Adam rubbed his shivering hands together, he badly needed a drink. He was seated on the staircase of house where he had found the dead bodies. Policemen went in and out of the house, taking crime scene pictures and bagging anything they thought was evidence. Tola was seated close to him, she was talking with her husband on the phone.
He had been shaken to his bones looking at the bodies covered in their own blood on the floor. He had stood still, looking at them for about a minute, his mind had been completely functionless and so had his body. Tola recovered first from the shock and left him inside to call in the murder. The Pastor who they had left in the car suddenly came in suspecting that something was wrong and it had taken all the energy Adam could muster to prevent him from grabbing his dead son. Medics who arrived later had to sedate him to stop him from harming himself or any other person.
“I think we should leave.” Tola said, putting her hand on Adam’s arm.
“Let’s wait till the bodies are moved.” Adam said.
“Six bodies now Adam, what is happening?” She said, worry clearly written on her face.
“I have no idea.” He truly had no idea what to think anymore. It was possible the same person who killed the third victim killed the three men. But then the Lawyer and the pastor’s son were definitely guilty of something, he had no idea what, yet.
“This killing was bad, very bad, something the ‘church street killer’ would do.” Tola said.
Adam raised his head and looked at her. “The church street killer?”
“Yes, it’s the kind of thing he would do. Bloody, pathological, not with a gun but with a knife.”
“Why would he want to kill these guys, we don’t even…” Some officers passed by and he paused and lowered his voice. “Tola, we don’t have any link to him here.”
“We found a room with blood all over, not far from here, remember?”
“We don’t even know if that place is in any way connected to the ‘church street killer’ or this murder. It could be the blood of animals for all we know.”
“I don’t know, Adam, this just feels like him.” Tola said, shrugging.
“Well, we will definitely investigate that, but we don’t want to start any rumour especially as we are not sure.” Adam said, standing up.
He left Tola sitting on the stairs and walked into the house. He paused at the door and looked around the room. It was a neat room, probably because there was nothing much in it. The room had not been disturbed very much, that indicated there was not much of a struggle. The door was not broken into either, so the killer either picked the lock or the door was opened for him. Or maybe he had a key.
Adam moved away from the door and towards the bodies. He had not noticed their positioning and distance from each other the first time. The lawyer’s body was crumpled close to a chair where he was probably siting when he was killed. Solomon Alonge’s body was close to the door, he was not sure yet, but Adam suspected he was killed while attempting to leave the room. The farmer’s body was propped against the wall, he could not figure out why.
Adam heard a lot of voices coming from outside the house, he went to a window and peeped. It was the state chief of police. He had arrived with the press on his heels. Adam shook his head and hurried out of the house.
“Chief, what is happening here?” Adam said, meeting the Chief at the bottom of the stairs, he looked like he had lost weight.
“What do you mean? I should be asking you the same question.” The chief said, trying to come up the stairs.
“Sir, you can’t go in there, we are still processing the crime scene.” Adam said, subtly blocking the stairs. “How did you even get here so fast, we have not reported this to your office yet.”
“Ademola, I am your boss, you cannot tell me if I can enter that house or not.” He said, moving past Adam and entering the house.
“Benjamin!” Adam called to the junior detective. “Keep an eye on him.” He said, nodding at the chief.
Adam walked away from the house to where Tola was standing. Uniformed policemen were already keeping the press away. The details of the murder had already filtered to the journalists, no doubt he was in for serious questioning.
“Tola, let’s get out of here.” Adam said, he opened the door of his car and entered.
“I thought you said you wanted to wait for the bodies to be moved.”
“With the chief here and his mandatory press statement later, it would only end badly. Let’s go, we’ll stop at the two places we checked earlier before the press swarm those too.”
“Whoever this Garba is, we need to find him.” Adam said to Tola as they entered the room where they had earlier found knives and the blood. “If he isn’t the source of all this blood, then he should know who uses this room now.”
Two uniformed police men guarded the door as they walked through the room. The floor had been cleaned, there was no blood pooled anywhere. The walls had not been cleaned though, there were blood splashes all over them. The knives on the table were mostly rusted and they would not be any good for finger prints.
“This place is very dusty.” Tola said and Adam nodded. “Do you think it would be as dusty if it was used as the killing spot for any of the recent murders?”
She had a point. “So, we can assume they weren’t killed here? The blood on these walls did not come from a chicken though, I’ll have the place staked out.”
“Adam, come and check this out.” Tola called. She was crouching just behind the door.
“What is that?” Adam asked as Tola handed him a incense burner.
“That is an incense burner and the scent coming off of it is pine.” She replied.
“Incense…pine? What are you talking about?” Adam asked, arching his brow.
