“Move!” one of the policemen said, forcing me out.
Sandra dipped her hand in her purse and brought out an I.D card which she showed to the policeman who seemed to be a senior officer. He took it from her, looked at it critically then turned to Sandra, and back to the I.D while Sandra stood in front of him with her arms folded. He handed it back to her.
“I’m sorry ma. The order is for us to bring him in for questioning,” the policeman explained.
“I know. I know you’re doing your job. But, wait a little for our lawyer to come first before we leave, that’s all I’m saying.” Sandra said.
“let him meet us up at the station if it’s okay with you,” the police asked.
She called the lawyer who confirmed he was heading for the station.
“alright, let’s go!” she said, removing my hand from the policeman’s grip who was already leading me down the stairs.
Mum made to follow us, but Sandra stopped her.
“Mummy, don’t worry yourself. He’s not being arrested. I’ll bring him back to you,” Sandra said, smiling.
I, Sandra and the lawyer sat with two policemen in an office with scanty decorations, a wooden table with a foamy black leather top torn on several sides and wooden chairs on both sides of the table. There was also a cabinet and a big shelf standing on the side. I was asked to explain what happened, which I did.
“So, you went to wait for him outside right?” a thick dark officer asked.
“He told you he left afterwards, what is this?” the lawyer intervened.
“why bringing a lawyer if you’re not scared of something?” the second officer, a lanky but fair man said.
“do you need to ask such questions? Everyone knows how you guys are when you want a suspect to confess.” the lawyer said.
“allow the young man answer the question,” the lanky man said.
I looked at the lawyer, he nodded his approval.
“well…Like I said…I and my friend left immediately the boy seemed to want trouble,” I answered in a very low tone, avoiding eye contact.
“and your friend wasn’t angry after paying that huge amount of money for you?” the thick man asked suspiciously.
“he said they left! why going round on this topic? Officers! if we are done here can we leave? My client obviously doesn’t know anything about it, until you find a witness who claims to see my client in the act please don’t bother us again. If we are not under arrest can we leave?” the lawyer said, standing.
Mum was so exhilarated on seeing us. She couldn’t contain her joy and gratitude for what Sandra had done and immediately rushed to fix lunch for us. Sandra stubbornly joined in the kitchen after a futile resistance from Mum. They both chatted, laughing out loud as they jointly prepared the food.
After eating, mum and Sandra discussed everything circling around police and injustice. I dropped in one or two contributions and focused back on the candy crush game on my phone.
“my daughter, what do you do? I noticed the way they applied caution after you showed them your I. D?” mum inquired.
I turned from my phone to mum who sat at the edge of the couch and Sandra in the middle while I at the other end.
Sandra looked at me from the corner of her eyes, smiled and said, “I’m in the army?”
Mum looked at me and our eyes met. She then turned to Sandra and said, “no wonder you were there the first day we met at the hospital and when Mike had a trouble with soldiers, plus your prompt response to arrest our neighbor, no wonder!”
I wasn’t surprised to hear that but was not happy the way it came. Sandra seemed to know what I was thinking because her mood changed to a guilty one. Mum did not bother to probe into her job anymore but focused on her family background.
I got to know that Sandra is the only child of a general. Her mother died when she was in military school and since then she has been a priceless golden child of her father who can sacrifice the world for her.
“I use to think you were married,” mum said, jokingly.
“not yet ma,” Sandra replied smiling.
“God will bring you someone soonest,” mum said.
Sandra looked in my direction, then back to mum and smiled.
An hour later, we went to see Sandra off. Mum was still thanking her for rescuing me when Ruth walked into us.
“good evening mummy,” she said, looking at Sandra with contempt.
“my daughter, you are welcome. How was work today?” mum asked.
“fine ma,” she said.
She then came to hug and kiss me on my lips, looking at Sandra from a side of her eyes. I just stood there, helplessly paralyzed. Sandra ignored her and continued talking with my mum.
“God does things in mysterious ways mummy. He can use anyone at anytime.” Sandra said, smiling.
“That’s true. Thank you very much my daughter, I am very grateful.” Mum said.
Ruth must have felt betrayed. She removed her hands from around my neck and was looking angrily at mum. Sandra entered her car, waved us goodbye heartily and drove off.
We were returning to the house when a car drove towards us and stopped right in front of us. We cautiously drew backwards, looking with dread who it was. Suddenly, three guys jumped out of the car, armed. I pushed mum and Ruth into the house and followed behind. I bolted the gate the moment I was in, looking from the opening in the gate.
“we are policemen! Open this gate!” one of the men shouted.
“what do you want?” mum asked, standing behind me.
“we are looking for Mike! Open this gate!” the man ordered.
“call Sandra!” mum said to me.
I dialed Sandra’s number with a shaky hand while Ruth stood close to the entrance of the stairs, waiting to run inside at any provocation.
“hello!” I said, the moment Sandra picked up.
“the police are here! they’re looking for me again,” I informed her.
“where are you now?” she asked.
“I’m in the compound, we locked them outside.” I said.
“stay where you are, I’m coming.” she said and hung up.
Mum was busy shouting at the men who were knocking violently on our gate.
“My son didn’t kill anybody o, please you people should leave him alone.”
“madam, if you don’t provide him, we are going to break into this compound and treat everyone as a criminal!” the man shouted.
Mum kept repeating what she was saying. Ruth was so petrified that she stood looking with terror on her face.
“woman! If you refuse to open this gate right now, we are going to force our way in!” the policeman threatened still.
“my son didn’t kill anyone o!” mum kept yelling.
They started pushing the gate hard, trying to break in when my elder brother suddenly strolled in from his new job.
“stop there!” one of the officers ordered him.
Mum and I shouted my brothers name from inside, telling him to go back.
By this time, our neighbors had already joined in but were in perplexity and fear, looking from a safe distance.
The men outside immediately started interrogating my brother who looked scared and was telling them all he knows. They seem to be done with him and one of the policemen took him into their car.
Mum cried and shook the gate still yelling, “my son is innocent!”
Few minutes to an hour before Sandra arrived. I felt relieved, she came along side two men. I recognized the bulky one from my drilling days. They approached the policemen and discussed something with them but the discussion seem not to be descending as it should. Just then, Amaka sent me a text:
“I need you badly Mike! Let’s see tomorrow please.”
I looked at the text message with so much disdain. Suddenly, her call came in just as I was about putting the phone back into my pocket. I ended it abruptly and switched off my phone, cursing under my breath. Then I focused on the event outside.
“what do you mean?! My order is to bring him tonight!” the police officer yelled, walking out on Sandra and her crew and approaching our gate.
“open this gate!” the police officer said.
Then he brought out his pistol, pointed it at the gate’s padlock hole and was about to shoot when the bulky man stopped him.
“do you want to hurt innocent citizens inside?” the bulky man said, facing the gun upwards.
Just then, Sandra’s lawyer arrived. She quickly came to the gate and called me, “Mike! Please open the gate. We are going together. The lawyer is here now. You didn’t do anything, so you have nothing to be afraid of, okay?”
I nodded and opened the gate. Mum held me but the policemen quickly dragged me off her and prevented her from getting close to me. She struggled to get to me, crying and yelling, “my son is innocent o!”
Sandra kept assuring her that everything was under control.
Ruth, who has been standing, seeing I was being taken away, rushed to me and fought with the police man that held me, crying and shouting.
“leave him alone! Leave him alone!” she screamed.
The compound guys quickly intervened, pulling her off the police man.
I got into the car and saw Thomas in handcuffs smiling at me.
To be continued…