Derin’s Plight (Cut 2)


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Chapter 3

Abisola Cole for the first time ever was unhappy to be back at the mansion. She wished the beautiful weekend her granddaughter had blessed her with never ended. 

“At least now I can get her off my back for a while. I have to be more discreet with my investigations to reduce her worries.” Derin thought to herself.

“Welcome home Nana,” Derin smiled as she helped her grandmother out of the car.

Bisola gave a half smile, it was obvious she never wanted the weekend vacation over. 

“Yes dear, home sweet home,” she sighed. They both went into the house; She excused herself to freshen up while Derin seized the opportunity to make her phone call to Sope.

They were best of friends growing up, however he had kept his distance ever since his assignment to her father’s homicide case. He was only at the memorial service briefly. Infact, thinking about it again, he had been distant ever since she left for her undergraduate studies. It wasn’t like she owed him any explanation anyway. In her defense, she tried severally to reach him after settling down in England. All she was currently concerned about was her father’s homicide case. 

Derin picked up her phone and dialed his number.

 “Hello,” She greeted.

“Hi,” Sope replied. 

“Who am I speaking with please?”

“It’s Derinsola Cole,” she answered.

“Oh! Please accept my condolence once again on the death of your father. How may I help you,” he asked sounding quite hostile. 

Derin was a bit hesitant, something was definitely wrong. She had always remembered him as the ever pleasant and caring friend. He always gave that dashing smile that could melt even the coldest of hearts. He was always very courteous; this tone was much unlike him.

“I am calling for an update on my father’s homicide case,” she stuttered. 

“Sorry ma’ am, we are yet to get additional evidence to point us in the right direction.”

“Well, maybe it is because the officer in charge is very sluggish and inactive with the case,” Derin murmured.

“With all due respect, the homicide department is working quite efficiently to ensure we catch the murderer,” Sope shot back at her.

 “We would be sure to contact the Cole family if there are any leads. Have a good day,” he spoke sternly before hanging up.

Derin almost threw the phone in frustration but remembered her resolution to be more discreet to allay Bisola’s fears.

“When did Sope become so cold, seven years sure is a long time for someone to change completely,” she spoke rolling her eyes.

“I don’t need him, I would crack the case myself.”

Derin had finally decided to attend the science convention with her grandmother this year. It was just two days ahead. 

“Who knows,  I might just get an important revelation about dad’s murderer there,” she reasoned. 

Bisola cried at the science convention when she saw her son’s pictures which were put up in his honor. 

“This was a bad idea after all,” Derin whispered as she watched her grandmother wipe her tears away with her handkerchief.

The annoying part was that she had not gotten any useful information yet. The convention was quite boring until she was informed about her father’s personal locker space. She was asked to help clear out Professor Cole’s locker space. The Security guards provided a master key that could open the locker.

Derin was led to the locker room to clear the remains of her father’s belongings. Asides a few documents and awards, the only thing that caught her attention was a little black book. It was sealed and seemed like it could only be opened with a code.

 “This must be Dad’s diary,” she whispered.

She collected everything in a box and met up with Bisola. They waited till the end of the convention before heading back home. 

Derin thought back and forth about the diary. She tried desperately to get it opened. 

“It must be filled with scientific formulas and projects,” she soliloquized. 

Bisola noticed Derin was rather sluggish at dinner. 

“Is there something wrong?” She asked. 

Derin immediately became aware that she had been absent minded; Bisola had been starring at her the whole while. 

“Oh no, It’s just that I am not so hungry.” She stood to kiss her grandmother goodnight.

 “Have a lovely night ma, I love you.” 

“I love you too,” Bisola replied with a smile. She watched her grandchild leave the dining room in a hurry.

“O Lord,  please keep her safe on this self imposed mission of hers.” She prayed with her eyes shut.

It took almost a week to figure out the code to open the diary. Derin almost gave up until her grandmother casually mentioned her son’s first love. He had been completely in love with this particular lady since their secondary school days. They forged ahead with their relationship for years. In fact, they had started making plans for their future because they were convinced about ending up together. 

