Saturday, 16 December 2017

FALSE PRETENSES Episode 39

Ise was losing his mind, he felt like if he let himself go he would lose it completely. He’d not slept twenty four hours at a stretch, who could blame him? How was a man supposed to handle the mysterious kidnap of his sister and girlfriend, two of the people he loved most in the world
.
He’d hurried out of his house and had driven like a mad man to the scene Kite had described to him just before the call had gone off, Sal and his security detail barely keeping up with him as they’d followed behind in another car but they’d been too late. The perpetrators had left taking Jeje and Kite with them leaving behind his mother and the driver who’d been shot and presently fighting for his life at the ICU.
The scene had been nasty, blood and glass splattered everywhere, he didn’t know if he was to be glad Kite and Jeje hadn’t been hurt, goodness only knew what the perps had planned. He would only breathe a sigh of relief when he had them back, right now he was panicked the hell out.
A note had been dropped in the back seat of the car, they hadn’t said what they wanted, just that they would get in touch later and they were not to involve the police. Like that was possible, the shots and mayhem had alerted residents in the area who had put a call to the police who had arrived late as usual and didn’t have any leads so far which wasn’t surprising. They’d questioned the hell out of him, had there been previous threats, did he have any trouble with anyone, he’d not been able to give them anything. They’d even asked if Jeje’s car being snatch could have something to do with it but he told them he didn’t think so, he knew the story behind that one.
Aside from being in shock almost, worried and confused, he had not an idea who would do this. He’d never rubbed any one off the wrong way and there had been no threats against his life or any member of his family’s.
They were all waiting for his mom, who’d gone through a panic attack during the ordeal and was recovering in her rooms in the main house. His father had been notified and was on his way back into the country, Ise hoped the old man would be fine. The doctor had said she would be okay and ready to speak soon but Ise was impatient, he cared about his mother but he wanted to know what had happened. Who were these people and what did they want exactly? She just might be able to help with some useful information.
It was Monday evening already and still no word from the perpetrators, he was even more unsettled. What were they waiting for, he was about to run out of his mind, whatever they asked for he was ready to give, that wasn’t a problem for him he just wanted the two most precious people to him back in one piece.
He was feeling so damn horrible, was he supposed to contact Kite’s family? He really didn’t want to scare her recovering mother who he was sure didn’t have an inkling who he was. How was he supposed to introduce himself to her?
“Hello ma, I’m Ise the guy your daughter has been living with who has now gotten her kidnapped?” He groaned, raising up his head, his eyes scanned the alcoholic drinks on the bar shelf, he’d been tempted to indulge but he needed a sober mind now.
“Sir?”
"Yes," his head spun around to acknowledge Sal who just came into the room, but the look on his face didn’t raise Ise’s hopes.
"It’s Princess, Sir.” He said handing him his phone which Ise had placed in his care, needing to be disturbed with it only when necessary.
“Princess.”
“Good evening Sir.”
“Evening, whats up?”
“I was able to cancel your appointments for today but you have to be here for the meeting with Tanoil tomorrow. It’s been set up for a while now.”
Ise groaned “Alright, I’ll be there, time?”
“2.00 pm.”
“Okay, has Adeniyi got anything for me on what I assigned him to this morning?”
“Umm, not yet Sir.”
“Okay. Is that all?”
“umm, yes..but sir, please can I ask something?”
Ise rolled his eyes wondering why she was stuttering like a kid, he had little patience today “What?” He spat more harshly than he’d intended.
“Ummm, Sir, its about Mr. Kenny...has he been really fired?”
“Yes, he has.”
“May I ask why?”
“You’ll find out soon enough, I intend to make an announcement when investigations are complete.” He snapped at the busybody woman “Any other important messages?”
“No Sir, everyone has you in their prayers."
“Thanks.” He said looking up to see Sal leading Vicky in. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
He got up from the bar stool he’d been sitting on.
“Sir, also there’s been a crowd of reporters all day at the office gates, so you have to be careful of an ambush tomorrow.”
“sure,” he replied his mind on to other things already, he was quite surprised at seeing her, he recalled vividly how their last meeting had gone.
“Ise...” She called walking into him and giving him a hug “I came as soon as I heard, I’ve been trying your lines all day. How you holding up?”
He shrugged “Trying to hang in there.”
She nodded, frowning as she stared at his face “you do look like crap.”
He really didn’t want to be reminded how he looked, he didn’t give a hoot at the moment “ I gather my mother and Jeje were on their way to your place last night before the attack?”
