“People Just Like You” Series – Dolly Parton “You will never do a whole lot
The sound of the impatient knock on the door startled Collins for a moment. It was like the sound of his heartbeat. The knocks came thrice, strong and loud, and it wasn’t stopping.
He starred coldly at the door as though he could discern the intruder on the other side of it.
Collins turns, but too slowly to be normal. When he spoke his voice trailed slowly, like his words are unwilling to take flight.
“Who is there?”
“It’s me Princewill, Open the door”
When Collins opened the door, there was sadness in his eyes, the brown too glossy.
“What happened? Where is she? What is going on?” The questions poured out in torrents as he searched Collins downcast eyes for answers before looking around the room. Collins was never one to fall short of words.
Princewill marched in confidently and stands in front of his friend.
“Has she gone?” more questions?
His limbs moved as if some inexperienced person was controlling them remotely as he pointed towards the toilet door. Princewill was starting to worry the moment he noticed Collins’ eyes were wide, looking right at him, but not really. There was something hidden behind his visage of aloofness.
When he pushed open the toilet door, his eyes got more than they bargained for. Still sprawled on the bathroom floor was the contorted body of Bilkiss bent in an unnatural angle with a puddle of thick fresh blood dripping around her temple. It was still a gory sight even after Collis poor attempt to clean the place of her blood. A fly danced ominously around her half-opened eyes as the freshness of her naked body had given way to paleness.
At that moment the feeling of anxiousness had become a kind of background noise, as if it were traffic on some unseen road and he was only just hearing it.
He was only starting to come to terms with the emotional hurricane that their decision to go with the girls that night had caused, after Collins had dealt with his fair share all morning. His brain stuttered for a moment and sent dozens of images into his head almost immediately.
The prison wall, the smell of stale and damp urine, homosexuals, the media parade, court case, his waterloo, the end of his life and soon his mouth opened by itself.
“What the hell happened here? Is she dead?” He was angry but his voice came off frightfully weak. His eyes wide opened as he hoped for an answer. All his questions were unanswered, until the next one.
”Did you kill her?” His voice was now laced with anger and it was palpable.
“No I didn’t!” He snapped back. “Of course not, how could you even think of that Prince?”
“Because there is a dead girl in the freaking room that’s why!”
Please keep your voice down dude, I am thinking of what to do?” Collins voice was barely audible.
“Is she really dead? How do you even know” Princewill probes further.
“I checked her pulse. There was none”
“Damn. What sort of mess is this Collins? I am scared stiff right now” Princewill sits slowly on the only bed in the room stunned. “What in God’s heaven do we do now?”
From nowhere came the sound of a mobile phone, so loud and invasive that Princewill scanned the room quickly for the device as though to shut it off. He knew it wasn’t Collins and he was certain it wasn’t his.
He found it nestled in between the disheveled duvet on the bed.
They both peered at the screen to see that the callers ID was the same as before.
“DSS baby” they both chorused
Princewill tossed the phone back on the bed.
“We need to get out of here right now!” The urgency in Princewill’s voice was not up for debate and Collins was too stunned to think for himself. The fog of confusion had buried clarity for him so deep, he wasn’t going to wait for it to clear. He would have to follow Princewill’s lead for once in his life and hoped it wouldn’t be a bad choice.
Her phone had been ringing all morning unanswered and Ibrahim was starting to get worried. Bilkiss would always return his calls, she never joked with anything that had to do with him. They had been lovers since secondary school and he knew her like his second skin.
He had sent a team of his junior officers to the scene of the incident earlier that morning and they had returned to say eye witnesses had confirmed that the car – a black honda, had left only moments before they arrived with just two occupants.
They had a vague description of the driver but they were absolutely certain that the fair-skinned girl on the passenger seat was Bilkiss when they had shown them her picture.
At first he imagined that perhaps her phone had gone missing or stolen or the unlikely event that she was yet to wake up. This he considered unlikely.
Three times, her phone had rang unanswered and it was 9.30am.
