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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1. CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER ONE

The harmattan wind howled with dry fury as it rushed across the parched tilled fields, rustling the dried corn stalks, stripping dead leaves off aging trees and blocking the afternoon sun rays with a thick cloud of dust. The disheveled students, complete with forks and knifes and plastic plates, held their hands over their faces shielding themselves from the onslaught of nature as they slowly made their way towards the large brick building in which lay huge cauldrons of ghoulash-a-la-cash; a potpourri of boiled red beans, sweet potatoes, palm oil and seasoning. It was lunch time in Command Secondary School, Kakuri, Kaduna.

 

A short distance away, in a deserted hallway that ran through dragon house, one of the female hostels in the school, a lone figure hurried along towards the main door that opened into the large front yard. Dressed in green checkered blouse, a knee length dark green skirt, white socks and rubber sandals, eleven year old Amina Mohammed cut the picture of a studious girl intent on obeying all rules, one of which was making sure the large empty bowl in her hands got to the dining hall before the food was served. The bowl didn’t belong to her, but to her school mother; Talatu Rimi, the sixteen year old dragon house prefect.

Her short quick steps propelled her swiftly towards the large open doors, she looked at her rubber swatch wristwatch, it read 2.05pm, lunch will be served in ten minutes, Amina broke into a jog. The fury of Senior Talatu was proverbial and Amina was big on staying in her good books. It was not just the fear of running late that was on Amina’s mind that tempestuous afternoon, there was also the memory of the night before.

The night before, Amina had been awoken by the sound of clicking heels on concrete as she slept in the open hall that housed over eighty students.  It was 3.00am. High heels were worn only by teachers. At that time, it was rare for teachers or house mistresses to be in the hostels. Amina sat up on the top bed of her double bunk, her curiosity having the best of her. At that moment, the sound stopped, the hostel was dead silent. Everyone else was asleep.

Then just as she was about to lay back on the bed, the clicking started again. She stopped mid motion and looked towards the source of the sound. It was coming towards the door of the hall. She waited. The sound drew nearer. She listened. It came nearer and nearer and then a shadow appeared at the doorway.

Amina eyes bulged in her head as she stared at the figure that stood there, half illuminated by the fluorescent light. It was like something that escaped from hell itself. The fear that ran through Amina was cold and numbing. The last thing she remembered before she passed out, was an unearthly scream bursting through her mouth from the deep recesses of her being.

As the memory took a hold of her, she broke into a run, being alone in the hostel wasn’t her idea but Senior Talatu had insisted that she returned to bring her food bowl. Amina had complained in her usual quiet way that she was afraid to go back to the hall alone. The response she got was a snickering laugh, an admonition not to be a scary cat, and an order to hurry along. She had no choice but obey. The sunny afternoon gave her comfort; if only she can dash in and dash out before the figure can get a hold of her. She cursed silently under her breath at Senior Talatu and all those who laughed at her when she recounted the events of last night. No one claimed to have heard her scream. Everyone claimed that it was just another recounting of the myth of the figure known by all as Lady Koi Koi.

It was a myth every student at the school had heard about. A very few believed it, most of them didn’t. Amina who was now sprinting towards the open door knew without doubt, that something out of this world was alive and parading the night in high heels. She also knew that it was by no means a bearer of good tidings.

 

The dining hall was buzzing with life. The sound of cutlery on crockery inundated the air. Raucous laughter punctuated by a series of announcements floated above the heads of the students. There was food on the aluminium plates and hungry bellies were wolfing it down. Then there was silence.

People shut their mouths even before they raised their heads. The voice was enough to instill fear in them. It was the voice of Senior Talatu. A five foot three sixteen year – old with bristling energy, whose voice was ten times bigger than her.  Her fair skin was a stark contrast to the darkness that lived within her. To Talatu instilling fear and pain in people was all a part of a regular day at work. She was the Head girl and her word was law.

“Quiet!” She had barked out.

Some heads looked up to see her sitting behind the table that sat on the stage which stood at the far right end of the dining hall. On both of her sides were other prefects. They too had gone quiet. She held her gaze, staring with cold hardened eyes at the sea of heads before her. As she attempted to connect with some of the eyes that stared back at her, they quickly shot back down to the plates that lay before them. The cacophony had died down, everyone eating with caution, lest the scrape of their cutlery on their plate drew her infamous ire. Just then a giggle escaped the cowed crowd of seated students. Talatu’s eagle eyes darted towards the direction. An imperceptible shiver ran around the hall.

“Who was that?” It came out as an audible whisper.

There was no response. No one moved. She looked on. Her eyes roving around the section of the hall at the far left. In these section where the tables of the final year class; her mates, ordinarily there would be a camaraderie between her and them, just like it had been in the sets before her. But Talatu was different. To her she was Queen and everyone was her subject. Her respect was only owed to the Commandant of the school and his faculty of teachers. It was a dispensation that her classmates had grudgingly come to accept.

