The shadow in the dark

: *DEMON ON CHURCH STREET*

Episode 11

“Alright Tola, it’s time to take stock and know if we’re any closer to catching this killer or killers.” Adam said rolling the white board marker between his fingers.
He was standing in his office, in front of a whiteboard. The case was becoming fuzzy and trying to solve three murders at the same time was taking its toll on the case. The case needed some clarity and more importantly, he needed some clarity.
“Okay, first victim, what do we know?” Tola asked, leaning back in her seat.
“Well, she was a young girl, early twenties and a sex worker.” Adam said, writing on the white board in front of him. “She had met a man two weeks before she died, a man she met the same day she was killed. Hotel records had disappeared miraculously and there’s no way to trace them”
“Suspects for first murder?”
“First, Pastor of church where the body was dumped.” Adam started, writing his name on the board.
“Are you still on these pastors Adam?”

He shrugged and continued. “Second, manager of hotel.”
“He has an alibi Adam.”
“Yeah, looks like he does, but that’s all I’ve got. On to the second victim.”
“Early twenties too. Student, picked up on her way back from a party.” Tola said as Adam wrote on the board. “Suspects will include the pastor of the church where her body was dumped, although I firmly believe he is innocent…I can’t seem to think of another suspect.”
“That’s our problem Tola; we don’t have enough suspects.” Adam said, placing the marker on the table and sitting.
“And there’s the text and Faruk’s theory that it came from inside the CIB.”
“I can’t even begin to explain…” Adam started but was cut off by a knock on his door.
“Come in.”
“Morning sir.” It was Benjamin, one of the Bureau’s junior detectives. “Detective Dosumu, the men watching Barrister Jemiluwa just called in to say he left his house in a hurry just now.”
“What is he talking about?” Adam asked, looking at Tola.
“I had a hunch that that sleazy lawyer was not telling us everything so I asked Benjamin to put him under twenty-four hour watch. Apparently it has paid off.”
“The men are still following him detective, just thought you should know.”
“Do you still have them on the line?” Adam asked, pointing to the phone Benjamin was holding.
“Yes sir, I do.” He replied, handing the phone to Adam.
“Hello, this is Detective Adam, where is the lawyer headed?”
“We are not exactly sure, but it looks like he’s headed out of town and he’s been on the phone all along sir.” A thick voice said over the phone.
“Was he visited by anybody since you started watching him?”
“No sir, he’s been home alone sir.”
“And has he visited anybody?”
“No sir, this is the first time he’s stepping out of his house. But he has been talking on the phone a lot. We were not able to enter his house to plant a bug and the closest we could get has not been very good. But it sounds like he’s been doing a lot of arguing.”
“Alright, thank you. Let us know when he arrives at where he’s headed.” Adam said and handed the phone back to Benjamin.
Tola waited for him to leave and said. “Where do you think he’s headed in a hurry?”
“My guess is he is in contact with Solomon Alonge, the pastor’s son. And they said he’s been arguing with somebody on the phone, chances are Solomon is the person on the other side of the phone.”
“Which means they’re up to something nefarious, one of them could be the killer. Otherwise why would Solomon Alonge be hiding?”
Adam opened his mouth to reply but was interrupted by another knock on the door, this time Benjamin did not wait for an answer before entering.
“They lost him sir.” He said, flustered.
“They what?!” Adam said, beckoning to Benjamin who handed him the phone. “Talk to me, how did you lose him?”
“Looks like he noticed us following him and he sped up, he turned a few corners and we lost him sir.” Adam could hear the thick voice laden with embarrassment.
“Where exactly did you lose him?”
“We were just out of town sir, barely out of Ganmo when…”
“Alright, look for him. If you don’t find him come back to the office, change your car and go back to his house.” Adam said and handed the phone back to the Benjamin, who immediately left the office, he was probably embarrassed for his men too.
“What do we do now? He’s obviously hiding something or someone.” Tola said.
“I think I should call that Pastor back, he might know something.” Adam said, dialing the pastor’s number.
The lawyer could be the killer. He could have killed the girl as a favour to his friend and his friend had turned against him because he killed a girl who was potentially the mother of his baby. Or maybe Solomon had killed the girl himself or maybe they did it together.
“Hello Detective.” The pastor picked on the third ring. “Have you found my son?”
“We are hoping you could help us with that. Is there any reason you can think of why Lawyer Jemiluwa would be going to Ganmo or any village close to it?”
“Ganmo? That is almost out of town. His Chambers is here in town and his parents don’t even stay in the state, so I have no idea.”
“Nothing that you can think of?” Adam asked, rubbing his forehead. He had being hoping on shutting down the third murder as soon as he could.
“Ask him if his son could be in Ganmo for any reason.” Tola whispered.
“How about your son Pastor, does he have any link to Ganmo or any town close by?”
“Now that you mention my son, yes. I used to have a farm in Ganmo, that was a few years ago though. I’m sure the place will be full of weeds now. I haven’t been there in over a year.”
“Okay Pastor. We will be in your church in twenty minutes, we are going to your farm.”

The farm was an animal farm and it was not run over by weeds at all. In fact it looked like it had been occupied and used for months. A beat-down shed stood to the right of the entrance to the farm, it looked like it had once housed poultry birds. The smell coming from it indicated that it had housed the birds until very recent times. Beside the shed, there was another one – a bigger one. As they got closer, Adam could identify the stench that came from pigs. He had lived close to a man who owned a piggery once, it had been torture.
“Who is running the farm here?” Tola asked the Pastor.
“I have no idea.” The pastor replied, looking bewildered.
They moved towards the piggery. The pig shed was not full but it had some pigs in it. Adam estimated them to be about twenty five. It was obvious someone had been using the farm actively. Maybe the girlfriend was not the only reason Solomon visited the city.
“If Solomon has been running this, why will he hide it from me? I have encouraged him to use the place for years and he refused.” The pastor said.
Adam felt a bit of pity for the man. He was being confronted by lies and was now a witness is a murder case, maybe even a suspect.
A little distance away from the sheds was a farm house. A tiny one room house, probably for the help. The outside of the house looked clean, inhabited. If the place had to be run by somebody, then where was he? If Solomon was always in Lagos, he could not run the place himself. And there was no way the vain Lawyer would run a farm.
“Did you run this place yourself or did you hire somebody to do it for you?” Adam asked the pastor.
“I had somebody stay here to feed the animals, but I was here every day except on few occasions. The man still keeps in touch with me.”
“There’s a possibility your son, who I’m assuming is the one running this place uses the same person. How about you give him a call and ask, while we will check inside the house.”
Adam tried the door, it was open. He entered the house and Tola followed him. It was not a big house, just the type you would find on a farm. Adam looked around the room, somebody had been in it that very day. There was a door that led out of the house through the back, Tola went out through the door. Adam moved towards a cupboard which he assumed housed clothes, or kitchen stuff. He was about to open the cupboard when Tola called him.
“Adam you have to see this.”
He went out through the back door and saw Tola standing over tire tracks.
“Looks like a car pulled away from this place in a hurry, judging by this.” She said, pointing to the tire tracks.
Adam looked at the tracks and tried to follow them with his eyes, they disappeared among some shrubs. The pastor would know where they lead to.
Adam went round the house to where he had left him, he was there staring at his phone.
“Did you get the man?” Adam asked.
“Yes I did.” He said, still staring at his phone.
“And?”
“He said Solomon hired him and told him not to tell me about the farm. He also said Solomon called him four days ago to tell him he was fired and he had just twenty four hours to leave the house.”
“Four days ago? That was a day before your son was said to have left Lagos, so maybe he was trying to clear this place for himself.”
“What is happening to me?” Adam looked up to see the Pastor, shaking and sobbing. “What has my son gotten himself into? A child raised in the house of God.”
Adam looked at the house wishing Tola could come to his aid. “Pastor, be calm please. We don’t know anything yet, your son could be the victim here.”
“The victim?” The pastor said, fear replacing sorrow on his face. Adam immediately regretted his last statement. “The man said, he came here yesterday and he saw a man snooping around. He said he thought the man was probably a thief but he was still angry at Solomon he decided not to confront the man.”
Adam opened his mouth to offer some words of comfort but nothing came out. “Pastor, come with me, I need you to tell me where some tire tracks we found behind the house could lead.”
The Pastor still overcome with his sorrow, or fear or some other terrible emotion followed him. Tola was still observing the tracks.
“These tracks belong to a huge car, probably an SUV or a Truck.” Tola said.
“My son drives a Tundra.” The pastor said.
“Where do you think these tracks lead?” Adam asked.
“They look like they’re headed for the village where the man who worked here lives. If my son drove the car away from here, he could have gone to meet him.”

***
Adam looked around as they drove. They could not follow the tracks because his Honda would not make it across the farmland. The road they were following was not the best but it was better.
“Wait!” The pastor exclaimed from the backseat. Adam slowed the car to a stop.
“What’s the problem?” Adam asked.
“See that building?” He asked pointing to a house standing about five hundred metres from the road. “It is owned by Garba, a hausa man who sells chicken feed to all the farmers in this area, if anybody knows what has been happening here, it is him.”
“Can’t we just talk to him on our way back?” Adam said, getting impatient.
“I think we should talk to him now.” Tola said, coming down from the car.
Adam came down from the car and followed the Pastor and Tola who were already on their way to the building. Adam observed the building as he moved closer to it. It did not look like it was open for business or that it had even been open for business in weeks or months. He was right, there was no Garba or any other person selling chicken feed. Before he could call out to them, he saw the Pastor had opened the door and entered, Tola following him in. They both stood still at the door. Adam hurried to meet them.
Shocked, he stopped at the door. It was possible they just found the murder site of the ‘Church Street Killer’. Or maybe it was just an abattoir of sorts. There were blood stained plastic bags on the floor, different types and sizes of knifes and a big wooden table. Adam moved past his assistant and the pastor who were still dumbfounded and stepped into the room. The room was clean; swept and mopped. He looked around for any sign of bottles, the first victim was killed with cyanide. There was no bottle. The walls were stained with blood, the knives too.
Adam left the room, Tola and the Pastor on his heels. Something did not sit well with him. Was it by pure coincidence that they had found the place? He brought out his phone and called the office, he asked them to send a forensics team to the place.
“We’re following those tracks, okay? Let’s go.” Adam said as he marched towards his car.
“What was that back there?” Tola asked, finally finding her voice.
“I don’t know what that was, we will find out later, but for now we will find out where those tracks lead us.” Adam replied. “How come that place shook you up so much? You’ve seen the bodies, and they were way worse than this.”
“I don’t know Adam, I sensed evil in that place.”
Adam nodded and kept on driving. Ten minutes later, they entered into what looked like a small settlement.
“Is this the place?” Adam asked the pastor who was still yet to speak a word since seeing all the blood.
“What? Oh, yes, we are almost there. His house is the one round the corner after that red billboard.”
Adam drove past the billboard and round the corner and saw a red Tundra parked in front of a small house.
“Is that your son’s truck?” Tola asked.
“Yes, that is it.”
Adam stopped the car and they all got out of the car. Adam looked around, they had to be careful. If Solomon Alonge was a killer, then he was dangerous. And there was a possibility that the lawyer was with him and that spelt even more danger.
“Pastor, please get back in the car. This could be dangerous.” Adam said, waving the man inside the car.
“That’s my son in there, how can you tell me to stay in the car?” He protested.
“He is right. Barrister Jemiluwa could be there too and if his outsmarting our officers is anything to go by then he could be dangerous.” Tola said, trying to fake a smile but failing miserably. “We will lock the door and crack a window for you.”
The pastor reluctantly got in and Adam locked the car. He brought out his gun from its holster checked to make sure it was loaded, Tola did the same. He had not used the gun in months, he silently prayed there was not going to be a shootout because he was out of practice. It was stupid, chasing a serial killer and not practicing with your gun.
“Tola, go round the back, I’ll cover the front. Be careful.” Adam said. Tola nodded and moved towards the back of the house.
Adam took a deep breath, put his gun back in the holster and covered it with his suit. He moved towards the door. The whole house was quiet. If there was anybody inside they were doing their best to stay un-noticed. He quietly climbed the two-step stairs and stood in facing of the front door.
He thought of busting into the house, but that would immediately put the occupants in a defensive mode. He took another deep breath and knocked. No answer. He removed his gun from the holster and gently turned the door handle. The door gave way with ease, creaking as it opened. He stilled the door with his hand and stepped inside the room.
He stood still till his eyes adjusted to the dim light in the house. The living room was empty. It smelled of drugs, it was nauseating. He tiptoed across the room came to the dining area, his heartbeat increasing. He stopped suddenly almost dropping the gun he was holding. His heart looked to have stopped as he looked on in horror. He stood still for almost a minute before he regained control of his body.
“Tola, you need to get in here.” He shouted, or he wanted to shout but it came out in a whisper.
His head swooned as he tried to process what he was looking at.
On the floor were three bodies, their throats slit from one end to the other. One of them was the lawyer. He would have to confirm but he was sure the other two were Solomon Alonge and the man who owned the house.

*EPISODE 12*..
Adam rubbed his shivering hands together, he badly needed a drink. He was seated on the staircase of house where he had found the dead bodies. Policemen went in and out of the house, taking crime scene pictures and bagging anything they thought was evidence. Tola was seated close to him, she was talking with her husband on the phone.
He had been shaken to his bones looking at the bodies covered in their own blood on the floor. He had stood still, looking at them for about a minute, his mind had been completely functionless and so had his body. Tola recovered first from the shock and left him inside to call in the murder. The Pastor who they had left in the car suddenly came in suspecting that something was wrong and it had taken all the energy Adam could muster to prevent him from grabbing his dead son. Medics who arrived later had to sedate him to stop him from harming himself or any other person.
“I think we should leave.” Tola said, putting her hand on Adam’s arm.
“Let’s wait till the bodies are moved.” Adam said.
“Six bodies now Adam, what is happening?” She said, worry clearly written on her face.
“I have no idea.” He truly had no idea what to think anymore. It was possible the same person who killed the third victim killed the three men. But then the Lawyer and the pastor’s son were definitely guilty of something, he had no idea what, yet.
“This killing was bad, very bad, something the ‘church street killer’ would do.” Tola said.
Adam raised his head and looked at her. “The church street killer?”
“Yes, it’s the kind of thing he would do. Bloody, pathological, not with a gun but with a knife.”

“Why would he want to kill these guys, we don’t even…” Some officers passed by and he paused and lowered his voice. “Tola, we don’t have any link to him here.”
“We found a room with blood all over, not far from here, remember?”
“We don’t even know if that place is in any way connected to the ‘church street killer’ or this murder. It could be the blood of animals for all we know.”
“I don’t know, Adam, this just feels like him.” Tola said, shrugging.
“Well, we will definitely investigate that, but we don’t want to start any rumour especially as we are not sure.” Adam said, standing up.
He left Tola sitting on the stairs and walked into the house. He paused at the door and looked around the room. It was a neat room, probably because there was nothing much in it. The room had not been disturbed very much, that indicated there was not much of a struggle. The door was not broken into either, so the killer either picked the lock or the door was opened for him. Or maybe he had a key.
Adam moved away from the door and towards the bodies. He had not noticed their positioning and distance from each other the first time. The lawyer’s body was crumpled close to a chair where he was probably siting when he was killed. Solomon Alonge’s body was close to the door, he was not sure yet, but Adam suspected he was killed while attempting to leave the room. The farmer’s body was propped against the wall, he could not figure out why.
Adam heard a lot of voices coming from outside the house, he went to a window and peeped. It was the state chief of police. He had arrived with the press on his heels. Adam shook his head and hurried out of the house.
“Chief, what is happening here?” Adam said, meeting the Chief at the bottom of the stairs, he looked like he had lost weight.
“What do you mean? I should be asking you the same question.” The chief said, trying to come up the stairs.
“Sir, you can’t go in there, we are still processing the crime scene.” Adam said, subtly blocking the stairs. “How did you even get here so fast, we have not reported this to your office yet.”

“Ademola, I am your boss, you cannot tell me if I can enter that house or not.” He said, moving past Adam and entering the house.

“Benjamin!” Adam called to the junior detective. “Keep an eye on him.” He said, nodding at the chief.

Adam walked away from the house to where Tola was standing. Uniformed policemen were already keeping the press away. The details of the murder had already filtered to the journalists, no doubt he was in for serious questioning.

“Tola, let’s get out of here.” Adam said, he opened the door of his car and entered.

“I thought you said you wanted to wait for the bodies to be moved.”

“With the chief here and his mandatory press statement later, it would only end badly. Let’s go, we’ll stop at the two places we checked earlier before the press swarm those too.”

***

“Whoever this Garba is, we need to find him.” Adam said to Tola as they entered the room where they had earlier found knives and the blood. “If he isn’t the source of all this blood, then he should know who uses this room now.”

Two uniformed police men guarded the door as they walked through the room. The floor had been cleaned, there was no blood pooled anywhere. The walls had not been cleaned though, there were blood splashes all over them. The knives on the table were mostly rusted and they would not be any good for finger prints.

“This place is very dusty.” Tola said and Adam nodded. “Do you think it would be as dusty if it was used as the killing spot for any of the recent murders?”

She had a point. “So, we can assume they weren’t killed here? The blood on these walls did not come from a chicken though, I’ll have the place staked out.”

“Adam, come and check this out.” Tola called. She was crouching just behind the door.

“What is that?” Adam asked as Tola handed him a incense burner.

“That is an incense burner and the scent coming off of it is pine.” She replied.

“Incense…pine? What are you talking about?” Adam asked, arching his brow.

“I used to burn incense in my house at a point, just for the nice scent, nothing religious. Pine, that was my favourite flavor but it was expensive, so my supplier ran out or something.”

