THE COPS INVESTIGATE
ADAM woke up later than usual the next morning because he had slept very late. The visit of the police officers had scared the sleep out of his eyes. A larger part of his night was used in thinking of the possibility of having death close by and that had really made him uncomfortable.
He had heard details of the gruesome murder of Mr. Derek from a friend earlier in the day and the possibility of dying like that was very scary.
The arrival of the cops that were assigned to watch over his house did not help calm down his nerves. It wasn’t even easy for him to sleep with the knowledge that cops were outside watching out for somebody who might come to murder him. Fear persisted, no matter how hard he tried to calm himself.
But why was he even afraid? Brenda wasn’t capable of hurting anyone. She wasn’t even capable of nursing that idea.
But he could recall that she was really hurt the last time he saw her. She had sounded so hurt that she hadn’t begged him much like other girls would do. Perhaps his action had pushed her to the edge and she had decided to involve herself with something diabolical.
Diabolical? If the deaths were described as being effected through diabolical means, then what was the use of the cops outside? Terror gripped him even more.
But Brenda was clean. Why was he making himself get scared for nothing? Wasn’t she the same Brenda he had been with just a few weeks ago?
What had she done? Why had these two men died such a strange death? How can he be sure that these deaths were a mere coincidence? If the police couldn’t explain how these two died, perhaps his own death will be mysterious also.
“Oh stop it!” he told himself.
He allowed himself to remember Brenda’s good nature despite what he had found out about her during their relationship. She had been a very wonderful lover, really. If not for the way things had finally turned out between them, he could say he had been very mean to her. In fact, Brenda was the best girl he had ever dated. Even his present girl, Tracy, could not be compared with Brenda.
If not for those nightly escapades! How could one explain having seen his girlfriend making love to an invisible lover? And it got so bad that she often woke him up in the middle of the night while they were both together in bed and he would later realize that she’d been making love to whatever right there in their bed!
Then it struck Adam. What if Brenda had really been making love to an invisible man? What if there had really been a third person right there in their bed all those nights? Even though it sounded so strange, what if he was right? What if this theoretically invisible lover was the one doing everyone in because of what they’d done to his human lover, Brenda? That means he was in very grave danger at that very instant, because he had dealt badly with Brenda just like her ex-lovers. But who would believe him? The cops? They would simply laugh at him, and rightly so . . .
He looked out of the window. The two policemen guarding his house had already woken up and were having an early morning chat right at his front door.
Last night, when they arrived, he had asked them to take a room in his apartment but they had insisted that they must stay outside near their vehicle and watch out for any intruder. Did they know that it was possible an evil spirit had possessed Brenda? He should let them know why he left her. About her nightly escapades when they were together, but will they believe him? This was why he was still hesitating, because he didn’t know whether they would laugh at him or believe him. Surely they would laugh. They would think he was losing his mind.
Adam walked straight into the bathroom; it was getting late and he must rush off to work; the time was 6:28 a.m. and he had only thirty minutes to get ready for work. He picked up his toothbrush and toothpaste and began to brush his teeth in the bathroom. A half-sized mirror was on the wall directly opposite him.
He suddenly felt a creepy sensation run through him. There was a sudden strange calmness in the bathroom atmosphere. He stopped, looked up and around him but saw nothing. Inspector Jack’s story was really getting at him, he thought. Then he asked himself why he was allowing himself to get afraid.
He continued to brush his teeth. He felt the sensation again. Something strange was happening, he thought. Fear gripped him and his heart rate began to beat faster. The temperature in the bathroom dropped, and the cold calm became unbearable.
Adam wasn’t willing to take any chances. He stopped brushing his mouth and without bothering to rinse them, made for the door.
He had barely taken two steps when something unimaginably strong gripped him by the neck. The grip was so tight that he instantly began to suffocate with signs of strain showing on his face. He began to fight uncontrollably for life with all his might.
The unseen hand lifted him up and with high velocity, slammed his head on the mirror, shattering the mirror glass and immensely fracturing the back of his skull. His head was continuously slammed on the wall space between the mirror frame. Adam felt the unbearable pain of each slam until the life in his body sucked away. His lifeless body slumped to the ground on the broken pieces of glasses littering the bathroom floor, leaving a thick stain of blood on the white-tiled bathroom wall.
The two policemen outside heard the noise made by the shattering glasses somewhere in the house.
Without wasting any time, they quickly rushed into the house, shouting Adam’s name.
“Check in the bedroom, let me go this way,” one of the officers said, with a gun in his hand.
The officer that checked the bedroom went straight to the bathroom after seeing that the bedroom was empty.
Adam’s body was lying lifeless in his own pool of blood.
* * *
Brenda opened her eyes and faced Jane’s stare. She was sweating. “What happened?” she managed to ask.
“I don’t know, perhaps you should tell me,” Jane said. Her legs were shaking.
“Something is wrong with me Jane, I feel so weak.”
“You just called out Adam’s name. Should I expect him to mysteriously turn up dead any moment from now?” coldly whispered Jane. She knew she sounded angry and uncaring, but she thought she was justified in feeling like this. She had woken up at exactly 6.20 a.m. to prepare for work. She had had a sleepless night thinking of what to make out of Brenda’s case. This had resulted in her having strange dreams. She had even felt worse on hearing that the cops had deemed it important to interrogate Brenda about the murders. Now this.
“Please, Jane . . . what happened?” begged her friend, and she cleared her throat.
“Moments after I woke up this morning,” she began, “I had tiptoed into your room to make sure you were okay, and . . . ” she trailed off, blinking back tears as she gaped at Brenda.
Jane had never known any friend like Brenda. She didn’t think any of her sisters were as close to her as Brenda was and all her life, she had never seen Brenda hurt anybody. Oh God, she thought as she stared at her friend. What had Brenda gotten herself into? Who was Cain? Did Michael have anything to do with all this?
“Go on?” Brenda was waiting for her to continue.
“Then . . . Then I remembered you were now a working class lady and wasn’t supposed to be asleep this late in the morning . . . ” Again, she trailed off.
“And I woke you up,” Jane said. “You . . . You woke up and stretched yourself while still on the bed, complaining about not having to wake up early like me since you have not fully resumed duty. Then you asked me about the time . . .
