The scene was like none other they had seen before. Tunji and Modupe stood in the middle of the room, while the rest of the SCI unit went about gathering as much evidence as they could. It was a room like no other both of them had been in before. A whole section of the wall was splattered with blood and everywhere else they looked was smeared with the same red stain. Pieces of flesh that had been cut were stacked in small mounds; packed but left for the police to find. On the couch was what was left of the victim in her birthday suit – one of the members of the unit had had the decency to cover up what was left of her. But, under the sheet which covered the corpse, the breasts were gone. They lay on top of one of the piles of flesh, which distinctly contained a pair of arms chopped off from the body on the couch, and limbs. The entire scene looked to them like the ‘Night Time Killer’, as this definitely looked like his handiwork, had left in a hurry. Normally, the previous scenes were not this untidy and never indoors. Already, information gathered from interviewing the neighbours had identified the victim as Ini Akandi, a client service exec at one of the leading advertising agencies in the country. They gathered she also lived alone and had few friends. According to what they had pieced together from the various reports, one of the neighbours heard noises from her apartment the previous night.
The elderly woman was now seated across from them, kneading her hands nervously while trying very hard to remember as much details as she could. She was a small woman with very alert and shrewd eyes. She looked like one of those nosy, pester-some senior citizens, but she was giving them the best leads in the investigation so far.
“At around 12, I felt the need to go to the bathroom,” she paused for the umpteenth time to gather her wits, the hands moving constantly in a nervous, involuntary twitch. “I heard some disturbance in the yard and peeked out of my toilet window. I saw the back of a man walking away from her apartment through the backyard.”
Tunji and Modupe looked up in unison from their furious scribbling in their notebooks, “You saw a man?” they asked.
“Yes. I was sure it was a man. However, at the time, I was so afraid it was one of a team of armed robbers. I called another one of the neighbours on my phone. But, by the time I walked to the room to get my phone and call him, and the time it took him to investigate from his own window there was no one there.”
“Why didn’t you call the police?”
“I didn’t have the number,” she looked from one to the other like she had been accused of something. “Moreover, Uche said there was no one there in the shadows. I went to bed shortly after.”
Tunji felt the little bit of hope he previously nursed begin to peter out. At last, here they were with the first person to actually see the suspected killer. If she could give them a good description. But, with the woman’s age he was not sure her judgment call could be respected much.
“Can you describe the man you saw, ma’am?” he asked. The woman squirmed in her seat, “I am not sure. It was dark and I didn’t see his face. But, I can try.”
“Please describe him for us,” Tunji beckoned to the police department’s sketch artist, “my colleague here will try to do an artistic impression of the man you saw using details of the description you give to him.”
And they sat there as the woman described the perpetrator to the illustrator.
“I don’t like what I saw in there,” Modupe gestured with her head towards the dead victim’s apartment, “and that is our seventh body count in the hunt for this killer.”
Tunji sighed and dug his hands deeper into his pockets. The scene had given him the chills too. The room was like a butcher’s workshop. And the fact that they got so close to getting a positive ID of the Night Time Killer. Rotten luck it had to be an old woman who saw him, and from the back. A full frontal view by a more reliable eye than those of an octogenarian would have been good. However, the illustrator had done his best and he was sure more things will turn up from the apartment. To him, it felt like something had spooked their guy and he had left in a hurry.
It only takes time before a criminal begins to make mistakes. And already, it seemed to him like the Night Time Killer was already making his.
“I know, girl, I know.”
He puffed his cheeks as they stood outside the house in the Aguda area of Surulere, watching the traffic as it snaked up and down the narrow street. The night air was not particularly balmy, yet it was not cool enough to make sleeping easy.
“What do you want to do? What do you suggest we do?”
“I have been thinking about that too. I will like us to try what you mentioned before.”
She screwed up her face, “What did I mention?”
“Remember when you tried to profile the killer? A guy who probably works mornings, likes young beautiful girls and is most likely too shy to have one of his own?”