Tragedy however struck, she lost her life to cancer. As much as the story was a sad one, Derin couldn’t help but wonder if the code to opening the diary was linked to this particular lady.

“How did she look Nana?”

“Oh! She was a beauty to behold. Your father loved her so much that he made a portrait of one of her pictures after her death. The portrait hangs in his room. I am sure you must have seen it before. He even made a promise necklace for her.”

 It then hit Derin, she had seen a portrait along with a necklace the other day when she searched her father’s room. Just as she suspected, the necklace had a locket with a code inscribed on it.

“This must be it,” she thought. Derin quickly picked up the diary and tried the code that had been inscribed on the locket. She was elated when the diary popped open.

 “Finally!” She screamed. Her eyes were fixed on the little black book. She almost lost her balance on her way back to her room. It was a purely scientific diary. Her father started writing in it two years back. Prof A was not much of a writer. He only documented in his diary occasionally, his important achievements and ideas were written in it.

She smiled as she caught a glimpse of his write up about the truth mobilizer. This was the first great achievement that was written in his diary. Following the drawbacks and controversy of the truth serum, Professor Cole was able to make a fantastic improvement with the truth mobilizer.

In the past, truth serums such as sodium thiopental reduced the speed at which impulses were sent from the spinal cord to the brain. This usually led to the individual’s inability to concentrate or perform high functioning tasks such as lying.

There were however a few problems noticed with the truth serum. The subjects were still capable of telling lies. Many of the supposed ‘truth’ usually consisted of a combination of both fact and fiction. Outside suggestions as well greatly influenced the usefulness of the truth serum. Sometimes, the subjects agree to whatever the interviewer says even if it is not true.

Derin could never forget the joy in her father’s eyes when he was given an award for the success of the truth mobilizer. It eliminated the susceptibility to telling lies due to external influence since the subjects were usually unconscious.

The truth mobilizer worked quite similarly to the electroencephalogram (EEG). The only difference was that images were visualized instead of waves that were seen in the case of EEG. After the truth mobilizer’s solution is injected into the blood stream, the electrodes are then connected to the machine and subsequently to the head. This enabled the interviewers to gain access to images mobilized from the memories of the subject. The subjects are simply asked questions of the interviewer’s interest, as soon as the subjects try to remember the occurrence of those events they lose consciousness and answers in the form of images appear on the monitor. They were like picture answers to questions.

Another great attribute of the truth mobilizer was that it had been tested and proven to be safe. A few other minor achievements were penned down by Professor Cole along with scientific formulas. He never really put stories to any of his write ups.

Derin however noted that the last few pages of the diary contained a diagram that looked quite similar to a wristwatch which was followed by formulas and protocols. It was titled ‘Greatest invention yet’ and dated six months back.

“This was probably why he was really excited in the last few weeks preceding his death,” Derin mumbled.         

She was not totally certain of what the great invention could be, only like scientific minds could decipher clearly what he had penned down. She however had a feeling that the invention had something to do with time. At that point, tears began to trickle down her cheeks.

“You were so full of greatness Dad. It is quite unfortunate the world did not get to share this awesome invention with you.”

Derin was a bit startled when the doorbell rang. She walked downstairs with the diary in her hand and was surprised when the Butler opened the door to Sope. He was dressed in his official uniform with a serious looking face.  It was however difficult to ignore how dashing he looked in his uniform.

“Good afternoon ma’am,” he greeted.

 “May I come in?”

“Oh sure,” she replied. 

He walked in and took a quick glance at the living room before stating his mission.

“Your presence would be required at the station please. We need you to help with something pertaining your father’s murder case.”

“Well it’s about time,” she spoke rolling her eyes. 

Sope obviously ignored the comment.

 “Would you like to go in my car or yours? I could bring you back once we are done at the station.”

“I would rather go in your car,” she replied.

“Alright Ma’am, after you,” he gestured.

The ride to the station was a pretty long one. She certainly did not like this new Sope. He had become quite boring and too serious.

 “When did he start addressing his childhood friend ‘ma’am” she reasoned. It was so confusing. 

“Can we at least listen to some music on the ride,” she spoke in an attempt to break the silence.

