She admired her dapper self quickly in the mirror one last time, even as she heard her mother scream for her to ‘Hurry up and move!’. Something about her beating the traffic. She smiled to herself, patting her newly braided hair unnecessarily and smoothening the pleats on the skirt of her new school uniform.
Off to boarding school.
She chuckled and ran out of the room.
For the first time since they- her family- moved houses, she was happy about the change. Leaving Festac behind and relocating to V.I had hit her hard; her school friends, neighbours, swimming club friends. At least they still went to church every Sunday there. Not like they had a choice, seeing as her dad was one of the Pastors there. The good thing about moving was that for the first time, she was going to become a ‘boarder’. And it was not just any school, it was Princess College! One of the most prestigious all-girls school in the state. She had called Timi, her bestfriend to share the good news last week. Remembering their conversation suddenly dampened her mood as she got into the back seat of the Peugot 505 with one of her luggages.
‘Boarder?? At Princess College??’
‘Yeah! It’s so cool abi!’
‘Hmm…’
‘What is hmm now. You’re supposed to be happy for me.’
‘I am, I am, babe. It’s just that i heard something about that college…’
‘What? Their standard of education is really good and…’
‘I know that. I applied there after primary school remember?’
‘So what is it then?’
‘I heard stuff about witches and stuff in their hostel at night. And at certain times of the month stuff like..’
‘Abeg abeg abeg! Don’t tell me you believe that Madam Koi Koi rubbish. Or Bush baby stories. Those are primary school ghost stories jo!’
‘Hmm..Ok o. Sha be careful there Geebee. Pray o.’
‘Yeah yeah..’
‘Gbemi don’t yeah yeah o. I’m serious….’

Of course she was serious.
She scoffed in her head as she waved to her little brother until they disappeared out of sight.
She settled back in her seat. She was going to be alright. After all, she was the daughter of a Pastor.

“…there are two bunks free in Newton house. I’d advice you to take the one beside me. The other is near the toilet!”
Gbemi smiled and nodded.
“Thank you Senior.”
The Senior laughed.
“No need for formalities in here. Only on school premises. You can call me Amanda.”
‘No need for Senior! This school too cool gaan!’ she thought.
“Ok Se…Amanda”
Amanda smiled at her sweetly.
“Welcome to Princess College.”

Gbemi allowed the mass of students streaming from the Grand Hall to carry her along while she thought about the announcement the Principal just made. A student apparently ran away from the hostel. The Principal sounded furious; she had the right to. She wondered why anyone in their right mind would leave the school. It wasn’t like the living conditions were bad. The punishments could be a bit severe she agreed especially coming from the Matron but still!
“All these ajebo kids sha. Small thing they run away. Abeg!” she muttered under her breath.
Someone tapped her shoulder and she turned.
“Ama..I mean Senior” she smiled sheepishly.
“You were frowning before. Are you Ok?” Amanda asked.
“Yes. Yes I’m fine. Just what Princi said…”
“Oh about the girl than ran away? They do that a lot.”
Gbemi’s eyes widened.
“Really?”
“Yeah. Some just miss their families i guess.” she said and shrugged.
“Oh.”
“Anyway, don’t let me delay you. What do you have now?”
“Government.”
“Oh with that perv Mr Abidemi!” Amanda chuckled. “Goodluck with him. I’m glad i dropped that subject! If you need any help though you can always meet me during Prep time.”
“Really! Thanks!”
Amanda smiled indulgently “Anyway. See you later!”
She wriggled her fingers and left.
Gbemi tried to imitate her finger-wriggling. If this were her former school, she would have taken Amanda to be her school mother. They didn’t do that kind of stuff here. She had asked Nengi, her new friend. She said it was old-fashioned. The Seniors didn’t bully so there was no use for that, apparently.
Gbemi shrugged and continued walking to her class.
“All these cool kids sha.” she murmured. She couldn’t wait to gist Timi when she went back home on Mid-term break.

Everybody was tensed.
Gbemi could feel it. She could see it infact. Even Amanda the most docile person she knew snapped at one of the Junior starter girls (calling them J1 girls was ‘old-fashioned’ too) in their room, driving her to tears.
“Na wa o” she whispered conspiratorially to her reading partner in the Prep hall. “Is anything happening? This one everyone is just boning anyhow anyhow”
Judith sighed and dropped her pretense of reading.
“Don’t you know the date? It’s Friday 13th.”
Gbemi stared. “…Erm so?”
Judith looked at her, amazed.
“What! Talk jo! What’s wrong with Friday 13th?”
“Well…the crux of the matter is that bad things happen apparently.”
Gbemi looked at her incredulously.
“You people believe all that superstition nonsense?”
She hissed and went back to her reading.
“It’s not superstition…Ok maybe it is but it’s serious Gbemi!”
Gbemi laughed.
“Don’t make me laugh abeg. Let’s read. Today might be Friday 13th, but next Monday is 16th and we have an ‘End of the year’ test then!”
Judith stared at her.
“Fine.” she whispered.

