Posted in Prose, Stories

The Colours of Campus 3

CHAPTER 1

LET THE SLEEPING DOG LAY

KUMALO stumbled, got up, ran and stumbled some more times before stopping to catch his breath. Looking backwards to ascertain if his assailants were still on his trail.

He removed his palm from the gun wound he had sustained in the stomach. His palm was sticky with clotted blood; his shirt was covered with his blood, fresh blood oozed as he panted. He would die if he does not get help soonest. He trotted on, limping painfully. He was being sapped of his remaining energy for every step he took made him weaker. He knew the end had come, it was night, and the street was serene and deserted of all activities. No bike or Cab to hail at such unholy hour, it was past midnight.

Half spent, he crawled to the edge of the road and sat down clutching his stomach, the pain was excruciating, he could not even shout for help, he tried it but no sound came out of his mouth, he was breathing through the mouth.

The bullet had actually ripped his stomach through the right and came out from the left before nailing his brother Jumbo who was reading his book on the head spilling blood and grey matter all over the wall and reading table. Such a gory sight as Jumbo was killed without any premonition.

If Kumalo had not lain down and pretended to be dead, his assailant would have finished him, but had left him to die in the pool of his blood as he lay down, arms spread out and legs contorting before rigor mortis. When he got up, he saw his younger brother’s face still showing surprise with eyes open and mouth agape. The side of the head where the bullet had ripped in was a dark hollow as its content had gushed out splattered on the wall and reading table. It had happened so fast, he never saw it coming but now he knows from where it came.

He had gotten into a fight two days before the incident at the school’s Cafeteria with a strange fellow who was bullying Jumbo his younger brother. They were on queue to buy food when the fellow came and jumped the queue, he went straight to the counter and ordered for a plate of food, other Students who knew the fellow did not say anything but Jumbo was a Jambite and he spoke out. He went and met the fellow and admonished him for not being civil. He got a smack on the face for his boldness. It was the moment Kumalo walked into the hall and a fight ensued between Kumalo and the Capone of the Supreme Hawks fraternity. They call him “The Kite” or “Egbe”. Kumalo beat him in the fight by raising him up and hitting him on the ground twice. Kumalo and Jumbo had to run away when he was told by some boys to run for his life before Egbe’s boys come into the Cafe.

He had thought it ended there; he went to school the next day and everything was normal, he felt like a hero when he entered his class room and some boys started to praise him for his bravado. The news was all round the Campus that a common civilian, a stinking Jew man had disgraced the lord of the Hawks! It was like a sacrilege.  The Hawks were the most revered Confraternity on Campus, their arc rival “The Black Panthers” would laugh at them. The Blood brothers and the Burkinafaso (Sons of Sankara) confraternities would ridicule them. The supreme Eiye confraternity in their minority would pout at them, The Buccaneer and the Vikings would spit in front of anywhere they are gathered and walk off. A common Jew beating the Lord of the Hawks “Egbe” the Kite in public, slamming him upon tables and chairs in the Cafeteria! The height of insults!

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

That same night in the heart of Ugwuaji forest behind independence layout. The dark forest where different confraternities hold their meetings, they call it “the Wilderness”. When ever there was a clash between Cults in the day time and the Police appear, Ugwuaji forest is the escape zone as no police dare enter there in the day or at night. Those living in the communities surrounding the small forest are used to hearing the songs of the Cultists when they meet in the forest at night. They are also used to seeing strange faces entering the forest an night and leaving in the early hours of the morning flying their colours with their beret and concealed weapons.

Egbe sat face down at the middle of the circle formed by his men, there was a burn fire at the center behind Egbe, he sat of the walking stick that doubles as a sword and the handle is collapsible into a platform for sitting when the blade is buried in the earth. It was his late father’s sword of honour worn for his meritorious service in the Nigerian Navy.

Eeeeeeeeweleoooooo!!! He chanted

Hmmmmmmmmmmm! The chorus

Eeeeeeeeeweletiantian! He chanted

Hmmmmmmmmmmm! The chorus

Hawks of the sky! He chanted

Higher! Higher! Higher! The chorus

Higher! Higher! Higher! He chanted

Hawks of the sky! The chorus

My men! Lords and marines! “Ewu ataa m igu n’isi” The goat has eaten my hair! I have been humiliated in the most bizarre way! Chai! A whole me! “Egbe”! A common Jew! I am yet to come to terms with how that guy did it!

How the guy did what? Stanley the butcher interrupted him!

I mean, I think the guy used jazz on me? Egbe said.

How nah? Asked the butcher; person beat you hands down! He use you sweep the cafeteria! Now you say he used jazz! Which kain jazz? I beg you don fall our hands! You don disgrace the whole Hawks for Campus! You don clip our wings! Butcher continued; it would have been better for you not to fight that guy than to disgrace us! You are no longer worthy to be number one!

Hawks of the sky! The number four man, Chester Nwokolo, the Judge chanted

Higher! Higher! Higher! The chorus

By the power vested on me by the council of the Lords of the sky, I hereby declare that “Egbe” be dethroned as “Lord of the Hawks” and Stanley “The Butcher” to ascend to the throne of the “Lord of the Hawks “

Stanley is to redress all fuck ups and redeem our image on Campus! This is to be done within twenty four hours!

Hawks of the Sky!

Higher! Higher! Higher!

