A vast empty hall enclosed by white walls, silence filled the church on a bright and sunny late afternoon. It felt like there was a holy presence in church and that feeling which made Ariel Dewadhita feel welcomed to enter the church to do her prayers in the early evening. As she walked into the hall, she felt her troubles lifted off her and that feeling continued until she reached the second row from front of the hall. At that row, Ariel saw a body of a female face down lying in a pool of blood. Ariel fell backward and accelerated her breathing then her face turned pale. “Aaaaahhhhhhhhhh” Ariel shrieked but no one heard as the church was empty. Not long later, Ariel took out her phone and called the police and emergency services while trembling at the same time. Soon enough, the authorities arrived and Ariel was standing outside the church and she was still traumatized from the gory scene she saw but Ariel did not that something else about what she was going to bug her further. When the paramedics carried the body out of the church, Ariel caught a glimpse of the face and was shocked again. “That is my student!” Ariel exclaimed then she added “that’s May. That’s my student, May.”
Ariel was stunned that one of her students was brutally hurt and she prayed that May would survive the ordeal. However Ariel’s prayers were in vain as the paramedics pronounced May dead in the ambulance and Ariel heard the paramedics screamed “oh no, she is dead! She is dead!” as she was in close proximity of the ambulance. Ariel was overwhelmed with disbelief and not long later grief started to creep into Ariel. Then Ariel was joined by two police officers and one of them was her former best friend, Ginger Maraviga, who she has not seen in a long time. “Ariel, can we ask you a few questions?” Ginger asked and Ariel replied “ok” so the other officer asked Ariel “do you know the deceased?” “Yes she is one of my students, her name is May Lufrappierre” Ariel answered. “How did you discover her body?” Ginger asked Ariel and Ariel recounted the chain of events leading to her discovery “I was heading home after I finished work and just happened to pass by the church. Since I am member of this church, I decided to go in and do my prayers and I walked in. As I walking to the front of the church, I saw a body on the floor, lying in a pool of blood.” “At first, I didn’t managed to see the face of the victim but after the victim was carried out by paramedics, I managed to get a good look at the face and realized it was my student, May” Ariel added then the other officer asked Ariel “did you see anyone suspicious leaving the church or running away before you came in?” “No, it was quiet and peaceful when I entered the church and there was no one in sight” Ariel answered then Ginger asked Ariel “do you know anyone who could harm May or might wanna harm May?” “No, she get along well with her classmates and her family, I don’t know there is anyone who might wanna harm her.” “Does she have a boyfriend or an ex?” the other officer asked Ariel and Ariel replied “I don’t know, I never saw her dating anyone but I don’t know if she is in a relationship or had dated anyone before.” “That will be all we need to know, thank you” said Ginger and the two officers left and Ariel stood there thinking about the death of her student.
Ariel was also stunned that the murder occurred in the church of all places. The church had always been a place close to Ariel’s heart; it had been her sanctuary for her to forget all her problems whenever she was caught up in the frustrations and struggles of everyday life. It was where Ariel could immerse herself in the holy presence whenever she entered the church. Ariel always believed that the church was place where people can be protected from the outside and where people can pray in peace for the strength that they need to overcome their problems but May had lost her life in the church. However for May, she lost her life in the church and that was what that stunned Ariel.
The next day, it was a Saturday and the church was conducting a service a day after a fourteen years-old girl was murdered there. The service was conducted by Pastor Dave and Ariel was presented during the service. Ariel noticed that the church was only half-filled and attendance was significant lesser than how the attendance is like on a normal weekend service. From there, Ariel inferred that fears might have got into the heads of the regular church-goers and deterred them from attending this service. Next to Ariel was Ginger who used to be a very close friend of Ariel but now she is just nothing more than just a platonic friend. “He must had been very strong to conduct this service himself, considering that his niece died here” Ginger whispered to Ariel. “He is May’s uncle?” Ariel replied and Ginger answered “yes.”
After the service, most of the people left the church, Ariel saw the Pastor Dave standing at the front and probably grieving. Then Ariel walked over to the pastor and offered her condolences. “By the way, thank you for attending the service. I mean after what happened here, many were too scared to come for service because they are afraid they might be killed in the church considering my niece was murdered in the church” said Pastor Dave. “Actually I been coming to the church for a very long time, I had always felt safe and protected whenever I am in this church. I can’t believe this sanctuary could actually become the scene of a brutal murder” Ariel replied then she added “I wasn’t expecting that the murder victim would be one of my students.” “Many believe that the church is the house of God, it is where people come to seek refuge from their daily problems and not where you expect someone to be killed in” Pastor Dave responded and Ariel replied “I hope the police could catch the culprit responsible for the murder of May.” “Dear lady, with the power of God, anything is possible and it’s only a matter of time for justice to prevail” said the pastor. Ariel was surprised by how the pastor had managed to suppress his feeling of grief but she believed that the pastor must be feeling very upset on inside but did not want to let it show. Then the pastor walked off and Ariel watched the man of faith made his exit. Shortly Ginger approached Ariel and asked her “wanna go for lunch? We haven’t had lunch together for very long time” Ariel nodded her head and the two ladies went for lunch at the nearby café.
At the café, “it had been three years since we last had time to talk to each other so how have you been doing?” Ginger asked Ariel. “I’m doing great; I had been working as music teacher for two and a half year now. I just learnt that you are a police officer now so how’s your work?” Ariel replied. “It‘s okay I guess. Immediately after college, I joined police academy then after two years, I graduated and posted to the narcotics department. Recently I got transferred to the violent crime department and this is the first case I’m handling” Ginger answered. Immediately they realized how out of touch they had been and this brought them a sense of nostalgia and some pity for the friendship they used to have. Ariel and Ginger had been friends ever since they were babies because their mothers were friends. Ariel and Ginger pretty much grew up together, they went to the same kindergarten became best friend since then and followed each other all the way to college where they became roommates. However after they graduate from university, reality started to tear the best friends apart. Ariel was assigned to Nigeria as part of her teacher training program and Ginger joined the police academy. Due to the poor communication infrastructure and availability of technology in Nigeria and the stringent control of communication with the outside world within the highly secure compound of the police academy, Ariel and Ginger had absolutely no chance to communicate with each other through phone or email. The lack of communication between the two close friends made them drift away from each other hence the two ladies who used to be as close as sister became merely just platonic friends.
Ginger was able to sense a feeling of uneasiness from both Ariel and herself so she tried changing the topic by saying “so May must have been a special student to you, was she?” “She sure was” Ariel answered then she elaborated “she was a nice and outstanding girl; she could play the violin very well which made my job so much easier. She obviously had lots of potential; I never thought that her life would be cut short so suddenly.” “I felt very sorry for her, which is why I’m going bring her killer to justice.” “Are you in charge of the case?” Ariel asked Ginger and Ginger replied “yes, it is the first time I actually was put in charge of case and I was certainly not expecting my first case to be murder.” Ginger noticed that Ariel had her mind elsewhere so she asked “Ariel, you seem pretty disturbed, is there anything bothering your other than the girl murdered being your student?” “Well other that May being the victim of a homicide, another thing that bothered me was that the homicide occurred in our church of all places. The church felt like the closest place to heaven to me, I never that such an act of violence and evil would occur there” Ariel told Ginger. After hearing that, Ginger told Ariel “actually a homicide occurred in the church ten years ago.”
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