by Josephine Amoako
Not For Sale
Author requests article critique
Not For Sale
Author requests article critique
Lisa Marie was a happy young lady with a wonderful family. She was from a well-to-do Christian home where her parents managed a huge shipping company and she was engaged to Charles, a charming young man with bright future prospects and also from an influential family. Life was perfect for her as she had all what one could wish for. This wonderful life for Lisa Marie came to an abrupt standstill the very moment the phone rang on that fateful day. Her mother, Mrs. Simons, answered the phone.
“Mrs. Simons speaking.” Lisa was in the kitchen when she heard her mother scream.
“Mum?” She rushed to the living room to find her mother unconscious with the phone in her hand. She took it.
“Hello, Mrs. Simons are you there?”
“I’m sorry, my mum just fainted. I’ve to rush her to the hospital,” she said and hung up.
At the hospital, Lisa was called to the doctor’s office after her mother was admitted and attended to.
“Miss Simons, your mother suffered a fatal heart failure…”
“But she’ll be okay, right?”
“It’s hard to say, Miss. It’s possible it might not get better. Diagnosis shows that it was caused by some shock. Do you have any idea what might have caused her to have a shock?”
“I don’t know; she had a phone call and suddenly I heard her scream. When I came in, she was unconscious. I told the one on the line that my mother had fainted so I was rushing her here and I hung up,” she narrated.
“Does your father know about this?” the doctor asked.
“No; I’ve been trying his number for some time now. Perhaps he’s busy but I’d inform him immediately he calls back.”
“Please do; for now you can go home. You may come tomorrow.”
“May I see her first?”
“I wouldn’t advise that. We can’t risk anything triggering another excitement which might worsen her condition.”
“I understand. Thank you.”
As she was leaving the hospital, the breaking news alert shown on the TV in the lobby caught her attention. There had been a collision between two cars, a Nissan vehicle and a SUV. Her heart jumped when she saw the black SUV. That was the car her father had taken out in the morning. She stood frozen, staring at the car shown on TV. Her phone rang. It was Charles. She took it.
“Hello.” Her voice was faint.
“Honey, are you okay?”
“You mean, you…haven’t heard?”
“Heard what?” she asked, still staring at the TV.
“It’s your dad. He…was involved in an accident. It’s on the news. I’m so sorry, Lisa. Where are you?” Charles asked. Tears began to fill Lisa’s eyes as she slowly took the phone away from her ear and began panting for air.
“Lisa, are you there? Where are you?”
“Medics pronounced him dead when they arrived. They say he must have died on the spot. Mr. George Simons…” the reporter was saying. Lisa began feeling dizzy. She felt herself falling to the ground.
When she woke up, the doctor and Charles were with her in a room.
“It’s all right; be calm okay?”
“Is it true…my daddy…is it true?”
“I’m sorry, Lisa.” The tears flowed freely now. Her hands tightened around Charles’.
“Does she need to stay here today?” Charles asked the doctor.
“Not really. As soon as she’s sober enough, she’s good to go.”
“You’re welcome.” He excused himself and left the room.
“What is happening to me? How come I’m about to lose both parents on the same day?”
“Your mother will be fine.”
“I’ll be alone in this world. I’d be an orphan.”
“You won’t be alone. You have me, Lisa and above all, you have God. How could you forget that?”
“God… how could God do this to me? Why? Please, I don’t want to go through what Job went through,” Lisa said, sobbing.
“Stop talking like this, Lisa. Of course you won’t and your mother will come out of it. Trust God for that.”
“I trusted him to take my daddy out and bring him back safely to me. I prayed to Him today, Charles. I prayed that he should take care of my parents and myself but…the day has not ended and I’m almost an orphan.”
“Stop it, Lisa. Don’t blame God for this. In everything, give thanks to Him…”
“For making me an orphan without warning? When I’ve not offended him? Just two days ago, I had given up my whole salary as an offering to God for protection of my family and today, my father is dead and my mother, hanging between life and death?”
“Don’t do this, Lisa. Never blame God for this.”
“God, why? Why me, what did I do?”
“Are you good to go home?”
“Yes. Let’s go. I just hope this is all a bad dream I’ll come out of.”
Two days later, Charles and Lisa went to see her mother in the hospital. She held her daughter’s hand and her voice was faint.
“About your father…is it true?” she tightened her grip on Lisa’s hand.
Trying hard to hold back the tears, she nodded. Her mother sighed in despair and took her hand away. This time, the tears in Lisa’s eyes flowed freely onto her cheeks.
“Then I’m not going to make it,” her mother said.
“Don’t say that, mum. You’ll be fine. I still need you, mother,” Lisa pleaded.
She reached for Charles’ hand and put Lisa’s hand in his.
“Promise me you’ll take care of her for me, Charles.”
“Mum! What are you doing?” Lisa asked, dismayed.
“Promise me, Charles,” her mother insisted.
“I promise,” he answered softly. She turned to face her daughter.
“I’m sorry, Lisa that we have to part ways this suddenly but promise me…promise me you’ll draw closer to God after this.”
“Mum…” Lisa was crying now.
“Always remember that your father and I love you…very much. Draw closer to God, all right?” she nodded.
