Dave stared hard at her with his eyes widely open in shock and she stared back without blinking, confident that her allegations against him were accurate.
‘Where did you get that from?’ Dave finally found his voice.
‘It’s all over the news baby, everyone now knows that the Inspector General was shot by someone who to me matched your description,’ she replied.
‘Well, I don’t think I have to lie to you about my involvement but I’m quite sure you should know that the media would never report the accurate information and that’s because they don’t get it from honest sources but from the police who will distort it to their favour.’ Dave continued, looking intently into her eyes. She placed her legs over each other and folded her arms with her bum still resting against the drawer as she listened . ‘What did you hear on the news?’
‘That the Inspector General and other police officers were injured when they went for an early morning raid at a suspicious building.’ she answered.
Dave let out a deep breath and blinked. ‘I don’t know about the trueness of that but I didn’t kill any police man,’ Dave lied. ‘The truth is I was there this morning for issues relating to my case but…’ Dave hissed, he seemed to have lost words to explain himself.
‘We’re both NIS agents, don’t lie to me Dave.’ she said staring straight into his eyes. He looked away but she turned his face back to herself.
‘Lizzy, it’s a complicated and everything is not just the way it appears.”
‘Then how is it? You killed police officers Dave, that was uncalled for.’ She said as she got to her feet and began to walk around. ‘No matter the urgency in the case, we are always urged to avoid killing innocent people but you didn’t just kill innocent people, you killed other security officials who might just be on the same case with you. You’ve turned yourself against the government and the citizens.’
‘Hey! Please lower your voice Lizzy,’ Dave sprung up from the chair and turned to Lizzy who was still pacing around. ‘Someone might be listening to us.’
‘Someone might be listening to us?’ Lizzy stopped and stared at him with an eyebrow raised and her hands on her waist. ‘Do you know how many people would soon get to know that you were the man the news reported.’
‘No one will know,’ Dave tried to speak confidently, but his voice betrayed him. ‘You’re the only one that knows I was on bandage this morning.’
‘Oh!’ she shook her head and laughed. ‘What’s wrong with you Dave?’
Dave paused to ponder on her question. He faced down and drew in a deep breath. Was something really wrong with him, he thought in his mind. That morning he had taken sides with a criminal group instead of helping the police to make sure the criminals do not escape. But he wasn’t stupid, he argued his sanity in his mind. He didn’t fight against the police that morning as an enemy of the state or an enemy of the citizens and he didn’t turn against them because he wanted to be the one to take credit for nailing Samantha Osman. He did because he knew that the Inspector General and his group of police officers were not there for official purposes and neither were they there to do something legal, he knew that there was definitely something hidden in their cupboards or why else would the Vice President be at the location of a police raid, disguised at such an early hour. He couldn’t have let them go with Samantha Osman and her man, or else facts would have been distorted and the whole country would have been deceived by the two cunning top government official.
‘Dave, Dave!’ Lizzy screamed twice at him before he blinked in response.
Dave sighed again, ‘It’s a long story Lizzy, I can’t tell you all now.’
‘I’m not asking you to tell me all, I’m telling you that you’ve gotten yourself into a deep mess.’ she said with a serious look on her face.
‘Lizzy, as far as you don’t tell anyone that you dressed me with the bandages this morning, no one else would know I was the one described.’
‘Are you kidding me Dave?’ she narrowed her eyes at him, her face with a surprised expression. ‘The street cameras would provide them enough pictures to search for your features and get your full details.’
‘I got that covered Lizzy,’ Dave said and walked back to his seat. ‘The Cameras commission won’t find any footage to present if they’re asked.’
‘How sure are you about this?’ She said as she began to walk back towards him. ‘That road is a major one which has so many security cameras.’
‘I know, but I got it covered already.’
Lizzy returned to the previous spot where she leaned against the drawer, she folded her arms again and stared at his face with doubts in her eyes.
‘Listen Lizzy, I have acc…’ Dave stopped and coughed. ‘I know someone who has access to the Cameras commission database, he’s taken care of the footages for me.’
‘And how sure are you that the person didn’t deceive you?’ Lizzy asked, her doubts still obvious in her tone.
‘Hundred percent sure,’ Dave replied.
‘Now what about Dan? He knows you were here with me this morning,’ Lizzy said.
‘Yes but he didn’t wait to see how you dressed me up or which direction I went after that, besides I’m not the only one in this town who had a bandage on his head this morning. Dan wouldn’t suspect anything except you tell him that the police’ description matches my look after I was dressed up by you.’