“Yes, as you wish ma’am,” He replied and turned the radio on. 

“Was it her or did Sope seem really uncomfortable,” Derin pondered.

He pulled over in front of the station and led her into his office.

 “Please seat,” he requested.

“I am really sorry for the impromptu summon. We have a little situation with the key evidence of your late father’s homicide case.”

“What key evidence?” she questioned.

“Our key evidence is the vehicle in which your father was murdered. You see, we have thoroughly searched the car for leads. We however can’t seem to find anything useful,” he spoke with a blunt affect. 

“Only blood stains were found at the backseat of the vehicle.”

“So what do you need me for?  I mean why am I here?” She asked with a puzzled look on her face.

“I am getting to that madam. There was a recent discovery of a hidden safe at the back seat of the car. We however can’t seem to get it open,” He shrugged.

 “Are you familiar with the safe Ma’am?”

“Yes, I can open it for you right away,” she spoke eagerly.

“Ok ma’am, Let us proceed to the car,” Sope led Derin to the back of the station where her late father’s vehicle had been barricaded.

The sight of the car brought her chills. It was even worse when the vehicle was opened. The blood stains at the backseat made her feel nauseous. According to the reports of the paramedics who rushed to the crime scene, her father’s driver died before they arrived. She was however informed that her father made it to the emergency room at a nearby hospital just before he passed away.

“Hold on,” Sope cautioned as he pulled out a pair of gloves.

 “You should wear this before unlocking the safe.” 

Derin collected the pair of gloves from him. Opening the safe was no problem, what they found in the safe however was rather strange. It was a damaged gold necklace with no pendant. She had never seen her father with such type of jewelry before. It just didn’t seem like something her father would own.

Yes, he had bought her jewelries in the past but that was it. He only bought them as gift items for loved ones but never really wore neckpieces. 

“Is this necklace familiar?” Sope asked out of curiosity.

“Not at all, my dad never wore any jewelry asides a wristwatch when he was alive,” she muttered.

 “This must be for someone else, perhaps the murderer.”

“Ok. Thanks for your help. I would take the chain and add it to our evidence collection,” he mentioned and collected the neckpiece from her with gloved hands.

“Would you like me to drive you back home now?” Sope asked.

“Yes please,” Derin replied. 

She decided the ride back home would not be as quiet as the ride to the station. Sope was acting really weird. She definitely had to break the ice and find out what was making him act cold. 

He proved himself to be a gentleman as always, after he opened the door to the passenger’s seat for her to get in, he also got into the driver’s seat.

“So Sope, why are you hostile anytime you speak to me?” she questioned just before he ignited the engine.

He was apparently startled by the question.

 “I don’t know what you mean ma’am,” he replied avoiding eye contact.

“Did I offend you in anyway? My God! You even refer to me as ma’am these days.”

He remained quiet; it was almost as though he did not hear a word she spoke. Derin screamed in frustration when he tried to start the engine again. 

“If you don’t start talking Sope, I would get out of this car.”

‘It is surprising you even remember my name,” he murmured.

He had no strength or courage to argue with her like they used to as teenagers. It was easier to tell a lie than to admit how hurt he was when she travelled without informing him. 

“I am not feeling too well, It is nothing personal,” He finally started the trip.

She did not believe a word of his poor health declarations. She however, let it slide but swore to revisit the issue in good time. It was another boring twenty minutes drive back home. He dropped her at her doorstep.

“Goodbye Derin,” he managed to mumble and then drove off without even waiting for a reply.

“Huh?” she was shocked.

 “At least he has dropped the ma’am. This is a battle for another day,” she spoke aloud to herself before walking into the house.

CHAPTER 4

Derin did not feel that the homicide case was progressing fast enough. The last couple of weeks had been filled with constant arguments between her and Sope. She had become quite overbearing to him. He complained incessantly about her unnecessary interference with their investigation. She however did not relent in her efforts. She even made occasional courtesy visits to the station. According to her, it was like no one else cared about getting justice for her father. 

With time, Derin started feeling that the neckpiece seemed familiar. She had asked to see it again but Sope refused. 

