TARASHA 2 CHAPTER 17 PART 5
® 18+ SNVL
© Oyinloye Oluwatosin Emmanuel
LOCATION: OPIC ESTATE, AGBARA.
Dr Francis heard himself being called from the living room in the most unusual way by his son. He got out from the kitchen and walked into the living room.
‘What’s the matter son?’ Dr Francis asked with a raised high brow.
‘Sorry, I’ve checked you in your room and I didn’t find you there.’
‘Yes, Esther went to the market to get some foodstuffs, so I had to fix something for myself since no one else is at home.’ Dr Francis replied.
‘When is Mum returning from Port Harcourt?’
‘She should return this week,’ Dr Francis replied. ‘So, what are you doing at home this afternoon and why were you calling me that way?’
‘I think we should get seated first,’ the son said and followed his dad to the seating area of the living room. They both settled on two different one seater sofas close to each other.
The doctor’s son took out his android phone, unlocked it and opened his browser. He opened one of the saved web pages and then handed the phone to his Dad. ‘Please go through that Dad.’
Dr Francis collected the phone but stared at his son’s face for some seconds, wondering why the boy could not just tell him why he was being called.
He finally looked at what he was given to read. The title of the news article was ‘Dr Ekwueme: Now Missing for more than Five weeks.’
Dr Francis was shocked at first. He took a quick glance at his son’s face who nodded at him, signaling for him to continue reading. Dr Francis shook his head before looking into the phone again, he considered in his mind that the Doctor being talked about could be another Dr Ekwueme but as he read on and saw the pictures attached to the article, he realized it was the same Dr Ekwueme who visited them few days ago.
‘But how is this possible?’ He asked with a frowned face. ‘Dr Ekwueme was here with a daughter of his some days ago.’
‘But reports says he’s been missing for weeks,’ the son countered. ‘He was led out of his house by a strange girl and he hasn’t been seen at home since then.’
The news article they read had explained how Dr Ekwueme’s estrange wife and kids have been looking for him around town. They claimed to have received phone calls from the doctor during the first three weeks and even had video chats with him more than once. Anytime he reached them he was always in a hurry like he was being timed by someone, but he always assured them that he was fine and asked them not to be worried about him. But for the last few weeks, no calls or messages have been gotten from the doctor and none had been able to reach him.
‘I think there’s a mix up somewhere,’ Dr Francis said thoughtfully. He quickly searched his pocket from his phone but couldn’t find it, he got up and hurried into his room and returned with his phone a minute later. ‘The number he gave me is not going through,’ he said as he sat back in the sofa, still dialing.
‘I don’t trust that girl he came with, she could just be the one who was seen taking him out of his house.’ The son said.
‘But Dr Ekwueme didn’t look like he was kidnapped that day or maltreated, he looked strong and healthy.’ Dr Francis said.
‘I don’t understand that too, but what I think is that she’s blackmailing him with a secret of his she knows. Dr Ekwueme could have done something bad in the past,’ the son suggested.
‘I don’t think that’s it, Dr Ekwueme is a good man.’
‘You never can tell Dad, he just might have done something very terrible in the past.’
‘I think I have to report to the police right away,’ Dr Francis said.
‘Yes, you do.’ His son supported.
‘Popular Doctor, Dr Ekwueme has been missing for more than Five weeks.’
Dave saw the headline as he scrolled down the nairaland forum homepage. He paused and his finger hovered above the link for a while. The name rang a bell in his memory. He closed his eyes deeply to remember which Dr Ekwueme he knew. After some minutes of rigorous searching of his memory, he finally had a faint remembrance of the doctor he knew. He wasn’t too sure he recognized the man’s face anymore but he remembered the name very well. Dr Ekwueme was a man who had helped him in the past, several years ago. Even though he was a kid then, he could still remember how the man helped him. He finally clicked on the link and was redirected to the post page. He read the article and got details of how the man left home with a young woman. Then he got to the pictures and stopped to view carefully. The man looked like someone he had seen before, not the doctor that helped him long ago, but someone he had seen recently. He moved to the second picture of the man and he was more convinced that he had seen him before. He turned his head and stared at the wall blankly for some seconds, trying to recall where he had seen the man but he couldn’t. He scrolled back up to read the news article again and check the details which he could have overlooked when he read it for the first time. Then he noted the names of the man’s hospitals and his children’s names. He still couldn’t recall yet, so he went through the article the third time and just on the first line, he saw the exact word he needed to remember, ‘Anambra’.
He could now recall clearly that the man was the one he saw in the Chevrolet been driven by the lady on low cut who he admired. The doctor was one of the reasons he couldn’t stop to go and talk to the lady. The face of the young lady was still very clear in his memory.
