Adam slid the gear into park, jumped out of the car and ran into the lounge. He looked around the room, Faruk was nowhere. He brought his phone out of his pocket and dialed his number. He chewed on his nails as the phone rang. He had hoped Tola was wrong about Faruk. Faruk had been the only friend he had kept for more than a whole year. He was a crazy person who lived in a fantasy world, more than a normal adult should but he was a true and loyal friend.
Adam looked at the phone, Faruk did not answer. He walked to the receptionist.
“Hey did you see my friend?” Adam asked.
“Hello Mr. Ademola, you are welcome. How can I help you?” She said, flashing Adam her professional smile.
“Did you see my friend? We come here together all the time.”
“Is he a member here? Does he have a card, we can use that to…”
“No he doesn’t have a card.”
“So he wouldn’t have been able to enter then…wait a minute, are you talking about your short friend?”
“Yes, that guy, did you see him?”
“Yeah, he was parked outside, I thought he was waiting for you. He was there a few minutes ago, I didn’t notice him leave.”
“Did you see anybody with him? A young lady maybe?”Adam asked, all the while looking around for any sign of sudden movement.
“No, I don’t think he was with anybody. Is there a problem sir?” The receptionist asked.
“No, thank you.” Adam said and walked away from the receptionist.
He went out of the lounge and walked around looking for any sign of Faruk’s car, he did not see any. He walked back to his car and dialed Tola.
“Are you still in that office?” Tola asked when she answered the call.
“The office…oh, no I’m not anymore. Have you guys found Faruk?”
“No, we haven’t. I think he is on to us, nobody has caught a glimpse of him. Where are you?”
“I’m outside Caleb’s.”
“Is he there? Adam don’t approach him on your own, you don’t have a gun, remember?”
“You actually believe the only gun I have is the one issued me by CIB? Of course I have a gun but this is Faruk we are talking about, even if he killed those people, there’s no way he’s going to harm me.”
“Adam, are you listening to yourself? He has killed at least six people and you think he won’t harm you?”
“Don’t worry Tola, he is not here, he was but not anymore. Let me know if you find him.” Adam said and ended the call before Tola could repeat her warnings.
Adam entered his car and started the engine. Faruk could be anywhere in the city. He was about to slide the gear into drive when his phone beeped. He picked it and checked. He had received a picture via snapchat, he did not even know he had the application on his phone. It was from Faruk. The picture looked familiar, then it hit him. It was a picture of a corridor in Faruk’s house, the one that led to his room. Faruk was in his house.
He reached for the gear when the phone beeped again. This time it was text.
“Come alone.” The text said.
Adam wondered why he insisted on him coming alone. He dialed Tola on his phone, it did not make sense to go alone.
“Are you alone?” Adam asked as soon as Tola answered the call.
“Yes I am, what’s up?”
“Did you guys check Faruk’s house?”
“Of course we did but we didn’t find him there.”
“I want you to meet me there now. Come alone and if you get there before me, wait for me, don’t enter, okay?”
“What’s happening? Is he there? Let me take a couple of guys with me, it could be dangerous.”
“Tola, come alone! Do not take anybody with you, come alone!” Adam said and ended the call.
He sighed and drove off.
Adam turned off the engine of his car, jumped out of the car and ran towards the door of the house. Tola drove up to the house just as he got to the door. He waved her over and put a finger to his lips, signaling her to keep quiet. He stooped low and walked below a window, he peeped inside the house, he saw nothing. Adam shook his head, he could not believe that he was haunting Faruk like a criminal, except that he was indeed a criminal. At least he was looking more and more like one.
“He asked me to come so I guess I’ll just have to go in.” Adam whispered to Tola. “Stay by the door and don’t come in except you hear gunshots or I call for help, okay?”
“Wait for gunshots? You could be dead by then.” Tola said.
“Or we could go in together and both die. Just do what I said, the world needs you alive.” Adam said and turned towards the door.
“Be careful.” Tola called after him.
Adam stood in front of the door and sighed. He had been friends with Faruk for so long, how could he be such a gruesome murderer? He shook off the thought, steadied his breathing and knocked.
There was no answer.
He knocked harder. Still no answer.
“I’m going in.” He whispered to Tola.
