THE HAUNTED ASSEMBLY 6

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“Hameed is the killer?” Kate asked, worry painted on her face.

Adam was not sure Hameed was the killer but he was almost sure Senator Bello wasn’t. Hameed had tried very hard to pin it on Senator Bello and with his very connected father, he had eventually succeeded. He could bet Hameed committed the murders.

“How are you going to prove that?” Kate continued. “Going after Hameed is not only going to anger his powerful father, it will also get you in trouble with the president.”

He knew that already. “That’s why they will not know we are doing anything until we are done investigating and have real proof.”

“How are we going to get the proof?” Kate was obviously not pleased with what he was doing.

Adam had no idea. He needed a miracle. He was already about to have one when Senator Dafe called claiming to know who killed Senator Halima but now he needed a miracle to find out who killed his miracle.

“Senator Dafe knew the killer. How did he know? We need to search his house properly.”

Kate shook her head. “We can’t do that. On what grounds are we going to search the house? The case is supposed to be closed or suspended at best.”

Adam nodded. It was frustrating; running an investigation without calling the shots. There had to be another way to enter the house.

There was another way to enter the house!

“Kate, the lady who worked for Senator Dafe, are we still holding her here?” Adam asked.

“Yeah, you need her for…” Kate started then understood where he was going. “You want her to spy for you?”

“Spy? No, I don’t need a spy. I need somebody to get me into the house without anybody knowing. She already helped someone get in. She will have to help me too.”

“Isn’t that a little risky?”

“Get the woman for me.”

“Uncle Adam…”

“Get her now.”

Kate left the room. Adam knew for sure he did not want to cross the general or the president without having something concrete to confront them with. He was desperate. He would do anything to get something to hold against Hameed, even if it meant entering Senator Dafe’s house illegally.

There was a knock on his door. Adam looked up and Detective Samson entered.

“Good day sir.”

“Found me something to charge Hameed Galadima with?” Adam asked.

“No sir.”

“So why are you here?”

“Another body was found.”

Adam sat up. “Another senator?”

“No sir.”

“Another naked and smiling dead girl?”

“No sir.”

Adam hissed and relaxed in his chair. “So why bring it to me? Why would I care about this murder?”

Detective Samson brought out a photograph and handed it to Adam. “That’s the person who got murdered. He had no gunshot wounds, no cuts or stabs, no stranglation marks. Nothing.”

Adam looked at the face of the killer, it was not familiar at all. “Maybe he was poisoned or something. Handle the case yourself, I have a lot on my plate right now.”

“Sir, this sort of fits the way Senator Halima died.”

“Are you saying our killer is bisexual now? Was he naked when you found him?”

“No sir, he wasn’t.”

Adam sighed. “I know you want to help Detective but I don’t see how this helps us right now.”

The detective nodded and left the office. Adam shook his head and threw the photgraph on the table. He paused and picked up the picture. Was this man connected to the whole mess somehow?

His door opened and he dropped the picture. Kate entered with the lady who worked for Senator Dafe. He pitied the woman. She had only been in custody for a day and she was already worse for wear.

“Sit down please.” Adam said to her.

She sat without a word, her eyes glued to her thighs.

“What’s your name?”

“Lola.” Her voice was even more feeble than it was the previous day. “Lola Abu.”

“Okay Lola. Are you ready to go back to work?” Adam asked.

She did not lift her head and she did not respond.

“Can you look up at me please?” Adam said.

She lifted her eyes a little but it did not go past the table. Adam shrugged and continued.

“I am going to let you go back to work today if you are ready to help us catch the person who killed your boss.”

Is she crying? Tears were flowing freely from her face now. Adam almost wished he had not brought her in. She made him feel like he was a monster. Her only offense was being emotional and gullible. But then her emotional gullibility had led to the death of her boss.

“Lola look, crying is not helping me and it’s not helping you. We need to catch your boss’ killer, crying won’t help us do that.”

“That is him.” She whispered through her tears.

Adam looked at her and followed her eyes to the picture on the table. He grabbed it and held it up.

“This is the man who asked you about your boss?”

“Yes.” She said and nodded.

“Are you sure about this?”

“Yes sir.” She said. “Is he dead?”

Adam rose to his feet.

“Kate, let her go back to work or her house or wherever she wants to go.” Adam said then turned to Lola. “You are not in troulble but I’m trusting that you won’t leave town. I might need your help again.”

She nodded and Adam hurried out of his office.

He walked through the building to where he assumed he would find a top level detective like Samson. There were several rooms though. He knocked on the first one and entered.

A startled detective jumped to his feet.

“Hello sir.” The detective said.

He looked familiar. “Were you in my meeting earlier?”

“No sir. I was in your office some days ago to tell you about a case. Detective Bawa sir.”

He remembered. “You were telling me a story about your childhood. That’s you, right?”