“Now, go and call me the doctor,” she told Lisa. “Please go with her, Charles.”
“Yes ma’am,” he said and they left the room. When they returned with the doctor, she was very still. Lisa rushed to her.
“Mum?” The doctor checked her heartbeat and her pulse.
“I’m sorry, we just lost her.”
“You could revive her, right? You could make her heart beat again,” She asked hopefully.
“I’m sorry, Miss. Your mother was already having a delicate heart. Any such attempt to revive her would do us no good. I’m sorry, Miss,” the doctor said and walked past her out of the room. Lisa stood still as if in a trance for some moments. Charles held her shoulders. “Lisa…”
Fresh tears flowed onto her cheeks as she passed out.
Three days later, Lisa buried both parents. Lisa thought this was the end of her world but little did she know of what was coming next. Barely a week later after the burial, two gentlemen came to see her.
“You mean my parents were running the company on a deficit budget?”
“Yeah. And they used a majority of the stocks as collateral…”
“What exactly are you trying to tell me?”
“That, from this moment as we speak, what is left of your parents’ efforts are now in the hands of their numerous creditors.”
“So…you’re saying, the company is gone.”
“I’m afraid so but there’s something else.”
“What?” she asked with an air of fatigue as she covered her face with her palms.
“About their last loan they went for, they offered this house as collateral.”
“What?!” Lisa exclaimed, alarmed.
“I’m sorry, Miss but you have 72 hours to vacate this premise.”
“Wait….no; this can’t be happening to me. Are you saying, this house doesn’t belong to me?”
“I’m sorry, Miss,” he said as he dropped an envelope onto the centre table. They both got up.
“We’ll be leaving now. We are extremely sorry for your loss but let me just chip in this, it would be better for you to evacuate this building yourself than for you to be forced out. Have a nice day,” they said and left. Lisa called the family lawyer but there was nothing he could do about the situation. The only person she could turn to for help was Charles, her fiancé. She tried his number several times but he was unavailable. She drove to his place and entered the house. The place was quiet but she saw two used wine glasses.
“Charles? Are you here?” she called out as she climbed upstairs.
“Charles?” She called out again as she opened the bedroom door.
There he was, in bed with another woman. She just stood there and gaped at them.
“Lisa…wait, let me explain,” Charles said, getting out of bed. She pulled the key out from the door hole and left the room, locking it. She pulled the key out and threw it away.
“Please, let me explain. It’s not what you think, Lisa. I love you,” Charles said from his room. Lisa dropped herself on the staircase and sobbed uncontrollably.
“What should I do now? Who else can I turn to?” Lisa asked herself in tears.
A week later, Lisa had settled in another town after emptying her bank accounts when she vacated her parents’ property and decided to leave her past behind. She was so angry with God for allowing her life to come to this. She combed through every place for a job but couldn’t find one and her money was running out. Out of frustration, she entered a club to drink her sorrows away.
After drinking down about four glasses of whisky, she felt out of control of herself and decided to go home. She didn’t have money on her so she gave him her credit card thinking that that was something left on it. The bar attendant brought it back.
“I’m sorry ma’am but your card has been revoked.”
“There’s nothing on this card, ma’am. So if you could please pay in cash.”
“I can’t believe it. Please try again, I’m sure it’s a mistake.”
“I did. So, if you could please…”
“It’s all right, let me take care of it,” a middle aged man said, handing his credit card to the bar attendant. Lisa looked at him in surprise.
“Hey, I’m Alan Davis. Pleased to meet you,” he said as he offered his hand. She looked at his hand before taking it.
“Pleased to meet you too, Mr. Davis. I’m Lisa. And thanks for paying for me. I left my money behind and my credit card has been revoked.”
“Your card, sir.” The bar attendant gave it to him.
“Thanks. Um…Lisa, do you mind if I get you another drink?”
“Um…I don’t think so. I already have taken in too much. I need to get home.”
“Please, just one more. I need someone to talk to.”
“All right, please get her whatever she wants.”
“Um…red wine, please.”
“Where do you work, Lisa?”
“Actually, I’m looking for a job right now.”
“Really? Where were you working formerly?”
“At my father’s company. But he passed away and the company was handed over to other people…it’s a long story.”
“You mean, you’ve lost everything?”
“Yeah including my fiancé.”
“That’s tough. Well, what if I said, I have some work for you to do?”
She looked at him. “What kind of work?”
“What does it matter? The most important thing is that you earn some income and I know the money will do you some good.”
“I just want to know what I’m going into, is that wrong to ask?”
“I’ll pay you a hundred and fifty thousand dollars a month.” She turned sharply to look at him.
“I knew you’d be interested,” Mr. Davis said coolly and sipped his drink.
Lisa looked at him suspiciously. “Are you into drugs?”
“What? Oh no, why would I be in such a risky business?”
“So what is it that you do?”
“Okay, thanks for the offer but I think I’m smart enough to smell danger from miles away. Thanks for the drink,” she said, getting up.
“Hey, where are you going?”
“Home, where else?”
“Come on, this is an opportunity of a lifetime.”
“Really? You can’t even be honest about it and I’m not stupid, Mr. Davis. It was nice meeting you anyway.” She turned around to go.
“All right, please take my card.” She turned to face him.