“Yeah, I invited them over for a little get together at my place as I’m leaving the country at the end of the week. I got worried when they didn’t show up and called her line and Jeje’s last night but as they were unavailable, i thought they’d cancelled or something until I saw the news this evening. How’s your mother?”
“She’ll survive, she suffered a panic attack and has been on bed rest all day in her room.”
“Any leads so far? Was she helpful? Did she see anything?”
“I don’t know, we’re waiting till the doctor gives the go ahead to speak with her.”
“We?” She raised a brow
“The police, we had to involve them, they were at the scene of the kidnap....” Ise sighed suddenly tired of the questioning, Vicky was indeed quite inquisitive. He realised she still had an arm wrapped around his waist which he carefully removed himself from. “ but you know the Nigerian Police, they cant figure themselves out talk more about figuring a case out.”
“So no leads so far?”
“Nothing... I just wish these guys will just come out and say what they wanted already....I’m ready to give anything, I just want my sister and fiancée back unharmed.”
Vicky raised a brow “Fiancee?”
He shrugged, she’d not officially accepted yet and they’d had one of their huge fights again before the abduction but he was confident he could get her to say yes to his proposal, he always went after what he wanted and got it but he would first have to find her. He hoped she wouldn’t do anything silly that would get her hurt, that girl for all her intelligence could act really silly. He was quite scared her stubbornness could get her hurt.
“ You really do love her, don’t you?” Vicky asked quietly watching him.
He looked up at her, but didn’t have to answer her as Sal chose that moment to come in.
“Your mother is ready to speak with you, Sir.”
**********
Vicky hated this city called Abuja, fastest growing metropolis her foot, whoever had come up with that analysis must have been drunk at the time. The whole place reeked of poverty and there was nothing impressive about the place. Yeah, there were a few affluent areas but that didn’t cover for the rest of the squalor she saw around. She really couldn’t wait to be out of this pig’s sty, sipping a bottle of margarita in the Caymans or some other island of her choice.
She smiled at how well the plan was going so far, it would be really easy getting the money from Williams, he was ready to do whatever to get his precious little sweeties back. She’d not planned on them abducting the tramp too, left for her she would have gladly left her behind with instructions to put a bullet in her head. She hated the girl for coming between her and Williams, it was all thanks to her that her initial plans had been thwarted, it would have felt good to kill the b’itch but when The old hag, Mrs. Williams had gone through some sort of attack, the b’itch had offered herself in her place telling them it would be better than having the old woman dying in their custody.
At the time it had seemed like a good idea, Williams did have a thing for the tramp and it would mean more money but now Vicky was tempted to put a bullet in the b’itch just to get at Williams. From what she’d witnessed at his place today at his place, it was clear that he cared deeply for her and it would hurt him deeply if he lost her. Some twisted part of her wanted the wonderboy to suffer.
She smiled wickedly as she slowed her car to a halt, bringing it to park on the corner of the road a few blocks from where the abductees were being held. She brought out her cell phone and called moss.
He picked on the second ring “I’m outside.” She said cutting the call immediately. There was no time for pleasantries here, they had a job to do and all else had to be suspended for now. She waited for a while until Moss showed up.
“hows it going over here?” She asked
He nodded “fine, the younger lady has been weeping all day and they refused to eat anything, but they’re good. How did your meeting go at the Williams place?” He asked
“Great! He’s willing to do anything to get them back and they have no clue to anything.”
“Good, but you do know we’re not out of the woods yet?”
She rolled her eyes irritated “So far, so good, Moss or do you enjoy being the bearer of bad news all the time?”
“I’m just letting you know there's every need to be careful until the deal is done. When are you sending the demand?”
“soon, when I’m done here.” She replied and then recalled what she’d heard during Mrs Williams questioning by the police “besides the old bat heard my voice.”
“What?” Moss asked
“Mrs Williams, I stood in on her questioning and she said she heard a female’s muffled voice.”
“Sh’it Vicky!” Moss cursed
“Chill Moss, she didn’t know who it was, it was too faint to recognise. Get yourself together, it was nothing!”
“I hope so.” He warned “ I hope so, Vicki”
“Whats gotten into you, Moss? Why are you so shaky? Its looking like I got more balls than you do at the moment. You need to keep a cool head under pressure Moss or you’ll do yourself a lot of unnecessary harm.”
Moss shook his head at her looking at her like he was seeing her for the first time. “Sometimes, I wonder about you, Vick...how you can be as callous and cold as stone, must be the coke you’re sniffing.”
Vicky hissed “Oh please, the coke doesn’t do anything to me, you’ve always been a scaredy cat.”
“oh, yeah? Well this scaredy cat wants to this deal to go real smooth, so you better get your act together and do everything to how we planned it in the first place.” He cautioned.
