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It was quite an extraordinary thing that happened that night, chance intervened by way of a cord, a knot in the cord, and a loop in the knot. The death of Cain, the intervention of the police officer and the acts of the driver––everything happened via an extraordinary chance even more mysterious than my own understanding. Nobody was prepared for what he encountered that night. I for one, never prepared death for Cain Martins, at least not for that night of the seventh. The young police-officer––an innocent easy-going man––never envisioned getting into trouble with a madman marked for death. The driver, however, never thought that he was going to have the murder of his boss (which he never committed) on his neck. And in all, the wrong thing happened for the right thing to manifest.
That particular night when I sent the message to Cain, my expectation was that he would come alone, I assumed he wouldn’t want anyone else to know about his dirty little secrets. I never thought for once that he would come with his driver. It had been destined that it was that night that Cain would meet his end. Perhaps––just perhaps, if he had driven over alone he wouldn’t have died yet. At least, I wasn’t expecting him to get shot that night, it wasn’t really a perfect notion. If he should die by a gun, he should have died in such a different way from that which he kissed the dust. I would have preferred him to be shot from the roof of another building when going to or returning from the office. My sole aim that night was only in instilling fear inside of him. And just for precaution, I kept a pistol incase the meeting went wrong; knowing the kind of monster I was to confront, getting a gun close-by––I believe––would not stretch my precautionary task any bit thin. He was supposed to meet me at an abandoned site in the street behind his. I waited for half an hour for him to come but he didn’t. It was during that time I was waiting for Cain to arrive that I placed the call to you. Cain Martins never called you, I was the one who did call you that Friday night. Everything had been planned from the beginning by my genius grandfather. He wanted to surprise Cain Martins incase he refused to do whatever we told him to do. My grandfather had already taken his mobile phone that night and given it to me so that I might call you––the greatest detective in Nigeria. How he got your phone number, he never told me. But my grandfather knew that you are the only detective in this country who would not subject himself to being bribed. He has a lot of respect for you, that man––contrary to what you may think of him––or what you think he thinks of you. ‘Sometimes, when we think a thing, the thing we think is not exact the thing we think we think, but the thing we think we think we think’. I read that from somewhere; it’s an anonymous quote. As I said, I was the one who called you with Cain Martins’ phone number claiming I was he. We wanted you to come the next morning and meet Cain alive––not dead. I knew that seeing you would make him understand the message better, and that would make him do what we wanted him to do. The money transferred to your account was done two days prior the note we sent to Cain, and the money really truly came from Cain Martins––but not from his bank account. How we got hold of such a large sum of money was through my grandfather; he had taken it from Cain’s bedroom and gave me to send to you––not only did my grandfather have your phone number, he also has your account number. You see, we had to send the money to convince you that the person who sent the money to you meant real business––seeing the money alone would make you come down to Cain’s resident and find out how some strange money got into your bank account––my grandfather knew you too much. I was expecting my grandfather to call me and tell me Cain was on the way. That was the plan––he was to call me as soon as Cain drove out. But the call didn’t come forth all through the thirty minutes. I was getting impatient so I decided to walk the path down, believing that I would encounter him on the way. I was already half-way to Cain’s abode when my phone rang, it was my grandfather calling, the time on the screen showed eleven o’ clock. As soon as I pressed the green button and brought the phone to my ear, a black jeep was approaching––its headlight almost blinded me. I tried to shield my face with my other hand and stepped to the side of the road as the vehicle was driven past me––that particular time, co-incidence, sheer co-incidence intervened. It was as the vehicle moved past me that I picked the call and spoke, “Where is Cain?” I actually asked the question by speaking out loud; I was trying to get my voice over the sound of the jeep. It was a question loud enough for the passenger to hear, but not the driver. This was because I was at the side of the road where the closer side to me was the passenger’s, the driver was at the other farther side. And if the driver was concentrating on his driving, or his attention was at something else, he couldn’t have seen me in that dark night––nor heard me as I spoke to my phone. The only person who would be aware of the man standing at the side of the road would be the passenger. He saw me and heard me pronounce his name. At first, I didn’t know that the jeep that was driven past me was the one containing Cain Martins––I got to know when my grandfather told me to expect a jeep containing two people; the driver and my ‘client’. By that time, the car was already turning the sharp corner down to the next street––I looked behind me to see the car before it disappeared down the curve, then our eyes met that instant––he knew, he had heard me. He knew now that I was the person he was going to meet. And his face carried a puzzled expression, as if he were wondering why it was a man instead of Angela, and he was likewise wondering about the identity of whom I was speaking with on the phone. He had suspected that it had been an inside job, and I believe he suspected wrongly that the inside person was Abigail––his wife. Before the vehicle entirely disappeared I was able to give him a knowing smile and beckoned to him to tell his driver to reverse. But the car was gone.
I knew that he would come, so I waited, expecting to hear the vehicle returning, but no––no vehicle came back. It was about ten to fifteen minutes later that I saw him approaching––he was trekking towards me hurriedly, and sweating. He was furtively looking behind him as if someone was after him. This led a part of me wondering what had happened to the jeep and the man who had driven it. The only thought which crossed my mind was that Cain had killed his driver––perhaps he was on a killing spree because his long-buried secrets had been exhumed and he was determined to kill as much as he could in his rage. Reflexively, I dipped my hand into my pocket and gripped at the gun––just for protection if the necessity arose, a case where only the faster man would leave there alive between both of us. And evidently, his own hand was also in his overcoat. His face was frosty and fixed like a mannequin’s. As soon as soon as we were close enough, he spoke first:
“Who are you?” he asked. His face saddened me when I remembered that this was my father.
“Angela sent me.” I replied coldly. If I had been expecting him to be surprised, I succeeded immensely. He was so rocked by my reply that he nearly lost his stamina.
“Angela sent you?” he asked incredulously, “Where is she?”
I ignored his question.
“What have you done with the driver?” I asked him casually as if I cared less. But I had been consumed with curiosity about the driver––even before that night. I wanted to know him better. He had struck me as an extraordinarily clever guy, from the judgement my grandfather had given about him. My grandfather doesn’t praise people that never deserved it, and he was always talking about Richard to me as if he were a god to be worshipped. I wanted to see the man and speak with him from that morning when Cain’s body was discovered that he’d asked you about my name. I wanted to know how clever and intelligent he really was. Could I call him a genius or just brilliant? Courageous, or foolhardy? Determined, or plain stubborn? All this I wanted to know about him––if I could have the opportunity of asking him some tricky questions and hearing the reply he would give. I didn’t know that he was actually going to show to me his ingenuity that very night.