Posted in Prose, Stories

RUGGED KUMALO- Chapter 6

KUMALO COVER

 

 

CHAPTER 6

 

NKUTU- UME CAMPUS 3

 

GUYS! Yawa don gas o! Stanley was addressing his Hench men. They are seated inside a Shop smoking cigarettes. The mood was pensive. It is still like a dream to me! It was like those guys were expecting us! We went to the hospital reception together and I pretended like I was a patient while Vicious and Dagger went to the receptionist to ask for Kumalo’s ward. The lady directed them to the room and while they were on their way, she quickly picked the phone and made a call. Before you knew it, four plain clothes police men brandishing pistols stormed the reception hall and the lady pointed towards the corridor that our men took. They said we are Egbesu Boys or something and they have been expecting them. They did not even allow the boys to talk as they started beating and Mal handling them. They took the boys upstairs to Kumalo’s room to ask if he knew them, but of course he wouldn’t know them, it will only confirm his fear that we are not done with him yet!

Stanley threw away a cigarette stud and lit another one. So they brought our boys back in hand cuffs kicking them out of the hospital into a stand by police Van! Stanley summarized.

And all this while you were there our men did not implicate you?  Emeka the number for man asked.

No! They did not even look at my face and I am grateful for that! Stanley said. Thank God that they did not implicate me because I had my bulldog with me!

Haba Stan! Emeka exclaimed. Old boy! Hell would have been let loose o!

So what do we do now?

Naturally they would be taken to the station for interrogation. If they are not released after twenty four hours, it means there is serious trouble which may lead to a court case! Stanley explained. None of us can go there to see them except an elderly person that can pass for their guardian or parent.

Then let us contact Mr Alozie, the HOD of statistics department. He is an XY. He can go there as a guardian to one of them. Emeka further suggested.

He is actually related to Dagger for real. He initiated Dagger himself during one of the end of year parties we held in his house three years ago. Stanley explained.

You mean am? Emeka asked.

Then that settles it! Another Hench man offered. Let’s go and tell him what has happened before things get out of hand. But Guy you get luck o! If to say those guys nab you with your dog ehn?

I know! No remind me again I beg! Stanley snapped. Meanwhile who don see Egbe?

Ol boy, no body don see that guy o! its like he dey dodge us. Emeka said.

Leave am! If I catch am eh? I go kpai am myself! He cause kasala keep for ground, he come disappear! Stanley said.

 

CAMPUS 3 BUS PARK

The park is busy with students boarding and alighting from shuttle buses and taxi cabs. The bus conductors are shouting the names of their destinations to attract passengers.

Abakpa! Abakpa!

Obiagwu! Obiagwu!

New haven! New Haven!

Campus 2! Campus2!

The list is endless, as most of the students live off campus. Students rush into the buses going along their way while some are still waiting for their destination to be called, others are waiting for the school bus to arrive, having bought two way tickets from Campus 2.

Former Lord Egbe alights from inside a shuttle bus with a big size Bible in one hand and a white handkerchief in another hand, he chose a vantage spot opposite the bust stop pavilion and he began to preach.

Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand! The soul that sinneth, shall die! He shouted.

“The bible says and I quote ‘come to me all ye that labour and are heavy laddened  and I will give you rest”!

“What does it profit a man to gain the world and loose his own soul in hell? I was formally in the world but now I am saved! Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was blind but now I see! Was weak but now I am strong! Glory to Lord God almighty! Glory halleluiah”!

He preached on while the students listened, those that knew him came together to gossip, making faces and gesticulating frantically. They did not know what to believe because two months ago when the revered Reverend Father Mbaka had come to the schools mini stadium to preach on cult renunciation and many students had come out to denounce cultism, Egbe was not one of them, in fact some hawks men would have gone out to confess their sins and repent on that day but for the fear of Egbe and Stanley that were present at the sermon. If either of the duo had gone out, many cultist would have gone out too because in the real sense of the word, most cultist are living in bondage.

