Mali Drive

Mali Drive (Episode 5): Nkechi didn’t jump

“You say that you were attacked by gunmen you did not see?” “Yes,” Rita replied sharply. She had a lot on her mind, the church, Nkechi, and now Rebecca’s many questions. She did her best to comport herself “everything happened so fast, I didn’t see it coming” she sipped out of her glass of wine to reduce her anxiety. “No one sees an attack like this coming, from what I have seen; the bruises on your body show that the person who attacked you hit you from the front and not from the back…” “They were wearing masks” Rita interrupted and Rebecca held back a sarcastic laugh.

The first time she questioned Rita, she did not mention anything about the men wearing masks; so it was obvious to her that Rita was making up the story as she went along. She knew Rita was saying the truth about being attacked and passing out but she believed that Rita was lying about the person who attacked her. “Thank you for your patience, I know my questions can be annoying sometimes” Rebecca was on her way out, walking across Rita’s massive living room she stopped when Rita called her

“Can I ask you a question?” Rita was still on her seat, she sipped from her wine glass slowly intentionally making Rebecca wait for her question. “An arrest was made on this case; so why did you come here today to question me?” “Just dotting my Is and crossing my Ts” Rebecca replied and left. She was not authorized to be there, no one in her office knew that she was still investigating the case. She didn’t trust anyone especially Onu, not after the arrest he made behind her.

“She is pregnant! That useless girl is pregnant” Rita was with Madam Lucy in Bishop’s office now hers. “What do you mean ‘she is pregnant’? Did she tell you?” Madam Lucy asked, “Yes, she had the audacity to come in here…” “This office?” “Yes this office and told me that she was going to have Chukwu’s son… the son I was unable to give him” “she said that to you?” Madam Lucy was furious “what are we going to do about this Nkechi girl?” “Please forget about her, she is small. What are we going to do about Elder Mba?”

Elder Mba was one of the church elders who had declared war against Rita and her ambition to be ordained, Bishop and general overseer. He went from one elder to the other giving them reasons and sometimes threatening them to not vote for her in the final meeting to decide who was going to take charge. The only people on her side were Pastor Abel Egwurube, the assistant general overseer and Madam Lucy. Elder Mba was a very haughty man whose power in the church almost knew no bound because his money practically built the church.

“We just have to keep talking to Elder Ayo and Elder Samuel Johnson, if we have two of them on our side then we have at least seven votes because they have five other elders under their belt” Madam Lucy was sure of her plan and even though Rita was not interested in this plan she didn’t let her friend know; she encouraged her to keep going. If only Elder Mba was out of the picture everything would be perfect but how to take him out was the problem. She couldn’t come up with any ideas.

Rebecca worked on her desk writing a report on a small case that she had just closed when someone dropped a file on her keyboard. It was her boss Inspector Dele. She looked at him and without a word opened the file. In the file was a written complaint from Rita accusing Rebecca of undue harassment and making it hard for her and her family to move on in this time of grief. “You have some nerve. Who gave you the permission to go back to question that woman, two times? Hasn’t she gone through enough?” he was upset.

Rebecca tried to explain to him her main reasons behind it but he refused to listen to her explanation. “Ever since you got on this case, you have not been yourself. I think you need time” he stated. He was right to say that Rebecca was not herself but he was blinded by the fear of upsetting one of the most powerful women in Port Harcourt. They had Isaac and he had already done a press conference announcing that Bishop Chukwu’s killer was found within a month of his death. The praises and accolades from home and abroad had been rolling in and Rebecca continuing the investigation could ruin everything and make it look as if he arrested the wrong person. His reputation was at stake.

“But you arrested the wrong person sir” Rebecca was never afraid to say her mind and she paid for it this time “since you want to be stubborn, I hereby put you on three months’ unpaid leave. Go and think about your life and get your head straight” he retorted and stormed out. Rebecca was devastated, the only thing in the world that made sense to her at the moment was her job and she was on the brink of losing it. “Sir please,” she said to the closing door. Her heart pounded faster than a cheater could run, sweat ran down her face and she suddenly felt a freezing wave embrace her. She was having a panic attack.

Rita stared down from the rooftop of an uncompleted high rise building, it was a project that her husband was secretly working on before he died and she had decided to abandon it for good. She walked around taking in the view of the city, it was night and the air was cool and dry. She looked at her wristwatch; it was 9:00 pm

Read also: Mali Drive (Episode 4) Isaac, What Did You Do?

“Why did you make me climb all these stairs? Are you trying to make me lose my baby?” Nkechi said leaning on a wall to catch her breath. “I brought you here because we need a place very private to talk” Rita took her arm and led her to the less visible side of the rooftop. Rita brought her there to discuss Bishop’s will and if there was any provision for her and her baby, there wasn’t but Rita was interested in taking care of Nkechi’s baby

“My husband’s baby is my baby, I know that we have had our differences but this baby has changed everything. I would like to take care of you if you allow me to” Rita’s words were like milk to Nkechi’s ears.

“I am sorry for all the stress I have caused you over the years” Nkechi was touched by everything Rita said and suddenly felt remorse for her relationship with Bishop. The meeting ended with a hug and both women even managed to joke with each other.  

“Did you drive?” it was late and Rita was concerned at how Nkechi was going to get home “no I didn’t” Nkechi replied “then I will drive you home” Rita offered and Nkechi accepted without hesitation. On their way towards the exit, Nkechi walked in front of Rita and just before she left the edge Rita pushed her off the rooftop and she fell to her death. Rita invited her for a meeting alright but it wasn’t to offer care and support.   

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