COIN……there are two sides to every story by @obasatemitope (Episode X)

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Kogberegbe suddenly realized he was sweating. He looked around the eatery and noticed there weren’t so many people there anymore. Naija! He mused for he knew what had happened. The air conditioners were switched off to reduce cost; they tend to leave it on only when there were many customers around. Business minds in Nigeria could be irritating, he thought, gulping the last of his coke and making his way out of the eatery in annoyance.

Kogberegbe mentally checked his to-do list and fired his car, heading toward Unilag (University of Lagos) where Ronke used to be a student. Kogberegbe already got a list of Ronke’s ‘few friends’ from her dad and a more comprehensive one from Dapo, as well as the address of the club they used to visit. According to Dapo, Ronke’s closest friend wasn’t even known by her parents.

Though Kogberegbe was skeptical about finding anyone of them in school, Dapo assured him that some of them would, especially because many of the students come from far and wide.

Ronke stayed in Moremi hall while she was alive, and that was where Kogberegbe headed. He saw a woman who identified herself as the hostel warden; she said men were not allowed in the hostel. Her face however fell as Kogberegbe told her the nature of his visit, she knew Ronke quite well. According to her, the girl was vibrant and full of life, but also very kind. Kogberegbe knew what it meant when older people said someone was ‘vibrant’. She pointed abruptly mid-sentence “Look, that is Kemi walking towards the car. Both of them were pretty close.”

“Thank you ma’am” Kogberegbe said, running to catch up with the girl before she got in the car which was obviously waiting for her, packed full with students.

“Kemi” Kogberegbe called out. She looked back and gave him an assessing look followed by an expression that showed that she didn’t know him and wasn’t too keen on doing so. She was obviously one of the high class babes on campus who didn’t have time to spare anyone who wasn’t rich or popular in school. She turned and continued graciously towards the car.

“This concerns Ronke. I assume you knew her?” This made her stop in her tracks, she turned back and smirked, throwing her head back, a gesture that made her fake long hair fly backwards. Her right hand was glued mid-air, hanging her handbag perfectly in place, her face half covered by a huge pair of sunglasses.

“Knew?” she said, giving him a look that so annoyed him.

“She’s dead” Kogberegbe said and was instantly rewarded with an immediate change in her total expression. Her seemingly starched hand impressively went limp and her face went pale.

Frowning, she asked “What are you talking about?”

Kogberegbe brought out his identification card and took a step towards her “I am detective Kogberegbe, investigating the homicide”

“Homicide?” her face contorted “what on earth are you talking about?” she screamed

“Please calm down, I will not like to take you in for questioning” which he was sure would have been what the Nigerian police would do “but at the same time, I do not want you to cause a scene” Kemi nodded her comprehension and leaned against the bonnet of the car, a tear rolled down her cheek. Kogberegbe saw her friends scurrying out of the car, they were obviously worried.

“I would like to ask you a few questions. Can you kindly ask your friends to excuse us for a few minutes?”

“It’s ok” she said blankly “we are all a clique. Some of them were even closer to Ronke than I was”

“Alright then” Kogberegbe said as the first girl approached.

“Hey” she greeted him casually and turned her attention on her friend “are you alright?” at this point, everyone else was by her side.

“Ronke is dead” Kemi blurted out and ran off into the hostel, sobbing uncontrollably as she went.

Kogberegbe rolled his eyes wondering how dramatic these girls can be. He was quite surprised though that none of these supposed friends had heard about the death or of Dapo’s arrest. Their faces registered shock, surprise and grief. One of the girls went after Kemi.

“None of you knew she’s dead?” Kogberegbe asked and they all slowly shook their heads “Did anyone of you notice anything out of the ordinary? Any odd behavior or associations that could suggest anything?” again they shook their heads in silence “was she part of a cult group?”

“Why are you asking all these questions, Mr. …?” One of the boys stepped closer, questioning Kogberegbe’s authority.

“Oh, sorry. Since you didn’t know about her death, you wouldn’t have known how she died. She was killed, more precisely her neck was snapped” Kogberegbe added for effect. He knew that these kids would need a little fright if they were going to be of any help to the case.

“Killed? That doesn’t make any sense. Who would want to kill her?” the boy questioned further.

“I was hoping you’d tell me that” Kogberegbe responded, wiping dust off his sunglasses with a white handkerchief.