“I will ask one more time… who was that?” It came out with a sinister finality.

Everyone was now looking towards the senior section of the hall.

“Me” A deep voice came back. It was subdued with a tinge of defiance.

“Stand” Her order was curt and authoritarian.

No movement.

Quiet.

A multitude held their breath. Fingers gripping their forks tightly.

They all recognised the voice. It was Tunde Ajayi. Notable enfante terrible. Popularly known by his nom de guerre; Shawowo Mpoto. Talatu recognised the voice also, but recognition wasn’t enough for her, humiliation was the beginning of her satiation. Shawowo remained seated. Talatu was his classmate and he knew that standing up was a dent to his reputation. This was a confrontation that was a long time in the making.

Like a riffling thunderclap, Talatu shot up. Veins bulging on her forehead. Her face contorted in rage. Lips quivering. Eyes open wide. Hands clenched in a fist.

“Stand up!” She roared.

A collective gasp went up in the hall.

The other Prefects looked on in mute support.

On the table around which Shawowo was seated, the other students looked on in quiet discomfort. Half of them praying he stood up and took his trouble with him and her scorching glare away from them, the other half hoping that he will not stand up, praying that he will finally call Talatu’s bluff and cut her down to size. To the surprise of the former and the dismay of the later, he dropped his fork on his plate, the clang resonating around the silence of the hall and then he slowly stood up.They stood facing each other. One an enforcer, the other an instigator.

“Tunde Ajayi… I will not tolerate your irresponsible….”

“Shut up!” He spat the words out at her, cutting her off mid sentence.

Talatu’s sharp intake of breath was audible. She leaned forward, placing her hands on the table as though to steady herself from the shock. No one, even the Commandant had the nerve to speak to her that way. The students and other prefects mirrored her shock. For a moment it was shock, the next it was exhilaration. Finally, someone was putting into words what they had dreamt of saying to her for nearly a year.

“What …did you… just say?” Talatu was stammering.

“I said, shut the hell up”

“Did you just tell me to shut up?” She asked rhetorically as though the sound of her voice will tell her otherwise.

“Yes I did, now tell me, what are you going to do?” He struck a pose, arms crossed over his chest, head hanging in cocky defiance.

Talatu for the first time in the collective memory of everyone present was speechless.

 She stared at him, as though searching for words that had somehow deserted her.

The seven Prefects that sat on both sides of her, looked at one another as though unsure of what to do, support the Head girl, who was the most senior prefect or allow the confrontation run its course. It was evident that they too suffered under the tyranny of Talatu and were silently relieved Shawowo was standing up to her.

Shawowo began to laugh as soon as he realized that nothing of substance was coming out of her. He shook his head in pity and slowly sat down. The eyes that stared back at him around the table were filled with respect. He picked up his fork and began eating.

Talatu stood there, fidgeting visibly, she turned towards the other prefects as though asking silently for their support. Some looked back at her expecting an order, the others looked away, afraid that she will see the joy in their eyes.

It started as a slow rumble from Shawowo’s table and then it spread around the hall like wild fire. It was deeply felt and fiercely expressed.

She stood there looking in disbelief at the students as they all chanted in unison.

“Shawowo! Shawowo!! Shawowo!!!” Some were pounding on the table in accompaniement. The howling wind outside the hall lent a background to the chant.

Shawowo kept eating as though oblivious of the voices that were rising in crescendo. Talatu began to tremble visibly as anger coursed through her body. She began shouting, trying to raise her voice above the din that had seized the hall. Juniors, seniors, everyone defiant. The only silent ones, were the immobile Prefects.

“Quiet! … I said, quiet!!” She vainly tried to quell the verbal uprising. She seized the bell that sat on the wooden table and began to furiously ring it. No one paid heed to her.

Just then an unearthly scream pierced like a sharp knife through the hullabaloo.

It rushed in through the shut doors and slightly opened windows, rising in pitch and horror.

The hall fell quiet. Heads turning towards the direction of the scream. Talatu held the bell motionless in her hand, her face staring at the door. A whisper escaped her lips, at the same time that the scream abruptly stopped.

“Amina” the name dropped out of her lips with dread, her alert ears recognizing the voice even though her eyes which were opened wide hadn’t seen anything.

Everyone else listened.

No scream.

The wind itself seemed to also have stopped. They all looked towards the door, as it slowly began to open, an inch, wider, wider, wider, then she stumbled in. It was Amina.

Her face was ashen, eyes staring sightless, tears streaming down her cheeks, mouth wide open, throat swollen like a balloon. She stopped, her left hand stretched forward as though calling for help, before she tumbled down on the terrazzo floor in a motionless heap.

 

 

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