Gabriel didn’t care if his table was littered with old files. All he cared about was finding Chief Obiaso’s file. Removing his blue suit, he flung it on the chair, rolled up his sleeves and continued digging into the red and white ‘Ghana Must Go’ sack that held old files.
He could feel his underarms getting sweaty but he didn’t care. He really needed to find that file. He wanted to know if Chief had relatives aside his daughter who he always talked about. Gabriel wished he had asked him about his residential address but then, he was not the one handling Chief’s cases before his death. They just happened to be very good friends.
To Gabriel, Chief Obiaso Chike was like the father he never had. Having lost his father to the sharp claws of death at the tender age of 12, he was left alone with his mother. It was Chief who had advised him to take a step in his career and start working towards having his own law firm. It was chief who advised him against marrying women for beauty. According to him, ‘marrying a woman because of her beauty is like following the deception of a chameleon’.
Chief had practically stepped up and played the role of a father in his life.
“Finally!” Gabriel exclaimed. His small brown eyes gleamed with joy as he picked up the dusty brown file.
He carefully set it on his table and then rushed to put back the other files into the bag. Soon, he was seated behind his huge mahogany desk, going through the file.
Although it wasn’t Chief’s will. His will was safely locked away in the bank. But this was his journal, the closest thing. Unfortunately, the first five pages were blank. Confusion set in.
He quickly flipped through the rest of the pages. And sadly, they were blank as well. Gabriel frowned. Somehow, he knew Chief must have written in this book because the pages of the book looked dogeared.
He set the book down, now totally confused. He wasn’t satisfied with the outcome. Eagerly, he picked the book again and looked at it. This time he brought it close to his eyes so he could really see for himself. But, then it was really blank like nothing was written on it but he couldn’t ignore the fact that it showed signs of heavy use.
Well, except if it was coded. He thought.
Exhausted and disappointed, he set it down and pushed it to the side of his desk.
Things were not going as he expected. He stood up and walked to the tiny restroom in his office to rinse dust from his hands. He couldn’t say he had been lucky enough to get this office space. None of his colleagues had a restroom in their offices. Rather, they would have to use the general. Gabriel hated sharing toilets. In fact, he hated anyone invading his privacy. So when his boss told him to either share an office with his colleagues or have his own separate office but a total of 15% would be deducted from his salary, he willingly embraced the second option.
Looking up, he caught his slim frame in the mirror and smiled ruefully. He remembered the club he visited the previous night. Ladies and even girls had thrown themselves shamelessly at him. Their action reminded him that he was a good quality in the sea of men. He laughed.
He was the rare 6 ft 1 height, muscular, hard chest and slim waist that most gym instructors had and his face held a completely different mystery, his nose was pointed and his brown eyes were captivating. He didn’t have any dimple but then, his ebony complexion always made people wonder if he was from the Northern part of Nigeria instead of the Western part.
Perhaps these were the same features that Chinelo got attracted to when they first met on Facebook a year ago.
The sound of something falling off drew back his attention. He quickly finished rinsing his hand and dried it with a paper towel.
He approached his desk and found the journal lying on the floor just beside his desk.
He bent to pick the journal but then it shifted from his reach. Gabriel paused, thinking he was probably hallucinating. He tried to pick it again but then it shifted away from his reach.
Out of panic, he moved away from the book. He was scared. Never had he imagined that this would happen real life talk more of it happening to him. He could have sworn and argued with his friend; Charles, that this only existed in the dream world or scary movies.
He approached the book again but this time, slowly and with curious steps, he grabbed the book. The book flew forcefully out of his hand and hit him on the face.
“Aaaah!” he screamed
He was still rubbing his face when he sighted the book hanging in mid air. He rubbed his eyes to know if it was a dream or reality.
Lo and behold, it was real!
Panic rose in his chest as he advanced towards the door. He needed to leave his office. This was too much for him to take in. But then the book flew towards the door, just in front of him and indirectly telling him he couldn’t leave.
