Ahmed was happy to see his Uncle after quite a while even though he was hoping it were under ‘prettier’ circumstances. He opened the gate and tried to hug him. The Colonel backed away, shaking his head slowly. Ahmed understood and stepped aside for his Uncle to come in. They walked into his house making sure that there was a wide gap between them. He opened the door allowing his Uncle to enter the house first. He followed soon after.
As soon as The Colonel was in the house, he saw the white paper with the inscriptions in blood on the two opposite walls of the sitting room. He walked up to one of them and smelled the ink.
“Blood. Probably from a cow or a goat” he thought to himself.
He motioned Ahmed to come close to him. He hugged him tightly and whispered into his ears,
“Is there a room you hardly ever use?”
Ahmed nodded and led the way into a small corridor. There were two rooms at the end of the small corridor. He opened the one to his left and flashed a torch. A rat ran across the floor. There were a few cobwebs on the ceiling and the room was dusty and dirty. It didn’t look like anyone had been here in months. The Colonel took off his disguise clothes to reveal the sparkling white linen he had earlier worn from home. He spread the large t-shirt he just removed on one of the stools he found and sat on it.
“This room is perfect.” The colonel said.
“It is so good to see you Uncle.” Ahmed said rushing to his uncle and hugging him.
“Sometimes, I wish I lived a normal life Uncle. Being a cop is a difficult life. I keep looking over my shoulder. I wake up every day not knowing which of my enemies is close to taking me out. It freaks me out sometimes and there is always no one to talk to.” Ahmed said looking at his Uncle.
“Son, our profession is a dangerous one. Till we die, we are always going to be wanted by the bad guys. You know that. And if you say you are scared, what should spies, double agents and people like me say? Each day you wake up is another opportunity you have. Look at the bright side. You are better than the average man on the street. Your senses are sharper, you have strong instincts, you are trained in hand to hand combat, martial arts, and you have excellent skills in weaponry. You cannot be taken down by just anybody. So son, use this amazing skill set you have to make a difference in the lives of the people you have sworn to protect.” The Colonel finished.
“Always Uncle, always.” Ahmed said.
Typical Colonel. He never misses an opportunity to give his ‘son’ a lecture. Ahmed was used to it now. They caught up on old times, telling each other about what has been happening in the past few years. The Colonel loved to play video games just like Ahmed. They talked about what games they were currently playing and the stages. The Colonel said he just stumbled on HITMAN SUICIDE MISSIONS. Ahmed was going to try it out. Recently a lot had been happening around him. He had not had time for himself let alone video games.
“So what brings me here son? Let’s hear it.” The colonel said.
Ahmed cleared his throat and began to narrate the story. He started with waking up in a hospital, and losing his memory of the past few weeks. Doctors said he had slight amnesia and may recall the things he could not remember over time. He also talked about how he found out about the death of Mercy, how his office was burgled and the guards were killed. The Colonel raised up a hand to stop Ahmed.
“Your office was burgled? What was stolen? What really happened? Describe every detail.” He questioned Ahmed.
“I had just left the office and was about to drive into the Estate when I got a call from Sheila that I should come back immediately…” Ahmed said.
“Sheila still heads the Combat Department?” The Colonel asked, interrupting him.
“No Uncle. She is now the Head of the NIGHANA Intelligence Operations department.” Ahmed said
“Hmmm. Go on son.” The Colonel said.
“So I got to the office and found an ambulance, a few coroners and Sheila. Sheila said that there were two guards dead, a corrupt file system on our database and a missing hard drive. Mine. The alarm from the disrupted servers sent a signal to the local police and they were here in 6 minutes. They did not see anyone as they came in. The guards’ necks were twisted from behind. There was no trace. There were no clues”
“Any fingerprints, hair strands, blood, bullet casings?” The Colonel asked.
“None. The only bullet casing was from the gun of one of the dead guards. His finger prints are the only ones all over it.” Ahmed finished.
The Colonel sighed. He was rubbing his temples. Ahmed had seen this a lot of times. Whenever he did this he was getting some ideas and thinking seriously.
