“What sort of question is that?” Kunle asked, frowning. “What is wrong with you?”
I continued glaring at him. They did everything together. Kunle’s face had not been familiar from the onset, unlike with Mark. I remembered the second guy but not as vividly as Mark. My insides were twisting with disgust and anger. Probably fear too. I was looking at Kunle closely but I still didn’t get anything familiar from him.
“Eight years ago, Mark and another guy raped me,” I said, my voice low. Why I mentioned it, after all my efforts to hide it away, baffled me. I mentioned the name of the University.
Kunle’s expression changed from annoyance to shock. Then he looked back to the officer at the corner who had placed one earplug on and was nodding slightly to whatever he was listening to.
“You mean…” Kunle said, his volume matching mine.
I nodded and told him everything, the reason for my attitude towards Mark from the first day I saw him after all those years. I managed to do so without crying but I trembled all over.
“Five more minutes, Oga,” the officer said, removing the ear piece long enough to bark at Kunle.
“No, no. I never treated any woman disrespectfully like that,” Kunle said in a rush. “I didn’t even stay on campus all through my university days. I wasn’t really the party type but Mark was and he had lots of friends he hung out with in school. I swear, I didn’t know a thing about Mark raping anyone.”
For some reason, even though I was still angry, I believed him. I even felt relief.
“I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine what you went through. And I know you didn’t kill him. But someone did. His suit collar was rumpled, yet, the men who pulled him out said they did so by lifting him underarm. There was no sign of blood anywhere in the toilet if he had fallen by accident. This is all so strange.”
“Oga, your time is up,” the officer said as he approached us, tucking away the earphones into his pocket.
“He must have offended a lot of people,” I said, standing to my feet. Kunle stood also, sadness in his eyes.
As I was about walking past him, he took my hand and squeezed it softly, adding, “We’ll figure it out soon.” I looked up at him, then quickly turned away and walked out without a glance, the officer at my side. My heart was pounding at that gesture. So much so that I began to cry as I got to my cell.
That night, in my cell, ignoring the stench of urine and odour from the two other ladies in the cell with me, my mind wandered to the last encounter with Mark. Instinctively, I rubbed at the place he had grabbed hold of me trying to stop me. A tremor passed through me. I recalled the smug look on his face as he said he wasn’t after me because I was fine. He didn’t even remember me till he died. I must have been one of many victims. I didn’t feel sorry for him in the least. He deserved to die. But why am I punished for only wanting him to die and not actually killing him?
Then my mind went to how he had said he was only talking to me because of Juliet. He had stopped himself from using a particular word. They had seemed close, probably close enough to have pet names.
I sat up straight from my curled position on the floor. The way he had kissed her hand at the jewelry shop and she giggled. The way he seemed to linger when hugging her at the party. Did they…?
I shook my head. It can’t be. I’m being paranoid, I told myself. But my instincts didn’t let me be. The way Juliet had looked at me with anger I had never seen from her, the way she let me take the blame for his death. I didn’t know why but I began to feel Juliet knew something about Mark’s death.
To be continued…Tags: bloggers, episode, najiablogger, spirals