To read the previous episode, click here******
The body of Newton was taken to a medical examiner. Adebiyi planned to see the doctor the next day for details. He was not able to drive and Popoola took the keys from him.
“Should I be worried?” Adebiyi asked as Popoola drove to the destination of his home.
“You think the heart-taker did this?”
“Yes.” he replied. “If he is not the one, who did it?”
“I don’t know. He has a partner.”
“We have nothing to help us track him. Samson has not seen…” The sound of the phone stopped him from speaking further. He took it and answered his caller. “I was just talking about you. Have you seen her?”
“I’m sorry boss. She had already left the occasion before I got there.”
“Damn it!! Do you know if she has a house in Calabar?”
“No. I asked a guest, she said Mrs. Danjuma lodged into a hotel but she does not know which particular one.”
“Do you still have enough money with you?”
“Enough to last me for a year sir,” Samson replied.
“You have to wake up very early tomorrow morning, and check all the expensive hotels around the vicinity of where the event took place. She must have booked a room in one of them so that she would be close to the place.”
“What if no one is willing to talk?”
Adebiyi shrugged and answered. “Use what you have to get what you want.”
“I understand sir. I hope to give you good news tomorrow.”
“You have to or I will sack you.” He ended the call.
“You don’t have to be harsh on him,” Popoola said and looked at him. “It’s not his fault.”
“I know.” he said in a saddened tone and he took a deep breath. “I can’t believe Newton is dead. I had plans to help him if he changed and I believed he listened to me. I don’t even know what to believe anymore. Do you think he still went back to drugs?”
“I wasn’t there with you that day so I don’t have the right answer to give you. You can inquire from the examiner tomorrow.”
Adebiyi rubbed his face and rested his head on the seat. “I am so tired.”
“I understand. You need to sleep.”
“How can I sleep when Tiwa is suffering?” Tears pumped out from the corner of his eyes. He let them flow. He wasn’t ashamed to cry because of a woman in front of Popoola.
Popoola removed his right hand from the wheel and touched Adebiyi’s left shoulder. “Don’t lose hope. We will get her.”
“Can someone tell me what is going on?” Tiwa asked, with her eyes opened.
“I will have to clean you first.” Joyce said.
“Don’t touch me!!”
They erupted into laughter. Asante and Monday left the room.
Tiwa glared at Joyce. “Why?” she asked. “Why are you doing this?”
Joyce went away, brought a bucket of water, and towel and pulled Tiwa’s trousers down to her knees. She began to clean her thighs.
“Please answer me. Tell me what you know. I deserve to know the truth before I die.”
She stared at her muddled. “You are ready to die?”
“I will not beg for my life because I know Asante will never change his mind to kill me. Why are you working with them?”
“Can you remember the day I told you and your handsome partner that all I did at the party was welcome the guests, eat and dance alone?”
“Of course I remember.” she said softly.
“At the party, no man has ever asked me to dance with him. None looked at my direction. They always focus on the models. I have always wanted to be a runway model but it never worked out. They would say, I was not tall enough. I searched for a job to be close to models but those girls neglected me! None of them wanted to be my friend!!”
“And that made you angry. Did you discuss it with Monday?”
“Of course!!” Joyce bellowed.
“And he told you to do what?”
“To assist Asante to locate the homes of the models, I also get to watch them die! I am delighted to see them beg for their lives and their hearts taken from them!”
“They are using your weakness to manipulate you. They are using you. Can’t you see what they are turning you into?”
“A good actress?”
“What do you mean?” Tiwa asked.
“It was part of our plans for me to wait at the security post because they knew you would come looking for the secretary to ask questions.”
“You pretended to us that day. You cried as if you truly cared about the victims.”
She laughed. “I think I will make a fantastic actress.”
“No. You will turn into a cold-blooded killer. You are young and you still have the time to change for the better. Let me go and I will make sure you get the help you deserve. I will not allow anyone put you in jail.”
“I don’t need help.”
“You need a psychologist.”
