Detective Senayon heard some commotion coming from the counter. He couldn’t be bothered; his boys would handle the matter. He was already rounding off for the day and all that was on his mind was the grilled fish he was going to eat at Iya Simi’s place on the way home. He packed his things, made sure every drawer was locked, and went to the counter. There are decisions that one makes as part of daily routine that in retrospect, one wishes something had happened to change our course on that specific day. When Senayon would remember that day in future, he would have wished that he didn’t go to the counter on that ocassion.
When he got there, he saw a tall young man explaining frenetically to officers whose body language was all yawns and boredom. The thing is, many of these people came to the police with things they thought was so unique and horrific, but they couldn’t phantom the things policemen saw regularly in the course of their jobs. What seemed a great issue to them was routine, run of the mill stuff to most policemen. He was bored anyway, so he decided to involve himself. The moment his guys saw him, they stiffened and saluted. The young man took the cue and guessed he was the DPO. He turned all his attentions to the Senayon.
“Sir, my brother has been murdered, in cold blood, inside our house,” he said.
“Oga,” Ofor said to his boss “we were questioning him on the matter, but he was being uncooperative, saying we should follow him immediately.” Ofor was the stringy one whose black was so dirty it was becoming brown. Senayon ignored him. If someone came to report a murder in the hysterical state the young man was in, what was the sense in questioning him before going with him to confirm if there had truly been a homicide?
“Mister…” Senayon said in question to the young man.
“Korie sir, Korie Obaro.” Korie responded eagerly.
“Mister Korie, we will go with you immediately. I apologize on behalf of my men,” Senayon responded. Ofor and the other officer, who was just as skinny as he was, looked at each other in confusion. Their boss was usually the withdrawn and distant one, uninterested in things like this.
Senayon could see the confusion in his men’s faces. Well, he didn’t care. He was bored, and a murder investigation would at least be more interesting than the regular stuff that came here.
“Ofor, you and I will go along with Mister Korie. Saliu, put the evidence people on standby as we might be needing them if there is anything to Mister Korie’s claim. I believe you came with your own car,” His last few words were more of an assertion than a question since Korie’s car key was in his hands. With that, the two policemen left the station with the citizen to perform their duties. That grilled fish was far from Senayon’s mind by this time, he just looked forward to some excitement from this case.
The young lady lay in her bed in nothing but her underwear with a throw-pillow on her chest supporting her hands. If she didn’t do that, her hands would tire quickly from holding her phone the way she did. Soft classical music was playing from her home theatre and she hummed some of the lines along with the recording. She was reading the story of a celeb who had just left his fiancée of eight years to begin dating another woman who was her friend. Messy celeb things, she hissed. The trips on the blog were the comments though. They told the rest of the story, the messy details that the blogger didn’t post herself. And the details of this particular story were very messy. She went to twitter to troll the guy’s timeline. True enough, she saw all his rants about the girl not being good enough and all, the girl being materialistic and all. “Idiot,” she hissed. “You keep a girl on is coming for eight years and you have the guts to say she isn’t good enough and wants only your money. Are you Dangote?”
What was worse, he was a whiner. On his timeline, apart from his tweets ranting about his ex, the assortments of his tweets included the following
- I’m so lonely and bored
- Check out my abs and my tanned, toned body along with a twitpic or instagram link to show off the body. She had to admit to herself that he was a fine man with a fine body. And all his female followers fawned and favorite and retweeted every tweet with religious dedication. She rolled her eyes
- Ow, I’m about to wake up and run on Lekki-Ikoyi bridge at 5am along with Foursquare links to prove this. At intervals too, he tweeted his Foursquare checkins to show the restaurants he was eating in, the clubs he was in and so on.
- Checkout my pix with this or that celeb. Famzer oshi, she thought
“This guys is just a kid, how could a woman stay with this one for eight years. That girl should consider herself lucky he broke it off sef, it has saved her from rubbish.” She mumbled to herself and then rolled out of bed to fetch a drink without taking her eyes off the phone in her hand. She nearly tripped over the pizza delivery uniform she had dumped on the floor as soon as she got home some hours before that time. She picked it up and dumped it in the polythene bag she had brought home and smiled as she remembered the things she had done with the man she had gone to deliver the pizza to.
