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A Thorn in Her Life

By Olatunbosun Adetula (Nigeria)

Chapter 2


 

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                                                       Chapter 2

 

      Paul looked at the card that Maria secretly dropped on the bed, although he had forgotten about his birthday, Maria had dropped the card on the bed just to remind him of his birthday. As he looked at the card, the phone in the living room rang; Paul shook his head and went out of the room.

      When he received the phone call, he sat and watched the television. As he sat down inside the living room, he thought about Maria. He stood up, took the television remote control and went to the small bar inside the living room to pour whiskey into the glass cup.

      Paul didn’t like the drama on the screen. He changed the channels. Suddenly he got to a station. On the screen were group of armed robbers that were caught by the police. The men had robbed a commercial bank at Broad Street, Victoria Island. As they escaped with their loot, the police caught up with them along the road. As he watched the scene on the television, Paul saw her; she held a microphone and spoke to one of the armed robbers. Paul ran to the television and recorded the video into his cassette. He loved Maria’s composure and her intelligence. He smiled. At least he could use that whenever he desired to see her. He laughed and called her number. He told her that he loved her work.

      Later in the evening, Paul and Maria met at a local restaurant. They sat and drank inside the small restaurant in downtown Victoria Island. A boat sailed across the bay and the wind from the sea brushed their faces as they talked the armed robbers that came to raid the bank.

“Maria aren’t you afraid of the armed robbers?” Paul said as he drank a can beer.

“No, they were harmless; they can’t hurt a fly in that situation.”

“I was shocked when I saw a lady among them.” Paul said.

“Don’t be shocked, the lady was the leader of the gang, and she was well armed.” Maria said and Paul opened his mouth in surprise.

“The lady must be a super-man.”

“She would have escaped but a little boy exposed her.”

“I don’t understand.”

“The little boy saw her when she entered a supermarket. As the police closed in on them, she was hiding at the back of the cashier when the little boy began to cry. The police turned around, the cashier blinked his eyes, and she was caught.”

“And she didn’t put up any resistance.”

‘No, not at all. She was hopeless. His comrade had been shots, she was weak, she put up her hand in defeat and the police arrested her, I think she had no choice. If she had decided to shoot in the supermarket, she would be caught and her sentence would be long.”

“It‘s sad, a sad end to that beautiful lady’s life.”

“People like that don’t last.”

“What did you mean?”

“They died early and violently.”

      As they talk inside the restaurant, the day became dark like the back of a pot and the moon came out of the dark cloud.

“Maria you look more beautiful than the lady I saw on the television.” Paul said and Maria looked at him and shook her head.

“I won’t be taken in by your blarney.”

“I am damn serious.” Paul said and he ordered a wine. The waitress brought two glasses of sweet wine to their table.

“I will have red wine please,” Paul said and smiled at the lady. Maria said she would prefer the white wine. As they talked the waiter brought red wine for Paul and laid it on their table.

“Paul, how are you preparing for your birthday?” Maria said and Paul covered his mouth with his hand. Maria laughed and looked at him.

“Now I remember. You are just a funny girl. I saw what you did - you dropped the card on my bed. Funny enough, I had forgotten that my birthday is around the corner.”

“You have forgotten?” Maria said; she was surprised by his response.

“I have forgotten really, Maria I want to thank you for reminding me about it. Words can’t express my gratitude.” Paul said and held her hand across the table.

‘So how do we celebrate it?”

“I think I will just mark it; two of us and Lawrence is okay.”

‘That is bullshit. No way Paul; we going to celebrate it.” Maria shouted and Paul laughed.

“Ooh, I don’t know what to do; I have never done that before in my life.”

“Then you have got to experience it.”

“Oh Maria I…” Paul said and Maria cut him short.

“So we had better start the preparation very early.” Maria said and teased him across the table.

      Paul smiled and agreed with her suggestions. He looked at her and ordered more red wine.

“How will you help for the preparation?”

“Don’t worry, leave everything to me.”

“I will have to send a cheque to you, right?”

‘Yeah, you better send it earlier; like the saying goes, the earlier the better.”

“So what are you going to present to me as gift? I mean a gift to a lover?” Paul said and smiled.

“Keep your fingers crossed baby.” Maria said and sipped the wine succulently.

      Later they left the restaurant in the night. As Paul took Maria home, the car stopped suddenly in the middle of the deserted road. Everywhere was in pitch darkness when Paul came out of the car. He looked very sad. He feared the worst nightmare as he fiddled with the car cable; later Maria came and joined him, and fear encrypted across her beautiful face as well.

      Paul worked on the car and after some minutes. He went into the car and turned the ignition but still the engine wouldn’t come up. As he contemplated what to do, a bat flew and hit the windscreen of the car, Maria let out a shrieking cry as the bat flew away. Paul made fun of her, and Maria hit him softly across the chest. He held her by the hand and drew her closed. Then he kissed her on the lips. Later as they disengaged, Paul went back to the car and worked on it.

“If the car is not working, we will just have to walk it Maria.” Paul said as he fiddled with the cable inside the car.

“It will not work Paul. I can’t walk along with you on this road this night, and I would rather stay inside the car till the break of dawn.” Maria said as she remembered the encounter she had with the two men were still fresh in her mind.

“Well love, I won’t let you walk in this dark night, trust me dear.”

      Paul changed the plug, went into the car and turned the ignition. Suddenly the engine sprang to life. Maria jumped in the middle of the road; she was so happy that she went and jumped on Paul’s leg as he came out within the car. Later Paul got out within the car and closed the bonnet. They kissed and the car left in a great deal of speed.

    
                                                      X   X   X   X

 

 Mr. Benson had a big house in Victoria Island. The mansion was large; it had a swimming pool and a large space for recreational activities. Benson had a lot of companies and a big hotel, and was an astute business man. He killed an Editor of a newspaper because the latter was about to expose many of his criminal activities.

      In fact, Mr. Benson engaged in many dirty deals on the island, duping foreigners. He was a drug lord who ferried drugs and other contraband to Victoria Island with his ship.

      Mr. Benson was smoking a Cuban cigar close to the filter when two men came into the living room. He shook his thick head when he saw the men. The men dropped two bags on the table. Mr. Benson opened the bag, spoke to the two men and they bent low and counted the money inside the bags. Then, after they finished they stood up.