“Incense, really? What are you going to tell me now, that the ark of covenant is under your bed?” Adam said with a huge grin. “Question is what does this mean?”

“I don’t know. But if Pine is still as scarce as it was, then there can’t be too many people selling it, maybe we can find out who sold this and to who.”

“That is a long shot.”

“I know. Maybe we can be lucky and get a finger print off it.” She said as she collected the incense burner and put it in an evidence bag.

“Alright this is what we’ll do.” Adam said, stepping out of the room. “Call Benjamin, he’ll send a car for you. Go back to that town or village or whatever it is, find Garba and bring him in. I’ll go back to that farm house, look around and see what I can find. We’ll meet at that office, talk to the coroner see what these all means.”

Adam waited for a car to arrive to drive Tola before he left the place. He drove to the farm house and parked a few metres away from it.

The farm was quiet, too quiet. He looked around as he walked quietly to the house, he noticed the pigs were quiet, they were probably sleeping. He was close to the house when he started having the eerie feeling of being watched. He drew out his gun and tiptoed towards the house, everything was still quiet.

He got to the door and gently reached for the handle. He slowly opened it and walked in, his gun in front of him. He stood still, everything was still quiet. Then suddenly something jumped at him and knocked his gun off his hands. He staggered backwards, waving his arms in front of his face. He steadied himself leaning his weight on the door. He looked down at what had startled him, it was a cat!

He picked his gun from where it had fallen and walked away from the cat resisting the temptation to kick it. The room was exactly as he had left it. It was probably smart to have the room dusted for prints, he was not counting on finding anything useful. The cupboard! He had wanted to open it before Tola called him. He knelt near the cupboard and opened it. There was a bag inside. He opened the bag and went through the content, there was nothing of value in it, just clothes; three shirts and one trouser. He dipped his hands into the pockets of the trouser and found a piece of paper in the left pocket. It was a receipt. It was from Crackos and it was made out to Solomon Alonge on the same day his girlfriend was murdered, a few hours before her body was found.

He walked out of the room, removed his phone from his pocket and dialed Tola’s number.

“Hello Tola, found him yet?”

“No, nobody here knows where he is. Some of them say he’s travelled back to the north.”

“That sucks. Well, I just found a receipt from Crackos in Solomon Alonge’s trousers. Apparently he was close by when his girlfriend was killed.”

“I’m back at the crime scene, I’ll check his truck, see if there’s anything there.” She said and ended the call.

Adam walked out of the house and walked towards his car. He was about to unlock his door when he heard a car start in the distance. He immediately pulled out his gun. The car raised a lot of dust as it sped off blocking Adam from seeing anything useful. Somebody had been watching him after all.

His phone rang, it was Tola.

“Find anything?” He asked.

“You could say that, I think we found our killer; one of them. One of the carpets in Alonge’s truck is stained with blood. Apparently he tried washing it but he did not get it all off.”

“That is interesting, bring the carpet back to the office, we’ll run a test on the blood. And I think somebody was here watching me.”

“Did you see who?”

“Nah, could be our killer. Or some other random person who was just curious. I’ll see you at the office.”

“Okay Adam, be careful.”
Chat Heritage on zero eight one zero eight  seven five  one three six eight to be added to his WhatsApp group.
He slid his phone back in his pocket and entered his car. He opened a small compartment under the dashboard and brought out a small bottle of vodka. He had put it in a place where Tola would not find it. He was going to see the coroner again, his nerves needed some calming, she would not understand.

He emptied the content of the bottle in his mouth and threw the bottle out through the window. He started the car and drove away.

****

Adam burst into the Dr. Collin’s office absolutely livid. He had been waiting for the coroner for almost three hours. The stress of the day combined with his inactivity had activated his short temper. The man jumped up as soon as he saw Adam.

“Where the hell have you been?” Adam asked staring hard at the quivering man.

“I’m sorry sir, I had to…” He started.

“I don’t care really, just tell me what I need to know.” Adam said, pulling a chair and sitting. “Sit down please.”

Collins picked a file from his table. “The victims were Mr. Patrick Jemiluwa, Mr. Solomon Alonge…”

“I know who the victims were Doctor, the blood found in Alonge’s car, was it the blood of the third victim?”

“Yes sir, it was.”

Adam nodded and stared out of the window. It was bad that somebody who was the child of a supposed man of God could go as far as to kill. He got her pregnant and killed her for it? It did not make sense.

“Sir, I ran a test on the baby in that third victim and after cross-checking with the tests I ran on Jemiluwa and Alonge, I think we were wrong about the father of the baby. I might need to run further tests but by what I have right now, Jemiluwa was the father of the baby.”

“The lawyer?” Adam exclaimed. “He said he was only trying to talk to her on behalf of his friend.”

“Apparently he was lying.”

“Why would Solomon kill her then? Maybe he found out she was carrying his friend’s baby and still had the audacity to sue him. So why did she sue him? That is insane.”

The coroner shrugged.

“If Solomon killed her, then who killed him? My gut tells me they knew the killer, unfortunately my gut is not telling me who the killer is. In your professional opinion, do you think the same person who killed the first two victims, the girls, could have killed these men?”

“Well sir, that is a long shot. Not impossible though because he had reason to. Solomon tried framing him for the murder by removing the victim’s liver.”

“Yeah, I had thought of that but like I said earlier, I have this feeling they knew their killer. Okay, last question, the blood found in that old store, was it human? More importantly, did it belong to any of the victims?”

“It was not human sir, belonged to an unfortunate animal.”

“That should comfort me somewhat, I guess. I’m sorry I shouted on you earlier, having a crazy day as you can imagine.”

“I understand sir.”

Adam looked at him, nodded and walked out of his office.

****

Adam looked at his watch and opened his mouth in surprise, it was almost eight pm. He had told both Tola and Kate to go home around four pm, they had people to go home to, he didn’t. He had been at his desk reviewing everything they had on Solomon Alonge and Patrick Jemiluwa, there had to be a link to the Church Street Killer. He was yet to find one.

He shut down his laptop, stuck the files in a drawer and put off the table lamp. He picked up his jacket, his IPad and left the office. The whole building was quiet as he walked through it. He had always imagined that by the time he was thirty, he would be one of those guys who could not wait to leave the office just to run back to their families, it had not worked that way for him. Ese was the closest he had gotten to that dream but he had blown it when he started drinking. The murder of the first lady had messed up his life, and despite Ese’s efforts to keep him from blowing his top, he had blown it.

He was about getting out of the building when his phone rang. He smiled, it was Ese.

“This is magic, I was just thinking about you.” He said.

“You were thinking about me? Am I in any kind of trouble?” She said, sounding genuinely apprehensive.

“No, no, why would you think that? All I said was, I was thinking about you.” He wondered why he was even telling her, it was not like she was interested in hearing.

“Hmm, so what were you thinking about me then?” She said softly. Adam remembered that voice and all the tender conversations they had had in the past.

“Well, nothing much. Was just a passing thought really.” He said starting to feel uncomfortable.

“Are you saying you weren’t thinking of me because you miss me?” She said teasing, that voice again.

“Miss you? No, why would I miss you. It was just a random thought.” He said and laughed nervously.

“That’s your problem.” She said, the softness was gone. She sounded hurt instead. “I called to remind you about the show…you know what, never mind. I can’t do this right now.”

“Ese, wait…” She ended the call. You bloody idiot! He kicked the wall and immediately doubled over in pain.

He shook his head, opened the door and left the building. He greeted the guards on duty and walked to his car. He was about to open the door when she called back.

“Ese, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it like that?” He said before she could say anything.

“Having troubles with your girlfriend?” A voice said over the phone, it was not Ese. The voice was a computer edited voice. He looked at his phone, it was not Ese’s number.

“Who is this?” He said, looking around. The guards were close to the building, they were not paying any attention to him.

“You know who it is Detective.”

“You have some nerve calling me after what you did today.” Adam thought hard, there was no way he could trace the call, not immediately. Where was Faruk when you needed him?

“What did I do today Detective?”

“Those men you killed, you sick bastard, what did they do to you?”
    *kindly  Hy Heritage  on +2348108751368 to be added to  story room to enjoy reading from there.*   
“That’s funny Detective, because  I don’t think you have anything linking me to those murders but at least now you know I did not kill that third girl.”

“How do you know what I know? I don’t care if you killed two girls or three, I’m going to find you.” Adam could feel his face heating up.

“No problem, I’ll love to see you do that.”

“Oh, you’ll see me do it, because I’m going to catch you alive.”

“You’ve been a useless policeman for a long time, why do you think you would change now? And by the way, I’m not talking about the assassination of the first lady.”

Adam kept quiet. What was he talking about?

“Cat’s got your tongue Detective? Yeah, I knew you way before you worked for the governor. Just in case you don’t understand yet, I’m saying this is personal. Catch me if you can, but until you do, the murders will not stop. And don’t even try your usual way out because if you quit this job, I’m coming for you.”

Adam was silent; he could not process what he was hearing.

“I always knew you were dumb, I just didn’t know it manifested on your tongue too. By the way, your girlfriend just entered her house and I’m starting to have ideas.” The voice said with a hoarse laugh followed by the dial tone.

*EPISODE 13*

Adam jumped into his car, slammed the door, started the engine and was out on the road as fast as he could. He could not believe that the psycho had made a personal threat to him, and what was he talking about saying he knew him before he worked for the governor. There were only a few people who knew him from his days as a uniformed officer, so few and none of them worked at CIB.  He thought as far as he could remember, nothing came to mind. And even though he had not achieved much as policeman back then, he had not made any mistakes or done errors of note, so what was the bastard talking about?
He shook his head, trying to ward off everything the killer had said. Except the fact that he had his eyes on Ese. He should call her, that’s what he should have done! He brought out his phone and dialed her number while keeping an eye on the road.
She did not answer.
Oh my God!
He dialed again. Still no answer. He swore under his breath and increased the pressure on the accelerator. If anything happened to Ese, he would hunt down the killer and chop him up, limb by limb.
The last time he had driven to Ese’s house, he had been drunk and she had told him she never wanted to see him again. Hard as he tried, he was unable to erase that incidence from his brain, it was one of his worst memories. He silently prayed that the memory he was creating at that moment would not turn to be his worst.
He turned his car into Ese’s street and slowed his car, if the killer was anywhere near he wanted to find him. He looked around as he drove, there were no suspicious cars parked anywhere or people lurking around. He parked a few metres away from her house and walked towards it. He checked, his gun was loaded. He moved as swiftly as he could to the house. The windows were open but the curtains were drawn, there was no way to tell the number of people inside the house, if there was anybody in.
He walked on the balls of his feet to the door. A lot could happen in the next minute but he had no time to think through the possibilities. He knocked on the door. He waited, his hands ready to go for his gun. He lifted his hand to knock again when the door opened.
“Adam?” Ese stepped back in surprise.
Adam let out his breath, he had not noticed he was holding it. She was safe. At least the killer was not in her house.
“What are you doing here?” She said, still standing in the door way.
“I just wanted to make sure you are safe.” He said.
“Safe from what?” She looked at him warily.
“Ermm…” He was not sure if he should tell her about the killer’s call. It would do her no good, it was better she did not know. “I was just checking.”
He turned to leave then stopped. “I’m sorry about what I said earlier, I was…” He stopped and started to leave.
“Adam…” Ese called, he stopped and looked back. “Wanna come in?”
“Yeah, I guess.” He said, trying to stop a smile from spreading across his face but failing.
He followed her into the house. It had a cozy, homey look, a look his house desperately needed. On the wall were her pictures, most of them new ones, they were not familiar. The TV was tuned to a music channel and a lady rapper he had never seen before was performing, quite impressively he noticed. Just behind the TV were a set of plaques – awards she had won.
“Remember that?” Ese caught him looking at a golden microphone sitting among the plaques. He looked at her and immediately looked away. She was standing behind one of the chairs dressed in a tank top and a pair of shorts. He kept his eyes trained on the plaques.
“Hmhmm.” Of course he remembered it. She received the award the night he met her. He had gone with the governor to the award ceremony held for journalists in Lagos and had been completely blown away with her smile, her voice, the way she gestured when she thanked everybody for the award; everything about her had enraptured him.
“That’s my most precious award, you know, it’s the dream of every journalist to get that.” She said. Adam nodded, still looking away from her. “You want me to get you something?”
“Huh, no thanks. I had no plans to stay, just wanted to see if you were okay.” He said. He felt really silly, he was like a school boy on his first date.
“Seriously? You just came to see me out of the blues?” She said, climbing into the chair opposite him and folding her legs on the chair. “That can’t be right.”
“Well, yeah I did. I’m not as horrible as you think.” He said, trying to force a smile.
“Are you sure about that?.” Adam opened his mouth to talk but she continued. “Forget about that, you’re here and I’m grateful. So, how’re you finding your job at CIB?”
“It’s alright, exciting I must admit but not as good as the job I had before.”
“If you catch… when you catch this killer, you’re going to be famous. You know that right?” She said, beaming her angelic smile.
“Not really. If I catch him, the chief of police gets the glory and if I don’t, I get the blame. That’s how it works.”
“I’m sure he’ll squeeze your name in somewhere.” She stood up from her seat. “You know what, I’ll fix you something fast, I’m sure you have no plans for dinner.”
Adam wanted to protest, but she was right, he had no dinner plans. He smiled to himself, he had a killer to catch, one who had threatened him a few minutes ago but he was instead going to eat dinner with this beautiful woman. He relaxed and got comfortable in the chair, nobody would begrudge him a single night of pleasure, however fleeting it might be, not even the church street killer.
****
Adam drove slowly as he returned home, it had been the best night of his life. Probably not, but it was one of the best. He had had homemade dinner for the first time in a long while and had talked for more than an hour with a woman that he probably loved, if he was humble enough to admit it. Romantic music filtered through the speakers of his car stereo, he barely tolerated romantic music but it suited him that night.
He drove into his compound, whistling as he brought the car to a stop. He was about getting out of the car when he noticed a dark figure sitting at his doorstep. He reached for his gun quickly, stepped out of the car and closed the door quietly. The figure stood up and started walking towards him. He crouched low beside the car, his mind racing through the options he had.
“Adam? Don’t shoot me bro.” Faruk? “Faruk here, okay?”
Adam stood and holstered his gun. “What are you doing hiding in the shadows man? I could have shot you.”
“Shot me? I wasn’t even in the shadows, I was sitting at your doorstep, how obvious did I need to be?”
Adam walked to the front door and opened it.
“What took you so long? Surely you were not at the office, and I don’t smell any alcohol on you.” Faruk said.
“None of your business. The real question is what are you doing here?”
“What am I doing here? I’m at my best friend’s house, you have no right to ask me that question. But you have to answer mine. Where are you coming from Adam? Do you have a secret girlfriend?” Adam shook his head as he unbuttoned his shirt, removed it and tossed it on a chair. “Oh my God, Adam, are you sleeping with your partner? She is married for God’s sake!”
“Shut up Faruk! I’m coming from Ese’s place.”
“Are you serious? Bad guy!” Faruk said with a huge grin, punching Adam on his shoulder. “Okay, start talking.”
“There’s nothing to talk about.” Adam said with a shrug. “I got a call from the killer…”
“You got a call from whom?!” Faruk exclaimed.
“Yeah, the sicko called me and said he was looking at Ese go into her house. So I rushed over there, didn’t see anything or anybody. One thing led to another…”
“And you slept with her? You sly dog.” Faruk said, throwing back his head in laughter.
“No Faruk, calm down, what’s wrong with you? I had dinner at her place, that’s all and I’ll be seeing her sometime next week.”
“So you didn’t do anything.” Faruk rolled his eyes and hissed. “To more important matters then, you said this church killer guy called you? Did you trace the call?”
“No, I couldn’t, there was no way to. He said he knows me from way back, even before I worked with the governor. He said it was personal.”
“That makes sense.”
“What do you mean it makes sense?”
“I have a theory, a suspect. Get ready to have your mind blown.” Faruk said sitting up in his chair. “The chief!”
“The what?!”
“The chief.”
“The chief of police?”
“No, the chief of your frigging village, of course the chief of police.”
“That’s not possible, I’d sooner believe it was the governor than believe it was the chief.” Adam said, shaking his head. It could not be, the chief was not even on his radar of suspects. “What proof do you have Faruk?”
“Remember what I said about the text coming from inside CIB?”
“That doesn’t mean the killer is a member of the Bureau, anybody good with a computer could have done that. Plus I don’t think the chief is intelligent enough to be doing this.”
“Okay, let’s go over what we know. He was the one who decided you should run this investigation, you could have delegated it. He knows you from way back, we know that. And he’s always been stomping around the case all along.”
“Yeah, drumming up as much press attention as he can for the case. He also said some crap about the killer going down in history.” Adam said. “But there’s no way he’s the killer. Remember the video we saw, he was not the shadow in that video.”
“He could have gotten somebody to drop it for him. And he’s not as stupid as you think, he has a degree in Physics and Computer science. It might have been from way back, but I’m sure he still knows his way around a computer.”
“Come on Faruk, this is a little out there, don’t you think?” Adam said as he stood and started pacing.
“It is a little out there I know, but hear this…” He was interrupted by Adam’s phone, it was ringing. “It’s almost ten thirty, who is calling you at this ungodly hour?”
“Keep quiet.” Adam said and he picked up his phone. It was Kate.” Kate?”
“Hello Uncle Adam.” She said, sniffing.
“It’s almost eleven o’clock, what’s happening?”
“You need to talk to my Dad, I don’t know who else to call.”
“What happened? Are you okay?”
“I went to a party with friends tonight, I had a few drinks and came home late. I know I shouldn’t have but now he’s talking about sending me to Senegal for a six months course in French.”
“That’s not so bad Kate, and six months isn’t a long time.” Adam said, rubbing his eyes, he needed to sleep.
“It’s a boarding house, I won’t leave the school except on school endorsed excursions and field trips. That’s a prison and I actually love working with you.”
Adam quietly contemplated what to say, he had no idea. It was not his business what the governor did with his daughter. If her mother was alive she would have taken care of the situation. It was true and as hard as he tried he could not absolve himself of responsibility for her mother’s death.
“Kate, you come to work as usual tomorrow, if your dad doesn’t change his mind, I’ll have a chat with him, okay?”
“Thank you Uncle Adam, I’ll see you at work tomorrow.”
Adam nodded and disconnected the call.
“What was that all about?” Faruk asked.
“Man, you don’t wanna know. You were about to say something about the chief, what was it?”
“Alright, I was talking about why he’s my main suspect. I happened to hang out at that joint where the second victim was supposed to have been kidnapped, guess who I discovered was a VIP regular at the club?”
“The chief?” Adam asked.
“Exactly! And you want to guess where he took the girl he picked up to?”
“No.”
“Clear Springs hotel.”
“Isn’t that where the first girl was coming from when she was kidnapped?”
Faruk bowed. “You are welcome.”
“That doesn’t make sense.”
“Why don’t you do what every reasonable detective does; investigate.”
“Oh, I will. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t like the man, not at all but a killer? I don’t think so. I’m going to sleep.”
Adam shook his head as he walked out of the room, there was no way the chief was the church street killer. Absolutely no way.
***
He looked at his face in the mirror and turned away. It was contorted with hate, hate he could not explain, hate no therapist anywhere could resolve or take away. He knew it was not good, it would ultimately be the end of him, but he could not control himself. Something inside him needed someone to blame, a face to picture when he slashed with his knife, Detective Adam Ademola was that person. He was not a random pick, he deserved the hate, he was worthy of it.
He closed the bathroom door and walked into his room. Staring at him from the wall directly above his bed was a picture of Diana. It was one of her six pictures on his bedroom wall. He looked away from the picture, even Diana would disapprove of his hatred for Adam. He was her messenger, satisfying her needs, it was not his place to use her to fight his own battles. But he was not fighting for himself alone, he was fighting for both of them.
He walked to his wardrobe and opened a closet, he brought out pictures he took of his sacrifices, the two girls. He dropped the pictures back in the closet and brought out another one; his next sacrifice. She looked innocent but she was not, this sacrifice was not a random one, this one was personal. Diana wanted a sacrifice that would mean something to her, someone who deserved to die.
He smiled and dropped the picture back in the closet. He kicked off his shoes and laid on the bed, if Diana was getting a personal sacrifice, one that meant something to her, he would also make this one worth his while.
He opened the laptop sitting on his bedside table and routed the connection through the CIB network. He was going to have fun with this one, show Adam how stupid he really was. He opened the message box and typed;