“I told you the time. 6:30 a.m. Then you stood up from the bed and stretched yourself once again while standing. Then all of a sudden, you held your right hand to your head. At first, I thought you were having a silent prayer, but I thought otherwise when . . . when you proceeded to lazily sit back on the bed and gently lie down again. Then . . . Then your head started swinging and you seemed extremely weak. You began to stir a little violently on the bed, rolling restlessly from one end to another. I . . . I couldn’t believe this was happening. My heart was beating three times faster than usual. You continued to moan and roll all over the bed, unconscious of your environment, and . . . and your eyes were closed. I continued to stare in amazement. Then you called out Adam’s name and stopped rolling and stirring, but continued to breathe heavily like you’d just done some strenuous work.”
Brenda was confused. She continued looking at her friend as the other girl walked out of the bedroom. “Jane,” she called out softly, “Please . . . ”
Jane entered the bathroom and continued to stare at her image in the small wall mirror. What would she do if Adam turned up dead? Right now, this bathroom appeared the only safe place in her home. She felt lost. Her house seemed haunted. She felt dizzy and her hands shivered as she picked up her toothbrush.
What should she do if Adam really turned up dead?
* * *
After yesterday’s events, Inspector Jack couldn’t help but wonder how the day was going to be. The CEO of Zenith Oil Company, Mr. Bulus, had called him once again this morning only to remind him that he was beginning to feel that the inspector wasn’t competent enough to handle this case and achieve results. Given his reputation as an Inspector in Lupe, Jack felt much worse with Mr. Bulus’ Statement.
But why was the rich brat blaming him anyway? Not that he even understood the circumstances surrounding the case. Jack tried his best not to allow Mr. Bulus’ statement to affect his concentration. He picked up the already opened case file on the table and started all over again to study it. He had barely read the first line when his phone rang. He picked it up like he had been expecting it all day. “Hello?”
“Good morning, sir. There had been another mysterious murder,” a young officer’s voice said from the other end.
“Oh God! Where and who again this time?” Jack’s mouth suddenly tasted bitter.
“Number 5, Stream Street. Mr. Adam Walter.”
“I will be right there.” Quickly, Jack picked up his jacket and rushed out of the office.
It took him only seven minutes to arrive at the murder scene. He got out of his car and walked towards Officer Kennedy who was already coming towards him.
The environment was already beginning to get crowded. The press was already there and the neighbors and passers by all wanted to have a glimpse of what was happening.
“What really happened? I thought I specifically instructed that this house should be watched and guarded?” Jack asked.
“Yes sir. The cops were here when it happened. Only that Adam was inside while the cops were outside at the time of the murder. But they swear that nobody entered the compound not to mention the house,” quickly said Kennedy.
“Did your search reveal anything?”
“The search revealed nothing. From the look of things, nobody entered his house except the two cops. This is definitely the handwork of something or someone with a supernatural power.”
“This means we were actually on the right track yesterday. All these killings have something to do with Brenda Davis with or without her knowledge.” Jack looked around him. “Have you alerted the homicide crew?”
“Aright, let’s get inside so that I can have a look.” Jack allowed Officer Kennedy to lead the way into the building. He was led into the bathroom where Adam’s body lay in a pool of blood. The bathroom was messy with pieces of broken glass everywhere. The wall where the mirror was supposed to be hanging was gruesome. “Oh my God,” Jack said softly, “what in this world is killing these men and why?” He looked at Adam’s lifeless body; he could hardly believe it was the same person he was speaking with the day before.
Adam had been full of life and didn’t know what the morning had for him.
The messy room did not in any way match with Brenda’s extremely gentle and appealing appearance the other day. The more he thought of it the more confused he got.
Was she a witch?
Well, with Adam’s death, she must have some explanation for all this. Something was fighting for her and she was claiming ignorance of it all.
He was still looking around when the homicide crew arrived. He saluted them and stepped out for them to do their job.
“I was wondering how best we should confront Brenda this time around.” He was speaking to Officer Kennedy, “She appears to be our only hope for the right information and we don’t want to make the wrong move.”
“Is she a suspect?” Kennedy asked.
Inspector Jack looked at him curiously and asked, “What are you thinking?”
“I don’t think she would have struck suddenly after our interview with her yesterday. I don’t even think she has knowledge of what is happening. Not after we chatted with her yesterday.”
“It could be something beyond her control,” Jack suggested.
“Yes, that could also be a possibility. Why don’t we contact her roommate and friend first? She could tell us something helpful.”
“Yes, that is a very nice idea.” Inspector Jack looked at his wristwatch; it was just a few minutes past eight in the morning. “Let’s wait and see what the homicide crew has got before we leave.”
Five minutes later, the homicide squad came out and Officer Teddy walked straight to Jack. “The same old story. No trace of any current human activity except for that of the deceased. What is going on, inspector?”
“We’re still trying to figure that out, Ted.”
Inspector Jack didn’t want to waste any time with him. He was already certain that the answers he needed wouldn’t be found here. He quickly excused himself and drove off with Officer Kennedy.
* * *
Wednesday morning wasn’t a very busy day at Jane’s work place. Her co-workers even had enough time to chat about trivial matters. She continued to observe them as they chatted. They talked about Derek’s murder and then digressed to other matters that concerned Lupe as a whole. From the discussion, Jane was glad to know that word had not yet gotten out that Brenda was somehow connected with Derek’s death.
One of Jane’s workmates walked into the office a few minutes later and was looking more excited than he looked before he left the office earlier that day. Without waiting to be asked what the matter was, he quickly said, “Something is happening in this town o. Do you guys know that there has been another murder?” The question was directed to no one in particular.
“Another murder?” A female worker asked. “In this town?”
“I stopped by the visitor’s room to listen to the headline news at ten. The murder has also been described as mysterious, only that this time, the deceased was assassinated in his home while he was having his bath.”
Jane immediately felt sick. “Do you have any idea what his name is?” she asked.
“I didn’t really get the full name, but the first name was Adam. He stays at Stream Street where he was murdered. I gather that the police were even around at the time he was murdered.”
