The sky glowed with red patches as the sun gradually made its exit. It was evening and most people had started to return from work.
The Kada ice cream shop just behind Kada Fries restaurant was busy with customers who chose to relax before going home. Some came in with their girlfriends or boyfriends. Others came in with their casual friends.
At a corner slightly covered by a wooden barricade, Fegor sat, quietly going through some paper documents. She didn’t seem disturbed by the music showing on the TV screen, or by the customers arguing loudly at their tables. She was more concerned with the information she got earlier from Terry. Thanks to her no-nonsense attitude.
Earlier at Royalty Hotel, after she followed Terry to his room, Fegor gave him no chance to think or get his bearings. She pretended to search her bag for something easy to wear before the proposed deal. But she took out a shotgun instead and aimed at Terry’s forehead.
“Wait. What is this? What are you doing?” Terry frowned as the realisation hit him.
“I only want info. When I’m done, the real girl will come in and entertain you. But if you really want that entertainment, tell me all I need to know.” She pulled out her phone with her free hand, went to the gallery and opened the pictures she snapped from the CCTV footages. “What business did you have with her?” Fegor asked while showing him the screen. Terry moved closer for a better view, but Fegor moved backwards. “Stay where you are and look.”
After looking at the picture well, Terry sighed. “She was my friend and I was her lawyer.”
“Yes, was. She’s late now.” He said, looking sad.
“Oh. So you know she’s late?”
“Of course I do. What are you getting at?” Terry fired at her.
“She died less than 24 hours and you already know she’s dead. Like that isn’t enough, you’re here having drinks with friends and paying for sexual entertainment. Tell me the truth, are you behind her death?”
“What? No! Look, you can accuse me all you want. But Maureen brought death on herself. I did my best to keep her safe. She knew she was in danger but she kept throwing caution to the wind, partying when she was supposed to be hiding. I even asked her at one time, not to go to work. But she insisted.”
“Who were you trying to keep her safe from?”
He sighed, looked away, and then back to Fegor. “Her husband. My one time best friend.”
“Interesting. So why? Why did her husband want to hurt her?”
“She planned to leave him. And since they did a court marriage, she was asking for a 50-50 split of her husband’s wealth.”
“Wow! I see. That’s reason enough. Maybe I…”
“Are you a police officer?” Terry cut in, looking past her bold front.
“No. But I am an investigator and I want to get to the bottom of the matter. Sorry for disturbing you, Terry. And thanks for the information. But one last thing. Where can I find her husband?”
“You can’t. He’s not in the country.”
“Hmmm. Ok.” She observed him a while before saying her next words. “The bathroom.”
“What?” Terry asked with raised brows.
“Go into the bathroom.”
He obeyed quietly. Once in, Fegor locked the door before taking some documents on the late Maureen From Teddy’s suitcase. She then took his ID and complimentary cards from his wallet. “I need to be able to find you if I need you,” she whispered. “Thank you so much, Teddy. I’ll call your friends to help release you,” she called out to him.
“You better not steal my money or any valuables,” Terry threatened from inside the bathroom. “I’ll hunt you if you do.”
“Don’t worry, I’m not a thief.”
Fegor left the room and went back to his friends. She told them Terry needed to see them.
“What for?” One of them asked.
“He says he has something important to discuss. That’s all I Know,” She lied.
While they went to their friend, Fegor left the premises. She was long gone before would realise what had happened.
After going around town to find other clues, she finally settled at Kada Fries for a quick meal, after which, she went over to the ice cream shop.
At exactly 6:30 pm, Ogechi strolled in. Her black leather pants matched her red fitted blouse; revealing the right curves in the right places. Her hair was packed into a ponytail. With head held high, she surveyed the entire room. Some mischievous men winked at her, signalling her over to their tables.
Guys will always be guys. She thought, ignoring them. She looked around for the last time before her eyes fell on Fegor, slightly covered by a wooden barricade. She walked straight up, pulled a chair, and sat down. “Have you been here long?”
