It was when Sari was at the computer section of the library at the university that she first discovered something both terrifying and amazing. She was working on a research project for one of her education modules. She logged on to the server with her student number and started searching for famous writers who influenced modern day literature. After about an hour of writing down some uninteresting stories of professors who lived and died in Province many many years ago, she decided that she had collected enough information and prepared to pack up and leave.
She finished writing the last word and put a full-stop at the end of the sentence. Sari put her pen between her teeth and shut her notebook. She looked up at the computer screen and saw a search engine that she had never seen before. She was not in the student server; her student number was not visible at the top of the screen and the whole page looked different. The name of the search engine was on the left hand corner of the screen in bright primary colours and there was a list of “search results” below it. It was a long list of topics on famous writers. There was so much information! “American writers, African literature, Britain’s greatest writers, Shakespeare’s influence on literature…” Sari did not know of all these places and literature. She was really intrigued.
Thank goodness that the library was empty at this time of the day and it was not exam season so Sari was the only one in the computer room, but still, she paused and looked around the room. There was a camera up on the ceiling but she was sure that it could not see what was on her computer screen. She just needed to act natural. Her heart was thumping in her chest and her mouth was dry. This was definitely something that she was not supposed to come across. If anybody asked anything , she knew nothing about this. Sari then searched “Africa” and then “Britain” she was so overwhelmed with pictures and information and videos. She then searched “America” and “Shakespeare”. Her mind was racing with all this information, there were so many questions. Was all this real? What was this search engine and why had she never known about it before? What about all those pictures of people who looked different and so interesting. Why did people in Province not know about this? Or did they? Certainly not the people she knew.
The lights in the other room started to turn off. “Oh my goodness!” It was already past 7pm. Sari quickly logged out, packed her bag and pushed open the glass doors of the computer room. The librarian was standing near the door with her handbag and keys in hand. “I fell asleep.” Sari said as she rushed past her. “How rude of her, was she really going to lock the library without doing a quick walk around?”
Outside was cool and dim. Summer was coming to an end quickly. The university campus was empty except for a few silhouettes leaning against the balcony and smoking, most certainly university staff. A few lights were on here and there. Sari rushed down the stone steps towards the main student exit. She pulled a lime green scarf out of her grass bag and wrapped it around her shoulders.
Bhaka was standing outside the main student exit. He had noticed that someone in the computer room had logged on to the internet. He had to find out how they did it and how much they knew. However, he knew that it was because of his carelessness that that computer managed to get internet access outside of the restricted university access. He had seen the girl sitting in the computer room. She had been online for hours; heaven knows how much information she had found out. Bhaka took one last bite of his peanut-chocolate bar and shoved the wrapper in his jacket pocket. She was coming. He saw a medium height, medium built female silhouette coming towards the gate. He could make out the short curly hair that he saw on the screen. Sari swiped her student card and pushed the gate and passed through. She began to make her way down some more stone steps when a hand grabbed her arm. “I know what you have been up to.” a male voice said.
Sari’s heart was caught in her throat. She exhaled and took a quick breath in as she looked beside her to see a slightly tall skinny guy in a black sports jacket. When the guy saw her face he let go of her arm. “I am sorry, that was a bit aggressive. I’m Bhaka, and you are?” The girl was pretty, Bhaka thought, she had bright eyes and she seemed nice so he did not want to frighten her.
“Look, (Bhaka spoke softly). I know what you did and you could be in a lot of trouble.”