“Me?” the boy asked

“Not you in particular, any of you whole lot. From what I gathered, you were her friends and you apparently knew her better than even her parents did. I am certain you are aware that she lived a double life?”

“What are you talking about?” He looked at Kogberegbe, at his friends and back at Kogberegbe “we all flock together, we know ourselves quite well. Ronke was a high spirited girl, she liked to enjoy life and get a little wild sometimes. But that’s nothing bad, we party quite hard but we also made a pact to study twice as hard. It’s not a bad way to live” he added defiantly.

“Yet one of you lost their life” Kogberegbe thre back “What’s your name buddie?”

“David”

“David, that’s one part of Ronke’s life that you know of. I believe…”

“How dare you insult our friend?” David darted back

“Ronke is- was different at home” one of the girls supplied quietly, her head bowed “Her parents don’t support clubbing or any of our lifestyles” tears rolled down her cheeks as she spoke.

David looked back at Kogberegbe, a deep frown on his face “Who are you anyway?”

“I am Kogberegbe. Detective Kogberegbe, and I’m officially investigating your friend’s death”

“I wish you luck detective. We’ll be glad when you apprehend the murderer, but nothing in our lifestyle suggests why she may have met with such fate. None of us is in any kind of cult. We are regular students, we only like to enjoy life and live it to the fullest. I still maintain that that is not a crime”

“Indeed” Kogberegbe smiled, noticing that the girl who spoke up earlier looked slightly uncomfortable. “Well, just in case you remember anything that can help with this investigation- anything at all, please give me a call” Kogberegbe said, handing out a stack of his business cards.

“I’ve told you all we know sir, we don’t have anything more to say” David said, refusing to take the cards.

“Humour me nevertheless” Kogberegbe insisted. He turned to the girl “What’s your name, lady?”

“Fadeke” she responded, looking up and collecting the cards that Kogberegbe offered.

“Thank you” Kogberegbe said, still smiling. He wore his sunglasses and excused himself. As he drove away, Kogberegbe wondered if this was another dead end…though something about David struck him as odd. He was defensive for no reason- perhaps too defensive.

Back in his office, he thumbed absent-mindedly at his desk, thinking about the case. No one saw anything out of the ordinary, according to all he’d talked to; and no one knew anything either. It’s either the murderer was a third part of Ronke’s life that he was yet to be privy to, or those who knew about him or her were extremely frightened to talk.

There had been a weird feeling that Kogberegbe carried around all day, and he just recognized it now as loneliness. It was a feeling he didn’t understand, almost entirely strange to him as he didn’t feel lonely often…and he couldn’t figure out where this is stemming from. His mind went back to all the encounters he’d had during the day, deliberately blotting out Lucyji. What she did was too much of a betrayal and even though he would admit that he wasn’t serious with the relationship, he knew he didn’t deserve to be treated the way she did. Kogberegbe decided to focus on Dana; now that’s a weird one, he mused. Dana and Kogberegbe were good friends and though he knew her to be straightforward with her opinions, those opinions had never before been directed at him; and it was for this reason that Kogberegbe wondered if she could be right. He knew he always had challenges in his relationships but what if the problem lay within; what if he truly needed to work on himself? For one, he knew he didn’t know the first thing about women but he also knew that it was hopeless for him to attempt to start learning at this stage. Women seem to have a way of making a man’s life complex and truth be told, he still hurt from his broken marriage. Kogberegbe hated to fail at anything and to him that was a major failure. It also hurt that he let his wife down and another man was able to fill the void she felt with him for so long; do for her what he was too busy to do- care. Kogberegbe should have moved on by now, and many times he thought he had…but once again as he’d done many times in the past, he found himself staring at the picture of himself and his ex-wife which he always kept at the bottom of his drawer. He felt the urge to talk to her again if only to feel a bit of the comfort, love and assurance he always did with her. He often resulted to checking up her facebook page whenever he had such urge but it always ended the same way. He would see her contended smile in lovely pictures where she was always swarmed with her family, she never seemed to have a dull moment in her life. And Kogberegbe always ended up weighing his life against what probably was hers and he ends up feeling sad. Knowing this, he deliberately veered away from his ex-wife’s facebook profile that was loading, and instead went on Lucyji’s page. As his heart began to feel a warm glow, he suddenly realized the origin of the lonely feeling he had- he missed this woman! But how can, he wondered. He’d always loved his life independent of anyone; he only put this on the line once and since that didn’t work out for him, he concluded it was best to live his life the way he liked it- independently. So why was his feelings drawing him back when he’d just been given a perfect escape route out of the strong strings that women ensure they wield round their men?