Fegor looked up at her briefly, then returned to what she was doing without looking up again.
“I guess I’m invisible.”
“You’re not,” Fegor replied, her head still bent. “I’m just busy at the moment.”
“While you’re doing whatever it is you’re doing, can we talk? I have a date in an hour’s time and I don’t want to be late.”
Her statement piqued Fegor’s interest. She stopped what she was doing and looked up. She didn’t know Ogechi was the type to have dates. Or was she bent on seeing another person who also wanted information? “I didn’t know you have a boyfriend.”
“Since it’s my personal life, it’s none of your business.”
“What kind of date exactly, are you going on?”
“Like I said, it is…”
“None of my business,” Fegor completed for her. “I’ll remember that throughout the rest of our conversation. Can we go straight to business?”
“These men,” she said, sliding the printed photos across to Ogechi, “What do you know about them? I’m curious because they were all with the woman in the photo.”
“Isn’t she the dead woman they showed today on TV?”
“I wasn’t aware they showed her on TV,” Fegor’s eyes narrowed to a slit, her brows pulled together into a frown. The damn DPO couldn’t keep the death a secret until after investigations? Or was she the only one investigating? She knew she was supposed to meet the DPO for her balance payment and stylishly get more information. But with the issue on ground, she was sure that payment wouldn’t be made, not until she had found the victim’s killer.
“Hmmmm, “So it’s her death you’re investigating? Was she your sister? Ogechi asked
“That’s none of your business.”
“It is, if I’m going to help you,”
“She’s my client. Was, my client.”
“Ok. There are a lot of possibilities about who her real killer is. But I heard whispers from people I suspect to be her murderers.”
“What exactly did you hear?” Fegor sat up straight.
“How much you pay determines if I’ll tell you or not,” Ogechi leaned back, arms folded. Seeing she was determined to not speak, Fegor dipped her hand in her bag and brought out some N500 notes.
“Now I’m listening,” she said, after handing it over.
“The men who killed her came over to the hotel today. I was in the restroom when I heard whispers. Lucky for me, the door was slightly open so I peeped and saw their faces. Young boys, both of them.”
“So how do I find these boys?”
“You’re in luck. I saw one of them outside the cinema house when I came in. Just follow me. I’ll lead you to him.
Fegor frowned, observed and then spoke. “Why do I feel like you’re lying?”
“You can doubt me all you want. But the faster we move, the better.”
Fegor quickly put her things together and followed Ogechi. The cold evening breeze enveloped them as soon as they stepped outside. Manoeuvring cars parked in the parking lot, they finally made it to the Kada cinema house.
“I thought you said you saw him outside? Why then are we going inside?” Fegor queried.
“You want to catch these guys or not?” Ogechi asked.
“Then let’s keep going. I saw him come in here.”
After walking around and looking for the boys fruitlessly, they came out and stood at the parking lot, close to a van. Fegor was disappointed, at the same time, she knew when she was being deceived..
“You didn’t really see anybody, did you?” She asked.
“I did,” Ogechi insisted. “What? You think I’m lying just so I can collect money?”
“Yes. That’s exactly what I think.”
“You’re being very unfair.”
“Ok. I don’t want to be unfair. Show me the boys or return my money.” Fegor was determined to prove her point.
“I’ll show you the boys. I promise you’ll see them,” she smiled mischievously. Fegor caught the ridicule in her voice and instantly knew all was not well. She followed Ogechi’s eyes but before she could turn around to see what those mischievous eyes were staring at, a black cloth covered her head and a hand covered her mouth. Amidst struggles and muffled screams, strong hands pulled her into the nearby van. The engine roared to life and shortly after, the van moved.
Fegor’s heartbeat tripled. Being tossed here and there by the moving van, she sat up, pulled off the black hood and stared into familiar eyes. A pair belonged to Ogechi, the other belonged to her friend.
“Chigozie?” She asked, agape.
To be continued…
This is a Pelleura story.
Idea and write-up by Karo Oforofuo. Read the previous chapters here
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