He turned the knob on the door gently, it opened slowly as he pushed it. The room was slightly dark, the curtains were drawn and the only source of light in the room came through a window linking another room. A fan blew in the corner of the room making an eerie sound that made the hair on his neck stand. He stood still at the door and waited till his eyes adjusted to the dark room. He walked across the room to where the light switches were. He had always told Faruk that the light switches should be close to the door not at the other end of the room.
He flipped the switch and squinted as the light came on. He turned back to look across the room and jumped. There was a body on the floor, it had its face towards the floor. He ran to the body and flipped it over.
It was Faruk and he had been stabbed. Severally.
Adam put his finger on Faruk’s neck, he was still alive. Blood had pooled below his body, he had lost a lot of blood.
“Tola, get in here.” Adam shouted.
Tola ran in, gun held in front of her. She stopped when she saw Faruk on the floor.
“Did you do this?” She asked Adam.
“No but we need to get him to a hospital, he’s still alive.” Adam said.
She ran out of the house and came in almost immediately with Detective Benjamin and another detective.
“That was fast.” Adam said.
“I’m sorry but I wasn’t going to face a killer without back-up. Another detective is outside calling for an ambulance. How did this happen?”
“I have no idea, I came in and met him like this.” Adam said.
Adam looked over Faruk’s body; there were bruises on his face and his knuckles. Both fingers were clenched, there was a sheet of paper sticking out of one of them. Adam pried the hand open and took the sheet of paper.
“What’s on it?” Tola asked.
“It’s a list of names.” Adam said, looking over the list.
“Do you know any of the names?”
“Kate’s name is on it, Akinfenwa’s daughter is also on it so I think it has something to do with the murders.”
“Do you think maybe it is a list of people Faruk was going to kill?”
“I don’t know. Kate’s name isn’t even close to the top neither is Akinfenwa’s name and I don’t see the names of the other victims here. One of the names is starred though: Adaobi Okonkwo, is that name familiar to you?”
“No, it’s not. Why was it starred, maybe she was supposed to be his next victim.” Tola said.
“After seeing Faruk stabbed like this, I seriously doubt he is the killer. I think the killer was the one who stabbed him.”
“Why would the killer stab him? Wait a minute, maybe he figured out who the killer was.”
“He wanted to tell me something, maybe that was it. Why didn’t he just call me?”
“Remember he once said the killer was connected to the CIB, maybe he thought he’d alert the killer and he’ll run.”
“Well, he alerted the killer anyway.” Adam said as he stood.
The siren of an ambulance sounded outside and medics entered with a stretcher. Adam stepped back and they placed Faruk on a stretcher and rolled him out of the room.
“If Faruk isn’t the killer then who is?” Tola asked.
“I have no idea but at least we have nine hour left to save Kate. If we’re lucky and Faruk comes to, we can find out what he knows and who stabbed him. Benjamin!” Adam called one of the detectives. “Follow Faruk to the hospital, stay with him, don’t leave his side for a second, if you have to pee, hold it or get a bucket. Whatever you do, do not leave his side, call me as soon as he wakes up.”
Adam looked around the room, nothing stood out as strange; everything looked the same. Except the desktop computer. It had always been dirty, Faruk rarely used it. He said the only reason he kept it was to show his great-grand children and to sell it as an antique years later.
Adam walked to the computer, it had been cleaned, it looked like it had been used recently. Adam connected it to an electric socket and put it on. He tapped the heel of his right foot on the ground as he waited for the system to boot.
His phone rang just as the system came on. It was the governor.
“Adam, you need to hurry. I just got another message and it says there was interference and because of that Kate has only two hours left. Two hours isn’t a long time Adam, find my daughter.” The governor said.
“We will sir. By the way, is the chief with you?”
“Yes, he’s been here since yesterday. He’s coordinating things from the government house which isn’t right but I’ll indulge him, I just want my daughter back.” The governor said, his voice breaking as he talked.”Why did you ask?”
“Oh, just checking sir.” Adam said.
“Find my daughter Adam, find Kate!” The governor said and ended the call.
Adam set his phone on the table and bowed his head. Two hours left and he had no leads, nothing concrete that could help him find Kate.
“What was that about?” Tola asked.
“Kate has only two hours, two hours! We must find out what Faruk knew that got him stabbed.”
Adam opened the browser on the computer. Tola pulled up a chair and sat beside him.
