Sunday, June 17, 2012

Except from my new book - The Divide

The Divide
                            Written by Akintomide Ifedayo Adigwe

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the author and the publishers

                                     ISBN- 978-1-105-62003-4

                                                        To God who brought the inspiration…..

Chapter One

The day was quiet and serene. A little hot and humid, but that was to be expected for a mid march day in Ibadan, a large city in western Nigeria which was reputed to be the largest city in western Africa.
Seun Adeboye stood by the window in a dusky office which overlooked the grounds of Aquinas University of Education. He stared at well manicured lawns watching students and teaching personnel hurrying to their classes in the dozens. Some walked in large groups chattering and laughing while others walked in solitary units in their ones and twos.
He was a slim man of average height, in his early thirties with plain drawn honest features and short spongy hair which hung in untidy tufts on his head. He wore long cotton black trousers and a slightly scuffed pair of black shoes with a light blue long sleeved shirt which was tucked into his trousers.
He had a set of black ear phones tucked into his ears. In the quiet of the office you could hear the low whine of the music he was listening to. He bobbed his head to the rhythmic beat smiling to himself. As usual he had the volume turned all the way up. It was on the max and like a crack addict savoring his daily fix shooting up his veins, he listened with relish as Rihanna’s sultry voice cooed out the chorus of Eminem’s ‘Love the way you lie’ with an ecstatic smile on his face.
Raising his left arm slowly and glanced at the cheap imitation swatch watch on his wrist and sighed deeply. It was 12.30pm. Almost time for his afternoon lecture; Turning around slowly he faced the large mahogany desk behind him.
A black six by nine inch picture frame stood on the desk which was cluttered with bits and pieces of stationery, pens, two cell phones and a large hundred and fifty leaves notebook. The picture frame was divided into two sections of equal lengths and equal widths. In each section and compartment was a picture. The smiling faces of a young beautiful woman and a child not older than two years stared back at him.
His gaze softened as he looked at them. Caroline and Toun he murmured with a deep sigh. They were the loves of his life and the reason behind his existence. Eminem screeched ‘Guess that’s why they call it window pain.’ And he smiled. That part of the song always got him excited.
Caroline (his wife) had just about given up on him. She couldn’t understand his intense need to play music so loud. They argued incessantly about it, but he had refused to yield. He humored her on all things, but the loud music was something he just wasn’t able to compromise on.
Every time he made a promise to her and himself to listen to music at a much lower volume, he always found himself raising the volume again till it was back at the maximum. Sighing again he reached into his pocket pulling out his cell phone. It was a nokia express music; he paused the music removing the ear phones from it and put the phone back into his pocket.
There was a large brown file on his desk. He reached down and opened it placing half a dozen white sheets of paper into it. These papers were covered with his untidy scrawl. Closing the file he spun around in a half circle glancing around his office. That settled his lecture notes. A slight frown roughened his brow as he hoped there wasn’t anything he was forgetting. He didn’t think so anyway.
Glancing around the untidy office once more still checking, his eyes took in the thread bare gray carpet which covered the entire length of the floor; His large desk which filled more than half of the floor space, a large metallic grey file cabinet at the far right hand corner of the room and the underlying hum of an air-conditioning unit fitted into the wall beside the door.
He walked to the door of the office carrying the large brown file with him. Opening the door slowly he stepped out into bright afternoon sunshine turning around to close the door firmly and locking it after him.
Whistling the tune of ‘love the way you lie’ he strode down a long narrow corridor leading away from the administrative offices. The corridor meandered for a couple of meters eventually ending at a large staircase with two flights of stairs, one leading up and the other down; the stairs going up led to the lecture rooms which were on the third floor.
He paused for a few seconds on the landing chewing on his lower lip before he started up the stairs taking them two at a time. He ran his hands over the hazel texcote painted walls as he climbed still whistling and smiling. Sliding the large file under his left armpit he stepped onto the third floor.
The whole education department was a crown shaped four storey building. The two upper floors housed the lecture rooms while the second and ground floor were for the lecturer’s offices. Walking towards the lecture rooms with long brisk strides he chewed on his lower lips thinking deeply. He wanted to get his lecture over and done with so he could head home. He had to work on a couple more chapters for a novel he was writing.
A publishing house in Lagos had given him an advance to write a novel. The final draft of his manuscript was supposed to be due in two months. He had been a bit lazy about it for the last couple of weeks but as the day drew closer, he realized it would be more than a little embarrassing for him if he missed a deadline.
Passing several lecture rooms, he reached the fourth one and stopped. This room was filled with students chattering in loud voices.
“Good afternoon class.” He said as he walked into the large room filled with more than a dozen young men and women seated behind wide wooden desks.
The room was large with about two dozen desks and chairs arranged in seven long rows, five to each row. The ceiling was white asbestos and was stained in several places evidencing the fact that there was a leak somewhere.
“Good afternoon sir.” They all chorused. Some of them attempted to rise but he raised his hand to stop them, motioning for them to sit down.
There was a tall desk in front of a white board hanging on the wall to his left. He dropped his file on the desk and turned to face the curious faces behind him. He was quiet, studying each youthful face in turn. These were the first year students and his inaugural lecture with them was what he liked to call breaking them in.
Some of them (especially the girls) squirmed uncomfortably under his intense scrutiny. He was showing off but he couldn’t help himself. They didn’t know what to make of him yet and were uncertain about what was expected of them.     
The tiny smile on his face broadened at their discomfort. They would come to love him in time, but for now he would enjoy watching them squirm.
“This afternoon I will be teaching you about a little subject called futurism. Does anyone know what that is? Any ideas?” He asked quietly.
They all exchanged puzzled glances. A pretty girl in her mid twenties clad in navy blue jeans and a white body hugging top raised her hand. Seun nodded at her, his eyes taking in her long hair which was beautifully styled into a neat chignon on the back of her head and her sparkling hazel eyes shinning in the oval shape of her face.
“Could we say sir that it is the study of the future?” She asked her voice hesitant and uncertain.
He smiled.
“That would be the most basic interpretation of what it is. I think I’ll start by giving you a little history about it.” He said turning to the white board behind him removing a red marker from his left pocket.
He quickly wrote Futurism in large letters on top of the white board and wrote his name under it before turning around and facing the beautiful girl in the front row who had answered the question.
“What’s your name my dear?”
“Angela sir!”
“Well Angela, futurism was an artistic and social movement which originated in the early twentieth century. It was largely an Italian phenomenon, though there were parallel movements in Russia, England and so forth. A person or a scholar who studies futurism is called a futurist. And a futurist in the simplest of terms is someone who tries to use present events to predict and form a better future for himself or the society at large.”
“Isn’t that somewhat abstract? Futurism I mean.” Angela said a frown roughening her brow.
Seun smiled. She seemed like a smart one. This class was already beginning to show some promise.
“You are quite right my dear Angela. It is abstract in nature. But we’ll get to that in a bit. Let me continue with my little history lesson. The futurists practiced in every medium of art, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, graphics design, literature to name just a few. It was supported by Italian artists like Boccini, Balla, Carlo Carra, Russolo and Gino Severini. It championed the representation of speed by merging objects or figures with their environment….”
He droned on and on. The students seated in front of him listened with rapt attention. Yeah he thought to himself in satisfaction. He had them wrapped around his fingers now.
He scrutinized each of them as he spoke. They were quite young for master’s students. Hell students seemed to be getting younger everyday. There was no one amongst them that was older than forty. He was sure of that. But of all of them, none intrigued him more than Angela. She hung on his every word and he could see the keen intelligence which lit up her eyes with every word that he spoke. He smiled again. This was the joy he derived from teaching.

