Written by AKOGWU JOSEPH CHINONSO…
Dennis beckoned for water and waited till the servant who brought the bottled water left. He poured some quantity into a glass, stared as the liquid swirled round the glass and then downed it in one gulp. He placed the glass on a stool, adjusted forward and looked at his boss. He saw dejection in the IG’s eyes and felt his own heart beat faster. Finding Williams’ murderer was like looking for a needle in a haystack. He felt depressed but he knew that something needed to be done and it must be urgent. Two weeks. He tried to reason how that would be possible. His eyes were on the floor as he spoke calmly, “This has got more complicated than I expected.” His voice was so low that the IG barely got him. He looked up at the IG and saw he was also having the same feeling. We’re trapped. He imagined. His gaze was still directed at the IG when he asked, “Where and how do I start?”
The IG crossed one leg over the other, supported his chin with his right palm and went thinking. His eyes instantly became wide with fear because of Dennis’ question. It was a question he had asked himself over and over but couldn’t answer. His body began to tremble and tiny beads of perspiration started clustering under his armpits. The air-conditioner was useless. Soon, sweat was dripping profusely down his cheeks. He took out a white handkerchief and dabbed at his cheeks. He was sad he was letting Dennis see him tremble, but he couldn’t help it. This was unusual. Destiny Noel was a man who never allowed any situation to overwhelm him. Before Williams became president, there was practically no security and everyone, including the armed forces, lay at the mercy of hoodlums and terrorists. He became the Inspector General and put a stop to what he termed malarkey. He became a savior and was praised and revered by all. But now the malarkey had resurfaced again and he was about being consumed by it. Nothing seemed to be working and worse still, the same people that praised him now condemned him, most of them publicly saying he was inefficient and calling for his sack. Since he rose to the position of the Inspector General, he had always handled every situation that showed up. But the murder of President Williams was still a mystery that was about shattering his career and rendering him inefficient. The IG knew his glory or doom depended on the two weeks the president had given. Whether Dennis could help restore his glory was what he couldn’t tell. Dennis’s question had rather increased his doubts about finding Williams’ murderer. Since he started working with Dennis, he had never asked such question when given any assignment. Dennis’ usual statement after being giving assignments had always been, I promise to do my best, and he really did his best. But here he was, asking where and how he would start. The IG knew he couldn’t trust himself let alone the agent. But he had one thing to trust at the moment, his instincts. That had been the factor behind his success since the birth of his career in the force. His instinct was always right and he obeyed it. Now his instincts told him the murderer of Williams would be discovered in two weeks, he believed. He looked at Dennis who was already getting pissed off with his long minutes of silence, smiled and said, “What was that your question?”
Dennis looked at him with surprise, scanning his face anxiously. Was he still with him? He thought. “I asked where and how I would start.” His voice was expressionless.
“Oh I see.” The IG counted, “You start from scratch. Let’s see where it takes us.” His phone rang immediately. He took it from his pocket and looked at the screen. It was Thelda Bruno. He quickly pressed a button and put the late Williams’ wife through, “Hello madam.” Stunned silence followed, then with a sudden raging shivery he said, “What’re you saying?” He listened a moment, “Oh my God!” and he hung up, ripples of shock spreading through him.
Agent Dennis looked his boss in the eyes and his heart fluttered. What he saw in those eyes sent panic bubbling up inside him. The IG was doing something Dennis hadn’t imagined, let alone seen him do. He was crying. Tears filled his eyes and were coursing steadily down his cheeks. Dennis opened his mouth to speak but no word came forth. He felt sudden damp patches under his arms. He forced himself to his feet and walked slowly to his boss. He stood just in front of him, not knowing what exactly to think or do. He felt his hand rising and making to the IG’s face, probably to wipe his tears, but he stopped it halfway. Instead, he found himself uttering two words, “What sir?” His voice was hazy.
To Be Continued…