The night was cold and windy, it was a good night to kill. He had watched her for two weeks and he knew she was coming, she always did. The road was straight and clear, he would see her long before she came close. He held his palms against his cheeks, holding his trembling lips with his thumbs. He was standing under a tree just after the bridge he was sure she was going to cross. He smiled, it was very cliché; the boogie man always came from behind a tree in the dark. No cars were passing, he did not expect any to, he could not afford any witnesses and he would have none. A shadow crept into the horizon, his heart skipped a beat; she was coming. The cold was gone and he began to sweat. His lips still trembled and now his teeth were joining in the freak-out party. Calm down, she’s just a woman – a girl. He pulled his hood lower, he could not make any mistakes, it had to be that night, he had waited long enough. She was getting closer. He shoved his hands into his pockets to keep them from falling off, he could not scare her away. She was getting closer. He inhaled deeply as the wind blew the scent of her cheap perfume on him. She was very close now, her heels clicked as she moved towards him. She was four feet away when he stepped out from behind the tree. “Hello babe.” He whispered trying his best to hide the tremor in his voice. She jumped when she saw him. “Hey, why na? You scare me, wetin you want?” “You know what I want, the question, do you have it?” He answered, moving closer to her. His heart was racing. It is happening! “See you, do I have it?” She staggered backwards, he could smell the alcohol. It did not matter, she would do. “If you get the money, you fit get anything you want.” He brought out a wad of cash and waved it, she stumbled forward to take it but he pulled back. “Nope, not until your job is done. Let’s go.” He held her by the arm and led her to the bus he had packed not far away from his pick up point. She climbed into the bus and slumped into the seat. He closed the door behind her and locked it. He went round the vehicle and climbed into his seat. It had taken many years, but the night had come; Diana would have her sacrifice.
The light stung his eyes as he opened them, Adam Ademola shielded his eyes with his right hand and pulled himself up from the sofa with his left. He rubbed his temples, they banged in a way he had never experienced before. He was used to waking up with headaches, but the pain he felt at the moment threatened to split his head. He reached for the television’s remote control, the sound coming from the television was going straight into his head. He put the television off and threw the remote on the table. He stood up and knocked over an empty bottle as he staggered towards the refrigerator. There were a number of empty bottles around the sofa, the splintering head was not a surprise. He reached for the top of the refrigerator, grabbed a bottle of aspirin and popped three tablets into his mouth. He picked a bottle of water from the refrigerator and gulped the whole bottle. He had promised himself he would not wake up like this anymore, but he had kept the promise for all of three days before he picked up the bottle neatly tucked away in his car. Idiot! He had no idea what time it was but it did not matter, he was going to bed. His phone rang and he jumped, stumping his toe against the table. He cursed and snatched his phone from the table. “What?” he screamed into the phone. “Sir, you need to come to the office now!” Who is this fool? “I don’t need to do anything. Who is this? Whoever you are, know that you have lost your job.” “Sir, this is serious, you need to be here.” “Look here, nothing serious happens in that office. Whatever it is, it will have to wait.” He ended the call. He sat heavily on the chair making it squeak. He placed a finger on a vein that was threatening to pop on his neck, it was probably a foolish idea but he needed some scotch. His phone rang again. “Why are you disturbing me so early in the morning?” he said in a barely audible whisper. “Adam Ademola, it is Eleven A.M.” What! “Are you hung-over again? Anyway, you need to be in the office. You have any doubt, well turn on your TV. Your girlfriend is on.” He threw away the phone, picked the remote and switched on the television. “This is the first murder of this kind that this city has seen.” She was still pretty even when she was reporting a murder. She was not his girlfriend, they had had a brief relationship but it had ended for years. “It looks like a ritual killing but the police are yet to comment on the murder. We will come back with an official police statement in a few minutes.” The reporter said and her pretty face gave way for a bank commercial. He switched off the television and headed for the bathroom, he really needed to be in the office.
One hour later he drove into office of the Crime Investigation Bureau of the newly formed Kwara State Police Department. The guards saluted as he drove past the gate, he ignored them and pulled into the carport. Reporters had gathered and were waiting for him, they identified his car and were now rushing towards him. He had taken a couple more of aspirin pills before he left his house. His head still throbbed and he had difficulty looking at anything for more than five seconds before he felt dizzy. His sunglasses covered his sunken red eyes, he had to hide them, the journalists would have a field day if they knew he was hungover. He stepped out of his car, supporting himself with the door of the car. Immediately microphones were shoved in his face. “Mister Ademola…” a journalist started “Detective please, Detective Ademola.” He corrected the reporter. She smiled and continued. “Detective Ademola, do you think this is a ritual killing? Should the people of the city be worried about this?” “I would normally not comment before full investigation has been conducted but I would like to say this, the fine people of this city have nothing to worry about. Whoever did this will be found very soon and he… or she will be brought to justice. We don’t care if it is a ritual killing, we will put an end to this soon. Thank you very much.” He turned, picked his I-pad from the car and closed the door.
A ritual killing? He had not had a serious case of murder since he became head of the CIB. He would take his old job back with a huge ‘thank you’ but no one was offering it to him. His head still ached, he had planned to drop in, make his appearance for the sake of the press and pass the case to the nearest deputy. It did not look like he could walk so easily. He entered into the office building feeling like a stranger. People were huddled in offices, the murder was making the CIB agents go bonkers. Adam smiled, at least they were going to work for their pay. He removed his sunglasses as he entered his office, followed immediately by his assistant. He had reassigned four assistants before he had found the perfect combination of angel and devil he wanted in Tola Dosumu “Are you crazy Ademola? A murder like this happens and you decide to sleep in?” She put her balled fists on her waist like a mother scolding her ten year old. “Dosumu, you do realize I’m your boss right? I can fire you anytime I want.” He answered. He set his I-pad on the table and sat on the edge of the table. “Who got killed? Why is everybody going crazy?” “You know what Ademola? Maybe you should fire me, I can’t put up with this. You realize I am not your secretary, I am a cop who is unfortunate to be your assistant. You are the head of the CIB, yet you come to work anytime you want, usually drunk.” “I’m not drunk.” He replied looking away from her. His head still pounded, the sooner he was done with the murder nonsense, the sooner he could return to his house and his sofa. And my bottle. “Okay, I had a few drinks yesterday, I’m sorry Mom. Can we move on now?” “Yes, we can. That file…” she pointed to the blue file on his table. “is a summary of all we know about the murder. I’ll be in my…” “Dosumu I said I’m sorry.” He jumped from the table and grabbed her hand. “Come on, why are you so angry this morning?” They had a weird relationship, he knew they did but he was content with it. She had saved his butt more than once, while he had done all that was humanly possible to drive her crazy. “You know it’ll take all day to read that file, just give me the main points.” “Okay, I don’t know why I do it but I forgive you. First, you need to take something for the terrible headache I’m sure you have right now.” She said, walking towards his refrigerator. She opened it and brought out a bottle containing some kind of green liquid. She poured some into a small cup. “Drink this and let’s go meet the pathologist.” He squeezed his face as he drank the liquid. He had no idea what it was but he knew Tola would not poison him. God knows he deserved it, but she would not hurt a fly. “Alright, let’s go see the pathologist, hopefully he has something to tell us. You need to see the body also, some crime scene pictures too would help you understand what everyone is freaking out about.” Okay, ten minutes at the pathologist’s then I’ll go home. He had never been in the coroner’s office, it was new, one of the last additions to the CIB building. It was very unlikely that he would be visiting the office or the lab very often, he was the boss, he could read all their findings in a file – or have Tola read them to him. He sneezed; the smell of fresh paint irritated him. “Bless you sir.” The coroner said. He was a queer one, the coroner. He had learnt a few things about the man a few minutes after meeting him. He was young – too young, eager to please and knew his stuff. “Thank you Doctor. How about we move to the lab? I prefer if you showed me instead of telling me all these stuff. I have a tendency to forget, something Dosumu is always eager to remind me.” The coroner smiled nervously, Tola just rolled her eyes and looked away. She definitely has respect issues. “Alright sir.” Five minutes later, Adam was standing in the lab waiting for the body to be rolled in. Tola had bailed, he was on his own she had told him. From what he had been told, he knew the body was cut up really bad. “Here goes sir.” The coroner annouced as the body was rolled in. Adam stepped back and held his breath as the covering sheet was removed. He swallowed, even though the body had been cleaned, it looked worse than it did in print. The face had been untouched, the limbs had not been touched either but the torso had been cut. The cut started from the navel and ended in between the breasts. The flesh had been uncovered revealing the inner organs, according to the reports Tola had read to him as they moved to the lab, the liver was missing. “Well, I have seen it now“ He stilled his stomach, he was a detective now, he had to get used to mutilated bodies. He looked at his watch. “What can you tell me about this? Sick bastard cut her alive?” “That was my first thought but then when I opened her up, I caught the distinct smell of almonds.” “Almonds? Wait, that’s cyanide right?” The course in criminology might not be wasted after all. “Yes, very good sir, very good. The scent made me check for other signs of cyanide poisoning, it wasn’t difficult as the body was already open. Her blood – what was left of it was bright red and her organs had a reddish hue. So my guess is, the killer poisoned her first and the cut is postmortem.” “Wow, the killer is really a sick bastard. Have you seen this kind of stuff before?” “No, definitely not. I’m hoping this would be the last.” Adam nodded and looked at his watch again, the dead body had not helped his headache. “Will you be running this investigation by yourself sir?” “That’s a good question, I don’t…” His phone rang cutting him off. It was State Chief of Police.“Hello sir.” “Ademola, are you still at home? You cannot afford to maintain your old habits in times like this. You realize how important this case is, don’t you?” “Sir, I am at the coroner’s office and I do realize how important this case is.” The old man was just as freaked as everybody. The press no doubt would be on his neck. “Okay then, you must realize with the attention this is getting from the press, you are the lead investigator. We need to assure the public we have our best people on it. You, Ademola are our best people.” The old man sighed.”God help us.” Adam looked at his phone, shook his head and slid it in his pocket. “Looks like I’m lead detective on the case after all. I hope this is just a stupid careless killer who can be caught easily. I have no intention of seeing you again, no offense.” “None taken.” The coroner answered and bowed his head, he looked hurt. Sorry, seeing dead bodies isn’t my idea of fun. The sooner the case was closed, the better. If the criminology professors were to be believed, the crime scene was probably the next place to visit. But first he had to get Tola.
“What are you watching?” Adam asked leaning into Tola’s office through her open door. “Come in if you want to know.” She answered without taking her eyes off the television. Adam walked into the office, pulled a chair and sat next to her.”What is this?” He pointed at the television. “Remember the accident involving the governor’s daughter? It happened about three months ago, well the press is digging it up again.” Adam looked away from the television, his throat felt dry, he needed a drink. “Are you okay?” Tola was looking at him with her penetrating look. He had seen the look more times than he could bother to count. “Yes I am. The chief just called me, I’m lead detective on the case, that means we – you and I have a lot of work to do. Work that is not fixing my life, actual police work.” “You think I’m trying to fix your life?” She chuckled. “That’s not even remotely true. I would love to, but it’s impossible. No mere mortal can fix your life.” “I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that. We’ll be going to the crime scene, there might still be some clue left, something spectators have not destroyed. But let’s go over what we know already. “Okay, we know that the victim is a young woman, probably early or mid twenties. We don’t know who she is yet, but she doesn’t look like a rich girl, she hasn’t been reported missing too, that’s got to mean something” “I like the sound of serious Adam. You’re right, she’s not a rich girl – well she might be but get this, she was a commercial sex worker.” “A prostitute?” He groaned and held his head in between palms. “That’ll make this even more difficult. You know where she plies her trade?” “Coca-Cola road, that’s where. You realize you are going to be speaking to a lot of hookers, right?” She laughed. He did not find it amusing, he had to forget about going home, he would be talking to hookers instead. He could postpone that though, the crime scene would be less depressing. “Where was the body found?” He asked as he walked out of the office. “St Andrews Anglican Church” “Say what?”
*EPISODE 2* Ese Johnson stopped in front of Adam’s office and took a deep breath. She straightened her skirt and smoothened her hair, she was not nervous but seeing Adam again made her heart beat slightly faster. Of course she had made no time for her heart, today she was a journalist. Maybe some other day she could afford to be an ex-girlfriend. She was about to knock when the door swung open. A woman carrying some files in her hand stood in the doorway, the woman frowned when she saw her.
“Hello, can I help you?” The woman asked. “Hi, my name is Ese Johnson and I’m here to see Detective Ademola.” The woman smiled, her name must have meant something to her. “Is there a problem?” “I…” She started.
“Who’s there?” Adam called from inside, cutting her off. “You may go in.” The woman said, moving away from the door. “Your girlfriend is here to see you.” She called out to Adam and left the office. Adam stood up behind his table as she walked in. “I am your girlfriend? Is that what you’re telling everybody?” She asked with a smile. “Don’t mind Tola Dosumu, she’s my lovely assistant. Married, unfortunately I might add.” He replied with a childish grin. “You are welcome to the CIB director’s office, please sit. And wow, you look stunning!” “I’m back to stunning huh?” It was the word he had used to describe her the first day they met. Stay focused! “Ese Johnson in my office, to what do I owe this surprise?” “You know why I’m here, Detective.” She said sitting down. Despite her resolve to be distant and professional, she could not help herself, he still had her swooning. “The murder? You too? Why is everyone so interested in this murder?” “Detective…” “Hey…hey, why do you keep calling me ‘Detective’? Just stop it, alright? We don’t date anymore doesn’t mean you have to become all official.” “Detective…” Adam threw up his hands in exasperation. She smiled and continued. “…this is a big case. The city has not seen something as gruesome as this in years. Everybody is interested; the government, the cops, the people, the press…” “The press? You mean you?” Adam asked with a chuckle. “Yes, I am- TBC is interested in the case and that is why I am here.” “Okay, what do you want?” “We want exclusive interviews and reports from you and the CIB throughout the investigation.” She watched Adam for his reaction. He just looked at her, he knew how to keep his emotions to himself, it was one of his biggest problems as a boyfriend. Stay focused! “Well?” “I’m sorry, can’t do that.” He replied pointedly, not breaking eye contact with her. “Common Adam…Detective, this is going to be a symbiotic relationship, we’ll help you too.” “You will help me?” He asked, a smug smile spreading over his face. “How would you do that?” “Okay, what do you know about the girl- the victim, what do you know about her?” “She was a prostitute and she…well, she was…” Of course, he did not know much about her. “So you have nothing. Did you know, she was coming from a hotel, one she had frequented, three times a week for the past two weeks?” “And you know this how?” he asked, arching his eyebrow. “We have a crime desk, we investigate these things too but there are doors that a police badge can open that my press ID cannot.” “Do you know who she met with at the hotel? Was it the same person throughout the two weeks?” Now, he was interested. “Detective, I came here for something- something I’m yet to get and you want to fleece information from me?” “You know you have to give me that info if you have it, it’s obstruction of justice if you don’t.” “Wow, you want to play it like this Detective?” Adam could be a hard nut to crack, but she would get what she wanted one way or another. “Well, she met with the same person but we don’t know who that is yet.” “Thank you for that info Ese. I’m sorry I couldn’t help you but I wouldn’t mind getting a little help from you now and again.” His smugness was annoying. “Why did you leave the NTA anyway? You had a cool job hanging around rich and powerful politicians.” “Being hit on by filthy corrupt pot-bellied politicians constantly is not cool, I’d rather chase killers, rapists and other non-political scum of this world.” She said standing up. “It’s not a world for the weak, be careful.” Adam replied without standing. “The weak? Is that what you think of me, detective? Well, all the best with your investigation.” Ese said and moved towards the door. “Hey Ese, I didn’t mean it like that.” He said, standing up and moving towards her. “I’m sure you’ll do great, okay?” “Goodbye detective.” She said and walked out of the office closing the door behind her. It had not being her idea to ask Adam or the CIB for exclusivity, she knew she could hold her own against other journalists but her boss and her douche bag partner thought she needed help. She had been put in her place by Adam but she was going to shock them all, maybe even get an award out of it all.
