Richard recapped what he knew about the case so far in his head.
Senator Anthony Medina was a former senator in the House of Assembly, rich beyond comprehension he was more popular for his lavish parties and extremely luxurious lifestyle. He owned several businesses including an Oil and Gas servicing company and there were rumors that he was behind most of the appointments in the NNPC and NIMASA, Figure heads placed strategically in several Ministries and State Government Cabinets to ensure his Government Contracts never stopped flowing. He was without a doubt one of the most influential men in the country.
Two days ago rumors had started circulating that the Senator had been kidnapped, according to what he had gathered ,the Senator had not been seen 48 hours after he hosted one of his lavish parties at a popular boat club in Ikoyi, it was not unusual for the senator to travel without informing his household so they had not been alarmed when he did not show up after the party for two days, but his Wife had called the IG of police when he had missed a meeting with some foreign officials who had come to inspect an engineering project ,
“The Senator would never miss out on a work meeting without informing his team “she had reportedly stated. It was not until the early hours of today that the Senator’s corpse had been found, his decomposing body had been discovered by one of his workers at one of his guest houses in Apapa. The cleaner had brought home a prostitute and thinking no one was around had snuck her into his masters room only to discover him lying naked dead in his bed.
The first thought that came to his mind when he had briefly perused the information provided was that the senator probably died of a heart attack, but his colleague seemed to be hinting at something more and there was something about the way he said it that pricked Richard’s curiosity.
‘so what’s the deal with her anyway” Richard muttered, Gbenga erupted in laughter , he laughed so hard he started coughing this made Richard extremely upset,
“so I am comical now abi” Richard retorted angrily, his colleague ignored him and continued laughing , hitting the table with his large hands as peels of groundnut scattered all over his table, Richard’s face turned red with anger , he got up angrily he had more pressing matters to take care of.
‘Oya come …come…come” Gbenga beckoned, “I thought you were doing your American boy I don’t believe in superstition story, when you asked the question shock hol me small na” “sit down ...sit down let me give you the breakdown of that witch” Richard recoiled in revulsion at the term of a strange woman being labelled a witch, but he had to tolerate the crazy man’s excesses if he wanted the juice on this story.
“I hear she came from a very poor home" Gbenga began, " her father was a palm wine tapper in Asaba and her mum used to sell hot drink”
“Argh Argh Gbenga this gossip goes right back to her freaking childhood” Gbenga’s round cheeks swelled in anger
“Richard no interrupt me o” “eh eh her parents were poor in Asaba but people are not even sure they are her real parents, her mother was barren for several years and suddenly one day traveled to her hometown and came back four months later with a baby”” how woman go carry pregnancy for five months and no one go know” Gbenga queried but Richard had leant his lesson he stayed quiet.
“So as she grew up with the couple, they say her father’s business suddenly picked up, he started doing so well that they relocated to Lagos, they moved to Ajegunle”
Gbenga peeped at the side of his eye to see if Richard was following or had tuned out due to his skepticism, but Richard’s blank stare gave him nothing so he continued.
“They said her father had to literally lock her in the house when she became a teenager, if she walked on the streets commotion would occur, boys, men, married or single would be chasing after her , she caused problem at school, at church wherever she went men became confused “
Richard raised an eyebrow , this story was sounding more like the popular tales by moonlight , no one was that attractive to cause commotion wherever they went , but he held his tongue and let Gbenga ramble on, he seemed to be enjoying this story tale fantasy he was spilling to him.oblivious of the disbelief of his listener Gbenga continued
“The women on her street hated her, they knew that their husbands lusted after her and they could not match her in looks, she had no female friends because they all seemed to be jealous of her and no male friends because they could not be trusted around her. Her mum capitalized on this admiration for her daughter and opened a beer parlor, it turned to a mad house .Men would close early from work and head straight to the beer parlor just to try and converse with her, but because her father was very strict she was hardly there and when she came he made sure she stayed indoors writing receipts, that was where she met her first husband.
At eighteen a young man who had moved out of the neighborhood came to visit his former neighborhood, he caught one glimpse of her and was hooked, after several months of pleading and spending on her father , he was finally allowed to marry her. She got married to the first of (them) at the age of 18.”
“Them?” Richard repeated he could not keep quiet anymore “what do you mean by them? ”
Gbenga smiled knowingly, “she collects husbands, Senator Medina is her fifth husband” he replied softly
“What!” Richard exclaimed,
“Fifth husband, what are they underwear? “ so where are they, these husbands ?“
“Where are they ?“Gbenga repeated sarcastically mimicking Richards American accent, he got up and dusted groundnut chaff off his trouser ,he began to adjust his shirt buttons, preparing to walk away from his desk .
“What happened to the other four husbands, where are they now?” Richard pressed on.
“her ex-husbands are dead, all of them, they all died peacefully in their sleep" Gbenga paused to allow that sink in a bit before he continued in an emotionless tone.
" Some died on their marriage bed, right next to her ,all with the same circumstances, sudden heart collapse with no previous health condition or warning . The senator is actually the second husband that died far away from her , also in mysterious circumstances.”
“That woman na confirmed witch o, nothing that anyone wants to tell me “ Gbenga continued ,
“She will probably be looking for husband no six and you..." Gbenga paused looking him over,
" Though you don’t have a penny to your name, but with this your oyibo accent and pointed nose , you can become a good candidate if you are not careful.”
Richard remained deep in thought, even as Gbenga cleared his desk to head out of the office, he kept on re accessing all the information he had just heard , it seemed incredulous he began to make the conclusion that Gbenga made everything up just to distract him from the case.
“Gbenga “ he suddenly said “I don’t believe you jor, where are the files how come you know so much”
“Files ke?” “You are looking for files Ole ni yi my friend there are no files , you want to know how come I know so much.”
Gbenga stood facing him squarely, he started tapping his feet uncontrollable as if he was trying to control tears, there was something unreadable in his features, it was as if some long buried emotion was trying to bubble beneath the dark sad eyes.
“Her first husband Adewale Olamilekan was my friend, he helped me get my first job at the insurance company, I drafted his life insurance policy and I was the one that handed over the one million naira Insurance money to her.
That woman is a serpent, a beautiful conniving serpent and I bet with my life that somehow she killed all those men one by one.”
“Go and beg them to give this case to someone else , your head cannot carry it, if you still insist on taking the case ….well you remember the story of medusa”
‘c’mon Gbenga” Richard scolded,
“Don’t Gbenga me I am not even joking,i saw a man turn stiff over night like fish because of this woman, if you must take this case you have to be careful, do not let her hold your gaze.”
Richard was stunned, in the Two years since he had come back from the States he heard a lot of stuff being on this job, but this one was crazy, he did not know how to react to this story and he knew by remembering the look on Gbenga’s face that for once in a long time the man was dead serious.
He was still reflecting on the information he just heard ten minutes later when his mobile phone alarm beeped, he had four more hours to prepare for the meeting with Lady Grace Medina and he suddenly felt something tighten in his tummy, he suddenly dreaded this meeting.