‘Why didn’t you pick my calls or reply my messages?’ Henry asked after a long time of silence. Omotara’s wound had been redressed, she had her bra worn halfway and the black trousers she took from Jumoke’s wardrobe.
Henry was seated on the one seater sofa facing Omotara directly, with less than one metre distance between them.
She placed her gaze on his face on hearing his question, her eyebrows were raised and an angry look formed on her face. ‘Why should I reply your messages when you were busy searching everywhere in the house, even the places you knew you had no business with?’
Henry stared at her in shock for a while. He expected that she would know somehow that he accessed the hidden files on the system but he couldn’t still understand the reason for his shock. Maybe it was the way she presented or how early she did, he couldn’t ascertain.
‘I didn’t search everywhere; all I worked on were the files available on the system.’ Henry finally found his voice and tried to come up with an excuse.
‘Those files were hidden, you had to break through the security before you could access them.’
‘Yes, I did but I did not tamper with anything there.’
‘But why did you have to?’ she asked, getting up to her feet. She picked her bag in one hand and the box in another. ‘What do you intend to achieve? You want to sell me out?’ she slammed angrily and began to walk away.
‘Tara, how could you think I’ll ever sell you out?’ he followed her immediately.
‘No need for this,’ she stopped and turned to him. Henry took the box from her as it almost fell with the way she turned. She eyed him and continued. ‘I’m in no mood for arguments now, what I need now is to rest more.’ she turned and continued to walk towards her room. Henry followed behind slowly with the box.
‘I’m sorry, ‘ Henry apologized after they got to the door. She turned to him and gave him a dry look without speaking. ‘I was just curious,’ he added.
She eyed him and pushed the door open. He followed behind and went straight to drop the box at the same place he took it from. She was already undressing when he turned, she had taken off her bra and was pulling down her pants. Henry turned his back quickly to her as his eyes met with her bare butt.
She threw the clothes towards the other end of the bed and turned back towards Henry’s direction. She walked past him and entered into her bathroom, leaving the door open. Henry turned again to the other side even though he wasn’t facing the open bathroom door directly.
‘I’ll just stay out, I’ll make something for you to eat.’ Henry said and proceeded hurriedly towards the door.
He stopped as he touched the door knob, he thought he heard his name but he wasn’t sure. He listened for some seconds before turning the knob. He heard his name again. ‘You called me?’ he asked from where he stood.
‘Yes. Ermm… I wanted you to help me with something but just leave it for now. You can go,’ she replied.
Her reply was followed by the slam of the door.
For hours, Stephanie silently awaited the return of Dave. She stared eagerly at the door anytime she heard footsteps approaching and would hope the door will open and Dave would come in but the footsteps would just fade away the same way they started. But as the activities and noise at that section of the hospital increased, she could no longer hear when someone was approaching any longer
Exactly by 12:13pm, she saw the knob turn and in came a doctor and two nurses. She hissed in disappointment and turned her face away. The doctor and nurses proceeded towards her and stopped at her bedside.
‘Good afternoon miss,’ the doctor greeted. She recognized his voice as the voice of the young doctor who had been in charge of her from the start.
‘Good afternoon doctor,’ she turned her face to them and replied the greeting. The doctor was smiling at her when she turned but she felt betrayed by the smile. He looked and behaved like someone who meant well but was conniving with the police to carry out illegal activities.
‘You don’t look too happy today,’ the doctor remarked.
She stared directly at his face as her eyebrows gathered together. ‘You’re just meeting me for the first time, so how do you know my happy look?’ she asked dryly.
‘Oh!’ he blinked, remembering now that she had been drugged and wasn’t going to remember his face. ‘I’ve been the doctor in charge of treating you since they brought you here.’
‘Who brought me here?’ she cut in.
He stared at her carefully for some seconds before answering. ‘The police,’ he finally said.
‘They said I was kidnapped.’
‘Yes, you were.’
‘And I was in coma for how many days?’ she asked in an investigative tone.
‘Just three days,’ the doctor answered with a frown. There was a brief silence.
‘Your mother called, she would arrive today and you’ll be discharged when she comes.’ the doctor said.
‘Oh!’ a smile appeared on her face but faded away slowly. ‘But why haven’t I been allowed to speak with her?’
‘You just came became conscious this morning, remember?’
‘Oh! Thats true!’ she faked a smile.
‘Now, sit up right so that you can take you drugs.’ he said calmly and motioned the nurse standing by his left to step forward.
Cole followed slowly behind Rex with Stainless closely behind. He looked around the building as they walked down the passageway. Their drive to the place had been in total silence. He was made to sit at the front seat with Stainless who was driving while Rex sat at the backseat and busied himself with his device all through the drive.
