THE MYSTERIOUS DEATHS
THAT Monday morning, the patrol vehicle stopped before the block of flats where Michael had his apartment. Two police officers got out and made for the gate.
“Haaa!” began Linus, the gateman. “I hope no problem, officers?” The police had been sending a different set of officers to the block every morning and for some time now, and he was beginning to find this action very strange. “Is it about Mr. Michael again?”
“Yes, Mr. Gateman,” one of the men agreed. “I hope he’s around today?”
“Why not? You guys came so early today!” replied the old ex-soldier. “Of course, he’s around!”
“Have you told him about our previous visits, which always met his absence?”
The old man scratched his head and said nothing.
“Thanks for forgetting, Mr. Gateman!” berated the second cop. “Now we need to see him!”
Linus unlocked the smaller side gate for them and they came into the compound. “But you could have also called his office to get his phone number, my friends,” he pointed out.
“We’ve done that so many times and the number they gave us is always ringing when we call it but nobody ever picks it,” said the first cop. “His office told us that they would let him know about our intention to meet with him, but just like you, I think they haven’t done that, yet!”
Already, the other officer was going up to the block of flats. He knew where Michael’s apartment was since he’d been there before, and soon he was ringing the bell.
Michael opened the door.
“Good morning, sir,” said the policeman, now relieved that the fellow was around. “We have an urgent matter to discuss with you. May we come in?”
“Eh…. Sure! Of course, you can! Please!” Michael was still in his bathrobe, but he made room for the two men to step into his plush parlor, although he did not gesture to any seats. This meant they could only be brief and to the point about their early morning call.
“We’ve been trying to get you on your phone for some time now, sir, but you never picked your calls.”
“We got your number from your company, sir,” quickly added the other officer on noticing Michael’s inquisitive stare. “That was the only way we could get it.”
“Oh…I lost my phone and just retrieved my number yesterday,” replied Michael. He became serious again. “So…why were you calling me, then?”
“There was a jailbreak a few days ago, sir,” began the first policeman. “The inmate who escaped had specifically mentioned your name as a murder target when he was in prison.” Michael must have seen a ghost at that very moment for all he could tell. The man had a sudden, stupefied facial expression.
“This prisoner’s name is Nimrod Bassey James, sir,” contributed his colleague. “It appears you were the key witness during his conviction.”
“Nimrod Bassey James? Of course I remember that name…the burglar,” Michael recalled. “I witnessed him burgling my friend’s house a few years ago and I called the cops.”
“Was that your friend Mr. Glen Jude?”
“Yes…why do you ask?”
“He’s dead, sir,” was the blunt reply.
Michael’s hands unconsciously went to his head. “Oh, my God‼”
“We believe it was Nimrod and an accomplice who killed him.”
“When – When did this happen?”
“A few days back, sir. Your friend must have gotten entangled in some dirty deals with Mr. James who then thought it best to take him out.”
“Mr. Nimrod is now at large, Mr. Black. You and your friends are in immediate danger, and must take every necessary precaution in order to be safe. This is why we came to see you.”
“What must I do?”
“You can start helping us by taking down our emergency numbers, and giving us the some of your friends’ numbers as well.”
“We will post undercover agents in this block as a further deterrent, sir,” his colleague added. “With all this in place, I think Mr. Nimrod Bassey James will do well to leave you and your friends alone.”
* * *
Nimrod woke up to see the naked girl still sleeping beside him. Then he remembered he had snuffed out her life in the night during an obscene sexual encounter, and wondered why he’d earlier thought that she was still alive. He flung away her long legs, which he had crossed over his during the night, and got up. Allen would know how to dispose of the body later that day, he thought, as he lit a cigarette and turned to look at her again.
She was a very beautiful prostitute, who they had picked up the night before in a red light district very close to the town after Lupe. Her long wig was spread across her bosom as if she was really sleeping, although the lack of a rhythmic chest movement implying breathing and life was so obvious.
Again, Nimrod thought of how he had used the pillow on her that night at the height of their ferocious lust when he was deep inside her and their hips were wildly crashing against each other while her long legs where tightly hugging him in wild abandon. It had been a pleasurable encounter and just thinking about it right then was quickly arousing him.