His mind could not leave the meeting he just had with Ese as he stood in front of St Andrews. She still had an effect on him, something he had tried not to show. The crime scene was less depressing than his time at the coroner’s or his foolish meeting with Ese, the church after all was supposed to be a place of joy. The body had been found on the stairs of the church, the pastor had met the surprise as he arrived to open the doors in the morning. The church certainly would not be having new comers any time soon. He walked around the building and came back to the stairs, Tola on his heels. “This is not the crime scene, right?” It did not make sense, he had expected a lot of blood. You could not cut a body open without leaving a mess- except it had been cleaned up. “Dosumu, did this church folks clean up the place?” “No, they were told to leave it plus the police have been guarding this place. It’s become a tourist attraction, I’m sure the pastor would prefer that they entered instead of gawking from a distance.” “Yeah, I’m sure he would.” Adam stooped to examine the concrete stairs. There were a few drops of blood here and there, but there were no pools or splatter, things he expected. “This murder was not committed here, the body was merely dumped on this stairs.” It made the crime scene almost useless, except that it raised a question; why dump the body in front of a church? “I know what you’re thinking, why the church, right?” Tola asked, he nodded and she continued. “Come check out the photos that were taken before the body was moved. The Pastor said he did not touch the body so the killer must have left it this way.” He moved close to her as she opened the pictures on her I-pad. “The body does not look like it was dumped in a hurry, it was done deliberately. See how he spreads her leg and rests her joined hands on her stomach? Ritual killing is what this looks like to me.” Tola said, pointing to the pictures. “That’s interesting, maybe the killer is associated with this church, let’s go talk to that pastor.” The parsonage was just behind the church, seeing the pastor would not be a problem. Tola led the way, she had more experience with Pastors than he had. The parsonage sat between the church and a large burial ground. Adam cringed at the thought of living with so many dead bodies behind your window. The wooden stairs of the parsonage creaked loudly as they climbed. An old woman sat staring into space close to the door. They greeted her, she ignored them and continued staring like she was deaf and blind or just could not care less what they thought. Tola knocked on the door and a woman he assumed was the Pastor’s wife welcomed them in. “Wait here, I’ll get my husband. Can I get you anything?” “A glass of water please. Thanks ma’am.” The pastor’s wife would probably not be willing to give him a cold bottle of beer, so water would have to satisfy his parched throat. Two minutes later, she returned with the glass of water and her husband. He was quite older than her, probably by ten years. Adam could not decide if the wrinkles on his face were due to his age or what he had seen that morning. “Good afternoon Pastor.” Tola was already on her feet, Adam joined her. “We are very sorry to disturb you, especially after what you saw this morning.” The pastor shook hands with both of them and sat down. “You know, I’ve been the pastor here for over thirty years and every morning – except when I wasn’t in town, I would open the doors of the church. It was something that gave me great pleasure, you can imagine how horrible it was to find something like that on our doorsteps.” “Yes, I can imagine sir. I’ve been told you left the body exactly the way you met it, is that correct?” Adam asked. “Yes, I didn’t move the body, I couldn’t touch it. She was naked though, so I covered her with my jacket before I called the police. Do you think it was a ritual killing?” That was what everybody was calling it, Adam could not decide. “Well sir, we don’t know at this point. Do you know the lady by any chance, was she a member of your church?” “A member? No!” The old man looked offended. “I heard she was a prostitute, you usually don’t find them in churches.” He was definitely offended. “We didn’t mean any disrespect to you or your church.” Tola stepped in. “We are still trying to figure out why the body was left here. It doesn’t look random, it feels like your church was chosen.” “Our church was chosen as a dumping site for a killer? That should cheer me up.” The pastor stood up. “I wish you all the best with your investigation.” The pastor had ended the interview, Adam was glad to be out of the pastor’s house. There were two sets of people he did not like dealing with; Pastors and judges. They always made him remember all the wrong he had ever done. “We are done here, right Tola?” He could not wait to be home. “We are done here but don’t you even think of going home.” She could read him better than she could read the alphabets. “We are talking to the hookers today. You realize the chief would want daily updates…well until this thing dies down and everybody forgets.” “Can’t we do that tomorrow? You realize I’m still hung over, my head still aches and I could really use some sleep. You know what, I have an idea. How about we go home and we go interview them later tonight? That’s a good idea, huh?” Adam looked at her, eyes pleading. “Ademola, you know I cannot come tonight. I’m married, remember?” “Oh, that’s true, you are married. I had totally forgotten, when did you get married by the way…wait, how old are you?” He asked laughing. “You know what Ademola, I don’t care what you do, you’re the boss, and it is your reputation on the line, not mine. Just take me back to the office and you can do whatever you want.” “Thank you, my lady.” “Wait, one more thing, don’t get drunk tonight.” “That’s not a problem, I’m not touching alcohol till this case is over.”
The tequila felt good as it slid down his throat. He popped off his shoes, and relaxed on his sofa, glass in hand. He was a slave to alcohol and he hated himself for it, but most days the bottle was his only companion. He had made terrible decisions in the past, decisions that had led to the loss of a life, the loss of his totally cool job as personal aide to the governor and landed him the important job as director of the CIB. He hated the job, many would kill to have it but it represented a punishment to him. It was a promotion technically but it came as a result of making a mistake. He had considered resigning, but it would be admitting to himself and the world that he was a failure. Plus he could really use the money. Adam stood up from the sofa and placed the cup on the table beside the bottle of tequila and moved away from it, what he needed was sleep, not a pity party. He was about climbing back into the sofa when his phone rang, it was Kelvin Little. “Kelvin Little!” It was not his real name. His name was Faruk but he did look a lot like Kelvin Hart, if he was bald and was even smaller in stature. Somebody had called him Kelvin Little and it had stuck. “Adam, how far? We have not met in a long time, will you come to Caleb’s?” Faruk was one of the people he needed to stay clear of, he fed his alcohol addiction but he was a true friend. “Faruk, I don’t think I wanna drink tonight. I’m tired plus I have to work later, you heard about the murder, right?” “Everybody heard about the murder, just come, we won’t drink. I’m waiting.” And he ended the call. Faruk had not even given him the chance to say no. It was probably a bad idea but hanging out with Faruk was one of the few pleasures he still enjoyed. He was an ex-soldier, which was difficult to believe because of his height, he had fallen on bad times since he was infamously let go for reasons he refused to discuss. He knew a lot and talked a lot, he did not make sense most of the time but when he talked, you had to listen. Adam moved to room, threw on a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and grabbed his car keys on his way out. His mind went to the murder he was investigating as he eased his car unto the road. Ritual killings were not strange or far-fetched, but this particular one made the air on his neck stand. It was pure evil. And there was the case of the removed liver. Why would a killer remove the liver of his victim? Was he an evil man who fed on human livers or a ritualist who needed a human liver for his money rituals? Then there was the issue of dumping the body in front of a church. He shook his head, he was not going to let the case get to him. It would blow over and they could all return to their normal lives. He slowed the car to a stop as he eased into Caleb’s, it was an exclusive lounge and bar where he met with Faruk. Faruk was already waiting outside. “I can’t believe these people won’t let me in after all these months of coming here with you.” He said as they shook hands. “Remember, you need one of this.” Adam said, showing him his membership card. “It’s exclusive for a reason.” “What are you trying to say man? I’m not good enough? Is it because I’m short? Look here, I have fought for this country, what’s greater than that?” Adam laughed as he showed the guard his card and they were ushered in. “What do you do here when you don’t drink, Faruk?” He asked as they settled into a corner where they could observe without being noticed. “You look at rich people and the fortunate girls who will be getting their money tonight! If I was a girl, I could really do some damage.” He threw his head back, laughing hard at his own joke. “You think I…hold on, I think I have a call.” He dug into his pockets and brought out his phone, he had a call, it was Tola. “Hello Madam” “Ademola, how are…wait, are you in a club? Adam!” “No, I’m not in a club. Well, you could say…forget it. Why did you call me?” “Why did I call? You remember the case? You said you were going to speak to the victim’s co-workers tonight.” “Yes I still plan to. The time is just…”He lifted his arm to look at his watch.”…oh my God, it’s almost seven. Don’t bother with the lecture, I’m going there now and thank God I have help.” He terminated the call before she could add any reprimands. Faruk had always wanted to solve a big case. He had seen enough TV shows to know how, in his opinion, he was going to get his chance. “Faruk, I’ve got something better than watching these fake people. How about we go do some investigation?” “Are you talking about the ritual killing? Are you kidding me?” He asked, jumping up from the sofa. “Let’s go baby!” “Who is your baby?” Adam asked chuckling. The guard at the door eyed them as they stepped out of the lounge, it was strange to enter Caleb’s and not buy anything. They crossed the corridor into the car park and moved towards his car. Faruk saw it first. The envelope was stuck under the wiper of his BMW. “You see that Adam?” “Yeah, I do.” He lifted the wiper, picked the envelope, tore it open and brought out the note inside. He held the note against the light shining from the Lounge’s exterior.
A word of advice Detective, Leave this alone, stick to your booze. You were a failure on your last job, You will fail in this also. You will not catch me, so don’t waste your time. “What does it say?” Faruk asked. Adam folded the note and put it in his pocket. “Well, it says ‘screw me’”
Adam sighed and mopped his brow as Candy left his office. Candy was a hooker, the eighth he had talked to that morning. Several others were waiting to be interrogated and if they were anything like the first eight, he was in for a great waste of time. He would have done all these the night before but after he found the note, he had gone home – after swearing Faruk to secrecy. He eventually fell asleep after midnight after a heavy intake of alcohol. Of course he had always had his problems but the note had given him extra reason for his alcohol indulgence. He had no plan to tell anybody about it. One thing was sure though, he was going to catch the sick bastard.
“Send in the next one.” He said into the intercom.
He looked up from the screen of his computer as the lady came in. She was beautiful and gorgeous, refined, even looked a little blue-blooded.
“I can see you are impressed, surprised, a little intrigued.” She said with a beatific smile, revealing her sparkling teeth. “Hi.”
“Hello.” He replied, with a shy smile. “Please sit down.”
“There’s no need to be embarrassed, I get that reaction from people all the time, even some of my clients.” She said, crossing her legs. It did not make sense; surely she was not a hooker.
“Alright, thanks for the comforting words, Miss…?”
“Tara, okay. You’ve got to tell me though, how did you become a prostitute? I’ve talked to eight before you and none of them could say a full sentence in correct English. You don’t look like…”
“A hooker? That’s because I’m not one, I’m an escort.”
“I escort people to parties, business functions, lend my sexy presence. Of course, this also involves sleeping with them but that is not bad, is it?” She waited for him to respond, he did not. “I’m like every other girl, we all sleep with men, I sleep with men and make some money while doing it. You understand? Your girlfriend sleeps with you, doesn’t she?”
Adam shifted in his chair, a little uneasy.
“I understand you knew the victim, how well did you know her?”
“Why did you change the subject so suddenly? Your girlfriend doesn’t sleep with you? Wait, should I have asked about your boyfriend?” She asked with mock disgust.
“No Tara, I’m not gay.” She was really getting him uneasy. “Just answer my question, okay?”
“Hmm, you don’t like to talk. Alright, so I knew her. Not very well though. She was new, been around for just a few months. She was really struggling, you know…”
“Struggling? How do mean?”
“She didn’t really have the assets for this business, you know what I mean? She was quiet, kept to herself most of the time. Well, until a couple of weeks ago when she got more cheerful, that’s when we started talking actually.”
She started seeing the yet-to-be-known client a couple of weeks before she was murdered.
“Do you know what caused the change?”
“I don’t know, like I said earlier she didn’t talk much. I did notice some things though. She bought some expensive clothes, even came home – you see, we live in the same building- one day with a new pair of shoes, expensive shoes. I know, because I have them. She didn’t work every day, sometimes she would even turn down clients. My opinion, she came into some money.”
“Okay. Do you know if she met someone, a rich client maybe?”
“It’s quite possible, I never saw anybody pick her up though. I’ve heard a busy couple of weeks myself, you know with the management conference going on at Kwara Hotels.” She said with a wink.
“I see. Got a last question for you.”
“Is it my number? Of course I’ll give you, you’re a fine boy.” She said batting her eyelashes.
“As tempting as that is, I have a different question.” He said with a chuckle. “Is there anybody who you think can do this? Any client who likes to play out murderous fantasies perhaps?”
“Ooh Detective, you know I can’t break client-escort privilege.” She smiled, again batting her eyelashes. “What I can tell you is this; there are several people who like these fantasies you talk about, but most of them you can’t touch. None of them would have gone for Celestina, like I said earlier, she doesn’t really have the assets for this business.”
“Thank you Miss Tara for your time. We might need to talk to you yet, we will be in touch.”
“By we, do you mean you? Remember, you can use the CIB as an excuse to call me, my line is open to you always.” She said as she stood to leave.
Adam bowed his head as she left his office, looking at her walk out would have broken all the resolve he had not to lust.
Tola watched Adam walk out of his office, she knew something was up with him. They had not worked together for long but she knew him too well, well enough to know he was troubled by something he was not going to talk about. She had learnt what to do in such situations – don’t talk about it and he will talk at his own time. She needed him to solve the murder, it might get him interested in the job.
“Why are you looking me like that?” Adam asked, standing in front of her. She had not realised she had been staring at him. “Are you doing one of your psychoanalysis of me?”
“Am I? You tell me. How did it go with the hookers?”
“Why ask me? You left me alone with those girls, what if one of them raped me?” He asked squeezing his face in mock indignation.