His phone ringing tone jerked him out of his reverie, he frowned as he checked the number, it was an unregistered one. He sighed and pressed the green button.

“Detective Kogberegbe on the line” he said

“Hi” The person on the other end of the line said, it was a female voice which sounded vaguely familiar but he couldn’t place it just yet “My name is Fadeke” she continued.

“Hi Fadeke, how may I help you?”

“I’m one of Ronke’s friends you spoke with earlier today” she said

“Oh, pardon me I didn’t get your name earlier on. Thanks for calling” Kogberegbe heart started racing. Probably something good was coming out of the day afterall…

“I couldn’t say anything in the presence of others earlier on.”

“Is there a reason to fear your own friends?” Kogberegbe enquired

“You mentioned cultism detective. If this is true, no one can be trusted.”

“Ok, please go on”

“I can’t discuss this with you over the phone. I am not supposed to know anything, if you know what I mean. And even if I do, I am not supposed to share.”

“Ok, can you come to my office Fadeke?”

“Your office ke? That’s risky, I can’t afford to be seen with you. Who’s to say the murderer isn’t watching us all?”

“You’re right. How about we meet casually?”

“Casually bi ti bawo? Are you listening to me detective?”

“Fadeke, you’re a smart girl. I believe you can act like everything is normal; use a camouflage is need be. Can we meet at Shoprite car park? It’s usually pretty crowded, if anyone’s following you, it should be easy to lose them around the parking lot.”

“Ok cool. How soon can you get there?”

“I can be there by 8pm, you?”

“Eight is fine. Call to know my exact location at the car park when you get there”

“Ok, see you then”

“Eerm, Detective?”

“Yep?”

“Please don’t come in that car of yours”

“Why?” he asked confused.

“Just please don’t. Thanks” with that, she went off the line.

 

COIN……there are two sides to every story by @obasatemitope (Episode IX)

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Kogberegbe turned the ignition of his car, not that he particularly knew where to head from here. He decided there was no harm in grabbing some lunch. The thought of lunch reminded him of Lucy.

“Oh sugar!” he exclaimed as he reached for his phone. After the third attempt, he gave up and decided to head for the hospital instead. He often had lunch with Lucy; it was a fun experience they enjoyed sharing when they could both spare the time. It gave them ample time to discuss work issues and pick each other’s brain. If he hadn’t lost her yet, Kogberegbe knew he was on the brink of doing so and though he felt nonchalant about the thought, he didn’t want Lucy to hold grudges against him. She was someone he needed to have around, even if only as a friend. Kogberegbe pulled into the car park and made for the front desk where he was greeted familiarly by one of the nurses who told him that Lucy was at the café. He said his thanks and walked towards the café which was packed full as always. He tried scouting for his girl but the café was too busy, so he reached for his phone, hoping she would pick the call this time. If she didn’t, he would just leave her a message. From the corner of his eye, Kogberegbe saw a movement, followed it and saw his girlfriend reach for her phone on the table. She had a male companion and was laughing contentedly with him. She looked at the phone screen and a moment later, Kogberegbe heard the “busy” tone on his side of the phone. He stared at the screen unbelievably and back at his girl. She was still laughing. The guy seemed to ask who the caller was, checking her phone screen. With the wave of her hand, she told him not to bother about him.

Kogberegbe stood rooted on the spot, not believing his eyes. Someone behind him asked him to make way, bringing him back to reality. He said his apologies and moved aside. As he turned to leave, his gaze locked with Lucy’s who touched the man lightly on the arm and stood up. Kogberegbe turned and left the room. He could hear Lucy’s flat soles walking briskly on the tiled floor, trying to catch up with him but he didn’t slow down. When he hit the outside pavement, she called out his name. Kogberegbe paused in his stride and slowly turned around, squinting his eyes against the sun.

“Hey” he said casually, taking in Lucy’s magnificent looks against his will. She stood a couple of feet away, looking at him daringly.