“Are you trying to say that he already had police protection?” asked Jane.
“Maybe. I don’t understand what is happening to our peaceful Lupe o.”
“Perhaps both men belong to a cult and have offended some divine spirit,” suggested another worker.
Jane couldn’t take it anymore. She was now very positive that Cain was the killer, but couldn’t tell if Brenda was involved or not. What has Brenda’s short seizures got to do with these deaths? Again, what was Brenda not telling her? She quickly left the office and went to call Brenda on a public phone booth. As she headed for the phone booth, she deliberated within herself whether she should call the cops and let them know what she knew.
She got to the phone booth and dialed Brenda’s number.
“Hello,” Brenda answered in a tired voice.
“It’s Jane. Have you heard the news in town?”
“What news?” Brenda asked. She was almost certain that it was going to be about somebody’s death given the panic in Jane’s voice.
“Adam has also been murdered.” There was a long silence from the other end. “Brenda, are you there?”
“Yes.” Brenda replied in a wobbly voice.
“Oh Brenda, I am confused. Shouldn’t we call the cops and tell them what we know?”
“I will go to the café straight away. Let me speak to Cain and find out what he knows. After that, we can decide on what next to do. Going to the cops with the little we know might make us sound ridiculous.”
“Don’t tell me you’re serious!” Jane was shouting. “After all that had happened, you still think we can contain this. Brenda, don’t tell me you’re really going crazy o!”
“I’m not going crazy, Jane,” earnestly persuaded her friend. “Look, I’m scared too, but going to the cops with what we know might make us sound stupid!”
“Or sensible!” added Jane, feeling tired of it all. Was Brad right about her friend? Was there anything Brenda wasn’t telling her?”
“I’m also scared, dear Jane,” Brenda was saying. “Look, just let me talk to Cain today. If his answers are not satisfactory, then we can go to the police.”
“I am scared, Brenda. He must be a monster; he might even hurt you and everyone around you. I am terribly scared,” cried Jane.
“I will call you and tell you my discussion with him once I am through. Talking to Cain first before we tell anybody is the best option we have got, please have that in mind.”
“Please be careful,” Jane said.
“I will. Bye.” The line went dead.
Jane tried her best to control her emotions before getting back into the office. At this moment, she needed to talk to Brad more than ever, but how was she going to do this right now? Their relationship seemed to have been weakened by this crisis consuming everybody. Brad was pulling away from her.
Her workmates were still talking about the news when one of the Bank messengers came to inform her that she had visitors. The messenger told her that her visitors were three men and she knew instantly that they were cops.
She walked into the reception to see them. They were comfortably seated and waiting for her. If she was surprised by the fact that the third fellow was white, she did not show it.
“Good morning, sirs. How may I help you?”
“Good morning,” Inspector Jack replied. He introduced himself, Inspector Bromsbey and Officer Kennedy, and then he proceeded with his questioning.
“How well do you know Miss Davis, Miss Damascus?” he began.
“Well enough,” replied Jane. “She is my roommate; she is like a sister to me.”
“How long have you known her?”
“We got to know ourselves as fresh students in Lupe University.”
“Then I guess you must have known about her past three relationships that didn’t work out?”
“Are you aware that these three men have all been mysteriously murdered recently?”
“Yes, inspector. That was terrible. I am still going through the shock of the news of Adam’s demise.”
“Are you aware that the police interrogated Brenda at your home yesterday?”
“Yes. Brenda told me everything.”
“Tell me something, Miss Davis,” sneaked in Inspector Bromsbey. “What do you think about these three killings and what do you know?”
Inspector Jack stared straight into Jane’s eyes as his colleague asked this question. “Why did these three men leave her, Jane?” he wanted to know. “And why are they all dead?”
“They left her because men are monsters. She didn’t deserve what they put her through. But I don’t understand why they are all dying, it’s so confusing,” replied Jane. Should she tell them about Cain? And about Brenda’s seizures?
“Are you sure you don’t know what could be happening to these men?” asked Officer Kennedy.
“No. Should I know why they are dying?”
“You are in the best position to answer that yourself, Miss. You know your friend very well.”
“Is Brenda a suspect?” she asked him. “You think Brenda is a murderer? After seeing and speaking with her yesterday, did she look like she was capable of hurting anyone?” She must admit she wasn’t so sure about this anymore, but she pressed on. “For God’s sake officer, Brenda had been through hell trying to get over these broken relationships and to think of her as a murderer? That is ridiculous.’ Now she turned to Jack. “Please, Mr. Inspector, don’t tell me that you think that Brenda would go ahead to kill Adam right after chatting with you yesterday. Wasn’t she the one that gave you his address?” Her only desire was that they should stop questioning her; she didn’t want to mistakenly say something she couldn’t clearly explain.
“Look, Miss, we have already taken all you are saying into consideration,” replied Inspector Bromsbey. “In fact, that is why we decided to come straight to you and not to her. We are not saying that she is guilty of these murders, but you must really admit that everything points to her. That is why we are asking you if there is anything that you think we should know; something she may or may not be aware of. We are trying to uncover three murders, help us if you can.” He believed that the best way they could get information from both Jane and Brenda was to take it easy with them.
Jane remained silent. She was obviously confused.
Was she hiding something? Jack thought.
Kennedy spoke up. “Please Miss Damascus, we need you to help us. People are dying and we don’t know who the next victim might be. Let us know what is going on; help us save lives.”
Jane was in a dilemma. She didn’t know if she should tell them about Cain or not.
“Right now, Miss Damascus, the best move we can make is to arrest Brenda for proper interrogation,” added Inspector Jack. “We need the truth, but we thought it was wiser to take it easy on her. Honestly, she does not look like a murderer to me, but that won’t stop me from carrying out my duty.”
Arrest Brenda? Jane thought. That would be very detrimental to her image in her new workplace. She looked up and her face displayed more confusion.
“Okay, that’s it, then,” Jack said half-heartedly. “Wherever your friend is at the moment, Miss, I’m afraid we’ll have to arrest her and take her to the station for further questioning. “ He made a false attempt to stand up.
“I have something to tell you,” Jane suddenly aired.
