Adam jumped into his car, slammed the door, started the engine and was out on the road as fast as he could. He could not believe that the psycho had made a personal threat to him, and what was he talking about saying he knew him before he worked for the governor. There were only a few people who knew him from his days as a uniformed officer, so few and none of them worked at CIB. He thought as far as he could remember, nothing came to mind. And even though he had not achieved much as policeman back then, he had not made any mistakes or done errors of note, so what was the bastard talking about?
He shook his head, trying to ward off everything the killer had said. Except the fact that he had his eyes on Ese. He should call her, that’s what he should have done! He brought out his phone and dialed her number while keeping an eye on the road.
She did not answer.
Oh my God!
He dialed again. Still no answer. He swore under his breath and increased the pressure on the accelerator. If anything happened to Ese, he would hunt down the killer and chop him up, limb by limb.
The last time he had driven to Ese’s house, he had been drunk and she had told him she never wanted to see him again. Hard as he tried, he was unable to erase that incidence from his brain, it was one of his worst memories. He silently prayed that the memory he was creating at that moment would not turn to be his worst.
He turned his car into Ese’s street and slowed his car, if the killer was anywhere near he wanted to find him. He looked around as he drove, there were no suspicious cars parked anywhere or people lurking around. He parked a few metres away from her house and walked towards it. He checked, his gun was loaded. He moved as swiftly as he could to the house. The windows were open but the curtains were drawn, there was no way to tell the number of people inside the house, if there was anybody in.
He walked on the balls of his feet to the door. A lot could happen in the next minute but he had no time to think through the possibilities. He knocked on the door. He waited, his hands ready to go for his gun. He lifted his hand to knock again when the door opened.
“Adam?” Ese stepped back in surprise.
Adam let out his breath, he had not noticed he was holding it. She was safe. At least the killer was not in her house.
“What are you doing here?” She said, still standing in the door way.
“I just wanted to make sure you are safe.” He said.
“Safe from what?” She looked at him warily.
“Ermm…” He was not sure if he should tell her about the killer’s call. It would do her no good, it was better she did not know. “I was just checking.”
He turned to leave then stopped. “I’m sorry about what I said earlier, I was…” He stopped and started to leave.
“Adam…” Ese called, he stopped and looked back. “Wanna come in?”
“Yeah, I guess.” He said, trying to stop a smile from spreading across his face but failing.
He followed her into the house. It had a cozy, homey look, a look his house desperately needed. On the wall were her pictures, most of them new ones, they were not familiar. The TV was tuned to a music channel and a lady rapper he had never seen before was performing, quite impressively he noticed. Just behind the TV were a set of plaques – awards she had won.
“Remember that?” Ese caught him looking at a golden microphone sitting among the plaques. He looked at her and immediately looked away. She was standing behind one of the chairs dressed in a tank top and a pair of shorts. He kept his eyes trained on the plaques.
“Hmhmm.” Of course he remembered it. She received the award the night he met her. He had gone with the governor to the award ceremony held for journalists in Lagos and had been completely blown away with her smile, her voice, the way she gestured when she thanked everybody for the award; everything about her had enraptured him.
“That’s my most precious award, you know, it’s the dream of every journalist to get that.” She said. Adam nodded, still looking away from her. “You want me to get you something?”
“Huh, no thanks. I had no plans to stay, just wanted to see if you were okay.” He said. He felt really silly, he was like a school boy on his first date.
“Seriously? You just came to see me out of the blues?” She said, climbing into the chair opposite him and folding her legs on the chair. “That can’t be right.”
“Well, yeah I did. I’m not as horrible as you think.” He said, trying to force a smile.
“Are you sure about that?.” Adam opened his mouth to talk but she continued. “Forget about that, you’re here and I’m grateful. So, how’re you finding your job at CIB?”
“It’s alright, exciting I must admit but not as good as the job I had before.”
“If you catch… when you catch this killer, you’re going to be famous. You know that right?” She said, beaming her angelic smile.