This time, Gabriel couldn’t hold back his fear, he was almost peeing in his pants. This was the moment where he should scream ‘Jesus’ but somehow, his lips couldn’t do nothing more than tremble.
Just then, a figure started to take form in front of him. And after it formed, he was dazed to see it was Chief. He was putting on white native wear and red cap. The exact signature attire he always wore when he was alive.
Someone hold me before I faint. Gabriel thought as his eyes widened, “ch…chief?” he stuttered.
Chief gave a short throaty laugh. “Yes, my son. It is me”
It was at this point that Gabriel wished he could just faint for real or someone should just interrupt them.
“My son, don’t be scared,” Chief said again.
“Bu…bu…but how is this possible?” his voice quivered.
“Well, I’m dead and have been buried but my spirit cannot sleep.”
Gabriel started regaining himself little by little. But he couldn’t get over the fact that he was speaking to a ghost!
A real ghost? He never imagined this. “How? I don’t understand.”
“You see, I was murdered in cold blood. And, I cannot rest until my death is avenged.”
Gabriel remained speechless for a while. Chief’s last statement really got to him. “But do you know, do you know who killed you?” he finally found his voice.
Chief shook his head. “No Gabriel. But I have a clue. A clue which would help us find my murderer.”
Gabriel’s heart skipped a beat. He swallowed. “Did you just say…” he gestured to himself and the apparition on the wall. “You and I?”
“Yes. You will help me find my murderer.”
Gabriel shook his head. “Oh, no, no! I can’t. I am a lawyer not a detective, neither am I a ghost detector!”
“Please, Gabriel you have to help me out. My best friend looks suspicious and so I can’t ask him to help. I need you to help me. You are my only hope else I would keep roaming about the earth without finding my rest.” Chief’s face paled.
Gabriel was thrown into fits of confusion briefly. Of course he would do anything to help Chief but not in this situation. How would he even start?
“No, sir. Please find someone else.” Gabriel went to his seat and sat on it. Thank God he didn’t die from heart attack.
“Gabriel you are my only hope.”
“No! Leave me alone! This is all too much! You are only a ghost, you don’t exist!” he rolled his eyes “oh somebody wake me up from this dream!” he shouted in frustration.
“This isn’t a dream! Please, you have to help me Gabriel. Look at me. Do you think I’m happy to do this to you,” Chief sounded like he was sobbing. It cause Gabriel to feel pity for him.
“Okay! Fine. I will help because you were the father I never had. But, you have to promise that you wouldn’t appear like this to me anymore. You scared the shit out of me.”
“Oh, thank you Gabriel. I promise to always let you know somehow that we need to talk. So I will go now, see you soon!”
Before he could reply, the apparition on the wall disappeared and the book fell to the ground. Gabriel eyed it closely; refusing any urge to go pick it up. In the next 15 seconds, there was a soft knock on his door. Without waiting for a reply, the door opened, a tall lanky guy walked in. He caught sight of the journal, picked it up and placed it on Gabriel’s desk.
“Gabby how work now? Oga is calling you. He says he has been calling your intercom but you’ve not been picking. Anyways he says it’s concerning Chief Obiaso Chike’s will,” the lanky guy took the empty seat in front of the desk.
Gabriel sat up. “What about it?”
“E be like say na u go represent am for Abuja. Mehnnn you are lucky. At least you will get to leave Kaduna for Abuja after so many years of working with Mr. stingy koko.”
The news was amazing and surprising at the same time. Their boss was a greedy man who never wanted the best for his employees. But then his abrupt trip to Abuja was surprising. It was just too good to be true.
“Uh, Ahmad are you sure?”
“Yep. Very sure. Let me go back to my office. I have a lot of things to tidy up.” He stood up and left.
Gabriel sat still, pondering over the news. Such a thing has never happened before. Perhaps, Chief Obiaso’s ghost was working wonders already, He thought.
He put away the journal in his bag and then walked out of the office to his boss’s, to hear the news from the horse’s mouth.