Yesterday, award winning writer Tomi Adesina returned to the writing scene with a splendid novella titled HEARTS AND HOMES. A tribute to the kidnapped Chibok girls. click https://tomiadesina.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/hearts-and-homes-the-novella/ to get a copy of the novella.
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The journey back to the precinct was full of fear – which is unusual of a cop – I couldn’t stop imagining us being followed but thank God that wasn’t the case. “Where’s Dominic?” I questioned as soon as I entered the lab. “He said to go on a secret assignment.” Peter replied. I burst into a kind of laughter that was contagious and Vivian was quick to get infected. “Happy people, you sure had a great journey.” Dominic stated as he walked in on us. I stopped to look at him before he could walk past me, first thing that pops up in my mind is to ask him how his secret mission went but all I could do was laugh and that made the whole scenario awkward – for Dominic though – “Why the laughter?” He asked making up a serious face, at this point, my laughter was ending. Vivian was going to reply him but all she could do was laugh and I got infected and the giggling continued but for a shorter period than before. – okay, I’m getting you confused right? Let me be the solution to the problem created. You know that stuff we all do in the toilet that we hardly speak about? That’s the secret mission. You dig? – “How was the mission?” I managed to ask “Very well thank you.” he said throwing a smile in the air. “You guys seem to have had a good ride.” He added quickly. “That was war.” A Mr Okechukwu who had just stopped laughing rushed in reply. “We were attacked…” “And almost outsmarted and killed.” Vivian added cutting me. “Are you serious?” Anne – I should say exclaimed – “We need to do a recap of this case if we are to find the next step.” I stated halting the discussion that was about to ensue. “Well now, we have the chip and the fourth man on the board what next?” Anne asked dipping her hand in Peter’s pizza. “This madness as I’ll love to call it started with the death of Mr CEO then our uncle…” Vivian started. “We found that these fellows left a certain blood mark which was found to be the same as the logo of the straw-coast restaurant.” Peter added joining us at the centre table. “We also found that the killer wasn’t one but a group if not a sect.” I humoured. “Third man down and all we got? …The blood mark.” Anne continued. “Well, I checked the restaurant turned bar or coffee shop as you like it and confirmed the killers are associated with them.” Vivian stopped and scribbled something down. “The fourth board member is about to be killed but is saved alongside his chip and the suspects we’ve called in all seem to be clear.” Vivian continued. “Well, except one.” Dominic added quickly. “The CEO of Sharafai… he’s been spotted at the bar frequently.” He explained. “And that’s where we are.” I said ending our case recap. “What do you have there?” I asked a Vivian who was tearing off a sheet of paper from her notepad. “Our lapse…” She replied coldly. “We haven’t got the guys at the bar in for questioning even with evidence.” She added walking away. “I’ll prepare the warrant.” I said walking out of the lab. Few seconds later, I was back with the warrant. “Peter let’s do this together.” I said beckoning to peter. “No! Let’s make it more revealing.” Vivian said putting her jacket on. “You guys stay careful.” Anne warned. The bar was quite the same as Vivian had described it to us even down to the surprise welcome from the man behind the counter. ”Well, isn’t it you again beauty?” He said looking at her closely. “Well I’m not here for cappuccino today.” She replied showing off her badge. “CEO of DOMLAT… you know him?” I asked. “Yes! We all do.” He replied with anxious eyes. “Him? …” I asked pointing to a picture of Mr Okechukwu. “Not really.” He replied straight away. “How come you have a picture of him?” Vivian asked quickly “Well the young lady of this man always brought me the supplies of cappuccino straight from Italy.” He started with a smile on his face. “She gave them to me and requested that I placed them somewhere my customers could see them.” He continued. “Can you describe this woman?” I inquired ”She never came in, she always sent someone in and they were always different each time.” He replied. “Do you have a phone number? Or how do you communicate with her to get more supplies?” I questioned. “It was a periodic supply always on the 23rd of the month. Except for last month that the supply failed, it was constant.” He explained. “If she gave him the picture it would surely be for some