“I used to burn incense in my house at a point, just for the nice scent, nothing religious. Pine, that was my favourite flavor but it was expensive, so my supplier ran out or something.”
“Incense, really? What are you going to tell me now, that the ark of covenant is under your bed?” Adam said with a huge grin. “Question is what does this mean?”
“I don’t know. But if Pine is still as scarce as it was, then there can’t be too many people selling it, maybe we can find out who sold this and to who.”
“That is a long shot.”
“I know. Maybe we can be lucky and get a finger print off it.” She said as she collected the incense burner and put it in an evidence bag.
“Alright this is what we’ll do.” Adam said, stepping out of the room. “Call Benjamin, he’ll send a car for you. Go back to that town or village or whatever it is, find Garba and bring him in. I’ll go back to that farm house, look around and see what I can find. We’ll meet at that office, talk to the coroner see what these all means.”
Adam waited for a car to arrive to drive Tola before he left the place. He drove to the farm house and parked a few metres away from it.
The farm was quiet, too quiet. He looked around as he walked quietly to the house, he noticed the pigs were quiet, they were probably sleeping. He was close to the house when he started having the eerie feeling of being watched. He drew out his gun and tiptoed towards the house, everything was still quiet.
He got to the door and gently reached for the handle. He slowly opened it and walked in, his gun in front of him. He stood still, everything was still quiet. Then suddenly something jumped at him and knocked his gun off his hands. He staggered backwards, waving his arms in front of his face. He steadied himself leaning his weight on the door. He looked down at what had startled him, it was a cat!
He picked his gun from where it had fallen and walked away from the cat resisting the temptation to kick it. The room was exactly as he had left it. It was probably smart to have the room dusted for prints, he was not counting on finding anything useful. The cupboard! He had wanted to open it before Tola called him. He knelt near the cupboard and opened it. There was a bag inside. He opened the bag and went through the content, there was nothing of value in it, just clothes; three shirts and one trouser. He dipped his hands into the pockets of the trouser and found a piece of paper in the left pocket. It was a receipt. It was from Crackos and it was made out to Solomon Alonge on the same day his girlfriend was murdered, a few hours before her body was found.
He walked out of the room, removed his phone from his pocket and dialed Tola’s number.
“Hello Tola, found him yet?”
“No, nobody here knows where he is. Some of them say he’s travelled back to the north.”
“That sucks. Well, I just found a receipt from Crackos in Solomon Alonge’s trousers. Apparently he was close by when his girlfriend was killed.”
“I’m back at the crime scene, I’ll check his truck, see if there’s anything there.” She said and ended the call.
Adam walked out of the house and walked towards his car. He was about to unlock his door when he heard a car start in the distance. He immediately pulled out his gun. The car raised a lot of dust as it sped off blocking Adam from seeing anything useful. Somebody had been watching him after all.
His phone rang, it was Tola.
“Find anything?” He asked.
“You could say that, I think we found our killer; one of them. One of the carpets in Alonge’s truck is stained with blood. Apparently he tried washing it but he did not get it all off.”
“That is interesting, bring the carpet back to the office, we’ll run a test on the blood. And I think somebody was here watching me.”
“Did you see who?”
“Nah, could be our killer. Or some other random person who was just curious. I’ll see you at the office.”
“Okay Adam, be careful.”
He slid his phone back in his pocket and entered his car. He opened a small compartment under the dashboard and brought out a small bottle of vodka. He had put it in a place where Tola would not find it. He was going to see the coroner again, his nerves needed some calming, she would not understand.
He emptied the content of the bottle in his mouth and threw the bottle out through the window. He started the car and drove away.
Adam burst into the Dr. Collin’s office absolutely livid. He had been waiting for the coroner for almost three hours. The stress of the day combined with his inactivity had activated his short temper. The man jumped up as soon as he saw Adam.
“Where the hell have you been?” Adam asked staring hard at the quivering man.
“I’m sorry sir, I had to…” He started.
“I don’t care really, just tell me what I need to know.” Adam said, pulling a chair and sitting. “Sit down please.”
Collins picked a file from his table. “The victims were Mr. Patrick Jemiluwa, Mr. Solomon Alonge…”
“I know who the victims were Doctor, the blood found in Alonge’s car, was it the blood of the third victim?”
“Yes sir, it was.”
Adam nodded and stared out of the window. It was bad that somebody who was the child of a supposed man of God could go as far as to kill. He got her pregnant and killed her for it? It did not make sense.
“Sir, I ran a test on the baby in that third victim and after cross-checking with the tests I ran on Jemiluwa and Alonge, I think we were wrong about the father of the baby. I might need to run further tests but by what I have right now, Jemiluwa was the father of the baby.”