“You think you can change my mind?”
“You may reconsider after a while but hurry, or someone else might take the slot,” he said, dragging the card with his finger on the counter and stopped right in front of her. She glanced at the card and looked back at him.
“You may never know, you might need help and I may be the only one available to give you that help.”
“All right,” she said, taking the card. “Goodnight.” She left. He smiled as he watched her go and gulped the rest of the drink down.
The next two weeks were the hardest moments in Lisa’s life. Everywhere she went; her application was turned down due to one reason or the other. As she sipped her drink, tears dropped freely onto her cheeks.
“How did I end up like this? What the hell went wrong?” she asked herself. She took her phone from her bag. The mere sight of the phone made her heart sink. She had sold her phone and bought a cheaper and inferior one in order to save some money for food.
“Why have you turned me to the Job of this generation?” she asked, looking at the ceiling. She sighed as she took the newspaper from her bag. Recently, she had been buying newspapers almost every day to find out more about job opportunities yet she had gotten nothing so far. A card fell from inside the newspaper. She took it and glanced at it. It was the card the man at the club had given her.
“I guess this is all I have left right now.” She looked at her watch. It was a little past eight. She figured it was not too late to call. She dialed the number and sighed when she was reminded of her low account.
“Hello,” a deep voice said.
“Hello am I speaking to Mr. Davis?” she asked cautiously.
“Yes, you are. May I know who I’m speaking to?”
“It’s…it’s Lisa. Um… we met at a…”
“I remember you, Lisa. I’ve been expecting your call. I have to admit that I almost gave up on you. So, how are you doing?”
“Honestly you don’t want to know. I’m sorry for calling this late.”
“Never mind so have you reconsidered my offer?”
“It would have been easier for me to answer that if only you would tell me what I’m getting myself into.”
“Write down this address, Lisa.” She hurriedly took a notepad and a pen. She scribbled the address and repeated it to ensure she had written it right.
“I want you to come to this address at exactly 9am. Time is of essence to me, Lisa. I won’t tolerate any kind of sluggishness. Are we clear on that?”
“ Good. I’ll fill you in when you get there.”
“All right, Mr. Davis. Thanks for being patient with me.”
“Patience is a virtue I’m fortunate to be endowed with. Goodnight.”
“Goodnight.” The line went dead. She stared at the phone for a moment and then put it down.
“God, I hope it is not a mistake but it’s the only option I have left.”
The following morning, Lisa went to the address Mr. Davis had given her. She got pretty scared when she was apprehended and searched by some big men who wore dark shades and behaved like secret agents. The place looked like a warehouse of some sort but couldn’t see any workers on duty. She was then led to a room.
“Nice to see you again, Lisa Marie,” Mr. Davis said coolly as he smiled at her. She took a moment to glance around the room. It was expensively furnished with classic antiques.
“I just had a glance at your file. Have a seat, please,” he said, gesturing towards a chair. She sat down.
“I have a clean record. So, can you please tell me what this is all about?”
“Your clean record is a great advantage for what I need you to do for me. I need you to work at a company as an undercover.”
“Undercover for what, as a secret agent?”
“Yeah…something like that.”
“Who will I be spying on?”
“You won’t be a spy, Lisa. I need you to be there to access some codes and stuff like that for me. Do you think you’re up to the task?”
“Will I get into trouble if I get caught?” They shared a long stare.
“Just make sure you don’t get caught.”
“So it’s illegal then. I’m sorry, Mr. Davis. Thanks for your interest in helping me but I don’t think the one you’re looking for is me.”
“Before you walk out that door, there is one thing you need to consider: the world isn’t just about right and wrong but it’s about survival. You’ve lost everything and everyone including Charles.” She looked at him at the mention of her ex-fiancé’s name.
“I know you’re not used to these harsh conditions of living but I can help you get back on your feet.”
“Thank you but I’ll manage.” She got up.
“I see, I doubt you even have enough money to last you for this week.” She glanced at him and dropped herself back onto the chair.
“I can help you feel comfortable again. I’ll get you a decent apartment with any car of your choice with a bank account to settle you.”
“You’ll do all this if I agree to this?” He nodded. She sighed.
“It’s fraud, isn’t it?”
“It’s not your place to worry about the nature of what you’re doing. It’s mine. I’ll make sure you’re protected; that you’re safe from any harm cause if you go down, I’ll go down as you’ve seen me personally. Most of my agents do not contact me directly and as such if anything is to go wrong, I’d come clean cause they don’t know who I am.”
“You don’t care about their safety, only yours.”
“They are aware of the consequences if they get themselves caught and besides I pay them damn well to clean up their mess if they ever make one. But I need you to be my personal agent.”
“Where are you talking about?”
“At a government facility.” She shot him a sharp look.
“You can’t be serious.”
“What makes you think I’m not?”
“Cause you’re definitely not stupid! To have someone at such a risky and sensitive place, you need a very good expert mainly a former civil worker not some desperate amateur worker who just needs to survive.”
“I knew you’d be this smart. I need you beside me to offer some sound counsel.”
“I guess I should be given that post rather than send me out there in the midst of those experts. I’ll be found out within hours.”
“You’ll have to earn their trust.”
