Ese slowed to a stop as she approached the TBC building. She showed her ID to the man at the entrance, he lifted the barrier and she entered. The TBC building was a huge one, and it housed a big company. And she was glad to be a part of it. Her time at the NTA was not bad, she had made a lot of contacts and had gained experience in the media industry, experience that had given her the job at TBC.
She slid her car into the carport, turned off the engine and got out. She locked the door and walked towards the main building. She was relatively new to the company but if the previous night’s show was anything to go by, she was probably going to be a superstar. It was the first time she was going on the show with Richard. She knew most of the work had been done by him and she would have to dig in and be more resourceful but she had gotten a lot of great responses. She had received messages from former colleagues telling her what a good job she had done and her Twitter followers had increased greatly just because of a single night’s show.
Her date with Richard had gone well too. He surprised her. He was smug alright, but she had been taken aback by his attention to her. She was not falling for him and she probably would not go out with him anymore but it was nice to know she could work with him. It would have been a perfect night but she could not shake off Adam from her mind. Planting the bug on him had been serious breach of a lot of things.
“Miss Johnson.” She saw one of the office assistants walking towards her, she looked apprehensive.
“Good morning Mariam. Is there a problem?”
“Not really. Detective Ademola is in your office ma.”
“Detective Ademola?” Trouble! “Did he mention what he wants?”
“No, he didn’t but he doesn’t look very happy.”
Of course he was not happy. He had found the bug and for some reason he knew it was her who put it there. It was not her but she was as guilty as Richard. She waved halfhearted ‘good mornings’ to people as she made for her office. She had no idea how it would go with Adam but she would not admit to anything. And it was possible he knew nothing yet.
“Good of you to finally show up.” Adam said as she entered. Her secretary had let him in and it looked like he had been sitting on her table waiting for her.
“You know there are chairs, right?” She said pointing to the chairs in front of her table and ignoring his stare. “Do you work here now? Or how is it you got to my office before me?”
“You know some of us have to do our job ourselves. We can’t just steal information from others.” He knows!
“What are you talking about?” She asked, trying not fake ignorance.
“What am I talking about Ese? You are going to pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about? The least you could do at this point is apologizing.” He said, adjusted one of the chairs and sat.
“Adam, if you think I have offended you in anyway, just say it and stop beating around the bush.” This time, she looked at him and held his gaze. He looked at her for a while before looking away.
“Are you trying to say you don’t know what I’m talking about?” She shook her head, all the while looking at him. He looked unsure of himself and started to stand up.
“Adam, next time you think I did something, just come forward and say it, alright?”
“I’m not entirely sure you had nothing to do with this but I’m sure that peacock partner of yours has something to do with it.”
Her brazen face must have cracked because he stopped and looked at her. She could not hold on under his observation, he saw this and smiled.
“Which of my staff did he bribe for information?” What?! “How much did you pay him?”
She looked at him confused. He must have noticed the confusion on her face too.
“Don’t pretend, just answer the question Ese.” He said. “Remember I know when you lie.”
“Bribe?” They had not bribed anybody, what was he talking about. Then she understood. He thought they got the information they had because he had a snitch. “Adam, there is no snitch in your team. At least the snitch isn’t snitching to us, okay?”
He looked at her, once again unsure of himself.
“Ese, whatever it is you guys are doing, I will find out and I will press charges. That is a promise.” He said and walked out of her office.
She walked after him and closed the door quietly. She silently prayed that whenever he found the bug, there will be no way to trace it back to her.
Adam looked at both ladies and walked out of the office.
He had come to the office that morning to meet a shock. The governor was not joking, his daughter was actually going to work with him. As he expected she had been reluctant but given all the trouble she had been in, she had no choice. He had called the governor trying one last time to convince him it was all a bad idea, he had failed.
“What do you hope to do here?” He had asked her.
“I don’t know. Anything to keep my dad off my back. He said maybe I could help you prepare press releases.” She replied.
“We have a PR department. There haven’t been any press releases because I don’t want to release anything to the press.” Now that somebody was leaking information to Ese, maybe it was not a bad idea for thr CIB to give their own reports. “Do you even have any experience doing this stuff Kate?”
“No. Well, I studied English so that must count for something.”
He had looked at Tola for help, she offered him none. He had no choice, so he had had a table set in Tola’s office, she would share in the baby-sitting responsibility.
“Where are we going?” Kate asked hurrying after him.
“We? You are not going anywhere. I and Tola here are going to follow on some leads, you are going to sit in the office.”
“Doing what?” She asked, shocked.
“Whatever you want. Watch a movie, file your nails, write a story…anything. Just don’t leave the office till I get back.” He ignored her glare and moved to his car.
“That’s not fair to the girl.” Tola said as she sat next to him. “If she wanted to file her nails, she would have stayed at home.”
“Well, that’s what she gets for all the trouble she’s been causing lately. You know she almost killed a young boy because she was driving while drunk.” He said starting the car.
“You’re exactly the person to condemn her for drinking.”
He had no reply for that.
Twenty minutes later Adam drove into the compound of Saint Andrews Anglican Church. It was the location where the first body was found. He had not noticed the first time he had been there but it was a really old church. It was well taken care of but the age was showing. It was a tall building painted with what had once been white.
After watching Ese’s show the night before, he had decided there was more to the church than they thought. If there was a connection between the two churches then the killer could be connected too.
“Do you know that people now call this killer ‘The Church Street Killer’?” Tola asked as they came down from the car.
“I heard it on the TV yesterday. I am not calling him that. Giving him a name will make him feel more important than he is.”
She smiled and they walked towards the pastorium behind the church. He had tried to imagine any of the pastors being the killer, it was not impossible. He really did not trust anybody, not even pastors but these men did not look like killers. A member of their churches could be killing people though, what did that make them?