“Oh well, what the hell?” he snapped after thinking about it for a while, and he snuffed out the stick he’d earlier smoked on the wooden bed before getting up. His manhood was now very rigid and he wanted to have the girl again, even though she was now dead!
Stark naked, he climbed onto the bed and knelt before her, quickly spreading her legs to push himself inside her without a rubber while forcefully pulling her hips towards his. His thigh muscles tightened as he began the slow rhythm, quickly increasing his pace as the pleasurable sensation he was getting from the lewd act increased. Soon his balls were slapping her crotch like mad and he was grunting, moaning and sweating profusely.
It was all over soon enough.
Allen was standing by the bedroom’s door as he pulled out of the dead girl, spilling his seed all over her thighs.
“Yes, Allen…what is it?”
“It’s the police, Nimrod; I think they know we’re on to Michael.”
“Why do you think so?”
“They’ve posted undercover sentries in his apartment block; Linus just called me to tell me.”
“That means we now have more people to take out when we visit him. Call the old soldier and tell him to identify these cops as they come and go…that way we’ll know who’s around when we visit!”
“If you say so,” agreed the other man, his gaze wandering about to finally rest on the junction between the dead girl’s legs.
“You can have her if you want,” his boss directed him, pulling on some clothes, “but you must dump her like the first one later this evening.”
“When will you meet the gang?”
“Before we visit Michael. Make the necessary arrangements.” This as he left the room.
“Already on it!” an excited Allen informed him, pulling down his pants as he gawked at the dead girl with craving and lust.
* * *
Jane worked in the customer service section of Wintel Trust Bank, Lupe. She arrived very early on Monday morning and walked straight to her desk, knowing that she had so much to do, which was typical of her Monday mornings in the office.
She looked at the heap of letters on her table and wondered when she was going to be through sorting these that morning before taking them to the department where they would be thoroughly analyzed. She had barely worked for an hour when her cell phone vibrated and she hissed softly, not being in the mood for calls that morning. She looked at the screen of her cell phone and saw it was Brad, her fiancé.
“Good Morning, my sweetheart!”
“My honey!” His voice was vibrant. “I wouldn’t have been able to achieve anything today if I hadn’t heard your voice. Now, my day is complete.”
“Don’t tell me your memory of me is not enough to help you carry on with your day’s activities,” she teased.
“The memory is there but it seems to be fading if I don’t call you now and then!” he joked. “I just need more of you to achieve the same effect.”
“Alright, I will be there for you, no matter how much you need me.”
“How is your day going?” he asked.
“As busy as usual,” she replied.
“I am equally having a busy day. How is Brenda doing?”
Jane suddenly remembered the other day’s event! Brenda had woken up feeling very weak that morning. She couldn’t reasonably explain why she had restlessly stirred about without cause the day before, but seemed perfectly alright that morning.
“She is alright. It was good that I stayed with her yesterday; she only complained about being weak for a while, but stabilized after a few minutes. She was okay when I left the house this morning.”
“That’s good to hear. Did Michael come around yesterday?”
“No, but he called a couple of times.”
“Okay. Let me allow you to do your work, promise me you won’t overwork yourself?”
“I won’t. Be careful, too.”
She dropped the phone and continued with her work.
She worked for the next two hours with just little interruption from her colleagues. Her legs started to feel numb so she decided to take a break. She was just about to stand when her cell phone vibrated again.
It was Brenda.
She had actually been expecting Brenda’s call. Brenda was supposed to call her once she received feedback from the airline company concerning the test and interview she’d gone for the week before.
“I got the Job!!” Brenda shouted into the phone before Jane could say a word.
Jane had to restrain herself from shouting too. “This is great, Brenda!” she rather said. “I don’t know how to express my joy. Where are you?”
“I am still at the headquarters of the airline company. I am trying to sort some things out. After here, I will buy recharge card and call my parents. Oh, Jane I am so happy! I have to call Michael now.”
Jane was glad that Brenda felt that Michael was important enough to be notified of the good news. So far, her friend had failed to tell her what had happened between her and Michael the other day. “Alright Brenda, take your time. I will come home early so that we can do a little celebration!”
“We will meet at home then. I will hang around a while so that I can get myself acquainted with my new working environment! See ya!”
Jane dropped the phone. She couldn’t contain her excitement. Her co-workers couldn’t wait to hear the good news, so she quickly told them what the excitement was all about. Then she left to buy some snacks at the Bank’s canteen.