“The lawyer?” Adam exclaimed. “He said he was only trying to talk to her on behalf of his friend.”
“Apparently he was lying.”
“Why would Solomon kill her then? Maybe he found out she was carrying his friend’s baby and still had the audacity to sue him. So why did she sue him? That is insane.”
The coroner shrugged.
“If Solomon killed her, then who killed him? My gut tells me they knew the killer, unfortunately my gut is not telling me who the killer is. In your professional opinion, do you think the same person who killed the first two victims, the girls, could have killed these men?”
“Well sir, that is a long shot. Not impossible though because he had reason to. Solomon tried framing him for the murder by removing the victim’s liver.”
“Yeah, I had thought of that but like I said earlier, I have this feeling they knew their killer. Okay, last question, the blood found in that old store, was it human? More importantly, did it belong to any of the victims?”
“It was not human sir, belonged to an unfortunate animal.”
“That should comfort me somewhat, I guess. I’m sorry I shouted on you earlier, having a crazy day as you can imagine.”
“I understand sir.”
Adam looked at him, nodded and walked out of his office.
Adam looked at his watch and opened his mouth in surprise, it was almost eight pm. He had told both Tola and Kate to go home around four pm, they had people to go home to, he didn’t. He had been at his desk reviewing everything they had on Solomon Alonge and Patrick Jemiluwa, there had to be a link to the Church Street Killer. He was yet to find one.
He shut down his laptop, stuck the files in a drawer and put off the table lamp. He picked up his jacket, his IPad and left the office. The whole building was quiet as he walked through it. He had always imagined that by the time he was thirty, he would be one of those guys who could not wait to leave the office just to run back to their families, it had not worked that way for him. Ese was the closest he had gotten to that dream but he had blown it when he started drinking. The murder of the first lady had messed up his life, and despite Ese’s efforts to keep him from blowing his top, he had blown it.
He was about getting out of the building when his phone rang. He smiled, it was Ese.
“This is magic, I was just thinking about you.” He said.
“You were thinking about me? Am I in any kind of trouble?” She said, sounding genuinely apprehensive.
“No, no, why would you think that? All I said was, I was thinking about you.” He wondered why he was even telling her, it was not like she was interested in hearing.
“Hmm, so what were you thinking about me then?” She said softly. Adam remembered that voice and all the tender conversations they had had in the past.
“Well, nothing much. Was just a passing thought really.” He said starting to feel uncomfortable.
“Are you saying you weren’t thinking of me because you miss me?” She said teasing, that voice again.
“Miss you? No, why would I miss you. It was just a random thought.” He said and laughed nervously.
“That’s your problem.” She said, the softness was gone. She sounded hurt instead. “I called to remind you about the show…you know what, never mind. I can’t do this right now.”
“Ese, wait…” She ended the call. You bloody idiot! He kicked the wall and immediately doubled over in pain.
He shook his head, opened the door and left the building. He greeted the guards on duty and walked to his car. He was about to open the door when she called back.
“Ese, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it like that?” He said before she could say anything.
“Having troubles with your girlfriend?” A voice said over the phone, it was not Ese. The voice was a computer edited voice. He looked at his phone, it was not Ese’s number.
“Who is this?” He said, looking around. The guards were close to the building, they were not paying any attention to him.
“You know who it is Detective.”
“You have some nerve calling me after what you did today.” Adam thought hard, there was no way he could trace the call, not immediately. Where was Faruk when you needed him?
“What did I do today Detective?”
“Those men you killed, you sick bastard, what did they do to you?”
“That’s funny Detective, because I don’t think you have anything linking me to those murders but at least now you know I did not kill that third girl.”
“How do you know what I know? I don’t care if you killed two girls or three, I’m going to find you.” Adam could feel his face heating up.
“No problem, I’ll love to see you do that.”
“Oh, you’ll see me do it, because I’m going to catch you alive.”
“You’ve been a useless policeman for a long time, why do you think you would change now? And by the way, I’m not talking about the assassination of the first lady.”
Adam kept quiet. What was he talking about?
“Cat’s got your tongue Detective? Yeah, I knew you way before you worked for the governor. Just in case you don’t understand yet, I’m saying this is personal. Catch me if you can, but until you do, the murders will not stop. And don’t even try your usual way out because if you quit this job, I’m coming for you.”
Adam was silent; he could not process what he was hearing.
“I always knew you were dumb, I just didn’t know it manifested on your tongue too. By the way, your girlfriend just entered her house and I’m starting to have ideas.” The voice said with a hoarse laugh followed by the dial tone.