The SCI team was packed into Sgt. Tunji Adimu’s office. It was the one big break they’d had in all the months they had chased after the ‘Night Time Killer’, and what a fortuitous break too. All six members of the Special Crimes Investigation Unit were seated around the table looking at the pieces of evidence with keen interest. One in particular was the focus of several keen eyes. It sat there between them like a long lost artefact only recently discovered and admired by a group of archaeological scientists.
Wrapped in a transparent bag was one broken temple of a reading glass. It was picked up from the flat, along with a pile of other evidence by the forensics team. To everyone seated round looking at the pieces of evidence, it was clear how big the particular one in the bag was in the hunt for the most notorious serial sociopathic killer in the history of the country. They all knew the story of the ‘temple’ by now, and individually, they all had a sketchy idea of who the prime suspect was. This meeting was to fine tune strategies, decide the clear path of action as directed by their chief.
It was going to be one big ‘take down’.
It was easy for Tunji and Modupe to conclude that the piece of broken evidence could only have come from one place. After their visit to one of the residents whom they had missed during the first run of interviews, and that one moment of ‘red-flagging’ and mother luck they had, where he had brought out his reading glasses and hurriedly put it back, it was a no-brainer who their prime suspect was. It was unmistakable, the similarity between the temple of that glasses and this one in their possession. Plus, that one had one temple missing too. They had found his behavior odd at the time, but it was not something that dominated their thoughts until the evidence from the forensics department turned up. Other than the resemblance between the evidence on the table and the glasses worn by their suspect, there was nothing much else for them to go on. Forensics did not have a positive match on DNA from all the scenes and the one gotten from the broken temple from the suspect’s reading glasses. They had worked on the piece of evidence and reviewed all other evidences picked from previous scenes, but nothing turned up. Nothing foreign and attributable to a human being other than the victim’s was picked up by the forensics team. Now, the chief of forensics was giving his report to the rest of the team several days after he promised he would.
It was odd, but it was all Tunji and his team had to work on. However, they were far more along in catching the Night Time Killer than they ever were. At least now, they had someone they could call in for questioning. This was where he and his assistant deferred.
It was a long argument they had into the night and early morning. Tunji was in favor of arresting the suspect immediately, insisting they had enough evidence against him. But, Modupe had won in the end. She argued they should trap the suspect, ‘clinch’ him with incontrovertible evidence. In effect, sting him and catch him right in the act.
Tunji’s mind drifted to the events of the night before, as the forensics head gave his report on the piece of evidence that they all eyed with different degrees of interest.
“We have to catch him without giving him the opportunity to drop down legal loopholes. We have to reel him in and corner him good and tidy,” she was prowling the room and making her point like a teacher talking to a classroom full of eager, attentive pupils.
“This means we are going to give him another chance to kill someone. I can’t take that chance,” Tunji argued. He would rather take the guy out of circulation, if he is their guy, right now. He didn’t want another dead girl on his conscience.
“Look, I understand your sentiment. But, we have nothing concrete on this guy. We can storm and take him down. But, at best what we will have is circumstantial evidence. Unless, of course we can turn up something in his computer files or something. However, that will be gambling. This way is better and you know it, “she moved closer to the desk and peered down at him. In the close proximity of their stance Tunji could easily see the top of her breasts popping out of her open shirt. Two buttons were loose and he could see as much as the open shirt front revealed. “Isolated, alone and forgotten. That’s what it feels like to be in the minds of a sociopath,” she smiled at his surprised look, “you are not the only one who knows a few smart words,” she was smiling that mischievous smile of someone who knew she already won the war and was going to have what she wanted.
“Oh yeah? I see…that is the thing about you women,” Tunji knew he was egging her. There was an atmosphere her mischievous smile had invoked in the room. It was late and they were alone.
And in dark, close spaces things happen.
“Really?” She screwed up her face in a mock frown, “and what would that thing be, sir?”
“Women got it easy, they touch a guy anywhere and it feels good; but, with a woman it is like finding a needle in a haystack.” As soon as he said it, he knew he crossed that imaginary line between them he had been strenuously working hard to stand behind.
Modupe cocked her head sideways and regarded him, in a manner reserved for a gold fish in a glass bowl. Something to be regarded and examined with a sense of curiosity.
