Mystery surrounds the death of a young student

Kevin Manunure

Kevin Manunure

Winner of the Second Prize in the Postgraduate Category of the 16th English Short Story Writing Competition

On a wet March afternoon, there were continuous showers after a heavy downpour in the morning. Tawanda was in the midst of a strong argument with his wife when he received an email notification from Hong Kong Baptist University.
He suddenly became quiet and stared at his phone. He, unfortunately, could not view the whole message. The wife was astonished by his sudden change of temperament, and her husband suddenly agreed to all her demands and asked for fifty bond notes to buy data bundles.
Now that his Ph.D. Fellowship Scheme was confirmed, on his way back home from the shops, he came up with three main missions to accomplish from the fellowship. He planned to finish constructing his house and buy his wife a car to compensate for the loss in conjugal rights. He intended to help Trish enroll for the same scholarship. Trish was a beautiful married young lady with her own fair share of marital problems. The third mission was to hook-up with a rich Chinese single lady with the intention of siphoning her money which he would send back to Zimbabwe.
It seemed Tawanda was very calculative and on point. The moment he arrived in HK, he signed up for a dating site and was madly in love within no time. Candy was an old Chinese rich woman with an obsession with young adult males. She exhibited a lot of energy in everything she did. She would visit him mostly during weekdays, and the security at Tawanda’s house did not bother to ask for her credentials anymore. She had become such a permanent feature.
In early September of the following year, Trish was quarantined in a hotel, ready to start her Ph.D. studies. Tawanda would visit her with food, and after each visit, he would feel a bond much stronger than just friends. After all, why would he make such sacrifices to a married woman? During self-reflection, Tawanda would ask himself, “How am I going to allocate time to these three ladies?” The thought of his predicament was a thorn in the flesh for him, and that of his beloved wife always made him shiver. Trish’s presence provided a welcome relief from all his lonely, dull days. Candy, well, she served her purpose well. Tawanda was regularly sending money back home.
Early Thursday morning, Trish was in Tawanda’s room to celebrate National Day. She definitely saw it coming, and he had all the opportunity to accomplish his long-term plans. The two had the greatest time together but all plagued by feelings of guilt. By the way, they still had their wedding rings on their wedding fingers. In the afternoon, Candy went straight to the 8th-floor room 826. Tawanda was dumbfounded by the unexpected guest. After a while, he said, “Candy, this is Trish from Zimbabwe and Trish, this is Candy from the Island.”
The room was for a while filled with a forlorn atmosphere. He gazed at his phone and noticed that he had missed several calls from home, and his wife was requesting a Skype meeting because the children were demanding to share the good news with their father. Candy broke the silence, “Tee, my love, I’m not staying long. I have to rush home as I have some visitors coming.” She spoke with such a composed voice that did not show any emotions. She graciously turned, kissed Tawanda lightly on the cheek and left. Perplexed by the coincidence of events, Tawanda stood fixed to the spot, unable to face Trish. They remained aloof for some time. After what seemed like an eternity, he told his dejected guest that he was going downstairs to buy some food.
When he got back from the shops two hours later, Tawanda was surprised to see Candy’s Q7 Audi leaving. His room was locked, and no one responded to his knock. When the security used the spare keys to gain entry, the first thing to catch their eyes was Trish’s lifeless body. The police immediately attended the scene.
Candy was taken in as the chief suspect, and she was at pains to justify her movements from room 826. The police had a conviction that when she left the room, she hid somewhere within the building and went back to kill Trish after Tawanda left for the shops. This explains why she checked out of the house through the emergency exit hours after Tawanda, though she was the first to leave the room. However, her lawyers sprang into action, and she was immediately released until the police produced real evidence to support their allegations. From then, the detectives realized they had some work to do.
Tawanda was summoned for further questioning. He knew this time he had to be very careful in every word he speaks. He knew the police would ask if they had sex on that day, and he was certain the autopsy report would include that aspect. The truth on the matter was to his advantage in the eyes of the police but would do permanent damage to his family. He remembered vividly that their friendship was subject to disapproval even from Trish’s family. The two families were also not aware of their plans to meet in HK. His use of the emergency exit would also do enough damage to his alibi.
On his way to the police station, he decided to trash the remaining Japani-F Capsules into a street bin, but surprisingly the quantity left was much less than he expected, and he realized the implication would be obvious. “So you drugged and raped before you killed her?” the detectives would obviously interpret it that way. “By the way, where did you get the pills because these are not legal here,” that would be the most incriminating question to answer, he thought to himself.
By the time he got to the police station, he had made a decision to shift all the blame to Candy and Trish. He felt at peace with his decision because Trish was already dead, so she had nothing to lose, while Candy had a very good lawyer who would definitely ensure her acquittal, while at the same time, he portrayed himself as a victim of circumstances. In the interrogation room, Tawanda fought so hard to shift the blame to the two ladies, and from it, the detective took another vital lead.
After going through her room, the detectives were convinced that Trish knew about her imminent death and she was taking antidepressant drugs. Apparently, her husband had visited a traditional healer who assured him that his wife would experience some turmoil in HK, and if she failed to voluntarily withdraw from the program, she would definitely not see the 2nd day of October. Maybe that is why she chose to start the day at Tawanda’s place and gave him all he desired. Why not? After all, the one whom she tied the knot with was the one wishing her dead. The evidence seemed to point in all directions. The detectives then wondered if the last hoped-for piece of evidence, the autopsy report, could help them join the pieces together.
The autopsy report made the detectives realize that they were in a fix. It indicated that the deceased had indulged in a penetrative sexual activity, and she had no sign of any physical injuries. Her blood had a high concentration of antidepressant and sex-enhancing drugs. Antidepressants may cause increased suicidal thoughts when taken by young adults, while sex-enhancing drugs may cause loss of consciousness.
Did drugs cause the death? Did Candy force her to take the drugs? Did Tawanda drug her over? Did she commit suicide? The detectives concluded that the questions were too open to be answered by the autopsy report or the gathered clues. The fact of the matter was that the cause of the death of a young lady was a mystery.

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