“You mean deceive them.”
“You’ll go dark for some time and when I’m certain that you’re in control, I’ll bring you into your mission.”
“Just tell me what exactly I’d be doing there.”
“Just tapping into some surveillance resources, some classified files…”
“And what makes you think I can do that?”
“That is why I’ll wait for you to prove yourself first.”
“What if I’m comfortable with the work there and decide not to help you later on? What will you do?”
“Don’t even dream it, Lisa.”
“Oh yeah, what can you really do? Because as you rightly said, I’ve lost everything and everyone, I’ve nothing left to lose anymore. My life isn’t worth much. What makes you think you can count on me when you have no leverage?”
“Will you take this job or not?”
“I just want you to know that the rules may change later on.”
“Do you need more time to reconsider?”
“I wish so but no, I can’t afford to and as you also said rightly, I doubt I have enough money to take me through the week.”
“Welcome to Sinister Operations Company,” he said as he got up and offered his hand. She stood and took it, shaking it firmly as she looked straight into his eyes.
“Company, this place doesn’t look like one, Mr. Davis.”
“Oh, this place isn’t the company. I couldn’t risk you knowing the place when I wasn’t sure you’d be in with me. So, as an act of good faith, you may have these,” he said, handing over two separate keys. She looked at them in her palm. She looked back at him, stunned. He pressed a button. A man in dark suit and shades entered.
“Please escort Ms. Simons to this address,” Mr. Davis said as he handed the address card to him.
“Where are you taking me?”
“ To your new apartment.”
“Exactly. You’ll have this week to yourself so you can get used to your new life. But on Monday, I need you to come to this address so we can discuss your job description,” he said as he handed her a card. She took it and looked at it.
“I don’t think I know this place.”
“I figured since you’re not from here but don’t worry, your car’s navigator will aid you. Have a nice day Lisa Marie.”
Lisa felt a bit awkward being addressed by both names.
“You too, Mr. Davis. I look forward to working with you,” she said as they shook hands again.
“Same here. See you on Monday.” She nodded as she took her bag and was led out by the man. She got into black Mercedes car and the man drove it off.
“So, what do you do? Do you just stick around awaiting orders?”
The man looked at her from the rear-view mirror and ignored her.
“I’m Lisa. I’ll be working for your boss. May I know your name?”
After some time, he answered, “It would be better if you didn’t know.”
She decided to better leave him be.
When they got down at the flat, the man pointed to a sleek Mercedes car.
“That’s your car, ma’am.”
“It is? Wow, that’s…sleek.” She briefly remembered the times when her parents were alive and she could get anything she wished.
“Please send my thanks to Mr. Davis and the name is Lisa.”
“Let me show you your apartment,” he said grimly as he led the way. When they entered her apartment, he waited for her to look around the place.
“I suppose you’re okay with your new apartment, Miss.”
“It’s Lisa. And yes, it’s wonderful.”
“I’ll relay that to the boss. And….” He said as he went over to the sofa and picked up a phone.
“This is your new cell with a new number. You need to surrender your phone.”
“Oh,” Lisa said as she took her phone from her bag and handed it to him. “Glad to get rid of it anyway.”
“Yeah, I suppose so. So, I’ll leave you now.”
“Of course, thanks….whatever your name is. It was nice meeting you.” He gave a slight nod and left. She sighed as he closed the door behind him. She sat down and browsed the content of the phone.
“Cool phone,” she muttered as she put it down and glanced around the room again.
“Oh God, I hope I’ve not made a mistake by getting myself into…whatever it is I’m in now. You took everything away from me and I’m going to get them back whichever way it is.”
A week later, she went to meet Mr. Davis where he explained to her exactly what she was to do among other things. When she first entered the premises of National Security Agency, she was met by a young man.
“Hello, I’m Jake. I suppose you’re the new person we’re expecting,” he introduced himself as he offered his hand. She took it.
“Yes I am; I’m Lisa Marie Simons.”
“You’re welcome. Let me take you to the Directing General’s office.”
“Thank you.” He led her to the office.
“We’re glad to have you here, Lisa. We hope to enjoy having you here with us.”
“I’m sure we will,” Jake said coolly.
“Jake will show you your desk and if you have any problem, you can contact your supervisor or you may address it directly with me if you deem it necessary.”
“Sure, thanks sir.” They left his office. Jake led her to her desk.
“Anytime; if you need anything, just call. I’m on desk 8.”
“Of course.” He excused himself. She sat down.
“Here we go,” Lisa muttered under her breath.
The following weeks went smoothly for Lisa as she got accustomed to her new work. Her colleagues were all accommodating but the nicest was Jake. He often took her out for lunch where they chatted like good old friends.
One day, Lisa went to Mr. Davis’ office.
“Ms. Simons, I don’t remember scheduling an appointment with you. What brings you here?” Mr. Davis asked when she had sat down.
“That’s exactly why I’m here. It’s been about two months since I started working at the NSA and you still haven’t briefed me on what exactly you want me to do and that kind of makes me feel uneasy,” Lisa complained.
“But I thought I did, Lisa.”
“No, you didn’t; you just asked me to get used to my workplace and I have done that.”
“Why are you in a rush?”