‘And you think I’ll tell him?’ Lizzy raised a brow.
Dave shrugged, ‘I don’t know, but I’m pleading with you not to.’
‘He’s a member of your team and you guys are also close friends, why don’t you confide in him?’ Lizzy asked, not knowing she had raised a sensitive issue.
Dave folded his lips in and shook his head. ‘I can’t really trust any secret into Dan’s hands in this case,’ he said and stopped to look at her face. ‘Lizzy, I know we’ve worked together on several occasions and we were in the same team for close to ten months, but can I trust you with this?’ he asked with a soft voice.
She squinted at him.
‘I mean can I trust you? As a friend, not as a colleague whose loyalty is to the NIS alone.’ Dave added to explain his question.
‘What is it David? Tell me,’ Lizzy said in a calming tone. She moved closer to him and squatted before him placing her hands on the armrest of his chair.
David stared at her silently for a moment before he finally spoke, ‘Please get a chair to sit,’ he said pointing to an empty chair.
Lizzy reached for the chair and pulled it closer, she sat very close to him with her knees touching his.
‘Right now, I’m working on Samantha Osman’s case and that’s what have led me into this situation.’ he started after adjusting his seating position. Lizzy paid him full attention especially after hearing him mention Samantha Osman. ‘You know she has been killing top citizens of the country; government officials, both past and current. You also know about her last attempt on the Vice President’s life failed when the bullet hit the wrong place. I’ve done a lot of work since I was given this case and I’ve discovered that it’s more than just random assassinations, all the deaths and the main victims are connected except for the late Rivers State Governor whose connection with the others we’ve not been able to see.’
‘Of course, any reasonable agent should know that the deaths are connected,’ Lizzy put in.
‘Yea,’ Dave continued. ‘The Vice President appears to be the next in line on her list and the intelligent man was lucky he discovered quickly that he was next, his preventive measures are what has been keeping him till now. The Vice President has recruited his friend, the Inspector General to work with him to hide this secret that he has which the assassin wants to get him for and that they’ll do by capturing and silencing her.’
‘I don’t still understand,’ Lizzy frowned.
‘You see, the Vice President has a dirty secret ; something he’s done in the past together with the other victims of Samantha Osman and maybe some others we don’t know yet. This dirty secret is the cause for the haunt; so the Vice President is as desperate to keep the past secret as he is desperate to live. To keep his secret, he has involved the Inspector General in his illegal activities, so they’re going after Samantha both illegally and legally. Legally through the public activities of the police geared towards nabbing Samantha and illegally through the hidden activities the Inspector General makes his boys do. That’s why the police is not truthful in handling the case, they don’t want the public to have any view of Samantha as someone killing people for their past evil deeds but see her as an enemy killing innocent people. They distort the information released to the media every time. For example, the news media reported that Samantha Osman tried to kill her men’s parents and Stephanie Williams but the truth is that she rescued these people from the kidnappers who I suspect to be Hoodlums working for the Vice President…’
‘I don’t get,’ Lizzy cut in. ‘Isn’t it the police that intercepted her and took Stephanie Williams and those old couples to City Gate Hospital?’
‘No, that’s what they made the media report but Samantha was the one who rescued them and drove them to the hospital. The Inspector General lied when he made claims that the person who took them to the hospital was a female officer, it was Samantha and not a police officer.’
‘It was confirmed by the hospital and the patients.’
‘The police paid the patients and the hospital workers to lie, and they also drugged Stephanie Williams to make her lose her memory, I got the accurate information from her before she was drugged.’
‘There are several other things the public have the wrong view about too and that’s what I’m trying to clear. I don’t want this case to end without all the criminals getting their deserved punishment; these includes Samantha herself, her sponsors and her victims if truly they are guilty. This morning, they wanted to kill her finally and they planned on doing it silently but I stopped them because if she dies now, there would be no way the Vice President would be punished for his evil deeds.’
‘No, so you want her to kill the Vice President first?’
‘No, I want her and the Vice President alive. She’s an evidence of the Vice President crimes and her death would give him an opportunity to cover his sins completely.’
‘But why is Dan not assisting you?’
‘Dan cannot assist me here, I’m hiding things from him.’ Dave looked away. ‘I suspect the NIS Chairman has been bribed by the NIS Chairman, he threatened me and gave me some money after I agreed also and I’m sure he’s done the same with Dave .’
