Cole was speechless for a while. He stared straight into the hole of the gun and his body trembled. His eyes met hers and what he saw was more than fury, he saw hell in it. He couldn’t find his voice until he heard the sound of the cocking of her gun.
‘I can explain,’ the words jumped out of his mouth as his hands went up in the air simultaneously. He got up to his feet slowly.
‘Start your explanation before you join your friend,’ she said and began to take slow steps towards him.
‘I… I didn’t plan to paralyze the networks but I had no choice,’ Cole stuttered.
‘Explain yourself better, I have no time to waste with you.’ Tarasha said in a strict voice and paused to bring out of her phone.
‘I was sent and the other guy was sent with me to ensure I do it,’ Cole continued with stammering lips.
‘To do what?’ she stared at him with a questioning look and then briefly looked at her phone on which she was typing a text message. ‘You were sent to do what?’ she repeated.
‘To paralyze your created network,’ Cole said, mentioning his words slowly and out of fear. Tarasha gave him a cold look which made him tremble all over. ‘I already explained here,’ he added quickly, pointing with a finger to the screen of the system before him. His heart began to race thrice as normal as she raised her gun again to his head level.
‘You explained what?’ she sounded impatient.
‘I explain…I explained everything…’
‘Who sent you?’ Tarasha cut in, reaching for something in her bag.
‘Elvis,’ he stated. She raised a brow at him. ‘Rex,’ he added.
‘Who the hell is Elvis and who is Rex?’
‘Rex…’ Cole’s voice sounded through the earpiece. ‘Who the hell is Elvis and who is Rex?’ Rex could hear the voice which sounded faint after Cole’s. That was the first time he heard her voice in the conversation but he had been hearing what Cole was saying. He needed no one to tell him the voice was Tarasha’s. He was sure Cole was going to spill out all he knew about him to her but he wasn’t bothered. He still had an advantage over them, he could hear Cole and would be aware if they made any plans against him but they didn’t know he was listening to them.
With his hands on the wheels, he looked back the other carriageway through the open window and could still see the man far behind walking fast. He was only few metres close to the U-turn and the man called Henry E.G would be captured.
‘When you get to a reasonable distance, cross to the other side and pick a cab to Goodluck flyover.’ Henry read the new text from Tarasha. He turned to look back briefly to see if he had covered a reasonable distance, but then he didn’t know what she would define as reasonable distance.
He could see a U-turn somewhere afar and thought that after the U-turn should be a reasonable distance to cross to the other side.
‘I don’t really know who he is, but he’s intelligent and he leads Stainless and Don, he deactivated your NSCC account and asked me to come here.’ Cole explained.
Tarasha wanted to hear more about this Rex but there was no time for her to talk or listen more, she raised the second gun which she had taken from the bag and released a shot towards his arm. The release pierced into his shoulder.
Cole’s body shook all over and he collapsed to the ground slowly. He was deep asleep in few seconds. Tarasha took out her phone again and typed in another message. ‘Tell me when you are in the cab taking you to the Goodluck flyover.’
She opened her bag to put her other devices and then strapped it on properly. She returned the two guns which she had kept in the same hand back to their hidden place.
She took a brief look back at the mess Cole’s partners body had created before she proceeded to where Cole was and began to drag him towards the door with his collar.
As she dropped his body out of the computer room, she remembered that she had left a recorder on Henry’s body which she hadn’t been able to listen to. She turned into the room to get the receiving piece.
Henry still had some metres to the U-turn, he kept taking glances at the other side to see if cabs were readily available there. His phone vibrated again. He paused to check the message. He thought she would explain to him what she meant by reasonable distance but she was only telling him to inform her when he gets a cab.
He wondered why she wasn’t there yet. If there were enemies around, then she was supposed to have gotten there to help him. Maybe she was also scared, he thought. Or why else would she be sending him messages from home instead of being there to get him out of trouble.
He spotted a car making its way straight towards him and moved closer off the road for the driver who appeared to be desperate to escape the building traffic, but the car changed its direction towards him and drove with a higher speed that Henry thought the car was purposely coming to hit him.
