(Several people have been asking one question: what happens if I cannot make to the launch but I need a copy of the book? The simple answer is this: the book will be ready for sale from next week, after we launch it on Saturday. The cost of the book will be Kshs. 750 but that will be exclusive of delivery costs.)
(Continued from The Enemies Within III)
Stella and Jesse are still talking when a doctor emerges. “Are you related to Ms. Judith Maweu?” he asks.
“Yes,” Stella replies. “I am her sister, and this is her fiancé.”
“Okay. We have managed to stabilize her. She has suffered from a concussion and her blood pressure was very high but at this stage we do not think she is in danger of death. We certainly don’t think there is any permanent damage to her brain or cranium. There are no fractures in the cranium and we could not detect any internal bleeding. But we will have to observe her for a few days to see how she responds to medication.”
“Is she awake?”
“She is still unconscious. But we expect her to come around in the next twenty four hours.”
“Can we see her?”
“Yes, but you have to wait until visiting hours so that you don’t disrupt the treatment of other patients.”
“We would like to transfer her to a private ward.”
“That is okay. The receptionist will give you all the information you need.”
The receptionist, the same one they had talked to earlier, is a dark girl with a warm smile. She shows them how to apply for a private ward and where to make the payments.
“When will she be transferred?”
“Immediately you pay the deposit for the room.”
“We have a special request. Judith was attacked, and the person who attacked her has escaped from police custody. We believe that he wants to harm her. Is it possible to restrict the people who come to see her to just me and her fiancé here?”
“Yes that is possible. I will just restrict her account on the system. Even if I am not here, anyone sitting here will see that the account is restricted which means information about her, including her ward number cannot be shared with anyone, except the two of you. The two of you are also the only one who will have permission to access her ward.”
“Thank you so much miss,” Jesse tells lady, whose name is Rachel.
“What should we do now?” Stella asks as they head to the accounts office to pay for the private ward.
“We pay for the room,” Jesse replies, and they both smile. “Seriously, I don’t have the slightest clue. But one thing I am sure of is that we should take shifts to watch her while she is here. I have a feeling that Erick will try something stupid.”
“But why? Why is he so keen on killing her?”
“He is not stupid. If he can manage to finish off Judith without getting caught, then the case against him becomes weaker.”
“He wants to accuse me of murdering Judith. He wants to say that I found them having sex and I attacked them. That theory might hold water because both of them were naked when the fight began. And if Judith is dead, it will be my word against his.”
“But the guards are your witnesses right?”
“They did not see who hit Judith. When the first guard came, Judith was already unconscious and Erick had me pinned on the wall. If Judith regains consciousness, she will tell the truth, and Erick wouldn’t want that.”
“But escaping from custody is an offence, right?”
“Maybe he intends to kill her and go back before the escape becomes a big deal. Perhaps he even plans to kill her tonight and be back in the cells before morning.”
“Why would he want to do that?”
“She is the one person who can destroy him through her testimony. But if she is dead, then that is it. And the best window for him to kill her is now when everybody assumes that he is in custody. I am sure he has bribed police officers, so even if someone suggests that he is the one who killed her, they will cover for him by insisting that he spent the night in the cells.”
“Wow. That sounds like a real criminal plan,” Stella says. “I am now officially scared.”
“Erick is a hardcore criminal. I can’t believe that he has been my friend all these years and I have never suspected a thing.”
“What will we do now?
“We can make it a big deal.”
“Make what a big deal?”
“Erick’s escape. For this plan to work, assuming that what I am doing is what he intends to do, then he and the police will want absolute secrecy. Nobody should know about the escape.”
“They already told Zuhura.”
“Yeah, but that is perhaps because they did not have an option. Maybe she demanded to see him and could not be bullied and they assumed that since she is his wife, she will not go spreading word that her husband has escaped from prison. Maybe they told her to check in the morning if they have re-arrested him, and by that time they expect to have him back. Or maybe Erick plans to add her to the list of people that he will kill tonight. The police will investigate the murders forever until the matter is forgotten and Erick walks free. It is a nice script, assuming we are right, but we can alter it.”
“And how can we do that?”
“Social media. We can tell the story on social media, including the escape. Hopefully, it will trend. That will put Erick and the police in a tight corner and force them to make mistakes.”
“But neither of us has enough social media influence to make such a story trend.”
“True. But I work in an NGO and I have many friends in the media and the civil society. Some of them, including journalists, claim to be activists against gender-based violence. I only need to make a few calls and this thing will light up on social media like a bonfire. If we pile pressure then maybe the cops can be pressured into re-arresting Erick earlier than they thought.”
Erick is nervous as he changes into a navy blue overall. He has seen whatever he is planning to do being done in movies, but he has no idea whether it can work in real life. He is not a saint; but he is a white-collar criminal who is used to work on his computer from the comfort of his house. He can scam any number of people while operating from his den, and the chances of getting caught are always very low because Kenya’s capacity to track down cyber-criminals is still primitive.
