THE HAUNTED ASSEMBLY 9

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Hameed had been gone for about six hours and the whole of Abuja was looking for him. Adam was not sure how the press got news of the search but it was being broadcast on almost every station. Several people had called in saying they saw him but like Adam expected, they were all bogus calls. Hameed did not look like someone who was smart enough to pull off an escape. Especially now his father seemed to be fed up with him and had stopped helping him. At least that was what he said.
They had checked everywhere they thought he could hide. Except for his uncle’s place. Getting access into the house had not been easy to get. Honourable Hassan had reminded them of his position and blatantly refused them access. General Galadima had intervened though but Adam was not sure if it was worth the effort.
“Remind me why we are here again.” Kate said.
“I’m beginning to wonder myself. Hameed can’t be hiding here, it doesn’t make sense.”
“So why are we here then?”
“Did you see how the Honourable was reluctant to let us in? I just think there’s something he is hiding.”
“I hope something turns up soon. Hameed gets farther away with every minute we waste here.”
He knew she was right but it all did not sit well with him. Hameed was one of his first suspects but now that he looked more and more like the killer he could not help but wonder if he was wrong. Why would he run if he was innocent? His running away still confused him. And there was the part of the General calling him a coward. What was all that about?
“Detective, how goes the search?” It was Honourable Hassan.
“We’ll be out of here as soon as we can Honourable.” Adam said.
“How well do you know Hameed sir?” Kate asked.
“Like a brother.” Honourable Hassan said with a smile. “To be honest I’m sort of surprised he could do all you are accusing him of.”
Adam looked at the Honourable, maybe he was his chance to finally get something on General Galadima.
“How long have you known Hameed for? General Galadima too?”
“Long enough to know the General will be very upset right now.” Hassan replied.
That answer was not what Adam wanted but he could not come out to ask his question clearly. “Did you know Hameed when he was younger – say in secondary school?”
“Yeah I did. I call him my nephew but you know I’m not a Galadima and I’m not his mother’s brother either. I lived with them since I was a kid though.”
Adam was getting closer to what he wanted. “So you lived in Bida too?”
Hassan paused. “Yes I did. Hameed was quite young then though.”
If Hassan was young then he was right about General Galadima.
“He wasn’t too young though.” Honourable Hassan added. “Maybe about eighteen. Why do you ask?”
Eighteen wasn’t too young. Did it mean Hameed could have committed the murder? His father had called him a coward. Could a coward kill people the way Hameed did?
“Detective?”
“I’m sorry, my mind had wandered. There was a murder in Bida, similar to the one of Senator Halima, did you know about it?”
Hassan shot Adam a look, Adam knew he had hit a nerve.


