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Captive Heart: Hearts In Peril (Episode 35)

Posted by on September 24, 2016.

Bukola settled into the rear of the Mercedes as it followed the police jeep out of Kelechi’s compound. The two vehicles had to honk loudly several times before the crowd that eddied about like a herd of stubborn cattle began to move apart enough for them to drive through. The police jeep stopped and a policeman jumped out, waving a leather koboko threateningly. Instantly, half of the crowd disappeared in a plume of panicked dust.

Bukola grimaced as the car began to move again. She could feel the vibration of running feet on the road as the crowd dispersed rapidly, drumming the music that spoke volumes about the innate fear of the average Nigerian for the police. Why were they even hanging around Kelechi’s house? She stayed far away from scenes of accidents or death if she had nothing to offer, because how would staring at an injured or wounded person help her mental health?

“See how they were gathered like vultures.” She muttered to herself. “I wonder why they even want to see a dead body.”

She jumped as the bodyguard driving the Mercedes replied her question, “Life is hard for most of these people. Any distraction from their own problems is welcome.” He looked at her in the rear-view mirror. “And what is more thrilling than death?”

Bukola winced and looked away. She hadn’t meant to initiate a conversation with the man anyway, and especially not one about death. She surreptitiously examined him. He was a big man; his shoulders loomed over the steering wheel like he was a huge skyscraper. She guessed he was almost as big as Joe-B, perhaps it was part of their job requirements. He looked like he knew a thing or two about death as well, so she expected he would be efficient at protecting her and Helen.

Her forehead wrinkled as her thoughts turned to Lionel’s house manager. Ahead of them, the police jeep turned off into a different road from theirs and Bukola craned her neck, trying to catch a glimpse of Lionel though the windows. The police vehicle swiftly sped out of sight and she sighed and leaned back in her seat, arms crossed. Despite all her jealous efforts to paint Helen black and raise doubts in Lionel’s mind, it was obvious he wasn’t buying it. Only a blind person would have failed to notice the sparks flying between her fiancé and his house manager. And Bukola Deinde wasn’t blind.

The matter would have to be dealt with.

She wasn’t willing to share.

*********************

When Lionel and the inspector arrived at the police station, he was feeling a lot calmer. He had managed to contact the security firm where he had hired Joe-B and they were sending more men to the hospital. He had also spoken to Dr Timothy Ajibade, the doctor in charge at the hospital where Helen was admitted. She was still resting, but Joe-B had regained consciousness, so Lionel was pleased with the news.

He couldn’t wait to get back to Helen and make sure she was safe. Guilt twinged a chord in his heart as he thought of Bukola, watching over another woman he had feelings for. He would have to make things right by her when this was all over.

The waiting room of the police station was stifling and hot, only a lazily swirling ceiling fan was available to push the hot air around. Half of the room was taken up by a long counter behind which two desk sergeants were seated on long stools. They sprung to their feet as they spotted Inspector Babalola, saluting. Two half-dressed men were sitting on the cement floor behind the counter as they entered, and they immediately raised an outcry on noticing the new arrivals.

“Sir, please help o!” “Help us sir, I don’t have anybody to bail me out…”

One of the sergeants threw a well-aimed kick and the noise ceased, but Inspector Babalola stopped to talk to the pleading men, while another orderly ushered Lionel through a door, and down a long corridor into what appeared to be the Inspector’s office.

In contrast to the waiting room, the office was blessedly cool. There were a couple of chairs and one large table; a mahogany-topped monstrosity groaning under the weight of numerous files and papers. Lionel sank into the chair in front of it, sighing.

Framed awards and commendations for the inspector filled the wall behind the man’s table and Lionel shook his head, impressed. The man was a beast at his job. They had really been lucky to get him assigned to this case. Maybe he would be able to settle everything in record time.

The door opened and the Inspector entered, followed by two policemen and a handcuffed man, shuffling between them.

The man looked up and Lionel’s lips tightened as he recognized the person. It was Bernard.

“Mr Lionel, this is your cousin, right?” The inspector asked as he settled down in his own chair.

Lionel glared at Bernard and the younger man lowered his eyes in shame, unable to hold Lionel’s gaze.

“Yes, he is. Unfortunately, I am related to this greedy person.”

The Inspector nodded. “As you can see, he is unharmed and of sound mind. He surrendered on his own, so I gave strict instructions that he was not to be treated roughly.”

Lionel remembered Joe-B’s injuries and Helen’s strained face in her hospital bed and anger twisted in his stomach. “It’s more than he deserves, Inspector. But I’m grateful nonetheless.”

The inspector made a small gesture and one of the policemen dragged a plastic seat forward and pushed Bernard into it.

“Ready to talk, Mr Bernard?” Inspector Babalola asked. “We’re ready to listen.”

Bernard looked up timidly and threw a pleading glance at Lionel, who glared back at him. If Bernard didn’t start confessing immediately, the police was the least of his concerns.

As it was, Lionel was ready to beat the confession out of his treacherous cousin.

To Be Continue

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