He quickly scanned through the article again to check the day the doctor was seen leaving his house with a young lady. He noted the date and quickly opened his calendar to check which day he saw the low cut lady in the Chevrolet at the hotel in Anambra, it was the same day. He rushed back to check the time the man was taken and tried to remember the time he drove into the hotel that day.
He stared blankly at the wall for a moment with his mouth left agape. With all his deductions, it was obvious that the girl he admired that day was the same young lady who took the doctor from his home. He heaved a sigh and shook his head. He returned back to his browser and was about to click the back arrow to the nairaland front page but for some reasons, he felt he needed to know more about the doctor’s abduction.
‘I’ve got no business to do with this,’ he argued in his mind as his finger hovered above the screen. A thought suddenly popped up in his mind, he widened his eyes. He minimized his browser and opened his contact store. He scrolled to the contact saved as ‘mother’ and dialed the number. He placed the phone close to his ears to listen.
‘Hello David,’ the mother’s voice sounded calmly.
‘Mother,’ Dave replied with a bright smile. ‘How are you doing mother?’
‘I’m not fine David,’ the mother said in a troublesome tone. ‘All you do is send money home, you don’t call frequently or even try to visit home. Your younger ones are always asking about you, it’s your father that comforts them.’
‘Mother, I’m sorry, I would come home when I can, my job doesn’t give me time. But there shouldn’t be any problem, we chat often online.’
‘Is chatting online enough, you don’t even have time to do video calls with us.’
Dave felt guilty. ‘I’m sorry mother, I will change and I will come home very soon.’
‘That’s what you say all the time.’
‘I promise this time Mother, if I don’t come before the end of the year, I will spend the Christmas holiday with you people.’
‘Ah! Christmas! That’s too far.’
‘It’s not far mother, it’ll come very soon.’
The mother sighed.
‘Mother, I have a question for you.’ he said, changing his tone to a serious one.
‘Ehen David, hope there’s no problem.’
‘There’s no problem ma, I want to ask if you still remember Dr Ekwueme.’
‘Dr… Ekwueme…’ the woman stammered for a while. ‘Dr Ekwueme, yes, I remember him. What’s the problem?’
‘Mother, I told you there is no problem. Do you know where he is now and what he does?’
The mother was silent for a while. ‘I think he left Lagos for his hometown, I heard he has built big hospitals and he’s helping people in his state now.’
‘Mother, do you know which state he retired to?’
‘I’m not sure, but I’m sure it’s one of these eastern states.’
Dave sighed. ‘Okay, what if I send you his picture on whatsapp, can you recognize him?’
‘Yes, I can.’
‘Okay, I’ll send it to you right now. Please come online,’ Dave said before ending the call.
He returned to his phone browser and downloaded the images of the man, and then he forwarded them from his pictures gallery to his mother’s number on WhatsApp.
A reply came after two minutes, it read: ‘Yes, he’s the one.’
Dave’s heart skipped a beat. He couldn’t believe his eyes. He read the reply again and again to himself. He had seen the doctor who rescued his life when he was younger without taking any hospital fee from anyone. It was painful that he didn’t recognize the doctor when he saw him, maybe if he had, he would have tried to stop the car and get to rescue the man from the girl.
He couldn’t tell what got him so carried away by the girl that he didn’t pay much attention to the man. She was beautiful but he didn’t think it was her beauty that got his attention that much.
Another thought struck his mind and it totally change his direction of thoughts. Something was wrong but he couldn’t connect it. He had a feeling that the Chevrolet he pursued Samantha Osman with was the same one he saw Doctor Ekwueme in, then why did someone else come to claim ownership? He tried to recall the face of the woman who had come to claim the Chevrolet, he could remember the shape of her eyes clearly. He tried to compare it with the face of the low cut lady he saw in the Chevrolet with the doctor but couldn’t. He didn’t see the face of the low cut lady so close, so it was impossible to say for certain that she was the one who came to claim the car. He remembered that the complexions of the women were slightly different but he knew that that could be the work of makeups, he was also a pro in using makeups for disguising.
Something seemed fishy. Was it a coincidence that Samantha Osman was in the state the same day the Doctor was abducted from the house? He asked himself. Or did she have something to do with the doctor’s disappearance? Was it also a coincidence that the doctor’s abductor was a young lady too?
He needed to find out, he thought to himself. And even if it happened that the doctor’s kidnap had nothing to do with Samantha Osman, he would just take it as a repayment to the doctor for saving his life years ago. He got up from his bed and headed for the table where his laptop was, he was going to book a flight to Anambra for the next morning, and at least take some days break from his worries and pursuit of Samantha Osman.