Her face relaxed, “Yeah, I remember.”
“I think it is time for us to go over all the guys who we missed in our previous interviews. That is one critical part of this investigation we have overlooked. Maybe, we have done this because we have never really focused our minds on the real essentials of this case. The suspect is obviously highly intelligent. He also seems to fit the sketchy profile you hashed out. As far as I see, this guy only works at night and that is why we call him NTK anyways. But, beyond that he has a fetish for women and their feminine parts – breasts, Vs etc.”
They stood there taking in the traffic for a while, both not saying anything and ruminating on the matters that had been thrown up. They still stood there like that when the remains of the body was carried out of the building and taken away by a waiting ambulance. They were still silent and brooding when shortly after, the forensics chief came out of the building with his team.
“We may have something after all. I am not showing it to you or telling you what it is until I am sure what it is I have. Have a little patience and by evening I will get you a full report.”
After he left and the scene was secured, with a police officer posted to guard it. Tunji and Modupe made their way to the car. Inside, Tunji turned to Modupe a determined look in his eyes, “get that your pad out and let us go through all the names we had missed out before. This afternoon, we start to knock on some corporate doors.”
Things had not started great and it had progressively went downhill since the day’s business started. First, I got to the office late on account I didn’t go with my car. Then a heated discussion had erupted over the menace of the ‘Night Time Killer’. That particular argument had gotten me sick and discomfited.
To cap it all off, the police had come visiting me at the office. Two of them had come into my office at mid-day, just before lunch. It turned out they were just there for routine check and follow ups. They figured I was one of those residents who fell through the cracks of their investigative net and had deemed it fit to catch up with me at the office since I was hardly ever reachable at home on account of my work timing. That had been nice and good, but the visit had thrown me. And I was sure the guy in the two-man team – a man and a lady, was getting a real rotten whiff off of me.
The twenty minutes I spent with them felt like forever. They wanted to know how late I got home and how early I set out for work, if I had observed any strange person hanging around my neighborhood, if I had seen anything or observed anything. They asked a bunch of queer and awkward questions. Then one had asked me what I did “for fun”. I can’t even remember how I answered that. I was quite nervous and had pulled out my glasses for no reason and put it on.
I hardly wore the glasses in the office. It was for my late night reading and writing, and not many people at the office knew I wore one. Worse, I had forgotten I lost one of the temples. My embarrassment must have been there for them to see as I removed and replaced it in my desk drawer.
“Sir, can I have a glass of water?” It was the female one who made the request. I had diligently gone to get her a cold drink from the dispenser in the hallway. It was a welcome relief for me also to be out of their view, as I tried to gather my wits around me.
What I did for fun?
I knew what I would like to tell them, but I can never do it. Never…
In the end, after a few more questions, they left. The twenty minutes had been like twenty hours, and with the rest of the guys already eavesdropping and shooting funny glances in our direction it was becoming awkward for me. This was the kind of attention I didn’t want to have. Not after what Vincent had said the other day and what had happened to the last girl. In her case, my seventh quarry… the devil’s seventh quarry in this sequence of terrifying killings, I remembered the details. Maybe it was because she had not been as fearful as the rest of them. She seemed to have made peace with her fate before I came into the room. She had not screamed and she had not struggled much. Only the initial, feeble struggles of self-preservation.
Worse, she seemed to have enjoyed the devil’s penetration of her womanhood. It was like she was pleasuring in the devil’s satisfaction. Her moans and groans were not of those of someone who was being forcefully taken. They were not the reactions of someone whose life was soon to expire. It was like she was giving herself for the cause, making herself worthy of a last act… ensuring she was ‘something’ or ‘someone’ to somebody before she died. I had seen her face as she slipped away, she was happy. She actually smiled at me and I would not forget the words she uttered in that one moment our eyes had met.
“You are not a man!” It was a soft whisper as she thrust upwards to meet the downward, crushing grinding of the devil’s strokes.
