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IRON BOY (4 OF 4)

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Part 4 of 4

Two days later, Malik Asala was officially acknowledged dead. The realization was accompanied by sufficient shock for many. Those behind the embezzlement were still running free, and the cause of Malik’s death was unresolved. Director was in a mess. Jaraya had half-answers, but she was not allowed to reduce her boss’ pain until she had her hands on solid evidence. And so she went towards Casper’s office.

As per the instructions from Iron Boy, she knocked and entered Casper’s office, her phone audio recorder already switched on in her pocket. Casper seemed like a man who was beginning to feel some much-needed relief. Things were going better than he’d imagined. He reduced the volume of the radio and raised his head as if to ask her what the visit was about.

“I hate to say this, but you seem to be in good spirits since Malik died.” Jaraya responded. Casper’s face suddenly changed.

“Who said that? I have always been the same…doing my best for the company and for staff. But I am not the ass-kissing type so Director can’t see.” Casper said.

“And what, may I ask, has this to do with the death of our colleague?”

“You know he was the Golden Boy…”

“You mean Malik is the reason why Director is not impressed with whatever we do?”

“Isn’t that obvious. Arrogant and proud as he is…was. Small boy. He doesn’t know the world.”

“I know. But who could have killed him?” Casper laughed out loud.

“Malik? As arrogant as he was, there’s no way anyone can go close enough to him to kill him. I believe he killed himself.”

A bright light flashed in the room. Jaraya pretended everything was in order, but Casper jumped back in fright.

“Did you see that?” he asked.

“See what.” She asked, looking around. Casper moved from his seat, walked around his office, and came back to his desk.

“I thought I saw a flash of light. Anyway, everything is okay.” As soon as he settled back into his seat, a scream came out in Malik’s voice:

      “Casper, Casper, Casper. Today you’ll pay for what you did to me.”

     Casper jerked up to his feet. He was terrified.

“Did…did…you hear,,, that?” He stuttered.

“Hear what? You okay?”

The voice continued again in that manner after a 3-D holographic image of Malik wearing a white apparel illuminated behind Jaraya. The image was facing Casper. He froze and pointed frantically at the mirage behind Jaraya.

“Ahhhh, a ghost, a ghost, Malik’s ghost.” He screamed.

“Are you okay, Casper?” Jaraya inquired. Casper was now on his feet wholly rattled and feeling tortured. The voice came again.

Casper, sit down and confess your sins now. Confess now. You murdered me.” The voice said. The image of Malik was still bright and radiating. Jaraya continued to pretend not to hear that. She looked at Casper with concern, and she could see the mess he had become. He jumped and hid behind his desk and peeped to see if his imaginary assailant was still around. Upon seeing that the image of Malik was still present, he tried to run out the door, but the image intercepted him. And all the while he kept looking at Jaraya and wondered why she was not reacting in any way.

Jaraya looked at him sternly and queried:

“What is going on, Casper? Why are you talking to you yourself?”

Casper, do not try to run again. I am everywhere. You cannot run away from this. The only was to be free is to confess to Jaraya.”

“Will you leave me alone if I confess? Will you?” When the voice responded “yes”, Casper remorsefully moved back to his seat and narrated without hesitation how he embezzled the company’s money to pay for, among many other things, the termination of his girlfriend’s pregnancy to avoid suspicion from his wife. He confessed that he was making his very last transfer when Malik chanced upon the transaction and raised red flags. He assured him he had money at home to pay for what he had embezzled, so he lured the trusting fool to his house where he proceeded to poison him through a meal of tuo zaafe and groundnut soup.

“And so, I confess: I am a thief and a murderer.”

The holographic image of Malik vanished and it was replaced by the humming sound of the drone that had been invisible all this while.

Jaraya was now satiated with Casper’s confession. Enveloped with  so much remorse, Jaraya rushed out of Casper’s office straight to Director’s to inform him of the development. The drone was now in tow. In Director’s office, he listened to what Jaraya had to say. Bewildered Director intoned:

“O my god. Project Iron Boy, serial number 06031957. It worked.” He whispered with a smile on his pained face.

 

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