Hello my good people. I am so sorry for the long silence. I've been inundated with school work.
Whispers of the Sandman is undergoing major changes on my System now, as I am working overtime on it. It is coming along great. When the time is right, I will share some of it again. Meanwhile, I hope to start another story here very, very soon. Or, is there any particular type of story U would want me to write? Ur suggestions are welcome in the Comments box.
Alright, for the Good News.
Whispers From The Nether-Realm, a collection of Short Stories, is out. And the best part?
I am the author. Finishing touches are being made to the Facebook Fanpage and the like, but U can view, and purchase (oh yes please...*wink*) both the Softcover and the e-book at the websites below:
So, click away, get a copy, and spread the word!!!
Thank you very much!
See you soon....Very soon...
Monday, 28 February 2011
Jerry pulled up in front of Mary’s now-deserted family house in his plant-green Toyota Camry. He’d had his mechanic drop off his car for him at the station, sparing him a trip to the greasy mechanic village. The house looked battle-weary and desolate. The family had evacuated probably a couple of hours ago; he’d made sure of that. He didn’t want them there for a while, due to work-related reasons, as well as the fact that staying there would be hell for them. He’d wanted them to leave until things returned to normal.
But Jerry doubted things would ever return to normal, at least not for a long while. He only hoped the family would stay strong during this trying period. It was going to be damn hard but hell, when were things ever easy?
“ So,” Jerry began, breaking the silence in the car, “ I’ll go in there. I want you to stay here and wait for me.”
“What? In this heat?” James protested.
Jerry smiled. “Okay. Who called the police last night?”
You know the particular house?”
James pointed behind them, to the right of the Okoro residence.
“Okay. Now go in there and ask them some questions. Try and find out more. Then come here and wait for me.”
“Why?” James asked, still protesting.
“Look, you want to learn, right?”
“Then I suggest you direct your questions to the family you are about to meet instead of at me. Now go.”
Grumbling a bit under his breath, James got out of the car. Jerry smiled to himself, then rolled up his windows, cracking them open a bit to let air in and out. He had to fix his broken A.C. Sighing, he got out of the car and made his way to the house, putting on his sunshades.
What secrets will you yield to me? Jerry asked the house.
He wasn’t expecting any.
Jerry closed the door behind him, putting his sunshades into his breast pocket. He had already put on latex gloves and checked the door for signs of forced entry, and he hadn’t found any. He was aware of the fact that the door had been checked before, but he always preferred to see things for himself.
The interior of the house was dark. The furniture were just shapes in the darkness of the room. The place felt...heavy. Heavy with pain, sadness, loss. Heavy with death...
Jerry pulled the shades open to let in the sunlight. He also turned on the lights, and was grateful that power was on. He walked around the sitting room slowly, soaking in everything, trying to get a feel for the family. On the TV stand, beside the 21-inch screen, he saw a small family picture. On the wall directly above the TV hung a larger family picture. They were all smiling, all dressed in matching traditional attire. Mary stood behind the parents who carried the other children. She seemed to be a happy person; her eyes were shining playfully. On the wall beside that one hung a portrait of Mary, sitting and smiling demurely, looking at the camera from beneath her eyebrows, her eyes telling Jerry that she knew something that he didn’t.
The picture was so right.
Only Mary knew how she died.
Jerry made his way to her room and stood in the doorway. The room was dark too; the shades were drawn and the light was off. Took a deep breath, then reached in and turned on the light. The light bulb bathed the room in its pale yellow glow.
Jerry stepped in, pulled open the shades, and then looked around, taking in everything. When he was satisfied, he proceeded to walk around the room, first one way-front, back, move a little, front, back, till he got to the end, then the other, in a crosswise pattern, eyes peeled, looking for nothing, anything, everything. When he was done, he stood and looked at the bed frame. The bed had been stripped bare by prior to his coming, with everything, including the bed carried to the lab for analysis. He looked at it for a while, then looked at the dried bloodstains on the walls.
For the umpteenth time, Jerry asked, What really happened here?
He just didn’t know what to think or say; to say that he was baffled was the understatement of the year. Usually, crimes had a specific pattern. Robberies were all the same basically, as well as murders. The criminals always left something behind, always. And the criminals in
were not that sophisticated. Nigeria
However, this one was different. It felt different too. Usually, he could sense the emotion in crime scenes. Here, nothing. It was as if Mary had just died on her own; like no one had killed her.
