Thu. Feb 15th, 2024

Culprit

.

Continues..

“Looks like I arrived just in time to save the

next victim.”

***

Raheem and I burst into the sickbay, with

Sir Amadi right behind us, his breath erratic.

With a weight like his, I wondered how he

managed to keep up with us.

The room, quiet as a graveyard, held no sign

of the drama we had missed, save for the

student sat in bed with her back to the door.

Wrapping her fingers around her thin ankles,

she propped up her head on her raised

knees.

“Whathappened?” Sir Amadi asked,

advancing to her.

“It’s no use,” Stella said. Her nonchalance

baffled me, but I barely had a moment to

dwell on it. “She won’t speak to you. She’s

been like this ever since she came to. She

says to only speak to Victoria and a certain

Raheem Kadir.”

“I am he,” Raheem said.

Stella didn’t turn to acknowledge him. “If

these crazy kids don’t quit this Bloody Miri

act, I swear, the me they’ll be seeing will be

way scarier than any so-called ghost.”

“I understand how you feel,” Sir Amadi said.

Did he? For a man who could crash into

someone and not feel sorry, I doubted he

knew the ABC of sympathy. “But you must

calm down.”

Raheem walked to Stella, his eyes mirroring

her pain. “I can’t pretend to know how you

feel. But know that I will not let this game

continue. You have my word.”

His words, like a charm, danced their way

into her heart, shutting the door out on Sir

Amadi’s words.

“But what can you do?” Stella asked.

“Whatever it takes,” Raheem said. “Once I

talk to Mark Etto, he will see the need for

CCTVs in the restrooms, and whoever goes

on to Bloody Miri will be expelled.”

I cringed at the thought of having cameras

in the restroom. Weren’t restrooms meant to

be private places?

I voiced out my indignation. “Cameras? Are

you crazy?”

“Do you have a better option?” Raheem

asked, although he apparently didn’t expect

me to have any.

“The idea of cameras in the restroom just

unnerves me,” I said. “It’s a restroom for

heaven’s sake!”

“His idea is perfect,” Sir Amadi said. “The

CCTVs will only be installed outside the

stalls. So everything is fine as long as

nobody leaves her stall undressed.”

“Hell, my idea is perfect and I don’t need

you telling me that,” Raheem said.

Nengi sniffled, drawing our attention to her.

Shooting Sir Amadi a cold stare, Raheem

wordlessly ordered him to back off. Sir

Amadi complied, giving Raheem and I room

to approach her.

“Can you tell us what happened?” Raheem

asked.

“I was a fool not to believe Dory,” Nengi

said. Her body trembled as she sobbed, and

I feared she would break down. “I was a

fool.”

Raheem reached out his hand as though to

touch her. But he never did. He just let his

hand hover in midair as though that simple

gesture could halt her tears.

In a decidedly slow voice, he said, “Please

calm down. We need you to calm down.”

Shuddering, Nengi raised her face to look at

us. Her eyes were puffy from crying. She

smoothed her palms over her legs and

swept frantic eyes around the room.

“She’ll be back,” she said between hiccups

and gasps. “She’ll kill me. She’s pissed off

because I saw her. She wants to kill me.

Help me. Please. I don’t want to die. I don’t

want to.”

I lowered myself to the bed and pulled her

into a hug. “You’re safe. It’s okay now.”

Clinging to me like a child, she trembled in

my arms. Her innocence, her pain, her

distress, it all melted my heart. A girl with

such innocence could never hurt another.

She’d be mortified if she knew I had

suspected her of attacking her friend.

She gulped down her fears. “What if she

comes back?”

“Did you see the person who attacked you?”

I asked.

“Yes.”

“Canyou tell us what she looks like?”

“It’s Bloody Miri. I swear. She’s real. She—”

With an ear-splitting shriek, she sprang to

her feet and hid behind Raheem as Stella

launched at her. Sir Amadi gripped Stella’s

arms, restraining her. She writhed to break

free, but he held on to her.