He was going to have her phone tracked. He had done that once, years ago when it appeared that she had gone AWOL for hours on end. It turned out that her phone was stolen and she had sent him a message requesting for his help to retrieve it.
This was different and he was convinced that every hour spent dillydallying was going to cost dearly. He knew this from his experience on working on cases of missing persons.
Agent Ibrahim, as he was fondly called, was like a swimwear model without the charm. Black, clean cut and the recipient of a humor bypass; but if you wanted efficiency he was your man.
He was the kind of agent who had been born in a suit. He was close shaved 24/7 and he spoke with a baritone voice and clipped legalistic words. Life had no colour for him, no shades of grey either, it was all black/white, right/wrong, legal or illegal. He clocked more hours than any of the other agents in the firing range and was top 1% in his class at graduation.
His job always comes first with him and he closed more cases than most of his colleagues. Closures made him feel confident and he sure as hell didn’t like to leave a loose end in anything he worked on.
Bilkiss’s unanswered phone was a loose end which ordinarily shouldn’t bother him much, but he was beginning to get irritated and he wanted closure.
A knock on his office door snapped him out of his thoughts. It was the junior officer he had asked to track the location of the phone hoping it could provide an insight into what was going on.
“Thank you” he muttered under his breath as he sighed while picking up the map and address on the folder he handed to him. He quickly scanned the pages squinting his eyes.
“Cassandra Motel, Shehu Yar’adua Avenue! Are you absolutely sure of this address?” He asked the commissioned officer?
Bilkiss never stayed over in that part of the town and he was starting to worry if something might have gone wrong.
“How long has she being at this place?” He asked
“Only 3hours after she turned her phone on. It pinged the nearest telcom towers at 7.45am”
“I see” Ibrahim rose out of his seat quickly turning to pick up his jacket.
“Get me tactical team C, we need to meet at this address right away and make sure to inform us if her location changes” He spoke as he walked out of the door of his office.
Princewill had managed to wheel Collins car out of the motel parking lot into the street. Collins was too stunned to drive. He left with the room key after locking the door firmly. They needed to get away as far as possible from the crime scene.
Collins was weeping like a baby as he drove the car into the road leading up to his house. They had to take some money, cloths and personal effects before they made their way out of the town. It had to be that same day.
As he drove on, his mind flashed to the scenes after he left with Tolani on the bike leaving Collins to handle the mess. They had ridden the bike to a brown colored modern house in the government residential area. An area for the uber-rich and elites of the town. She lived in a cute self-contained apartment tastefully furnished with all the trappings of comfort. But what stood out for him was how neatly it was arranged. Everything in its proper place, not one item amiss.
Her walls were covered in wallpaper with small flower pots hanging while the velvety smooth rug reminded him of the fancy hotels he had once stayed in Lagos. The only window in the room was draped in curtains that would make monarchs green with envy. She even had a 64inch television neatly hung on the wall and a console to add glamour right underneath it.
It felt really good to be out of the woods that instant.
They both had shower washing and rubbing off every bruise, cuts and pains as they explored their youthfulness. They had kissed only for a few seconds when she asked that they stopped. She suggested that they meet up later in the day to consummate their friendship as she was still in the throes of pains Bilkiss had inflicted on her.
He respected her wishes and had hoped to complete the romantic quest later that day. Now Collins had put paid to that, he thought. Unless he could work something out. He would spare it some thought when he had the time. A grin slipped up his face at the thought.
Collins’ sobs decimated his thoughts again, as he had done countless times during the ride to his house. He pulled the handbrake and killed the engine.
“Collins, get a grip of yourself. We have five minutes to pack, go inside your house and pick up your laptop, other phones, cloths and the rest. I am driving us to Minna. We need to get out fast before the motel cleaners find her dead by noon. Bring the keys to the other car when you are coming. We can’t drive this one for the trip with its broken windshield”
Collins stepped out of the car obediently and headed into his apartment to kick start their escape plan.
How did their escape plan pan out? Find out in Chapter 9
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