(Continued from The Enemies Within II)
Jesse can taste the smell of death. Erick has him pinned to the wall with his bulky frame. There is absolutely no way he can disentangle himself. In addition, Erick has a crazed look on his face, and Jesse knows he will carry out his threat and kill him. Fortunately, a guard enters the house through the door that Jesse left open to investigate the cause of the ruckus. Erick is momentarily distracted, and Jesse takes advantage. He kicks his adversary hard on the groin, and as Erick doubles over in pain, Jesse tackles him and drops him on the floor. Jesse places his foot on Erick’s groin and orders the guard to find something they can tie him with.
“Hurry!” he tells the guard. “That girl needs help urgently, but we have to secure this criminal first.”
As the guard rushes out, presumably to the gatehouse, Erick grabs Jesse’s foot and tries to hoist himself up. But Jesse applies pressure on Erick’s testicles with his foot, and Erick falls back with a scream.
“Don’t be stupid, Erick. You try anything silly and I will convert your manhood into powder.”
The guard comes with a colleague and two ropes, and Jesse orders them to tie up Erick’s hands and legs. Jesse watches keenly as the guards tie Erick up, because he suspects that if he gets distracted Erick might overpower the two guards. But Erick does not resist, perhaps sensing that he has been beaten. When Erick is firmly secured, Jesse rushes to check on Judith. She is barely conscious but she is alive. Her face is already swelling from the blows she received before Jesse arrived. Jesse picks her up gently and places her on the three-seater sofa couch. He asks the guards to call the police and an ambulance.
“We have already called them,” the guard who first responded to the commotion says.
The police and the ambulance arrive within minutes of each other, less than half an hour after the guards made the call. Judith is rushed to the hospital while the cops inspect the scene. They interrogate Jesse and the guards, before finally arresting Erick. They untie him and then handcuff him. As they head out, they ask Jesse and the first guard to accompany them to the police station to record their statements.
Jesse drives to the police station with one police officer on the co-driver’s seat and the guard on the back seat. Erick is taken away in the police van. To Jesse everything is a blur, as though he is a bystander in his own dream. At the police station, he and the guard are guided by a sergeant as they record their statements, and then they are allowed to leave. Jesse drops the guard back at the estate and drives on to Kilele Hospital, where Judith has been taken. After brief inquiries, the receptionist at Kilele Hospital tells him that he will have to wait because Judith is still being attended to.
“Is she okay though?” he asks anxiously.
“I don’t know sir. You have to wait for the doctor to come and give you an update.”
As he waits, he decides to call Judith’s sister, Stella, who also lives in Nairobi. He also calls Erick’s wife Zuhura and tells her everything that had happened.
Stella arrives twenty minutes later, and finds an anxious Jesse still waiting for an update.
“That was fast,” Jesse says after giving her a light hug. “I would have expected traffic to be terrible on your route at this hour.”
“I took a motorcycle. I couldn’t sit in traffic after what you told me.”
“And what did you do about your car?”
“I parked it at a petrol station. Anyway, how is my sister?”
“I don’t know yet. Nobody has told me anything. Why didn’t you tell me that Judith has a child?” Jesse suddenly asks.
Stella hesitates, obviously caught by surprise.
“I thought it was proper that she tells you herself,” she replies cautiously.
“But you knew she wouldn’t tell me.”
“Yes. And if she didn’t tell you, then who did?”
Jesse told Stella on phone that Judy was attacked in her apartment, but he did not get into the details. But now he tells her everything that had happened.
“You also knew about Erick and Judith, didn’t you?”
“I have always treated you like my blood sister. Why would you do this to me?”
“Put yourself in my shoes, Jesse. What would you have done? I begged Judith many times to come clean with you. And she always promised to do so ‘at the right time’. What would you have done in my place?”
“If roles were reversed I would have told you the truth.”
“Maybe you would, and I didn’t. I admit I was wrong. Please forgive me.”
Jesse searches her eyes and after seeing the sincerity in them, he nods slightly.
“You know, it would have been fine if she failed to tell me about her affair with Erick. After all, she was being blackmailed. But I don’t get why she would hide her son from me. That hurts more than the sex she has been having with my best friend.”
“Derrick is a sensitive topic for Judith, but she adores him. The boy has been mistreated a lot in our family. Our father used to insult and beat him all the time while drunk. He would threaten to kill him and that would really traumatize the boy. Judith used to cry every night. My husband and I finally took Derrick with us, which is why you have not seen him in mom’s house. We are not hiding him, we are just protecting him. Eventually, our father ran off with another woman and Judith blames herself for his departure.”
“It’s not her fault. He would have left anyway,” Jesse says kindly.