Her grandma was right; she was becoming obsessed with the case.

 “You have to chill Derin! You practically do not have a life anymore.” Bisola constantly repeated.

She had really missed out on her favorite soap operas. Derin was scared that her life was gradually becoming boring. As if it wasn’t bad enough, she also had Sope to contend with. 

“I wonder why in the world he is so upset with me,” Derin soliloquized. She switched on the television set, nothing seemed appealing.

 “I guess I didn’t miss much,” she sighed. After thoroughly scrutinizing each channel, she stumbled on disturbing news. Mr Jolaosho; her father’s business partner had called for an emergency science convention.

He had worked with Professor Cole for six years before they separated about a year ago.  Apparently he had a ‘bigger than life’ announcement as was suggested in the news.

 “I wonder what is so grand that it cannot wait till next year’s convention,” she pondered. Her mind started to race with all sorts of despicable thoughts.

 “Could he be the murderer?” 

He had never seemed like a violent person to her in the years she had known him. She hardly spoke to him anyway. He was always with her father most times when he came around, besides, what motive would he have to kill Prof A? 

“I must attend this emergency convention,” she muttered.

 “Something is just not right.”

The emergency convention was scheduled for the week after. It was going to be a strictly by invitation affair. 

“I should be able to get an invite; after all, my Father was one of the greatest scientists in West Africa before his death.”

Derin eventually discovered that Mr Jolaosho had carefully selected those he wanted present for his big revelation. She tried all she could to get an invite but failed in her attempts. The only link and influence she had in the science world; ‘Prof Adetola Cole’ was gone. 

The news of the big revelation spread like wild fire the day after the convention. Mr Jolaosho was a relatively young Professor, nobody expected anything that ground breaking from him. Derin was however in a state of confusion. 

“Time changer!” she exclaimed when it was announced on the news. 

“This cannot be,” She immediately rushed to grab her father’s diary.

 “It is just too coincidental, how can he have the exact idea Dad had just before his death,” Derin murmured.

It was really difficult for Derin to rest throughout the night. She hardly slept. Various thoughts crossed her mind. The most bizarre of them was that she somehow felt like the damaged neckpiece belonged to Mr Jolaosho.

 “Snap out of it Derin, That man doesn’t look like he can hurt a fly much less any human.”

Bisola made a resounding entrance into the living room with her feet thumping onto the tiled floor. 

“Good morning dear,” She spoke half awake as she made her way into the kitchen. 

Bisola usually emphasized how breakfast was and would continue to be the most important meal of the day. Even old age did not succeed in curtailing her zeal to fix breakfast each morning. “Would you like toast and eggs or Pancakes and sausages instead?” she asked and walked towards Derin.   

 “Oh my! Did you sleep at all?……..look at those bags under your eyes,” She frowned.

 “I slept just fine ma. There is no need to get worried over nothing. I am going to freshen up so I can have some of the yummy breakfast you are making,” Derin giggled before heading for the bathroom. 

Bisola had always been overprotective towards her granddaughter. Frankly speaking, Derin did not have much of a social life. She was only interested in climbing up the ladder in her career as a pharmacist. This was quite disturbing to her grandmother.

 “This child of mine,” she sighed.

 “Just maybe if there was a young prince charming to sweep her off her feet, she would be less obsessed with her revenge scheme,” she reasoned.

The aroma that emanated from the kitchen was not one to be ignored. Derin actually realized how hungry she was after catching a glimpse of the toast and beautifully spiced eggs.

 “Mama the mama! You still remain the best cook alive,” She winked at her grandma.

“So can I have my share now please?”

“Yes, you can,” Bisola replied with a grimace. 

It was almost as if breakfast induced a sleep attack on Derin. She fell asleep immediately after the meal. She smiled when  she saw her granddaughter curled up on the couch. 

“She didn’t even make it to the bed,” Bisola laughed.

She had decided to catch up on her favorite TV series before the butler beckoned on her to tend to Derin’s guest at the door. Derin had constantly deprived herself of sleep in the past few days. Bisola therefore decided not to disturb her. She was however surprised to see Sope at the door, he was casually dressed and greeted her with a smile. 