“How much is in the bag Ken?” Mr. Benson said and looked at Ken’s eyes.

“Five million dollars here sir.” Ken said and Mr. Benson waved the men outside.

      Later Bath came into the living room. When he entered his eyes were fixed on the money on the table.

“Dad you must be minting dollars here.” Bath hollered.

“Alan just paid my money, I wanted to leave the money for him but I changed my mind.” Mr. Benson said. Bath went to the bar and poured wine into two glass cups. He gave one to his father and he sat down.

      Mr. Benson had lent five million dollar from Alan to support his business, but their path crossed when he learnt that Alan and Bath‘s wife Rebecca were lovers .He warned Alan repeatedly to leave Rebecca but Alan was adamant he was in love with Rebecca. Mr. Benson volunteered to give him one of his ships if he forgot about Rebecca, Alan wouldn’t be bulged by his lucrative offer.

      As they drank wine and talked in the living room, Mr. Benson looked at his son. A long time ago he had made up his mind that nothing would happen to him, inasmuch as he was still alive.

      Mr. Benson stood up and paced around the living room. Later he went behind Bath; bent low and spoke gently into his ear.

“Bath where were you yesterday when I came to your office?”

“I went to the port, I got a report that one of our ships was about to sink with all the goods, so I quickly left the office to check it.”

“So, how did it go Son?”

“I got it towed to the port.”

“Good my boy, you have really done a good job,” Mr. Benson said, his voice thick like the bark of a tree.

“Dad, one more thing. The police marine unit will be on the sea for their drilling.” Bath said with concern on his face.

“They won’t disturb us; forget about them.” Mr. Benson said with confidence as he went to the bar and poured a glassful of wine into the tumbler, gulping it down his throat. Bath watched him and stood up.

“Dad I have to be on my way; I have a date with Bruno.”

“Okay I will call you first thing tomorrow morning; I want you to meet my friend Bissy.” Mr. Benson said and Bath looked at him with surprise all over his face.

“Who is Bissy?”

“Oh, you don’t know Bissy; he is my good friend, a good friend of the family.”

“I don’t seem to remember him Dad.”

“Yeah, he is a pilot; he works for a private company.”

“Okay, now I remember him. He was the one that brought the cocaine from Canary.”

“Good son; now you remember him.”

“The last time he came we didn’t have a chance to talk.”

“Yeah Son, this time you will have lot of time to talk together; he is spending a week on the island.”

“I will be glad to meet him then.”

“Right, I will introduce the two of you.”

“Let me be on my way.”

“Goodbye Son and drive gently please.” Mr. Benson said and waved bye to him.

      Mr. Benson sat down, his face drained of blood, took his cell phone and called Gina. Bath got into his car, turned the ignition and the engine sprang to life. As he drove along the express road, he thought about his wife Rebecca; he knew the reason why his dad collected his money back from Alan; it was all because Alan and Rebecca were secret lovers.

      Bath knew that Rebecca was tired of the relationship. The spark was no longer there again. The love and affection they had for each other had disappeared like smoke from the chimney and it would take a great miracle before it could be mended. Bath hated Rebecca because she hardly stayed at home since she met Alan; sometimes she would come back to the house at a very odd hour. As he drove along the road, he vowed to deal with her and to deal with Alan forever. Bath would have killed Alan but for his father.

      Bath held the steering of the car with anger as he drove fast to Bruno’s ‘house.

     
                                              X   X   X   X

 

Paul looked very handsome and excited as he left his house for the party at the Savanna restaurant in Victoria Island. Paul picked his cell phone as he sat with Lawrence within the car. He dialed Maria’s phone number.

“I hope I will meet you at home; Lawrence and I are coming to pick you up.”

“I am at home; I am through with my preparation. I will be waiting patiently for you.” Maria said and looked at herself on the mirror inside the room.

      At the restaurant, Paul and Maria looked very happy as they danced on the stage. Paul was especially happy with loads of gift brought by his friends and well-wishers; he was flabbergasted by the numbers of people that came to his birthday party. As the party drew to a close in the evening Paul moved around the table, greeting invited guess who graced the occasion. Later he went to the podium to greet everyone.

“I thank you for coming to this August gathering. I especially thank my fiancée Maria; I thanked in a million my friend Lawrence, Tito, Emily, Brown and colleagues at work and to everyone that came to this occasion.” Paul said.

      The master of ceremonies invited everyone to the dance floor. The music box was turned very low and the dance floors were filled with couples that held on to each other like Siamese twins. Paul and Maria held on to each other closely.

“I dreamt of dancing with you long time ago, Maria.” Paul said and touched her cheeks.

“I like your dance step.”

“I love you Maria.”

“I love you too.”

“This is the happiest day of my life.”

      The moon glowed in the night sky as Paul and Maria held on to each other tenaciously. Paul whispered sweet words into her ear as they danced on the floor.

“Your beauty strikes me on the heart Maria.”

“And your handsomeness, it is wonderful.”

“Maria...”

“You are my charming prince.” Maria said and they kissed.

      An air of burning passion hissed in deep silence as the music box was turned way down low. Hot passion penetrated deeply into the fabric of her brain. He ran his hand through her beautiful hair. Maria smiled, telling told him not to remove his hand. She liked it. As they danced together, she rested her head on his soft shoulder and they danced like that till late in the evening.
 
    Paul was tired when he stopped the car in front of his duplex and got down, drove inside and locked the gate. Maria was very weak. Paul didn’t upload the gifts from inside the car. Instead he went beside the passenger’s seat and carried a weak Maria in his hand. He carried her into the living room, locked the door and climbed the staircase taking Maria into the room. When he laid her on the bed, he kissed the exposed part of her body. They kissed together. She held to him and he fell on the bed. She encircled her leg around him. As Paul went inside her, he went deeper as Maria held to him tenaciously; he touched her and sent megawatts of passion down her heart. When he kissed her and slept on her, he rode her like a bull. Maria saw the moon, the stars, the mountains and the river as they both came together. Outside the rain fall silently and dripped down on the silver pane.