“You don’t understand. Our father is Derrick’s father too. He raped Judith one day when she was going to shower, and he later claimed she seduced him by walking with only a towel around her torso. Judith sort of believed it, although I tried to make her see that dad was just a pervert.”
“Yeah, Derrick is both my nephew and my brother.”
“What did your mom say about the rape?”
“Mum believed dad. She doesn’t say it directly, but she blames Judith and Derrick for her husband’s disappearance. She often says that we should keep praying for our father so that he can forgive us and come back home. I was so mad at her the first time she said that. I still get angry when I think about it. As in, it is we who were wronged by that man, not the other way round.”
“Did you know that Judith and Erick had a sexual affair?”
“You already guessed that I did and I won’t deny it. My sister and I talk about everything, and that includes our sexual lives. Judith met Erick at work a couple of years ago and they became friends. It started as a pure platonic friendship with no strings attached. As Judith got to trust him, she opened up to him more and more about her life. When mom was diagnosed with cancer, she quite naturally told him. Erick said that he could organize for the company they both work for to take care of her treatment. He is in senior management so Judith believed he could pull strings. But he had a condition: he would only intervene if Judith agreed to become his lover. Judith tells me most things but she kept this from me until after she had already started sleeping with him. She knew if she told me before she did it I would dissuade her.”
“After she told you, didn’t you try to convince her to stop?”
“I did, but Judith can be stubborn once she makes up her mind. You are well aware that my husband and I cannot afford mom’s treatment, and Judith knew that too. So Judith agreed to sleep with him. Besides, she had started to fall in love with him and she started hoping that he would ask her to be her girlfriend.”
“Wait, didn’t he ask her to be his girlfriend?”
“No, he was quite clear that he did not want a relationship. He wanted them to be friends with benefits. But you know such vocabulary doesn’t exist to those who were brought up in church. Our mother brought us up as Christians and we were taught that sex is a special gift shared between married people who care deeply about each other. So Judith thought that even though Erick didn’t want a relationship, the sexual bond would create another special and permanent bond between them; in other words, marriage. I tried to convince her that he was abusing her but she wouldn’t listen.”
“How did he know about Derrick? I mean I am almost marrying Judith and I have never heard anything about the boy. Did she just open up to him about the boy?”
“At first she kept Derrick from him too, even though she was sleeping with him. When Judith got a job, she took her son from us and started living with him. But she is extremely protective about him, after the abuse he suffered at the hands of our father.”
“What is his condition?”
“He suffers from Down’s Syndrome.”
“Oh I see.”
“Anyway, after she got a job, she could now afford a nanny to take care of him while she was away at work. Initially, Erick would invite her to his house for sex, but then over time he started coming to her house. That is when he found out about Derrick and his condition. That is also the time Judith came to know his true character, because he started making brutal jokes about Derrick. Judith would often come to my house crying about something or the other Erick had said about Derrick. Her eyes had finally opened and she saw him for who he was. She wanted to leave him, but he threatened to have her sacked and have mom’s medication cut off. Although my husband and I don’t earn much, we wanted her to leave him arguing that we could fundraise for her treatment. But Judith would hear none of it, arguing that fundraisers don’t work these days. She argued that if she dumped Erick, mother would die withoutmedication. So she continued to sleep with him purely for mom’s medical care. But we took Derrick once again and brought him back to our house.”
“Erick said that it is your mother who takes care of him.”
“That is what Judith told him when he asked where the boy had gone. But Derrick lives with me and my husband. Anyway, when you came into Judith’s life I thought that finally Judith would be free of Erick. But Judith refused to ask for your assistance because she did not want to appear as if she only dated you for your money. So she remained in Erick’s grasp. I honestly don’t know how long she intended to continue sleeping with him.”
“She was cutting him loose when I found them.”
“Yea, she was. That is why he attacked her. I heard her myself and she did not know I was there. I already told you that part.”
“Forgive me. The worry about my sister is making me distracted. I probably wasn’t paying full attention.”
Jesse’s phone rings.
“It’s Zuhura, Erick’s wife.”
“Why is she calling you?”
“There is only one way of finding out.”
Jesse picks the call and listens in silence. Then he thanks Zuhura and hangs up.
“Erick has escaped from police custody,” he tells Stella.
“How could he?”
“Obviously he was assisted by cops. He must have bribed someone. Zuhura thinks that Judith is in danger, and I agree. The only reason I can think of as to why that criminal escaped from the cells is that he wants to finish her off.”
“What are we going to do?” Stella asks.
“I really don’t know Stella. If I find that brute I will kill him this time around. But I can only hope that I will get him before he gets to Judith.”
Image by Alexas Fotos from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/protection-of-minors-criminal-2815845/
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