The hall was filled with noise, some were discussing about the incident of the past week, and laying emphasizes on those student who had lost their lives just as ordinary freshers. Others, those popularly tagged as the school bad boys got busy discussing about the previous day’s football match and how the better team had lost, they seemed not to be bothered about the previous week incidence but truth be told they were the first to leave the hall that day when they heard the first gunshot. Gabriel on his side wasn’t in any of these groups, he was just sitting in his front seat with Amanda his seat mate, he had a whole lot of things going on In his mind.
” I was just trying to be friendly, did I do anything wrong?” He asked himself as he placed his left hand on his chin. ” what are you thinking of?” Amanda asked observing him, ” Nothing, just thinking about those who lost their lives last week” He lied. ” Stop thinking dear” She placed her hand across his shoulder, ” God knows best”she added . Bead of sweat could now be visibly seen on his forehead, ” Thanks” he smiled and turned to her, ” You welcome” She replied with a smile. ” Good morning class” A young man entered the class, ” welcome to uniben” He greeted as he wrote the word ” Biology ” on the marker board. ” I thought he was another pre degree guy” A troublesome guy whispered to another at the extreme back seat.
The ” Igboukwu” cult group as it is called happens to be a local cult group in which the members specializes in molesting and harassing girls, they are known for sticking out at night to look for troubles and unlucky victims, especially girls do fall into their hands. They derive fun from raping and beating up girls, but they have never been heard of of setting the school in havoc like the pipeline guys. They dont go about in gun , they only go about in numbers. As a matter of fact, they also dread the pipeline guys and other notorious tough cult groups, they only specialize in harassing girls at night. The ” Igboukwu” aren’t the only local cult group in the school surrounding, groups like : Elewa Rukele, Night Crawlers, Girls declarance and others are also known to be in the same line with the Igboukwu. They all derive pleasure and happiness in harassing girls.
Words can’t be used to describe the enormousness of the university of Benin ( Uniben) . It is obviously one of the biggest federal university in Nigeria and should obviously be among the top 5 universities in Nigeria in terms of Academics. The road are well tarred and students who struggled to meet ends meet are always seen occupying shops by the main gate or other strategic points in the school. It has a lot of hostel, but the famous ones are: The hall 1, hall 2, hall 3 , hall 4 and NDDC. The
school hostel was constructed to enable students with financial problems get accommodations, the cheap and affordable price of the hostels made it over populated by students, it isn’t surprising or shocking to find eight students in one room in the hostel, not one large room, one tiny room. Those students who came from a well to do family dont live in the school hostel, they have heard scary stories about how robbery take place every night in school hostels, the surprising thing was that the stories were being told by people who had never been to the school. The well to do students live in the hostels outside the school vicinity, ” Off campus” as it is fondly said. There are a lot of areas outside the school which are used to house students, but the most common ones are Ekosodin and BDPA. Ekosodin was located after the university back gate while BDPA was just opposite the main gate. Students who loved social lives are the ones found in Ekosodin while the gentle ones with boring life are mostly seen in BDPA . This was where Gabriel and Queen lived, BDPA. They lived in the same street but their houses were not that close. As queen lived in the middle of the street, Gabi lived at the beginning. They both lived in a self contain but as Queen’s own was a two room self contain, Gabi’s own was just a room. •••
Lectures ended early that Monday, apparently, the lecturers didn’t want to be caught in the pipeline guys next visit. The class dismissed, Students who termed themselves ” the serious ones” could be seen walking home immediately, while the playful one stayed around to hang around with girls or familiarize themselves with their new course mates. Some could be seen heading towards the library with their books, you know, as freshers you need to put up a good impression. Gabriel was among the group heading home, he didn’t see any reason why he should remain In school, he was going home to take a nap so that he would come for night class where he would have peace and light to read his book, if he reads in his hostel, the inviting sight of the bed will draw him closer and divert his attention from his book. ” Gabi !!” Amanda called out from behind, he turned slowly. ” Are you going so soon?” She asked with a smile on her face, “Yeah, am going ” He replied and turned to go, he just doesn’t know how to be cool with girls. ” Won’t you get to know your course mates?” She asked again, ” I will know them with time” he replied . ” Okay then” She concluded and left, he only nodded and also left.