 

                                             X   X   X   X

 

Bath left Bruno’s house and drove to his house. When he got home he found the whole house empty and deserted, Rebecca was not in the house. He knew she would be in a party downtown with her lover Alan. Bath went into her room and searched her wardrobe. As he scattered the whole place, suddenly like a bolt from the blue he saw a letter purportedly written by Alan. He sat on the bed, opened it and began to read, his eyes moving in a rhythmical pattern. In the letter Alan planned to elope with Rebecca. Bath was mad after he read the letter. He dropped it on the floor and in anger he went out of the room and jammed the door. His thoughts were filled with anger and he vowed to deal with Rebecca for the last time.

       Bath sat in the living room and drank a bottle of champagne. The clock on the wall chimed eleven times, Bath was unsteady; his hand shook and the commotion and tension inside his body built up. He clenched his fist like a heavy-weight boxer and then because he was restless like a flood of water, he paced up and down the living room.

      Thirty minutes later, after he had waited for her in a restless breath, he climbed the staircase and went inside his room. He searched under the bed and drew out a small box. The box contains a pistol and a .45 automatic pistol. The barrel was empty, but he loaded bullets into it and smiled sheepishly. He went to the window upstairs and looked across the street but everywhere was deserted like a desert. Then he went downstairs, sat down and waited patiently for her like a lion after his prey.

      Bath was restless after Rebecca didn’t come. He got up and went upstairs. Bath stood by the window with sunken eyes and he looked across the dark street like a hungry vulture. Thirty minutes later when the time struck twelve he was awakened from his reverie by the sound of a car. He saw the twin headlights of a car. The car screeched to a halt in front of the house. Bath looked out from the window like an eagle after a chick as the occupants of the car refused to alight. Alan was the first to come out. He went to the passenger’s side of the car and opened the door for Rebecca. Rebecca was full of smiles as she came out of the car; they both sat on the bonnet of the car. They held themselves together in a warm embrace, unmindful that it was past midnight. Then Alan kissed her on her red ruby lips, it was a hot passionate kiss that sent waves of passion across her heart. Bath saw them from the window, his blood boiling and his face muscles stretched beyond their boundary.

      Bath saw Alan kiss his wife several times as he stood by the window and watched them. Although he didn’t love her now, he couldn’t bear the thought of another man kissing his wife and his neck veins became crimson like embers of bush fire. He looked at them and aimed his pistol. He wanted to shoot the two estranged lover from the window but he changed his mind. He knew that if he shot them the police would swoop into the house. Firing a pistol is like bringing a termite infected wood into the house. Nothing would definitely stop the lizard from invading the compound.

       He left the window and went downstairs and a sudden thought rushed into his heart like a flood of water as he was about to go to the bar. He vowed in his heart to strangle her and throw her body away. Then he would go to the police and inform them of her disappearance. He poured wine into the glass cup, gulping the drink and waiting for her.

      Rebecca was not in love with Bath; she was only infatuated by the money and the gifts he showered on her and her relationship was coupled with her mother who insisted she married him by all means because he was from a rich family. Rebecca was always full of regret and pain because she accepted her mother’s advice. She was full of regret when she snatched her friend’s lover. She knew that Bath and Maria were deeply in love, but as a bad friend she had stolen Bath’s heart. After four years of painful marriage and association Rebecca had no child.

      Rebecca was tired of him. Their love had become sour like an unripe grape, and she wanted out. Although she lived in a beautiful house, swore hand-made clothes and drove the best of cars, her love life was dead and empty like a match box. Rebecca wanted to divorce him but Bath tried to stop the court from hearing her plea, Rebecca was ready to frustrate him until he would opt for a divorce. But unknown to Rebecca Bath had another think coming.

      Alan soon left and Rebecca entered the compound and went to the front door. She was full of smiles when she opened the door with her spare key. Rebecca had made up her mind that she was done with Bath and that she would elope with Alan. As she stepped into the living room, she was shocked when she saw Bath at the bar. She went and joined him, Bath was mad when he saw her. He looked at her with malevolent eyes as she poured wine into the glass cup. Bath went to her and used his hand to push the drink away. Bath trembled with an unequal voltage of anger. Rebecca stood up, not saying a word. She was about to climb the staircase when Bath held her by the arm, his hand on her flesh like the touched of iron. Rebecca tried to wrest her hand from him but Bath tightened it.

“Leave me alone, you filthy swine.” Rebecca shouted in anger and flung her handbag toward Bath’s face. He dodged it and gave her a dirty slap across the face. The slap left a red welt. .

      Bath waited for her to attack him, Rebecca went to the bar, took a bottle of Moet and threw it at him, Bath dodged and the bottle hit the wall. Bath went to her and held her by the neck. Rebecca struggled against him.

“Where the hell have you been, bitch?” Bath shouted, his eyes crimson with anger. He looked at her murderously.

“Where I have been is not your concern.” Rebecca shouted back at him.

      Ringo heard the sound of broken glasses and loud noise from his neighbour’s compound. He left his compound and went outside. Everywhere was in pitch darkness. He went to Bath’s gate. Seeing that the gate was not locked, he walked gently into the compound like a cat after a mouse.

      Bath and his wife Rebecca abused each other inside the living room, their voices and anger audible miles away. Bath went to the table in the middle of the living room. He took the letter on the table and thrust it in her face.

“Who owns this letter?” Bath shouted and gave it to her. Rebecca was blank with shocked. She couldn’t believe that Bath could discover her secret.

      She looked into Bath’s in face now knowing what to say. She didn’t believe that Bath could search her wardrobe. The sudden discovery sent a spine down her throat. She went to the chair and sat down.

“Bath, now that you know, what are you going to do?” Rebecca said and fiddled with the letter, which she tore into shreds.

      Bath was mad when Rebecca tore the letter. Rebecca stood up and was about to leave the living room but Bath blocked her path and Rebecca pushed him away. This action infuriated Bath. He went to meet her and they fought together. Bath hit her to the ground and pummeled her with several blows across the face. Rebecca stood up suddenly she gripped a broken bottle on the floor and cut his hand and Bath fell on the couch, Bath yelled in agony, stood up and clutched his bleeding hand. Rebecca scattered the bar, breaking all the bottles of wine with anger. She threw some of the bottles at Bath.

