NICHOLAS EPISODE TEN

RADIANCE HOTEL

ARANDUN

4.00 AM

5, AUGUST 2015

It was dark when she opened her eyes. She squinted at the ray of light that filtered in through the window blinds. She felt lost, she normally did not wake up facing the window. The bed felt funny and whatever  she felt all over her body was definitely not her cozy blanket. She reached for where her bedside alarm clock had been sitting for five straight years, it was not there. Everything felt different.  This definitely isn’t my bedroom. You are in Arandun, remember? You woke up here yesterday, remember that too?  Yes she was, she had forgotten.  Of course the bed felt funny, it was a small, very inconvenient bed. The word ‘hotel’ had been very misleading. She was not going to spend another night in the place, that much she knew. Spending two nights was more than enough.

She dragged her feet off the bed, she felt the coldness run through her feet as they touched the concrete floor. She wrapped her robe round about her and walked to the window. She peeped, it was still dark. She fumbled around in the dark till she found her phone, at least she would know what time it was. It was four a.m.! What on earth am I doing awake at four a.m.?  What on earth am I doing in this flea infested dirt bag of a ‘hotel’? It was not flea infested and was not a dirt bag. It was not a three star hotel, maybe not even one star but it was neat. It was obvious what side of the bed she woke up on, it was going to be a long day. Nobody should to be awake at four a.m. She definitely should not be awake at four a.m. but she was sure she was not going back to sleep, her day had started. She groped for the light switch, it was far away, close to the door. The light stung her eyes as she flipped the switch, she shielded her eyes with her arm making her way to the bed.

Her morning rituals usually took an hour. She would pray, take a shower and fix herself a hot cup of coffee. Obviously she was not getting any cup of coffee. It was a few minutes after five when she was done. She still had a couple of hours to kill. There was nothing to do. She was sure she could not go back to sleep even if she tried. How boring is this? Thank God for the internet, it was one sure way to avoid boredom. She decided to google CyberCorp and see what came up. She was surprised by the number of results she got.

Two hours later she dropped the phone, her eyes were aching, and she could not believe she had just done what she lectured Nicholas about several times. It had been rewarding though, she had read a lot about CyberCorp. She had read a few things about Nicholas too. There was a particular blogger who seemed to know a lot, perhaps too much, about Nicholas and his experiences at CyberCorp. He was new too. He had just two posts up before he started blogging about Nicholas. He had a way of making everything he wrote interesting, he got a lot of comments. She had been tempted to comment herself. It was incredible because he had all his facts right, all of them! She did not understand what his angle was yet. All journalists, including bloggers, had an angle. This guy apparently was not decided yet. She made a mental note to keep checking the blog.

She stood up from the bed, she stretched and yawned. She silently prayed that her day was not going to be as boring as the previous day was. She had spent the day doing nothing. Nothing! She had not been that bored since… since forever. Nicholas had met with the cop and had come to see her but he had other things to do and she did not feel it would be fair to insist he stayed with her.

The town was waking up. It was time she left the room, she thought. She thought of going for a walk, you wouldn’t make it far, not in those heels. Okay, she was not going to walk, but she still needed to leave the room. She strapped her sandals on, the heels are not too high, they are not too high at all, she ran her hand through her hair, picked up her phone and stepped out of the room.

It was cold outside, she wished she had brought a jacket. The garage was empty except for her car, she doubted the garage was frequently occupied. Beside the garage, the hotel guard snored on a chair. It was a good thing her car had its own security. She walked towards the road and looked around. Two boys hurried after their father, they looked like they were headed for the farm. Two houses from the hotel, a woman was feeding her chickens, an impatient hen jumped at her, she promptly smacked it back to its place. A few girls played as they fetched water from a government built water reservoir. It looked like she had stepped into a movie with a village setting, only that this was not a village, and it was not a movie. There seemed to be an air of calm and simplicity about the whole environment. She definitely could use some calm. She loved the hustle and bustle of the city but she got tired of it sometime.

She had seen enough, it was time to see Nicholas, it was time to leave this town and its calmness and simplicity.

She was about to call him when she heard someone call behind her.

“Good morning ma.”

She turned back to see a young lady walking towards her.

“Kate?”

“Yes. You are Nicholas’ mom, right?” she was beaming, apparently she was having a better morning.

“Yes, Nicholas is my son. What are you doing here?” Be nice, she might be your future daughter-in-law. “Nicholas did not tell me you were coming.”

“Yes, he called me early this morning. He said you were alone yesterday and he wanted me to keep you company, maybe show you around the town.”

“He should have called me first. I’m sure you have better things to do.” Nicholas had actually sent somebody to babysit her.

