“IF WITCHES WERE HORSES” Episode 17-19 by Kolade Segun-Okeowo (KSO)

0

*“IF WITCHES WERE HORSES”*
A Novel Written By: Kolade Segun-Okeowo (KSO)

*EPISODE 17*
Morakinyo saw her off to the motor park. The ten minute walk seemed like eternity, the silence was almost visible. The two of them knew there was nothing to talk about. When eventually they got to the motor park, Gbayike could not help saying “Praise God”. Morakinyo heard her but thought she was just thanking God that the wagon had not gone yet.

“I’ll wait to see the vehicle leave” Morakinyo said, though he did not really mean what he said.

“Oh … no, please don’t be bothered. I’ll be okay. I’m sure you’ve done enough, thank you very much”

As soon as Morakinyo left the vehicle, the tears already swelling burst. Gbayike quickly brought out her handkerchief to wipe the tears. She turned back to see Morakinyo leaving the park. She had turned just at the same time Morakinyo looked back and their eyes met. Gbayike quickly withdrew and turned back into the vehicle. She knew her destiny has been affected for life. A part of her had been lost!

She loved Morakinyo passionately, but now that dream was gone… gone forever.

She stayed another one hour in the wagon before it got filled up. It was not the market day. So the number of passengers was lesser than in the morning. As soon as the journey started, she bowed her head into a face-towel and wept, her sobs completely submerged by the noisy engine of the wagon.
Pastor Kalejaye is not a man easily betrayed by his emotions, but the news was too shocking for any man to keep emotions. He stared straight into Gbayike’s tear-filled eyes unable to believe what he just heard. His wife sat there transfixed her arms clasped across her chest. She broke the silence.

“You mean Morakinyo has married someone in the village?” It was more of a statement than question.

“Will I tell lies mummy, he confirmed it himself” Gbayike was tired of saying it again. It was not only depressing but also disgusting.

“But that is surprising …” Pastor Mrs. Kalejaye could not suppress the words “He did not tell us before doing such a thing … or My Dear, did he mention it to you?” She turned to her husband and asked.

Pastor Kalejaye sighed heavily and cleared his throat so as to make the words would come out clean and clear.“Not at all … ever since he came to share the testimony of how the Lord provided the village church with generator and other items, I’ve not set my eyes on him” explained Pastor Kalejaye.

“But Gbayike … the fault is yours” He turned to Gbayike who has not overcome the shock. Her tears were still flowing freely. She knew what the pastor meant and prayed he doesn’t go on. The prayer was not answered. Pastor Kalejaye continued.

“I told you to go and confess to Morakinyo on time but you refused. Now after almost three months, you went and came back with this … see what your procrastination has caused…By the way, didn’t I instruct you not to go alone…Ehn…Anyway, we shall address that act of disobedience later”

Pastor Kalejaye’s voice was emotion-laden and shaking. Gbayike’s sobbing increased.

“… and this woman Morakinyo married” continued Pastor Kalejaye “Is she a child of God?”

“She said her name is Oyinkansola … I don’t know if she is a child of God or not” Gbayike said amidst sobs. “The only thing I noticed was that something was shinning strangely in the woman’s eyes”

“Oh my God!” Pastor Kalejaye’s wife was the first to react, her hands still clasped across her chest.

“You mean this woman Bro. Morakinyo married?” Mrs Kalejaye continued. She’s an expert in the area of marriage counselling. She has headed that office in the church for over ten years now. She develops interest quickly in issues pertaining to courtship and marriage. She knew everything that transpired between Morakinyo and his late fiancée who died in an accident three months to their wedding. She was also conversant with all the efforts Morakinyo had made to convince Gbayike before he finally left for his mission work.

“Daddy, this is strange!” She turned to her husband “Do you remember the dream Brother Morakinyo had before he left for the village?”

Pastor Kalejaye kept quiet for about thirty seconds considering what his wife had just said. It was true Morakinyo told him about the dream but since he had prayed for him, he had completely forgotten about it.

‘Oh my God, the dream!’ He thought. ‘What if the dream is now coming to pass … God Forbid?’
Pastor Kalejaye knew something had gone wrong but could not explain… He wanted to say what the Holy Spirit told him concerning the dream just then but held his tongue.

“It would scare this young girl” He sighed deeply and said; “Gbayike, did you deliver my message to him”

“Yes Sir, I told him you’ll like to see him as soon as possible, he said he’ll come within a fortnight”

“It is well” Pastor Kalejaye said smiling. “Let’s pray for him”

A whole month passed and Morakinyo did not make good his promise to see Pastor Kalejaye within a fortnight. Oyinkansola did everything possible to discourage Morakinyo from going out of the village. She had told him of a terrible vision she had over the night and concluded it was a warning from God that Morakinyo should not travel out of Onigba-Iwofa. Morakinyo believed her. He had no reason to dispute or reject. Oyinkansola’s prophecies and revelations have always come to pass especially concerning the village church.

