Detective Godwin frowned at his computer then stared distraughtly at the map. He couldn’t believe it’d been five months since the case had been assigned to him, yet he and his team still couldn’t find the suspect of the murder.
“Damn it!” Godwin cursed as he drew his pen across the room…where could she possibly be?
“Easy man!” Uche, his friend and partner advised as he strolled into the office and picked up the pen. “You’re going to find her soon enough, trust me”
“Yea right” Godwin answered sarcastically as he resumed his staring on the clue-board behind the room, ignoring the rattling sounds in his stomach.
“Aren’t you going out for lunch?” Uche asked, picking up his jacket from the chair and heading towards the door.
“Nah…that can wait” Godwin answered with eyes still glued to the pins tagged to each clue on the clue-board while Uche bounced off with a sympathetic look on his face. The clue board which hung firmly behind his chair, held contents of all possible clues to the murder case: the gory pictures of the victim, the venue of the murder, names of all relatives of the victim and their respective addresses including the names of all the victim’s friends, business partners and associate. It also included facts about those they considered to have grievances towards the victim and astonishingly, it was a very long list. They’ve been able to verify the existence and location of all but one, the girl in the video. It was as if she had fallen off the face of the earth with all traces of her whereabouts gone to the wind.
Godwin sighed wearily as he swirled back to his chair and then hit the replay button on the video clip that they’d been able to retrieve from the security cameras of the murder venue. It was their sole evidence and had conveniently become his recent obsession. He made sure it never left his sight, taking it everywhere with him and that included the bathroom.
“Yes? Who’s there?” Godwin called out after several rapt knocks fell loudly on his door. He didn’t want to be disturbed and so, grimace embraced his face as he recalled not informing his corporals about that earlier.
“Mr Godwin”, a soft voice answered, calling out his name as the door flung opened. Slowly raising up his head, his gaze fell first on her slim legs impeded in a silver leathered shoe to her small waist wrapped in silver colored belt and then her pink-watered lips to her brown sparkling eyes and a grin escaped his lips as he tried to recall the face.
“Mrs Igbemudia? Godwin asked still mulled in disbelief.
“Yes?” Esosa replied taking a seat without waiting for an invitation. “Why are you looking at me like that?”
“Wow! You’ve gone slimmer. I couldn’t even recognize you” Godwin answered chuckling from the transformation unveiling in front of him.
“Well Mr Godwin, I’m not here to talk about my new features or exchange pleasantries” Esosa replied, ignoring the fading smile escaping from Godwin’s lips. “I’m here to know why it is taking you so long to find my brother’s killer”
“Well madam, like I’ve mentioned before, we are doing all we can” Godwin answered apologetically.
“It’s been five months Mr. Godwin, five months! What the hell have you been doing all this while?” Esosa inquired scowling up like a scarecrow.
“But madam, you know how it is na. The evidence we have is not concrete enough to tell us where the killer could be. We’ve searched eventually all the vicinities around the murder venue and beyond and we can’t seem to find her. And also madam, like I told you over the phone three days ago, the evidence we have doesn’t show how the murder occurred, just a prologue to it or possibly nothing. That is why it is imperative we find the suspect first and bring her in for questioning.” Godwin explained with pleasing eyes. He didn’t know what else to do or what else to say either.
“What about the finger prints you found in his hotel room and on him” Esosa asked with jaws still firm in a frown obviously ready for whatever the outcome would be.
“Yes, we have all that and we’ve gone through it with all of the suspects we had earlier and none fitted right with it.” Mr. Godwin answered quietly, trying to push aside his frustration. He was now wishing he took up Uche’s offer for lunch, inside of sitting down on his damned chair playing host to questions he knew he had earlier provided. What else did she want him to do na! His thoughts lamented.
“I see…so now you are telling me what? Nothing? That nothing can be done to find my brother’s killer?” Esosa asked getting agitated. Her question was soon abruptly interrupted as Mr Godwin’s phone cried out. He excused himself out of the office and quietly picked the call.
“Hello!” He spoke into the phone “Detective Godwin here”
“Commissioner Shedrack here, from Calabar, state police division” a hoarse voice responded.
“Oh Mr Commissioner, what can I do for you sir?” Godwin asked, blinking vigorously as he wiped the beads of sweat on his head and adjusted his suit.
“Well, we’ve found a perfect match to the description of the murder suspect you mailed to us here in Calabar” the Commissioner announced proudly.
“Really?” Godwin asked excitedly, urging the speaker to continue with the details.
“Well, we are wondering if you can take the next flight to Calabar and see for yourself” the Commissioner continued obviously grinning from teeth to teeth.
“Oh thank you very much sir” Godwin smiled contentedly as he ended the call and headed back to his office. Delightedly, he informed Esosa about the call who assertively insisted she would go with him.