“He said you wouldn’t have allowed me come over, and I have nothing doing anyway.”

Funke shrugged. Apparently Nicholas was not ready to leave.

“Okay, let me get a jacket. We can walk for some time before I come back to have my breakfast.”

They walked for two hours before winding up in Kate’s house. Kate was not bad company; she knew a lot and did not hesitate to share. She had received a lecture on the history of the town. It was a subject that would bore her normally, but Kate had kept her from dozing. She had named all the streets as they walked, Funke had promptly forgotten all of them. Kate had offered her breakfast, she knew it would not be worse than the food served at the ‘hotel’ so why not? It was not worse, the food was actually very good. It was good to know she could feel at home with someone her son’s age.

“How long have you been friends with Nicholas?” He had not mentioned her until when he came home for the will reading.

“Not very long. We teach in the same school, but we became friends, recently.” She replied with a smile.

“Okay.” Was Nicholas replacing Kemi? “That’s after Kemi was kidnapped right?”

“Yes.” Her smile thinned. It was better to change the subject. Slightly.

“Kate, I’ve been wanting to hear another person’s view of this kidnapping thing. Did you know Kemi at all?”

“Yes, kind of. She was quite popular around town, she was everywhere. Nicholas doesn’t know it, but a lot of people knew they were spending time together, she was popular.”

“You keep saying ‘was’. You believe she’s dead too?” Kate seemed surprised by the question. She apparently did not notice she had used ‘was’.

“Well, that’s what Nicholas told me, every other person thinks she was kidnapped, I don’t know really.”

Funke could not understand why Nicholas and now Kate had ruled out the possibility of a kidnap. It certainly was a possibility. It was the best possibility.

ADAM’S RESIDENCE

ARANDUN

10 A.M.

5, AUGUST 2015

Nicholas could not believe himself, but he actually thought this Cop was cool. Their meeting the previous day had not gone as he had planned; bringing up CyberCorp had put him off balance. He had tried to repair the damage by skirting around the truth but Adam, yes he called him by his first name now, was no fool. He had kept on asking the questions until he could no longer lie. He had told him everything. His waking up next to a supposed dead girl, he was not so sure she was dead anymore, his own kidnap, his new position as CyberCorp CEO, everything. Adam in turn had told him about his investigations. He did not fully understand the Adam’s process yet, but he believed finding Kemi was not just a job to him, it was sort of a mission.

He was sitting in Adam’s living room, they had agreed to meet before he left for Ilorin. It was a decent house, it was not heavily decorated but it was neat. He was seated on a plastic chair, one of the three chairs in the room. Adam did not seem to entertain very much. There was no television in the room but judging by the stack of DVDs on a wooden shelf sitting in a corner of the room, there was a television in his bedroom. Nicholas browsed through the DVDs as he waited for Adam who was out to buy him a bottle of Coke. The DVDs were mainly Hollywood Series. He had a lot of Detective and Law series. You can’t solve Nigerian crimes the Hollywood way Adam.

“See anything you like?” Adam called out as he walked inside the room, clutching two bottles of Coke and five packs of Indomie noodles to his chest.

“Yeah, ‘The Mentalist’ is one of my favorite series.”

“Patrick Jane is pretty crazy isn’t he?”

“Yeah, he is. I can’t wait to know who Red John really is.” He moved to help Adam set down the bottles. “You ever use Jane’s kind of deductive reasoning when solving your crimes?” he asked with a smile.

“Oh Nicholas, I wish. Here’s a little known fact about me; this is the first crime I’m solving… provided I solve it.”

“Seriously?” Nicholas asked arching an eyebrow. “Well, you’ll get a lot of help from Jane and his crew.”

“Or I could just get Dr. Reed and his ‘Criminal Minds’ crew to impact in me their vast knowledge.” The both laughed.

Adam spent the next twenty minutes cooking the noodles. They spent another twenty eating and discussing the best episodes of ‘The Mentalist’ they had seen. Nicholas watched Adam clear the table, it was time to face the business of the day. Business was always easier with food in the stomach.

“So Nicholas, we are working with the premise that Kemi is alive, right? So we are investigating a kidnap and not a murder. Right?” Adam asked as he plugged in his laptop adaptor into the socket close to where the television should have been.

“Yeah, two kidnaps maybe. I have a feeling my kidnap is somehow connected to her kidnap. By the way, we are not investigating, you are investigating. I’m a suspect, remember?”

Adam chuckled.

“Yes, I remember. They don’t pay people for being suspects anymore, you know.” They both laughed. So much laughing, I’m pretty sure Kemi is not laughing wherever she is. Adam must have heard his thought because he became serious all of a sudden. “Why do you think anybody in CyberCorp would want to kidnap Kemi. Let’s do some ‘Criminal Minding’ of our own. Why?”

