Damaged Goods (Part 8)- a short story

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


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Loose ends

Oladimeji’s tired eyes took in the small room with a single sweep, settling on the chair that Ekpeyong had left empty. The silence that replaced his exit was too eerie, so he started to hum.

On days like this when the fog of confusion descended thick and fast, he had learned to distract himself with other things of mild interest before returning to the investigation at hand.

Thankfully, the office door groaned open after a soft tap to reveal Glory carrying a tray filled with sumptuous looking meal from the hotel kitchen.

She was a sight for sore eyes, not the food. Something was different about her poise that afternoon as she laid the tray gracefully on the table, before turning her back to him.

Racy thoughts darted about Oladimeji’s mind violently, then smothered in his throat, before escaping his mouth.

“Please wait.”

That took some effort.

Glory turned slowly, facing him, to give a full view of her body. As she had expected, his eyes burned through her skin as he took all of her in, from her lips, to her neck that stuck out delicately from her uniform, then to her breast. He imagined that without a bra they would sit lower, more natural, less close together, each so perfect and molded to her form.

The only part of Glory that men noticed were always her breasts. Nnamdi never hid his delight for them. She wasn’t surprised at the inspector’s brazen show of lust that left his eyes glazed.

“Is there anything you want me to do for you, sir?” Her voice jolted him back to reality and straight into the vulnerability in her eyes, same one he was struggling hard to resist.

“Yes. Now that you asked. I want you to stay around the lobby and away from Nnamdi as much as possible. You can make a complaint if he assaults you in any form. Do you understand?”

He didn’t want to stare but his eyes kept flicking back to her breast.

She nodded slowly, twice, even that in itself was teasing, before walking away with false modesty, knowing she had caught the big man’s attention with her most prized assets. Somewhere deep inside, she wondered if it hadn’t already put her in trouble.

She bumped into Nnamdi on her way out as he hurried into the room wielding a flash drive in his right hand. She offered no apology, nor did she look him in the eyes.

Nnamdi shook his head in disgust as she squeezed past him. He wondered how quickly their love turned to hate.

“I have the other CCTV recording files here. There is something you must see, sir.” He declared.

The inspector settled on his meal almost uninterested, as Nnamdi turned the tv screen on. There was just too many new information that he was struggling to process them all. He was at least grateful for new leads. He had suffered in previous investigations when he had little or nothing to go on with.

The recording that Nnamdi played was that of the camera focused closer to Ekpeyong’s room door on the fourth floor. It showed when Ekpeyong walked back into his room after he had harassed Efe bef0re shutting the door behind him.

The only evidence that the image was in a fast-play mode were the numbers on the top right corner of the screen that turned minutes into hours, yet the door to Ekpeyong’s room remained unopened until the instant when the alarm was raised at the discovery of his wife’s body.

It was physically impossible for a murder to be committed if he was in his room the whole time.

That conclusion dawned on Oladimeji as he abandoned his meal, leaving the tough and disproportionate morsel of meat and a handful of rice on his plate. The food had a funny taste, he concluded.

 “The bastard must have arranged someone else to do it on his behalf.” He imagined, as he tossed the soiled saviet paper into the plate.

“Pass me that guest list over there again. I need to look critically at some of the guests.”

Many of the guests had already left the hotel in a frenzy on the night of the murder, but a few remained. His interest was in those who had left. He would have his officers scrutinize the list until they could find anyone with a shady past who could be placed within a radius of the scene of the murder.

He gave the instructions to his officers on phone quickly.

His attention was now drawn back to Efe. Perhaps he knew something he wasn’t saying. There were still a couple of questions that could not be answered.

“How was the CCTV camera at the pool side turned off without the killer’s face or hand showing?” The question was directed at Nnamdi as he fiddled with the tv screen.

It had to be switched off from the very office he was seated in.

“Who else has access to this office?”

“No one else but me sir.” He stammered.

“Think deeply about this. Did you hand over your key at any time to anyone or carelessly left it anywhere?” An extended pause was punctuated by a deep sigh.