The Judge stepped forward and removed the band of leadership from the hand of Egbe and wore it on the right hand of Stanley

You Stanley Muojekwu! AKA Stagger! Formerly butcher of the Hawks Confraternity! From today till the day you die, I hereby pronounce you as “Lord of the Hawks” in this University and beyond! You are to lead us through thick and thin and make sure our face is not rubbed on the mud. The Hawks interest comes first before any other in your life!

He collected the walking stick from “Egbe” and handed over to Stanley. Your first speech as the number one my lord, he bows.

Stanley steps to the centre stage and coughs to get attention.

Hawks of the sky! He chanted

Higher! Higher! Higher! The chorus

Higher! Higher! Higher! He chanted

Hawks of the sky! The chorus

He went into a session of jolly songs which the members danced to while dancing around the burn fire.

Hawks of the sky! He shouted

Higher! Higher! Higher! The chorus

Yes! This is a new era! Stanley addressed the house. My own Bible na old testament, and it says “an eye for an eye” a tooth for a tooth” but for me na “an eye for two eyes” and “a tooth for two teeth”

Those two Jew men must die!

Yes! Yes! They must die! The chorus

That will serve as a deterrent to every other Mosquito in the Campus that wants to try us! I will personally lead the operation this time tomorrow night, Egbe will be there to redeem his image, Sparrow and Eagle will accompany us for the hit. I know where the two lives at Trans Ekulu, in a boys quarter occupied by students. Meanwhile Egbe! For bringing shame unto this house, you are fined a bottle of schnapps and a general jumping by the house! Come to the center!

Egbe went to center stage and was mauled by members of the house flogging and kicking him while he hopped about falling and getting up.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

The only thing that kept him alive was his hope for an opportunity to avenge the death of Jumbo his only sibling. He had persuaded his mother to allow Jumbo to come to Enugu to school so he could protect and fend for him. He could not keep his promise, Jumbo has been killed and he narrowly escaped instant death himself. He could recognize the voice of Egbe whom he had fought with in the Cafeteria, Egbe had called on a certain Stanley to confirm that they were actually dead. He knew they were about four that came for the hit but he heard the name Stanley being called and he recognized Egbe’s voice. He recollected Stanley saying ‘an eye for two eyes’! Rest in pieces the two of you! Next time you reincarnate, you will revere the Hawks of the sky! Stinking Jew men! Stanley had kicked him severally at the sides of his head before kicking dead jumbo to the floor.

How would he and his younger brother just die like that? He pondered in his agony. And what was his offence? Nothing! As long as he was concerned, it was a case of ‘two fighting’ an every day occurrence in Warri. Does it tantamount to a death sentence? If these Cultists were actually strong boys as they claim to be, why did they not challenge him to a duel? Why should they be killed? Did they kill anybody? His thoughts were running wild. He refused to close his eyes even though he was feeling very drowsy. He knew it was an easy way to die off and he was not ready to meet his maker now. He refused to die. He thought of his mother loosing two children at once. The father was murdered during the last Warri crisis. His corpse was among those conveyed with wheel barrows to the mass burial site at jakpa. He was recognised by his shoe. His father has only one shoe that he got from the white man he served as a cook in Chevron estate. The shoe is multi coloured and his mates used to refer to his father’s shoe as ‘rainbow shoe’ he wore the shoe every day for the last six years he spent before his painful death. The father was buried with the shoe among other corpses but the shoe resurrected after some days and became the property of ‘old soja’ a popular drunken retired soldier in Warri who had no family. No one dared accused old soja of robbing the dead because they were all afraid of the outcome. Old soja knows everything about everybody and was not afraid to say anything anywhere. But old soja does not talk anyhow, even when he is filled with alcohol he only vituperates about his escapades in the army.

Kumalo had taken to hawking and street hustling to support his mother who sells smoked fish at the front of their house at Otiotio Street. He graduated into small scale kidnapping of white men working with the oil companies and making good money from ransoms paid. When there were no more white men to kidnap, they resorted to collecting development fees from the companies’ resident in Warri and from any prospective builder. This continued until the state legislature prohibiting the collection of development fee was established. A special task force was set up to arrest youths that cause disturbance as a result of any company’s refusal to pay the ‘deve’ fee.

He then joined the oil pipe line vandals; this was the most profitable adventure he had ventured into but with a high inherent risk. He escaped three major pipe line explosions that claimed thousands of lives all together in the Niger-delta region of Nigeria. It was the last pipe line explosion at Ekpan that made Kumalo decides to leave Warri and go back to school, having been initially rusticated from the federal polytechnic Auchi for cult activities and kidnapping. They had kidnapped the son of a politician and were still waiting for the call for the collection of their ransom when their hide out was busted by the police SARS squad. They would have all gone for life jail if not that four sons of Edo and Delta state top politicians were members of his cult group, even the son of the Delta state commissioner of police was his closest friend and a fellow kidnapper too. They all spent six months awaiting trial at Asaba prison before they were all released.

He saw a ray of light and he jolted back to reality, he was angry with himself for actually falling asleep. The light was approaching slowly, it was not a car or a bike as the ray of light was darting about but slowly getting closer to where he crouched by the road. He pulled himself together; he got up and flung himself on the main road screaming with all his might. As he was falling, he felt all the remaining energy in him completely drained and he felt like a feather in the air. He saw the flash light advancing hurriedly towards him. He fell hitting his head on the coal tarred road. He passed out.

Author:

A lover of Literature. Author,Poet and Play wright. My ideas and stories are a product of my up bringing and social environment.

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