Femi could not believe his eyes as he stared intently at Tosin Kayode. She had also been having an affair with the Chief. Femi knew that wasn’t meant to surprise him but it did. Did that also mean the Chief had been responsible for her teenage pregnancy? It was possible, Femi thought and spoke up.
“I brought her in here for questioning” he lied as Tosin glared at him.
“You just don’t pick people and trick them into following you into the station” she almost yelled.
“You don’t just kiss people to-” he stopped thinking of what to say as Jide stared at the both of them hoping his confusion would be cleared soon.
“I’m out of here” she said and turned to leave.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you” he warned as she faced him with a daring look. “We need to talk”
“About what?” She asked rudely.
“Oh I think you know that already” he said and noticed the fear in her eyes for a split second before she managed to put on a straight face.
“You’ve got nothing on me” she said defensively as he chuckled and remembered the man waiting for him in the interrogation room.
“I’ve got work to do…I’ll attend to you when I’m done” he turned to Jide. “You too” and he smiled at a sergeant, “Make sure they’re comfortable” and walked into the station as both pairs of eyes watched him.
“Sir” a young woman called and saluted before giving him a file.
He smiled at her. “How are you today, Abbie?”
“Very fine sir and I’m sure you are too” she said with so much respect that Femi almost laughed. She was the only female officer in their station and Femi was always impressed at how smart she was. They had not put her in the field yet but he knew she held great promise. He had tried to be casual with her on many occasions but she seemed so rigid as if the police force was all she had.
“You’re correct” he said smiling and walked on.
He scanned through the file and wondered why an old man would be blackmailing the Chief. The man was 85 and Femi wondered the connection he had with the late Chief.
There’s always a connection…
He wanted to get a knife and cut out the part of his brain that had stored Jide’s words in his head.
“Sorry for keeping you” he apologized as he opened the door and walked in.
Femi stopped in his tracks as he stared at the young man sitting down.
Femi looked back at the profile and wondered what was going on.
“Mr. Roger Brown?” He called to be sure as the man gave a frustrated sigh.
“That was my father’s name?”
“I’m lost” Femi dropped the file on the desk and looked down at the man. “Your father?”
“Yes…who in God’s name comes to arrest a dead man?”
Femi could give him no reply but he looked intently at the young man seated before him.
“What’s your name?” He asked and sat down.
“Daniel” Femi mouthed as he wrote it down on a plain piece of paper he had brought with him. He looked up at him. He had a stitch on the side of his shaved head that made Femi think he had been involved in a terrible accident but he did not care. He then asked, “where is your I. D?”
“Right here” he immediately took it out of his wallet.
Femi looked at it and nodded. He was saying the truth. “When did he die?”
“A year ago”
“Do you know Chief Emeka Okafor?” He asked as Dan shook his head.
“The name doesn’t ring a bell”
“Did your father know him?”
The young man thought for a while before shaking his head.
“He didn’t have many friends”
Femi was short of ideas and he could feel the wave of frustration slowly sweeping him away.
“Then who in God’s name cleared the three accounts on the 13th of this month?” He almost yelled as Dan gave him a blank stare.
“These accounts” he replied giving the papers to him.
Dan’s eyes widened as he stared at the huge amount of money.
“Daddy never owned an account while he was alive”
“How can you be so sure?” Femi was looking for a tiny thread to hold onto because he was already lost and drowning in an ocean.
“He lived with my wife and I for three years before he died” he replied as Femi bowed his head in annoyance.
Someone was playing with his head like a football and it really pissed him off.
Three ghost accounts and all cleared within a day at different branches.
“My men will follow you back to your house and search the place” he said as Dan shook his head.
“Will they find what they had not found before?”
“The female officer turned my house upside down and threatened to shoot me if I interrupted an official procedure”
The talk about Abbie was meant to make him laugh but he did not. He was confused. He was at the middle of the sea; right where the blackmailer wanted him.
“So you mean nobody in your family knows Chief?”
“Emeka Okafor” he was finding it hard to keep his voice low.
“I don’t think so…this Chief seems like a big man so if one of us knew him, life would be awesome”
“How many are you?”
“Just my younger sister and I” he replied with a shrug of his shoulders.
“What about your mother? Is she dead too?”
“No, she lives with my sister for now…she was in the village before”
A thought popped up in his head. “Where does your sister live?”
He frowned before answering. “54 Kolokuma Street, Borikiri…but we don’t-”
“Let’s go” Femi had a clue as to what Dan had wanted to say but he did not care.
As he walked out of the interrogation room with Dan, he remembered Tosin and Jide. He stopped to think of what to do. If he let Tosin leave, he would never have the chance to speak with her again.