Once she had prophesied that the enemy was planning to destroy the lives of members of the church. Two days later, a mighty wind blew off the roof of the church while an evening service was going on. Almost immediately, a side of the church wall collapsed almost killing all the worshippers in the service. They however escaped unhurt. Since that incident, Morakinyo had learnt to take Oyinkansola’s prophecies and warnings seriously.

Immediately after the wedding, the prophecies increased especially the negative ones and they all came to pass. Soon the negative seemed to retain the upper hand. Terrible things started happening in the town. Within two months of the wedding twelve deaths were recorded in the village, three of them coming from the church.

Before long, the whole town was again gradually getting engulfed in the Orogojigo epidemic saga. Soon, church membership declined. It started from the weekly services and gradually affected the normal Sunday worship.

After one of the usual evening services, Morakinyo called Elder Bodunde, one of the most senior members of the church and spoke to him on the recent developments in the church and the village.

“Elder Bodunde, I’m surprised that many of our people are not turning up for weekly programmes these days. Today only seventeen people came. Last week Sunday only twenty five people came instead of about one hundred that we normally have … what is going on Elder?”

The old man waited patiently for Morakinyo to finish, he sighed and started another speech. “Pastor, I thought you must have heard that people have been saying they are not sure Jesus can do anything again”

Morakinyo adjusted himself.

“In fact, the strange disease that was ravaging the whole village before your coming has returned”

“Oh my God!”

“Last night, two children died behind my compound. I heard screams and rushed to the place. I saw the dead bodies myself …”

“I wish this is a dream” Morakinyo was visibly shaken.
“Some people have started returning to their Idols. For example the Akinsowon family sacrificed to Egungun, their ancestral god yesterday”

Morakinyo wanted to scream. He could not believe the news about the Akinsowon family. He remembered vividly that Akinsowon had been one of his first few converts when he arrived Onigba-Iwofa. The Akinsowon’s had single handed donated ten benches to the church.

“Even the King is gradually getting discouraged. In fact the belief of many is that things have not been going on well since … since ….em….” The old man stammered and stopped.

“Since what Baba, please tell me?” Morakinyo urged him. He knew Bodunde was keeping some vital information away from him.

“Don’t worry Pastor, it’s nothing serious”

“No, you must tell me! Please I want to hear whatever it is, at least I called you”

“Em … well, what people are saying is that since you got married, many things have gone wrong” Bodunde said, carefully choosing his words.

“My wedding?” The shock was too much for Morakinyo to believe. The people of Onigba-Iwofa were becoming ungrateful.

‘Now they want to push blames over me, eh?’

“But what has my marriage got to do with the issue at hand…. Baba, I don’t think they are right… what I think is happening is that our people are not doing proper follow-up and visitation I mean the leaders”

Elder Bodunde looked up. He found it hard believing what the Pastor said. ‘If only he knew all what the people are really saying’

“Baba, I’ll want all the Elders and other leaders to start proper visitation from around six o’clock everyday… I’m sure you must have returned from the farm by then?”

“Ah…. I would have returned” Bodunde responded.

As he stood to go, he turned around and said “Pastor, don’t you think this issue requires more than visitation only?”

“Not at all, the spirit of lukewarmness has entered into our members. We must flush it out. There will be changes within two weeks.”

Elder Bodunde shrugged. What else could he say? He must accept the pastor’s opinion, though something told him something was going wrong. He never liked Oyinkansola, once she moved in to join Morakinyo in his house, long before their marriage.

“Where are we going to meet tomorrow before going out Sir” asked Bodunde.

“The church! It’s better here. We‘ll pray before going out. Please inform other elders to join us at the same time”

Elder Bodunde shook his head as he walked out of the church. He knew what to do. He and the other Elders would meet and take some other steps different from the one suggested by the pastor.

None of the steps was taken!

That same day, Elder Bodunde passed away! He died over the night.
According to his wife, he had shouted from his sleep holding his neck as if trying to release it from a grip. She screamed and rushed out to call for help. Before anyone came, the poor old man had passed away. He was about sixty-five.

The news shocked Morakinyo to the marrow of his bones. Oyinkansola wept bitterly. She led a group of women from the church to console Bodunde’s wife the following day. Morakinyo remembered vividly every word of the dead man the previous say. He couldn’t believe Elder Bodunde would die just like that. As he returned from the Elder’s house where he had gone to console his family, he walked straight to the church. He knelt at the altar and wept.

“What could have gone wrong?” He asked himself. He tried to pray but could not. For sometimes now, his prayer life has suffered heavily. Greatone stood there beside him looking pleadingly. His sword was not shinning any more but rusted. His helmet and breastplate were broken and plastered all over. The shield was no longer on him. He looked weary and weak. His usual mien was no longer visible.

