Restless – Episode 256
© Oluwatosin Emmanuel Oyinloye
10 minutes before the explosion,
The FOX Office, EPA Hill
Five minutes after stepping out, Senior Agent Clinton walked back into the room where Hutton Ryker was waiting. He was with three other men.
“Sir, we still can’t reach Agent Mark, Steve, Evelyn, or other senior officials that have been involved in the Red Wolves case,” Clinton reported to Hutton who was sitting in the reception with his legs crossed.
Two of his men were flanging him and another was by the door.
“And you’re sure he didn’t drop a message with anyone before he left?” Hutton Ryker asked, sitting properly with both feet now placed on the floor.
“He only told some officers that he was going to be back soon,” Clinton replied. “Some of them said they heard him talking about arresting the former President. If that’s true, he could have only been talking to Steve or Evelyn, but none of both agents are reachable too.”
Hutton took in a deep breath and got up. He walked towards Clinton and stopped in his front.
“We can’t tell what is happening with the former chairman or his allies, but we’ll get back to it. Have you been briefed about the current President’s instruction for me to take over?”
“Yes, the President spoke directly with me on phone. I’ve also received the mail order,” Clinton replied.
“Good, then we can get to work immediately,” Hutton cleared his throat and two some steps back. He paced about the place for thirty seconds and then turned to Clinton again. “I want to see the official reports of every move they’ve made on the Red Wolves case.”
Hutton paused for a few seconds again. “I also want you to track the devices of every agent that have gone missing in action, including Chairman Mark. We must find their locations immediately.
At the same time, give instructions to all security officers at all roadblocks in Bexford. Send pictures of Chairman Mark, Evelyn, and Steve to them. None of them must be allowed to pass.”
“We’ll get that done sir,” the man beside Clinton replied.
“Get to work right away,” Hutton dismissed them and turned back to his chair.
His phone began to ring before he sat down but he ensured that had all left before he answered.
“It’s done,” a feminine voice replied from the other end.
“Good job, woman. Go to the pickup point and wait for our men to get you,” Hutton replied before ending the call.
“Is there anything else you want me to do?”
“No, that’ll be all for now,” Hutton replied and ended the call immediately.
Immediately after, he dialled Florence Brown’s number.
“How is it going over there, Florence?” He asked as the call was answered.
“We lost more men to the police but seven of us got away from them and we’re trying to trail Carl Winston.”
“More men will get to you soon, Florence. Just make sure you take the two of them out this time,” Hutton replied.
“Yeah, but it’s gonna be hard to take those motherf**kers down now. I think the police are still going after them because they’ve got Sheila Jack with them. If the police do not back down, it’ll be difficult.”
“Forget about the police, Florence. Rex and Carl are going to make sure the police do not find them. All you need to do is make sure you keep tracking Carl and Rex. Once the police back off, you strike.”
“Okay, I’ll follow that if you think it’ll work. But I still feel Carl and Rex are going to be difficult to take down. You know they’re going to be strong together.”
“I know and that’s why we’re going to make sure Carl Winston is down before you get to him. He’s gonna be a liability for Rex. The explosive has been set up in his Bexford hideout and the timer is reading. It’ll explode soon and should take out all the occupants. We just need to make sure he gets the information that he lost them, his family. That should make him weak and an easy target.”
“You’re right, but how do you plan to make sure he gets the news now that he’s on the run?”
“We’ve made arrangements to get the information disseminated quickly. As soon as it happens, our men will feed every radio station, TV station, and news blog in Bexford and El Deols. It will be very difficult for him to miss it. All you just need to do is be on their trail.”
“Got it, man. We’re gonna get them.”
_______ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____
Emery was one of the three men standing and pointing their guns towards the entrance of the hut. Two other men were in front of the hut. One was positioned to go in while the other stood by the bamboo wall to open the door.
They made a quick signal to each other. The first man pushed the door open while the other barged in with his gun. He was followed immediately by his partner. The other men outside began to approach the hut slowly too.
There was no one inside except for a dead body lying face flat.
A third police offer entered after them and the first two proceeded to check the other smaller rooms in the hut.
The third officer stopped beside the dead body and turned it up to examine it. There was a bullet in the forehead and another in his knee. He rolled the dead guy’s shirt sleeve slightly to check for something.
“It’s the same tattoo,” Emery Jack who just entered remarked.
The other two who had gone further to check returned. One of them took out a phone and snapped the dead body.
