Exhumation by Summer Rose

Chapter 1

Wes

After gathering information from my boss, I decided to begin my search with full force. I knew exactly where to go, how to do what I was supposed to do, why I was doing what I was supposed to do and when I was going to carry out the operation.

Mr. William Carter had always been a very crafty and cunning man, too smart to be caught by just any means. One must be very tactical when dealing with him. I worked with Williams for over five years before I decided to take another route in life, different from the one he was trailing. All those years I worked with him, he had proven to be a man with nearly all attributes of "being perfect." He was hardworking, straightforward in all his dealings, disciplined to a fault, very meticulous, and security conscious. I never actually showed him how much I cared about his welfare before I left to be with my new boss, but I did care about him and had always wanted to emulate all attributes he had. He was my mentor. But life always has a different story for us to tell rather than the one we initially thought and imagined.

I now have a new boss, and I am not regretting working with him one bit. My boss, Mr. Stones, is a very smart man with great business ideas. Working with him has broadened my ideas and knowledge about businesses and how to run them – whether in secret or out in the open. Working with him has taught me that "business opportunities are like buses; there is always another one coming." It has also taught me that "in business, success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts." I have learned so much from him in the past few years, but even with everything, due to the kind of business Mr. Stones is operating, we live every day watching over our shoulders. I was a little tired of that kind of life. Having to always be careful about where I go, things I say, places I eat, and so on. It was the same kind of life I lived while I was still in the security agency. Even though we were catching bad guys, we still had to be careful not to get involved in anything related to the police or any armed forces because we were a secret agency, not legally approved by the government, but we deemed it fit to assist the police officers in every possible way we could in doing their job – catching criminals.

I longed for a free life now. The kind of life where I could get married, live peacefully with my wife and kids in a very quiet and serene environment, visit places openly with my family, and not have to hide from anything or anyone. But I doubt that will ever be possible because I have done a lot of things in my past and present life that either keep me on the run or have me chasing someone like I am doing with Will. I hoped silently that all this would come to an end very soon. Even though I had very little faith in what I hoped for, there was still faith as tiny as a mustard seed left in me. But for now, I must catch our target: William Carter.

I had to carry out this plan with every level of organization, making sure everything went according to plan because we did not want this second operation to end up as the first one did. It is just unfortunate that I have to be going against my one-time mentor this way. Mr. Williams is one person I am very sure has kept each of our moves to heart for the past few years, and that is one reason why we must capture and torture him mercilessly for him to keep his mouth shut about anything concerning our business. My boss and I were quite aware of the fact that he loved and cherished Kathleen Cruz, and that was exactly who we were going to use as bait for the second time. I had followed every one of their movements these past few days. I paid a private spy handsomely to do that for me. He came back with a very detailed explanation of their whereabouts. I was happy I gave him the job, and it was worth the pay.

On the second day of their vacation, I visited the Andersons, where Kathleen Cruz lived. I knew full well that Kathleen was not going to be around, but still, I went straight to her apartment and knocked on her door.

"Hello? Is anyone in?" I knocked persistently.

I knew exactly what I wanted to achieve. I wanted to call the attention of the Andersons to myself. I needed them to be aware of the fact that someone came visiting because I needed to drop something quite important for Will and not Kathleen.

"Hello? Is anyone home?" I kept on knocking. Finally, Mr. Anderson came running down toward Kathleen's house.

"Who's there? Who's knocking at Kathleen's door?" Mr. Anderson shouted from afar.

"Good morning, sir," I greeted him so humbly. “I am here to see Kathleen Cruz, sir.”

"And who are you if I may ask?" he asked suspiciously

"I am a distant friend of hers, and I just came into town a few days ago, so I deemed it fit to say hi to her before going back to my abode. But, unfortunately, I lost contact with her so I couldn't reach her. I have been here for quite a while now, but it seems she is not home. I was almost leaving when I heard your voice," I told him

"Yes, she is not home right now, she..." Mr. Anderson paused, and I wondered what he was thinking about. I smiled within me because I felt he was trying to hide something from me, and there was nothing he could hide from me. I knew almost everything about their whereabouts. "Never mind, '' he continued. “You could just drop a message for her, and I will deliver it when she returns," he assured me.

"But, sir, do you have any idea about where she might be right now? I could probably go and meet her there, you know?" I asked pretentiously.