But today’s job entails diving into the trenches and getting his hands dirty. But it is necessary if he hopes to spend the rest of his life outside prison. He wonders why he allowed Judith to get under his skin. After Jesse left she harshly asked him to leave, and when he told her that Jesse would never satisfy her the way he had been satisfying her, she made a snide remark about his manhood and that is what set him off and he started beating her. If only he had checked his temper then, he would not be here staring at a possible jail term.
Right now he plans to pretend to be a janitor and access Judith’s bed, and he is well aware that anything can go wrong. But so far so good; he has managed to get a janitor’s uniform by bribing one janitor. He told the greedy fool that he wants to surprise his wife because it is her birthday. The janitor was not convinced but at the sight of five thousand shillings, and the promise of another five after the surprise is over in thirty minutes’ time, the janitor quickly surrendered his overall, gumboots, bucket and mop.
From where he is standing with a mob in his hand and a bucket of water in front of him, Erick can see Jesse and Stella. He knows they can see him too, but they wouldn’t recognize him in this overall, face mask and sun-glasses. Erick desperately needs to know where Judith is, but he doesn’t know who to ask. He moves away from the stairs and closer to the reception, hoping to hear what the receptionist is telling Stella and Jesse. But as he draws closer, mopping the floor as he goes, Stella and Jesse thank the receptionist and walk away. Erick cannot follow them without raising suspicion, so he continues mopping while moving ahead until he gets to another flight of stairs. He climbs the stairs and smiles when he sees an arrow pointed towards the female wards. He follows the direction of the arrow.
“Excuse me miss?” he says meekly to a young, female nurse whom he encounters on the way.
“Yes, what can I do for you? And why are you wearing sunglasses at night?”
“I had an eye surgery recently and the doctor said I can use them until the eyes stop itching.”
“Oh I see. So how can I help you?”
“I have just received a message from my mother that my sister was admitted here earlier today. Apparently she was hit on the head by her boyfriend.”
“Yes, her name is Judith. How is she now?”
“She is stable now. I think she will be fine.”
“Is it possible for me to see her?”
“I think you have to discuss that with your supervisor.”
“I already have, and he has told me I can see her but that I should make it quick. The problem is that I don’t know where she is admitted.”
“She was in the female surgical ward but she has been transferred to the private wards, room 007.”
“Where are the private wards?”
“You work here and you don’t know where the private words are?”
“I am new. I started last month, and then unfortunately I had to undergo an emergency eye surgery, so today is really my first day at work here.”
“I am sorry about that. Go straight ahead and turn right. The doors are numbered. I am sorry…what is your name?”
“Where is your name tag Manuel? You know the hospital requires you to wear it at all times.”
“Oh,” Erick says touching his chest. “It was right here. It must have fallen off. I will go and check in the dressing room.”
“Okay. I am sorry about your eyes and about your sister. But she is a strong girl, so she will pull through. I have to leave now Manuel. See you around.”
As she walks away, Erick suddenly feels strong hatred for the overall that he is wearing. He would have loved to flirt with the nurse her, and possibly get her number and take her to bed later. She has such a lovely body and a pleasant personality. But he knows he cannot be distracted. He has a job to do today, otherwise he will never make love to a woman again. He heard that they allow conjugal visits in prison, but that weird to him. As a boy he used to take cows on heat to a pen where a bull would service them; the prison conjugal visits sound like the same idea, and he wants no part of it. His plan has to work one way or the other. He walks to the private wards and pushes door number 007 open. He still has the bucket and mop, which is the perfect excuse in case there are people there.
But he finds no one in there, except Judith, who seems to be sleeping peacefully. He looks around and makes sure that the corridors are clear. He slides in and closes the door. He places the bucket of water on the door, blocking the entrance. Someone can still push through the door, but the bucket will give him advance warning so that he can quickly pretend to be mopping the floor.
He doesn’t intend to stay here for long though. In his pocket he has a bottle of a deadly pesticide and a syringe. He quickly fills the syringe with the pesticide and injects Judy through a vein in the arm. He shoves the syringe and the empty bottle of the pesticide back into his pocket. He could have thrown them into the dustbin but there is no need of making anyone suspicious. When Judith dies, they will assume her injuries killed them. The pesticide is so potent that by the time he is rounds the corner, she will be long dead.
He takes his bucket and steps out of the room. When he opens the door Stella and Jesse are just arriving, guided by a nurse, so he excuses himself and hurries away. He is not worried: they cannot recognize him, and there is nothing they can do to save Judy. Before the nurse figures out what is going on and calls the doctor, Judith will be dead. Erick hopes that in the ensuing confusion, he will find a way to kill Jesse before returning to the cells. Surely Jesse has to return to his house at some point in the night.
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