Bob and Lubona were over at the police station where they were awaiting interrogation. Baison and I stood at a spot where we were out of earshot.
“You sure you alright?” Baison asked me, handing me a mug of coffee.
“Yes, I’m fine.” I appreciatively took the coffee. “Thanks for the coffee.”
“You welcome. By the way, you have any idea who done it?”
It had been two hours since my maid had discovered Angie’s mutilated naked and still pregnant dead body. Whoever had had the guts to do that to a pregnant woman was a psychopath, no two ways about it.
“Are you sure you wanna be present while I interrogate the only suspects we have thus far?”
“You speaking of Lubona and Bob? Of course I wanna be present! Baison, just because Angie was discovered on my veranda doesn’t make me a weakling. I’m freaked out, yes. But I’ll handle this like the cop that I am.”
“Okay, okay.” he raised his hands in surrender. “Here goes nothing,” he muttered under his breath as he led me to the interrogating room.
Bob was first to be questioned. Baison read him his rights and turned on the tape recorder. We all then took our seats.
“Mr. Bobby Chizinga, would you kindly share with us the kind of relationship that you and your wife shared while she was still alive?” asked Baison meticulously.
“It wasn’t a walk in the park. Angie and I were having some hiccups to the extent where I was even planning to divorce her as soon as her father’s laid to rest.”
“Sadly, that won’t be possible because your wife’s lifeless body is lying in the mortuary, awaiting autopsy.”
“It’s really sad that she had to die like that. She was so young and full of life, whoever mutilated her body deserves to rot in jail for the rest of their life.”
“And we’ll see to it that justice is served,” Baison assured Bob in an undertone. “Mr. Chizinga, would you kindly tell us where you were last night from 9 PM to 12 AM?”
Bob didn’t flinch. “Sure. I was in my hotel room at Radison Blu Hotel as that’s where my late wife and I had been staying ever since we got back to Zambia. I watched a bit of soccer, took a shower and then took a nap.”
“Do you have an alibi?”
“I’ll rephrase that,” Baison took a deep breath. “Do you have evidence to prove you were inside your room last night from 9 to 12?”
“I guess so. Doesn’t the hotel have CCTV? They should have a video footage or something.”
Baison raised his eyebrows in thought and bit his lower lip. “Do you have any idea who’d want to do such to the late Mrs. Angela Chizinga and later dump her body on Officer Alicia Zulu’s doorstep?”
“Unfortunately,” said Bob, shaking his head in regret. “I don’t know anyone who’s capable of such.”
Baison rose and extended his hand so him and Bob could shake hands. “I’m sorry for your loss, sir. And thanks for your cooperation.”
“Anytime,” Bob rose too. “I’ll be at your service 24/7.”
Once Bob was gone, Baison whispered. “You think it’s him?”
“Honestly, I don’t know. He seemed calm and composed. If he were guilty, I think he’d have fidgeted at one interval or two.”
“Yeah, I guess you have a point there. But I think we’ll just waste our energy and time on the Lubona girl,” said Baison meekly. “I mean, she’s so sweet and fragile she reminds me of my sweetheart Diana. And both of them can’t even hurt a fly.”
I sighed. “But it’s only right we interrogate her too so let’s get on with it.”
Lubona had been crying floods ever since she came to know Angie was no more. As she took her seat, she sobbed, “We were just from burying my beloved father yesterday and today my sister’s gone? Why does life have to be so unfair?”
I handed her a handkerchief and glass of water. “I’m sorry for your loss, Lubona. But you’ll have to compose yourself for the sake of this interrogation.”
She nodded and took the water which she drank in a single gulp. Once she was ready to be questioned, Baison turned on the tape recorder.
“Ms. Lubona Habeenzu, would you kindly enlighten us on the sort of relationship you and your late sister shared?”
“We weren’t close, no lie. But our bond would have grown stronger now that it was only the two of us in the world but no, she just had to leave me.”
“I’m sorry about that. It’s already known that Angie had spent almost the whole day at the funeral house yesterday where you too happened to be, what time did she take her leave?”
“Half past 9 PM, approximately.”
“Did she perhaps mention where she was headed to?”
“Yes,” said Lubona hesitantly. “The hotel where her husband and she had been staying since their return to this country.”
“Did you hear from her after that?”
“No,” Lubona ruefully shook her head. “I was so drained that as soon as Angie left, I retired to bed.”
Baison took a pause. “Would you happen to have any clue as to who could have murdered the late Mrs. Chizinga in cold blood and then later dump her body on Officer Alicia Zulu’s doorstep?”
“That will be all,” Baison pushed back his chair and stood. “I’m sorry for your loss and thanks for your cooperation.”
“You’re welcome,” Lubona was on her feet too. “And officer, please make sure you catch the lunatic who did that to my only sister and make them pay for killing two innocent people at a go. She was pregnant, they could at least have spared her for the sake of her unborn baby.”
“It’s our duty to ensure no guilty man goes scot free.”