                                                                                                        Chapter Two

Two Hours Later

Seun strode out of the lecture room swinging the file in his left hand whistling a tune as he walked. A small smile lifted the corners of his lips. Hell he had been smiling since he woke up this morning. He couldn’t fathom why he was so happy. He shrugged as he thought this. What did it matter anyway? It sure beat being sad any day.
“Excuse me sir.” A voice called behind him. He turned not breaking his stride. Angela! Why wasn’t he surprised?
“Hello___ Angela I think it is?” He said still smiling.
“Yes sir.”
“Did you enjoy my lecture?” He asked slowing his strides so she could catch up with him.
“Immensely sir.”
“I take it that’s why you are here?”
“Partly sir.”
“Partly? That sounds a bit ominous.” He said chuckling. “I hope I am not in any trouble?”
”No sir.” Angela said laughing. She was taller than he had first of all supposed. She was almost his height and he was six feet tall.
She had a nice laugh. It was warm and extremely sensual. This was one gal he could bet his last naira on that had no trouble getting men. His phone rang at that moment. He reached into his pocket and pulled it out checking the caller ID. It was Caroline. A broad smile lit up his face. She always seemed to call him when he was having a conversation with another female. He sometimes wondered how she did it. Maybe she had a sixth sense or something. He pressed the answer button and raised the phone to his ear.
“Hello darling.” He cooed into the phone.
“Sweetheart.” A warm husky voice breathed into his ears. As always a thrill went through him when he heard her voice.
He had always had a very physical reaction to her voice from the very first time she had ever spoken to him. She was perfect. Drop dead gorgeous and extremely sensual and sexy. He couldn’t count the number of times he had wondered what she was doing with a plain guy like him.
“Are you calling to check on me? Wondering if I am getting into any mischief are you.”
“Funny enough no; I just felt like hearing your voice.”
“Hmmnn___ you don’t know what that does to a man’s ego when a beautiful woman hangs on your every word.” Seun said gruffly his voice thick with meaning.
She sighed deeply.
“Don’t start! You know what happens to me when you talk like that. I am at work and can’t leave for the next four hours at least so don’t torment me.” She snapped, though not angrily, but with a soft fondness she was incapable of hiding from anyone at that moment least of all him.
He laughed.
“Now you know how I feel every time I hear your voice munchkin.”
He knew she was smiling where she was.
“Any more lectures for the day?” She asked deftly changing the subject.
“Nope! I am on the way home. I just want to get some things in my office before I start heading back home. I need to finish my novel as soon as possible.”
“Yeah you do. You have barely two months before your deadline.”
“Don’t remind me. How are things at the bank?”
“You know how it is. Busy, busy, busy; there was a short lull in transactions, that’s why I could take time to call you. I gotta run now. Lemme know when you get home ok?’
“Will do.”
“And Seun__”
“Stay away from those loose girls. No one is taking my man away from me and you can tell them I said so.” She hung up immediately afterwards.
He chuckled as he slid his phone back into his pocket. Caroline was so in sync with him. So much so that he knew it would be extremely difficult (if he wanted to that is) to cheat on her. He turned and faced Angela only just remembering she was still there.
“Was that your wife?” She asked quietly.
“Yeah! So what did you want to see me about?”
There was a long pause before she spoke.
“Nothing really sir; I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your lecture and I look forward to the next one.” She said with a wry smile.
She had a strange expression on her face. One he couldn’t quite read. If he didn’t know better he would have said it bordered on a slight flash of annoyance, jealousy and in a strange way determination.
“Be seeing you sir.” She said walking off.
He watched her till she disappeared from view.

Thirty minutes later

Seun walked down a long flight of stairs which led to the Education department’s car park. The car park was large covering an area of almost a hundred meters. It was built on a slope. Cars filled almost every available parking space. He walked down the sloping concrete till he came to a 2005 black Honda Accord car which was parked in one of the parking spaces to his right. About fifty odd meters from the flight of stairs.
Pressing the unlock button on the car key the car beeped twice the door locks slid open. Opening one of the back doors he dumped his briefcase on the black leather seat closing the door firmly behind him. Walking over to the front he slid into the driver’s seat. Starting the car he pressed his foot down hard on the accelerator and the engine roared to life purring like a well fed cat.
He let it idle for a few minutes while he searched for a CD to play. Deciding on an RnB/Rap collection he slid the CD into the car’s CD player and Flo – rida’s ‘Be on you’ began to boom out of the car’s speakers. He was extremely proud of the sound system in the car. When he bought the car, he had stripped the car of the audio system that had come with it replacing it with a state of the art sound system with logic seven surround sound speakers and a thousand watt amplifier. The sound quality was flawless and the noise level was insane.
He couldn’t enjoy it when Caroline and Toun were in the car. She always complained so he always had to turn it down. But whenever she wasn’t in the car he let it rip. At the rate at which he was going, he knew that scientifically, it was highly probable that he would be deaf by the time he was fifty.
He smiled as he thought this. That was mere medical jargon. A man only lived once. Why not enjoy life while you could. That had always been his motto. He slid the car into reverse and edged out of his parking space. Easing the gear stick into drive he sped out of the car park.