The pastor was sitting outside. He had a goldrimmed spectacle on and a magazine in his hands. He dropped the magazine and stood up when he saw them. The old woman they had met at the stairs the previous time was there again, this time she was asleep.
“Detectives from the CIB, am I correct?” He asked coming down the stairs.
“Yes sir.” Adam said, stretching his hands to shake him.
“I didn’t know you were coming.” The pastor said. Tola looked at Adam and shook her head.
“We are sorry about that, we just have a few follow up questions.” She said.
“Let’s go inside the church, I’ll answer your questions there.”
They entered the church through the back door. The pastor dusted off a few chairs and asked them to sit. The church was as old inside as it was outside but it was more beautiful. It looked like it had been recently painted and there were beautiful flower arrangements all over the altar.
“You have a beautiful church here sir.” Tola said.
“Yes, thank you. All thanks to my wife. Left to me, we will just use all the money for missions.” He said with a chuckle.
“Sir, I’m sure you heard about the second murder.” Adam began, the pastor nodded. “Well, what connection do you have with the church the second victim was found on?”
The pastor went on to confirm the connection Ese and her partner had found. The founder of his church was his late father-inlaw. He had died a few years ago, he told them. The two churches had been on the same street for years before his friend who founded the other church had moved away to another location. He was also dead.
“Apart from your father-inlaw and his friend, do you know any other person or anything that connected both churches?” Adam asked.
“No, not that I can think of now. Except for church programs, they had a few together way back in the beginning. I grew up in this neighbourhood and I’ve been a member of this church for a long time.”
If they had programs together, it would mean there were people who listened to both pastors. That was not enough reason to make any of them suspects.
“Was there any trouble between these pastors at any time?” Adam asked.
“Not that I can remember. Like I said, they were friends.”
“How about a member who left one of church for the other?” Tola asked.
“My father-inlaw avoided those situations but they were hard to avoid. Especially as people can never be satisfied and the churches were just a few metres away from each other.”
“Any particular one that caused any trouble?” Adam asked.
“Well, there was this family, a man and his young wife. They had been married for a while without children. They left our church because of this and joined the other church. We later discovered the woman had lost two pregnancies to her husband’s callousness.”
“How do you mean?”
“He had been beating his wife a lot and she suffered two miscarriages.”
“Do you know anything about how they ended? Do you know where they are now?” Adam asked. It was not much of a lead but it could be worth the pursuit. Perhaps the man blamed the churches for his marriage problems and the two girls he had killed represented the two children he had lost. He smiled at his theory, it was a long shot but he would take any shot he had at the moment.
“I don’t know where they are now.” The pastor said. “I didn’t really know them much back then but I heard they later had two children.”
They stayed with the pastor for thirty more minutes talking about any other thing he thought had anything to do with the case. He did not have much to say. If he was a killer, he would be a subtle one, not the type that will send him messages. Even if he was stupid enough to send the message there was no way he could make the text untraceable.
“Pastor, are you good with computers by any chance?”
“I still type my outlines with my old typewriter. Why do you ask?” The pastor asked arching his eyebrow. Tola shot him a questioning look.
“No particular reason.” Then there was the matter of the church bus. “Sir, one last question. Does your church own a bus?” he asked. Tola figuring where he was going frowned at him.
“No, we don’t. Wait, these questions don’t sound random, any particular reason why u ask?”
“No sir. Thank you very much for your time.”
“There’s no way you think that pastor killed those girls.” Tola said as they drove away from the church.
“Why not? Because he’s a pastor?”
“Yes, well…no. But look at that man, there’s no way he did it.”
“I don’t think he did but there’s no harm making sure. There’s nothing special about pastors that should…” He was cut off by his phone ringing. It was Faruk. He pressed the answer button on his earphone. “Kelvin Little!”
“Bro, what’s up?”
“I’m good, working, trying to remain sane in this crazy world.”
“I hear you man. I have some info for you and it’s so gonna blow your mind.” Faruk said. Adam could hear the excitement in his voice.
“I’m driving, do I need to park?” Adam asked, already pulling to the side of the road.
“I think you should. By the way, after I tell you this I’m sure you’ll employ me at CIB.”
“I have pulled over so just tell me what it is. You know you’re not getting a job at CIB.”
“Why not? Is it because I’m short?”
“Okay, calm down. Remember when you said you tried to trace the text you got from the killer and you said you couldn’t?”
“Yeah…” Adam replied, looking at Tola from the corner of his eye. He had not told her yet about the text.
“Well, I traced it!”
“You did what? Faruk I know you and I know there’s no way you did that.” Adam sat up.
“Well, I know somebody who knows somebody. The important thing is I traced it.”
“Okay, I hear you. So you have a name?” He glanced at Tola, she was looking at him now, inquisitive.
“Calm down man, I don’t have a name. But get this, the message was sent from CIB.”
“CIB? I don’t understand.”
“The text was sent through one of these online SMS services. My guy traced the message to CIB but he could not get closer than that.”
“Are you kidding me? You’re saying this guy is one of us?” Blood drained from his face. “Thanks Faruk, I’ll see you in the evening.”
He ended the call and looked at Tola, it could be any one, even her? No, there was no way it was her.
“Who was that? What was that about?” She asked.
He told her about the note, the text message and what Faruk just told him.
“You know what this means Tola, it could be anybody. From the chief to the janitor, anybody.”
“Don’t you think a good tech guy could have sent you on the wrong path? Maybe he knows you’ll check so he’s just sending you on a wild goose chase.”
“Let’s hope you’re right. Until we know for sure, tell your husband until this case is over we are both working double time. I’m cutting off every other person.”
He pulled the car back into the road and said a silent prayer that Faruk was wrong.