It’s been four weeks since the Ilesanmi massacre and since then twelve other similar cases had been reported, putting the tally to thirteen unsolved mysterious cases. The police, however, had a strong feeling there were more episodes than that; there were simply not reported. This was very much to be expected in a country where the people had a-less-than average trust in its police and are more inclined to religious and spiritual sentiments. People would rather associate such incident with some spiritual forces rather than to believe it is criminal in nature. They were probably right. The cases had become extremely difficult to categorize. Where were they to draw the line between spirituality and criminality? The border line had thinned so much both seemed irrevocably merged.
The twelve reported cases were very similar to the Ilesanmi massacre, but were not completely alike. On the 4th of April the police were invited to a scene, a home in one of the city’s suburb, where an entire family of eight had completely vanished overnight. What was left in the house were pools and splashes of blood, and small chunks of human flesh littered all over. No ‘body’ was recovered. April 9th a missing family case was reported, the victims: a fifty-six year old banker, his forty-five year old wife and three children between ages six and fifteen. They had all disappeared. But in this case there were no pools or splatter of blood, or chunks of human flesh lying around, they had just vanished overnight without a trace, as if they travelled; only they didn’t. The only living witness was their dog, Frisby, which had gone completely mad, so mad it could not be tamed or calmed. It was as if it had seen something it should not have seen. Beyond help, the dog was put down four days after. The family until their disappearance resided in Maitama.
On April 11th, 13th and 16th similar cases of families vanishing completely were reported. The family size ranged from just a couple to couples with kids. In all these cases no reliable evidence was found in their homes, neither was there any sign of struggle nor forced entry. It was a bewildering situation, one that threw the entire police force into complete confusion. How were they to fight an invisible and brutal enemy, who gives no sign or warning of attack, has no area of focus- because the adoption took place in different parts of the city-and left no evidence, not even a single thread? They were doomed. At the same time they struggled hard to keep a lid over the true situation of things, a few crumbs had slipped to the media and they wanted it to remain that way, exposing the true state of happenings to the public would most definitely cause outright panic and chaos. As it were they had enough on their plate already.
Six twenty five on the evening of April 20th Kunle and his six-member team were in the conference room of Nyanya police station; they were brainstorming. Kunle, due to his profound knowledge of the origin of the case, had been assigned to head the team laden with the immense responsibility of solving and bringing to an end the mysterious massacre and disappearance of different families. It was an overwhelming charge. At the end of each week the team gathered around the large table in the conference room, with crime photos and case files scattered all across the table and a white board at one corner of the room, they exchange notes and pondered over what they had been able to uncover during the week, which in most cases was very little. This week had not fared any better.
The room was graveyard silent, except for Nduka’s voice that flowed from the tape player at the center of the table. One team member had suggested they go back to the beginning, to the very first evidence in their custody and work their way up to the latest, possibly there was something they had missed or overlooked during their previous examination. Everyone listened with rapt attention at every syllable, word and inflection.
“I told you people but you didn’t believe me” Nduka was heard saying.
“It’s okay, we believe you” Mabel’s voice, “For how long has this been happening?”
There was a pause.
“I am not sure, like last month” Nduka’s voice.
“Does he tell you where he goes when he returns?”
There was another pause.
“What is the matter Nduka? Go ahead, you can tell me”
“He use to say some things…I don’t understand them” The boy was heard saying, uncertainty and maybe fear, lacing his voice.
“I can’t remember all, but he use to say something like ‘atova…heart…dauthus est certus…logos est hura…na requiesent in pace…ilesanmi…anders habban qiman…I eat whole family-”
“Is that Palai?” Someone asked from the door. All heads simultaneously swung in the direction from whence the voice came. They had all been listening so intensely and completely that none of them noticed that someone had been standing by the door. Kunle turned off the tape player.