They have no real freedom, they are living in fear of their own lords who are very dangerous, they are perpetually indebted to the cult because they pay semester dues and so many unexpected dues that keeps them perpetually broke, they live in fear of other cultist, they live in fear of the man ‘o’ war, they live in fear of the school authority and they live in fear of the police.

When ever there is an emergency on campus and the Police and Army joint tax force patrol team storms the school, all hard men are afraid, afraid of the unknown, they take cover when no one is looking for them, fear of the unknown.

The Buccaneers run for cover, the Axe men scamper, the Burkinafasso change their positions, the Juris men vanish like smoke, the Vikings regulates, the Blood brothers diffuse into thin air, the Campus pirates turn to chameleons, the Eiye boys fly away, the Ku Klux Klan extinguish their flames, the Mafites turns under cover.  The sinner, they say, runs when no man chase him. When the JTF might have gone, they will then come out from their various cocoons to ask the so called Jew men questions. “Na wetin those police dey find sef? Na who dem carry? Dem arrest any one”?

The Jew men stayed but the hard men ran. When the tyre of a car accidentally bursts in the school premises, the Jew men turn to see what the matter is while the hard men run for cover, clear conscience fears no accusation!

Many of them are being expelled and jailed daily. Many of them are being lured into nefarious activities by the lords. Like Armed robbery, Political thugs and burglary. Many of them never bargained for what they eventually are faced with once they got themselves initiated, and there is no going back because of the oath of allegiance and secrecy taken. The only way out is death.

Some cultists have lost their hearing as a result of injury during the initiation, many have indelible scars on their bodies thus they cannot take off their clothes in public or in the presence of their relatives. Many have died and were buried at the initiation grounds and their parent still wonder when they would return from school. Many have been rusticated from school but cannot go back home so they loaf about in the city constituting nuisance to humanity. Many intelligent boys could not combine academic activities with cultism and because cultism takes preference in their school life they go down academically and ended up graduating with a pass or a third class result which is as good as useless in the country. Many have come to realize that cultism cannot help them in any way, rather it compounds their problems but it is too late to cry when the head is off. Many cultists would have repented for good and followed Christ on that day when Reverend Father Mbaka came to preach but they were afraid of what men like Egbe, Stanley, Danladi, Paschal and Maxwell would do to them.

And today Egbe stand in public and preached the gospel. The smoke from the gun he used to kill Jumbo is still swiveling in the air.

 

STATE CID INTERROGATION ROOM

 

Dagger and Vicious are cuffed together on their wrists and they sat side by side on the floor of the dimly lit room. Their bodies are stained with their blood. Their faces have been reshaped into something amoebic. Swollen lips and swollen eyes, their noses have doubled in size and on their heads are several lumps with blood stained cuts. They could not cry anymore, tears were no longer dropping from their eyes. They could only grunt and nod their heads.

You bloody criminals are being economical with the truth! Look! I will burn you again with this pressing Iron o! The interrogator, a man that looks just like Wesley Snipes except that he has a very conspicuous K leg. They say he had the K leg in the line of Duty. His right leg was broken into shreds by the bullets of some Militants that they had gone to arrest in the creeks of Degema. The leg was to be amputated at the National Orthopaedic Hospital but he had escaped from the hospital at night and ran to his Village at Omagwa Nike for a traditional treatment. The Herbalist did a good job on his leg.

Constable Ubani pulled out the hot Iron from the wall socket and threatened to burn the boys with it.

Oga please sir! Please sir! We have told you everything sir! Dagger managed to talk through his mouth and nose, the front of his mouth is devoid of teeth and every word came out like a whistle sound. Our former leader is the one that caused the whole problem; he lives at the railway quarters along Ogui road sir. I know his house. He was beaten by the boy in the hospital in a one on one fight and that was why we went to hit the boy and his brother, in fact it was him that shot and them.

Good! Good! Said the interrogator. What is his name?