“I told you we were wasting our time,” Baison said when Lubona was out of earshot. “Alicia, if things go on like this, I’m afraid we might not even catch the gooddamn murderer.”
Mulenga my maid was interrogated and so was I.
I arrived home several hours later when it was already dark. I shuddered as I set foot on the exact same spot where Angie had been discovered just this morning. If the killer had dumped her on my doorstep, that meant he knew me and was probably watching me from the darkness, laughing his ass off.
I dreaded to even think who his next victim might be. Without glancing back, I opened the door and stepped into the house. I found Faides seated on Curtis’ lap in the living room, they were listening to the evening news.
“Mummy,” Faides rushed to hug me. “I’m so happy to see you.”
“And mummy’s happy to see her amazing daughter. Curtis, can I talk to you for a minute?”
I led Curtis to my bedroom where I locked the door behind me and ushered him to the bed. We both sat on the edge of the bed.
“Thanks for staying with Faides and watching over her,” I begun. Faides still had no idea a cadaver had been discovered on our veranda this morning as I had seen to it that she stayed in her room until the forensic department showed up and took away the corpse.
Curtis took my hands in his. “Alicia, there’s no need to thank me. You know I’ll always be here for you guys. Any lead on who the killer might be?”
“Nothing yet,” I shook my head. “There’s something I want to tell you but please promise me you won’t get mad at me.”
“It depends on what you tell me.”
“Just promise me, darling.”
“Okay,” brow furrowed, Curtis said. “I promise, pinky swear.”
I heaved a deep, very deep sigh. The moment of truth had come. With all that was going on, there was no room for secrets.
“Lisa was my elder sister,” I blurted out. “Faides is your daughter.” that was easy.
“Excuse me?” Curtis sprang to his feet and let go of my hands like he’d just come into contact with ferocious acid. “Can you kindly repeat what you just said?”
“Faides is your daughter.” I rose to my feet too. “The late Lisa was my elder sister and Faides is the child she gave birth to before dying, your child.”
“And this is when you’re telling me this? After a murder? Had it not been for the murder, you wouldn’t have told me, would you?”
“It’s not like that, honey. I always wanted to tell you but the courage was what I could not muster.”
“You’re a selfish woman, Alicia. A heartless pretender. All along I’ve been telling you how much I would like to be reunited with my child and all you’ve done is comfort me when in actual sense you’ve been mocking me?” I could tell he was trying his best not to yell. “Alicia, you yourself know the pain of longing for a child quite too well, I can’t believe you’d be capable of being this self-centered.”
“Curtis, I know this doesn’t justify my actions but I had promised Lisa on her deathbed that I would take care of Faides like she were my biological daughter. In fact, Lisa had insisted Faides never finds out that I’m not her biological mother. I was fine with being a single mother until you came along and told me your tale. Seriously Curtis, did you expect me to reveal to you right there and then that Faides is your daughter?”
“I don’t give a d–n about that! I’m now ordering you to go over to the living room and inform her I’m her father.”
“I’ll do just that,” I desperately said, trying to get a hold of his arm but he jerked it away. “You promised not to get mad, Curtis. Please calm down.”
“That’s bullshit! Go tell Faides I’m her father and then maybe I’ll consider calming down.”
I found Faides watching Sofia the First on Disney Junior. I knelt before her. “Honey, you’ve always wanted to know who your father is, not so?”
“Yes,” she couldn’t conceal her excitement. “Why, is he coming back from abroad?”
“He’s already back,” I flashed her a broad smile. “Uncle Curtis is your real father, sweetie.”
“Your mother’s not lying,” came Curtis’ voice from the doorway.
Faides ran to him and threw herself into his welcoming arms. Curtis crouched down as he kissed almost every part of Faides’ face. He was shedding tears of joy. “Daddy’s back and he’s never leaving.”
“I’m so happy you are my father, Uncle Curtis. Oops,” she giggled. “Daddy Curtis.”
Curtis and Faides’ reunion brought me to tears. It made me think about my Fred, would his and my reunion be this epic?
After they had chatted and laughed the night away, Faides finally fell asleep. Curtis handed her to Mule who took her to my bedroom as per my instructions.
“I see you’ve got guards tonight,” said Curtis when it was only him and I in the living room.
“Yes, Baison insisted some policemen guard my house for the next few days.”
“That’s so thoughtful of him. My cousin Dee’s lucky to have him as a partner unlike me who has you.”
“We are still talking about this? I thought I said I’m sorry.”
Curtis took a few strides towards me so that him and I now stood face to face. “Alicia, Faides is as much your daughter as she is mine. Unlike you I’m not selfish so I won’t even tell her you aren’t her real mother,” his tone was deadly and I didn’t like the look in his eyes one bit, it sent chills down my spine. He gritted his teeth and added. “But one thing is for sure, you and I are through. It’s over between us, Alicia. I can’t picture myself spending the rest of my life with a woman as selfish as you’re by my side so I’m setting you free..”