“Okay, let’s see…recently viewed pages; news from several years ago, why would he read this?”
“Let me glance through.” Tola said and Adam sat back as she read. “Okay, it’s about two orphans, a boy and a girl, they had lost their father to a heart attack, no mention was made of their mother.”
“Why did this make the news? More importantly, why was Faruk reading this?”
“I don’t know why Faruk was reading this, but it says here the boy was a genius of some kind. Wait, Okonkwo, wasn’t that the name that was starred on that list?”
“Yeah.” Adam said, looking at the list. “So this girl was on that list, the big question is why?”
“Let’s check other pages he checked.” Tola said as she scrolled through the page. “Okay, here’s another newspaper page. These all happened so long ago. I didn’t know newspapers are archived on the internet that far back.”
“What does it say Tola?”
“It says…oh, the girl died. Wait a minute, she died of liver cancer. According to this, she was next in line for a transplant…”
“That list had Kate on it, they were on the same list.”
“She was next in line but two people were bumped ahead of her. Guess who they were.”
“Kate and that Akinfenwa girl.” Adam said jumping up from the chair. “That brother of hers, is he mentioned? Where is he now?”
“He isn’t mentioned but wait, there is another page…oh my God! Adam look at this.” Tola said, turning the screen towards Adam. “Does that face look familiar to you?”
Adam looked at the screen, it was a graduation picture. The girl’s liver problem obviously at an advanced stage. She was standing beside a young man who was the one graduating. Adam looked at the man’s face and gasped.
“Isn’t that…?” Adam started and stopped.
“Yeah, that is Collins, frigging coroner!” Tola said.
DEMONS ON CHURCH STREET: FINALE PART TWO
Adam looked at the face one more time, Tola was right it was the coroner.
“Tola, I need you to go on the Bureau’s database, look for his address. What do you need to do that?”
“All I need is here.” She said, bringing out her phone and connecting it to the computer.” Give me two minutes.”
“Hurry, Kate doesn’t have long.”
Adam paced behind Tola as she worked. He had not suspected the coroner, not once, not even when Faruk said the killer could be a staff of CIB. He did not know the man very much, but he did not look like the kind of person who would kill. Except that he worked with dead bodies. The killer had mentioned at a point that he knew him even before he worked for the governor, hard as he tried he could not remember ever meeting Collins before he came to head the CIB.
“I think I’m done. Yes, I am, here’s the address.” Tola said. “23, Church Lane, Adewole.”
“Church lane? What’s with this guy and churches? Okay, I’ll head for the address now.”
“Alright, I’m coming with you.” Tola said.
“No, I want you to call for back up and inform the governor, okay?”
“I can do all that from the car Adam.”
“Tola, for the last time, obey me as your boss. I’ll call you when I’m about to enter the house, I’ll be fine.” Adam said and rushed out of the house.
“Adam!” Tola called behind him. “Bring Kate back alive!”
Adam nodded and ran to his car.
Adam slowed his car to a stop in front of the house. It was fenced with high walls and a tall gate. Adam turned off the engine of the car and stepped out of it. He walked to the gate of the house and stopped. He was not sure what to do. The chances that Kate would get out of the house alive would drastically reduce if the house was bombarded with gun blazing officers. There was only one thing he could do; face the killer alone.
He checked, his gun was tucked into his belt. He sighed and pushed the gate, surprisingly it gave way. He stepped quietly through the gate, everything was silent and still. It was a large compound and was empty except for the house situated far away from the gate and three vehicles; a car he had seen in the CIB parking lot a few times, a bus and a taxi.
He closed the gate gently behind him and stepped forward.
“Hello Detective.” A voice said behind him.
Adam reached behind him to pull out his gun from his belt.
“No, don’t do that. I have one of those, right here. Hand it over please.” Collins said. Adam turned around to see Collins holding a gun pointed at him, he handed him his gun. “So we finally meet huh?”
“I guess so.” Adam said.
“Damn that short devil, I still don’t know how he put all that together, unfortunately we will never know. He’s probably telling the demons in hell how smart he is right now. Let’s get this over with, shall we?”
“Yeah, I have a question about that.” Adam said. “What is ‘this’?”
“Good question, I’ll give you an answer and I’ll talk slowly so you can understand. This is what is going to happen; we will both go inside where Kate has been tied up, I will offer her up to Diana…”
“Diana? Is that the Greek goddess? Because I don’t think the late Princess Diana will appreciate you killing innocent girls.” Adam said with a chuckle.
