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The Wedding Guest (Part 3)

…Continued from last post…

“Julia,” I said, “How do you do?”

“As you can see, I am not dead,” she replied, her tone dripping with scorn.

“Can’t you be a little civil? The fact that we are divorced shouldn’t make us enemies.”

“Civil?” she laughed derisively, “We are certainly not fighting. I just prefer being away from dogs who are looking for the nearest thing in skirts to sleep with.”

Apparently, she was determined to rub my mistake on my face any time we meet. I could have counter-accused her of indiscretion, but I reasoned, we were no longer married, so she was within her rights to go out with whoever she wished. The problem was that the thought of her with another man rankled me.

Deciding that things would only get out of hand if I pestered her the more, I let her go, and proceeded with my assignment.

When I reached Ayo’s room, I knocked, but got no response. I knocked for the second time, and getting no response again, called out to him. He then opened the door and let me in. His room was as ostentatious as mine, but had a gloomy atmosphere. I looked at him, he was obviously crying but did not want me to notice. I kindly understood, and asked if I could sit down.

“Of course, you can sit down,” he replied, still sniffing. He was indeed a very young man, and I wondered what might have landed him in this predicament. “My dad called to tell me you were coming up,” he added.

I nodded, and finding no other way around the issue, hit the nail on the head. “I was told of what happened. I’m here to know —”

“I didn’t meant to kill him,” he interjected, eyes wide with regret.

“I know you did not mean to. That is why I’m here. As I was saying, I want you to tell me exactly what happened. Do not omit anything, no matter how insignificant.”

Composing himself as best as he could under the circumstances, he began, “We were having a birthday party for my friend in a club when he came in with his lot. I was pressed, so I went to ease myself and on coming back, saw him disturbing my girlfriend. I quietly went to him and asked him to leave her alone, but he hit me, telling me to fuck off. Well, I hit him back, and we started fighting.

“Shortly, he brought out his gun, and pointed it at my girl; we struggled for the gun and I ended up mistakenly shooting him.” When he was done, he sighed, and added, “It wasn’t my fault. And I’ve received threatening letters and messages.”

“What letters?”

“Two days after the incident, I received a letter stating that his death would be avenged; that I should better watch my back. The second threat came as a text message on my phone. She — my girlfriend — was with my phone that time. She was very scared and informed a lecturer of mine who in turn, informed my parents.”

“Do you still have the letter with you?” He shook his head. “What of the message? Did you get the number?”

“No, it was sent from an anonymous source. But I managed to get the boy’s address. I would have gone to see his parents but I’m afraid of being killed.

I nodded in agreement, took the address, and left the room hoping to get there soon enough to prevent any more deaths. In the hotel lobby, I got a call from Bartholomew Umeji, the groom’s father, and an old friend of mine. He wanted me to come to his room immediately. Oh well, I just had to postpone going to the boy’s parents for another time.

I reached his room still feeling uneasy at the way the wedding was turning out. My ex-wife was here, a woman that was involved in case tried to commit suicide, and on top of it all, I have a teenager who was being threatened by the same people he mistakenly killed one of their own. I just hoped these things would be sorted out before Sunday.

Immediately I came into the room, I was surprised to see all the parents there; Chief Peters and his wife had gloomy faces and the groom’s parents were evidently worried.

“Good afternoon everyone,” I greeted, trying to put an air of warmth in the greeting, but it did not work.

“Martin, my dear boy! How are?” That was Barth. He had always used that tone in greeting me ever since I won an argument against him in a lecture on criminal law. “I was telling my in-laws about you and the way we became friends,” he added.

I smiled at him. I loved him like a father; he had been so kind to me ever since my school days, and after that historic argument with him, he became my mentor. He had taught me everything I knew about law, tricks and all. Sitting down, I asked him why he summoned me, not wanting to show that I was in a hurry to go somewhere.

“Chief Peters has just informed me of the recent developments regarding his son,” he answered. I flashed a look at the distraught couple, and the chief nodded. Barth continued, “I must admit that it is rather a very unpleasant situation. And things have turned out worse.”

“How so?” I asked.

He fished out a single piece of paper and handed it to me. It read:

How would you like a headline like this:
“Billionaire’s son murders aboy few days to his sister’s wedding to the son of a Chief Judge”?
I’m sure it would look nice on the front pages of the newspapers. Ofcourse, we would like to hush it all up if only you would comply with our terms.
Await our call tonight.

I finished reading and handed it back to him. When was the letter received?” I asked.

This time, it was Lanre Peters that replied me. “It was left by an anonymous person at the reception. The only thing written on the envelope was my name.”

“Shouldn’t we inform the police?” Mrs. Umeji chipped in. She was a slim, slender woman who was twenty years younger than her husband. They had married after her husband lost his first wife in a tragic plane crash.

“I don’t think that is wise for now,” her husband said, “Inasmuch as it would be prudent to do so, we do not know what they want, and until we do, we can’t risk letting this issue go public.”

Seeing that as my cue, I informed them that I would be going to the victim’s family to know how things could be remedied. “I want to see the parents and also know why they would send threats to Ayo.” There was a collective gasp of horror, I continued, “When I went to Ayo’s room, he showed me the threatening letters he received. Something isn’t right here. I’m yet to put my finger on it.”

Then I left, towards the victim’s parents’ house hoping to have a positive meeting with them.

…To be continued…

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Somtoochukwu Benedict Ezioha
Somtoochukwu Benedict Ezioha is a passionate writer, a Biochemist and a Life Coach.
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