Naija Stories – Virus The Fearful
A Tale Adapted From A Boarding School
I didn’t know what time it was on that Friday evening but it was around the time my fellow students were just emerging from the dinning hall after having dinner.
It was already dark and a few minutes past dusk.
Normally, I’d have gone back to the hostel to relax and play with my friends since there was no prep that day but on this occasion, I didn’t.
Instead, I headed straight for a dark classroom, locked the doors and windows and lay down on one of the benches.
I was scared and in a pretty compromising situation. I had prayed in my heart for night not to come but yet, it had done so and a little bit quickly in fact.
I recounted the events of the past few days and on remembering the cause of my fright, I wept.
If only I hadn’t made that move.
If only I hadn’t listened to Chekwube all these things wouldn’t have happened and I’d have been a free man, playing with his friends.
But I looked by my side and there were no friends there.
I’m sure they were too carried away with their childish plays to even think that one of their friends or perhaps, playmates, was in anguish.
These were the moments when I wished I was at home.
Oh mummy! Come and take me home.
But sadly, my mummy was at home and wasn’t even expecting me to come home.
Few days ago, my perfume was stolen from my cupboard.
I didn’t fret nor panic because I knew who it was that stole it. And it was nobody else but the notorious hostel thief, Chudi Nwokoma. Everyone knew that whenever things went missing, he was the culprit.
But nobody dared approach him or lay allegations for fear of being beaten up and become a target by Chudi and his group of thieves even you had evidence of their connection to the theft.
You see, Chudi was a very notorious boy and he had a physique which frightened his fellow classmates.
Rumor had it that even some of the senior boys were scared of him.
But I’m yet to confirm that one.
I went into deep thinking on how to retrieve my perfume from the rogues.
That was when I sought advice from a good friend of mine, Chekwube Ojukwu. He was a rogue too and in fact, had masterminded a few thefts himself.
I knew he was the right person to consult on issues like this or so I thought.
Naija Stories – Virus The Fearful
But I delayed my meeting with him until yesterday afternoon during lunch.
I didn’t want to take immediate action for I was still sticking my nose around trying to locate every possible suspect.
On finding none, I decided to go straight to Chekwube as soon as possible.
As soon as I sighted Chekwube in the dining, I went to him.
I hadn’t taken a spoon of my meal yet and I waited for him to finish his first so that we could both eat mine together.
After all, our people say that you don’t go to see a great man empty handed. As we ate,
I presented my case to him and narrated everything as it had happened.
I even went ahead to tell him that one of Chudi’s goons had sighted me with the perfume a week ago.
And some days later, it went missing.
Chekwube pondered on my words whilst using his fingers to remove some meat particles that stuck to his teeth.
“You say it went missing some days after he saw it?”, Chekwube asked.
“Exactly. And I know it was no coincidence”
“And you’re sure that your suspicions are correct?”
“I’m very sure. There’s no other thief in that hostel except both of them”, I replied with a high degree of certainty.
Here’s the plan. I’m sure you know that small cupboard in their corner?”
“Yes, the black one?…”, I waited for him to nod and he did.
“Exactly. That cupboard houses all their loots.
It’s quite dumb to put everything in one cupboard though.
But I’ve been with them.
I’ve monitored them for quite a while now and I know this.
But there’s a major problem”, he paused and looked at me.
“Which is how to get to the cupboard. Opening it won’t be a problem because I have one of the keys…..”
“Ahhhhhhhh. Bahd guy!”, I cut in.
“But the thing is, all of them never leave the hostel.
They always take turns to watch over their stuff and they’re always in the hostel even when nobody else is.
It’s going to be really difficult.”
He said and gave me a cunning look.
I knew what he wanted.
I promised to give him #200 if we successfully completed the operation and today’s dinner just as motivation.
“About the dinner, you’ve got to find something else because to achieve this goal, we have to forfeit today’s dinner”, he said as-a-matter-of-factly.
“Ah ahn. Why now?”
“Because tonight, we’re having indomie and egg for dinner.
Chudi and his goons won’t miss that.
They attend no other meal except that one.”