“What are you doing here?” she demanded

“Just passing by” he responded

“That dinner meant a lot to me Steve. All those nights you stood me up were bad enough. Standing me up in front of my parents…” she turned her head from side to side“…won’t happen again”

“I called you several times to…”

“Yea, to say you’re sorry” she cut him mid-sentence “but you always are. If you truly love me, we wouldn’t have so many ‘sorrys’ would we? I finally realized I’ve just been deceiving myself. I love you Kogberegbe, but I won’t commit long term to a one-sided relationship”

“Suddenly I’m the bad guy? I’m the one having fancy lunch with the punk!” he said, pointing in the direction of the café “or disconnecting my boyfriend’s calls…?”

Lucy glanced sideways smiling. When she turned her face back towards him, there was a teardrop forming as she asked “When is my birthday Steve?”

“What”? He stared at her blankly.

“My birthday. Yours is 6th of July, when is mine?” she gritted her teeth, knowing she caught him off guard “That punk…” she pointed toward the café “if nothing, remembers my birthday”

“It’s been a busy week for me Lucy…” he took a step towards her but she took one back”

“Yes Steve, it always is. I’ll pick up the rest of my things when I’m free. Not sure you noticed any of the other things are gone anyways. Goodbye Steve” with that, she turned smartly and walked back into the hospital. Kogberegbe felt like a fool. He knew he’d been terrible towards her but hadn’t realized it was this bad. How did he get so detached that he didn’t know her birthday? It felt like he didn’t care at all…or did he? It wasn’t about not remembering the date, he was totally clueless. And truly, he hadn’t noticed that she packed any of her things. He tried to convince himself that it was all because of his busy schedule, but it was lame. He wasn’t sure if he loved Lucy but his heart ached at the thought of losing her. However, he couldn’t remember the last time he made her laugh like she did with the man back there, if ever. He wondered if it was best for her to move on, and if it would be best if he didn’t stand in her way.

Kogberegbe put the car in gear, lowered the sunglasses unto his face and raced out of the parking lot. Luckily the road was free, for which he was thankful. Nothing like high speed to help vent his anger in a healthy way. After driving full speed for thirty minutes, he decided to stop at a fast food joint to while away the time while he enjoyed a hot dog and a bottle of coke.

“Hey boss” Kogberegbe recognized the laugh in Dana’s voice even before he looked up “I knew that was you” she said, holding a tray loaded with a plate and a drink. Dana liked to call him ‘boss’, it was a tease title.

“It’s hard to believe that you actually do go on break” Kogberegbe smiled back at Dana.

“Funny, I was going to say the same about you. Expecting someone boss?”

“Nope”

“So the seat is free then?” she asked

“Please” he said, gesturing towards the chair opposite him.

“So what brings you to our neighborhood?” She asked, digging into her plate of coconut rice, obviously famished.

He shrugged “dunno really. I was driving and found myself here.” Dana stared at him, eyes burning into his like she was trying to read his mind. “What!” he exclaimed, eyes wide and rolling.

“Hmm” she munched the spoonful which she’d hung in the air while she stared “girl issues yea?” she said like a wise man.

“No idea what you’re talking about” Kogberegbe lied.

“This too has gone bad hasn’t it?”

“Dana!”

“C’mon lighten up. You’re the boss of me, but you’re also my friend. It’s written all over your face that you’re having a problem you can’t solve. And knowing you, there’s only one thing you suck at, and that’s relationships!”

“That transparent huh?” he mouthed the last bit of his hot dog. “Why am I so terrible with relationships?” he said frowning.

Dana dropped her spoon and gave him a straight face “uh-oh”

“What?” he asked surprised, eyes darting left and right.

“When men like you decide to start ‘sharing’, it’s bad, it’s re-ally bad! And I’m really hungry. I’d like to eat in peace.” With that, she resumed with her food.

“Yea” Kogberegbe cleared his throat “pardon me” he turned his face and looked out the window and after some seconds of silence said “but seriously…”

“Ok…” Dana dropped her spoon again, hands in the air “I knew you hadn’t said the last of it. Here’s the thing, I’ll give you five minutes of my time and that’s it ok?”

Kogberegbe paused for a second with bewildered eyes but didn’t question her, he just said “Clear”

“What? Stop looking at me that way! We’re not at work right now. Right here right now, I’m your friend…and well, your shrink perhaps” she added from the corner of her mouth.

