The Beginning of a New War
‘Loveth!!!’ Georgina pounded the door again.
‘Loveth open the door, Philomena is hurt!’
Her blood-stained palm left ugly streaks of red on the door surface.
She moved back a little and came to the door with great force.
It clicked open. And she then realized that the door hadn’t even been bolted before.
‘Loveth?’ Georgina called again, now inside the room.
Nurse Agnes came out of the bathroom.
‘Who are you?’ she asked Georgina, looking rather confused in the face.
‘I should ask you that,’ Georgina said. ‘What are you doing here?’
Agnes made a face. ‘Well, I just came to harvest some organs, I will be done in a jiffy, okay.’ She turned to walk back into the bathroom, her shiny knife clasped firm in her right hand.
‘Which organs are you talking about?’ Georgina reached to hold her.
With one sturdy swing of the arm, the mad woman pushed her off, far into the opposite wall.
Georgina landed heavily on the bed with a tiny groan.
She walked toward Georgina now, still bearing the confused expression. ‘What is your problem?’ she said to Georgina. ‘Do you not hear? I said I’ll be done in a jiffy.’
Georgina rubbed the sweaty side of her face. Her head throbbed painfully.
But she struggled up still and grabbed the mad woman to push her to the wall.
Nurse Agnes twirled round, sending Georgina away again instead.
She picked her knife which had fallen. ‘Young girl,’ she called Georgina, ‘have you no respect? Do not mess with something far older than your ancestor!’
She threw a stab, straight to Georgina’s heart, but Georgina, with all the pain and sweat, managed to dodge.
She raised her foot, kicking the knife out of Nurse Agnes’s grip.
As if enraged further by the act, Agnes flung a star-producing slap to Georgina’s cheek. ‘Are you insane?’ she asked Georgina. Another skin-searing slap. ‘Has something gone loose in your brain?’
Now tethering on the brink of consciousness, our dear roommate struggled to rise again.
But this now proved hard. It appeared the lady attacking her had come with the strength of a thousand men in one.
A step closer, Agnes grabbed a wavering Georgina and pinned her to the nearby wall. ‘I know you,’ she said. ‘All the while you were at the clinic, I watched you. We talked. But you have nothing I want, so I took no real interest in you. Why disturb me now? Why get in the way?’
‘Wh—what are you?’ Georgina managed. Georgina could not believe it was the same pleasant-mannered nurse at the clinic that had turned so deranged.
Agnes appeared to smile now, feebly—ominously. ‘Call me your worst nightmare.’ She tightened her fingers round Georgina’s neck, determined to cut off the last of her air.
Finally, Georgina collapsed.
Agnes smiled and picked her knife again.
But just then the door of the room burst open!
Araba, Theresa and Judith appeared, each bearing a weapon.
Araba, a long ladle; Theresa, her new, shining frying pan; and Judith, one leg of her old, sharp heels.
‘Ghosts?’ Nurse Agnes muttered, looking very surprised in the face.
‘No,’ Araba said. ‘Lodge mates!’
The trio grabbed the insane nurse and folded her arms to the back.
Theresa pulled off the bed sheet and with it they tied Agnes up, before they picked their weapons again and started to lash her.
It was then that Loveth finally opened her eyes in the bathroom.
She looked round the tiles, her gaze narrow. ‘Who pushed me down?’ she muttered.
‘Scream and I will hit you again!’
April swallowed. ‘I am not afraid to die,’ she said.
The boy before her sort of looked amused. ‘Really?’ he said.
‘Yes. You can do whatever you like to me, I am not afraid of you. I am no longer afraid of any man.’
‘Hmm.’ The boy walked closer to her. ‘Tell me more.’
April glared at him. ‘I’ve seen the worst of your kind already so do not try to scare me.’
‘Yes. You may kill me now; slaughter me, cut me into pieces like beef, but sooner than you think, it’d be your turn. Nature will take care of you.’
‘You are a living thing. You will go back to whence you’ve come. I am not afraid of you.’
The boy flicked a lighter and lit up his rolled cannabis. He took a long draw and released the smoke on April. ‘You see, just like you I love nature too.’
April turned her face away from the horrible-smelling smoke.
She looked down and saw a spider crawling onto her leg.
She twisted, meaning to shake off the large, hairy arachnid. But it still kept crawling up on her.
She twisted again, but the ropes binding her to the tree appeared to be set in rock.
‘Please get that away from me!’ she cried out.
The boy looked down and saw the spider on her. He smiled and gave a minor shrug. ‘Seems nature has come calling sooner than you think, after all.’
He turned away, savouring the taste of his cannabis.
April kept wriggling on the sand and dried leaves, the spider still tormenting her.
The grasses and shrubs surrounding the glade they were in moved then and someone appeared out of the bush.
‘Hey, learn to treat a lady with more respect,’ Josh told his boy. He bent and flicked the spider away.
‘How you doing, princess?’ he asked April, crouching down in her front.
April spat at him.
He rubbed it off, still leering at her. ‘You see,’ he began, ‘unlike you, I am not a bad person.’ He held April’s jaw, tightly. ‘I am not evil, or stubborn, or treacherous. I am not what anyone thinks I am. But I am not here to preach to you. Just give me the information I seek with ease and the next minute you are free to go. Back to the comfort of your little, pink-coloured room. You will clean up all this dirt on you and bury yourself in the warmth of your sweet-smelling sheets.’