“I might be helping you find Hameed for crimes he committed here but I will not helping you rope him into a crime he didn’t commit.”
Hassan turned and walked away.
“Did you see that?” Kate said. “Something happened in Bida that they’re all trying to hide.”
“It’s the General, I’m so sure. But I can’t believe he wants to pin it all on his son.”
“We need the Honourable on our side, he is probably the only one who can help us find out what exactly is going on.”
“Or we find Hameed on time before he does something stupid.”
“Sir?” Adam looked across the room to where Detective Samson was calling. “You might want to see this.”
Adam and Kate followed him into one of the room. The room was empty, probably one of the guest rooms that were never used. Adam looked around, what was he supposed to see?
“What am I missing detective?”
Detective Samson walked to the wardrobe in the room and pushed the mirror and it slid open.
“There’s a secret room.” Kate said, eyes wide.
“What is this? Chronicles of Narnia?” Adam asked. “What’s on the other side?”
“We haven’t gone in sir. We believe the suspect could be hiding there.” Detective Samson said.
“Then go in and arrest him!”
Detective Samson nodded and drew his gun. He was followed by two uniformed policemen and they entered the room. Adam waited to hear a commotion but there was nothing. He waited for a few more seconds, still there was nothing.
“I’m going in.” He said. He turned to Kate. “Wait here.”
Adam drew his gun and entered through the door. He lost his footing and dropped to the floor of the dark room. He heard movement to his left. Friends or foe? He held tight to his gun and peered hopelessly into the darkness. He heard a click and light flooded the room. He lost his orientation for a second before opening his eyes.
The men who had entered before him were alone. They looked around stunned by the light too. Adam looked around the room. What was this place? The room was whitewashed and bare; no bed or any other furniture except for a chair that sat randomly in the middle of the room. There was a small wooden box under the chair. The room had no windows. There were no other entry or exit points apart from the one they had entered through. He looked up at the high ceilings. He saw a small vent; it was probably what supplied air into the room. Then he saw a picture on the wall. A beautiful smiling woman. She was probably in her forties. She looked oddly familiar. He looked away from the picture and a few metres from it was another one. And then another. And then another. There were about eight different pictures of the same woman in the room.
What is this place?
It all reminded him too much of the Church Street Killer’s murder house. Was that what this…
“How did you enter in here?” Honourable Hassan was standing at the door.
“Why didn’t you tell us about this room Honourable?” Adam asked.
“Because it’s not my room.” Hassan said.
“Not your room? This is your house. How is this not your room?”
“This is Hameed’s room. This is my first time of being in here actually. He always kept it secret.”
Adam frowned. “He kept a room secret in your own house?”
“See, you don’t understand. I owe their family all that I am. I just thought it was a place for him to get high and maybe stash his drugs.”
Adam nodded. He had experienced the power of the Galadimas first hand, so maybe even Honourable Hassan could not escape them. But the pictures…
“The woman in the pictures, who is she?”
“Hajia Galadima, Hameed’s mother.”
Hameed is obssessed with his mother? He suddenly felt like throwing up. Was that what this was all about? Was that why his father seemed to dislike him?
“The general said Hameed took her death really bad. How did she die?”
The honourable looked down. “She died in a hit and run.”
“And the person who killed her was never found?”
“No.”
This still did not explain why Hameed was obsessed with his mother. Was he sexually abused? Was his obsessive love producing obsessive hate? The girls died smiling. Did this have anything to do with the beautiful smile his mother had?
“Honourable, is there something you are not telling us here? Hameed is already in trouble, you can’t help him but you can help us. Think about all the lives that have been lost already.”
The Honourable opened his mouth but paused. Adam sighed, they need answers. Hameed could be committing another murder while they wasted time speculating.
“Sir?” Detective Samson called. “The box under the chair?”
Adam turned to Honourable Hassan. “Do you know what that is?”
He shook his head. “I’m not sure I do but I’ve seen another one like it somewhere around the house. I’ll get it for you. Could your assistant come with me?”
Adam nodded at Kate and they both walked out of the room. Adam picked up the box and he sat on the chair. The content of the box could give them an explanation of what Hameed’s problem was. He held the box to his ear and shook it. It sounded like it contained paper.
He opened the box.
He was right, it was full of paper. And a glass box. He set the box aside first and picked one of the papers. It was a newspaper clipping reporting the death of Hajia Galadima. Every single one of those papers had her picture and reported news about her. He picked the glass box and opened it. Inside the box was a gold tooth. A tooth? He picked the tooth and held it closer to his eyes. It was dirty. Almost as if it was dug from the ground. He looked closer. It was not dirt! The tooth was coloured with blood.
He looked up at the pictures on the wall and his fear was confirmed. Hajia Galadima had a gold tooth in every one of those pictures. Did Hameed kill his mother too? He needed to speak to the General. Surely he knew something about all these.
He stood and dropped the box on the chair. The box slid off the chair and fell to the ground. The bottom of the box cracked. Adam bent and picked it. He looked at the cracked bottom – he could not see through the box. The bottom was false, there was something under it. He tore the bottom open, there was another compartment below. It contained pictures. Two of them.
Adam picked the pictures. They were coloured but low quality. Probably taken with tourist cameras that printed instantly. The first was a picture of a very young Hameed and his mother smiling into the camera. He looked at the second and gasped. What the heck! The picture showed Hameed and his mother kissing!
Only this time, he was not sure it was Hameed.
He looked closer at the pictures. The men in the pictures were the same and he was not so sure the man was Hameed.
“Samson, come check this out.” Adam handed the pictures to him. “Do you think that is Hameed Galadima?”
Detective Samson looked for a while, his face expressionless.
“What do you think?” Adam asked.
“I don’t think this is Mr Hameed sir.”
“Who do you think this is?” Adam asked, his heart beating faster. Could he be right?
“I’m not very sure about this sir.”
Adam was not sure himself but his gut told him he was right. He needed someone else to say it first.