“What was the last thing you said?” Kogberegbe asked.

“Four minutes more” she responded looking innocently surprised.

Kogberegbe felt too overwhelmed, a feeling only too strange, so he decided to ignore Dana’s attitude, howbeit playful “Why does things have to be so complicated with women? Why are they so difficult?”

“You had a bad experience, and that qualifies women as “difficult”?”

“One bad experience?” he asked

“Ok, so you had a few, so what?” she said with a scoff “Look, I’ve known you for what, three years now?” Kogberegbe nodded “four girlfriends in those years, all wrong for you. With two of them, I told you it was never gonna work.” She gave him a ‘get it’ look

“All of them wrong?” he asked

“Wrong, not bad. This one’s a good girl, and that’s what makes it wrong for you. Most times you men go for ‘flashy’; that’s what you did with the first two I knew about. And you end up being scarred. Some of you get lucky to find really good girls sometimes but your mind is never really into it; you can’t settle for that; you gotta do better than that. This girl is brainy and pretty, classy too. But I knew she was too cool for you. You need someone who treats you badly just for the fun of it” she dabbled her hands in the air “you know, just to spice things up, keep your heart racing, add some fun to the romance…”

“Are we still talking about me?” Kogberegbe asked bewildered.

“I’m talking about y’all in general and you’re not left out of it” she pointed a finger close to his nose and laughed “but seriously dude, I’ve not sensed any form of seriousness in you so far”

“You’re wrong”

“Yea? Do you have any form of attachment with her?” she asked

“She comes to my house every now and then…she has a key!”

“Like that’s what I mean…anyway, moving on; how much time do you spend with her?” he attempted to answer but she went on “ts ts ts. Of the time you spend together, how much of it do you sacrifice? By that I mean how often do you do the chasing and not the other way round? Do you really think about her happiness? Or how to make her feel important in life? Support her? Love her? And how often do you make these known to her?” she paused for effect “you may not understand women, but quit looking at the other end of the rope. You’re broken pal; work on yourself first. And trust me, when  you do meet the right person- if you do meet the right person again, you won’t feel like she’s on a fast track with you, instead you won’t be able to wait. You don’t date for sex Steve, there’s a higher goal involved- love, inner peace, satisfaction, helping each other to achieve greater heights, friendship, care. Search within Steve, what’s missing…why do you not care like you should? Cos women want you to care; the good ones don’t want a ‘bad boy’ and maybe that’s what you’ve been in your relationships?” she shrugged “except maybe you should start looking for your own kind. Cos really Steve, it will be unfair to hunt for a caring and committed woman when all you do is be her friend from afar” she smirked, dabbed her lips with a napkin and pushed back her chair “nice chatting, boss. Time’s  up, gotta dash”

“You didn’t even allow me to say what she did…” Kogberegbe said

“You don’t have to Steve. We women feel and complain about the exact things you men do. Don’t think for a sec that we don’t find you men complicated too…or worse still that you men are perfect, cos that’s what most of you unconsciously do. You forget we are all just humans; you’re just as complicated as the next person to you. You cannot fully understand her and neither can she; but you both can put in conscious effort to continuously tryyyy to understand each other and to make things work. This conscious effort is what most men lack”

Kogberegbe pondered on what she said. There was so much wisdom in it that he found no matching response, so instead he said “You didn’t finish your lunch”

“Work’s loaded up back there; and break’s over. But it’s cool” she smiled

“I owe you lunch then”

“And I’ll hold you to that” she pointed and winked “See you around Steve.”

photo credit: google images

 

INSPECTOR KOGBEREGBE SAYS NO TO CHILD MARRIAGE

 

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Boarding Tales ~ Episode XIV (Bosola’s Confessions)

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****

“Madness! That’s what this whole business had to be.” I said a bit loud to myself after leaving Yewande’s bunk. I listened to the peal of the breakfast bell as it rang for the last time. I wasn’t hungry at all or better still I had no appetite for food. I wondered if that was part of the effects of becoming a witch.

I was beyond angry, I felt betrayed and manipulated. I had thought Yewande had made friends with me because she really wanted to. I really wanted to make her pay but I couldn’t think of anything that could be done, I was too worried about the implications of being a witch.