“I’m sending the pictures to the office already,” the man who took the picture said. “They should be able to identify who these guys are.”
“They’re just some random hired gang, but I’m sure they’re here on a mission for the Red Wolves,” Emery Jack stated.
“We can’t be so sure of that,” another police officer answered him.
“Mr. Jack,” the lead Inspector who had just entered touched Emery on the shoulder. “I think you should return to the chopper. We’re not sure who these guys are but we know they’re very dangerous. It’s not safe for you to keep following us.”
“I just told you they work for the Red Wolves, Inspector,” Emery replied stubbornly.
“What makes you so sure of that?” the Inspector questioned.
“Come on, if it has to do with Henry, then it has to do with the Red Wolves or some f**king terrorists. You don’t think I know what I’m talking about?”
“Is this Henry some kind of terrorist?”
“No, he’s a secret agent that my daughter got involved with. The same one that got her in trouble with the Red Wolves the other time,” Emery explained.
The Inspector sighed. “Okay, whatever it is. We need to comb the forest for them. And I strongly maintain my stance. We’re going to have our helicopters flying around and our men checking the forest. We will find them. That’s why you should return to the chopper and let us do our work.”
“I didn’t sit at home the last time this happened, I’m not going to sit back this time,” Emery answered stubbornly.
The men under the tree stared at Henry closely. They watched him make the first call and then the second. Now, it seemed he was struggling with his phone, trying to call someone else who wasn’t answering.
At first, they were suspicious that he was up to something. But from the frustration they could now see him display, they realized something was wrong with him.
After dialling Samantha’s number several times without getting an answer, Henry decided to try Paul’s number again but it was still switched off. He closed his eyes and took in a deep breath, trying to remember Mark’s phone number. Quickly, he opened the dial pad and typed in the number after recalling it. He got the same response – the phone was switched off.
Henry could no longer take it this time. He parked his motorcycle and stepped down. He turned to the men under the tree and stared at them for a while, thinking of how he could reach the team in Bexford and confirm if everything was fine with them. He had yet to get any idea when an announcement on the radio caught his attention again.
BREAKING NEWS! Just now, reports are coming in from Bexford of an explosion on Ericken Smith’s road. At the time of this report, we aren’t sure if the facility in which the explosion occurred was a residential building or a company. Officials are still trying to determine the extent of the damage and if there are any casualties. More details to come on the news later. Stay tuned
Henry froze for a moment. He had everything clearly but he found it difficult to believe. If there was any explosion along Ericken’s Smith’s road, the hideout seemed like the most possible spot.
Henry blinked back to reality to see the younger of the three men from under the tree standing in front of him.
“Is there a problem?” the young man asked.
Henry shook his head slowly but unconsciously, his mouth left agape. He was still trying to process what happened.
The young man waved a hand across his face. “Are you sure?”
Henry blinked again and then stared at the guy’s face. “Can…I get…some water?” He stuttered.
“Water,” the young man turned to the other two, making signs with his hand to show that Henry asked for water.
The men nodded in permission and the guy turned to Henry again. “Come,” he gestured for Henry to follow him to the tree.
Henry followed, dragging his feet slowly.
The guy got to the tree and picked up a jar from where he poured water into a small container. He held it up waiting for Henry who was still dragging his feet towards them.
“Thank you,” Henry replied after getting to his front. He collected the container and gulped down all of the water immediately, some spilling down his shirt. “Can I get some more?” he requested as he handed the container back.
The young man looked at his elders again, as if to ask for their mission. He received a nod to go ahead. He poured some more water into the container and handed it again to Henry. In the same manner, Henry gulped down the content and handed it back. Then, instead of walking back to his bike, he walked slowly to the tree and grabbed it for support. Slowly, he went down and sat with his back resting against the tree. The three men stared at him, not sure of why he was sitting.
The younger one was about to ask another question when Henry’s phone rang. In the process of reaching for his phone, the men noticed the gun in his upholster and became more afraid. They mumbled some words to each other in their local language.
Henry disregarded their presence and answered the phone without taking time to check the screen for the caller. It was Sheila.
“Hey, Henry! We’re somewhere waiting for you. Rex says you know where we are.”
Henry stayed mute, unsure of what response to give.
“Henry?” Sheila called when she didn’t hear a reply. “Are you okay? Is Adrian with you?”
“I think they’re dead,” Henry’s lips trembled.
“Who is dead? Adrian?” Sheila queried.
“My family, my team, those I left behind at Bexford.”