“I’m not; it’s just that if you could give me an idea of what exactly I’d be doing, I could start familiarizing myself with that, don’t you think?”
“I like your spirit, Lisa but it’s not time yet. If I need your help, I’ll definitely ask for it but for now just hang in there. I hope you’re enjoying your work so far.”
“Yes but I sometimes feel uncomfortable knowing that I might do something out of protocol. It kind of makes me feel like a traitor.”
“That’s exactly why I haven’t given you your assignment yet, Lisa. I want you to get rid of all those fears and feelings. I can only let you in when I’m certain that you have no second thoughts. I can’t afford you considering what others would think if they found out what you were doing.”
“You mean you want me to kill my conscience?”
“That’s bluntly stated but yes.”
“How bad is it?”
“It depends on what you term as ‘bad’.”
“And if I decide not to do it?” They shared a long, hard stare at each other.
“I always have a backup plan.”
“Good and let me ask, is it okay if I get involved with any of my colleagues?”
“Hmm…I can understand why you’re scared. You’re getting attached to someone. Who is it?” He took a pen and opened a notepad.
“His name is Jake, Jake Kerry.” His head came up and smiled.
“”That’s a cute name,” he said as he wrote down the name.
“And may I know why you’re writing down his name?” Lisa asked suspiciously.
“Because I have to run a check on him to find out if he is capable of causing trouble. Every operation is run with caution, Lisa. I can’t allow any extraneous variable to ruin my plans, don’t you think,” he said with a smirk.
“I see,” Lisa responded, still not sure what that was about.
“I’m glad you came over, Ms. Simons but I’ve other things to take care of.”
“Sure of course; I’m sorry to have bothered you.”
“Not at all, Lisa. I’m glad it’s me you came to with your worries. It means a lot to me and you’re always welcome.”
“Thanks Mr. Davis. I’ll be on my way now.”
“All right; have a nice day, Lisa.”
“You too, Mr. Davis,” she said and left his office. He looked at the name ‘Jake Kerry’ and smiled.
One day at work, Lisa received a text message from Mr. Davis: ‘Send me the access code of File 14xyd.’ She grimaced as she read.
“Finally,” she muttered as got to work. When she clicked on ‘send’, she saw Jake approaching, she minimized the window.
“Did you just access the File14xyd file?” he asked.
“No, I was trying another but entered that one instead. I logged off immediately I realized that.”
“I see; just be careful or you could get into real trouble when you steal your way outside your security clearance level.”
“I will; thanks.” He smiled and left her desk. She sighed in relief.
“How is work so far?” Mr. Davis asked Maxwell on phone.
“So far, so good, sir.”
“And Miss Simons? Is she working up to expectation?”
“Yeah, she’s smart. When I made her send you that access code, she was able to cover her tracks perfectly and her lie was well figured out. She knows what she’s about.”
“I see; so you suggest that we bring her in?”
“I think it’d be better if she was used as our scapegoat if she was ever found out. It’s safer that way.”
“But she knows me,” Mr. Davis pointed out.
“There’s no proof she works for you, sir. That message was false. It can’t be traced to you.”
“You keep an eye on her; we might need her soon.”
“Good job, Max.”
“Thank you sir.” He hung up.
“Draw closer to God, Lisa. Never abandon your first love. He’s all you’ll ever need in this world,” Lisa’s mum said.
“But He took you and dad away from me. If he really cares about me as you say, why would He do that?” Lisa objected.
“In all things God works for the good of those who love Him…”
“You have no idea what I’ve been through these past months, mum.”
“Don’t abandon your first love, Lisa,” her mum advised.
Lisa woke up with a start. She rubbed her eyes and looked around her bedroom. It was quiet. She turned and took a framed photograph of her and her parents.
“That life died away with you mum; this is my life now. It’s my only way to survive. I hope you’d understand me.”
Weeks later, Mr. Davis called Lisa to his office.
“Well, I finally have an assignment for you. It’s pretty simple anyway. Are you ready to hear it?” He asked.
“I hope it’s something I can live with.”
“I just want you to access the top watch list and delete some names from it for me.”
“You must be kidding!” She exclaimed. When she realized he still wore a serious face, she added, “You are, right?”
“No I’m not, Lisa.”
“But that amounts to treason! If I’m caught…”
“Then you must do all you can to ensure you don’t get caught.”
“It’s not that easy, you know. There’s this guy who’s always watching me…”
“You mean Jake Kerry.”
“I thought you guys were coming into a mutual agreement.”
“Yeah, that’s why he’s been watchful over me. He always tells me that’s there’s a thin line between dutiful loyalty and an error which is implicated as treason.”
“That’s a wise saying. He really must care about you but I need you to do that for me.” He pushed a piece of paper to her side. She looked at the names.
“I don’t think I’m comfortable with this, sir.”
“Your job is to do as I tell you and not to feel comfortable about it.”
“And if I refuse?”
“Either way, you’ll still do it; directly or through someone else.”
“Through someone else?”
“I hope you remember those dark months of your life after your parent’s passing. I honestly believe you don’t want to end up in a worse situation than that. Don’t give me the impression that I was wrong about you or God help you; you’ll be sorry.”
“Are you threatening me?”
