Tobi walked into the interview room with Ngozi. Inside the room was a table, and on the visitors’ side of that table sat the person he had come to see.
Actually, there were two people. The housekeeper to the deceased woman, Matilda Bakare was one of them, the very person he had come to see. The second person he had been told was her elder brother.
The junior detectives he had stationed at the house had told him that, upon regaining consciousness, the woman had burst into tears, and hadn’t stopped until her brother, who by then had heard of what had happened at the place where his sister worked, had come down in person and insisted on accompanying her when he heard that she was required for mandatory questioning. It was on this brother’s shoulder that she now laid her head, and her eyes— eyes that were red and puffy from crying —stared vacantly at them as they entered.
Originally, Tobi saved the privilege of whoever followed him for a questioning or interrogation or for anything else for the junior detective who had performed best in any investigation most recently. The reason he was now bringing Ngozi along and not Kunle was because he assumed the woman they had come to see would open up more if she saw another woman’s face and not just those of two men.
Ngozi was a woman, sure, but she had a man’s stature and a voice that was so strong it could be mistaken for a man’s if you weren’t seeing who was talking. As far as seeing dead people went, Ngozi was cut out for a job in his division, there was no denying that fact.
She wasn’t Tobi’s idea of a girlfriend or anything, but she was a woman, and that was what he needed her for here.
The detective walked over to the chair across the table from the two and sat. Ngozi followed behind him, stopping beside Matilda. She squatted down so they were at eye level.Visit www.pobsonline.com for more amazing stories
“Sorry about what happened. I’m very sorry you saw her like that.” She spoke softly, and for once she almost sounded like a woman. The brother’s eyes watched her. Then she squeezed her shoulder lightly and came to sit on the edge of the table, on Tobi’s right.
The housekeeper’s eyes began to fill with tears yet again, but her brother spoke to her gently and rubbed her shoulder on the same spot. He looked like he appreciated this policewoman’s small gesture to his sister. Tobi did as well.
Much as the detective hated to add to this woman’s pain, his job demanded it. He took the bull by the horns.
“Thank you for coming, Mr. . . ”
“Dayo. Dayo Bakare. She’s my sister.”
“We would have just questioned her at the house, but my people said she was not responsive. It’s when you came that I said they should bring her here so I can see you in person.”
“No problem, sir. I just hope we weren’t brought here for detainment,” he said, looking uncertainly from him to Ngozi and back again.
Tobi would have to listen to her personally to satisy himself that she hadn’t hatched or been part of any plot to do away with her employer before they would decide about detainment.
So he just replied, “We will do our job and proceed from here as we see fit,” instead. The brother didn’t look very encouraged at that, but providing encouragement wasn’t exactly what he had been employed to do.
Detective Tobi Akano’s job was solving Homicide cases, by no matter what means possible.
He looked at the woman. “Matilda? Can you hear me?” She looked at him and nodded. “Your name is Matilda Bakare? I need a yes or no.”
“Yes,” she said in a voice cracked from crying.
“How long have you been working at Mrs Durojaiye’s house?”
Matilda sniffed. There was the sound of catarrh in her nose. “Around five years,” she said.
“And have you been mistreated during any of those five years?” he asked. Anything of the sort would constitute a motive for wishing her madam bad. Whether or not death was part of those bad things was sorely dependent on the kind of person Matilda was.
“No,” Matilda said, raising her head off her brother’s shoulder. The mere insinuation of mistreatment seemed inconcievable to her. “My madam used to treat us well, even Oga Festus.” Her employer’s son. “Only God knows what will happen when he hears what happened to his mother.”