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Saturday, 27 October 2018

BEYOND HATE CHAPTER 11



Chapter eleven



Zara.

Drop top Porsche, money on my wrists,
Diamonds up and down my chains aha!

I bobbed my head to the music blasting from the headset Ene handed me minutes ago. Saturday mornings were the best. Sleep longer than usual, bath at anytime, contemplate whether or not you'd go to the dining hall for breakfast. Totally amazing except the house mistresses always killed the fun.

"Mrs Ade is coming!" Ella shouted.

Without further contemplating, I jump to my feet, threw the head set under my bed, slipped on my check and slippers then ran out of the hostel alongside others. Just as we got to the door, we saw Mrs Ade approaching us with a tangerine cane.

"Hello girls, they've rang the bell for quite sometime-"

We all stopped and ran the opposite way. Her voice was tiny and soothing, but her cane was painful and her hands merciless. I looked back, only to see the woman running.

"She dey run!" Mona cried.

Everything went helter-skelter from there on, some girls flew over the slab in front of the rooms, some ran straight ahead but we were all running towards the gate.

I ran rapidly, slightly bumping into my mates. The next moment, I was outside. We were all laughing and running all at once. Once we were a good distance away, we stopped to catch or breaths and talk.

I'd miss this.

We were all standing on the path leading to the dining hall. We were laughing and panting, relieving events of only moments ago. We stood there for a little while before we slowly walked to the dining hall. On getting to the hall, we all sat on a particular table ignoring the initial arrangement. I sat closely beside Mona. Slowly the number of people on the table decreased till it was only my group of friends left. I looked around, the SS3 boys were only few. It was surprising because Saturday morning was for Spaghetti. Boys loved the meal.

I looked straight ahead and to my relief, I sighted Afam walking closely beside Jerome. They spoke urgently and seriously. They stopped at our table and sat down.

Mona wriggled her brows at Afam the moment he looked her way. Afam smirked waved but this did not reach his eye. It wasn't like the Afam I knew. Something was wrong. I could tell. Jerome shook his head slowly before he finally looked up. His eyes landed on mine instantly. I froze, not sure why but with him staring solely at me, not speaking just looking at me softly, I felt peculiar.

"What's up." Jacqueline slapped Jerome's shoulders, pulling him out of his sudden gaze. He turned to her slowly and winked.

"Baby."

Jacq glared at him. She shoved him aside and stretched her arms towards Afam.

"What happened? You guys look a bit shaken. What's up." Grace asked.

Afam shook his head slowly. Jerome sighed. But neither uttered a word.

____

TOBY

I hadn't slept, I had kept my eye partly opened through out the night. O.J hadn't come to us yet. It was inevitable that he would. Saheed was missing. A hundred and one percent he'd be with O.J. like me, Dandy kept his eyes open. Sleep had been quite difficult. We all regretted ever letting Saheed tag along. I didn't know when it was that I fell asleep, but I woke up to hard slap on my neck. Anger and fear jolted me, I got to my feet immediately and not so surprised, O.J stood in front of me. His hard face was even harder.

"Coker." He bit out indignantly.

"Sir," I muttered a response.

"Outside."

I gulped. It was barely daybreak, the lights had not brightened the sky and the cock kept crowing. The hostel wasn't quiet, a lot of boys had awoken. I walked slowly away from Mr Ojo. My legs brushing the ground noisily. A sound slap on my neck told me I needed to run. Not glancing back, I jogged outside.

On getting outside, the rest of the boys were there; Dandy, Larla, Wale, Saheed and Paul, a guy I rarely spoke to. Mr Danju stood in front of them with a long black leather belt rolled around his left hand. They all watched as I walked over. The sour expression on their faces gave it all away. We were screwed, Saheed had sold us all out. I balled my fist and puffed.

"Good morning sir," I greeted Mr Danju.

He scowled. "Where were you yesterday night?"

I didn't bother looking at anyone, I simply shrugged and replied. "On my bed sir."

I watched, unwavering as he held up his belt and asked the same question again. My answer remained the same. He lifted his hands way above both our heads and brought it back forcefully towards me. The belt landed painfully on my back with a slash sound we were all familiar to. The pain sent my back into heat. The pain spread through my back and I felt hot and itchy on that spot. I hissed lowly, acting tough. What I should have expected but did not except was the belt landing at the same spot four more times. I hissed loudly at each passing one.

"Where was he last night, Saheed." Mr Ojo voiced.

"With me Sir. We all went to back. Iya Kemi." Saheed responded.

"Are you sure you did not smoke igbo. This one that everybody you mentioned said they were on their bed."

"Sir, I'm sure."

"Saheed you must be delusional. I don't associate with idiots." I fired.

