THE HAUNTED ASSEMBLY 3

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Adam collected the phone from Kate and read without saying a word. He finished reading and gave the phone back to her. His investigation was about to get tougher.

“Okay, now we have another suspect, it is time to put up a board.”

Kate nodded and left the room. Adam knew that if he started what he was about to do, there was no way he was going to get home on time. Ese was angry when he left the house, it will stupid to make it worse by getting home late.

Kate entered the room with a whiteboard and some markers.

“I want you to print out the pictures of our two suspects.” Adam said.

“Way ahead of you.” She said waving two pictures in the air and handing them to Adam.

Adam collected the pictures and pasted them on the board.

“So now we have two suspects. Suspect one; Hameed Galadima. Son of wealthy general and fiance of victim. Has unverified alibi, and has strong motive to commit. Probably has means and opportunity too.”

“Suspect number two; Senator Sunday Bello. Senator of the federal republic, opposition senator to victim and open antagonist.”

The case of Senator Bello was curious. He was opposed to a bill Senator Halima was co-sponsoring but he was not just opposed to the bill, it looked like he had an axe to grind with Halima. It was strange that despite Halima’s death he was not relenting on going after her.

“What is this man’s problem with Halima exactly?” Adam asked.

“I’m trying to find out.” Kate said, scrolling through pages on her phone. “I can’t seem to find why he hates her so much.”

“We pay him a visit then.”

“You want to question him?” Kate asked.

“You need to calm down Kate. These guys are humans and if I don’t question them, who will?”

“All I’m saying is…”

She was cut off by Adam’s ringing phone. Adam looked at the phone, the number calling was not familiar.

“Hello, Detective Ademola here.”

“Detective, I heard you accused the fiance of the victim of murdering her. Is that true?”

Adam looked at his phone, he had no idea who was talking.

“Please who is this?”

“Detective Nnamdi Uba, we met at the crime scene.”

“Oh yeah. The lap dog.”

“Excuse me?”

“Detective Nnamdi, what can I do for you?”

“I already asked you a question. Did you accuse the grieving fiance of the victim of murder?

Adam chuckled. “I don’t see how that is your problem. I’m running an investigation and I can’t do much if I’m always on the phone, can I? I’m going to hang up now.”

“Do not hang up! I’m acting on orders of the Inspector General.”

“Really? He told you to ask if I accused the victim’s fiance of murder?”

“Look, I know you think you’re a star because you solved that case in Kwara state but this is Abuja, things work differently here.”

“Oh, so that is what this is all about Nnamdi?”

“It is Detective Nnamdi.”

“Look Nnamdi, let me catch the killer first, then you can come to the press conference and take some pictures.”

Adam ended the call and shook his head.

“These guys don’t know who they’re dealing with.” He muttered.

His phone rang again, it was the same number.

Adam smiled. “Nnamdi, I thought we were done.”

“It is Detective Nnamdi and we are not done. The IG wants you at his office tomorrow by 8:00am tomorrow.”

“Really Nnamdi, you had to bring the IG into this? Tell him I’ll be in his office by 8 am.”

Adam ended the call and threw the phone on the table.

“You’re going to see the IG?” Kate asked.

“Yes I am. But before then, I need to find out why Senator Bello hated Senator Halima so much.”

“Tonight?”

“I will leave that battle till tomorrow. I have another battle to fight at home.”

“With Aunty Ese?”

“Forget the IG, the battle with Ese, that’s the one I need to win.”

***

Adam walked into the house, treading carefully. He knew walking quietly was not the solution to his problem, quitting the case was. He loved his wife but he did not want to quit the case, even if he could. Catching the killer already meant something to him.

He entered the living room, it was empty. She rarely went into the kitchen since she got pregnant, it made her nauseated so she was probably in the bedroom. He was not sure if the ban from the bedroom the night before extended till today. He had to find out one way or another.

He got to the bedroom door and knocked. He waited for an answer but did not get one. She could be asleep, or in the bathroom. Or the silence was a subtle way of telling him to get lost. He let out breath he had not realised he had been holding and pushed the door open.

The room was empty.

“Ese?” He called out.

“Yes dear.” Her voice came from the bathroom.

Adam sighed, she was fine. Adam began unbuttoning his shirt.

She came out of the bathroom and Adam turned around to see her. Adam paused and smiled. She was dressed in a beautiful flower-patterned flowing gown. Her hair was fixed and she had makeup on. Adam had not seen his wife glowing that much in a while.

“You look awemazing.

“I know, right? I was just admiring myself.” She said, her face lighting up with a smile.

“So, what’s the occasion? Where are you going?”

“Just a date with a handsome young man.”

“You had me at handsome then lost me at young.” Adam said, walking towards her. “Who is this guy you’re going out with?”

“Well, you might have heard of him actually. He is a cop, runs the CIB here in Abuja.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah, he currently took a case against the wish of his wife.”