When Jane came back, she heard two male co-workers in her office discussing a murder case they had read about in the morning papers. One was holding the paper in his hands as they talked.
“His wife must have known about it. If I were the police I will thoroughly investigate her,” the darker of the two men said.
“How can you suspect her? She lost her husband and you are suspecting her; don’t you have human feelings?” the other man with the paper said.
“What is it all about?” Jane asked.
“A man of thirty-one was brutally murdered in his family home yesterday evening,” narrated one of them. “He was found by his wife who told the press that she was planning to go out for dinner with her husband before the incident.”
“What incident?” Jane was now as inquisitive as the little group of workers who had gathered around the two men.
“She said her husband had forgotten his car key when they were about going out that evening and had hurried back into the house to get it. She heard him scream briefly afterwards and rushed in to check what was wrong only to be confronted with his mutilated body!”
“What?” Jane was surprised at this. “How?”
Murmuring broke out from amongst those gathered around her.
“The deceased, who was identified as Benjamin Frost, was cut up beyond recognition, leaving a sight so repulsive for observers to behold,” the man with the paper read out aloud.
“Benjamin what?” Jane asked. Could this be the same Benjamin that once dated Brenda? She took the paper and looked at the page. Her mouth suddenly tasted bitter. The caption stated, “MYSTERY MURDER IN CAPE CITY.” Cape City was not more than seventeen kilometers from Lupe.
It was Benjamin, all right. His handsome image was placed at the right top of the page that carried the news. She and Brenda knew that he relocated to Cape City with the lady he had impregnated while dating Brenda.
“Why would anyone one want to murder Benjamin?” she asked herself, handing the paper back to the owner.
“Do you know him?” her co-worker asked her.
“Yes,” she replied. “He used to date my roommate.”
“Well, they say it is a big mystery!” continued the woman. “I keep wondering how anyone could have possibly mutilated him so brazenly like that in just a short period of time!”
“What is the police saying?” she asked the news bearers, still shocked by the news.
“Nothing much, they are still investigating the murder,” replied one. He opened the paper and went through it for a while. “It says here that the victim’s blood was used to paint the walls of the room!”
Jane was horrified. She couldn’t still believe it. She wondered how Brenda would handle the news.
As the day went by, she tried not to allow the mysterious news to affect her concentration on her work, although she soon sent one of the bank messengers to buy the paper bearing it for her. She would like to take her time to read the news and have evidence of what she was saying when she confronted Brenda with the sordid news that evening. Brenda’s new appointment was the only motivation she had for the rest of the day.
On her way home, she read the news again. The paper described Benjamin’s murderer as a horrific psychopath, saying that nobody in his right senses would have carried out such a gruesome act.
Brenda actually mentioned something about Benjamin that morning, but Jane had not paid any attention to what her friend had been saying then. Wow! So this was how Benjamin Frost’s life had ended after treating Brenda so cruelly? Probably his murderer was some girl he had hurt and she couldn’t take the pain. Did he deserve such a horrible death? Well, he was gone and gone forever; there was nothing anybody could do about it.
Brenda was already waiting for her at the door when she got home. She looked like a kid who had just been given a desirable present. She hugged Jane as she opened the door.
“Oh, Jane, I am so happy!” This while collecting Jane’s small bag from her. She had impatiently waited all day for her friend to come back, and was so glad when Jane walked in by 4:30 p.m., which was much earlier than her usual return time. “Today is the happiest day of my life!”
“It should be; people don’t get jobs every day. How is the terms of service for the job?”
“The pay is excellent!” quipped her friend. “I will be given accommodation, transport and clothing allowances. The working terms are perfectly suitable for me and the environment is very friendly.”
“So, when will you start work?”
“In two weeks time, but I will be starting a two-week orientation tomorrow.”
“How did your parents take the news?”
“What? They were so delighted! I could visualize my mother dancing, really!”
“And Michael?” Jane asked.
A sweet smile appeared on Brenda’s face. “I have not called Michael yet. You see, I’m saving that for last!”
“Why? Am I sensing something here? Is Michael that special?”
“I don’t know; I just see him as special. I guess I am beginning to appreciate him even though I am not fully conscious of it.”
Jane suddenly remembered the news about Benjamin, but felt that then was not the right time to tell her friend. She didn’t want to spoil the good mood Brenda was in at the moment.