Senayon had never seen anything like this in his entire life. As a policeman, he had seen all sorts of terrible things, but hell, there was nothing like what was before his eyes now. The naked young man was propped into a sitting position with his head hacked clean off and placed in his hands on his outstretched legs. He could understand Korie’s state of mind and why he had been so agitated at the studio now; this was a gruesome sight. They had seen that much with his torchlight when they came in and he thought that was all, until he asked Korie to turn the generator on so that they could take a closer look and collect what evidence they could. But when the light came on, they saw what was above the headless torso. The killer had obviously had a lot of time after the murder. Above the body, the killer had painted a large image of a bird on the white wall with what seemed to be the victim’s blood. Inside the bird was written the words
“A Little Bird Said…”
And on the right of the bird, the whole image was signed
“The Ring Collector”,
All the words were written in the bloody red. The writing was deliberately written in block so that every trace of a unique handwriting was erased and replaced with a machinelike print. It meant the killer had not just killed the man, but had been calm enough to hack the head off, position it, and then use the blood as ink to methodically write the message calmly. This was not a mere murder, Senayon realized. The killer was making a very clear statement. But to whom and what did it mean, he asked himself.
“Call the evidence people and tell them to get here pronto!” he ordered Ofor and the officer jumped into action from his equally shocked state.
Korie sat on the edge of the bed, unspeaking. He could not even weep, he was numbed. Senayon led him wordlessly to the living room to interview him while they waited for Ofor to return with the team.
“I know this might be hard, but I will need to ask you a few questions, Mr. Korie,” Senayon began.
“Go ahead,” Korie responded in a surprisingly calm voice in spite of the fact that he was shaking mildly all over.
“This was definitely not an armed robbery or random killing. It was an assassination. And you say there was no sign of forced entry when you came in?” Senayon asked.
“No, there wasn’t any. The door was left unlocked the way it would be if he was at home and so I assumed he was in.” Korie responded.
“Well, that means he let the person in himself. That reduces the sample space for suspects remarkably. If he let the person in, it must have been someone he knew and trusted enough to let in while he was alone in the house. Where does your brother work that he was at home at that time or does your brother run his own business?” Senayon asked.
“He is a popular blogger and social media specialist cum activist,” Korie responded.
“Huh? What is that?” Senayon asked, brows raised in confusion.
Korie had faced having to explain what his brother made so much money from severally before and would have laughed if the situation hadn’t been so grave. This time, he simply explained his social media and blogging and how his brother used his activism to push certain agendas.
“So you are saying he gets paid to write these things and use this social media you are talking about?” Senayon asked.
“Yes, that’s basically it,” Korie responded.
“He could have made enemies from that,” Senayon commented.
“He made plenty, amongst his fellow social media activists when they were on opposite sides of the fence, and of course powerful enemies in and out of government that he exposed through his activism. In all honesty, my brother can be an annoying imp a lot of times.” Korie stated.
“Okay, we can look at that angle. But there is one thing that makes such a theory not fit,” Senayon got up and began to pace like he always did when he the thoughts became clearer as he spoke them out aloud. “If it was any of his opponents, the entry would have been forced. I don’t think he would have trusted them enough to let them in.”
Korie nodded his head in agreement. He knew Charles very well, and his brother was one of those people who prided themselves in being over careful, sometimes bordering on paranoia. He would not have met any of those his twitter people at home. His financiers were also a no-no, he could not afford to be associated with most of them and kept them in the shadows so that his activist credentials could remain spotless. “You are correct sir,” he mumbled to the DPO.
Ofor arrived with the team now and they quietly got to work in the bedroom, leaving Senayon alone with Korie a few moments later. A lone officer went around the living room to see if there was anything to glean from there. Senayon continued “like I was saying, it had to be someone he would allow in. Let’s look at his personal life. Does he have any enemies in the family? Amongst friends? Or women and lovers?”
“A woman could not have done that to Charles now, he was a rather strong man,” Korie responded with some edge in his voice.
“Calm down young man, I am not calling your dead brother’s manhood into question. But you would be a fool to assume a woman couldn’t kill him. So answer the question – on a personal level, does he have any women that can hate him enough to do this?” Senayon asked firmly.
“He has,” Korie began and then corrected himself. “He had a lot of women all over him because of his popularity as a social media person. It was one of the points we didn’t agree on, and one of the points of quarrel between him and his fiancée”.
“Fiancée you say? Where is she?” Senayon asked.
“I meant to say ex-fiancée.” Korie corrected himself again. He was more uncoordinated than he cared to let off.
“Hmm, interesting. Who broke the engagement off, when and under what circumstances?” Senayon asked as an idea gripped his mind. It fit with the theory he had formed.
