THE ROGUE PROFESSOR, BRENDA’S
FEARS & MICHAEL’S DISCOVERY
INSTEAD of thinking about her new job, the first thought that came into Brenda’s mind as she woke on Tuesday morning was the knowledge that Benjamin was dead. She had tried her best not to allow it to affect her good time with Jane the day before. She had called Michael that evening to tell him the good news and after that, she was surprised that she was beginning to have strong feelings for him because the sound of his voice had added more joy to the good news.
Maybe it was due to their having made love together once?
Now, though, she couldn’t help thinking about Benjamin.
In as much as he had hurt her so much in the past, she still felt that he didn’t deserve to die at such a young age. The news might not have consciously shocked her the day it was broken to her, but somewhere in her mind it had really registered.
She allowed herself to remember the good times they had together in the past. It was an eventful eight months, which she could never forget.
Now he was dead.
Why would someone murder him? She wondered what he might have done to deserve such a cruel death.
Jane entered the room from the bathroom and quickly walked straight to the dressing table.
“You better get up from that bed o!” she teased. “You are now a working class lady!”
Brenda stretched herself, said her morning prayers and stood up to rush into the bathroom.
“Brenda, I will like you to visit the doctor this evening, I am not comfortable with how you have reacted to God-knows-what in the last two evenings we’ve been together.”
“I am not sure that is necessary.”
“I won’t take no for an answer o!” refused her friend. “You must promise me to see the doctor!”
“Okay, I will, but if I don’t feel weak again this evening, I may not go.”
Jane felt they had reached an agreement and kept quiet, content with her achievement.
While Brenda dressed up, she turned on the little radio on her dressing table since she didn’t like the quiet atmosphere. Besides, she was addicted to listening to the news at 6 :00 a.m. in the morning. But she wasn’t able to concentrate on the morning news today, instead she was overwhelmed with the fact that Brenda had finally secured a new job and would soon be over Adam as she seemed to be falling for Michael.
“Oh, Brenda, everything is working out fine for you right now!” she quipped with excitement. “Except for the news of Benjamin’s demise…”
“Shhhhhhhhh!” intruded Brenda, who had been listening to the news. It was saying; “…body of Mr. Derek Hunter, a senior staff of Zenith Oil Company was found in his office around 6:00 p.m. on Monday evening in a pool of blood. The body was discovered by a friend of the deceased who alerted security. The police have since commenced investigation, but so far, the murder has been described as being very mysterious given the…”
“Oh, my God!” Jane exclaimed. She looked up and saw Brenda at the door. She looked shocked also. “What is happening?”
They were both stunned and could not speak any further. Brenda quickly sat down on the bed. She felt weak and faint.
“I can’t believe it!” she shakily whispered. “First Benjamin and now Derek! Both dying mysteriously.”
Jane looked curiously at Brenda. “Your lovers are dying mysteriously, is there anything that I should know?”
“I don’t know what is going on Jane, believe me,” defensively replied the confused girl. “I am mystified. Oh God, how am I going to get through this? I am yet to get over Benjamin. How can I stand the loss of Derek?”
“Something is killing your past lovers; something mysterious. I don’t like talking about this, but I think you will have to tell me more about this Cain friend of yours,” interjected Jane.
“Do you think it is Cain’s doing? I thought you never believed that he even existed!” queried Brenda.
“I was even beginning to forget about him. I can’t tell if he is the one doing these killings or the other guy they showed yesterday…what’s his name again?”
“Yeah, Nimrod…. I am confused, Jane, we never discussed about killing anyone.”
“You and Cain?”
She only nodded.
Jane felt foolish. How could she bring up such a suggestion at this early hour? All this had nothing to do with Cain. After all, he was just Brenda’s imagination! However, she remembered that Brenda had mentioned Derek’s name the day before, after her little seizure. “I am just confused Brenda, the whole thing sounds scary….Why did you mention Derek’s name yesterday?”
“I don’t know . . . I… Honestly, I don’t know why I mentioned his name yesterday.”
Jane looked at her suspiciously. Was Brenda hiding anything from her?
“Please believe me, Jane, I am telling you the truth!” cried her friend when she noticed she was staring at her.
“Let’s drop the subject,” said Jane, “We both have to go to work. Perhaps we’ll discuss it when we both come back in the evening.”
“We just have to wait for the police to come up with an explanation for these killings, Jane,” Brenda rather began. “How are we even sure that they are related? Benjamin is in a different town and Derek is in Lupe here with us!”
“It could just be coincidence,” said Jane. She stood up and gently pulled up her friend. “Get yourself ready so that we can go out together. Derek died in Lupe; I believe the public will soon know the outcome of the ongoing police investigation.”
As Brenda dressed up, she knew her first day at work was going to be an awful one.
* * *
Inspector Jack sat in his small neat office, not knowing what to make of Derek’s murder case. He had engaged himself all through the night trying to come up with some theory or possible explanation but nothing was forthcoming from this endeavor. There were so many questions and yet no single answer to any of them! This was very frustrating for him.
There was a knock on his door. It was Bromsbey, and he had another white man with him.
“Good day, Inspector Bromsbey; I hope you slept well last night?” Jack said, standing to greet both men.
“With all the killing going on around here?” the white man joked. “Please, Jack!” He took a seat opposite the desk. “I’ve been thinking, Jack, perhaps there were more than four men who lifted Derek up and smashed his head on the wall?”
“Well, why do you think so?”
“Doctor Ryan here is a research scientist at a secret facility in Sweden studying the Theory of Biomoleculodynamic Invisibility. Just came into the country this morning to help us with this investigation on my request.”
“Bio what?” began Jack, shaking the young man’s hand. He appeared too young to be a doctor, but what the hell! Even younger men could attain professorship in the west these days!
“Biomoleculodynamic Invisibility, sir,” said the scientist. “It’s the theory that certain molecules could be manipulated into behaving like a complete individual, that is, taking up all the biological makeup of that individual…as in becoming neurologically, physiologically and biochemically hooked up with the original human being…when made invisible to the naked eye.”
“What a theory you’ve got there!” exclaimed the Nigerian after letting out a low whistle. “But please call me ‘Jack,’” he stressed.