Caroline stared at the computer screen in front of her barely seeing it. She was a breathtakingly beautiful woman with a lean angular face, full red lips, thick eyebrows and brooding black eyes with a splattering of hazel in the centre. Looking deep into her eyes gave you the sweet sensation of drowning in them.
She smoothened out the creases in her navy blue blazer staring at the computer screen but not really seeing what was on it. She couldn’t stop thinking about Seun. It was always like that every time she spoke or even looked at him. He had intrigued her from the very first time she had laid her eyes on him.
She could never forget the day they met. She and some of her colleagues in the marketing department had gone to the Aquinas college to try and persuade the management and teaching staff to open accounts with Ablement Platinum Bank which was where she had worked at the time.
They had the meeting in one of the college’s many conference rooms. The head of the marketing unit had educated the staff about the bank and their products. She had spotted him amongst the sea of heads about an hour into the meeting. For ten minutes preceding that moment, she had had the uncomfortable feeling someone was looking at her which was kind of silly because everyone in the conference room had their eyes on the head of the marketing unit who was addressing them and the rest of his staff, listening to him with rapt attention.
When she spotted him their eyes locked and held. That was the defining moment. She was hooked afterwards. He waited to see her after the meeting and they had exchanged phone numbers and that had been it. He had surpassed her wildest imaginations. Looking at his plain honest features you would be hard pressed to imagine the soft, tender and extremely lovable person he was underneath. A small smile lifted the corners of her lips as she thought this.
“I hope that smile is for me?” A deep husky voice said a few feet away from her.
She turned startled, her surprised expression breaking into a soft smile when her gaze settled on the tall dark handsome man in front of her dressed in a black suit which fitted him perfectly, molding itself to the hard contours of his body.
“Daniel you wish!” She said twirling her chair around to face him.
He laughed. He had a deep rich laugh. The kind that made you want to join in when you heard it. Her smile broadened. He loosened the tie around his neck a little and sighed.
“What’s up? I didn’t even notice you enter my office.” She said giving him a puzzled look.
“How could you? You were so lost in thought. Was it me you were thinking about by any chance?” He asked giving her a wink.
“I was thinking about my husband Daniel. Honestly you are impossible!”
“It can’t hurt to try my dear. Thought you knew that?”
Caroline chuckled turning back to her computer screen.
“Anyway___” He began with a sigh. “How close are we to sealing that deal with Axiom consulting?”
Caroline sighed. He was back to business. Daniel Nnaji played hard and worked hard. A less sensitive person would cast him as an unserious character but that assessment couldn’t be further from the truth. He was a very driven guy. More often than not he was extremely cold and calculating. He was a man who could go to any length to achieve his desires.
In spite of his larger than life persona and extremely bubbly personality, Caroline wasn’t very comfortable around him.
“I spoke to the CEO this morning. He wants us to swing by tomorrow to discuss it.”
Daniel sighed.
“Damn the man!” He snapped. “He is stalling again. Do you think he is going to give us that account?”
Caroline shrugged.
“Let’s hope for the best. He is a difficult man to predict.”
“We need that account Caroline. It’s worth over ten billion naira a year at least.”
Caroline nodded slowly, her face hardening as she leaned closer to her computer screen a frown roughening her brow.
“What is it?” Daniel asked noticing her expression.
“It’s these accounts.” She said leaning closer to the computer.
He walked around her desk stopping when he stood over her.
“Its some of the federal government accounts. Money keeps leaving it, billions from the looks of it but that’s not the funny thing.”
“What is the funny thing?”
“It seems the order to move the money came from headquarters not the government.”
Daniel frowned. “That is very strange.”
“Very.” Caroline said agreeing.
“I’ll call head office to find out what is going on. You don’t worry about it.” He said and walked out of the office.
She sighed deeply. In and out in a flash; that’s Daniel for you. Anyway he was her boss. He was the Chief Banking Officer (CBO). She was just the ABO. The Assistant Banking Officer; let him deal with it.
She sighed and continued working. She worked for ten more minutes and stopped. Something was up. She picked up the phone slowly. She had a few contacts at the head office. It wouldn’t hurt to poke around too.

                                                                                                     Chapter Three


       The workers of Solid rock bank left the bank premises in their ones and twos. Caroline was one of the last to leave. She raised her left palm to her lips to stifle a yawn. God she was tired. Though today she conceded was less hectic than the average day at the bank.
She walked to a lime green 1999 Toyota Camry parked in the bank’s parking lot. Sliding the key into the lock she quickly unlocked the car. Stifling a yawn she tossed her jacket on the passenger seat of the car and slid into the driver seat. The engine roared to life and she switched on the car’s air- conditioning closing the car door behind her. Easing the car out of the car park, she drove towards home.

She reached their smart looking brown stone six bedroom bungalow thirty minutes later. Traffic was kind of light for some reason. Alighting from the car she walked to the gates of the house and threw them open driving into the compound a few moments later. When she had parked her car beside Seun’s Honda, she walked back to the gate shutting it behind her.