Jerry opened the wardrobe and skimmed through it. Saw the basic make-up kit and stuff. Nothing fancy. As if she didn’t spend much on make-up. He closed the wardrobe, and then sat down on the single stool in the room. He looked at the small cupboard at the foot of the bed. Pulled out the first drawer. Nothing but some cards. He picked them all up, flicked through them. Some birthday cards and two romantic cards. A guy named Chris. Jerry put the cards in his jacket and pushed the drawer shut. Pulled the second one. A waterproof jacket containing some photos. He pulled them out and glanced at them. A few were of Mary and her family, Mary and her friends, and Mary alone. Some were in another waterproof jacket. He pulled these out. Three pictures. All of her and a guy. Probably Chris. He was handsome, looked obviously older than her, though not by much. In one of the pictures, Chris’ eyes seemed to mock the camera. Jerry looked at it for a while, then slipped the three photographs of Mary and Chris into the waterproof jacket, and into the inner pocket of his Blazer. The remaining pictures, he replaced in their jacket and back in the drawer. He stood and turned, and his gaze fell on the cot in the room.
Nkechi had watched her big sister die in a horrible manner. He wondered about the effect it would have on her. Would she remember it? Would she forget?
For her sake, Jerry hoped she would forget.
Jerry pulled the drapes shut and left the room, switching off the light. In the sitting room he did the same, throwing the whole house into darkness. Then he left the house.
The sound of the door closing had with it the finality of a coffin slamming shut.
James relaxed against the car, sunglasses on, looking at something down the street. The sound of the door snapped his head around, and he watched Jerry from over the roof of the car as he made his way down. Waited for him to come and unlock the car. When they were in the coolness of the car, James removed his sunglasses.
“So?” Jerry asked.
“Well, I learned nothing new. Same old story. They heard screaming in the night and called the police. They didn’t see anyone climb the fence. You really have to fix your car A.C.”
“I’ll do that soon. Any sign that the killer could have come and gone by climbing the side or back fence?”
“No. It’s laced with broken bottles at the top all around. No signs of any broken bottles, and no, they haven’t swept their compound this morning. The events of the past hours have not exactly let them do that.”
Jerry let it all sink in. Then he compared what he had heard with what he’d seen. Nothing measured up. He stared out the window at the house. James watched a mother look at her son as he played beneath a mango tree, waving a plastic toy, laughing and lurching in ungainly steps.
The pace was strangely quiet and subdued. Normally, people would have been playing around, sun or not, and kids would have been making a racket. However, it seemed like the death had shut down everybody, temporarily.
“I found these pictures of her, and these cards” Jerry said, bringing out the pictures and giving them to James. He took out the cards and tossed them onto the back seat, then took out his keys and inserted them into the ignition while James took out the pictures. Jerry rolled down the windows.
“Who is she leaning on here?” James asked.
“Could be her boyfriend. I found a card from a guy called Chris. That could be him.”
“Chris. Her boyfriend apparently.”
“But there’s no one here. She’s alone.”
Jerry turned to look at James, his eyes asking, What do you mean by that?
The picture widened his eyes instantly.
Jerry’s mouth went dry. He shook his head, closed his eyes and opened them again; perhaps he was seeing something else.
“Wrong picture man,” Jerry said, chuckling “It must be. Lemme see.” He took the pictures, flipped through them. “This isn’t funny James.” James just sat there looking at him as he flipped through the pictures again and again, then turned to the backseat, scattering the cards and looking amongst them. Nothing.
Jerry turned to look at James, fully incredulous now. “It can’t be”, Jerry whispered. He fumbled out of his car and ran back into the house. He almost broke the key getting in, but he didn’t care; things like this didn’t happen at all, not now, not ever. He blew past the sitting room into her room, and switched on the light. Maybe you put it somewhere else and can’t rem-
Jerry squashed that thought. He rushed to the drawers, opened them. The card drawer was empty. The other one; he took out the pictures. Went through them frantically, twice.
No no no no no.
Jerry opened the wardrobe and searched.
Nothing under the bed either.