“So, that’s when we’ll act?”, I asked.
“That’s when we’ll act”, he said affirmatively.
“But for now, let’s go to the tuck shop and spend some money”
“Which money?”, I asked.
“Ah ahn. Half my payment now. Why are you behaving like this?”, Just then, he pulled me out of the dinning before saying, “for now, we stick together until dinner time”
I didn’t like the idea of sticking together with Chekwube albeit the fact that I had asked for his help.
He was still a rogue, one I dared not offend.
I gave him #100 which was half the price I promised him and let him do all the talking as we waited for dinner time to approach.
When dinner time finally came, we went into the hostel and even met Chudi and his goons on their way to the dining hall.
Chekwube greeted them while I remained quiet.
We met the hostel empty and went into action.
Chekwube brought out the key from where he had kept it and opened the cupboard ‘s locks.
It wasn’t hard to locate my perfume because it was just at the outer part of the cupboard.
I took it immediately and Chekwube locked the cupboard.
I went to another hostel and gave the perfume to a very good friend of mine to keep it safe for me and I gave Chekwube his balance.
The operation was quite swift and wasn’t as difficult as I thought it’d be.
I even still made it to the dining and had a very big dinner to myself.
After dinner, I retrieved the perfume from my friend and changed its position.
Ah! That smell of success.
That feeling when you feel you’ve outsmarted someone who thought himself to be smarter than everyone else.
That was how I felt then. Before my bubble was bursted the next morning.
I has been woken up vigorously by Chudi himself.
He was evidently furious and livid.
He claimed that he had sent his goons to wake me but I had refused to come.
At first, I was surprised and I wondered what was going on.
“So na you come open my cupboard carry perfume baa?”, he asked in a very coarse and unfriendly voice.
“Ah ahn. Me kwa? I didn’t do such thing please”, I had responded in a sleepy voice.
The next thing I felt was a very painful sensation on my left chin.
Chudi had angrily slapped me.
“You think say I dey play here?
I dey ask you question you still dey speak English.
You come my cupboard come carry something and you dey lie”, he paused and looked away before shouting out for someone named Obi.
“Yes senior”, came the response from the other end of the hostel.
“Bia here”, Chudi ordered. The boy Obi ran towards where Chudi and I were.
Then Chudi turned to me and said, “This boy talk say na you come open my cupboard yesterday night come carry my perfume”
“Jesus”, I shouted. “Obi how dare you accuse me of such thing?”, I shouted and attempted to slap the boy.
Chudi held my hand and gave me a stern look.
“You no know say this boy dey on top my bed cover hinself with blanket.
Hin see everything you do.
Hin hear everything you talk. Like, you call me thief?
Na me you call thief? “, he said pointing his fingers to his chest and was just about slapping me when Chekwube held his hand.
“No touch this boy again”, Said Chekwube in a very mean voice.
Immediately Chudi threw a blow at him, which he repelled and grabbed Chudi’s legs and left him sprawling on the floor.
I quickly looked for a little space to slip out.
After some struggles, Chudi finally stood up and nodded his head.
“You never go free. You go hear am, bastard. Na you and Virus get case now.
I dey go tell am wetin you do” turning to Chekwube, he continued, “you, this fight never finish”
Then, he walked away.
I had gotten scared at the mention of the name, VIRUS.
Naija Stories – Virus The Fearful
But Chekwube assured me that all those were empty threats and that Chudi would do nothing that he was just a toothless dog that had lost his bark.
I wasn’t entirely satisfied with Chekwube ‘s assurances but I just had to hope within me that Chudi wouldn’t carry out his threat.
Of course he did! I had gone to class that Friday and immediately it was break time, I saw a boy running towards me.
He came to deliver a message.
“Virus dey call you. Hin dey there”,
he said, pointing towards the tree which Virus sat underneath.
I had to run. You don’t answer such people with disrespect.
As I got closer, I saw him, the dreaded Virus sitting comfortably on his chair.
He stood up as he saw me approach and wore a stern look on his face.
As soon as I got to the tree, he gave me a very hot slap which produced stars in my eyes.