The car finally stopped a metre before him and the engine went off. Henry heaved a sigh and continued his walk, thinking that the driver was drunk or just someone talented with madness. As he reached the front of the car, he took a brief look at the driver who had come out hurriedly from the driver’s side.
‘Hello,’ Henry could hear the driver call someone. It appeared to be him the driver was signaling to because no one else was in the direction the driver was looking towards. Henry pretended not to hear and continued to walk. He had less than ten metres to the U-turn. He decided to take the narrow space between the car and the drainage instead of going through the place the driver was standing. He was at the middle of the car when the door to the back seat flung open, blocking his way. He took a quick glance at the driver and met a strange and scary face which sent shrills down his spine. He would have jumped over the drainage but just by the side was a heap of red sand. He turned to run back but the door of the front seat also flung open and hit him in the belly. He was still desperate to escape and jumped into the dirty drain but his attacker was faster than he was. The man was already at his front. He was dragged up with the collar and a blow was sent simultaneously to his face.
‘I’ll be traveling back to the states tomorrow morning,’ Madam Henrietta said to Stephanie. She was arranging her clothes into the small traveling box she brought with her.
Stephanie was seated on the sofa in the room. She could hear her mother talking to her but she gave no visible response immediately. Even Madam Henrietta wasn’t looking at her for a response, she only announced it because she had to.
‘I’m sorry mum, I just have to…’ Stephanie spoke after a long moment of silence but Madam Henrietta cut her short with a raise of her hand. She had her mind made up already, Stephanie was only being ungrateful and there was no explanation to it.
Stephanie rose up and walked towards madam Henrietta, she stopped and stood in front of her, the woman ignored her completely and continued with what she was doing. The box was fully loaded, she zipped it up and turned it upright.
‘Mum, please don’t misunderstand my reasons for wanting to stay…’
‘Steph, I said I don’t want to hear any of that.’ the woman slammed, staring Stephanie straight in the face. ‘You’ve made your choice and I can’t force you to leave the country with me. It’s your life and not mine, so you’ll take responsibility for whatever happens to you.’ she said and rolled the bag away from the bedside.
Stephanie heaved a sigh and closed her eyes, she knew there was nothing she could say to appease madam Henrietta at that moment. And there was also no going back on her decision to stay, she couldn’t leave her real mum at that moment.
‘Here’s your phone,’ Madam Henrietta said, taking out something from a nylon bag.
Stephanie turned to her and saw her stretching forth the phone to her. She quickly moved closer and collected it from her. ‘Thank you.’
‘And I thought you could make use of a better one also,’ Madam Henrietta continued, searching for something else in the bag. ‘I don’t know if you’ll like this,’ she brought out a small carton containing a new phone.
Stephanie’s eyes widened and her mouth opened as she saw the carton of the new iPhone 22B, ‘Mum, this costs a lot.’ she exclaimed.
‘Yea, I got it for you.’ the woman stretched it to her, unsmiling.
‘Wow! Thank you mum,’ Stephanie collected the phone, her face was full of smiles and she was almost jumping. She wanted to begin unboxing the phone that moment but she stopped as her eyes met her mother’s unhappy face again, her smile diminished gradually.
Dave clicked on play again. It was the fifth time he was going to watch the video. It showed a lady who walked like she was wounded until she stopped a taxi and entered, then it faded in and another showed a masked man who rushed out of the gate looking left and right of the road as if he was searching for someone he was pursuing. Dave had confirmed from the previously unedited footages that the lady came out from the same gate the masked man came from. His guess was that the lady was Samantha Osman after she had allegedly killed Don Dan and Aisha Bello, she also had sustained an injury. He didn’t know where exactly but he believed it must have been at the back. Then the man was unknown but report had it that he was an NIS agent. That was what baffled Dave more. He was the NIS agent in charge of the case and he had no assistant helping him. So the man was definitely not an NIS Agent.
Dave’s mind wasn’t at rest, he reached for his phone and dialed the number of the NIS chairman.