“That’s not all, Jack,” revealed Bromsbey. “Ryan has got something else to share with us.”
The scientist cleared his throat. “As you might have guessed, sir…Jack, the research I told you about is a secret one. It is being funded by three of the greatest superpowers in the UN. It’s potential as a military weapon is endless, Inspector Jack, and hence the people investigating this strange phenomenon have gone through the strictest of security clearances and defense protocol!”
“One of us went AWOL some months ago, Inspector Jack!”
The Nigerian whistled again.
“Professor Floyde McLeod is the best brain in their team, Jack,” Bromsbey filled in for his young friend. “The theory’s angle he was pursuing was seen by the team members as the most promising before his disappearance.”
“It is even rumored that he had discovered something of significance before his wife reported him missing to the Swedish Police,” continued Doctor Ryan. “Interpol has had no luck in finding him ever since, though. He just disappeared into thin air!”
“Is that why you think that Derek was not killed by only one man, Bromsbey?” Jack asked his British colleague.
“It’s still a hypothesis, Jack, mind you,” warned Bromsbey, sitting up straight in his chair. “Imagine four molecular men as Doctor Ryan here has made us to believe, walking into that company without being seen by the guards and doing the devil’s work in Mr. Hunter’s office. It sounds very stupid, but we’re just grappling thin air here, my friend; we mustn’t ignore any leads we come across! And then it could just be one molecular man with the strength of four mortal men!”
“You’re right, inspector,” agreed Jack, nodding pensively. “We must look up this theory since we really don’t have anything now.” He could remember his disappointment when he had checked the CCTV videos in Derek’s office with his men earlier that morning and had relayed his findings to Bromsbey via text messaging. Of course, nothing had been recorded by the damn camera! It was as if it had been switched off before the incident! So how did Derek die? Why was he murdered? Who or what murdered him? This was crazy. Perhaps he should take the police doctor’s advice.
“What of the mysterious murder that took place in Cape City two days ago?” he suddenly asked both men in his office. “Can both cases be related?”
“Perhaps we should call the Cape City police division,” Bromsbey said. “Perhaps we will get something that could help us establish a relationship between these two cases, you never can tell!”
Jack was just about to make the call when he heard a knock on his door.
“Come in,” he said loudly.
Officer Kennedy walked into his office.
Inspector Jack looked up expectedly. He was glad to see the young officer; he couldn’t wait to hear what the young man had for him.
“Good morning, sir.”
“Good morning. What have we got?”
Officer Kennedy brought out a piece of paper from the file in his hand. “Sir, I got the list you asked me to get from the reception. It shows that there were fourteen staff members in the office building at the time of the murder – five senior staff and nine junior staff. All the junior staff members were in the second floor and none of them knew much about the deceased except that he was popular. None of the senior staff in the building at the time of the murder worked in the same department with Mr. Hunter and none had ever had any kind of face-off with him. I couldn’t establish any motive from any of the workers present.”
Inspector Jack was quiet for some time. This was another dead end. “What about the girl, I mean, his girl friend, anything from her?”
“Lucy; she had fully recovered from the shock by the time we got there yesterday. All we could get from her was how she discovered the body. Nothing new. Everything she said corresponded with what we got from the security men.”
“What about her relationship with the deceased and his personal life?” Dr. Ryan asked.
“They’ve dated for just a month. She didn’t see anything strange in Derek’s personal life. He was just a nice, fun-loving person who took his job seriously. According to her, he never had problems with anybody; he didn’t live a life of fear. In fact he was perfect.”
“Nothing unusual about him?” hopelessly asked Inspector Bromsbey.
Inspector Jack sighed heavily. This was certainly another dead end. He was sure that Kennedy didn’t miss anything in his interview with the witnesses. “Have you been able to speak with Derek’s friend?”
“I and Officer Daniel are just coming from his office. He was very willing to help. We tried to make him remember if there was anything unusual about the deceased, but as far as he was concerned, Derek worked very hard and lived a principled life. He had no enemies and never stepped on anybody’s toes. He said Derek’s only weakness was women.”
“Women? Then it couldn’t be possible that Lucy was the only girl in his life. What did Abraham say about his relationship with women?” Inspector Bromsbey asked.
“Mr. Abraham said the deceased changed women like he changed his clothes. Since they’ve known each other, Mr. Abraham said that Derek had dated seven different girls, Lucy was his eighth.”
“He must have broken a lot of hearts, don’t you think?” Inspector Jack suggested, getting a little bit excited.
“That doesn’t help us in the case, does it, Jack?” Dr. Ryan wanted to know.
“As far as I am concerned, doctor, any information we get now is important for this investigation,” Jack informed the scientist.
“Yes, sir,” now agreed Officer Kennedy. “According to Mr. Abraham, Mr. Hunter broke all the hearts of all these ladies.”
“Yet they say he never stepped on anybody’s toes?” asked Bromsbey, now thinking hard. He sure would love to follow this lead now like his Nigerian colleague, even though he wasn’t still sure how any of the heartbroken ladies could be involved in such a mysteriously gruesome murder. “Did you get the names of the ladies?”
“Yes, but we were able to get just five names because Mr. Abraham couldn’t remember all the names. Also, he could only remember the addresses of only the last three he dated and broke up with.”
Jack was impressed. He collected the list as Kennedy handed it to him. He scanned through it. “Okay, we have three addresses here, but we can make it four. I believe we can trace Miss Davis here with her school hostel address.”
“Mr. Abraham wasn’t positive about that. Derek dated and left her a long time ago. He believes she must have graduated by now.”
“I still believe we can trace her, but for now let’s follow up the three that we have their addresses immediately.”
“Locate them and investigate them thoroughly. Hopefully, we could get important information that could be helpful in the investigation.” He remembered the call he was supposed to make to the police division in Cape City. “First, let me make a call.” He quickly opened his phone book, got the Cape City police division phone number and dialed.
“Hello,” a female voice answered
“Good morning. This is Inspector Jack from Lupe Police Division; can you put me through to the officer investigating the mysterious murder of Mr. Benjamin, which was reported in the papers yesterday?”
“Alright, that should be Inspector Lewis. Hold on please, I will connect you to him.”
“Thanks.” Inspector Jack waited.