Well bad things did happen, though she wasn’t sure it was on the scale of what Judith…and the rest expected.
First, the dinner was burnt. Then, some girl sprained her ankle and had to be rushed to the clinic. Worst of all, the generator became faulty; light flickering, unstable. There was an unnatural sense of quiet in the rooms. She had approached Amanda for help with her revision and luckily, she was in the mood to oblige her. Was it her imagination or had Amanda been looking sad? On top this Friday matter? O ga o! Their unease had leached into her.
She admitted this as she tossed and turned on the bed, unable to sleep.
Because of the power outage, the whole boarding house was plunged into darkness.
Her ears were picking up every sound. It was a little windy outside and an unlatched window kept banging at the side of the wall infrequently. The roof creaked a little as a particularly huge gust of wind blew.
She heard other sounds too; even one that sounded like a muffled sob. Probably a J1 girl missing home.
The hair at the nape of her neck suddenly rose and she shivered.
Was her mind playing tricks on her or did she suddenly feel eyes, staring…boring into her through the darkness?
She shuddered and chastised herself. It was high time she made another attempt at sleeping.
She closed her eyes and took deep breaths. Her ears twitched at a sound and her eyes snapped open.
Footsteps.
Her heart began to race.
She heard the door of the bathroom open and close and she sighed, releasing the breath she hadn’t realised she was holding.
The toilet flushed a few seconds later. Someone was just using the loo. She hissed under her breath.
‘Friday the 13th ko. Sunday the 14th ni.’ she thought.
She closed her eyes and once again, they snapped open. She could clearly hear it.
Footsteps.
From behind.
Her body tensed and her hands gripped her sheets in fear. She felt sweat beading on her forehead and armpits.
‘Turn!’ Her mind screamed at her but she was afraid to make any moves.
She felt cold hands touch her exposed arm and she yelped, jumping and hitting her head on the bunk.

“Oh my God I’m sorry!” A voice whispered.
It was Amanda.
Gbemi’s heartbeat thundered in her chest. She swallowed hard to moisten her suddenly dry mouth.
“No problem.” She said hoarsely.
“Sorry for disturbing your sleep…but please..can…you..?”
Amanda stopped and swallowed a sob.
She was the one crying? Gbemi became worried.
“You’re crying! What happened? Are you ok?”
She didn’t answer but Gbemi heard her sniff and wipe her nose.
“Yes. Just.please follow me..to the bathroom.”
Gbemi’s eyebrows raised in the darkness.
“Oh?”
“Yes..I’m..I’m afraid of the dark” Amanda answered in a small voice.
She almost laughed out harshly at the ridiculous request.
Afraid of the dark? That’s why she’s crying? O ga o!
“Sure. No problem” she said getting up and donning her slippers.
She felt Amanda groping for her hand and she let her hold it. She could feel her sweaty palm holding on tight.
Counting the steps in her mind, Gbemi led her to the bathroom, opening the door ans instinctively reaching for the light switch. She remembered the outage and her hand fell. She hoped Amanda would not make her wait outside the stall as she did her business.

Suddenly, Amanda wrenched her hand away and forcefully pushed her into the dark bathroom.
She shrieked and tried to open the door, hands shaking with fury.
It was locked.
What kind of rubbish was this now!
She hit the door, screaming to be let out but no one was answering. She became angry and kicked the door repeatedly. Surely, the other girls would wake up with the racket.
No one did.
She sank down on her haunches, shivering. It had become chilly in there. And there was something about the darkness that unnerved her. That feeling of staring eyes came back and she shuddered, rubbing her arms brusquely.
Giggles.
From one of the toilet stalls.
She got up.
“Wh..who’s there?” She whispered.
More giggles answered her.
Her eyes struggled in vain to pierce the darkness.
It was complete.
Dense.
Surrounding her.
Stiffling her.
She heard the squeak of the metal hinges and she knew whoever was inside was coming out.
“I’m covered by the Blood!” She whispered fiercely, her shaking voice belying her conviction.
“Are you?”
A voice whispered.
Husky.
Female
“Are you really covered?”
She shook.
“Yes! I rebuke you!”
A laughter.
Harsh.
Then silence.
“Rebuke me! As if!”

She felt clammy hands; numerous clammy hands hold her arms and legs.
“Leave me alone!” She screamed.
That laugh again, this time, very close to her ear.
“No.” The voice whispered.
She felt bile burning in her throat as the clammy hands clamp on her head, holding her head in place as one hand prised her mouth open. Tears of terror streaked down her face. Her bowels betrayed her.
A tiny hand shoved itseld down her throat and she wheezed in an attempt to breathe. White light danced across her eyes and her body jerked sporadically, a rictus of shock.
Darkness claimed her.

“….I’m most concerned madam. It would seem she ran away from the boarding house.”
Mrs Ganiyat’s eyes widened in fear.
“Why! Where would she go to now ehn! What is this!”
The Principal held her hands in commiseration.
“We are doing everything we can as a school, Madam. The police have been informed..”.
Mrs Ganiyat swallowed a sob, nodding.
Gbemisola? Run away? Eledumare!

Mrs Okonkwo turned in her chair as her office door opened. Three Senior students walked in and sat down. She smiled at them.
“Well…” She started rubbing her hands.
“When would be the next time?” One of the students asked.
“Whenever she gets hungry again. Who knows. In six months? A year? Tomorrow? Who knows?” she shrugged.
They nodded in silence.
The sacrifices they had to make to keep the school standing.
Amanda grimaced inwardly, remembering to leave a mask of unconcern on her face.
She had liked Gbemi. It was too bad her name came up. Even worse that she had to lead her to her death.
Mrs Okonkwo retrieved a basket from beneath her table, filled with white paper.
“So…the next name. Who would want to do us the honour?”
One of the three girls got up and plunged her hand into the sea of folded white papers, picking their next sacrificial lamb.

Not The End
———————
Seems my block has been lifted. Praises. πŸ™‚

Advertisements