Seun heard the gate closing and knew Caroline was back. He knew he ought to go and welcome her but he was at a very interesting point in the plot of his novel.
He kept debating whether to kill or spare the love interest of the main character of his novel. He hadn’t quite made up his mind. It would be unwise to put his readers off by making the story too tragic. Coming straight home after his last lecture had been the right decision. Only God knew when this burst of creativity would end.
He was in a wide oval room with had deep blue linoleum covering the entire length of the floor and he was seated behind a huge mahogany desk with a large desk top computer on top which he was presently typing on; working on what he hoped would be his masterpiece.
The room served as his study and directly behind him was a long black leather three seater sofa with a round wooden table in front of it. To his left backed up against the wall was a large shelf filled with books. Mostly motivational stuff; he had books by K.C. Price, Kenneth E Hagin, Grace Copeland, Smith Wigglesworth to name a few.
He was a self development junkie addicted to anything that would make him a better person and to a certain extent it had really paid off. Caroline however didn’t share his enthusiasm for motivational books. She preferred sitting down with a good John Grisham to anything Stephen Covey had to write.
The door to his study opened and Caroline walked in. He looked up smiling at her and she smiled back wearily. She crossed the distance between the door and his desk in three short strides and sank into his laps wrapping her arms around his neck. They shared a long and lingering kiss for several long moments before reluctantly pulling apart.
“How was your day sweet heart? He murmured nibbling on her neck.
She sighed deeply rubbing the back of his head with one hand.
“A bit hectic but no worse than the usual.” She replied quietly closing her eyes as his warm lips traced tiny kisses down her neck.
“Hmnnnn____” He sighed still nibbling on her neck. She tasted good.
His first impulse was to take her to the room and ravish her but he sensed she wanted to talk.
“Is everything ok?” He asked still kissing her neck and tracing a long line down her throat with his tongue. Her breath caught in her throat as her body began to respond to his ministrations.
“That is awfully distracting Seun.” She said with a sigh.
“Really?” He asked still continuing.
“Yes really!” She cried pushing him away.
He laughed loudly raising her palms and kissing them one after the other before he leaned back in his chair sighing again his eyes never leaving her face. They stayed like that for several long moments. When she didn’t speak he decided to prompt her.
“Anything interesting happen at the office today?”
“Not really__” She began slowly.
“Hmmm___” He murmured. “Tell me.”
”It’s a bit embarrassing really__” She began and then paused.
He waited for her to continue.
“I noticed large amounts of money leaving some of the government accounts in the bank. I am responsible for those accounts you see. Earlier today I found out that the order to move the money came from the head office. I made a few calls only to discover it was just a plan cooked up by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to test what our response time would to reporting discrepancies in our accounts. I and my unit head were queried for being slow. It was a bit embarrassing.”
“But why should they query you? You made inquiries as soon as you noticed the discrepancies didn’t you?”
“Their quarrel with me was that I didn’t notice them sooner. I’ll admit I should have been much quicker on the draw really but we’ve been so busy what with the government new minimum wage plan being implemented, so more money and transactions have been moving through the banks. I know all is well that ends well, but it is kind of demeaning when people talk to you as if you don’t have any brains.”
He smiled and drew her closer planting a soft kiss on her left cheek. She closed her eyes and sighed as his lips touched her skin. He always knew how to make it better. He hadn’t said much since she had walked into the room but his concern and tenderness was already making her forget her ordeal at the office.
She slid her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly kissing the top of his head. He sighed and slid his hands down her body till they rested on her waist. He could feel her body becoming warm and a few moments later quite hot.
“Thank you Seun.” She murmured holding him tighter.
“For what?” He asked leaning back so that he could look into her eyes.
“For always being there for me and caring.”
“I love you Caroline.” He said simply. “You don’t have to thank me for anything. It’s what I am supposed to do. I should be the one thanking you.”
She stroked his head looking deep into his eyes seeing only the truth of his words in them. Her eyes became softer and her body seemed to become more pliant under his stroking hands.
“Thank you anyway.” She said quietly.
He smiled.
“You are welcome.”
She leaned down and planted her soft lips on his. The kiss deepened and their breathing became heavier and more ragged. He pulled away from her a bit and lifted her up. She adjusted herself till she was seated astride him grinding her hips gently into his. She could feel him grow hard beneath her and she made a small sound in her throat which was a cross between a cry and a moan.
He ran his hand up and down her thigh sliding her skirt up to her waist. He was about to reach for her silk panties when they heard a loud wail coming from the opposite end of the house. Caroline froze.
“Toun!” She gasped. “Why is she crying?”
”I am sure she is ok. Folake is with her__” He began still kissing her.
“Nothing is wrong___”
“NO!” Caroline cried leaping off him. “I have to go and check on her.” Were the last words she threw over her shoulder before she raced out of the room.
Seun sighed and adjusted his boxer shorts over his throbbing erection. He was paying the price of being the father of a young child. There was a stool to his right. On top of it was a tiny remote control. He leaned over and picked it up pressing the power button. The large subwoofer beside his desk came on with a low boom.
He turned and faced his computer. Scrolling through a couple of play lists he’d made on I-tunes he found one he liked. He selected all the songs in that play list and pressed play. A few moments later Nicki Minaj’s fly began booming out of the subwoofer. It was so loud that it reverberated over the walls of the study. He quickly turned it down. Caroline would blow a gasket if he kept it up.
Leaning back in his chair a deep sigh escaped from his lips with a loud whoosh. At least if he was not going to satisfy his sexual urge, he might as well listen to music.

Caroline heard the music come on and sighed; He and his loud music she thought to herself. She rocked Toun trying to console her. She had been running around in the house and had fallen down skinning her knee. Toun was dressed in a pink dress and black flip flops on her feet. Tears poured from her eyes streaming down her cheeks.
At two and a half years old she had gotten the urge to explore. She was a pretty dark skinned girl with a round oval face and beautiful brown eyes. At the age she was Caroline knew how careful she had to be. Today it was a skinned knee, who knew what it could be tomorrow if she let down her guard.
The tempo of the music coming from Seun’s study changed. Caroline’s ears picked up the familiar beat of Diddy’s dirty money’s ‘Coming home’. She sighed again as she rocked Toun whose cries had now become much lower.
She had done all she could to cure Seun of his craving for loud music but it had been no use. Now she just had a stoic acceptance of it. She had nothing against music. In fact she liked her own share of catchy tunes. But the volume Seun always played music was ear splitting.
To be fair to him however, he always tried to lower it when she was around. Even then it was always too loud for her. She hated to think how he played it when she was not around. In the early days of their relationship she had been afraid of his obsession with loud music. She had eventually come to terms with it because it was one of the few failings he had.
He barely seemed to notice other women. She knew that because she kept a close watch on him. Coming from a polygamous family she had felt back then that all men were horny adulterous pigs. Seun was the only man thus far who had proved her wrong. A small smile lifted the corners of her lips as she turned carrying Toun into the bedroom.