They entered a large and expensively decorated living room. The first thing Cole’s eyes met was the picture of the Inspector General hung on the wall and his wife’s beside. The picture of President Emeka and the governor of Lagos State was also hung on the adjacent wall. Cole kept his eyes on Inspector General’s picture as they walked on, his mind filled with anger and hatred for the man. They walked into another passageway and Rex stopped at the second door by the left side, he opened and it revealed another passageway. They had to walk for a minute more before they got to their destination, a large room with about ten flat screen computers at the middle and large wall inbuilt screens at both long walls. The computers were arranged on two long desks which had comfortable metal chairs behind each set, five computers on each row and each row facing a different screen.
‘Come in,’ Rex ushered both of them in after entering. He held the door by the handle and stepped aside until they entered, he locked the door and proceeded towards the computers. He turned to the wall end and switched on a socket which powered the connection to the plugs. He also turned on air conditioner before he walked back to the first computer on the first row and switched on the CPU and monitor. He gestured for Cole to take the next seat beside him and turn on the computer while Stainless took the next after Cole without turning on any computer set.
‘You have to fill a form first, then we’re going to start with blinding Tarasha’s eyes,’ Rex began while they waited for the computers to finish booting.
Cole’s heart skipped a beat as he heard Rex’ words, he wondered what Rex meant by blinding Tarasha’s eyes by he knew he was talking about incapacitating her in a way. The thought of being among Tarasha’s enemy began to make his head pound heavily and his heartbeat increased.
‘Do you understand what I mean by that?’ Rex asked, turning to him.
‘No, I do not.’ Cole replied, nodding his head sideways.
‘Okay,’ Rex chuckled and tapped a key on the keyboard. He turned back to Cole, ‘I want us to cut off all processes which she uses to see, I mean every facility she has in place by which she can use to monitor the Security forces, her environment and her targets.’ He explained.
A deep frown appeared on Cole’s face as his headache increased. He still didn’t understand what Rex meant exactly.
Rex gave a wry smile. ‘For example,’ he paused and took in a short deep breath, staring into Cole’s eyeballs directly. ‘We paralyze all her networks, redirect her signals, cut off her connection with the NSCC and Security cameras, just to mention a few of what we’ll do.’ Rex ended with a wicked smile.
Cole began to sweat profusely and his already increased heartbeat doubled it’s speed. It just dawned on him that he had agreed to something very difficult and dangerous. He had never thought that that request could be made, it only meant that Elvis – Rex as he introduced himself – was an evil genius to think of that and that there were several other more to come. He felt as if he was going to have an heart attack as Rex stared straight into his eyes, waiting for his reply. He felt like refusing loudly at that moment but the thought of his parents safety would not allow him to.
‘You look baffled,’ Rex stated, narrowing his look as his eyes moved from Cole’s head to toe and he saw the shakiness and uneasiness. Rex got up and shifted his chair backwards, ‘I knew you never knew what you were getting into before you agreed, that’s why I’ve not paid you yet.’ he said, walking away from behind the chair. ‘So I’ll give you another opportunity now. I’ll pay you part of the money right here if you want to continue with the deal but if you do not, we’ll have to force some information out from you like we did to Benny and Aisha before their death.’
‘You can’t force out any information from me by torture, I prefer to die than giving out an information I’m not ready to give. So don’t threaten me with torture,’ Cole put up defensively.
Rex stared at his face mockingly, he chuckled a bit and then burst into uncontrollable laughter. ‘A big fool you are,’ he cursed. ‘I don’t need to torture you to make you talk. I didn’t torture Ben before he told us your location, all we’ll do is get a mixture into your blood cells and you’ll willingly tell us all you need.’ he said and laughed loudly again while Cole stared at him confused. He suddenly stopped laughing and stared straight to Cole’s face again, ‘Are you working with us or not?’
‘I need to see my parents and also confirm if Aisha is dead first,’ Cole stated.
‘Oh! You don’t believe me,’ Rex said mockingly again. ‘Well, I knew you come to this.’ he sat back on the chair. ‘Your parents are not far away from here but you won’t be allowed to see them.’
‘Then how do I confirm that they are still safe where they are?’ Cole asked. That was all he really wanted to know, he wasn’t too interested in facing them as he didn’t have an explanation to make for his long absence and didn’t think he would be able to face the guilt of being a bad son that’ll overcome him when they speak to him.
‘I’ll go there and send some video messages with them from there,’ Rex replied. ‘Would you be okay with that?’
‘Yes,’ Cole accepted, having no other choice. ‘But I’ll like for both of them to speak in the video.’
‘You mean you want them to say something to you?’
‘No,’ Cole replied sharply, his eyes shone at Rex. ‘ I don’t want them to hear about me for now, until everything is done.’
‘So I shouldn’t send your greetings to them?’
‘No, don’t!’ Cole snapped with a frown.
‘All I need you to do is get my dad’s account number for me.’
‘Hmm…’ Rex grinned and got up. He walked to the back of a computer set and took out a chain from a bag on the floor. He returned to Cole and bent before Cole.
Cole stretched his legs and hands towards him, knowing that the chains were brought to bind him.