Stella’s nose flared with indignation. “Say

one word about my sister, and you’re it.”

With Raheem as a shield between Stella and

her, Nengi felt confident enough to speak

again. “I swear it. I saw her. I saw the girl in

the picture.”

“Not one more word!” Sir Amadi said. “Have

you gone crazy or what?”

Bursting into tears, Nengi darted out of the

sickbay. I rose to my feet and made to

follow, but Sir Amadi held out a hand to stop

me.

“I’ll handle this,” he said. Hush descended

upon the sickbay as he dashed after her.

Moments passed and I waited for someone

to break the silence, but nobody did. Nobody

but me. “I can’t believe she struck again.

What’s she aiming at, serial killer wannabe?”

A wave of silence accompanied my

question. Raheem folded his hands and

sauntered to the other side of the room, his

face pensive. He stood motionless, digging

deep into his thoughts. I looked over to the

counter where Stella stood, fuming over the

twenty-one-year-old game.

“Rah—” I called.

“I’m trying to think,” he said, his voice

slightly raised.

Our number two suspect had become a

victim. Just when I thought we were making

progress, this happened. I should have

known our sleuthing had only turned easy

because we were headed in the wrong

direction.

“What is your observation thus far, Miss

Brown?” Raheem’s asked, his voice like the

calmness of the oceans. “What does today’s

incident add, or take away, from our case?”

“Nengi is definitely not the culprit,” I blurted

out. How was that even a question?

Raheem nodded. “Typical observation. What

gives, though?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” I asked. “She was

attacked. Surely, she couldn’t have hurt

herself. What would she gain?”

Once the question left my lips, Raheem

turned around and his eyes met mine. He

seemed ready to flaunt his intelligence. I

could tell from the smug smile on his face

and the twinkle in his eyes. The expression

that said ‘I know something you don’t.’

“Self-victimization is a word you should look

into, Miss Brown,” he said. “Allow me be

your lexicon for now. It refers to the

fabrication of victimhood for reasons such

as diverting attention, manipulating people,

soliciting sympathy, and the rest of them. If

you want to sleuth and sleuth right, you

must never wave off any possibility unless

there is proof of its unlikelihood.”

Of course I didn’t know the ABC of

sleuthing, and although he’d probably known

this from the start, he had asked me to be

his sidekick anyway. So far, I didn’t even

see how I contributed to his crime solving

exercise. Why had he chosen to work with

me when he could go it alone and do it

right?

“She’s a suspect?” Stella asked. “Even after

she’s been attacked?”

“I don’t see why we should get her off the

list just yet,” Raheem said.

“Shouldn’t this be handled by the police?”

she asked. “I’m not saying you aren’t

capable of finding the culprit on your own,

but I’m not okay with you two putting your

life on the line.”

“We’ve been told this a million times,”

Raheem said.

“If Victoria comes to any harm because of

this—”

Raheem cut in. “I will keep her safe.

I rolled my eyes. Who said I needed his

protection?

“I shall hold you to your word,” Stella said.

She fetched my bag of drips from the

counter. One down. Two to go.

“Give me a moment,” I said. I needed to

visit the restroom, but telling them would

only break them into panic, since a potential

killer lurked around that territory. No harm

would come to me, though. The serial killer

wannabe only struck during recess.

“Where are you going?” Stella asked.

According to Raheem, to sleuth right, one

must never wave off any possibility unless

there exists proof of its unlikelihood. And for

this reason, I would play Bloody Miri and

see for myself.

***

My heart pounded as I neared the restroom.

What if I ended up like Doreen and Nengi?

Did I really have to take this risk?

I didn’t believe in Bloody Miri, and I wouldn’t

start now. Swallowing my fear, I reached

out to grab the door handle.

“Vicky!” a shrill of a voice pierced my

eardrums. My heart flew to my mouth, and a

gasp escaped my lips. But it only took a

moment for me to regain composure.