“I’m opening your eyes to the realities on the ground. The way I changed your condition with a snap of a finger, I can do the reverse with much ease so don’t push me. Now, if you’d excuse me, I’ve other things to attend to.”
Lisa took the list and walked to the door. When she opened it, Mr. Davis said, “And don’t forget, that whatever happens, you’ll end up doing it, directly or through someone else.” Lisa left.
She entered a church when she heard some people singing. The choristers were rehearsing a song. She sat at the back whiles she listened. Tears ran down her face as she remembered the times she used to sing in church.
“When and why did I end up at this side? I used to love You so much….or so I thought; I often confessed I’d do anything for You but…just because I lost my parents, I gave up on You. I know I’ve failed you; I shouldn’t have left Your side. I’m sorry, Lord. If it’s not too late, could you please take me back cause I yearn to be back in your loving arms. I feel that every second I stay away from you, the deeper I’m sinking. I need you back, Lord. I really do,” Lisa confessed.
As she drove home, she knew what she was going to do. She was going to leave this world behind.
On Monday morning, she went to work with a white envelope in her hand. Jake met her holding some files.
“You came just in time, Lisa. We have a lot to do.”
“I’m sorry Jake; you’d have to find someone else.”
“But we always work together.”
“How do you mean?”
“I’m turning in my resignation letter.”
“What?” He held her hand which made her stop. “Why is that? You don’t like working here?”
“Not that; I just don't belong here, Jake. I’m not supposed to be working here.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Never mind; it’s not yours to understand,” she said and walked over to the director’s office.
Mr. Davis’ phone rang. He answered it.
“Sir, it’s Max. She’s quitting the job, sir.”
“Who are you talking about?”
“Lisa, sir; she’s leaving.”
“How do you know that?”
“She’s turning in her resignation letter. What are we going to do?”
“I didn’t think she was such a dolt! We have no choice but to do it immediately.”
“Now, sir? I’m not ready yet.”
“Then get ready, Max! She mustn’t leave the premises a free person. She might expose me.”
“But how can we stall her?”
“Don’t worry about that; I’ll handle that. Get to work, Max.” He hung up.
“Why do you want to resign, Lisa? You’re doing well here,” the director said.
“I know but I’ve realized I don’t belong here, sir.”
“Is there anything I can do to convince you to stay?”
“I don’t think so, sir.” The phone rang. He took it.
“I’ll be right down.” He hung up.
“Excuse me for a moment, Lisa. I’ll get right back.”
“Don’t worry; I’d just go and pack my stuff and get out of here.”’
“No; wait right here. I’ll be right back,” he insisted and left the office. Her phone rang. She sighed when she saw it was Mr. Davis. She answered.
“What do you think you’re doing, Ms. Simons?” he asked.
“What are you talking about?”
“Come on, don’t play dumb with me. Why are you leaving your post?”
“And who told you that?”
“And what made you think I wouldn’t know? I’ve eyes everywhere watching you, Lisa. After everything I’ve done for you, couldn’t you do me this little…?”
“I’m sorry but I can’t help you, sir. It’s amazing you’re playing this card now; it means you have no other means of getting to me. I’m done with this, Mr. Davis. I made you get away from the cops a few times and I really regret that. I’m sorry but I can’t do this anymore.”
“So am I, Lisa-Marie.” He hung up. The director entered the office with two security officers.
“Take her to interrogation room 2. I’ll be there shortly.”
“What, what is going on, sir?”
“I now know why you want to quit; you’re a spy, aren’t you?
“What are you talking about? I’m spying for no one.”
“Yeah right; how many times haven’t I heard that? Take her away. For your own good, tell me the truth the first time or things could get ugly.”
“Why don’t you tell me exactly what I’ve done?”
The director looked straight into her terrified eyes.
“That’s what I’m going to find out.” As she was being dragged away, she saw Jake.
“Hey, where are you taking her? She works here! Don’t worry, Lisa; I’ll find out what’s going on,” Lisa heard him say as she was dragged away.
“It’s done, sir.”
“Good; so she has been arrested?”
“Good; what about the package?”
“It has been handled.”
“Very good Max; come over this evening for your reward.”
“Yes sir; thanks very much.” He hung up.
The director entered the room. Lisa lifted her head. He threw a file onto the table.
“Who are you, Lisa?”
“What exactly do you want to know?”
“The truth; how did you end up here?”
“Earnestly, I don’t know. Someone helped me get in here.”
“What’s the name?”
“I see; what does this Davis do?”
“I…don’t know exactly; I needed a job and he said he’d get me one and eventually brought me here.”
“In exchange for what?”
“He didn’t specify…” The director slammed his palm on the table, startling Lisa.
“Stop wasting my time, Lisa! You think this is a joke, huh?”
“I’m telling you the truth, sir.”
“No, you’re not. Someone just discovered a long history of devious acts performed from your desk.”
“Devious acts like what, checking my mail?” Lisa asked ironically.
“That is definitely not allowed. But what I’m talking about here is leading some pros to steal some confiscated items from the storage warehouse.”
“That is news to me because I don’t know how to do that.”
“Or so you’re now telling me how daft you can be, huh?”
“Excuse me sir, I’m the one being held here without any obvious tangible reason. You better tell me my fault or I’ll call a lawyer.”
