Cain told me to forget about the driver and tell him who I was. He spoke in a matter-of-fact way. I told him I was his son and he burst out into a very wicked laugh. It was then that I was certain that the man’s insanity was contrary to the report signed in his report in the mental institution when he was discharged. The man was still as mad as the average street lunatic. No sane man would laugh as he did in that quiet night.
I became suddenly angry, I was filled with rage so much that I knew not the time I drew out my pistol and aimed it at him. But he was not a bit scared or surprised. As if he had been waiting for me to do that, and as if he believed that I was pointing at him an empty gun, more or less like a toy gun. He was just standing there in front of me with his sardonic smile, his eyes were daring me to shoot him if I could. I knew I needed to act fast, I didn’t want to risk anybody seeing me at the side of the road and pointing a gun at another man. And he believed that someone would eventually come around, that was one thing I wouldn’t allow. He wanted someone to pass by and witness the event. This was not going the way I wanted it. I wanted him to be afraid but it was not working. Instead, I was the afraid one, the table was now turning against me.
“Listen to me, you madman.” I spoke fast, “You remember Angela, don’t you? The girl you raped in high school, I’m the product of that Molest. I am a living evidence of your evil act, and I’m going to do everything I can to bring you down. I have your DNA in me, and that is nothing you can change. But I am going to give you the next eight hours to put a noose around your own neck. You are going to confess everything you have done to the police and the press. The rapes, the murder of your two wives’ parents––the killing of innocent people, your involvement in that plane crash. If you do not do that, I will expose you, and I assure you that you would wish you had confessed––I will tell the world all what you have done. I will show to the media houses the evidence of your admission into the mental institution. You have the chance of doing the right thing for once, lest someone else does it for you.”
I didn’t know that what I said would have such a profound effect on him as it did, it shook him––he began to sweat even in the coldness of the night, his legs were trembling so visible that I thought he was going to fall, but he didn’t.
“You have from now till eight o’clock tomorrow morning. I will leave now. I know you have a gun with you, and I also know that although you are insane––you aren’t stupid. So, I will only advise you not to try to shoot me, because if you do––you’re doomed. One, I assure you that your chance of leaving here alive after the act would be very slim. I have someone who is expecting my call by midnight, someone you know very well––’my mother’. And by midnight if my call do not come through, she has been instructed to immediately go to the police with all the information and evidence gathered. I don’t think you’d be able to convince the police on the reason behind why you decided to kill your own son. Goodbye, murderer.” It was high time I left him, so I turned to go. This time, the fear had been shifted from me back to him. He called me and offered me some money for my silence, he said he was having millions of naira in the booth of his car––he said I could have it and more money if I wanted. He begged me to reconsider my decision but my mind was already made up. I’m not interested in his money, my plans towards him were those of vendetta. By the time I looked back, he’d brought out his pistol, but he was confused. He didn’t know where to point the gun––or to whom. I smiled at him as I walked away into the darkness. He left the side of the road to stand in the middle of the tarred road. He was shaking. He would no more see me in the darkness, but I could clearly see him as the moon shone over his bald head. I was expecting him to leave but he didn’t, he began mumbling incoherently and waving the pistol randomly. I stood in the dark watching all his performance––then he aimed the gun at himself, I’m sure that he didn’t know he was pointing the gun at himself. If I didn’t know him better I would think he was really ready to kill himself. He wasn’t the kind of guy who was ready to do the honourable thing; because he was holding the gun in his right hand aiming the gun at his left shoulder. A suicidal man wouldn’t do that. A man who was ready to kill himself would blow his own brain out through the temple, or rather do it by taking the bullet in the mouth. Shooting one’s shoulder isn’t the most effective way of committing suicide, believe me. Except if he wanted to implicate someone. I was watching him and thinking about whom he might want to bring down through this wicked act (I knew it wasn’t me, of course). My thought didn’t make me notice the young man who had crept behind Cain Martins. The man suddenly leapt at him and grabbed at Cain’s hand holding the gun. I was surprised––where had this idiot emerged from? Was he the driver? I knew that was impossible because the driver was probably lying dead at the other street. This man struggling with Cain could have materialized from down this road, coming from the direction of Cain’s street. I watched in fascination as the two men struggle to get hold of the pistol. It was when the younger man proclaimed that he wouldn’t allow Cain to kill himself that I realized he was only trying to be a hero. And unfortunately for him, his heroic interference was about to land him in serious trouble, because the man he wanted to save was now determined to kill him. I believed Cain was only looking for something to kill, and the younger man came at the right time. It was quite pathetic to watch as Cain kicked and pounded this innocent man. It was so very wrong. Cain was about to kill another innocent man, I couldn’t allow that to happen. I brought out my gun again from my pocket. What happened next was astonishing even to me. The younger man, just like in an action movie, kicked the pistol out of Cain’s hand, the shot that came out of that gun was deafening. I thought for a moment that Cain had shot the innocent man in the process. But it was merely a shot which followed the kick––nobody was hurt.