Since Oyinkansola moved in to join Morakinyo in his house, Greatone had suffered. Morakinyo’s usual prayers dropped sharply. He hardly prayed, neither was anyone praying for him. The church at Ibadan did not help much. Apart from sending Morakinyo’s allowances, no regular prayer support was given except for occasional prayer points during Sunday services. Immediately after their wedding, Oyinkansola met regularly with Sapientia in their bedroom! Greatone would stand there looking at them helplessly, though his presence still protected Morakinyo from physical harm, he could not do more than that.

Greatone had become weak!

The crowd was getting increasingly large. The news had spread round the campus very fast. Another clash between rival cults had claimed the life of a final year law student.

“This is sheer wickedness” One of the girls gathering around the dead body said as she hissed and turned away from the scene.

“I wonder why some people cannot think… have they forgotten that they too will die one day” Another student commented. The body was already swollen. The murder must have been carried out somewhere else and the body dumped in front of the Zoological Gardens. The spate of such killings has increased on the campus in recent times. A few weeks earlier, two separate clashes amongst rival cults had claimed the life of seven students.

A Dean of Faculty caught in the web of the fighting on his way from the office after staying there into the night was seriously injured. Doctors said the poor professor will never be able to use his left eye again. A deep cut was inflicted on the eye slashing straight into the eye ball.

“I don’t pity him, who knows how many people he too had killed” said Brenda, the Students Union Director of Socials.

“Who knows whether he was the one who stabbed Professor Adelakun and left the poor old man disabled for life” She was apparently angry. On many occasions she had through her office arranged seminars and film shows to speak against cultism and its evil consequences.

“I only wished this…” She stopped as a hand tapped her by the shoulder. She turned around and saw Lanre the President of the Students Union Government.

“Brenda” Lanre started in low tones as he pulled her away from the crowd “Please say no more; walls have ears. I have received information that the guy is the Capone of the Black Vultures Confraternity. His mates are bent on vengeance … you can’t really say who and who are in the crowd…. Do you understand?”

Brenda suddenly realised the implication of what she had done. It was true; members of the guy’s cult could have listened to her pouring vexations on the dead “Capone” She stared blankly at Lanre unsure of what to say.

“Don’t worry, you’ll be quite safe, I’ll get the Commander-in – King of the Man O’ War Club informed about this” Lanre assured.

“Has anyone gone to inform the Health Centre, the body should be removed?” Brenda managed to speak, her voice shaking.

“Yes, the Welfare Officer had done that; the ambulance will be here any moment from now.”Lanre said and led Brenda away from the scene towards the Students’ Union Building. The sound of the ambulance siren hit their ears as they stepped on the staircase of the Students’ Union Building.

Lanre got to his office and looked through the window. He saw two Health Centre officials lift the body on to a stretcher. He shook his head and returned to the table. He placed his left arm behind Brenda.

“Brenda… now don’t make a mountain out of a mole hill, I’ve told you, the Man ‘O’ War will hear about this”

*To be continued tomorrow; Sunday May 3, 2020 in Episode 18.

If you have enjoyed reading, please share freely with others!!!

A Novel Written By: Kolade Segun-Okeowo (KSO)

Lanre got to his office and looked through the window. He saw two Health Centre officials lift the body on to a stretcher. He shook his head and returned to the table. He placed his left arm behind Brenda.

“Brenda… now don’t make a mountain out of a mole hill, I’ve told you, the Man ‘O’ War will hear about this”

The Commander-in-Chief of the Man O’ War Club did hear about it, and plans were made for the security of all the Students Union officials particularly the Director of Socials who had been in the forefront of the campaign against cultism on the campus.

The C-In-C instructed two female Man O’ War members to monitor Brenda’s movement. She made further demnds. The C-in-C eventually accepted her request and instructed the two female Man O’ War officials to move into her room and stay with her. The C-In-C made sure he chose the Club’s best female karate expert to move into Brenda’s room.

Lanre knew about all the arrangements, but he was also aware that none of them was foolproof. The danger of being attacked by the cult members was still very potent. What if they attack him while on his way to the library at night? What if they pounce on him elsewhere? He stopped moving around the campus once it was seven o clock… but still, the fear of the cult guys haunted him.

“Larry B, what’s gwan?” Bolaji asked again for the third time after watching Lanre’s behaviour for over fifteen minutes. Bolaji had been his only roommate since he assumed office as the President of the Students Union, three months ago.

He invited Bolaji to stay with him in the room. As a Student Union official, he was entitled to a room of his own, but Lanre knew he could not stay all alone in the room. Beneath the façade of the hard liner, fire-spitting Students Union President lies a jelly- like coward nature of Lanre. Bolaji alone understood Lanre’s contrasting nature. They were friends right from the secondary school and shared most things in common.

Lanre could not find a better choice than Bolaji when he considered the option of a roommate. Things had however turned rather sour three weeks after Bolaji moved into Lanre’s room. It was a heavy blow that badly affected their friendship. Bolaji had attended a crusade at the University Sports’ Centre on that fateful night.

