Adam stared at the bottle of wine in front of him, picked it up and threw it against the wall. He had gone straight home immediately the governor declared that he was suspended. He had opened a special bottle of Devil’s Springs Vodka that he had reserved for an extreme moment of depression. It had not taken long for him to finish the bottle and to move on to other less strong liquors. He had fallen asleep and woken up thirty minutes later, it took almost two minutes for him to recognize where he was and to remember that he had been suspended. The only thing that depressed him more than his suspension was the fact that Kate was still missing and the chief who could be the killer was now running everything.
His phone rang and he jumped. He looked at the phone, it was Tola. He let it ring. He had not called her to inform her of the suspension and even though she had called more than ten times, he had not talked to her. The only person he had tried to call was Faruk and he was not picking his phone. He knew Tola meant well but her calls only made him angrier. He was angry at the governor for bowing to the pressure of the chief but more importantly, he was angry at himself for being such a fool and allowing his alcohol addiction get to the governor’s attention.
The fact that Kate was still missing and he could do nothing about it made him even angrier.
He wondered what would have happened if he had gone with Tola instead of sending Kate out with her. She probably would have closed on time and she would have been picked up by one of her father’s drivers. He had left her to the mercy of the killer just because he wanted to have a drink. He caught the reflection of his face off the television screen and turned away disgusted. He looked like he was sixty years old.
He stood up and steadied himself as his body adjusted to the change in position, he was about to move when the door bell rang. He looked at the door and walked towards his bedroom, whoever was there would go away if he did not answer.
The bell rang again and this time the door opened. He turned around in surprise, he thought he had locked the door.
“Adam?” A voice called, it was Tola. “Adam!”
He shuffled back to the living room where Tola was standing. She was looking around disgusted at the mess he had made with the empty bottles and spilled drinks. He felt foolish and dirty.
Tola looked up and the look of disgust on her face turned to pity.
“Oh Adam.” She said crossing the room to where he was standing. She gave him a hug and led him to a chair. She picked up all the bottles on the table and on the floor and took them into the kitchen. Adam heard them drop into the already full disposal bin. She mumbled something and came back into the room. “Why didn’t you call me?”
Adam looked at her and looked away.
“Adam, you cannot become this.” She said, looking him over.
“Become what?” Adam asked.
“This.” She said, pointing at him.”A drunk, wallowing in self pity all the days of his short miserable life. Because if you continue like this, that is exactly who you’ll become.”
“What would you have me do Tola? What would you have me do? I have been suspended, off the case!”
“I’m not talking about the case Adam, we will find Kate, I’m talking about you.”
“What do you mean? It’s the case…”
“Leave the case alone, I’m not talking about that. I’ve talked to people who worked with you in the past, you weren’t like this, they even say you did not drink at all, not even socially.”
“Well, people change.” Adam said and stood.
“Sit down now!” Tola said and he did. “I’m emptying all the bottles of alcohol you have in this house before I leave but I need to make sure you won’t get new ones.”
“Good luck with that.” Adam said with a scoff.
“Adam!” Tola said, banging the table in front of her. “What is this you are doing to yourself? Look at you, you have a life many will kill for, a life with so much potential and yet you are like this.”
“What’s in my life that anybody will kill for? I’ve made mistakes all my life, not normal mistakes, big ones. One led to the loss of the life of the first lady, another led to the kidnap and possibly murder of her only daughter. All I want to do is get out of the way, allow these new guys the chief said he has brought in do their job.”
“That is rubbish, you had nothing to do with Kate’s kidnap, you couldn’t have prevented it. And as for the first lady’s murder, you weren’t the only one on her detail, nowhere were you blamed for her murder.”
“That’s because nobody knows.”
“Knows what?” Tola said, sitting forward in her chair.
Adam sighed and closed his eyes. “You know the first lady stayed a day longer on her trip, right”
“No, I didn’t but continue.”
“Well, she did and it was because of me.” Adam said and shook his head. “I had an affair with the first lady.”
“You did?” Tola said, her eyes widening in surprise.
“It was just for a week, that was supposed to be the second time, but she was shot before we could get together.”
“Oh Adam.” Tola said.
“Do you know how bad I felt? I could not look the governor or Kate in the eyes for months. A part of me wished he knew about it and ordered me killed, death would have been better than the guilt that ate me up. When Kate got kidnapped, all those feelings came back again, I knew once again, I was going to be responsible for the death of another innocent person.”
