Damaged Goods (Part 4)- a short story

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Do you love crime fiction? Then this story is all you ever wanted.

 

Please follow the story from here.

Something uncanny

Ekpeyong watched as the corpse of his wife was wheeled into the waiting ambulance parked at the entrance porch of the Henderson Hotel. He wasn’t sure what to make of the events preceding her death.

“Drowning is a bitch of a way to go” He agreed with himself. As they wheeled her water-logged and pale body past his line of view, he noticed that her eyes were still wide opened, as though starring at him. But it was devoid of the sparkle and light that brought life. Her eyes were dark and ominous, maybe even scary. It held the obvious secrets of her dying moments – Panic, fear, and shock.

Her remains was hurled into the vehicle as the engine came alive almost immediately. None spoke, a cough here, a grunt there, a sniffle here and there, but not a word as the ambulance soon became a blur.

He exhaled what was left of his sanity just as every second he shared with her traveled through his mind at lightning speed. Regrets and shame about the times he was mad at her and their bitter fights, consumed his body with guilt and pain. Soon his eyes were clouded by the tears he held back.

“Why?”

One minute there was chaos at the hotel as guest hurried out of their rooms, forgetting that they had filled guest information forms that held basic details about them, prior to lodging. The next minute everywhere seemed calm as though waiting for what the next course of action.

DSP Gbadamosi walked in a small pack with a retinue of plain cloth police officers to secure the hotel premise. He strolled through the door to the waiting lounge where Nnamdi was waiting to receive him. He was the officer assigned with the task of unravelling the immediate and remote cause of death.

It could have easily been an unfortunate accident, or a well-executed murder for all he cared. He had seen these situations many times during his twenty-years stint with the homicide division of the police. Nothing fazed him anymore.  As far as he cared, anyone could have killed the victim, especially her husband. He had seen him crying like a baby as he walked into the hotel and took little interest in his show of shame.

His sister, Salewa had once been a victim of domestic violence. Despite his appeal to her to leave the forsaken marriage, which she didn’t heed, she paid the ultimate price for her indecision with her life. Such a costly and painful price to pay.

Even when he ensured that her husband was locked up for many years due to the trumped-up charges his team cooked up to avenge her death, he never felt satisfied. There were many men just like him out there, and this gentleman shedding crocodile tears could as well be one of them.

“Call me Oladimeji. DSP Oladimeji Gbadamosi. I would like to speak to all the witnesses one after the other and quickly too. I have only got two hours to spare.”  Every time he used ‘th’ words, his tongue would glide beautifully over his perfect teeth and emit an adorable bit of air.

“I want all the witnesses here within the next few minutes” He announced to no one in particular as Nnamdi hurried off out of his office to do his bidding.

*******

Four hours later, Oladimeji looked over his notes in despair. At first it looked like it was a “slam dunk” case of a freak accident, but there were several loose ends that suggested otherwise.

He took two long swigs of water from the plastic bottle, squeezing the bottle as it emptied, before bobbing his head as though in deep thoughts as the crackling plastic dropped to the table.

The husband

The prime suspect, Ekpeyong looked like a smart dude with his head screwed straight. He worked as an investment banker on the busy broad street in Lagos where skyscrapers, those silver trees of geometry, reached sunward, adorning the cityscape.

He claimed that Onono, his dear wife, had offered to join him at the Henderson Hotel, where he had been lodged during a 3-day business conference, to spend the last evening together.

Closed circuit television footages confirmed that Onono arrived earlier that afternoon at 2.37pm.

Ekpeyong claimed that they had a heated argument that afternoon. He claimed it was a minor altercation and that Onono stormed out of the room quite upset and that was the last time he had seen her. When pressed about the reasons for the dispute, he waved it off as the usual couple’s squabbles and nothing more.

“What were you doing during the time she left the room until she was found lifeless in the pool?” Oladimeji had asked peering deeply into Ekpeyong’s eyes.

“I joined an online meeting for a couple of hours and then received quite a number of phone calls until I heard the commotion downstairs.”

“You didn’t think to call your wife after she dashed out of the room in anger?” Oladimeji sounded irritated as he waited for his response.

“Whenever we got into an argument in the past, she would never answer my calls, no matter how often I tried. I sent her an SMS an hour later.” He thrust his glistening iPhone screen across the table.

“Baby,

 I am sorry about earlier.

Please come back let us talk this through.”

Oladimeji checked to see that the message was in the sent items folder, before admitting it as evidence.

“How long have you been…..erh..married?”

“Four years! Our anniversary date is next month.” Ekpeyong broke into a pity face as the dried trail of tears on his cheek glistened as the trough started to fill again with fresh tears.

Oladimeji did not bother to offer him tissue. He looked at him in disgust.

Grown man, crying like a baby” if only those words escaped his thoughts.

The police hadn’t recovered Onono’s mobile handset. His lieutenants were still outside the hotel building feverishly searching through the neatly manicured lawns around the swimming pool hoping to find damning evidence.

The importance of recovering as many pieces of evidence within the first few hours at a crime scene was not lost on Oladimeji and he was convinced that the few items they had retrieved would complete the missing part of the story.

They found her handbag in the change room of the swimming lounge, but not her handset. They found the right leg of what looked like the sandal she wore that night. But it’s T-strap was detached from the sole, in what Oladimeji liked to think may have happened violently judging by the way the ends of the straps were damaged.

Her wedding band could not be accounted for, just as any of the other pieces of jewelries she had on that evening.

“Did she wear any jewelry at the time your wife left the room?”

“I honestly don’t recollect. But if she wanted to swim, she would have to take them off anyway, I suppose.” Ekpeyong tried to sound helpful before he added a belated “Sir.”

Oladimeji ignored his subtle ridicule.

“Did she wear a swimsuit when she came over to see you at the hotel?” he asked without looking up from his notes.

“I can not tell sir.”

Oladimeji was starting to get irritated. He bobbed his head slowly as he let silence flirt with his interrogation. His gazed locked onto Ekpeyong who looked ahead as though he was transparent, lost and confused.

“Did she leave all her bank debit and credit cards in your room at the time she was leaving?”

“I am certain she didn’t. she keeps them in her purse.”

Oladimeji scribbled in his note ferociously.

“Sir, could it be a robbery gone wrong?” Ekpeyong asked.

Oladimeji continued scribbling in his notes.

The prime suspect trying to throw me off his scent” Oladimeji’s thoughts had gone amok.

There was certainly a lot of missing bits and speaking to his number one suspect had not helped as much as he had hoped.

The door to Nnamdi’s office opened slightly after a quick tap, as one of his lieutenants peered through the open crack.

“Boss, we found something in the pool sir”

His eyes lit up like a million bulbs, he stood up from behind the desk, before looking down at Ekpeyong as though to say “You are definitely screwed now.”

“Stay here with him.” he ordered another officer.

“I will be back.”

The next episode beckons.

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8 thoughts on “Damaged Goods (Part 4)- a short story”

  1. Pingback: Damaged Goods (Part 3)- a short story – Akin Akingbogun

  2. I suspect Efe but I’m sure he won’t be the killer. I’ll just wait for the next episodes. Captivating and intriguing story. Nice read.

  3. Pingback: Damaged Goods (Part 5)- a short story – Akin Akingbogun

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