of that bag,’ Tarasha said, nodding towards the backpack on Aisha’s lap.
‘It’s 4.13am,’ Aisha said after checking on the phone but Tarasha had already seen it at the same time with her.
‘I can hear the sounds of vehicles, more security officers are on their way,’ she said and increased her driving speed.
Aisha squinted and slanted her head slightly, trying to also hear what Tarasha heard but after minutes of attentive listening, she gave up without hearing anything she expected.
The darkness of the night was not yet overthrown by light, the sun was not out to do it’s part of the job in brightening the earth but the street lights and halogen lamps they brought helped them to see.
The carriageways at each sides leading down and up the bridge were completely blocked, barricaded with different police vehicles and tapes to signal to coming motorists that they were approaching a crime scene and they needed to turn back.
Several police officers and members of other armed forces were at the crime scene, making their peculiar observations while the medical team were doing away with the bodies. All the members of the Rapid Response Squad in both vehicles had died except for one, the senior officer who had insisted and led them in going after the captors of Inspector Sandra. He had been badly injured and unconscious when he was taken out of the vehicle from the left back where he was seated. It was the second vehicle which did not explode but ran into the large pole after receiving bullets from different sides. Most of the officers in it had not died just because of the sprayed bullets from their attackers which met them, but the accident also contributed to the speed at which they passed away. The other vehicle which had tumbled and burst out in flames had left no survivor, most of the occupants were badly burnt and unrecognizable.
‘Officer, you said there were only two ladies in that bus.’ another officer asked the grief stricken officer, the one who had suggested that the rest of the RRS go while he waited for the backup team.
‘Yes, only two ladies.’ he replied in a shaky voice, watching as the medicals moved the badly burnt bodies of the officers he had been with only few hours ago.
‘But the girls didn’t kill Inspector Sandra, they didn’t even harm her at all,’ the questioning officer said, with his eyes brows gathering together.
‘They promised not to harm Inspector Sandra if we didn’t follow them, I think they got mad and had to attack when they saw our vehicles coming after them.’ the officer replied.
‘But you said they were only two girls, how can those two girls handle seven of our trained men?’ he asked in an unsure tone and began to take slow steps away from the scene. The Inspector he was discussing with began to move with him.
‘That I can’t explain too, except our suspicion about one of the ladies being Samantha Osman is true’ he said, a confused look appeared on his face. ‘And I’m wondering how they met here, I expected that the bus should have gone farther than this place considering the speed and the space of time they left before our men followed. I wasn’t even expecting our men to catch up with them.’
‘Hmm… That’s something to think about,’ he replied and paused briefly. Another officer stopped at his front and saluted. ‘Yes, officer?’ he urged the saluting officer to relay his message.
‘I got information that some of the unconscious men recovered from the building beside the library are awake now and one of them has also mentioned that Samantha Osman was there,’ he said in a sharp tone and stopped, staring at their faces as if waiting for the information to sink. The two senior officers exchange looks and the frown on their faces deepened. ‘The doctors attending to the rescued abducted people have also confirmed that the girl and the couples can talk to us now.’