The programme was organised by the Evangelical Christian Union Fellowship. He had attended such programmes in the past, so he felt that night’s could not be different from the ones before it. In actual fact Bolaji had always enjoyed the praise worship sessions of those programmes. He attended for that purpose.

However, when it was time for the preaching to start, things took a new dimension. As usual, Bolaji got prepared to rise and leave the crusade ground. The ushers would not stop him. They knew him very well on the campus. He was Lanre’s closest ally. He had been his Campaign Manager during the first attempt at the Presidency. Lanre had lost by only forty-two votes to his main opponent at a time when he was just a part two student.

Bolaji was about making his exit out of the crusade ground when the preacher was introduced. The whole crowd of students who had filled the ten-thousand seat Sports Centre jubilated wildly as the preacher marched towards the rostrum.

Bolaji stopped to see the preacher. He strained his eyes to make sure he saw properly. The sight was too much for him to believe, he returned to his seat and joined the jubilating crowd. He was seeing this type of thing for the first time in his life.

Nine year old Jackson Utitofon the kid-evangelist was going to preach! A nine-year old boy! Bolaji sat down resolving to stay till the end of the crusade. He wanted to hear what new thing a nine-year old would say.

The message lasted only thirty minutes! Silence reigned everywhere as the boy preached. No one could move. The preaching was captivating. Bolaji sat there mouth-agape wondering how possible it was for a nine year old boy to preach the gospel in such a captivating manner. As soon as Jackson made an altar-call for salvation; a large crowd surged forward.

Bolaji quickly imagined the implications of what he was about to do. Join the crowd and become a born-again? Everybody on the campus will soon hear about it. He forced himself to sit again.

“There’s someone in the crowd there, you know you ought to give your life to Christ but you are considering your popularity on the campus…” The voice of Jackson Utitofon rang out clearly on the public address system. “Hear me …” He continued “If you are ashamed to declare for Christ now, Christ will do the same to you in the presence of His father”

Bolaji was now shaking, he knew Jackson was referring to him. He looked round to see if anyone was watching. To his surprise, nobody cared to know who he was. All around him were heads bowed deep in prayers. Then the heaviness on his legs left, he moved forward to join the surging crowd, he tried to fight back the tears but they flowed as soon as he got to the base of the rostrum.

The news went round the campus; “Beejay’ is born again!” “SUG President’s Aide Joins SU”

Lanre heard from Bolaji himself. “Beejay what’s all these news am hearing that you’ve joined those born-again stuff” He challenged Bolaji.

“Larry B” Bolaji called his nickname trying to calm Lanre down “You see; we need to talk. I should have told you since last week when it happened, but you see it’s like I really wanted to be sure I’m doing the right thing”

“So the news is true?” Lanre interrupted.

“Yes” replied Bolaji calmly.

The answer rang like a bell. Lanre stood there staring blindly at the Bolaji. If only he could fight Bolaji he would have landed a heavy punch on him, but he knew he dared not. Bolaji was not only six-two footer; he has a black-belt in karate. The heavy built and karate experience contributed to his choice of Bolaji as his roommate after winning the Presidential elections.

Bolaji was more like an Aid-de- Camp to Lanre. But for that he would have sent Bolaji packing out of his room.

That night as Lanre entered the room looking worried. Bolaji knew it had to do with his safety on the campus. Lanre had never had a single peaceful night since he became the President of the Students’ Union.

“Larry B tell me now? You look worried”

“Beejay … those guys struck again today … They killed the Capone of the Black Vultures” Bolaji moved closer. He knew Lanre simply needed assurance. He always wanted someone to tell him all is well even when that is not the case.

“Beejay, you need to see the dead body… men! Matchet wounds all over his body … they killed him mercilessly … those guys are mean”

“That’s crazy! … But then, the dead guy has simply eaten the fruits of his labour. As the Capone of a secret cult, he too must have contributed to the death of many others… I only pity him that he did not repent before he died. He’ll go to hell!”

Lanre eyed him cynically; he knew Bolaji was looking for a way to turn the conversation into another preaching session. He has done that a couple of times, but Lanre knows how to stop him.

“Beejay life is no longer safe on this campus … imagine, if they could kill the Capone of a strong cult like the Vultures then, who can’t they kill?”

“Well, they can’t kill me, not because am a karate expert, but because I am covered with the blood of Jesus. Listen, Lanre, what you need is a sure protection from Jesus. For those who know Jesus, terrible things like this cannot happen to them… Lanre why don’t …”

“Hey! Common Beejay, there you go again!” He interrupted. “Please, don’t give me this scrap again. What has the clash between rival cults and safety of life got to do with this born-again nonsense” Lanre was already frowning. He knew Bolaji would not stop except he shouts him down or simply walk out on him.

“Larry B … I know you’re scared, but you need not be if only you surrender your life to Jesus. Jesus said “fear not for I …”

“Oh my God!” Lanre screamed! “Beejay for God’s sake leave me alone … you’re free to do anything you like with yourself, so leave me alone live and let live! QED!”

