MASKED- Chapter One

Read Gibret Story: Love Under The Knife 

CHAPTER ONE

*****

Misery.

Tangy stood at the window lifting the blinds and peering outside her home. Her heel thumped softly when she walked across the room away from the view.

“It’s a bloody commotion outside there. Would they ever leave?” she asked the officer.

The police officer stared at her for a brief moment, “I assure you they will grow tired and hungry. They are humans after all.”

She shot him a cold glance, of course they weren’t humans. These were gossip starved vultures, waiting to feast on her life, evil vultures capable of sacrificing parts of themselves to get firsthand information of whatever happened to her.

Tangy was a woman in her late thirties. She was a man’s dream and a man’s worst night mare, all depending on the kind of man it was. She could appear like an angel sometimes, when she was attractive, independent, sensual, and sensitive and other times, when she was stressed, snapping at everybody and everything, she looked like the devil, however a beautiful one. She had light brown eyes and smooth, light caramel skin. When she walked into any room, heads turned, whispers were heard and when they saw her, they understood the sudden rise in temperature. In her early twenties she was one of the youngest co-host in a show named the Morning after, it had been one of the best TV shows that aired in the country. Everyone loved her then mostly for her beauty and eloquence, but after a few years, she managed to start her own show. It was the best in the country and aired in several other countries across the continent. And now they loved and respected her for more than just her looks and her voice, but for her brilliance. But, being in the spotlight, always had its disadvantages, as there were still a few who wanted her downfall, waiting patiently to shed light on her mistakes, her insecurities and regrets, so as to get a part in the attention she was receiving. Some of the latter, stood outside her home, waiting.

“What time did your husband say he would be here?” the officer asked.

“He should be here any moment. Can you do something about those reporters before he gets here?” she asked again, this time looking more worried.

“No, they are standing on government road, and are not trespassing. Can we rather go over your story again?” the officer asked.

He knew it was difficult, she was trying her best not to break down or look weak but he could see the pool of tears she fought back behind her dark and long lashes.

“Please?” he asked.

“Sure. What do you want to know?”

“When was the last time you saw your daughter?”

“Last night. After I put her in her cot. She had eaten, and fallen asleep right away. After that, I was so exhausted myself. I went to bed.”

“What happened when you woke up this morning?”

“I woke up late and I was in a hurry to get to the bathroom but I froze just before I got to it. I thought that Sophie was unusually quiet. Once I had her I had no use for alarms. She would always wake me up with her boisterous cry. I was scared because she hadn’t made a sound yet. I knew something was wrong. I could feel it. I went to her cot, and she wasn’t there…. I held my breath then and tried not to panic. I told myself the maid must have gotten her to feed her. Even though I still thought something didn’t feel right about the whole situation. I came downstairs to the maid, and she was busy cleaning. I asked her, if she had my Sophie, and she said she didn’t… Tangy stopped talking, and when she let out her breath she said, you know the rest of it.”

“Did you hear any strange sounds during the night?”

“No, and I am usually a very light sleeper.”

“What time does your maid leave work?”

“She leaves by 5pm, but since the birth of my daughter, she stays till 8 sometimes.”

“And what time does she arrive?”

“7 am.”

“Was she still in that night, when you went to bed?”

“No. I put the baby to bed by 10pm. I was all alone by then.”

“And in the morning? When you woke up, was the maid in?”

“Yes.”

“What time was it? When you woke up?”

“ Around 8:05”

“Do you have any reason you think she would want to do this to you?”

“Oh my god! No. She has been with us for over ten years.”

“Well you never had a child in those ten y-”

“I don’t know who to suspect or what to believe anymore, Tangy interrupted, who would come into my house to steal my child?! This cannot be real. God, I have to wake up.”

Even though she was a practical woman, the officer could see good reason why she would think, that his presence, the rowdy group of reporters outside, and all these other things were all part of some nightmare. Child abduction was certainly no joke. Who would want to cause her so much pain?

“And your maid? She does have access to your house at all times?”

“Yes, ten years is a long time to completely trust someone. And she has never given us any reason to doubt her.”

“I am going to have a chat with her. Stay calm.”

She was calm. She refused to believe what was happening to her. Her life wasn’t supposed to be this turbulent. Where would her big break come from then? Just before this, she had believed her big break was Sophie. Thirteen years of trying to have a child. And it finally happened! But now the child had gone missing in her care. What cosmic play was she in? She tried to pull herself together, her husband would be home soon. She didn’t know if his situation was far worse or better, worse because he hadn’t spent a lot of time with the child before the airline cut short his leave, or was it better that he had not known this joy she had held in her arms only to be left without it so drastically and so brutally. She could already see the tabloids rolling in, screaming she was a terrible mother, too busy making money to take care of her own child. Panic rose in her throat, and she thought she could taste her own vomit. People were always ready to have their tongues lashing at her, if this wasn’t a dream, then it was only the beginning.

Tangy’s maid was petite and pretty. She looked motherly from the outside. But if one had an eye that could see beyond appearances, one would know she was young, yearning to be held and loved. But she had no idea of what a mother’s love was like or the grief that the loss of a new born could come with.