‘Hello DJ,’ the chairman’s calm voice sounded at the pick of the call.
‘Good afternoon sir, I’ll like to correct a misinformation.’ Dave said.
‘What misinformation is that?’ the chairman replied.
‘It’s on this Samantha Osman’s case sir. I was going through the NSCC files and videos to match up somethings and I watched a particular video where a masked man came out from the gate after Samantha Osman,’ Dave said.
‘Ermm… Okay, so what’s wrong with that?’
‘Reports says it was an agent of our organization and I’ve been wondering why the false info has not been corrected.’
‘Who told you it’s a false information?’ the man asked, sounding evasive. Dave could sense that he was hiding something.
‘I wasn’t at the scene that day, so it’s a false information.’
‘Are you the only NIS agent we have?’
‘No sir, but I am the one in charge of the case.’ Dave argued.
‘Who told you that you’re the only one?’
‘Ermm… But I’m not aware of anyone else. No one…’
‘Just keep quiet Dave,’ the man cut in. ‘I’m the boss and I can assign as many agents as possible to a case, especially if the initially assigned one is underperforming.’
‘But sir… Am I underperforming? I don’t think so.’
‘This conversation is over Dave, don’t talk to me about this anymore.’ the man said and the line went off immediately.
Jumoke adjusted her scarf and put her bag on the floor to take out her key. She tried to slip it into the keyhole but she discovered that a key was in from behind and removed it. She had thought Dave was not at home since she couldn’t see any of his shoes or sandals at the door but with the key in the keyhole from behind, she was sure he was in.
Her knuckles hit the door thrice and she waited to get a response.
‘It’s Jumoke,’ she replied in response of his question of who was at that door.
In few seconds, she heard the sound of the key turning in the hole and then the door was opened.
‘Welcome baby,’ Dave said and turned back immediately. Jumoke picked her bag and entered.
‘Phew!’ Jumoke stopped and exclaimed in surprise as she stared around the living room which was well tidied and arranged. ‘Good evening, you did all these?’
‘All what?’ Dave asked, returning to the laptop he dropped on the three seater. He sat on the close to the arm rest and carried the computer on his laps.
‘I mean you cleaned and rearranged the whole house?’
‘Oh! Yes, it wasn’t all that dirty though. I just thought it could be arranged better.’
‘Wow! Thanks,’ she let out a deep breath and proceeded towards him. She placed a kiss on his lips and sat beside him on the three seater, looking into the laptop he was holding.
Dave continued with his work with full concentration, even though he knew she was watching what he was doing.
‘You’re allowing me see you work today?’ Jumoke asked, staring at his face in surprise.
Dave took some seconds before answering, ‘I don’t get you,’ he glanced briefly at her with a raised eyebrow and returned his focus to the computer.
‘You allow me sit beside you while you’re working on your computer today, this has never happened, you don’t always want me to see what you’re doing.’ she accused.
‘Oh that!’ Dave smiled very briefly. ‘Well, I’m working and you’re not supposed to see the details of my job but since you know so much about me already, it doesn’t make sense hiding it from you anymore. And I’m a hundred percent sure that you don’t even understand what you are seeing right now.’
‘Hmm…’ Jumoke took some few seconds to look at what he was doing again. She could see the name of the software he was working on, ‘The profiler’. She could also see the notepad application opened by the side in which Dave was typing in some words and copying from time to time into the NSCC profiler. ‘True, I don’t understand what you’re doing but I’m sure it’s about your job,’ she said.
It took Dave some time to reply again, he was consumed with his work. ‘Yes, it’s about my job.’ he said without taking his eyes off the screen.
‘Well, let me go change inside.’ Jumoke said and rose up to her feet.
‘Ermm… I wanted to tell you something,’ Dave said, holding her by the hand as she was about to leave and looking up to her face.
‘What’s that?’ she asked as she returned back to the seat.
Dave adjusted the computer and bent the screen slightly as he turned to give her full attention. ‘I’ll be returning to work tomorrow. Very early in the morning, I’ll be leaving for Abuja.’