Lanre shouted and climbed his bed almost at the same time removing his jacket. He lied there on the bed pretending to have slept. Bolaji knew he was not sleeping. He moved closer to see if he could quietly convince him to attend the fellowship the next day. Lanre heard him move. He adjusted himself and drew his head phone in to place and switched on the micro-cassette player attached to it. Bolaji knew that was the final straw. Lanre always resort to that method whenever he has tried everything to stop Bolaji from preaching.

Bolaji sighed heavily and smiled; he knew it was all over that night. No Jupiter could talk to Lanre as soon as he puts on his headphone.

The Pythons Confraternity not only had the largest number of members on the campus, but also enjoys the greatest respect amongst rival cults. The Pythons Capone was said to be a member of nine different confraternities outside the campus. His father had introduced him into occultism since he was only seven years old. His father belonged to the famous Rosicrucian Order and the Aborigine Ogboni Fraternity.

The Python’s were known to be the bloodiest cult group on the campus. Recently, fourteen members of the most prominent rival cult to the Pythons were murdered in cold blood. The Pythons had invaded their place of meeting and unleashed a violent attack on them. The school authority had been forced to close down the school; following the killings to avoid possible outbreak of violence and counter-attacks from other rival cult groups.

The Python’s Confraternity usually conducts its initiation ceremony twice a semester. It used to be once in a session, but following a sharp increase in the number of intending members, the leadership of the Confraternity decided to increase the initiation ceremonies to twice a semester.

Averagely, about forty students are initiated during each ceremony. The initiates are allowed only after undergoing thorough drilling which included dangerous assault courses and physical injuries and pain. One after the other, the intending members are taken into a special grotto where they are undressed and beaten with horsewhips. The process starts all over again if the initiate cries or expresses the slightest appearance of pain. He must pretend to be enjoying the whole exercise and is expected to say ‘thank you’ at quick intervals.

As the initiates file out to the open arena for their last test of bravery, it became evident that they’re all scared. Lanre was not treated specially not withstanding his personality as the President of the Students Union. He had been the last of the initiates to obtain the application form. In actual fact, the period of filing in application forms had expired before Lanre approached the Capone.

Dragoe, could not hide his joy when Lanre was brought to him by Benson Osarode the ‘Silly Gene’ of the Python’s Confraternity. Never in the history of the Python’s has a Students’ Union President been a member. Dragoe knew his regime as the Capone of the Python’s was going to be eventful. The membership of Lanre would grant the Pythons unrestrained assess, though secretly to Union’s facilities, funds and vehicles.

Gradually, the initiates drew near the open field for the final test. They were expected to jump across a twelve-foot bon-fire. Failure to comply meant death as the Capone was standing there looking mean with his 14mm calibre pistol.

During the last initiation ceremony, he had killed two of the initiates who refused to jump across the fire. This information was first passed across to the new set of initiates. That sent a cold shiver down their spines. Dragoe shot twice into the air as if to convince them that he was not carrying a toy-gun. The die is cast!

There was a pin-drop silence as the first initiate got ready to make his jump. He moved many steps backward and ran wildly toward the bon-fire. He must have changed his mind at the last minute as he halted just about two feet to the fire. The fear of the huge tongues of the fire must have scared him. He screeched on his legs and fell at the base of the fire. He stood and turned back to make another trial.

The deafening shot from the Capone’s gun caught his head and within seconds he was lying on the ground, his brains flushed out. The young man struggled violently on the ground and soon gave up the ghost. One of the initiates directly in front of Lanre broke away from the queue and made straight for the bush. Dragoe turned quickly at that direction and fired another shot; the initiate escaped and disappeared into the dark.

Four of the Pythons quickly gave him a hot chase into the bush.

“Let the process continue!” Shouted the Capone. He was now more determined to kill. Though it was dark, they could see his angry eye balls.

The next initiate took his position to jump. He knelt down, prayed and made a sign of the cross across his chest. He ran wildly towards the fire. He leaped across the bon-fire almost too early, and landed into the fire, he jumped up quickly and managed to run out of what remained of the bonfire. He has been hurt badly; he fell on the ground and quickly rolled away the fire that had caught his trousers. He was not wearing any shirt. So the fire had burnt his chest. He sat there gasping for breath. He looked back to see if he had passed the test. The Capone had risen up his right thumb, a sign that the initiate had passed the final test.

The third initiate was preparing to make his jump when the shivering screams of the escapee was heard. Lanre’s heart missed a bit. The boy had been caught and certainly, he would be killed. The four Pythons dragged him to the Capone. Dragoe stared at him menacingly; he pointed his gun at the escapee. He was going to pull the trigger when he changed his mind.