Chapter Four

Two hours later

       Seun glanced at the computer screen and frowned. He had drawn a blank. He hissed in frustration. He hated when this happened. His hope of writing at least twelve chapters had just gone up in smoke. This was his sixth and he was already bled out. Leaning back in his chair he sighed deeply.
The music was still booming. He reached down and picked up the tiny remote control and turned off the subwoofer. Quickly closing I – tunes he shut down the computer.
That was all for tonight it seemed. Glancing at the clock on the wall to his left, he gasped realizing it was already nine fifteen pm. He hadn’t realized it was that late. Why hadn’t Caroline come to call him?
The answer came to him even before he had finished thinking about it. She had probably sensed that he was on a roll and didn’t want to disturb him. He smiled as he thought this. She was a lovely woman and he was very blessed to have her as his wife. God had done him a great service by bringing her to him.
He stood up pushing back his chair and stretched his stiff limbs. His body ached slightly with weariness. It had been a long and busy day. He frowned as he realized how quiet everywhere had become. Were they all asleep? Hurrying to the door of the study he pulled it open and stepped into the long narrow corridor which led to the bedrooms.
Turning left he stopped at the first door he came to. This was the room Folake the house help and Toun slept. It was painted in soft sea blue colors and a thick plush carpet covered the entire length of the floor. The carpet was the same color as the walls. A four poster bed was at the right hand corner of the room and Folake and Toun were sprawled on it breathing evenly. The ceiling fan was on blowing full blast cooling the humidity in the room.
He smiled and walked down the corridor entering the last door on his left. The door was left open and in the center of the room was a large bed. Caroline lay on the bed reading a John Grisham novel. She was clad only in a shimmering black nightgown which was short and sheer, its length reaching only halfway down her thighs.
The room was done in soft sea blue colors like Toun and Folake’s room. There was a small glass chandelier hanging from the wood beamed ceiling. The three light bulbs in it were on lighting up the room with a soft white glow. She smiled as he walked in closing the door behind him.
“Finished writing?”
“I hit a blank.”
“Did you get far?”
“A little bit.”
“How many chapters?”
“I was on the sixth one when the lights went out.”
“Hmnn__” She murmured. “I wouldn’t worry about that if were you. One thing I know about lights is that eventually they tend to come back on.”
Seun smiled crossing the room in three short strides. He sank down on the bed stretching out beside her. She moved aside to give him room. When he was settled, she snuggled up close to him and put an arm over his chest.
He pulled her closer wrapping his right arm around her shoulder as he kissed the top of her head. Lying back down on the pillow he stared up at the white wood beamed ceiling. They lay in companionable silence for several long minutes.
“What are you thinking about?” She asked quietly breaking the silence. He didn’t respond for about a minute.
“I was just thinking about how fortunate I am.”
“In what way?” She asked raising herself up and leaning on her left elbow looking down at him.
“I have such a lovely wife and a beautiful daughter. Not only that, God has given me the wherewithal to take care of them.”
“A job you have been doing very well even if I say so myself.” She said smiling.
“Do you really mean that? Hope you aren’t just saying that to make me feel good.”
“You should know me well enough by now to know I don’t say things to make you feel good. I call it as it is.”
He sighed deeply.
“I know you do sweetheart. My dad for lack of a better word to describe him was a CAD! A more irresponsible man I haven’t seen in my life. Mum took care of everything. My school fees, our feeding and even the house rent. The only thing dad did with any amount of seriousness was to yell and tell us how inadequate and useless we were.”
“If it was only the lash of his tongue we felt it wouldn’t have been that bad. Mum and I enjoyed the taste of his fists too. I swore to myself that I would never become like him. My biggest fear is to have any child of mine look at me the way I looked at him the last time I saw him.”
Caroline leaned forward kissing him on the cheek.
“You are not like your father in any way. A more loving and sweet man I haven’t seen in all my days.”
Seun smiled pulling her close to him. She sighed and wrapped her hand around his chest again hugging him fiercely. They lay that way for several long minutes. After a while Caroline put her right leg over his crossing it over his waist. She slid her right hand down his chest stopping over the line of his boxer shorts playing with the tiny hairs on his flat stomach. His breathing became heavier as her fingers slid into his boxers going for the bulge underneath. He gasped as her fingers closed over him.
“Make love to me Seun.” She whispered licking his right nipple.
Sighing deeply he pulled her on top of him and began to kiss her. She opened her mouth wide and he deepened the kiss sliding his tongue deep into her mouth moving his hands up and down her body slowly. He slid her nightgown up till it pooled on her waist. She moaned as his fingers slid into the hollow between her legs. He froze startled when he realized she wasn’t wearing anything underneath. Their caresses grew more fevered as their excitement built. She pulled down his boxers and he quickly slid into her. Their love making was slow and languid in the initial stages but climaxed into something explosive and fiery. They were still for several minutes after climax their racing breaths calming slowly.
“I love you Seun.” She murmured.
“I love you too.” He said quietly.
Her even breathing told him she had already fallen asleep. He sighed and rose from the bed and quickly slipped his boxers back on. He made for the door of the bedroom quickly exiting it and heading back to his study.
Closing the door of the study quietly behind him he strode to the computer. His phone lay beside the monitor, picking it up slowly he glanced around the room looking for his earphones. Spotting them on a stool beside the large sofa he walked back to the sofa and stretched out on it. Sliding the earphones into the phone he scrolled through the numerous play lists. Selecting one titled slows he quickly pressed play.
The music boomed into his ears and he closed his eyes sighing deeply. The earphones in his ears were very good. They had cost him three thousand naira. He had felt it was daylight robbery at the time till he put it into his ears. Now he was a believer. He began to ponder on the plot of his novel trying to figure a way out of the blank spot he had reached.
He thought and thought but couldn’t find a way out of the quagmire. His breathing slowed and became more even and without warning he passed into the warm blackness of sleep.