“I would be there with my phone to record it all and sell it to your reporter girlfriend.” She answered laughing hard. “What did you learn? Do we have a suspect?”
“Do we have a suspect? Yes, several suspects – we don’t have their names though due to client-escort privilege.”Chat Heritage on zero eight one zero eight seven five one three six eight to be added to his WhatsApp group.
“Due to what?”
“Do you believe that crap? Hookers have privilege now? Anyway, how did it go at the hotel?”
“Well, I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news – the manager of the hotel left us the records, videos from their security cameras, everything we asked for.”
“That’s good, if we can identify the person she visits, we have a solid suspect and I can get finally have some head way in this case.”
“Remember I mentioned a bad news, right? The tapes, the records – they are all empty. Everything!”
“What?!” Adam exclaimed. She had been shocked to find the tapes empty too. “Who could have done that? Who had access to them?”
“Well, according to the receptionist, only the manager has that kind of access. Of course any other person could have sneaked into his office to erase them.”
“What are you telling me Dosumu? We have no suspect?” He was not reacting well to the dashed hope of a quick resolution.
“Well, the manager should still be a suspect, he had access to the tapes and the records.”
“Maybe he was the one seeing the victim, I’ll call Tara, maybe she knows something about this.”
“First excuse you have and you’re calling her already? She’s barely left your office.” Tola said with a laugh.
Adam smiled and went into his office to get his phone. He came out with the phone, dialed the number and put it on speaker.
“Hello Tara, this is Detective Ademola, I need to ask you a question.”
“Detactive, I knew you wouldn’t stay away for long. The answer is still yes, and you don’t have to pay a dime.”
“Alright, I’ll keep that in mind but I have a different question for you. Do you know the manager of Clear Springs Hotel?”
“Of course, I do. Why?”
“Is he one of the guys who love to experiment? Do you think he had anything to do with Celestina?”
“Ooh, this is so cool, is he a suspect? Do you think I might end up as a witness?” She was having way too much fun.
“Would you answer the question please” Tola said, cutting into the conversation.
“That must be your fiesty deputy, alright I’ll answer your question. Did he experiment? I don’t know. I’ve never worked with him. I don’t know if he had anything to do with Celestina that way. But I remember he once came to see her but he didn’t meet her.”
“That’s interesting, maybe he’s our unsub” Adam said, talking to Tola.
“Your friend is still on the phone, remember?” The girl must be enjoying the attention she was getting.
“So what are you going to do Detective? Are you going to turn the screws to him? How about you turn the screws to me instead?” Tara’s husky voice said over the phone.
“That is just disgusting.” Tola said, taking the phone from Adam and disconnecting the call. “Forget the girl’s looks, she is as terrible as the other prostitutes.”
“Tola, are you jealous?” Adam said with a wide grin. “You’re married, okay? You can’t have your cake and eat it.”
“Let’s just go see
“You know this doesn’t look good for you right?” Ese asked the bewildered manager.
“I said I didn’t erase the video. Why would I do that?” He stood from his chair and started pacing.
She had gotten information that the CIB had gotten access to the tapes and had found nothing on them. The manager sounded genuinely confused when she had called to confirm as he was the only one who had access to the records, especially has they covered two weeks. She had taken advantage of his panic to get an interview with him. He obviously did not know he was being interviewed.
“Why would you do that? So we won’t see you on tape with the victim.”
“Even if you saw me on the tape with her, it doesn’t mean I had anything to do with the murder.”
“Are you saying we would have seen you on that tape with her? You knew her personally?”
“I didn’t know her personally.” He replied, wiping sweat off his brow.
She was not sure what to make of the manager but she was sure he did not commit the murder. Well, except he was smart enough to put up this front. He was guilty of something though even if he was not the murderer. He could know who the murderer was.
“Mr. Nicholas, did you ever meet the girl?”
“Well…you know, I don’t think so.” He stopped pacing and sat on the edge of his table. He was lying.
“Mr. Nicholas, it’s better you tell me the truth now before the police get here. They won’t listen to you patiently like I am.”
“Well, I met her once. It was just for a few minutes.” He got up and started pacing again.
“Mr. Nicholas, did you sleep with her?”
“What? Listen, I did not kill that lady. I did not even know her name until I read it on the papers.”
“You didn’t answer my question, did you sleep with her?”
“Oh my God! I knew I would get in trouble the day that girl came to my room. It was only one time, and she came to my room herself, I didn’t even pay her.” The chair squeaked as he sat heavily on it. He held his head between his hands. “I promise you I did not kill her. Do you believe me?”
She did believe him, but the police would not. He slept with the victim, he was in charge of the now erased evidence of whom she was meeting the night she was killed. He looked really good for the crime.
“The police won’t believe you, and that’s all that matters. Do you know who she was supposed to be meeting before coming to your room?”
“No, we did not do much talking. She was all over me before I knew what was happening.”
“Alright then. One last question, where were you the night of the murder?”
“I was at Kwara Hotel, for the management conference going on there. The director wanted me to hustle for customers.”
“You have anybody who can prove that?”
“Yeah, I went with the secretary. Some of the men I met that night are still here.”
“Where can I find these…”
A lady bust into th office, cutting her off.
“Mr. Nicholas, the police are here.”
“They are? What am i supposed to tell them?” He looked at Ese, eyes pleading.
“Just tell them you have an alibi for the night.” She said picking her bag as she stood to leave. “If you are innocent, you have nothing to fear.”
She left him in his office still looking dejected. He looked like a boy who had been caught in his first attempt at stealing. He was not the murderer but she had not ruled out the possibility that he knew who the killer was, maybe without even knowing he did.
“What are you doing here?” A voice called from behind her as she entered the lobby, it was Adam.
“Hello Detective. Hello Ma’am” She said, greeting him and his no nonsense assistant.
“Ese, what are you doing here?”
“I told you i would investigate this case on my own. You can go in and do your own thing, i won’t get in your way.”
“I’m sure you won’t.” Adam replied and turned away.
“Hey Detective, he didn’t do it. No easy end to this for you, i’m sorry.”
“Who? I don’t know what you’re talking about. We would like to do our own investiagtion too. Thank you.”
Ese smiled and left the building.
He woke up with a start. His bedsheet was wet again, he had been sweating. He removed his soaked underwear and threw it on the floor. He had woken up sweating for the third consecutive night. He did not have any nightmares but he would wake up with a start covered in sweat.
He rose up from the bed and walked out of his room. All the lights were off, the darkness suited him. He dragged his feet as he walked to the refrigerator. He knew why he could not sleep. Diana. She had taken over his mind. He could barely wait to get back into his house, back to her anytime he went out. She loved his sacrifice, but it was not perfect.
He opened the refrigerator and brought out a bottle of water. He opened the cap and poured the water on his head. It felt good.
He knew what he had to do. Diana deserved another sacrifice, a pure sacrifice and she would get it. Soon.
It had been two weeks and he had hit rock bottom. He had thought the first six months of his job as Director of the CIB was rock bottom, but two weeks after hitting a dead end with his case, he had a new understanding of rock bottom.
Everybody was out to get him. It was exhausting. The people were more relaxed, but they still wanted answers. The government was silent, that was even more threatening. The Chief of Police had skillfully evaded any press attention and was letting him take all the blame for the lack of movement in the case. It was his case so maybe he did deserve the blame but he had taken it for as long as he could and he had reached his limit. He was allowed a two week break every year and it was the right time to take it.
He was in the office of the Kwara State Chief of Police, he was the one who could free him from the torture of his job, even if it would be temporal.
“Ademola, how are you? Have you lost weight or what?” Chief Adeyanju said as he rolled into his office.
“I believe I have sir.” Adam replied standing to his feet and saluting.
“That is good. Nobody wants a fat cop.” He said and laughed hard, his pot belly showing exactly why nobody likes a fat cop. “Sit down. You’ve never come to my office without me having to force you”
“Well, I would not put it like that. I believe you are a busy man, I usually don’t want to disturb you sir.” He was rarely busy, almost all his work had been delegated.
“I hear you Ademola. So why are you disturbing me today then?”
“Well sir, I need you to approve my two-week vacation sir.”
“Vacation? You’re traveling somewhere?”
“Well, not really sir. I just need a break.” Adam replied him, feigning a smile.
“Detective, you need a break? A break from what? You’ve done almost nothing since you became the Director at CIB, now you need a break when you eventually have something to do.”
“I have something to do? You think so? I have hit a dead end with this case and you know it.”
“No Ademola, I don’t know it. Why did you let the manager of the hotel go? He was a good suspect.”
“He didn’t do it. We were either going to charge him or let him go. There wasn’t enough evidence to charge him. He had an alibi, remember?” He knew he was probably being rude to his boss but he was getting irritated by all the pressure on him.
“Somebody deleted those records. Are you saying the person can’t be found?”
“Sir, we have tried our best. Maybe the person involved in this is one of your politician friends, people with too much power to be touched.”
“That is your excuse now? Ademola, I thought it was a bad idea to make you director of CIB and I told the governor but he insisted you be made the director. He made me swear I will support you and I have supported you, despite all your flaws. I will not take this though, ride out the storm, you might be lucky and this is a one time thing, people will forget soon enough.”
Adam kept quiet and stared out of the window. The chief was right, he was giving up on the case too soon. He was not going to drink away the rest of his life. He had to do this one thing right, if it was all he would do. And then there was the note. The bastard had taunted him.
“Sir, I am sorry. You’re right, I have no right to give up on this case. I’ll look for new angles, I’ll have my top detectives work on it till we get a lead.” Adam said and stood.
“You go do that Ademola. You should also remember that the governor will finish his term one day and no other governor will leave a drunk as Director of the CIB.”
“Alright sir. I’ll take my leave now sir.”
“You were talking about politicians right? Well, you’ll get a chance to quiz the topmost politician in the state today. The governor asked to see you in the government house by 12 pm.”
“You said what sir? When were you going to tell me this sir? Did he tell you what it was about?” He had not spoken to the governor in years.
“No he didn’t. You will find out in…” he looked at his watch.”…one hour and fifteen minutes, if you hurry. Tell him I said ‘hello’”
“This is not working Ese”
Ese looked at her boss and it took all the mental strength she had not to jump across the table and slap the woman. She was a round woman. But her rotundness never stopped her from stomping into everybody’s offices and yanking their heads off. Everyone called her the grinch. Ese was having her head ripped off and she did not like it. True, she had hit a brick wall with the case she was supposed to investigate, but even the police did not have a new lead. It was worse that she had to sit through the lecture with her partner watching. He had run the crime desk alone for years and he had told her in clear terms he was not happy she was employed. He was even more angry when she was given the prostitute’s murder case.
“I told you from the beginning that this is a bad idea.” He said with a huge grin.
“Keep quiet Richard.” The only consolation she had was the grinch disliked Richard as much as she did.
“This is not fair ma’am. I have been here only a few months and I’m being transferred because I’m having a little challenge with the first case I’m working?”
“You’ve got nothing for two weeks, that’s more than a little in my books.” Richard said, the grin becoming wider.
“I said you should shut up, Richard.” The grinch fired Richard a stern look. “Ese, he’s right though. You haven’t gotten anything in two weeks, it might not be your fault. People don’t like change, Richard already knows the people of the state, Maybe he should continue as our crime’s desk reporter.”
“What are you saying? I never said he should quit his job but you cannot remove me from this unit. You know my reputation at NTA…”
“I know your reputation at NTA, and that is why we employed you. Maybe you are better suited with the politics unit.”
“If i wanted to stay with politicians, i would have remained with NTA.” She realised she was raising her voice but she did not mind,they were toying with her.
“Ese, you are not hearing me, this isnt discussion. Richard takes over the crimes desk fully now. Report to the politics unit tommorow.”
Ese picked her bag and stormed out of the room, she would remain in the crimes unit if it meant she had to kill somebody to get a story.
The government house was once second home to him, but not anymore. Adam looked at the familiar lay out of the building as he moved towards the waiting room. He had been an aide to the governor and could have considered him a friend but he was smart enough to know better. They had a great relationship until the first lady was shot. There was nothing he could have done about it, he had told himself a thousand times but he could not let go of the incident. Neither could the governor. He had been sent out of the country for a course in criminology and he had come back to head the CIB.
He had been surprised when the police chief told him the governor wanted to see him and was even more surprised when he got a direct call from the governor ten minutes later asking him to come to the government house.
The room where he was told to wait was one of the several rooms where the governor attended to his visitors, depending on how important they were. If the room where he was meeting the governor was anything to go by, then he was not very important.
“Adam!” A voice called from behind him. He jumped up, it was the governor.
“Sir, I didn’t…”
“Come here my friend, it’s been a long time.” The governor moved towards him and gave him a firm handshake.
“Yes sir, it’s been a while sir.”
“Sit down please. Well, how have…” he stopped as his daughter came in. “You remember Kate?”
“Hello Uncle Adam.” She said, curtsying. He remembered her, she had not changed much. She looked exactly like her mother.
“Hello Kate.” He replied, avoiding making eye contact.
“You want something dear?” The governor said to Kate. She moved towards him and whispered into his ears. Adam looked away. The late first lady had made sure that every room in the house had a picture of their family of three. She stood out from the pictures, she was beautiful and elegant, the kind of wife any husband would be proud of.
“I miss her a lot, you know.” The governor said, cutting into his thoughts.
“My wife, I saw you looking at her.”
“Yes sir.” It was an awkward conversation, one he did not want to have.
“I don’t hold her death against you, I hope you know?”
“Thank you for that sir.” Adam shifted in his chair, he was getting more uneasy.
“How’s your new job? You like it?”
“Well sir, I am grateful for the opportunity you gave me sir.” He was glad for the change of subject but talking about his job was not his favourite topic.
“You’re grateful, I see. So I take it you don’t really like the job”
“Sir, I have a good job, a job most will kill for and like I said earlier sir, I am very grateful for it.”
“How’s the case you’re working coming?”
“We are trying to pursue some new leads sir.” There was no way he was going to admit to the governor he was not sure of what he was doing.
“Alright, let me tell you why I asked you to come.” Adam sat up in his chair. “I have asked around and I know for a fact you don’t like this job. I realize you are grateful for it, I don’t doubt that, but it looks like the only reason you are still on the job is because of me. Is this true Adam?”
“Well sir, I am grateful…”
“I know you are grateful Adam. Alright, this is my offer, you can resign from the job, I won’t hold it against you.”
“Sir, I couldn’t possibly…” He was surprised at the governor’s offer, there’s no way he would resign like this even if he wanted to.
“Just to assure you I mean what I just said, you pick any job you want in the state police and you’ll have it. I realize you might not be suited to this detective work and I put you there without your say, so, here is your out.”
Adam looked away from the governor. He was not totally against quitting the job but not this way. He was already a disappointment to the governor, there was no way he was going to do it again.