“Actually, Charles did rather callously, and theirs was a very public relationship, so it really affected her,” Korie responded.
“Ah, really? Please tell me how this engagement ended, in all the detail that you can recall.”
Korie began to tell Charles and Sumbo’s story to a patient Senayon.
“Men, I have worked my ass off today while you went to go and stay with man, ashawo like you,” Sumbo said over the phone to Sandra. Her “it’s complicated but we sha have a thing” guy was in town from his base in Abuja for the day and Sandra had abandoned her, work and her senses and gone to roll in the haystack with the dude.
“Go away, witch.” Sandra responded, laughing.
“So what are you doing now, now that your ashawo-ness has been satisfied? Sha don’t come back to this house with belle”
“You won’t stop abi? You won’t leave me alone. Don’t worry, I will get some, and some extra to bring home for you. But…” She stopped mid sentence.
“What got your tongue? Did he jump you from behind?” Sumbo asked mischievously. Still Sandra remained quiet. “Sandra, are you there?” Sumbo asked again. “Oh, these networks!” she exclaimed and was about to end the call when Sandra’s shaken voice came over the phone.
“Charles is dead.” She said flatly.
“What? Come off it. While I have killed him in my mind severally in the past, I really didn’t mean it now. Stop this joke jo!” Sumbo responded.
“It’s all over twitter and the image is a bloody one. I’m not sure you want to see this,” Sandra said.
“You’re really serious about this Sandra?” Sumbo asked, expecting Sandra to laugh and tell her it was a joke.
“Check @kObaro’s timeline. It’s all over twitter and trending already.” Sandra said.
Sumbo quickly picked her tab and went to twitter. The moment she saw the trend, a fear that it was really true gripped her heart. She clicked on the #RIPOBARO hashtag and saw the gruesome picture. Someone had picmixed it with a picture where he was speaking from a podium in Kenya. She let out a heart-wrenching scream. At the same moment, there was knock on her door. Her heart jumped in her mouth as raw fear shot up her spine.
Fuad checked his DM again. She said “I’ve seen you jog on the Lekki-Ikoyi bridge. You’re frigging hot!”
He knew he was good-looking and his body was his pride, but it always made him feel super cool to hear a very attractive woman say it. And men, was she attractive? He responded to her DM
“I’m sure it’s wash. And you haven’t seen me. No one is out that early when I jog. I like the peace and quiet”
He waited for fifteen minutes before her response came in.
“Oh, okay. Have a great solo jogging experience hottie. Gotta go”
That was it? She had left him hanging! He didn’t want to look desperate, so he just let it slide and went back to the series he was watching.
The news broke on twitter that the police had arrested social media personality and activist Charles Obaro’s former fiancée, fellow social media activist Sumbo Ajala in conjunction with his gruesome murder. Twitter was abuzz with the news and their activist friends had taken sides on the matter with fires being stoked and feminist rhetoric flying all over.
The girl in bra rolled off the bed and ran a quick Google search to see if there was more news on the murder case. The internet was a blessing. She found what she was looking for within a few minutes. Good. “Interesting,” she mumbled to herself. She launched multiple tabs on her browser and opened Instagram on one, Facebook on another and Google Maps on a third. It was amazing how much information one could get on a person by bringing all that was scattered on these media together.
The next morning, Fuad was returning from his morning jog even before most of his neighbors had woken up. As he got to his gate, he saw a lady in knee length tights and fitted top waiting at his gate. She looked like she had gone jogging too.
“Hello, how can I help you?” he asked her, keeping some distance between them.
“Hello Fuad, how are you?” she said pleasantly.
“How do you know my name and who are you?” he asked. He wanted to be wary but his eyes refused to cooperate with him. The jogging outfit she wore clung to her figure and his eyes stayed fixated on her luscious body. She smiled and exposed even white teeth.
“Maybe you should check your DM, Mr. Fuad,” she responded, smiling mischievously.
He looked at his phone and noticed it was blinking. Indeed, he had a DM.
“I’m right in front of you Mister Fuad” the DM said. He began to laugh as he went to her.
“You are one crazy babe, you know? How did you find me?” he asked.
“I told you I saw you when you jogged everyday. Didn’t it occur to you that someone else jogs and might like the peace and quiet just like you?” she asked, smiling.
“Since you are here, I might as well offer you my water if you won’t mind coming in,” he said with a twinkle in his eye and a prayer in his heart that he would be lucky today.
She smiled that her mischievous smile again and responded “I thought you would never ask”.