About forty seconds later, a husky male voice spoke up from the other end. “Inspector Lewis on the line.”
Inspector Jack quickly described to him the mysterious murder of Mr. Derek Hunter and explained that he was trying to establish if both murder cases were related. “I will like to have an implicit detail of Mr. Benjamin’s personal life.”
“Nothing much, he was a married man with just a kid. He was very dedicated to his family.”
“Do you know if he was involved in any extramarital affairs?”
“No. I just told you that he was dedicated to his family. His wife was very confident about this. Benjamin didn’t have any enemies as of the time of death. He wasn’t a womanizer, though he once lived in Lupe.”
“Seriously? When did he leave Lupe?”
“He left Lupe three years ago. His wife said she encouraged the move because she didn’t want her husband to keep on seeing the girl he was dating before they got married. From what I got, Benjamin was dating this girl before he got the girl he later married pregnant.”
Inspector Jack became excited. “Can you give me her name?”
“She wasn’t clear about that. She wasn’t sure if it was Blessing or Brenda, she couldn’t even give me a surname. She just told me that this girl was a student of Star Gate University, Lupe. I couldn’t connect that information to the murder so I let it go. Inspector, if I may ask, why do you think the murders have anything to do with womanizing?”
Jack picked up the paper that contained the list of Derek’s ex-girlfriends and scanned through it as he spoke. “Like I said, I was just trying to see if both murders are connected, since both of them are mysterious. As you can see, gentlemen, we have just established the fact that Benjamin once lived in Lupe and from what I have just gotten from you, they both once dated the same girl, Brenda.”
“That is very interesting,” concurred Doctor Ryan.
“Alright, thank you, Inspector Lewis. I will follow this lead and see where it will take me. I will definitely give you feedback.” He dropped the phone and excitedly said to Officer Kennedy, “I think we are getting somewhere at last. Late Mr. Benjamin, who was mysteriously murdered two days ago in Cape City, once lived here in Lupe and he also once dated Brenda Davis, whose name appears here as one of Derek’s ex-girlfriends as well. Both guys broke her heart. It is now very important that we find this girl; she has some explaining to do. I don’t think that it’s just coincidence that two of her ex-lovers are mysteriously murdered within two days or what do you think, gentlemen?”
“I smell something fishy, Jack,” agreed Inspector Bromsbey.
“Contact Officer Daniel and help him locate the girl. I want to hear something tangible before the day is over,” Jack told his junior.
After Officer Kennedy had left, Inspector Jack reflected on the information he had just gotten. He didn’t want to get too excited yet because he wasn’t sure how a human, let alone a girl, could commit such an act. “Did she use some diabolical means to eliminate her ex-lovers?” he asked the two men who were still in his office.
“What sort of people is she involved with?” wondered Bromsbey.
“Will she actually allow herself to be found?” asked Dr. Ryan. “I hope that this Brenda of a girl will not just disappear into thin air like the others, inspectors.”
“This doesn’t negate our hypothesis, Ryan,” Bromsbey told him. “In fact, I think it buttresses it in a way….”
“Enlighten me, inspector,” began Jack.
“Since we still haven’t accounted for how Mr. Hunter died, Jack, I still think we should look into this.”
“Oh, okay, Inspector Bromsbey. I’ll send out word about this McLeod fellow to all our stations around the country, though I really don’t think he’s in Nigeria right now if he’s working for somebody.”
“Don’t think so, too, sir,” agreed Dr. Ryan thoughtfully. “But we just have to look.”
After both men had left his office, Mr. Rufus Blunt, the CEO of Zenith Oil Company, called Jack an hour later wanting to know how far he had gone with the case. The CEO ended the call on a furious note upon discovering that there was no positive information for him concerning the case.
The call only succeeded in making Inspector Jack more anxious to finish the investigation.
He didn’t hear from Officer Kennedy and Daniel until 4:00 p.m.
“We have gotten her present address, sir,” Officer Daniel spoke into the phone.
“Good, I was beginning to get frustrated.”
“It wasn’t easy sir; we had to locate her parent’s address from her school record. Then from her parents, we got to know that she presently lives with a friend at Number 7, Saint Leo Street. She had been doing a part-time job in a primary school but just got a job with an airline company.”
Inspector Jack didn’t expect Brenda to be such a serious-minded person. “Alright, come over to the station so that we can go and check on her together.” He dropped the phone and waited. A little smile was playing round his lips.
* * *
Linus was already waiting for them at the restaurant when they walked into the place. He was sitting at a corner table away from the bright lights and customers milling around in order not to be noticed by anyone.
“Well, well, well!” he began on seeing Nimrod. “It is a pleasure seeing you again after four years, my friend! When Allen told me that you’d broken out of jail, I couldn’t believe my ears!” The old man was grinning from ear to ear as he took Nimrod’s hand.
“Linus, my friend,” said the psycho. “It’s a pleasure seeing you again…I hope you’re keeping to your wife these days, eh?”
“The old bitch is classless in bed, sir!” the old man joked. “Nowadays I prefer the free pussy I get in the brothels of Lupe Red Light!”
They all sat down and the mood around the table became serious.
“You say there are undercover agents in Michael’s place?” Allen asked the old ex-Biafran soldier.
“Yes, in fact I got their pictures with my phone’s camera as you directed.” And he reached into his pocket to pull out a Nokia. “They packed in as new tenants today.”
“So how did you find out they were cops?” asked Nimrod and the security man grinned. “They were dropped with a patrol vehicle. Imagine the stupidity!”
For some time after this, the three could not hold back the laughter that ensued around the table. Allen first broke off from this digression, though. “So, now that we have their pictures, what next, Nimrod?”
“I would have loved to bring the gang along on this one!” his boss thoughtfully replied. “It will be easier to take out the cops with the gang, so that’s exactly what we’ll do!”
“Oga you won kill two birds with one stone?” Linus asked him in pidgin English, grinning in his usual manner.
“Yes, my friend; I’ll meet the gang same time we’re taking out Michael!”
“So when do we start?”
“Get them ready for this night, my friend! Michael is in for a surprise!”
* * *
Jane could not concentrate on her work all day. Her colleagues noticed her state of absentmindedness and kept asking her what the matter was. However, she kept telling them that she was all right.
