Melanie sat in the situation room and pondered on the last time she had seen Sheila. She remembered Sheila had said she was going to get thirty million naira, and she was so excited about it. Melanie was sure that the money was behind her sister’s disappearance.
Melanie: ”Disappearance huh” she said to herself, it was beginning to sound sarcastic even to her ears. Her mother called her then, she picked immediately because it was time to come with grips with reality.
Bukky: “Hello Melanie, it is almost 8pm, are you not coming home? I cannot sleep alone, I am seeing Sheila everywhere. I am seeing my baby everywhere, she is dead, Mellie” she broke down on the phone and began to sob. Melanie joined her mother in crying, because she was tired of holding it in.
Melanie: “Mother, I am coming home right away” she said sniffing back the phlegm that was drooling from her nose. She hung up, and made to carry her bag, but Dele’s hand held it. She looked up at him, and then rushed into his arms.
Melanie: “Dele, my sister is dead, it is obvious. She is dead” she cried, drenching his shirt with her tears.
Dele: “It is alright Mellie, I cannot tell you not to feel the way you are feeling, but I can tell you to find your sister’s killer. You are the key, you know her and you can think of things and places.” He replied, stroking her hair.
Melanie: “Sheila was my twin, we shared a womb, but we had different lives. She didn’t tell me things because she knew I didn’t approve” she retorted.
Dele: “So you cannot think of any man in her life, you must have seen something. The rape shows that this crime is connected to sex, the killer had sexual relationship with your sister” he said. Melanie pondered on that piece of information, and then she remembered the thirty million naira her sister was talking about.
Melanie: “That means that the thirty million naira was from a man, was she blackmailing someone?” she whispered to herself oblivious of Dele in the room.
Dele: “What thirty million naira?” he asked. Melanie turned to him and looked at him, like she was just seeing him.
Melanie: “When she left the house yesterday, she was talking about going to get her thirty million naira, we asked her from whom, but she didn’t say”
Dele: “Do you have an idea of any of her male friends that could give her thirty million for any reason?”
Melanie: “I told you, I don’t…” she wanted to protest, but suddenly the picnic they had last Saturday flashed into her mind. She remembered the man who was all over her sister on the day of the picnic. Even when they went to Inyene’s place, Sheila was all about the guy, how tall and handsome he is, and rich too. She remembered also, that Sheila told everyone that he was a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Melanie: “He is a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; he is tall, dark and handsome”
Dele: “Mellie, we have many senators like that, especially the Fulanis”
She also remembered something else about that picnic, and that was the stare Inyene was giving Sheila as she flirted with the tall, dark and handsome man.
Melanie: “Inyene also knows about my sister’s killer” she said and paused, shocked by the ‘Killer’ she used. She sighed as she realized that her brain was catching up to what her heart knew all along but refused to acknowledge. She turned to Dele and told him about the looks Inyene was giving Sheila at the picnic and even when she was telling them all about the man.
Melanie: “It is possible that Inyene is the killer, she killed my sister because of thirty million naira” she said, as the anger began to rise.
Dele: “If she is responsible, we will catch her”
Melanie: “I have to go home now, my mother needs me. She has also realized that my sister is really dead. I will be back tomorrow, give me something good when I come” she said and turned to leave.
Dele: “I will drive you”
Melanie: “Don’t worry; I need to do a lot of thinking. See you tomorrow” she said and left in quick, brisk strides.
Dele went out to call his other colleagues, it was time to work on what Melanie told them, it was his duty to catch her sister’s killer, if not, he had no right to profess his feelings to her.
Dele: “I have reasons to believe that this is a sexual crime; perhaps the killer was in a sexual relationship with the deceased, or perhaps it was the deceased friend. It is a lot of ‘perhaps’ but it is somewhere to start. Let us start from making Inyene a person of interest. I want every police channel to be filled with an APB on Inyene. Prosecutor, get me a search warrant; we will search where she lives and question her mother again. Tech, go into her social media accounts, hack it if you have to, I want to see her messages, her status updates. Do same for the deceased. Even if Inyene is hiding under the rock, lift the rock and find her” he delegated tasks to them, with authority, and with desperation.
When Melanie got home, her mother was lying on the chaise in the living room, and there was a note beside her. Her heart flew out of her mouth because she remembered that her mother had told them about her suicidal days.
Melanie: “No mother, you cannot do this to me too” she wailed and picked up the note with urgency, her heart pulsating faster than its normal rate. She read the note and it fell off her hand, as she stared at it with wide eyes.
Melanie: “It can’t be” she whispered incredulously. She picked it up and read it again. The note said; “Find my killer, sister”. It was written in Sheila’s handwriting. She was still staring at the note when out of the corner of her right eye, she saw a movement. She turned and saw a figure dressed in black move swiftly. She rushed to the dining area and the figure was gone, but the window was open.
Melanie: “Oh my God, its Sheila’s ghost!” she screamed. Her mother jumped up from sleep.
Bukky: “Where is Sheila, where is Sheila?” she said and began to cry. Mother and daughter held each other and cried. It had been the three of them against the world, now one of them was gone, and never coming back.
Bukky thought back to the past when her mother had joined her father on the other side of the divide, and then her uncles and aunts had swooped in to collect everything from her. The church, feeling guilty for their part in the destruction of her family, had given the house to her, as a gift. Normally, they would have collected the house and given to another minister, but to salvage their grumbling conscience, they had given it to her. Nevertheless, she didn’t go back to the church, she still held them responsible for the calamity that befell her parents. Her father died because he could bear the shame and their treatment of him, and her mother died when her heart couldn’t take the death of her husband and the circumstances surrounding his death. If they had been les judgmental, and more accommodating, perhaps her parents would still be alive.
Bukky’s mother had made the mistake of converting all her inheritance from her late parents, to her husband’s name, so when she and her husband died, her husband’s relatives took both hers and her husband’s properties. They even chased Bukky out of the house the church had given out to her. Bukky was left with nothing, and had to beg on the street for alms to feed her twins.
Until one fateful, when providence met with Bukky, she was on the street begging, when a woman saw her and stopped to chat with her. She told Bukky she was too young to be begging on the streets. Bukky told the woman the story of her life. The woman was moved to pity, she took Bukky and her kids into her house, and then she enrolled Bukky in a fashion school. Because the woman had a nanny who looked after her own children, Bukky could get a job, as the nanny also took care of her twins. Within one year, with rigorous saving, Bukky could raise capital, which she used to start her fashion house. For the sake of her twins and the life she envisioned for them, she struggled to make the fashion shop what it was now.
Bukky: “Don’t cry again Mellie. We will pull through, we got each other” she said even as she couldn’t control her own tears.
That night, Bukky and her daughter slept in one bed, holding each other and feeling each other’s pain. Melanie did not show her mother the note, she felt it would make her go out of her mind.
Question: Is Inyene responsible for Sheila’s death?
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