“Sir, I appreciate this offer but I will have to decline sir. I am grateful for the job I have and I will do my best sir. I am sorry I gave you reason to doubt me again sir.”
“I’m sure you can be excellent at the job if you if you put your mind to it. And you need to ease up on the booze, you didn’t drink when you worked with me, don’t make it a habit now.”
He was shocked the governor knew about his drinking. He felt even more ashamed.
“I want you to do only one thing Adam, make sure this kind of killing doesn’t happen again in this state.”
It was a simple enough instruction. As long has he had any say in it, the city would never experience such murders anymore.
He placed the knife beside Diana’s blonde offering and walked away. She lay unconscious and unaware of the beauty around her. Diana loved him and he loved her. He had experienced her love in a special way and after two weeks of torture in his dreams, he was going to experience it again. She had loved his sacrifice but it had been a random prostitute, this time He was going to satisfy her with an even better sacrifice.
The blondeness of the girl was a pleasant surprise. Diana loved blondes and was a blonde herself. The girl’s hair was fake of course, there were no Nigerian blondes. Diana would not mind though, she was a fake blonde herself.
You dare call Diana fake?
He picked up a knife from close by and slashed his thigh. He screamed as blood flowed from the cut. Diana was a goddess, she was anything but fake.
He looked up at the picture frame on the wall. Diana smiled down at him urging him on. He stripped off his robe and stood naked in front of the mirror standing below the picture frame. His body was perfect. He ran his hand across the cut on his thigh, he felt the pain sharply, it was the perfect drug.
The bottle of cyanide stood where he had left it from the last time but he would not need it. Diana was going to have a living sacrifice.
Rhoda was having a great week. Life was good without her parents staring at her, watching her every move. She knew her friends were probably not the best friends one could have but they had freedom, something she had always longed for. She had nagged and sulked until her parents had agreed to let her stay with the Bamigboyes for a week. All she had to do was attend prayer meeting every morning.
And she did, religiously.
She had gone late a couple of times and had caught the look of disapproval on her mother’s face. She was not going to blow any other chance of leaving her boring home just because she was late to the prayer meeting. That morning she was going to get there before anybody, even her parents.
The gentle breeze was cold and for some reason the sun was sleeping in that morning. She stuck her hands into the pockets of her pullover and walked faster. The old church was situated in a quiet corner of the street and people rarely passed in front of it except they were going into the church. She walked past the church bus which was parked in the street. The early morning semi-darkness made it look newer.
She always got an eerie walking into the church alone, especially at night. It was built in between trees or trees were built around it. It was not fenced and had no gate but two lines of trees formed a driveway into the church. She turned into the driveway and stopped. A cold chill went down her spine. She turned and looked behind her, there was nothing. She pulled her pullover closer and continued moving. She felt moisture on her palms and realized her fingers were balled into fists. She stopped and removed her hands from her pockets and held them against her cheeks, they felt cold. She wiped them on her jeans and looked around again, still nothing. It was weird and silly that the trees could still play tricks on her mind after all the years she had spent walking past them.
She put her hands back in her pockets and started moving again, this time determined that she would not stop whatever happened. Her heart beat faster as she approached the church but she was not going to stop. Whatever or whoever was behind the trees would have to come out. She began to walk even faster as she got closer to the church.
Then she saw it.
She stopped. Her mouth dropped open as she stumbled forward. She wanted to stop moving but it was as though she had lost control of her body. She lurched closer to the church. She got to the stairs and stopped.
Right on the stairs of her parents’ beloved church was an eviscerated naked dead body.
She felt lightness in her head and fell into darkness.
The door burst open and Tola jumped. It was Adam.
“Has the body been moved?” He asked glaring at her.
“No, it hasn’t. Will you calm down!” he was pacing and flaring his nostrils, it was annoying.
“You know I never wanted this case, if they knew they would disregard protocol so badly, they should have let me be. “
“Ademola, it was the chief of police, he has every right to be on the crime scene.”
“Tola, that is my crime scene, why is somebody on my crime scene when I’m not there?” He had a point. “Now, instead of letting me do my job, he’s asking to see me. Where is he?”
“He is in…” The chief walked in, cutting her off.
“Ademola, where have you been?” He looked annoyed, she could not understand why he would be.
“Where have I been? Not my crime scene! Shouldn’t I have been called immediately that body was found?” Adams was not helping the already charged room.
“You want me to call you when a dead body is found? I’m not your assistant, you know that right?”
“Yeah, you are not, you are the new P.R.O. You would take any chance to get your face on TV, won’t you?”
Tola stood up and slid towards Adam, she gently tugged at his sleeves, he had to stop. It could only end badly.
“Detective, you realize I’m your boss right? You know what, forget whatever the governor said, you are on your own.”
“I can do good by myself, thank you.”
“Disrespectful twat.” The chief mumbled and stormed out of the room.
“Can you imagine what that old…” Adam started but the chief came back in.
“I want a daily report on my table by six pm.” He announced and left.
“A daily…never mind, Dosumu, let’s go. We have a crime scene waiting for us.” Adam said and walked out of the room.
Tola sighed and picked her jacket. She had always known Adam and the chief were an accident waiting to happen, she was hoping she would not be there to witness the accident, but she had just witnessed the beginning. She hated Adam when he was angry.Chat Heritage on zero eight one zero eight seven five one three six eight to be added to his WhatsApp group.
Adam drove in silence as they approached the crime scene. He knew he should not take out his frustrations with the chief out on Tola, but he could not help it. She understood him and probably would not take it personal. He had woken up that morning with his conversation with the governor still ringing on his mind. He had been devastated to find out that he knew about his drinking. He was ashamed and that had set the tone for his morning.
The call from Tola had made his morning worse. Another girl had been killed and worse still the press already knew about it and were already on the scene. He had put on the TV while he hurriedly dressed up and was shocked to see the Chief holding a press conference at the scene. He was making promises he would not lift a finger to fulfill. Now he was more determined than ever to find the sicko killing these girls. If it was the same person.
He pulled the car into the driveway of the church and stopped, he switched off the car engine and got out of the car. Tola got out from the other side and walked away towards the church without waiting for him. Adam hurried after her, she was the only good and stable thing in his life.
“Dosumu, why are you angry? You know it was that old fart that got to me.” She just walked on without replying. “Tola, I am sorry.”
She did not reply. The crime scene was still buzzing with reporters and spectators. The policemen on the scene had secured the stairs and the entire church but that was as far as they could get. A few journalists noticed his arrival and started towards him.
He looked behind to see Ese running towards him. It was a surprise she was not on the scene yet.
“Adam, please wait.” He stopped and turned towards her. “Adam, I need your help.”
“You do? I thought you said you can handle this on your own and I see I’m back to Adam. I’m sorry, can’t wait to chat, I need to get on this crime scene now.” He said and walked away from her.
“Adam, you don’t understand, my career is on the line here.” She said, catching up with him.
“It is? Too bad, but it’s not your career I’m concerned about right now. A girl is dead! Another one!”
“I just need…” She started.
“I’ll tell you what you need” Adam said cutting her off. “You need to get out of my face Ese. Attend the press briefings like the other reporters.”
He walked off and joined Tola who was waiting for him.
“That was harsh.” She said as they waved away reporters.
“I’m not having a good morning, it wasn’t personal. Let’s check this scene and be out of here.”
He lifted the yellow tape and they walked towards the body. It had been covered with a blanket. Two uniformed policemen standing close to the body saw them coming and walked towards them.
“Hello officers.” Adam said stretching his hands to shake them.
“Hello sir. I’m Sergeant Dada, this is Sergeant Phillip, my partner.’ Sergeant Dada was a thick man with a bushy mustache. His partner was slimmer but his mustache was just as thick.
“This is Detective Dosumu. Were you the first people on the scene?”
“No sir.” Phillip replied. “The body was found by a teenage girl. She’s inside the church with her parents and the pastor of the church.”
“Alright, we’ll talk to her later. Open the cover, let’s see the body.”
Adam held his breath as the blanket was removed. He was shocked by what he saw. The body was open like the previous victim but it had not been cleaned, it was gruesome. The torso was cut open, but the cut was not as clean and straight as the other victim. He would let the coroner decide but he was sure the girl had not been dead for long. And like the other victim she was not killed at the church.
“So we have a serial killer on our hands.” Tola said with a sigh.
“We can’t conclude yet, could be a copycat.” He knew in his gut it was the same person.
“This isn’t a copycat. You know what bothers me here, why the church? What’s this guy’s problem with these churches?”
“Well, I don’t know Dosumu. You can ask him when I can catch him. Let’s go talk to the girl.”
The press were still waiting to talk to him, they would wait forever. The huge door of the church swung open as they approached it. A man eyed them carefully and pointed at a room at the extreme of the church. They walked towards the room. The church was old but beautiful. Its high ceilings and stained glass windows gave it an ancient beauty Adam has not seen in a while.
They got to the end of the church and knocked on the door of the room. An elderly man opened the door.
“Who are you?” He asked.
“I am Detective Ademola, this is Detective Dosumu, we’re with the CIB” Adam said showing him his badge.
“Oh, I’m Pastor Alabi. What can I do for you?”
“We want to ask you and the lady that found the body some questions. Can we come in?”
“Yes please.” He said, stepping away from the doorway.
By the look on the girl’s face he knew she was the one who found the body. It would take weeks, maybe months of therapy to forget an experience like the one she just had. She was sandwiched between her parents. They did not look pleased to see detectives.
“We realise you probably want to be left alone but we just want to ask her a few questions.” Tola said with a smile, looking at the parents. They nodded.
“When did you find her? Were you alone?” Adam asked.
“Yes, I was alone. I was coming for prayer meeting, must have been around 6:30”
“Did you notice anything strange? Anything out of place, a strange person maybe?”
“I don’t…I can’t…I’m not sure.” The girl replied, rubbing her forehead.
“Try and think, anything you remember could be important.” Tola said, sitting forward in her seat.
“I’m not sure but I think I saw a bus parked somewhere down the street. I thought it was the church bus but when I got to church I found our bus here.”
“The bus is outside, you can see it later.” The pastor said, pointing out the window.
“What else can you remember about that bus?” Tola asked.
“I can’t remember anything…it was white like our bus…it was…that’s all I can remember.” The girl mumbled.
“Think harder, there’s got to be something else.” Adam tried pressing for more.
“I can’t remember…” She started and broke into tears.
“I think that’s enough detectives. We will be taking our daughter home now.” The father of the girl said, and they all stood to leave. Adam looked at Tola, she shrugged. They needed more information about the bus, but they would have to wait.
The girl left the room with her parents. The pastor walked them to the door, closed it and walked back to his chair.
“Did you know the victim?” Adam asked as soon as the pastor sat.
“No, I didn’t.”
“So she was not a member here at any time?”
“No, she wasn’t. Do you know why the murderer chose to dump the poor girl’s body here?”
“That’s what we are trying to find out.” Tola replied. “Are you in any way connected to St. Andrews Anglican church?”
“No, I am not. I didn’t even know about the church until I read about the other poor lady whose body was dumped there.”
“Did you know her, the other victim?” Tola asked.
“She was a prostitute!” He was taken aback by the question. Tola stared at him unflinching. “I’m sorry, but I didn’t know her as well.”
“You know anybody in your church who could do this?” Adam asked, pushing his chair back, ready to leave.
“Nine hundred and ninety-nine out of a thousand times the answer to that question will be no, but there was this young man that visited our church about a month ago. He looked strange and didn’t answer too many of our questions when we welcomed him as a new comer.”
“Do you know where we can find this man?” Adam asked.
“I don’t. He came for two weeks then disappeared. Come to think of it, that was right before the first girl was killed.”
“I’ll send one of our artist, you’ll describe the man maybe we can get a picture of how he looks.” Adam said as he stood up. “Thank you for your time Pastor, we will check if we need any other information. Can we check the bus please?”
It was already dark when Adam pulled into his compound. He was tired. Both his mind and his body were tired, he just wanted to sleep. He came out of the car and walked towards his door. He got to the door and paused, he turned back and decided to take a walk down his block.
After thinking about it, he had decided his confrontation with the Chief was dumb, he should have kept his cool. The case had gotten a lot more complicated with another murder, he needed all the help he could get. He had tried to apologise but he was yet to get through to the chief. The victim herself was a big problem, they were yet to identify her. The people had begun to panic again, he could not blame then. It was bad enough when one person was killed, but two just broke all hell lose.
The press were having a field day. They had gotten pictures and videos, the chief’s press conference was being aired on every TV station. Full pictures of the victim were already on the internet, he had no idea how they got the pictures. His phone at the office was ringing off the hook, lots of people had lots of questions. The governor was yet to call, but that was just a matter of time. It had been the most challenging two weeks of his life since the shooting of the first lady and he was using the very last bit of his mental strength.
Ese. He had treated her wrongly that morning. He was angry and he had taken it out on her. She was a reporter and everything she said about her career was probably all so she could get information, but he needed to apologise to her.
He brought out his phone and browsed through his contacts, he found her name, but his phone rang before he could dial her. It was a text message. The number was not familiar.
I love Diana
And she loves me
God bless Diana
And God bless me.
See you again soon.
You know who it is.
It ended with a ‘kiss’ smiley.
Adam smiled and slid his phone back into his pocket. See you soon bastard.
Tola, talk to me.” Adam said leaning forward in his chair. He had refused to meet with the coroner or see the body again, he was director for a reason. Tola was not the director, she did not have such refusing privileges.
“What do you want to know?” she said with a sneer.
“Everything you learnt from the coroner.” He said chuckling. She did not like dead bodies any more than he did.
“Jane Doe, by the coroner’s estimations was in her late teens or early twenties. That’s all we know about her for now. We ran her finger prints, no match. No luck with the dental records too.”
“All these talk of dental records and finger prints make me laugh. Just a few years ago, we did not even have these on the force.”
“Yeah, its 2020, the world has changed.” She was still angry. “What else do you need to know?”
“How was she killed? Same MO as the last girl?”
“Partially. She was cut up the same way and her liver is missing, that’s where the similarities end. The coroner thinks she was cut alive.” Tola said with a shudder.
“She was?” He felt a cold chill run down his spine. “There was no cyanide this time?”
Tola shook her head. “The cut indicated a struggle; there were severe rope burns on her wrists to confirm this. And according to the coroner, she died from loss of blood.”
Adam sighed and leaned back in his chair. The bastard was getting more adventurous, he was enjoying the kill more. He was also sending him messages. That meant he was not going to stop now except he is stopped. It also meant he was more likely to make mistakes.
“Did the coroner check underneath her nails of the victim for any tissue that might belong to our killer? Maybe he scratched him during the kill.”
“He checked and yes we got some tissue, we have sent it to the lab. There is more, there was alcohol in her blood. There’s no way to know if she had it in her before she was abducted.”
“Any other thing on her? Maybe hair that isn’t hers, clothe fiber, anything that can help.”
“No, there was nothing. She wasn’t raped either, we checked for that.”
Adam got up from his chair and started pacing. He had thought about the text he had gotten from the perp. He had mentioned Diana. Could it mean there were two of them involved?
“Tola, does Diana mean anything to you?” He had not told her about the note or the text.
“Diana, the princess or the goddess?” She asked with an arched eyebrow.
“What?” He asked, a little confused. Of course, Princess Diana and Diana of Roman mythology.
“Why are you asking about Diana?”
He was about to answer when somebody knocked on the door. A junior detective entered.
“Sir, I think we have the ID of Jane Doe.” He said handing an envelope to Tola. She opened it, brought out a sheet of paper, looked at it then handed it to Adam.
It was the victim alright. Her name was Lola Arinze. She was a student of the State Polytechnic.
“How did you find this?” He asked the detective.
“Remember those sites that posted her crime scene pictures online? We monitored them waiting for any suspicious comments. Somebody identified her and posted a link to her Instagram page.”
“Do you have any of her contacts? Friends or family?” Tola asked.
“Yes, it’s also in the envelope.”
“Okay, good.” Tola said.
“Good work detective, you can go, keep up the surveillance of the internet.” The junior detective nodded and left.
“According to this, she is based in Lagos.” Tola said. “She has lost her mother, raised by father and step-mother. She’s a second year student at the polytechnic. She lived on campus, so her roommates should know about her. According to this, her father has been informed, he will be arriving to collect her body.”
“Let’s go to the Polytechnic, that’ll be a good start.” Adam said, grabbing his jacket off his chair.
Tola grabbed her Ipad and followed him, his ever faithful assistant.
They were about exiting the building when he saw a man arguing with the policemen at the gate.
“What’s going on there?” Adam called to one of the officers.
“The man wants to report the theft of his taxicab. We told him this isn’t that kind of police station, he’s making a fuss and refusing to go.”
“The poor man.” Adam said with a chuckle. “Take his statement and send it to the nearest station. Was his taxi stolen around here?”
“No, he said it was stolen at Tanke.”
“Why is he here then?” Adam said and waved the officer away.
He was about to step into his car when his phone rang. It was the governor.
“Adam, I heard another body has been found. What are you doing about this menace?”
“Sir, we have a few leads and I was just on my way to pursue one of these leads.” He did not have a lead technically, but he was not admitting that to the governor.
“You do your job Adam, but the public need a little reassurance from you. Why haven’t you given any press conference or anything to calm them? I think we can all agree the Police Chief’s press statement was a botched attempt to repair the situation.”
He felt good the governor too did not approve.
“Sir, I am busy with the investigations, I really don’t have time for the media.”
“I was hoping you would say that. I have a favour to ask.” The governor wanted a favour? He was governor, he ordered not ask favours.
“Remember Kate?” Of course he did, how would he not remember the Governor’s daughter? They had been close, friends, before her mother had been shot on his watch. She had been on the news on and off for two years, never for a good reason. He wondered why the governor was bringing her up.
“Yes I do sir.”
“Well, she needs a job.” Adam stifled a laugh. The governor was asking him for a favour because his daughter needed a job? She could have his job if the governor decided so. The governor was not the Almighty but in the affairs of the state, he was close. “I know what you’re thinking Adam, and you’re right, I can get her jobs but I want a particular one. I want her to work with you.”
“Sir?” He gasped.
“Remember I said I needed a favour? She’s been in a lot of trouble recently,you should know and I need somebody to watch over her.” Adam shook his head slowly. The governor had people, lots of them, who would jump at the opportunity to take care of his daughter. Her mother had asked the same favour seconds before she died. They all thought him very responsible. He could not take care of himself, much less another human being.
“Sir, I’m quite surprised, pleasantly surprised that you think so highly of me but I don’t think there’s anything I can do here that hundreds of people cannot do. The CIB isn’t exactly what I think Kate would like.”
“Adam, I want her here in the city, I want her under the watch of somebody I know and I trust. That media problem you have, she can help there.”
“Sir, I really think you should give more thought to this. Have you asked her if she wants it?” There was no way a girl like Kate would want to work in the CIB.
“I’ll ask her. And do something about this murderer ruining my city.”
He leaned on the car and let out a deep sigh. He really did not want to be drawn back into the Governor’s family. He had done enough damage.
“Are you okay?” Tola asked, breaking into his thoughts.
“I am, I think so.” There was no way Kate would agree to come work for him. “Let’s go see the students.”
Ese walked faster trying to keep the pace of her crazy partner. She was lucky to be back in the unit he had told her as they left the office. She did not argue with him but she had secretly prayed for God to give her an opportunity to disgrace the condescending egoistic hunk of meat. So far her prayer had not been answered.
“You want to be a good reporter, you have to learn to walk fast.” He said over his shoulder. Ese almost threw her purse at him. He was trying to make her miserable and he was succeeding. She had been a top reporter for a national television, he knew it but he was top dog here and she had to know it. She had begged, losing part of her dignity to get back on the case. He had agreed to take her with him as long as she knew her place as his subordinate.
They were in the State polytechnic. Richard had gotten some information that the last victim had been identified and that she was a student of the school. He had promptly called up some contacts in the school who had confirmed that the victim indeed was a student of the school. If his confidence was anything to go by, he also knew who to talk to about the girl.
“Ever been to this school?” He asked, not reducing his pace.
“Yes, a few times.”
“This used to be my stomping ground. I did a lot of damage here.” He said with a proud smile.
“You schooled here?”
“Four years.” He said as they approached the Female Hostel. It looked recently repainted, better than it looked last time she had being there. He stopped and looked over the building. “I used to come here like it was my second home.”
She was even more disgusted by him. She wondered what kind of girl would be attracted to a self-absorbed person like him. They were about to move into the hostel when she noticed Adam and her feisty assistant park behind them. She still hurt from the way he had treated her the day before, but she was not going to give him the pleasure of knowing.
“What are you doing here Ese?” He asked as he got out of the car.
“Good morning to you too.” Richard turned back to look at Adam. He knew who Adam was but feigned ignorance. “This is Detective Adam Ademola, director of CIB.” She said pointing to Adam. “And Detective Dosumu.”
“Who are you?” Adam asked Richard, sizing him up with eyes. Richard did not like being talked to like that. She liked it.
“I’m Richard, her boss.” He said, attempting to hug Adam. Was he crazy?
“He’s not my boss.” Prick!
“Okay, I don’t care who is boss of who, just stay out of my way, I have an investigation to run. And if you are here to question anybody in this hostel, I’d advise you to hold your horses.”
She did not know if she was more happy seeing Richard put in his place or more angry with the way Adam treated her, again. She did not expect Richard to budge, he did not look like somebody who took orders. But he turned and walked away from the hostel.
“You’re taking orders from him? Are you serious? Looks like you’re all talk.” She said with a scoff.
“Just keep quiet and follow me.” He was up to something.
They moved towards a bench not far from the hostel. He dipped his hand in his pocket and brought out a device.
“What’s that?” She asked.
He did not answer. He sat on the bench, set the device beside him and pushed a couple of buttons. It came to life, it was a speaker of sorts. Static came through the speakers. He pushed another button and a voice came over the speaker. It was Adam’s! He had bugged him!
“The attempted hug?” She asked him, her mouth open. He nodded, proud of himself. “That is illegal! It’s so wrong, dangerous even. What if he finds it?”
“You want to question me or work? If your conscience is too pretty for this, you are welcome to leave.”
She looked at the hostel where Adam had entered. If he found the bug they could deny it, but Adam knew her, he would know the moment he saw her that she was lying. He would have no proof though. He had been anything but good to her. He had it coming.
“Okay, let’s do this.” She said, taking a seat beside him.
Adam did not want to help her, he would
Adam took a swig out of the bottle and placed it on the table in front of him. He was at CALEB’S for the first time since he and Faruk had found the note on his car. He loved the lounge and had staggered out of the place more than a few times with Faruk his ever faithful partner. The music was rarely loud, rich men apparently did not want too much noise, they would have stayed at home with their wives and children if they wanted that. A couple of men with girls who were young enough to be their granddaughters sat to his right. The girls laughed at every silly thing the men said, it was disgusting.
He felt a touch on his head and jumped. A girl stood behind him. She was making an attempt at a seductive smile, she was failing miserably.
“You need something?” He asked her. The smile disappeared. Her failure seemed to hurt her. The lounge did not allow hookers in, so she had to be part of the staff.
“There’s a gentleman outside, he said to tell you Kelvin was calling you.” She said and scurried away.
He looked at the half full bottle, he would come back for it. Faruk apparently had not been allowed in again. He stood and walked out of the room. Faruk was outside, standing some distance away from the door with a bag.
“Bro, what’s happening?” Adam asked as he approached him. “They didn’t let you in again, right?”
“They probably wouldn’t have allowed me but I did not want to enter. Where’s your car?” Adam pointed to the car. Faruk was rarely serious, but he looked as serious as a man listening to the jury deliver his verdict.
He punched the remote and the doors opened, they entered and closed the doors.
“What’s going on Faruk?” He asked as soon as he had the air-condition running.
“I heard you found another body. Same guy?”
“Most likely, yeah. He sent me a text message.” He brought out his phone and showed Faruk the text. “I had a friend of mine check if he could trace the sender, he didn’t find anything useful.”
Faruk opened the bag he carried and brought out a laptop. He put it on and opened a video.
“I came back here that night and asked around if anybody saw anything, most of them did not but I got lucky.”
He played the video. It was a two minute video of a couple of girls attempting a dance, a male voice sounded in the background, probably the person who shot the video.
“What am I supposed to see here Faruk?”
Faruk replayed the video and pointed at a shadow. Then forwarded the video and pointed to a figure that appeared for two seconds.
“That’s the guy.” Adam looked at Faruk confused. “You see your car before the guy gets there, the camera moves away and the note is there by the time we come back.”
Adam studied the video and replayed it a few times. Faruk was right. Unfortunately, the shadow or the figure did not show much.
“The guys didn’t remember seeing him. They were drunk so I doubt they’d remember anything from that night.” Faruk said. “I thought you’d want it anyway, I have printed copies of that image. It might not help much but it is something, right?”
“Yeah, yeah…” He looked at the figure intently, he had a weird feeling he knew the guy. “Thanks Faruk.”
“You can thank me inside, you know that right?” Faruk said, putting the laptop back in the bag.
“Of course.” He said with a laugh.
An enemy with a face – or a figure was easier finding. Or not.
We’re going live in two minutes.”
Ese adjusted her dress and smoothened her hair. The bright lights in the studio stung her eyes. She felt nervous even though it was not her first time of going on air, in fact TV was her life. From her days in secondary school, she had known she was going to end up in front of a camera, and she had. But there was something a little strange about the show they were about to have. Richard sat beside her, looking cool in his custom made shirt. They had eavesdropped on Adam, gotten some information and were now going on air with them. Adam had instructed everybody he talked to not to talk to the press, so it was a good thing they had eavesdropped. Or was it?
“You’re sure you want to do this?” Richard asked.
She knew she wanted to be on the show, it was the only reason she would stand a jerk like Richard. He knew she was not convenient with how they had gotten their information and he had repeatedly offered her the door.
“I am fine.” She could picture Adam’s face when he found the bug, he would be absolutely livid. It was not her problem how he felt though, he deserved it. “Do your part, I’ll do mine.”
“Alright guys, we are going on in five, four, three, two, one”
“Hello Nigeria, you’re welcome to TBC, I am Richard Musa, with me tonight is Ese Johnson.”
“Good evening Nigeria, this is crime watch Nigeria. This evening we will be talking about two murders that have shaken the city of Ilorin.”
“We will also be talking about what people are now calling ‘The Church Street Murders’.” Richard announced. It was not people who gave the name to the murders, he did. The Grinch had loved it and it was stamped. It would soon catch on.
Richard explained the details of the first murder like he was talking about a South African dish recipe. It bothered her.
She tried her best to smile as she watched him try to think through the brain of the killer. She had to give it to him, he was good at what he did. Seeing through the killer’s eyes was not an easy feat. The girls were from different backgrounds, so maybe it was just random, maybe they were not selected by any process. Serial killers usually had a type. Maybe his type was just young females.
“You know what baffles me Ese?” Richard asked.
“What is that Richard?”
“Why dump the bodies in front of these two churches? We will answer that question when we come back from this break. Stay with us.”
The red light went off. She took the glass of water in front of her and took a sip.
Why dump the bodies in front of those churches? She had thought hard about it. Richard had dug deep into the history of both churches, looking for any connections. He had found something. The pioneering pastors of both churches had attended the same seminary. They had then proceeded to open their churches on the same street. Of course one of the churches had moved away from the street. She did not know if it had anything to do with the murder but at least it was a connection.
She stood up from her chair and moved away from the cameras. A report was going live next. It would explain the roots of the churches and how they were connected. Richard was a jerk but she knew she could learn a few things from him.
“I’m sure you won’t feel so bad about us eavesdropping after this show.” She spun round to see Richard coming up behind her.
“I’m sure I will, I have just decided to forget how I feel.” They were yet to use any of the information they got through the bug.
“I’m sure you’re wondering what your detective boyfriend will say as he watches the show tonight, am I right?”
“He’s not my boyfriend and…”
“Wait, he’s not? That’s the best news I’ve heard in months. “ She looked at him, shook her head and walked on. “Wait! Wait! Could we grab a bite later tonight, see where the night takes us.”
She stopped in shock. She looked at him, he was not joking. “Are you serious?”
“Do I look like I’m joking?” He was serious.
“There’s no way I’m going out with you Richard.” She said and started walking away. He hurried after her.
“What if we’re stranded on an island and there’s just you, me, Tonto Dike, Fela Kuti and Clifford Orji, who would you sleep with?”
“One of those guys is a woman, one of them is dead and the third is a man-eater Richard.”
“So you’ll pick me? Okay, forget about the part of where the night takes us, let’s grab something to eat. As colleagues.”
“Okay. As colleagues.” She had nothing to lose. It was not like she was dating anybody. “By the way Adam never watches my show.”
He set the bottles on the table, opened one of them and sat on the couch. He picked the remote and switched on the TV. Ese was on. He smiled at the coincidence. He rarely watched her station, all they did was report news, most of which were depressing. He had slept off watching a special news report on liver cancer the night before on the station. It was depressing but it had caught his attention. Now he had turned on the TV hoping to catch some late night action movie, but instead he was watching his dear Ese Johnson trying to solve crime on TV.
She looked good. She had always looked good on TV, she was born for the camera somebody had commented. She did good work too. At least as a political correspondent, he had to wait to see how she would do in her new love of crime reporting.
There was something about her partner that irked him. He was a smug little prick who thought he owned the world. Adam laughed at himself, he barely knew the man and he had already formed an opinion about him. It was the way he looked at Ese that made him even more uneasy. He had a smile on his face every time he looked at her, like there was something he knew that the whole world did not.
He shook his head, trying to clear off his nefarious thoughts. He tried to concentrate on what they were saying.
“Does the fact that the second victim was a student of Kwara State Polytechnic have any bearing on this case? The first victim was a commercial sex worker. Do you think they have any connections?”
They had a visitor on the show, a retired police officer who supposedly had some crime solving experience. His opinion was that the student could have been involved in some prostitution herself. Maybe they met the same person.
“You know that is really possible. We gathered that the girl was supposed to be attending a party the night she went missing.” Ese said.
Adam shook his head. He knew the friends of the victim would jump at the first chance to talk to the press. He had strictly warned them not to talk to anybody after he had talked to them. Apparently the press now knew all that he knew.
He had also considered that the prostitute had a connection to the second victim but he was yet to find it. The girl had gone for a party alright, but she was not invited alone. She had gone with a group of friends. They all claimed they did not see her leave the party and she had danced with several men so there was no way to know who she left with. According to them, it was not the first time she was going to these parties and she always left with somebody, mostly somebody she met that night. That made it even more difficult. She could have been lured away by the killer or she might have been picked up after she left her appointment. The coroner said there was no sign of a recent sexual encounter so it was safe to assume she was picked up by the killer.
He returned his attention to the show.
“Another question most people are asking is, why the churches?” Ese asked the man again.
“That’s a question I’m finding difficult to answer.” The man said. Join the queue, Adam thought with a smile. “He could have been a member of the church at a point, or maybe they were picked randomly.”
“That’s very unlikely, don’t you think?” Richard, the arrogant partner asked. “Especially now that we have a connection between them.”
Adam sat up. They had a connection? He had not been able to find one. He listened to them explain how the churches were connected at the roots. Maybe that was it. Maybe there was an aggrieved church member who attended both churches, after all they were on the same street. Could be somebody who lived in the area. He would have some of his detectives working on that as soon as he got to the office the next day.
Maybe the press was not a total waste after all.
He placed the empty bottle in his hand on the table. All four bottles were now empty, he felt like he needed more. He dragged himself off the couch and walked to the refrigerator.
“Now, about the murders themselves, do you think the killer will stop?” Ese asked.
“Our prayer is that he does, or he is caught. In my professional opinion I think we have more hope with the latter.”
The man was right. The killer might have planned to stop but he would not now, especially with the kind of press attention he was getting. Their best shot at stopping him was catching him.
Adam settled down into the couch, this time with two bottles. He promised himself they would be his last for the day.
“He seems to be getting more aggressive too, because we gathered that the last victim was killed alive.”
Adam spilled his drink as he turned sharply to look at the TV. Nobody was supposed to know that. Only a few members of the CIB knew about that part, he had made sure of it. It was a detail that would do more harm than good. How did they find out? Somebody was feeding the press information at CIB?
He drank the whole bottle at a go and set it on the table. Ese had gone behind his back to turn one of his own against him. Whoever gave them the information would pay for it, and Ese… he would deal with her at the right time.
He drove his car into the parking lot and turned off the engine. He watched her come out of the car three cars away from him with her boyfriend and walk out of the parking lot. They were talking so loudly and laughing like they were the only ones in the city. He let them go a little distance before he slid out of his car. He had made sure he looked like every regular person in the cinema. Of course he was a regular person, so what if he had killed two people and the whole city was afraid and looking for him.
He rubbed his sweating palms on his jeans and moved towards the exit. He had made sure to park far away from the any camera. He could not take the chance of anybody connecting him to the girl when they found her body. The parking lot was dark. Despite the efforts of the cinema to lighten the underground parking lot, a lot of bad things could happen there without many people noticing. He noticed a couple kissing in a dark corner not far from where he was parked. If only they knew who he was. He had thought of getting a girl himself, but he could not. Not with Diana possessing all of him, he doubted she would want to share.
“Oga, good evening o.” The guards greeted him. He had hoped not to be seen but coming to a cinema was not a crime, he just had to make sure he was not someone they would remember.
“My chairmen, how work?” He said with a smile, all the while avoiding eye contact.
“We dey where you leave us o. Drop something for your boys na.”
“Make I come back, I go settle you, you na my people na.” He said and quickly walked away before they said something else. He had already talked more than he wanted to.
He walked out of the parking lot and climbed the stairs that led into the cinema. The men had delayed him, he hoped to catch up with the girl before he missed what movie she and her boyfriend were going to watch. He saw them holding each other next to the vendor who was collecting their money in exchange for a big bowl of popcorn. He had not been one to frequent places like a cinema and he had always wondered why people wasted their money watching movies for so much money in cinemas when they could watch the same movies at home. A large screen and a bowl of popcorn, which you also paid for did not look like value to him. But then what did he know?
He lingered close to the stands where several yet-to-be-released movies were displayed and pretended to be engrossed by a vampire movie. Vampire movies were so many that he expected a vampire to surface in the near future. This particular one was one of the horror ones, it did not have any beautiful girls in love with vampires. Just a single vampire devouring poor reverend sisters in a convent.
The girl and her boyfriend moved towards the counter to pay for their movie. He moved closer. He tried his best to be casual. He knew he looked just like every other person but he felt as though ‘Murderer’ was printed on his head. He moved as close to them as he could to hear them but far enough not to be noticed. The cinema was showing a few romantic classics that night. He was a huge romantic himself and he was lucky that his escapade had fallen on a night when he could enjoy one of the few pleasures of life. He picked up the movie catalogue, he had seen most of the movies, anyone Romeo and Juliet picked would be a good watch.
They picked ‘Before Sunrise’. He was yet to see it. He felt almost as happy to see the movie as he was doing Diana’s bidding.
He waited for them to leave and he walked to the counter and paid for the same movie. He paid cash, he could not afford any trace.
The movie had already started when he entered. He saw the couple, moved past them and sat four seats behind them. He looked at the girl and smiled. Very soon she would be in his house, his guest, Diana’s sacrifice.
The movie lasted for about ninety minutes. It was a nice one, he had enjoyed every bit of it and so had Romeo and Juliet. They were already headed for the door, he joined the crowd and headed for the exit. He wanted to go ahead of them, he would wait in the car.
The night had been planned and the easiest part was over. He walked out of the cinema briskly. He looked over his shoulder once to make sure that the couple were heading for their car. They were, a little slowly though. They looked genuinely in love, he felt bad for them, it was not his fault. She had been chosen. He walked into the dark parking lot, one of the light bulbs was out. The guards had forgotten about him and were now trying to coax money out of another man. He walked past them and walked towards his car. He slowed as he got close to his car, he looked back again, the couple were in the parking lot now. The plan was simple, follow them till the boy dropped her at her house then he would do his thing.
The girl was a virgin, so he knew she was not going home with him. He waited for them to get into their car. They did but did not move. He craned his neck to see them, it looked like they were kissing. He hissed and slid deeper into his chair. He got comfortable in the chair and waited.
He eyes snapped open, he was blinded by the headlights of a car approaching him. He had dozed off. He looked at where the couple had parked, they were gone. He punched the steering wheel and turned on the engine. He slammed the gear into ‘drive’ and moved. He was fortunate he knew where she lived. But they could have been long gone. He was not sure how long he had slept for, they could have been gone for hours. He cursed and punched the steering wheel again. He pressed his foot down on the accelerator and drew insults from other drivers as he sped past them.
He slowed down as he got close to the girl’s house. There was no car, they were gone. The girl could be asleep, his plan had failed. He looked at the house, he could still go in, but it would be deviating from his fool-proof plan. He banged his head against the head rest of his seat. Of all times to fall asleep he had chosen that special day.
The bright light of a car approaching from behind him caught his*DEMON ON CHURCH STREET*
*EPISODE 8 & 9*
Ese slowed to a stop as she approached the TBC building. She showed her ID to the man at the entrance, he lifted the barrier and she entered. The TBC building was a huge one, and it housed a big company. And she was glad to be a part of it. Her time at the NTA was not bad, she had made a lot of contacts and had gained experience in the media industry, experience that had given her the job at TBC.
She slid her car into the carport, turned off the engine and got out. She locked the door and walked towards the main building. She was relatively new to the company but if the previous night’s show was anything to go by, she was probably going to be a superstar. It was the first time she was going on the show with Richard. She knew most of the work had been done by him and she would have to dig in and be more resourceful but she had gotten a lot of great responses. She had received messages from former colleagues telling her what a good job she had done and her Twitter followers had increased greatly just because of a single night’s show.
Her date with Richard had gone well too. He surprised her. He was smug alright, but she had been taken aback by his attention to her. She was not falling for him and she probably would not go out with him anymore but it was nice to know she could work with him. It would have been a perfect night but she could not shake off Adam from her mind. Planting the bug on him had been serious breach of a lot of things.
*kindly can hi Heritage on +2348108751368 to be added to story room to enjoy reading from there.*
“Miss Johnson.” She saw one of the office assistants walking towards her, she looked apprehensive.
“Good morning Mariam. Is there a problem?”
“Not really. Detective Ademola is in your office ma.”
“Detective Ademola?” Trouble! “Did he mention what he wants?”
“No, he didn’t but he doesn’t look very happy.”
Of course he was not happy. He had found the bug and for some reason he knew it was her who put it there. It was not her but she was as guilty as Richard. She waved halfhearted ‘good mornings’ to people as she made for her office. She had no idea how it would go with Adam but she would not admit to anything. And it was possible he knew nothing yet.
“Good of you to finally show up.” Adam said as she entered. Her secretary had let him in and it looked like he had been sitting on her table waiting for her.
“You know there are chairs, right?” She said pointing to the chairs in front of her table and ignoring his stare. “Do you work here now? Or how is it you got to my office before me?”
“You know some of us have to do our job ourselves. We can’t just steal information from others.” He knows!
“What are you talking about?” She asked, trying not fake ignorance.
“What am I talking about Ese? You are going to pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about? The least you could do at this point is apologizing.” He said, adjusted one of the chairs and sat.
“Adam, if you think I have offended you in anyway, just say it and stop beating around the bush.” This time, she looked at him and held his gaze. He looked at her for a while before looking away.
“Are you trying to say you don’t know what I’m talking about?” She shook her head, all the while looking at him. He looked unsure of himself and started to stand up.
“Adam, next time you think I did something, just come forward and say it, alright?”
“I’m not entirely sure you had nothing to do with this but I’m sure that peacock partner of yours has something to do with it.”
Her brazen face must have cracked because he stopped and looked at her. She could not hold on under his observation, he saw this and smiled.
“Which of my staff did he bribe for information?” What?! “How much did you pay him?”
She looked at him confused. He must have noticed the confusion on her face too.
“Don’t pretend, just answer the question Ese.” He said. “Remember I know when you lie.”
“Bribe?” They had not bribed anybody, what was he talking about. Then she understood. He thought they got the information they had because he had a snitch. “Adam, there is no snitch in your team. At least the snitch isn’t snitching to us, okay?”
He looked at her, once again unsure of himself.
“Ese, whatever it is you guys are doing, I will find out and I will press charges. That is a promise.” He said and walked out of her office.
She walked after him and closed the door quietly. She silently prayed that whenever he found the bug, there will be no way to trace it back to her.
Adam looked at both ladies and walked out of the office.
He had come to the office that morning to meet a shock. The governor was not joking, his daughter was actually going to work with him. As he expected she had been reluctant but given all the trouble she had been in, she had no choice. He had called the governor trying one last time to convince him it was all a bad idea, he had failed.
“What do you hope to do here?” He had asked her.
“I don’t know. Anything to keep my dad off my back. He said maybe I could help you prepare press releases.” She replied.
“We have a PR department. There haven’t been any press releases because I don’t want to release anything to the press.” Now that somebody was leaking information to Ese, maybe it was not a bad idea for thr CIB to give their own reports. “Do you even have any experience doing this stuff Kate?”
“No. Well, I studied English so that must count for something.”
He had looked at Tola for help, she offered him none. He had no choice, so he had had a table set in Tola’s office, she would share in the baby-sitting responsibility.
“Where are we going?” Kate asked hurrying after him.
“We? You are not going anywhere. I and Tola here are going to follow on some leads, you are going to sit in the office.”
“Doing what?” She asked, shocked.
“Whatever you want. Watch a movie, file your nails, write a story…anything. Just don’t leave the office till I get back.” He ignored her glare and moved to his car.
“That’s not fair to the girl.” Tola said as she sat next to him. “If she wanted to file her nails, she would have stayed at home.”
“Well, that’s what she gets for all the trouble she’s been causing lately. You know she almost killed a young boy because she was driving while drunk.” He said starting the car.
“You’re exactly the person to condemn her for drinking.”
He had no reply for that.
Twenty minutes later Adam drove into the compound of Saint Andrews Anglican Church. It was the location where the first body was found. He had not noticed the first time he had been there but it was a really old church. It was well taken care of but the age was showing. It was a tall building painted with what had once been white.
After watching Ese’s show the night before, he had decided there was more to the church than they thought. If there was a connection between the two churches then the killer could be connected too.
“Do you know that people now call this killer ‘The Church Street Killer’?” Tola asked as they came down from the car.
“I heard it on the TV yesterday. I am not calling him that. Giving him a name will make him feel more important than he is.”
She smiled and they walked towards the pastorium behind the church. He had tried to imagine any of the pastors being the killer, it was not impossible. He really did not trust anybody, not even pastors but these men did not look like killers. A member of their churches could be killing people though, what did that make them?
The pastor was sitting outside. He had a goldrimmed spectacle on and a magazine in his hands. He dropped the magazine and stood up when he saw them. The old woman they had met at the stairs the previous time was there again, this time she was asleep.
“Detectives from the CIB, am I correct?” He asked coming down the stairs.
“Yes sir.” Adam said, stretching his hands to shake him.
“I didn’t know you were coming.” The pastor said. Tola looked at Adam and shook her head.
“We are sorry about that, we just have a few follow up questions.” She said.
“Let’s go inside the church, I’ll answer your questions there.”
They entered the church through the back door. The pastor dusted off a few chairs and asked them to sit. The church was as old inside as it was outside but it was more beautiful. It looked like it had been recently painted and there were beautiful flower arrangements all over the altar.
“You have a beautiful church here sir.” Tola said.
“Yes, thank you. All thanks to my wife. Left to me, we will just use all the money for missions.” He said with a chuckle.
“Sir, I’m sure you heard about the second murder.” Adam began, the pastor nodded. “Well, what connection do you have with the church the second victim was found on?”
The pastor went on to confirm the connection Ese and her partner had found. The founder of his church was his late father-inlaw. He had died a few years ago, he told them. The two churches had been on the same street for years before his friend who founded the other church had moved away to another location. He was also dead.
“Apart from your father-inlaw and his friend, do you know any other person or anything that connected both churches?” Adam asked.
“No, not that I can think of now. Except for church programs, they had a few together way back in the beginning. I grew up in this neighbourhood and I’ve been a member of this church for a long time.”
If they had programs together, it would mean there were people who listened to both pastors. That was not enough reason to make any of them suspects.
“Was there any trouble between these pastors at any time?” Adam asked.
“Not that I can remember. Like I said, they were friends.”
“How about a member who left one of church for the other?” Tola asked.
“My father-inlaw avoided those situations but they were hard to avoid. Especially as people can never be satisfied and the churches were just a few metres away from each other.”
“Any particular one that caused any trouble?” Adam asked.
“Well, there was this family, a man and his young wife. They had been married for a while without children. They left our church because of this and joined the other church. We later discovered the woman had lost two pregnancies to her husband’s callousness.”
“How do you mean?”
“He had been beating his wife a lot and she suffered two miscarriages.”
“Do you know anything about how they ended? Do you know where they are now?” Adam asked. It was not much of a lead but it could be worth the pursuit. Perhaps the man blamed the churches for his marriage problems and the two girls he had killed represented the two children he had lost. He smiled at his theory, it was a long shot but he would take any shot he had at the moment.
“I don’t know where they are now.” The pastor said. “I didn’t really know them much back then but I heard they later had two children.”
They stayed with the pastor for thirty more minutes talking about any other thing he thought had anything to do with the case. He did not have much to say. If he was a killer, he would be a subtle one, not the type that will send him messages. Even if he was stupid enough to send the message there was no way he could make the text untraceable.
“Pastor, are you good with computers by any chance?”
“I still type my outlines with my old typewriter. Why do you ask?” The pastor asked arching his eyebrow. Tola shot him a questioning look.
“No particular reason.” Then there was the matter of the church bus. “Sir, one last question. Does your church own a bus?” he asked. Tola figuring where he was going frowned at him.
“No, we don’t. Wait, these questions don’t sound random, any particular reason why u ask?”
“No sir. Thank you very much for your time.”
“There’s no way you think that pastor killed those girls.” Tola said as they drove away from the church.
“Why not? Because he’s a pastor?”
“Yes, well…no. But look at that man, there’s no way he did it.”
“I don’t think he did but there’s no harm making sure. There’s nothing special about pastors that should…” He was cut off by his phone ringing. It was Faruk. He pressed the answer button on his earphone. “Kelvin Little!”
“Bro, what’s up?”
“I’m good, working, trying to remain sane in this crazy world.”
“I hear you man. I have some info for you and it’s so gonna blow your mind.” Faruk said. Adam could hear the excitement in his voice.
“I’m driving, do I need to park?” Adam asked, already pulling to the side of the road.
“I think you should. By the way, after I tell you this I’m sure you’ll employ me at CIB.”
“I have pulled over so just tell me what it is. You know you’re not getting a job at CIB.”
“Why not? Is it because I’m short?”
“Okay, calm down. Remember when you said you tried to trace the text you got from the killer and you said you couldn’t?”
“Yeah…” Adam replied, looking at Tola from the corner of his eye. He had not told her yet about the text.
“Well, I traced it!”
“You did what? Faruk I know you and I know there’s no way you did that.” Adam sat up.
“Well, I know somebody who knows somebody. The important thing is I traced it.”
“Okay, I hear you. So you have a name?” He glanced at Tola, she was looking at him now, inquisitive.
“Calm down man, I don’t have a name. But get this, the message was sent from CIB.”
“CIB? I don’t understand.”
“The text was sent through one of these online SMS services. My guy traced the message to CIB but he could not get closer than that.”
“Are you kidding me? You’re saying this guy is one of us?” Blood drained from his face. “Thanks Faruk, I’ll see you in the evening.”
He ended the call and looked at Tola, it could be any one, even her? No, there was no way it was her.
“Who was that? What was that about?” She asked.
He told her about the note, the text message and what Faruk just told him.
“You know what this means Tola, it could be anybody. From the chief to the janitor, anybody.”
“Don’t you think a good tech guy could have sent you on the wrong path? Maybe he knows you’ll check so he’s just sending you on a wild goose chase.”
“Let’s hope you’re right. Until we know for sure, tell your husband until this case is over we are both working double time. I’m cutting off every other person.”
He pulled the car back into the road and said a silent prayer that Faruk was wrong.
Adam woke up with a start.
He slowly opened his eyes. The first thing he noticed was that his head felt like a band of soldiers were marching inside it. Light filtered into the room through the open window curtains, it was morning. His brain did not seem to process what morning meant at the moment, the headache probably stopped any signals going to his brain. There was a sharp ringing sound in his brain also, and it was driving him crazy. He shut his eyes, trying to stop the ringing but it continued. He opened his eyes again and tried to look at the clock hanging above the door, a blinking light caught his attention. It was his phone. The ringing was not in his head.
He removed the blanket wrapped around his body and swung his legs out of the bed. He stood up from the bed and felt woozy, he sat quickly. He groped around the top of the cabinet beside his bed for his phone. It had stopped ringing but the ringing had not stopped in his head. He found it. The phone rang again and it almost dropped out of his hand. It was Tola.
“It’s barely seven a.m. Tola, surely I’m not late yet.” He said, slurring his words.
“You need to get down here, we just found another body.”
“Another body?” he stood up so fast he nearly fell, he held the bed to steady himself and staggered to the bathroom.
“Yes another body. Looks like the church street killer. Get here ASAP!”
“Where’s ‘here’ Tola?” He said as he looked in the bathroom mirror. His eyes were blood shot and he noticed some wrinkles on his forehead, they were not there before.
“Crackos. You know the place?” He knew the place, Faruk had begged him to go there with him at a time, he had a thing for a girl waitressing there.
“Crackos isn’t a church.” It just occurred to him, that was not consistent with the killer’s M.O. “That place is a pub, why dump the body at a pub?”
“Yeah, I know. There are other things too, get here fast.” She said and disconnected the call.
Well they can’t call him the church street killer anymore. It did not make sense though, why change his dumping site?
He would need a couple of panadol tablets, maybe more than a couple, but if the killer had made any mistake he was the one who would find it.
Forty minutes later he parked his car a few metres from Crackos. He had always wondered at the name, the founder definitely had nomenclature problems. Crackos was not as popular or as exclusive as Caleb’s but it had its own crowd. It did not look like a place to dump a body, they did not close all night, so when did the killer have the time to dump the body without being noticed?
He saw Tola seated close to the pub with a flask in her hand. He nodded at the policemen who saluted him as he moved towards her. He was about five feet away from her when she saw him.
“I’m the one who is married yet I’m the one who gets to crime scene first?” She said. He saw she looked tired.
“Good morning to you too. I’m sorry we are stealing your time with Dr. Dosumu but I’m sure he understands. Nobody wants a killer running around in his city.” He said with a smile.
“Yeah, whatever. The body is behind the building.”
Tola led him to the back of the building. It was a secluded place, a perfect place to dump a dead body. If the first body had been found here the fuss around it would have been reduced, missing liver and all. The stench of the place hit him, and it was not the body. He raised his hands to cover his nose.
“Don’t like the smell Adam?” Tola asked.
“Do you? Just show me the body.” He said with a snigger.
She moved towards an object in the dark, she bent and removed a cloth covering something. “This is the body.”
The victim was a girl too, about the same age as the other girls. He bent down and looked at the girl’s face, there was blood on her face. Blood was pooled on the floor near her body, it looked like she was freshly killed when her body was dumped. She was naked and her stomach had been cut open too, the coroner would confirm if her liver was missing. Her body was not in a supine position like the other bodies though.
“Tola, who found this body?” Adam asked, standing and walking away from the body.
“He is inside. He was at the bar partying with his friends last night, he got drunk and came here to spill his guts.”
“He puked all over this place?” No wonder the stench. “Let’s go see him.”
They walked into the pub. It was empty except for two men. One of them wearing a suit was looking out through a window, the other was dozing on a stool. The man in suit turned around as they entered, he kicked the other man.
“Hello Detectives, I am Obinna, the manager of the club.” The man in suit said.
“Hello.” Adam said shaking his hand, Tola nodded at him. ”You must be the man who found the body.” Adam said talking to the other man who was wide awake now.
“Yes, I am. My name is Johnson.” He answered, fidgeting with his shirt and avoiding eye contact.
“Sit down please.” Adam said, pulling a stool to sit on. “Tell us what happened.”
“Okay, so I was feeling like I was going to vomit, so I went outside so I saw something on the floor, so I called the manager so…”
“Wait Mr. Johnson, what time did this happen?” Tola asked.
“It was after four a.m.” The manager answered. “I cannot remember the exact time but it was definitely after four a.m.”
“How was the body when you found it?” Adam asked.
“Well, so the body was… I don’t know…” The man was sweating as he tried to answer. Was he guilty of something?
“Did you touch the body, Mr. Johnson?” Adam asked, leaning forward on his seat.
“I… I don’t…so I wanted… so…”
“Mr. Johnson, answer the question!” Tola said, starling the man.
“Yes, I didn’t know she was dead. I just saw a naked girl on the floor, I thought she was drunk, so… I did not know she was dead, so… I swear I did not know she was dead. When I saw blood on my hand is when I saw she was dead.”
“How was she lying when you saw her?” Adam asked. Maybe he had found her in the regular supine position.
“I can’t remember sir, but I could not see her face. It was after I saw her face and the blood that I rush inside to call Mr. Obinna. I swear.”
If it was the work of the same killer then he was getting sloppy. It appeared that he had dumped the body prematurely, he had not had time for his usual ritual. It was good if he was getting sloppy, you get sloppy and you make mistakes. It was also possible it was just a copycat.
“Mr. Johnson, when you found the body what did you do to it? Did you have or try having sex with it before you discovered she was dead?” Tola asked the shocked man. Adam himself was surprised. But the question made sense, the body was probably going to carry DNA evidences, it was important to know whose it was.
“No madam, no I swear to God madam, I just touch her breasts that’s all I do when I see the blood.” He was almost in tears.
“Okay. Did you see anybody outside or meet anybody coming in from that door?” Tola continued.
“No madam, I am the only one there.” He was probably too drunk to see anybody anyway.
“Mr. Obinna, I will need a list of everybody who was here at any time last night. Even if the person just stopped to pee, as long as you have their information, I want to have it.” Adam said. “I also want a copy of all your security tapes. You don’t happen to have a camera back there, do you?”
“No, we don’t detective. I will give you everything we have though. It was a small party last night, there weren’t much people so it won’t be difficult to identify everybody.”
“The girl, did you know her by any chance?” Tola asked.
“She worked here until some weeks ago when she quit.” The manager answered.
“Any reason why that happen?”
“She said her boyfriend was moving to Lagos and she was going with him.”
“Did she have any enemies here? Anybody, no matter how small they are, somebody who could have killed her or sent somebody to do the job.”
“None that I know of. She was a friendly person, some of the clients want to take advantage of that. And this has led to a few altercations, nothing serious though.”
“Thank you for your time. You place is a crime scene now, so I’m sorry but you will not be able to open for business for now. Mr. Johnson, don’t leave town, we have further questions for you.” Adam said
Was this a copycat killer? The coroner would know. That would mean a lot of trouble. Catching one killer was bad enough, two would be overwhelming.
Then there was the matter of the killer being a member of CIB or having access to their network. He had thought about it and decided he would keep the information between him and Tola. If the news got out that the killer could be a member of CIB, people would panic, not to talk about the suspicions that would fly around.
He marched faster as he moved towards the coroner’s lab.
“Uncle Adam.” He heard somebody call from behind him. It was Kate. The governor’s daughter.
“Hello Kate. I think you should call me Detective here, it’s kind of what every other person here calls me.” He replied with a halfhearted smile, he needed to talk to that coroner fast.
“I’m sorry detective.” She said with a radiant smile.
“What do you want do want by the way? I am in a hurry. Walk with me.”
He listened as she tried to convince him to speak to the press. She had even written the press report. It was probably a good idea especially with the rising body count.
“Kate, can I get back to you?”
“Alright boss.” She said, disappointed. He looked at her walk away and shook his head, she was a replica of her mother, only younger.
He knocked on the door of the lab and walked in. The coroner was writing something on a clipboard as he entered. He turned around and beamed a huge smile when he saw Adam.
“Hello Dr. Collins, surprised to see me?” Adam said.
“Yes I am sir. Last time you were here, you said you did not intend to see me anymore.”
“Well, here I am.”
The doctor smiled and moved towards where the body was laid and removed the cloth used to cover it. The face of the victim was clearer now. She was a beautiful girl, probably in her early twenties like the other victims.
“Talk to me Doctor.” Adam said, looking away from the body.
“Okay sir. Cause of death, loss of blood due to multiple stab wounds to the neck and chest area…” he started.
“Wait, she was stabbed severally? She did not die from the cut on her stomach?” Adam asked.
“No, the cut was post-mortem. In fact there were several bruises on the face which could have happened as a result of an altercation. ”
“Okay.” Adam said with a sigh. It looked like this was a copycat after all.
“There’s something else sir. The lady was pregnant.”
“She was pregnant? Oh my God.” What kind of sick bastard kills a pregnant woman? “When is the estimated time of death?”
“Estimated time of death would be two a.m. I’m also estimating that the victim had been dead for less than two hours before her body was dumped.”
“Thank you. I’ll get the details later when you’re done with the full autopsy.” Adam said and turned to leave. He stopped and looked at the coroner. “You think this lady was killed by the same killer as the other two?”
“Well sir, I don’t think so. The church street killer has been careful with his killing, perfect. This is a brutal murder, no control, no restraint.”
“Well, the other murders have not been less brutal if you ask me.”
“You’re right sir.”
“Thank you Doctor.” He turned to leave again but he stopped. “Doctor, one last question. Is her liver missing?”
“Yes sir, it is.”
“Okay, bye.” Adam said and left the room
Adam smiled as he read through what Kate had written. She had done a good job, surprisingly. After all the bad press she had brought her dad, he had assumed the worst. She had always had a wild streak in her, a hidden streak but her mother’s death had brought it out. Apparently she had read all the case file and had picked out what she thought the people deserved to know. Adam smiled again and threw the file on his table, he would decide later what to do with it.
It was looking more like there were two killers who needed to be caught. The coroner was right, the church street killer had been careful, neat and almost perfect with his killings. The last murder looked like a crime of passion. Multiple stabs looked like a result of anger, not coldblooded pathological murder like the first two.
He rose up from his chair and moved to the refrigerator and brought out a bottle of water. Tola had told him not to drink from the bottle several times, but he did anyway. He returned to his chair and was about sitting when his phone rang. It was the chief of police.
“Good day sir.” He had not talked to him since their argument, he did not know what to expect.