I whirled around to find Confidence jogging

toward me. I hoped she hadn’t witnessed my

moment of fright. Blinded by her own fright,

she definitely hadn’t.

“I’m super glad you came to my aid,” she

said. “I need to use the toilet so bad, but I

don’t want to go in alone. I don’t want to

end up like those girls.”

Barely giving me a moment to decide, she

clung to my arm and ushered me in.

“Please wait.” She swept big, frantic eyes

around the restroom. “I’ll be out in a jiffy.”

Taking one last look around, she dashed into

the first stall.

Of course I would wait. I had plans of

spending time in the restroom. I knew

Bloody Miring would freak her out. But what

did I care about the s–t?

I sauntered toward the rectangular mirror

that almost covered the full breadth of the

wall. My heart raced with every step I took.

Time seemed to slow down, waiting for me

to become the next victim. Taking a deep

breath, I shoved off my fears and trained my

eyes on the mirror opposite me. I secured

the sink and turned on the faucet.

“Bloody Miri,” I said, my voice merely a

breath. I took a step back and looked around

for a sign of anything out of place. Finding

nothing, I returned my focus to the mirror.

A lump formed in my throat, constricting it.

But I wouldn’t back out. “Bloody Miri.

Bloody Miri. Bloody Miri. Bloody Miri.”

Confidence burst out of the stall, her eyes

wide with fear. “What are you doing? Stop!

Stop it!”

I kept my eyes trained on the mirror.

“Bloody Miri. Bloody Miri. Bloody Miri—”

“You’re crazy,” Confidence screamed,

sprinting out of the restroom. The door

slammed after her.

“Crazy!” her fading voice screamed on.

The emotions I thought I’d overcome fought

to consume me. Every fiber of my being told

me to drop this silliness and drag myself out

of the restroom, but I stood my ground. I

would not let fear take the best of me.

Blinking sweat away from my eyes, I

secured the other sinks and turned on the

faucets.

“Bloody Miri,” I called. “Bloody Miri. Bloody

Miri. Bloody Miri. Bloody Miri. Bloody Miri…”

I chanted on and on, barely giving myself a

moment to breathe. I listened for anything

out of place, but could only hear my voice

and the drip-drop of water. I didn’t believe in

ghosts and never would.

Ghosts didn’t exist. If they did, mum and

dad would have saved me from my

stepmother’s depravity. They’d haunt her till

she lost her sanity. But they didn’t. This

only meant ghosts did not exist. And Miriam

Adewale was no exception.

“I don’t believe in ghosts,” I muttered,

hoping it quelled my racing heart. “I’m only

doing this for the benefit of doubt. Bloody

Miri? Hah! What a joke!”

A knock on the main door forced me to

punctuate my words with a gasp. Although

my mind screamed ‘Bloody Miri’, I tried not

to think of it. I did not believe in ghosts!

I could feel my heart pounding in my throat.

Water overflowed from the sinks, but I

couldn’t move a muscle. Fear rooted me to

the spot.

The slow, haunting knocking on the door

continued. My stomach clenched into a fist.

Had Doreen and Nengi felt like this moments

before it happened? Would I end up like

them?

Terror held me in a death grip. But once the

grip loosened, I made for the door, only to

hear a door behind me slam shut. My heart

fell to the pit of my stomach. A scream

escaped my lips.

The main door jerked open, forcing me to

take a step back. I toppled over and lost my

footing. My body met the watery floor with a

thud. Scrambling to my feet, I led my gaze

to the door and found Raheem staring at me

with amusement in his eyes.

He smirked. “Looks like I arrived just in time

to save the next victim.”

I blinked. Once. Twice. I gaped at the door

that had slammed shut, and then it occurred

to me that Confidence had left it ajar. Blast

that jerk.

Raheem bit his lips to stifle a laugh, but

despite his efforts, a bubble of laughter

sailed across the room.

“Are you done laughing?” I asked. It took

much effort not to join in his amusement.