Jerry felt as if someone had taken the ground from beneath his feet without his knowledge; he felt like he was in free-fall. He stood for a while, trawling his memory for the face he knew he’d seen. All he could see were a pair of mocking eyes swimming in the darkness.
What is this REALLY all about? What is going on here?
Feeling fifty years older, James turned off the light and trudged out of the house, locking up after him.
James watched him walk down towards the car, shoulders slumped. He was visibly disturbed. He kept quiet, knowing that he would speak.
Jerry got into his car and fell back with a sigh, staring out through the windshield without seeing anything.
“I know what I saw James, and trust me, she wasn’t alone in that picture. She was with a guy. She was leaning against him; you saw the way her body bent.”
“But people don’t just disappear from pictures J,” James said, puzzled as well. What Jerry said made sense and didn’t make sense at the same time.
“I know, but I know what I saw James. I really saw someone there. Shit.” He turned and took the cards from the backseat. Selected the one he was looking for. Opened it.
He looked at the cover and back of the card, just to be sure. It was the right card.
“What?” James asked.
“Here.” Jerry passed the card to James. “Take a look at this.” He went back to staring at nothing as James opened the card and read what was in it.
“This is a romantic card,” James said.
“It was from Chris. Her boyfriend.”
“How do you know? Nothing’s written here.”
The silence weighed a ton, then two. Then James spoke. “What exactly do you mean to tell me Jerry? What did you see? What is going on?”
Heaving a great sigh, Jerry spoke. “I saw the card inside, with Chris’s name and handwriting on it. I saw the pictures and saw him in that one you showed me. He was present then, but now he’s gone, and for the life of me, I can’t seem to remember him anymore, except for his eyes. They seemed to be mocking me.
“Now, every trace of him is gone.”
Jerry turned to look at James. “It’s like he was never there.”
He took note of everything, every detail. He’d gone over everything before, but he was a stickler for details. He only had one chance to get it right.
Just one chance to get into the Senator’s house.
One of the Mobile Policemen (MOPOL) on duty at the gate looked out the window, suddenly convinced that someone was watching the house.
No one was there.
Monday, 21 February 2011
Jerry sat at his desk, slowly massaging the bridge of his nose. What he’d seen back in Mary’s house would not let him be. Yes, outwardly he was the personification of the word ‘cool’, but inside, well, that was another ball game. Inside he roiled and toiled; asked questions that led to more questions.
Flash of images; blood, blood, and more blood.
Why do I do this stuff? Jerry asked himself for the umpteenth time. He closed his eyes. He looked out the window blind from his cubicle, and saw some of his lesser colleagues staring at him. Seeing his eyes, they quickly went back to boring themselves over whatever case they were studying at the moment.
That was what they called him sometimes behind his back. Of course he heard them, but it wasn’t just worth it trying to stop the name-calling; total waste of time. Yeah, he was Jerry ‘Ice Man’ Onuorah. The most unpredictable guy on the block. And the best investigator too.
The body, looking like black and red Swiss Cheese.
So many punctures, so many.
Who’d done that?
What had done that?
The eyes; gone. Nothing but jelly.
This is too much, he told himself, even for the Ice
Why do I do this? He didn’t know. Some of the other Detectives thought he enjoyed it. Some even said he enjoyed seeing the blood of dead people. Jerry snorted at that thought. Yeah. Jerry the Cool guy. The Ice
Eats brains for breakfast, dines with killers. Man.
Bunch of no-good, two-faced, back-biting scared creeps. I’ve seen enough death to last me two lifetimes! That internal war again. It was that time of year again. I don’t want this, but I have to do it. You want my place? Here, take it. Take everything; my nightmares, my troubles, my loneliness, here, it’s yours. Take everything. EVERYTHING!!!
Outwardly, Jerry sat as still as a statue. Then he stood up and looked out of the window of his second-floor office in a weak attempt to clear his head. The FCID had been going through some sort of ‘Rebranding’ or something, and they had built new offices and the like for them.
I should just quit. Maybe get another job.
But…deep down, Jerry knew he couldn’t leave this job. Not the way he was now. Where would he work? How would he fit in? Nowhere, that was where he would fit in. Nowhere. Jerry stared out through the window, unseeing. Below, life moved on usual.
You know you can’t leave J. Not just yet.
