Fiction: Waiting to be Buried

May 30, 2016 Fiction , POETRY / FICTION

By

Okeke Okechi

 

 

It was a very unpleasant day for her. The day that marked the beginning of Apocalypse. Yes, she had seen the beast with its head, rearing towards the sky; the skin so charred like coal.

Nene tottered listlessly like a kite fluttering in the breeze. The scorching sun beat the infinitesimal pebbles that choked the arch of her feet, disrupting her gait. She was on her way back from lectures with her books loosely pressed against her white chiffon blouse which was neatly tucked into a well ironed black skirt. She’s a final year student of History in Imo State University, Owerri.

Walking down the road, to her lodge at Wetheral, Nene had become deafened by her plight and could hardly hear the blaring sounds of horns from the busy drivers. Her mind was lost, wringing in a steam of bewilderment.

‘Are you mad?’ A man who stormed out of his cab, yelled at her. She turned to him with mouth ajar. It seemed she didn’t decipher what the man was saying. ‘Leave the road!’ The man yelled again. ‘Or do you want to die?’ but she ignored him and moved out of the road. Nene heard the man as he called death. She felt it’s what she needed; to be wrapped by the cold hands of death and whisked to the vale of eternal rest.

Nene got home and entered the room. She sauntered towards the armchair that stood elegantly beside the reading table. She slouched into the chair and began to whimper.

‘Ogini?’ Ejiro, Nene’s roommate asked what it was as she stormed into the room. She was a third year student of History. She’s perplexed seeing her roomy cry.

‘I’m finished!’ Nene retorted with a mixed tone of confusion and ruefulness. Her voice echoed and left the walls crumbling.

‘Come on girl, talk to me.’ Ejiro moved towards her with a white towel tied around her chest. Her skin gleamed like a fresh succulent udara but not as succulent as Nene’s. In fact, Nene’s beauty would never be impugned on campus. People went to the extent of referring to her as mami-water. And like flies persistently following a carcass, men would flutter around her with the ring tone of their love for her. But Nene had shut her mind from hearing such tones. Obviously, her beauty had become tainted by sorrow and pain.

‘What happened?’ she asked, swirling her hand around her neck.

‘I failed that course’ she finally announced inbetween scalding tears which dropped from her eyes.

‘Which course is it?’ she asked surprisingly.

‘His 422; Dr. Ogboji’s course.’

‘God forbid!’ she exclaimed. ‘How come?’ she asked. She was very much apprehensive of the fact that Nene never dreaded reading, unlike herself. In fact, it was her companion. Everybody knew that. Ejiro pulled herself back and slouched into a chair that was slightly beside Nene’s. ‘Dr. Ogboji again?’ she shuddered and snapped her fingers. She knew how nefarious that man was and envisaged Nene in a steaming pot of trouble. She clasped her hands and injected those consoling words to her mind. Meanwhile, Nene only saw her future crumbling.

 

 

The next day, Nene found herself before Dr. Ogboji, a dark skinned man with a face like a remoulded left over akara. The man adjusted his glasses with a little push, such that they rested on his nose. He darted his eyes around Nene, who stood at the door. Her tumescent eyes seemed to hide something behind them. What could she be afraid of?

‘What can I do for you, young lady?’ his baritone voice rumbled in the gelid air and made her frenzy.

‘Sir, please sir, I failed your course’ she stuttered, her voice mixed with an uncanny tone of fear and bewilderment.

‘You failed?’ he chortled sardonically. ‘A pretty girl like you?’ He pulled out his glasses and held them. ‘You should know what to do.’

‘Yes sir’ she retorted. ‘Please sir, I want to see my script.’ Dr. Ogboji’s countenance became sour. He planted his eyes angrily on Nene whose eyes were downcast.

‘You know you’re a princess charming,’ he revealed with a nefarious smile as he stepped closer. Nene felt numbness all over her body as her mind boiled with a fury like a hot kettle. ‘You should know what to do’ he said, twitching his lips sexually.

Nene knew the music had turned sour. Dr. Ogboji’s recalcitrant and promiscuous rat under his trousers had stood up, dangling in ecstatic fantasy. Nene knitted her brow. She had wanted to kick out the rat and watched it rolled on the floor. But she held herself, never to exacerbate the situation.