I knew these teachers, we all did. The only way to convince them of our lie was to act it out, if possible I could punch Saheed or cry — so long as my act was good. Regan boys were accustomed to the act of lying. No matter the beating, we were already used to it. So long as you untangle yourself from real danger. The danger here was that once we admitted jumping out of school, we were going to be rusticated. That was so not happening.

"You still dey speak grammer." Dandy hissed. "This boy is foolish. How can he say that me, me that I was reading for commerce text yesterday night with Mr Danju's rechargeable was with him."

"See guy park well oh." Wale added. "Don't call my name for rubbish."

But our drama was drama. The teachers were not stupid. For the next hour, we were flogged mercilessly,  more teachers were called, both male and female. Even as student marched out for breakfast we all stood there enduring belt lashes and refusing to admit that we had gone out the previous night. But Wale broke. He admitted that two nights ago, he had gone with Saheed and that only the two of them went. I refused to admit. Because I wasn't alone with Saheed, I would implicate Dandy and Larla, and Dandy was a prefect.

Paul also broke.

"Sir!" He screamed when Mr Ezeh's belt touched his back. "I went oh. With Dapo and Olode."

"Go and call them."

He stood up immediately and ran off. Dandy, Larla and I were left to succumb to the black leather. We refused.

"These ones are hardened criminals. They will grow up to steal from this society!" Mrs Ade spoke from behind.

"Don't.. don't m..mind them! Stupid boys!"

On hearing the voice, my eyes snapped to Dandy, Mr Makinde ; Bottom Belle!. We were doomed. The Man's cane was never worth enduring.

Before the next two hours, Ten boys were aligned. All of us beaten and question. Now we watched as Saheed and Paul called more names of more boys.

Jerome was soon called. I expected that. There was nobody he didn't talk to. I figured they'd call him. The moment I saw him walking down hurriedly, looking responsible in his blue check and khaki trousers,  I felt he'd be able to escape this shit despite his bad boy persona.

"Sir." He greeted O.J.

"I saw you yesterday." O.J said. He had been using that trick on people and some fell. "You were with Afam. Either yesterday or the day before. You went out of school."

Jerome calmly raised a brow. I knew he wanted to smirk. But he didn't. He dared not, unless he wanted to die today. He simply clenched his jaws and carefully answered while giving off the carefree vibe.

"It wasn't me." He stated.

"So I am now a liar?!" O.J screamed, looking hurt.

Damn! These teachers were professional actors who didn't blow. Probably because they were ugly.

"No sir but I'm saying it wasn't me you saw." Jerome shrugged.

"Lie down." Mr Makinde spoke up.

Wow! He didn't stammer.

"Sir I have no idea what you're talking about but I'm sure I wasn't the one. My father is a pastor in mountain of fire, I would never tell such a lie. I can swear on everything that is holy including my father. I've never gone out of this school. " Jerome groaned.

I snickered and so did all they boys. Pastor my ass!

"Sure banker!" Larla laughed.

"You can ask them." Jerome voiced.

Mr Makinde turned to Saheed and asked. Saheed nodded slowly, he probably didn't want to admit because Jerome was nice to him. But with the way he was going, I had a feeling O.J would ask Jerome to join us, so I spoke up.

"Sir he has never gone."

"Yes Sir, never." Dandy supported.

Jerome nodded at the man. "Never."

The teachers eyed Jerome skeptically. "Go."

And that was how he was saved. Sometimes I wondered why some people would be in trouble and still save someone from joining them. We had all saved Jerome yet our case was cooking. One of the crazy things about school life.

"You useless boys. You want to give us heart attack ehn! 2016 set! You people want to kill us." Mrs shouted, shaking her head vigorously.

"We've tried to hold you down for very long, but you people are hardened. Hardened criminals." O.J bent his mouth as he spoke, as though for emphasis.

"They are stubborn. Now that they are in SS3 nobody we see road." Mr Ezeh raised his shoulders and hunched his back deliberately and began walking. "They are doing i have arrived, I have arrived, SS3 things on point. Idiots. You will leave this school and arrive for your village people and your compound mallam."

"Don't mind them. We are ready for them. Since Jss1 they have me showing signs of notoriousity!" Mr Danju barked.

The boys exchanged looks. We were all thinking the same thing. Notoriousity. Then I imagined us asking ourselves later.

"Hmm. Notoriousity."

"Shey that word correct."

"I no too sure."

"May we ask English teacher tomorrow."

It would indeed happen.

By the end of the investigation, we were a total of twenty five. We were asked to write statements and submit to the vice principal's office on Monday. Only then did I know shit had gotten down. This was a serious case.

Yawa.

___________

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