“No Adam, you were not responsible for the murder of the first lady, the person who pulled the trigger was. And Kate isn’t going to die, we are going to find her.”
“We? I hope I’m not included in that ‘we’, I have done enough harm Tola.”
“Stop the pity party and stand up. You are going to catch this killer, you owe it to the governor, you owe to Kate, you even owe it to the first lady but most importantly you owe it to yourself.”
“What am I supposed to do? I don’t have a badge, I don’t even have a gun. If I meet the killer, what am I supposed to do, hug him to death?”
Tola stood up and brought out her gun. “You can have my gun, I’ll get you anything you want, all you need to do is ask.”
“You know I can’t and won’t take your gun but I owe it to the first lady to make sure Kate doesn’t go the same way she did.”
“That is what I want to hear, now all you need is a bath – maybe two baths and you are good to go.”
“I’m sorry for being a jerk to you all this while, you did not deserve it.” Adam said.
“You can buy me a sharwama roll later, but first, let’s go catch a killer.”
“I’ve been calling Faruk all morning and he’s not answering his phone.” Adam said.
They were in Tola’s car on their way to the house of the AG whose daughter was killed. Adam strongly believed whoever the killer was, he had a connection to the surgery and the grieving family could have information.
“I don’t understand why you rely so much on Faruk, he’s not even a policeman.” Tola said.
“Yet he’s helped so well on this case. And I’m calling him because he mentioned seeing the chief driving down my street alone, just a few minutes before he found the body.”
“And you believe him?”
“Why shouldn’t I? Wait a minute, do you think he’s the killer?” Adam asked, turning to face Tola who was driving.
“I don’t know Adam, but it’s not farfetched, don’t you think?”
“Hmm, I don’t even think I want to answer that, Faruk wouldn’t hurt a fly.” Adam said, turning away and looking out of the window.
“Wasn’t he a soldier at a point? Surely he has killed before.”
“Okay, can we drop this please? Let’s concentrate on real suspects; the chief for instance. He was seen driving to the scene where the three men were killed and he was seen again driving away from my house just a few minutes after a dead body was dumped there. Isn’t that too much of a coincidence?”
“And he was seen both times by Faruk, right?”
“You’re still on this Faruk issue? I said you should drop it. Immediately we are done with these people, we ar e going to check out the chief. You will find out his movements for the past month and I’ll find something that links him to that liver transplant.”
“Okay sir.” Tola said.
Adam sighed and threw the IPad on the table in front of him. He found nothing linking the chief to any liver transplant; not Kate’s, not anybody’s. The only links he found that talked about the chief in connection with any liver was about the church street murders.
He stood and began to pace in the office where Tola had stashed him. The office belonged to a junior officer who had willingly surrendered his office to the Director. It was obvious the news of his suspension had not trickled down to the junior staff members.
He had always ruled the chief out as the killer until Faruk said he saw him driving away from his house. The way he had made sure of his suspension was also suspicious. He wondered if the killer would want him off the case though, it was not just about killing for the killer, it was about sparring, it was a game.
His phone rang and he grabbed it, it was Tola.
“What do you have?” Adam asked.
“Nothing, he didn’t do it. I have checked all information that is available and I’m sure he didn’t do it.” She answered.
“Hmm, unfortunately I don’t think he did it either. I have not found a single thing that links him to a liver transplant.”
“Okay, that is not the only bad news I have. Remember the woman I said was going to call me back about a booking for vine-scented incense?”
“Yeah, I think so, why?”
“Well, she just called and she gave me the name of the person who inquired about them. Get ready to be shocked.”
“Get on with it.”
“I’m sure he has an explanation for that.” Adam said.
“Adam, this was one of our major leads and you’re just dismissing it?”
“It’s not like that. I have known Faruk for years, don’t you think I’ll know if he was a murderer?”
“That is your defense? I’m sorry but I’m sending some officers to bring him in.” Tola said.
“You’re arresting him?”
“I’m bringing him in for questioning. Call me if you have something else but this is a good lead.” Tola said and ended the call.
