Mali Drive

Mali Drive (Episode 23): A Case Within A Case

“Good morning Mr. and Mrs. Bull” a lawyer greeted John Bull and Madam Lucy “you can call me Ms. Odogwu. I will be reverting to my maiden name” Madam Lucy’s words stabbed John Bull in the chest but he didn’t say anything because he knew that what he had done to this woman was more than ten thousand stab wounds. “Please sit” Barrister Chukwudi pointed at the chairs in front of his office desk and they obliged. It was a case of divorce John Bull and Madam Lucy were there to prepare a divorce agreement.

It was the sixteenth night in a row that Rebecca was returning home at an ungodly hour; it was 3 am and Ben was awake this time. “I’ve been waiting for you to come back home” he startled her from the semi dark living room “Christ! You scared me. Why are you still up? I told you not to wait up for me” she dropped her keys on the end table close to him and swallowed what was left of his whiskey.

“Rebecca, do you even care about me at all?” “I don’t understand your question Ben” she was too tired to lift her chin and look at him. “Is this normal to you? The only time we see is when I get dressed for work and you open your eyes for a few seconds to tell me good bye. Is that normal to you?” Rebecca was not in the mood to fight with Ben but she couldn’t escape it.

Ben moved in to her apartment so that they could spend more time together. Because of the case she was working on making time together was very hard and he thought moving in together was going to solve it; instead it made things worse and he was tired, tired of being a mistress while she was married to her case.

There was a time when all Rebecca wanted was to be his wife and have his children but that day was long gone “I never said that I will not marry you. Why are you bent on making my life difficult?” they were in a screaming match and no one was winning because all they did was throw hurtful words at each other

“I have told you times without number that after solving this particular case, we will start planning a wedding” her usual words “and if you never solve the case?” he asked but she was quiet “what if you never solve the case, ehn?” she didn’t have an answer to give him. “What is it about this particular case that is driving you crazy? You’ve had other cases like this before but it didn’t make you abandon your entire life… so what is it about this case?” he had never been this succinct before.

He waited for an answer to his question “I am close to solving this case, I swear” was all she could say “you have been close many times. So you are not going to tell me why this case is now god in your life?” she was quiet again, the thought of tell him that Bishop Chukwu raped her a day before he was murdered hurt her head. She bit her lower lip as a precaution; just in case her mouth was going to make the confession without her permission.

“I can’t do this anymore” was all he could say moving away from her towards the bedroom; she wanted to follow him and convince him like she had done many other times before but she knew that it was over this time. Even if she managed to convince him to stay; they will have this same fight in the next two weeks as long as Bishop Chukwu’s case was not solved, so she let him go.

She sat in the living room until Ben was all packed up; he carried his bags, dropped her house key on the table and left with no further words. He was gone with three years of their lives together. She finished the rest of the bottle of whiskey and just as she climbed her bed to sleep or lie awake; which ever won her body, there was a knock on the door.

She ignored it for as long as she could but it persisted; she approached the door carefully, gun in her hand as she looked through the peep hole and saw that it was Inspector Onu. She was supposed to be relieved that it was him but she wasn’t and decided not to answer the door at all until she heard his voice.

“I can hear your footsteps, please open the door it is urgent” she was quiet for about a minute then his voice came again “please, I won’t take your time… it is really urgent”. This time she had to open the door.

He let himself in like he was invited but she didn’t say anything; she figured the unhappy look on her face should do the talking. “I wanted to discuss the case with you” he said casually “what case?” she asked and he started talking and talking and talking.

Saying things she didn’t and could never ask of him; he talked about his sister and how she died because of Bishop Chukwu then went to Pastor Abel asking if she really suspected him. Rebecca let him chatter away for a few minutes inspecting his face carefully “are you high?” she asked after observing that his eyes were more glazed than glazed lamb but he ignored her question and continued talking.

He stopped talking about how Bishop Chukwu deserved to die when he noticed a small device on the centre table. He walked to it sharply and picked it up “have you been recording me?… have you been recording this conversation?” “this is not a conversation, this is a confession… I can help you Onu, I can make life easy for you if you tell me everything you know this very moment” she finally had him where she wanted.

She had always known that he knew something about Bishop Chukwu’s death and for him to be in her house at that time of the night intoxicated; it meant that whatever he knew was eating him up “Ene was a very good woman, she helped me through school” he began to cry.

She felt a little bit of sympathy for him, he was a man whose conscience was suffering; she moved closer to him and put a hand on his shoulder as a way of comforting him. In very abrupt movements, he pulled her closer to him and kissed her; she tried to pull herself away but the drugs he had taken made him stronger than the incredible hulk.

Before she realised it, he had torn her off her body putting a hand over her mouth and the weight of a knee on her thigh essentially paralyzing her. It was Bishop Chukwu all over again.

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