The officer was annoyed at her, “This is the last time I am going to ask you. Who can testify that you were home by 10pm that night?”

“I didn’t steal that child. I loved it like it was mine, I fed her, changed her diapers, she was just as mine as Tangy’s.”

“You see that’s exactly my concern because she is not yours. Now, answer the question I asked you.”

“I live alone. But you can ask my neighbors, I am sure someone must have seen me get down the bus and go into my house.”

The officer laughed, “Your neighbors? Okay I definitely will. Do you have a man?”

“What?! No!” he could see the shock the question provoked and he liked it, but he didn’t like the answer, because it was a blatant lie.

Why would she lie about having a man? He thought. Maybe this man didn’t return the love she had for him? Perhaps she had a one sided love for Tangy’s husband? He never reciprocated it because he was in love with his wife. And she decided to get at them by stealing their child. That was far-fetched for an officer of the law. But women could be crazy like that, all in the name of love. Anyhow, he had to question Dave.

The officer looked outside the window, and to his amazement, the reporters had multiplied. Tangy was no more sitting in the living room she had gone upstairs. Just then his cellphone rang and he answered. The fingerprints result was out and of course the only prints found were that of Tangy and the maid. She had admitted to cleaning the room during the day before the incident. He wanted to arrest the maid. She was the lead he had, but he could not, unless he found a motive as to why she would want to hurt Tangy. Although it was no secret that most female maids envied their female employers, he would need a more concrete reason than that, if not the case would not hold in a court. And that reason would just have to be her love interest in Dave, Tangy’s husband.

**
Once the plane was on the ground, the passengers began alighting. Dave took out his cell phone and turned it on. There were several missed calls from both his wife and the local police station. Even while he was on air he had been aware that something was wrong at home. But he had to be in control of his emotions. He was responsible for not only his life but that of others. He was a father now, and his child would not grow up fatherless.

He took a cab home as fast as he could. His fear heightened when he saw a bunch of reporters in front of his house doing their best not to step on his lawn.

“What the hell!” he muttered, was she okay? He hoped that nothing bad had happened to his wife.

Not until he brushed his way through the reporters and saw Tangy coming down the stairs did his mind turn to Sophie, he tried to brush it off. His baby girl was fine, he trusted Tangy to take care of her.

“Dave! You are here!” Tangy cried running straight into his arms.

“What’s going on?”

The officer was around waiting to question Dave before he returned to his station, and while Dave and Tangy embraced, he watched the maid, trying to see if she would display any signs of a jealous fit. But she didn’t.

“It’s Sophie! Our Sophie!!… She is gone!” For the first time Tangy burst into tears, and she did not stop sobbing, her voice became muffled as her face was buried into the broad chest of Dave.
Dave was too shocked to speak for a while he turned to the officer, as if only noticing him for the first time.

“What does she mean?”

“Your child has been abducted sir. I am sorry. But we are on it. We are searching everywhere, investigations are ongoing. And I have a theory here,” the officer said turning to the maid briefly.

Dave held Tangy in his arms and took her upstairs. Sophie had been too good to be true, he thought. He had a perfect wife, whom he was in love with. Yes, he had been crazy about a child in their early years of marriage, but after so much trying, he had decided to be happy with what he had. And that was Tangy. He had his career blossoming, although risky he was happy with it. And then all of a sudden he had Sophie, everything had been too good to be true. His wife was miserable and he knew it was because he wasn’t under the same scrutiny as she was. Yes, she wanted a child, but not as much as Society wanted it for her, and now that God finally gave her one, someone had the impetus to abduct it. He wondered who had seen their joy and decided to make them unhappy, and at what heights would they go, just to achieve their aim.

“Tangy, it’s alright. We will find her,” he tried to reassure her.

“Why, Dave? Why? She muttered, after everything I have been through to get a child, you know what the doctor said about her, that she was a miracle, my Sophie was a miracle Dave.”

“We will find her. I promise you that. And we can try, another miracle can happen to us.”

Tangy smiled weakly, “I don’t deserve you. Thank you so much.”

“I love you Tangy, and you are enough for me,” he said kissing her softly.

“I want my child back. I am sorry that I can’t be as content as you are.”

“It’s alright, we will find her… trust me.”

Tangy continued her sobbing in his arms for hours until she slept off. Quietly, Dave carried her to the bed and pulled the covers over her. Then he headed to the station, the officer had taken the maid there for further questioning. He also had some answering to do.