“What is it?” The three men had swiftly become excited.
“It is a very strange story – you may not believe it, but it is the truth.”
“Spill it. With what we have seen recently, I can believe anything,” eagerly urged Bromsbey.
“It’s a long tale. Permit me to inform my co-workers that I will stay out a little longer than expected. I will be back as soon as possible.”
“No problem, we will wait.” Jack couldn’t wait to hear what she had to say.
She left them and returned ten minutes later. She sat down and allowed so many thoughts to run through her mind. She hoped she was doing the right thing.
The police officers waited.
She started from the beginning. She told them all about Brenda. She told them how they met and how she met her boyfriends. Jane’s aim was to let them know how innocent Brenda had always been. Then she told them about Adam, Michael and how Cain had come into Brenda’s life. “I know you won’t believe it but that is the whole truth. I am even wondering how it could be possible that someone on the internet could kill people, but right now, Cain appears the only explanation for these deaths.”
“Wow. It sounds ridiculous.” Jack didn’t know what else to say, even though this proved that Dr. Ryan’s far-fetched theory might just be the lead they’ve all needed. “But we’ve had a theory hinged on such a fantastic tale as the one you now reveal to us, Jane.” The Nigerian inspector looked at Bromsbey and the man from Scotland Yard nodded in mute agreement to his knowing stare.
“Whatever ideas you have, inspector, I hope it will help my friend, but I must also let you know that recently Brenda had been having very short seizures which I have discovered occurs that the same time these deaths take place. Brenda happens to mention the name of the next person to die,” continued the woman.
What does this mean, then, wondered the inspector. That the invisible man had a psychological connection to Brenda? Dr. Ryan might have an answer to this jigsaw after all! “But why haven’t you gone to the police with this information all this while?” he now asked the girl.
“We didn’t make the connection at first; in fact I just took it as a coincidence. Brenda is a long time friend of mine; I have never seen or suspected her to be violent. She was going through pains and my only desire was to help her get through it…nothing more.”
“How are you sure Brenda hasn’t done something diabolical to get back at her lovers? Things don’t just happen; one way or the other, she must have played an active role in all this. If not, she would have at least filled me in the last time I talked to her,” Jack said.
“I don’t know what to think, inspector, but I can only believe she played no active role in these killings. Something is out there and we don’t know what it is yet; that is what we should all be afraid of. Yes, Brenda might not have filled you in earlier; but as I said, the seizure phase only made sense this morning. At least she told you about Adam. She couldn’t have given you information about him and yet go ahead to kill him.”
Inspector Jack shook his head in disbelief.
“Where is she now?” asked Inspector Bromsbey.
“Right now she has gone to chat with Cain online; to confirm if he is really the one doing the killings. I am expecting her call any moment from now.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea, sir,” began Officer Kennedy. “Maybe we should send someone after Brenda to know whether she is lying.”
“Good idea,” agreed Bromsbey. “But she must not know that she is being followed.”
“Right away, sir.” The police officer left to carry out the order.
Jack looked at Jane and stood up. “We will hang around,” he told her. “I would like to have firsthand information of whatever Brenda later tells you.” He wasn’t yet sure if he should believe the story or not, but he had decided to wait and hear whatever she had to say later. He was still not sure that the deaths were caused by anything unnatural; therefore, he felt that Jane’s story still needed verification.
As they left the reception when Jane had gone back to work, Bromsbey turned to him. “We must take note of Michael, inspector,” he aired. “Somehow, I think he is someone we should watch more closely, either for good or bad.”
“Yes,” Jack replied. “Isn’t it surprising that the same Michael that could be in danger of Nimrod’s wrath is somehow entangled in this? It is a bit puzzling.”
“Good thing Michael is already being watched. He could know something since he is the one who suggested browsing on the internet to Brenda,” added Kennedy.
“We must be careful in drawing conclusions. Let’s just watch as things unfold,” warned Bromsbey.
* * *
After the cops left, Jane went back to her office. She had barely sat down when her cell phone rang. It was Brad.
“Did you hear the news this morning?”
“Yes, Brad, I heard it. I can’t believe Adam is gone,” she calmly answered.
“Did Brenda have any seizures? I mean, did you notice anything? Or weren’t you with her?”
“I was with her and she had a seizure.” Her voice remained calm.
Brad wasn’t expecting Jane to be calm in the midst of all these deaths and misery. He got irritated. “What the hell is wrong with you? People are dying! Your friend, your roommate, is probably killing people through some diabolical means and you sit down in your office and talk to me as if nothing is wrong? I expect you to have gone to the cops or even at least give me a call.”
“Easy Brad, I am sorry for not calling you earlier; the cops have been here and I have told them what I know. But I still don’t think Brenda has got anything to do with it. Even if she has something to do with the killings, she sure doesn’t know it.”
“Can you listen to yourself? Are you out of your mind?” Brad felt like screaming into her ears. “How do you explain the seizures and the mentioning of the name of the next person to die? Look, Jane, I can’t allow you to go back to that house and sleep in the same house with a killer.”
“Brad, it has not come to that…”
“It has! And you need somebody to speak some sense into you. I don’t think you are alright. Get it into your head that people you know are dying! You have to cut off all bonds you have with Brenda and avoid her until this whole thing cools off.”
“I understand how you feel, Brad, but you don’t expect me to leave my friend in her time of need, do you?” firmly asked Jane. “I have told you that I have told the cops what I know and I believe they will handle it well. For now, I am waiting for Brenda to come around and give me information that I believe could help in this investigation. I have promised myself to stand by her. Brad, I have been with Brenda, I have looked into her eyes, yes I might have little doubt but I can’t just accuse her of murder unless I am sure of it.”
“Well, do whatever you want, but I just hope this does not come between us,” Brad said.
“Don’t talk like that Brad, you know I love you and I won’t allow anything to get between us.”
“Are you sure you love me, Jane?”
“Yes, Brad, I do. You know that.”
“Then think of what you are doing. I don’t associate with people who take the death of others lightly. If you love me you will make the right choice.” He dropped the phone.
Jane stood there and watched the cell phone in her hand for a few seconds. She didn’t know what to do next.