“That was definitely a stupid thing to do. I’m sure he wouldn’t have if his boss had not instructed him to take the case. Is there any chance you would forgive him?”

“Why do you think there is a big bowl of iyan and efo riro on the dinning table waiting for him?”

Adam pulled her close and kissed her. “You know he loves pounded yam.”

Ese smiled. “I know he does. Now let’s go before it gets cold. I also know you don’t like cold food.”

“Oh come on, why did you drop the third person, I was enjoying it.”

“Really? Then we can put that to good use later.” She said and winked.

 

 

One hour later and the food was finished and they were back in the bedroom. Adam could feel Ese watching him and he knew what she was doing. She wanted to know if he was going to bring the case home with him. She was right to think so. He was staring at the TV but the case kept creeping into his mind. He could not let her know though, he had promised as soon as he entered the house he would be Adam the husband and potential father, not the detective.

“How is the case coming?” Ese asked.

“Are you sure you want me to talk about the case at home?”

“You’re itching to talk about it, so do.”

Adam smiled and told her all he knew. She was a journalist, maybe there was something she could see that he wasn’t seeing.

“I have one challenge with your theory about Senator Bello.” Ese said.

“What’s that?”

“There’s no way she slept with him and what you described does not look like a rape. It looked like she went into that car willingly.”

She had a point. He had always imagined that whoever killed her was a lover; someone she willingly had sex with. There was a smile on her dead face.

“You are right but maybe he hired someone to do it.”

“Hired someone who she was already sleeping with? That’s a little farfetched.”

It was. Still he had to talk to the senator, there was something about the man.

Ese adjusted the pillow and pulled the covers closer to her chin. “Please close this case on time.”

Adam kissed her on the cheek. “I will, I promise.”

“And please don’t come home late anymore like you did last night.”

“I promise I won’t.”

“Then you won’t sleep on the couch anymore.”

“Thank you ma’am, good night.”

In a couple of minutes Adam could hear her steady breathing, she was asleep. He stared at the ceiling, he wanted to sleep but he could not. He could not forget the look on the victim. She had died happy or at least thought she was happy. It was nothing like the church street murders but it was murder all the same. The church street killer was a serial killer who was detached from his victims and murdered them brutally. This killer knew and had sex with his victim. Most crimes done by lovers were passionate; stab wounds, strangulation or suffocation but this was not like that. It was subtle, maybe premeditated too.

His phone rang and dove for it. He hit the ‘silent’ button as fast as he could. He looked at Ese, she did not wake up. He got out of bed as quietly as he could and left the room. He looked at the phone, it was Kate.

“Kate, it’s kind of late.”

“I just got a call from Hameed Galadima.”

“What did he want?”

“He said he knows who killed his fiancee – Senator Bello.”

“How does he know that?”

“He didn’t tell me why but he is headed to the Senator’s house as we speak to confront him.”

“Stupid boy.” Adam said under his breath. “Let him go. He probably won’t get in anyway.”

“The problem is if the senator is the killer and Hameed does something stupid, we may never be able to investigate the senator anymore.”

“What do you want me to do? It is already late and Ese is already asleep.”

“Okay, I hope nothing bad happens then.”

“Yeah.” Adam said and ended the call.

He shook his head and headed towards to the room. He could not see Hameed as the killer. He was too stupid to do something as subtle as killing without leaving a visible trace.

Adam placed his hand on the door handle to open it when his phone rang again. He looked at the phone, he did not recognise the number.

He answered the call. “Hello.”

“Are you watching the TV right now?”

“No. Who is this?”

“This is Detective Nnamdi.”

“Nnamdi, two calls in a day? Are you obssessed with me already?”

“Right now on TV, there is a live feed of Hameed and a couple of thugs banging away and throwing things at Senator Bello’s house. Did you know about this or why this is happening?”

“No. Is this why you called me?”

“General Danjuma just called the IG and now the IG wants you to sort it.”

“Do you know what time it is? Can you just send someone else to sort it?”

“The IG wants it all sorted in two hours, I will call you back in 120 minutes. Goodbye detective.”

He heard the dial tone and the call ended.

Adam looked at his watch, it was almost ten pm. He considered not going but it was not smart to ignore the Inspector General just because he detested his errand boy. But then there was Ese. He entered the bedroom, she was still asleep. She had already told him to come in late, he wondered how she would feel if he left the house this late.

He opened the wardrobe and picked out a shirt and a pair of jeans. He closed the wardrobe and stole a peek at Ese, she was still asleep. Maybe he could be back before she woke up. He had to be, sleeping on the couch for one night was something. Sleeping on the couch for another consecutive night was something else.

Husband and potential father Adam was going to have to make sacrifices if Detective Adam was going to be a success. He wore his clothes and ‘detective Adam’ stepped out hoping ‘husband Adam’ would still be safe when he returned.

