“The Hidden Truth” (Episode One)

ONE

It was midday and the sun was blazingly hot. The main road wasn’t that busy, but the movement of vehicles and motorcycles and their incessant blaring and hooting kept sending unwanted sound to eardrums. As though that wasn’t enough, a big old truck sped past and effused noxious smoke from its exhaust into the air. Misan was part of the street feeling the moment, as he counted his steps hastily on the pedestrians track straight from campus to his apartment which was few metres away.

He was very ravenous – intending to get home quickly and find something to put in his stomach. He didn’t like buying food or even snacks on campus. Most times, he would wake up very early in the morning to prepare his breakfast, which he would eat before going to the campus. His roommate, Kingsley, could never do such – he was a regular customer of cafeterias.

Misan got to the junction that led to his destination and picked his way on the untarred road. He felt vexatious, when he noticed that he was sweating profusely and his shoes were covered with dust. Gosh! This isn’t nice, he told himself. He didn’t like walking under scorching sun, but he also considered that it was indispensable for him to scrimp his pocket money, if not, he would have boarded a tricycle to carry him straight to his destination. He was an averagely built young man of twenty-four years; tall, handsome and dark-complexioned. From his look, it could be deduced that he was indefatigable. He was in his final year in Kogi State University, Anyigba.

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He resided in an off-campus apartment, which was a bit far from the main road. It was located at the dead end street with thick bushes on one side and uncompleted buildings on the other. The building was not close to other dwelling houses in the area. It was nicely painted in yellow and it housed fifteen self-contained apartments. The fence that enclosed it wasn’t that high, and the name Winners’ hostel was boldly inscribed on its walls.

The hostel, which was normally noisy during the day, was now silent simply because many students had travelled for holiday after they completed their second semester examinations. Misan himself would also have loved to travel, but he’d many things to do before his convocation as well as National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme. The occupants of the house were about twenty-five in number but only three of them, apart from Misan and Kingsley, were around. He met the security man, Nwamba, under a shade beside the gate drowsing, but his footsteps floored him back to consciousness.

“Bros… welcome o,” Nwamba waived at Misan.

“Thank you…” Misan responded and waived back.

He got to the front door of the room – it was locked. He unlocked it and took off his shoes. He entered the room and met it untidy.

“Ah… this guy…” he gnarled and shook his head. He dropped the book in his hand on the mattress and went straight into the kitchen. The remaining rice he cooked in the morning was still in the pot. Without hesitancy, he served himself rice and stew.

After he finished eating – satisfied and invigorated, he dropped the plate into the sink and left the kitchen. His eyes were now clearer than earlier. He looked around the room, especially at the bedclothes on the mattress rumpled in disorder as though a ferocious wrestling combat had just ceased there. He began to pack the scattered books on the floor. As he was about to drop them on a wooden table beside the mattress, his eyes caught the inhaler on it.

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“Kingsley! Out without his inhaler?” he mumbled in surprise. Kingsley was an asthmatic patient and would never go out without his inhaler. He picked up the inhaler on the table and also laid the bed. Again, he saw Kingsley’s purse, wristwatch and a scattered Nokia phone on the floor beside the table.

“Why did he foul the room like this? Well, maybe he didn’t go far,” he concluded.

His conclusion was short-lived when he saw Kingsley’s recommended glasses right in front of the toilet already broken. He seemed to be petrified but he tried to swallow his trepidation. He stepped closer, picked up the glasses and finally opened the door of the toilet.

“W-h-a-t!” he was shocked. Kingsley was lying on the floor of the toilet. “Kingsley.” He called gently. When he took a close look at him, he noticed he wasn’t breathing. He lifted his hand only to see it fell back to the ground. He’s dead!

“No… Kingsley…” he yelled. Neither bloodstain nor injury was on his body.

“Wetin happen? Wetin be dat?” Shouted Nwamba who had just sprinted to the front door of the room having heard the noise.

“It’s my roommate… Kingsley… Kingsley,” Misan reiterated and shouted bitterly.

Nwamba was shocked too when he entered. He raised his hands and landed them on his head, “Wetin do am?”

“In fact, I don’t know… I’m surprised to see him like this…”

Yeh! This one na big wahala o…”

Rufai, one of the occupants, came into the room with his friend who had come to visit him. They were flabbergasted when they saw what happened. At this time, Misan was already trembling. The incident shook him to the marrow.

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“Kingsley!” Rufai shouted placing his hands on his chest, with his mouth widely opened revealing his upper and lower teeth. “How did it happen?”

Misan didn’t even know the right words to use – he was totally bewildered. “In fact, only God knows… it wasn’t within my contemplation that he was in here, because I met the door locked when I got back from school…”

“Guys, what are we waiting for?” Rufai’s friend cut in. “We’ve to call the police…”

Few minutes later, many people had filled up the compound. Policemen had arrived and they manned the compound following the order of Teniola, one of the industrious inspectors in the area. She had been assigned to lead the investigative team. Only Misan and Nwamba were allowed to remain in the room during the investigation, because there were so many questions for them to answer.

Some hours later, an ambulance came, and the dead body was carried into it. The policemen later marched Misan and Nwamba off to their van and drove off.


To be Continued…