Lady Koi Koi

In a quasi-military co-educational boarding school in Nigeria, the ghostly apparition of a lady walks the corridors and halls of a female hostel. The students are caught between believing the tales of the ghoulish lady and laughing it off as the never dying myth of Lady Koi Koi; a nom de guerre given to the ghost because of the sound of her high heels clicking on the concrete floors of the hostel. It is not a myth. Amina Mohammed, an eleven year old girl has seen this ghost but no one believes her. She fears that in the creeping dark of the night is the scary apparition. As mysterious disasters ensues Amina is the only person with the power to unravel the mystery of the ghoulish apparition and the last barrier between it and the total annihilation of the school. As time runs out, Amina struggles with her latent powers while the school falls into chaos around her as the terror of Lady koi Koi is unleashed. It is a battle between the light of innocence and the darkness of an ancient evil

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5. CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER FIVE

 

Warrant Officer Alkali gently massaged the grotesquely swollen protrusion on Amina’s throat as he watched closely for any sign of discomfort on the placid face of Amina. He was the nurse on duty at the school dispensary and usually treated minor medical ailments. The major ones went to the Army reference hospital known as 44, which was at the Comilla barracks on the tree lined Kashim Ibrahim road in an exclusively high brow government reservation area in Kaduna, where well trained doctors could better handle nearly all medical complexities.

            It had been over an hour since Shawowo had walked out of the raging dust storm with the limp form of Amina in his arms. His hair and clothes were caked with dust, so was Amina’s, although her face had been shielded from the brunt of the ferocious winds, by Shawowo, who had tucked it into his chest as he slowly made his way, fighting against the force of the winds and the persistently screaming madness that seemed to be a living presence in it.

Alkali already had the doors and windows shut and was surprised at the time by the loud banging on the main metal and glass door of the dispensary. Who on earth could have been out there in that lunacy, he had thought to himself as he walked to it. The junior nurses were making a ward round and were too far away to respond to the incessant knockings. He opened the door and his jaw dropped when he saw standing there the ash coloured Shawowo and the desperately ill bundle he bore.

It had been a frenzy from that moment on, questions without answers, drip lines being set up to hydrate and speed up the hormonal response, a cortisone injection to lessen the pain and reduce the swelling, the nurses checked and rechecked her pulse, Alkali repeatedly scanned her dilated pupils and her tongue which was now the sickly grey colour of decayed flesh. He was genuinely at loss as to what must have brought about the sudden deterioration in her health and knew in the first five minutes that she had to be taken to 44. He also knew that it would be suicide to get the driver to take the ambulance out in that weather, so he had no choice but to see what he could do to save Amina while they waited for the storm to subside. Yet in the back of his mind, he wondered what sort of a human being was Shawowo to have braved the maelstrom that was swirling outside to bring in the unresponsive Amina.

It was right at the exact moment he completed that thought as he stood over the bed upon which Amina lay that the windows of the dispensary, which was a rectangular bungalow, painted in faded cream and surrounded by brown cobblestones, began imploding.

The first window to implode was the large one with a crescent moon pendant dangling from a silver plated chain in Warrant officer Alkali’s office. From the side of the bed of Amina, it sounded like a sonic boom. Shawowo and Alkali looked at each other in tandem and before they could register a question, another window imploded. Two of the nurses ran into the ward from the corridor, their eyes showed the panic that had gripped them and before they could speak, the window right by the side of the door to the ward imploded and sprayed them with broken glass. They screamed so loud, Shawowo felt his heard jump. His arms shot up and hung in the air as though shielding himself from an omni-directional onslaught. The other windows continued imploding and the room was filled with flying pieces of glass. Alkali leaned over Amina and shielded her from the flying sharp projectiles. The nurses crouched down and held their heads between their knees as they continued screaming. Shawowo turned towards Amina, he saw Alkali was protecting her.  He heard the main door of the dispensary shaking so violently, it sounded like it was going to be pulled out of its hinges. Shawowo ran towards it. He knew he couldn’t afford whatever it was that was outside coming in. He jumped over the forms of the nurses and landed in the corridor, he could see the door shaking at the end of the corridor, the latch was giving way. The floor was littered with broken glass. He ran fast, his feet shattering the glass into tinier pieces  and slammed his shoulder into the door. He dug his feet into the corner of the wall for purchase as he pushed his weight into the ferociously shaking door. From the other sides of the corridor, since it was in an L shape, screams raced down at him. These was where the other ward for male students was, and there were sick students in it. He looked towards it, trying to decide if he should go there to help the students or hold the door shut. The door kept shaking and the screams grew louder. He left the door and ran down the corridor towards the source of the screams.

The door was wide open, he ran through it and stopped in his tracks. There were four boys all huddled at the far corner of the room. They were screaming hysterically and looking towards the window. He turned towards the direction and then he saw it. It was not really an it, more like a formless undulating mass of something that looked like dark smoke. It was oozing in from the window.

