The investigator’s phone continued to ring and just when Justina thought he wouldn’t pick, she heard his calm voice at the end of the receiver.
Idoko: “Yes hello, who is this and how may I help you?”
Justina: “Please, Am I speaking with Inspector Idoko?”
Idoko: “Yes. Who is this Please?”
Justina: “I am Justina. I have something to tell you concerning…”
Hajiya Hauwa coincidentally opened the door and Justina lost her voice.
Idoko: “Yes, go ahead. I am listening”.
There was no reply from Justina’s end.
Idoko: “Hello? Are you there? I said you can go ahead and talk, I am all ears. Why are you quiet? Is anything the matter?”
Justina: “Erm, ah…I…I wanted to… I am sorry. It’s a wrong number. I didn’t mean to dial your number”. She stuttered and ended the call before he could reply.
Hajiya Hauwa who stood with her hands akimbo watching her suspiciously from the door came close to her.
Hajiya Hauwa: “Who were you talking to?”
Justina: “Erm, I was talking to… to…my mother…no, yes, my friend. She called me”.
Hajiya Hauwa: “Oh really? So why did you stop talking when you saw me?”
Justina fell silent and her gazed dropped.
Hajiya Hauwa: “Give me your phone”.
Hajiya Hauwa: “I said give me your phone”.
Justina: “No, hajiya. I can’t…”
Hajiya Hauwa grabbed the phone from her hand before she could conclude what she was saying. She tapped on the call log icon and saw the inspector’s number under dialed numbers.
Hajiya Hauwa: “So, you were talking to the inspector, what did you tell him?”
Justina: “I didn’t tell him anything. He had just picked the call when you came in”.
Hajiya Hauwa: “Why did you call him?”
Justina: “Hajiya, our souls are full of deep secrets. I cannot keep it anymore. I wanted to tell him the truth, hajiya. I am tired of keeping this secret that has become too heavy a burden in my heart. What is the point of keeping the secret again anyway? I have already lost my son, the one because of whose future I got myself into this mess. Oh, I wish I knew my son would be murdered, I would have told him the truth about his parents”.
Hajiya Hauwa: “You would do no such thing, Justina. You swore to keep this secret till you die else…”
Justina: “Else I would remain a barren woman forever. I have heard that countless times. But with Yusuf’s body lying cold in the mortuary, I don’t care anymore. I don’t give a damn. The truth I must tell and now”.
Hajiya Hauwa: “If you dare say the truth, I will frame you up as the murderer of Yusuf. I will tell the police that you are trying to cover up for murdering our son and that is why you are blackmailing my family with this story. Nobody will believe you, remember that there is no way they can ascertain the paternity of the child since he is dead. Do not underestimate the powers of the wife of a Nigerian politician”.
Justina began to quiver when she heard that she could be framed with murder. She got on her knees at Hajiya’s feet.
Justina: “Please ma, let me go. I am tired of living here. Let me go far away and start my life all over again. I promise I will never reveal the secret if you allow me go”.
Hajiya Hauwa: “You are going nowhere. We started this together and we shall finish it together”. She flung Justina’s phone on the floor and smashed it beyond repair, and broke the sim card, went to the toilet and flushed the shredded pieces of the sim card.
“Ours is a symbiotic relationship,my dear. I go down, you go down as well”, she said as she shut the door behind her leaving Justina weeping on her knees.
That night, being the turn of alhaji’s youngest wife, Salma to be with him, she had her bath, adorned herself with kayanmata, wore her favorite perfume and went into alhaji’s room. She tapped gently on the door and went in. Alhaji who was lying on his back in his bed staring at the ceiling in deep thoughts didn’t even acknowledge her presence.
“SalamaAlaikun”, she said and lay on the bed beside alhaji. She expected alhaji, to say or do something which would have been the case if not for the misfortune that befell the house. When he didn’t say anything or touch her for some minutes, she decided to initiate it herself. She drew near to him, rested her head on his chest and began to draw lines on his body with her fingers, a move alhaji in the past loved so much. Alhaji indifferent, ignored her. She turned to face him and brought her face to kiss him while her left hand made its way into his trousers but alhaji snapped, startling her.