“Just tell me detective.”
Detective Samson sighed. “I believe it is Honourable Hassan in these pictures sir.”
Adam slammed his fist into the air. Hassan? Why? How? Hassan slept with Hameed’s mother? Under the nose of the general? And then went on to kill her and take her tooth from the dead body?
“Detective, go into the house and get Honourable Hassan now. And please don’t hint at our discovery at all.” Adam said.
Detective Samson nodded and left the room. Adam dropped into the chair and cradled his head in both palms. Honourable Hassan? How? Killing Senator Halima wouldn’t have been a problem. She slept with anybody and everybody, it wouldn’t have been difficult for Hassan to convince her to sleep with him too. He probably killed Senator Dafe because he found out he was the killer. The general probably assumed his own son was the killer and made all his moves thinking he was protecting Hameed and not the man who killed his own wife.
Detective Samson returned to the room.
“Where is the Honourable?” Adam asked.
“He is gone!”
“Gone? Gone where? How did he…?” Kate? “Kate, did you see Kate?”
“I don’t…”
“Did you see her? She went out with him just now. Did you see her?”
“No sir. I don’t…”
“Don’t tell me no! Look for her now! Find Kate damn it!”
Adam grabbed the box and ran out of the room. He had lost Kate once, she might not survive it this time.
***
“Tola, I’m in trouble. It’s the church street killer all over again.” Adam said, one hand on the phone, the other on the steering wheel.
“What is it this time? It’s not enough that I’m taking care of your wife, I have to solve your case too?”
“Tola, Kate has been taken.”
“What? Are you sure?”
“Do I sound like I’m joking?” Adam could not believe she had been taken right under his nose.
“What are you going to do?”
“Kill myself if she dies.”
“Don’t talk like that. She survived Collins, she will survive whoever this guy is.”
“You know the sad part is….”
“Hey Adam.” Tola cut him off. “You will not find the killer by talking to me on the phone.”
She was right. “I’m sorry, I just needed someone to talk to. Take care of my wife, I’ll take care of myself.”
“Don’t panic Adam. You will find her.”
Adam dropped the phone. He wished he was as confident as she was. He had no idea where to look. Kate was the one who took him around Abuja. He should not have allowed her come on the case with him. His lips trembled, he had no idea what to do. No idea!
The general! He would know. He grabbed his phone and dialed his number.
He picked at first ring. “Have you found my son?”
“No sir, but we have a bigger problem. Your son is not the killer.”
“He ran away, he was the one who…”
“I know sir but Honourable Hassan is the killer sir.”
The general paused. “Hassan? How? He was just a boy who was fortunate to be raised by me.”
“Sir, we also believe he may have killed your wife.”
There was silence on the other end of the line. Adam knew he had not broken the news the right way but he was desperate. He needed the general on his side.
“Hello sir?”
“I thought my wife died in an accident.” His voice was grave.
“Sir, we need your help finding Hassan. He has my assistant, Kate.”
“I don’t believe Hassan could have done all of these.”
“Sir, finding Hassan is urgent.”
“Come to my house. I know where the fool will be hiding.”
“I’ll be right there.” Adam said.
“And please come alone. I don’t want to drag my name in the mud anymore than it already has been.”
Adam understood how the man felt. He even felt some pity for him. “I’ll be right there.”
His phone rang again almost as soon as he ended the call. It was Hameed.
“Hameed, where are you?”
“I didn’t do it.” His vibrating voice said over the phone.
“I know you didn’t Hameed. We know who did it. You can come home now.”
“My father…”
“We have told him you are innocent. You can come home, you are safe now.”
“He doesn’t love me. You don’t understand.”
“That was because he thought you were the killer. He thought you were weak. Do the brave thing, come home.”
“I can’t.”
“Where are you and I will come pick you.”
“Wait…” Hameed said and there was a few seconds of silence.
“Hameed?”
“I’m at Halima’s house in Lugbe. I will text the address to you.”
The call ended.
He had been hiding in Senator Halima’s house all along? He had no idea the Senator had a house in Lugbe, it was probably one of her hidden love nests. Adam considered what he had to do. He knew it was smarter to go to the general so they could find Hassan but his gut told him to go get Hameed. Lugbe was not on his route at all. It was stupid going to get Hameed but something pulled him in that direction.
The text dropped with the address. He pushed his turn signal and swerved his car off the road and sped for Lugbe.
***
He arrived at the house and rushed out his car. He pushed the gate, it creaked open. He pulled out his gun. He was not sure it was necessary. Hameed was not a killer and he was there to help him. He was not taking any chances though. He left the gate open and headed for the house.
He got to the door and pushed it open. The house was silent and it had a certain odour. It smelled like it had not been used in a long time. Where are you Hameed?
His phone rang and he jumped. It was Tola.
“Hello Tola, I am fine.” He said.
“Adam…”
“Tola, I am in the middle of something.”
“Adam…”
“What?”
“Ese just went into labour. Your baby is on the way.”
Oh no! “Oh my God.”
“She wants you here for the birth of the child. You have to find a way to get here.”
“I will…” He started then heard a sound come from the house. “Okay Tola, I have to go now.”
“You have to go? Did you hear what I just said?”
Adam ended the call. The phone rang again.
“Tola, I am in the middle of something.”
“This is Detective Nnamdi, where are you?”
“Nnamdi please, not now!”
“I saw your people in Honourable Hassan’s house, what are you hiding?”
“You disgusting little piece of…”
“Hey, no need for all of that. This is only a courtesy to you as a colleague, I am more powerful than you think. In fact…”
Adam hissed and ended the call. He held the power button until the phone went off. Now, nobody would disturb him.
He walked into a sparsely furnished living room. Hameed was not here.
“Hameed?” He called out.
He heard some movement in a room to his right. He dashed for the room and opened the door. He entered the room and stopped.
Hameed was sitting on a chair in the middle of the room, his head lowered.
“Hameed?”
Adam walked to him and tapped him. Hameed toppled and fell to the ground. Adam knelt beside him and saw the first trickle of blood. It was not a trickle. Hameed’s throat had been slit.
Who did this?
“Hello detective.”
Adam spun around. Hassan was standing opposite him with a syringe to Kate’s neck.

 

NB: In case you don’t understand the ‘church street killer’ references or you don’t know about Kate’s first abduction by a killer, then you need to read DEMONS ON CHURCH STREET. Download it here: http://goo.gl/zInS1E

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