Shawowo stood there looking at it, rooted to the spot, devoid of thought. It kept undulating in the same position, not moving closer to him or the still screaming students, who ranged between the ages of 11 and 14. He was out for a brief moment and as though a bolt of electricity had shot through him, he came to live and called out to the students.

“Come… quickly”

It seemed as though it was when they heard his voice they realized he was in there. They had been so attuned to the undulating mass. A relieved look spread across their faces even though they did not move towards him. He looked at the mass, it still hadn’t moved position.

“Lets get out of here, now!” the emphasis was on the last word.

They ran towards him, he guided them to the door while he kept his eyes trained on the mass as it hung close to the window. When the last boy had exited the room, Shawowo hurriedly ran out and joined them in the corridor. He looked at the door at the end of the short arm of the corridor. It was still shaking violently. He turned to the boys.

“Follow me”

He turned and began running towards the door. The boys did not move. He stopped and looked back at them. He was panting.

“Come on, move!”

He didn’t even wait and kept running. He got to the door and once again lay his back against it in an effort to keep it from bursting open. That act itself seemed to galvanise the boys. They ran towards him. Once they got closer, he pointed to the room in which Amina lay.

“Go in there”

They looked towards it and stood undecided. They could see the nurses still crouched just inside the door. The sight was not reassuring.

“The others are in there, you’ll be safe, quick!”

They looked at him one more time, visibly held their breath, turned around and ran towards the room. The door shook even more violently. Shawowo held his arms out and held the walls. He needed something to give him traction for his resistance.

“God what is this?” he murmured beneath is breath as he felt the energy behind the door, rattle his very bones. And at the moment the door came crashing and sent him sprawling across the floor, face first, the broken glass biting into his face, and open palms.

He struggled to his feet and without looking back, he ran down the corridor towards the other room. His screams were so loud, that the two nurses looked back at him. Their eyes were open wide as they stared at what was behind him. They screamed even louder and hurried up to their feet and staggered deeper into the room. Shawowo could see them run in and knew instantly that whatever it was that was behind him didn’t bid him good tidings. He arched his back and ran even faster. And right at that moment he smelt the same scent he had earlier smelt at the dinning hall. There was cold sweat running down his back. He ran and ran and somehow the room seemed to even run further away from him.

Warrant officer Alkali shouted at the boys to stand around the bed in a protective shield. They were shivering so violently, two of them practically collapsed in a dead faint. The other two sunk to their knees. Alkali could hear his heart thumping in his ears. He was a soldier but never in all his training had he been presented with a scenario like this, he didn’t know if he was standing by the bed because he needed to protect Amina or was actually too afraid to move. He looked at the empty door as he heard the scream of Shawowo. The nurses were pressed against the wall behind him. Amina still lay silent on the bed, throat still swollen as though a breadfruit was hiding in it.

Shawowo raced into the room, he heard the chorus of screams and for a moment didn’t notice his own voice amongst them. He ran to the bed and stopped when he saw the motionless bodies of two of the boys on the floor. He looked up at the bed. Alkali was still leaning over Amina. His teeth seemed to be chattering. Shawowo looked at the nurses. They were hyperventilating as they pressed themselves to the wall as though begging it to open up and either swallow them or provide a route of egress. He could hear the wind howling through the window and could feel the dust coursing through it. He could also smell the scent. That scent that made his skin crawl and his heart thump. He slowly turned around. There was nowhere else to run to, it was time to take the final stand.

It seemed to last for ages. Him standing there in expectation of the appearance of that which had slammed the door open. The wind still howled, the dust still welled in, the screams of the nurses slowly died down and when it seemed like nothing was going to appear, the darkness finally crept into the room.

It was fast and fluid. There was no form to it in one moment and then a form in the next, strange figures appearing and disappearing. Grotesque shapes undulating in the thickness of it. The cold emanating from it was so intense Shawowo could feel his blood icing over. The pain was excruciating. But the pain wasn’t the worst there was, it was the feeling of dread, a deep evil that was palpable and frightening. Something that seemed to reconnect Shawowo to some primal fear, an instinctual dread that echoed through him like the howl of a million wolves.

The darkness raced towards him, covering the distance before he could even comprehend its speed. It ran along the floor like water from a broken faucet and surrounded his feet, covered the boys who were lying prone on the floor, forced the kneeling boys to rise to their feet. Made Alkali to begin reciting the muslim prayer of confession called Shahada and even before Shawowo realized it. He was screaming at the top of his lungs.

And as the darkness swiftly covered them in the blanket of its form, Shawowo’s scream was not the only one heard, the nurses, the boys and Alkali had joined in and in the instant when the rolling mist finally covered Amina, she woke up with a start and instantly began screaming. The swollen throat exploding in a guttural scream, echoing louder than the rest and coming from somewhere the normal mind couldn’t comprehend.

Their collective screams lasted for a fraction of a second longer before they were abruptly cut off when the darkness swallowed them whole and a deathly silence hung in the midst of the breathing evil.

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