Three days and the sun will rise
On another soul who will pay the price.

He hit send and smiled, it was short and even poetic and he had not even had to think for long to write it. He shut down the laptop and stretched on the bed.

Rest, sleep for tomorrow you must work.

*EPISODE 14*

Adam looked at the empty, boring faces in front of him and sighed. “Yes we believe the third lady wasn’t a victim of the church street killer.”

He was in a meeting with all law enforcement agencies in the state under the strict orders of the state governor. The NSCDC, FRSC, NIS, NPS were all represented, even KWATMA sent a representative, it was ridiculous. It was a complete waste of time as far as he was concerned. He was supposed to be meeting with the heads of all these agencies but apparently they all thought the meeting was a waste of their time too and had sent their deputies. The deputies trying to assert some sort of authority had been firing him with questions, most of them silly repetitions of what another person had asked.

Kate sat to his right, her eyes darting here and there following the conversation but her fingers never leaving the keyboard of her laptop. Tola was seated next to her, her eyes begging him to endure the meeting.
“If you said there was somebody watching the lawyer, how did he get murdered without one of your people there to prevent it?” The representative of the NPS asked. Adam looked at him and wondered if he should answer the question. He did not understand why the Nigerian Prisons had to send a representative, they had no help to offer the investigation. Except maybe keep the killer in jail when he was caught, until he was sent to the noose.

“I mentioned earlier that he eluded our officers and they were not with him when he was killed.” Adam said as firmly as he could without being rude.

The chief of police was supposed to be a part of the meeting but had not shown up and had not even sent a representative. It was two days since Faruk told him about his suspicions and even though he was not was not convinced the chief could be the killer he had told Faruk to tail him.

The message he got from the killer had put more pressure on him. If the chief was the killer, he needed to be stopped and fast, another dead body would be the straw that would break the camel’s back. The people were already tired of his silence and there were already talks of vigilante groups trying to go after the killer.

“You have deployed policemen to all the churches in the state, that is a lot man power, how long do you hope to keep this up for?” The prisons guy asked.

“As long as we need to.” Adam said. He knew it was too much, but he had to do all he could. If the killer was going to dump the body in a church then he could not do it without being caught.

“Are you serious? There are other crimes being committed in the city, who will solve those?” The man from the NSCDC asked.

“Did you really put men in every church? Every single one?” A man whose upper lip was swallowed up in his mustache asked. He represented the Road Safety Corps.

“Okay, we are not keeping them there forever. We have information that there might be a murder soon, and so far the killer has dumped his victims in churches, so we are watching them.”

“Don’t you think he’ll change his dumping site when he sites your men?” Mustache lips asked.

“We are not stupid, you know.” Adam said, starting to get annoyed. “They’re not wearing uniforms standing in the open and wielding AK-47s.”

Adam continued for another forty five minutes telling them all he could and answering their question. He was tired, talking for so long while also fighting to keep his temper under check had drained his energy.

“I’ll take one last question.” Adam said, hoping nobody would ask any.

He was not so lucky, the man from KWATMA who had been quiet throughout the meeting raised a hand.

“Yes?”

“Who are the suspects you have, do you have a list?” He asked.

“Well, yes we do.” Adam started uncertainly. They had suspects – the pastors, Solomon Alonge who was now dead, the chief and pretty much everybody who worked at CIB. But he could not tell them that.

“Can you share the list with us?” The man asked again.

“Well, unfortunately I cannot at this time. We will get them to you at a later time, when we are sure of their status as suspects.” Adam said and looked Tola who shrugged.

“Do you have a profile of the killer?” The man asked again.

“I’m sorry I said that was going to be the last question.” Adam said trying to cover for his lack of answer to the question.

“No, I think you should answer that question.” One of the men said, the others murmured their agreement.

“No, we don’t have a complete profile yet, we’re still working on it.” Adam answered, starting to feel the heat on his face.

“Do you have any solid leads then? Any angles you’re working?” The KWATMA man continued

“Are you even making any progress on this case?” Mustache lips added, looking at the others for support, they all nodded.

“What the heck is this?” Adam shouted, hitting the table with his hand. “You think we are playing around here? You think we just stand on highways checking permits or sit in our offices issuing passports? No we work, go out in the sun and lose sleep to rid this city of scum. You have the nerve to come here and question me?”

He packed the files in front of him and stood. “This meeting is over.”

He looked at Tola who had bowed her head during his rant, Kate sat still, her hands frozen over the keyboard. He had blown his top again. He looked round at the shocked men and walked out of the room.

Nobody followed him out of the room, Tola would probably make an attempt to clean his mess, save face as much as she could. Adam wondered why it did not take long to get him angry. Even though the questions asked were legitimate, he was not handling the case right, he was only jumping from murder to murder without a plan. He did not have much faith in profiles but it would not hurt to have one. They also needed to map out all the plausible suspects and leads and pursue them till they uncovered some other lead or became dead ends. But first, the killer had promised to kill another person, that had to be stopped.

His phone rang just as he stepped into his office. He picked it from his table. It was Faruk.

“Faruk.” He said.

“What the hell man, I’ve called you like one-fifty times.” He sounded anxious.

“Sorry, I was in a meeting.” Adam replied rubbing his head, his never ending headache was starting to act up again.

“I was made Adam, I was made.” Faruk said.

“You were what? Calm down and talk to me. You’re still watching the chief, right?”

“That’s what I’m talking about, he saw me.”

“Oh my God, how did that happen?” Adam dropped his voice to whisper and sat quickly.

“Alright, so I followed him around town for a while, then he dropped off his driver at home and drove off on his own. So I figured something interesting was about to happen so I followed him closely. I told you the man isn’t stupid.”

“Go on Faruk.”

“He drove out of town towards Ganmo, that got me even more interested. You know that’s where the three men were killed, right?”

“I was there Faruk, continue please.”

“Alright, he turned into the road that led to the settlement where the bodies were found, I was still behind him. This time we were the only ones on the road, no cars in between us. All of a sudden he stopped opposite the store where you said you found blood splashed on the wall, so I stopped too. That was my mistake.”

“He saw you then?”

“Well, not exactly. He started towards the house and was about to enter when he suddenly stopped and looked at my direction. I immediately dropped low in my seat but it was too late, he had seen me. He started walking towards me.”

“Crap! Did he see your face?”

“Nah, he didn’t. Immediately I saw him walking towards me, I started the car, turned around and sped away. I doubt he even saw the colour of the car I was driving.”

“That’s a relief.” Adam said with a sigh. “But why was he there? And why go alone?”

“I have no idea man, but does this confirm him as a suspect or not?”

“I don’t know, but there’s something going on.” Adam heard steps approaching his door. “I have to go, we’ll talk later. Stay away from the chief, okay?”

He disconnected the call. There was a knock on his door and Kate entered. Adam tried not to look her in the eye, he had embarrassed himself in front of someone who looked up to him.

“Uncle Adam…” she said, standing in the doorway.

“Yes Kate?”

“I just wanted to thank you for talking to my Dad, I would be on a plane to Senegal now if it wasn’t for you.”

Adam sighed, she was not talking about the meeting. “It’s okay. But he’s putting you on probation for a month, please stay out of trouble, okay?”

“Yes sir.” She said and saluted.

She left the room and almost immediately Tola entered.

“What was that Adam?” She said, her eyes blazing.

“What was what?” Adam could feel himself getting angry too. Tola was always the cool one, never getting angry. Seeing her angry made him angry at himself.

“Do you know the rubbish those men said to me after you left all because you could not manage your ego?”

“I did not ask you to stay there and listen to them, did I?”

“Oh, I should have stormed out of there too? What would that make us?”

“Dosumu, I am your boss, I can do whatever I want.”

“Of course you can, boss.” She said and stormed out of the office.

Adam stood up from his chair and held his head in-between his palms. He had never seen Tola so angry, apparently the case was taking its toll on her too. She had been right though, he had put her in a bad position. He picked his phone and left his office.

He stopped for five seconds in front of her door before he knocked. She did not answer but he went in anyway. She was sitting with her head on her desk. When she sat up, he saw tears in her eyes.

“Tola, I’m so sorry for shouting at you.” He said, standing by the door. “I shouldn’t have lost my temper there and left you to bear the grunt.”

She nodded and picked a white handkerchief from her table and dabbed at her eyes.

“Look, I know this case has been tough on all of us and I would not object if you wanted a break, even if it’s just for a few days.”

“You think a break is what I need? I love my job and hard as it is for people to believe, I love working with you. When you’re sane. But you had to hear what those men said to me when you left, it just triggered some stored up frustration, I guess.”

“I’m sorry about that Tola. I can get them all arrested if you want.” He said, with a smile. She smiled back.
Chat Heritage on zero eight one zero eight  seven five  one three six eight to be added to his WhatsApp group.
“As annoying as they were, they asked some reasonable questions. Especially the last guy, the one from KWATMA. Apart from suspects and leads which are paramount, we should have a profile of the killer. Something to help us predict him.”

“I thought you didn’t believe in profiles.” Tola said.

“It won’t hurt us to have one. We should get a professional on that immediately. I’m delegating that to you.”

“What we need to talk about though is our leads and suspects or should I say lack of leads and suspects?” She said, opening up a note in front of her.

“Let’s go over the possible leads we have right now. Let’s start with the last murders, the three who were killed. Despite the killer not admitting that he killed them, I kind of believe he did. What leads do we have on that case?”

“Well, there’s the house where we found blood…”

“Yeah, that reminds me, Faruk just called.” Adam cut in and narrated to her everything Faruk had told him. “There’s something about that house, I think we need to devote a lot of resources to finding who bought or rented it from Garba. Or just find the Garba himself.”

“Then there’s the incense we found at the site. I called the woman I told you I was going to contact, she said she remembered someone asking for the flavour we found. But she said it was months ago and she said she’ll look for his phone number and get back to me.”

“Okay, those are two leads that can yield a lot if they’re not dead ends. We also need to find out who knew about the farm where Solomon was staying. How did the killer find out about the place where he was hiding?” Adam asked.

“If the chief is the killer…” Tola started, lowering her voice. “Then he could have access through the CIB.”

“Yes, but how would someone else know, someone who doesn’t work for the CIB?”

“By the way, I thought we are assuming at least one of them knew the killer, right? That would mean Solomon Alonge could have called the killer himself.”

“That’s right, he could have. We need to get his phone records then. I also think we should talk to his father again, find out if there’s any other person who knows about the farm.”

“Looks like we have work to do.” Tola said, clearing her desk.

“I think you would have to go on your own this time.” Adam said, looking at his watch. He had a meeting with Faruk at Crackos. It was to discuss the case but it had been twenty four hours since he had a drink, he badly needed one.

“Where are you going?” Tola asked surprised.

“I have a meeting with Faruk. Why don’t you take Kate with you for company, it will be fun for her too.”

“Fun? Talking to a grieving father is your idea of fun?”

Adam smiled, gave her a double thumbs-up and left the office.

***

Kate closed the door of the office and walked towards the exit. It had been a long day for her. Her outing with Tola had not been fun like she expected it to be. They had come back late despite not getting much, it was almost six thirty pm. Tola was a nice person and she cared about Adam a lot, it was obvious but she was also very professional. Kate wondered if she would ever really become friends with the woman and relate with her the way she did with Adam.

She stepped out of the building and walked towards the gate. Tola had gone about twenty minutes before she left the office, so she was almost by herself in the compound. She usually drove to the office but after her last episode with her Dad, he had withdrawn her car. He would not allow her take a taxi though and had told her to call when she closed so one of her dad’s numerous drivers could come pick her. But she was determined to show her Dad she could live without all the luxury that came with being the governor’s daughter.

She greeted the men at the gate and stepped into the street. She had not taken a taxi in years and was not sure how to go about it. It was better to take a single one and pay the cab driver any amount he wanted to collect. She dug her hands into her bag to get her wallet when a taxi stopped in front of her. She opened the door and entered. Thankfully she was the only one inside.

“I’m going to the government house please. How much will that cost?” She said to the taxi driver.

“You alone?” The driver asked, he wore a cap that covered most of his face. His voice was strange, almost as if he was straining to talk.

“Yes please.”

“That will be five hundred naira.”

“No problem.”  She said and he started moving.

She knew she was probably over paying him but she did not care, she just wanted to show her dad she was not a spoilt brat who needed hand holding. She looked out through the window, the city looked beautiful in the almost dark night. She noticed that she was not familiar with most of the buildings she saw. It was strange because she always thought she knew everything on her route.

Two minutes later and she realized she was actually not on her route. They had turned into an unfamiliar road and it was getting dark.

“Driver, this is not the road to the government house.” She said, starting to feel uneasy. He did not reply. She hit his seat with her fist, her hands were beginning to tremble. “Didn’t you hear me, I said this is not where I’m going.”

He laughed shortly and began to whistle. The sound of his whistle rang in her head as she scrambled at the door. There was no way to open the door from inside. The window controls too were not functioning. Sweat poured down her face. She began to cry.

“Please let me go, I’ll give you anything you want.” She cried, banging on the windows. There were a few passersby but they did not seem to notice her. She balled her trembling fingers and with a scream punched him. “I said let me go!”

He moaned and pulled the car over to the side of the road and turned off the engine. The street was dark and secluded.

He came out of the taxi and circled round the car till he came to her door , all the time keeping his face hidden below his cap. She hurriedly backed away from the door, trying to see through her tears. When he opened the door she saw that he wore some kind of mask over his face. She screamed and kicked at him as he reached for her. He smelled of mint and she could hear his deep breathing. He stopped and dug his hands into his pocket and brought out a bottle. He pointed the bottle to her and she felt a cold liquid spray on her face.

Two seconds after the liquid touched her face, she saw the man start to fade away, it was like he was being erased. She tried to move but she could not. The space where the driver had stood was replaced by darkness. The darkness seemed to have taken over the car and it was taking over her as well. She tried to fight but she was powerless against it. Suddenly the darkness stopped and she was gone.

