Strange Room – Episode 1
“What does he take me for? Tell me. Who does he think he is? He can’t live a luxurious life at the expense of my sister’s life.
Leave me alone! Leave me alone!! I must go there and face him”, those were the last words of my elder brother before he left home. It’s been two weeks since he left and we still have no trace nor heard of him. The worst of it all was that none of us knew who my late sister was dating before she passed on. Did I say “passed on”? She’s nowhere to be found. If we knew who the guy was, we would at least have an idea of where my brother was. Everything was just like a dream. Neither myself nor my mum seemed to believe what was happening.
The case was reported to the police by Bro Quabena. He was a very close friend of Quaku.
He couldn’t sit in his seat any longer when he heard of the tragedy. As for my dad, we didn’t want to tell him of the predicament which had befallen us since he was unwell. Whenever he asked of my brother and sister (Quaku and Ayebea), I was quick to reply him that they had traveled and would return soon. “How soon?”, I always asked myself whenever I replied my dad. Anyway, I only pray they return to the house wherever they are, because I can’t keep telling lies to my dad. What if he found out that I’d been telling him lies all the while?
“Akosua! Akosua!!,”that was my mother calling. I ran towards her direction as I responded. She looked happy for once. That at least relieved me of all my unending thoughts.
“Mum, I can see you are very happy today. Can you share with me your secret?”, I asked. “Happy you said? I’m more than happy. I had a phone call from the police on my way to the house. They said…”
A call came in just when she was about giving me the good news.
“Ako, that’s Quabena calling. I’m sure he’s with the police. Receive the call and put it on loudspeaker”, my mum said. “…but mum, dad is not asleep. He might hear us. I think we must go out and listen to it well. Today is the happiest day in my life,” I said.
The police have done well. Not forgetting Quabena, I was over excited that I abruptly rejected the call instead of receiving it.
“Aagh Akosua!”, my mum shouted with rage. “Mum, easy. All I need to do is to return the call, then we are good to go”, I replied. I called back and this time around, a police man picked.
Me: hello. Good afternoon. Please let me hand the phone over to my mum since she is here.
Mum: hello…really? Hmmm…anyway thank God. I will be on my way.
(I was kept in the dark concerning what transpired between the two on phone so I enquired from my mum)
“Mummy, what is it? ” I asked. “Hmmmm, it’s Quabena I spoke with. He said the police said they’ve found some bodies, but they are saying they won’t allow him to see the bodies unless I come around”, she said with tears in her eyes.
“Does it mean my siblings are dead? Oh No! It can’t be!”, I shouted.
“Ako, what can’t be?”my father asked slowly from the room since he was bedridden and very weak.
I ran to him to make sure he was okay, but put up a lie that the exam I’d been preparing for and waiting to write had been cancelled.
“Don’t worry dear. You will make it even if it takes three years so relax and learn okay”, he replied.
“Okay dad. Will you need anything? I will be going to see my friend who lives down the street with mum. I learnt she’s very sick. We won’t keep long”, I said.
“Alright but don’t keep long. Tell your mum to get me some fruits on her way,”he said as I opened the door.
I hurried out of the room and saw my mum almost out of the house. I ran after her but couldn’t say a word. We were both sad. We anxiously walked side by side with tears in our eyes. For once, my mum passed by people without greeting them.
I wasn’t surprised though.
“Papa police, good day. Please I’m the mother of the deceased. I mean both children. Can I have a look at them?”, she asked when we got to the police station.
“Madam, how do you know they are your children without having a look at them? Besides they are three people. Anyway,let’s go in. The guy who called is in there waiting for us all to go and identify the bodies”, he said and led us to Quabena. Quabena walked to us immediately he saw us. He seemed to have been crying but he tried to console my mum and asked that she put herself together.
He put his hand around my neck and held my mother’s hand as we followed the police man to where the bodies had been kept.
“Here are the bodies. They are three in number so I will take off the cloth for you to identify yours,” he said while taking off the cloth.
I was scared but I wanted to be a witness, so stood still and pressed Quabena’s hand tightly.
“Nooooo…my God! Why me? So where are my children? Officer, please my children are not part”, my mum said. She sat on the floor and shed uncontrollable tears. Quabena tried to console my mum but there was no way she would listen. She had lost two children just like that, and my dad was also sick and bedridden.
I went closer and knelt by her with the idea of going to console her but I rather worsened the case. I shed tears as I had my head resting on her shoulder.
“Mama, it’s okay. I trust they aren’t dead and will return home wherever they are”, I said.
Quabena was short of words. Quaku had been his best friend from childhood.
“Mum, why don’t we cause the arrest of Godwin?”, Quabena asked? “Who is Godwin?”we both asked.