I fell to the ground due to the pressure.
“Bloody Civilian”, he bellowed.
What have I gotten myself into?!
Victor Chukeu alias Virus was a very notorious student.
His name, only, was feared by all and sundry.
His voice strikes fear into the hearts of fellow students.
He was in his final year in secondary school.
Rumor had it that even his classmates were scared of him and never really wanted to cross his paths.
It said he was a cultist and that he smoked and drunk.
It was also said that he always had a pen knife in his pockets to stab anyone that tried thrash.
But that wasn’t what I feared most about him.
In fact, I wasn’t scared of the above mentioned facts.
You see, virus had a way of interrogation, a way of punishing people perhaps.
He had a reputation for giving the most painful punishments and dreadful torturing methods.
I didn’t hear this one.
I witnessed it!
He had fished out a boy who stole some money.
The boy kept on lying and virus smiled.
The boy obviously didn’t know who he was dealing with.
Virus had brought out a broom stick, a very slim one to be precise.
The width of a needle.
He inserted it into the opening of the boy’s penis.
The boy grunted in pain and confessed of his crimes after which he received the beating of his life.
The mere thought of that scared the wits out of me.
But well, I got myself into this.
Chekwube might have saved me from Chudi but he was never going to save me from Virus.
“Wait. I call you, you dey jog?”, Virus asked furiously.
“No senior!”, I cried. “I was running. I ju…….”
“Shut up! Fool.
Come meet me for hostel. Idiot.
Get out of here!”, he ordered and I ran off immediately.
I heard him call another person but I didn’t care.
All that filled my mind was fear.
What the hell have I done to myself?
Why did I not just leave the perfume for Chudi?
After all mum was going to buy me a new one next visiting day.
What do I do now?
These questions rang on in my head as I walked back to my class.
The rest of the learning period was filled with imaginations of me getting the same punishment as the thief virus punished.
It was the same scene, same place but the thief’s face was replaced with mine.
I felt tears trickle down my cheeks.
I wasn’t the type to endure pain.
Soon the bell was rang, signalling the end of learning for the day.
The other boys walked down to the dining hall while I remained in the class, fretting.
A thought soon clicked my head.
The best way to escape punishment was to go into hiding.
What the other boys called, Ghost mode.
So, I quickly ran to the hostel line, where the boys hanged their clothes, took my afternoon wear and ran back to another class while avoiding everyone I saw on the way.
If I was going to hide, it certainly wouldn’t be in my class.
I forfeited lunch that afternoon and used the money I had taken from my guardian the previous day as sustenance.
But as evening edged closer, I felt the need to eat.
My stomach kept on rumbling and I decided to take the risk and attend supper.
After all, we were to have beans that night and students didn’t like beans.
After I had finished recollecting all the events, I had to ponder on a solution.
I had to think of something that’ll absolve me of whatever punishment that lay wait for me.
I went through the events again and remembered my guardian.
Yes! My guardian!
I’ve had the answers all along.
The best thing to do is to report this case to him, I thought.
After all, this isn’t the first time he had handled such cases for you, a reassuring thought said to me.
I couldn’t wait for morning because I was tired of hiding.
I went straight to the staff room and luckily, my guardian was on duty.
He was also the hostel officer and so, knew everyone in the hostel, including Chudi.
I narrated everything to him and he listened carefully.
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The first thing he asked me was where the perfume was.
I brought it out from my bag immediately and gave it to him.
He sent some boys to call Chudi. Chudi emerged minutes later and the hostel officer told him that he shouldn’t bother me again.
That after all, perfumes were one of the items banned by the school management.
He urged me to go meet virus that nothing was going to happened. I was scared but I did as he said.
I met Virus and surprisingly, Chudi hadn’t carried out his threat.
Virus just called me that afternoon to buy something for him at the tuck shop but he couldn’t bear my sluggishness.
Don’t get me wrong, he gave me some heavy knocks and slaps but it was nothing compared to what I expected.
A weeks later, my guardian gave me back the perfume.
Written By Mark Anthony
for naijalikeplay media
Adapted into naija Stories series