‘Hey boy! Look here,’ Cole said dragging Stainless by the ear.
Stainless stared up at him with his head still slightly bowed. He was very weak and unable to move his body. Even with his weakness and terrible hunger which they knew of, he was still tied firmly to the chair.
‘Look at me!’ Cole shouted again.
He tried to raise his head but it dropped again. He sighed heavily and closed his eyes. Cole placed a finger under his jaw and raised his face.
‘I can see you’ve lost all your strength, sorry about that. Even though we were never friends, I still don’t feel too good seeing you like this but it’s a pity that I can’t help you until you give us all the information we need.’
‘I can’t give you any information,’ Stainless replied with a weak voice. ‘You…are…just wasting…your time.’
Cole chuckled and let his head dropped. He took a step back and suddenly sent an uppercut to Stainless’ face.
Stainless head swung backward and the chair he was seated staggered. Cole pulled his head back after some seconds, his lips were swelling already.
‘Now, are you going to tell me or not?’ Cole threatened, raising his hand tightening his fist for Stainless to see.
‘What do you want me to tell you?’ Stainless voiced out weakly. His head felt heavy and his vision was blurry.
‘Good,’ Cole let out a faint smile. It was the first time of hearing a positive response from Stainless since he had been held captive, it meant that the drug used on him was already working. ‘Tell me where Rex kept Chief Nonso Onwuli.’
Stainless stared at him for a second, he closed his eyes and then opened again to give a response that surprised and angered Cole. ‘I saw you people bring in Rex and Tobi last night, why can’t you ask him directly since you also have him captured too?’
Cole was infuriated and he felt like dishing out a heavier blow but he restrained himself. He smiled and looked into Stainless eyes, ‘Like I said before Stain, even though we’re not best of friends, I don’t feel too good seeing you this way. If it happens that you don’t cooperate with us, we might be asked to kill you by Samantha but if you cooperate, your life may be spared. That’s why I’m giving you this opportunity for you to save yourself.’
Stainless looked into Cole’s eyes keenly, his jaw now resting on Cole’s finger again. He could see no sincerity in Cole’s eyes and knew all Cole was saying were just to get him to speak. He forced in a breath before speaking up again, ‘Go to hell Cole, I’m not telling you any…’
He was yet to land when another blow hit on his face. This time, he felt as if his nose had shifted from the normal position. His head became too heavy for his neck and his nose began to run with blood. He began to see visions of himself in the sky putting on a white robe and floating in the air. He got to a place and met a man putting on a shining white garment, the man looked was an Angel. The man stared at his face for a while and then tore off the white robe on his body, leaving a black robe that was under. Then the Angel pointed him to another direction where he saw Don Daniel also putting on black and gesturing for him to come. He was about to start moving when he heard Cole’s voice again.
Cole was pulling his head again but this time by the hair, Cole couldn’t put his finger to support the jaw again because of the bleeding from Stainless’ nose.
Stainless managed to open his eyes and stared at Cole’s cold face. He could now clearly remember the words of his father who was a Christian, reminding him that he would go to hell if he continued with his bad ways. His hallucination had brought him close to hell and it felt to him as if it was real for the first time, Don was in hell and was calling him to join. He decided that he must stay alive even if it was to repent before dying.
‘Chief Nonso Onwuli was first taken to Igbede, he was moved when Rex found out that Samantha was coming. I don’t know where exactly Rex has moved him to now, but there are only three facilities I know Rex procured in Lagos. The one in Igbede, one at Ikeja and one at Ipaja.’ Stainless finally gave in.
Cole smiled now. He took out his phone and opened the notepad, ‘Can you tell me the specific addresses of each location?’
Stainless described the location of the three places and Cole wrote them on his phone.
‘Clean him up, give him some food to eat and let him rest after that ,’ Cole said to the other man standing behind him in the room. He proceeded out and went straight to meet Tarasha who was in the computer room.
‘Cole, Elvis Richards is back to the hospital. We need to check which one he was taken to?’ Tarasha spoke first before Cole could.
‘Did it just happen?’ Cole asked.
‘Yes, it’s on the news. He was rushed out of the presidential quarters after being found unconscious in his room.’
‘I hope that man doesn’t die before we get to him,’ Cole said.
‘I hope so too, I want him to admit all his sins to the world before he dies.’ Tarasha replied. She paused for a minute to concentrate on the blog which she was updating. Cole found a seat and sat beside her.
‘Boss, Stainless has spoken. He gave the addresses of three different places where Rex could have taken Chief Nonso to.’