He signalled to the aide-de-camp standing behind him. Soon a rope was brought and the victim tied up. He struggled and struggled, but he was no match for the four Pythons gripping him. A keg of petrol was poured on him. He screamed again, pleading for mercy, but no one listened to him. He was already bound with a rope and gagged. Two of the Pythons carried him straight towards the bon-fire. Lanre thought he was watching a film. He assumed they were simply trying to scare the escapee in order to prevent him from trying to escape again… but just then the two Pythons carrying the escapee swayed him four times and threw him into the fire!

The bon-fire increased angrily as the petrol soaked body helped to fuel it. The victim managed to scream for another sixty seconds. Gradually the screams died down.

Lanre turned round to see if there could be a better way of escape. Behind the new initiates was an army of the Pythons each with his dangerous weapon. They had been stationed there since the escapee made the attempt. Lanre wished he could just disappear from the arena. He never knew joining the Pythons Confraternity was as deadly as this. He had heard tales about the dangers of joining a cult, but no one told him that people were killed.

The third initiate was now ready to make his jump. He took some steps backwards and ran wildly towards the fire. His giant leap paid off as he landed safely across the bonfire. He fell trying to maintain his balance after the jump. He stood up and looked back as if to be sure he had made a successful jump. He fell on his knees and raised his hands to the heavens. Dragoe gave the thumb sign.

The success of the third initiate encouraged the others. Four other attempts were successful. It was getting close to Lanre’s turn. The guy before him was ready to make his jump. His name had been called and was already running towards the fire. He must have miscalculated! His legs caught each other and he stumbled violently and landed into the fire. His legs failed him again and he fell. He tried the third time; he took two steps, gave a loud pitiful scream and fell finally into the scorching bon-fire. He died!

The guy destroyed Lanre’s morale which had been built high by the successes of the first attempts before now.

“Olanrewaju Babatunde Durotoye!” His names rang out in the silence that followed the death of the last initiate. It was his turn to attempt the jump. The moment everyone was waiting for had come. Lanre must not die in this final test. The Capone who had used his office to allow Lanre’s late application prayed silently, wishing that Lanre would make the jump. He wished he could exempt him from this final test, but he knew that could spark off a crisis in the Confraternity.

The silence became deeper as Lanre took the backward steps to position himself for the jump. The greatest of the candidates was going for a life and death jump. Should Lanre die in the process the whole campus would be engulfed in a crisis within twenty-four hours, the President of the Students’ Union would be declared missing! Policemen would be invited. The thoughts ran wildly through the Capone’s mind. As Lanre ran towards the fire, Dragoe closed his eyes tightly.

To be continued in Episode 19.

Episode 19
A novel written by Kolade Segun-Okeowo (KSO)

The silence became deeper as Lanre took the backward steps to position himself for the jump. The greatest of the candidates was going for a life and death jump. Should Lanre die in the process the whole campus would be engulfed in a crisis within twenty-four hours, the President of the Students’ Union would be declared missing! Policemen would be invited. The thoughts ran wildly through the Capone’s mind. As Lanre ran towards the fire, Dragoe closed his eyes tightly.

Princess Hagatha continued her operations on the campus. At the same time, she pursued the mission in Onigba Iwofa. She possessed a dual personality. Her ranking as a Daughter of the River operating In the Highest Level of Spiritual Wickedness, afforded her the rare privilege of being able to be in four places at the same time. She had registered as a student in the Federal University. Her recent promotion in the Marine kingdom had earned her a hundred percent increase in the number of demons in her control.

In the last two semesters she had successfully initiated forty two girls into the marine kingdom. Her method had been very simple; give them various gifts ranging from cosmetics to under wears and expensive clothes, thereby drawing their hearts closer. By the time she introduces them to the Marine Kingdom, none would be able to resist.

She had however carefully avoided the girls who are born-again Christians. She knew them and could identify the serious ones. She has a powerful telescopic device attached to her forehead. The invisible device enables her to see through the heart of others and have knowledge of what goes on there.

As she strolled towards one of the lecture rooms that morning, her mind was completely occupied with the successes of her mission at the Onigba-Iwofa village.

Following the death of Elder Bodunde, most of the church members had stopped coming to the services. The incident and other mysterious deaths had sent fear into the congregation.

She strolled across the Students Union Building. Lanre and two of his friends stood on the balcony overlooking the Aluta Grounds. Hagatha walked provocatively, her hips jutting out precariously as she moved. Her mini-shirt exposed a greater part of her seductive thighs. She wore a topless blouse.

From the balcony of the Students’ Union Building, Lanre’s eyes followed her, his mind far away from the discussion going on between his friends. From where he stood, he could see the girl’s cleavages. He fixed his eyes on her as she moved closer and closer.

“Men … check out this babe!” Lanre broke the discussion “This is one of the hottest babes on this campus … What do you think Chris?”

“Well, as for me I’m not interested in any babe now … I have more than enough…I’m even thinking of how to offload them!” Chris said laughing!

“Lanre, I know this babe o! She’s too heavy for you. She’s one of the richest on this campus. She drives a Lexus!” Said George.