His eyes fluttered open slowly. He yawned glancing at the clock on his left. It said six forty five am. He sighed. It was time to get up. Music was still booming into his ears. He picked up his phone and turned the music off.
The battery of the phone was down. There were barely two bars of charge left on it. He didn’t have any lecture till ten o clock so he could charge it till then. Thank God the power holding company had deemed it fit to give them light. It was something of a novelty. They rarely had light in the mornings.
He rose to his feet slowly still yawning and made for the door of the study. Caroline would be ready for work by now. Folake would also be preparing to take Toun to the daycare center.
He opened the door and stepped into the narrow corridor and pulled to a halt gasping in shock. The whole corridor was a mess. The walls were riddled with small round holes. He walked to the wall in front of him and ran his hand over it.
The holes were frighteningly similar to bullet holes. He gasped in fright and raced to Toun’s room. What he saw almost made him pass out in shock.
Toun and Folake were sprawled on the bed their bodies a huge pulpy mass riddled with half a dozen bullet holes. The bed and the walls were drenched with blood. A hoarse strangled cry erupted from his lips and he raced to his bedroom.
Caroline was hanging from the ceiling. Her eyes white and sightless with her mouth open and her tongue sticking out. One of his belts had been used to tie her to a hook which was driven into the ceiling. Her throat was ripped open slit from ear to ear. It looked like her neck had been slit before she was hung.
A large pool of congealed blood lay beneath her slightly swaying feet. Seun swayed on his feet and without a sound collapsed into the warm comfort of unconsciousness.


                                                                                                        Chapter Five

Akure (8.15am) 2 days later

       An elderly woman in her late fifties walked towards a large flat screen TV in a wide living room whose floor was covered with a sparkling white carpet. The chairs were black leather with a large glass chandelier hanging from the ceiling. The walls were hazel colored which matched the wood grained ceiling.
The room was large and airy and very cool thanks to the three powerful air conditioning units which were working full blast. Reaching the TV she reached behind it and turned on the switch on the wall.
The TV and the decoder in the three foot tall cabinet underneath the TV came to life. She walked back to the long leather sofa a few feet away and sank onto its plush surface with a deep sigh.
Picking up the remote control of the decoder she waited for it to scan. As the decoder filled the operator bouquets the shrill peal of a cell phone broke the quiet stillness of the sitting room. She reached into the folds of the long flowing dress that she wore removing a cell phone from a tiny pocket.
“Hello.” She said as she pushed the answer button.
“Hello ma’am. Is this Mrs Adeboye? Seun Adeboye’s mother?” A gruff voice asked.
“Yes this is she. Who is this?”
“My name is Matthew. I am one of Seun’s colleagues at Aquinas college. I am afraid I have some rather distressing news for you.”
”What is it?” The elderly woman cried in alarm.
“Is Seun ok? Young man what happened to him?”
”He is in police custody ma.”
“WHAT! What did he do?”
“He is being charged with murder.”
“Whose murder?”
“The murder of his wife and child.”
”Caroline and Toun? Are you saying they are dead?”
I am afraid so ma.”
“YEEEEEEEEEEHHHH!” She wailed collapsing on the chair and sobbing as if her heart would break.
Matthew paused for a few seconds to let her brain come to terms with the shocking news he had just told her.
“Please ma we don’t have much time. You have to get down here immediately. Seun needs our help. The police are saying all sorts of unprintable things.”
”Ok…” She sobbed. “I’ll get down there as soon as possible.”
She hung up immediately and hurried into her bedroom still crying. Her room adjoined the sitting room. The room was small with white walls, a four poster bed and light blue linoleum covering the entire floor. She strode to the floor to ceiling wardrobe which was built into the wall to her left.
Yanking open the wardrobe, she quickly scanned the huge pile of clothes crammed into the two sections. One section was a large closet stuffed with two dozen dresses and frocks. The second was divided into smaller rectangular closets, six in total which were filled with underwear, native material like ashoke, lace and other odds and ends.
At the bottom of the closet was a small black suitcase. It had wheels so she wheeled it out of the wardrobe and dumped it on the bed. She rushed back to the wardrobe and picked half a dozen dresses from the large closet and carried it back to the open suitcase and stuffed them into it. She started to zip it close but stopped when she was halfway through.
She made her way to the door on her left which led into the bathroom. Disappearing through it, she appeared a few moments later carrying her soap case which contained a bar of scented soap, her sponge, a hairbrush and her toothbrush. She stuffed it into the suitcase and zipped it closed.
Pulling the suitcase off the bed, she set it on the floor removing the long black handle and wheeled it to the door of the room. Reaching the door she glanced down at her feet realizing she was still wearing bathroom slippers. Hissing in impatience she hurried back into the room.
Leaning down she removed a pair of black loafers from underneath the bed and quickly slipped them on, opening the drawer of the small table that was beside the bed as she did so. Inside the drawer was a bundle of two hundred naira notes. She picked it up. An ATM card lay underneath it. She picked that up too and stuffed the money and the ATM card into a large black handbag which was lying on the bed.
Swinging the bag on her arm, she hurried to the door of the room and dragged the suitcase out shutting the door firmly behind her. Thirty minutes later she was outside the gates of the house flagging down a taxi. A yellow and blue stripped cab pulled up beside her a minute later. The taxi driver hurried out of the cab helping her to put her suitcase into the boot of his cab. A few minutes after this they were speeding to the car park.