“Good morning ma, I am here to see Derin,” He mentioned.

“Oh! I see,”she sized him up from head to toe with a sheepish smile. 

“Sope isn’t it…you are my granddaughter’s childhood friend.”

“Yes ma” he replied, Sope was shocked she remembered him.

Bisola rumbled with laughter.

 “There is no need to look surprised. I remember the young teenager that always visited the mansion; Derin’s male best friend,” She spoke with a raised eyebrow. 

“I hope that is changing soon though.” 

Bisola noticed how confused he looked. She relented on her comments because he looked like he was about to choke. 

“She is asleep and I don’t want to wake her. Would you rather leave a message?” 

“There is no need to wake her ma. Please tell her I came to check on her,” he smiled.

“That is so nice of you dear, I would definitely deliver your message. Do have a lovely day.”

 It was about four in the afternoon when Derin woke up. The house was extremely quiet. She was shocked when she noticed the day was far spent.

“Another Saturday almost gone,” she sighed.

 “I really should go out more often.”  Derin decided to take a walk round the compound. It was amazing how the dullness that once enveloped the mansion had suddenly disappeared. The nice blend of Tullips, roses and petals were mesmerizing. They did justice to Bisola’s efforts channeled towards adding some aesthetic value to the garden. 

“Nana!……. Derin called out and tried to figure out her grandmother’s exact location. 

“Over here dear,” Bisola beckoned. She continued with the gardening job she had gladly taken upon herself.

“You would be seventy next year Nana. Please cut down on this manual labor. Leave it to the household staff.”

“Age is nothing but a number dear, I am still as fit as a fiddle,” Bisola laughed.

So how was your nap? Did you have sweet dreams?” she winked. Her countenance and questions were somewhat amusing to Derin.

 “Nana what’s going on?  You are acting a bit weird, is there something you want to tell me?” 

“Well……,” She paused for a moment and made a sound that could pass for a giggle.

 “A fine young chap came to check on you today…….What’s his name again,” She squinted. “Yes Sope!” How can I ever forget the teenager that carried you on his back? He brought you all the way home after you fell from that tree. We always reprimanded you for climbing it back then but you were just too stubborn to listen. He has grown into a fine young man. He even has dreamy eyes.” 

Derin had a perplexed expression on her face .She wondered what her grandmother was up to.

“I would pretend you are not acting strange right now. What did Sope say about the case,” she asked anxiously.

“Case? What case dear, the young man only came to check on you.”

“O Lord!” Derin rolled her eyes.

 “I am serious Nana they have taken too long to crack this case. Why dint you wake me?” she screamed and rushed to her phone to dial Sope. Bisola immediately followed her.

“Well, because you needed the rest and judging from your response right now I envisage more sleepless nights for you,” Bisola sighed.

“Hello,” Derin greeted, ignoring her grandmother’s remark.

 “Nana said you stopped by earlier today. Do you need my help in any way with the case?” 

“Hi, I would prefer we meet up and talk rather than have a phone conversation.”

Derin was quiet for a few seconds.

 “What is going on Sope?” she asked solemnly. 

“The tone of your voice is far from encouraging. It seems like you have bad news for me.”

“Just relax for once,” he snapped.

“Can we hang out at Sisi’s restaurant later this evening by 8pm?”

Sope somehow sounded subtle with his request.

“Ok, Sope no problem, see you soon,” she responded before dropping the phone.

 “I would be going out to Sisi’s by 8pm this evening Nana,” She mentioned as she faced her grandmother.

“I shouldn’t take so long but just in case I do, please don’t bother waiting up for me.”

 The expression on Bisola’s face was quite confusing. It seemed like Derin had just mentioned she would be getting married later in the evening.

“Oh! Please take your time,” she replied with a big smile.

“Would you like the driver to drop you off, or would you rather drive yourself,” Bisola asked.

“I would tell him to drop me off and wait till I am done Nana,” she answered and headed upstairs to prepare for her evening appointment.”

Nana watched her with pure revelry as she left the living room.

 “Knock him dead,” she immediately screamed before Derin was out of earshot.

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