‘Nobody is giving you anything!’ It was Abuchi’s voice behind them.
Josh and April looked almost at the same time, both sharing an expression of great surprise.
The boy Josh worked with had been seized and now struggled with one of the boys Abuchi had come with.
‘Who are you?’ Josh asked.
‘My name is Abuchi and I have not come alone!’
April watched as the men Abuchi had come with surrounded them. They were fleshier, meaner-looking boys—men!
She started to cry and Abuchi bent and held her at once. ‘It’s okay, it’s okay,’ he said to her.
‘How did you find me?’ April asked him.
‘One of them—Frank—confessed.’
As soon as the recent graduates came through the gate of the hostel, all the lodge mates screamed and started throwing water at them.
The girls ran as fast as they could but they still got to their room wet and dripping.
‘If they must throw water, why not clean water?’ April muttered as she reached for her key.
‘My dear, with our third class, we got what we deserved,’ Georgina murmured behind her.
‘I don’t have third class with you!’ Loveth said.
‘Yea, right,’ Georgina said. ‘Just pray hard that after the final calculation, you don’t drop to Pass!’
Loveth hissed at her, scowling.
April looked at them and smiled. ‘In your next world, girls,’ she said to them, her signature graceful smile adorning her face, ‘if you ever get to be admitted into the university, learn to read.’
Georgina grabbed her. ‘Mpama! Come in and tell us who you paid to get your 2:1!’
Later that evening, with their bags all packed, the three girls lit up three candles in remembrance of those they’d lost.
Afterwards, they joined hands together. ‘We didn’t lose you,’ April said. ‘You all are always here with us.’
Georgina and Loveth nodded.
They bent and each girl blew off a candle.
Abuchi drove to the lodge with his small red Honda to pick them.
April left the room first with her own wheeled suitcase trailing behind her, and then Loveth followed.
Other students screamed and cheered as they sashayed out.
Back in the room, before lifting Georgina’s big box, Abuchi knelt down in her front and brought out a ring.
‘Please say yes,’ he said.
‘Say yes to what?’ Georgina barked, frowning.
Abuchi extended the ring.
Georgina scowled at him. ‘Biko, get up from there and carry the bag and let’s go!’
‘But you said we can get married as soon as you are done?’ Abuchi was rising from the floor slowly.
‘And who told you I am done?’ Georgina said. ‘Who told you that? I am Georgina and I can never be done.’
Abuchi was putting the ring back into his pocket when Georgina jerked it from him. ‘Give me! When it is time, you buy another one and I will tell you how we are going to do it, okay. But I will be wearing this one sha till then.’
‘Where will I get money to buy another one?’ Abuchi asked her.
Georgina depressed her cheeks. ‘Better start saving now, when you are ready I will give you my account number.’
‘Account number for what?’
‘To pay in my bride price na.’
‘I will pay your bride price into your account?’
‘So what happens to Papa in the village?’
‘You pay the money into my account and I will now give him small out of it.’
‘And where is that ever done?’ Abuchi asked.
‘What is your problem sef, is it your bride price? It is my bride price and I will use it however I want. All you have to do is pay the money on time and collect your receipt.’
Inside the car, Georgina told him, ‘Biko, you need to return this car to whoever you bought it from.’
‘Why?’ Abuchi asked her.
‘It’s just too small. You should have kept the money till it is able to get us a jeep.’
‘Hey, Georgina!’ Loveth called.
‘Your mouth is evil!’
Georgina hissed. ‘What if a pregnant woman waves us down on the road now, will you stop?’
‘Why won’t I stop?’ Abuchi said. He glanced at the rear-view mirror.
‘Abia! You will stop so that she will enter this car and suffocate with her baby.’
‘Georgina!’ April called. ‘Stop talking to your man like that!’
‘Is it your man?’
April wanted to say something else but her phone began to ring. ‘That must be Rachel again,’ April said as she reached into her bag.
Georgina and Loveth brought their necks closer, ready to talk with Rachel.
Checking the caller, April announced: ‘Girls, that’s the man helping us with our posting!’
‘Oh,’ Georgina hissed. ‘Please remind him that it is Lagos and no other place o!’ In murmuring voice, she added, ‘I wish it is even possible to do this NYSC thing abroad sef.’
‘Watch out!’ Loveth screamed.
A loud crash was heard.
And a silent darkness followed.
Georgina came awake on the couch with a great start!
She turned and saw Gloria staring at her. ‘Who are you?’ she asked.
‘Say no to stupidity!’ Gloria said. She lowered her magazine, uncrossed her fleshy legs and reached to carry her glass of water on the coffee table.
‘Where am I?’ Georgina asked her again.
Now Gloria appeared really surprised, or angry. ‘Georgina!’ she called. ‘You must have hit your head real hard in that dream, I guess. Please get up from there, there is a pile of clothes in the basket for you to launder!’
END OF ROOMMATES – SEASON 4!!!
LOOK OUT FOR AN ALL NEW SEASON 5!!!