“You surely will.”
“Honestly, I have no idea of what you’re talking about. Seriously, do you think I’d leave them at the history log for someone to see them? Why don’t you check when they were put there? Someone intentionally did that.”
“Why would anyone bother?”
“I’d say Mr. Davis has a hand in this.”
“Look, there are lots of Davises around so you better get your story straight.”
“It is straight; you’re just refusing to listen to me. I chose to resign because he asked me to do something I’d consider treasonous.”
“I see; you agreed to aid him steal confiscated property but you’re afraid to commit treason? I’ve never met a criminal with scruples,” he said with sarcasm. Lisa began trembling with rage as her eyes began filling with tears.
“I’m not a criminal, sir. Just do your work well and you’ll know I’m being framed.” They shared a long hard look. He left the room. He soon returned and threw a small card on the table.
“What is this?”
“A card, I suppose. Did you do as I asked?”
“You don’t give me orders, Lisa. Tell me what you were doing with this?”
“I don’t understand.”
“What was this card doing among your things?”
“What things cause I don’t own this card.” He leaned forward towards her.
“Don’t mess with me, woman.”
“I’m serious; I don’t own this.”
“Of course; it must belong to Mr. Davis.”
“What is the big deal about this card, anyway?”
“You copied the top watch list for him, didn’t you?” She swallowed.
“No, I didn’t. That is the reason why I wanted to resign because I couldn’t.”
“Then how come we found this on your desk with the list on it?”
“Cause there is a mole in here who’s spying on me. He’s probably the one who placed those incriminating files against me. You have live up-to-date security cameras, use them and stop harassing me!”
“I’ve bigger situations to deal with so don’t waste my time.”
“And I have a flight to catch so don’t waste my time too, director!”
Hours later, the director came back to apologize.
“We’re sorry, Ms. Simons; it’s true someone wanted you caught for those incriminating evidence.”
“Have you fished out the culprit?”
“Unfortunately, no. He wiped out the whole video feed. But don’t worry, you’re free. You may go home now but we need you to tell us more about this Mr. Davis guy. Can you do that?”
“I’d be more than glad.”
“Sorry for the inconvenience.”
“Never mind; I shouldn’t have given in from the start.”
“All right; you may go home…”
“I have a flight to catch later today, sir.”
“I’m sorry but you have to cancel it. We need to fish out this mole in here. Don’t worry; I’ll arrange another for you.” Lisa smiled.
“All right then.”
“Let me escort you out.” He gave her handbag to her. As they were walking out, Jake met them.
“They let you go? Are you all right?”
“Yes Jake; I’m going home but I’ll be back tomorrow.”
“You’ll continue working here?” he asked eagerly.
“No, I’m done here. I’m just helping Director here with a special case.”
“What special case?” he asked with a frown.
“We believe we have a spy in here. We’re going to fish him out.”
“And how may I help?” The director slapped him lightly on his back.
“Don’t worry; when we need it, we’ll ask for it. Let’s go, Lisa.” They went outside.
“Don’t you think it’d be safer if you had some protection? This man could be dangerous, you know.”
“You mean bodyguards? No, thanks. I’m at a hotel. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine…”
A car from nowhere rushed at full speed and before they both realized it, the car hit Lisa. She fell on the car and fell back down. The car sped out of sight.
When Lisa opened her eyes weakly, her vision was blurry at first but after some moments, it cleared. The director was talking to a doctor. She groaned. They both came to her.
“How are you feeling, Lisa?” the director asked. She nodded to say she was getting well.
“Please don’t make her talk too much; her condition is still critical.”
“I understand, doctor. May I have a moment with her alone, please?”
“Sure, excuse me.” He left them. The director pulled a chair close to the bed and sat.
“Lisa, it’s obvious you’re in more danger than we anticipated. The earlier we find this Mr. Davis guy, the better.”
“I know; does anyone know I’m still alive?”
“Yeah, I told Jake Kerry. It seems he cares a lot for you. He’s the only one who knows.”
She nodded. “Please let it remain that way.”
“I’ve tightened security around this area. It seems your guy is interested in more dangerous stuff than just stealing confiscated items,” he informed her.
“What are you talking about?”
“He’s dealing in sophisticated ammunition.”
“We are yet to find out.”
“Have you found out his accomplice working in here?”
“Not yet although we’ve tracked a number of his activities. Whoever he is, he’s very good at covering his tracks. But don’t worry, we’ll catch him soon enough. I’ll leave so you can get some more rest. Whenever you need me, just press this button near you.”
“I will; thanks sir.”
He smiled. “Get well soon, Lisa.” He left.
“Are you sure she’s still alive?” Mr. Davis asked.
“She is; the director confirmed it.”
“Where is she now?”
“At the ward inside this very facility.”
“Can you get it over with?”
“Security has tightened around her ward but I’m sure I can get a work-around.”
“Do it fast and do it well, Max; no mistakes. We can’t afford to be exposed.”
“Yes sir. I’ll call you when it’s done.” He hung up.
Jake met the director.
“How’s Lisa’s condition now, sir?”
“She’s getting better, Jake.”
“May I see her?”