Yes the salary was not much (which Government work ever paid well apart from the dishonest kind?) but truthfully he didn’t need the money. He owned four sizable boutiques and three super-markets that did pretty well. They’d been left behind by his father, an astute businessman in his time. Actually, his dad had left one boutique and two supermarkets. His dad’s sister had been managing the businesses, and had expanded them over time. Probably the business acumen stopped with him; he’d lost all appetite for business after what had happened that day…
Now he was here to exorcise his demons. He’d spent a little over ten years trying to exorcise those demons, with no tangible success. If anything it had cost him, robbing him of the one thing that had somehow made everything bearable.
Screech of tires.
Images swirled in his mind, and he was helpless to stop them. How could he-
A knock on his open door gratefully brought him back. He turned and saw Sergeant James. He was the only guy here who really understood Jerry’s inner turmoil, though he had no idea as to the cause. But he was a reliable guy to have in a pinch. James with his sleeves rolled up, was holding a pink folder. He walked to Jerry’s desk and placed the folder on it as he sat down. Jerry took his seat opposite James and picked up the folder. Weighed it.
“Yes it is,” James answered. “I have to warn you though, it is creepy. If you had been in the mortuary, you probably would have added your breakfast to her blood.”
Jerry chuckled lightly, then opened the folder. The first picture made him suck in breath sharply, then his face went blank as he looked at the photos of Mary-he couldn’t bear to think of her as a corpse. It drove him when he thought of the victims by their birth-names. He read the accompanying preliminary report.
“You read this?” Jerry asked James.
Jerry read through it again, still asking himself questions. Then he closed the file. “I need to go back there now.”
James nodded. “I’m coming with you.”
“No James, I need to go alone,”
“Jerry, if you like go, in a taxi, I’ll still follow you. You have been procrastinating this thing for too long. I want to learn from you. You promised me this. I believe it’s long overdue.”
Jerry looked at him. What the heck.
“Okay. You can come but-” Jerry said, cutting off James’ pumping fist, “first, you have to do exactly as I say.” James nodded. “Then, you have to watch my back.”
“Ha. You be TV?” James asked. They both laughed.
“Meet me downstairs,” Jerry said, checking that his Beretta was loaded, before putting on his jacket as James left the office.
Thursday, 3 February 2011
Jennifer flashed a smile at the security guys at the gate as they opened it for her.
“Madam Jenny, how U dey naa?” one of the guards asked.
“I dey fine Timi. This one wey U hide for inside your office sef, the sun no dey smile abi?”
“As in ehn?” the guard answered, as the two other guards inside the security room smiled. It was a two-story structure, with the main controls upstairs on the first floor. The other guards would probably be upstairs, she thought, staring at the glowing screens. Well, nothing like ‘too much security’ for the Secret Service. The guard Jennifer had been speaking to nodded at one of the other guards, who pressed a button, and the gate buzzed open.
“Thank you,” Jennifer said. “I’ll be back soon.”
Outside, she saw Ahmed. She smiled to herself. She knew what was coming.
Ahmed turned his head as he heard the gate open. He saw who it was, and smiled mischievously. “Aaah…Madam Jenny Jenny. How you dey?”
“Ahmed, I am fine oh. Isn’t the sun too hot for you?” Jennifer asked.
“I just felt like coming out here.” Ahmed got off the twenty-feet high, twelve-inch thick fence he’d been leaning on, and straightened his jacket. He slung his AK-47 across his shoulders and took off his sunglasses. He looked her up and down. “Kai, Madam Jenny, you fine oh!” he said, smiling.
Jennifer smiled. “Thank you.” And with a face which would make most models go green with envy, skin the colour of light chocolate, brown eyes that seemed to lighten or darken with her mood, and a full and shapely figure which she carried with ease on her five-feet nine-inch frame, she really was a beauty. Used to being the cynosure of all eyes wherever she went, she was actually easy-going, which was why most people liked her. But one thing she was most grateful for was her boss, who had never made a pass at her. She wasn’t sure how she would have dealt with that.
“I need to go and get some lunch, I’ll be back later.”
“Ah, no takeout today?” Ahmed asked.
“No Ahmed, I feel like eating something else. You know whether that bolé woman don comot?”
“Yes oh. And she get better plantain today, with plenty fish. I think you need to go now, before other customers just finish am there.”