Lizzy opened her mouth in shock.
‘Lizzy, this is meant for your ears alone.’ Dave warned.
‘Sure, nobody else would hear it from me.’ She promised. ‘But where is Samantha Osman now?’
‘There’s somewhere I suspect she’s hiding with her men, and that’s where I need your help.’
‘Tarasha!’ Chief Gab’s voice came blaring through the phone speaker as the call was answered, Cole had to take it far from his ears for comfort.
‘No Chief, she’s not here yet. I’m the one calling back.’ Cole said after putting the phone on loud speakers for he and Henry to listen.
‘Have your delivered my message to her?’
‘No Chief, you should know she’s in a very serious situation for someone else to be handling her phone. Or has someone else spoken on her behalf to you before?’
There was silence for some seconds before the Chief replied, ‘What situation is she in?’
‘She’s terribly injured and receiving treatment right now. The Vice President got another assassin group to counter us,’ Cole replied.
‘So Tarasha could not handle another assassin group? I thought she already handled the best in Nigeria, the Nanl Gang .’
‘Yes but this new guy isn’t a Nigerian assassin.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘There’s no time to explain right now Chief, we need your help urgently to stay safe. The police and this other assassin group are seriously on our tail and they’ve discovered our location already. Tarasha is down and it will take more than a week for her to be well enough to defend herself or fight back. We need a facility where we can hide until she’s strong enough, if we don’t leave here tonight, we might get captured by the police.’
There was total silence for more than thirty seconds.
‘Chief, are you there?’ Cole asked.
‘I’ll call you back later.’ the voice sounded low and the call ended.
‘I guess the Chief is scared,’ Cole said to Henry, putting back the phone on the table.
‘What do we now?’
‘We have to wait for him, we can’t just launch out without knowing where to go.’ Cole replied.
‘But what if the car returns anytime soon, it was there for more than an hour, it looks like it went to get more of their men.’
‘We can’t still leave now, here is safer than anywhere else we can run to. The other option is if the boss gets well enough to speak to us.’
Both men remained in silence for the next couple of minutes, each one cleaving to his own thoughts and worries.
‘Where are you going to?’ Cole stared at Henry who had just risen to his feet.
‘I’m going to check on Omotara,’ Henry replied.
‘Come on sit and allow the nurse do her work well,’ Cole said giving him a reprimanding look.
‘She should be done by now, besides, she’s the one calling, I think she needs our attention.’ Henry replied, displaying the screen of his phone to Cole. There was an incoming call.
‘Alright, I’ll join you shortly.’ Cole said, waving him off. ‘But answer that call, she might just have something urgent to tell you.’ Cole added before Henry got to the door.
**20 minutes later**
‘But Chief, why have you made such an urgent decision, I thought you said you’ll only return after you meet with her.’ Chief Nonso’s voice sounded through the phone with a surprised tone.
‘I can’t wait anymore, besides she’s in trouble now and I don’t think I can help her right now. I have to help myself by leaving immediately else I’ll be in trouble if I’m still here when she’s caught.’ Chief Gab replied.
‘Oh! That’s serious, isn’t there anything else could do?’
‘The only thing I know I can do is to leave as soon as possible.’
‘It’s okay Chief, I wish you safety.’
‘I’ll be back tonight to give her some drugs,’ Tomi said, looking at Tarasha’s face on the bed she laid. Cole and Henry stood at the other side of the bed, listening to her as she gave instructions on what to do while she’s away. ‘I have to go now,’ she said as she straightened her dress. She picked her handbag from the seat it was and began to walk away.
Cole walked up to her and stopped her by holding her hands. ‘Tomi, thank you so much for coming.’ he said in a calm tone, both of them staring at each other’s faces.
‘It’s nothing to thank me for, it’s okay as far as I keep getting my bank credit alerts.’ she replied, unsmiling.
‘Thank you so much,’ Cole said again and grabbed her in a warm embrace. The embrace lasted for more than twenty seconds before Cole released her.
She felt a bit embarrassed but tried to comport herself. ‘You’re welcome,’ she said, forcing on a smile.
Cole still held her with his two hands by her elbow. His hands left her hands and found it’s way to the back of her head where he rubbed her hair gently. Then he pulled her face gently to himself and took her mouth in his, the kiss lasted for more than thirty seconds.