There were a lot of things I still didn’t understand about the dream I had and the woman I saw. I was sure Yewande could shed more light but I was determined not to talk to her. Not in this life or the after I hissed holding back tears.

*****

It should have been just a dream, that’s what I had expected it to be.  Why else would I have been washing the back of a strange woman at a stream?   It was supposed to be a mere dream, fearful but meaningless. The first unusual thing about the dream was that it had started and ended with the woman saying “Don’t be deceived, this is not a dream.”

There had been two Hyenas lying down on the grass behind the stream. She had talked about Wheat and how I was supposed to spread the grains once a week.She had smelled of musk and sandalwood; a smell that even in the dream had reminded me of the incense that Mom sometimes burns. My horror started when after I woke up, the smell of musk and sandalwood pervaded the whole room.

How could what should be a dream not be a dream? The question that kept ringing in my head up until the time Yewande called me to her bunk and broke the news to me. I had felt shock at first but understanding had followed. It was certain. My worst fear was confirmed. Bosola was now a witch.

I spent half of that Sunday thinking about the woman, wheat grains and Hyenas. A part of me thought about how it could be a blessing in part. I would be able to punish Slappy. Perhaps turn her into a mouse. I laughed at that loving the idea. I discarded the thought after reminding myself that I had no wish to be a witch. So what’s the way out? I asked myself. Later that day, an idea formed in my mind; something that could only be executed after the masquerade festival.

****

The day our parents and our accusers were to come, I dressed up as early as 5.00 am in readiness. Yewande woke up later than usual, perhaps because she knew she wasn’t going to be attending the class. I watched as she packed her bags and emptied her wardrobe. She gave her provisions away and I watched in disbelief as everyone scrambled to get some even the ones who had accused her of being a witch also collected. Aren’t they scared? I thought

I attended the morning assembly while Yewande stayed in the room. I would have advised her to attend if we were still talking. But since I was still very angry with her, I hadn’t been talking to her. It seemed she had noticed and had also stopped all forms of interactions with me.

I wasn’t afraid any longer. I was ready to face the guys. Their books and the money were even in my backpack, I intended to return to them and apologise. I knew this might spell trouble for me but for my plan to work out, I had to make my own conscience clear

****

I couldn’t concentrate in the class; I had never been able to. Even without the burden in my heart I wouldn’t have understood a word.

It was further mathematics; a subject I believed was for the heavenly beings. The best score I ever got in mathematics was 56 so I wondered how anyone would expect me to grasp further mathematics. What’s my business with dy dx for heaven’s sake? That was the question I had almost asked the teacher once when he told me to find the dy dx of a particular mathematical problem. I had thought better and to avoid problems simply told him I don’t know. It had never bothered me to be called a dullard, not then, not ever.

I tried to drown out the teacher’s voice with my thoughts but somehow it kept creeping in. I checked my watch amazed at how much time was gone already.

Where were my parents and the guys? I wondered. I was still thinking of this when someone walked into the class. I looked up immediately and met Toluse’s eyes as soon as I did. I wondered why he could turn cold so suddenly. A thought crossed my mind making me smile wryly. I looked intently at him as he spoke to the teacher and I noticed he was trying to change his posture every second. It seemed as though he could tell my eyes were on him. I knew getting Toluse back wouldn’t be an issue if I was interested. The teacher motioned for me to follow Toluse and heaving a sigh of relief I did.

We didn’t say a word to each other throughout our walk to the principal’s office. He entered his office with me and I wondered why he felt the need to do so.

*****

Yewande was seated with a woman who I presumed must be her mother. She reeked of wealth and class. She seemed angry but for some reason it looked like her anger wasn’t really meant for her daughter. I spotted mum and dad next; there was no emotion in their eyes. It wasn’t as if I was expecting them to be overjoyed at seeing me but I expected to see anger or disgust. The two guys we had met in the university were also seated on the left. It could have been a courtroom of some sorts with the pissed looking principal as the judge and Mr Adisa with the no nonsense look plastered on his face as the prosecuting lawyer. The only thing that would have been wrong with that court was that there were no defence lawyers.

The principal cleared his throat.

“Ahem….it’s good that the second odaran is here now. You girls have both had one week since this incident happened and none of you still deemed it fit to confess. I am very ashamed of you girls and more importantly of the disrepute that you have both brought this school into. You have shamed me and the decent teachers and students of this school. For this reason we have decided to punish you both. Yewande is a serial offender and although I hate to disappoint her Mom I am going to have to send her out of my school his time around.”