But Dr. Ogboji was now before her, caressing her face with his thorny hand that stung like a ferocious bee. ‘Please sir, stop this’ she told him as she pulled herself back, eyes downcast. Meanwhile, Dr. Ogboji pressed further and Nene couldn’t hold it any more. She made a beeline for the door and slammed it at him as she stepped out.

‘Get ready to fail this course again!’ he bellowed. Nene heard him. She stood outside for a while, confused as what to do. ‘Should I report him?’ she thought. But she gave a long hiss at a second thought. She remembered that his nefarious and promiscuous behavior was no longer news to the school authorities, let alone the department. She felt a heavy bump tearing her head apart.

‘You should have given him what he needed. After all, don’t you want to pass and leave this place?’ Ejiro asked Nene who stared at her in consternation. Her eyes were already misty and suddenly, tears rolled down her cheeks. She sobbed. Ejiro was pushed and she moved towards Nene. ‘Stop crying’. She consoled her, but those pitiable tears refused to be consoled.

 

‘What do I do?’ Nene asked. The words that fell out of her mouth were already battered by cry. She stared at Ejiro and clasped her hand tightly; just the same way a child who requires solace would hold its mother. Ejiro stared back at her, shook her head and gulped.

‘I’ve a plan’ Ejiro continued, ‘are you ready? Nene gawked at her and already jaded by her plight, nodded. It seemed to be what she needed- a solace or was it a solution? Whatever it was, she needed it badly.

 

 

That evening, Ejiro took Nene to her friends. Nene stared at the two tall ladies who were resplendent in their red dresses. Their gaudy make-up resembled the fearful face of masquerade. But they were students too.

It became apparent that Nene wasn’t at ease, especially as Ejiro spoke with one of them whom she called ‘agile mama’. Her countenance could send a hearty soul to the tomb. Shortly, Nene followed them to a room. On entering the room, she shuddered at what she saw. It’s a taboo! Two women were before what seemed to be Lucifer’s altar, bare and fondling each other’s breasts. She knew her eyes had seen the worse. She felt an unseen hand trying to pin back her ears. ‘O! Ejiro has deluded me’ she sobbed mutely.

‘I’ve heard so much about these girls who belong to various secret cults in school and their diabolic acts. Please, always give them an arm’s length.’ She reminisced the words of her poor mother pulling a heavy bump on her mind. They came back to her this time, with blood rushing out of them. At once, she felt a hot liquid travel through her gut, scalding her.

‘I can’t do this,’ her voice shook with conspicuous tremor.

‘I’m sorry’ Ejiro stared at her pathetically, ‘there is no going back.’ Nene felt been swallowed by an unknown beast, its hands swirled around her. She stood there, between the devil and the deep blue sea.

 

 

That fateful Thursday morning, all ears on campus were already bleeding, having received the bombshell. It had gone rife; that Dr. Ogboji was decapitated in his office the previous day by unknown faces. In fact, the whole walls gathered in glee and discussed it too. Nene was on her way home. She had already left the lecture hall which buzzed with voices of students who discussed the tidings. Her footsteps flickered angrily on the ground as she walked. On approaching the school’s gate, her phone beeped. She reluctantly pulled out her blackberry from her fine brown leather purse.

‘Hey Nene!’ Ejiro called with a tone that hummed the tune of ecstasy. ‘The deal’s done! You should be glad because that beast is waiting to be buried.’ But Nene hissed and put her phone back in her purse. It seemed not to interest her anymore; the death of the beast. She felt there were many other beasts like him. Those people who had fallen victims to the hands of these beasts and the environs that enhanced their sprout. All of them, she felt are the beasts and should be buried too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okeke Okechi

Okeke Okechi hails from Umuoma in Ihitte Uboma Local Government Area, Imo state, Nigeria. He was born in 1995 and attended University of Nigeria, Nsukka (Alvan Campus) where he studied History and International Studies.

He is a budding playwright, short story writer, novelist and poet. He is working on a collection of short story and his debut novel.

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