A story written by INEGBENOISE OSEODION OSAGIE. (07068221839, 08093828575, [email protected])
It was a preliminary hearing. Thus, the courtroom was not packed the manner it was at trials. Ezinne was glad she sat at the last pew, the perfect spot to avoid any unnecessary eye contact with Richard, those bright and shimmering eyes that didn’t seem to belong to someone who had spent a night in jail. His skin was still bronze as though the jailers bathed him. She imagined how his cell would be, possibly the best in the facility. He was the CEO of Erneto Aives.
The magistrate assumed bench in full regalia and the officers stood in place. One of them stood at Ezinne’s front and caused her a half view of the podium. She signalled him to leave her view.
“May the State call its first witness,” the magistrate said.
The prosecuting attorney, Rashid Momoh, rose. The previous day, he spoke on TV, saying he fully believed Rick shot the victim and caused him a permanent paralysis. He had promised to fight the case to the end as though he was the only factor that determined if one stayed in jail. He alone was too small to keep a man like Rick in jail.
“The State calls DSP Bayo Yetunde,” the prosecuting attorney said.
The Deputy superintendent was led into the witness box. He positioned the microphone closer to his mouth and began explaining how his team saw Richard at an old building’s landing with a firearm kit that contained a rifle and other ammunitions. He explained a bleeding Bakare lying on the turf some distance below Richard.
“Any eye witnesses?” the judge asked.
“No,” the prosecuting attorney said, “but we were able to sap little information from the victim. He was able to give us some nods and headshakes.”
Bakare was lucky to have survived the shot. The hole in his back would be worth seeing. That would remain there for life. They now both had holes that would remain for life.
“The victim nodded to the defendant shooting him at a point-blank range,” the prosecuting attorney said.
Bakare still had the sense to think before responding. If she had put the shot in his head, he wouldn’t have had any of that.
“Thank you, Mr Momoh,” the judge said and turned to Richard’s attorney. “Any question, Mr Victor?”
“Yes, sir.” He rose. “The defence requests bail.”
The magistrate would have allowed bail, in order to shorten Rick’s incarceration and to spare him the time to talk. Bail would have given him the time to explain to her his presence at the orchard, and she would explain why she did what she did, whatever the outcome might be.
Richard’s attorney adjusted his suspenders. “That would be all, sir.” He returned to his pad and jotted down some things, behaving like those lawyers who believed the defence should refrain from arguments in preliminaries. Good strategy, but he should have said something that would reveal how Rick found himself in the scene, and stop playing too skilful. His skilfulness would not win Rick out. Rick would win himself out.
The magistrate focused on the spectators. “The court finds enough evidence to hold the defendant, Mr Richard Fayemi, for action by the Lagos State district judge. He shall hereby remain in custody. Court’s adjourned.” The magistrate rose, and his clerk carried his file from the table.
Richard rose and gave his hands to the handcuffs. Ezinne shifted her eyes away until he was led out of the door. What devil brought him to the orchard?
He twisted head to her and pointed his heavy eyes through the window. She blinked hers away. So many things were engraved between his eyelids, things she would tackle when he came home.
A hand rested on her back. It was Jide Echem. No iota of smile adhered to his face, neither was a scowl. Rick had not informed him of what happened at the orchard.
“Kèdú? How’s everything?” he asked.
“Ódì mmá. Things will be fine.”
“Yes, they will.”
The kleptomaniac approached. Never did she carry a smile. It may be due to the unevenness of her teeth, the gap at its middle big enough to cause a toothless smile.
“Ivie, we haven’t seen each other in a while.”
A small extension occurred at her lips’ edge, the kind she always did. “I once came to the house, but didn’t meet you.”
“I was probably at work. I now head a supermarket.”
“Rick told me. It’s good to hear.”
“How’s your gallery?”
“It’s fine. I’m sorry for the happenings.”
“It’s a tragedy Rick fell a victim.” She held her purse. “I should head home. It’s been a jagged day.”
Richard’s lawyer strode for the door. The scowl on his face pointed to her. Richard must have told this one what happened in the orchard. Jide went after him and attempted a talk, but it didn’t seem he was interested. Jide returned to her and they said goodbyes.
She tried driving without thinking, but the lonely roads weren’t helping. Her babies, her twins. Hurting Bakare did not stop their haunt. Neither did it blur the image of the doctor’s blades tearing them apart. She knew it wouldn’t, but nonetheless, the bullet was not wasted. As she never would be able to use her womb again, so would the bastard never be able to use his legs again.
To Be Continued….