“Whatever.” She replied opening the doors to her car, pissed with Moss. The guy could be so bloody irritating sometimes. “We’ll talk soon, just make sure things at your end run smoothly.”
*******
*******
“ What the fu-“
“Sir, please calm down.” Sal advised his boss “You need to calm down.”
He turned from the TV screen, on to the other man and looked at him in such annoyance, as if he was the cause of all he was going through at the moment.
“Calm?” He asked him “Calm? Are you freaking serious? The silly police leaked information about the case to the press and you want me to be fu’cking calm? Are you for real? Get the fu’cking IGP on the phone this minute and tell him I want them off the case....”
“Sir.....” Sal started unsure but stopped at the look his boss gave him, the other man didn’t dare speak, he’d never seen his boss this way before, like a mad man from hell, as if he was crazy. Blood shot eyes, and angry as hell, he did an about turn instantly and went to make the call.
Ise turned back to the screen and saw they’d moved on to other news, he had good reason to shut down the TV station and sue its management for divulging information in an ongoing case, information that had been obtained from his mother during her private interview with the police. To think they’d asked that Vicki be removed from the room when they’d not made certain their own house was clean, they were such dumb as’ses.
He’d insisted Vicki remained, as she was a doctor and concerned about his mother’s health status. His mother hadn’t given them much other than she was certain there was a female in the company of the perpetrators who’d attacked them. Her voice had been muffled and faint but she’d heard her instructing the guys to take Kite in her place since she’d not been doing well. According to his mother, the woman had said she hadn’t wanted to be saddled with a dead old bat.
Ise was feeling more desperate by the second, it was already eight p.m and still no ransom demand, he was beginning to get scared that this might be more than a kidnapping, maybe they were sent to abduct and kill? He felt himself grow cold and shiver, never! Why abduct people you wanted to kill? Why not just do it there and then? And then, they’d left his mother behind so as not to have them die in their hands.
They would send a demand, he told himself, looking up to see that he was at the doorway to Kite’s room, he’d wandered down there absent minded as he’d been going through things in his head. Pushing the door open, he looked in, feeling as if he would see her come out of the bathroom at any moment but struggled to accept that it wasn’t happening.
The air in there felt alive with her presence and he went in, maybe he could find some solace in being there? The room was just as she’d left it, tempted to smile as he looked around, Kite could be a sort of slob, fond of taking off her clothes and leaving them wherever she’d dropped it to be picked up sometime later. He picked up the gold sequined gown off the floor of the wardrobe where she’d left it two nights before when they’d made love. The night she’d opened up to him about what she’d really been about. The night he’d realized he really didn’t want to be without her, the night he’d realized she came with a lot of baggage and he was ready to bear it with her.
She wasn’t a bad person, just hadn’t been dealt a fair hand by life and had had to work with what she had. Maybe he was making excuses for her, but he didn’t give a damn, he would do anything for that girl and the second he’d realized that, he’d known he wanted to be married to her, wanted to live the rest of his life with her. She could do no wrong in his eyes. His hurtful words to her the day before had been caused by his anger at being used all along by a friend he’d trusted so much.
Dropping the gown on her bed, he glanced at the side stool and saw the glittering purse that had accompanied the gown, he picked it up. Running his hands over it, he recalled how surreal she’d looked that night.
He found himself opening it, curious as to what was in the purse. Was the little thing just an accessory or did she actually have stuff inside? Opening the clasp he saw a pack of gum and a slip of paper which he brought out and saw digits to a phone number written on it accompanied with ‘Emergency, call me’. There was no name attached to it, just a number. He frowned studying the sturdy, confident strokes of ink and knew most certainly it was a man’s writing.
He wondered who it could be. Taking the slip of paper, he dropped the purse and made his way back to the study where he picked Kite’s phone which was lying on his desk. It had been found in the car along with her handbag.
He dialed the number and it began to ring, he expected it to be picked up but instead it rang till it was disconnected.
So much for emergent, he thought wryly but before he dropped the phone, it began to ring, a call coming in from a private number.
He answered the call on the first ring, tempted to say the first hello but didn’t, he kept mute instead, listening.
Finally, the other person spoke “Kite, are you there? Are you alright?”
The voice was male and Ise had a good idea who it was, he didn’t know how he knew but he did.
“Its not Kite,” he replied and there was a silence before he spoke up again.
“Williams?”
Ise raised a brow “Yes, its Ise Williams.”
There was a sigh on the other end and the other man began again “Look, if you’re thinking Kite and I are still in contact, you’re wrong. I gave her the number to get to me in case of an emergency. There’s no need spying on her anymore, I’m out of the picture for good, I’m not even in the country anymore.”