“Well, let’s change into something nice for the evening. We are going to have a wonderful time tonight!” she quipped.
But Brenda had noticed the newspaper when she was about to enter her room. Jane did not buy newspapers, so she asked, “What’s up with the paper? Are you expecting any news?”
What the heck? Jane thought, perhaps she should just tell her. “There is something in there that I would like you to know.”
“Benjamin was brutally murdered in his house yesterday. There are no suspects yet. I brought the paper home so you could read it for yourself.”
Brenda had stopped in her tracks. “Benjamin murdered? Why would anybody do that? He couldn’t hurt anyone!”
“He hurt you, remember?”
“Yes, but that is not enough for someone to murder him, is it?”
“Not everybody thinks the same way you do, Brenda. There are things that you can take lightly, which someone else will never tolerate.”
“Funny enough, I thought of him this morning,” Brenda said.
“Yes, I heard you mention his name. The dead have a way of communicating with us, you know! Perhaps you were having a sort of telepathic communication.”
“Do you think he might have hurt some other girl the way he hurt me?” Brenda asked.
“I don’t know,” replied her roommate, “but mind you, there are other ways he could have hurt people. He might have done something more than breaking hearts.”
“Yes.” Brenda remembered how bitter she had felt when she heard that Benjamin had gotten another girl pregnant. He never even showed any remorse. “Some part of me is trying to tell me right now that he deserved to die!” she suddenly vented.
“I know I shouldn’t, but….” She helplessly raised both hands. “I guess sometimes we can’t help thinking this way, especially after what he had put me through. One part of me is sorry, the other part is not.”
“Brenda, I understand your feelings, but we are not better than people who hurt us when we think like this. We must do our best to delete such thoughts from our minds,” Jane warned her.
“What a mysterious way to die!” Brenda wondered out loudly, but quickly shrugged off the thought of Benjamin. “It’s really unfortunate, but I won’t allow it to spoil my evening since there is nothing I can do about it. I will call his younger sister whenever I get the chance, but for now, I am going to celebrate all the way!”
They both entered the bedroom to prepare for the evening.
Jane thanked God that things were beginning to shape up in Brenda’s life. She did not even mention Cain’s name. This new job was surely going to change many things in her life for the better!
* * *
“What is your next move now that you have succeeded in eliminating Glen? What exactly do we do about the gang? We must act swiftly before they get disorganized,” Allen said to Nimrod as he zipped his pants. He had just finished a vulgar session of sex with the dead girl inside and had tied up her corpse in a body bag full of sand before dressing up and coming out to meet Nimrod.
His boss was sitting on one of the raffia chairs outside the new house he had rented for them. It had a small compound with a very beautiful view. The compound was sophisticated and had beautiful flowers and fruit trees planted all around it. The two men sat sipping bottles of beer for some time. Nimrod was almost through with his and needed more. This was his third bottle and he was getting tipsy.
“Yes,” Nimrod answered. “You will organize a meeting for this evening after you must have dumped the package; I will take care of the rest.”
Allen liked Nimrod’s confidence. With Nimrod’s presence, he was beginning to visualize a new beginning for the gang. ‘The Shepherds,’ he liked the name as well. “What do you have in mind for Michael?”
Nimrod smiled mischievously. “I am saving the best for the last. Let us leave that for now and concentrate on getting the gang settled.” He looked at his watch. It was just a few minutes past 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon. “Let’s go inside, I want to take an extra bottle and lie down for awhile before we go out in the evening.”
Allen stood up and they both walked into the house. He quickly turned the television on while Nimrod went to the fridge.
The news was on and the newscaster was talking about Glen’s murder. The murder scene was briefly described; Nimrod’s image was displayed as the suspect. The newscaster went further to inform the public that a lady witness was in the ceiling when the crime was committed; she saw it all.
They knew everything about Nimrod because his data and past was accurately given. “Shit!” he exclaimed. “That fool had a lady in that room!”
“Oh my God,” Allen said softly. He instantly became scared. Being caught by the cops was the worst thing that could ever happen to him now. “What do we do now? Even the gang will be furious if they find out that you killed their leader.”