I glanced at Yewande and saw that she could as well have been a thousand miles away.

“As for Bosola,” the principal continued. “She would have to go on three weeks suspension.”

I heard my mum gasp mumbling Jesus.

“It’s painful to me that you girls have not confessed to stealing the properties of these gentle men. Since you have refused to own up to it, I would have no choice than to pay for their loss.”

“Sir, there will be no need for that.” I said

“I took those items and I’m ready to return them.”

“Bosola you did what?” My Mom screamed. “Lord have mercy, are you also a thief now?”

“Calm down woman”, my dad said. She looked at him and nodding her head she sat down.

“Sir,” I continued. “Before I return those items to them I would like to say here now before everyone and my parents that I do not wish to remain in this school.”

“What!!! Yewande screamed startling everyone. Bosola how dare you say that, have you forgotten Iye’s mandate?”

“I don’t care.”

“You have to!”

“You ladies should wait a minute, who and what is Iye?” The principal said

“Sir, that’s where I intend to go next, there is a lot to talk about sir and I’m glad we have our parents here and these two outsiders too. You have been living in a fool’s paradise sir. Today I’m ready to tell all.”

photo credit: google images

Boarding Tales ~ Episode XIII (Yewande’s Story)

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It was an assignment that had been given to me by the woman of the stream; Iya Stream as the students calls her. A woman all the students talked about but that few people had ever seen. I had met her early one morning while I walked back to the school through the usual foot path. It was a meeting I would never forget.

Here is how it happened……

 

I was walking down the length of the rock that fenced the hostel blocks when a rustling in the surrounding bush startled me. Someone walked out making my heart skip a beat. I looked at the person and was relieved to see it was a woman. A beautiful dark skinned woman who seemed to be about my mother’s age. She was dressed in a brown aso oke wrapper tied above the waist with a matching gele on her head. She carried a broken pot in her hands. I thought that was odd but proceeded to greet her genuflecting as I said e kaaro ma.

“Follow me” she said without acknowledging my greetings.

She turned towards the road that led to the stream and I followed her. I wanted to tell her I couldn’t follow her but somehow I found myself obeying her.

When we got to the stream she placed the broken pot in her arms on the floor and proceeded to remove her head tie.

She removed the wrapper, gele and her coral beads and was left with her underwear, a spaghetti strapped undergarment with pockets- the type worn by old grandmothers; the one they called agbeko.

 I thought it strange that a woman as young as her would wear such and watched on as she dipped her hands into the pockets and brought out all sorts of things – money, cowry shells, a straw sponge and black soap, pieces of dried grass and a black nylon which had a piece of white cloth tied to the mouth. My heart was beating very fast in fear as I watched her and I started praying earnestly that some students would come to the stream.

“Nobody will come to the stream until I’m done.” she said. Her voice made me jump in fright. How did she know what I was thinking? I thought immediately sweating profusely.

“Could this be Iya stream?” I wondered.

“No it can’t be.” I answered myself.

 Iya Stream was supposed to be old. That was the stories that went around the school.

“I’m the one you all call Iya Stream.” she said breaking into my thoughts. She was still busy arranging the items she brought out of her agbeko on the grass beside the stream.

“How do you know what I’m thinking?” I asked my dread showing in my voice.

“How do you know when you are hungry?” She asked looking directly at me.

I didn’t answer and something about the way she looked at me told me I wasn’t supposed to answer just as she wasn’t supposed to answer the question I asked her.

“Come close” she said picking a calabash floating over the surface of the stream.

I was surprised to see the calabash especially as I hadn’t noticed it when we got there. Could that have appeared out of nowhere? I wondered. I immediately told myself that it must have been that I simply didn’t notice the calabash and that it wasn’t possible for something to appear all on its own.

“It wasn’t here when we got here.”

“Ma, what did you say?”

“Child, what did you hear?”

“You said something wasn’t here when we got here ma.”

“Yes, you were wondering if the calabash was here before we got here and I replied you that it wasn’t.”

I wanted to ask how it got there if it wasn’t there when we got to the stream but before I could speak she said;

“Don’t ask questions whose answers you wouldn’t understand.”

