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Chapter 4

’According to the information I got from the internet, those missing people were all very rich,’ Samson said to Musa.

They were in the tiny office they shared at the head office. They were also both righteously frustrated with the case. And the small office was not helping matters. Sam was trying to drive Musa crazy while Musa was trying to stay sane. Musa was driving Sam mad while Sam was trying not to die of boredom. One wondered how one could be threatened with death from excessive boredom when he had a lot to do.

Musa was sitting in his normal way, on the chair by the desk like the gentleman that he was. Sam was sitting on the table and being the nuisance he was notorious for.

‘I don’t think that is a link. If they were all rich, then why would their houses just suddenly collapse? It doesn’t make sense, does it?’ Musa was not expecting an answer but he got one.

‘It does not,’ Sam agreed, running a hand over his head, ‘but I am willing to bet that there is a connection somewhere between these missing people. Maybe there is something here that we are not seeing.’ He suddenly sat straight. ‘I have an idea.’

Musa studied his colleague. Sam was a confirmed sanguine and he was fun to be with, but it would be a cold day in hell before Musa told him that. Sam was the second son of a wealthy family, but he believed in making his own money. He was too handsome for his own good, with fair skin, full lips which were his asset, and good dentition, which Musa envied because his were crooked. He was easily six feet tall, with no extra ounce of flesh. He was a chunky hunk. That was quoting Musa’s wife.

Now, he wondered what Sam was up to. ‘I don’t like it when you get ideas. They are not all that good. Remember the other time you had an idea? We ended up having our asses punished because you had an idea!’

‘Come on, Musa. Have a little faith in your buddy. I have a good idea that will give us a lead into this case.’ He gazed at Musa, as though the strength of the idea lay in the other man’s eyes. Yes, Musa was boring but he was the best and he was also fun in his own way. He was handsome in a dark way, being of Hausa origin. Both men were tall, but Sam was more muscular. He used to tease Musa about his slim nature, but Musa did not mind, and had refused to join him in a workout.

Musa’s body matched his model-like gait. He once told Sam he did not have to practice. Sam did not believe him.

Musa might not know it but Sam envied him his crooked teeth. He heard that ladies were fond of that kind of teeth. The only reason why Sam did not go ahead to have his own teeth cracked was that he was uncertain about the outcome, and he didn’t want to look horrible.

‘I’m still waiting to hear your so-called idea,’ Musa reminded him.

Sam’s gaze went to Musa’s mouth. It was so dark that he sometimes wondered if he took weed. ‘I think we should question the children of the missing couples. Maybe they know something that we do not know.’

Musa scratched his day-old stubble and thought about what Sam just said. It was not a bad idea. Maybe they would stumble onto something that would give them a clue as to why buildings were pretending to be sand castles. ‘I agree with you on this one. How do we go about it? Remember that we’ve already questioned the children. I wonder what more they have to say. But if you think that something will come from there, let us go and check it. Right now, anything is better than nothing for me.’

Sam grinned. ‘That is my man! For a second I wondered if your sense of adventure had left you.’

‘Where should we start?’

‘I would have wanted us to start from the children of the first victim, but they might have forgotten some things about that night, so I suggest we start with the most recent. The Ani’s. I heard they are staying with their aunty in new GRA. Let’s head towards that part of the city.’

‘I don’t like that girl. She seemed real nasty,’ Musa reflected, his brows creasing in a frown.

‘Trust me, Musa, if you lost your parents the same day, you would be real nasty. Beside who cares if she is nasty? I don’t, so why should you?’

‘I just don’t like the idea of asking her anything. That’s all.’

’I tremble at the very idea of asking her something. The last time I talked to her she quoted Lil Wayne to me. She said, ‘I think you stand under me if you don’t understand me.’ Lil Wayne! I wanted to slap her. Like I needed someone to dish me R and B.’

‘She did that to you? The girl must have gall. But you must have stood under her.’

‘Don’t start, Musa. Don’t think I didn’t hear when she told you that most people don’t get the picture unless the flash is on, and also went on to accuse you that you were one of those people.’ He nodded gleefully. ‘I heard it, buddy. I almost cracked my rib trying not to laugh out.’

‘Okay, I get it,’ Musa said resignedly, pushing past him. ‘Let us go and see what we can find.’

‘Are you really waiting for me to tell you to go and look into the situation in Abuja before you move your blooming ass to the capital?’ Major Commander Festus Ide demanded, looking down his long black nose at Chike, the man standing at a very stiff attention in front of him.

He liked the fear he saw in the younger man’s eyes. That was exactly the same kind of fear that was in his eyes when the senator called him to ask him what was happening in the country. Yes, it was that kind of fear.

‘No, sir. We are taking extreme measures to know what is wrong in the capital. I have already talked to the man in charge and he told me that the situation there is not an easy one. They are trying to find out what happened to the missing people. So far, they have got nothing. That is what he told me, sir.’ Though his voice was strong, he was quivering and sweating inside. He did not like being scolded by anyone and the fact that his superior was scolding him was both scary and irritating. He did not know what they wanted from him. As far as he was concerned, the case was not in his district so why were they harassing him like he was the one who yanked the houses down and ate the people inside it? The person who should be feeling this heat was the DPO of that haunted district.

‘I don’t really care what they reported to you, my friend. I want results. I want answers. I want something to hold onto in this case and you will give it to me or I will see that you never set foot in any army station in this whole country. Am I speaking Latin?’

Chike did not like being threatened, but then, nobody liked it. ‘No, sir. I will go there with my men and see to the investigation myself. I will not disappoint you, sir.’ He saluted again.

‘See to it that you do not. I will not want to lose you, but be aware that you are not indispensable. I believe you are due for a promotion. If you do well in this case, I will see what I can do about that, my good man. Now off with you.’

‘Thank you, sir.’

Chike snorted on his way out. The big ass just told him that if he failed to bring in anything good, he would be fired without honour and if he brought in something good, he would be promoted. He did not like that kind of game, but then, he was not in the army to like what they did. He was here to work and earn money while serving his country. Anything that was added to it was just blessing and luck.

In his mind, he was already designing a different way to make sure that the DPO in that particular district suffered every bit of what he just suffered, and then more. He would surely enjoy this.

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