“No, they won’t, Allen. They know I am their main leader and Glen has always been a fake. They know that Glen will one day be done away with, but the cops will now double their efforts to get me due to this revelation. Shit!” Nimrod’s head wanted to explode. Shit. He had made a very stupid mistake. He could have known that Glen wouldn’t stay alone in the house at that hour. Otherwise, he would have gone out to have some fun.
Now, with the cops looking for him and his poster everywhere, his movement would be restricted. This meant he must stay low for a while or even leave town.
‘What about Michael?’ he thought. If he went into hiding, Michael could slip away, especially if he had heard the news as well. No! Michael must not go free! He must pay dearly for what he had caused him to go through in the last four years whether cops were looking for him or not!
He looked up at Allen who was already shivering in fear, “I will have to act while the iron is hot.”
“I…I don’t understand. What do you mean?”
“I mean, we will go for Michael immediately!”
“When?” Allen asked, thinking that Nimrod had gone crazy.
“But Linus hasn’t sent in the pictures of those undercover agents guarding him, besides every cop in town must now be looking for you!”
“I know what to do. I will find a way before nightfall!” He stood up. “I am going to take a nap. Once I wake up, we will go to Michael’s home so make sure you get those pictures from Linus before evening!” He walked up to Allen, who was shaking in fright. “Stick with me and you won’t regret it. We will surely escape this and after that, you will be surprised at my next move. Just don’t do anything stupid or you will spoil it all. Trust me, I have got plans.”
And with that, he turned to leave the sitting room. The news was on about a murdered girl some anglers had found in the river days ago and Nimrod quickly turned to his second-in-command in consternation.
“You fool!” he snarled. “You forgot to tie her to a heavy rock?”
“It was a mistake, really! Won’t happen again, trust me!” meekly replied Allen with fear. As he said this, he could hear another announcement declaring him wanted as well.
His only hope was to trust Nimrod’s sagacity.
He knew that once Michael was killed, Nimrod would come back to his senses and his thinking would become normal and focused.
* * *
They were enjoying their dinner in a quiet restaurant very close to their home when Brenda stopped eating. Then she felt like she was going to faint.
“What is the matter?” Jane inquired, recalling that Brenda had acted exactly this same way the day before. She had been very glad that Benjamin’s demise had not affected Brenda’s mood, but she was beginning to feel very uncomfortable with Brenda’s sickly behavior. “Are you okay?”
No response was forthcoming from Brenda.
Jane noticed that her friend was losing balance and rushed to hold her before she could fall to the ground. She helped Brenda into the ladies’ room amidst embarrassing stares from the other guests in the restaurant.
Brenda was both weak and restless. She seemed to be in a trance and her body was reacting to something Jane could not understand. Her breathing was heavy, but after a few minutes, she calmed down.
“Oh, Jane!” she complained. “I’m so weak!”
Her friend allowed her to lean on her while she regained her strength.
“Perhaps you should see the doctor, this is getting out of hand o!” Jane advised.
“It is okay; I am okay now. Wow, I am so weak!”
“Perhaps I should take you home; you need rest.”
“No, I think I can manage,” Brenda said.
“Are you pregnant or something?”
Brenda laughed. “I am not pregnant, girl…how come, I keep thinking of Derek!” she suddenly digressed.
“Derek? Does this have something to do with Ben’s death? I hope you are not going to allow the news of Ben’s death to affect you.”
“No,” was the candid reply. “Let’s go back and finish our diner, I am out to have a good time, and good time I must get.” She was now feeling perfectly strong. She led Jane out of the ladies’ room.
And not knowing what to say or think, Jane followed her friend back into the restaurant.
The time was 5:58 p.m.
* * *
Upon returning from a three-month training course in July, Derek Hunter was made a senior staff in Zenith Oil Company, and from the way he had handled his tasks after this promotion, it was obvious that he was going to attain even higher levels in the company. He was well respected and admired and was known to be very principled and orderly by his co-workers.
After his promotion, his standard of living improved tremendously. He began to enjoy life since he could afford anything he wanted, but unfortunately, just like every other person, Derek had a weakness.
He had an irresistible impulse to be in control of the opposite sex every time. Derek believed that one could only have total control of his environment once he was in control of as much women as was possible in one’s lifetime. He knew he had the qualities to attract any lady of his choice, but he also used the resources within his reach to woo these women into having a relationship with him, dumping them and starting all over again with another one as soon as he got fed up.