people.” I could hear Vivian whisper to me. “This.” I stated pointing to the mark behind the picture. “What does it signify?” I questioned. “Nothing.” He replied sharply. “Well may I inform you that the logo of your restaurant was left as a mark which was found on their bodies?” Vivian muttered. “I might be forced to arrest you if I don’t get the significance of the ‘x’ sign behind the picture.” She continued flashing a pair of cuffs. “I know nothing about it.” He remained adamant. “Then you leave us no choice sir.” I said moving in to get him cuffed. “Wait! The picture is available to anyone to take as long as it remains inside the building…” He snorted through a scared breath. “… only one person never took them, every other person did may be one of them did but not me.” He ranted trying to justify himself. “This guy that refuses to take the picture is?” I asked on getting right next to him. “I swear I don’t know how the sign got here or their bodies.” He ranted in fear. “Answer the simple question wacky.” Vivian retorted. “He is said to own a shipping company, Sharafai or something I guess.” He said trembling. I stared at him for a while as the silence ensued. “I swear.” He kept on repeating for about a minute before I walked away and outside. He was still saying it till we left the building. “You believe him?” I asked Vivian as soon as she joined me in the car. “Yes. He seemed pretty clueless about what they were getting his restaurant into.” She explained. “Well, I don’t… turns out someone anonymous marked them and he doesn’t know till now? He even knows Sharafai’s boss? Come on.” I stated igniting the car “Well, we can’t assume anything just yet.” She defended. “Our strongest lead from here? A lady, there are tons of ladies out there affiliated to DOMLAT brov.” She thought out loud. “May be we need to visit DOMLAT and ask for their records.” I said stepping on the brake at the red light. “The shipping was not a legal one brov, no records.” Vivian argued. “most frequent shipping that came in on the 23rd and the agent that went to clear them would help.” I suggested moving from the traffic light. “Well, I have an idea.” Dominic announced after about 30 mins of our arrival. We had just got the info we asked from DOMLAT and found nothing. –Basically, no shipping occurred on the 23rd so obviously it was stored and only a shipping of a large container of cappuccino was imported ever and it happened to be cleared by the CEO himself. So now you get my drift of us finding nothing shey? – “What have you got?” I asked with so much enthusiasm. Where we were at on the investigation could do with some ideas and Dominic was about to give one. “They’ve got three of the four chips.” He started, I nodded the affirmative to show how interested I was in his idea. “These chips contain data that are dependent on one another to function… so I say… we wipe the data off these chip.” He concluded. –you want to know how I reacted don’t you? Well you won’t be disappointed because I reacted just like you.- There was an awkward silence with heads turning from side to side. “You are a joke.” I chuckled interrupting the decorum. “I’m damn serious.” He retorted. “You stupid?” Vivian shot at him. “Well, maybe that’s what this case needs.” He shot back. “See this… it’s a device that can copy data from any device within the range of 3m.” He said bringing out a slim device. ”So we can get the data from the other chips and wipe off the data from them. They become useless to them while we have the data stored in a safe place.” He suggested.- he became as a saviour (I’m still talking about Dominic though) Everything he said began to make sense and I guess I was buying his idea after all (I had no choice) and maybe I was the only one. – ”Well, the only problem is that the location of the other chips is not known.” Peter chipped in. “I know how we can find them,” Mr Okechukwu stated. Our eyes turned to him waiting for the saving suggestion. “My chip has a special function that allows it to locate the other chips…” He finally broke. We just stared at him – I know the thought in Vivian’s mind would have been “Why would his chip have this special ability.” I guess that’s what should have been in my mind but I was just happy to get something that seemed close to a solution – “… He trusted me more.” He added breaking the silence. “Let’s get this baby to work.” Dominic said pulling the chip closer. “Get the locations and we’ll check them out tomorrow.” I suggested. “see you all tomorrow.” I added releasing Vivian as well as Anne to go home. I stayed back at the precinct as was my habit and in less than five minutes, Dominic was done. “Bingo!” he exclaimed. “Locations identified.”