“Just what were you thinking?” he asked.

I ignored his question. “How did you know I

was here?”

His face still crinkled with laughter.

“Instincts.”

Instincts? He sure had ran into Confidence. I

curled my lips at the thought of that s–t

checking him out with those dirty eyes.

Reflecting back on how she’d dashed out of

sight brought a smile to my lips, and despite

my efforts to hold back my amusement, I

heard myself chuckle.

Raheem moved to turn off the faucets,

giving me a chance to sneak out of the

restroom. I walked down the hallway, my

lips curving into a smile as I thought back to

my newest embarrassment. Why did I

always end up embarrassing myself in front

of him? How would I explain my wet uniform

to Stella? How would she react if she knew I

had played the game she despised with

every fiber of her being?

It took a moment before Raheem’s

footsteps joined mine. Lagging a great

distance behind me, he walked calmly,

apparently having no intentions to catch up

with me.

***

Stella’s eyes widened at my drenched

uniform. Sat on a bed, she prepared to

administer my IV drip. “What happened to

you? Were you attacked as well?”

“No,” I said. “I’m fine. The floor was watery,

so I slipped.”

“Why did you visit the toilet?” she asked.

“It’s not like you don’t know the sickbay has

its own toilet. Is there something you’re not

telling me?”

“We had to rush to the crime scene in

search of evidence,” Raheem said.

Stella gestured me over and helped me out

of my wet jacket. Undoing the first two

buttons on my shirt, I slackened my tie and

rolled up my sleeves. My eyes zeroed in on

the syringe in her hand. Forcing my

attention away from it, I lay supine on the

bed.

“I honestly wish I could be of help in this

case,” Stella said, her eyes roaming the

length of my half-unclothed arm. “It’s sick

that someone attacks people in the name of

my sister.”

Finding the administration site, she

tightened the tourniquet around my arm. I

shut my eyes and willed my mind away from

the needle. Amidst the darkness in my mind,

I scrambled for a worthwhile distraction. I

trained my attention on my non-dominant

arm and tricked myself into believing the

needle would sting it and not the other. And

to an extent, it worked. The needle bit into

my skin and slipped into my vein with

minimal pain.

“I want the culprit to be brought to justice,”

Stella said.

“I want that more than anything,” I said.

She advanced to the counter and picked up

her tote bag. Digging into it, she said, “I

don’t see how this helps, but I found this on

the floor after the first victim was brought

here.”

She returned to me, her fist clenched over

an object. Raheem walked over to us. His

breath caught in his throat as Stella’s fist

unclenched, exposing the object.

“Let me see,” I said. Stella lowered her palm

to my line of sight. On it sat a lone earring:

Nengi’s missing earring. Something didn’t

seem right. Raheem’s pensive eyes

confirmed this.

Stella placed the earring in Raheem’s

demanding palm. “Whose is it?”

“Did Nengi visit this place yesterday?”

Raheem asked.

“No,” Stella said. Recollecting the details of

the previous day, she added, “Vicky was my

only patient, until Doreen came along. I’m

sure no one else came in except you and

the principal.”

“And the day before?” Raheem asked. “Did

Nengi come?”

“Some students have no idea what this

place looks like,” Stella said. “Nengi is one

of such students. Until today’s incident

forced her here.”

“So how did it get here?” I asked.

“Isn’t it clear already?” Raheem asked.

“Even a master serial killer makes one

mistake that though seemingly insignificant,

could lead to his downfall. How much more

this amateur?”

Without a doubt, we had discovered the

culprit. Nengi had attacked Doreen. Doreen

had tried to struggle, and so the earring had

fallen off Nengi’s ear and got stuck in

Doreen’s jacket. But why would Nengi try to

kill her best friend?

Unlike me, Raheem didn’t seem stunned by

this revelation. He seemed to have known

this from the start.

“Now that the culprit has been identified,

what next?” I asked.