“It wasn’t about my childhood. But I hear you have caught Senator Halima’s killer so it doesn’t matter.”

“Okay detective. I need to find Detective Samson.”

“He’s next door sir.”

Adam left the detective and went next door. He knocked the door and entered.

“Sir?” Detective Samson was just as shocked as his colleague.

“The picture you brought just now, where did you find the body?” Adam asked.

Detective Samson stood. “Do you want to see?”

***

Adam looked the car over. It was a 2014 Toyota Avensis, it was not a cheap car. Whoever this man was, he was not some cheap assassin. If he was an assassin at all.

“Do you know who he is yet?” Adam asked.

“Yes sir. We found his particulars and traced them back to his house. We then…”

Adam raised a palm. “Detective, I’m sure you did a fantastic investigative job but I just need to know who he is.”

“Okay sir. He is an investor based in the US. He lives alone not very far from here. No family or next of kin listed anywhere. His name is Ade Smith.”

Adam smiled. “Smith eh?”

“Yes sir. That’s the name we saw.”

“This Smith guy killed Senator Dafe, I’m almost sure of it. Did he kill Senator Halima? It’s possible but I doubt it. That was more personal.”

“So you think he is an assassin sent by the person who killed Senator Halima?”

“He has no family or relatives, he has no business that we know of. He is supposedly based in the US. His name is Smith. He questions a lady about her boss and then the boss ends up dead a few days later – shot thrice in his house? Sounds like an assassin to me.” Adam said.

“A dead assassin though.”

“Which brings the question; who killed Mister Smith? We answer that question and we find the person who killed Senator Halima.”

***

“Like I said earlier, Senator Bello didn’t do it.” Adam said, his face as firm as he could make it look.

The Inspector General of Police looked at him with concern. Adam hated that look. He would rather be berated or insulted but not pitied. Why should he be pitied, he was only doing his job.

“Sir, he was in custody when this assassin character was killed. Halima’s killer killed the assassin.”

“Alleged assassin. Ademola, alleged assassin.” The IG said.

“Sir, this man questioned one of the ladies who works for Senator Dafe. The Senator is killed a few days from then. The man himself turns up dead mysteriously in his car the next day. Those are not coincidences.”

“Ademola, I understand where you are coming from. Here is the problem; like you probably already know, it’s not just my call now. To release Senator Bello and re-open this investigation, you have to have enough physical evidence. Not just assumptions. No matter how good the assumptions are.”

There was a knock on the door and Nnamdi entered. He ignored Adam and went straight to the IG. He whispered something into his ears and left the room.

“Detective, I have to attend to something important now.”

“More important than releasing Senator Bello? He was your friend.”

“Come on Ademola.”

Adam looked at the IG and knew there was no point arguing. There was no way here. If he wanted to find this killer, he would have to wield more power than the IG.

He left the office. Kate who had been waiting at the reception joined him.

“How did that go?”

“Crashed and burned.”

“So what now?”

“Hameed and his father are been protected by the president. To beat them, we need to find somebody more powerful than their protector.”

“More powerful than the president? You’re going to God?”

Adam laughed. “God has better things to do.”

“So, who?”

“I’m going home. I need to talk to Ese.”

***

“I’m home babe.” Adam shouted as soon as he entered the house.

“Welcome.” He heard the voice to his right from behind the cushions.

He walked towards the voice. Ese was lying on the chair. She looked the opposite of what she looked the last time. Her hair was stuffed into an awful hairnet and she was covered in a robe, just as terrible. Her eyes were closed. It was obvious she was not in the mood he needed her to be in.

Adam knelt beside her. “Are you okay dear?”

“I’m fine.” She said, her eyes still shut.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“And the baby, how is it?”

Her eyes snapped open. “It?”

“Well, I didn’t know whether to say he or she so…”

She sat up. “You don’t know the baby’s gender?”

“How am I supposed to. Do you?”

“Of course you don’t. You missed the doctor’s appointment.”

She stood from the chair and headed for the bedroom.

“Am I allowed to come?” Adam called after her.

She did not answer, that was a good sign. Adam ran ahead of her and opened the door for her. He helped her unto the bed and lifted her leg for her.

“You’re overcompensating.” She said.

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay. It’s cute.”

“Cute? I’m a battle hardened detective who eats serial killers for breakfast. Don’t call me cute.”

“Really? How many serial killers did you have today? If I can recall, you didn’t even have breakfast today.”

Adam thought about it, he did not have breakfast, or lunch or anything else.

“Well, champions don’t need food to survive. We survive on heroism; saving lives and catching bad guys.”

“You must be really starving then. When was the last time you caught a bad guy?”

“I caught one today. He was dead though. Still counts. So, I have been properly fed today.”

“Good for you. So you will be having none of the hot Semo coming up in a few minutes.”

