ARANDUN COMMUNITY COLLEGE
19, July 2015
‘No body, no crime’. Every Policeman knows that but he could not wrap his head around this new case he was working. There was no body but his gut told him something was terribly wrong.
He had been in Arandun for five years and all he had done was report in the office, greet people properly and keep quiet. He had learnt to keep quiet now. He did not know how, a few years before and he had been taught. Now he was in Arandun, serving his punishment and keeping his head down. And he was doing a great job of keeping his head down until a girl was kidnapped right under his nose. The Divisional Police Officer in charge of his division rarely stayed in Arandun, so he was almost always in charge. And he was in charge when the girl went missing.
He was standing in front of the Principal’s office. He had just gotten permission to interview some teachers and a student. The classrooms formed a square round a space he assumed was the assembly ground. The school was quiet. A few students walked towards the staff room. A young female teacher walked behind them. She had a pretty face, but then he had always had a thing for teachers.
He walked towards the school gate. He had to wait till recess before he could talk to anybody. Surely that did not include the guard.
“Good Morning sir.” he greeted the old guard, bowing as low as he could. He had learnt how important it was to some people. “How’s work today?”
“My son, work is the same. Sit down” he pulled a chair. “It’s not every day we see policemen in our school. Hope there is no problem.”
It was not right to discuss official investigations but the old man could have information he didn’t.
“You know about the girl who is missing, right?”
“Yes, I know the girl. Her father is from my mother’s compound” He rubbed his palms together. He opened his mouth like he was about to say something but changed his mind.
“Is there something you think I should know?” He needed all the information he could get. He had no idea what he was doing with the investigation.
“Do you know that Corper, Nicholas?” he looked hesitant but continued. “They are close.”
“Yes, I know him. I will be talking to him today.” There was something he wasn’t saying. “Sir, we need to find the girl. If you know anything, I would want you to tell me.”
“Okay. The night before the girl went missing, I saw Nicholas with her. They were in the school premises till six o’clock.” Okay, that doesn’t mean much. ”My son, to my surprise, when I was going home around ten o’clock, I saw Nicholas at her house.”
It made sense. The girl’s father travelled a lot. So, Nicholas slept over, they somehow got into a fight, he killed her and ran away. No body, no crime.
“Do you think he had anything to do with her kidnap?” the old man looked genuinely concerned.
He had no idea what to say. He opened his mouth to say he did not know, but the bell rang and he stood up. He thanked the guard and walked towards the staff room. He got to the door of the room then changed his mind. Talking to the victim’s sister first will give him a background on the victim.
Students were scattered everywhere. They did not waste a minute of their temporary freedom. A few of them were crowded under a tree. He assumed that was where snacks were sold. Behind the tree, there was a field where most of the students were either playing soccer or watching.
He walked down the senior class corridor. He decided to check her class, it was his best bet. Her class looked empty, but she was there. She was sitting quietly at the back. He had tried talking to her when he visited her parent’s house but she was too upset to talk.
“Hello, Lola, right?” She looked up at him and nodded. “Are you okay?” She nodded again. There was no point in small talk, he had to get out of her hair. “I’m Corporal Adam. I was at your house a few days ago. I just want to ask you some questions about your sister.” He pulled a chair and sat. She obviously was not going to say anything except he asked a direct question. “Do you know what happened to her?” That was direct enough.
“I don’t know. She had been keeping to herself. My sister was… my sister is a very lively person. The whole town knows when she’s around. But she got really quiet. I don’t know…”
“Okay. When did this quietness start?”
“I’m not sure. I remember coming back from school a little over two weeks ago and finding the house really quiet. I thought maybe she went out. You see, the house is never quiet when she‘s in. She’s either playing music or singing herself” She said the last part with a smile. “So i was very surprised to meet her in the room. When i entered she was reading a book or something. She never reads.”
She folded her arms across her chest, hugging herself. She looked away, the interview looked over. He had more information to process than he had before. People don’t just change personalites. Actually girls do, every ten minutes. This did not look like a temporary thing though.
He had to talk to that Corper.
* * *
ARANDUN COMMUNITY COLLEGE
19, JULY, 2015
“Mr Akorede” Nobody had called him that in a long time. “Can i call you Nicholas?” He nodded “I just want to ask you some questions about Kemi.”
He already knew it was just a matter of time before he would have to answer questions about his relationship with Kemi. They were not a couple. He had thought about it, but they were not.
He had seen a lot of Hollywood movies about Cops, a few Nollywood movies too. He knew enough about Police interrogations but he could not figure out the Policeman in front of him. Was he here so he could tell his superiors he investigated or was he really interested in solving the case?
“People have told me, they’ve seen you and Kemi together, a lot. Are you dating her? Were you at any point?” He was really going straight to the point.
“No.” Kate looked at him. She had never asked him but he knew she wanted to know. “We were not dating. We were close, yes. But we were not dating”
“Okay.” he expected the Cop to take notes but he didn’t. He rubbed his fingers together and looked outside.
“Do you have an idea who did this?” Nicholas asked.