My gun was already in my hand; I was ready to shoot Cain this time, but I couldn’t get a clear shot at Cain because of the struggle between the two. My chance came when the gun was kicked and the younger man went for it. I knew then that I must shoot Cain Martins to save the innocent man. He was charging toward the innocent man with a devilish and murderous intent. He must be stopped, that night was not when I planned to kill him but he forced my hand, really. So, as he advanced towards his prey, I shot my pistol. Surprisingly, the attacked man had taken hold of the pistol and he shot the pistol at the precise moment I shot mine. The two guns went off at the same time and it seemed like it was only one gun that was shot. ‘But it was my bullet that hit Cain’. The bullet struck him in the forehead and he fell down lifeless immediately. This made the younger man believe that he was the one who had killed Cain Martins––he never knew that the bullet that killed Cain Martins came not from the gun he shot. He thought ‘he’ had killed him. I watched as he paced up and down the quiet street in agitation. He was feeling guilty for what had happened. I felt sorry for him. I wanted to come out from where I was hiding and tell him that he was innocent. As I took a step, I heard the sound of an approaching car, so I stepped back into the darkness. The younger man heard the sound too and he panicked the more; he dropped the gun he was holding and fled. A wise decision. If someone saw him things would get tougher for him. I watched as he took to his heels. By the time the vehicle came to focus, the man had disappeared. The vehicle approaching was the jeep. I stayed in the darkness and watched as the driver came out. Everything was like a dramatic performance, at first, the driver wanted to run with the money in the booth, then he stopped again. I watched him as he undressed and put on Cain’s clothings. Having done that, he went to the booth and removed the briefcase containing the money Cain had offered me earlier. He placed the briefcase at the side of the road before he carried Cain and put him in the booth of the jeep, his own clothes he put at the backseat of the car. Then he jumped in and drove off, towards Cain’s house. At that moment, I understood his plan; he thought Cain had implicated him by committing suicide––he had driven Cain out and if Cain’s body was discovered, he would be the first suspect in the murder of his boss. So, he did what he knew he could to save himself. He was going to impersonate his boss and drive in as if it was Cain returning; taking responsibility upon himself over an affair in which he wasn’t guilty. After successfully driving inside, he would bring out the corpse, dress him in his original clothing, put on his own clothes and flee. I knew that was what any man in his kind of predicament would do. Still, it would take a genius like this man to come up with something as wise and as brave as that.
