Written by Chibuzor Iwobi
Reminiscing about that night forced me to sit back and think for long time. The images had scarred me for life and it wasn’t something I enjoyed sharing. There were thoughts swirling through my mind that even my high school sweetheart did not know about. I had made up my mind to go to the grave with my secret.
“Alfred?” Ahmed called, tugging my arm. I heard his voice but I was not in the right mental state to respond to him. I kept staring at the ground, waiting for it to open up and swallow me.
“Leave him be,” The Chief said to Ahmed. “It’s unimportant.”Ahmed opened his mouth to reply The Chief. Upon the realization it was not a good idea, he shut it and bore a disgruntled look on his face. The Chief patted me on my shoulder and took his leave, I didn’t move.
“You know I can’t help you if you do not tell me what is going on, bro,” Ahmed continued fishing into my past. After about 30 minutes of thinking, I entered the house and Abisola was still sobbing in Angie’s arms. I took a moment to look at them and I got lost. How had my life come to this? I was sure to be charged with murder, and my best friends’ killer was still on the loose. His father was kidnapped, our families distraught, my future clouded just like the skies outside.
What could I do?
I knew in my heart that nobody present in the room at that point was safe and I needed to make a decision quickly.
“What’s happening, baby?” Angie mouthed to me.
“Nothing dear, everything is alright,” I replied, managing to lift the corners of my mouth for a passable smile. I don’t know why I bothered though, she knew I was lying. I was about to leave the living room when Abisola raised her head and our eyes collided, hers were red from all the crying.
“Have you eaten anything today, Abisola?”I asked.
“How will that bring my father back?” She replied, fiercely.
“How will your father react, after I have rescued him, to the the news that his daughter died of hunger?”
She smiled for a millisecond.
“Do you think you can get him back?” She asked.
I walked to where she sat and took my seat besides her, holding her hand.
“If it’s the last thing I do,” I replied with a soft but strong voice, trying to sound as convincing as possible.
“And how are you going to do that, Alfred?” Ahmed asked, still seeking for the truth. “How? What are you not telling us?”
“Not now, Ahmed,” I responded, trying to shut him down. “Let’s talk later.”
“What is he talking about?” Angie asked
“I am your partner, you shouldn’t hide things from me,” Ahmed continued. I was starting to get tired of his persistent perusing.
“I am not hiding! Stop pestering me or I will throw you the hell out!” I commanded, my voice so loud that its echo lasted seconds later.
But Ahmed wasn’t fazed. “Then why were you and Chief acting dodgy?” He replied, his tone sounding angrier but less aggressive.
I did not back down either. “It is none of your business!” I shouted, again, this time rising to my feet, looking him straight in the eyes.
“But it is if it is connected to the abduction of her father!” Ahmed pushed.
“Alfred?” Abisola called me, with a soft low voice. “Is it true? Please tell us if it has to do with dad. It may be something I may be able to help with. Please.”
I looked away in fear and shame. Her eyes were bright red and she looked pale and weak. She looked at me as if I held the key to her life, I couldn’t bear to look at her. To reveal this part of me I tried to hide for so long would change the way everyone would see me. It would change my life completely. Tears rolled down my cheeks slowly.
A tear came down my left cheek as I was about to talk. “I am sorry. I truly am.” I said sobbing.
From nowhere, my daughters ran out to hug me and that only made things worse for my feelings. “Daddy, please stop crying.” They begged.
The more they continued with their pleas, the faster the tears rolled down my cheeks.
“I am so sorry,” I continued.
“Daddy, we forgive you.” They said in unison.
“I love you, that is what I need you to know.” I said, kissing both of them on their foreheads.
Angie got up, took the girls away and returned not too long after.
Ahmed, Abisola and Angie said nothing but stared, waiting for me to break the silence. I looked at all of them one last time before I started with my story fully knowing their views of me would change drastically.
“Eight years ago,” I said, “I was the man of the house at a very young age, a lot of burden on my shoulders and I could feel them compress me, taking an unending toll on me. It honestly was not easy and then maybe I got married too early because I was scared to lose the love of my life. Being a policeman only compounded my problems and my fears and I couldn’t say a word to you, Angie, because I was scared you would lose faith in me. As you know, I became a policeman for one sole purpose, and that was to catch my sister’s killer. I thought I did years ago but apparently he is still out there. He is the same person who killed Tina, Sam, your mother and James too.” I said looking at Abisola.
She gasped in shock, so did Angie too.
“I told James everything I was going through, we talked and talked. He believed I got married way too early and should have given the idea more thought and time. Now, I do not intend to destroy James memory but it cannot be helped. To help me get my mind of things, he insisted I engage in his frivolous activities. Most of the nights I said I was working, I spent it on campus with James, his friends and a battalion of female associates. I was too scared to join in, at first, so I just watched. They did all sorts that I am even ashamed to admit till today.