There were many questions on her mind. She couldn’t help feeling that Brenda was keeping something from her. However, she had known Brenda long enough to doubt her. She was sure she trusted Brenda and was not being fair to the poor girl by suspecting her. How could she suspect Brenda of having something to do with the death of her past lovers?
Nevertheless, she remembered very clearly that two evenings ago, Brenda had had a strange seizure and after that mentioned Benjamin: and funny enough, the next day it was reported that Benjamin was dead. The same thing had happened yesterday when she had mentioned Derek’s name after such an episode; again, he had been reported dead that morning!
Had Brenda involved herself with something diabolical in order to hurt her past lovers?
Who is Cain? On the other hand, what is he?
Her cell phone suddenly rang and she was jolted from her rumination. She looked at the caller ID; it was Brad.
“Hey baby, I am coming towards your office, I thought we should lunch together,” he said when she picked the call.
She also thought it was a nice idea, she could do with some advice on what to make out of the death of Brenda’s ex-boyfriends. “Okay, that will be great. How long will it take you to get here?”
“Ten minutes, at the most.”
“Ten minutes, then.” She hung up and got herself ready for the lunch.
Brad arrived exactly ten minutes later. She was already ready and waiting for him. They usually lunched together at least three times in a week, but this was their first lunch together since Brenda’s breakup with Adam.
He drove her to their usual spot very close to Wintel Trust Bank. Jane couldn’t wait to tell him what was bothering her.
“What’s the matter?” he asked as the waiter set their table. “Why is my baby girl looking so worried?”
“It’s about Brenda, Brad.”
Their meal arrived.
“What about her?”
Jane couldn’t tell if he appreciated the topic or not, but she told him about the two deaths and her fears after they started eating.
“Did the time of her partial seizures coincide with the time of death?” he asked in shock.
Jane thought for a while before replying with a surprised look on her face. “Yes, I never even thought of that.”
Jane saw unbelief in her lover’s eyes. She realized that the unpleasant thought of his girlfriend living with a murderer was really affecting Brad when he pushed away his unfinished plate of food. He didn’t feel like eating anymore. Jane knew he felt so much concern for her and she pitied him due to this. She was sure he had never imagined the situation had gotten this bad.
“This is incredible,” he finally said. “Do you realize the magnitude of what you have just told me? If all you have just told me is true, don’t you think your life might be in danger?”
“I have known Brenda long enough to trust her. For now, I can’t say if she has anything to do with the deaths. It could all be coincidence. We should be careful not to jump into any quick conclusion here.”
“All you have just told me seem quite logical to me, my dear!” her boyfriend stressed instead. “I wouldn’t go back home to her today if I were you.”
“Come on, Brad! I didn’t expect this sort of response from you. You have known Brenda for as long as you have known me and I believe you know she’s not capable of what we now suspect her of having done. She is your gentle Brenda, remember?”
“Given all she had gone through recently, anything could be possible, my dear. I mean, how can you possibly explain the presence of Cain? How can you explain the deaths of her lovers and her mentioning their name before or at the period of their mysterious murder?”
“Remember, Brenda has been telling me about Cain, yet I doubted her. The Brenda I know is not capable of these things we accuse her of, it is not just fair! These deaths could just be coincidence, and Brenda could be having some sort of telepathic communication with her past lovers because of the attachment she once had with them,” said Jane.
“Oh! I never knew that gentle Brenda now has a gift of telepathy,” noted her fiancé with a voice loaded with sarcasm. “You think it is normal for two lovers who broke her heart to die barely two weeks after a third breakup with her? How are we sure that Adam is safe?”
“Oh Brad,” cried Jane. “I am confused, and you are not helping matters! What do you think I should do? Brenda is like a sister to me and I don’t want to give her any reason to loath me!”
“Get Brenda to tell you the truth. She must explain what is happening to her! You must use any means you can, even if it means threatening to report her to the cops. I am afraid I have to stop you from living with her if she doesn’t come out with a reasonable explanation! I am not comfortable with the idea that you could be in danger right now!”
“Brenda sounds innocent to me so far,” vented his girlfriend. “I spoke with her this morning and she obviously didn’t look guilty of anything. Nevertheless, I’ll talk to her again as you suggested, but I want to promise you that I have resolved to be by her side, and believe whatever she tells me. Brenda had gone through hell in the hands of these men and I won’t be fair to her if I don’t stand by her at this period. Did I tell you that she just got a new job?”
“That’s nice to know,” Brad said thoughtfully. He wasn’t happy with Jane’s decision, but had decided to let it go. “I just hope you will prove me wrong.”
“I hope so, too,” said Jane.
They ate their lunch in silence. Both did not finish their food.
“Who is Michael, really?” Brad suddenly asked just as they were about to leave the restaurant.
“Michael? Do you think he could be involved?”
“I don’t know, I just want you to be careful, baby. I won’t be happy if anything bad happened to you or if you get involved with something you don’t know about.”
“Michael looks like a very nice guy to me.” Then she hesitated, “It is alright honey, I will be very careful, I promise you. My only suspect for now is Brenda’s mysterious friend, Cain, and not Michael. Either there is something Brenda is not telling me or there’s something she doesn’t know. I will let you know if anything comes up. I know you won’t let anything bad happen to me.”
“I love you so much, baby.”
“I love you too, Honey,” she returned with so much love. His eyes said it all and she felt much better than she had been feeling all day.
* * *
As the day went by, Brenda’s psychological state continued to worsen. She could not really concentrate on anything throughout the day and she was sure that everybody at her new work place could sense that something was troubling her. One of the old staff members was taking the new workers around their new work environment and explaining to them how the various departments functioned, as well as how these departments related to each other, but her state of mind was not helping her concentration on this very important orientation.
After the tour, Brenda decided to stick around until evening before going home. She didn’t want to stay alone, although staying around her work place did not stop her from thinking about the death of her two ex-lovers.
Somehow, she found herself thinking about Derek and Benjamin more than she had ever done when both men were alive. How could two people she had once given her heart to die mysteriously just like that within two days? It seemed as if there was a heavy burden on her head!
A burden of guilt.