“No, not yet. That’s why I’m here. You should know, you were close.”
“No sir, i don’t have an idea either.”
“I have information you might have slept over at her place the night before she disappeared. She must have mentioned something. Nicholas, you have to give me all the information you have. That’s the only way we can have a chance of finding her alive.”
She is dead already. He could not tell them that. That would make him the first and probably the only suspect.
“She did not say anything out of order” He tried to sound as sincere as he could.
“So, you’re saying it’s true you slept over at her father’s house?” Now it’s her father’s house. Nicholas nodded. In two seconds, a pen and a notepad came out if his pocket. “When did you leave? You left the next day, right?” He looked up at Nicholas. “When did you leave?”
Nicholas swallowed. Telling the truth was not an option. No innocent person runs away from a friend’s house at four a.m. He had.
“I can’t remember when I left. It was sometime in the morning; early in the morning.” He was not sure the cop bought it.
“When you left, she was fine?” He was at a breaking point. He could feel the sweat already.
“Okay, let me get this straight.” The cop obviously noticed his discomfort and was going to optimise it. “You slept over, left early in the morning. She was fine when you left. A few hours later she is missing. And you had nothing to do with it. That is correct?”
Nicholas opened his mouth and nothing came out.
“Answer my question, please!”
Then the bell rang. Saved by the bell, how cliche.
“That’s the bell.” Kate was the first to react. “We have classes now. We can continue this later, I suppose.”
The cop stood up. He looked unhappy. He was having a good time tearing him apart.
“Mr. Akorede” he was back to last names. “I’ll be in touch with you. There are questions I need you to answer.”
“Okay sir.” Nicholas rose up as he left. He looked at Kate and heaved a sigh of relief.
“Nick, you know he’ll be back, right? What are you going to do?”
He had no idea.
* * *
Thomas & Co Chambers
20, July, 2015
No one wants to be in a lawyer’s office. She definitely did not want to be in this particular lawyer’s office. It was not personal, but he represented a family she did not want to be associated with.
She was sitting in a room. She could not decide if it was a conference room or a waiting room of some sort. The chairs in the room were too casual. Six of them sat on both sides of the room; three on each side. A low glass table was sitting on a beautiful rug. The room was well arranged. Just sitting there she already had many ideas on how to decorate her own office. There was large window opposite the door. She saw the beautiful effect sunlight had on the beautiful flowers on the table.
The beauty of the room was welcome distraction from thoughts that crowded her mind. She was so glad the lawyer had been smart enough to separate her from the family of Nicholas’ father. She was alone in the room with Nicholas. Her friends had suggested she take her own lawyer. She did not. She did not want to give the family a wrong impression. She was not there to fight them for anything. Nicholas wanted to come, her friends advised her to, so she came.
Nicholas had been pre occupied since he arrived a few hours before their appointment. She had learnt not to pester him. So she asked him once if he was alright, he said yes and that was it. But she could tell. There was something on his mind.
The door opened. She recognized him, Barrister Thomas, from the portrait she had seen at the reception.
“Madam, Good afternoon.”
“Good afternoon Barrister.” She stood up to shake his hand. “This is my son, Nicholas”
“You are welcome.” They shook hands. Then he turned to her .”You did not bring a lawyer?”
Do I need a lawyer?
“Do I need a lawyer?”
“Well, not really.” He shrugged. “Follow me, we are about to start.”
Nicholas followed him out of the door and she followed him. They walked down a long corridor. Everywhere in the building seemed to have an overdose of light. They walked past two young lawyers. They seemed to be arguing. Take it to the court kids. At the end of the corridor, they came to a large door. It was slightly open. They entered into a room, this was obviously a conference room. It had a long table. Chairs were set on each side of the table.
On one side of the table, four people were sitted. She had never met them but she assumed they were Engineer Babatunde’s family. She could feel their eyes on her as she sat opposite them; a woman she assumed was the wife, two young ladies and a bald middle aged man she assumed was a lawyer. She looked at Nicholas, he seemed to be oblivious to the people sitting opposite him.
“Okay, thank you all for coming on time.” The lawyer started. “We all know why we’re here….” His voice faded into the background. He was reading some things. She could not care less about the things he was saying. She just wanted everything over, so she could get away from the awful stare of the woman opposite her.
The lawyer had already started reading the will. Why am I here for God’s sake. This house went to the wife and that house to the wife. This house should be sold and the money should be given to this and that charity. It was all a waste of time to her.
“Finally,” It was almost over. She looked at the wife, she looked more interested in the final part .”My company, CyberCorp…” CyberCorp? Oh, of course she’s more interested in that. ”… should be taken over by my son, Nicholas…” What?!“My daughters are to join the company as soon as they are through with their University Education. My lawyer and personal friend wills see to it that my Will is rightly executed”
Her brain froze. She could hear the wife hiss and scream something. She could not make out the words. She looked at the lawyer, his face showed no emotion. She looked at Nicholas, he was staring at the document on the table. It had just changed his life forever.
“So, any questions?”