“You know what?”
“Maybe with other women that may be true. But, with this lady here… the barn is squeaky clean and free of any hay.”
Without saying another word, he got up from his seat and approached her.
She was waiting for him… ready to take him and all he had to offer her.
Slowly, Tunji brought his mind back to focus on the task at hand. That was last night and here and now is today. They have a murderer on the loose. He had already killed seven girls and only God knew if that was all he had done. In any event, the Night Time Killer is suspected of killing seven to date in their records. Now, he had pulled his team together for a very discreet and extensive surveillance operation to nab the ‘Night Time Killer’. He had yielded to Modupe’s plan for the operation. He was reluctant to do it, but he couldn’t argue too much with the sense of her argument. And not many men can win an argument against a woman who was really determined. They had a fair idea who he was, if they put together the sketch developed from the eye-witness description of the suspected perpetrator at the last victim’s apartment and the new evidence of the frame’s temple which was also found at the scene. It was looking much better for them than it looked months back, and all they needed to do now was to follow their suspect and catch him red-handed during his next move.
He cleared his throat to gain full attention, “guys, our suspect has been identified and he works here in Lagos for a creative agency as a strategist. He is highly intelligent and we have found, from all the body counts, extremely dangerous. Now, what we need to do is gather enough evidence against him to put him away for a long time. Right now, we are running on a little above empty,” Tunji glanced round the table and let his eyes rest on those of Modupe. She was pretty in her black top, which snugged her breasts just nice. But, she had the dirtiest and most dangerous of the tasks.
Last night, she had not been wearing the top.
He forced his mind back to the matter at hand, “I will need you to take out a subpoena, Dupe. We have to get into his apartment and computer and see what we can find. We have to be ready for that eventuality if we cannot get him this other way faster. A guy like that is bound to leave things on his system,” she nodded to confirm she understood, noting the instruction in her notepad. She was all professional and gave no indication of emotion about what had transpired between them. Tunji proceeded to hand out specific instructions to the rest of the team, “in the file before each of you is all we have on our guy. I must advice extreme secrecy and caution dealing with him,” again his eyes returned to rest on the only female member of the SCI team. She was more vulnerable considering her gender. But, she showed no signs of strain or fear. She seemed as composed as anyone else at the table. Tunji knew deep down there would be some fear, but maybe the feminine side of her which was always fighting for recognition from the masculine folks as an equal was being exerted here.
‘Why do girls have this fiendish desire to defeat guys?’ Tunji wondered to himself as the briefing broke off and the manhunt for the Night Time Killer began.
I was trapped. I knew I needed to find a way to escape and very fast too. I cannot allow myself to be strung around like a puppet for the rest of my life. Already, there was a long line of casualties trailing this particular sequence of events, and soon I will be caught or I will get killed.
It was only a matter of time.
I looked at the open screen of my laptop. It was all in there, the gory details of the deaths. But, no one will ever read them now. At least not as the best seller I had hoped it would be. The contents were as scary as I would have loved it to be. But, they looked too real for me to ever get away with publishing something like it. Moreover, which publisher would be comfortable with a story like this? Not with all the killings that had gone on, all bearing striking resemblances to the ones narrated in my story.
The delete button looked inviting, yet I could not bring myself to punch it. There was an attraction, a pull to retain the story. The pull must be the type felt by a mother towards her child, even if the child is one of those we all pray never to have.
I must have missed when Funbi came into the office, it was the slight tap on the shoulder that made me aware someone was trying to get my attention. I have not seen much of her since she moved her work station away from mine. On my part, I have also not made any concerted effort to find out why. I saw the distance and aloofness as a means to protect her and myself from the wicked plans of the devil. If I minimize my contact with her, then I can reduce the devil’s yearning for her.
But, there she was standing over me and looking very worried. She still had that effect on me, and I slowly let out my breath as I took in the full view of her face and neck. She was pretty, and she was an angel. I can’t let the devil get to her.
“Look, I am sorry I have stayed away from you. But, this afternoon Monica came to me and told me you are not feeling fine. I am sorry if I have caused you any pain. I just cannot understand where I stand with you. You seem to be holding back so much from me and it is killing me. How do I know to trust you? When I do not know what you are thinking about me or your plans for me?”