Since his breakup with Brenda some years ago, Derek had dated about four women and was now in his fifth relationship. He didn’t want to be tied down in marriage yet, so he avoided dating a woman too long, making sure to dump her before the idea gets into her head.
That Monday evening, he had decided to work late because he was expecting his most recent girlfriend, Lucy, to come and meet him in the office so that they could go out together. Lucy lived very close to the company and so whenever he wanted to hang out with her, he waited for her to come over in the evening after she must have returned from her workplace and gotten herself ready to spend the rest of the day with him.
Lucy was what Derek described as a perfect beauty. She was endowed with a perfect shape and Derek thought she was the most beautiful girl he had ever dated. They had been dating for just a month and Derek was having the best time of his life. He was enjoying the sex and control he had over her.
Normally, he wouldn’t hang around so late in his office waiting for a lady. Instead he would make them understand that they must come to his house or wait for him anywhere he wanted them to wait. It was unlike him to do the waiting as he had been doing with Lucy.
But the thought of her sexy, luscious body and her lovemaking always made him think he could do anything to have more of her, and waiting in his office, no matter how late or how long, was just a little of what he could do for her.
It was almost 6:00 p.m. and he knew that she would soon come around, although he was getting impatient. He tried to be a bit more patient. The environment was so quiet; he could hear his heart beating. He sat on his office leather seat with his eyes glued to the wall clock. He just couldn’t concentrate on the little office work he was meant to be doing as he waited for her.
Suddenly, the quietness got him uneasy. Something wasn’t right. Then he felt a chilly sensation run through his body. He felt fear. He looked around the office and found no reason to be afraid; he thought he was just being foolish.
Then he felt the office temperature drop. The cool atmosphere was unfamiliar. He felt every hair on his body stand up. He wanted to run. ‘Run for what?’ he asked himself. This wasn’t even the first time he was staying up late in his office, so why was he feeling this way?
The fear he felt became intense and he stood up. Perhaps he should go home. Something evil was in the air. He would call Lucy and tell her to meet him at home. He began to shiver as he packed some documents into his portfolio. The shaking fingers impaired his concentration and he suddenly lost it, spilling the papers all over the floor.
He became more anxious. He left both the papers and the portfolio and rushed to the door. Before he could reach the door, something gripped his neck and raised him up with so much ease. He was choking in the air. He tried to release the invincible hands, to no avail. Breathing became impossible.
He fought for life by kicking and struggling.
He was horror-stricken and could not contain the wild fear that had gripped him.
He was already more than six feet from the ground. Then he heard something whisper in his ear: “This is for all the pain you caused Brenda!”
And with so much force, the back of his head was slammed on the nearest wall. It was a great collision and Derek instantly stopped breathing as the slamming continued until his lifeless body was released by the invincible hand and dropped to the floor. Blood flowed from his head on to the tiled floor.
* * *
At exactly five minutes past six, Lucy walked gracefully into Zenith Oil Company. Her coming at such an hour was becoming a routine, so the security guards allowed her to enter the company’s premises.
She was looking very attractive in a body-hugging red gown that was beautifully designed with light green flowers. It revealed her beautiful curves as she walked.
Lucy felt fulfilled that she could stir up the attention and interest of someone as rich, handsome and well respected as Derek. She was proud of this achievement because with such a person by her side, the sky was her limit. She had therefore made up her mind to be giving him anything he wanted in order to make him satisfied and never leave her for another woman. And from the way he looked at her these days, she was sure she was doing the right thing.
Derek’s office was on the third floor so she took the elevator, and as it took her up to her destination, she looked at her reflection on the elevator’s wall and liked what she saw.
She easily found her way to her lover’s office. Her heart began to beat faster as she anticipated beholding his handsome face.
The whole floor was empty except for a few security guards parading the hallway.
She gently opened the door and immediately perceived the smell of blood. Her stomach jumped into her heart as she took tentative, forward steps. Of course she was gripped with anxiety and alarm, but the sight that was about to jump into her view she had never seen in her entire life. As she reflexively turned towards her right, she saw Derek, her loving Derek, lying in a pool of his own blood! The wall was messy.
It was then that she started screaming.
The security men outside and a few others who were also working late heard her scream and came rushing in response. Before they could reach Derek’s office, though, Lucy had already lost consciousness! Everyone was surprised, stupefied and speechless at the nauseating sight inside the office.
