Stella: “Ashley! You! No now. E no possible. No…wetin I do you?” she asked, as she jumped on Ashley.
The policemen quickly separated them. Detective Hamza came into the office and saluted the D.P.O, then he walked to Ashley and removed the cuffs from her wrists. Ashley rubbed her wrists and smiled at Stella, who stood with her mouth open. She drew a chair and sat down.
Ashley: “seat Stella, let me tell you a story.” She said, patting a chair by her side.
Stella: “what is going on here? Why is she sitting like she owns the office.” She asked, looking at the D.P.O in anger.
Detective Hamza: “your friend is actually working for the police. She is an undercover police officer. She is actually of the same rank as I am.” He replied, softly.
Stella turned to look at Ashley in surprise. She was smiling as she lit a stick of cigarette and drew long and hard.
Ashley: “I am sorry I lied to you and putting your daughter in danger. I wish everything could have been done differently but it had to be this way.” She said, staring at Stella through a haze of smoke.
Detective Hamza got up, took the child and walked out of the office, promising Stella not to take her far.
Ashley: “at first I was just one of Tega’s girls in Italy allthough I thought then that I was his only girl. After we had spent the little money I had left, after my father disowned me on realizing that I had not been going to school as he thought I was, he put me out to hustle for him. At first it was with select clients, wealthy white men, business men, industrialists and so on. Then I discovered that he was robbing these men too. Once he realised I knew, started introducing me to more scams. We did everything, robbed, scammed, sold drugs, forged documents for illegal immigrants, we even sold girls, which were sent to Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe. I and my colleagues made a pile of money for the rogue but it was not enough. He invested into a deal that went bad and he lost everything.
By then, I was done for. I had done several forced abortions and lost two pregnancies due to his beatings as well as the drugs I took to keep me steady. I had treated several STDs and overdosed several times; I was basically a wreck but I had some money that I managed to save. The fool suggested we come back to Nigeria and start all over again. I agreed. The moment we landed, we were arrested. He was set free because nothing could be pinned on him but i had already fronted for him so many times, in the few times I came to Nigeria that I had a rap sheet that could have gotten me a life sentence. So I made a deal.
You see Tega is always after a big score. I knew that he was never satisfied. So they promised me freedom if i help them catch him in a crime. After all, I was after under his control throughout the period of my criminal activity.” She stopped and dragged the cigarette smoke into her lungs and blew it out.
“D.P.O Desmond, then an inspector became my case officer. He trained me quietly while I played the role of a used up prostitute. Tega used my little savings to open his hotel and started his scams; small time stuffs like helping yahoo boys get stuff, selling weed, supplying girls. I waited patiently until, this kidnap deal came. The day he showed me your picture, I nearly died but I had suspected that was why I came looking for you.” she concluded.
Stella sighed and stared at the floor.
Stella: “is that why you allowed my child get into such danger. Were you really looking for your child?” She asked, angrily.
Ashley looked quickly at the D.P.O who frowned. Part of her deal with the police was to never contact any member of her family, so as not to compromise the job. She had not been able to resist the opportunity, Stella had given her.
Ashley: “if I had stayed away, the job would have been carried out and by now you would have been coughing up one hundred million naira. It was better that I was on the scene, to protect your daughter and also implicate Tega. And yes, I am still looking for my son.” She replied.
Stella: “this is too much to take. Where is Brukeme?” she suddenly asked.
Ashley: “he was shot. He has been rushed to the hospital. Is that his name? How do you know him?” she asked.
Stella: “a friend of mine recommended him to me. I don’t really know him. Why do you ask?”
Ashley: “can you do something for me?” she asked.
Stella: “no. I can understand why you did what you did but I don’t trust you anymore. Please do not come close to me again. Ever.” She replied then she got up and walked away.
Ashley rushed after her and grabbed her hand. Stella turned around and slapped her but she refused to let go.
Ashley: “please help me. There is something about that boy that worries me. Please go to him and help me find out. Please. I can’t go there or I will blow my cover. Please do this for me and I will never come near you ever again
Stella looked at her, nodded and sighed.
Stella: “you broke my heart o.” she said, softly then she walked away.
Kate came to join Fidelia at where she stood, biting her nails, her eyes fixed on the police man who stood guard at the theatre door.
Kate: “I hear your boyfriend is an armed robber.” She said, placing her arm around her sister’s shoulder, a cheeky grin on her face.