*EPISOSE 15*

Adam jumped into his car, slammed the door, started the engine and was out on the road as fast as he could. He could not believe that the psycho had made a personal threat to him, and what was he talking about saying he knew him before he worked for the governor. There were only a few people who knew him from his days as a uniformed officer, so few and none of them worked at CIB.  He thought as far as he could remember, nothing came to mind. And even though he had not achieved much as policeman back then, he had not made any mistakes or done errors of note, so what was the bastard talking about?
He shook his head, trying to ward off everything the killer had said. Except the fact that he had his eyes on Ese. He should call her, that’s what he should have done! He brought out his phone and dialed her number while keeping an eye on the road.
She did not answer.
Oh my God!
He dialed again. Still no answer. He swore under his breath and increased the pressure on the accelerator. If anything happened to Ese, he would hunt down the killer and chop him up, limb by limb.
The last time he had driven to Ese’s house, he had been drunk and she had told him she never wanted to see him again. Hard as he tried, he was unable to erase that incidence from his brain, it was one of his worst memories. He silently prayed that the memory he was creating at that moment would not turn to be his worst.
He turned his car into Ese’s street and slowed his car, if the killer was anywhere near he wanted to find him. He looked around as he drove, there were no suspicious cars parked anywhere or people lurking around. He parked a few metres away from her house and walked towards it. He checked, his gun was loaded. He moved as swiftly as he could to the house. The windows were open but the curtains were drawn, there was no way to tell the number of people inside the house, if there was anybody in.
He walked on the balls of his feet to the door. A lot could happen in the next minute but he had no time to think through the possibilities. He knocked on the door. He waited, his hands ready to go for his gun. He lifted his hand to knock again when the door opened.
“Adam?” Ese stepped back in surprise.
Adam let out his breath, he had not noticed he was holding it. She was safe. At least the killer was not in her house.
“What are you doing here?” She said, still standing in the door way.
“I just wanted to make sure you are safe.” He said.
“Safe from what?” She looked at him warily.
“Ermm…” He was not sure if he should tell her about the killer’s call. It would do her no good, it was better she did not know. “I was just checking.”
He turned to leave then stopped. “I’m sorry about what I said earlier, I was…” He stopped and started to leave.
“Adam…” Ese called, he stopped and looked back. “Wanna come in?”
“Yeah, I guess.” He said, trying to stop a smile from spreading across his face but failing.
He followed her into the house. It had a cozy, homey look, a look his house desperately needed. On the wall were her pictures, most of them new ones, they were not familiar. The TV was tuned to a music channel and a lady rapper he had never seen before was performing, quite impressively he noticed. Just behind the TV were a set of plaques – awards she had won.
“Remember that?” Ese caught him looking at a golden microphone sitting among the plaques. He looked at her and immediately looked away. She was standing behind one of the chairs dressed in a tank top and a pair of shorts. He kept his eyes trained on the plaques.
“Hmhmm.” Of course he remembered it. She received the award the night he met her. He had gone with the governor to the award ceremony held for journalists in Lagos and had been completely blown away with her smile, her voice, the way she gestured when she thanked everybody for the award; everything about her had enraptured him.
“That’s my most precious award, you know, it’s the dream of every journalist to get that.” She said. Adam nodded, still looking away from her. “You want me to get you something?”
“Huh, no thanks. I had no plans to stay, just wanted to see if you were okay.” He said. He felt really silly, he was like a school boy on his first date.
“Seriously? You just came to see me out of the blues?” She said, climbing into the chair opposite him and folding her legs on the chair. “That can’t be right.”
“Well, yeah I did. I’m not as horrible as you think.” He said, trying to force a smile.
“Are you sure about that?.” Adam opened his mouth to talk but she continued. “Forget about that, you’re here and I’m grateful. So, how’re you finding your job at CIB?”
“It’s alright, exciting I must admit but not as good as the job I had before.”
“If you catch… when you catch this killer, you’re going to be famous. You know that right?” She said, beaming her angelic smile.
“Not really. If I catch him, the chief of police gets the glory and if I don’t, I get the blame. That’s how it works.”
“I’m sure he’ll squeeze your name in somewhere.” She stood up from her seat. “You know what, I’ll fix you something fast, I’m sure you have no plans for dinner.”
Adam wanted to protest, but she was right, he had no dinner plans. He smiled to himself, he had a killer to catch, one who had threatened him a few minutes ago but he was instead going to eat dinner with this beautiful woman. He relaxed and got comfortable in the chair, nobody would begrudge him a single night of pleasure, however fleeting it might be, not even the church street killer.
****
Adam drove slowly as he returned home, it had been the best night of his life. Probably not, but it was one of the best. He had had homemade dinner for the first time in a long while and had talked for more than an hour with a woman that he probably loved, if he was humble enough to admit it. Romantic music filtered through the speakers of his car stereo, he barely tolerated romantic music but it suited him that night.
He drove into his compound, whistling as he brought the car to a stop. He was about getting out of the car when he noticed a dark figure sitting at his doorstep. He reached for his gun quickly, stepped out of the car and closed the door quietly. The figure stood up and started walking towards him. He crouched low beside the car, his mind racing through the options he had.
“Adam? Don’t shoot me bro.” Faruk? “Faruk here, okay?”
Adam stood and holstered his gun. “What are you doing hiding in the shadows man? I could have shot you.”
“Shot me? I wasn’t even in the shadows, I was sitting at your doorstep, how obvious did I need to be?”
Adam walked to the front door and opened it.
“What took you so long? Surely you were not at the office, and I don’t smell any alcohol on you.” Faruk said.
“None of your business. The real question is what are you doing here?”
“What am I doing here? I’m at my best friend’s house, you have no right to ask me that question. But you have to answer mine. Where are you coming from Adam? Do you have a secret girlfriend?” Adam shook his head as he unbuttoned his shirt, removed it and tossed it on a chair. “Oh my God, Adam, are you sleeping with your partner? She is married for God’s sake!”
“Shut up Faruk! I’m coming from Ese’s place.”
“Are you serious? Bad guy!” Faruk said with a huge grin, punching Adam on his shoulder. “Okay, start talking.”
“There’s nothing to talk about.” Adam said with a shrug. “I got a call from the killer…”
“You got a call from whom?!” Faruk exclaimed.
“Yeah, the sicko called me and said he was looking at Ese go into her house. So I rushed over there, didn’t see anything or anybody. One thing led to another…”
“And you slept with her? You sly dog.” Faruk said, throwing back his head in laughter.
“No Faruk, calm down, what’s wrong with you? I had dinner at her place, that’s all and I’ll be seeing her sometime next week.”
“So you didn’t do anything.” Faruk rolled his eyes and hissed. “To more important matters then, you said this church killer guy called you? Did you trace the call?”
“No, I couldn’t, there was no way to. He said he knows me from way back, even before I worked with the governor. He said it was personal.”
“That makes sense.”
“What do you mean it makes sense?”
“I have a theory, a suspect. Get ready to have your mind blown.” Faruk said sitting up in his chair. “The chief!”
“The what?!”
“The chief.”
“The chief of police?”
“No, the chief of your frigging village, of course the chief of police.”
“That’s not possible, I’d sooner believe it was the governor than believe it was the chief.” Adam said, shaking his head. It could not be, the chief was not even on his radar of suspects. “What proof do you have Faruk?”
“Remember what I said about the text coming from inside CIB?”
“That doesn’t mean the killer is a member of the Bureau, anybody good with a computer could have done that. Plus I don’t think the chief is intelligent enough to be doing this.”
“Okay, let’s go over what we know. He was the one who decided you should run this investigation, you could have delegated it. He knows you from way back, we know that. And he’s always been stomping around the case all along.”
“Yeah, drumming up as much press attention as he can for the case. He also said some crap about the killer going down in history.” Adam said. “But there’s no way he’s the killer. Remember the video we saw, he was not the shadow in that video.”
“He could have gotten somebody to drop it for him. And he’s not as stupid as you think, he has a degree in Physics and Computer science. It might have been from way back, but I’m sure he still knows his way around a computer.”
“Come on Faruk, this is a little out there, don’t you think?” Adam said as he stood and started pacing.
“It is a little out there I know, but hear this…” He was interrupted by Adam’s phone, it was ringing. “It’s almost ten thirty, who is calling you at this ungodly hour?”
“Keep quiet.” Adam said and he picked up his phone. It was Kate.” Kate?”
“Hello Uncle Adam.” She said, sniffing.
“It’s almost eleven o’clock, what’s happening?”
“You need to talk to my Dad, I don’t know who else to call.”
“What happened? Are you okay?”
“I went to a party with friends tonight, I had a few drinks and came home late. I know I shouldn’t have but now he’s talking about sending me to Senegal for a six months course in French.”
“That’s not so bad Kate, and six months isn’t a long time.” Adam said, rubbing his eyes, he needed to sleep.
“It’s a boarding house, I won’t leave the school except on school endorsed excursions and field trips. That’s a prison and I actually love working with you.”
Adam quietly contemplated what to say, he had no idea. It was not his business what the governor did with his daughter. If her mother was alive she would have taken care of the situation. It was true and as hard as he tried he could not absolve himself of responsibility for her mother’s death.
“Kate, you come to work as usual tomorrow, if your dad doesn’t change his mind, I’ll have a chat with him, okay?”
“Thank you Uncle Adam, I’ll see you at work tomorrow.”
Adam nodded and disconnected the call.
“What was that all about?” Faruk asked.
“Man, you don’t wanna know. You were about to say something about the chief, what was it?”
“Alright, I was talking about why he’s my main suspect. I happened to hang out at that joint where the second victim was supposed to have been kidnapped, guess who I discovered was a VIP regular at the club?”
“The chief?” Adam asked.
“Exactly! And you want to guess where he took the girl he picked up to?”
“No.”
“Clear Springs hotel.”
“Isn’t that where the first girl was coming from when she was kidnapped?”
Faruk bowed. “You are welcome.”
“That doesn’t make sense.”
“Why don’t you do what every reasonable detective does; investigate.”
“Oh, I will. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t like the man, not at all but a killer? I don’t think so. I’m going to sleep.”
Adam shook his head as he walked out of the room, there was no way the chief was the church street killer. Absolutely no way.
***
He looked at his face in the mirror and turned away. It was contorted with hate, hate he could not explain, hate no therapist anywhere could resolve or take away. He knew it was not good, it would ultimately be the end of him, but he could not control himself. Something inside him needed someone to blame, a face to picture when he slashed with his knife, Detective Adam Ademola was that person. He was not a random pick, he deserved the hate, he was worthy of it.
He closed the bathroom door and walked into his room. Staring at him from the wall directly above his bed was a picture of Diana. It was one of her six pictures on his bedroom wall. He looked away from the picture, even Diana would disapprove of his hatred for Adam. He was her messenger, satisfying her needs, it was not his place to use her to fight his own battles. But he was not fighting for himself alone, he was fighting for both of them.
He walked to his wardrobe and opened a closet, he brought out pictures he took of his sacrifices, the two girls. He dropped the pictures back in the closet and brought out another one; his next sacrifice. She looked innocent but she was not, this sacrifice was not a random one, this one was personal. Diana wanted a sacrifice that would mean something to her, someone who deserved to die.
He smiled and dropped the picture back in the closet. He kicked off his shoes and laid on the bed, if Diana was getting a personal sacrifice, one that meant something to her, he would also make this one worth his while.
He opened the laptop sitting on his bedside table and routed the connection through the CIB network. He was going to have fun with this one, show Adam how stupid he really was. He opened the message box and typed;

Three days and the sun will rise
On another soul who will pay the price.

He hit send and smiled, it was short and even poetic and he had not even had to think for long to write it. He shut down the laptop and stretched on the bed.

EPISODE 16

Adam opened his eyes and looked around as he tried to remember where he was. He was in his office. He had come to the office after dropping Ese and Tola in their houses and had dozed off on his chair. He could not imagine sleeping on his bed anymore, all he could think about was Kate and all the evil things the killer could be doing to her.

He looked at his door and noticed one of the junior detectives standing there.

“Hey, what are you doing? When did you enter?” Adam asked, sitting up.

“I knocked and you told me to come in.” The detective said, surprised.

“What do you want?”
“We have brought in the family of the boy sir.”

Adam nodded and waved him off. He had asked for the family of the boy who Kate had hit to be brought in, one of them could be the killer.

He picked and dusted the jacket that hung behind his desk, it was almost always there, for days when he forgot to pick another from home. He walked out of the office and towards the conference room. The chief was still a suspect, he could not rule him out but he doubted if the chief would have anything against Kate personally. This family had something against Kate but why would they kill the other girls?

He opened the door to the room and entered. Tola was already seated. He wondered how long he had slept for. A bald headed and stocky man sat next to a boy Adam assumed was the one who had the accident. He had a couple of modern and given the way they looked, expensive crutches next to him. He was seated in between his father and mother. The mother was a thin woman, she had a permanently anxious look on her face.

“Good morning, I am Detective Adam Ademola, I’m sorry we had to bring you in this morning, we just need to ask you a few questions.”

“What kind of questions?” The man answered with a smile.

“We want to ask about the accident.” Adam said, nodding in the direction of the boy.

“You should be asking the governor and his daughter…” The woman started.

“Sir, we will answer all your questions.” The husband cut in, he fired his wife a warning look.

“By the way, I leant you have an older son, why isn’t he here?” Adam asked.

“He was not too cooperative.” Tola replied in a whisper. “We separated him from the family, we’ll question him later.”

Adam spent twenty minutes asking them about the accident. He watched as they answered his questions, they were prepared for them. The wife attempted to show her true emotions a few times but she was brought under control by her husband. The husband sounded truly content, Ese’s theory about a payoff was not off point.

“Do you know any of these ladies?” Adam asked showing them pictures of the first two victims of the church street killer and watched their faces for their reactions.

“No, we don’t know them.” The husband replied. “Who are they?”

“They are the victims of the killer.” The son said, barely audible.

“Keep quiet, what killer are you talking about?” The father said.

“No, leave the boy alone, let him speak.” Tola said.

“I saw their pictures on Samson’s phone, he told me about them.” The boy said.

“Who is Samson please?” Adam asked looking at the mother, who looked away.

“His brother, my son.” The father answered, bowing his head and looking away.

Adam removed the pictures and stood.

“Thank you for answering our questions.” He said to the family. “Tola, come please.”

He nodded at the boy and walked out of the room, Tola followed him.

“I’m going to talk to this Samson and I want you with me, send in Benjamin here, make them – the family, comfortable because we might have further questions for them.”

“Okay. The other son is in Interrogation Room three, he had to be arrested and restrained. He hit one of us so be careful with him. I’ll be in in a minute.” Kate said handing him a file containing all they knew about Samson.

Adam walked towards the interrogation room, he glanced through the file, it was a thin one. He was a twenty six year old man, never been arrested, at least there was no record of any. Whatever devil had entered the man, it had not been in for long.

He opened the door of the room and entered. The man looked up at him and looked away. Adam told the policeman who was standing in the room to leave, hung his jacket and sat in front of Samson.

He brought out the pictures of the victims and spread them on the table.

“Samson, why did you kill these girls?” Adam asked looking as concerned and sincere as he could.

“I don’t know them and I did not kill them.” Samson replied without looking at the pictures.

“Samson, I know you know them, you have their pictures on your phone. I just want to know why you killed them, did it have something to do with your brother’s accident?”

He flared up at the mention of the accident. “They had nothing to do with my brother’s accident. The one person who had something to do with it is the one who should have died.”

“Are you talking about…?”

“I am talking about the governor’s daughter, Kate! That useless drunk almost killed my brother and she still drives around town in her flashy cars while my brother lives in pain.”

“Your parents, even your brother don’t seem to be as angry as you are, why are you so angry?”

“You want to know why? After knocking down my brother, some men showed up, paid all the hospital bills and even though my dad denies it, paid off my dad and walked away. The little trash didn’t even show up, neither did her father, they did not even offer any personal apology.”

“I understand your pain, but why take it out on these girls?” Adam asked. He was careful not to mention Kate’s kidnapping in case he had nothing to do with it.

The man looked away.

Tola entered and sat quietly beside Adam.

“Why do you have pictures of these girls on your phone? Give me a good reason and you’re free to go.” Adam said.

“I downloaded them off the internet, there was no reason.” The man replied, avoiding making eye contact with Adam.

“Samson, you will remain here for a long time if you keep lying, you are a suspect, I hope you realize that.”

“Okay, I’ll tell you what I know. After my brother’s accident, I registered a twitter handle, I was trying to use it to get justice for my brother. A few people supported me for a while but after a few weeks, nobody had any interest in the case anymore. Well, until yesterday when I got a follow from guess who, Kate herself.”

“Kate?” Tola asked. “What’s the handle?”

Tola handed him a paper and a pen. He scribbled the handle, Tola brought out her phone and checked to confirm what he said.

“It’s legit. Go on.” She said.

“I was livid and tweeted her a lot of insult but she replied saying she was getting the justice she deserved and sent a link along with the tweet. It was a newspaper article about the church street killer. I downloaded the pictures from the article. They were not the only pictures I downloaded, I saved everything on that page because I believed there was something I was supposed to see.”

“Did you find anything?” Adam asked.

“Nothing important. If there was anything to see, I didn’t find it.” He said, shaking his head. “You know that girl is really lucky she’s the governor’s daughter and her father can pay for all her excesses. That girl once had a liver transplant and still she drinks with reckless abandon damaging an organ that wasn’t even hers in the first place.”

“Did you just say she once had a liver transplant?” Tola asked.

“Yeah, way back when she was younger. Shouldn’t that kind of person be more careful with the way she lives her life?”

Adam stood and tapped Tola beckoning for her to follow him.  He turned to the man and said “I have more questions for you, I’ll be back.”

Adam and Tola stepped out of the room and headed towards his office.

“Obviously the killer tweeted him that page, so there must be something there, don’t you think?” Tola asked.

“Yeah, it’s possible but I’m more interested in the fact that Kate once had a liver transplant. That is definitely not a coincidence. The killer collects livers and he said his kidnap of Kate was personal.” Adam said as he entered his office.

“So what do you think happened?”

“That’s the problem, we‘ve found a connection but we don’t know how the connection matters. Another thing bothering me is why he contacted the brother of the accident victim. I’ll find out from the governor but the liver transplant happened a long time ago because I didn’t even know about it, so what does it have to do with this accident?” Adam asked.

“We need to find a connection between the two events. Right now, Mr. Samson in there is the one connection we have.”

“He didn’t do it.” Adam said.

“He didn’t?” Tola asked, surprised.

“The killer is smart, smart enough to have eluded us for this long while keeping in contact with me. Mr. Samson in there, cannot do that.” Adam replied.

“We should keep an eye on him though, the killer might contact him again.”

“We keep him here for now. Call Faruk, give him the phone from earlier this morning and inform him about the twitter post, find out if there’s a way we can trace any of this.” Adam said.

Tola nodded and left his office.

