The Philips’ Residence.
Supo came to with a splitting headache. A cacophony of disjointed voices surrounded him. The cold harmattan wrapped itself tightly around him making his body shiver like a man struck with malaria. He opened his eyes, saw that he was lying on a stretcher and there were police officers moving around the grounds of the Phillips’ mansion.
The last thing he remembered was trying to catch his breath as his partner ran before him into the house. He heard a man behind him order him to drop his weapon. But before he could turn around to confront the man, he was struck on the head with a metallic object and passed out. That was all he remembered.
He touched the spot on his head and winced.
“You are up!” Raymond chuckled. “Welcome back to reality.”
Supo turned to look at Raymond who was holding two paper cups of coffee and beaming with a huge smile like a man who had just won the lottery. He collected one cup from him and took a sip. The caffeine brought some clarity to his mind and strength back to his weak body.
Raymond filled him in. “I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that while you were out, I arrested the notorious gangster Sugar,” Raymond said with excitement. “Right now he is in our custody,” he pointed at a police car.
Supo massaged his head. “You did?” He looked at the police activity around him. This was very confusing. “How did you manage to do that?” Supo looked lost.
Raymond was enjoying himself. “It appears you have the instincts to become a great detective.”
“Why do you say so?” Supo asked.
“Guess who was in the suspicious vehicle you stopped tonight at the traffic lights? It was the notorious Sugar and his sidekick Diana.”
A light of recognition went up in Supo’s eyes and he sat up. “So that was Sugar? I knew there was something off about that guy.”
“Yes my friend! Your instincts were right on target. They were on their way here to commit a crime. After he knocked you out he came after me but his luck ran out.”
“What happened?” Supo asked, sipping some more hot liquid.
“Back-up arrived! That was what happened. The moment he saw he was surrounded by a superior force, he surrendered his weapon. He and his partner in crime have been singing like canaries to our boys.”
Supo looked around at the police activity in the compound. “And the bad news?” he asked.
Raymond sipped some coffee before he answered. “It turns out that Shade Phillips, the woman we came to investigate, paid her security guard some money to murder her husband and get rid of his body.”
“She told you that?” Supo asked.
“No she didn’t. She completely denies it. However, her friend Ngozi, whom I arrested holding a deadly weapon, confessed to the police and told us all that happened in the past forty eight hours. It turns out that Shade Philips has an Italian lover and they both planned to get rid of her husband. Ngozi tried to stop them but by the time she arrived, the security guard had kidnapped Gbenga Philips and committed murder.”
Supo thought for a few seconds. “Do you have any evidence or are you just going by the words of Shade’s friend?”
Raymond shook his head. “We don’t have any solid evidence to prove her allegations. Our men are still investigating her claims. We took the gun from her as evidence.”
Supo looked at an elderly woman talking to two ladies in handcuffs. “Who is that woman?” he pointed with his head.
Raymond turned to look in that direction. “That is chief Mrs Eno Philips, Gbenga’s mother.”
Supo shook his head. “Man, I wouldn’t want to be the one she’s talking to right now.”
Mama regarded the two women who stood before her in handcuffs. She spoke to Shade. “I have always known that you were a devil. You couldn’t deceive me with your feeble attempt at spirituality. Going to church with my son couldn’t remove that evil stain I saw in your character. I warned my son not to marry you but he wouldn’t listen. He followed you like a stray dog into the dungeon you called a marriage,” mama paused.
Shade didn’t even acknowledge that mama was talking to her. Her eyes were on the ground.
“Where is my son?” mama asked her daughter in-law. She waited for an answer, her eyes becoming tiny slits. “What have you done to him?”
“Mama, I told you that she paid the security guard to kidnap him. I think he also kidnapped the maid,” Ngozi explained.
“I see.” mama turned her attention to Shade who was looking at the ground. Mama spoke in an angry whisper. “If anything should happen to my son I will make sure you suffer for it. No court of law in this country will be able to save you from my hands. I will make sure you pay for your crime.”
A man spoke from behind mama. “Shade, don’t admit to anything.”
Chief Eno Phillips turned round to see who interrupted her. “Who are you?”
“I am Barrister Iyamu Thomas, Shade’s lawyer,” he turned to Shade. “Your father sent me here to represent you.”
Shade said nothing.
“So your father has already heard about your crime ad sent you a lawyer?” Mama said.
“She hasn’t committed a crime until it is proven in a court of law,” the lawyer challenged her.
Mama regarded her daughter in-law and the lawyer. “If anything happens to my son, you will pay for it.” She turned and walked towards her car.
“Excuse me madam,” a police officer walked up to her.
Mama turned around.
“Thank you for calling us. If it wasn’t for your call we wouldn’t have been able to apprehend a notorious criminal and there would have been a murder in your son’s home.”
“Have you found my son?” Mama asked impatiently.
“We are doing all we can ma. We found a taxi driver who said he carried a man and a woman to the makoko ghetto. The man fits the description of your son.”
“And the woman with him?”
“We suspect that it might have been the missing maid. Ngozi over there claims that the security guard allegedly kidnapped your son and the maid on the orders of your daughter in-law.”
“That woman is no daughter in-law of mine. She is a criminal and if you do your job right she will pay for her crime.”
“We have sent men into the ghetto to investigate the claims. We shall keep you informed of any further developments.”
“Please do,” mama entered her car. The driver started the car and drove out of the compound.
Ngozi overheard the conversation between mama and the police officer and smiled to herself. If Yemi was foolish enough to take Gbenga to her home in the ghetto, she would get him back as soon as she cleared this little business with the police. Gbenga belonged to her and nobody was going to steal him from her, especially not the maid. After all she has done for that girl is this how she wants to repay her by stealing the man she is in love with? That will never happen, she thought as she watched mama’s car exit the gates.
Hidden in the shadows of some dilapidated kiosks, Sadique watched the lights in the apartment in which Yemi and Gbenga entered. He hit his clenched fist against the wall of the kiosk beside him.
“How did you survive?” he asked in a whisper still looking at the movements in the apartment. He had thrown Gbenga far enough into the water and expected that he would drown and sink to the bottom of the lagoon, but Yemi had found a way to rescue him. She either felt a false sense of duty to her boss or was suffering from a crisis of conscience and wanted to redeem herself by performing a moral act, doing something decent for once in her life. Whatever the reason for her betrayal, the fact that Gbenga Philips was still alive would put him and Shade in jeopardy. If the police ever got involved they could be charged with attempted murder.
He drew deeply on the cigarette he held in his left hand. The smoke drifted to his lungs and warmed his body. He threw the stub on the ground and stepped on it, crushing it viciously into the earth.
He looked at the dark windows of the apartment and swore quietly. He had been paid to do a job and he would finish it, no matter what. He would kill Gbenga Philips and get his woman back from him.
“No man can steal my woman from me. No man!” he pulled his jacket tightly around his body, then walked off into the night.
To be continued….