We call him Egbe ‘the Kite’ sir! I don’t know his real name sir. But every one calls him Egbe and he is a final year accountancy student. Dagger whistled.

Can you guys see where you have landed your selves now? You are small boys of barely twenty years old. Your parent sent you to study and become important people in life but you chose to be criminals! You turned yourselves into murders and armed robbers in the name of cultism. You may not have committed any felony yet but being a member of a secret cult automatically makes you a wanted person any a’ persona non grata’ in public places! Your place is in the prisons! You will be charged to court for aiding and abating of a murder and an attempt to commit murder at the hospital. You will each get at least thirty years in jail with hard labour. By the time you are out of jail, civilization would have left you behind. All the so called Jew men on campus today that are your mates would be fathers and owners of businesses by then.

Chai! Oga please nah! Oga but you said that you would leave us if we cooperate nah! Oga we cooperated nah! Please sir! Dagger cried and pleaded while Vicious was shaking his head from side to side. He could not open his eyes or his mouth because they were swollen beyond their limits.

It is because of your cooperation that you will get thirty years nah! Constable Ubani said. Your sentence would have been fifty years!

Chai! Chai! Dagger whistled. Oga please nah! We won’t follow cultism again o! Please sir! Dagger begged

 

 

UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA TEACHING HOSPITAL ENUGU

 

It is now a month and two weeks that Kumalo has been hospitalized and chained to the hospital bed. He wondered who must have been paying his hospital bills, he thought it could be the police if not why would they keep him under surveillance? Or could it be part of the hospital’s corporate social responsibilities? He is being rotated between different wards on a daily basis since after the visit of the Hawks men.

Kumalo knew he was no longer safe at the hospital, he had told detective Peter to take him to another hospital but he was told that the police can only use a teaching hospital because of its government affiliation but promised to ensure that security around the hospital is improved upon.

Kumalo does not trust the Police; he knew there could be Hawks men that are members of the police force. Kumalo started thinking. He was very sure now that his mother must be dead or down with a sickness that would not allow her to come and see him in Enugu. Detective Peter had lied to him  that his mother was doing well when he went for Jumbo’s burial, he had asked the detective the cause of the bandages he wore but he said he had an accident while he was in warri. He had asked Peter of those that buried his brother and Peter had said it is the community youth. He knew Peter was hiding something from him, he had attended so many funerals of the Egbesu members and he know how it is done so he expected so many questions from Peter but they were not forth coming.

How were you able to meet my People? Did you introduce your self to my people? Did you tell them about my where about? Kumalo had asked Peter.

No! I simply went to represent you there; I dressed like one of the youths so no one noticed me, and no! I did not introduce my self nor did I tell any one of your where about! Peter affirmed.

So what did they say about me? Kumalo asked.

Nothing much! Peter said. Please let’s talk of something else, how is your injury? Are you still feeling the stomach pains?

Was there a time they started chanting Igbokigbo! Igbokigbo? Kumalo asked.

Jeez! Peter screamed and ran out of the ward. Kumalo laughed out loud and had to suppress the laughter due to the pain in the stomach. He knew what Peter was hiding.

Kumalo had noticed over time that only one police personnel is detailed to the hospital on Sundays. He had also noticed that the guard resumes after 12.00PM and closes at 10.00PM. He had planned his escape to be on a Sunday so on Saturday evening he had dodged a mini surgical scissors from the tray the nurse brought to dress his wound. He had raised the bed sheet and dug the scissors into the mattress.

At 12 midnight on Sunday, the hospital was quiet as those that could sleep were asleep already. The maternity ward never sleeps. There is always a woman in labour. Kumalo has heard a lot of nonsense said by women in labour shouting on top of their voices. Some had made him laugh while some had mage him sober. Some women pray for God’s assistance during the labour crisis while others rain curses upon the man that put them in that condition and his family members.