Debbie glanced briskly at the man wearing a black t-shirt and jeans trousers with sternness plastered all over his face. She’d been there for over five hours now and no-one was willing to explain to her why she was pulled out of the lovely dinner she was having with Obong, her boyfriend. He had been deterred from coming with her to the station and she couldn’t understand any of it. What could she had done to have been treated like a criminal? She hadn’t killed anybody, neither had she stolen anything in her life she lamented sniffing off the tears that were starting to form in her eyes and then, mentally trying to push away the embarrassment she had felt and was still feeling. She couldn’t believe this was happening to her, just at the precise moment when Obong was about to propose to her. Was this a setup or something? Was someone trying to steal her moment of happiness after all her struggles in life? She took a handkerchief from her handbag and blew her nose. “What if this whole misunderstanding causes Obong to never propose to her? What if he never proposes again?”
“Why am i here please?” Debbie demanded tired of all the hugger-muggery going on around her as she stood up and faced the commissioner squarely.
“You will know soon enough, Miss Victoria, so please sit down” the Commissioner answered politely, pointing back to the chair.
“But I’ve been here over five hours now and no one is telling me anything. I demand to know why you will pull me out of my evening with my boyfriend” Debbie persisted as she paced up and down the table and then glared at the Commissioner again. With eyes blaring with anger, she pounded on the table hoping it would buoy the man into wiping the smirk lurking on the side of his mouth but to no avail. Instead, the stern-looking man pointed to the chair and insisted she sit and be quiet.
“Is there anything you want me to get you? we have coffee” the Commissioner offered rising from his table.
Debbie said nothing but simply eyed him with contempt while her gaze followed him till he was out of the office. Quickly, she x-rayed through the contents on his table in hopes to find any incline to the reason she was held but sunk back on her seat in defeat.
Suddenly, her ears caught the sound of a familiar voice and she sprang up from her seat, listening intensively. The voices beyond the walls were faint but she recognized the other to be a woman’s and just as she moved towards the door, it flung opened and Debbie froze.
She felt the world go under her as she came face to face with Esosa, who had a giant smirk on her lips. Feeling a jab on her chest, she watched in horror as Esosa walked up to the Commissioner’s desk and took a seat two seats away from her with no inclination that she knew her. Debbie trotted back to her seat, groaning for air as she suddenly began to find it hard to breathe. It was like the air had abruptly been sucked out from the room and the giant lump stuck in her throat wasn’t helping either. Another man dressed in a black suit walked into the room and sat next to Esosa, while the Commissioner took his seat, opposite them.
“Well, Miss Victoria, they are the reason you are here” the Commissioner finally spoke, breaking the tension that was obviously hovering around the room.
“Me?” Debbie asked after finding her voice. She didn’t know what to do. At that moment, she could only wish the ground would open up and swallow her.
“Yes, you are prime suspect to the murder of one Mr Kunle Adeyinka” Godwin offered as he turned his gaze on her and eyed her from head to toe “we have been looking for you for five months”
“Kunle? Kunle Adeyinka?” Debbie asked totally dumbfounded and perplexed by what she was hearing. She couldn’t understand. This must be a nightmare, she thought as she stared from one face to the other. She could see Esosa smirking quietly at her seat.
“Yes…the brother to Mrs Deborah here” Godwin answered pointing to Esosa who faked up a grimace and remained silent.
“You must be joking!” Debbie exclaimed still refusing to believe her brother was dead and she was being accused of it.
“Well I am sorry I am not and you are our prime suspect to the incident because you were the last person to be seen with him” Godwin replied still trying to play it cool. Swiftly, he offered her the victim’s pictures and hers from the video clip. “We’ve been looking all over the world for you”
Deborah laughed..Her head felt like it was in a spinning wheel and the earth was Jupiter while Jupiter was earth.
“Wait! I want to understand something. Are you trying to tell me my brother is dead, and I’m the one who did it?” Debbie asked looking down at the pictures in dismay.
“No. what I’m trying to say is that you, Miss Victoria as you call yourself killed Mr. Kunle, Mrs Deborah’s brother and we want to know why” Mr Godwin asked sternly as he took the pictures from her. “And also why you changed your name from Miss Esosa Igharo to what you call yourself now.”
Deborah’s mouth fell opened but the only words that came out were “I didn’t kill my brother”. “I didn’t kill him!”
The officers looked briskly at themselves and back at her.
“I said I didn’t kill my brother Kunle…oh kunle, I can’t believe he’s dead” Deborah wailed inconsolably. All the frustration she’d been trying to cage in since she was brought to the police were unleashed without further hesitation.
“Will you keep your mouth shut right there?! Esosa yelled rooting out from her seat, being unable to understand the dramatics in the room anymore.
“How dare you! How dare you open up your stinky mouth and call my beloved brother yours after murdering him in cold blood? Officers! “She turned to the bewildered men sitting next to her, “are you both just going to sit there and listen to this mad woman, instead of throwing her in jail? Can’t you see how insane she is? Isn’t this enough to prove that she killed my brother, probably out of the same insanity? I will not stand here and listen to this rubbish” She retorted out angrily and stomped out of the office while Debbie stared after her, petrified.
To be continued….
To check out the previous episode, “The Switch 5” click here