“Not really. If I catch him, the chief of police gets the glory and if I don’t, I get the blame. That’s how it works.”
“I’m sure he’ll squeeze your name in somewhere.” She stood up from her seat. “You know what, I’ll fix you something fast, I’m sure you have no plans for dinner.”
Adam wanted to protest, but she was right, he had no dinner plans. He smiled to himself, he had a killer to catch, one who had threatened him a few minutes ago but he was instead going to eat dinner with this beautiful woman. He relaxed and got comfortable in the chair, nobody would begrudge him a single night of pleasure, however fleeting it might be, not even the church street killer.
Adam drove slowly as he returned home, it had been the best night of his life. Probably not, but it was one of the best. He had had homemade dinner for the first time in a long while and had talked for more than an hour with a woman that he probably loved, if he was humble enough to admit it. Romantic music filtered through the speakers of his car stereo, he barely tolerated romantic music but it suited him that night.
He drove into his compound, whistling as he brought the car to a stop. He was about getting out of the car when he noticed a dark figure sitting at his doorstep. He reached for his gun quickly, stepped out of the car and closed the door quietly. The figure stood up and started walking towards him. He crouched low beside the car, his mind racing through the options he had.
“Adam? Don’t shoot me bro.” Faruk? “Faruk here, okay?”
Adam stood and holstered his gun. “What are you doing hiding in the shadows man? I could have shot you.”
“Shot me? I wasn’t even in the shadows, I was sitting at your doorstep, how obvious did I need to be?”
Adam walked to the front door and opened it.
“What took you so long? Surely you were not at the office, and I don’t smell any alcohol on you.” Faruk said.
“None of your business. The real question is what are you doing here?”
“What am I doing here? I’m at my best friend’s house, you have no right to ask me that question. But you have to answer mine. Where are you coming from Adam? Do you have a secret girlfriend?” Adam shook his head as he unbuttoned his shirt, removed it and tossed it on a chair. “Oh my God, Adam, are you sleeping with your partner? She is married for God’s sake!”
“Shut up Faruk! I’m coming from Ese’s place.”
“Are you serious? Bad guy!” Faruk said with a huge grin, punching Adam on his shoulder. “Okay, start talking.”
“There’s nothing to talk about.” Adam said with a shrug. “I got a call from the killer…”
“You got a call from whom?!” Faruk exclaimed.
“Yeah, the sicko called me and said he was looking at Ese go into her house. So I rushed over there, didn’t see anything or anybody. One thing led to another…”
“And you slept with her? You sly dog.” Faruk said, throwing back his head in laughter.
“No Faruk, calm down, what’s wrong with you? I had dinner at her place, that’s all and I’ll be seeing her sometime next week.”
“So you didn’t do anything.” Faruk rolled his eyes and hissed. “To more important matters then, you said this church killer guy called you? Did you trace the call?”
“No, I couldn’t, there was no way to. He said he knows me from way back, even before I worked with the governor. He said it was personal.”
“That makes sense.”
“What do you mean it makes sense?”
“I have a theory, a suspect. Get ready to have your mind blown.” Faruk said sitting up in his chair. “The chief!”
“The chief of police?”
“No, the chief of your frigging village, of course the chief of police.”
“That’s not possible, I’d sooner believe it was the governor than believe it was the chief.” Adam said, shaking his head. It could not be, the chief was not even on his radar of suspects. “What proof do you have Faruk?”
“Remember what I said about the text coming from inside CIB?”
“That doesn’t mean the killer is a member of the Bureau, anybody good with a computer could have done that. Plus I don’t think the chief is intelligent enough to be doing this.”
“Okay, let’s go over what we know. He was the one who decided you should run this investigation, you could have delegated it. He knows you from way back, we know that. And he’s always been stomping around the case all along.”
“Yeah, drumming up as much press attention as he can for the case. He also said some crap about the killer going down in history.” Adam said. “But there’s no way he’s the killer. Remember the video we saw, he was not the shadow in that video.”