“I don’t know, Jake; she needs to rest and besides her life is in danger…”
“I promise not to keep long. I just want to comfort her a little.” The director sighed.
“All right; five minutes and get back here.”
“Yes sir; thank you.”
When the door opened, Lisa turned. She smiled.
“Hi Lisa; how are you feeling?”
“I’m getting better. Thanks for coming to see me.”
“That’s the least I can do, right?” He got closer to her. He pulled out a syringe full of some pale liquid. Lisa looked at the syringe and then at his face.
“What is this, Jake?”
“I’m sorry that it has come to this but there’s nothing more for you here. It’s over.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You shouldn’t have gone against the boss, Lisa.”
“Who’s the…” Then it dawned on her.
“It was you.”
“Sorry; I really had some feelings for you. Who knows, we could have been a couple but life can sometimes get funny, right?”
Before she could scream for help, he covered her mouth, gagging her. She started struggling. She hand hit the button the director had told her to press, activating it.
“You bitch,” Jake said angrily when he realized what she had done. He injected her and rushed out of the ward. The doctor and two nurses rushed into her ward. Lisa was drifting away. The doctor started shouting orders. The director came in.
“What happened, doc?”
“I don’t know; it seems she was given something toxic.”
“Toxic, how is that possible?”
“Did you allow someone to come see her?” the doctor asked him.
“No…” Then he remembered. “Jake…” He rushed back to the working floor. Jake was nowhere to be found. He went to the security personnel at the entrance who confirmed he had just left with permit. He rushed back to his office and looked at the video at Lisa’s ward. He gasped in shock at what he saw. He rushed back to the ward.
“How’s she, is she going to make it?”
“It’s hard to say; it’s good we found out just in time but it still doesn’t look so good. Because of the drugs we gave her to counter the toxic in her system, it’s possible, she’ll be gone for quite some time.”
“It’s my fault; I shouldn’t have allowed that bastard to come in here.”
“It was one of your people?” He nodded.
“Is he in custody?”
“He got away before we could get to him but don’t worry; we’ are tracking him down. I’ll get back to work; if there’s any change, please let me know.”
“Of course.” “Thanks.”
“Is it done, Max?”
“I think so.”
“What do you mean, you think so? Did anything go wrong?”
“She activated the emergency alarm before I could inject her.”
“So she’s dead by now.”
“But everyone would know it was me.”
“The director knew I was with her at that time.”
“Damn it; so where are you now?”
“I’m coming over to your office now.”
“What, are you stupid? Do you want to lead the cops to my doorstep?”
“So what should I do now, sir?”
“Go to the warehouse; I’ll let Mike meet you with new ID and other documents for you to leave the country until things have calmed down.”
“Thank you sir.”
“It’s all right; call me when you get them.”
“Sure; thanks.” The line went dead.
Max was given a black suitcase at the warehouse. He opened it and found his new ID, some other documents and some cash. He smiled. He took it and drove away.
“Have you delivered it to him?”
“Good; do it after two minutes.”
Max picked his call when it rang.
“Yes sir; I’ve got it; thanks for everything; sir. It has been a pleasure working for you.”
“Same here. Where are you now?”
He told him.
“Oh, that’s quite a lonely road. Then it won’t cause much damage.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You don’t think you’d be able to get out of this alive, do you? Sooner or later, the police would get you and I can’t afford that. I’m sorry but it’s over, Max.”
“What’s over, sir?”
“Goodbye; see you someday. It was nice knowing you.” The line went dead. Max looked at his phone in puzzlement. That was when he heard a ticking noise. Before he could think of anything, the car exploded.
Lisa saw her mother.
“Mother!” She rushed to her. They hugged.
“Lisa, my daughter,” she said sweetly.
“Where am I? Am I dead?”
“No, you’re not; darling.”
“So where is this place?”
“Somewhere in your subconscious mind, Lisa.”
“I know I’ve failed you mum and God. I shouldn’t have walked down this path.”
“The most important part is that, you have repented and turned back to God. Promise me, you’ll turn back to Him when you wake up.”
“I promise, mum.”
“You need to go back home, Lisa.”
“Home, I don’t have a home, mum.”
“Sure, you do. The house and the company are all yours now.”
“I don’t understand; I thought…”
“They were just withdrawn for a while to test your faith.”
“Then I surely failed the test. I should have stood steadfast. I simply gave up.”
“But you’ve found your way back; that’s the important part. You have to ensure you don’t make the same mistake twice. You might not find your way back ever again.”
“I understand. Where’s daddy, mum?” He came to them.
“Here I am, sweetheart.”
“Dad,” she said happily as she hugged him.
“I’m sorry I let you both down. You might have thought I was stronger than this.”
“Everyone makes mistakes, Lisa and you’re not an exception. You only have to learn from them.”
“I wish I could stay here with you.”
“Not now, darling; after you’ve fulfilled what you were born to do. Always remember that we love you.”
“I love you too.”
Two weeks later, Lisa was discharged. She was told Mr. Davis had vanished; probably left the country. She went back home to find out that everything was in order, the house and the company. Obviously, Charles was still looking for her to ask for forgiveness. After some time, she forgave him. After some months of counseling, they got married.
Did they live happily ever after? I doubt that ever happens but you’d have to find out…
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