That explained why he had no idea what had happened. “ Kite was abducted.” He said crisply.
“s’cuse me?”
“Kite was abducted along with my younger sister.”
“What!” He could feel the other mans shock from where he stood “When?”
“Yesterday evening.”
“Why?”
“ I’m not sure yet, there’s no ransom demand at the moment, the abductors haven’t gotten back to us.”
“Where did it happen?”
“not far from the house, Kwame Nkrumah Crescent, they’d been in the car with my mother on their way somewhere when they’d been waylaid and forcefully abducted. Look, I’m not sure why I’m telling you this but I thought you had to know. For some reason, Kite was fond of you, I know she would want this.”
“Is the police on it?”
“they were but I asked them to back out because they leaked classified information to the press.”
“No, get them back on it. Act like you’re with them on this but do your own background investigations, and keep them out of that loop. You know how useless they are. I’ll make some enquiries from my end and get back to you on what I find. I will reach you on Kite’s number, so keep it with you always and please do not let anyone know about my involvement or even your investigations. Not even those you think you trust with your life.” He hung up leaving Ise staring at the now useless device in his hand.
Now, that wasn’t rude, he thought. This was the kind of action he needed, not people around him who were stumped and seemed to be at a dead end.
Sal knocked at the door, Ise turned “yeah?”
“Sir...I just finished with the IGP and he doesn’t believe the leak came from his office, he...”
“Get them back on the case!” He said brusquely
“What?” Sal asked not sure he’d heard well.
Ise said more slowly for the man’s benefit “Get the police back on the case!”
Sal frowned “but...”
Ise sighed “I’ve changed my mind, Sal, I’ve realized they are my only option at getting these guys, or have your investigations come up with anything tangible?”
The other man slumped his shoulders “No sir.”
“So get them back on ....” He didn’t finish his statement as he heard some sort of commotion outside. Exchanging a brief glance with Sal, they both made their way outside to see Olamide struggling with a team of security personnel.
Ise had left instructions not to be bothered with any more guests after Vicki had left and they were working on his orders.
“Hey! Hey!” Sal called out to them, getting them to stop.
“ Sir, we told him Mr. Williams cant receive any guests but he barged in and....”
“its okay.” Ise said, it wouldn’t kill him to receive his former friend. They left him alone and Ola turned to him, glaring angrily.
“ Ise!” The other man yelled as he approached him “How dare you! You crossed the line, man! Keeping me out of the loop like this! I know you could be mean but not like this, not like this man! Do you have an idea what I’ve been going through? Finding out about my girlfriends abduction on the news? Really? Ise, I’m now that inconsequential to you?”
Ise saw the pain he was going through mirrored exactly in hie friends demeanor, Ola was equally going through hell and it dawned on Ise that maybe he’d been too quick to judge his friend. Maybe Ola really did have strong feelings for Jeje?
“I’m sorry.” He found himself saying, the words leaving him without hesitation, he meant it. He was sorry for everything, he realised. “I...” he didn’t know what else to say or how to console his friend “I’m so sorry.” He said putting an arm over his friends shoulder as the younger man burst into sobs he’d been holding back, letting go finally, his shoulders shaking.
Ise had never seen his friend breakdown this way before, but he understood. He wasn’t far from breaking point himself, he wished he could just give in but knew he had to keep a cool, clear head. That was what the situation really needed. He couldn’t afford to lose focus.
“Sir!” Sals voice was sharp and Ise looked up to see Sal holding up his phone “Princess just called and said you needed to check your mail.”
Ise let go of Ola who seemed bewildered. He accepted the phone and went straight to his inbox, instantly seeing what he was looking for, the ransom demand.
SUBJECT:RANSOM
TO: ise.williams@wolcorp.org
FROM: anonymous@yahoo.com
WIRED TRANSFER TO THE BANK OF CAYMAN’S 2034567839337467
$ 2,000,000
DEADLINE : TUESDAY 24TH SEPTEMBER, 2013
4.00PM PROMPT.
“Finally!” He breathed before turning to Sal “Get me the head of our IT department, get me Izy and get me the family’s account manager at Citibank, get them here like yesterday, we need to start liquidating assets...also arrange for a teleconference with my father.”
“Sir..” Sal started
“what now?” He asked impatiently
“The police...” Sal began
“leave them out of this!” He stated and the other man knew not to argue “just get those three down here now, we have no time.” He added before turning on his friend who’d been silently watching for a while. “Come on Ola, you’ll need to sit in on this.”
*******
Tbc

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