“He could have gotten somebody to drop it for him. And he’s not as stupid as you think, he has a degree in Physics and Computer science. It might have been from way back, but I’m sure he still knows his way around a computer.”
“Come on Faruk, this is a little out there, don’t you think?” Adam said as he stood and started pacing.
“It is a little out there I know, but hear this…” He was interrupted by Adam’s phone, it was ringing. “It’s almost ten thirty, who is calling you at this ungodly hour?”
“Keep quiet.” Adam said and he picked up his phone. It was Kate.” Kate?”
“Hello Uncle Adam.” She said, sniffing.
“It’s almost eleven o’clock, what’s happening?”
“You need to talk to my Dad, I don’t know who else to call.”
“What happened? Are you okay?”
“I went to a party with friends tonight, I had a few drinks and came home late. I know I shouldn’t have but now he’s talking about sending me to Senegal for a six months course in French.”
“That’s not so bad Kate, and six months isn’t a long time.” Adam said, rubbing his eyes, he needed to sleep.
“It’s a boarding house, I won’t leave the school except on school endorsed excursions and field trips. That’s a prison and I actually love working with you.”
Adam quietly contemplated what to say, he had no idea. It was not his business what the governor did with his daughter. If her mother was alive she would have taken care of the situation. It was true and as hard as he tried he could not absolve himself of responsibility for her mother’s death.
“Kate, you come to work as usual tomorrow, if your dad doesn’t change his mind, I’ll have a chat with him, okay?”
“Thank you Uncle Adam, I’ll see you at work tomorrow.”
Adam nodded and disconnected the call.
“What was that all about?” Faruk asked.
“Man, you don’t wanna know. You were about to say something about the chief, what was it?”
“Alright, I was talking about why he’s my main suspect. I happened to hang out at that joint where the second victim was supposed to have been kidnapped, guess who I discovered was a VIP regular at the club?”
“The chief?” Adam asked.
“Exactly! And you want to guess where he took the girl he picked up to?”
“Clear Springs hotel.”
“Isn’t that where the first girl was coming from when she was kidnapped?”
Faruk bowed. “You are welcome.”
“That doesn’t make sense.”
“Why don’t you do what every reasonable detective does; investigate.”
“Oh, I will. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t like the man, not at all but a killer? I don’t think so. I’m going to sleep.”
Adam shook his head as he walked out of the room, there was no way the chief was the church street killer. Absolutely no way.
He looked at his face in the mirror and turned away. It was contorted with hate, hate he could not explain, hate no therapist anywhere could resolve or take away. He knew it was not good, it would ultimately be the end of him, but he could not control himself. Something inside him needed someone to blame, a face to picture when he slashed with his knife, Detective Adam Ademola was that person. He was not a random pick, he deserved the hate, he was worthy of it.
He closed the bathroom door and walked into his room. Staring at him from the wall directly above his bed was a picture of Diana. It was one of her six pictures on his bedroom wall. He looked away from the picture, even Diana would disapprove of his hatred for Adam. He was her messenger, satisfying her needs, it was not his place to use her to fight his own battles. But he was not fighting for himself alone, he was fighting for both of them.
He walked to his wardrobe and opened a closet, he brought out pictures he took of his sacrifices, the two girls. He dropped the pictures back in the closet and brought out another one; his next sacrifice. She looked innocent but she was not, this sacrifice was not a random one, this one was personal. Diana wanted a sacrifice that would mean something to her, someone who deserved to die.
He smiled and dropped the picture back in the closet. He kicked off his shoes and laid on the bed, if Diana was getting a personal sacrifice, one that meant something to her, he would also make this one worth his while.
He opened the laptop sitting on his bedside table and routed the connection through the CIB network. He was going to have fun with this one, show Adam how stupid he really was. He opened the message box and typed;
Three days and the sun will rise
On another soul who will pay the price.
He hit send and smiled, it was short and even poetic and he had not even had to think for long to write it. He shut down the laptop and stretched on the bed.
Rest, sleep for tomorrow you must work.