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





Command Secondary School Kaduna was a gathering of brick buildings, nestled in irregular patterns of singular standing classroom blocks, laboratories and offices, perfect squares with open courtyards passing for male and female hostels, a one storey building with a beautifully landscaped roundabout with a towering flag pole serving as classrooms on the ground floor and the offices of the senior staff and military commandant on the top floor. There was a large stretch of land in the southeast of the super large compound that served as the school farms, which hugged the dirt road that separated it from the staff quarters. The same dirt road stretched nearly the length of the compound, at one end it separated the one storey building residence of the Commandant from school poultry and going further west it did the same to the large dining hall from more staff quarters, while still doing same for the rest of the junior staff quarters and the large swath of farmland that the school rented out to the surrounding villagers. It terminated at a T junction, merging with another dirt road that ran north to south alongside the unpainted walls of the school compound.

            If you looked at the school through the eyes of the soaring eagles that patrolled the clear blue skies, most of what you will see was a dense core of developed land surrounded by expansive farm land that hugged it in the shape of a horseshoe. There was an asphalt expressway called the Western bye-pass that ran east to west and connected the ultra-modern and chronically underutilized Oil Refinery at Kachia with other parts of the country. It was smooth, and perennially busy since it also served as a conduit between Kaduna, the ancient city of Zaria and the newly developed capital city of Abuja.

            The school itself was founded in 1977 and was carved out from the Ungwan Romi and Ungwan Television villages in Southern Kaduna, a predominately Christian enclave in the predominately muslim region of Northern Nigeria.

            The land upon which is sat was believed to have been the scene of a dastardly battle in the days of old and then a cemetery for hundreds of years, before transforming to a convent for the Christain missionaries who had arrived in the north in the early 40’s, a convent and orphanage that suffered the brutal massacre of its nuns and orphans, desecration of its chapel and burning of its buildings during the intercine religious riots that was the prelude to the Civil war of the 70’s. It had remained abandoned and feared by the villagers, as tales of mysterious beings patrolling its grounds was whispered around the villages. And when the military government with their usual bravado had marched in to build the new co-educational quasi military boarding secondary school on it, the villagers had looked on quivering lips muttering inaudible prayers, not for the soldiers and their builders but for the students that were going to attend the school.

            They watched them day and night and refused to work on the site as day labourers, forcing the army to transport manual labour from villages that were tens of miles away. And like clockwork, the deaths began to happen. Mysterious, unexplained. One moment a labourer was there, the next, he was gone, and when a search was called, his body was either found ensconced in a dead fetal position in the numerous dry wells that dotted the land or sitting under the Melaina trees, wide eyed staring into nothingness in deathly shock. Someothers had died in freak accidents; a roof crashing down, the bus they were riding in swerving suddenly and somersaulting, the dead driver being unable to explain the reason he swerved in the first place, the dead labourers as passengers too cold to also shed light. Then there was the sudden fever that killed a dozen and a half in four hours, which was the length of time between the minute they had broken out in cold sweat and the moment they left their foaming mouths agape in death. The news spread like wild fire and the labourers fled the site in droves, and the army only got more stubborn, they went further to get more labour, and the more they brought, the more they died and after the gory passage of two years the school was finally ready.

            In the dry month of September, the first batch of fifty three students resumed. The teaching staff were three in number. In two weeks, there was no teaching staff and only thirty one students left. A collapsed female hostel during the Saturday compulsory inspections had killed them all.  It was unexplained. No cracked walls. No crumbling pillars. Nothing. Just a loud roar and it came crashing down in suffocating death.        



The days that passed were mournful and heavy. The Army finally paid attention to the stories of a haunting that were rife in the surrounding villages. So they brought in a military chaplain and imam to bless the school. In Nigeria, everything had to be done in twos. You had to placate in equal measures the Christians and the Muslims unless you wanted to set off a conflagration in which you could lose your head. So they prayed, they anointed, they sanctified, they invoked, they bound, they banished, they consecrated and they blessed. And after a period of one month in which no student was in school, each one safely on compulsory holidays, they announced the school free of every contrary spirit, whether familiar or otherwise.

The students returned, clutching portmanteaus, cheap wrought iron contraptions with large padlocks in some cases, and expensive Samsonite suitcases, with numbered locks in others. Uniforms all well ironed, rubber sandals in the most hugging tiny feet, whilst polished Bata or Cortina shoes shod the feet of the children with silver spoons. They arrived all through the downcast day. Fearful parents in tow. This time they were just nineteen students. The parents of the others had listened to the village tales and developed cold feet. They reasoned that their children were safer in other schools. There were five new teachers. All of them military. No civilian teacher felt the school deserved the laying down of their lives. The tales about the roaming spirits had done the convincing. There were no new female students, it was a blessing in disguise since it gave time for the female hostel to be rebuilt. This time sturdier just in case the reason for the earlier collapse was something structural. It was common in Nigeria for the construction teams to cut corners to earn an extra buck but then when one took into consideration the season of fear the builders had worked under, a salient understanding of shoddy workmanship will be excusable even though it might be the one reason that so many young female souls had departed for the great there yonder. It took two more sessions for the first female students to arrive. They were twelve in number for the third grade, twenty for the second and fifteen for the first, while the boys for both the second and first were twenty each in number. So in the third year of the school, there were now ninety six students and a staff of twenty six.          

            And though the villagers still whispered in fear, they now had the balls to line the outer walls of the school selling sugarcanes, groundnuts, donkwa, kulikuli, fried akara and yam to the ravenous students. Some of the villagers who claimed to have somehow received some spiritual protection from the shamans of the village now worked in the school as cooks in the giant kitchen and orderlies in the school dispensary.

            All was quiet and peaceful, the memories of the sad beginning of the existence of the school slowly faded from the collective memory and when the villagers actually started warming to its existence in their midst another death was announced. A twelve year old girl frozen rock solid on her bed, deep gorges caked with dried blood all over her face and arms, eyes open wide, sightless, mouth agape in a silent unending scream.

 Fear returned to the school like an avalanche storming down the ruggedness of the Swiss alps and it was during the dread filled months that followed that the first sounds of Lady Koi Koi’s heels clicking on the concrete floors in the newly rebuilt female hostels was first heard.

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