Bello Gana rose from a large bed stretching his five foot eleven frame on the soft mattress he was lying on. He raised his left palm to his lips to stifle a yawn. He had a lean craggy face with dimples on either side of his mouth. His lips were full, his eyes simmering black pools with a thick day old stubble of beard on his hard chin. He wore nothing but a pair of black briefs which were pulled low exposing his pubic hair. Yawning again he turned around in a half circle examining his surroundings.
The room was dingy with light blue walls which were covered with brown stains. A tattered grey linoleum covered the entire length of the floor. The large bed he lay on was the only furniture the room had. The blades of the ceiling fan above him turned with what appeared to be the greatest reluctance.
There was a loud sigh beside him. He turned around slowly looking at the naked body of the female sleeping beside him. He snorted in disgust. He had completely forgotten about her.
He examined her face critically. Her age was undeterminable. Her body seemed young and supple but her face was haggard and slightly wizen. He hadn’t noticed all this last night because he had been drunk. Last night was a huge blur. How he had ended up spending the night in this rat trap was a mystery to him.
He rose from the bed and began putting on his clothes. Slipping into a pair of brown slacks, he tightened his belt buckle and wore his white short sleeved shirt which tucked into his slacks. Putting his large feet into black loafers he reached down and picked up his car keys from the linoleum covered floor. The woman on the bed sighed but did not wake. He hurried out of the room closing the door quietly behind him.
 Stepping into bright afternoon sunshine, he squinted under the glare of the sun which was intense. He didn’t realize how dingy the room had been. He was in a wide rectangular shaped courtyard. The walls were a faded grey color. There were ten doors built into the wall. Each door led into what he supposed was a one room self contained apartment similar to the one he had just exited. Six of these doors were open and several nubile scantily dressed females loitered in the courtyard talking and chattering nineteen to the dozen.
He sighed and turned to the right making his way to the exit which was at the extreme end of the courtyard. Some of the girls called out greetings to him as he went. He waved to them absentmindedly, checking his pockets to make sure his wallet, cell phone and money were still there. Fortunately they were.
Exiting the gray building he walked out into the street. The loud whine of traffic greeted him. He glanced back at the building behind him as he always did when he left it, his slightly blood shot eyes resting on the sign board in front of it.
The sign said blue star motels. He smiled. He always wondered why all brothels always seemed to have cheesy names. His face became serious as he thought this and a large sigh escaped his lips and he made the same promise he always made to himself each time he found himself back here. The previous time was always supposed to be the last time. This time was no different. He swore to himself that this time would truly be the last but deep within him he knew that in a week or two tops, he would be back here carousing with booze and women of easy virtue.
He was interrupted from his troubled thoughts by the shrill peal of his cell phone. Sighing deeply he reached deep into his trouser pockets and pulled out his Nokia 6230. Pushing the fold open he pressed the answer button.
“Yes.” He murmured.
“Jesus Christ Bello! Where the hell are you?” A deep voice barked into his ear
“And a good morning to you too.” Bello said cryptically raising his left palm up to stifle a yawn.
“Don’t try and play smart with me Bello or you might just find yourself back on the streets directing traffic.”
“Sorry sir.” Bello said in a sardonic voice that clearly showed that he wasn’t the least bit sorry.
“I am not going to ask you again Bello. For the last time where are you?” The voice said hard and dangerously low.
Bello sighed. He had pushed the District police officer (DPO) as far as he dared. He might as well quit while he was still ahead.
“I am almost at the station, in traffic right now.” He lied.
“Better get here as fast as you can. We have a case I want you to look into.”
“Would you mind telling me what it is about?” Bello asked quietly.
“Murder is what it is about. A lecturer murdered his wife, child and housemaid in cold blood. He called the station two days ago to report it claiming his innocence. He said he woke up and found his wife and child dead.”
“How come? Wasn’t he in the house with them?”
“That’s the crazy bit. He says he slept with music in his ears. When he woke up the house looked like a war zone and his wife, child and maid were lying in pools of blood. Now he hasn’t spoken since then. Doctors seem to think he has gone into shock.”
“I take it you don’t believe his story?”
“No not really. It sounds a bit far fetched to me.”
“Then why do you need me? It’s clearly an open and shut case. Why should I bother myself with it?”
“The Inspector General of police insists we follow through on all cases even if it seems like a dead end. The police force must be seen to be working effectively. From now on everything is by the book. If those at the top feel we are slacking in any way it’s my job on the line. So I want us to cover all bases. Let us satisfy all righteousness.”
“Basically covering your fat behind__” Bello murmured.
“What did you say?” The DPO snapped.
“Nothing sir.”
“I HEARD YOU BELLO!” He snarled through clenched teeth. “You are lucky you are one of my best detectives at the moment otherwise you would be back in the unemployment market so fast that your head would spin. The address is 51, Agodi bus stop Phase two. You better impress me.”
”Yes sir.” Bello said quietly.
With a click the line went dead. Bello sighed stretching his lean five feet eleven frame and stifling another yawn as he pushed the phone back into his pocket. He scratched the stubble on his chin absentmindedly as he pondered on what the DPO had just told him. His brain felt fuddled. It was probably the after effects of his drinking binge last night. That was the price he had to pay for his escape.
He sighed and walked to a sky blue 1998 Honda accord parked a few feet away. Unlocking the door of the car, he slid into the driver’s seat starting the engine. Sighing as a blast of cold air hit him pouring out of the car’s air vents. He’d forgotten he had left the car’s air conditioning on. He slid the car into gear and slowly eased into the afternoon traffic.

