I opened the metal door and stepped into the small room to the whining sound of rusted hinges from years of neglect. Rolling the sleeves of my black shirt one after the other, I scanned the room in one sweep. Ose, my partner, leaned on the wall in a corner of the room, a towering figure partly illuminated by the dim fluorescent bulb that struggled to light up the room. His arms were folded across his chest, muscles bulging underneath the cotton of his shirt, eyes squinting as he was deep in thought, no doubt hatching a plan; he was a dangerous man in every sense of the word.
“Mr Aize, are you ready to talk?” I said walking towards a table in the centre of the room.
The recipient of my question trembled in his seat from across the table, bound by thick leather cords to an uncomfortable metal chair. He let out a muffled response. Ose still had him gagged. As though responding to my question, Ose stalked towards the man in the chair and landed a heavy punch on the man’s temple. I almost winced, knowing just how powerful his punches were. He dragged the man back into seating position by his torn t-shirt and pulled out the rag he had used to gag him. The man vomited as soon as the gag was out, barely missing Ose’s shoes. Ose looked at him with disdain, no doubt considering punching him again, but then walked away.
“Where are they?” I asked, stressing each word for effect.
It was a chilling thing, like the sound of metal striking metal in the dead of the night. In that moment, I knew we were dealing with a psychotic case and we would have to go as far as we had ever gone if we were going to get any information from him. Midway through his laughter, I cycled through the various tools for torture on the table and settled on a short knife. I walked to the chair and crouched till I was face to face with him, and then drove the knife into his thigh. The laughter was replaced by screaming.
“You must understand, Mr Aize,” I said getting up to select another tool from the table “This is not a ‘good cop-bad cop’ situation, and this is not a game. We’re out for blood, and we’re paid and licensed to be bloodthirsty to stop evil people like you.”
I grabbed a longer knife and continued.
“We could kill you now, and while it may delay us, we’ll get what we want. Please don’t even think that we need you alive, I’m already working with the assumption that you won’t tell us anything. At this point, all I’m trying to do is kill you as painfully as I can and hope that you force my hand and stop me by telling me what I want to know.”
I hated what I was becoming. The monster bound to the chair was forcing me, as well as Ose, to become savages. In some way, I had a feeling that was his end game; to get us to compromise and kill him quickly. Unfortunately, I was ready for that. I was already attached to the case at an emotional level, and there was no law I wasn’t ready to break to break the sadist in front of me.
“You’ll never find them.” The man replied in a voice hoarse from screaming. He smiled through his swollen face, a tooth missing from the array.
I rammed the knife against his knee in cold frustration. It slid across the knee, slicing flesh along before getting lodged beside his knee cap. I watched his eyes begin to roll back as he began to slip into unconsciousness from pain induced shock before slapping him multiple times to bring him back.
He let out a blood curdling scream.
On cue, Ose doused him with a bucket of water and began speaking.
“Mr Aize, 3 girls, all sisters, were taken from the front of their school on Wednesday the fourth of July by a man claiming to be their parents’ new driver. CCTV footage picked up the plate number of the car they entered. We tracked the plate number and found the address and contact details of the owner, whom we discovered had just sold the car to a certain Mr Paul Aize. While he could not provide a functioning phone number or address for the ‘Mr Aize’, he told us he had received payment for the car via a fund transfer. A quick trip to the bank with a court order provided the account details and from that, an address. Of course, it wasn’t a valid address, but what it gave us was a valid BVN. We tracked the BVN using the Central Bank’s database and found all the accounts linked to that BVN in every bank in the country. We demanded an account activity report for all of them from the respective banks and found that the owner of the account had just made a purchase in a pharmacy in Ikeja. Of course, we went there and asked some questions. They only had 4 customers that day, and one of them, the one whose bill tallied with the bank account report, was an ‘unforgettable man’ who was six feet tall with greying hair, fair skin, a slim build, and had a scar on the bridge of his nose. This ‘unforgettable man’ had come in to buy sleeping pills in worrying amounts and had received a lecture from the in-house pharmacist. This man had also seemed ‘impatient’ and took off in a hurry after reducing the amount of pills he was buying. Fortunately for us, they also knew that this man lived on the next street.”
“When we entered your house that day, we were in time to stop you from raping an 8-year old, but we did not make it in time to stop you from drugging her to her death. You are a vile creature, no doubt about that, and there is no force that can stop you from going to prison, well except us right here if we decide to kill you. But I’m starting to think that maybe letting you go to prison is a better option, we can always just let the inmates know that you rape and kill children.”
Behind me, Ose began wearing yellow rubber gloves. I picked up the cords from the table and tossed it to him.
“What is that?” Aize asked, his eyes darting back and forth in fear, and glistening with tears.
“Wonders will never end,” I replied “So you’re not afraid of knives but you’re afraid of electricity. Who would have thought?”
“Please, I beg you-”
The anger welled up in me like a geyser and I exploded with a round house kick to his temple. He fell with the chair and screamed in fresh pain as the knives in his leg shifted. I dragged him back up in blind fury and punched him twice.
“Don’t you dare beg us! Tell us where the other two girls are!”
“They’ll kill me!” He cried.
“You’re dead anyway!” I bellowed over the buzzing sound of electricity behind us. “You’ll either suffer here and die or suffer in prison. And when they’re done with you over there, someone will strangle after having their way with you. It’s no less than what you deserve. Where are they?”
I held his shirt tightly as his eyes continued to water.
Ose began approaching him with two cords in hand charged with electricity.
“This is the last chance you get! Where are they?!”
“They told me to get three girls, and that I can keep one for myself!” He cried
I punched him again, dragging him violently until we were eye to eye. The tears were flowing freely down his face from eyes that were swollen shut.
“Focus! Mr Paul Aize, focus! Where are the girls?!”
“He’s not here, there’s only three of us and the devil, and the devil is the nice one here. Now, where are they?”
I could feel the zapping behind me and the smell of burning rubber.
“This will not only shock you, it will also burn you, like hell.”
“I don’t even know where to sell the parts. I was going to let her go!” He sputtered, saliva dripping down his mouth. It was a pathetic sight.
“We won’t be so merciful” Ose said bringing the cords close to Aize’s face.
Ose and I sat on the hood of his Kia Cerato and watched as two state ambulances and several police cars drove off with sirens blaring. I was exhausted, not physically, but mentally. Seeing the two girls reunited with their parents shifted something within me and left me extremely emotional. I kept battling the urge to cry.
“We did good bro.” Ose said calmly, and then the tears began to flow.
That was Ose; a man of few words. Within them, he said a hundred things more and I heard them all. We had made it in time and saved the girls.
“Yes we did,” I replied, wiping the tears off my eyes “But we should probably start dusting our CVs.”
“Not yet, there’s still work to be done.”
“Ose, we almost killed someone in the name of interrogation.”
“I spoke to the IGP already. He called the Commissioner while you were engaging the parents, and I spoke to him on the Commissioner’s phone. Did you know the girls are his nieces?”
“Interesting,” I replied, genuinely surprised. “It all makes sense now, how we got all those resources so quickly.”
“Yeah,” Ose said getting off the hood and entering the driver’s seat. “The next step now is to shut down this organ trafficking ring finally by shutting down the man at the top.”
“It’s as easy as arresting and jailing a sitting State Governor, and I think I have some ideas.”