“I am perfectly fine!!” She hit her on the face, dragged the trousers back to her waistline and called out Asante and Monday. “I am through with her!”
Asante came forward with a cup of glass in his hand, took a sip and gave Tiwa.
She sighed, drank and said. “I thought you were going to starve me to death. What changed your mind?”
He smiled broadly. “Ripping out your heart will be better.”
“You can ask me anything now.” Monday said to Tiwa.
“How long have you been working with Asante?”
“For a very long time,” the agent replied. “We’ve been friends even before his heart was broken.”
“Does that mean you planned it together?”
“Yes. Although, Asante was the brain behind the way he would kill those girls.”
“I thought you have a family! A conscience.”
“Of course I do have a family. They are not here in Abuja. The police in charge of the case never asked for anything. They only wanted to confirm if the girls worked with me. When you came with that man and started asking about the list, I knew both of you would eventually know the truth. I had to lock up my office and acted as a scared boss.”
“How would your wife feel if she finds out the kind of person you are?”
“She will never find out because after Asante kills you, I will find your boyfriend and stab him to death.”
“What happened to your ear?”
“You ask a lot of questions.”
The tears she fought to hold came out.
“Are you ready to beg for your life?” Asante asked and moved slowly to her.
Tiwa sniffed her nose. “No…” She coughed. “Can I speak with my mother?”
Asante and Monday stared at each other and laughed sarcastically.
“No.” The heart-taker said. “You cannot speak with anyone. The day you will beg for your life, is the day I will kill you. Let’s go guys.”
“Are you leaving me again?”
No one offered her a reply.
The next morning, Adebiyi drove alone to the hospital and asked after the examiner in charge of Newton’s autopsy. A nurse led him to the office and he introduced himself and explained the reason that brought him.
“I was told you would come, Mr. Gold. You should know he was stabbed to death.”
“Was it a knife?”
“Yes and it was a very sharp one. The knife penetrated into one of his ribs and he lost a lot of blood. I also found traces of skin in his mouth. The victim was able to bite off part of his assailant’s ear.”
“Does that mean whoever killed him should be having a serious injury in one of his ears?”
“Yes. I have told one of the policemen involved in the case.”
“Okay. I will like to know if another test was carried out.”
“What do you mean?”
“Newton was into hard drugs and I wanted to find out if he stopped. Is it possible for you to check his system?”
The doctor sighed. “We have done that but the result is not out.”
“When will it be out?”
“It won’t take long,” he replied. “I will advise you to wait for thirty minutes to one hour.”
“Thank you.” Adebiyi stood and shook his hand. “I will be outside.”
He went out and called Samson. He didn’t have any update on the former beauty queen yet. He was still searching for her. Adebiyi decided to check on the examiner one hour later.
“The test is out and I am so sorry to announce that there were drugs in his system.” The doctor said.
“Thank you for letting me know.” he said in a disappointed tone.
“You are welcome.”
Adebiyi left the office, walked towards his car and thought of Newton. He was not happy about the news and still felt sober. He thought Newton was stubborn to have continued to take hard drugs but he didn’t deserve to die like that.
Adebiyi arrived home and told Popoola about the result of the test.
“I am so sorry.” Popoola said.
"Thanks." He glanced at his wristwatch. “It’s ten already. I thought Joyce should be here by now. Donald will follow her the moment she arrives.”
“He knows that. He is dressed already.”
Adebiyi called Samson’s phone but it was unreachable. He began to get worried. By 3pm, Joyce came to the house and Donald followed her. Few minutes later, Adebiyi and Popoola heard the sound of car and they rushed outside to check. It was Samson coming out from a vehicle with an attractive woman. She appeared to be in her thirties.
“What happened to your phone?” Adebiyi asked him.
“The battery went down. I and Mrs. Danjuma had to board the available flight back to Abuja after I found her and briefed her of what has happened.”
He hugged him cheerfully. “Thank you!” He welcomed her and thanked her for coming. All of them went inside and sat down.