“I don’t know why they would kidnap her.” He had thought about it and it did not make much sense. “But given what you told me yesterday, they wanted some information from her. The information could be about me. Maybe they knew about me before the reading of the Will.”

“Yeah, that makes total sense. Maybe she was not cooperating, maybe she found out something she wasn’t supposed to. Next question; who would want her kidnapped?” Adam asked.

“That one is even more difficult. There are lots of people who could want her. This Abdul guy you mentioned, he could be working for himself or he could be working for another person. Or maybe he works in CyberCorp and the person who wants Kemi is from outside the company.  There are so many angles from which one can look at this.”

“Yeah, the problem is none of the angles makes this any easier.” Adam said with a sigh. “Let’s check the online site of Cybercorp, they have a page showing their employees.”

He typed away on his laptop’s keyboard, the CyberCorp site filled the screen, he typed some more and a list of ‘Abduls’ appeared on the screen. Nicholas moved close to the screen, the list was too long.

“The list is too long, is there a way we can reduce it?” Nicholas asked.

“Yeah, there are filters. I’ll just check for those working in the Ilorin office, hopefully we’ll find our guy.”

He filtered the search and a shorter list of three people showed on the screen.

“So, one of these guys will lead us to Kemi.” Nicholas said exited.

“Yeah, I guess.” Adam looked at the three men keenly. “Which of these three men do you think we… sorry I, should go after first?”

“Okay, look at this first guy…” Nicholas said observing the men. “… he is a junior staff member, there’s no way he’d get access to a company car. This other guy, he probably has a company car but no girl will listen to him, talk more of go on a date with him.

“That leaves us with this young handsome and very important man.” Adam said, zooming in on his face. “He looks so young… okay here is his bio, he is actually very young, how did he get to that position so fast?”

“At least we have our man. So what do you want from me Mr. Abdullahi Faruk?”

TOLA’S RESISDENCE

ILORIN

7 PM

5, AUGUST 2015

She could not believe the number of comments on her blog. Blogging was the new journalism, daily newspapers could not catch up with the power of the internet. The newspapers reported yesterday’s news. Blogs delivered them as they happened. It was a no win situation for the papers. A few of them had adapted and paid more attention to their online customers, a few could not adapt and were already behind. She was a young girl, a fresh graduate, who wanted to make her voice heard. Sometimes she wondered if she had anything to say that no other person was saying. It was the problem of the blogs, they all reported the same thing, some actually plagiarizing. She had tested the waters with two posts. They were original and addressed key issues that affected her and people like her. She had gotten a moderate reception and a few comments, mostly from her friends on Facebook and Twitter. They did not know who owned the blog, she had published under another name, a masculine name. She knew it was crazy but she believed a man would get more attention than a twenty two year old girl.

But it all had changed a few days after her second post. She was contacted by a man who insisted on anonymity, he had given her some exclusive information. He did not seem to notice her voice or did not mind, he had promised her more information and he had kept his promise. Now her blog had a lot of hits, the exclusive information she had released on CyberCorp had been quoted in other blogs and newspapers. They referenced her of course, driving more traffic to her site. Her non CyberCorp posts were getting a lot of attention too. It made sense, if she had access to information others did not, then she was someone to reckon with. Sometimes it was too much for her. Maintaining a front, trying not to lose her relevance and dealing with the people who were trying to contact her about advertising, it was a lot.

She had a lot of things going well for her blog and everything was tied to the constant information she was getting about CyberCorp. And there laid her biggest problem. She was hooked to the information like an addict to his vice. She did not know the identity of her informant, all she knew was he, if he was truly a he, knew a lot of things and for some reason wanted them to be leaked to the press. Why me? She had asked him several times and he had always replied with the same thing, giving her an out if she did not want the information. Of course she wanted the information and she got them.

She waited, nervously tapping her pen on her laptop. Her mystery informant had sent her a message; he had some more information for her. She had been sitting by her laptop for half an hour waiting for the information. She yawned, she was tired of sitting. Stretch your legs, the message will not disappear from your mail because you stood up. She stood up and walked to her refrigerator. She heard the beep as she opened the refrigerator. She left it open and jumped back to the laptop, she hit her leg on the chair as she tried to open the email. Ouch! The pain would have to wait.

The message was taking some time to open. Don’t mess with me right now, this is not the time to mess with me! The message opened, it was short, two lines.

A new president will be announced at CyberCorp next week.

His name is Abdullahi Faruk.

 

Thanks for reading another episode, the tenth. I’ll like to know what you feel about the story so far. You can leave your comments below or on the facebook page. if you haven’t, please ‘like’ the page. Cheers.

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