There was instant confusion as well as commotion in the building. Like fire spreading through an open field of dry grass, the news quickly got to almost all Zenith staff that evening as calls were made, and the cops were called in.
Thirty minutes later, Zenith Oil Company was filled with a large crowd of police officers, few reporters and some senior officials of the company. Inspector Jack Davison of the Nigerian Police Force and Inspector Steve Bromsbey of Scotland Yard were in charge of the case. Both men stood in the middle of Derek’s office and starred amazingly at the bloody scene.
“It’s just beyond human understanding,” began Jack, wonderingly turning his gaze towards Derek’s lifeless body. “First of all, I can’t understand how the murderer had carried such a big man so high up to slam his head on the wall with a force that could cause such horrendous damage. Even if it’s our man, this is still very surprising and difficult to comprehend; don’t you think so, Steve?”
“Sure do, Jack,” agreed the Briton, letting out a low whistle before saying so. “Still think it was Nimrod this time?”
“No,” the other man quickly affirmed. This was beyond anything he had seen in all his years of service in the force. “I don’t think a human being did this!”
“So do I, my friend.”
The homicide squad came into the office and both inspectors stepped outside so that they could scan the office for fingerprints and other details the murderer might have left that could help in identifying him. Both men soon walked out of the building into the compound where cops were trying to keep the crowd outside under control. It was getting dark and from the look of things, Jack knew he was going to get home late.
He wanted to put the confusion in his head at rest; hence, he had sent Officers Kennedy and Daniel to do some digging for him. He looked out for them amidst the crowd of police officers. And just immediately, he saw them coming his way.
“What have we got?” he wanted to know.
“According to the security men in charge for the evening, sir, the girl was the only person they allowed into the building from 4:00 p.m. when visitors were usually stopped from coming into the company premises,” said Kennedy.
“She was allowed in since Mr. Hunter instructed them to let her in whenever she comes,” quickly added Officer Daniel.
“When was Mr. Hunter last seen?”
“He didn’t come out of his office to give the instruction, sir. He called to notify security about the girl around 5:00 p.m. through the company’s intercom.”
Inspector Jack thought for a while and nodded his head. “We will have to get the security videos from the CCTV positioned in Mr. Hunter’s office and carefully go through it,” he said. “I say this because this is looking more like an inside job right now.”
“That’s very probable, sir,” Daniel said.
“I wonder how his lifestyle looked like,” began Bromsbey. “With that, we would know if he had enemies. Have you been able to contact any of his colleagues who were close to him?” he asked Officer Kennedy.
“Yes, sir. In fact, almost all the officials who knew him are present. He seems to be a well-respected staff. From the information we have, everybody appears to think he deserved his final position as a senior staff. In fact, they think he deserved more. He was a principled staff but didn’t make enemies,” replied the policeman.
“Perhaps somebody might be jealous of his success,” continued the Briton. “Such things happen. I will like to have a list of all the staff that stayed back to work late this evening, officers. We can do a little study on their relationship with the deceased.”
“Yes, sir,” both men chorused.
“Spoken to any of his friends?” wondered Inspector Bromsbey.
“We spoke with one of the company’s staff, Mr. Abraham. He was pretty close to the deceased and was willing to help. He said Mr. Hunter was hardworking and orderly. He avoided stepping on people’s toes. So many other staff members seem to support this view,” Daniel said.
“And that is leaving us more confused!” grumbled Jack. “I believe somebody out there must have a motive for eliminating Mr. Hunter. We will have to interview almost all the staff members tomorrow. They are pretty shaken up today and may not remember important, minor details.”
“Any news about the girl?” asked Inspector Bromsbey. “Lucy, right?”
“Yes, we just got information that she had regained consciousness,” Daniel said.
“Very good. You guys should get me that staff list and go to the hospital. Get all the information you can get from her. Please exhaust every question,” instructed Jack.
“Yes, sir,” they both chorused and walked away.
Inspector Jack turned towards the building entrance and saw paramedics transferring Derek’s body into an ambulance. He left Bromsbey talking to the paramedics and went in search of two men. The police doctor and the chief homicide officer, Teddy Jackson.
He saw them just before he was about entering the building.
“Well, gentlemen, what have we got?”