* * *
After receiving the information from Jane about Adam’s murder, Brenda had excused herself to be alone for a while. She knew she was through with the day’s orientation exercise. She pondered over the news for a while and decided she must go straight to the company’s café and speak with Cain.
She received a call from Michael before she entered the café; he was calling to inform her that he would be back from his trip soonest.
He promised her that he will be back early so that they could spend a large part of the day together. She also knew he’d want to talk about the previous day’s event.
She was glad that he still acted like everything was alright, and looked forward to his coming back; she wanted to tell him all that had happened and hear what he had to say. She also couldn’t wait to spend the day with him. She was missing him and she hoped nothing would come between them, not even Cain.
“Baby girl, how are you doing?” He was obviously very pleased to hear from her and the enthusiasm in his voice was clear.
“I am fine. How did the work go?” she asked.
“It went well, but I was lonely out here; I just can’t wait to see you. I really miss you, Brenda.”
“I miss you too, Michael; what time will you be here?”
He missed her? Oh, Michael sounded like he was for real and she couldn’t help feeling bad that the mysterious Cain was acting jealous and trying to make her stop communicating with her friends, especially Michael.
“I will be in Lupe in the next one hour or so. That is to say I will be home by 3:30 p.m.” On the other end of the line, Michael was also wondering whether he’d heard right. Was she actually missing him? Does she really want to see him or does she just want to discuss issues about Cain?
“That’s nice. I really want to see you; we have a lot to talk about,” she now said.
“Mhmmmm, okay when I come back then.”
“I will see you by 5:00 p.m.”
“Alright, I will see you then.”
“Bye.” She dropped the phone into her handbag and went back into her new office.
The thought of being arrested by the police made her shudder. She had never been involved with the police in her life before. Now she was a suspect for murder. How strange. Just like a big joke. Her life was taking a crazy turn all because of Cain’s insatiable desire to kill.
She shuddered again. Cain wanted to possess her and make her fall in love with him.
People will think she was crazy and her life will change completely. Jane will conclude that she had totally gone out of reality and then she will be stigmatized.
But how could she just watch her life disintegrate just like that? Perhaps she should talk Cain out of this insanity and tell him to leave her alone for good.
The thought of Adam hit her again. Adam was dead! Everybody she once loved was dead! She hoped Cain would be online to chat with her.
She got to the café, and after displaying her ID card to the attendant, went in. A free system was given to her and she quickly logged on.
Cain was already there as usual.
Weird_000: Hi, my love
Bren1100: Good day, Cain.
Weird_000: I hope you had a wonderful experience during our last meeting?
Bren1100: It was strange. Why did you leave all of a sudden and never returned?
Weird_000: Your friend was spoiling our good time so I left. I wanted to take your emotions somewhere you will truly appreciate.
Bren1100: You left me feeling embarrassed. You allowed me to make a fool of myself.
Weird_000: Don’t let that bother you. The only thing that should bother you is that I didn’t finish what I started. Did you miss me? I missed you Brenda.
Bren1100: We really need to talk Cain. A lot has happened since the beginning of this week.
Weird_000: the deaths?
Bren1100: You know about the deaths? What is happening? I need answers Cain.
Weird_000: Why are you allowing that to bother you? They deserve to die. Don’t you have better things to talk about?
Bren1100: People are dying Cain. They’re humans; people I once loved and cared for. It will definitely bother me.
Weird_000: They hurt you, Brenda. They don’t deserve your concern.
Bren1100: Are you the one killing them?
Weird_000: Of course, I am the one. I told you that they must pay for all that they have done to you. In their next life, they will never be cruel to any lady.
Bren1100: This is insane.
Weird_000: What? What is insane?
Bren1100: Oh, my God. Cain, what are you? Why are you killing people? You are driving me crazy.
Weird_000: I have real love for you, Brenda, which is why I am killing for your sake. I will do anything for you, just to see you happy. Remember I told you I will protect you.
Bren1100: I can’t remember telling you that the death of my past lovers will make me happy. You are turning my world upside down. Now I have police visiting me, is that your idea of happiness?
Weird_000: Relax and take it easy. These men tore your world apart and caused their deaths. You have your vengeance and that should keep you settled for a while. Now you have my protection, which is what every human desires. Don’t worry about the police; I can take them away if you want me to.
Bren1100: No. Please enough of the killings. God! What are you?
Weird_000: I understand how you feel now Brenda. Don’t worry, with time you will understand me much better. I am not like humans that will end up disappointing you. You need somebody as perfect as me. You don’t need People like Michael; they are no good for you. Permit me to take his life also.
Brenda almost screamed. Michael? He was also going to kill Michael. She mustn’t allow him to hurt Michael.
Bren1100: Cain, I beg you, don’t kill any one again. Please don’t hurt Michael. He has good intentions for me. He does not mean to harm me.
Weird_000: I know he does not intend to harm you. But he is human and is not perfect. Humans can’t help hurting each other sometimes. Besides, he is a threat to your love for me. I need him out of the way so that you can concentrate on me.
Bren1100: But I am beginning to fall in love with him and dating him makes more sense than dating you.
Weird_000: You are making me jealous and mad Brenda. His presence will not make you understand me better. By the time he is out of the picture, and you date me, you will understand what you would have missed.
Bren1100: Cain! Please don’t hurt Michael. I will do whatever you want me to do.
Weird_000: He is not in town now. When he comes back this evening like he just told you, go and convince him to leave you for his sake. He must take you off his mind if he wants to live. I will be there, if he accepts, his life will be saved, if he does not accept to leave you, then I will kill him instantly.
Bren1100: Why are you doing this to me, Cain? You are hurting and tormenting me in the name of love. I am in pains, Cain, you are shattering my world.
Weird_000: I hate to see you talk like this my love. I don’t mean to hurt you. You also break my heart when you sob. But I must leave now. I will be there this evening when you talk to Michael.
Bren1100: You can’t just leave now Cain.
Weird_000: Goodbye, Brenda.
Cain signed out and Brenda stood there for some minutes not knowing what to think or do.
She quickly logged out and left the café.
She picked her cell phone and dialed Jane’s number.
“Brenda, what happened? What did Cain say?” Jane hurriedly asked.