“These guys must be professionals. And they must have been watching you. What have you been doing on your computer during the days before the hard drive was stolen?” The Colonel asked
“Just monitoring Agent Mercy. Following up on her leads, and matching finger prints. When I got a message on my phone that she was just buried, I rushed to the office to confirm. It was true as her file had been deactivated. I could not continue with it so I left the office. Barely an hour later was the theft discovered.” Ahmed finished.
“What agency was she infiltrating?” The Colonel asked.
“Something about a ghost organisation. She was still a rookie in their ranks so she was not really privy to any confidential stuff.” Ahmed finished.
The Colonel bowed his head. He should not have resigned. He closed his eyes. Everything began to make sense. The stealth, the perfection, the absence of clues. No mistakes. That was their style. Now he understood why Ahmed had called him. The Colonel had been doing preliminary tracking of the Ghosts after his time with The Marine Cartel but dropped it after the General’s warning. He could sense Ahmed watching him. This was too much for Ahmed to handle. Sheila was a fool. She should not have sent Agent Mercy in. What was she thinking? Just because Mercy was an excellent spy did not automatically translate to invincibility. She still had a lot to learn physically and psychologically. Mercy did not have the slightest idea about the Ghosts. The name alone said it all. They were invisible. And only someone who could be invisible could undertake such an infiltration. Ahmed was a fantastic detective. The perfect cop. But he was a terrible spy. He always allowed his emotions get in the way. He did not know how to mask feelings. That was the number one criteria for a double agent.
“Are you okay Uncle?” Ahmed asked.
“I am fine son. Tell me what happened in this house. I saw the banners.” The Colonel replied.
Ahmed narrated how he wasn’t comfortable that night. His instincts told him to get up but he felt reluctant to. He was tired from a busy day. A loud gunshot woke him and he got up to see one of the banners on his bedroom door. He got to the sitting room and saw another two banners. He opened the door to the house to find his two dogs dead. His instincts told him he was being watched. His doors were not tampered with. They were opened from outside, which meant that the criminal had access to his home. He immediately cut the electricity to the house and has been in darkness since. He did not know what else to do so he called.
“I think I have an idea what is going on. But first we need to do some work. You will get out of the house now. Go to any mobile phone store. Get a new phone and a new sim card, preferably a very low tech phone. The cheapest Nokia phone or China phone would be perfect. Do not register the sim card. If the attendant gives you trouble, get it somewhere else. You would be followed right from the time you step out of this house. I think you are being watched. Do not take your car. Enter a commercial bus. Do not head straight to your destination. The nearest shop is 15 minutes from here. Get there in one hour. Zig zag your way across town. Come down at any random bus stop then start walking. Turn back after 2 minutes of walking and start jogging. Look for shops with mirrors and stand in front of them abruptly while walking. Look behind you through the mirror. You should see the agents tailing you trying to catch up. Since they are following you, it’s going to take a while to shake them off. It is not going to be easy but try and enjoy yourself while at it. Be sure to have them lost before you get the items. Repeat the same thing on your way back to the house. The whole journey should normally take you about 30 minutes. Make sure you use over two hours. When you come back to the estate there will be agents already around the gate watching you enter. You won’t see them but believe me they are there. Not to worry. They don’t know where you were and what you got. You will have them guessing at where you have been. These guys hate guessing. So they would be tighter next time. But that’s not a problem, son. I know what to do.” The Colonel said.
“Damn it. Uncle, this is what I have to do every day?” Ahmed asked.
“Yes Ahmed. This is just the beginning. If these people are who I think they are then we still have a lot to do.” The Colonel said getting up.
“Who are these people Uncle?” Ahmed asked.
“Son,” The Colonel said, putting a hand on Ahmed’s shoulder
“Just do as I say for now. You would know in due time.” He finished.
They walked towards the door of the dirty room. As Ahmed stepped out into the corridor, the Colonel held him by the collar and drew him back inside. He shut the door.
“What the hell is wrong with you son!!??” The Colonel barked through clenched teeth.
“This is no longer your house. I am sure this place is bugged! Until we get out all the devices that have been planted here, you behave as if there are land mines at every step! You have to calculate every step, be very alert and always be patient!!!” The Colonel finished.
“Noted sir.” Ahmed replied. He was scared.
“Let’s go to your bedroom.” The Colonel said.
