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 one 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”