Adam leaned back in his chair and sighed deeply. He had to call the governor to ask him about the liver transplant but he was not sure he wanted to talk him. The governor had given him an ultimatum, an ultimatum he was trying his best to ignore. If the killer was true to his word and killed Kate before the end of the day then it was the end of him, not even catching the killer would make up for the loss.

He sat up, picked his phone and dialed the governor. It had barely rung when he picked it.

“Do you have my daughter?” The governor asked.

“No sir, we…”

“Then why are you calling me for Pete’s sake!”

“Sir, did your daughter have a liver transplant at any time?” Adam asked.

“Yes, she did, it was a long time ago. Why are you…?”
“Sir, we think…”
“Wait, the killer collects his victim’s livers, right?”

“Yes sir, he does.”

“What does this mean?”

“I don’t know yet sir. Was there anything that happened at the time of the transplant? Anything that could have angered somebody?”

“I don’t know…” The governor’s voice trailed off. “Is it possible that this is political? You know we never found the person who shot my wife, maybe they have come back to finish the job. Take my wife, take my daughter and I have nothing to live for.”

“Sir, I can assure you this isn’t political. The other victims had no political connections, this is just a crazy nut-job who will be stopped sir.”

“You know, I never understood why my wife didn’t come back the day before she was shot. I keep wondering if she would still be alive if she had returned when she was supposed to.” The governor said in a whisper.

Adam shut his eyes tight, trying to block memories of the assassination.

“Sir, we cannot dwell in the past right now, and I promise you we will find Kate sir.” Adam said, his eyes still shut.

“You have to Adam. The chief of police just left my office and he suggested I bring in the federal people into this, he said they’ll do a better job than you are doing right now.”

“He said that!” Adam said snapping his eyes open. “Sir, I’ve been on this case for long, anybody coming now will be starting afresh. The chief… well, I’m sure he meant well but sir, I will find Kate.”

“I know this isn’t just a case for you, you care about my daughter, please find her Adam.”

“I will sir. Last question sir, was the transplant done here in Nigeria?”

“Yes, it was done in Lagos.”

“Send me the contact of the doctor who handled it and anybody I can talk to about the transplant.” Adam said.

“I will, just find me daughter.” The governor said and hung up.

Adam sighed, closed his eyes and said a short prayer, first for Kate, then for himself.

***

Adam looked at his watch, it was after seven pm. He was starting to get scared, he was not any closer to finding Kate that evening than he was in the morning. He had called the doctor and even though it had been a long time since the transplant, he remembered Kate. According to him, quite a number of people could have been offended by Kate and her family. They were rich and had gotten a lot of favours but he did not see why any of those people would go on a killing spree because of that.

He relaxed his back in the chair he was sitting on. He was viewing surveillance footage taken from cameras outside the CIB gate. The camera showed Kate come out of the gate and the taxi pull up in front of her. The plate number of the taxi was not covered, so it was safe to assume it did not belong to the killer. The camera did not capture the driver of the bus at all and he disappeared from the range of the camera after going forward a few metres.

His phone rang in his pocket and Adam brought it out. It was Faruk.

“Hey man, where are you?” Faruk asked.

“Still at the office, going over some surveillance footage. Did you find anything?”

“Phone, completely clean, nothing in it except for one number;  the one that called Tola. My guy tried to get some stuff, even the deleted ones but we found nothing. The twitter thing was a dead end too.”

“The day’s almost over, I am so confused Faruk.” Adam said.

“Yeah, I feel you, especially now that the kidnap is all over the news.”

“What did you say?” Adam said, jumping up from his seat.

“Guess who broke the news…Ese’s station.”

“She promised! I’ll call you back.” Adam said and hung up.

He dialed Ese and started pacing.

“What the hell Ese? You promised.” Adam said, as soon as she answered the call.

“I didn’t break that news Adam, I swear I didn’t. Someone else did, Richard did.” She answered.

“How on earth did he know about the kidnap? Did you tell him?”

“No I didn’t. I have no idea how…” Ese started then stopped.

“You have no idea how? Ese, I said you guys have a snitch here and you denied it, well I don’t have time for you now. Whatever comes out of this publicity you have created for this killer, you are going to bear the grunt of it.” Adam said and hung up.

He turned to leave the room when his phone rang again. It was Faruk.

“Guess who I just saw driving down your street?” He said.

“Who?” Adam asked.

“Your police chief. He was once again driving himself. What’s he looking for on your street?”

“It’s a free world Faruk, he can be anywhere he wants. Question is what are you doing on my street?”

“Are you serious? I’m on my way to your house, I’m crashing with you tonight.”

“Sorry pal, but I’m not sleeping in that house till Kate is found.” Adam said, and added quietly. “I doubt I’m going to be sleeping at all.”

“No problem, I stole a key off your bunch last time I was at your place. Are you coming in in the morning at all? Should I leave something for you to eat?”

“Something to eat? Looks like you don’t understand what’s… goodnight Faruk. Call me if…” Adam said but was cut off by Faruk.

“Adam!” Faruk yelled. “Get down here now!”

“What? Why?” Adam asked feeling a sudden dread at Faruk’s voice.

“I just saw a body, a frigging dead body.”

“Holy crap! Where?”

“Your front door.”

EPISODE 17

Grrrrriiiing!
Adam jumped out of bed, the phone sounded so loud in his brain it could have been a bomb exploding. He crawled out of bed and picked it up, it was the governor. It was twelve A.M. he wondered why the governor would call him so early.

“Hello sir, good evening.”

“Good morning Adam and just so you know I’m taking you responsible for this.”

“Errr, I’m sorry, responsible…?”

“Kate is yet to get home, again! You know she should be in Senegal already, but no, you had to plead on her behalf. She did not wait for a whole week before going back on her promise.” He sounded upset, angry.
“I thought you said one of your drivers would pick her up, how did she make the driver stay out this long?”

“Adam, she’s smart, smarter than you give her credit for. She did not call the driver, she just snuck out on her own.”

“I don’t understand, she sounded really sincere. Have you called her sir?”

“Of course I have called her and like every other time when she goes partying her phone is switched off.”

“I’m really sorry about this sir. I’ll talk to her in the morning.”

“Oh you will not be doing that. Immediately the day breaks, I’m putting her on a plane to Lagos and on the next flight to Dakar. I called so you wouldn’t worry when she doesn’t come in tomorrow. Good night Adam.”

He ended the call before he could reply.

Adam rubbed his sore eyes, he had just fallen asleep for about thirty minutes when the governor called. He was tired but he could not sleep without making sure Kate was alright. Tola had been with her when he left the office.

He dialed Tola’s number and waited. She did not pick up the phone, he tried her again. He waited till he heard the dial tone, she did not pick. He should have known better than to call a married woman in the middle of the night, a lot could be happening.

He set the phone on his bedside dresser and stretched on his bed. He had just closed his eyes when his phone rang. He picked the phone, the number was hidden. Adam sat up on his bed, he had a bad feeling about the call. He looked at the phone till it stopped ringing. It rang again, he answered the call and put it on speaker.

“Hello detective.” A voice said over the phone. The voice was edited and it was a machine voice but he knew it was the church street killer. He did not reply. “Detective, this is not the time for games, it’s pretty late and I’m sure you need to go back to sleep.”

“What do you want?” Adam asked.

“I just want to say that as a concerned member of this society you are not taking your job serious. How many people have died on your watch now and still you just float around like nothing is at stake.”

“If I needed a sermon I would have gone to church and if you know me like you claim to, you would know I’ve not been to church in a while. So, cut the crap, what do you want?”

“That’s exactly what I’m saying, you are not taking this seriously. Who has a killer loose on his street and does not go to church and pray, especially when he is supposed to catch the killer?”

“I’m hanging up now, this is more fun for you than it is for me. If you have nothing to say, I have to go.”

“Alright, you’re no fun at all. I have some important news for you though, one that will make you take this case more seriously. I saw that the stakes have been too low for you, so I have increased them.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Adam asked, his temper was beginning to rise.

“Kate! Is that name familiar to you?”

Adam jumped from the bed, his phone almost dropping. “What are you talking about? Oh my God!”

“Yeah, I thought you might react like that, I was counting on it.” He said with a chuckle.

“What have you done to her, you bastard? She’s not one of your toys or preys…” Adam started, starting to raise his voice.

“Shhh detective, we don’t want to wake the whole neighbourhood, do we? By the way, why is she different from the other girls? Oh yeah, she’s the governor’s daughter.”

“Yes, she is. You kill the governor’s daughter, you cannot imagine what’s coming to you.”

“That is exactly my problem with this justice system, nobody cares about…”

“The justice system is fine. You are the one with the problem and your problem is with me, not Kate. Let her go, I will do whatever you want, just let her go for God’s sake.” Adam said, pacing in his room and wiping sweat from his face.

“Aww, that is so sweet detective but I’m sorry. Contrary to your belief, this isn’t just about you. Kate is a part of this as much as you are, that’s why I can’t just let her go. She’s not as innocent as you think, you know. Although your promise to do anything is springing up a lot of ideas in my head. So, you have your information, you can go back to sleep.”

“Wait…wait, there’s got to be something you want. This is the governor’s daughter, the state will provide anything you want.” He sat on the edge of his bed, tapping his heels on the ground.

“What do I want?” His voice went cold. “I want her liver! I can’t get it with her alive, so somehow she’s going to have to die.”

“No, you have to….” The call disconnected. “Jesus Christ!”

Adam stood from the bed, ran towards the wall and punched it. His head was empty, he had no idea what to do.

Grrrrring!

He grabbed the phone, he sighed disappointed, it was Tola.

“Adam, what was so urgent you had to call this late?” She said.

“He’s got her! Tola, he’s got her

“Who’s got who?” She asked.

“Kate, the killer has her.”

There was silence for some seconds then Tola said “Did the governor tell you…did she…are you sure about this?”

“Tola, he just called me, the bastard just called me.” Adam said, sighed and moved towards his wardrobe. He picked a shirt and a pair of trousers.

“What are you going to do? It’s the middle of the night.”

“I’m going out now, I don’t know where yet but there’s no way I’m sleeping in this house with Kate kidnapped.”

“And the governor?” She asked.

He had not thought of him. “Of course I’ll have to tell him at a point, but I don’t know if telling him now is the best. Tola I can’t think straight while I’m in this house. We’ll talk in the morning.”

“Okay, Adam is this serious.”

“Tell me about it.” He said and ended the call.

He stuck his feet in a pair of shoes, grabbed his wallet and his car keys and left the house. He entered his car and drove out his compound. His windows were down as he drove, the cold wind blowing on his face and soft purring of his car soothed his tense body. Losing Kate to the church street killer would be the end of him. He had lost her mother to a bullet and now he was losing her to a killer’s knife. He had thought different times of what he would do when the killer was caught and he had always chided himself for the sinister thoughts that came to his mind. But now, he knew they were not sinister enough, this killer was not going to jail, he was going to die. Painfully.

His phone vibrated, he dug his hand into his pocket and brought it out. He looked non-chalantly at the phone. It was Ese. The night was getting weird. Calls from the Governor of a state, a killer, a partner and an ex girl-friend in the middle of the night, the same night, things could not get weirder.

“Hello Ese.”

“What is happening Adam, I just got a strange email.”

“Email from whom?”

“From Kate, the governor’s daughter.” She said.

“I’ll be in your house in a few minutes.” He was wrong, things could get weirder.

***

“Is there something going on that I should know?” Ese said as she opened the door. “By the way, you got here incredibly fast.”

“Yeah, I wasn’t very far away when you called.”

“You were driving around at night? Or you were headed here already? What’s going on?”

Adam sat down and told her about the calls, from the governor and the killer.

“You are not allowed to use any of the information I’m giving you here.  I’m telling you this as my friend or whatever it is you are to me. You understand that?”

“Yeah, I understand but you’re telling me the killer has been talking with you?”

“Yeah, he has. That’s why I have policemen at all churches, I’m sure you must have heard. Wait…oh my God!”

“What is it?” Ese asked, shifting forward in her chair.

“He said he would kill again in three days, that was three days ago. Today is the last day. Kate! Oh my God!”

“But why did Kate send me a picture? Of course she didn’t, he did. I’m not sure if he sent this to me personally or he sent it to all other journalists out there.”

She showed the picture to Adam. Kate was seated on a wooden chair, it was old, the type that would break if you shook it too much. Her hands were tied behind her back and to the chair. She was unconscious but she looked like she had not been harmed. The picture had been taken in a jungle, or at least in the midst of a lot of trees.

“So he’s not just talking to me now, he’s sending pictures to journalists?” Adam said. “He’s getting cocky, he thinks he can’t be caught.”

“What did the governor say when you told him?”

“I’m yet to tell him, I don’t even know if that’s a good idea. I would wake him up to tell him his daughter has been kidnapped by the worst killer this city has ever seen?”

“It’s better than he calling you in the morning, you’ll still have to tell him then. He would want to know now.”

“Okay, I’ll call him now.” He dialed the governor’s number and waited. He picked at the first ring.

“Adam, is she at your place? Tell her not to bother to beg, you cannot get her out of this, okay?” The governor said.

“Sir, about that…” He paused and looked at Ese, she nodded. “Sir, I have some terrible news. Kate is not at a party, she was taken.”

“Taken? What does that even mean? Wait a minute, she was kidnapped?”

“I’m sorry sir.”

“By who? How do you know this? She could just be at a party, I’m sure she’s just at a party. She’s a young girl and she’s doing what all young girls do; party.”

“Sir, she was taken by the church street killer, he called me.” Adam said, squeezing his eyes shut. He could not imagine what was going on through the governor’s mind.

The line was silent for a while then it went dead. Adam looked at Ese, she opened her mouth to say something but she stopped. The phone rang again, it was the governor.

“Sir?”

“I want you and your partner in my house, right now!” He said and ended the call.

Adam stood. “He wants me at the government house immediately and he wants me to bring Tola.”

“I’m going with you.” Ese said.

“No, you are not. He asked for me and Tola. I don’t want you getting too deep in this, he’s already sending you pictures, I don’t want him getting to know you too much.”

“I can handle myself.”

“Ese, you realize you cannot go public with this kidnap, right?”

“I can go public with the picture, I did not get that from you, did I?”

“Ese, you will not go public with this story, not yet.” Adam said and headed for the door.

“If you want me to keep quiet about this, take me with you.” She said, standing up and crossing her arms across her chest.

“I cannot…” He started but he looked at her, she was not bulging. “Okay, but if you are stopped at the gate, you are on your own. Now I have to call Tola again.”

***

“You know something just came to my mind, you said the Church Street Killer said this was about Kate too, not just about you, right?” Ese said. They had just driven into the government house.

“Yes, so?” Adam asked.

“Do you remember the major news on TV before the first body was found?”

“No, I don’t watch TV.” Adam said with a scoff. Then he quickly added. “I watch you though.”

“Whatever, but the major news was the accident involving Kate. She hit a boy, remember that?”

“Yeah, I remember that, she was drunk. The family of the boy didn’t sue.”

“Yes, they didn’t sue but they were very angry. Her father is the governor so of course they would have been paid, bullied or something to stop them from suing.”

“Are you saying somebody from the family of this boy could be doing this?” Adam asked as they pulled in front of the governor’s house.
“It’s a good lead.”

They walked to the house where Tola was waiting. Her husband was standing with her, he had a tie on.

“Dr. Dosumu, I’m sorry for having to drag your wife out of bed, the governor asked for her. And you are dressed up too.” Adam said, shaking his hand.

“I just got back from the hospital when she said she was going out, her eyes were literally closed as she dressed up. I decided to bring her here, it’s your job to get her back home now.” He said, pecked Tola on the cheek and left.

“Nice guy.” Ese said, watching the doctor drive away.

“What’s she doing here?” Tola asked, she still looked drowsy.
The governor came out of the door before he could reply. “Come in now!”

***   *kindly  Hy Heritage  on +2348108751368 to be added to  story room to enjoy reading from there.*   

They were seated in a large office inside the governor’s house. The governor sat at the end of the table clearly disturbed, and Adam knew he would be at the receiving end of the outcome of that disturbance.

“Adam, you let this go on for too long, now he has my daughter?”

“Sir…” Adam started but he was cut off by a ringing phone. It was coming from Tola’s purse.

“I’m sorry about that.” Tola mumbled as she dug into her bag, she brought out a small flip Nokia phone. “This isn’t mine.”

She looked at the phone and passed it to Adam. Adam opened it, the caller ID read “CSK”

“CSK?” Adam asked, looking at Tola then at Ese.

“CSK as in church street killer.” Ese said.

“How did that phone even get into my purse?” Tola asked.

“Just answer the call!” The governor said. “And put it on speaker.”

“Hello.” Adam said, putting the phone on speaker and setting on the table.

“Hello Ese, Detectives and his excellency. I’m sure I need no introduction.” A voice that sounded Asian said over the phone.

“How does he know who is here?” Tola whispered.

“Is he Asian?” The governor asked.

“No sir, I am not Asian. My voice has been edited by a computer software I’m using. If you Google voice edit software, you will find some amazing options. But I know you are not really interested in that, right your excellency?”

“What do you want?” Adam asked, shifting forward in his chair.

“What do I want? I want the governor to resign and I want a million dollars in cash.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” Adam said turning away from the phone.

“No, no, Adam let’s hear him out.” The governor said. “Why do you want me to resign?”

“Because, errr you have… you know, you have not…nah, who am I kidding? I don’t care if you are governor or not, I was just playing with you. But seriously now, I don’t want a what, I want a who.”

“What are you talking about?” Adam asked.

“I want Adam to resign; I want him hung at the gallows for disservice to the people of the state. That is what I want.”