“I like to toy with my playthings for a bit,”

Raheem said, giving me the impression he’d

solved other cases in the past. “We will

have her return to the crime scene on her

own. And we will have her confess her

crime voluntarily.”

“How?” Stella stole my question.

“Here’s the plan,” Raheem said. “While I go

speak to Nengi, Miss Brown will hide in one

of the stalls, waiting for her to walk into the

trap. Once we have her, it’s all done.”

With a sigh, I looked up at the bag of fluid.

“I’m confined to this bed.”

Moving to me, Stella paused the drip. She

pulled out the needle and placed a cotton

wool over where it had been. “Be back once

it’s done.”

I nodded. I made to stand, but memories of

yesterday’s vertigo drifted past my mind,

forcing me to remain in the bed for a

second too long. After a few moments, I

slowly raised myself to my feet. Standing

still as a statue, I gauged my reaction.

Everything seemed fine.

“You ready?” Raheem asked.

“Yeah,” I said. Stella smiled at us as we

walked out of the sickbay and toward our

plan. “You seem so confident that she’ll go

to the restroom on her own.”

“Of course,” Raheem said. After a moment,

he explained, “It’s simple. I only have to

inform her of an earring the janitor came

across in the restroom. Of course it’s a

pretty expensive piece and it would be a

shame for the owner to lose it forever. And

so I’ll ask her to go check it out, and if it

isn’t hers, she could spread the word so the

owner and the jewelry can finally reunite.”

“That’s brilliant,” I said. “You really think

she’ll fall for it?”

“Positive.” He thought for a moment. “Trust

me, she won’t suspect a thing and will race

here to retrieve the evidence ASAP. She is

that stupid.”

Reaching into his pocket, he brought out

Nengi’s earring and placed it on my palm.

“Drop it on the third sink and stay in position

until she comes to retrieve it.”

Without another word, he walked away,

leaving me to walk in the opposite direction.

***

Once in the restroom, I placed the earring

on the third sink. I made to back away from

the sinks when the girl in the mirror caught

my eye. Over the past few years I’d lost a

few pounds, which didn’t look too healthy,

considering that I had always looked

anorexic from the start. I ran my fingers

along my clavicle peeking out from behind

my shirt. Dad had always complained about

it being too obvious. What would he say if

he saw it now?

Turning away from the mirror, I headed into

the stall nearest to me and shut the door. I

wouldn’t want to risk letting my legs show

from underneath the door, so I backed

away. There I stood, waiting.

It didn’t take long for the door to swing

open. Our girl of interest walked in. Her

interrupted footsteps told me she took a

moment to scan the room for the item of

interest, and for any threats. Still as a

statue, I barely even drew in a breath.

The sound of rushing footsteps stole over

the silence. I could tell she’d spotted her

earring and walked over to retrieve it. I

yanked open the door, just in time to see her

pick up the controversial piece of jewelry.

Her face paled at the sight of me, wiping off

any happiness she’d felt to be reunited with

her earring.

I put up my hands in mock defense. “What?

I’m not Bloody Miri.”

She chuckled uneasily. I could tell she knew

something had gone out of plan. Eying the

exit, she said, “I’ve…got…class.”

Raheem stepped in, blocking the exit.

Nengi’s gaze flickered between Raheem and

I. “What’s he doing here?”

When I didn’t answer, she turned to look at

Raheem. “Why are you here? This place is

strictly for females. The male restroom is on

the other side.”

Raheem folded his hands. “And I thought

only murderers return to the scene of their

crime. It appears even those who failed at

being murderers do too.”

Again, Nengi laughed uneasily. “Nice joke.”

She stepped toward the door, but with

Raheem standing guard, she knew failure

even from a distance. “Step away. I have

class.”

“There’s no need pretending now,” I said.

“We know everything.”

Her fist tightened on the earring.

“Everything?”

“Like I said, even master criminals make

their mistakes,” Raheem said. “This one is

just too immature in the act, and has made

tons of them.”

“I don’t understand,” Nengi said. “What are

you talking about? What’s this about?”