“To turn any of the cameras off remotely, it had to be done from your office.”

“No, sir.” Nnamdi’s response was quick and sharp as though to dispel the thoughts swarming around Oladimeji’s head.

“Is there any CCTV camera focused on your office area?”

“None, sir.” Nnamdi’s confident response was premised on the fact that several months after his relationship with Glory had been consummated, he had deftly turned the camera angle away from his office door to conceal the several visits she paid him during office hours.

“Strange, isn’t it?” Oladimeji bobbed his head repeatedly. “Very strange, indeed.”


The feeling in the air at the crime scene was foreboding, there was no doubt that something terrible had happened hours earlier. One of the officers lifted the police tape for Oladimeji to cross into the pool area. Once within a few meters to the pool, he stood still, scanning the area for grimy footprints on the tile floor. There were just too many prints etched in the now dusty floor to discern anything. The crime scene had been so badly tainted removing any chance of finding viable clues.

Still, he stood by the pool, imagining Onono’s body sinking to the bottom of the pool in the dark after she had been gruesomely murdered. The thought fired a shudder from his feet to his head.

He took a deep breath to relax his muscles. He knew how hard it was for his body to be relaxed when his mind was in a state of chaos.

Ekpeyong had enough motive to kill his wife. She was carrying another man’s child and she had asked for a divorce. What if he had contracted Efe to do the job on his behalf after frightening him earlier that afternoon?

Suddenly, there was a feeling that someone else was watching his every move as he stood there transfixed in his own thoughts. It felt as though unseen eyes were burning down on his back like the heat of the sun. But when he turned around quickly, he didn’t see anyone at first. Pretending to turn away, he looked again, and this time, he saw Efe lurking behind the glass door into the lobby like a lonesome spy, statue-like in his uniform.

Efe hesitated for a moment, before turning away from his line of sight.

“Get Efe into the office immediately. I want to speak with him.” He motioned to one of the officers at his behest.

“Sir, we found the victim’s pashmina in Efe’s room during the search of his room. It was the only notable evidence we got during the search.”

“How do you know it belonged to the victim?” Oladimeji asked as he turned to walk back into the hotel. “Why are you just mentioning this?”

“The victim draped the handcrafted pashmina over her shoulders has she arrived the hotel that afternoon. The CCTV captured that. We initially didn’t think much of it until we noticed that the pashmina was hers, after watching several hours of the CCTV footage.” The officer spoke so eloquently that Oladimeji spared his face an extended full five second look.

“And what did the suspect say about the scarf?”

“He claims that she had given it to him. The pashmina is quite expensive sir, my wife sells them at the main market. We believe he kept it to himself as a souvenir. There was no way she would have given him such an expensive item.”

“Where is the pashmina?”

The officer reached out for the makeshift evidence box, a brown cardboard carton, that used to house clinking alcohol bottles, where all the items retrieved or confiscated from the crime scene and during the investigation were neatly tagged and stored.

The moment the scarf was handed to Oladimeji, he sniffed the fragrance with his eyes closed. The perfume had the romance of the most exquisite floral bouquets, the kind that was as priceless as any natural flower could be. Soothing, calming and utterly feminine.

“The victim had a good taste surely.” He concluded as he ran his fingers through the exquisite fabric.

“And you found this in Efe’s room, you say?” He took a second sniff, suddenly feeling lightheaded. There was something in that aroma that was too intense to sniff.

“Yes, Sir.” The officer replied quickly.

Oladimeji bobbed his head slightly as though validating a thought in his head. Something was off, but he was yet to figure it out.

“That boy has got a lot of explaining to do.” He so badly needed to connect Efe with Ekpeyong’s motive to end this investigation, with its many open doors, each with a stormy vortex of grim possibilities.

“Show me where you found the scarf.”

Please follow the story to the next episode.

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

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  5. Efe has too many explaining to do. He’s in a fix, he either did it for himself or got contracted to do it

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