"Even if I did have an idea, I do not think I'll be able to tell you anything because I do not know you. So, the best thing I can do for you right now is collect whatever message you have and deliver it to her whenever she returns. I'm sorry, that is all I can do to help you."

"I appreciate your help, sir," I told him. I had everything planned already. I had written down a well-detailed note to deliver to Mr. Anderson for Kathleen, and I was assured if that could get to Kathleen, then it would get to Will. I handed the note to Mr. Anderson and pleaded with him to deliver it to Kathleen.

"I'll be back, sir. Please give this note to Kathleen. She will understand who I am when she reads it. Thank you very much, sir."

"You are welcome, Mr. Man." I left almost immediately. I watched as Mr. Anderson turned back to his apartment with his hands folded at his back, holding the note I gave to him.

I knew I was going to return to Kathleen's apartment, but the next time will not be for a good reason. I rode away slowly on my horse, galloping gently through the quiet and lonely path of the staff quarters that afternoon. I wondered where everyone had gone to for everywhere to be that quiet. And then I remembered almost immediately that it was a weekday, and everyone would most probably be at the main campus.

As I rode down the road toward the bar, I wondered why we were hunting down Mr. Williams Carter. I thought that if Mr. Williams had wanted to reveal the little secret concerning our business, he would have done it a long time ago. He probably never had any interest in our business, but he might be interested and is just waiting for the perfect time to unleash what he knows. That is one reason why my boss is so concerned about hunting him down before his "perfect time" arrives.

I got to the bar faster than I expected, and that was probably because I was filled with thoughts throughout the ride. I flowed from one thought to another throughout my ride. I climbed down my horse and made my way into the bar. I had not taken any meal that day, but I felt a glass or two of champagne would keep me going until I finally decided on what to eat. Even though I knew I would end up taking more than a glass or two.

I beckoned on the bartender to serve me my usual drink. He was a young man in his late thirties, with an average height, light in complexion, always looking well dressed in his buttoned-up white shirt tucked into his well-ironed black trousers. He was the always smiling type, never to be caught moody. I loved that part of him, and I always found myself smiling back at him unconsciously. I doubt if he was married; at least, there was no ring on his finger. But then I noticed he was a little moody today with a very low countenance. He did not even notice my presence not until I called his attention, and that was quite unusual. I concluded that there was something wrong when he brought a drink that wasn't the usual drink I took each time I came to the bar.

"This is not the drink I usually take each time I come here. I usually take champagne and not whiskey," I angrily told him while spilling whiskey out of my mouth.

"I'm so sorry, sir! This is a huge mistake coming from me, sir. Accept my sincere apologies," he pleaded in a very calm tone. "I'll get you your usual, sir." He picked the cup and was about to leave to get me champagne when I interrupted him.

"I have noticed that you have been so moody since I got here. You have been wearing a sad look, and that is very unlike you. Is anything the matter?" Is there a problem you would love to share with me? There is a saying which goes, "a problem shared is a problem half solved." So feel free and share it with me if you want to, though. It's your choice, you know. The bartender paused for a while without looking at my face, his back facing me. He stood there in that position for over 10 seconds before turning to look my way directly. It seemed like he was thinking about what I had just told him.

"Thank you very much for your concern, sir. I know you are a regular customer here, and you must have studied my mood, but I'm fine, sir. What just happened earlier – getting you the wrong drink – was just a mistake, and it happens like that sometimes, and I apologize once again," he said without looking me directly in the eyes. I knew he was telling a lie, and for the fact I was a little bored that day because most times I hardly ever involve myself in people's private lives, I decided to put more effort into making him say what was wrong with him

"That is a lie, and you know it. It is written all over your face that something is bothering you. But since you insist that you are alright, then it's fine. You just take care of yourself. You can get me my drink now, thank you,” I told him.

I did not expect him to break down in tears. But he did break down in tears almost immediately. I tried calming him down even though I was not the right person to meet when one needs consolation. I talked him into not crying anymore to avoid the attention of other people sitting in the bar. That was the first time I saw a man cry so much I wondered what actually must have gone wrong. At last, he stopped crying after much persuasion and started explaining all that led to him being moody at first and then tears after.

"I am sorry for causing you so much trouble," he started. "I am just so really frustrated. I lost my job six months ago unjustly. My boss hates me for no reason suddenly. He got angry at every slightest mistake I made. He cut down my salary about five times before finally laying me off. I endured so much after losing my job; it felt like my world had collapsed. But then I had a kind of consolation – my girlfriend.”