I gestured at her clenched fist. “The

earring. You said you didn’t come here

yesterday. But then you hear news of a

missing earring and you run here ASAP to

get it. And surprisingly, it’s yours. So, how

did it get here? Last time I checked, earrings

didn’t have wings.”

“It must have fallen off when Bloody Miri

attacked me,” she said, the innocence in her

voice almost fooling me.

“You were attacked today,” Raheem

reminded. “It fell yesterday.”

“You’ve got it all wrong,” she said. “I admit

there was only one earring yesterday, but

then I got home and found it on my bed. So

I wore it to school and then it fell off during

the attack.”

“So you’re positive it fell off during the

attack?” Raheem asked.

“That’s the only logical explanation,” she

said.

“I hate to burst your bubble,” Raheem said.

“But that piece of jewelry wasn’t found here.

But in the sickbay. And it wasn’t found

today, but yesterday. You’re probably

wondering how it got there. And I will tell

you. Here’s how it happened. When

attacked, the victim tried to fight back.

More stories @ www.chorusman.com

 

During the struggle, this little piece of

jewelry fell off your ear and got stuck in the

victim’s jacket. And there it stayed until I

rushed her to the sickbay. And then it fell to

the floor when my partner unbuttoned the

victim’s jacket to start the mouth-to-mouth

resuscitation, but neither of us noticed

because we were caught up in the drama.

You had this all planned, perhaps as a way

to get back at your friend for something she

doesn’t even suspect. I doubt one would do

this without a motive, and a very strong one

at that. You knew she would leave for the

designated place at the designated time.

“And since I found the victim around eleven

forty three, I believe she visited the

restroom after she had lunch. So while you

made her believe you’d be staying back to

do a certain technical drawing assignment,

you snuck off to the restroom, where you

hid in a stall, patiently waiting.”

“And then you applied the perfume to frame

Annabel Lambert,” I said. Nengi whirled

around to watch me speak. “For this reason

you refrained from mentioning Henry. You

painted Annabel as a jealous girlfriend who

would commit murder to keep her

boyfriend.”

Raheem concluded our findings, “And when

we came to question you about Henry, you

knew if you didn’t act fast, it would only be

a moment before we discovered your game.

Thus, you made to divert attention from

yourself by playing the victim.”

“Please let me go,” Nengi said. “I didn’t do

anything. Why would I hurt my friend?”

“We were hoping you would tell us,” Raheem

said.

“I didn’t do anything!” she insisted.

“Okay, that’s fine,” Raheem said. He moved

away from the door and made a sweeping

gesture as though to usher her out. “If you

say you didn’t, that’s fine. I’m sure the other

evidence will lead us to the culprit.”

“What evidence?” she asked, mystified.

“You see, when I saw Doreen lying helplessly

on the floor, I knew it was no accident. It

was clear she’d been attacked. And when

attacked, will you just stand still? Of course

you must fight back. One or two strands of

hair underneath her fingernail revealed a

serious struggle with her attacker. I didn’t

want to lose vital evidence, so I cut the

fingernail and kept it safe. You know,

there’s probably sweat underneath the

fingernail. And sweat, as we know, consists

of naturally shed skin cells. A DNA test

should point us to the culprit. What do you

think?”

“DNA?” Nengi asked.

“For heaven’s sake, Nengi, just tell us if you

did it!” I said. “Everything points to you.”

“Why would I confess to a crime I didn’t

commit?” she asked.

Raheem leaned in toward her. Holding her

shoulders, he said in a low voice, “Look, we

all make mistakes. To err is human after all.

I understand something must have moved

you to do that to your friend. But luckily,

she’s still alive. We don’t know what

interrupted the process. Maybe you got

scared someone might see you, or maybe

when she lost consciousness you believed

she was dead, and you ran off. Whatever

the reason was, it doesn’t matter right now.

All that matters is she’s alive. We’re not

going to judge you or anything. Can you just

stop lying to us?”