That Ini Akandi business had thrown me into a deep depressive state. In spite of the obvious satisfaction of sating the devil’s immediate hunger, the other half of the deed was botched. I was haunted by her words as I slipped the cord around her throat and snuffed the life out of her. Her smile and the words had brought me to my consciousness and from there it all went bad.
I practically ran from her apartment, my intent being to run away from the voices in my head, her’s and the devil’s. They were tearing me up inside – the voice which had controlled me during six previous shows of terrifying bestiality and cruelty and the new one which now told me, “You are not a man”. I and the devil had wrestled for control, and this time my head had taken control of the situation for the first time and in the end I ran away from Ini’s apartment with ‘unfinished business’ left behind.
That victory was short-lived and in the days after, the devil was a constant visitor. He was now commanding me to line up another victim for the one I ‘messed up’, and the choice this time was Funbi – the closest person to a loved one I had. But, it was not a command I was willing to execute. This time, I was giving a bigger fight than I had ever done. The devil was coming for my one and only treasured possession.
I didn’t want him to have her, I would not let the devil have her.
Remember boyo, this is unfinished business. She is unfinished business, just like the last one.
It was a constant mantra in my head. It squeezed and squeezed. The thought of that first night in my apartment and how it all ended. I really liked her, but I was an animal when I got close to women. Seven deaths have proved that, and I would be damned if Funbi would be my next. But, the devil was in me and he was now stronger than he was at the beginning. Nights were filled with mental struggles for control of my mind. And, to escape I had taken to drinking heavily. Now, it seems things are beginning to unravel. I was slack in my work, and like Vincent pointed out I was getting slack with my appearance too. And more importantly, Ini Akandi’s voice and face never stops to invade my dreams and wakeful consciousness since that night I ran from her apartment with her decapitated body yet unpacked and blood spatter everywhere.
To make matters worse for me in my arguments with the devil, Funbi moved her seat and changed location. I couldn’t be too sure if that was because I refused to let her into my apartment a few weeks back, even when she had softened an earlier stance against me or if it was because of something else. Maybe, she was on to me too. She might have sensed that I was no good for her and that I am out to have the devil’s way with her. Or maybe the guys in the office were on to me? Maybe they called the police in the first place. Maybe I have been acting crazy enough for them to be suspicious. Not with that argument over the ‘Night Time Killer’ to boot. Or maybe the police already knew but were just waiting for a slip up on my part.
Focus, ye will be alright, Boyo.
I am part of yer as yer are part of me. Yer must never forget who yer are. It will follow yer, even unto death.
So, there is nothing for yer to worry about. Let me do the worrying for both of us.
I sucked in my breath and looked around. No one was paying me any particular or special attention. My situation with Funbi was as complicated as any relationship could be. She was too nice to be with a fuckhead like me. She deserved more, and she hasn’t had good luck with guys. It made me remember what she once told me when I had protested at the swiftness of how our relationship had developed. She had smiled and looked at me like a teacher schooling her student, “I have a history too and moreover,the length of a courtship doesn’t determine the success of a relationship.”
At the time, it had put out the embers of my arguments. However, I have observed from past experiences that, self-sabotage is what people do when they are not ready to enter into any responsible relationships with the opposite sex. It was how I had dealt with girls in the past, and it was probably what happened the first time she had visited my apartment. It was like a safety mechanism triggered by my sub-conscious to save the girls from the monster that was still lying dormant inside of me. But, something had woken it after that night; the safety mechanism no longer worked, and in a short few months the devil had worked its way through seven victims and already chumping at the bits for an eight.
When will this ever stop? Will it ever stop?
Do yer want it to stop, boyo?
Yes! Please stop! Make it stop!
I contemplated the answer for a while, shocked that I have expressed a sentiment that I was not totally convinced I wanted.
Did I really want all this to stop?
You need to know how to go after what you want. You need to go forward and stop looking backwards.
Standing a few feet away, Monica from the HR department heard his muffled scream of terror. She looked back at him with a terrified frown as she hurried away from the S & M office.