“He admitted to committing the murders. I am coming over to your office, just wait for me.”
“The cops are around; they want to see you,”
“No problem. I will see them.” She dropped the phone and rushed out to get a cab.
A plainclothes officer entered another cab after she had left in a vehicle.
He didn’t feel the invisible eyes following his taxi as it sped away.
* * *
It was lunchtime, so Jane felt it was better that Brenda met her at the Bank’s Restaurant. She sent a text to her friend, informing her of the change in meeting location. Then she called Inspector Jack and informed him that Brenda was on her way to the bank instead and that they should make their way back to her workplace if they wanted to talk to her friend. She also told him to meet her at the restaurant.
Brenda arrived a little earlier than the cops did, so both girls had enough time to fill each other in on the latest development.
The cops came some minutes later; they couldn’t wait to hear what Brenda had to tell them.
“Good afternoon,” Brenda greeted them as they made themselves comfortable on the empty seats around their table. “I am aware that Jane had told you about Cain.”
“Yes, but is that really true? And why didn’t you tell us the story yesterday?” Inspector Jack asked.
“I wasn’t sure of what was happening until I got the news of Adam’s murder this morning. Besides, I didn’t know how to tell you about an internet killer ghost. You would think I am crazy, just like my friend here had been insinuating.”
Jack knew she was dead wrong about that. He looked at Bromsbey and calmly nodded. “The story actually sounds crazy,” he began. “How do we explain this to the public and relations of the deceased? They all expect a killer to be caught. The reason why I do not doubt you so much is because of the mystery behind the killings.”
“I am confused myself, inspector. My chat with him a few minutes ago revealed that he is the killer although he said that he was feeding on my anger, whatever that means, but that explains the three short-lived seizures I have had recently at the time of the murder. He said he is killing these men because he loves me and will hurt anyone that hurts me. I begged him to stop, but he wouldn’t listen to me. Right now, he said he was going to kill Michael if he does not back out from trying to date me,” Brenda revealed. She couldn’t get herself to reveal her intimacy with Cain yet. It felt so strange and frightening. Like someone was holding her back from doing so. Was he right there with them?
“Michael? The guy you told me was showing interest in you?” now asked Inspector Jack.
“Yes?” Brenda didn’t want to tell them that their lives might be in danger at that very moment.
Before now, Inspector Jack’s best theory was that Brenda must have asked the so-called Cain to do the killings for her and was just claiming innocence. Of course, Cain must really exist, if not, how can these murders be explained? Their best lead was still Dr. Ryan’s weak theory! And with this new information, Inspector Jack didn’t know what to think. It did not make sense that Brenda should ask Cain to also kill a guy she was obviously falling in love with.
“Ever heard of a guy called Nimrod?” the inspector now asked Brenda.
“The last time Michael took me out, he told me about what happened the night Nimrod came to attack one of his friends…a guy named Glen?” replied the girl. “He said it was the bravest thing he had ever done in his life.” Then she looked at the inspector pleadingly, “This is a different case altogether, it is just a coincidence that it is all connected to me Inspector. Believe me, I am innocent and I am sure Michael is innocent also.”
Inspector Jack realized he couldn’t bring himself to explicitly accuse Brenda. “I should arrest you, Miss Davis. I want to believe that you know more than you are telling me.”
“That will be dangerous Inspector.” She raised her hands and dropped them helplessly. Perhaps she should just tell the cops that his life and Michael’s were in danger if he takes that action. “You surprise me inspector. How do you explain the two previous killing? You think I am capable of that? Cain exists! The earlier you start believing, the better for everybody. If you arrest me, you leave yourself and Michael at the mercy of that ruthless Cain. Cain feels he is doing me some good by killing anybody he thinks is a threat to my happiness, even you.” She stopped and in a cool voice said, “Just allow me to talk to Michael; he could be in another danger with Nimrod on the loose. Please let us save Michael, I really can’t survive losing him to anything or anybody. Arresting me will do you no good.”
The two cops continued to stare at her in total confusion, and then Jack said, “Alright, Miss Davis, I am not going to arrest you. In fact, you are more useful to me outside, than behind bars. When is Michael actually coming back?”
“This evening, maybe earlier, I will call him later,” Then she added, “Please trust me, Inspector.”
“Time will tell, Miss Davis, only time will tell.
Suddenly his phone rang. He answered the call.
“Inspector Davison here.”
“An accident was just reported off Clayton’s Street, sir,” reported an officer. “It appears to be a taxi carrying Officer James. The tail we placed on Brenda Davis, sir.”
“Damn!” muttered the inspector, drawing attention from the others around the table with him. “When did this happen?” he wondered aloud.
“A few minutes ago, sir. The officer is now being reported dead, sir.”
“What is it, Jack?” Inspector Bromsbey asked, turning to him with concern.
“We’ll discuss this outside, Inspector. Nothing to be worried about, right now.”
“Is there no way you think we can get hold of this…Cain, Miss? There must be some way of knowing the location he is chatting from,” Officer Kennedy suggested.
“I think that will be a waste of time,” negated Brenda. “Cain made it clear that he is everywhere and nowhere. Unless you want to tell me that you have a way of catching a ghost. He might even be here with us without our knowledge.”
At this, the three police officers looked around them uncomfortably.
Brenda continued, “The only thing that can be done now is to stop him from killing more people.”
“And how do you expect to do that?” Jack asked.
“Honestly, I don’t know, but I will do everything I can to make sure no one gets hurt again. This is more than my fragile heart can take.”
Somehow, Jack knew she was telling the truth. However, for the first time since he had been a cop, he didn’t know what to do. “Where is Michael now?” he asked.
“He is not in town, but he called me earlier today and told me that he will be coming back soonest,” she replied.
“What are we going to do about Michael?” Jane asked.
“I have no choice. Michael either stops coming around me or he dies,” Brenda sadly replied.
Jane pulled her seat closer to her and put her arms around her shoulder.
The cops watched them in confusion.
The sadness exhibited by both women weakened their will to doubt the incredible story they’d just been told. And they shouldn’t forget Dr. Ryan’s theory.