Adam looked at his phone and shook his head. There was no way Faruk was a killer, he had known him for so long, he would have suspected. Tola was not wrong to suspect him, even without the woman claiming he was the one who bought the incense, he would still be a viable suspect. He had supplied him with leads, most times unsolicited and most of the time there was no other person who could verify his claims. He had inserted himself in the investigation and was as involved as any CIB detective. He had always wanted to be a detective, he could be fulfilling his fantasy in a sick way by killing the girls.
Adam shook his head to clear the thoughts that were clouding his mind, there was no way Faruk was the killer.
There was a knock and Adam turned towards the door to see Ese walk in.
“Adam, I heard about your suspension, I’m sorry.” She said, she stood in the doorway.
“You heard? Another bug?” Adam asked looking away from her.
“I told you it was just one and I’m sorry. Adam, look I’m only here to help.”
“Help? Like you rightly said I have been suspended, any information you have should be taken to the guys still on the case. How did you even find me in this office?”
“I’m a journalist, that’s how I found you, and if you are off the case what are you doing here? I believe you are still on this case and rightly so, catching the killer would get you your job back and I want to help with that.”
“I’m deeply touched.” Adam said, laying his palm on his chest. “Thanks, but no, thanks.”
“Stop being so proud and listen to this. Remember that store you guys found, the one with blood all over?”
“Yes, go on.” Adam said, turning to face her.
“You said the owner was a Garba, right?”
“Wow, you guys really eavesdropped on everything we talked about.”
“Get over that Adam. Anyway we found your Garba, well sort of, we got his number. He said he leased the place to somebody for two years. The man’s name was Salami, he said he has lost the…”
“Faruk? What has Faruk…?”
“Faruk Salami, that’s his full name.” Adam said holding his head with his hands.
“Faruk?” Ese whispered. “There’s no way Faruk killed those girls.”
Adam shook his head and began to pace. There was no way Faruk was the killer, absolutely no way. You do not argue with the evidence, he had been taught. He had also been taught to trust his gut.
“What are you going to do?” Ese asked.
“Tola has already sent people to bring him for questioning.” Adam answered. “Don’t you think it’s possible he’s being set up?”
“Set up? By who? Why him?”
“By the killer of course. Maybe the chief saw him following him, he researched on him and decided to set him up. That is if the chief is the killer.”
“The chief is the killer?” Ese asked, surprised.
“Oh, so that you didn’t get from your spying? He was a suspect…he is a suspect, to be honest,I don’t know. I can’t think straight with Faruk being arrested and you here trying to be helpful and all.”
“Okay, I’ll leave you alone. If you believe Faruk isn’t the killer, you have to find the real killer then. Kate’s life is still at stake, remember” Ese said as she stood.
Ese walked to the door, stopped and turned to look at him. “Call me when all this is done, we’ll settle our feud over dinner.”
Adam smiled as she left. He loved her, he knew that he did. If he caught the killer and his life ever returned to normal, he would cultivate the love. His dream of living a simple life and having a family might not be dead just yet.
His phone rang and brought him out of his reverie.
It was the governor.
“Adam, I’m glad you didn’t give up on the case, because we are going to need you now more than ever.” The governor said.
“What are you talking…”
“I’m the governor, remember? I know you are in an office at the CIB now even though by the terms of your suspension you are not supposed to be anywhere near the place.”
“That’s not why I called you. I just got a text on my phone and it says Kate has twelve hours left to live.”
“Ten hours thirty minutes now, I didn’t see the message on time.”
“Adam, find my daughter. If you can’t do it for me, do it for my wife.” The governor said. Adam swallowed, the line was silent for a few seconds. “Yes Adam, I knew but I forgave you and I forgave her long ago. Right now, all I care about is finding my daughter. You will find her, won’t you?”
“I will sir.”
“Good.” The governor said and ended the call.
Adam sighed and ran his hand through his hair.
His phone rang again. This time it was a text message. He opened the message, it was from Faruk.
Meet me at Caleb’s. Alone!
Faruk looked around and dropped lower in his chair. He knew the police were coming after him, he had heard and he knew he had little time. If he was going to be successful, he would have to be the smartest he had ever been in his life. All he had to wait for was for Adam to come.
He peeped through the window of his car, there were policemen around. He was not sure how far the information about him had reached but being arrested now when he was so close would be the ruin of all he had done.
He turned the keys in the ignition of the car and it started. Seeing Adam would have to wait. He closed his eyes, whispered a silent prayer and drove away from Caleb’s .