“I could not believe Asante could do such a thing.” Nkiru said to Adebiyi. “I had to follow him and ask you.”
“Is he going to kill me too?”
“We think so but we can avoid that if we catch him on time.”
“Okay. What do you want from me?”
“We believe he has a partner and it might be someone he knew a long time ago. Do you know anyone he was very close to before you broke up?”
“Asante was close to his mother and a childhood friend. He’s name was Monday but I can’t remember his surname.”
Adebiyi stared at her shocked. “Is he tall and fair?”
“Yes. Have you met him?”
“Is it Monday Okorie?”
“Yes!! That’s his full name. Do you think he is Asante’s partner?”
He speedily rose on his feet. “Oh my God! I can’t believe this!! I trusted him. I thought he ran away because he was afraid of the heart-taker. No one must be trusted!”
“Wait…” Popoola said and stood. “If we can’t trust him, we can’t trust Joyce too.”
“Jesus Christ!” he grabbed his phone and dialed Donald’s number.
Donald and Joyce were seated at the backseats in a taxi. The driver was taking them to the address she described to him and when Donald asked where it was, she told him someone sent the address of the agent and she believed he might know where Asante lived.
“Who is calling?” Joyce asked him.
“Don’t tell him anything yet,” she said with a smile on her lips. “Just inform him we are still on our way to ask questions.”
He nodded and answered. “Hello sir.”
“I want you to stop following her and turn back. If Joyce start of ask any mischievous questions, tell her Mimi has been rushed to the hospital.”
“Okay sir.” He said, ended the call and spoke. “Driver, please stop.”
Joyce looked at him shocked. “Why?”
“Something happened.” The driver parked his vehicle.
“But where we are going to is important. If you don’t follow me we might never be able to save Tiwa.”
Donald didn’t say anything to her. He simply unlocked the door, came out and search for another cab to go home. Joyce immediately sent a text message to Monday, informing him their plan had failed to capture Donald.
Adebiyi received a call from one of the officers in charge of the heart-taker’s case.
“When your friend sent us your chef’s picture,” he said to Adebiyi. “I asked an old friend to find a way to locate where he lived. He has an address but we are not sure if it’s really the place. My boss is getting me a warrant to go there and search. It might take a while but we will surely go there today.”
“That’s good. Send me the address, I will meet you there.” He said, cut the call and told Popoola.
“What if we don’t find her there?”
“I will have to put a ransom that if anyone knows where she is, I will give that person twenty million naira.”
“You would do that?” Mrs. Danjuma asked surprised.
“Yes. If Monday hears about it, he might betray his friend because of the huge amount of money. I am ready to do anything to get Tiwa back.”
Tiwa had been alone throughout the day. She tried to sleep but it was difficult for her to do. She needed the strength to carry out her plans to escape. She hoped what she strategize would pull through. If she failed, Asante would definitely be angry and kill her. It was already getting dark, and Tiwa thought it was better that way.
Asante, Donald and Joyce came over to see Tiwa. This time around, no one offered her water. She decided to stay mute and prepared her mind to do everything possible to leave.
Few hours later, Adebiyi received the location and he hopped into his car. Popoola and Donald was with him. On their way there, close to their destination, Popoola surveyed around to see if there was an abandoned or uncompleted building. When they arrived there, police was already inside but were disappointed not to find anyone. Adebiyi joined them to search inside for evidence. Pictures of Asante were placed on the walls in the living room and bedroom.
Asante and Donald told Joyce they wanted to go outside for a smoke and she should watch Tiwa. She was very angry but never complained.
Tiwa waited for few minutes before she said to Joyce. “I need to go to the toilet.”
“You can urinate there and I will clean you up later.”
“I don’t want to urinate. I want to defecate.”
“Yuck! That’s disgusting!! But there’s no toilet here.”
“You will have to take me anywhere except you don’t mind. I could do it and you would eventually clean me up.”
“Never! I have to call Asante and Monday.”