“Keep quiet! As I was saying, I will offer the sacrifice, you will be the witness then I will kill you. Can’t allow any witnesses, I’m sure you understand.”
“I understand alright. But where in this sick plan of yours is the moment where I kill you with my bare hands? Not with a knife, not with a gun but with my bare hands!”
“Oh, lots of big talk from the man with a gun pointed at his head.” Collins said with a dry laugh. “Alright, enough of talking, move.”
Adam felt his heart almost ripping through his chest as he walked towards the house. Collins did not look like someone who would loosen his grip on the gun and this was his house, he was very comfortable. His only hope was to keep talking, if he could get under his skin he could have a chance to catch him at a careless moment.
“So who is Diana exactly? Your mother?” Adam asked as he moved got closer to the door.
“Shut up! You talk when I talk to you.” Collins said and pushed him forward with the gun. “Open the door.”
Adam turned the knob on the door and opened it. It led to a very cozy living room. It was the type any young bachelor would love to have. Soft music played on beautiful hand carved wooden speakers placed across the room. A door stood opposite the one he had entered from, it was the only door exiting the room so he headed for it. Collins followed him without saying a word. He got to the door and opened it, it led to a dark corridor.
“See that door on your left, open it. It’s usually closed but today I have left it open, today, a male visitor will enter the room for the first time.”
Adam opened the door and entered. The room was a large room, there were lots of pictures on the wall, mostly pictures of a young woman. The face was from the same picture but it had been superimposed into many pictures.
“She looks gorgeous, doesn’t she?” Collins asked as they entered.
“Who is this anyway? Did she look gorgeous only once in her life that you had to use that one picture to make so many?”
“Very funny Adam. You know I normally would get angry at you for making fun of my sister but you’re going to die soon so why waste my anger on you? You’re right though about using one picture. Cancer kind of takes your gorgeousness away.”
“This is your sister? She actually looks gorgeous, I wish she was still around, maybe I could go a few rounds with her. You know what I mean?” Adam said and laughed.
“Okay, I see what you’re doing. You want to get me angry right? I need to warn you though, go on with this and I might have to make my sacrifice without a witness because you’ll be dead.”
Collins pulled a chair and shoved Adam into the chair, the gun trained on Adam all the time. He went over to the other side of the room, unlocked a door and pushed out a stretcher. Adam gasped as he looked at the stretcher, Kate was lying on it, her eyes wide open. She was wrapped in a white sheet, she was gagged and tied to the stretcher.
“Okay Adam, I don’t like you and I’m sure you don’t like me, so I’ll help us all by reducing the time we spend together. I’ll get this sacrifice over with, I’ll kill you and we’ll be done here okay. I’m going to put this gun down, very close to me though so don’t make any silly moves.”
Adam kept quiet and looked around, there was nothing close he could grab, he would be dead before he could reach anything.
“Alright, so this is what I’ll be doing. As you can see she is still alive, so I’ll uncover this sheet, I’ll cut her open, as you know I always do, I’ll grab her liver and well, leave her to die. Pretty simple, right?”
“What did she do to deserve this? She’s just a girl!”
“Just a girl? I’ve seen her naked and I tell you she is not a girl anymore.” Collins said and laughed. “I’ll tell you who was a girl though; my sister. She was next on that list, she would have been saved but no, the rich man’s daughter had to go first. We had our money, we were going to pay, but no Kate could not wait!”
“It was not her fault! She did not rig the list.” Adam shouted.
“Yeah, it was her mother. Well, she paid too, didn’t she?”
“You did that? You shot her?” Adam asked, his voice shook as he talked.
“I’m no expert marksman, but I figured if I missed her I would get you so I took a shot, literally.”
“You bastard!” Adam screamed and jumped up from his chair.
Collins grabbed the gun and pointed it at Adam. “Sit down now! Calm down, you don’t want to die ten minutes before your time, do you?”
Adam sat as still as he could. His legs shook and his head ached as he tried to still his body.
Collins set the gun down and picked a long knife from under the stretcher. Adam swallowed as he watched him open the sheet covering Kate.
“Wait!” Adam shouted. “Before you become taken by your ritual and can’t answer my questions anymore, can you answer a question?”