Tomi gasped and forced out another smile, the look on her face showed the embarrassment she tried to hide as she saw Henry smiling behind.
‘Please Henry, can you help see her off.’ Cole said to him as he turned back.
‘Okay,’ Henry agreed and walked up to Tomi as Cole walked back to Tarasha’s bed.
‘Tomi, please do not tell anyone about this place.’ Cole said to her. She nodded back in response.
Henry returned seven minutes later and found Cole seated on a plastic chair beside Tarasha’s seat. He had his legs crossed and a tablet device in his hands.
‘I never knew you were in love with her,’ Henry said as he proceeded towards the bed.
‘In love with who?’ Cole raised his eyebrow to look at him.
‘In love with the nurse,’ Henry replied. ‘No one says thank you to a nurse my hugging her so tight and kissing her like that.’
Cole chuckled. ‘It worked then,’ he said and turned his focus back to the tablet device.
‘What worked?’ Henry stared at him.
‘The trick,’ Cole replied, shaking his legs playfully. ‘If you can think I’m in love with her, then she must feel the same way too. It’s just a trick to stir up her emotions and her loyalty. Girls are easily deceived.’
‘That was just a trick?’ Come on, I’m not a kid.’ Henry smiled doubtingly. ‘You couldn’t have kissed her as passionately as that.’
‘Yes, you’re right, I didn’t really intend to kiss her so passionately but it took me so long to fix the device at the back of her hair.’
‘Huh? Which device?’
‘I attached a tracker to her hair.’ Cole stated. ‘It will only take a passionate kiss for her not to notice anything going on.’
Henry laughed. ‘Oh my God! You mean that kiss was just to fix a tracker to her hair?’
‘Definitely, why should I be in love with a whore?’ Cole eyed him.
Henry chuckled, ‘It just looked too real’.
‘You have…’ Cole was about to say something when they heard a soft voice. Both of them paused and their gazes turned to Tarasha.
‘Has she left already?’ Tarasha asked in a weak voice.
‘Yes, she’s gone.’ Henry answered, running to her. He stopped at the bed and stared down at her face with his face full of smiles like a father who was watching his newly delivered baby. Cole also got up and stood by his side.
‘We need to move,’ Tarasha said. She tried to adjust herself and sit up but she couldn’t as her body was still weak. Cole offered to help her up but she refused politely, ‘Thanks, don’t bother.’
‘Where do we go to boss?’ Cole felt a bit happy now that his boss was talking, he was sure to get directions even if she couldn’t act by herself yet.
‘For now, we’ll move to the underground facility, Henry knows the way there. You just need to get the access cards from my room.’ she replied.
‘The Inspector General will survive, the doctors have just confirmed it.’ a female journalist was reporting the news on television. ‘The police have still not confirmed the identity of the man with the bandage on his head and nothing has been said about the reason for the early morning raid.’
The scene faded away and a newscaster continued with the other items on the news.
‘These guys were just so stupid, how could they even allow themselves to be traced there?’ Rex said to himself as he arranged the instruments and weapons neatly into his backpack.
‘Boss, I think Cole should have a hand in this. He must have followed Tarasha to where you met with her and must have hidden somewhere to watch you people fight.’ Stainless said to him, bringing forth a set of knives he was sent to get.
Rex turned to face him with a disgusted look on his face, ‘And who was supposed to be watching out for Cole?’
Stainless faced down on seeing the angry look on Rex’ face, he regretted opening his mouth to speak.
‘I’ll make sure you pay for any other mistake you make,’ Rex hissed and returned to his work. He arranged the knives and a line of rope into the bag and zipped up the opening. He picked a neat nylon bag on the floor and put it into the second opening. He pulled up the bag and handed it to Stainless after zipping up every opening. ‘We’ll study the building images before moving tonight, I know they must have put up security measures to wade off intruders but what we’ll do is to find out strategic points where we can hide and find these structures they put in place, then we’ll find a way to put off all their security measures or evade them silently. But before we do all these, we must first have confirmed that they are in. And if after confirmation, our plans to escape their security measures don’t work, we’ll have to return to plan for another day.’
‘But why don’t we just set up bombs to explode the whole place once we confirm they’re inside there?’
‘We might end up killing more than just Tarasha and her men that way, I’ve considered it and I don’t think the Vice President will like it. But we will have no choice if our plan for tonight doesn’t work, we’ll blow off the whole place with an explosive which is powerful enough to have great impact even to the underground building if they have any.’
…To be continued