“Okay. Thank you.” Jennifer walked off. Five minutes later, she was greeting the owner of the bolé stand.
“Aaah, Jenny, long time. How now? U just forget my roasted plantain abi?”
“Ah ah, Mama, no naa. You know it’s not like that. Na work no dey gree me chop again oh.”
“Okay oh. Wetin you want? The usual?”
“No wahala. Just siddon for there, Chichi go bring am for you.”
“Okay.” Jennifer found a seat at a table beneath the canopy. At least her table was empty, and the canopy beneath the mango tree provided adequate shade. And nothing was better than natural breeze…
Five minutes later, she was washing her hands and digging into the hot roasted plantains and roasted fish tail, all covered in hot, peppery sauce.
And death watched her a few meters away.
Death had known her, a lifetime ago…
Friday, 14 January 2011
Jerry drifted outside, not really seeing anything; he was on autopilot now. The crowd had thinned considerably. Maybe they’d decided that they were wasting their own time, waiting to see a dead body. Whatever the reason, he was glad. The sunlight warmed his face and he looked up. Most of the clouds had dispersed.
Jerry turned left at the gate and walked away from everything. He let his subconscious do its work, like always. He thought without thinking. He tried to piece together the puzzle in his head, and he discovered that he didn’t have half of the pieces…or maybe he had them, but didn’t realize it yet. No worries, he was sure it would come.
But something…something kept bothering him about this death. What had happened back there?
Jerry shivered as dread drew a cold line down his spine. Something was giving him the creeps, and the worst part was that he didn’t know what it was.
He felt somehow…just somehow…something big was about to happen.
His mind could not come up with anything to contradict him.
Like it or not, Chris felt good. Absolutely good. Fine as paint. He stood up in the gloom of the closet and inhaled deeply.
Aaaahhh…He sure loved the darkness.
Chris stepped out of the closet and walked to the light switch. Flicked it on, and walked towards his bathroom. Caught sight of his reflection in his and stepped back till he was standing in front of it.
At 6 feet 3 inches, he was quite tall, and not bad looking either. He stepped forward till he could stare directly into his eyes. In his opinion, his face was his most endearing quality…and his most potent asset. His eyes were a deep shade of brown, which was what most people saw when they looked.
They didn’t see it when the brown turned to black. Anyone who did, did not live long after that.
It’s all coming together now. Soon…
Chris smiled, chuckled low in his throat.
Well, he had to go to work now. He would have preferred people working for him but, he just couldn’t choose now, could he? Besides, this situation suited his purpose here. Soon, none of these things would matter anymore.
In the bathroom, Chris turned on the cold water shower.
As the water splashed on him, steam rose from his body…
Tuesday, 11 January 2011
Jerry made his way carefully around the people in the room, about four of them; there was a flash from a camera and he blinked. He glanced at their feet, and cursed silently. Now there was no way they would be able to pick out one clear footprint from this place. Why didn’t they wear something to differentiate their footprints from the others, like a rubber band? Well, thank God for small mercies; at least they wore gloves. Dismissing this, he stepped slowly to the bed. The air in the room reeked heavily of violent death. Had that little girl seen this happen?
The body was covered with a white sheet, but even that wasn’t helping much. What little blood that was still coming out was soaking the sheet slowly. They would need another one.
“And I thought I had seen it all,” Jerry said softly.
James nodded silently beside him, his jaw clenched. “Who,” he began, then thought the better of it, and corrected himself. “What did this?”
Everywhere Jerry looked, there was blood. The walls, the floor, even the ceiling. The bed was a forgone issue.
And he had not even seen the body yet.
His stomach turned to ice at the thought.
James signalled for one of the men to pull back the sheets, and Jerry inhaled sharply, then let it out slowly. He could barely make out the blue stripes on her pyjamas which was now thoroughly soaked in blood. It seemed as if someone had gone to work on her with a hammer and a million nails – that was the only thing he could think of now.
But the worst thing of all…was her face. Or what was left of it…
The nose was pretty much non-existent, and the mouth was…not right at all.
And the eyes…well, the eye-sockets were just filled with drying pulp-like stuff that traced down tracks to the bed…
What the hell is this?
