The events and characters depicted below are purely fictitious and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely by coincidence
“Woolie, I don’t know why it is, but more murders are committed in this city on a leap year. It is as if February 29th is a day to fulfill all our evil desires and you know, the statistics actually back it up.”
Earlier this evening we were seated at the verandah of this unassuming house in South B enjoying a quiet drink in the cool city air. My companion was my old friend the retired Detective Inspector from Homicide Division, Kenya Police. As we took in the evening sounds of city folk making their way home for the evening the retired cop relit his pipe and cleared his throat.
“Well, Woolie, It seemed that February 29th 2008 was going to be an exception – at least in our sector of the city. As my shift came to an end there had been no reports of deaths, accidental or otherwise, and we were looking forward to breaking this “curse of February 29”. Then, just before midnight, I got a call from a colleague at the station.”
I took another small sip of the malt whiskey and stretched out on the cane chair. The retired detective went on to narrate the events of that fateful night in 2008. According to reports, a woman had been brought in semi-concious to the Emergency Department of City Hospital.
By all indications this was a case of attempted suicide. The poor lady had been found in her bed by her house help, writhing and moaning in agony. Lying on the floor, beside her bed was a half-empty bottle of scotch and an empty medicine bottle that would have contained 48 anti-malaria tablets.
The personnel in the emergency room rallied to save the woman but despite their efforts Mrs Steffi Nyalima was pronounced dead at 11:54 pm. A day later pathology results showed that she had died of poisoning. But there was a problem; She had not ingested a single malaria tablet. According to the pathologist, tests revealed that the victim had been given a lethal cocktail of sleeping pills, morphine and other dangerous drugs and these could only have been administered whilst she was heavily sedated. Police quickly established that her husband Mr Hallibut Nyalima, a government scientist, was away on a training course in Abuja, Nigeria. Arrangements were made to notify him of these dreadful events.
The home help – a youg lady called Alice was interviewed . She revealed that Mrs Nyalima had come home in the afternoon at four-thirty or thereabouts in the company of her work colleague, a Ms Jackie Mpensi. Ms Mpensi explained to Alice that her employer was suffering from fever and needed complete bed rest. She had helped Alice to get Mrs Nyalima into bed. Mpensi took her leave soon after but only after she had asked Alice to check on her employer every 2 hours or so. Alice had checked on Nyalima twice and had found her fast asleep on each occasion.
Alice recalled how she had been in her own room preparing to go to bed just after 10:30pm when she got an sms on her phone. It was from her boss, Mrs Nyalima. She showed the police the message which read “ Please Alice come quickly to my room. I have done something terrible…I need your help. PLEASE COME NOW..” This was when she had found Nyalima rolling about the bed in pain. She had raised the alarm and their next door neighbour had rushed them to the City Hospital.
Police officers now went back to the home and carried out a search of the dead woman’s room. They were puzzled by the fact that there was no sign of Nyalima’s mobile phone. Also, what to make of the empty bottle of anti malaria medicine? There was not a single tablet in the room. Then tucked between two pillows on the husband’s side of the bed they found a typed memo on plain A4 paper. It read:
“ Dear Hallibut you are now free. So Sorry it had to come to this.”
The retired detective looked at his watch and then at our empty glasses. “ I’ll just get us another drink”, he said.
…………To Be Continued……..?