“Come here, take that sponge and soap” she said pointing to an out cropping beside her feet

“Take it and wash my back with it.”

“Ma?” I asked

“Child, do what you heard.” She snapped.

My heart still thumping wildly I picked the sponge and began to wash her back.

“You know I’ve been watching you for a while now, you are a very disobedient child. You are young yet very wayward.”

My heart beat went out of control at her words,

“Is she going to eat me?”

“Was she going to punish me for my waywardness?”

“Am I going to be sacrificed to some god?”  The thoughts ran wild in my head.

“No, I won’t harm you.” “Iye doesn’t harm anyone unless she has to.” She said once again reminding me she could read or hear my thoughts.

“I won’t harm you; the reason you are here is because I have a job for you. You are the perfect one for the job, there was someone doing it before now but she was part of the students that graduated to the senior school a few weeks back. Since she refused to pass on the job to someone else, I had to choose the person myself. I chose you.”

Ma, what assignment?

“Patience.” “You will know that soon.”

I continued to wash her back in silence and after a few minutes she collected the sponge and rinsed her body. I thought it odd that the only part of her body that was washed was her back and wondered if that was the assignment I would have to do.

“Oh my God”, I gasped inwardly. “Will I have to do this every morning?” I thought to myself

She burst into laughter and this time I knew her laughter was as a result of my thoughts.

“Of course washing my back isn’t the assignment I intend to give you.”

She tied her aso oke on the wet underwear, wore her beads and tied her gele. She picked the black nylon bag that had a white cloth tied around it. “Take this and keep very well. There are wheat grains inside it, once a week, spread those grains around the back of the female hostel.”

“Ma, what if they see me spreading the grains and what are the grains for?”

“No one will see you spreading them.” “As to what they are for, you would know that the first day you do it. You would understand in the still of the night. Take now and go back to your hostel.” she said pressing it into my hands.

She stepped into the water and disappeared into the mangrove trees that ran alongside the stream.

*****

As she said I would the  first day I spread the grains was the day I knew what spreading it meant and also the day I understood why we hear wailing and howling of a strange animal from time to time. The noise had woken me from sleep like everyone else. It was a sound that had always terrified me up until that night. It had been a while since we heard the sounds and at that moment I realised she had been right when she said one of the seniors that passed out used to do it for her.

The whole dormitory came awake in minutes. Chants of “Jesus” and “blood of Jesus” renting the air. Before that day, I had always joined in the chant even though I never believed that Jesus would listen to me, I believed my sins were too much for that to happen.

The noise was worse than ever that night; the wailing went on for close to two hours and after a while students huddled close to one another. The Muslims chanted in Arabic while the Christians too screamed Jesus. I lay on my bed unmoving wondering if I had spread more than I should and made a mental note to spread less the next time.

This was the assignment I was now to hand over to Bosola. Every month; I would go to the stream and collect fresh supplies of the grain. I would always think of asking her what it was that made the howling and if it was meant to scare us since it never seemed to harm anyone. But every time I opened my mouth to ask, she would place a finger on her lips and tell me not to ask the question on my mind. The assignment was another reason I was glad to be expelled.

*****

She was the one who told me I would be expelled before we even heard the news from Mr Adisa, she had appeared in my dreams during our siesta and told me to take any sweet thing from my cupboard, clasp it in my hands for a few minutes and give it to Bosola. I hadn’t been surprised that she mentioned Bosola’s name. I would have chosen her too as my successor if Iye had asked me. I had done like she said. Bosola didn’t know what she had on her hands yet I thought watching her sleep.

*****

The morning after Bosola’s first experience of the howling Wolf/Dog, I called her to my bunk to tell her about the mandate I had passed to her. It was a Sunday and I hadn’t gone to the school fellowship, Bosola didn’t go too and I realised that was one other thing that made her perfect for Iye’s Job. Although it wasn’t like the school’s fellowship would have gotten rid of whatever spirits it was that possessed her. The orthodox priest that presided was a member of the village’s Egungun festival planning committee. Iye had told me that.

She sat down on my bed and I proceeded to tell her about how I met Iye and the job she would do for her. Her response was surprising and yet unsurprising.

“I know already” she said. Iye and I spoke this morning in my dreams.”

“You did?” I asked incredulously

“Yes we did.” She said giving me a look of disgust before she stood up and left.

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