It was like I had been struck by a whiplash. I sat there stunned for a few seconds as I stared at her face. That’s the thing about trouble; you don’t have to look for it, it finds you. Here I was trying to protect her from the fate which was being planned for her, doing everything I could within my power to fend off the devil’s yearning for her. But, what does she do? She is right here putting herself in the line of fire.
“Look Funbi, I am sorry too. But, I cannot be around you. I cannot trust myself to behave around you. I am sorry, whatever it is Monica said to you I didn’t ask her to and I’d have appreciated it if she had not said anything.”
“So, in effect you are telling me I mean nothing to you? That I shouldn’t have come here… talk to you?”
I saw the tears well up in her eyes. That is another thing with women. They love to cry. They cry at every opportunity they get. It is like second nature to most of them. Sometimes, I know it is also a blackmailing tool. They cry to emotionally blackmail you and make you do their bidding. I closed my eyes, hoping she would not start to snivel and make her face powder run.
“That is not what I meant, and you know it…”
“Then, what do you mean? We had something good going. We were having a good time and now everything is upside down. In the past few weeks, you have been acting funny. You don’t seem happy, you don’t look well-rested and you know that doesn’t make me happy too. But, I moved away from you in the hope it would make you feel better. I thought I was the cause of your unhappiness and all that. Especially, after that night at your apartment. So, I thought if I gave you some space you will get back to your normal self.”
“Funbi, please don’t be like this,” I could see she was getting all puffy eyed and restless.
“Don’t be like how? You have not spoken to me in a while. We have not had lunch since God knows when. This is not how I expected to be treated. I believe I deserve better.”
“I know, but you also know I have a history.”
“But, not with me. With me, you are supposed to have a future. Moreover, you are not the only one with a history.”
It was not that easy, I thought to myself as I looked at her watery eyes. It was not as easy as she made it sound. “I cannot make myself continue with you if I do not know what is going on in your life or know your plans for me. I know the past few weeks have been difficult, but not for you alone. I hear the things the guys say behind our backs too. It is not easy for me, considering we both work in the same office.”
I just sat and looked at her. How she had no idea. She had no idea at all the danger she was in being with me. To her, it was a simple problem of a love relationship hitting the rocks of hard times, she had reduced everything to that simplest of feminine decimals. But, how could she know there was more? How could she guess that I was not for her, I cannot be for her…at least till I have silenced and defeated the devil that is ruining my life and that has set sights on ruining hers too?
Every woman has distinct personalities – the brutes, the no-gooders and the good-at-hearts… Funbi was of the latter breed. She was standing before me all vulnerable and needing reassurance from me. I still remembered the fiasco of her first visit to my apartment. I also remembered what had happened to the seven girls I have read about in my story. No way was I going to put her in harm’s way and endanger her like that.
“Funbi, I totally understand all you have said. I can only hope that I was a different person and I could show you all those sides of me I know you want to see. But, I am no good to you or to anyone. I have never had a steady relationship. However, with you it is different because you are special and you are not like all the other girls I have met. Before, I told you I have a history. It is true… I do.”
Funbi pulled a chair and made to sit down, “No! What are you doing?” I asked her. She looked back at me surprised and momentarily taken aback, “I want to sit down.” She sat and looked at me, as if willing me to continue. “Look, I cannot tell you anything here at work. But, all I will say for now is that I love you the same way you love me,” she turned down her eyes coyly in embarrassment, “I know you do,” I pressed on.
“How can you know something like that when I have never told you,” she was still not looking at me as she played with a strand of loose hair. She concentrated on everything and anything other than my face.
“There is a certain way a man stares at a woman he loves. And the same goes for women. I saw the way you looked at me the first day I resumed and since that time. I have not been entirely fair to you. However, I will like to make up for that.”
She looked up sharply at me then, her eyes sprang into life and I could see the obvious relief in them.
Good Boy. This is our chance. Good job.
It was back, sensing blood, the damned voice was back. I need to get out of the office and away from Funbi.
“I think I have to go home.”
“I will come with you,” before I could protest she had left the chair. She came back a few minutes later and motioned for me to follow her.
Take it easy man, and if she is easy take her twice.
Written by @Shaiontheprowl