“My girlfriend was my solid rock during those times I lost my job," he continued. “She was there for me in every area I needed her. She tried building my world together. I loved her even much more because of how much she helped me. She was even the one that helped me to get this job as a bartender in the countryside. According to her, it was at least something to start with until I got a better job. She was there for me, and because of that, I promised to always be there for her, I also promised her that things would get better soon, and she would be well taken care of as it had always been. We were head over heels in love with each other."

I began to deeply imagine how people fall in love with each other. I used to think love was a fairy tale, and it never existed. I promised myself never to believe that love ever existed. It wasn't like I had experienced heartbreak or something related to that, but I just had that belief that I could not just bring myself to fall in love with anybody. I still listened to him, though; it was fun listening to someone narrating his love story.

"I could not just imagine my life without her; even with the little I had, I made sure she was comfortable and happy being with me. It hurt me so much that I could no longer meet the basic needs of life just because I lost my job. But then, with her encouragement and advice, most times, I was able to move on with life. And then two days ago, we had a little argument. And even before the argument, I noticed that she had been giving me a very weird attitude. Sometimes, no matter the number of times I called to check up on her, she just would not take my calls. She will then call later to say she has been very busy. I have been overlooking all that just for peace to reign. The argument we had just two days ago was nothing serious. I just scolded her about her coming back late at night. She is a student; yes, I get it and she might have late-night revisions and maybe tutorials but then coming back at midnight was very unsafe, and not being security conscious at all. We argued that night when she got back; while she tried defending herself by saying that I was just being insecure, I tried explaining to her in a not so harsh tone that this had nothing to do with insecurity, but I was just trying to protect her from any danger by being security conscious. I told her that at least by 10, she should be home already and not 12, that she normally gets back home. We both went to bed that night without saying a word to each other after the arguments. Only for me to wake up this morning, and I did not find her by my side as I had always done for the past eight years! I thought she was probably in the kitchen; I checked the kitchen, but I found no one there. I checked the bathrooms the other rooms, I checked everywhere for her, but she was nowhere to be found. My heart skipped two beats. Why would she just leave without saying anything? My mind wandered in several directions, thinking about where she could have gone. I was heartbroken and devastated. She left, not even without a word for me. I called her line severally, and each time I called, it kept on saying switched off. She had probably blocked my line. I had my bath and dressed up in haste, and I dashed out to check immediately if she was on campus. I asked a few of her friends that I knew, but they all claimed not to have any idea about her whereabouts. My soul bled. I was so pained at the same time worried. I kept calling and calling her number, but it kept saying switched off. I went to the campus again today to see if she had returned or had been seen by her friends. But I got the same results today as I did yesterday. I came to my workplace with that frame of mind, and that made me look so worried and moody." He paused for a while, maybe to stop himself from shedding more tears, and then he continued. "I loved May with all my heart, and she knew I did love her. The most painful part of it all was that she left without a word to me. She was probably tired of the relationship, I think." He stopped talking now and was silent for over 20 seconds without knowing what to say. It was as if we were both going through each other's minds to know what exactly the other was thinking and then know what to say. But I guess it was my turn to say something about the situation on the ground

"I don't even know your name to start with," I told him.

"My name is Jeff,” he told me.

"I am Wes. Wes Delvin." And we shook hands for the first time. "I'm sorry for your loss, Mr. Jeff. Sometimes life just has a different path for us to follow, even though that might not be the path we want to go. I'm sure something way better than you expected will come your way.” I tried to encourage him to the best of my abilities. Sometimes I didn't have any idea of what to say again, but somehow, I found my way around it. "But are you sure you said nothing to hurt her feelings?" I asked him.

"I did not. Why will I do that to someone I loved so much?"

"I feel she will return; she's probably just really angry with you. But even if she doesn't, take heart, Mr. Jeff. All will be well.”

"Thank you very much, Mr. Wes. Thank you for lighting up my mood," he said with a smile.

By the time we were done discussing, it was already late in the evening. That was when I remembered once again that I had not eaten. My stomach rumbled to remind me again even after my brain had done that already. I had to get something to eat. I drank the last glass of champagne left, said my goodbyes to the bartender, and made my way out of the bar. I rode to a nearby restaurant to get something to eat, and all the way, I thought about Will Carter and the plans I had for him.