‘Lexus!’ Lanre’s heart missed a beat. Then he remembered something. ‘… and so what! There’s no babe on this campus I can’t capture within minutes’ said Lanre.

‘Because you’re President of the Students’ Union?’ Sneered Chris.

“Bullshit! Forget about being President or not … I can get this girl in a matter of minutes!” Lanre boasted. Princess Hagatha was now standing in front of the Union Building as if waiting for someone. Suddenly, one of her files dropped. She bent to pick the file exposing more of her nudity.

“Oh my God…” Lanre whistled “Imagine those legs! Men, I must have this girl”

“I’m sure she’ll nail you” George warned.

“If she nails me, I’ll buy you twelve bottles of beer. If not you’ll do the buying” Lanre set a bargain.

“Accepted!” George said without thinking. He was sure the girl will turn down Lanre. He believed such girls are too expensive to be carried away by the fact that a guy belonged to the Students’ Union Government. He knew Betty very well; the Peugeot 505 she now drives is her third car in one session. She used to drive a Benz 230E and a BMW in the previous semesters.

Lanre on his own knew the girl would fall for him. Not because he was the President of the Students’ Union but because he was in possession of something beyond human explanation. As he ran down the stairs towards the girl, he drew out a white handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his face three times. The handkerchief had never failed since the Capone handed it over to him following his initiation. He had used it five times successfully dumping the girls after having carnal knowledge of them.

“Hi … you look like the beauty queen I saw in my dream yesternight!” Lanre started as he got to where Princess Hagatha stood. She turned around and saw Lanre. The approach threw her off balance.

“I’m sure I wasn’t the one you saw, neither do I look like her” She responded.

“Am afraid, I’m convinced you’re the one … I’ll like to know you better… I’m Lanre Durotoye, LARRY BEE, President of the Students’ Union”

“Well, everyone on the campus knows you” She replied blushing.

“So give me the privilege of knowing you”

“I’m Betty… Betty Campbell” She said flashing her beautiful gap tooth.

“I swear, I have never seen a more beautiful girl on this campus” Lanre said between smiles.

“Thanks for the compliments” She smiled again.

“Your name rings a bell you know?”

“Really… what do you mean” Hagatha knew where he was heading to.

She smiled again. Already she was planning her strategies on how to deal with the young man standing before her.

“I lost my girlfriend last semester, her name was Betty, she was my only girlfriend, I loved her so much before she died” The lies were flowing out ceaselessly. Lanre himself wondered where he found those fabrications.

“Oh! What a pity, please accept my condolence” Betty said, her voice dropping in sympathy.

“Can I say I’ve found another Betty?”

Betty was silent … She stared at Lanre and burst into laughter out of pity for him.

‘Common she’s falling for me’ Lanre thought.

“Can we see more of each other…? I stay in the Presidential Lodge. May I take you out tonight? ”

“To where?” Betty asked

“Anywhere you choose” Lanre said his mind racing very fast.

“Well… my lectures end at seven, I need to freshen up. So I can’t go anywhere until nine”

“That’s okay by me… are you saying I should pick you at nine” Lanre asked again.

“May be” She said shrugging her shoulders. Lanre knew what she meant. He knew a lady meant “yes” if she says “may be”. She gave her room number.

Chris and George had watched from the Student’s Union Building with disbelief. George had expected the girl to walk away from him or simply refuse to talk to him. Lanre returned to them gleefully. He threw the handkerchief up in a sign of victory.

“George … my twelve bottles!”

“Larry BEE Odjiga!” They hailed him.

Betty stole a glance back and saw the young men rejoicing. She shook her head, smiled and walked away.

Lanre found Betty rather too easy. By the time he arrived to pick her for the date, Betty was already waiting for him. Her night wear was both smashing and revealing; almost exposing her entire nudity. Lanre was happy. He imagined where the date would end up that night.

“I ve never seen a more smashing nightdress like this in all my life”. Lanre said as he settled on the side chair waiting for Betty to tidy up herself.

“Thanks for the compliment” Betty said and smiled. She quickly stole a glance at Lanre sizing up what he was wearing. A brown baggy shirt and blue jeans.

“I’m ready”. She said.

“How about your room mates”. Lanre asked.

“I don’t have any roommate. I bought the room to myself alone” She replied.

Lanre smiled trying to cover up his surprise. It’s not only strange but also unheard of on the campus where some rooms are occupied by as many as eight or even twelve students. He wondered how Betty managed to buy the room from the porters when the Students’ Union had made a rule against such sale of rooms.

“How did you manage to buy a room,” He asked as they entered the Students Union official car he had brought to pick Betty.

“I simply paid off the official allottees” She said smiling. Lanre looked at her with surprise.

“You paid them off! … and they accepted?”

“The offer was irresistible!”

“How much?”

“Two hundred naira each”

“How many of them?”

“Three!”

Lanre did a quick calculation. Six hundred naira for a room that officially costs one hundred and twenty naira per occupant.