“Oh, I forgot you have to ask for their permission. You are their puppet.”
"Don't you know you are their slave?"
"Watch your tongue!"
“Is it difficult for you to untie me and take me to where I would defecate? I am even too weak to walk. Or are you scared I might be more powerful to take you down?”
Joyce was furious and her eyes sparkled. “You are worthless! You can't do anything.”
“Then prove it that you are capable of handling things without them.”
She dipped her hand inside her pocket and took out a small and sharp knife. Tiwa widened her eyes. Joyce moved closer and cut the ropes on her hands and legs. She pointed the knife to Tiwa.
“If you make any suspicious move, I will kill you.”
Joyce helped Tiwa down from the bed and the moment her feet touched the ground, Tiwa overpowered her, placed her hand on her mouth and grabbed the knife.
“Don’t make any sound or I will kill you.” Tiwa said. “I can help you if you come with me. Let’s run away together.”
She shook her head angrily.
Tiwa pointed the knife to Joyce’s throat and she took away her hand from her mouth. “If you shout, I will cut your throat. You are going to lead me to an exit door. Do I make myself clear?”
Joyce became afraid and nodded.
The police had given up when they could not see anything linking Asante has the heart-taker. Adebiyi went over to meet Popoola and Donald outside and explained nothing was found.
“What if he kept the hearts in his mother’s house?” Popoola suggested.
“But his neighbors said he abandoned the place. The only way he could preserve those hearts is to keep them in somewhere that is cold.”
“Like a freezer?”
Adebiyi dimmed his eyes. “We have to check his fridge!”
They went back inside, told the officers and motioned towards the fridge in the kitchen. When they opened it, they saw the victim’s hearts inside some containers. Their names were written on them. Some of the policemen took them away.
“This is disgusting!” Popoola exclaimed.
“The next thing we have to do now is find Tiwa before Asante knows about this.”
“On our way here, I noticed an abandoned building three streets away from here. He could have kept her there so that he would be close to his house.”
“What kind of building?”
“I think a hospital but I am not sure.”
An officer overheard their conversation and went to meet them. “I know about that hospital. It was burnt few years ago and the owner slumped into a coma when he heard what happened and ever since then, nothing was done to get it back in order again.”
“Can we go there and search?” Adebiyi asked.
“Why not? It’s a perfect location to hide someone. Let me inform my team.”
“Thank you so much.” Adebiyi said happily and looked at Popoola. “You’ve been a good friend. Thank you.”
“Thank you too for believing in me.”
Tiwa tiptoed with Joyce as she threatened to strike her with the knife if she made any sound to alert Monday and Asante. She moved quietly to the left when she heard their voices on the right side. She peeped at the hallway searching for a back door that could lead her outside the building.
“You will regret this.” Joyce said quietly.
“Shut up.” Her frightened eyes travelled around and she was able to detect another hallway. She entered and found an exit door. She murmured. “Thank God.”
“You won’t be able to run far. They will catch you. You don’t have enough strength to escape.”
Tiwa took away the knife from her throat and looked at Joyce directly in the eyes. “Come with me. You can change and be a better person.”
Joyce opened her mouth to yell. “Asan….!”
Tiwa struck her in the abdomen to stop her and tears flew out from her eyes. “I am sorry.” Tiwa dropped the knife and left Joyce on the floor as blood drained out from her stomach. Joyce's mouth moved but no words could come out. Tiwa began to run as fast as she could in the dark.
Her heart pounded faster, her legs ached and her body was weak but she wouldn’t let that stop her from finding help. She ran and sighted a tarred road. She began to breathe faster, she thought of resting but reconsidered. Tiwa ran towards the middle of the road and a car coming in full speed stopped.
Tiwa was tired. She had no power to run anymore. An angry young couple came out from the vehicle and wanted to scream at her but they halted when they saw the way she appeared.
“Are you okay?” the lady asked.
Tiwa burst into tears. “I need help." she said in a shaky voice. "I want you to take me to the hospital.” She fainted.
To be continued.