‘I’m sorry friend, I’ve got to do this since the deal has not started yet. I wouldn’t want you to give this guy any problem, ‘ Rex said to Cole, referring to stainless as the guy.
‘I like the taste of this tea,’ Omotara remarked as she took another sip of the warm tea.
‘Oh! It’s good you like it,’ Henry smiled. Seated at the other end of the dining and watching her as she ate at the other side
The silence between them was maintained until she finished eating.
‘We have a lot of work to do,’ Tara said as she opened a nylon of drugs.
‘Work? I thought you wanted to rest,’ Henry replied.
‘I would not really like to rest now but I’ll have to, one of these drugs here will ensure I sleep for the next f three hours.’ she replied.
Henry took a minute to stare at her nylon of drugs and watched as she put some pills in her palm and poured into her mouth. ‘I think self medication is dangerous, why don’t you visit a clinic?’
She paused and gave him an awkward look before swallowing another set of pills. ‘Where do I tell the doctors I got the bullet wound from?’ she asked after dropping the glass cup of water.
Henry was silent.
‘Besides, I wouldn’t need their medications for anything except the first aid. They give drugs that’ll make the body recover better and healthier but the same drugs would slow me down for days.’
‘I don’t understand. You prefer not to recover properly just because the right drugs are going to make you less active for some days?’
‘I don’t have any hour or minute to waste, Cole is still with the enemy and I don’t know what they might have done to him. Something could happen while the drugs are putting me to rest,’ she explained.
‘But I still think you should take a break, you narrowly escaped death and instead of you to rest and recover, you’re talking about work immediately.’
‘There’s no rest for an assasin,’ Tara replied him, looking at him briefly while she arranged the drugs back into the nylon.
Henry was silent for the next two minutes. He only spoke again when he sensed that Tara was about getting up. ‘Tara, do you really want to be an assasin all your life?’
‘Do I have an option?’ she asked, raising a side of her lips.
‘I told you before that you can change and live your life to helping the world become a better place,’ Henry said.
‘Come on, spare me that talk Henry.’ she said with a frown. ‘I’ve tried to do that before but it failed even before I started. You know it won’t work for me.’
‘So you mean you still want to continue with this even after you narrowly escaped death?’
‘I didn’t escape death,’ she corrected. ‘Someone took the bullets for me.’
‘The same way somebody died for you thousands of years ago, so that you can live and enjoy your life.’
‘Come on, stop that. I don’t want to hear it anymore,’ she said tiredly, determined to stop the conversation. She yawned.
Henry stood up from his seat and moved to the one closer to her. ‘Why don’t you do this for your brother? Uncle Jeffery. He wanted you to be happy, you know.’
‘Yes but he’s dead now and he can’t see me happy anymore,’ she said and paused to look at his face. ‘He always wanted something too ; he wanted the killers of our parents to be judged and I’ll make sure I do that after killing his own murderers.’
‘But you’re also endangering your life,’ Henry said in a pleading tone.
‘An assasin doesn’t have a life, we’re born to kill or die while trying to kill.’
‘So you don’t care if you die?’
‘I only care that the murderers of my parents and brothers would go unpunished,’ she stated flatly.
‘And you don’t think you’ll be punishing others with your death?’
Tara stopped for a second to ponder on his question. ‘And who would I be punishing?’
‘You’ll be punishing Aisha who took the bullets because she believed in you being alive and you’ll be punishing others who are living because you are.’
Tara remained silent.
‘Just think about Aisha. She was desperate to save her parents, she was desperate to see them happy again and she was determined to remain alive herself but all that determination seized when she saw the bullets coming to you. She gave up all her dreams to allow you keep yours.’
Tara remained quiet still. She yawned again and a tear rolled down her cheek.
‘You need to live Tara, you need to remain alive for all those that believe in you. You need to…’ Henry stopped on seeing her place her head on the table, she had dozed off.
He heaved a sigh and rested his back. She raised her head up again and stared at him briefly with sleepy eyes. She placed her forehead back on her arm which she was on the table.
‘Why don’t you go in?’ he asked, placing a hand on her shoulder. There was no answer. ‘Tara, Tara, Tara…’He called but there was no response. He sighed and folded his arms. He agreed in his mind that the drugs must have made her sleep as he knew she wasn’t a deep sleeper. Sometimes, her sleep couldn’t even be categorized as sleep because she’ll always open her eyes even with the little noise made by someone who stirred on the bed in the next room, especially at night time when everything was quiet.
‘Tara…’ Henry tried again.
‘You’ve called the fourth time now,’ her voice sounded surprisingly even though she didn’t raise her head. ‘What do you have to say?’
‘I think you should go in, you’ll be able to rest better.’
‘Help me get in,’ she answered without lifting her head up.
‘Okay, but you’ve got to stand up first for me to help you.’ Henry said as he got up to his feet.
‘No, I don’t have to stand. Just carry me in like this,’ Tara replied. A deafening silence followed.