A story written by INEGBENOISE OSEODION OSAGIE. (07068221839, 08093828575, [email protected])
Ezinne filed the mauve paint off her toenails until the nails almost whitened. The scraps, she gathered into a paper and left them at a corner of the room. She lay beside her pillow and tightened herself against it; that was all she could do. The pillow still carried Richard’s scent.
Five days had gone and no word from him, no mention of his name except from the reporters whom pile up lies on him. Nobody knew the truth. Nobody knew why he was at the orchard with a gun. Neither did they know what brought him there. How did he find himself in such a mess? He couldn’t have followed her, and even if he did, he wouldn’t do that holding a gun. Time would unfold the mystery. She squeezed the pillow and tasted his scent while she still could. It might take long before she sees him, but she would. It was certain. He would walk himself out of the mess. He was the CEO of Erneto Aives.
The crackling of the gate stopped her sleepy eyes from closing, and a peek through the window revealed two police officers talking with the gateman. Time for questioning had come. She rubbed eyes and rose from the bed, swaggered to the wardrobe and draped an overcoat over her see-through.
The doorbell rang on her way down the stairs. Getting to the door, she opened for them and replied to their grim greetings. One held a folder.
They settled on the two-seated sofa. “We would want to talk with you concerning your husband. You must have heard of his case,” the one with a folder said, settling his folder on a stool.
“It’s all in the news.” She sat on the adjacent sofa.
He opened the folder and brought out a sheet. “We would ask you some questions. We plead for your cooperation.”
“I’m willing to cooperate.”
He swallowed a cough and brought out a warrant from his Bosom pocket. “My colleague here would be searching the house.”
“It’s okay. You are free to.”
The colleague rose and strode to an edge of the sitting room from where he began his search.
“Your husband is accused of attempted murder. Do you believe he can do something like that?”
“I don’t. We courted for more than a year and have been married for some time now. I would vouch for him.”
“Have you ever encountered the name, Bakare Damijo?”
“I’ve never heard of it.”
He raised some sheets in the folder and fished out a photograph. “Have you ever seen this man?”
She held the photograph and drew it closer to her eyes. It was the bastard. “I haven’t.” She laid it on the stool.
He scrawled something on his sheet, and returned his eyes to her. “What were your whereabouts on Saturday, March 17th?”
“I was here at morning, my shop at noon, and back here at evening.”
“At about 3 P.M., where were you?”
“Do you have any alibi?”
“I work alone, but if you are looking for customers with whom I worked at that time, you may check my record book and contact them. But excuse me, will these questions help fish out the man who framed my husband?”
“You think your husband was framed?” the officer asked.
“I said I don’t believe he would do such a thing. So it’s either he was framed, or the police are making some mistakes.”
“Who do you think could possibly frame him?”
“I don’t know any of his enemies, but he must have some. Men like him don’t live without enemies.”
“He was found with a gun, and the bullet that penetrated the victim matched with a gun belonging to him.”
“No one knows how calculative his enemy was. Richard won’t point a gun at someone with cold hands.”
“I need to see your record book.”
“Then come to my shop tomorrow. And as I asked, how would that help my husband?”
“Let the police do their job.”
She picked the officer’s pen and scribbled down her shop’s address on one of their papers. “I’ll give the maximum help I can, but please you should bear in mind my husband is innocent.”
“Thank you, madam.” He closed the folder. “When my colleague is done, we’ll leave.” Soon, he began tapping foot on the floor. “The preliminary hearing is on Thursday. Will you be present?”
“Why would I miss it?”
The preliminary should have been waived. It did nothing but prolong the trial process, prolonging Rick’s time in jail. His attorney ought to know that.
“Do you know what brought my husband to the scene?”
“No, madam. There are lots of sayings. No one knows the lies and truths. That’s why the police investigate.”
“You’re saying the police have no clue of his motive for being in the scene?”
“No one knows what led him there.”
She ended her questions as it wouldn’t be wise asking too much.
The second officer arrived. He found nothing. His superior requested they go search the outside. They stepped out of the room and she bolted the door. They would leave after finding nothing.
She stared at Richard’s photo at a top corner of the wall. What explanation would she give when he comes out of jail? There was none but the truth. He also had explanations to give, explanations she doubted would be understandable, same way he wouldn’t understand what he saw her do or why she did it, same way he wouldn’t understand why she had no regrets other than the bullet did not pass through the bastard’s skull.
One thing was certain: No matter her explanation, Rick would yet file for divorce. That was not unexpected, except that it would come earlier than its time—the time he would find out there would be no birth child, and scream at her for not informing him before the marriage, as though he would have married her had he known. The divorce would come, and after that, she would try law school and see where life leads. And Bakare… God, please send him to hell. She stretched on a long sofa and tucked the cushion below her head.
She returned her eyes to Richard’s photo. His influence and affluence would win him out of jail.
To Be Continued….