She knew that she had at one time in her life wished that something bad should happen to these two men but that was for toying with her heart. She had never wished them death. But then, had she unconsciously wished them such a grotesque end without knowing it? Okay, maybe she had, but she had never meant it. Really.
Now they were both dead.
She felt like an employer of death and the feeling was not welcoming at all. It wasn’t pleasant knowing that something as dreadful as death could be working in her favor. She felt scared. But then, maybe these deaths were just a mere coincidence, she tried to console herself with. Yet, that did not change the fact that both men were actually dead.
She felt she was missing something. Perhaps these deaths were not just coincidence. Then she remembered Adam and shivered. Was he also in danger? Oh, forget about it, she told herself. Nothing was going to happen to anybody anymore!
Then the thought of Cain came flooding in. Could this be Cain’s handwork? She had not spoken to him since their last encounter in Michael’s presence. Perhaps she should talk to him and let him know what was happening. She decided to stop by any of the public cafes after work the next day and have a little chat with him.
Brenda got home around 4:30 p.m. She felt very exhausted and wanted to just lie down and forget about everything for once that day. However, she had barely taken off her shoes when she heard someone knocking on the door. It obviously wasn’t Jane. She quickly peeped through the window to see a police vehicle parked in front of the house. Without giving this much thought, she opened the door. She could tell that the five men standing at the door were cops, even though they were putting on mufti. Three of them were blacks and the other two were whites.
“Good evening, officers,” she politely began, “how may I help you please?” Were they there because of Derek? Was she a suspect? She didn’t like the way the stoic-looking policeman, who was obviously their leader, was starring at her. He made her feel emotionally naked.
“Good evening, madam,” Inspector Jack greeted and reached for his badge. “We are policemen and would like to speak with Miss Davis?”
“I am the one, officer.”
The inspector was surprised. Nothing about the girl before him indicated that she was a murderer. He didn’t know what he was expecting to see, but he sure wasn’t expecting to see such a polite and gentle lady who looked so innocent, although in this time and age, looks could be deceiving, he candidly thought. “Alright, I am inspector Jack, and these are Inspector Bromsbey, Doctor Ryan, Officer Daniel and Officer Kennedy,” he said as he pointed towards the others. “Can you please spare us a bit of your time? We would like to have a chat with you.”
“I hope there is no problem?”
“Nothing serious, Miss Davis…yet.”
“Alright.” She opened the door a bit wider. “Please, come in.”
The officers trooped into the apartment one after the other. Brenda stared inquisitively at the white inspector as they made themselves comfortable. What was his name again? Bromsbey or something like that.
“Miss Davis, do you know Mr. Benjamin Frost?” wondered Inspector Jack.
“Yes,” she answered, wondering what they wanted.
“What of Mr. Derek Hunter?”
“Yes, and I also know they were both mysteriously murdered recently.” Her voice was gentle but penetrating.
The police officers did not expect such a reply from her.
Inspector Jack wondered if Brenda was capable of hurting even a fly. Nevertheless, looks could be deceptive, he again warned himself. Why would anyone want to break her heart, though?
“I guess you have been listening to the media.” Alternatively, perhaps you even knew they were dead even before the press, he thought to himself. “Can you please explain the kind of relationship you had with them?”
“What is this all about, inspector? Why am I being interrogated? Do you think I’m a suspect? Do you think I killed Derek and Benjamin?”
“Right now, Miss Davis, we are just carrying out investigations and haven’t come to any conclusions,” Bromsbey replied for his colleague. “We are interviewing everybody who used to know the deceased persons. The deaths are mysterious, and we are hoping that we could get from their friends information that could help us solve this mystery.”
“Alright, I used to date them.”
“How long did your relationship with each of them last, Miss Davis?”
“I dated Benjamin for eight months and Derek for thirteen months or so.”
“Did you date anybody else before Benjamin and Derek?” probed Dr. Ryan.
“What happened?” asked Inspector Bromsbey. “I mean, can you explain what led to the two breakups?”
And Brenda carefully mapped out what had happened between her and her two dead ex-lovers to the officers. Surprisingly, it didn’t hurt her like it used to whenever she talked about it. Perhaps it was because they were no more.
“What did you do after both breakups,” asked Inspector Jack, already feeling sorry for poor Brenda. She must have really loved her ex-lovers and that was a good motive for murder.
“I didn’t do anything. I tried my best to win back Derek’s love but all my efforts were fruitless.”
“When last did you see either of them?”
“I have not set my eyes on either of them for a long time now. I avoided them, but information about them kept coming to me. I was aware that Benjamin left Lupe to relocate to Cape City, and I was also aware that Derek got promoted after his training.”
“How do you feel knowing that your two ex-lovers died mysteriously in two days?” Bromsbey wanted to know.
“God! It’s shocking, inspector! It is very…traumatic. I have been disturbed all day, especially since I heard the news about Derek this morning. They were people I loved, you know? Good memories never go away that easily. Do you know I just got a new job? And instead of celebrating my new job, I am here grieving over my dead ex-lovers!”
Inspector Jack believed her. Perhaps this was just a coincidence. “Are you dating anyone at present?”
“I am not dating anyone at the moment. Although someone is showing interest in me, I am hoping it works out.” She remembered Cain. Was Cain her lover? Their nightly sex sessions have…
“Are you trying to tell me that you have not dated anyone since you broke up with Derek?” Inspector Jack was asking her, quick enough to notice the sudden change in her disposition.
“I am sorry, inspector; you are not here to ask about my personal life, are you? I have noted that you have barely asked me what I know about the deceased.”
“Yes, Miss Davis. And I’m sorry for the way this interview is going. However, for now, you are the only one connected to the two dead men, both of them having hurt you in the past. You are of serious interest to us and I will be grateful if you can let me know more about your personal life.”
After a brief silence Brenda said, “I just got off another heartbreak some weeks ago. I have been dating Adam since I broke up with Derek, and all of a sudden, he didn’t want me again. I am confused, officer; do you think something about me is killing them?”
Surprisingly, Inspector Jack felt a sudden urge to hold and protect her like he would do to a daughter, but he told himself that he must not allow sympathy to becloud his judgment. He looked at his fellow policemen, who had decided to remain silent while he questioned her. The session was getting interesting. There could be something about Miss Davis, which was making these men to leave her. “Can you tell me what happened between you and Adam? I am really sorry for prying into your private life, Miss Davis.”