They moved to his bedroom very quickly without saying a word. The Colonel pulled Ahmed close and asked him for a DVD disc. Ahmed rummaged through a drawer and found one. He handed it to the Colonel. The Colonel took a chair from the sitting room and stood on it. Carefully, he placed the disk on the top left edge of the bedroom wall and began to scrape. He was scraping gently and moving slowly sideways. He was almost half way when a small cork sized object fell to the ground. Ahmed bent to pick it.
“Don’t!” The Colonel stopped him.
The Colonel got down from the chair and bent to examine the object. He took a pencil and flicked the object over a few times.
“This is a very high tech digital surveillance camera for enclosed spaced usually installed in pairs, called ‘screw and knot’. You can install one called the ‘bolt’ which works well, but is not as efficient as the pair. After installation and boot up, these devices must never be handled with bare hands. They have been designed to be sensitive to the touch of the skin and would immediately inject the skin surface with a deadly toxin that would paralyse the handler if handled for more than two seconds. If you had touched it, you would have become a ‘vegetable’.” The colonel said, turning the device around with the pencil.
“Oh my God! Who the hell are these people?” Ahmed said putting both hands on his head.
The Colonel looked up at Ahmed from his crouching position. He pitied the poor boy. He had not even seen anything yet.
“Get a plier, a small plastic bag and another DVD disc. This is a ‘screw’. The ‘knot’ should be opposite this wall, beside your bed. The Colonel climbed the bed and began scraping the wall gently with the disc in his hand. He was scraping gently and moving slowly. He was almost at the center of the wall when another object fell to the ground beside the bed, similar to the one before. Ahmed picked it up with the plier in his hand and added it to the one that fell initially.
“Now, your bedroom is clear. I have to do the other rooms. Go and get the items I told you to. I expect you in not less than two hours. Let’s synchronise our watches. Stop watch timer should be set to 2hrs and 5minutes. One. Two. Now!” The Colonel said.
They synchronised their watches as Ahmed got out of the house and the Colonel moved to the sitting room with a chair in one hand and a disc in the other.
It was home cleaning time.
After breakfast, Sophia asked Eva to wait behind. She beckoned her to the huge 4-seater leather sofa in the sitting area of the big parlour. After getting drinks from the bar, she came to Eva sitting opposite her in a small reclining chair. Eva took the offered glass of red wine.
“I know you must be wondering why you are here Eva. You really want to be with your loved ones. Your mum and your fiancé. That has been arranged. We have huge, huge plans for you sweetheart. Believe me, with time you would be glad with what we want to do with you. Meanwhile, you are seeing your mother tonight. I am giving you an extra day to be with her. We have made plans for Kunle to spend three days in the country. He is coming in tomorrow. In your own interests, utilise the time well and do not raise suspicion. Out of the goodness of my heart, I am going to let you be with Kunle till he travels back. I am usually not this nice. You will see him off to the airport. When he has boarded, someone will pick you from the airport. If I smell any foul play I will kill every single person that matters to you. Every single person.”
Sophia was talking and smiling so pleasantly at the same time. Eva used to have a Boss like that who was so deadly, so she knew Sophia was not bluffing. Eva simply nodded and gulped her drink. The threats suddenly made her throat dry. She swallowed.
“Oh, silly me. I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Sophia. Just call me S. Few people do.” Sophia finished.
“When can I leave for my mum’s please?” Eva asked meekly.
“Your escort would be ready for you at 3pm. Be ready then.” Sophia finished
Although she did not feel comfortable around Sophia, Eva was in love with her finesse. She had class, and looked like a runway model. She loved Sophia’s light use of make-up, her beautiful way of combining colours and the way she carried herself. She was lost in admiration of the physical qualities of this powerful stranger.
Sophia’s laugh brought her back to the present.
“Do you do girls?” Sophia asked. Sophia already knew the answer to this question.
“I used to. But I stopped since I started working. I haven’t felt the touch of a woman in a long time now.” Eva replied.
“Would you like to have a taste of me, Eva?” Sophia asked batting her eyelids and giving a sexy smile.
Her dimples went even deeper and she bit her lower lip. Eva blushed. She did not know if it was the alcohol or her secret admiration of the woman before her but she felt herself tingle down below.
“Ermm…Ermm… I really don’t know.” Eva said looking down at her glass. She was holding the glass with two hands now, her heart beating fast.