       Bath dodged from the bottles as they flew across his face, Rebecca picked one of the broken bottle on the floor and made an attempt to stab him as he came close to her, Bath caught her by the wrist and broke her hand as he flung her away, Rebecca yelled in pain when she fell down, Bath went to her and gave her several blows on the face. Rebecca fell down and fainted.

      Rebecca drifted in and out of consciousness but later she gave up the ghost, Bath went to her, bent down and looked at her face, and then he saw that she was dead. He stood up and looked around - at last he killed his enemy. He breathed deeply and went to the bar. He drank two bottles of wine as Rebecca’s lifeless body laid there on the floor. Bath smiled sheepishly; he went to his room upstairs and then came back to the living room with a long sack.

      Bath worked on the corpse; he forced Rebecca body into the sack. When he finished he tied the sack mouth with a long rope, opened the front door and went outside, Ringo saw him and tiptoed behind the house. Bath went to his car and opened the boot, and then he went to the corpse and carried it outside. As he carried the body on his shoulder he breathed deeply because the corpse was very heavy. Later he put it down and dragged the body outside but finally he put the dead body inside the boot of the car.

      When Bath opened the gate and looked outside he found the whole street deserted; there were no souls on the street. He checked his wrist-watch and discovered that the time was around three thirty in the middle of the night.

      Unknown to Bath, Ringo saw and recorded everything that happened that morning inside the phone that Alan bought for him. Ringo was Alan’s friend. Rebecca liked Ringo and she gave him stipend every week. Ringo knew that Alan and Rebecca were lovers and he also knew that the love between Bath and Rebecca had deteriorated. He was the only one that knew that Bath and Rebecca fought almost every night. He was also the only one that saw them fight that night.  He hid behind the window and videoed Bath beating his wife to death. He watched when he carry his wife into the sack carry her body into the boot of the car. Bath didn’t see him when he drove off.

      Ringo came out from where he had hidden himself. He shook his bald head in pity, wanted to cry but he was confused and looked at empty spaces. He walked to the gate in a shamble, opened it reluctantly and went back to his compound. When he got home and then remembered all that Rebecca had done for him, he cried and tears flowed freely on his old face.

      Bath drove for some minutes, along the road until he saw some police officers in their car. They blasted past him without a care in the world. He drove for some minutes more and got to Third Mainland Bridge. The bridge was deserted like a graveyard. There were just a few vehicles on the bridge. He stopped the car in the middle of the bridge and parked beside the aluminum rail of the long bridge. He emerged from the car stealthily, looking to the right and the left, and then he went behind the car. He opened the boot and dragged the body out, bringing the sack that contained the remains of his wife. He carried the sack on his shoulder and hurled it into the lagoon. As he dropped the sack into the sea he heard a heavy thump. He went to his car without an iota of guilt and drove off in a great deal of speed.

                                              X   X   X  X     

 

Paul and his friend Lawrence came out of the swimming pool with towels around their necks. They both sat on a chair very close to the pool; the morning sun was lurid in the blue sky. Paul watched with fascination the golden fishes swum inside the large aquarium glass just a few metres away from the swimming pool.

“Would you care for an ice- cream?” Paul asked Lawrence, who nodded his head in acceptance.

“I like ice-cream.”

      The ice –cream girl brought two cups of ice-cream for them and laid it on their table.

“Thanks Janet.” Paul said and smiled to the beautiful girl.
     
As they talked and sipped ice-cream succulently beside the pool, Lawrence saw a big hefty man, five guards and a cool handsome guy walking tall behind the man. Later a beautiful lady in a bikini came out of the pool and went to greet the man. The man and the lady kissed each other lightly. Lawrence couldn’t remove his eyes from the fellow. At six foot tall and with a big and massive body, Mr. Benson was a man to behold. Mr. Benson sat beside the swimming pool, Bath also sat beside him and he ordered a cigar. One of the guards handed him a Cuban cigar and he lit it, making several phone calls to his associates.

      Bath was deeply engrossed in the magazine in his hand then he saw a lady walk into the Victoria Hotel. He took excuse from his father and went to meet the lady, waving to his father as he went into the building.

“Who is that man over there?” Lawrence said and Paul looked at the person that Lawrence pointed at; he dropped the magazine on the floor.

“Did you mean that man over there?”

“Yes that big man beside the pool.”

“He is Mr. Benson, the owner of the Victoria Hotel.”

“I think I have heard about the name somewhere but I can’t place it again.”

“The other guy that left was his son.”

“It seems I knew him somewhere.”

“I knew the two of them but I am not so close to them.”

      One hour later, after they left Victoria Hotel, Paul dropped Lawrence in front of his house and went to visit Maria. When he got to the house, he found her mother talking with her friend in the compound. He greeted them and went to the living room. At first he didn’t see Maria so he called her name. When she heard his voice she came out of the kitchen and went to meet him. She was surprised when she saw him; he didn’t tell her he would come on a visit, his visits caught her on the hop.

“Hello Maria, how are you?” Paul said and smiled, Maria struggled with a basket of dirt. Paul went to meet her and collected the basket.

“Good to see you Paul, you didn’t tell me you are coming.” Maria said, sweat oozing out of her brow.

“Let me help with the basket.”

“No Paul, I don’t want to stain your cloth.”

“Leave it Maria and stop bothering yourself about my clothes, I can do anything for you; your happiness is my greatest desire.” Paul said and carried the basket outside.

“Thank you my love, so I will go upstairs to take my bath.” Maria said. As Paul lifted the basket outside, Maria climbed the staircase to her room.

      Maria finished her bath and came into the room; Paul read a magazine on the bed. Later Maria came out of the bathroom with a towel around her body; she sat on the bed and dried her wet hair

“Paul I came to check you at home yesterday but I met your absence, I called your number but it was just ringing.”

“I really want to apologise, I called back but you refused to pick my call, I guess you are angry.”

“I was really angry.”

“Two wrongs can’t make a right you know. Well, I was with Lawrence. We were working in the studio and we went out and stick some posters around. I left my phone inside his shop.” Paul said and looked at her eyes, Maria nodded her head.

“Okay that is alright, nobody is at fault here.” Maria said. She excused herself and went downstairs.

      When Maria came back into the room, she saw Paul looking with fascination at some of her pictures; he particularly looked at a set of pictures.

“They are my aunties.” Maria said and smiled. She went and sat on the bed with him.

“You resemble them a lot; they are beautiful.”

“You can say that again. Well, they are living in South Africa.”

“I didn’t know that you have beautiful aunties in South Africa.”

“I am sorry I didn’t tell you.”

      Later Maria went to the kitchen downstairs and brought a plate of rice, a plate of fried plantain and a large bowl that contained assorted food.

“Did you prefer juice or wine?”

“Wine will be okay for me.” Paul said and Maria went downstairs and brought a bottle of Eva.

      Later, when they had finished their food and rested, it was quarter past six they both left the house. Paul drove the car to Lekki road.

“Let‘s go to the Couple Paradise Garden.” Paul said shifted gears.

“Yeah, I love it.” Maria shouted in excitement.

      The Couple Paradise is a cool restaurant with tall flowers built very close to the ocean. Although a restaurant, it has beautiful and well-designed rooms for couples who want to declare their love and affection for each other.

      Paul sent the car toward the Couple Paradise at Victoria Island, Paul loved the serenity and the ambience of the restaurant; it was really a couple’s paradise. Behind the restaurant was the sea dotted with palm trees.

      They got to the restaurant and went in. Maria was surprised to find many famous people inside. Paul showed his membership card to the guards and they let him in. The bartender led him toward a cozy table beside the large screen.

      Paul ordered fried meat and wine. As they ate and drank, Paul and Maria professed their love for each other. Later they saw many of the couples walking behind the restaurant and moving toward the sea. Paul took Maria’s hand and they both walked out and went behind the restaurant.

      As they walked toward the beach, they sat in the shade, watching some couples swimming under the shinning moonlight. Few others enjoyed themselves on the white sandy beach. Paul and Maria went under a palm tree and sat on a makeshift bench. They held their hands and watched the sea beat the white sandy beach.

“Maria my love, the joy of your love brings me happiness and joy.” Paul said in a whisper and looking into her eyes. It was loving and beautiful.

“Paul, nothing will ever take you away from me.” Maria said and moved closer to him. As she got closer she felt his hardness. He felt her lovely body in his own, soft as new wool, and her temperature rose as he kissed her softly, softly at first and harder later. She yearned for him as they caressed themselves by the beach. Then they both rolled on the white sandy beach like thunder. Maria looked into his eyes and begged for more. Later the weather became cold and the rain fall. Paul embraced Maria and they left the beach.

“Maria, I got you.” Paul said as they walked toward the restaurant.

“I got you too.” Maria whispered as they walked toward the parking lots of the restaurant.

“Let me shield you away from the rain.” Paul said and removed his clothes.

“Leave the rain; let the rain witness our love today.” Maria said she was drenched with the rain.

      The night became darker like the back of a pot and the rain fall heavily. Paul and Maria entered the car and Paul turned the ignition and sent the car down the road.

                                            X   X   X   X

 

Inspector Johnson was a heavily built man, a homicide detective, still in his early forties.
His face was hard as steel as he stood over the corpse. The sea had washed the body of Rebecca to the shore, and a man who fished nearby saw the body and called the police station in the morning. Inspector Johnson and his two subordinates rushed to the scene only to discover the lifeless body of Rebecca. At first they didn’t know she was the one but they saw her name written on the neck-chain she wore.

     Some days back Bath had come to the police station at Victoria Island and reported his wife’s disappearance, Alan was arrested as a suspect, and the police refused to release him. He was arraigned in court, where Alan was granted bail. He was told to come to the station every three days until the missing woman was found. Alan believed that Rebecca was holed up somewhere; she knew that she might have gone underground pending the time they would both leave the country and travel to Paris and start a new life. Inside the cell where he was kept, Alan expected Rebecca’s phone call like a groom waiting for his bride.

      Inspector Johnson stared at Rebecca’s corpse, saw red marks all over the body, with the marks visible like those on a football field. He looked at the neck. It was swollen; he knew that it was broken.

“She must have died violently.” Inspector Johnson said, looking at the corpse many times and over. Then he called the ambulance.

“She was strangled in a bad way.” Sergeant Roger said. Some newspaper reporters and journalists gathered around the body.

      The police officers pushed the journalists and the reporters away but, much as they tried, the journalist and the reporters continued to snap and video the body.

“I think I would inform the husband that we have discovered the dead body of his wife.” Inspector Johnson said, entering his car and droving to the police headquarter at Kem’s house.

      As he drove along the road, Inspector Johnson thought about the dead lady, and many questions cropped up in his mind. He wondered why Rebecca was killed. He knew that Rebecca was not killed by a stranger; he knew that her death lied between Alan and Bath. He particularly suspected Bath. He knew that Bath had problem with his wife. He knew that Rebecca didn’t love him again and she had courted Alan. He didn’t stop at that. He also looked at Alan connections.

     He knew that Alan and Rebecca loved each other, the happiness that Rebecca lost in Bath she had found in Alan. He knew that Alan didn’t kill Rebecca but he would have to investigate properly. He called the two men on his cell phone.

“Hello Bath, where are you?”

“Hello Inspector Johnson, I am at the Victoria Hotel sir.” Bath said. Inspector Johnson heard a cacophony of noises at the background.

“I am sorry Bath; we found the body of your wife by the sea side.”

“Oh my God! I am lost.” Bath shouted and shed tears.

“Will you come to the police mortuary to identify her?” the inspector said. As he drove along the road, he pulled out a packet of cigarette from his breast pocket, lit one and watched the smoke drifted out through the window.

“I will be at the mortuary.”

“Okay I will be expecting you.” Inspector Johnson said Bath cried and the line went dead.

      Inspector Johnson looked out through the window of the car. Although Bath cried, he didn’t notice any emotion in his agony. He knew that Bath had left a cracked wall by his action; he knew that he was partying all day long, and he could hear the deafened noise of party on the phone.

As he drove along the road and toward the police station he brought out his cell phone and put in a call to Alan

“Alan, we have found Rebecca, but she is dead.”

“Oh Jesus, I lost her?” Alan shouted and cried. He couldn’t say anything.

“Alan, can you hear me?” Inspector Johnson hollered.

“I am doomed; I lost her. I am doomed forever, Inspector.”

“I am deeply sorry.” Inspector Johnson said and cut the phone.