“It is okay, I understand.” Again she briefly told him about Adam, and then a little about Michael.
“Men can be strange, Miss Davis,” suddenly said Bromsbey. “I just think you have been meeting the wrong set of men. Trust me; there are nice guys out there.” Just like his Nigerian colleague, he was thinking hard; three heartbreaks, and two deaths? “Can we please have Adam’s address?”
“I promise you, inspector, I don’t know about these deaths. They have nothing to do with me, so stop looking at the wrong place, please. Investigating me is just a waste of time. I will give you his address, but please if you see him, help me find out why he actually left me; I really need to know.” She stood up, entered the room and came out with a piece of paper. She handed it to Inspector Jack. So far from the appearance of the parlor, there was nothing in the house suggesting she was involved in anything diabolic.
“You don’t stay here alone, do you?” Jack asked as he stood up and motioned to the others to follow suit.
“No, I stay here with a friend; she is not yet back from work.”
“Where does she work?”
Brenda knew they also intended to interview Jane. “Her name is Jane and she works with Wintel Trust Bank here in Lupe.”
“Thank you for your cooperation, Miss Davis. We will get back to you if the need arises,” said Inspector Jack. They were already at the door. He planned to go straight to Adam’s house from there. If Brenda’s angle was a dead end, he must make sure he exhausted it that day so that he could concentrate on finding new leads.
She stood at the door and watched them drive away. She went back into the living room and sat down. She couldn’t wait for Jane to come back; she needed her company more than anything right now.
‘What was happening?’ she thought. Could something be murdering her ex-boyfriends for breaking her heart? Alternatively, was all these just coincidence? She felt really scared and uncomfortable. She was also confused and needed to talk to someone now.
Yes, he was the right person to talk to at this moment. He had a way of making her feel okay afterwards.
Her cell phone was lying on the side table and she reached for it.
“Hello?” Michael sounded like he’d been expecting her call.
“Michael,” she rushed, “a lot has been happening and I really need to talk to you.”
“There’s something I need to tell you, too, Brenda,” he also began.
“Tell…tell me what?” She sounded confused.
“The cops think I’m in danger alongside my friends…they think the recent murders around town were perpetrated by the escaped convict I told you of, called Nimrod; the guy I saw breaking into Glen’s house?”
“Oh my God! What is happening?” Could Cain be the person after Michael as well? No. Why was she allowing things to get at her? Hadn’t he just mentioned Nimrod, the escaped convict? “You need to be careful, Michael; I wouldn’t want what happened to Benjamin and Derek happen to you.”
“What? Who are Benjamin and Derek?” Michael asked, confused.
“My former boyfriends. They were found dead earlier this week and the police think I have something to do with it. I am just scared and confused . . . .”
Suddenly, the phone was wrenched from her fingers, crushed and flung away, and she screeched in terror! There was no one in the room with her so she knew exactly what had happened.
“Hi, my love!”
Brenda slipped out of the settee and drew back to the front door without a word. She was gripped with fear.
“Congratulations on your new appointment!”
“Thank…thank you, Cain!”
“Why were you talking to Michael on the phone, my dear?”
“Nothing, we were just having a friendly discussion!”
“Don’t lie to me; you are relaying your fears and concerns to him. You are falling in love with him. You should talk to me in times of need and not him!”
He was beginning to get angry and she had no clue of what to do in order to quell this annoyance. “You…you are jealous! Don’t I have the right to have male friends anymore?” The statement was never intended and she cringed back in fear after it had exploded from her mouth. This guy could be a murderer, she thought. She must watch how she talked to him.
“I am the only friend you should trust, Brenda. It makes me mad when you don’t understand this,” Cain’s voice whispered.
“How can you compare yourself with my friends? You are not even visible; I don’t even know what you are.”
“It is not important if I am visible or not. I love you and that is all that matters.”
“What are you Cain? Who are you? What do you want from me?”
“I am the best thing that has ever happened to you. I am your best friend at the moment and not those humans that can hurt you. I am the only one that can protect you.”
Brenda couldn’t believe her ears. She couldn’t even believe herself. Had she gone insane? How could she be conversing with an unknown being and still feel normal?
“Protect me from what?” she managed to ask. She remembered the deaths and Michael’s danger situation. “You sound like I am in a sort of danger,” she said, not sure if she should ask him about the deaths of her ex-boyfriends.
“Stop hurting me, Brenda. Stop making me mad,” Cain said without answering her questions.
“Hurting you? How?”
“By giving your love to another. Well, hope you had a wonderful experience during our last meeting?” he asked.
Brenda remained silent, she was just plain scared of the voice and drew back as it seemed to be coming towards her.
“Brenda, what’s the matter?” he asked her. “Please do tell…please?”
“You told me I’ll soon see you, Cain,” she stammered, finding her voice. “Why are you still hiding from me? Why…why are you still invisible, and how – how do you do it?”
He laughed deeply. “How I do it? Wow! Did the cops set you up on this…spying game? My secret, girl…my secret. But I will show you myself as I promised you, my dear! I came to do just that for you, my love, really!”
“No, please . . . I don’t want to know who you are anymore! Just . . . Just go away!”
“Okay . . . seems you’re not ready to know me, yet . . . but I won’t leave until I’ve made love to you.”
The girl was transfixed. It was as if she couldn’t move. This was not happening. It was all just a dream. Really.
* * *
Michael screeched to a halt before the apartment and quickly jumped out of his car, leaving the door ajar. His sole objective was Brenda’s safety and he almost crashed into her door before realizing it was locked.
Despite the noise coming from within.
Grunts and moans.
“Brenda? Brenda!” he called out, but there was no reply. He shook the door’s handle, but it refused to give way, so he started hitting the wooden structure with his fists. “Brenda! Are you in there? Brenda! Brenda!” Still no reply. Only more grunts and moans.
Now Michael was visibly anxious. Not for her safety, but due to that he badly wanted to find out who was obviously giving her this much pleasure. He stooped to peep into the keyhole and found the tiny aperture free of its key, but this was not what immediately got his heart racing. The picture that presented itself directly behind the door was very baffling indeed!
