The past couple of days had been uneasy for Abel to say the least; he had been burdened with anxiety and fear day and night. By day he could mask his burden with a smile as he talked to church members, telling them how the church of Christ was under attack; but by night the mask was gone and so was sleep. A vampire got more sleep than he did.
At first, he believed the root of his anxiety was the fact that Rita did not return his love but his last unannounced visit to her house gave him hope “Abel, it’s been more than twenty years…” she sighed “you won’t leave me alone, would you?” he shook his head “Rita, all I have ever wanted was to be the man to treat you better than that monster has treated you. Say or think what you want but deep down in your heart, you know that I gave up the church for you”
She wanted to reply but he placed his index finger on her lips “ssshhh” he held her hand “you betrayed me… when we were young Rita, you betrayed me when you left me for Chukwu” “I did not…” “Hold up, hold up. I want you to look at everything we have both been through. After everything and all these years; I am still crazy about you… I still love you”
There was a long pause, both of them lost in each other’s eyes; for the first time Rita was able to flash back to twenty years ago and all the memories she shared with Abel came flooding into her heart. It was then she truly believed that Abel had something for her; it may not be love but it was something, something he wasn’t ready to let go anytime soon.
“I need time to think” she said “fine by me” he stroked her face and let himself out. He was sure that she was going to accept his proposal; finally, Abel’s lifelong dream was going to come to pass.
Abel sat up on his bed on one of his sleepless anxiety filled nights; he paced around his room and climbed back into bed but the anxiety was already making him sweat like a goat taken for the slaughter. He dialled his cousin Inspector Onu but the line was disconnected; he tried it again and got the same result, then he became really bothered.
It had been two weeks since he heard from his cousin, who promised to come and see him two weeks ago. He sent Onu a message but the message did not deliver; so he decided to go to Onu’s house.
“Where are going to?” a voice startled him as he reached for the door knob. It was Sewese, his late wife’s sister; she was there to help him care for the children. “I can’t sleep, so I just wanted to go for a drive to the church” he lied but she didn’t let him leave. Sewese was the opposite of her older sister ‘iron will make you obey’ was her nick name in school and it followed her to woman hood.
“If you can’t sleep, watch TV. Don’t go out by this time before another bad thing happens again; you are all these children have” she wasn’t begging, she was telling and he obeyed and went back to do as she said; watch TV.
Television helped him fall asleep for a couple of hours before morning came; the small sleep he got was very sweet because all he dreamt about was Rita and he basked in it until he was awoken by a knock on his door. “Come in” he answered and Sewese entered.
“Good morning, there is a woman here to see you” she spoke in a carful manner “which woman?” he asked trying to completely be alert “she said that her name is Rebecca Amodu” instantly a bell went off in his head and he became more alert than he had ever been.
“She is here, in my house? In my living room?” he asked “yes, said she has something very important to tell you”. What could it be? He thought. He had covered all his tracks and he was sure that there was no way for them to figure out what really happened at the lake.
“Good morning Inspector Rebecca” he greeted pleasantly and she reciprocated as they shook hands. “What brings you to my house this early morning?” he was anxious to go straight to the point and so was Rebecca “Two things brought me here today” she started “the first is your cousin Onu” she watched him carefully to see his reaction to the fact that they now knew that Onu was his cousin but there was none. He was a very good pretender.
“What about Onu?” he asked sipping from the cup of water in front of him as a way to hide his face from her. “I’m sorry to say that Inspector Onu is dead” her words stopped his hand half way through putting his cup of water back on the table. There was a long pause before he could say anything “what do you mean Onu is dead?” “The circumstances under his death are still under investigation. We will keep you updated as we go along” she was repeating what Inspector Dele told her to say.
“When and how did he die?” “He was shot about three days ago” she replied with a straight face. With Onu’s death Abel felt very exposed and vulnerable “what is the second thing you came here for?” he asked thinking that it couldn’t get any worse but he was wrong.
Rebecca cleared her throat and leaned forward “the second thing that brought me here is Ngozi Richard” Abel looked at her with a puzzled expression “who is Ngozi Richard?” “The man who killed Nkechi in the hospital” and in that moment Abel knew that they had him.
He knew that they had him but he was not ready to give up; his mind searched desperately for a way… anything at all he could say to get himself out. Suddenly he realised that if she had enough evidence against him she would have arrested him already.
“I would like a lawyer present before I say anything” he uttered and she laughed “you can do whatever you want but just know that you are not leaving this seat until we are done talking”.