“I see” Lanre managed to say. He strongly detested the action. To him, such things are the negative effects of capitalism which he and his colleagues in the Student’s Socialist Club had campaigned against. He quickly dismissed his thoughts on the issue. That should not be enough to stop his evening of bliss with Betty. Capitalism or no capitalism, he was going to enjoy himself with Betty.

He parked the car about a hundred metres away from the gates of Hotel de Pleasure. He chose a quiet dark spot where no one would be able to identify the Student’s Union vehicle. He had to do that or else tongues will begin to wag on the campus. The Press Clubs would have a field day bragging and make mountain out of molehill from the incident. He looked around and prayed silently that no one would see the car there.

Lanre did not waste time to invite Betty to one of his rooms he had booked a few hours earlier. Betty accepted immediately. ‘The handkerchief is working like magic!’ Lanre thought. He brought the white handkerchief out and wiped his face.

Betty took a final sip from the red wine and adjusted her gown. They had hardly taken half of the full chicken Lanre ordered. As soon as they entered the room, Betty started undressing. Though, Lanre was surprised, he did not show it. This was about the cheapest of the girls he had used the handkerchief on. He silently thanked his star and imagined what would have done without the handkerchief.

Within thirty minutes, it was all over. Lanre had satisfied his fleshly lust. Tired and exhausted, he lied carelessly on the bed sweating despite the air conditioner in the room. Gradually, he drifted off into sleep. Betty lay beside him.

At midnight, Betty woke. Opened her eyes gradually and checked her wristwatch, seven minutes to midnight! She had only five minutes left to get to the palace of the Queen of the Katangua Kingdom. The Queen will not tolerate any excuse no matter how genuine it might appear.

She rose from the bed and put on her clothes. She picked her bag after wearing her shoes. She leaned beside the wardrobe and transformed herself into her garment of the Katangua region. With her left hand she cast a spell on the body lying almost motionlessly on the bed and disappeared. She would be in the palace within ten seconds.

Hotel de Pleasure maintains a tradition of excellence in its customers’ relations and services. The management has instructed the staff to treat customers as if the hotel were a five star hotel, though it was not. Ten of its stewards had been taken on a practical course to the Federal Palace Hotel in Lagos where they stayed a whole week and understudied the services and customer relations of the premier hotel.

As soon as they returned, the management changed their uniforms to more corporate looking ones with new shoes and other accessories.

The services of Hotel de Pleasure changed rapidly, within two weeks. In the last one month, the hotel had played hosts to the Conference of Vice-Chancellors of Universities and the International Committee on Disarmament meeting. Its nearness to the University campus had rendered it an haven for the University lecturers and students who could afford the charges.

As usual one of the stewards had approached room 207 where Lanre and Betty had lodged with his tray of coffee. The Hotel Manager had instructed that all guests be served free coffee every morning. He knocked twice, but there was no response. He knocked the third time and thought he heard a response; he opened the door and moved in smiling. The pillow moved too fast for him to dodge. He was hit and sent crashing on the floor with the tray of the hot coffee he was carrying. He quickly stood up to survey what had happened to him.

Right on the bed was Lanre looking weird and wild, he had already scattered the room. He had only his pants on. The steward stood there transfixed unsure of what to do.

“O…ro…go…ji….go! O …ro… go…ji… go…ooo!” Screamed Lanre beating his chest like King Kong. He made for the bedside stool and dashed it at the steward. It was too fast for the steward, the stool landed directly where he stood. He managed to escape narrowly. He dashed quickly out of the room crashing into another steward along the corridor and scramble towards the Hotel Manager’s office.

“Alfred, what’s going on here?” The Manager asked as the steward burst into his office panting.

“The … the guest … in …in room 207 is going crazy!”

“Going crazy? … Are you alright?”

“Yes Sir! He came yesterday around 8.30pm with a girl … He attacked me” The steward said still panting, managing to squeeze the words out of himself.

“He could be drunk…” The manager offered an explanation of the situation.

“No sir … I attended to them when they came last night. He did not finish the only bottle of stout he ordered”

“But that’s strange … alright … go get the guards and meet me in the room”

“Alright Sir … please Sir don’t attempt to go in, he may harm you!”

The door to room 207 was slightly opened when the Manager got there. A small crowd had already gathered along the corridor discussing the incident. The other steward pushed down by Alfred was there nursing his wound. One of the cups he was carrying had broken and left a wound on his forehead.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I want to assure you that there’s no cause for alarm.” The Manager said trying to allay the fears of the crowd mainly the guests who were staying in rooms on that floor. They had heard the noise and screaming so they came out to see what the noise meant.

“Everything will soon be brought under control”. He said and moved near the door, he placed his ear on the door and listened for any sound. He appeared to have heard no sound. Gradually, he opened the door and stepped carefully into the room… he looked around the room, the bed was rough quite alright, but no one was there, he bent to check under the bed, it was empty suddenly two pairs of hands grabbled his neck tightening his windpipe.

To be continued in Episode 20.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *