IN CASE YOU MISSED EPISODE 1, PLEASE SEE HERE
He made for the window quickly. He knew he should climb and escape but temptation kept him rooted. He eyed the dead girl’s bag and decided no harm could be done if he helped himself to some money, she wouldn’t need it now anyway.
He searched though the bag and took her money as well as her phone which he was sure would be worth two years of his salary. Leaving that behind would be mad of him.
He felt awkward as he reached the window and the clumsiness caused a loose iron on the window sill to cut into his skin. He didn’t feel the pain, indeed he was used to pain, but he was worried. Chief had warned that there should be no bloodshed, not from the girl and not from him, the stranger. He hurriedly wiped the blood with his glove protected palm and proceeded. The Chief was too careful, the stranger now realized, perhaps to a fault. It was in case of unplanned bloodstains that Chief insisted he use new clothes so that nothing would be traced back, should he leave a scrap of the cloth. He also warned that the new clothes and shoes be thrown in the nearby stream immediately after the assignment. The stranger was also to have a good bath.
Of all these, he intended only to have a good bath. He’d never had new clothes in his life, why would he throw away his first just because he had an assignment with it? Moreover, he hadn’t made any mistakes and he wasn’t spotted by anyone.
He knew the assignment had worked out fine…
Detective Kogberegbe was a man who was a bit too carefree for his position; this usually showed in his dressing, which unless he couldn’t help was always casual. Despite his dressing, he felt uneasy. Although he was well trained in his field, he never liked to see innocent people die, especially in their youth. He spat on the sidewalk as he considered the Okanlawons’ residence. The tall gate was slightly ajar so he pushed his way in, nodded a greeting to the gateman who visibly trembled. His eyes evidenced he had been crying and he looked disoriented, Kogberegbe didn’t want to be in the man’s shoes. A girl had been killed in the house he guarded and he didn’t even have a clue as to who the perpetrator was.
A policeman was stationed beside the guard and Kogberegbe knew the guard was in trouble. He smiled wryly.
Kogberegbe recalled his earlier conversation with Dr. Okanlawon, a well-known politician in town. Dr. Okanlawon wanted to get to the root of the matter, no matter what or how much it would cost. His only child had been murdered and he felt aggrieved, disgraced and sour. InOkanlawon’s opinion, it was linked to his political status. Kogberegbe could not dispute that; it was the first lead he would trace.
Dr. Okanlawon already called in the police but didn’t trust them to get the murderer. A fellow politician recommended Kogberegbe to him and he’d placed a call to the private detective immediately. Kogberegbe gave Dr. Okanlawon instructions not to allow the policemen move anything till his arrival, he needed everything to be intact to make his job easy, assuming of course that the perpetrator had left clues, which he doubted if the murder indeed was political. But would ‘easy’ qualify any job in Nigeria? He mused. He had tackled many cases in the past that he knew shouldn’t have lasted more than hours if it was in a developed world where there were facilities to play around with.
He reached the staircase and took them in twos. Inside, a woman who he assumed to be Mrs. Okanlawon lay on a long sofa, disheveled with a blank look in her eyes. Kogberegbe hoped she would remain sane for long. Three women who spoke comforting words to Mrs. Okanlawon flanked her. Mrs. Okanlawon didn’t move much less acknowledge his entry. She was fully dressed, like she was at work or on her way down to the office when she discovered her daughter was dead.
“Morning Detective” a gruff voice said on Kogberegbe’ far left. Kogberegbe turned his head towards the voice and recognized Dr. Okanlawon at once. Kogberegbe strode towards him. Dr. Okanlawon sat with his legs spread, his arms clasped together between his legs. He wore pretty attire made with Guinea material that shone its newness.
The friends that flanked him weren’t bothering with kind words, all of them sat in silence. Kogberegbe shook the hand Dr. Okanlawon offered.
“You were highly recommended” Okanlawon said in the same tone that showed he was barely holding himself together “I hope you’re not going to disappoint me”
“I’ll do my best sir” Kogberegbe replied, “Can you tell me again how you found the body?”
Doctor explained that his daughter, Ronke who was a 200 level student in a Federal University, had come home because of ASUU (Academic Staff Union of Universities) strike. She was a straightforward girl who never kept late nights, move with bad company or misbehave. She didn’t have many friends, her parents knew the few she moved with and she was a brilliant child. It was the third time she would experience ASUU strike and would call home immediately for them to send a driver to pick her up. She never stayed back when the school was closed. All in all, she was a good girl and everyone loved her.
She however had a habit of waking up late. She started this in her final year in secondary school but got worse at it after she gained admission to the higher institution. She explained this off that she simply slept late and therefore refused to see a Doctor.
So they let her be, since it wasn’t affecting her in any way. She always had good grades and they concluded that if she needed rest then she could always have it as long as she made sure she got up earlier while in school so as not to miss classes.
That fateful day, she slept late again- or they thought she did. The parents were very busy people; the mom was a commissioner and usually went to work earlier than Dr. Okanlawon. Her driver picked her up as usual and he, Dr. Okanlawo was getting ready for work when she called his phone. They had been trying to renew their daughter’s passport and Mrs. Okanlawon was contacted by the Immigration office that Ronke had an appointment for 11:00am. She tried to call Ronke directly but her phone was off and Mrs. Okanlawon was sure to forget to pass the information across once she got into the flow of work for the day.
Dr. Okanlawon, on receiving the message, headed for Ronke’s room, knocked the door a couple of times and soon became impatient, determined to knock some sense into his daughter about her sleep. He then opened the door angrily, shouting Ronke’s name but there was no response. He walked into the room further and didn’t need to be told Ronke was dead. He however moved close and checked for a pulse that wasn’t there, her head was in an odd angle that told him it had been snapped.
“I called my wife immediately, told her she’d better start heading back. She tried to argue but I convinced her of the necessity of coming back home. I called the police immediately after that and then you” Dr. Okanlawon finished. Kogberegbe was taking notes.
“I assume you have hired hands in this house?” Kogberegbe looked around to take in the magnificent building. He wondered why Nigerians loved to build huge houses that would cause maintenance problem after their demise. Anyway, he thought to himself, it provided employment for other people.
“Yes we do. But they don’t share the house with us. They resume work at 8:00am and close at 9:00pm with the exception of days when we have a special occasion.”
“I see” Kogberegbe added this in his notepad and said he’d like to see the body.
A police officer who’d planted himself beside Kogberegbe minutes earlier nodded and led the way.
There was a lot of activity in the girl’s room. Men in black uniforms were moving in different corners, taking notes of the scene. Pictures were being taken of the corpse.
Kogberegbe allowed the photographer to round up before moving closer to the bed, slipping on his gloves. He wouldn’t want to meddle with any evidence – if it wasn’t meddled with already. Ronke was sprawled awkwardly on the bed, her legs slightly apart and her right hand dangling off the bed. Her eyes stared unseeingly into the empty space. She was a pretty girl, well developed for her age, fair complexioned and tall. She had her natural hair on which was long and very black- perhaps too black, Kogberegbe thought, concluding she must have used hair dye while she was alive. Kogberegbe checked beneath her brightly coloured fingernails for signs of struggle but it was clean, not a single scrap of skin to lead on.
He took in her dressing and frowned. She wore a very skimpy blue skirt that hugged her buttocks tightly and an equally tight red blouse that barely covered her navel. The only underwear she wore was her panties. Her face was, in Kogberegbe’s opinion, too heavily made up and she had big beads around her neck and wrist, the colour of her blouse. Kogberegbe doubted anyone could dress up so heavily just to get in bed and sleep the night away. She gave the picture of a lady that just got back or on her way to a club house. Kogberegbe produced his writing pad and made some notation, he would have to requestion the girl’s father. He saw her little handbag lying a foot from the bed, picked it up carefully and searched. The handbag was empty which made him wonder if she used or planned to use the bag for the night.
“Notice any phone around this room?” Kogberegbe asked the closest police officer to him.
“No sir” the officer replied “The parents confirmed it’s missing. They have been trying to call the number since early morning and it’s not even ringing. Her dad said she never switched off”
“Wrong move” Kogberegbe said inaudibly.
Temitope Obasa is a young nigerian author. Although she studied science at graduate level, she discovered early her talent in writing and has since developed a vision around that. She has written a lot of scripts for stage and televison. Her first novel STROKES OF LIFE was published in 2009.
photo credit: google images