This was the stuff nightmares were made of, and it seemed this girl had experienced a killer of a nightmare, literally. This nightmare had obviously followed her into reality.
“Bogeyman,” Jerry said softly.
“What?” James asked.
“Nothing.” Looking at James, he said, “Look. I need to go. I think I’ve seen all I need to see for now.”
“-come back when everyone is out. Yes I know” James completed his sentence. “See you later then.”
“Okay.” Jerry tapped his friend on the shoulder. “Make sure they get everything right.”
Nodding, James said “Will do.”
As Jerry left the room, something told him these people would find nothing there.
Friday, 7 January 2011
"'Scuse me.Excuse me," Jerry said, pushing his way through the little crowd. They paid him no mind as they all strained their necks, heads bobbing left and right, most on the tips of their toes as they tried to see what was going on. Voices, murmurs, questions, accusations, suggestions in the air.
"Excuse me people, Police coming through." He struggled and shuffled his way to the front where he was vomited by the crowd. He lost his balance and used a hand to steady himself. Standing, he turned his blackest stare on the crowd as he dusted his hand.
Fat load of good it did him.
He shook his head, wondering why these people would pack here. Well, Death had come, they would feast their senses as much as they could, so that they would have interesting stories to tell anyone who would care to listen for the rest of the day, maybe the whole week. A Constable strode towards him, holding his baton, shouting "HEY! HEY!!! WHO SAY MAKE YOU COME HERE? GO BACK! GO BACK NOW OR-"
Jerry brought out his ID holder, flipped it open in his face. The Constable stopped as if hit by a car as he read FCID on the card.
"Sor-sorry sir," the Constable stammered, saluting smartly. Jerry paid him no mind and strode up to the timid-looking yellow bungalow that was the center of a gruesome attraction today. Glancing behind him, he saw the last of the News vans leaving. Good. They always were too much trouble for him, with their silly on-the-spot interviews and stuff.
Their was a red Volkswagen Passat, one of the older models, parked beside the house. The Constable at the door opened the door wordlessly for him after saluting. He entered into a parlor that felt cramped. It was also gloomy inside, despite the light bulb being on, and it wasn't just on account of the closed curtains. Jerry would later recognize the problem as grief; the place had been made dark by grief. On the sofa directly across from him he saw the victim's family; mother holding and slowly rocking the smallest one, father holding twin boys-Jerry placed their ages at nine, maximum. They were all crying. He couldn't blame them. From what he'd heard, the smallest one had seen everything. Well, not a reliable witness.
Besides, he was no monster, despite what people thought about him. He would never put any kid through the ordeal of having to relive the death of a loved one...or anyone for that matter.
A smart looking lady in a black suit left the family's side and walked to him. Her eyes were moist. Hmm...
She stuck out her hand, introducing herself. "Inspector Amaka Okoro."
"Jerry. Detective Jerry."
"I know. They said you were coming. I'm glad you did." Her voice wavered for a bit and she fought for control of her emotions. Jerry let her. "I know the family. I knew the-the-I knew Mary."
Figures, Jerry thought, confirming his suspicions about her tears. Well, life...
"Well, I think you can tell that to the family. They need it more than I do."
Nodding, Jerry moved towards them.
"Hey, Jerry." He looked. It was his friend and colleague, James; Sergeant James. A Detective in the FCID too. He raised a hand in greeting as James motioned for him to come. He made a pausing gesture, then went to the family. He was always uncomfortable in these kinds of situations. How did you tell the family that everything was gonna be alright, when you all knew that everything stopped being alright the second their loved one died? Worse, they would start looking to you for closure, and if you didn't give it to them, you became the bad guy; you were just like the person who stole their loved one from them. Or even more worse, if you didn't catch the culprit, they would begin to think you knew all about it; that you had been 'settled' and you had let them go. Crappy.
In the end, he muttered some apologies to them. They didn't really listen, and he was grateful. He went to James, leaving them with the lady Inspector.
"Good morning James."
"More like, bad morning eh?" James said, handing Jerry a pair of gloves outside the door.
"Just tell me why they would request for the FCID on a case like this? Why they would request for me?"
"Trust me buddy," James said, his face suddenly somber, "when you take a look inside, you'll see why. It's a real mess in there."
James was right.
It was a mess.
And yes, they would need him.