“I know what you’re doing, you’re trying to buy time, but it’s okay. You will die anyway so I guess I can allow last questions.”
“You mentioned once that you knew me before I worked for the governor, how did that happen?”
“You don’t remember? I feel hurt. It was way back when you were a uniformed policeman, a rookie. I came to the station to report that my father was abusing us; my mother, my sister and I. I even showed you blade cuts where he cut me all in the name of punishment. Ring a bell?”
Adam remembered, he was having a tough day and had ignored the boy. He did not believe his story and when he talked to his superiors they all told him to ignore the boy. He refused to leave the station until his father came to drag him away. Adam remembered the look in his eyes as he was dragged away, it was full of anger, hate, death.
“You remember now? You made me commit my first murder; I had to feed him some medication to cause his heart attack. You might look at me as a monster now but know that you created this monster. Remember the first time you came to my office? I asked if you were going to be the detective on the case, I was so happy when you said yes. I wanted us to get to this point and I even helped you along the way. Remember that paper that helped you identify that Judge’s daughter? You never wondered why it wasn’t wet? I pulled it out of my pocket not her mouth, that’s why. Alright, that’s enough, I’m getting tired of the chitchat.”
“Wait… wait, those three men you killed, why?”
“I never agreed that I killed them, did I? But trying to frame me for a murder I didn’t commit, that’s not very good.”
“The churches too, why dump the bodies in the churches?”
“Those pastors were exactly like you. They didn’t… wait a minute, you’re not writing my biography. I’m done with the questions. Let’s get this over with.”
Adam closed his eyes as Collins pulled out the knife, he heard him mumble some words. Adam stilled himself as he expected the stifled scream that would follow the cut. Instead he heard a voice, it sounded like it was coming from a far distance. It sounded like a megaphone.
Adam opened his eyes and noticed that Collins was no more in the room. Adam jumped from his chair and ran towards Kate and began to untie her.
“What do you think you are doing?” It was Collins and he was back in the room with the gun. “The police are here and I just went in to get a robe for Kate, we are going out and we don’t want the whole of Ilorin seeing the governor’s daughter naked now, do we?”
He waved Adam back to his chair and Adam bowed and thought hard on how to play the coming of the police for his benefit. He knew what Collins was going to do, he would walk out of the house with the police watching because he would have a gun pointed at both him and Kate.
“It’s time to go.” Collins said and pointed a gun at Adam and another at Kate.
Adam watched Kate as she walked towards him, she looked tired and weak but there were no physical wounds on her body.
“Are you okay?” He whispered to her when she got close to him.
“No speaking!” Collins shouted before she could answer.
They walked into the living room and stopped at the door. Adam could hear the voices outside.
“Listen to me now.” Collins said. “You will not speak, you will not move in any other direction except where I tell you to and you will not move too fast or suddenly. If you break any of these rules, you will get a bullet to the head. Is that understood?”
Adam nodded, Kate began to sob.
“We are coming out!” Collins shouted. “I have a gun to both their heads so step away from the door. I repeat step away from the door.”
Adam heard someone repeat the order outside and he heard footsteps withdrawing from the door.
“Open the door and go out slowly.” Collins said to Kate.
She opened the door and stepped outside, Adam followed her and Collins followed them. Adam looked around, he saw Tola, she looked at him and nodded. He nodded back. If they were ever going to escape alive, Adam knew it had to be when they were still in the house.
“Listen up everybody, this is what is going to happen. One of you will drive my car out of this compound and we – the three of us will walk out of here, enter the car and drive away. If anyone of you tries to stop us or does anything otherwise, he will have to blame himself for the death of Kate and our good detective here. Is that understood?”
“Step back everybody” Tola shouted and she walked to Collins and collected his car keys.
She entered the car and drove it out of the compound, parked it and left the keys in the ignition. She stood a little distance away from the car and waited.
Collins aimed his gun at every car in the compound and shot their tires. He then poked Kate in the back with the gun and they began to move towards his car. Adam looked at the officers standing around, they all had their guns aimed at Collins but it would be too risky to shoot him as he could still shoot before dying.
They walked out of the compound to where the car was parked. Adam knew if they entered the car and drove off they were dead for sure. He looked at Tola, she also had her gun aimed at Collins. He looked at Kate, she looked so frightened. He closed his eyes and held back from crying. He knew it was his fault she was in this mess and he knew he alone could get her out of it.