Queen on her side was among those going to the library, she founded it easy reading her notes when it was still fresh, she might get diverted from it if she doesn’t read up immediately. She was on a blue jean trouser with a pink top, she had a pink slippers to match. ” That guy is just proud, I hate him” She said to
herself as she walked towards the library, she suddenly stopped and turned back , she then breathed in relief, ” Thank God he has left her” she thought. •••
It was 10:00pm, Gabriel had already freshen up for his night class, he was wearing a black trouser, he had on a blue cover head jacket and a white inner top which was covered by the jacket. He covered his head with the cap to the jacket and left the house, he had his bag on. Queen on the other hand was also outside the house, She wasn’t going to night class, she was trying to see if any shop could still be open, she wanted to buy a box of matches. She had ignored buying it earlier as she had thought she wouldn’t Cook again for the day since she wasn’t hungry at that moment, but right now, the hunger as gotten to its limit and she had to eat something else she might die overnight. She walked alone in the lonely street heading towards the main gate, she must get matches at all cost. Gabriel was already outside the gate to his house, he was walking to cross the major road to get to the main gate, just then he heard someone scream and turned back, he could see a bit clear in the dark, he could see some boys trying to molest a young girl, it was the Igboukwu guys. One of them carried her on his shoulder and they moved towards a corner. He dropped his bag immediately and ran towards them, ” Leave the girl!!” He shouted as he ran towards them, they stopped and turned towards him. They dropped the girl to the floor, Gabriel could now see her face clearly, it was the rude girl in his department. ” this rude girl” he thought. Queen on her side couldn’t see his own face as the jacket seem to cover his face, even though she recognized him, let him just save her. ” Guy, leave here or come follow us chop her” One of the guys told him, ” I dont want her, just let her go” He told them calmly. ” Abeg commot here” The huge guy made to push him but Gabi immediately held his hand and gave him a sweeping kick, the huge guy landed heavily to the ground..
Wow, you came to fight us bah?” One of the Igboukwu guys asked Gabriel as he stared at the huge guy on the ground, ” Let the girl go and we can settle this peacefully” Gabi pleaded, it was looking more like an order. ” Settle what peacefully? You have already thrown the first blow” Another Igboukwu guy said and immediately dashed towards Gabriel , he brought a flinging punch above
Gabi’s head but Gabi simply weaved it by bending a bit low, he then gave the
Igboukwu guy a back kick. The guy staggered back a bit and then regained balance, all this moments, the remaining Igboukwu guys were just staring at them as they fought. The guy in the fight advanced towards Gabriel again but this time,
Gabriel didn’t allow him throw the first blow, he immediately gave the guy a face sweeping kick and the guy fell face flat to the floor. ” Who is coming next?” Gabriel asked staring at the remaining Igboukwu guys, none of them advanced forward, they only moved backwards and ran away leaving queen with Gabriel. ” Thank you for saving me, I owe my life to you ” Queen said to him, she was obviously still terrified as she could be seen shaking. ” Dont thank me” Gabriel instructed as he adjusted his face cap to cover his face more, the dark also helped in shielding his face. ” let’s say I did it to pay you back” he told her as he lifted her up from the ground. ” Go home now” He instructed and turned away, ” Thank you again” Queen appreciated and also turned to go, ” Please your name” Gabriel asked before she could leave, “Am Queen, Queen Gift Nwok” She told him and ran off. At this point she wasn’t feeling hungry again, what she had experienced that night were enough to satisfy her, she ran home, locked her door to herself and jumped to the bed. Fear wouldn’t make her sleep in the dark so she had to put on the electric lamb.
