Maria was surprised to see Barr. Odumodu at her place that afternoon. He had obviously come in a rush. Within minutes, the police detective promised by detective Calixtus, detective Boniface, arrived too and is ushered in. she asked what was going on and Barr. Odumodu explained that Felix was on his way and he was in a better position to explain. She therefore went into the kitchen to prepare lunch for them. She brought a bottle of whiskey and a bucket of ice and two glasses. The men helped themselves while she returned to the kitchen.
Some minutes later, the bell rang, Maria opened the door and she saw Felix and a girl who didn’t look too good. They entered and Felix placed the girl on a chair, where she sat moaning and holding her head.
Barr. Odumodu: Felix what is this? What is going on here? Who is she?”
Felix: “I would like to introduce you all to Preye, long believed dead but now alive.” The sitting room went quiet.
They all turned and stared at the moaning Preye, who was oblivious to the attention her name had generated.
Maria: “I don’t understand. From my son’s explanations and from what I picked from talking with you all, Preye was a beautiful girl. This scarred and weird looking girl cannot be the one of my son’s fantasies.”
Detective Boniface: “obviously the accident was serious. She must have undergone quite a lot of surgeries to look like this.” He said quietly.
Barr. Odumodu: “what is wrong with her?”
Felix: “I don’t know. She just started acting strange inside the Keke. I think she was the one Benson was going to see in the estate.’
Maria: “I don’t think she is alright.”
Detective Boniface looked at the girl quietly, then he walked up to her.
Detective Boniface: “Hello Preye. Where have you been?”
Preye moaned louder, her scarred face, squeezed in pain. Maria watched her suspiciously.
Detective Boniface; ‘my name is detective Boniface. We are trying to save a young man. Abel, do you remember him? He was sentenced to life imprisonment for a crime you committed.”
Preye stopped moaning, then bent to twist her shirt and chanting,
Preye: “Okere Prison, Okere Prison…”
Felix: “that was what she said when I asked where she wanted to go to.”
Barr. Odumodu: “Well let’s take her there.”
Maria looked at her speculatively.
Maria: “this girl is not alright. It seems her injuries go beyond the physical. Her mind was affected also.”
Barr. Odumodu: “her testimony is useless in that case.”
Maria nodded her head. The doorbell rang, Maria left the men to open the door for madam Amina who enter flustered.
Madam Amina: “wetin happen?”
Maria: “come and see for yourself.” She replied as both of them walked back to the sitting room.
Maria: “Meet our Abel’s Preye. The dead Preye is very much alive.”
Madam Amina stared at the girl incredulously.
Madam Amina: “Is she okay?”
Maria: “No, she is not. We are taking her to see Abel.” She said.
Benson was mad as hell. He had gone to the house where he kept Preye only to meet the foolish buffoon, Brume, snoring loudly on the couch. Beside him was two bottles of stout. He had looked in on Preye but she was nowhere to be found. He had rushed out to question the people at the estate entrance. The phone booth girl had narrated what she witnessed to Benson. He had become really worried. He rushed back home to meet his father and explain. The old man was livid with anger. Benson was so sure he was going to get another stroke, based on the way, the veins stood out on his forehead.
Bright: “find her. I will not risk her landing inside a police station. Find her. I am loosing too much. Find her.”
Benson left the house immediately and started driving round. He didn’t know where to start the search. Everything is going wrong, he thought as he drove around. It got to evening and he still had no clue. He went back to the estate to sleep. He needed to think. By the time, he got there, Brume was gone.
Collins stood beside the Police van, talking to men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). They had stopped him as he drove out of a club along Warri-Sapele road. He was trying to bargain with them but these guys were not interested.
Collins: “Oga no be so o. we go still meet again o.” a resounding slap jerked his head to the left.
Policeman: “enter the Hilux before I give you another one. Wetin me and you wan run?”
Collins meekly got into the Hilux, while another policeman got into his car and they drove off. After picking several other persons, they ended up at Ovwain Police Station.
