Pai and Sanse got to the building under construction to find Judy standing over Maggie’s body, crying. Pai barked for everyone to give room, checked Maggie’s pulse and stepped back. Sanse ran up the staircase of the unfinished building, his gun on the ready.
‘Is everyone present?’ Sanse shouted.
‘Yes,’ Esau, the last one to arrive, said. His fingers were busy on his ring.
Sanse asked Janet to join him.
‘Exactly where was Maggie standing?’ Sanse asked.
Janet moved five steps to the right. From his position Sanse could see the staff toilets but not the spot where Zachary’s body had been found. He could also see, although not much, inside Zachary’s office, Baraza’s office, the staffroom and class four to eight.
‘What the hell did you see?’ Sanse murmured to himself.
‘I saw her come this way and I came to check on her,’ Judy was saying. ‘Who will take care of Kate?’
‘Do you mean this girl?’ Pai showed Judy the photo he had found in Zachary’s wallet.
‘Poor Kate!’ Judy grabbed the photo. ‘Zachary and Maggie had a deal. Zachary would support Kate if Maggie let him alone.’
‘Why the hell didn’t you tell us this before?’ Sanse asked, joining them.
‘It would have made no difference,’ Judy said.
‘We decide what may or may not make a difference!’ Sanse said.
‘What else did she tell you?’ Pai asked.
‘She had gone to ask Zachary for money when she found his body,’ Judy said. ‘She had just received a call that Kate had broken her arm.’
‘He probably turned her down,’ Clifford said.
‘I am a good judge of character,’ Judy said. ‘In opening up to me Maggie was grieving, not justifying killing anyone.’
‘She was strangled then thrown over,’ Sanse said.
‘How do you know that?’ Baraza asked.
‘The worst that one can suffer from such a fall is a broken limb,’ Sanse said. ‘I will illustrate my point with a jump.’
‘You will do what?’ Judy asked.
‘On second thought I’ll call the eyeball expert,’ Sanse said.
‘Excuse me?’ Pai said.
‘There is a ton of information in those eyeballs,’ Sanse said.
‘She jumped to her death!’ Pai said.
‘Probably,’ Sanse said. ‘Unfortunately she is not in the mood to make a confession.’
‘You have my vote,’ Judy told Sanse. ‘Maggie neither killed Zachary nor committed suicide!’
‘Mom,’ Pai addressed Judy, ‘you are too emotionally attached to Maggie to see through her. Much as you want to see the best in her it’s a rotten world. Besides, killing someone is one thing, living with it is something else altogether.’
‘Why would she kill the father of her child?’ Judy asked.
‘He used her,’ Pai said. ‘He probably failed to keep his end of the bargain.’
‘Maggie was right,’ Judy said. ‘I should have kept my mouth shut!’
Sanse dialled his phone and moved aside. A while later he joined Pai. ‘I’ll have to fetch the doctor. I can’t raise him on his phone. Folks, from now on you must stick together.’
‘Why?’ Esau asked.
‘Two reasons,’ Sanse said. ‘One, I don’t want another copse and two because I said so!’
‘Why are you doing this?’ Esau charged.
‘Why am I doing what?’
‘Your partner is right: Maggie took her own life after killing Zachary!’
‘Esau,’ Baraza said. ‘Mr. Sanse is only doing his work.’
‘Like hell he is!’
‘Why don’t you take the body with you?’ Janet asked.
‘Good question,’ Edmond said. ‘Just being in the compound freaks me out.’
‘How much longer must you detain us?’ Clifford asked. ‘You were right; I didn’t wake up planning to die. Likewise, I didn’t plan to spend eternity under compound arrest or whatever it is that we are under.’
All the workers murmured agreement with Clifford. Sanse fished out his comb from his pocket and embarked on combing his hair. Pai stood aside wearing an incredulous look.
‘Clifford,’ Sanse said. ‘Kindly remind me what you teach.’
‘Mathematics,’ Clifford said.
‘Are you good at it?’
‘I believe I am.’
‘How does it feel to be good at something?’
Clifford smiled nervously. ‘Exhilarating.’
‘Exactly! I hunt murderers and I am good at it.’
‘Every man to his calling,’ Judy said.
‘Let’s get her inside,’ Sanse said. ‘We need a wheelbarrow.’
Baraza barked at Edmond to fetch a wheelbarrow.
‘Who is the eyeball expert?’ Baraza asked Sanse.
‘I prefer that cabin he got the wheelbarrow from,’ Sanse said.
‘He is a doctor who can reconstruct what one saw before their death from the eyeball,’ Sanse said.
‘The gardener’s store?’ Baraza said.
‘Maggie deserves better!’ Judy said.
‘I’ll take that under recommendations,’ Sanse said. ‘Don’t tamper with the eyes!’
‘I can’t believe I am putting up with this,’ Pai said.
Once Maggie’s body was inside the cabin Sanse locked it and pocketed the keys.
‘You know what to do,’ Sanse told Pai before he drove out of the compound.
Pai turned to the confused faces watching him. ‘What the hell are you waiting for? Get in the staffroom!’
Read CHAPTER 7
© Anthony Mugo 2017