Fidelia: “he is not a robber!” she shouted and shrugged her shoulder, removing her sister’s arm in the process.
Kate: “sorry o. Have you heard anything?” she asked; her face more serious.
Fidelia shook her head, her eyes on the policeman. Soon, Voke came on his wheelchair and joined them as they waited. Suddenly, a woman rushed in with a girl in tow. She went to the policeman standing guard, who told her to wait for the doctor. The woman walked back and stood close to Fidelia and her friends. Fidelia drew close to her
Fidelia: “good afternoon ma. Are you Brukeme’s mother?” she asked.
Stella: “no. he is my daughter’s driver. Who are you?” she asked, in return.
Fidelia: “I am a friend. They say that he tried to kidnap someone.” She replied, staring at the woman.
Stella: “no o! He actually saved my daughter from the assailants.” She replied.
The theatre door opened and the doctor stepped out, removing gloves from his hands. The group rushed to him, and queried him about the state of Brukeme.
Doctor: “he is fine. The bullet has been removed but he lost a lot of blood. He will need blood. We are doing his blood work now. Is there any member of his family here?”
Jerry: “e no get family. Na me and Kevwe be e family but if na blood I go donate.” He said, as he rushed into the waiting area, sweating profusely.
Fidelia: “thank you. Thank you.” she said, to Jerry.
Jerry looked at her curiously as he was taken away by a nurse to run the tests needed before the blood transfusion is carried out.
Tega sat in the interrogation room, his hands on the head. The door opened and detective Hamza walked in, shutting the door behind him.
Tega: “ha detective Hamza, thank God, it is you. You know me now. tell your men who I be.” He said, excited at seeing a friendly face.
Detective Hamza: “Tega, the case looks bad for you o. your men have confessed o and their confessions are the same, so e no fit be lie.” He replied as he sat down.
Tega: “na lie. I know those people. I swear.” He replied automatically.
Detective Hamza: “you no know Ashley too?” he asked, staring at Tega with sad eyes.
Tega: “that old okpo. I don’t have any control over what she does o. in fact, I had thrown her out of my hotel some time ago. She has always been a bad egg, that one.” He replied, angrily.
Detective Hamza: “but she says different. She says you are the mastermind.” He replied, softly.
Tega: “that is a lie! I am just an hotelier, catering to the needs of my community.” He replied.
Detective Hamza placed a phone on the table and stared at Tega.
Detective Hamza: “do you recognize this phone?” he asked.
Tega: “no, I don’t.” he replied quickly, his eyes shifting from the phone to the detective.
Detective Hamza: “let me play a recording for you.” he said, then he pressed play on the phone screen.
The conversation he had several days back with Ashley started playing. Tega gasped in recognition of his voice telling Ashley, he would give her one million naira and describing the target of the kidnap. Detective Hamza nodded his head sadly.
Detective Hamza: “the game is up Tega.” He said softly.
Tega: “please it was that whore. She was the brain behind this. She set me up. Please.” He pleaded, sweat beading his bleached forehead.
Detective Hamza: “this is the tip of the iceberg. She has given us info on your past dealings. We know of you Tega. Infact…” he got up and went to the door, he opened it and Ashley entered the room.
Tega: “you bitch! You bitch! Where are my documents? I took care of you, gave you a life then you betray me? You are dead know that.” He said; anger in his eyes.
Ashley ignored him and walked to where he sat. She pushed his shirt upwards and looked at the mark.
Ashley: “it’s the same.” She muttered.
Tega: “what is it? What are you doing? Why is she not in handcuffs like me?” he asked, surprise on his face.
Ashley: “the driver of the car was shot. He might not make it. He had this mark on his arm.” She said, looking at him intently.
Tega: “so? How is that my concern? Anyone can have a mark on his skin.” he replied, looking at the detective with a questioning look.
Ashley: “his name is Brukeme.” She said, softly.
Tega turned to look at her in surprise then he burst into laughter. Ashley stepped back in shock.
Tega: “ha…fate is a curious being. Lawd! Well at least those idiots did something right.” He said, wiping his eyes with his cuff hands and chuckling.
Ashley: “what is that supposed to mean?” she asked, fear gripping her heart.
Tega: “darling but that’s our son. God is indeed a comedian.” He said; then burst into laughter again.
Question: Brukeme is Tega’s son and Ashley’s son; what about Voke and Friday. Whose sons are they?
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