                                                                                                        Chapter Six

Bello arrived at the house a few minutes later. He waited a few moments to admire the brown stone bungalow from outside before he made his way into the building. Two uniformed police officers were stationed on the cool verandah. They saluted to him as he walked past them.
The sitting room was wide and airy. A forty inch plasma screen hung on the wall. The furniture was black leather, not original but a very good imitation. The lecturer dude sure had a good carpenter he thought to himself. There was a door to his right. It opened slowly and a short squat heavily built man stepped out. He was dressed in a white shirt with flower patterns all over it and black slacks with black palm sandals on his feet.
“Morning detective.” The man said standing at attention.
“Morning___ Jimmy I think it is?”
“Yes sir.”
“So tell me what do we have here?”
“Its not pretty sir; the housemaid and the daughter had it easy. Their room was riddled with bullet holes. Probably twenty, thirty five rounds all told.”
“What kind of weapon?”
“We are not sure sir. But it’s probably handguns; very powerful ones. We are still examining the bullets. The strange thing is that a lot of them were completely shattered on impact and you know our ballistics arm is ____” He paused.
“Is practically non existent.” Bello said with a sigh. “You said the child and the maid had it easy. What did you mean by that?”
“The woman was severely beaten and probably raped we think before her throat was slit. She died before she was hung.”
Bello grimaced at the grisly picture Jimmy’s words were painting. The person or persons who did this were real sickos. He sighed and walked past Jimmy entering the long narrow corridor leading to the bedrooms. The child’s room was the first room he came to.
He entered it slowly examining it critically. The walls around the bed were riddled with bullet holes exactly as Jimmy had said. He walked towards it stopping directly in front of it. The bedclothes were stained. A very large crimson stain covered almost half of the four poster bed and the light blue walls behind it.
Leaning forward slowly he ran his hands over the holes in the wall. The pillow on the bed was almost completely red. He touched it. It was still slightly damp.
“I take it everything is exactly as it was when it happened? You haven’t disturbed anything have you?”
“Basically sir; our people came to look things over but you needn’t worry about that. We have pictures of the crime scene back at the office. You can look that over when we get back to the station.”
Bello nodded slowly glancing at the terrazzo floor. There were large crimson stains on it too. He turned and walked out of the room turning right when he exited it and walked into the next room on his left. This room was disheveled. Bits and pieces of broken glass were strewn all over the floor. It looked like a struggle had taken place here. The ceiling fan hung dead center of the large room.
Directly beneath it was a large round pool of dried blood. It glistened in the early afternoon sun which streaked through the open windows. The curtains were drawn letting in the golden yellow rays of sunshine.
“Were the curtains drawn when the officers who were first on the scene arrived?”
“No I don’t think so. They must have been drawn later. I don’t remember them drawn in any of the pictures.”
Bello nodded slowly but did not say anymore. He turned and walked out of the room.
“Where did the husband say he was?”
“The study.”
“Where is that?”
“The room directly opposite the child’s room.”
Bello walked to the door and threw it open. The walls on all sides were covered with large shelves which were nailed to the wall. These shelves were crammed with books. Bello walked over to examine them. The books were arranged according to genre.
The guy appeared to be an avid reader. He had books on every topic under the sun. There was fantasy fiction, medicine, education, you name it. The books here would have probably cost him a pretty penny.
“He claimed he was sleeping on that couch.” Jimmy said behind him pointing at the deep brown sofa to his left.
Bello glanced at it and then turned back to the books on the shelf. Where he claimed to have slept was irrelevant at this point. Bello was more interested in finding out what kind of person this lecturer truly was. Once he knew that he could determine whether he was capable of doing what he had been accused of doing.
Bello knew that ten to one, it was highly likely he knew more about the murders than he was letting on. In his experience the people you usually thought were incapable of doing wrong were usually the ones that did the most despicable things.
“What is your take on this?”
“Me!” Jimmy exclaimed surprised.
“Yes you!” Bello snapped impatiently. “Do you see anyone else here?”
“I think he did it sir.”
“Why? What motive would he have?”
“He probably hadn’t meant to kill her. Maybe he and his wife got into an argument and things went out of hand and he killed her; to cover up his crime he trashed the place making it look as if armed bandits came in.”
”What did the medical examiner say?”
Jimmy paused.
“Am waiting.” Bello said giving him a piercing stare.
“He said the maid and the child died first.”
Bello shrugged.
“Was anything taken?”
“According to him yes; we are not exactly sure how much because he wasn’t very coherent. According to the officer on ground then, he appeared to be in a state of great shock.”
”Was he able to tell you what was taken?”
“Some money, the decoder, his wife’s jewelry and other odds and ends.”
“Hmnnn___ Armed robbery?”
“Possibly! But I don’t buy it.”
”Well for one thing, the items were later found in the bushes about two kilometers away. The only thing that hasn’t been found till now is the money and his wife’s jewellery.”
“How much money did they take?”
“About a hundred and fifty thousand naira.”
“Why did they keep such a large amount of money in the house?”
“We don’t know. He fell silent just before we could ask him that question. According to the psychiatrist evaluating him, he is almost catatonic.”
‘Who could blame him?’ Bello thought.
“But I still don’t believe he is entirely innocent. From the looks of things here the noise would have been deafening. How can he say he didn’t hear what was going on?”
There was a long moment of silence. Finally Bello spoke.
“We need greater insight into what really happened here. It would be nice if we could get some finger prints.”
Jimmy chuckled.
“Finger prints?? Here?? You’ve been watching too many American movies. Even if we are able to check for fingerprints, what do we compare them to? We don’t have a good database of stored prints.”
“Maybe not, but we can narrow it down to know whether there was anyone else in the house other than the four of them that night.”
“I don’t follow sir.”
“We already have four sets of prints. The housemaid, the child, the wife and the man; if we could scour the house for prints and compare them with the prints of the four we have, the ones that don’t match are our possible killers.”
“But sir a lot of our officers have been here, supposing they left prints too?”
“Same principle; we compare the prints we find to everyone who has been in this house in the last forty eight hours.”
“Brilliant idea sir, but that still leaves us with the problem of dusting for finger prints.”
“Don’t think that will be a problem at all.”
”How come?”
“I have an idea.” Bello said pulling out his cell phone and punching in a number.

About an hour later Bello was speeding from Agodi gate heading deeper into the Ibadan metropolis. The fingerprint experts were at the house dusting for prints.
That was the beauty about politics. After a general election like the one the nation just held, there were always a lot of lawsuits taking place. One of the losers who was so sure he had won the gubernatorial election had taken the winner to court. To further justify his claim, he had hired a forensic team from the United States to find proof that there was mass rigging and the fingerprints on thousands of voting cards in ballot boxes all over the state were stamped by the same group of people.
Thanks to the DPO’s clout and influence, the forensics team had been assigned to help them in anyway that they could. It would take them many days to submit their report. He sighed deeply as he deftly increased his speed. He wanted to get to the police station as soon as possible and take a good look at the pictures of the crime scene....

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