Sheila was quiet for some seconds. “Why do you think so?”
“There was an explosion there,” Henry replied. “I tried to warn them but I don’t think they got out before the bomb went off.”
“How sure are you about this?”
“Their phones have gone off,” Henry replied. “I can’t reach anyone of them.”
“What if they’re just busy trying to wade off the enemy?”
“The phones will be on if they’re just busy, Sheila. I can’t reach them.”
“Henry, they’ve come too far with you already. We have to believe that they got out somehow. And maybe it’s just a plot by the Red Wolves to distract you at this time,” Sheila tried to encourage him. “Just get here as soon as you can.”
“Okay, I’ll be there,” Henry closed his eyes and took in a deep breath. Then he opened his mail app and typed in “Eshana” to search for possible locations that may have been exchanged. In less than ten seconds, he got up to three results. The second message he opened had the coordinates of the safe house. He copied it quickly and pasted it into the map application. In a few seconds, the directions showed up.
He got up and looked for the men to thank them but noticed they had moved away. Without bothering so much about them, he got on the bike and continued in the directions given by the map.
He couldn’t stop thinking even as he sped on the village path, causing panic on the road. There was no way he would forgive himself if those in the hideout died.
After about ten minutes, he was trying to readjust the side mirrors of the scooter when he noticed something. He reduced his speed and glanced back to confirm. There were choppers far behind in the air. He knew it was only going to take them less than a minute to get to where he was and spot the scooter. They were certainly going to suspect him as the villagers do not use that kind of motorcycle.
He quickly pulled over under the nearest tree. He took out his phone again to check the directions and saw that he was close to the forest path which will lead him to the safe house.
He looked up again. The choppers were already so close as he envisaged. He quickly pushed the scooter into the bush to hide it and then returned under the tree. He took off his shirt and sat on the floor, leaning his back on the tree. He placed his shirt around his neck.
He looked up from where he was sitting towards the choppers. Fortunately, the tree had enough branches and leaves to deny those in the choppers from having a good look at what was under but they could still see some if they zoomed in from afar. He knew this and took off his shirt to look like a villager who was just taken a rest. Due to the distance they were zooming from, they also won’t be able to spot the scooter hidden in the bush.
Henry remained seated for almost a minute even after he noticed they had passed. After then, he got up to check and saw them already far in front. He returned to his position under the tree to wait for two more minutes to let them go even farther before he continued.
Just as he tried to sit again, his phone began to ring and he stopped to take it out of his knee pocket. He checked the screen this time. It was Samantha. His heart skipped a beat. Even though he wanted to speak with Samantha, he wasn’t sure he was ready to hear what she would tell him.
He took in a deep breath before answering the call. “Samantha.”
“It’s me,” Dave’s voice came through instead.
“Dave,” Henry gasped. “Why can’t I reach Paul anymore?”
His question was met with prolonged silence.
“Are you there, Dave?” Henry questioned again.
“There was an explosion,” Dave finally replied. “It took down the whole building with flames.”
“And…” Henry’s heartbeat increased three times the usual rate. “Tell me, did they get out before the explosion?”
“No…” Dave’s voice seemed weak. “No one got out.”
For a moment, Henry felt a sharp pain in his heart and couldn’t breathe. There was this sudden coldness around him. His body began to shiver and his lips trembled. His knees buckled and he dropped to the ground. He let out a loud cry.
After about ten minutes, Rex walked back into the living room. Sheila was sitting quietly on a one-seater sofa.
“The police are searching for us,” Rex stated. “There are choppers everywhere.”
“Would they not check here?” Sheila widened her eyes.
“No, they won’t. They have no reason to think we’re here. That’s why I told you we needed to make sure there were no signs that we came in. They’re just gonna think it’s an abandoned building. And even if anyone suspects, they’re not going to break in due to the laws. Besides, only those in the choppers are close. It’s going to take time for the ones on foot to get here.”
“What about Henry? What if they find him and Adrian?”
“He’s not going to let them find him and Adrian. He knows how to get here without being seen,” Rex replied. “Did you call him?”
“Yes, I did. He sounded like he knew where we were like you said.”
Rex heaved a sigh of relief. “What questions did he ask?”
Sheila shook her head. “He didn’t ask any question.”
Rex squinted at her. “He didn’t want to know what I was up to?”
She shook her head again.
“And what else did he say?”
“There was an explosion, in Bexford. He thinks his team could have died there.”
