Miss Anita: “Hey why did you stop?” she asked shifting uncomfortably on her seat in the little office space which had piles of books and files littered around, the desk was not spared either as files were littered all over it. I could hardly see her face.
Miss Anita is the social worker assigned to my case. She is to find out as much information about my life as possible and one particular secret I know which was very crucial to an on-going investigation.
Rose: “Nothing. Can we continue the story some other day please? I am so worn out right now. I need rest” I said sadly. And yeah to be sincere, I was really tired
and needed to get to the comfort of a walled enclosure which would give me enough privacy to do what I wanted.
*Miss Anita POV*
Looking at the little girl before me, I just couldn’t help but notice how shaken she was. She was probably already getting to the part of the story that touched her the most and that was why she needed some break. In all of my years as a social worker, I had come across broken children from broken homes but never really felt as attached as I felt towards Rose. She was a beautiful girl with deep scars which at that moment, she was yet to tell me about. All I knew was that she witnessed a murder which she could not talk to anyone about. It was a traumatic experience for her. I didn’t want to end the session with her but I gathered the girl really did need some rest, mentally and physically and so I decided to defy my boss; Mr Rotimi’s direct order to make sure I get all the information from her that day. I didn’t have the balls to work the little girl out no matter how important the investigation was.
Anita: “Okay! I will drive you back to your hostel but will come back for you in two hours’ time. Hope we have a deal?”
Rose: “Yes we do. Thank you”
I sneaked her out of the office and drove her back to the home at Nasko Gasko road in Kuje, a two storey apartment we had provided for young girls still under our care until their case was over. She shared the room with other two girls whose cases I was not in charge of. I accompanied her to her room and made sure everything was secured.
Anita: “You know you can trust me right? I want to help you” I said as I stood at the door front, ready to leave the room. The rest of the girls were nowhere in sight, probably at the office.
Rose: “Trust?” she looked at me suspiciously from head to toe and shook her head. I did not blame her of course, how can a person like that trust anyone in the world again? But I wanted to win her trust. She was like the younger sister I never had. I walked back downstairs and scrutinized the area, making sure the security men were in place and alert. I issued out some orders to them and left. Didn’t want to take any chance of incurring my boss’ wrath any further. The murderer could still be out there.
I was there at exactly two hours’ time later to get her back to the office. As I climbed the office, I had an eerie feeling that something was not right. I climbed the stairs two at a time, thanking God in my heart that I had decided to wear the pant trousers rather than the pencil skirt I had deliberated on wearing. When I entered inside the room, Sade, one of her roomies was sprawled on the floor-sleeping. Rose was nowhere in sight.
Anita: “Hey Sade!” I called out sharply and the girl jumped. Where is Rose?”
Sade: “She was in the bathroom when I came back”
Anita: “That has been since when?”
Sade: “I slept off immediately I got back. But that should be like an hour ago or more. I cannot remember” she said robbing her eyes sleepily. She was like twenty years.
I walked towards the door of the bathroom with an ominous feeling almost engulfing me. I knocked on the door but there was no reply. I tried again and again but the same eerie silence echoed back at me. I then turned the door handle and it gave way freely. I jumped back when I saw the blood on the floor, there was splashes of it on the wall and the bathtub too. I looked around the little bathroom but all I saw was blood and no sign of Rose anywhere.
I began to panic. What could have happened to the innocent girl? Where was she? Had the murderer come for her in order to silence her from identifying him/her? I couldn’t get my acts straight. I ran my hand through my hair, biting my lower lip not minding the blood I drew.
“What am I going to tell Mr Rotimi? He never really wanted me to bring her out of the office the whole of today. And there is Henry who wants to lock her up as a suspect in the murder already. How in the name of the heavens will I explain this to my boss?” I couldn’t help but wonder in my heart. At the back of my eyes, I saw Sade quivering at a corner of the room, staring blankly at the splattered blood in the bathroom. I walked towards her as slowly as I could fighting off the urge to run like lightening towards her. If anyone could provide answers to my dilemma that moment, she was the one.
Anita: “You’ve been around for like two hours now right?”
Sade: “Not up to two hours” she said still looking blankly at the bathroom.
Anita: “But at least when you arrived you confirmed she was in the bathroom right? Like did you talk to her or hear her make a sound?” I bent down in order to be on the same face level with her.
Sade: “I did not talk to her but I heard her humming a son. Fergie’s ‘Big girls don’t cry’. She really likes the song” she said looking directly in the eyes for the first time.
Sade: “That was all cos I slept off immediately. Do you think something happened to her? Hope she is okay? What are those blood in there?”
Anita: “And you are sure you did not hear any sound at all? Like a struggle or a grunt or anything at all?”
Sade: “I said I was asleep and I am a deep sleeper. I don’t know anything else”
Anita: “Where is Adesua?”
