“Detective Tobi, sir!” His assistant shouted.
Detective Tobi Akano, forty, lead detective of the Lagos Island Police Department Homicide Division turned. He was still feeling sleepy. His assistant’s call had woken him from his beauty sleep.
“Sir! Good morning sir. It’s like my call woke you up from sleep,” she added with a small smile. Tobi noticed that she herself looked as if she hadn’t woken up properly.
“Efe, it’s five-thirty in the morning. What do you think?”
Tobi was honestly surprised that it was his office assistant of all people that had gotten saddled with contacting him and even coming out in person to a crime scene. Though, as he walked from his car to the gate under the yellow glare of the streetlamp just beside the fence, he knew he shouldn’t have been. It just went to show how much people were willing to hand down any responsibility in the department.
“I don’t even know what I’m doing here,” he grumbled. “Anyway, they at least said it’s a homicide?” he asked.
“Yes. You need to see the crime scene— That is what you people normally call it, shebi? If you see the woman, the blood and everything, and her face. . . ” Efe shivered. “There was even one woman that fainted at the door of— ”
“Efe! At least let me see the crime scene first, now.”
They went into the house. The sky was still dark, with only few stars to be seen. The moon hung low in the sky, which was starting to light up with coming dawn. The house was a big duplex in Victoria Island, the same place where he himself lived, though not in a house that touched this one. The detective wondered fleetingly why rich people met their deaths early.
At the gateman’s post just inside the gate, the gateman stood arguing with two uniformed officers in a very heavy Hausa intonation. The detective heard much, but he couldn’t make out one word from what the guy was saying. Efe told him it was the gateman who had raised the alarm after hearing screaming from inside the house.
“I don’t understand this one, sir,” one of the officers told him after explaining how to get to the bedroom. “There is a dead woman upstairs, and we know it was a gunshot, but I don’t understand how it happened.”
How will you understand?Tobi thought. There was a reason it was not the officer’s job to make sense of a homicide scene.
“Just try and get the whole story from the gateman. I want to know exactly what happened here.”
The officer turned exasperatedly to look at his colleague who was still trying to make sense of what the gateman was saying. Tobi was grateful he didn’t have to deal with that this soon after waking up from sleep. That was where he was lucky, at least. Working homicides meant seeing dead people, and dead people didn’t talk.
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They left the officers and crossed the interlocked compound, then entered into the still serene building. As they ascended the polished wooden steps that hung from the ceiling from the grand parlour to the bedrooms upstairs, the detective did not fail to notice the posh interior.
“And these people are always richer than we that are protecting them, sha,” he said, looking down on the living room as the hanging staircase twisted around on its way up.
“This police work doesn’t pay much, now,” Efe agreed.
They finally got to the bedroom and ducked under the police tape. The interior of the bedroom was tastefully furnished, with a magnificent bed and mattress, covered with beautiful bedsheets. A duvet was tucked over the bedsheets, with two pillows and a bedside table on either side of the bed.
To one side was a chest of drawers, and behind the bed a wardrobe. To the other side was a chair with a table, on which different make-up kits were placed. A large window was beside the wardrobe. The room was painted a bright pink.
It was on the bed where the main centre of attraction was. The murdered woman, a woman who looked to be in her middle fifties, lay under the duvet, and the look on her face bespoke the agony through which she met her end. There was a bullet wound on her forehead, dried blood all around it. Her hands were still gripping the bedsheets.
“Looks like something you see in a horror film,” Efe whispered.
Even Tobi had to shake his head. Twenty years he had worked on the Force in one capacity or the other and had gotten used to seeing scary crime scenes. Only few things could knock the wind out of him like this, but this was one of them.
The detective walked deeper into the room. He knew Efe didn’t want to enter, but was too afraid to stand there alone with a body like that on the bed. He heard her dragging footsteps behind him as she followed.
Tobi walked slowly around the bed, from the foot of the bed to the left-hand side, looking straight at the woman as he did. He held up a hand for his assistant to wait behind. His eyes studied the bullet wound on her head. This seemed like a normal assasination at first glance. A rich woman was dead, which meant someone had paid another person to kill her, end of story