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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3. CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER THREE

 

Shawowo leaped up from his seat and dashed across the shell shocked hall to the side of the crumpled form. He checked for a pulse, his touch surprisingly tender. And as though affirming that she still belonged in the land of the living, Amina moaned. It was low and tortured although her body remained motionless. Shawowo cupped her limp form in his arms, gingerly lifted her up and hurriedly walked over to the table that held large baskets of mail, laying her on a bare space on it as though she were a harvest of delicate easter eggs.

            The hall silently watched on. Automatons gripped in a frozen moment that seemed to echo the piercing scream of the now silent Amina. Seniors and Juniors locked in a fellowship of cowardice. One of them had fallen and they sat still, giving space to the heroics of the one they called Shawowo, space to protect them from the unseen and defend Amina from whatever it is that had caused her collapse. Amongst them still standing was Talatu, heart beating as she beheld the sight of the petite form of her school daughter lying motionless on the table. She was the second person to respond.

            “Close those doors” She called out.

            Her voice rang loudly in the fearful silence. Yet no one responded. Shawowo was hunched over Amina checking her for additional signs of injury or discomfort.

            “I said shut the doors!” It rushed from Talatu in an angry scream.

            The hall came to life. No sounds; just shuffling feet, the cry of metal chairs scratching terrazzo floors, cutleries falling unceremoniously on aluminum plates as everyone got up and waited for the first persons to actually obey her order.

            Talatu began ringing the bell in her hand as she hurried down the stage on which were now standing the other prefects. The noise seemed to shake everyone out of their dazed state even though no one dared to obey her orders but instead kept their eyes directed at the tall figure of Shawowo as he administered to the needs of motionless Amina. Talatu grabbed the first boy she met on the aisle by the arms and pushed him forcefully towards the wide open doors, which stared out into the dust invested afternoon and yawned like the entrance to the evil infested tempest.  She kept ringing the bell, and grabbed the second boy, her push was firm, and he staggered alongside the other boy towards the entrance.

            She turned back to the stage and stared hard at the prefects, who were rooted to the spot like wooden pillars measuring the height of a rapidly rising riptide.

            “Are you guys going to just stand there and look?”

            They began to shuffle, undecided, devoid of all sense of initiative, partly due to the fear and to the fact that they had all become accustomed to carrying out Talatu’s never ending commands and thus had lost the ability to instantly invoke original commands of their own.

            “Get them to shut all the windows, get some cold water from the cooks and secure the kitchen doors and take a roll call, I want to know if there is anyone else out there” She stopped ringing the bell in tandem to ending her orders.

            They still shuffled. Each one waiting for the next person to obey the first of her orders.

            “Move it for godsakes” she barked out.

            They moved it.

            The two boys got to the doors and stared into the rolling dusty winds that made visibility barely possible. Something was out there. They could feel it staring back at them from shifting haze. Their skin quickly broke out in goose bumps and their hair sprang up in alert attention, a million tingles spreading across their bodies. It was thick and heavy. It has a scent which wafted across their nostrils. Nothing they had ever smelt before. But if they had, they would have known that it was the fetid odour of death.

            A male senior student who had also come out of his zombie like state, brushed past them and shut the doors. Three others came over and helped him secure the bolts. The hall was now becoming a hive.

            Talatu arrived at the side of Shawowo. She looked down at Amina and felt something twinge in her. She really had never realized how tiny Amina was, but now that she lay there so helplessly, she could see her frailty and realized that the twinge she felt was the breath of guilt. Talatu knew she was the one that had sent her back to the hostels to get the bowl for some extra food. She could see Amina plead with her that she didn’t want to return to the hostel alone. She could hear her complain about the apparition she had seen the night before. Excuses she had thought to herself at the time. Lady Koi Koi the newest one Amina was coming up with to dodge her chores and escape the errands that came her way. But is that what had caused this? It couldn’t be, Lady Koi Koi was just hearsay and not real, it couldn’t be it. But should she have listented to the pleas of Amina, who she was supposed to care for like every school mother was expected to do? She clenched her abdominals in a bid to kill the guilt as she stared at the bulge in the throat of Amina. What could have caused that? she reasoned to herself. Amina’s lips were chaffed and pale, her breath shallow, and the more Talatu looked she could sense that Amina was trembling. It was barely perceptible but it was there. Talatu knew fear when she saw it. Her past was one that dripped with fear, so much fear that she could recognize it, master it, inflict it, be at peace with it. But the question nagged her, what is it that could have scared her to such lengths as to knock her unconscious. She looked back at the now securely shut doors. What was out there?