Sade: “I haven’t seen her since today” she replied looking away from me again.
I went back to the bathroom, trying to see if the blood led to the room too like someone bleeding being dragged but the blood ended in the bathroom alone. Not even a drop of blood on the tiles in the room. I knew that had gone beyond me and had to call in investigators which would compound the whole issue. Better to be compounded than let the dimwit take another innocent soul off the face of the earth. I dialled Derek’s number, he was with the CID (Criminal Investigation Department) which was a department under the Nigerian Police Force. He was in charge of the on-going murder investigation which Rose had witnessed and was also a very good friend of mine so I was sure I could talk to him in confidence before making it official.
His car screeched to a halt on the gravel floor of the apartment’s parking lot and he jumped out before even killing the engine of his car.
Derek: “Howdy beautiful…hope there is no problem, you sounded quite urgent and worried on the phone” he asked trying to force out a smile despite seeing the look on my face. He was extremely playful but very good at what he did. Receiving awards had become a part of him, thereby outranking most of those he had met in the Force.
Anita: “There is trouble on ground Derek. Rose is missing…”
Derek: “What? She is really important in this ongoing investigation Annie. How could you have let her bound off?”
The disapproval in his tone was unmistakable.
Anita: “She left a trail of blood behind too. I only wanted her to have a breath of fresh hair”
Derek: “I have told you on several occasions not to let yourself get emotionally attached to these clients. See where it has gotten you now? Have you told your agency about this?”
Anita: “I haven’t. You are the first I called” I replied, feeling self-conscious under his strong gaze. I walked him upstairs and into the room. He was in the bathroom in just three strides.
Derek: “Holy Mother of God! What is this?” he bent down and with the tip of his third finger swiped some of the blood and robbed it with his thumb. “It is still fresh though which means it couldn’t have happened more than an hour ago. I don’t
want to reach a conclusion right now but this is not looking good. We have to get the forensic team down here to check for anything that can be used as evidence. Hope you did not touch anything though?”
Anita: “I did not but we have to find her fast. Nothing must happen to that girl Derek” I said folding my arms across my chest. A smile creased the corner of the mouth as he tried to assure me he’d try his best. We went around asking people if they had seen her but no one around had. Not even a whiff of her was seen around by anyone and I started wondering if she had disappeared into thin air on her own.
The car drove for like twenty minutes then pull to a stop all of a sudden. He came to the passenger’s side and pulled me out of the car through my hair. I looked around to see where we were and it seemed like a village with not much habitants. I wondered how such village came to be in Nigeria’s FCT. We entered into a round mud house with thatched roof. He threw me roughly on the floor.
Man: “So you ran off to the police right? You want to tell them you saw me even after I warned you not to?”
Rose: “I have no intention of telling them anything. I am just playing around with them” I replied defensively but he just chuckled softly, looking more devilish than the Devil himself.
Man: “You are just a pretty little liar girl. I know you are going to rat me out to them and that is why I am going to kill you the same way I killed…”
Rose: “Shut up and just get on with it. I have prayed for death and I am glad it has finally come in the flesh. I though it will be scary but it’s not at all”
Man: “I see! I can imagine what you’ve been through. I went through lot more than that in…”
Rose: “I don’t want to hear it Mr please get on with it” I kept cutting him off in mid-sentence knowing very well that it infuriated him.
Man: “Okay then if that is what you want. But I want to make it as painful and slow as possible. I want to make sure you feel it to your little soft marrow. Not to worry, we will enjoy it all together” his lips curled in a wicked and contented smile.
Rose: “Its fine! Believe me I will enjoy it with you” I said as the thoughts of how much cutting myself made me feel better whenever I start hearing those depressing voices in my head. I was on it when the son of a bitch came for me. Kindly share out stories from generalloaded.com using the floating social media icon buttons on the bottom of the page. He had clasped his hands around my mouth while I struggled to free myself. He did it so neatly I was unable to make even one sound until he brought out the knife, and ordered me out. Sade slept like she had been drugged with the hardest depressant in the world. He ordered me to wear the baggy sweater and jeans I always wore and hid the knife under my sweater with its tip caressing the small of my back.
He was an expert and therefore had waited for the time he knew others would be distracted enough before we walked out unnoticed by even the security men who were smoking at a corner.
Derek had tried as much as possible to get me into going home and leaving the investigation to them but I wasn’t going to have all that. I must stay behind to partake in every part of it and to make sure no stone was left unturned. On our way back to my office as he drove, his phone rang and he picked it in the first ring. Before we left the apartment for the ladies, he had sent out words to the officers planted at the rural areas because of the insurgents.
Derek: “Wow! You saw a suspicious looking man with a young girl? Where?” he spoke urgently into the phone for a minute dribbling down an address on a jotter he fished out from his pocket…
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