Crime and Intrigue StoriesNaija Stories

Besides The Dim Light

A light was in the room when I entered. Although it was rather very dim, making the room somehow dark, except for its low light, which overshadowed the room, giving it a hue of purple. I was a little confused and afraid when I entered. It had taken me quite some time before I made up my and to enter the room through its open door.

I am a student of Ebonyi State University, Ebonyi state, Nigeria, and so was my friend, Nelly who I was sharing a two bedroom flat with. That morning as I got ready for school, Nelly had told me plainly that she wouldn’t be disposed to go with me but that she would come later. All the while in class while lectures were going on, I had been half-paying attention and half-apprehensive as there was no sign of Nelly; once I had attended two consecutive lectures and taken a quiz for myself and Nelly.

I headed home in a rush without caring to attend to the next lecture. Although I was among those school freaks who hated missing any lectures, this time I had to; after all they said desperate times calls for desperate measures. My roommate and dear friend was not in school so how could I concentrate? The worst part of it all was that Nelly hadn’t been specific in the morning. She hadn’t said why she was indisposed. Or was she sick? I shook that off immediately. Nelly cannot be sick without letting me know about it. Heading outside my department and taking a cab straight to the house, I took steps two stairs at a time. Tripping once or twice as I ran up the staircase.

The chills first gripped me down as I got to the door of our flat and found it ajar. Then I had pushed it a little further open after taking two deep consecutive raspy breaths. Then I found the sitting room almost dark except for the dim lights on. Nelly hated dim lights, whenever I put it on, she’d say that such lights gave her the chills and makes her fear her own footsteps; so why leave it on if she hated it? I had my doubts, knowing the kind of person that Nelly was. We had grown up together and Nelly had always been on the negative side. While I was brave and bold, Nelly was timid and bashful. Nelly had grown up like that and this had made her fear the dark a great deal. She felt insecure whenever there was no light. She was so much terrified of darkness that she would scream whenever the lights went off; this was why both of us had bought a standby generator that picked up whenever the key was tuned on.

Nelly always carried a touch whenever she went around the room especially in the night when she was not certain about the power holders. Nelly had once paid the power holding company bills for all the tenants in the flat when the light was disconnected. She had not been around at that time but when she came back and the other tenants had refused to pay for two weeks, she went to the PHCN office the next day and paid up as well as ordered for a prepaid meter for our flat.

Remembering all these about Nelly made me worry as I headed straight for her room. There had to be an explanation, I thought in rage as I stormed in. Unless Nelly was ready to overcome her fears, which I would be so happy about.

Barging into Nelly’s room, I found her room empty without a soul, but the sight that greeted me made me sad. Not again! I exclaimed sadly as I bent down and began to arrange Nelly’s things which was scattered all over the room. Apart from the fact that Nelly was afraid of the dark, she was also a very unkempt person unlike me who was a neat freak. This was actually Nelly’s reasons for us sharing the flat. Her parents who were well-to-do wanted her to live alone but she kicked against it. “They don’t know how ghostly my house will turn into in a week’s time,” she whispered to me with a soft smile that harbored so much humor. She knew that she couldn’t control her untidiness so she wasn’t afraid or abashed of it anymore. I didn’t totally blame her, having grown up amidst servants, she did practically no house work nothing as she grew up. It was recently that she learned to wash her clothes herself which I thought her. I had also thought her to brush her teeth and take her bath herself after we both moved in together.

I was just about picking the last cloth on the ground when I saw a trace of blood. At first I had that it was menstrual blood until I picked the cloth and gave out a wild scream. A huge part of the cloth was smeared in blood which was virtually covering a large part of the ground where it had lay. Where did this come from? I wondered as I turned the cloth in my hand over. Then I saw it, traces of blood ran across the room from where the cloth lay to Nelly’s bathroom. Throwing the cloth to the ground I followed the line of blood and entered the bathroom which was dark except for a dim light with the colour of blue. I’ve never known Nelly to love dim lights to the extent of putting it on in her bathroom.

Everything was whirring in my mind and I was getting confused the more. The bathroom was gritty when I changed the light to white by clicking the change switch, but that wasn’t what kept me glued at the spot. In front of me stood a blood-filled bathtub. I didn’t know when I screamed but I found myself running towards my room. I had to get to the police station, and I had to make a report. Pushing my room open, I tripped and fell as I stepped into my room. For a while I just lay there, trying to regain my composure. I had hit my head against my light stand but far from that, I had fallen on top of something that I couldn’t place, but it seemed to be a body.

My head was spinning and I was shivering with fear. The room was dark because I had put off the light switch before I left for school. I needed light, I said to myself, as I tried to rise but I couldn’t move further as both my hands clung to something slimy as I tried to rise.

“I will find out soon,” I said aloud in chaos as I sprang up and made for the light switch. Switching it on, I saw that which had actually caused me trepidation. It was a chainsaw and it was smeared with blood and bits of something that looked like skin or meat. As I bent and picked it I saw my hand. It was covered in blood, that could have been the slimy thing that I had fallen into. Spinning around to see what I had fallen upon, the chainsaw fell from my hand when I saw Nelly on the floor brutalized beyond repair. Her whole body was cut into bits and it was only part of her face that was left untouched.

“No!” I screamed and fell to her side. I screamed out in disbelief as my two palms went to my face. “No, Nelly, this can’t be you. How did this happen? Where was I?” I sobbed profusely, asking several unanswered questions as I shook her vehemently, hoping that she would wake up. She had to be sleeping, I said to myself, as I shut my eyes so tight till they were hurting, hoping that when I opened them everything would be okay.

But that didn’t happen, instead when I opened, it I saw five policemen pointing their guns at me.

“You are under arrest for the murder of Miss Nelly Williams and you have the right to remain silent for any thing you say will be used against you in the court of law,” the policeman closer to me said. He was a little unstable in his stance and quivered in his speech. I noticed because of the way he held his gun lose to himself like someone who saw me as a threat.

“I didn’t kill my friend!” I screamed. “How could I?” I asked in innocence.

“It’s her fingerprint,” a doctor I hadn’t noticed said as he gave the chainsaw to a policemen with gloves on.

“Take her away,” the first policeman ordered. As I was led away, unanswered questions filled my head. I needed to talk to someone, probably a lawyer. I didn’t know when I said it but I shouted it once. “I need to call my lawyer!” The first policeman looked my way.

“In the office, but I doubt your lawyer can set you free. The evidence against you is too incriminating,” he finished and moved on without stopping to hear my reply. I couldn’t control my tears, I wasn’t crying because of my fate but because of what had befallen my childhood friend. The state I saw her in kept bringing tears to my eyes. Nelly had been an only child, that was why she had always be been given the best of life.

As I was led into the police car, I wondered what would happen to the Williams now, definitely they would be the last people to believe my innocence.

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