A week later, Queen could be seen in front of a shop arranging her wares, yes it was her shop.. She had saved enough money back from home which she had planned to use in renting a shop when she resumes school so she could continue her phone business. She had finally gotten the shop and was ready to start, so that particular morning, she was packing the things she had bought newly and the ones she brought from home into the shop. She had planned to always open the shop whenever lectures were over for the day and help people in repairing their phones.
She was so engrossed in what she was doing that she didn’t notice the presence of the young man outside her shop. ” Good morning” the man greeted , he was tall, dark with well trimmed moustache, he was putting on a red top with a white trouser to match, a fine speck was also well fitted on his face. ” oh, I haven’t started working, I will start this evening” Queen told him as she smiled staring at him, the guy also smiled. ” Hey, I didn’t come for your service” he informed, ” Okay, then why did you come?” She asked, ” I came to see you” he told her and pulled out a chair on which he sat on. ” me? hope no problem?what is it? ” she asked in a rush, ” I love you” he blurted out while Queen bursted into laughter, ”
Wow, the most weirdest man I have ever seen, came to my shop this morning just to tell me you love me, someone you don’t even know? You aren’t a gentleman” she smiled, a smile to cover her anger. ” Am really sorry” he apologized with a confusing smile, ” So what do you want with me?” Queen’s voice was more stern this time, ” sorry I didn’t follow protocol, I am John Alika Mathew ” Alika said, ” I dont want to know who you are, please leave here, I can see you are jobless”
Queen shouted . ” Hey, please calm down, I know I screwed up but please…” He was saying but Queen interrupted, ” Just leave, dont have time for guys like you” She shouted again, he simply stood up from the chair, adjusted the specks and turned to her, ” Remember the name, Alika” he whispered and walked away. ” I don’t care what your name is , just get lost” she shouted after him and continued what she was doing earlier before Alika came..
Gabi was on his way to school that evening, he was with Tende the flute, he was going to charge his phone since there had not been light in his hostel. He entered the main gate and was about going to the general charging spot when his eyes caught queen sitting outside a shop . He stopped for sometimes thinking what he should do, weather he should divert his direction or continue on his normal bearing. ” Let me just greet her” He thought and walked up to her, the first thing that caught his attention when he got closer to the shop was the poster which signified that G.S.M was being repaired in the shop. ” Wow, maybe she isn’t the owner of the shop ” he thought and advanced forward. Queen on her side had gone into the shop, she obviously went to check something. He got to the shop and sat on the free bench outside staring at her, her head was bent , she was going through something. ” What? She is the owner of the shop o, super girl” he said to himself. ” what are you doing here?” Queen’s rude voice brought him back, ” Hey, I didn’t come to exchange words, I came to repair my phone” he told her, he didn’t know if he himself provided the answer, because the last time he checked, his phone was perfectly okay. ” Let me see it ” she ordered rudely, ” Is that how you shout at your customers?” He fired back, ” Oh , sorry mister, let me see it” she requested more calmly and he passed the phone to her. She looked at the phone for some minutes and turned to him, ” Gabriel, nothing is wrong with this phone ” She told him looking sternly at him, ” You are a bad engineer, I am meant to tell you the problem not you” he informed her, ” Okay tell me” She pleaded in a bit of a calm voice, ” Good, the charger doesn’t charge fast” He said with a smile while queen bursted into laughter, ” you are troublesome ” She said in between her laugh, she couldn’t believe she was laughing with Gabriel , the guy she termed “proud” , it was surprising. ” Abeg have your phone” She passed the phone to him. ” So are we friends now?” He asked her, ” Hmm, give me two days to think” She replied with a smile. ” Then how many days will you need if am to ask you out?” he asked her, ” I will give you a straight no” She replied with a smile, ” Okay, am leaving o” he stood up and mede to walk away, ” So soon?” She asked with a frowned face, ” I will stay longer when we become friends” he told her, ” Okay, we are friends , sit
down” she drew him back to the bench. ” I am Queen …” He interrupted her, ” Queen Gift Nwok” he completed it for her, she stared at him in shock, no one knew her full names in the school, even in her books, she only used ” Queen Nwok”, how on earth does this guy know her full name?
TO BE CONTINUED