Kumalo pulled out the mini scissors and used the pointed edge to uncouple the cuffs on his leg. The cuff gave way and fell to the ground, it made a noise and Kumalo quickly lay back down and pretended to be asleep. When no one entered the ward after five minutes, he knew no one was on guard.

Kumalo indeed used to have his own set of hand cuffs when he was still in the kidnapping game at Warri. He got up and limped to the door, he opened it and saw a deserted corridor so he stepped out; he had a cramp on his legs so he went back into the ward and stamped his feet severally on the ground.

The corridor was deserted as he stepped out again but he could here voices at the far end where the receptionists are, and that is the only exit route. Instead of going forward he turned backwards and started opening the doors of other wards. He opened a door that a patient was fast asleep; he saw some clothes folded on a table close to the bed side of the patient so he tip toed in and closed the door.

He pulled off his hospital clothes and wore the blue jeans trousers and while T shirt on the table. There was something in the pocket of the jeans, he brought out a thick wallet and in it is minty wad of one thousand naira notes. His heart beat skipped. He made a quick sign of the cross as he pockets the wallet; there was a belt in the trouser so he buckled it up even though the waist of the owner is bigger than his by five inches, the belt helped.

He heard foot steps on the corridor and sounds of doors being opened and closed. The sound got closer, a nurse was going round! He thought. The nurse must have opened his door and seen an empty bed. He knew an alarmed would be raised at any moment so he quickly opened the door and jumped outside.

This young man! Where were you? The nurse asked as he came out of a room and saw Okiemute on the corridor.

Okiemute squatted down and started crawling on all fours. The nurse was shocked.

Young man! Stand up! Are you okay? He went to lift Okiemute up. Kumalo allowed the man to pull him up quietly and when he was upright, he took a cursory look at the man’s face smiling as he did so, then he took a quick step backwards.

You must be Goliath! Kumalo said, pointing at the nurse. Can I snap a photograph with you? He asked the perplexed nurse still smiling.

The man took some steps away from Kumalo while Kumalo took same number of steps forward calling

Goliath! Goliath!

When they got to Kumalo’s ward, the Nurse opened the door and pointed inside. Kumalo slowly walked inside smiling and jabbing in the air

David kills Golaith! Goliath kills David! Kumalo was saying as he moved slowly towards the bed. The nurse followed him into the room and closed the door; he dropped his tray on a table and brought out a syringe and needle. He fixed the needle on the syringe while Kumalo climbed on the bed and squatted facing the nurse and smiling. The nurse inserted the needle into a medicine bottle and extracted its contents, his back was turned to Kumalo but as he turned to face Kumalo it was too late.

Kumalo sprang into the air from his squatted position on the bed; the spring in the mattress helped him to spring up into the air. The nurse saw him mid aid and opened his mouth to scream but the sound was muffled by the blow to the side of his head close to his eyes. He was knocked out cold and he slumped to the floor. Kumalo quickly retrieved the injection that fell on the floor and injected the nurse on the neck. He pulled off the nurse’s shoes and wore them. It fitted. He opened the door and ran through the corridor and out of the hospital.

The receptionist saw someone run past but was too preoccupied attending to patients on emergency that just came into the hospital that night.

Kumalo kept jogging until he got to Okpara Avenue before stopping to catch his breath; he pulled up the T shirt to see if he was bleeding. The bandage was stained with blood but not flowing heavily. It must have been due to the way he constricted himself mid air to deal the nurse that deadly blow that silenced him. The nurse would not recover in a hurry; it depends on how long the sedative he had prepared for Kumalo would last.

He brought out the wallet in his pocket and counted fifty four crispy one thousand naira notes. He searched further and brought out the Identity and business card of the states commissioner for police. Phew! He blew. From frying pan to fire! He exclaimed. He needs to be in Warri fast! He needs to see his mother. Either she is dead or alive.

Author:

A seasoned salesman, a logistician, a lover of Literature. My ideas and stories are a product of my up bringing and social environment.

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