***

Adam drove into Asokoro and immediately knew things were not good. The press were having the time of their lives as Senator Bello had come out of the house. Adam could not figure out exactly what the Senator was saying to Hameed but he was not saying it calmly and Hameed was not loving what he was hearing.

Adam came down from his car and hurried towards the scene. He would love to avoid the press but they had all angle covered, there was nothing he could do about it. He had a plan and it was to remove Hameed from the scene – get in and get out. He knew it was easier thought than done but it was his best chance.

He walked into the chaos and went straight to Hameed.

“Hameed, I’m here now, let’s go.” Adam said.

“Go where?” Hameed shouted. “Are you not here to arrest the man who killed my wife?”

Adam leaned closer to him. “Hameed, if you have any evidence against him, we will investigate him.”

“Investigate? Which investigation? If you’re not going to arrest him now please leave me.”

Adam looked at Hameed, he could not be reasoned with. He could arrest him and remove him forcefully but it would only cause more problems. The only thing to do was for Senator to return into his house. Why was he so shameless in joining issues with Hameed? There was something about this man, something he needed to find out.

“Senator, my name is Detective Ademola.”

“I know who you are.” The senator said. “Are you here to arrest me like that lunatic wants?”

“I don’t know Senator. Did you kill Senator Halima?”

The man froze and stared at Adam. Adam held his gaze.

“You haven’t answered my question Senator.”

“I will not answer that question. You can arrest me if you want but know today is your last day in Abuja.”

“Okay sir. I will not arrest you but can we go inside and talk? If he – Hameed does not see you anymore, he won’t have a choice but to leave.”

“I will go in but you’re not coming with me. I don’t like you.”

“I’m glad one of us finally said it. You don’t like me and I don’t like you either. But the only way to make sure you don’t see me again is to talk to me now.”

The senator grunted and marched back into his house.

“Where are you going?” Hameed screamed. “Come back you murderer!”

Adam walked to Hameed. “Go home and come to the office tomorrow.”

“I’m not coming to your office. That man killed my wife, arrest him now.”

“Go home Hameed.” Adam said and left him.

There was a certainty to the way he said the senator killed his fiancee. Maybe he was not just a lunatic ranting. Well, there was one way to find out.

Adam followed the senator into his house and into his living room.

“Let’s get this overwith. What do you want?” Senator Bello asked.

“Where were you on the night Senator Halima was killed?”

“I was here at home.”

“Can anybody collaborate that story?”

“The house staff can.”

Adam paused and observed the man. He looked really drained from his escapade with Hameed, almost pitiable.

“Senator, you are a respected member of the senate, one of the strongest members of your party…”

“Where are you going with this?”

“Why did you have such a big problem with Senator Halima? What was your beef with her exactly?”

“Beef with her? Do you know anything about politics or how we run the senate?”

“Not really.” Adam said.

“Look, there’s a way the senate works. It has been that way for years and it will continue to be that way. Halima did not understand that. She thought she could just come, open her legs for a few men and challenge people like me.”

Open her legs? Did this have anything to do with her reputation?

“What did she do exactly? I don’t know much about the bill she’s sponsoring but…”

“It’s not about the bill, it’s about the way she went about it. Nobody in the senate supported her in the beginning…”

“She is co-sponsoring so I’m assuming at least one person supported her.”

Senator Bello scoffed. “Of course Dafe supported her, they were lovers and everbody knew it.”

“Her co-sponsor is sleeping with her?” Adam asked.

“Everybody slept with that girl.”

“Everybody but you?”

The Senator jumped to his feet. “Don’t insult me in my own house. I did not and will never sleep with a slut like that.”

Adam sighed. There was still something about this man he was yet to figure out.

“I’m sure you will not sleep with her as she is dead.”

Senator Bello returned to his seat.

“Senator, did you know Senator Halima before she became a senator?”

The senator shifted in his seat. “Everybody knew her because of her father. And she has been sleeping around the senate chambers before she became a senator herself.”

“So you knew her?”

“Not personally. Are we done here? I have things to do.”

“I have just one last question sir…” Adam started then his phone rang. “Excuse me please.”

It was a text from Kate. Adam read it, trying his best not to reveal anything on his face.

“Okay sir, my last question. Are you married sir?” Adam asked.

“No, why?”

“Were you ever married?”

“No but what does that have to do with anything?”

“Why are you not married sir? Were you engaged at any point?”

Senator Bello stood. “I think your time here is done. You have asked your last question, it’s time to leave.”

“Okay sir.” Adam said and stood. “Can I just read the text I just got to you?”

“No.”

“I’ll read it anyway. It says ‘Sir, guess who Halima jilted on the day of their wedding?…’ I’m sure you know the answer to that question Senator. So you didn’t know her personally sir?”

Senator Bello looked at Adam and sank back into his chair.

NB: If you want to download the story before this one DEMONS ON CHURCH STREET, click here

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