“Oh, shi*t!” Rex cursed and quickly sat down. He placed his hand under his jaw for a moment and then looked at Sheila again. “He hasn’t confirmed that they’re dead yet. Has he?”
“No, he wasn’t sure when I spoke with him. But he says he’s not been able to reach any of them.”
Rex got up from his seat and moved closer to Sheila. “Please, call him again.”
She took out the phone and dialled Henry’s number. It rang for a while but wasn’t answered. She tried two more times and it was the same response.
“Maybe he’s riding here,” Sheila suggested.
“No,” Rex got up from his seat and turned back thoughtfully. “You said he hasn’t been able to reach his men and that means he would be expecting their calls. So if he was riding, he’s gonna stop to take the call.”
“What do you think?” Sheila got up and turned to Rex’s front. “You think the police could have gotten him?”
Rex shook his head. “No,” he answered, staring blankly with thin eyes for a moment. Then he looked up, straight into her eyes. “What if he’s confirmed that his men are dead?”
Sheila stared at Rex with fear and uncertainty in her eyes. She had no words to say.
Rex quickly rushed to the table by the wall where he kept the guns they brought. He began to load them again.
Sheila followed after him. “Tell me, what’s happening? Are you going to face the police?”
“No, I have nothing against the police,” Rex replied. “If Carl has confirmed that his men are dead, then we better hope the police find him.”
Rex turned and walked to one of the sofas. He raised it to take something under. Sheila again followed.
“I don’t understand what you’re talking about.”
“If the police find Carl, he will be safe with them. But if he’s found by the Red Wolves, he’s gon be dead,” Rex stopped to answer her and then walked back to the table immediately.
“Oh, no!” Sheila gasped in frustration, moving to and fro in panic. “What are you going to do now?”
“I’m going to find him before the Red Wolves do,” Rex replied, still loading some of the guns he unloaded when they got to the safe house. He paused for a moment as a thought came to his mind. He turned to Sheila. “Can you track him to find his specific location?”
“Yes,” she answered and then quickly rushed to take her phone.
“How long will it take you?”
“Two minutes,” Sheila replied. “The tracking app on my phone is not so fast.”
Rex continued with his guns and finished before Sheila could find the location. He walked to her front and stopped.
“I’ll get it in a few seconds,” she stuttered.
The phone beeped thirty-five seconds after.
“Here’s it,” Sheila quickly got up to hand him the phone.
“He’s very close, it’s just fifteen minutes walk from here,” Rex remarked after seeing the location.
“You’ll get there faster if you take the bike,” Sheila suggested.
“I can’t take that, the police are still lurking around,” he replied as he tied buckled his waist back. “I’ll run, it’ll take me less time.”
With that, Rex proceeded to the door but stopped as he held the knob. He took out his phone and held it up.
“I’m with this, notify me if he moves. Then you must lock this place and don’t step out for any reason.”
Seven Minutes later
The firemen and different security agencies had arrived at the explosion scene. Dave had been able to drag Samantha back from somewhere they could watch without being spotted by any of the security agencies. The building was ruined and even the fence that surrounded it. Dave knew it was needless to wish that anyone who was inside survived.
On the other hand, the FOX Corporation was quick to release a statement concerning the explosion on social media. Through the PRO, the FOX claimed responsibility for the explosion, stating that they discovered it was a hideout for members of the Red Wolves. They further implored Bethannians to be calm and claimed everything was in control.
Henry remained seated on the floor under the tree, looking lifeless. His shirt was on the floor by his side and his phone was also lying face flat on the floor.
He felt like a failure and everything now seemed meaningless to him. This time, he had not just lost his wife and his son but also lost people who placed absolute trust in him and dedicated their lives to his mission. There was no way he would ever recover from this.
He was oblivious of everything going on around him as he was in his world of emptiness. He had no idea that he had been surrounded by four men who were pointing their guns at him. He was still in his trancelike state until one of them slapped him on his cheek. But even after seeing the men around him, he felt nothing.
There was a gun pointing straight at his forehead but it didn’t bother him. His greatest wish was for the bullet to enter his head and end his misery at once.
“Ma’am,” the man behind him connected to Florence Brown on phone. “We’ve got Carl Winston right in front of us. He’s at our mercy.”
“Did you see any of the other two?” Florence Brown asked from the other end.
“No, just him here. No one else is around. Do we get him to lead us to where the other two are?”
“No, we don’t need that, just kill him. Empty your bullets in his head and make sure he cannot come back to life.”