Officer Teddy spoke first. “We have got nothing. No finger prints, no sign of anybody having been in his office since 3 o’clock this afternoon except Derek, himself, and Lucy, his girlfriend. We are yet to figure out how he was lifted up so high before his head was smashed on the wall of his office. We’re also looking at what type of strength the killer had.”
“What a way to die for such a young man,” thoughtfully said Jack.
“The back of his head was slammed several times on the wall. It’s like a machine was used to do the slamming,” added the doctor.
“And yet you can’t do that without anybody noticing the noise, can you?” Jack asked him.
“We are all amazed, sir,” said Officer Teddy. “This is a very strange mystery.”
“This reminds me of the mysterious murder case that took place in Cape City yesterday. Could they be related?” Jack was thoughtful again.
“The fact is that no human is capable of whatever happened in that office. I will advise you to concentrate on why it happened, sir, and not on how it happened,” Officer Teddy suggested and looked at his timepiece. “It’s getting late and I’d better go home before my wife starts getting worried!”
After he had left, Jack turned to the doctor. “What do you think, doctor?”
“I wonder what he must have done to make his killer think he deserved such a bizarre death,” the doctor said. “You should also find out if he belonged to any secret spiritual cult, sir. I can’t imagine any human capable of whatever happened in there!”
Inspector Jack was mildly surprised. “You don’t believe in such jargon do you, doctor?”
“Well, prove me wrong, sir. You are the investigator. I’ll really like to be updated when you find any scientific evidence here!”
“There must be an explanation somewhere and I will find it,” Jack said with determination.
“I wish you luck, sir.” And with that, the doctor walked away towards the ambulance.
As he stood there wondering what next to do, a young officer came up to him and said “Sir, the CEO of the company is around and he wants to see you.”
“Gosh!” he grumbled. “When I thought this wouldn’t get more complicated!” The man’s presence only meant more pressure on him. “Where is he?”
“That’s him over there,” the officer pointed out. Mr. Blunt was standing with his private security men very close to the company’s guardhouse.
“Alright,” Jack said and headed towards the said direction.
Mr. Rufus Blunt was one of the most influential figures in Lupe. His reputation as the CEO of Zenith Oil Company had made him quite famous and well adored. He was a fastidious man and his presence was already heating up the environment; he seemed to be asking for who was in charge of the investigation.
“Good evening sir,” Inspector Jack greeted.
“Hello, officer. Are you the one in charge?”
“Yes sir, I am Inspector Jack.” Jack hoped he sounded confident enough.
“Alright, can you fill me in? What is actually going on? What happened in my company?”
“Right now, sir, we cannot determine the cause of Derek’s death. After scanning his office, the doctor and homicide crew could not come up with any reasonable explanation.”
“How do you mean? What is making it difficult?”
“He was lifted six feet from the ground and his head was smashed severally on the wall. Whatever or whoever killed him must have been three times as big as Derek and ten times stronger than any living human being,” he explained. “From the information your security gave us so far, nobody entered the building and nobody left except his girlfriend. She discovered the body. No finger prints were found.”
“That is strange,” the man said, looking a bit confused.
“Yes, sir, but we will surely come up with something. All we need is time.”
“Time is something I don’t have, officer. I don’t want people getting ideas that this company is a death zone. You know how the press can give false information. I can visualize tomorrow’s headline: ‘Blood Bath In Zenith Oil Company,’ and that, my friend, will be very detrimental to the image of this company! I need explanations! You can’t tell me that a ghost entered here to kill my staff. The killer must be found and the reason why Derek was killed must be explained! That will help ease the tension, got it?”
“I am promising you, sir; we will do our best. We need to do some digging, especially into his personal life, and this, as you must know, takes time,” responded Jack, and the moneybag nodded.
“He was one of my best staff, you know,” he said. “I will ensure that you have any information you need, officer. All I need is that the killer be found.” He brought out his business card and gave it to Jack. “Give me a call whenever you get or need any information.”
And he walked away towards the building before Jack could reply.
Jack looked at his timepiece. It was getting late. He thought of calling his wife and letting her know that he wouldn’t be coming back early. He also had to speak with Officers Daniel and Kennedy as well as Inspector Bromsbey.
He headed towards the nearest phone booth as he thought of the bloody scene in Derek’s office. He felt very uncomfortable about this particular case.