“On second thought, two of my officers will go with you” he said and once more, his eyes went to the stitch on the side of his head; it looked as if it had been there for a long time and Femi did not know why he was even thinking about it.
Dan noticed but said nothing. “Well, are we going now?” He asked as Femi nodded and led him to the reception where he asked Abbie and another young sergeant, Awaji, to go with Dan.
He privately briefed them on what they had to do and told them to go with a tape recorder. He hated second hand information; he preferred to hear directly from the horses’ mouth.
When they were gone, he turned to the siblings seated on the bench. Tosin still wore her frown and Jide surprisingly looked radiant. Judging from the last encounter with Jide, he decided to speak with Tosin first.
He turned on the recorder and studied her. She looked like her mother except for the round face she had. He wondered how someone as beautiful as she was would end up as a side chick of the late Chief.
“Tell me about yourself” he began as she glared at him for some seconds before speaking.
“I’m Tosin…Kayode. 38 years. I don’t have a stable job” she recited like a poem and looked at him.
“Do you have a family?”
She gave him a sharp look before she realized she had to reply.
“I don’t” she quickly said as Femi nodded. He expected that reply.
“Do you have a child?” He asked knowingly as she bent her head and bit her lips.
Femi dropped his pen and stared at her.
“You were never pregnant?” He made it sound like a question.
“I never said that” she said looking down.
“Tell me what happened when you were sixteen”
She looked up and smiled as she spoke. “I got pregnant and ran away from home”
“Who was the father of your baby?”
“Now that’s personal” and Femi knew it was.
“Okay…what happened after you ran away?”
She pursed her lips as she thought and finally sighed once she remembered what she had to say. “Jide got arrested, I gave birth, I gave up my baby and I lived my life”
“You lived your life?” She nodded. “With Chief Emeka I suppose” he said holding up the photograph. He took in her expression which lasted longer than he had expected it to.
“Where did you-” she tried to reach for it but he immediately put it back on his side of the table.
“What would Mrs Okafor think?” He asked as Tosin stared at him completely expressionless. “What would your parents think?”
“Please” she said barely audibly.
“Why do you think your younger brother was arrested?”
“Rape and attempted murder” she replied as if begging him to believe her.
“Look, he’s out there. Ask him what you want to ask him and don’t get me involved”
“Oh, but you’re already involved Tosin”
“No, I am not. Jide is out of his mind”
“Jide had said you told him everything and that was probably what set Chief off”
“He was little, he was probably just saying what he felt would make him heard”
“Well he was heard but let’s go back to that line, what did you know then?”
“I wasn’t even around”
“I don’t think I’m putting it in the proper way…who was responsible for your pregnancy at the age of sixteen?” He asked and in a threatening gesture, waved the photograph in front of her.
She looked down and bit her lips; held back the tears and finally looked up at him and then at the recorder.
Someone barged in and Femi spun around in anger and saw a young big man, possibly in his late twenties being held back by the Sergeant on duty.
“Sir I tried to talk to this maniac but he wouldn’t listen”
“What is it?” Femi asked angrily rising to his feet as the man pulled away from the Sergeant and walked towards Femi.
“I need to speak with you”
“Well, I’m busy. Wait in the-”
“Now” he said in a threatening tone as Femi took a step back from the big guy.
“Look young man, file a report and we’ll-” Femi was interrupted by him.
“It’s about the murder of Chief Okafor”
Catherine stepped out of her room for the first time that day at 2:00pm. As she walked towards the kitchen, she noticed how unusually quiet the house was. She then concluded they had gone out. She arrived at the kitchen and began to search the counters for a lighter and after a fruitless effort, she went to her mother’s room. She was not comfortable with the silence in the house but she knew why they had not gone out with her, she would not have agreed even if they had asked her.
“Mum” she called and entered even though she had not expected a reply.
The room was empty and as her eyes scanned the place, they came to rest on the lighter beside the bedside lamp.
With a smile, she took it and immediately lit her cigarette. Staying without nicotine in her system till 2:00pm was a new success.
Mum would be proud, she thought as she let out smoke through her nostrils. She turned to leave the room when she caught a glance of her father’s portrait that hung on the wall; the one her mother was always staring at. She glared at the man in the picture, how much she despised him; how much she hated him.
She thought of unleashing her hatred by punching his face in the wall and that was exactly what she did. She hit him until the bones of her fist hurt her that she could not bear the pain anymore.
“I hate you” she yelled in anger as tears began to well in her eyes. “I hope you rot in hell” she shouted and began to sob with her head on the portrait.
With her head on the portrait, she thought she heard a sound behind her and as she turned, she felt something hit her at the back of her head: blackout