“You know that is impossible, is there a way we…” The governor started.
Chat Heritage on zero eight one zero eight  seven five  one three six eight to be added to his WhatsApp group.
“Yeah, I know it’s impossible. I guess what I’m saying is there’s nothing I want, Kate is going to die and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

“Yeah, except catch you and kill you, very slowly.” Adam said, his eyes red with anger.

“I love that spirit. So until you do that, I’ll be having fun with Kate. Bye.”

“Wait!” The governor shouted, jumping out of his chair.

Adam picked the phone, the call had been disconnected. He would give the phone to Faruk, there had to be a way to trace the caller.

“Adam, you have twenty four hours, find my daughter!” The governor said and stormed out of the room.

EPISODE 18
Adam ran to his car and entered and was on his way out of the building in one minute. His mind raced through different possibilities. Faruk had not told him if it was Kate’s body he had found, he had ended the call before he could confirm it. Dumping Kate’s dead body in front of his house would probably give the killer a great thrill and it would be the end of him as a detective.
“God, please don’t let it be Kate.” He prayed aloud as he drove.
Whatever Kate had done, she did not deserve to die. He had no idea how the killer knew him, but he doubted that he done anything to deserve the trauma the killer had forced upon him since the first girl was found.
Adam turned into his street and slowed down. The veins on his neck were almost popping. As he drove closer, he could see the silhouette of Faruk sitting on his car. His heart beat faster. He rolled down his window and cool wind blew in his face. He closed his eyes against the wind and felt a cold shudder run down his spine.
Faruk climbed down from his car as Adam stopped in front of the house. Adam grabbed a flash-light, came down from the car and headed towards his front door without saying a word. Faruk hurried behind him. As he approached the door, Adam saw that the body was laid in the usual position the killer adopted. It was face up and her hands were joined on top of her stomach. Adam held his breath as he got closer to the body.
“Adam…” Faruk called behind him.
He ignored him and moved close to the body. He beamed the flash-light on the body.
It was not Kate!
Adam dropped the flash-light, dropped on his knees in front of the body and covered his mouth with his right hand. His body shook as he tried to stop the tears that ran down his face. He expected to feel relief knowing that Kate was probably still alive but instead he felt fear, anger, and helplessness.
“Adam.” Faruk called him, lifting him up from the ground. “What are we going to do now?”
Adam dusted his trousers and picked up the flash-light. He walked away from the body and towards his car. He removed his phone from his pocket as he got closer to his car, he dialed Tola’s number and entered the car.
“Wait here, I’ll send someone to bring in the body.  Don’t draw any attention to yourself, I want this under wraps.” He said, started his car and drove away from the house. “Hello Tola.”
“Adam, any leads yet?” Tola asked.
“Meet me at the office now, it’s urgent. Tell your husband we want to go over some old information we have. Meanwhile, call the coroner, Collins, tell him to meet us at the office.” Adam said and ended the call.
Adam drove slowly as he headed for the office. The killer had outwitted him. He had put policemen in every single church in the city, something he did not have the authority to do but had arm-twisted the chief to, but it did not matter as the body had been dumped on his own doorstep. If he was going to rescue Kate and catch the killer, he was going to have to outwit himself.
He swallowed as he imagined what the killer could be doing to Kate. He closed his eyes against the images running through his head and stepped on the accelerator.
“Kate will be fine.” He whispered to himself and tried desperately to believe it.
***
Adam met Tola at the door of her office. She was dressed casually in a sweater and a pair of jeans.
“What is this about Adam? Do we have any new leads?” She asked as she walked into her office.
“We have a new body, that’s what we have.” Adam said,
“Oh my God! Is it Kate?” She asked holding her face between her palms.
“No.”
“Oh, thank God. What am I saying, another innocent girl is dead? When does this end?”
“Soon! Right now, we need to find out all we can about the latest victim, the body has been brought in.”
“Who found the body? Where was it found?” Tola asked.
“It was found in front of my house by Faruk. He was…”
“Wait a minute, your house?”
Adam opened his mouth to answer but his phone rang. It was Faruk.
“What’s happening Faruk?” Adam asked.
“There’s a reporter here Adam. No, not one, a press crew is here.” Faruk said.
“What do they want? Do they know about…?”
“Yes they know about the body Adam. How on earth did they know?”
“I swear, I will… Faruk, get them out of my place and don’t as much as cough while doing it. I’ll take care of that later.” Adam said and ended the call. “How on earth did the press find out about this so fast?”
“They’re at your house?” Tola asked.
“Yes they are. Who is leaking information to them? Only three people know about this, the killer, Faruk and myself.”
“I’ve been meaning to ask you something Adam; why do you trust Faruk so much?” Tola asked.
“What? Why shouldn’t I trust him? I’ve known him for years and he’s not given me any reason not to. You don’t trust him?”
“Well…” Tola started but was cut off by a knock on the door.
“I’m here sir.” It was the coroner.
“Sorry to drag you out of bed doctor, but we just found a new body and we don’t have time at all.” Tola said.
“I wasn’t in bed, I was…”
“Yeah, we understand, let’s go to your lab please.”
***
Adam watched with his arms folded across his chest as the coroner checked the body of the victim. Tola had pulled up a chair and was seated some distance away from the body.
“There are a few things that are consistent with the other victims; liver is missing, the starting and ending points of the cut, all these are consistent.” The coroner said.
“Okay, is there anything that is different? Anything we can use?” Adam asked.
“Well, there is a scar on her stomach, she has been operated on before.”
“If she has been operated on before, that could be a link to Kate. Maybe she had a liver transplant too.” Adam said to Tola. “The key to this is finding out who she is.”
“I can run her DNA through the system.” The coroner offered.
“Yeah, you do that, I wouldn’t hold my breath though. This is still Nigeria, remember?”
“Is that all? Nothing else to add?” Tola asked standing up from her chair.
Chat Heritage on zero eight one zero eight  seven five  one three six eight to be added to his WhatsApp group.
“Wait a minute.” The coroner said. “There is blood on her thigh, it did not come from the cut on her stomach.”
“What are you saying?”
The coroner did not answer. He bent low and observed the body more closely.
“Sir, I think he had sex with the victim. And she was a virgin.”
“What!”
“I’m not sure yet if the intercourse was post mortem or not.”
“Why would he do that? He’s never done this before” Tola said, beads of sweat beginning to form on her face.
“Is he advancing his ritual? Kate! Oh my God.” Adam said with a sigh.
“What do we do now?” Tola asked.
“We go…” Adam started then stopped. He leaned against the wall and looked at Tola. “We need a miracle, that’s what we need.”
“Thank you for your help doctor. Please let us have any other information you have to add after the full autopsy. We might get lucky and get DNA from the killer.” Tola said.
“You are not giving up, are you?” The coroner asked as Tola and Adam headed for the door.
Adam looked back at him, smiled and headed for the door.
“Wait sir!” The coroner called. “I think I just found something.”
Adam turned back, the coroner pulled what looked like a piece of paper from the mouth of the victim. He straightened it and gently held it up against a lamp on his table.
“It’s an I.D. card of sorts.” He said.
“Let me see that.” Adam said and moved around the table.
It was a driver’s license, a photocopy. Fortunately the paper was not too wet, he could make out the name and the face on the paper. It was the victim’s. The license identified her as Tunmise Akinfenwa, twenty years old.
“Akinfenwa, isn’t that the name of the immediate past Accountant-general of the state?” Tola asked.
“I have no idea but the address listed here is located in the Judges’ quarters in Tanke.”
“Then it must be that Akinfenwa, his wife is a judge.”
“A judge’s daughter? I’m in trouble, aren’t I?” Adam said.
“At least we know who she is now, we can find out if she had a liver transplant, see if there’s a link to Kate.”
“That is easier said than done Tola.” Adam said and left the coroner’s lab.
***
“You know what the problem is now Tola, how do I break the news to the A.G. and his wife that their daughter has been murdered?” Adam asked.
He was pacing in front of Tola in his office. The A.C. was on but sweat dripped down his face.
“That is not the call any parent wants to receive, but they need to hear and we need to know about the liver transplant.” Tola said. “Adam, remove your jacket, you’re sweating.”
“I have an idea Tola. Let’s google her name, she’s the daughter of two important people, we might be lucky to find something about the liver transplant. If there was one.”
“Okay. What was her name again?” Tola asked.
Adam dipped his hand into the pocket of his jacket to get the license but his hand struck something. It felt like plastic. He brought it out and looked at it. It was an electronic device, he was sure of that and he knew he did not put it in his pocket.
“What is that?” Tola asked, looking at the device in his hand.
“I don’t know and I’m not sure how it got into my pocket.” He observed the device closer and his eye widened. “It is a listening device!”
“What?”
“A listening device, a transmitting device. Someone has been spying on me? Ese!”
“What are you talking about?” Tola asked.
Adam’s phone rang before he could answer. It was the governor.
“Hello sir.”
“Adam, what is this that I’m hearing about a body found in your house?”
“Sir?” Adam mumbled. How did he know? Ese’s bug!
“Did you or did you not find a body?’
“We did sir but thankfully it wasn’t Kate.”
“Why haven’t you told me this? My daughter has been kidnapped by a notorious killer and this same killer kills another poor girl and you don’t tell me about it?”
“I’m sorry sir, I just thought I should find out more about the victim before I come to you with the information sir.” Adam said shaking his head. He could not believe that Ese had bugged him.
“What have you found out about this victim then?”
“We know who the victim is, we are working on contacting the parents of the victim tonight if possible or we’ll just wait till tomorrow morning.” Adam said, hoping the governor would not press further.
He was not so lucky. “Who is the victim?” The governor asked.
“Tunmise Akinfenwa.”
“The daughter of the A.G.?”
“I’m afraid so sir.”
The line was silent for a while, then the governor spoke again.
“I think you should pursue the lead you had on Kate’s liver transplant because the Tunmise also had a transplant.”
“She had a transplant?”
“She did and it was just a few weeks before Kate had her own. Same hospital, same doctor.”
“Thank you so much for that information sir.”
“Adam, I didn’t call you to give you information, find my daughter!” The governor said and the line went dead.
“We were right Tola, this is connected somehow to that liver transplant.”
“Okay, but what do we do now? The surgery was done in Lagos, not here.”
“I have no idea what we’ll do right now, but there’s something I have to deal with first.”
“What are you talking about?”
“That thing…” Adam said, pointing to the listening device. “It is a listening device, Ese and her partner have been spying on me.”
“You can’t be sure of that Adam.”
“Oh, I am sure. Tola, I think you should go home, there’s nothing for you to do here. Just keep your phone on, I will call you if I need to.” Adam said.
“Adam, be careful what you say to that lady. Whether you admit or not, the feelings you have for her are strong, don’t ruin it all over a suspicion.”
“The feelings I have towards her right now are strong alright but it’s totally different from what you are talking about.”
***
“What the hell is this?” Adam asked immediately Ese opened the door. He held the listening device up.
“What are you talking about?” She answered, stepping aside for him to come in.
“What am I talking about Ese? You don’t know anything about this?”
Ese kept quiet, walked away from him and sat down.
“I have done a lot of things Ese, one thing you cannot accuse me of is lying to you. How could you?”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t…” Ese said.
“You know it’s a crime what you just did. And this is the one I found, how many are there?”
“It’s just the one and I didn’t…”
“How am I supposed to believe you Ese? You know for the past week or so, I actually believed we had made progress. Believed we could maybe have what we once had…”
“I believe we made progress too.”
“How am I supposed to believe all that wasn’t just to get me to give you free info? How could I have known that you were planting a bug on me when you were pretending to give me a hug?”
“Adam, just stop it!” Ese shouted. “You come to my house at eleven p.m. when I’m supposed to be sleeping and you think you can just keep ranting? Sorry, this is my house and I don’t have to listen to you.”
“Wow, so that’s it huh?”
“I didn’t plant the bug on you, maybe I knew about it and didn’t tell you but you have your job to do and I have mine. I never asked you to come to my house, I didn’t come after you, you came after me.”
Adam looked at her and shook his head. He was not sure what he expected but her reaction only made him more angry.
“I’m sorry I came after you, I wouldn’t have if I knew you were such a liar. Good bye Ese Johnson, have a nice life.” Adam said and walked out of the house.
***Chat Heritage on zero eight one zero eight  seven five  one three six eight to be added to his WhatsApp group.
Adam hurried up the stairs into the governor’s living room. He had been barely out of Ese’s house when the governor called him and asked him to come to his house immediately. He gave no reason, that was what bothered Adam. He looked at his watch, it was almost twelve a.m. Kate had already been missing for more than twenty four hours, chances of finding her grew slimmer by the hour.
He entered the room and was surprised to find the chief seated next to the governor. Then he remembered. Faruk had mentioned seeing the chief driving away from his house just before he found the body. He wondered what that had to do with the governor’s call.
“Adam, come here and have a seat.” The governor said, pointing to a chair opposite him.
Adam sat down without saying a word. He glanced at the chief who tried his best to avoid making eye contact with him.
“My daughter has been missing for over twenty four hours Adam, are you any closer to finding her?”
“Yes sir, we believe the liver transplant she had holds the key to who the killer is sir.” Adam answered, wondering where the governor was going.
“That is all you have?”
“Well, we still have a few leads we were pursuing before she was taken sir.”
“Adam, remember I offered you a chance to get off this case some time ago? And you declined.” The governor said, his face taking on a more serious look.
“Yes sir, I declined because I am committed to catching whoever the killer is sir.” Adam said, he was getting increasingly anxious.
“You remember I talked about the drinking problem I heard that you had?”
Adam looked at the chief and back at the governor. “I don’t have a drinking problem sir.”
“Do you ever drink on the job Adam?”
Adam shifted in his chair, he did not like where the conversation was leading to. “No sir, I don’t.”
“Remember this?” The chief spoke up for the first time. He placed a bottle on the table, Adam recognized it immediately. “We found that on the farm house close to where three of the recent victims were found.”
“Sir, I don’t know what… I didn’t…” Adam stammered.
“We have checked, your prints were on the bottle.” The chief said.
“You checked for my prints? Why would you check an empty bottle on the floor for my prints?” Adam asked, anger bursting through him.
“Adam, you have been drinking on the job? You are supposed to find my daughter Adam.” The governor said.
“And I will sir.”
“No, you won’t.” The chief said.
Adam glared at the chief and looked back at the governor, eyes pleading. The governor looked away from him.
“Adam, you are suspended pending an investigation into your… The chief will take your badge and give you more information as regards the duration and terms of your suspension” The governor said and stood to leave.
“Sir, who will find your daughter? Who will find Kate?” Adam asked, his voice shaking.
“We already have people working on it.” The chief said with a smile. “Enjoy your suspension.”
who do you think the killer is?
EPISODE 19
…………
Adam stared at the bottle of wine in front of him, picked it up and threw it against the wall. He had gone straight home immediately the governor declared that he was suspended. He had opened a special bottle of Devil’s Springs Vodka that he had reserved for an extreme moment of depression. It had not taken long for him to finish the bottle and to move on to other less strong liquors. He had fallen asleep and woken up thirty minutes later, it took almost two minutes for him to recognize where he was and to remember that he had been suspended. The only thing that depressed him more than his suspension was the fact that Kate was still missing and the chief who could be the killer was now running everything.
His phone rang and he jumped. He looked at the phone, it was Tola. He let it ring. He had not called her to inform her of the suspension and even though she had called more than ten times, he had not talked to her. The only person he had tried to call was Faruk and he was not picking his phone. He knew Tola meant well but her calls only made him angrier. He was angry at the governor for bowing to the pressure of the chief but more importantly, he was angry at himself for being such a fool and allowing his alcohol addiction get to the governor’s attention.
The fact that Kate was still missing and he could do nothing about it made him even angrier.
He wondered what would have happened if he had gone with Tola instead of sending Kate out with her. She probably would have closed on time and she would have been picked up by one of her father’s drivers. He had left her to the mercy of the killer just because he wanted to have a drink. He caught the reflection of his face off the television screen and turned away disgusted. He looked like he was sixty years old.He stood up and steadied himself as his body adjusted to the change in position, he was about to move when the door bell rang. He looked at the door and walked towards his bedroom, whoever was there would go away if he did not answer.
The bell rang again and this time the door opened. He turned around in surprise, he thought he had locked the door.
“Adam?” A voice called, it was Tola. “Adam!”
He shuffled back to the living room where Tola was standing. She was looking around disgusted at the mess he had made with the empty bottles and spilled drinks. He felt foolish and dirty.
Tola looked up and the look of disgust on her face turned to pity.
“Oh Adam.” She said crossing the room to where he was standing. She gave him a hug and led him to a chair. She picked up all the bottles on the table and on the floor and took them into the kitchen. Adam heard them drop into the already full disposal bin. She mumbled something and came back into the room. “Why didn’t you call me?”
Adam looked at her and looked away.
“Adam, you cannot become this.” She said, looking him over.
“Become what?” Adam asked.
“This.” She said, pointing at him.”A drunk, wallowing in self pity all the days of his short miserable life. Because if you continue like this, that is exactly who you’ll become.”
“What would you have me do Tola? What would you have me do? I have been suspended, off the case!”
“I’m not talking about the case Adam, we will find Kate, I’m talking about you.”
“What do you mean? It’s the case…”
“Leave the case alone, I’m not talking about that. I’ve talked to people who worked with you in the past, you weren’t like this, they even say you did not drink at all, not even socially.”
“Well, people change.” Adam said and stood.
“Sit down now!” Tola said and he did. “I’m emptying all the bottles of alcohol you have in this house before I leave but I need to make sure you won’t get new ones.”
“Good luck with that.” Adam said with a scoff.