Alhaji: “What is it, Salma. Are you out of your mind or something?”
Salma: “What is what? In fact, what sort of a question is that? Can’t I play with my husband anymore? Or have you forgotten that it’s my turn today?”
Alhaji: “Oh, Salma. Don’t you have an atom of sympathy in you? We just lost a son, the heir to this family. We should be mourning, nothing more”.
Salma: “So because Yusuf is dead, we all should pause our lives? Will that bring him back? Allah gives and He takes so why should we bother ourselves over the death of a small boy when people older than him have died and yet we moved on”.
Alhaji: “Salma, of all my wives, you are the only one who gives me trouble. You are the only one who talks back at me, do not allow me regret marrying you”.
Salma: “Alhaji, you don’t have to worry about your dead son. I am here to give you another. This is the perfect night for us to begin the process of getting another son”.
Alhaji: “Get out of my room, Salma”.
Salma: “Alhaji, Ever since you started sleeping with that common maid called Justina, you have been depriving me of sex. I was barely 18years old when you married me, even though I am much older now, I still need to enjoy the life that you deprived me of enjoying when my parents married me off to you because of money. If you don’t give me sex, I will seek it from outsiders”.
Alhaji: “Oh, now I remember that you wanted my son dead. I remember the conversation I had with you before you travelled. You swore not to take orders from Yusuf, he was killed the next day when you suspiciously ran away to your mother’s place. My God, why didn’t I remember to tell the investigator this? You killed my son, Salma. Your actions tonight confirms it”.
Salma: “I.. I…I don’t know what you are talking about, alhaji”.
Alhaji: “Salma, you have the heart to murder my son in my house! I divorce you, I give you saki ukwu and you cease to be my wife from this day according to Islamic rites”.
She began to cry as she realized that she had lost her husband as saki ukwu couldn’t be reversed in Islam.
Hajiya Hauwa who had been listening to their conversation with the help of the recording device she planted in alhaji’s room barged into the room. The device was an intelligent pen she got when last she travelled to America. She had planted it in alhaji’s room without his knowledge because she was afraid that Justina will expose their secrets whenever she went to see alhaji. The device had a small receiver in hajiya’s room, from there she could listen to alhaji’s conversation.
Hajiya Hauwa: “Alhaji, so you know the killer of my son and you are shielding her, you refused to give this vital information to the police. I am going to tell the police all that I have heard. Salma cannot go free after killing my son”. She ran out of the room.
Alhaji: “No, my uwar gida. You need to listen to me. How did you even hear my conversation with Salma?” He ran after her.
Achema who had been in hiding since the death of Yusuf decided that it was time to go to the Police with details of what he had seen about how Yusuf was murdered. He knew that attempts would be made to frame him up as the murderer; he also knew that his life was in danger as he had seen a strange man trailing him when he went out to buy pain relief from the pharmacy that day. As soon as he had noticed that he was been trailed, he had walked to an army check point where he stayed late into the night before one of the soldiers escorted him home when it was too dark for him to be noticed and since then he hadn’t stepped out of his friend’s house where he was hiding. He decided to disguise himself as a woman and go to the Force Headquarters early the next day for his revelation that will reveal the murderer.
That evening a team of policemen stormed alhaji’s house in their van and arrested Justina accusing her of aiding and abetting the murder of Yusuf. As she was carried away in the van, she kicked and fought while the servants looked on with tears in their eyes.
Justina: “I will rather expose the deep secrets buried in my heart than suffer alone”, she kept screaming like one who has gone mad.
Question: Is Justina truly the murderer? Will hajiya Hauwa tell the police what she heard about Salma? Will Achema make it to the Force Headquarters alive?
Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.
For more stories updates follow us on Twitter and Instagram @insidearewa or add 08066680993! Remember to leave a comment on the story page on my site that’s the only way you can encourage me to do more thank you.