            “We have to get her to the dispensary” Shawowo announced as he straightened up.

            Talatu turned to him. The bell jingled in sympathy to the motion. She stood there looking at him. There was a transformation in him. A veneer of responsibility had creeped on him. Like a boy who had instantly become a man. A man who knew what to do and why it was being done. This was someone in control and Talatu hated that. She should be the one in control. This was her school and moreso this boy had disrespected her. One thing Talatu knew about herself was that she never forgave any slight let alone a full blown insult and blatant insurbordination.

            “No one is going out there” She responded. Voice firm. A bunching up of shoulders in attempt to match the height of the towering Shawowo.

            “She is shock, she needs help”

            “And how do you know that?”

            “Are you serious?” Shawowo responded in disbelief

            The other students were gradually drifting towards the table and taking frightened glances at the body of Amina as it lay there rapidly losing all body heat.

            “Whatever caused this is out there and I am not going to send anyone…”

            “And how do you know that?” He cut her short

            “The same way you know that she is in shock” It was sarcastic.

            “This girl will die if…”

            “No one is going to die under my watch, Dele Ajayi, so please do not cause any unnecessary panic. We are going to wait here for the dust storm to subside, and when visibility is clear, we will get her to the dispensary, so for now, we will secure this hall and wait” She loved being in charge.

            Shawowo stood there looking down at her. His nose flared repeatedly as he weighed his thoughts. She stared up at him. A smile sneaking around the corner of her lips. Power was intoxicating. She could feel the warmth of the adrenaline as it flowed into her bloodstream. This was the heavenly high, that few people ever felt, the high of true power. She was barely sixteen and yet she understood it so intimately, it felt like they were maternal twins. She wasn’t doing too bad for an orphan.

            Shawowo turned back and in one swoop lifted Amina up from the table. She lay cradled in the crook of his arms. He turned around, walked around the surprised Talatu and made for the door.

            “Open those doors” He called out to the three boys standing by them.

            They looked over at Talatu.

            “Don’t you dare” She hissed to them.

            They stood there motionless.

            “Open the frigging doors” Shawowo cursed at them.

            “Dele Ajayi, you would not disobey my orders” Talatu announced from behind him.

            “Get out of my way, you bloody cowards!” Shawowo groaned out in anger.

            They were his mates, just as Talatu was, and the fact that she could so completely intimidate and control them was something he that infuriated him to the gates of the high heavens.

            Shawowo marched towards the doors and the fury in his face was enough reason for the boys to step away from his path. He lifted his right leg and slammed it into the door. It carried behind it not only the force of his strength but the propulsion of his anger. And in that instant, the hinges gave way, the bolts shattered to the floor and the door swung open. The fingers of the dust reached into the hall. It had begun to moan again. An eerie whine that sounded like a million voices whispering in a hellish tongue. Shawowo staggered back and then found his footing. He could feel fear creep coldly up his spin. He could smell the scent. He stood at the brink of changing his mind, then he looked down at Amina. She lay there quietly, throat still distended, eyes shut, body vibrating ever so subtly. He could hear the whispers behind him. There was no gainsaying that everyone else could feel the evil that emanated from the reeling dust.

            “Dele, don’t go out there” the plea in Talatu’s voice was distinct.

            She could feel what he was feeling. The bell in her hand had begun to slowly ring of its own accord. She let go of it in fright and it landed on the floor with a loud clatter. Everyone jumped in fright. Shawowo didn’t and instead looked up from the pained face of Amina, and stared into the visually impenetrable haze.

            There was complete silence. Everyone stunned into immobility as they watched Shawowo with Amina in his arms march courageously into the swirling dust storm.

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