* * *
The cop car sped away from the office block housing Jane’s workplace. Inspector Bromsbey turned to his Nigerian colleague when Officer Kennedy had put some distance between them and the bank.
“Well?” he enquired.
“An officer I set up to tail Brenda just died in a motor accident some minutes after he entered a cab to follow our girl when she’d just left her office. He died before he could report back to me.”
“So what do you think?”
“I think Brenda is still not telling us everything. I want to be there when she meets Michael this evening, but we must be discreet about it.”
“Dr. Ryan is coming with his friends as well,” announced the British officer.
“Yeah, we’ll need him,” admitted Jack. “I felt like someone…something was watching us back there in Jane’s office.”
“Something like what?”
“The very same entity that caused the accident that killed Officer James, inspector. Kennedy, please drop me at the office. I still have some thinking to do.”
“I will visit Dr. Ryan if you don’t mind, inspector,” implored Inspector Bromsbey, and his Nigerian colleague nodded his agreement.
“Maybe he has discovered the whereabouts of the rogue scientist you were telling me about? What’s his name again?”
“Professor McLeod, Jack…Floyde McLeod.”
* * *
It was almost 6:00 p.m. and Inspector Davison really wanted to go home and stay with his family since he’d promised his wife that he would come back for lunch. However, he had been trying all day to analyze what Brenda and Jane had told him, though he did not know what to make out of the story.
He decided to call Officer Kennedy and Officer Daniel into his office for a phone conference. One that would provide a more critical analysis of the case.
“I am still finding it difficult to believe all Brenda had said; I just wish I could get a reason to believe she was lying,” he explained when both men had hooked up with him.
“Judging from all the knowledge we have gotten from our investigations so far, sir,” supplied Officer Daniel, “what the girls told us seems the only explanation that makes sense. The problem is convincing the public and family members of the deceased that an internet ghost is the killer.”
“Not an internet ghost, Daniel,” corrected his superior. “I and Bromsbey appear to be coming round to a conclusion, which has to do with a rogue professor and Biomoleculodynamic Invisibility.”
“Bio what, sir?” asked a startled Officer Kennedy. “You can only hear such terms in science fiction films and novels…the ones foreigners write? Not in Lupe, I tell you, sir.”
“No, Kennedy, not in Lupe,” agreed Jack. “But then, they say the world is becoming smaller…” Then he continued, “I think the main problem we have here is ensuring that no other life is lost to this thing, especially an innocent life like Michael’s. We mustn’t explain anything to the public if we don’t have anything to say. Right now, only Brenda and Bromsbey can help us stop more killings. The girl must find a way to talk this guy out of killing Michael before it is too late. She said she will talk to Michael this evening; let’s hope she has a plan.”
“And what of Inspector Bromsbey, sir?” interjected Officer Daniel. “You also mentioned his name?”
“Yes, the inspector went to see his friend, Dr. Ryan. They came with a lot of equipment in their van…I hope all that hardware will help us unravel this mystery before we lose another life.”
“Are we going to be there when Brenda meets Michael this evening?” Officer Daniel asked.
“Yes and no. We will just stick around. And that reminds me, I want Brenda watched from this evening and throughout this week, but the plainclothesmen must remain inconspicuous, because we still don’t know what we’re dealing with here. Remember Officer James died today. Also, I want Michael’s home watched. Let me know when he comes back from his trip.”
“We’re already watching his house, sir,” Officer Kennedy reminded him. “Have you forgotten Nimrod?”
“Yes, that one.” The police officer shrugged. “Maybe Nimrod will soon make his move for Michael…who knows, maybe this evening. We might discover something they are not telling us.”
“Do you think there could be something fishy?” Daniel asked.
“You never can tell. How are we sure that Michael is not involved in all this? Perhaps he is trying to make himself look like a victim by making Brenda convince us that his life might be in danger. But if Nimrod’s threat to Michael’s life is not the only one, I want to make sure that we can save him still.”
Inspector Bromsbey joined the call conference.
“Yes, inspector,” Jack began after they’d all exchanged pleasantries. “Has your friends found out anything, yet?”
“They say they might just have an idea of where our fugitive friend could be hiding in Africa, inspector.”
“Is he hiding in Lupe?”
“No, inspector,” negated the man from Scotland Yard. “The Congo DR is the likely place; don’t ask me how they found this out.”
“Okay sir, but is there any link to our case?” the Nigerian wanted to know.
“I’m afraid they’re still working on that, my friend,” Inspector Bromsbey replied, almost sadly. “INTERPOL has sent out a strike team to pick up the scientist in the Congo, sir. Dr. Ryan is with them.”
“Good,” enthused Jack. “Let’s hope some interesting facts come out of this, inspector.”
“What else can we do?” replied the British.
After spelling out more orders for his two officers, Jack declared the conference closed and ended the call. He still had a lot on his mind, but it was time to go home. Can he save Michael if his life was in danger? Who was Cain? How can he be stopped? Was there a possibility that his own life might be in danger if he continued involving himself? He was filled with so many questions. Never in his life has he seen such a case. He shivered at the thought that his own life might be in danger.
He thought of the innocent and gentle looking Brenda who had gone through pains in the hands of these men. Now going through fear and discomfort in the hands of Cain. How can she set herself free from him? Was she in bondage forever? What does Cain mean by feeding on her anger? Brenda sounded convincingly innocent, but he wasn’t going to give it all to her. Who knows, there might be foul play somewhere.
Inspector James thought it was time he went home to the comfort of his family. He was blessed with two lovely children and the thought of going to spend the rest of the night with his wife, daughter and son every evening made his life more meaningful.
He was just about to lock up his drawer when the desktop phone rang.
“Hello,” he answered into the phone.
No reply. Only the sound of long distance static.
“Hello?” he repeated, a little tensed up.
“Inspector Jack?” The voice was guttural. Unfeeling.
“Yes? Who is this?”
“You are about to die, my friend,” said the unknown voice. “You will not leave this building alive today. I hope you have written your will?”
Jack can only laugh. A somewhat shallow laughter, though.
“You can scoff all you want, inspector, but since you’re leading the investigation into my phenomenal existence, I’ve decided to kill you before taking out Michael.”