‘Do you know the three places?’
‘Yes, I do.’ Cole answered.
‘Then, we have to check them all this afternoon. After Chief Nonso is safe, we would go for the Vice President immediately,’ Tarasha said.
Her phone was already ringing before she finished talking. She looked at the screen, Henry was the caller.
‘What’s up man?’ she said into the phone.
‘Tara, the Inspector General’s secret flight to Netherlands is tomorrow by twelve noon,’ Henry said to her.
‘Oh!’ Tarasha let out a breath. ‘Thanks, I’ll get back to you soon.’
She turned to look at Cole who was also staring at her. ‘Our plan has changed.’
Cole already expected that, after seeing the way she responded to Henry.
‘You would have to go with one or two other men to look for Chief Nonso, I will take a flight to Abuja tomorrow with Henry.’ She explained.
‘What’s happening in Abuja?’ Cole asked.
‘The Inspector General secret flight to Netherlands is tomorrow,’ she replied. Her phone began to ring again and she picked it up, Dr Ekwueme was the new caller.
‘Samantha, where are you?’ Dr Ekwueme voice sounded with a note of emergency.
‘What’s wrong doc?’ Tarasha asked.
‘I need to see you right away, it’s urgent.’
‘Can’t you say what it is over the phone?’
‘I need you to see things for yourself.’
Tarasha sighed, she knew it must be something about Mrs. Atinuke. ‘I’ll be there in thirty minutes time,’ she said and ended the call. She got up from the seat and turned to Cole, ‘You can shut down the systems, I have to go meet the doctor now.’
43 Minutes later.
Tarasha was walking hurriedly to the medical room while the doctor was following behind as fast as his strength and weak bones could carry him. She opened the door and stormed into the place, she proceeded straight to the place the woman was laying. The doctor walked in after her and pushed the door slightly, leaving it partially opened.
Tarasha stared at the screen of the machine behind the headboard of the bed where Mrs. Atinuke laid. She could confirm what the doctor said from the reading on the screen. The woman needed help urgently.
‘She needs to be under the machine in less than twenty four hours,’ Dr Ekwueme said to Tarasha who was staring at the woman silently.
Tarasha heaved a sigh. She turned a bit from the woman and stared at the wall. She wondered if fighting for Mrs. Atinuke’s life was worth it, after all it was easier for her to kill the Vice President now that Rex was in captivity.
‘What would happen if we don’t get her under the machine in twenty four hours?’ Tarasha turned to the doctor and asked.
‘I don’t think she can survive it,’ the doctor replied in a sad tone.
Tarasha was yet undecided when she began to hear some faint sounds. She turned her ear in direction of the sound and looked towards the door, she saw that it was partially open.
‘Stephanie,’ she called out loud. She had heard the ‘silent’ sobs of the girl eavesdropping and hiding behind the wall.
The doctor looked towards the door and glanced back at Tarasha with his eyebrows gathered together. He wondered why she was calling Stephanie from there, was she expecting the girl to hear the name from her room.
He was awestruck when the girl appeared at the door with her face full of tears.
‘Come in,’ Tarasha said and then turned back to the sick woman.
The doctor stared at Tarasha in awe, wondering how she knew that Stephanie was outside. Maybe she had some diabolical powers, he thought to himself.
Stephanie walked in slowly and Tarasha waited for her to get to them before she continued speaking.
‘Can we take her to Anambra by land?’ Tarasha asked the doctor.
‘Ermm…yes, most of our roads are good now, flight is only better because of time but I knowit isn’t an option because of what is involved.’ Dr Ekwueme replied. He stopped to check his time, ‘But it means we would get there at midnight.’
‘Yes, that should even make it easier for us to use your hospital.’ Tarasha said. She wasn’t ready to travel to Anambra yet but she had no choice than to. Seeing Stephanie cry had made her make the decision quick.
‘How many of us are travelling?’ the doctor asked.
‘Just the two of us and the driver,’ Tarasha replied.
‘Please can I come with you?’ Stephanie quickly cut in with her teary voice.
Tarasha flashed a quick look at her. She wanted to refuse but couldn’t. ‘You’d have to follow every of my instructions.’
‘Yes, I would.’ Stephanie said, quickly wiping her eyes.
Tarasha stared at the sick woman for some more seconds before turning away. She took out her phone and dialed Cole’s number.
‘Cancel your plans to go look for Chief Nonso tomorrow, you would now go to Abuja with Henry to stop the Inspector General from travelling.’ She said into the phone.
‘Boss, what has come up again?’
‘Something urgent,’ Tarasha replied. ‘I need to arrange for an ambulance to drive us to Abuja right now.’