“Wait, are you saying you don’t know Godwin? Godwin is the boyfriend of Ayebea. He is not in this town anyway, but I know his house very well. I remember Quaku and myself used to go there to warn him to stay off Ayebea,” Quabena replied.
I was a bit relieved. At least, there was someone who knew where the guy lived. My mum got up, dusted her cloth, thanked the police officers, then we rushed out.
“Officer, please we will let you know whenever something comes up”, Quabena said as he made his way to the door.
We sat in his car and he drove off. We were all quiet in the car. He suddenly stopped the car.
“Quabena why have you pulled over?”, my mum asked? “Easy mum. Take a look at that building. Isn’t it beautiful?” He asked. “3h3, yes, and what has that got to do with me? Please drive on. We talking of my children here and not an apartment”, my mum angrily said. “O mum, it seems you don’t get what I’m saying. I’m talking of that 4 storey building. Take a good look at it and I will tell you something”, he added.
“Bro, please tell us what the issue is because currently, none of us is in a good state. My dad is also home and you know of his condition”,l chipped in.
“Well, that is Godwin’s house. The guy Ayebea was dating. This is his house”, he said. “No no no, you mean this belongs to him? How old is he and what does he do for a living?” I asked. As for mum, she was shocked. She didn’t want to believe it. “Come on, don’t you trust me? He is 26 years of age. He is always home or sometimes at the pub chilling with friends. He is unemployed. This is where Ayebea used to hang out , so you now understand why I asked that we caused his arrest. Let’s go back to the police station and report it”, he said.
“Yes hurry, hurry. No wonder before my son left the house, he kept saying the boy can’t use his sister for rituals. Now I see. Hurry up, take me back to the police station”, mum said. We got to the police station in no time. Though my mum was impatient in the car, we managed to calm her down for her to talk softly to the police. She convincingly got them to follow us to the house.
It was a very big apartment with dogs all over. They started barking when we tried entering the house.
Someone I presumed to be the security guard came from nowhere to sack them. We greeted him and asked that we saw Godwin. His reply proved to us that whatever Quabena said was true.
“My master you mean? He is in the sitting room. Let me go fetch him for you”, he said. “Don’t worry. Just direct us to where he is. We want to have a short meeting with him”, the police said.
The compound was filled with many cars. The security guard led us to a room which had an automatic door. We got to the sitting room but he wasn’t there. I was eager to see that guy who had used my siblings for rituals. As for mum, she was boiling within. Few seconds after we had got to the sitting room, he appeared from another room with wine and glass in his hand. He indeed had been living a luxurious life.
The police greeted and enquired from him if he was called Godwin. His answer was affirmative. They went further to probe if he knew Ayebea and Quaku. He again gave an affirmative answer. The police asked him the connection he had with them and he said, “Ayebea is my girlfriend, and the guy in question is her brother. He has been coming here with this man (Pointing at Quabena) to warn me.” “Well said, so where is Ayebea?”the police asked.
“Ayebea? She’s not been here for some time. She called me some weeks back that she was coming over, but never heard from her. Her phone has been off since then”, he replied. They asked what he did about it when he wasn’t hearing from her, any effort to see or reach her but he said he didn’t want to ever come around our house. That perhaps wasn’t an excuse. He seemed tensed up with the numerous questions which were being thrown at him.
“If I may ask, does this house belong to you?”, one of the policemen asked.
“Yes please”, he responded.
“And what do you do for a living” the police further interrogated.
“I’m a final year student at legon”, he said.
“Woooow…and you have all these? Anyway, permit us to search your apartment”, the police said.
He tried to restrict them initially but finally gave in.
They searched the whole house but found nothing. While coming out of his sophisticated bedroom, I saw an old black polythene bag on the floor. It was a big polythene though.
It was behind the door.
I alerted the police to search that one too, it might be of help. They opened it and we found ‘kujey’ , ‘thick gloves’ and a black overall. This raised suspicion.
What was the use of these if not robbery? I had watched many movies and if my memory served me right, I saw them rob and operate with such items. “Oh so he was an armed robber as well”, I thought.
“Boss,you will have to follow us to the police station and explain yourself. Whatever you say here will be used against you. Now move!”, the police ordered him after handcuffing him.
We followed them closely. As for Quabena, I never believed my eyes when I saw him weep. I’d always had the notion that men don’t cry so why now? I consoled him. He had no other friend aside my brother. It was obvious there was no way he could drive so one of the policemen offered to do so.
We got to the police station sooner than I imagined. My mum, Quabena and I sat outside while the police took Godwin to a small room for further interrogation. All attempts to get answers from him proved futile.
Due to that,he was put in cells. We spent almost the whole day at the police station, forgetting about my dad. Quabena quickly drove us back home when I reminded him of my father.
To be continued…