“Adam!” Tola said, banging the table in front of her. “What is this you are doing to yourself? Look at you, you have a life many will kill for, a life with so much potential and yet you are like this.”
“What’s in my life that anybody will kill for? I’ve made mistakes all my life, not normal mistakes, big ones. One led to the loss of the life of the first lady, another led to the kidnap and possibly murder of her only daughter. All I want to do is get out of the way, allow these new guys the chief said he has brought in do their job.”
“That is rubbish, you had nothing to do with Kate’s kidnap, you couldn’t have prevented it. And as for the first lady’s murder, you weren’t the only one on her detail, nowhere were you blamed for her murder.”
“That’s because nobody knows.”
“Knows what?” Tola said, sitting forward in her chair.
Adam sighed and closed his eyes. “You know the first lady stayed a day longer on her trip, right”
“No, I didn’t but continue.”
“Well, she did and it was because of me.” Adam said and shook his head. “I had an affair with the first lady.”
“You did?” Tola said, her eyes widening in surprise.
“It was just for a week, that was supposed to be the second time, but she was shot before we could get together.”
“Oh Adam.” Tola said.
“Do you know how bad I felt? I could not look the governor or Kate in the eyes for months. A part of me wished he knew about it and ordered me killed, death would have been better than the guilt that ate me up. When Kate got kidnapped, all those feelings came back again, I knew once again, I was going to be responsible for the death of another innocent person.”
“No Adam, you were not responsible for the murder of the first lady, the person who pulled the trigger was. And Kate isn’t going to die, we are going to find her.”
“We? I hope I’m not included in that ‘we’, I have done enough harm Tola.”
“Stop the pity party and stand up. You are going to catch this killer, you owe it to the governor, you owe to Kate, you even owe it to the first lady but most importantly you owe it to yourself.”
“What am I supposed to do? I don’t have a badge, I don’t even have a gun. If I meet the killer, what am I supposed to do, hug him to death?”
Tola stood up and brought out her gun. “You can have my gun, I’ll get you anything you want, all you need to do is ask.”
“You know I can’t and won’t take your gun but I owe it to the first lady to make sure Kate doesn’t go the same way she did.”
“That is what I want to hear, now all you need is a bath – maybe two baths and you are good to go.”
“I’m sorry for being a jerk to you all this while, you did not deserve it.” Adam said.
“You can buy me a sharwama roll later, but first, let’s go catch a killer.”
***Chat Heritage on zero eight one zero eight  seven five  one three six eight to be added to his WhatsApp group.
“I’ve been calling Faruk all morning and he’s not answering his phone.” Adam said.
They were in Tola’s car on their way to the house of the AG whose daughter was killed. Adam strongly believed whoever the killer was, he had a connection to the surgery and the grieving family could have information.
“I don’t understand why you rely so much on Faruk, he’s not even a policeman.” Tola said.
“Yet he’s helped so well on this case. And I’m calling him because he mentioned seeing the chief driving down my street alone, just a few minutes before he found the body.”
“And you believe him?”
“Why shouldn’t I? Wait a minute, do you think he’s the killer?” Adam asked, turning to face Tola who was driving.
“I don’t know Adam, but it’s not farfetched, don’t you think?”
“Hmm, I don’t even think I want to answer that, Faruk wouldn’t hurt a fly.” Adam said, turning away and looking out of the window.
“Wasn’t he a soldier at a point? Surely he has killed before.”
“Okay, can we drop this please? Let’s concentrate on real suspects; the chief for instance. He was seen driving to the scene where the three men were killed and he was seen again driving away from my house just a few minutes after a dead body was dumped there. Isn’t that too much of a coincidence?”
“And he was seen both times by Faruk, right?”
“You’re still on this Faruk issue? I said you should drop it. Immediately we are done with these people, we ar e going to check out the chief. You will find out his movements for the past month and I’ll find something that links him to that liver transplant.”
“Okay sir.” Tola said.
***
Adam sighed and threw the IPad on the table in front of him. He found nothing linking the chief to any liver transplant; not Kate’s, not anybody’s. The only links he found that talked about the chief in connection with any liver was about the church street murders.
He stood and began to pace in the office where Tola had stashed him. The office belonged to a junior officer who had willingly surrendered his office to the Director. It was obvious the news of his suspension had not trickled down to the junior staff members.
He had always ruled the chief out as the killer until Faruk said he saw him driving away from his house. The way he had made sure of his suspension was also suspicious. He wondered if the killer would want him off the case though, it was not just about killing for the killer, it was about sparring, it was a game.
His phone rang and he grabbed it, it was Tola.
“What do you have?” Adam asked.
“Nothing, he didn’t do it. I have checked all information that is available and I’m sure he didn’t do it.” She answered.
“Hmm, unfortunately I don’t think he did it either. I have not found a single thing that links him to a liver transplant.”
“Okay, that is not the only bad news I have. Remember the woman I said was going to call me back about a booking for vine-scented incense?”
“Yeah, I think so, why?”
“Well, she just called and she gave me the name of the person who inquired about them. Get ready to be shocked.”
“Get on with it.”
“Faruk Salami!”
“I’m sure he has an explanation for that.” Adam said.
“Adam, this was one of our major leads and you’re just dismissing it?”
“It’s not like that. I have known Faruk for years, don’t you think I’ll know if he was a murderer?”
“That is your defense? I’m sorry but I’m sending some officers to bring him in.” Tola said.
“You’re arresting him?”
“I’m bringing him in for questioning. Call me if you have something else but this is a good lead.” Tola said and ended the call.
Adam looked at his phone and shook his head. There was no way Faruk was a killer, he had known him for so long, he would have suspected. Tola was not wrong to suspect him, even without the woman claiming he was the one who bought the incense, he would still be a viable suspect. He had supplied him with leads, most times unsolicited and most of the time there was no other person who could verify his claims. He had inserted himself in the investigation and was as involved as any CIB detective. He had always wanted to be a detective, he could be fulfilling his fantasy in a sick way by killing the girls.
Adam shook his head to clear the thoughts that were clouding his mind, there was no way Faruk was the killer.
There was a knock and Adam turned towards the door to see Ese walk in.
“Adam, I heard about your suspension, I’m sorry.” She said, she stood in the doorway.
“You heard? Another bug?” Adam asked looking away from her.
“I told you it was just one and I’m sorry. Adam, look I’m only here to help.”
“Help? Like you rightly said I have been suspended, any information you have should be taken to the guys still on the case. How did you even find me in this office?”
“I’m a journalist, that’s how I found you, and if you are off the case what are you doing here? I believe you are still on this case and rightly so, catching the killer would get you your job back and I want to help with that.”
“I’m deeply touched.” Adam said, laying his palm on his chest. “Thanks, but no, thanks.”
“Stop being so proud and listen to this. Remember that store you guys found, the one with blood all over?”
“Yes, go on.” Adam said, turning to face her.
“You said the owner was a Garba, right?”
“Wow, you guys really eavesdropped on everything we talked about.”
“Get over that Adam. Anyway we found your Garba, well sort of, we got his number. He said he leased the place to somebody for two years. The man’s name was Salami, he said he has lost the…”
“Salami? Faruk!”
“Faruk? What has Faruk…?”
“Faruk Salami, that’s his full name.” Adam said holding his head with his hands.
“Faruk?” Ese whispered. “There’s no way Faruk killed those girls.”
Adam shook his head and began to pace. There was no way Faruk was the killer, absolutely no way. You do not argue with the evidence, he had been taught. He had also been taught to trust his gut.
“What are you going to do?” Ese asked.
“Tola has already sent people to bring him for questioning.” Adam answered. “Don’t you think it’s possible he’s being set up?”
“Set up? By who? Why him?”
“By the killer of course. Maybe the chief saw him following him, he researched on him and decided to set him up. That is if the chief is the killer.”
“The chief is the killer?” Ese asked, surprised.
“Oh, so that you didn’t get from your spying? He was a suspect…he is a suspect, to be honest,I don’t know. I can’t think straight with Faruk being arrested and you here trying to be helpful and all.”
“Okay, I’ll leave you alone. If you believe Faruk isn’t the killer, you have to find the real killer then. Kate’s life is still at stake, remember” Ese said as she stood.
“Yeah.”
Ese walked to the door, stopped and turned to look at him. “Call me when all this is done, we’ll settle our feud over dinner.”
Adam smiled as she left. He loved her, he knew that he did. If he caught the killer and his life ever returned to normal, he would cultivate the love. His dream of living a simple life and having a family might not be dead just yet.
His phone rang and brought him out of his reverie.
It was the governor.
“Adam, I’m glad you didn’t give up on the case, because we are going to need you now more than ever.” The governor said.
“What are you talking…”
“I’m the governor, remember? I know you are in an office at the CIB now even though by the terms of your suspension you are not supposed to be anywhere near the place.”
“Sir…”
“That’s not why I called you. I just got a text on my phone and it says Kate has twelve hours left to live.”
“Twelve hours?”
“Ten hours thirty minutes now, I didn’t see the message on time.”
“Oh!”
“Adam, find my daughter. If you can’t do it for me, do it for my wife.” The governor said. Adam swallowed, the line was silent for a few seconds. “Yes Adam, I knew but I forgave you and I forgave her long ago. Right now, all I care about is finding my daughter. You will find her, won’t you?”
“I will sir.”
“Good.” The governor said and ended the call.
Adam sighed and ran his hand through his hair.
His phone rang again. This time it was a text message. He opened the message, it was from Faruk.
Meet me at Caleb’s. Alone!
***
Faruk looked around and dropped lower in his chair. He knew the police were coming after him, he had heard and he knew he had little time. If he was going to be successful, he would have to be the smartest he had ever been in his life. All he had to wait for was for Adam to come.
He peeped through the window of his car, there were policemen around. He was not sure how far the information about him had reached but being arrested now when he was so close would be the ruin of all he had done.
He turned the keys in the ignition of the car and it started. Seeing Adam would have to wait. He opened both palms and whispered a silent prayer and drove away from Caleb’s.
Can it be faruk?
*FINALE*
*FINAL SAGA*
Adam slid the gear into park, jumped out of the car and ran into the lounge. He looked around the room, Faruk was nowhere. He brought his phone out of his pocket and dialed his number. He chewed on his nails as the phone rang. He had hoped Tola was wrong about Faruk. Faruk had been the only friend he had kept for more than a whole year. He was a crazy person who lived in a fantasy world, more than a normal adult should but he was a true and loyal friend.
Adam looked at the phone, Faruk did not answer. He walked to the receptionist.
“Hey did you see my friend?” Adam asked.
“Hello Mr. Ademola, you are welcome. How can I help you?” She said, flashing Adam her professional smile.
“Did you see my friend? We come here together all the time.”
“Is he a member here? Does he have a card, we can use that to…”
“No he doesn’t have a card.”
“So he wouldn’t have been able to enter then…wait a minute, are you talking about your short friend?”
“Yes, that guy, did you see him?”
“Yeah, he was parked outside, I thought he was waiting for you. He was there a few minutes ago, I didn’t notice him leave.”
“Did you see anybody with him? A young lady maybe?”Adam asked, all the while looking around for any sign of sudden movement.
“No, I don’t think he was with anybody. Is there a problem sir?” The receptionist asked.
“No, thank you.” Adam said and walked away from the receptionist.
He went out of the lounge and walked around looking for any sign of Faruk’s car, he did not see any. He walked back to his car and dialed Tola.
“Are you still in that office?” Tola asked when she answered the call.
“The office…oh, no I’m not anymore. Have you guys found Faruk?”
“No, we haven’t. I think he is on to us, nobody has caught a glimpse of him. Where are you?”
“I’m outside Caleb’s.”
“Is he there? Adam don’t approach him on your own, you don’t have a gun, remember?”
“You actually believe the only gun I have is the one issued me by CIB? Of course I have a gun but this is Faruk we are talking about, even if he killed those people, there’s no way he’s going to harm me.”
“Adam, are you listening to yourself? He has killed at least six people and you think he won’t harm you?”
“Don’t worry Tola, he is not here, he was but not anymore. Let me know if you find him.” Adam said and ended the call before Tola could repeat her warnings.
Adam entered his car and started the engine. Faruk could be anywhere in the city. He was about to slide the gear into drive when his phone beeped. He picked it and checked. He had received a picture via snapchat, he did not even know he had the application on his phone. It was from Faruk. The picture looked familiar, then it hit him. It was a picture of a corridor in Faruk’s house, the one that led to his room. Faruk was in his house.
He reached for the gear when the phone beeped again. This time it was text.
“Come alone.” The text said.
Adam wondered why he insisted on him coming alone. He dialed Tola on his phone, it did not make sense to go alone.
“Are you alone?” Adam asked as soon as Tola answered the call.   *kindly  Hy Heritage  on +2348108751368 to be added to  story room to enjoy reading from there.*     
“Yes I am, what’s up?”
“Did you guys check Faruk’s house?”
“Of course we did but we didn’t find him there.”
“I want you to meet me there now. Come alone and if you get there before me, wait for me, don’t enter, okay?”
“What’s happening? Is he there? Let me take a couple of guys with me, it could be dangerous.”
“Tola, come alone! Do not take anybody with you, come alone!” Adam said and ended the call.
He sighed and drove off.
***
Adam turned off the engine of his car, jumped out of the car and ran towards the door of the house. Tola drove up to the house just as he got to the door. He waved her over and put a finger to his lips, signaling her to keep quiet. He stooped low and walked below a window, he peeped inside the house, he saw nothing. Adam shook his head, he could not believe that he was haunting Faruk like a criminal, except that he was indeed a criminal. At least he was looking more and more like one.
“He asked me to come so I guess I’ll just have to go in.” Adam whispered to Tola. “Stay by the door and don’t come in except you hear gunshots or I call for help, okay?”
“Wait for gunshots? You could be dead by then.” Tola said.
“Or we could go in together and both die. Just do what I said, the world needs you alive.” Adam said and turned towards the door.
“Be careful.” Tola called after him.
Adam stood in front of the door and sighed. He had been friends with Faruk for so long, how could he be such a gruesome murderer? He shook off the thought, steadied his breathing and knocked.
There was no answer.
He knocked harder. Still no answer.
“I’m going in.” He whispered to Tola.
He turned the knob on the door gently, it opened slowly as he pushed it. The room was slightly dark, the curtains were drawn and the only source of light in the room came through a window linking another room. A fan blew in the corner of the room making an eerie sound that made the hair on his neck stand. He stood still at the door and waited till his eyes adjusted to the dark room. He walked across the room to where the light switches were. He had always told Faruk that the light switches should be close to the door not at the other end of the room.
He flipped the switch and squinted as the light came on. He turned back to look across the room and jumped. There was a body on the floor, it had its face towards the floor. He ran to the body and flipped it over.
It was Faruk and he had been stabbed. Severally.
***
Adam put his finger on Faruk’s neck, he was still alive. Blood had pooled below his body, he had lost a lot of blood.
“Tola, get in here.” Adam shouted.
Tola ran in, gun held in front of her. She stopped when she saw Faruk on the floor.
“Did you do this?” She asked Adam.
“No but we need to get him to a hospital, he’s still alive.” Adam said.
She ran out of the house and came in almost immediately with Detective Benjamin and another detective.
“That was fast.” Adam said.
“I’m sorry but I wasn’t going to face a killer without back-up. Another detective is outside calling for an ambulance. How did this happen?”
“I have no idea, I came in and met him like this.” Adam said.
Adam looked over Faruk’s body; there were bruises on his face and his knuckles. Both fingers were clenched, there was a sheet of paper sticking out of one of them. Adam pried the hand open and took the sheet of paper.
“What’s on it?” Tola asked.
“It’s a list of names.” Adam said, looking over the list.
“Do you know any of the names?”
“Kate’s name is on it, Akinfenwa’s daughter is also on it so I think it has something to do with the murders.”
“Do you think maybe it is a list of people Faruk was going to kill?”
“I don’t know. Kate’s name isn’t even close to the top neither is Akinfenwa’s name and I don’t see the names of the other victims here. One of the names is starred though: Adaobi Okonkwo, is that name familiar to you?”
“No, it’s not. Why was it starred, maybe she was supposed to be his next victim.” Tola said.
“After seeing Faruk stabbed like this, I seriously doubt he is the killer. I think the killer was the one who stabbed him.”
“Why would the killer stab him? Wait a minute, maybe he figured out who the killer was.”
“He wanted to tell me something, maybe that was it. Why didn’t he just call me?”
“Remember he once said the killer was connected to the CIB, maybe he thought he’d alert the killer and he’ll run.”
“Well, he alerted the killer anyway.” Adam said as he stood.
The siren of an ambulance sounded outside and medics entered with a stretcher. Adam stepped back and they placed Faruk on a stretcher and rolled him out of the room.
“If Faruk isn’t the killer then who is?” Tola asked.
“I have no idea but at least we have nine hour left to save Kate. If we’re lucky and Faruk comes to, we can find out what he knows and who stabbed him. Benjamin!” Adam called one of the detectives. “Follow Faruk to the hospital, stay with him, don’t leave his side for a second, if you have to pee, hold it or get a bucket. Whatever you do, do not leave his side, call me as soon as he wakes up.”
Adam looked around the room, nothing stood out as strange; everything looked the same. Except the desktop computer. It had always been dirty, Faruk rarely used it. He said the only reason he kept it was to show his great-grand children and to sell it as an antique years later.
Adam walked to the computer, it had been cleaned, it looked like it had been used recently. Adam connected it to an electric socket and put it on. He tapped the heel of his right foot on the ground as he waited for the system to boot.
His phone rang just as the system came on. It was the governor.
“Sir?”Adam answered.
“Adam, you need to hurry. I just got another message and it says there was interference and because of that Kate has only two hours left. Two hours isn’t a long time Adam, find my daughter.” The governor said.
“We will sir. By the way, is the chief with you?”
“Yes, he’s been here since yesterday. He’s coordinating things from the government house which isn’t right but I’ll indulge him, I just want my daughter back.” The governor said, his voice breaking as he talked.”Why did you ask?”