“Ademola, there has been another murder, what is happening here?”
“Well sir, we are trying out best, by the way we are not even sure the same person killed the last victim.” He said before he could catch himself. He had not planned to tell the chief that until he was sure.
“Of course it’s the same person. He is the worst killer this city has seen and people will still talk about him even when he’s long gone. Ademola, you hold the key to what will end his story.”
“What are you talking about?” Adam asked, partly in annoyance and partly in astonishment. ”Like I said earlier sir, we are trying our best and we will catch him. Or them.”
“I hope you do, for the sake of all of us.” The chief said and disconnected the call.
Adam shook his head and headed for the door, he needed to talk to Tola, he needed her opinion on releasing any report to the press.
He met her at his door.
“I was just coming to your office.” He said to her.
“Well, it’s good that you were. We need to talk that pastor again.”
“Which of them?” Adam asked, surprised.
“The second pastor. Turns out he knows the third victim.” She said as they headed out of the building.
“Knows her how?”
“She had accused his son of impregnating her and trying to force her to abort the baby.”
“Talk about a crime of passion. I never trusted that man” attention. It looked to be slowing down behind him. Cops? He had no busniess being were he was. He started the car and drove away as fast as he could without drawing attention. He looked in the mirror, the car had parked. It was them! The couple had just arrived. He slowed the car and moved to the right side of the road. He could reverse and go back, but the boy friend would notice him. The next turning was far away, the girl would be gone before he could get back.
He picked up speed and moved away from the house. Maybe it was a message of caution to him. He was getting too desperate, Diana could wait.
But in truth Diana could not wait, he did not want her to wait. The girl had merely added a few hours to her life. Diana would not be denied. She would have her sacrifice. A pure one. A virgin.
Adam stopped in front of the church and slid the gear into park. A lot of thoughts had flowed in his mind as he drove to the church. He still was not sure if the murder of this girl had any connection to the church street killer’s murders, it was a murder case still and it needed solving.
He got down from the car and moved towards the stairs of the church, Tola on his heels. A group of people stood hurdled together beside the church talking in hushed tones. He ignored them and headed for the church. The door of the church swung open as he pushed it. He stepped through it and held it for Tola to enter. Immediately he entered he sighted the Pastor siting on one of the front pews with a younger man, the younger man was dressed in a suit and had an air of importance. Both men heard them enter and turned to face them.
“Detectives, I wasn’t expecting you here today.” The pastor said when they got close to him.
“Well, we need to ask you some questions.” Adam said. “In private.” He added.
“Oh sorry Detectives, I am Barrister Patrick Jemiluwa, I am his lawyer.” The younger man said. “I’ll like to sit in when you question my client.”
Adam smiled and nodded. The pastor led the way to his office. Adam wondered why the man suddenly needed a lawyer, maybe he knew they were coming. Could be a sign of guilt. Or not. He had no love for lawyers, smarty pants who did not know as much as they thought they did.
“Why do you need a lawyer Pastor? Like you said, you did not know we were coming.” Adam asked as soon as they were seated in the office.
“My client has a right to a lawyer, he doesn’t need a reason to have one. Please just tell us why you are here.” Jemiluwa answered before the Pastor could say anything.
“Pastor, I’ll still like you to answer the question.” Adam said, ignoring the lawyer.
“No, he doesn’t…” The lawyer started but was cut off by a wave of the hand by the Pastor.
“It’s okay Patrick, I’ll answer his question. Patrick here is my son’s friend and technically he isn’t my lawyer. I’m not sure I need one yet.”
“You don’t have to tell them anything sir.” Jemiluwa tried to dissuade the Pastor.
“Let me just tell them everything I know. There’s no problem.”
“Speak on please sir.” Tola said speaking for the first time. She flashed the lawyer a glare.
“A few days ago, a girl came here claiming that she was pregnant for my son. I laughed her off because my son has been in Lagos and hasn’t come home for two years. She insisted she had met with him a few times at a particular hotel here in Ilorin.” He said and stopped.
“Did you ask your son?” Tola asked.
“Well, that was when things changed. I asked him frankly and my son would not lie to me, he admitted he had been in town a few times but that he never slept over and he did not want to bother me. Can you imagine that a father would be bothered to see his son? But he denied the pregnancy. He admitted that he had had intercourse with the girl…” he paused, sighed and continued. “But he said she was not pregnant for him.”
“And you believe him?” Adam asked.
“Yes, I do.” The pastor replied. The lawyer shifted in his chair, he obviously did not like what was going on.
“Why do you need a lawyer then?” Adam asked.
“The girl threatened a lawsuit against us. To be honest, I don’t know why she would add me to the suit. Patrick here is my son’s friend and he came over to help.”
“Help with what exactly?” Adam asked, genuinely confused. If the girl was dead, the pastor did not need a lawyer to fight her lawsuit.
“The lawsuit, if she eventually sues.”
“What are you talking about? The girl is dead.”
“What?!” The pastor looked genuinely surprised. The lawyer leaned back in his chair. “How do you even know the girl I am talking about?”
“Is her name Antonia Fashola?” Tola asked, looking at a notebook she held.
“Yes, that’s her name. She’s dead? What happened to her?”
“She was murdered. Mr. Lawyer, you don’t seem surprised by this at all, why is that?” Adam asked, turning to the Lawyer.
“Well, what do you mean I wasn’t surprised?” The lawyer asked, immediately assuming his commanding posture.
“Answer the damn question, did you know about this?” Tola asked, giving the lawyers one of the hardest looks Adam had ever seen. Apparently she did not like him too.
“The truth is, I heard about her death before I came here this morning. It was part of why I came here.” He looked apologetically at the Pastor.
“How did you hear about it?” Tola asked again.
“I don’t have to answer any of your questions. I have not been arrested or brought in for questioning. In fact, this interview or whatever this is, is over.”
Tola stood up before Adam could say a word and was standing the lawyer up and cuffing his hands behind his back.
“You wanted to be arrested? Well, you are under arrest Barrister Lawyer, you need to answer some questions.”
Adam smiled, proud of her as she walked him out of the office. The lawyer was apparently too shocked to speak.
“Pastor, where is your son now?” Adam asked.
“He is on his way back from Lagos. Although, I have to admit I’m not sure of that now, I’m not sure of anything. Over twenty years I’ve been a pastor and it’s all about to crash because of a foolish son.”
Adam could not argue with him. “Well, we will need to speak to your son immediately he gets back. We would not want to have to arrest him, so please tell him to report at the CIB office immediately he comes into town.”
“He will come to your office Detective. I cannot believe I have been questioned over two murders. I’m sorry I wasn’t much help with the portrait of the man I told you came to our church. I just could not remember how he looked like. How is that investigation going?”
“Fine. Just call me if you have any information to help on any of the cases.” He answered handing the Pastor a card.
*** *** ***
Adam wiped his brow with his sleeve as he moved towards one of the interrogation rooms. If somebody had told him two months ago that he would be neck deep investigating three murders in less than a month, he would have laughed. He still was not sure about his position as director of the CIB or if he wanted it but it was good that his life had a purpose again. The killer had done him a favour, of course he would have preferred that the favour did not include loss of lives.
He felt a vibration in his pocket, his phone was ringing.
“Hello Faruk. You’ve been calling too often nowadays, I think you need a girl.” He said with a chuckle.
“A girl? I’m a player Adam, a player who’s got girls – a lot of them. By the way, it’s not like I’ve been calling to say hi or ask you out. I’ve been solving your cases.”
“Sure you have Faruk. Maybe you should open a P.I. office so I can bring you on as a consultant.”
“Are you serious bro, that would be awesome.”
“Wait, I was kidding.” Adam said, laughing at the eagerness with which he jumped at the offer. “Consultant for what? This is big boy stuff we do here man.”
“You just broke my heart Adam, in fact I don’t think I want to give you the info I had anymore.”
“You have info for me? Kelvin Little! Come on, I’m sure you want to tell me.” Adam said, pausing at the door of the interrogation room.
“Alright, the second victim – the student, I went back to the club where she was said to have partied and asked around till I found someone who saw her leave with a man. I traced where they were supposed to have gone and I learnt that she left in a cab. Now get this, the man who saw her leave said the cab she left in stopped after going a short distance the girl got down from the cab with a man that he had not noticed enter the cab and they entered a bus parked a short distance from the cab. The man never saw the driver leave.”
“What are you saying? You think the driver was the man who left in the bus with her?”
“Yes, and I think he is the killer.”
“The girl who found the body had seen a bus too, could be the same one. How did you find out all these and my team of detectives couldn’t?”
“You guys don’t know the streets. These guys on the street won’t talk to cops.”
He had a point. “Faruk, how about you register that P.I. thing, I might need you to consult after all.”
“Don’t play with me man.”
“I’m not joking, do it. I have to question this lawyer dude, we’ll talk later.” Adam said and disconnected the call. He had to give Faruk more respect, he getting results.
He was about to turn the knob and enter when is phone rang again. It was Ese.
“Ese, how nice of you to call. Your snitch isn’t giving you all the info you want?”
“Adam, I have no snitch at the CIB, cut the crap.” She sounded offended.
“Okay, what do you want? I’m a little busy. In fact not a little, I am very busy. You should know about the third body that was found this morning.”
“Yeah, I heard about that. Do you think it was the same killer?”
“Very smart, you know there’s no way I’m answering that question.” He said with a smile.
“That’s why I called actually. I need you to come on our program. I promise you will pick the questions you are willing to answer before the program starts and you can decide to stop the program midway if we ask anything that you had not agreed to answer.”
“And you tell me this on the phone?”
“Well, what difference does it make? The last time I was in your office, you practically laughed me out.”
She had a point. He would not be more agreeable because she came. In fact, to hide his attraction to her, he would probably have done or said something stupid he would regret later. He had given a lot of thought to talking to the press though since he read Kate’s report.
“Alright Ese, I don’t know if it’s the lack of sleep talking but I’ll think about it and I’ll give you an answer before the end of the week. That good enough for you?”
“I guess so. I would appreciate it if you said yes.”
“I know.” He said, he smiled and disconnected the call.
He opened the door and entered the room. The lawyer was sitting on one of the chairs, arms folded across his chest. He had removed his suit and even folded the sleeves of his shirt. He stood up as soon as Adam entered.
“You kept me in this room for one hour? Do you know I am a lawyer?” He shouted.
“Sit down.” Adam said firmly. The lawyer shook his head and sat down. “Look here, I don’t want to lock you up especially if you did not kill that girl. You scream again, I’ll consider you a hostile witness and you will be locked up. So, let’s be gentlemen and do this quietly, okay?”
“Okay.” The lawyer said. Adam smiled, Tola would have been proud of him.
“How did you know about the girl’s death? Let’s start from there.”
“After Solomon, that is Pastor Alonge’s son heard about the threat of a lawsuit, he told me to help him talk to the girl. The truth was, he was not sure if the baby was his or not. I tried contacting the girl a few times but she refused to talk to me. I asked around and I found out a place where she usually partied with friends so I decided to meet her there.”
“No, another place downtown where lowlifes drink away their pitiful lives.”
“Unfortunately she started to leave as soon as I got there. I went after her and introduced myself, she told me to get lost. She said she wanted to talk to Solomon himself. I followed her trying to talk her into talking to me, she just flat ignored me. She stopped a taxi and I heard her tell the man she was going to Crackos, so I decided to go there as well.”
“I’m assuming you drove your own car, right?” Adam asked, the lawyer nodded. “Did you follow her taxi or just met her there?”
“No, before I could get my car, the taxi was gone. So I just decided I’d meet her there. I got there and didn’t see her so I decided to wait for her. Well, I was waiting for her when that nut-job came in to call the manager saying he found a body. I followed them out of curiosity and discovered she was the one who was dead. I promptly left the place.”
“Is there anybody who can confirm any part of this story you just told me?”
“They have cameras at Crackos, you can confirm the time of my arrival and all.”
“I will do that but that doesn’t mean anything. I don’t think I need to tell you that you are a suspect so don’t leave town.” Adam said, standing up. “And before you open your mouth and start threatening me with lawsuits, I just want you to know that I know about the law too and you should not bother.”
The lawyer opened his mouth to say something, but he closed it without saying a word.
“I’ll send in somebody to establish a timeline, map out where you were at every minute that night. So get comfy, you still have a few minutes to spend here.” Adam said and left the room.
*** *** ***
Adam walked into Tola’s office with a bottle of water in his hand. He was yet to eat and he was starting to feel hungry. Kate sat at her desk totally engrossed with her phone. Tola was reading through a file, she put it down and looked at him.
“How did it go with the lawyer?”
“He’s a suspect alright and he might have been the last person to see her alive apart from the killer if he isn’t the killer.”
“Do you still think this isn’t the church street killer?” Tola asked.
“I don’t think it is, although it’s not smart to rule that out. We have a window of a few hours when the girl was killed. I have sent Benjamin, one of the detectives to try and establish a timeline.”
“Alright. By the way, Miss World here has been bored.” Tola said, nodding in the direction of Kate who was now listening to them. “You need to get her something to do.”
“Yeah, Uncle…sorry Detective. Maybe I can go with you next time you go to question somebody.” Kate said, eyes pleading.
“In your dreams.” Adam said, laughing. “I think I have something for you though. I am considering going on a program on TV.”
“Really? Ese Johnson’s program, right?” Kate asked with a wink.
Adam felt a little flushed. What did she know about Ese? “Yes Kate, Ese Johnson’s program. Now I need you to write about twenty questions you think she should ask me and what my answers will be to them.”
“Isn’t Ese Johnson supposed to compose the questions?” Tola asked.
“Well, not in this case. Kate, make sure the questions aren’t too revealing and not too detailed. I’ll pick the best ones.”
“I’ll get right on it sir.” She said and saluted. Adam smiled. Maybe it was not a bad idea to work with Kate, he was growing to like her again.
“I’ll be in my office, I need to go over all the information we have about that very first murder.” Adam said and left Tola’s office.
His phone rang as he walked to his office. He did not recognize the number.
“Good afternoon.” He said.
“Detective, this is Pastor Alonge.”
“Oh, is your son back?”
“No, that’s why I called you. I told you he was on his way right? Well, he told me three days ago he was coming today. But I just got a call from his office in Lagos that he left for Ilorin two days ago and he was supposed to be back already.”
“Have you called him?” Adam asked.
“Of course I have, all his numbers are not available. And they told me the numbers have not been available for over thirty six hours.”
It meant he was already in town when his baby-mama was killed.
“Do you think maybe the person who killed that pregnant lady could have killed my son?” The pastor asked. Adam could hear the tension in his voice.
“Why on earth would you think that?”
“I’m just afraid. I pray my son hasn’t been hurt.”
Adam talked with him for a few more minutes and ended the call.
Solomon Alonge was either a killer or a victim, either way he needed to be found.
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.