Man In Black Episode 12


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.”

“ ‘Us’? You and who?” Tobi asked.

“Musa, the gateman.”

“Okay. Was everything okay between your madam and her son?”

“Yes. Oga Festus loves him mom, all of us knew it.”

“What of your madam and her former husband? She’s divorced, not so? How were things between the both of them?”

A look of helpless confusion came over Matilda’s face. 

“I only heard from somewhere that my madam had a husband before. I don’t know anything about him, sir. And my madam didn’t used to do anything like sugar mummy or all those things. She didn’t have any guy that was. . . ” Tobi sat up, but obviously that wasn’t a line of conversation Matilda wanted to go into at all. “She used to go to church every Sunday. She was a good woman.”

“Okay, so tell us about yesterday. I want to know everything that happened, from when you woke up,” Ngozi came in, once again in her iron voice.

As the housekeeper replied, Tobi’s mind drifted back to their session in Homicide unit. Kunle had mentioned about a sniper, a person that could use a gun to kill someone from very far away. 

Tobi had heard of something like that before. That was the first thing that had come to his mind as he looked from the hole in Mrs Durojaiye’s curtain to the scratch in the bedroom wall. He had thought of that one bullet coming through the window, ricocheting off the wall and going straight through the woman’s head, killing her dead.

But, of course, the only reason he hadn’t believed it was because it didn’t sound believable. But he had still searched the room, and then had CSI and his junior detectives search it again for good measure. There was no shell casing to account for the bullet fired into Mrs Durojaiye’s head, and no other bullet to account for the one that chipped a small piece out of her wall. They could come up with a dozen different theories for why those things were missing, but the theory of just one bullet doing everything took care of all of it.

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Tobi was a Nigerian policeman, for God’s sake. In his line of work, if somebody wanted to kill another person with a gun, he had to walk up close to that person. Once he did that, he would leave clues that a skilled detective like himself could follow. Give him a hired assassin that could turn somewhere from a bedroom into a crime scene without even stepping foot into that crime scene, and he had no idea what he was supposed to do.

He hadn’t been taught about anything like this all those years ago in police academy. Not that his superiors would want to hear any of that, anyway. All they wanted was results.

It would all come down to the report on the bullet.

Matilda told them about the previous day. Her madam had been sick for two days, and had been taking a combination of pills and tablets every six hours for those two days, yesterday included. Matilda had done her normal housekeeping duties yesterday. 

Her madam had a bell installed in her bedframe for calling Matilda whenever she needed something. It connected from her room to the kitchen, the sitting room, and Matilda’s bedroom. Tobi had seen the bell button on Mrs Dujaiye’s bed. No way he could have missed it with the dead woman’s finger still on it. She hadn’t made much use of it aside from those two days she hadn’t been able to leave her bed.

“She rang it in the middle of the night around after three o’clock,” Matilda narrated. She paused to think. “Yes, it was three o’clock or some minutes past three, I remember checking the time. I walked to her room and after knocking, she didn’t answer. Even after I tried again and again, it was still the same thing.” Her voice was already shaking.

“It was when I opened the door that I saw the blood everywhere on her bed and I saw that she. . . ” Matilda choked. “That she. . . ” 

And she burst into a fresh round of tears.

Her brother tried to soothe her. Gradually, she calmed down. She was sobbing and hiccuping at the same time, trying to stop. Tobi knew that they weren’t getting one more coherent word out of the housekeeper. 

This interview was officially over. But, before that, there was one thing they had to get out of the way. He had to know whether or not her sorrow was genuine.

“Just one more question, Matilda. I want you to think very well and be honest with me. Did you have a hand in your madam’s death? If you made any arrangement with somebody— ”