      At the police morgue, Inspector Johnson met doctor Kimby. Doctor Kimby conducted an autopsy on the body and explained how the young lady was killed.

 

“Look sir, the lady was brutalized before she was killed. Her arm were broken and also part of her neck.” Doctor Kimbi said, pointing to the region where her bone was broken.
Later, when the doctor explained how Rebecca was killed, the body was taken back to the morgue. Inspector Johnson collected some files from the doctor and went out of the morgue. Back in his office, Inspector Johnson thought about the dead woman. He thought about Bath and Alan. He was still deep in thought when his phone rang; he got up and left the office.

      Later, when he came back to the office, he told his comrade what the doctor told him, and they came to the conclusion that Bath should be arrested. Inspector Johnson dialed Bath’s cell phone.

“Mr. Bath sir, we need you in our office tomorrow morning.” Inspector Johnson said and waited for Bath response. When Bath spoke his voice was nervous.

“O-k-a-y I shall be there tomorrow.” Bath said and smiled sheepishly, Bath’s face suddenly turned to blue and his voice cracked.

      Sergeant Larry and Roger nodded their heads when the inspector talked to Bath. Inspector Johnson told them to tail both Bath and Alan. In the evening Sergeant Roger followed Alan everywhere and Sergeant Larry stood at the hotel and watched Bath as he moved in and out of the hotel.

      In the evening of the next day, as the two men met at Inspector Johnson’s office, Sergeant Roger was the first to speak.

“I trailed Alan to his office; he went there and left the place an hour later.”

“Where did he go?”

“I followed him to his house. Along the road, he hit two other cars and drove very fast to his house. He didn’t come outside till I left the place in the afternoon.”

      Inspector Johnson wrote a note inside his jotter, and he then turned to Sergeant Larry and questioned him.

“Did you notice anything when you followed Bath?”

“Yes sir, I followed Bath home. He changed his clothes and came out, later and drove to the Victoria Hotel. I saw him when he picked up the phone and hollered to some of his friend. In less than thirty minutes, I saw different cars berthed at the parking lots of the hotel. They were still celebrating when I left the place in the evening.”

“He is celebrating the death of his enemy, right?” Inspector Johnson said. He was shocked by what Bath had done. He took a Kola Nut on the table and chewed it.

“It was a wild celebration. You wouldn’t believe that his wife had just died.” Sergeant Larry said.

“It was quite sad and painful.” said Sergeant Roger emotionally.

“He called for a party because he had removed the rotten tooth from his mouth.” Inspector Johnson said and rubbed his palm on his face.

“He had a deep hatred for the young beautiful lady.” Sergeant Roger said.

“I hate to say this but I think we have got the murderer so fast, or what did you think?” Inspector Johnson said and looked at the two men.

“Nothing sir, he has invited the lizard into his house. He will never escape.”

“We shall arrest him; I believe he will confess under intensive interrogation.” Sergeant Roger said.

“Sure sir.” Sergeant Larry said.

“Sergeant take some of your men to the hotel, watch him and then get him arrested and bring him to the station the next day. Let him enjoy because his pleasure will stop the day he comes here.”

“Yes sir.” the two sergeants said simultaneously. They saluted and were almost out of the inspector’s office when he spoke. They both glanced back.

“I will personally lead him to jail.” Inspector Johnson said and waved the two sergeants outside.

      When the two sergeants left the office, Inspector Johnson thought hard. He knew he needed to be very careful, for he knew Bath‘s father and how important he is on the island even the state commissioner of police was on his pay slip. He vowed to prosecute Bath; he stood up and went to the window. As he stood there he saw the two sergeants walk to their car. He went back to his desk; he took his files and went out of the office.

 

                                              X   X   X   X

Maria got to the office around seven thirty in the morning, when she entered her department she found the whole place deserted. There were just a few people inside the office. A wave of panic swept over her and she was about to ask some of the few workers some questions when, her phone rang. It was Peter.

“Hello Maria, where are you?” Peter said.

“I just got to the office.”

“You better run here; the police have discovered the body of Rebecca Benson.”

“Rebecca, it is sad!”  Maria shouted on the phone.

“Stop lamenting, I will be waiting at Atlas Cove, I will take you to the place.” Peter said and cut the phone.

      Maria was absolutely thunderstruck when she heard the news. She went into her office and cried. Later she wiped her tears and went out of the office. As she drove along the road she thought about Rebecca, her best friend in the primary school. When they passed out from the high school, they were still the best of friends. Maria was the one that introduced Bath to Rebecca. Rebecca stabbed her in the back when she dated Bath and when she heard that she had eloped with Bath, her life had gone upside down; Rebecca was the last person she had expected to stab her in the back.

      Maria thought about Bath. She knew he would be devastated by Rebecca’s sudden death. The last time she had seen her was in the supermarket at the Galleria. She had dodged her and then went into her car and sped off and ever since that time she never set her eyes upon her again. Bath was even worse. Ever since he dropped the sad letter that almost sent her to an early grave, she hadn’t seen him again. Maria couldn’t contain her emotion. She wept as she drove along the road. Even though Rebecca hurt her, she would forever love her.

      When Maria got to Atlas Cove and parked her car, she came down within the car and looked at the shore in the distance. She saw a lot of people and walked to the lagoon. Peter was the first to see her. He went to meet her.

“Maria, I have been expecting you. Come around quickly before the body is taken away.”

      Maria was full of emotion; she couldn’t talk, Peter saw her wet eyes and looked at her.

“Maria what happened?”

“She is my best friend.”

“You didn’t tell me all this while.” Peter said, he went to meet Maria and touched her on the shoulder. A police ambulance blared its siren in the distance.

“I don’t want to talk about her.”

“Okay I see.”

      Later Maria composed herself. The camera was flicked on and she began the report. When they finished, Peter went to meet her and they both strolled together to the parking lot.

“I don’t know that you knew Rebecca.” Peter said, as they walked toward the car.

“She is my good friend, a very close friend.”

“Well someone murdered and threw her body into the lagoon.”

“They murdered her.?” Maria shouted and covered her mouth.

“Look can you drive to the office?” Peter asked her.

“Yeah, don’t worry Peter.” Maria said and walked to car.

“Look, I will meet you in the office.”

      In the office Maria couldn’t do anything. In the evening, when she got home, she cried and couldn’t eat the food that her mother prepared; she went to her room and went straight to bed.

                                               X   X   X   X    

 

 The sky was studded with stars as the two police officers, Sergeant Roger and Larry, waited inside their car in front of the Victoria Hotel. They couldn’t see Bath; they knew he would still be partying with some of his friend inside. Sergeant Roger knew that Bath would be in the banquet hall. He took his phone and requested more police officers. Later five officers got to the hotel in a private taxi cab.

      Sergeant Roger led the police officers inside the hotel. The security men at the hotel tried to stop them but they were told to back off. Bath had one of his boys stationed at the entrance of the hotel, and when he saw the police officers he hurriedly put a call to Bath.

       The police officers were close on his heels. When Bath saw them he disappeared around the corner like a streak of lightning. There was commotion in the banquet hall as the merry-making guests scattered when they saw the police officers. Sergeant Roger caught a glimpse of Bath; he followed him secretly around the corner and down to the long corridor.

      Bath knew many escape routes inside the five star hotel, but as he tried to enter a room that would take him to the tenth floor, Sergeant Roger rushed toward him and dragged him outside.

“You are under arrest, Mister.” Sergeant Roger said. Bath struggled with the sergeant; Sergeant Larry saw the two men struggling together and ran toward them. They both wrestled Bath to the ground, his hand twisted backward and he was handcuffed and led out of the hotel.

      Bath was very nervous within the police car as they drove toward the station. He questioned the police officers on why he was arrested. Within the car, Sergeant Roger dialed the inspector’s phone.

“Sir we caught the mole. He didn’t have a chance of escape.”

“Give me some minutes; I will join you at the station.”

      When Bath got to the station, the police gave him the phone to call his father. When he called his father, Mr. Benson told his son to calm down. He told him that his lawyer was on the way to the station.

      When Mr. Benson heard about Rebecca’s death he was devastated. In his heart he knew that his son was responsible for this. Bath had threatened to kill her many times. He had tried to settle some of their differences in the past, but much as he tried they fought each other every time. Mr. Benson knew that Bath would never forgive Rebecca because of Alan.

      As he thought about how he would free his son from the police gulag, the doorbell rang and Mr. Barry came into the living room. Mr. Barry was surprised when he saw Mr. Benson. He had lost his exuberance, and he looked calm like a dove. Barry went and sat beside him on the couch.

“You look dull Benson. What happened to you?” Barry said.

“Bath lost his wife; the police discovered the body in the lagoon.”

“What a sad end to such a promising young woman.”

“It is so sad, it pains me Barry.” Mr. Benson said and called one of the maids.

      Mr. Benson told the maid to bring a glass of wine for Barry. Barry took the cigarette case on the table, pulling one from inside and lighting it. Mr. Benson stood up and went to the bar; he came back later with a glass of wine and sat beside his friend. Later they talked together inside the living room.

“So what brought you to my house, Barry?” Mr. Benson said and dropped the butt of cigarette on the ash tray.

“I came in respect of my money, I needed the money urgently.” Barry said and sipped the wine succulently.

“Okay Barry, there is no problem. I will pay the money.”

“You got it wrong, Benson. I told you I needed the money urgently. I have to collect my money next month.”

“I don’t have money now, Barry. Wait a little while and I will pay the money.”

“I can’t wait Benson. The last time I came here, you promised six months, this is the seventh months and you have refused to pay my money.” Barry shouted inside the living room tempers flared between the two men.

“Barry, calm down your nerve. I will pay the money.” Benson said; he stood up and went to the bar.

“Look Benson. I can’t wait again. You give me the money and I will leave here.”

“It is okay Barry. Come next month and I will pay your money; it is your money and you have a right to collect it.”

“Now you are talking. We are buddies; we are supposed to understand each other.” Barry stood up, a smile cross his temper‘s face.

“I am sorry for reneging on my promise Barry; I am deeply sorry.”

“I will have to be on my way.” Barry said and gulped the little wine inside the glass cup.

“Okay Barry. I won’t be able to see you off. Take care of yourself and send my love to your wife and children.”

      Mr. Benson’s pulse throbbed with pain and he went and sat own on the couch and thought about Barry and his money. He knew he couldn’t afford to pay the money that Barry demanded from him. As he thought this, one of his guards brought a parcel and handed it to him. When he looked at it he discovered it wasn’t for him. It was for Gina. He dropped it on the centre table inside the living room and then he took his phone and dialed the commissioner of police cell phone.

 

                                          X   X   X   X
    

 

Inspector Johnson got into his car and drove fast to the police station, as he went along the road he found himself stuck in the traffic jam. Inside the car, Inspector Johnson’s thought drifted to Mrs. Mark. Mrs. Mark was Rebecca’ mother. At the height of her daughter’s death, Mrs. Mark told the police that Bath had threatened to kill her and now he carried out the threat. She told the inspector that she warned her daughter to leave Bath but she wouldn’t listen to her until she met her waterloo in Bath‘s house.

      Mrs. Mark also knew that Rebecca was in loved with Alan. The two had come to visit her one day and when they wanted to leave she called her daughter aside and told her the consequence of dating Alan when she was still married to Bath. It was sad that her warning fell on deaf ears. Rebecca wouldn’t listen to her advice. Two weeks later after she left the police station.

      Inspector Johnson went to her house and asked her what she intended to do concerning her daughter’s death. She told the inspector that she wouldn’t sue Bath to court and she religiously left everything that concerned her daughter’s death in God’s hands.

      Two days later, when the inspector visited her again and encouraged her to press charges against Bath, she flayed up in anger and wondered why the inspector meddled in her life and tried to concoct her decision. Inspector Johnson accepted her faith later when he left Mrs. Mark’s house. As he went to his car, he saw a jeep stopped in front of the house. Mr. Benson came out of the Navigator jeep with a body guard and his driver followed him into the house. Later, when Mrs. Mark opened the door, he saw her embrace Mr. Benson. Inspector Johnson knew that she had sold her daughter’s soul to Mr. Benson, and this was the reason why she won’t take any legal action against Bath.

      When Inspector Johnson got to the station, he went straight to his office on the third floor of the five story building. When he sat down inside he took his cell phone on the desk and called Sergeant Roger.

“Bring the criminal to my office. I am back.” Inspector Johnson said, taking a cigarette on his desk. He lit it and let the smoke circle to the ceiling as he waited for the sergeant to bring Bath into the office.

      When Sergeant Roger brought Bath into the inspector‘s office Inspector Johnson studied him for a few seconds. Bath was nervous as he stood in front of the inspector. Inspector Johnson knew that deep inside of him that it was Bath that killed his wife. He was nervous, sullen and wanted to give up and told the inspector why he killed his wife. Like they say, every criminal has a reason for committing a crime. It was crystal clear. Unlike other criminals that he had investigated in the past, Bath wasn’t smart. He was really nervous. Inspector Johnson stood up from his seat, his eyes on Bath.

“Have you taken all his data.” Inspector Johnson said.

“Yes sir, here it is inspector sir.” Sergeant Roger said and gave Bath’s file to the inspector.

“You are twenty-nine right.”

“Yes sir, in October.” Bath said, his voice cracking when he spoke.

      Bath felt absolutely wrecked when the inspector stood up. He had heard many stories of how police brutalized criminals, tortured them until they confessed to crimes they do not sometimes commit, inside the office. Bath prayed his father would come quickly and rescue him from Inspector Johnson and the monsters that were with him. Inspector Johnson took his packet of cigarette on the table and told Bath to follow him.

      When Bath stood up and looked at Sergeant Roger‘s face, he couldn’t see any help. The sergeant’s sweaty face was hard as steel; there was no emotion on the face. They went out of the office and went through the corridor, soon to stop in front of a door, Inspector Johnson pressed the ring and Sergeant Larry opened the door. He saluted Inspector Johnson and the three men entered an empty office.

      The office was painted in black and was dimly lit with only two chairs and a table. On the table was a telephone. Except for those four items inside the office, the office was empty like the barrel of a gun. When Bath entered the office, he needed no soothsayer to tell him that the room was a torture chamber.

      Inspector Johnson looked at Bath in the eyes as he sat down and faced him. Sergeant Roger and Larry stood behind Bath. In his heart Inspector Johnson knew he would only spent a few minutes inside the office because Bath was ready to confess to his sin. It was glaring on his face. It would not be hard before he threw in the towel. Bath was terrified, his eyes hovering over the entire office and he couldn’t utter any word.

     Inspector Johnson looked at him again and nodded. Bath couldn’t look at the inspector’s face; he only bowed his head.

“Bath, why did you kill your wife?” the inspector said with severity.

“I don’t understand what you are saying.” Bath said he looked just like the normal criminals as he sat inside the office.

      The inspector knew he wanted to play smart but his voice had betrayed him; his voice was way down low. Two other officers came into the office. When Bath looked behind him, he saw four officers ready and determined to feast on him, and the men looked cruel, hefty and vicious.

“Bath dear, you are storing up trouble for yourself by not admitting the truth straight away.” Inspector Johnson said and looked at his eyes.

“I didn’t kill my wife.” Bath shouted and raised his head but his voice was heard in stony silence and then he cried. The inspector threw a roll of tissue paper to him.

“Bath, we have all the evidence at our disposal to nail you.”

“I didn’t kill my wife.” Bath said.

“Look behind you Bath, I will tell those gorillas to feast on you; they are very hungry.”
     
Bath looked behind him again and saw the men. He knew that the game was up; he wouldn’t be able to stand the men’s brutalization. He bowed his head and cried. Just as he cried the phone on the desk rang. When Inspector Johnson picked it, it was the Commissioner of Police.
     
The commissioner had sent an officer to bring Inspector Johnson to his office but the officer didn’t see him inside the office. Later one of the officers told the commissioner that he saw Inspector Johnson and some police officers going into the strong room so the commissioner had picked his phone and put a call to him.

“Good morning sir.” Inspector Johnson said; he was surprised to hear the commissioner’s voice.

“Where are you inspector?” the commissioner said, his voice thick and hard.

“I am in the strong room sir.”

“Where is that boy?” the commissioner of police said, his voice hard and thick like a bark of a wood.

“He is here with me sir.”

“Alright, I want the boy in my office, fast.”

“I am on my way sir.”

“You better be fast or I will have your ass bruised ten times and over.” the commissioner threatened and cut the phone.

      Inspector Johnson shook his head in pity. He gestured to one of the officers to take Bath outside. Bath smiled, as one of the officers dragged him by the collar and took him out of the strong room.

“You will never get out of this, I promise you Bath.” Inspector Johnson said. He stood up and followed the officers out of the strong room. Sergeant Larry was disappointed by the commissioner of police order, but there was nothing he could do about it.

      When Inspector Johnson got into the commissioner of police office on the tenth floor of the tall building, he saluted and the commissioner lambasted him for keeping him waiting for so long. The commissioner warned him to keep his dirty mouth out of the case; he warned him of the consequences of his action if he dare poke his nose into the investigation.

“Keep your nose out of this; dip your finger into it and have it burn.” the commissioner shouted. Bath sat on a comfortable chair and rubbed his face with his hand.

      Inspector Johnson saluted the commissioner then. As he was about to leave the room, the commissioner called him.

“Again, I don’t want anyone to poke their nose into this case. Spread the news and I won’t hesitate to turn the heat on you.”

“Yes sir.” Inspector Johnson said. He saluted the commissioner of police and left the office.

      When Inspector Johnson came back into his office, he sat down and looked dejected. In his heart he thought about how this was the second time what the commissioner had stopped a case along the way. As he thought inside his office, Sergeant Roger came into the office and the inspector told him to sit down.

“Sir, it is so painful; the commissioner has affected the release of that boy.”

“Yeah, it is very painful indeed. I am in a fix until he is transferred. We can’t do anything but wait.”

“Sir, I think in this case, we have to exercise patience.”

“I will wait till I lay my hand on Bath. That lady will never rest in peace until I send Bath to jail.” Inspector Johnson said. He stood up and went to the window. Sergeant Roger’s cell phone rang; he excused himself and left the office.

      Inspector Johnson left the office when the sun left the sky in a fearful gait. As he drove home, within the car he thought about Bath and what happened in the commissioner’s office, he hit the car steering and pressed the throttle and the car accelerated down the road.

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