Arms flailing and legs widespread, his new girlfriend was lying stark naked on a table, furiously jerking back and forth in the throes of wild ecstasy, while profuse sweat covered her entire body!
She was equally pinned down to the table by…nothing!
HER MATE IN THIS OBSCENE ACT WAS INVISIBLE!
Michael’s knees gave way and he buckled, letting go of the doorknob as he tried to regain his balance. He was totally shaken by what he’d seen and drew away from the door with severe trepidation. Suddenly the door swung open and the gale that swished past him almost swept him off his feet! He had to hold on to a pillar for support, fearfully looking around in consternation.
It was all over as soon as it had started.
All that remained was the afternoon quiet and the chirping of distant birds.
Still unsure of himself, he stood up straight and looked around, wondering whether he’d been asleep. Brenda, he realized, was still lying spread-eagled on the table inside the sitting room. She was breathing hard, and as Michael stepped into the parlour, she weakly raised her head.
“Where is Cain? What happened? Michael…”
How to respond? A lie?
“I didn’t see or hear anybody. What happened? Why did you take off your clothes?”
“I was with Cain. You made him go!” She looked at herself. “Where are my clothes? Oh God, what is happening to me?” She suddenly felt ashamed of herself. She couldn’t believe she had stripped herself in front of Michael. She had humiliated herself. Was she making love to Cain? Where had he taken her? “Oh my God,” she repeated, aghast. “What is happening to me?” The situation was becoming quite clear and she was not finding it funny in any way. She felt embarrassed as she hurriedly put on her clothes. She wondered what was really happening to her.
Michael remained silent. He was also embarrassed, but he was very worried for her.
“I am sorry, Michael, but I want you to believe me. I am not going crazy. Cain was actually here. I heard him clearly and I felt his presence. He took me out of here to somewhere so beautiful and joyful. I can’t remember what really happened nor can I remember why I took off my clothes, but I know I liked it and didn’t want whatever he was doing to stop!”
She was speaking so fast and looked so scared that, despite what he had witnessed that afternoon, his heart went out to her and he drew her close for a hug.
“It’s okay, Brenda, I want you to take it easy,” he said as he held her. And after a long pause: “Perhaps I should take you to the hospital or to a psychiatrist?”
“No, I don’t need any medication!” she vehemently refused. “I know that I am okay. I am not hallucinating. I am okay both mentally and physically. I know I don’t have any explanation for what just happened but I am alright.” She wished she could make Michael believe her and stop thinking she was insane.
Although other thoughts were occupying Michael’s mind at that very moment. Thoughts like how he should end the relationship he’d just begun with her. He didn’t openly air this view, though. He just sat quietly beside her and held her close to himself. He was so confused.
Then she quietly said, “I am scared, Michael. I think I am communicating with something evil and no doctor can help me!”
“Do you think he is still around? Watching us?” He felt a creepy sensation run through him. The sudden realization that something might be in that same room watching them was discomforting.
“I don’t really know, but I think if he was around I would have felt him.”
‘This is insane!’ thought Michael.
“I am scared, Michael,” she suddenly repeated. “I am really scared!” She sounded very confused, and Michael hoped that she would recover from this illusion soonest, for her own good, that is.
As for him, he knew he had already made up his mind.
* * *
“What do you guys think?” Inspector Jack asked Daniel and Kennedy. They were driving towards Adam’s home after leaving Brenda’s house. Inspector Bromsbey had gone on to the station since he had an appointment with Dr. Ryan.
Officer Kennedy spoke up, “Something seems to be going on. I strongly feel that she is connected to the murders somehow, and either she knows about it or she doesn’t.”
“Let’s look at it like this; she gets jilted by a third lover two weeks ago following the first two heartbreaks. Then suddenly the first two are mysteriously murdered right after the third heartbreak. She might be vindictive. As gentle as she looks, she might have involved herself with something diabolical to help her avenge those who have hurt her,” reasoned Officer Daniel.
“Or somebody who cares for her could be avenging for her without her knowledge, because she looks clean to me,” Jack began. “Let’s not forget that the murders started right after the third heartbreak.”
“Do you think that Adam’s life might be in danger?” asked Officer Daniel.
“Do you?” he returned the question, but to both officers.
“We can’t be so sure until we interview Adam and establish the fact that both men actually died because they hurt her, sir,” answered Officer Kennedy.
They got to Stream Street and pulled over in front of Adam’s house. Inspector Jack prayed silently that Adam should be at home. He looked at his wristwatch; it was four minutes past six in the evening.
They pressed the doorbell and waited. After some seconds, the door opened and they were looking at a tall, handsome man. Brenda sure knew how to select the best-looking men in town, Inspector Jack thought.
Adam had an astonished look on his face. “Good evening gentlemen. How may I help you?”
“I am Inspector Jack.” The cop flashed his police badge. “Can you spare us a little of your time? We would like to have a little chat with you.”
“Are you sure it is me you want to chat with?”
“Adams Walter, right?”
“Yes, but I don’t think I have any reason to be interrogated by the police. At least there’s nothing I am aware of.” The young man was not willing to let them in.
“That is alright. We just need your help in an investigation; we will fill you in if you let us in,” Jack said.
“Alright, come in.”
The three police officers entered into the living room. They couldn’t help admire his taste of furniture. Everything in the living room was arranged to be very appealing to the eyes.
They sat down and made themselves comfortable.
Adam was definitely having a nice time, either all alone or with a woman in the bedroom, Kennedy thought. He sure looked like he was being bothered.
“So what’s this all about?” Adam asked, trying to impress the cops with his confidence. He knew very well that self-confidence mattered a lot when dealing with officers of the law whether one was guilty or not.
As usual, Daniel and Kennedy kept mute while Inspector Jack led the interrogation. “Have you heard about the mysterious murder of Mr. Derek? He was a senior staff at Zenith Oil Company.”
“Yes I have, but I don’t see how that concerns me.”
Inspector Jack was patient. “There was a similar murder of Mr. Benjamin in Cape City two days before the murder of Mr. Derek.”
“I think I heard something like that also.” Adam was now wondering what this was all about.