At the police station, they collected a statement and threw him into a cell for the night.
Preye looked at the visitor’s room quietly. Nobody had explained anything to her. They had just brought her to this prison. Who do I know here? She looked at the woman who smiled kindly at her then at the lawyer who looked surprised anytime she looked at him. Then he walked in, as soon as she saw him she smiled.
Preye: “hi handsome. I would love to fuck you.” everyone gasped.
Abel looked at her in shock, then realization dawned. He walked closer and peered at her,
Abel: “you did not die?” he asked.
Preye: “I did not die? Maybe I am a ghost haunting you. I probably deserve to die anyways for the things I did…hehehehe…Janet died. Who are you and why do I feel like I know you? They said Abel killed the girl. Benson said police is looking for me and the killer. The girl pushed me, I pushed back. Hi, I want to fuck you.” She rambled on excitedly, laughing then she stopped. She started crying
Preye: “what is wrong with me?” she rubbed her head.
Abel looked at his mother, who nodded her head. He sat down on a chair and told her the tale of how Bimbo died. He told her of his arrest and sentencing. Detective Boniface told her of the accident, Janet’s death and her supposed death. Preye listened quietly. After they were done talking, they sat quietly and watched her.
Preye: “I have no memory of this. I am sorry.”
Detective Boniface: “what do you have memory of?”
Preye: “I remembered being raped when I was 14 by my father.” She looked at him sadly.
The tears slipped out of her eyes unchecked as she shared her story. The pain, the betrayal, the heartache, the surrender, the death wish, everything. She opened up her soul as best as she could so they could see the ghosts that had haunted her all her life.
Preye: “I know that I may be seen as a bad person but I tell you that I am not surprised at what happened. I was on a rollercoaster then. I didn’t care. I did I anything I liked. I lived like there were no rules, you understand? I actually could not stand myself. People looked at me they see this beautiful girl, all I saw was an empty shell. I just existed. I was high most times or half way there. Drugs, alcohol…I did everything. The sex…ugh. I have seen and done it all. Yes I did these things, but he, my father, Chief Bright, started me on this road. Hehehehe… hahahaha…” she started laughing. She looked at Abel then winked.
Preye: “Make all of una go outside, I wan tell am suntin.” She said smiling as she started pulling her shirt over her head. Maria rushed to stop her and remove hands from her shirt. She sat quietly looking around the visitor’s room as if entering for the first time. Anytime her eyes met Abel’s she would wink and smile.
Abel looked at her. He could see that she was hurting. He felt sad for her. So even the rich cry, he thought to himself. Your own father! And I dey vex say my papa dey drink dey beat me. Na wa o, Ogidi Akpo! he thought as he watched the mentally ill girl.
Maria: “we have a problem though. She cannot testify in court because of her ailment and amnesia…”
Barr. Odumodu: “let her be. The memories will come. The most important thing is this; Preye, someone doesn’t want the world to know that you are alive and they are willing to kill to keep that secret.”
Preye: “who would that be?”
Abel: “your brother, Pere died in a car crash after leaving the estate you were kept in and one Kelvin, I believe, a friend of yours, is presently missing. He was last seen with Pere, going to the said estate.”
Preye: “Bright! Bright!” she screamed on and on as they rushed to hold her down.
While, Maria, Felix and Barr. Odumodu were at Okere prison with Preye, detective Boniface went to the Ovwain police station to check up on the files relating to Abel’s case. He observed that a file was missing. He went to the officer in charge of the case and explained that the file containing the names of people suspected to be involved in the death of Bimbo was no longer on the among the files on the case. The officer informed him that the file was being used in another investigation.
Detective Boniface: “which investigation is that?” he asked.
Police Officer Sule: “it’s on this yahoo boys menace o. one Collins who we had been watching for some time now, fell into our hands last night.”
Detective Boniface: “can I see the Collins? Please it is important.”
Question: “Will Chief Bright and Benson succeed in finding Preye? Will Collins tell the police the truth?
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