As he drove off, I called my grandfather and explained everything that had happened that night. I told him to expect the driver as he tried to impersonate the deceased. About half an hour later, my grandfather called me and explained that the driver did as I suspected he would––he had dumped the corpse in the compound, changed back into his own initial attire and left by jumping over the fence. He told me to come at once, because the corpse that was placed in the house would implicate everyone––and that included my grandfather. As I finished receiving the call I saw the driver returning, he was wearing his own clothes. He went directly to where he had placed the suitcase, carried it and went away. The man was smart and intelligent, I admire him immensely for that. I would like to meet him personally, perhaps I’d be able to come up with something else that would involve him making use of that intelligence of his once again. I’d really like to see it again as he perform another brilliant feat. He had brilliantly executed a neater plan from a neat plan––a plan I also believe would no doubt exculpate him. As soon as the driver left, I raced down to meet my father. Time was of the utmost essence; I entered the compound and found Cain lying right in the middle of the compound––and the jeep was already in its garage. The car in particular was now stained with various fingerprints, mostly the fingerprints of Cain Martins. I checked in the booth of the car and found blood. It would not take a detective to deduce that Cain Martins dying where he was found was only a sham. This was one thing the driver himself did not imagine. I liked him, I didn’t want him to be punished for what he had not done. I mounted the jeep and thankfully, the key was still in its ignition––I drove it out of the compound to where I parked the second jeep––the one I pilfered from the mechanic’s workshop. I mounted that one and drove it back into the compound and parked it in the garage, like the first jeep. The jeep that the driver drove was having no flat tyre, it was the other one, and the deflated tyre was made manifest intentionally. I let some air out of the second car’s tube, just perhaps, to complicate the investigation some more. Thereafter, we carried Cain’s corpse out of the compound and placed him by the gate outside, then I brought out the mobile phone I used to call you and placed it inside his pocket. Psychology had told me that his phone was the first thing you would search for. And to make it look real, I put the hat on its side some few distance from the body, I put the left sandal on the left foot and the other was also a few metres from the corpse. We thought this was enough to make anybody believe that Cain Martins was killed by the gate, and by an outsider. It could have been the neatest plan ever if I had not driven the car into the garage; I should have parked the car not far away from where Cain was placed outside, but that would implicate the driver still, because he drove his boss out that night. My father would not be able to make that lie and cover him as you would see through his lies––you’re Detective Lot. Placing the car in the garage was the safest thing to do––and with that, nobody would know the murderer. It was the perfect crime because it wasn’t found out, if a crime could be found out, it would not be perfect. There were still some anomalies that escaped you, and which would have flawed everything if you had noticed it. If you had compared the bullet that was extracted from Cain’s forehead with the gun that was found in Richard’s room, you’d have seen that they do not match.
There is also the issue about the note my grandfather claimed to have found under his pillow; that was another of his plan to foil the investigation. After we had lain Cain to rest by the gate, my father suddenly dashed inside his room and came out with a pen and a paper for me to write what you read in the note therein––in Cain’s handwriting. It was simple; really, Cain’s writing was very horrible, just like mine; although I wouldn’t say I have a bad handwriting, just my own font style. A style, which is quite similar to the late Cain’s calligraphy, was of which I penned the note. My grandfather had given me one note that contained Cain’s handwriting, and I saw that I possessed almost the same handwriting as my father’s. So, I wrote it out in my own handwriting; with just a few distortions in the slashes and crosses, because I have, to most readers, the same illegible handwriting like my father’s. Perhaps, that was why the lawyer claimed it as Cain’s writing, because it was a product carved out through Cain’s illegitimate blood.
Well, that is all––everything, I’ve confessed. And at this stage, there is almost an unbearable pain needling my fingers as a result of these seemingly overabundant scribbling. I must lay down my pen, my engine of confession, and bathe my crippling hand in some warm water. I’m sorry, my grandfather’s decisions in letting you know the truth has led to this lengthy diatribe––and I am unfortunately the vessel of communication as my grandfather’s writing style would definitely not appeal to you. As you quite know yourself, that he does not have enough gummy saliva to seal the envelope of fair grammatical constructions. That is the mystery surrounding the death of Cain Martins. Do not even try to search for us because you will never find us now. We’re far gone, perhaps, with time I shall come back––I shall return to finish some other issues. Then in the end, the legacy of Cain would be worthy of African literature or Nollywood motion picture, under the guise of fictions.
I never claim any regret for killing Cain Martins, it was overwhelmingly satisfying that the demon is finally gone from the face of the earth. I have the pictures of his corpse as he lay outside the gate, and the bullet hole I had drilled in his forehead was so symmetrical. And it always makes me remember that Bible verse I’ve read like a thousand and one times: Genesis 4:15.
…And the Lord set a mark upon Cain…
Yes, the bullet hole on Cain Martins’ forehead was symbolical, it signified The mark of Cain.
(Signed) Abel Chima
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A big thanks to Damex for such an amazing story and to everyone who encouraged by dropping comments and sharing. It is not too late to do both if you haven’t 😉. Love you all…