Sophia dropped her glass on the table beside her and walked to where Eva sat, taking calculated, sensual steps. She sat beside Eva, took the glass from her hands and dropped it on the floor. Sophia stroked Eva’s fine natural hair with her hands, slowly and passionately. Eva’s legs shook. Sophia bent to kiss her ear, flicking her tongue in Eva’s ear in quick fast succession. Eva closed her eyes and her body shook with lust. Eva licked her lips.
Sophia held Eva’s hand in hers. Eva opened her eyes.
“Let’s go inside. Follow me.” Sophia said
* * * * *
Sean woke up startled. He was sweating profusely despite the intensity at which the air condition was blowing. He just had a nightmare. Was it? He saw himself chopping off a young man’s body limb by limb. Each time the sharp machete made contact with the dead flesh, little spurts of blood were deposited on his face. The dead man was screaming for help and begging for pity as Sean cut him mercilessly. Ignoring the man’s pleas, he took the huge pieces of meat with the bones dangling on one side and approached the den in the Fortress. The sight of the dogs alone brought fright to him. The dogs were huge and menacingly wild. No one in his complete senses dared to enter the fortress when the dogs were not leashed or caged. There were three Rottweilers, two German Shepherds, one Husky, and one Wolf dog Hybrid. Ferocious dogs that were usually made to go very hungry before they were fed. The last time they ate was the evening before. And they were quite hungry, and ready to pounce. As Sean approached they began to bark in their den, the Rottweilers spewing huge amounts of saliva from their mouths. Sean stood a few meters away from the Den. Even though the cage was locked tight, he still did not want to risk taking any chances. He began to throw the pieces of flesh into the cage. Some got in. Some did not. In the demented rush for the meat, the Wolf Dog Hybrid forced the cage open. It came after Sean and the remaining pieces of flesh he had with him. Sean ran for dear life. He ran as fast and as swift as his legs could carry him. But Sean was not fast enough. The Wolf Dog pursued him and caught up with him. It pounced on him, sinking its teeth in Sean’s right arm which he used as a shield to cover his face. He screamed.
Sean woke up.
He was sweating. He turned on the bedside lamp, partially illuminating the room and casting a small shadow on the walls. He looked up at the wall clock. 3:26am. He could not go back to sleep. He was haunted by the dogs. He got up from his bed and opened a door to his left. He entered the bathroom and saw a large brown bucket stained with a reddish liquid. He moved closer to inspect the bucket. He was shocked at what he saw inside. There was a human head soaked in a pool of blood. His heart raced. So it was not a dream after all. He suddenly wished it was all a dream. He remembered all that happened the evening before. He recalled how Sophia had wasted the life of a promising young man just to prove a point. A ridiculous point. What in the world did they want with him anyway? He stopped starring at the bucket and face the small rectangular mirror on the wall by the sink. He washed his face and looked up at his reflection. He was looking very haggard. He hadn’t shaved in days and looked very unkempt. He made a mental note to ask for a clipper in the morning.
Sean got back to his room. He switched on the lights and looked around. He had previously scrubbed the tiled floors clean. The walls still had a little blood stain. That could be ignored, he told himself. He opened the drawer attached to his bedside table, pulling out a file. The first few pages contained a summary of his whole life and the past 4 months were summarised in more detail. He skipped that part and concentrated on the second module of the file. This contained a list of things he was supposed to do and a timeline for the completion of the tasks. He was expected of produce a 90% accuracy at the least.
There was a 3 months special online course on Cybersystems and Cyberspace. After that, 2 months of Router Hacking and Password Decryption. He had another four days of Wireless Systems, Radio Configuration and Cloud Redirection. His performance after all these would determine if they would continue with him to the advanced stage or discharge him. He did not like how that sounded. ‘Discharge’. He had a feeling that he would not be let go so easily. He feared the worst. He closed the file and thought about his girlfriend in Canada. He had not spoken to her in over a week. He missed her. He missed his mother. He knew there were agents at her very doorstep and that really worried him.
He heaved a huge sigh. He was going to get to the bottom of this. No matter what it would take, he was not going to give up until he got to the end of the line.
He closed his eyes and drifted into dreamland.