“Are you aware that both dead men once dated Miss Davis? They both also broke her heart.” The inspector noticed a look of recognition on Adam’s face at the mention of Brenda’s name. “I guess you know who Brenda Davis is.”
Adam suddenly became uncomfortable, “I know her very well, but we are no more dating.”
“I am aware of that,” Jack said. “We are trying to find out who killed these two men. The murders are beyond human explanation. We can’t come up with a logical explanation as to why or even how they were killed,” he said, opting to keep out Inspector Bromsbey’s wild theory until a time he could be more certain about it. “All we know for now is that they both once dated and hurt Miss Davis. I don’t mean to scare you as we are not even sure if she has anything to do with the murders. But perhaps we could start by you telling us all you know about her and all that really happened between you two while you dated.”
“Emm…officer…do you think I am in any sort of danger?” Adam’s face displayed nothing but fear.
“Why don’t you help us establish that?” smoothly put in Jack, working on his fear. “Whatever you tell us will help us determine if you are in danger of not.”
Adam left nothing out. He told them all he knew about Brenda and their relationship, and from his story, there was nothing strange or sinister about her. Inspector Jack wasn’t sure whether this was good news or bad news.
“So why really did you break up with her?” he finally probed.
“No good reason. You know the man thing. I got fed up and thought I needed a new lady in my life. I was just getting bored that’s all. Besides, I found myself a new girl who created a whole new excitement within me and that was what I wanted, so I left her for the new girl.”
The inspector felt he was lying.
“Are you sure you are not leaving out something? From what you have just said, she sounds like the type of girl every man would desire. You just can’t tell me you left her just like that knowing that she didn’t deserve such treatment.”
“But I did,” Adam said without any feeling of remorse.
“Take your time to recall your time with her, Mr. Adam. Something you couldn’t understand must have made you leave her,” Jack insisted.
“I don’t know what else you want me to say. Every other man could have done the same thing. She is not the first girl in my life that I have gotten fed up with despite her being a desirable woman.”
“Didn’t you love her when you were dating her?” Inspector Jack asked him, baffled at the indifference.
“I loved her, but it faded as the relationship went by.”
Jack sat back and Officer Kennedy saw this as an opportunity to ask his own questions. “Did she tell you about her past broken relationships while you dated, sir?”
“Yes, she did, at the beginning of the relationship. I really felt for her and promised to be good. But you know, when a man is fed up, there is nothing you can do about it.”
“And you are very certain that there was nothing strange about her? You didn’t suspect that she belonged to any mysterious group or kept bad company or behaved strangely at times?”
“There was absolutely nothing wrong with her. Do you think she must have killed those two?”
“We don’t know for now. We were actually hoping that you would tell us something that could help us draw reasonable conclusions. However, we can’t say that the two murders are related. It could be mere coincidence.” Jack sounded very disappointed.
“All the same, I still think I’ll need police protection; you never can tell. I wouldn’t like us to take chances, I don’t want to die,” Adam suddenly put forward.
“It’s alright. I will see to it that you are guarded. I will ensure the cops start watching your home in the next thirty minutes. But honestly, you have no need to be scared as long as you are sure that Brenda Davis is harmless,” said Inspector Jack. He stood up and the others did the same. “This is my number; call me if you remember anything.”
And they left.
“I guess this is another dead end,” he said once they were out of earshot. He felt more frustrated than ever.
“Yes. Adam couldn’t provide any information that could implicate Brenda, besides she doesn’t look to me like the type that is capable of hurting anybody, she is just a victim of these men’s irresponsibility,” said Officer Daniel.
“Well, enough for the day. Let’s all go home and relax. While we are not totally forgoing this option, we must start afresh tomorrow to check for other leads that could help us resolve this case,” his superior concluded.
He picked up his cell phone and assigned two officers to guard Adam’s house starting from that evening, for the next one week.
* * *
Jane came back ten minutes after Michael had left for a short trip he said he needed to embark on as soon as he left their flat, and without wasting much time, Brenda told her friend about the police presence, leaving out her encounter with Cain and what Michael saw.
Jane was silent and confused for some minutes. Then she said, “The fact that the policemen think you should be thoroughly investigated means that we shouldn’t take this matter lightly.”
“So what do you suggest?” Brenda asked.
“I have been thinking all day about the mysterious death of Benjamin and Derek. And the more I think about it, the more I get confused, but finally I find myself concluding that this might have something to do with your mysterious friend, Cain.”
“What about Cain?”
“I have been trying to put things together. I mean…, since you started having this strange chat with him, you started having weird feelings. I know I never believed in his existence, but he is the only mysterious thing that had happened to you lately and these deaths are mysterious also.”
“I still don’t understand what you are talking about,” Brenda said, not sure she was comfortable with what Jane was suggesting despite knowing this to be true in the light of recent happenings in their apartment.
“Let’s start with his name, Cain. Wasn’t Cain the first murderer in the Bible? Now these strange killings, remember that he told you that all those who break your heart must pay for it?”
Brenda was silent for a while, and then she said, “I have also thought along this line. I didn’t want to mention it because you doubted the story. I have already decided to chat with him tomorrow. But the reason why I doubted it the first time you mentioned it was because Cain never mentioned anything about killing any of my past lovers.”
“Yes he might not have said he would kill anyone, but for now he seems to be the only explanation for the killing. Don’t you see? Strange guy on the internet, strange killings,” Jane said. “Even though I don’t like the idea of you chatting with him, I believe that it is necessary that you ask him if he knows what is going on.”
Brenda looked so sad and confused.
Jane walked over and gave her a hug, “Don’t wear that look on your face.”
“I feel so guilty, if he is the one I will never forgive myself.”
“Don’t say that. None of these happenings are your fault. Let’s just hope that these deaths will stop and everything will come back to normalcy.”
“I hope so Jane. All I want is a normal life. I have never asked for anyone to die, I don’t know what’s happening.”
“It’s okay, Brenda. Nobody is blaming you.”
Brenda believed her, but was wondering when they would all start blaming her for keeping the truth away from them. Cain had wanted to reveal who he was to her, but she had just been too scared of his presence to agree to this. What was she thinking? Knowing who he was would have helped her understand everything that had been happening to her of late.