“I did not do anything,” she said.

“I know you’re scared,” Raheem said. “And I

understand. But if you tell us now, we will

find a way to deliver you from justice. If you

insist on lying, we have enough biological

materials for a DNA test, and when the

result is out, we will be in no position to

interfere. Nengi, you’re a bright girl, smart

and beautiful. You have a wonderful future.

Do you want to spend it in jail? Is that what

you want?”

Raheem’s words seemed to have hit home.

Maybe if he pressed on, he could squeeze

the truth out of her. Hopeful, he went on,

“You can trust us. If you tell the truth and

tell it all we’ll spare you. But if you don’t,

well, like I said, the DNA will point us in the

right direction.”

Nengi shook her head as though trying to

shake off Raheem’s words. “I didn’t do

anything.”

Simmering with rage, Raheem tore his hands

away from her and stepped away. “Fine! I

only have to make a call for this to be police

case.”

He turned toward the door and took his

phone from his pocket. While he dialed, I

stepped in toward Nengi. Her eyes misted

over.

“Do you know what it’s like to be in jail?” I

asked. “Do you know how many years you

are going to spend there? Here we are

trying to help cover up your crime and you

take us for fools?”

“There’s no point trying to let her see

reason anymore, Miss Brown,” Raheem said.

“I guess it’s a police case now.”

And to Nengi, he said, “For your information,

I called your supposed boyfriend a while

ago. Got his number off Facebook.”

Raheem’s words brought a noticeable

shudder slipping down Nengi’s spine. He

went on, “He told me everything. You’re not

together anymore, thanks to your best friend

leaking a very sacred secret. I understand

this is your way to get even. It’s hard to

forgive someone who’s broken your trust.

But did you have to go that far? Oh well, I

guess the police can take it from here.”

After a moment of silence, he moved his

phone to his ear. “Detective constable

James.”

Nengi gasped as the seriousness of the

situation seeped in. “Wait!”

When Raheem didn’t turn to look at her, she

tugged at my arm, forcing me to stare into

her eyes. I watched her burst into tears.

Tempted to feel sorry, I looked away. I

would not sympathize with someone who

had tried to take away the life of another.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I did it. It isn’t like I

wanted to kill her or anything. I only wanted

to scare her.”

My struggle to ignore her grief proved futile.

Slowly, my gaze returned to her. My eyes

watered at her helplessness. My heart bled

at the thought of her spending a slice of her

life in jail. But what could I do? Justice

must be served.

With his phone pressed to his ear, Raheem

strode out of his restroom, slamming the

door behind him.

“Go after him,” I said, blinking back my

emotions.

I watched a frantic Nengi sprint to the door,

and to her doom. Once she yanked it open,

a palm connected with her cheek, its sound

reverberating around the room. Knocked off

balance by the suddenness of the slap, she

staggered backward. I held her so she didn’t

crash into me.

“That’s for Doreen,” Stella said, glaring at

her. “And this is for using my sister’s name

to cover up your evil.”

With a force greater than the first, Stella’s

palm flew to Nengi’s cheek, colliding with it

with an impact that jerked her face

sideways. Nengi whimpered, clutching her

sore cheek.

My eyes adjusted to the hallway, finding Sir

Amadi, Raheem, and another man. He had

to be the policeman Sir Amadi had sent for.

They’d all put faith in our plan and had been

waiting here for this moment.

“Nengi Oruene?” the man called. “You are

charged with the attempted murder of

Doreen Chukwu. You have the right to

remain silent. Whatever you say can be used

against you in the court of law.”

Raheem smirked. “It is done.”

Nengi choked on her sob. “You said you

would… You said… You lied to me.”

“Of course,” Raheem said. “Now that you’ve

confessed, it’ll be much easier for the cops

to do the rest. Oh, and about the biological

materials, I lied about that too.”

Still smirking, he saluted her. My throat

constricted as I watched the policeman lead

her away.

To be continued

 

 

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