“Who are you? You don’t scare me,” the policeman affirmed.
“Very well, inspector, have it your way,” smirked the voice.
“Now look here you…” Inspector Jack did not finish the statement, because the very next moment, the desk phone was knocked out of his hand and he was hurled across the room with such force that he thought he felt a rib crack when he hit the floor very close to the door of his office.
A strong grip lifted him off the floor just as quickly. It was round his neck. He couldn’t breathe. He reached out in front of him in order to grasp his assailant, but he groped nothing. Thin air.
He began to suffocate.
“He he heeeee!” laughed the mocking voice. “Now you will taste my medicine, inspector! This will be a warning to all your colleagues!”
“I…will…not…let…you…kill…me!” panted Jack, but his arms began trashing around. The grip tightened. Vice-like. He was suffocating, and he saw his obituary in a flash:
GALLANT COP COMMITS SUICIDE.
That would be a lie. He tried to wriggle his neck out of whatever was holding him, but it was unwavering. No room to slip out. He reached out his right arm across the wall, feeling and groping, grasping and grabbing whatever. Thin air.
Then he touched it.
A pipe carrying whatever.
With his failing strength, he grabbed it and pulled with all his might, wrenching it away from a source. Cold wind gushed out. He directed the blast at the thing slowly taking away his life, as he was about to lose his sight, but it’s hideous laughter only grew more piercingly annoying.
Then the door opened.
It was Inspector Bromsbey and Dr. Ryan.
* * *
Linus swung his leg out of his creaky bunker in the small structure near the gate of the apartment block he guarded. He caught sight of some local girls just as they were walking past the cubicle’s only window and let out a low whistle. The middle one’s behind appealed to his lust and like a dirty old man, he rubbed his crutch as he watched them go by with glee. “Men!” he let out and again whistled stupidly.
Young girls were Linus’ new pursuit, but he had only slept with one so far. A loose girl called Esther, whose body was fully fleshed out even though she was as young as they come. The illiterate girl had slept with almost every boy in the street, but she would not have gone into a relationship with the elderly gateman-turned-criminal if not for the fact that he had turned her into a drug addict.
Again, the lawbreaker turned his thoughts to the first day he had slept with her. The way he had lured her into his small cubicle after she had left a so-called boyfriend’s apartment in the compound for the night. Linus had been able to convince her that he had some marijuana with him after a session of jokes outside his quarters. Since she just wanted him to prove it out of curiosity, he had invited her into his room and dosed her down with a combination of the said illegal drug and a glass of water containing sleeping pills.
Oh, how he had taken her right there on the creaky bunk. And from that day onwards, she had become his pastime because the drug made her visits to her so-called boyfriend a daily affair. Sometimes she would sneak out of her house in the middle of the night just to smoke the thing while he defiled her.
“Men!” he croaked. His crutch was now bulging and he wondered whether he would see the girl that night. A car honked at the gate, forcing him out of his reverie, and he looked out of the guard window and recognized the vehicle. It was Michael’s. He ran out of the gatehouse and opened the gates.
“Oga welcome,” he greeted as the Mercedes swerved into the driveway and zoomed off towards the line of apartments on the farthest part of the compound. Michael had simply waved at him.
“Have to notify Nimrod, he he,” Linus chuckled and brought out his mobile phone.
He heard another phone ringing on the other end of the line.
“Yes, Linus? What is it?”
“It’s Michael, Boss…he just came back,” replied the older man.
“Good. We will strike midnight tonight,” decreed Nimrod. Linus could feel his boss smiling at the other end of the line. He ended the call and a broad smile spread across his lips, too.
* * *
Michael still had Brenda on his mind when he entered his apartment and switched on the air conditioner to humidify and ventilate the place. He still thought he must be going crazy to be thinking of seeing her again after all that he now knew about her. Maybe he should call her again and tell her he could no longer be with her, or maybe he should wait for her and tell her when they meet that evening. His cell phone rang.
“Hello,” he said on picking the call.
“Michael, hi.” It was Brenda. “Are you back from your trip?” She sounded cheerful.
“Yes, Brenda,” he replied. “Hope you remember our date?”
“Of course, dear. I really can’t wait to see you,” she said and he smiled. He really couldn’t wait to see her as well, he thought, despite the burden of what he was about to do to their relationship.
“So then,” she continued, “will 5 o’clock be okay with you? I really need to do some house chores before coming over after work.”
“It will be okay, dear,” he agreed. “See you then. Bye.”
“Bye.” And she hung up. Michael unpacked his small travelling bag and went about preparing for the evening.
* * *
Nimrod suddenly woke up and looked at the wall clock in the bedroom. Twenty minutes past 6:00 pm. He should be making his way into Michael’s home by then! Everyone in Lupe mustn’t get the knowledge that he was a wanted man before Michael was found dead! He quickly walked into the living room where Allen was still sleeping on one of the seats, and violently woke him up. “Get up, we can’t spend the whole day sleeping! We have got a lot to do this evening, because I have decided to visit our friend this evening!”
Allen immediately woke up and the first thought that came to his mind was the fact that the cops could be everywhere searching for them. He sat up and stretched his two hands. He wasn’t really happy about this development. Midnight would have been the better option, but how was he going to argue with his boss on this?
“Hurry, get yourself ready and take me to Michael’s place. The earlier we get there, the better,” Nimrod impatiently barked out.
His minion didn’t really like the idea of going to Michael’s place at that hour. Especially with the uncertainty of what was happening in the city. “I suggest we wait till things cool off before we go to Michael’s house, boss,” he tried. “Maybe midnight as we earlier agreed on is the best option?”
“No! We are leaving now!” Angrily, his boss drew nearer. “Trust me on this okay? I promise you I’ll get us out of this jam. Just take me to Michael’s home and leave the rest to me. Once I get my hands on that bastard, you will be surprised at the next move I make.”
Allen felt better with that assurance. “If we leave now, we’ll get to his house by 8:00 p.m.,” he said and stood up in order to get himself ready.
Fifteen minutes later, they were ready.
Nimrod brandished a sharp machete. “Notify the gang,” he ordered Allen. “They must all meet us near Michael’s house.”