DO NOT OPEN – Episode 9
© Brian Ngoma
The two conflicting voices?
The women committing the murders?
The six years apart?
If Tanashe was not playing with Nikiwe about the voices, then it was official, these cases were no longer ordinary. She just needed one of the witnesses or victims to collaborate what Tanashe said. But who? The other Surviving murderer was Bufweme, who killed her mother and father in 2007. She tried to check on the whereabouts of her brother Joe Sinkebu who witnessed everything but his location was unaccounted for. She went back to the 2013 case to try and see what happened to the witness and murderer. The murderer who was the mother in law to the witness, Kainga Siwale died of old age. She checked for the whereabouts of Kainga, there was nothing in the files.
She had no option but to visit Bufweme in prison but that was a long drive and it was almost lunch and she hadn’t reported for work. She decided to drive to the station instead. No sooner had she arrived, than Ngoma requested for her in his office. Without wasting time, he asked, “How’s it going so far?”
“Did you know about the voices?”
Struck and confused, “What?”
“The two voices? The man’s and the woman’s?”
“What are you talking about Nikiwe?”
“I just found out that there were also voices as the 2019 murder took place.”
“Of course there has to be voices.”
“Everybody knows. Don’t people scream when they’re scared or about to be killed?”
Nikiwe nodded her head. In as much as she respected her boss, he could be the dumbest person at a moment sometimes. “I’m not talking about that Sir.”
“Enlighten me, detective.”
“The young girl in the 2019 case said she heard voices as her mother was about to shoot her father.”
“You mean that girl who was what? Seven years old at the time?”
“Come on detective, you can do better than that. I said it, drop this stupid case. It will run you mad. Now you’re believing statements from seven year old children at the time.”
Nikiwe got the drawing she got from Tanashe and handed it over to Ngoma.
“What the heck is this?” Ngoma looked at Nikiwe.
“The girl you’re mocking saw this when her mother was about to kill her father. She claims that’s what killed her father, not her mother.”
Ngoma was quite, staring at the drawing.
“I have to visit Bufweme this afternoon. I want to know if she knows about the voices too.”
“Clearly, you don’t know anything about this case,” Nikiwe irritatedly got up and grabbed the drawing from Ngoma. “I will need gas money.”
“Stop pursuing this detective.”
“It will ruin you. I told you about the detective who ran mad, didn’t I?”
“Just have the gas money delivered to me. I am not stopping. It’s too late.”
Ngoma watched her as she left and nodded his head. In as much as he wanted her to stop, he wanted her to continue pursuing it. He had lived through all the cases and saw what tragedy it brought upon the affected families. If anyone could find out the truth behind these cases and stop it once and for all, it was Nikiwe, he thought as he picked up his receiver to instruct the accountant to give Nikiwe gas allowance.
Clarence finished a presentation in the conference room and was met with a standing ovation. He had worked so hard on this proposal that when he finally delivered, he knew that it was going to be approved. Working for a big company like ZEZE Pharmaceuticals was nothing to take lightly especially if one shared the table with top management.
“That was a perfect presentation Clarence,” The manager firmly shook his hand.
“Thank you Mr. Mlindo,” Clarence said.
“How’s the wife and the kids?”
“They are all fine Sir.”
“Pass my regards. With that presentation, I assure you, you will be sharing the table with kings soon. You’re the future of this compan, Clarence.”
Clarence couldn’t be more proud of himself. He couldn’t wait to tell Nikiwe how it all went. As he walked to the elevator, he felt as if someone was watching him. He reached the elevator doors and pressed the buttons. He slightly tilted his head to check behind and saw some employees busy minding their own businesses. The elevator doors opened and he entered. As it brought him down, he couldn’t help but have the same feeling of being watched. He looked at the CCCTV in the elevator and waved whilst smiling. Something didn’t feel right.
Walking to his car, he felt a humid breeze surrounding him that he felt like suffocating. He rushed to the car, opened the doors and grabbed a bottle of water and drunk it rapidly. What was that? He asked himself. Am I alright? All his life, he’d never had any health complications. As far as he was concerned, he was very healthy. He called Nikiwe.
“Hey baby,” Nikiwe answered on the other side.
“How’s your day going babe?”
“Great, how was the presentation my love?”
“I nailed it!”
Nikiwe screamed on the phone.” This calls for a celebration. Dinner, tonight?”
Clarence was hesitant. “Don’t we have to wait for the feedback from the board?”
“We were worried about the actual presentation not what the board would say about it. You worked hard for it baby, we need to celebrate.”
“Okay baby,” Clarence said as he kept thinking about what had just happened earlier. Hearing his excited wife, he didn’t want to ruin her mood. It was nothing. It was probably something as a result of the long presentation he’s just had.
“Baby are you okay?” Nikiwe interrupted his thoughts.
“Yes I am fine.”
“So, we’ll celebrate with the kids. I’ll get them from school and we’ll go together.”
“Where are you driving to?”
“A prison baby. The case ”
“Oh yeah, all the best. See you later.”
Clarence cut the line and took a deep breath. He strapped his seatbelt and started the engine. As he was about to leave the parking space, something was blown by the wind and got stuck on the windshield. Looking closely, It was a white envelope.
Nikiwe sat in the visiting room awaiting Bufweme. She looked at people talking silently to the inmates they were all visiting. Others were crying, smiling, sad and others holding hands without saying anything. She looked at the exit and saw Detective Senzo leaving. Startled, she got up and rushed to him. He didn’t see her. She sprinted to him and touched his shoulder.
Surprised, Senzo said, “Nikiwe.”
“Detective. I didn’t know you were here. If i had known I would have given you a lift. What brings you here?”
Senzo looked at her suspiciously. “A case.”
“Are you interrogating me?”
Her hands in the air, Nikiwe responded, “No. I am just asking.”
“What brings you here?”
“Same as you, a case.”
“Well, good luck. I’m out of here.”
Before she could say anything, Senzo was walking. What was his deal? She rolled her eyes and went back into the visitation room. As she walked to where she had sat earlier, she saw a bald woman sitting in one of the chairs. She figured that was Bufweme.
“You’re the detective?” The bald woman said.
“Yes,” Nikiwe sat down. “I’m pretty sure you know why I am here.”
“If it’s about what happened in 2007, I told you people everything. Please give me a rest, I owned up to what I did. Yes, I accepted, I wasn’t under any possession. I did it.”
“I don’t believe that.”
Bufweme’s eyes glowed. “What are you talking about? Which part don’t you believe?”
“That you killed them.”
Her eyes were filled with tears. “No one believed me.”
“I know that’s why I am here. I know everything that happened, I’m just here for one thing.”
“Did you hear the two conflicting voices?”
“How do you know that? Has it happened to you too?”
“Answer my question Bufweme.”
“Yes. When Whatever that was took me under control, the first thing I heard were voices of a man and a woman. They were in an argument. The man was against whatever was about to happen and the woman wasn’t having any of it. The next thing I saw were my parents laying in cold blood.”
Nikiwe felt sorry for her but she had one last pending question. “What happened to your brother Joe Sinkebu, the aspiring police officer?”
Bufweme was quite for a while. She seemed conflicted. “I don’t know where he is.”
Nikiwe didn’t believe that but she had gotten what she wanted. She thanked Bufweme and left the prison. Why was she lying about her brother’s whereabouts though?
To be continued