It took a while before the intensity of what the inspector was implying hit her. And when it hit her, she couldn’t believe it.
“Are you accusing me of killing my husband?” She blinked sporadically.
“I’m not accusing you of anything. I simply told you that latest autopsy result shows that your husband didn’t die of a heart failure as earlier concluded. He died of arsenic poisoning. Do you know what that means Mrs Adebayo?”
“Not really…..but if we’re talking about a poisoning and you called me down here, what else could this be about?” She sounded frantic with anger and frustration.
“Well, ma’am, arsenic poisoning is a medical condition caused by elevated levels of arsenic in the body.”
“And what the hell does that mean?” She interrupted, not being able to control herself anymore.
“Chronic arsenic poisoning could be gotten from drinking contaminated well water over a long period of time”
“So…….what are we talking about here? Are you saying I gave him contaminated water for a long period of time?” The smile of disbelief on her face didn’t match the voice that croaked out the words. What the hell is going on?
“You tell me ma’am. Did you?” Inspector Michael had had enough of the woman and her paranoia.
She looked like she wouldn’t mind being swallowed up by the ground.
“He was my husband, inspector” She said with a voice devoid of all emotion.
Inspector Michael didn’t say anything. He just held her steely gaze.
“The father of my children. Why would I kill him?” The question sounded like she was asking herself rather than the inspector who just sat across the table studying her.
“Are you aware that your husband just recently won a contract worth eight billion naira?”
“So I killed him for money? Is that what you’re saying?”
The inspector shrugged.
“People have different reasons for doing the things they do.” He gave a smug smile
“Oh? If this is an accusation, I’ll like to call my lawyer.” She said resignedly.
“Mrs Adebayo, this is not an accusation. I’m just trying to let you on what happened. He was your husband. Whose water would he have consumed continuously for him to have been killed by it? Do you know a regular restaurant he visits? Or anything like that? Or maybe anyone who would want to kill him?”
“He never ate out. I always packed a food and water flask for him every day when he’s going to work. My husband was loved by all and sundry too. I don’t know anyone who would intentionally kill him”
“Do you know anyone who would kill him unintentionally then?”
“That’s not what I meant. Surely you know that”
The inspector sighed deeply.
“Alright. Thank you for your time. I’ll keep you updated as the investigation continues”
“Thank you” She got up and turned toward the door, not bothering to take the outstretched hand of the inspector in a handshake.
Kunle dropped the magazine he was reading and switched on his phone as the plane glided through the taxi. It has been almost three years since he left Nigeria and did he miss it here! The picture of his lifelong friend which he had set as his wallpaper stared back at him. He missed Mary very much. He lost her contact along with his mobile phone when he was robbed on the subway years back and he never for once stopped thinking about her. It’s a pity she didn’t look for him. How hard would it have been to get his number? They had a couple of mutual friends who she could have called to ask for his number if she needed it. Maybe she didn’t need him. She had married Yemi Adebayo after all. The Yemi Adebayo. What did she need him for anyway? By now, the plane had come to a complete stop and as he was in the business class cabin, he was among the first to exit the plane. He dialed the number of his mum to let her know he had landed when she told him that Mary’s husband had died. He couldn’t believe it. He took a taxi and headed home. When he had rested a bit, he brought up the topic with his mum again. She even added that the day before had been the funeral. She had seen the date in the papers. Kunle threw his pride out of the window immediately and dialed Mary’s number.
It seemed she couldn’t get out of there fast enough. As she drove back home, she replayed the event that took place in the policeman’s office.
“How can I kill him? Is he crazy?”
The man, who, despite what everyone thought was her motive, she loved dearly.
The ring of her phone brought her out of her thoughts. She picked it up.
“Yes….speaking. Who am I speaking with?”
“My God! Kunle! Where have you been? You totally abandoned me. Not fair”
She steered the car to the side of the road and parked.
“Oh. Yes, it’s true. He’s dead o”
“I’m on my way home now.”
“Yes. I’m still in his house.”
“That would be nice. See you in an hour. Bye”
She dropped the phone.
Kunle’s call brought a smile to her face. Kunle Sawyer. Her lifelong friend and college sweetheart. They dated for about two years when they were in school and when the relationship fell out, they had gotten so close that they just continued being friends. Best friends. It was even through him that Yemi had met her and he was the key instrument in how they started dating before finally getting married. He however travelled out about three years ago and shortly after, they lost touch with each other.
She turned on the ignition and drove home.
Inspector Michael picked up the intercom on his table and dialed a number.
“Tell Obi and Braimah to come into my office right away”
He dropped the phone and sat upright in his chair.
That woman had behaved strangely. She was too paranoid and his instincts told him something was up.
The two officers he asked for came in; Sergeant Obi and Sergeant Major Braimah. They both saluted and he told them to have their seats.
None of them was new to the Adebayo case, he however updated them on what had just happened in his office.
“I have a very strong feeling that woman knows something” he concluded.
Braimah spoke first.
“Did she say if the deceased had been complaining of anything prior to his death? I understand that there are some peculiar symptoms arsenic poisoning brings before the final heart failure. Surely, she must have noticed he wasn’t well”
“She didn’t say. She just kept being paranoid. Everything I said seemed to her like an accusation” the inspector answered.
“However, I understand that he had been gone for about six months on a business trip prior to the death.” He added.
“So what do you suggest now sir?” Sergeant Obi who had been quiet all the while asked.
“I want her monitored. Every move she makes, everybody she talks to, what she talks about. You know the drill” Michael stated.
“Don’t we need a warrant for that sir?”Braimah asked raising a brow.
“I will get that. But I want your work to start in earnest.”The inspector said.
“Yes Sir” the men said in unison.
“And one more thing, she must not know she’s being followed”
“Yes Sir” they chorused again and marched out of the office.
One thing Michael didn’t tell the officers was that whenever he was onto something, the tip of his nose tingled and right now, it was on fire. He smiled as he sat back in his chair and closed his eyes while he rubbed the bridge of his nose.
She got out of the car and entered the house. Bimpe came to the door to welcome her, collecting her handbag and the bag of groceries she had with her.
“Where are the kids?” She asked
“They don go lesson. They say make I tell you dem go late small say as dem dey go visit friends when they finish lesson” The househelp answered in pidgin.
“Okay. Thank you. Put those away and get me a cold glass of water” She said motioning to the bag of groceries she came in with.
“Yes ma” she made a kneeling gesture, grabbed the bag and left the sitting room.
She reappeared seconds later with a glass of water in a tray, and stood beside her waiting for her boss to finish drinking.
“Why are you on my head?” Mary asked as the help stood too close for comfort.
“I dey wait make you finish drinking the water,ma”
“Don’t worry. Go inside. I’ll call you when I need you”
Hearing this, she disappeared inside.
Mary remembered that Kunle was coming by. She peeled off her stilettos and treaded bare footed upstairs to get freshened up.
Kunle’s car came to a stop outside the fence of the Adebayos. It was the same as he remembered it. Turning off the ignition, he got out of the car and headed for the door. A cheerful face peeked out of the door after he rang the bell twice.
“Good afternoon, sir”
“Hey. Good afternoon dear. How are you?”
“I dey. Who you want see?” She asked curiously.
“I’m here to see Mary.”
“She dey expect you?”
“Sure. Just tell her Kunle is here”
“Okay sir. Come inside.”
He entered the kingly mansion and made himself comfortable on one of the plush settees. The lady who he guessed is the maid disappeared and reappeared later with a glass of juice.
“She dey come. Call me if you need anything” she said and disappeared into one of the numerous doors that surrounded the sitting room.