Damaged Goods (Part 5)- 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.

Circumstantial Evidence?

Oladimeji stood by the pool side where only hours earlier, the gift of life had been nicked away cleverly by someone he was yet to unravel. He felt convinced that this crime would be easy to solve, but the devil was in the details.

His officers had found Onono’s iPhone. It was an exact replica of the one her husband had thrusted into his face minutes earlier. He hoped now that he could match the text message with that of the recipient.

Finding the handset would change everything about the investigation. If there was anything about the lifestyle, behavior, secrets and habits of a person, the mobile phone was the first give-away.

“We found it at the bottom of the pool sir. Its color blended with the water at first and made it difficult to spot.”

Again, Oladimeji bobbed his head repeatedly as though in agreement, but his thoughts danced around the still waters of the pool. His eyes listened to the light as it played upon the water, watching the ripples, almost dissipated, as it receded to the side walls, leaving the softened hues of the night sky in its wake.

“Did any of you leave the pool area at any time during the search?”

“No sir. We have been combing the area dedicatedly and no one has been around here since we arrived”

Oladimeji looked around at the red tape that his forensic team had set up to barricade the crime scene as though to convince himself that his boys were sincere with the truth.

“Put the phone in the evidence bag, keep it dry. I want to know everything about this lady first thing in the morning. And keep searching.”

*************

Efetobore

Efe sat still across the table from Oladimeji. He had been seated for the last ten minutes listening to the ragged breathing of the burly inspector who carried an air of invisibility as he scribbled expertly into his note pad.

He had cracked the knuckles on both hands, a habit that revealed his anxiety, and was beginning to consider doing the same with his toes. The longer the awkward silence remained in that room, the nervier and more uncomfortable he got.

For the umpteenth time, he heaved a sigh heavily in attempt to catch the inspector’s attention. But he had not stopped scribbling in his note.

“Do you know Mrs. Onono?” came Oladimeji’s voice out of nowhere.

“Sir? No sir, not really sir” he stammered.

“Yes, or No?” It was at that moment, Oladimeji raised his head to look him squarely in the face.

Efe could suddenly hear his pulse beating in his ears, blocking out all other sound as his eyes darted across the room in search of an answer.

“No sir!”

Oladimeji shuffles between different sheets of papers on his desk before reading its content to Efe.

“The report here states that you had an altercation with the deceased on the fourth floor shortly after she left her husband’s room. Oh, and by the way, it was captured by the CCTV”

“Fuck” the words escaped before Efe could rein it in. A cold wave embalmed him as the hairs rose on the back of his neck and his mouth ran dry.

“Fuck what?”

Oladimeji was now on his feet as he moved closer to the young man who looked scared to his wit. When he leaned on the edge of the table close to Efe, he spoke the following words.

“Think carefully before you answer my next question” He paused for the effect. “What transpired between you both on the fourth floor yesterday afternoon?”

“Sir, it was just a brief conversation. She was an old acquaintance and we only chatted for a few minutes.”

“Do you consider eight minutes of conversation a few minutes?”

“Sir, I swear to God, it was only a casual conversation.” Beads of sweat competed for space on his balding forehead. It felt like the heat from within was precipitating the sweat.

“I had nothing to do with her death sir.” He could no longer control his hands; they were shaking in an odd trembling rhythm.

“Yet, you were the one who discovered her body in the pool. Is that correct?”

“Sir, I had nothing to do with her death. I am just as gutted as everyone is.” The chair was no longer comfortable to sit on for Efe, his knees took over the job of stability on the floor.

“Do you know her husband Ekpeyong?”

“Sir, I had nothing to do with her death. Please believe me.” Efe broke into a panic, thrashing his arms and legs as he pleaded with the inspector who had not moved an inch since he started asking the questions.

Oladimeji’s anger curled hot and unstoppable in his gut, like a blazing inferno that wanted to burn him from the inside out.

By the time Oladimeji ordered him to keep shut or answer his questions, it was accompanied with a deafening slap in his face, so fast that only a muffled whimper escaped his closed lips.

“Arrest this fool.”

******

Efe was standing by the maintenance gallery on the fourth-floor corridor when Onono stormed out of one of the rooms in rage. Her attempt to slam the door shut was marred by its humongous size.

He couldn’t believe his luck. There she was in all her magnificent glory. She looked even prettier when she was angry. Something stirred inside him as his heart skipped multiple beats.

She was angry, and he could tell by the way her hands were shaking as she stood by the elevator waiting for the cabin to descend the heights.

“Hello Onono” Efe emerged from the corridor startling her for a moment. Her attention suddenly drawn to her name, she turned to face her old classmate that once obsessed over her for many years.

This was certainly not a good time for reunions. She managed to return his pleasantries, before returning her gaze to the digital display as it lingered on the 6th floor. She felt uneasy and the wait wasn’t helping her building rage. She turned to look for the stairwell, but Efe was already approaching her and blocking off her view.

“Are you okay? You look out of sorts.” Efe asked genuinely concerned, scanning her face for answers. Answers that Onono was certainly not going to share on the whim.

“I am fine. It’s just not a great time for a conversation.” Onono’s voice was firm as she shook her head repeatedly.

“You can share with me. I work here and I am glad to listen.” He continued unrelenting, stretching his arm to hold her hand.

Onono rebuffed the attempt politely. Her eyes danced around his outfit for a bit, he worked there alright; his uniform told half the story.

“Why is the elevator taking so long?” a voice in her head worried.

“Oh, please do not worry, I will be fine. I just need to find my way to the bar.”

Just then the elevator cabin slid open, and the electronic bell chimed noisily.

“I will show you the direction. Follow me.” Efe offered as he approached the cabin first after waiting for its only occupant to ease herself out. It was Glory carrying a stack of clean and fresh towels.

She looked at him strangely as they walked past each other, no words spoken. Something in her eyes betrayed her envy as she watched his face light up brighter than a toothpaste commercial. Efe held his breath behind pursed lips to steel himself from gloating as a smile spread out on his face.

He could feel Glory’s gaze as he walked into the cabin. Now she would know he was telling the truth earlier that afternoon. That pleased him so much that in his self-absorption, he failed to notice Ekpeyong as he stood across the corridor watching his wife ride the elevator with his former student.

Onono barely caught a glimpse of her husband as the doors slid shut. She was obsessed with chasing out a housefly from within the elevator cabin, when she noticed the irritation written over his face.

Impulsively, she reached out her hand to hold Efe as he fumbled with the lift buttons.

Please follow the story as it unfolds in the next episode.

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11 thoughts on “Damaged Goods (Part 5)- a short story”

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