The talk of food suddenly made him hungry.

“Please my lady, can I please share in this earthly food. Just as a sign of love though, because I am definitely not hungry.”

Ese laughed. Adam joined her in laughing and got on the bed beside her.

“How is your case going?” She asked.

“Not too good to be honest.”

“You said you caught a dead bad guy, I didn’t see it on the news.”

“Not every murder gets on TV.”

“Tell me about this one.”

Adam told her who was killed, how they thought he was related to the killing of Senator Halima and Senator Dafe.

“And you think Hameed Galadima did it?” Ese asked.

“I believe he did. But I can’t go near him. He is protected by his father who is protected by the president.”

“You need somebody more powerful than the president then?”

“Exactly what I told Kate and please don’t say God.”

“That’s what Kate suggested? I might be able to help though.”

“I thought you might.”

Ese smiled. “There are people more powerful than the president but they are people like General Galadima too, you can’t exactly access them. You have another option though – the press.”

“The press?”

“The press are hungry for information on this case. Three Senators are already involved. This is the most interesting thing to have come from the senate since the maze was hidden in a shrine some years ago.”

“Talking to the press is not exactly a good idea. How is that different from investigating?”

Ese shook her head. “That’s why I didn’t like you as a detective, you don’t know how to use the press.”

Adam frowned. “You didn’t like me as a detective? But you married me anyway?”

“Shut up silly. All you need to do is leak information to the press, they will take it from there.”

Adam was not exactly pleased with this. Who was sure what the press would find?

“So, I’ll just leave the investigations to the press?”

“Aargh Adam! No, the press won’t investigate for you, they will build pressure that will help you resume your investigation. They will question the arrest of Senator Bello. They will question the IG about it any chance they get. They will bring it up in interviews with politicians and government officials even when it’s not appropriate.”

Adam began to see what she was saying. It was not a bad idea.

“By the time it builds up to the point where they begin to say that an innocent man has been jailed, the presidency will notice. Fortunately, this president doesn’t like bad press much.”

Adam thought about it. It was a good plan. It was the best plan he currently had.

Adam leaned over and kissed Ese. “I had forgotten how brilliant you are.”

“Of course you have. Mister serial-killer eater.”

Adam jumped off the bed. “I’m talking to Kate inmediately, we start this tonight.”

“Won’t you allow the girl sleep?”

“If she wanted to sleep, she shouldn’t have come to work for me.”

Ese shook her head, picked up the remote and put the TV on.

“Thank God she doesn’t have a boyfriend yet.” She said.

Adam rolled his eyes and dialed Kate’s number. It rang for a few seconds but she did not answer. He tried her number again. Still no answer.

“That’s weird, she’s not answering.” Adam said.

“She has a life. You would understand if you had one.” Ese replied and laughed.

Adam shot her a dirty look. He was walking away from his phone when it rang.

“She’s calling back already. So much for having a life.” Adam said then answered the call. “Kate?”

“Detective?” It was a male voice.

“Yes?”

“It is General Abubakar.”

“General, what can I do for you?” He wished he knew who was at the other end of the line before he picked the call.

“Have you caught the killer of my daughter?” He asked.

“An arrest has been made sir.” Adam said, wondering why the general was asking that question.

“That’s not the answer to my question.”

Adam was not sure what to say. “What do you want General?”

“The truth will be fine. Do you think Senator Bello killed my daughter?”

What was this? A test by these generals to see if he would defy them?

“Sir, like I said; an arrest has been made. Senator Bello will be prosecuted and we will all know if he is guilty or innocent.”

“The man you found today, the one you believe killed Senator Dafe…” How did he know that? “Have you been able to link him to Bello at all?”

“No sir. And I don’t appreciate you spying on our investigations sir.”

“My daughter was murdered, I can spy where I want detective. If you can’t link him to Bello, that means there is a chance my daughter’s killer is sitll out there?” The man’s voice was laden with emotion.

“Sir, we don’t know for sure but I assure you that we are not relently on catching the person who killed your daughter.”

“So you don’t believe Bello did it too?”

Adam paused then said. “General sir, I will contact you if we find anything.”

“I’m counting on you detective.”

“Good night sir.” Adam said and ended the call.

He was setting his phone down when a text came in. It was from Kate.

Sorry Uncle, believe it or not I’m on a date. I will call you as soon as I’m done. xoxo.

Adam smiled and shook his head.

“Ese, two weird things just happened. One; General Abubakar is on my side. And Kate is on a date. On the same night.”

She did not respond. Adam looked at her; her eyes were fixed on the TV.

“Ese?”

“Make that three weird things.” She said. “Come and see this.”

Adam turned around and faced the TV. He saw what she was looking at and he opened his mouth.

The headline read

Senator Bello commits suicide in jail.

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