He looked at Tola again.
“Shoot him.” He mouthed to her.
She shook her head. “Too risky.” She mouthed back.
“Trust me. At the count of three, shoot him. One, two three.” Adam counted then he dived and crashed into Kate. He heard a gunshot and felt pain explode in his shoulder. He could not see for a few seconds but when his eyes opened the pain in his shoulder was gone.
He looked around, Tola and another officer was lifting him up while another was helping Kate up. He looked up and saw Collins getting away in his car.
“Did you get him?” He asked Tola. She shook her head. “Get me a car.”
“Adam, you cannot…” Tola started to say.
“Get me a car now!” Adam shouted.
An officer ran into the compound, hotwired the taxi and brought it to him.
“You will need this.” Tola said and handed him her gun.
He took it and sped off without a word. Collins already had a head start and the taxi was not made for high speed chases, Adam knew he would have to be at his best to catch up to Collins. He looked ahead and saw the car some distance away from him.
And then suddenly he felt dizzy, his vision blurred and he swerved on the road. He felt a liquid dropping on his thigh and soaking his trousers. He looked at his shoulder and discovered he was bleeding. Just then the pain surged through his body, he had been shot.
He fought for consciousness as he pressed harder on the accelerator. He was gaining on Collins and he seemed to have noticed as he began to move from one end of the road to the other. Cars began to park as they drove past them. Adam looked forward and discovered they were coming to the end of the road. Collins either did not see it or had super powers and planned to fly. Adam began to reduce the pressure on the accelerator as they got close to the end.
Collins was almost at the end but he had not reduced his speed then suddenly he stopped the car and turned it around. He turned so fast that the car turned around two times before it stopped. And as soon as it stopped, Collins moved forward and towards Adam, but he moved too fast and the car ran off the road and crashed into a ditch.
Adam stopped his car and came out of it clutching his shoulder. He held the gun in his hand and walked towards the wreck. He was very close to the car when a bullet whistled past him, he dropped low and approached the car slowly.
“This is the end of the road you son of a bitch.” Adam shouted as he crept closer to the car.
As he got closer to the car he began to hear the distinct scent of petrol. He heard another gunshot and dropped low.
“Stop shooting or this car will explode, you fool!” Adam shouted as he bent low to look inside the car.
Collins was stuck in his chair, his legs hung awkwardly – broken. He would suffer a lot of pain when he was pried from the car. Then Adam noticed one of Collin’s hands move in his direction, the hand gripped a gun. Adam jumped and ran away from the car.
He was a few metres away from the car when he heard the gunshot. He felt but did not hear the explosion that followed but was thrown ten feet into the air and landed in a pit of darkness.
Adam opened his eyes to a white sky. It had red and yellow beautiful flowers. He had not expected to make it to heaven but it was a pleasant surprise.
“Adam.” A sweet soft voice called to him. He turned around to see an angel, she looked so beautiful. “Do you recognize me, it’s Ese.”
Ese? He looked around him and realized he was on a hospital bed. He had not seen a white sky but the ceiling of the room where he was.
“How are you feeling?” Ese asked.
“I feel like I’ve been shot and I need some pampering, if only there was someone…if only.” Adam said with a smile.
“Yeah, if only there was someone.” Ese said and winked.
“How’s Faruk?” Adam asked.
“He’s stable, still unconscious but the doctors think he’ll make it.”
“And Kate? Hope she wasn’t shot.”
“No, she wasn’t. She was here earlier with her father. She should be at home already.”
“Wait a minute, where is Tola?” Adam asked, trying to sit up. He crashed back into the bed in pain.
“She’s not here, but she said to call her immediately you wake up. I’ll do that now.” Ese said. She picked up her phone, dialed the number and handed it to Adam.
“Adam?” Tola said over the phone.
“We’re partners now? You’re no longer the boss?” Tola asked with a chuckle.
“For one day at least.” Adam replied.
“For one day.”
“Did you get his body out of the car yet?” Adam asked, the smile disappearing from his face.
“Yeah, there was a problem Adam. By the time the fire was out and we cut open the car…” Tola said then stopped.
“What happened Tola?” Adam asked holding his breath.
“There was no body. Adam, there was no one in the car.”