Angie had her hands over her mouth.
“I felt like the modern day Job because everything was going wrong for me, every single thing. It was the same period I pulled my trigger for the first time. To add fuel to the already burning fire within me, overwhelmed by my emotions, I sank deeper into the abyss James pulled me into. There, I was able to forget my pain and sorrows and I had fewer nightmares. I indulged in drugs with James and his boys, and saw a side of me I still do not recognize till today. I slept with girls and never had I felt so alive. The rush was good, it helped me forget everything until…until a very terrible night”
I took a deep breath, almost forcing myself to exhale. I looked up to see their eyes glued to my face. I saw the pleas in Angie’s eyes begging me to stop but I had already gone too far. She was heartbroken.
Unfortunately, that would be the best emotion she’d feel after this.
“There were two friends James and I had taken a liken to. They were 17 and remarkably beautiful. We spent more time with them than we did with any of the other girls. It felt like it was getting serious to the extent that even their friends knew us as their boyfriends. Efe and Halima.”
I paused, a subconscious ghostly smile emerged at the memory of the darker times.
“One drunken night, James, the girls and I drove off campus in search for something that I cannot remember. On the way, our car hit something. We thought it was an animal but to be sure, we stepped out and to our surprise it wasn’t. It was the cutest girl you could have ever seen, less than 10 years old. Efe ran to her aid and to our shock, she fainted on getting there. We ran to her aid, only to see what made her faint; the little girls head was almost off her body. Halima, shaking herself, shook Efe aggressively, to wake her up. James took Halima to the car and I carried Efe into it. Being unsure of what to do, James and I talked it over. We decided the best thing for us to do was to dispose of the body. There was a shovel in the boot of the car, so we began digging a large hole in the ground. One of us dug while the other took watch. Noticing we were spending an awful amount of time. Halima ran to us.”
“What are you doing?” She shouted. “You’re going to bury her?”
James grabbed her and closed her mouth with his hand.
“We are taking care of this,” James whispered into her ears.
She wriggled free of his hold.
“What? No! No! We cannot. The police….they should know. This is wrong,” She continued, shouting.
“I am a police officer, Halima. Calm down,” I pleaded assertively.
“I don’t believe you. Liar!” She shouted.
“Calm down, please. Don’t draw attention to us,” I replied.
“I can’t do this, I just can’t.”
“Halima,” James called. “He is an officer of the law, he will report this in late. Not now.”
“Why call the police when one is here with you? Everything will be fine,” I showed her my badge, managing to subdue her.
She gave a sharp look at James who nodded in agreement. I put my hands on her arms, gripping her tight.
“Okay. Okay. Okay,” She repeated monotonously as she went back to the car.
“As we lifted the body again, James caught sight of Halima picking something up from the car. She then closed the door, looked down and walked away from the car.”
“What is she doing?” James asked.
“Oh my God, No!” I exclaimed.
“Hurriedly, We put down the body and James went after her and once she saw him coming, she took to her heels.”
I paused to take in a deep breath because my hands trembled as I recanted the story.
“We ran after her, but we were a second too late.”
“We killed her…” She shouted on the phone but was interrupted by a diving tackle from James.
I took another pause as my eyes got wet and tears rolled my cheeks.
“Get off me! Murderers!” She screamed. “Murderers!”
“James was doing a poor job keeping her quiet and I had to act fast or else we would have been caught. I found a rock by the side of the road and repeatedly rammed it into her head… I… We… We were lucky we were in a very quiet and secluded area, although a few people should have heard our noise, no one came out.”
“What did you just do?” James cried, terrified.
“Do you want to go to jail?” I asked.
He shook his head as he paced back and forth.
“Wh-wh-what… are we going to do now?” He asked.
“Get rid of the bodies.” I replied James.
“Jesus!” Abisola screamed, with her hands over her mouth. With my head cowered in shame and disgust because I could not look any of them in the eyes, I continued.
“We lifted their bodies into the boot of the car and drove away to a safe location to dispose of them.”
“What about Efe?” James asked
“I do not know yet, one at a time,” I replied him.
“With Efe still passed out in the car, we disposed of the bodies in graves we dug.”
“You bastard!” Angie sprang to her feet, running towards me.
Ahmed pulled her back as she sunk her nails into my face. I did nothing as I felt I deserved the backlash and even more. She fired more backlash at me. Rained endless words of insults on my head. I deserved it.
“Now, what are we going to do with Efe?” James asked again, still terrified, as we walked back to the car.
“To our utmost surprise, she was not there anymore. She was nowhere to be found.”
Edited by Gbadebo (@Oaa148 ) / Angel (@angelokwuosa ) / Olamide (@Miss_Ola_D)
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