Tawo was furious. He was angry at himself and at the whole team. He was raging and venting his anger at anyone who as much as spoke a word to him. He sat on his swivel chair swaying left and right, both hands on his forehead. He was rubbing his temple and trying to find out where everything went wrong.
“Sir, there is…” Agent Ope started but stopped when he saw the bloody look of anger in his superior’s eyes
“You have 15 seconds to say what you wanted to blurt. If I am not impressed, I will have you monitoring the CCTV at Park ‘N’ Shop by tomorrow.” Tawo threatened.
The Agent hesitated for a few seconds. He kept quiet. He knew that if he still did not speak, the same fate awaited him. He decided to say what he wanted to and hope that it impressed his Boss.
“Sir, upon gruesome scrutiny of the playback tapes of the bugging operation, I noticed a blind spot. We overlooked that little glitch but upon proper inspection, I noticed that it was actually not a glitch.” Agent Ope said.
“You’ve got my attention. Go on.” Tawo said.
“There was a point that the target was stationary for about 90 seconds. That was our blind spot. I decided to check it out. I was able to override one of the surveillance cameras around the Redemption Camp. The nearest camera was a CAM70-Extreme. I zoomed in on it and adjusted the capture area.” Ope said, getting up and moving to the large touch screen monitor on the wall.
“This is where the target was blinking for 90 seconds,” He said touching a portion of the map. The touched portion grew large filling the whole screen. He continued.
“From here onwards for about 500 meters, there was no traffic and there are no fuel stations, restaurants, shops, fast foods or anything to make him stop. He was constantly on the move.” He touched a smaller portion of the now expanded map.
“This is the most acute angle that the camera could pick. I will rewind the footage of the camera at this point of the map sir.” Ope said.
He pressed a button on the screen and a video footage appeared in very slow motion, at the exact point the mechanic came out from. It showed the Mechanic coming out of a small hut which served as his workshop, crossing the road and going left. There was nothing after that. Exactly 90 seconds later, the Black Honda zoomed past.
“Impressive Ope” Tawo asserted a smile on his lips.
“Thank you sir. The Colonel is very smart. He had the Mechanic come meet him at the exact spot where he knew that he would not be captured by the cameras. He deliberately put this Mechanic on the spot. We have no records against the young lad sir. I am sure he knew that. We can’t make him talk. It seems he is going to win with this one.” Ope concluded.
Tawo was thinking. His fingers were playing with small beard. As the video replayed, something caught his eye.
“Stop that. Yes. Start the footage all over. And pause it on 03mins:14secs” Tawo ordered.
Ope obeyed. They watched the video all over again. From the beginning, cars were passing. At 01mins: 16secs, the Mechanic crossed the road and started walking left. He was not visible anymore. At 02mins:55secs, they watched as the Black Honda zoomed past. Nothing happened for the next 17 seconds. Two seconds later, Tawo half screamed, “Pause Now!”.
There was a Danfo in the footage, pause as it was accelerating.
“That Danfo is just accelerating. Zoom in on the front passenger seat.” Tawo barked
Ope did that. A blurred face with a white background.
“Now take that that image and move it to the facial ID defragmenter. “ Tawo commanded.
Ope pressed a button on the screen, used the tip his fingers to trace the edges of the image and pressed another button. With his two thumbs, he flipped the traced image in one very swift fast motion onto the next screen by his right.
“Image received. Scanning and Defragmentation in progress” came a computer voice from the screen.
They waited 12 seconds and then an image appeared before them.
It was The Colonel in his white linen,
“Get me that bus registration plates.” He said to Ope.
Ope zoomed in on the registration plates, defragmented it and printed it out.
“Done sir.” Ope said.
“Good.” Tawo replied getting the printed sheet from him.
He pressed a button on his table. His voice went into loud speaker mode in another office on the previous floor below them. There were eight trained search agents in that room. Give them a tiny detail (a name or a place or a phone number) and they would search out and deliver every single information regarding it. They had access to any electronic device that had access to the internet or used a database. They were the best.
“Bee Hive. This is Super-Agent Tawo. I want all routes taken by commercial van with registration plates BZ739FST between the hours of 6:30 and 7:30. You have 15 minutes.”
He pushed back his chair, put his legs on his table one on top of the other. He put his two hands behind his head and closed his eyes.
“I am going to nail this bastard.” He said to himself.
TO BE CONTINUED.