“Oh, just checking sir.” Adam said.
“Find my daughter Adam, find Kate!” The governor said and ended the call.
Adam set his phone on the table and bowed his head. Two hours left and he had no leads, nothing concrete that could help him find Kate.
“What was that about?” Tola asked.
“Kate has only two hours, two hours! We must find out what Faruk knew that got him stabbed.”
Adam opened the browser on the computer. Tola pulled up a chair and sat beside him.
“Okay, let’s see…recently viewed pages; news from several years ago, why would he read this?”
“Let me glance through.” Tola said and Adam sat back as she read. “Okay, it’s about two orphans, a boy and a girl, they had lost their father to a heart attack, no mention was made of their mother.”
“Why did this make the news? More importantly, why was Faruk reading this?”
“I don’t know why Faruk was reading this, but it says here the boy was a genius of some kind. Wait, Okonkwo, wasn’t that the name that was starred on that list?”
“Yeah.” Adam said, looking at the list. “So this girl was on that list, the big question is why?”
“Let’s check other pages he checked.” Tola said as she scrolled through the page. “Okay, here’s another newspaper page. These all happened so long ago. I didn’t know newspapers are archived on the internet that far back.”
“What does it say Tola?”
“It says…oh, the girl died. Wait a minute, she died of liver cancer. According to this, she was next in line for a transplant…”
“That list had Kate on it, they were on the same list.”
“She was next in line but two people were bumped ahead of her. Guess who they were.”
“Kate and that Akinfenwa girl.” Adam said jumping up from the chair. “That brother of hers, is he mentioned? Where is he now?”Chat Heritage on zero eight one zero eight  seven five  one three six eight to be added to his WhatsApp group.
“He isn’t mentioned but wait, there is another page…oh my God! Adam look at this.” Tola said, turning the screen towards Adam. “Does that face look familiar to you?”
Adam looked at the screen, it was a graduation picture. The girl’s liver problem obviously at an advanced stage. She was standing beside a young man who was the one graduating. Adam looked at the man’s face and gasped.
“Isn’t that…?” Adam started and stopped.
“Yeah, that is Collins, frigging coroner!” Tola said.
DEMONS ON CHURCH STREET: FINALE PART TWO
Adam looked at the face one more time, Tola was right it was the coroner.
“Tola, I need you to go on the Bureau’s database, look for his address. What do you need to do that?”
“All I need is here.” She said, bringing out her phone and connecting it to the computer.” Give me two minutes.”
“Hurry, Kate doesn’t have long.”
Adam paced behind Tola as she worked. He had not suspected the coroner, not once, not even when Faruk said the killer could be a staff of CIB. He did not know the man very much, but he did not look like the kind of person who would kill. Except that he worked with dead bodies. The killer had mentioned at a point that he knew him even before he worked for the governor, hard as he tried he could not remember ever meeting Collins before he came to head the CIB.
“I think I’m done. Yes, I am, here’s the address.” Tola said. “23, Church Lane, Adewole.”
“Church lane? What’s with this guy and churches? Okay, I’ll head for the address now.”
“Alright, I’m coming with you.” Tola said.
“No, I want you to call for back up and inform the governor, okay?”
“I can do all that from the car Adam.”
“Tola, for the last time, obey me as your boss. I’ll call you when I’m about to enter the house, I’ll be fine.” Adam said and rushed out of the house.
“Adam!” Tola called behind him. “Bring Kate back alive!”
Adam nodded and ran to his car.
***
Adam slowed his car to a stop in front of the house. It was fenced with high walls and a tall gate. Adam turned off the engine of the car and stepped out of it. He walked to the gate of the house and stopped. He was not sure what to do. The chances that Kate would get out of the house alive would drastically reduce if the house was bombarded with gun blazing officers. There was only one thing he could do; face the killer alone.
He checked, his gun was tucked into his belt. He sighed and pushed the gate, surprisingly it gave way. He stepped quietly through the gate, everything was silent and still. It was a large compound and was empty except for the house situated far away from the gate and three vehicles; a car he had seen in the CIB parking lot a few times, a bus and a taxi.
He closed the gate gently behind him and stepped forward.
“Hello Detective.” A voice said behind him.
Adam reached behind him to pull out his gun from his belt.
“No, don’t do that. I have one of those, right here. Hand it over please.” Collins said. Adam turned around to see Collins holding a gun pointed at him, he handed him his gun. “So we finally meet huh?”
“I guess so.” Adam said.
“Damn that short devil, I still don’t know how he put all that together, unfortunately we will never know. He’s probably telling the demons in hell how smart he is right now. Let’s get this over with, shall we?”
“Yeah, I have a question about that.” Adam said. “What is ‘this’?”
“Good question, I’ll give you an answer and I’ll talk slowly so you can understand. This is what is going to happen; we will both go inside where Kate has been tied up, I will offer her up to Diana…”
“Diana? Is that the Greek goddess? Because I don’t think the late Princess Diana will appreciate you killing innocent girls.” Adam said with a chuckle.
“Keep quiet! As I was saying, I will offer the sacrifice, you will be the witness then I will kill you. Can’t allow any witnesses, I’m sure you understand.”
“I understand alright. But where in this sick plan of yours is the moment where I kill you with my bare hands? Not with a knife, not with a gun but with my bare hands!”
“Oh, lots of big talk from the man with a gun pointed at his head.” Collins said with a dry laugh. “Alright, enough of talking, move.”
Adam felt his heart almost ripping through his chest as he walked towards the house. Collins did not look like someone who would loosen his grip on the gun and this was his house, he was very comfortable. His only hope was to keep talking, if he could get under his skin he could have a chance to catch him at a careless moment.
“So who is Diana exactly? Your mother?” Adam asked as he moved got closer to the door.
“Shut up! You talk when I talk to you.” Collins said and pushed him forward with the gun. “Open the door.”
Adam turned the knob on the door and opened it. It led to a very cozy living room. It was the type any young bachelor would love to have. Soft music played on beautiful hand carved wooden speakers placed across the room. A door stood opposite the one he had entered from, it was the only door exiting the room so he headed for it. Collins followed him without saying a word. He got to the door and opened it, it led to a dark corridor.
“See that door on your left, open it. It’s usually closed but today I have left it open, today, a male visitor will enter the room for the first time.”
Adam opened the door and entered. The room was a large room, there were lots of pictures on the wall, mostly pictures of a young woman. The face was from the same picture but it had been superimposed into many pictures.
“She looks gorgeous, doesn’t she?” Collins asked as they entered.
“Who is this anyway? Did she look gorgeous only once in her life that you had to use that one picture to make so many?”
“Very funny Adam. You know I normally would get angry at you for making fun of my sister but you’re going to die soon so why waste my anger on you? You’re right though about using one picture. Cancer kind of takes your gorgeousness away.”
“This is your sister? She actually looks gorgeous, I wish she was still around, maybe I could go a few rounds with her. You know what I mean?” Adam said and laughed.
“Okay, I see what you’re doing. You want to get me angry right? I need to warn you though, go on with this and I might have to make my sacrifice without a witness because you’ll be dead.”
Collins pulled a chair and shoved Adam into the chair, the gun trained on Adam all the time. He went over to the other side of the room, unlocked a door and pushed out a stretcher. Adam gasped as he looked at the stretcher, Kate was lying on it, her eyes wide open. She was wrapped in a white sheet, she was gagged and tied to the stretcher.
“Okay Adam, I don’t like you and I’m sure you don’t like me, so I’ll help us all by reducing the time we spend together. I’ll get this sacrifice over with, I’ll kill you and we’ll be done here okay. I’m going to put this gun down, very close to me though so don’t make any silly moves.”
Adam kept quiet and looked around, there was nothing close he could grab, he would be dead before he could reach anything.
“Alright, so this is what I’ll be doing. As you can see she is still alive, so I’ll uncover this sheet, I’ll cut her open, as you know I always do, I’ll grab her liver and well, leave her to die. Pretty simple, right?”
“What did she do to deserve this? She’s just a girl!”
“Just a girl? I’ve seen her naked and I tell you she is not a girl anymore.” Collins said and laughed. “I’ll tell you who was a girl though; my sister. She was next on that list, she would have been saved but no, the rich man’s daughter had to go first. We had our money, we were going to pay, but no Kate could not wait!”
“It was not her fault! She did not rig the list.” Adam shouted.
“Yeah, it was her mother. Well, she paid too, didn’t she?”
“You did that? You shot her?” Adam asked, his voice shook as he talked.
“I’m no expert marksman, but I figured if I missed her I would get youChat Heritage on zero eight one zero eight  seven five  one three six eight to be added to his WhatsApp group. so I took a shot, literally.”
“You bastard!” Adam screamed and jumped up from his chair.
Collins grabbed the gun and pointed it at Adam. “Sit down now! Calm down, you don’t want to die ten minutes before your time, do you?”
Adam sat as still as he could. His legs shook and his head ached as he tried to still his body.
Collins set the gun down and picked a long knife from under the stretcher. Adam swallowed as he watched him open the sheet covering Kate.
“Wait!” Adam shouted. “Before you become taken by your ritual and can’t answer my questions anymore, can you answer a question?”
“I know what you’re doing, you’re trying to buy time, but it’s okay. You will die anyway so I guess I can allow last questions.”
“You mentioned once that you knew me before I worked for the governor, how did that happen?”
“You don’t remember? I feel hurt. It was way back when you were a uniformed policeman, a rookie. I came to the station to report that my father was abusing us; my mother, my sister and I. I even showed you blade cuts where he cut me all in the name of punishment. Ring a bell?”
Adam remembered, he was having a tough day and had ignored the boy. He did not believe his story and when he talked to his superiors they all told him to ignore the boy. He refused to leave the station until his father came to drag him away. Adam remembered the look in his eyes as he was dragged away, it was full of anger, hate, death.
“You remember now? You made me commit my first murder; I had to feed him some medication to cause his heart attack. You might look at me as a monster now but know that you created this monster. Remember the first time you came to my office? I asked if you were going to be the detective on the case, I was so happy when you said yes. I wanted us to get to this point and I even helped you along the way. Remember that paper that helped you identify that Judge’s daughter? You never wondered why it wasn’t wet? I pulled it out of my pocket not her mouth, that’s why. Alright, that’s enough, I’m getting tired of the chitchat.”
“Wait… wait, those three men you killed, why?”
“I never agreed that I killed them, did I? But trying to frame me for a murder I didn’t commit, that’s not very good.”
“The churches too, why dump the bodies in the churches?”
“Those pastors were exactly like you. They didn’t… wait a minute, you’re not writing my biography. I’m done with the questions. Let’s get this over with.”
Adam closed his eyes as Collins pulled out the knife, he heard him mumble some words. Adam stilled himself as he expected the stifled scream that would follow the cut. Instead he heard a voice, it sounded like it was coming from a far distance. It sounded like a megaphone.
Adam opened his eyes and noticed that Collins was no more in the room. Adam jumped from his chair and ran towards Kate and began to untie her.
“What do you think you are doing?” It was Collins and he was back in the room with the gun. “The police are here and I just went in to get a robe for Kate, we are going out and we don’t want the whole of Ilorin seeing the governor’s daughter naked now, do we?”
He waved Adam back to his chair and Adam bowed and thought hard on how to play the coming of the police for his benefit. He knew what Collins was going to do, he would walk out of the house with the police watching because he would have a gun pointed at both him and Kate.
“It’s time to go.” Collins said and pointed a gun at Adam and another at Kate.
Adam watched Kate as she walked towards him, she looked tired and weak but there were no physical wounds on her body.
“Are you okay?” He whispered to her when she got close to him.
“No speaking!” Collins shouted before she could answer.
They walked into the living room and stopped at the door. Adam could hear the voices outside.
“Listen to me now.” Collins said. “You will not speak, you will not move in any other direction except where I tell you to and you will not move too fast or suddenly. If you break any of these rules, you will get a bullet to the head. Is that understood?”
Adam nodded, Kate began to sob.
“We are coming out!” Collins shouted. “I have a gun to both their heads so step away from the door. I repeat step away from the door.”
Adam heard someone repeat the order outside and he heard footsteps withdrawing from the door.
“Open the door and go out slowly.” Collins said to Kate.
She opened the door and stepped outside, Adam followed her and Collins followed them. Adam looked around, he saw Tola, she looked at him and nodded. He nodded back. If they were ever going to escape alive, Adam knew it had to be when they were still in the house.
“Listen up everybody, this is what is going to happen. One of you will drive my car out of this compound and we – the three of us will walk out of here, enter the car and drive away. If anyone of you tries to stop us or does anything otherwise, he will have to blame himself for the death of Kate and our good detective here. Is that understood?”
“Step back everybody” Tola shouted and she walked to Collins and collected his car keys.
She entered the car and drove it out of the compound, parked it and left the keys in the ignition. She stood a little distance away from the car and waited.
Collins aimed his gun at every car in the compound and shot their tires. He then poked Kate in the back with the gun and they began to move towards his car. Adam looked at the officers standing around, they all had their guns aimed at Collins but it would be too risky to shoot him as he could still shoot before dying.
They walked out of the compound to where the car was parked. Adam knew if they entered the car and drove off they were dead for sure. He looked at Tola, she also had her gun aimed at Collins. He looked at Kate, she looked so frightened. He closed his eyes and held back from crying. He knew it was his fault she was in this mess and he knew he alone could get her out of it.
He looked at Tola again.
“Shoot him.” He mouthed to her.
She shook her head. “Too risky.” She mouthed back.
“Trust me. At the count of three, shoot him. One, two three.” Adam counted then he dived and crashed into Kate. He heard a gunshot and felt pain explode in his shoulder. He could not see for a few seconds but when his eyes opened the pain in his shoulder was gone.
He looked around, Tola and another officer was lifting him up while another was helping Kate up. He looked up and saw Collins getting away in his car.
“Did you get him?” He asked Tola. She shook her head. “Get me a car.”
“Adam, you cannot…” Tola started to say.
“Get me a car now!” Adam shouted.
An officer ran into the compound, hotwired the taxi and brought it to him.
“You will need this.” Tola said and handed him her gun.
He took it and sped off without a word. Collins already had a head start and the taxi was not made for high speed chases, Adam knew he would have to be at his best to catch up to Collins. He looked ahead and saw the car some distance away from him.
And then suddenly he felt dizzy, his vision blurred and he swerved on the road. He felt a liquid dropping on his thigh and soaking his trousers. He looked at his shoulder and discovered he was bleeding. Just then the pain surged through his body, he had been shot.
He fought for consciousness as he pressed harder on the accelerator. He was gaining on Collins and he seemed to have noticed as he began to move from one end of the road to the other. Cars began to park as they drove past them. Adam looked forward and discovered they were coming to the end of the road. Collins either did not see it or had super powers and planned to fly. Adam began to reduce the pressure on the accelerator as they got close to the end.
Collins was almost at the end but he had not reduced his speed then suddenly he stopped the car and turned it around. He turned so fast that the car turned around two times before it stopped. And as soon as it stopped, Collins moved forward and towards Adam, but he moved too fast and the car ran off the road and crashed into a ditch.
Adam stopped his car and came out of it clutching his shoulder. He held the gun in his hand and walked towards the wreck. He was very close to the car when a bullet whistled past him, he dropped low and approached the car slowly.
“This is the end of the road you son of a bitch.” Adam shouted as he crept closer to the car.
As he got closer to the car he began to hear the distinct scent of petrol. He heard another gunshot and dropped low.
“Stop shooting or this car will explode, you fool!” Adam shouted as he bent low to look inside the car.
Collins was stuck in his chair, his legs hung awkwardly – broken. He would suffer a lot of pain when he was pried from the car. Then Adam noticed one of Collin’s hands move in his direction, the hand gripped a gun. Adam jumped and ran away from the car.
He was a few metres away from the car when he heard the gunshot. He felt but did not hear the explosion that followed but was thrown ten feet into the air and landed in a pit of darkness.
***
Adam opened his eyes to a white sky. It had red and yellow beautiful flowers. He had not expected to make it to heaven but it was a pleasant surprise.
“Adam.” A sweet soft voice called to him. He turned around to see an angel, she looked so beautiful. “Do you recognize me, it’s Ese.”
Ese? He looked around him and realized he was on a hospital bed. He had not seen a white sky but the ceiling of the room where he was.
“How are you feeling?” Ese asked.
“I feel like I’ve been shot and I need some pampering, if only there was someone…if only.” Adam said with a smile.
“Yeah, if only there was someone.” Ese said and winked.
>“How’s Faruk?” Adam asked.
“He’s stable, still unconscious but the doctors think he’ll make it.”
“And Kate? Hope she wasn’t shot.”
“No, she wasn’t. She was here earlier with her father. She should be at home already.”
“Wait a minute, where is Tola?” Adam asked, trying to sit up. He crashed back into the bed in pain.
“She’s not here, but she said to call her immediately you wake up. I’ll do that now.” Ese said. She picked up her phone, dialed the number and handed it to Adam.
“Adam?” Tola said over the phone.
“Hello partner.”
“We’re partners now? You’re no longer the boss?” Tola asked with a chuckle.
“For one day at least.” Adam replied.
“For one day.”
“Did you get his body out of the car yet?” Adam asked, the smile disappearing from his face.
“Yeah, there was a problem Adam. By the time the fire was out and we cut open the car…” Tola said then stopped.
“What happened Tola?” Adam asked holding his breath.
“There was no body. Adam, there was no one in the car.”
THE END!
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By penhouse

Jaja Godspower is a creative thinker and business strategist. He an award winning writer, blogger, author and a film maker from Nigeria. He is motivated with the desire to grow brands and businesses through adequate branding and visibility with his writing expertise. He is the founder of Penhouse Initiative, one of the largest growing writing hub in Africa.

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