The words hit Jumoke like a huge blow. Not that she wasn’t expecting it to come but her expectation did not stop or lessen the impact.
She was silent for a brief moment. ‘So when do we see again?’ she finally spoke, letting out a breath exhaustively.
‘I’ll be coming to Lagos frequently and I’ll make sure I always stop by.’ Dave said slowly, mentioning every word with effects like he was making a promise.
‘Well, I hope it happens that way.’ Jumoke said and sighed. ‘Is that all you wanted to tell me?’
Dave let out a breath. ‘Jumoke, I need a favour from you.’ he said and let out another breath.
‘What’s that?’ She raised her eyebrows.
‘I’ll be glad if you provide me with any information you have about Samantha Osman or any new one you get about her after I leave.’
‘I already told you all I know now but I’ll make sure I tell you immediately I find out any new thing.’ she replied.
Dave knew she lied but he allowed it pass. ‘Thank you, that’s all I wanted to talk to you about.’
‘Alright,’ she said and heaved a heavy sigh. She then picked her bag and walked into the living room.
Dave returned the computer to his lap and switched back to the NSCC app.
Twenty five minutes later
With sleeping Cole in the boot of the car, Tarasha raced to the NSCC office as fast as possible. There was no traffic jam on the way and this made her journey easier and quicker. She had an earpiece on her ear with which she was supposed to hear what was being recorded from Henry but she didn’t hear anything since she had put it on except for the occasional horn and other sounds made by cars. It could only mean two things, either the recorder had been taken off from his body or Henry was talking at all. But the second reason was less reasonable, there was no way he could have kept quiet for so long. She expected him to be in a cab like she had directed, so he should have had the need to talk to the cab driver. She also checked her phone from time to time and there was no message from him yet.
Different thoughts flooded her mind. She had not heard from him neither had she received any message from him since the last one he sent telling her he was about to be thrown out. Maybe he had been captured immediately he was thrown out by Rex, the enemy whom Cole alleged to be the intelligent Assasin who deactivated her NSCC account. And it was possible that he only lost the phone or it was seized from him. Any one it was, it still didn’t explain why he had not spoken for over twenty five seconds.
She turned into the road leading to the NSCC office from the roundabout, the same one Henry had taken and parked his car after going past the NSCC office. Her eyes searched around for any signs of him as she reduced her speed. She then reached for her phone and dialed his number. It rang twice without being answered.
She reduced her speed more and moved away from the fast lane, then she took out her device from her bag and unlocked it. She selected the tracker application and took the time to look around again while she waited for it to load.
The app loaded and she placed her touch on one of the options displayed, ‘Track Device c403’. She renamed it as Henry and clicked on it. The map of Abuja displayed and a small yellow circle could be seen moving round on it. The map zoomed in, showing only the parts of Asokoro and then the yellow circle became smaller but continued to move. It stopped at a particular place and then changed to green, which meant it had located the device. Tarasha pulled over to the side of the road. She zoomed the map to see the exact location, the green circle was moving but very slow. She could tell that Henry was in a vehicle, going the opposite direction of Goodluck flyover where she asked him to go. He was not too far away but with the speed of the vehicle’s movement, it would only take a heavy traffic jam for Tarasha to be able to catch up with him.
She sighed and hissed almost simultaneously, wondering why Henry did not follow her instruction. Maybe he really wasn’t with his phone, she thought again. She picked her phone again and dialed for the third time. This time it was answered immediately.
‘Where the hell are you?’ she voiced out angrily.
‘Hi,’ a strange voice replied her and followed the reply with a loud chuckle. The person seemed to be chewing something he was enjoying. ‘I’m Rex, I know Cole should have mentioned my name to you. I hope you were patient enough to let him tell you more about me because you can’t fight me if you don’t know me. Well, find me and catch up with me if you can. I’ll kill this guy in the next one hour.’
Tarasha was shock and speechless as she heard the line trip off. Someone knocked the glass of the car window but she didn’t give him attention. The policeman continued to knock and wave to her. She had parked wrongly.