***
“POPULAR HOST, TANGY WALKER’S CHILD HAS BEEN ABDUCTED FROM LUXURIOUS MANSION.”

The man smiled at the headline, it had been less than 24 hours and the news was everywhere. Everyone was talking about him and they didn’t even know it. He felt like a hero, more appropriate a super villain. They had under estimated him in so many ways, but now who was the hero, no villain, he thought. The child had stopped with all its silliness and was now asleep, in a few years she wouldn’t even recall a single thing about that night or where she was from. Wasn’t that amazing, the brain of a baby. He would raise her and she would grow to be a beautiful woman. He had no doubts of that. With the thought of growing, he looked around his house, the drunken mess he lived in. He had to get his shit together, get a stable job, and do a lot more so she would be healthy, he hadn’t thought of that before, and suddenly the thought of responsibility made him shriek. He reached into his dirty show glass and emptied many bottles of liquor before he got an amount to drink, he couldn’t even take care of himself, and now he had a baby to feed. He felt the room grow hot, closing in on him. He needed to breathe some fresh air. He went outside, and a moment later he saw his neighbor get off his motorcycle, and go into his house. Then he had this crazy idea. He always had crazy ideas when drunk. Soon, he sat on his neighbor’s bike, turned the key, and the engine roared to life. His neighbor came out immediately, telling him to get off his bike. But he laughed and zoomed off. Drunk, free, with nowhere in mind, he sped off. He had gotten his revenge on her, on both of them, this thought increased his speed on the motorcycle. Tangy would pay for the poor choices she had made. It didn’t take long for him to hear the sirens coming behind him, the police were on his tail, but that only made him feel a rush of new adrenaline pour into his veins. It was time to show the world how much of a villain he really was. He laughed loudly and didn’t see the car speeding towards him. The man behind the wheels had a failing break. For a moment he got back his senses and realized that he had never driven a motorcycle before, but before he could put thoughts together to prevent what was coming to him. The car slammed into him, making him loose grip on his bike and tumble down on the hot, hard, tarred road. His head tore open as it landed and blood gushed profusely, his face disfigured as it hit the ground and his breathing slowed and finally became nonexistent. He died a sudden death.

***
The maid sat all alone in the room painted white. Every second she sat there, she became even more afraid that she would end up in jail. It was obvious now that she was a prime suspect. They had kept her there longer than she had expected, and she had been asked questions which in a normal circumstance she would have labelled ridiculous and none of your damn business. Most of the questions were relating to her employer Dave. They had no evidence against her but she didn’t trust the justice system. The rich could get away with anything, and it was only a matter of how much. Her hope now rested on her employers. Hopefully they would not want to see their poor and loyal servant sit in prison.

The officer had left the maid, once he got a call that Dave had arrived at the station. He was the other half of the piece he needed to complete his theory. On seeing him, they shook hands briefly and took their seats in a room that would give them more privacy than they needed.

“I came down as soon as I could. How can I be of help?” Dave asked.

“By telling the truth. First, do you know anyone that wants to hurt you or your wife?”

“We are in the public eye, we have enemies we don’t even know about. And those who hate us, for some reason still want to be seen as our friends.”

“Frenemies, I understand. But you must have some of them foolish enough to distinguish themselves, the bold kind of enemies.”

“No, not that I can tell.” Dave thought for a short while, “There was this man, I am not sure this relates to anything really. I don’t even know who he was or where he comes from, but one odd Saturday morning, I was about going for a run, just got out of my house. He jumps on me, and succeeds in frightening me. He was all drunk, messed up and sloppy for an early day. He sounded like he was giving a threat, but I just thought he got the wrong person. I had never seen him before.”

“What did this man say to you?”

“She is not yours.”

“She is not yours? Who do you think he was referring to?”

“I have no idea. He looked awful, smelled badly, I thought he had gone crazy and ended on the streets, but for some reason, I keep remembering him now.”

“When was this?”

“A week after Sophie was born, I remember the timing well because I got a call from the airline that same day, immediately after the incident I just narrated occurred. It was an emergency and I needed to be there. I was contemplating going, Sophie was just born and all…but Tangy, she was so understanding, she said she will be fine, the baby would be alright. I should go and I did. God knows that if I never left her side, this would never have happened.”

The officer agreed with him, but it was no time for regrets.

“Did you report this man, or tell your wife about it?”

“No, I forgot it once I got the call that there was an emergency.”

“Can you remember the face of this man you talked about?”

“Yes.”

“Good, because we will have to look into it immediately. But before that, your maid. Has she shown any sign of affection towards you?”

“Uhm… I don’t quite understand?”

“I mean has she made advances towards you? Any kind of sexual advances” the officer asked lowering his voice.

Dave frowned before he smiled, “No, no, she does not even seem like the affectionate type.”

“Are you sure?”

“C’mon officer, I love my wife. I wouldn’t even think about it.”

“I understand. Maybe your maid doesn’t know that, or she knows and doesn’t care?”

“She hasn’t shown any signs of affection towards me. If anything I think she might be afraid of us, I use afraid for a lack of a better term. She drew a boundary for herself from the very first day she came into our lives, and we always respected it.”

The officer believed him, but he was still not convinced.

“Okay. Do you want us to keep her for further questioning? Truthfully, she has been here more than legally necessary. ”

Dave thought for a moment, “I don’t think she will be capable of such a thing. But a few more questioning might help us. She might know something we don’t.”

“Right. Thank you for your time. That will be all for now. My regards to your wife.”

“The only regards she needs now is that you have found our child.”

The officer looked at him and nodded. There was no need for more words.

They shook hands and both went in opposite directions, Dave, out of the station and back home to his wife and the officer back to where the maid, Miss Martha Owell sat.

To be continued…

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