Quite Naturarily, the first thought on my mind was to flee. Unfortunately, there was only one window and a door in my room and both were no options at all as the two men ‘seemingly’ after my life were standing right in front of them. The only option was to go through the roof but inspite of my dire situation, I wasn’t sure that was a good idea, plus how far could I run before being caught by the mob I was sure would join in the chase once Alhaji raises the call?
Hauwa was scared, it was written all over her. She crouched at one end of my bed as if that would obscure her father from seeing her. I was totally at a loss of what to do. Then it occured to me, I would open the door and wait for the old man to raise his cutlass and before her brings it down, Il squeeze through the little space between him and the door and run as far as my legs could carry me. It didn’t seem like a good plan but it was the only viable option.
With sweat running down my face and my legs trembling like the vibration of a cymbal, I slowly moved towards the door while motioning to Hauwa to move closer the wall and in slow motion, opened the door.
“Good afternoon teacher, have you seen Hauwa today?” said Alhaji in a harsh yet respectful voice that I did not expect. I had been expecting him to raise the hand carrying the cutlass and had already made a step towards him.
“I’m sorry sir”, I apologised with a shaky voice. “I thought it was one of those boys who would knock on my door and run away sir”. I rambled on. It seemed he believed me.
” Oh, they do that to you too? All the corfas we hab here hab made the same comflaints. Don’t worry, Il refort them to their farents”, Alhaji offered.
“Not to worry sir, I’m sure Il catch one of them these days” I said again. My confidence was fast returning as Alhaji’s countenance did not seem to me like someone who was angry with me.
“No tisha, I depinitely will refort them. I can’t let them aras my paborite corfer” said Alhaji in his thick hausa accent. I felt a pang in my heart. If only he knew what his ‘favourite corper had been up to.
” You know tisha, since we started habing cofass in this fillage, none of them hab been as kind and gentle to my pamily as you hab been…..”
“No problem sir, thank God” I quickly cut in. My conscience was in bits and tatters as he continued. I was not sure I could take more praises from a man whose daughter I had just defiled.
“…and I have not seen Hauwa since school today sir. Did she tell anyone where she was going?” I asked
“Not at all, that is the froblem, she knows she was sufosed to polo me to the parm this apternoon” added Alhaji
“Il deal with her when I see her” he said with a note of finality.
“flease if you see her, tell her to come home immediately” he said as he left with his friend.
“I will sir and please take it easy with her, Im sure she’s just studying somewhere”, I suggested hoping it will placate the man but he obviously did not hear me as he continued with whatever discussions he was having with his friend.
I went back into the house and shut the door behind me. Hauwa stood up from where she was bending down and gave me a slight startle. I had forgotten she was there.
“Look Hauwa, please don’t tell anyone about what happened” I said. The look on her face told me she was too scared of her father to even mention it to him or anyone for that matter. I felt a bit relieved.
“I promise, it will all turn out well” I tried to reassure her. “When you get home just tell your dad you stayed behind at school to study. The school is always empty anyways so there’l be noone to say you are lying”. The way I spewed lies from my mouth, I believe I should have taught LIES101 in addition to the subjects I thought at the school.
“Ok sir. I won’t tell anybody”. She said and walked towards the door. I had to check there was noone walking about before letting her out. Immediately she was done, I heaved a big sigh of relief. It hadn’t ended that badly and I was sure once Hauwa got over the shock, the excitement of doing it again would bring her back.
The only thing I had to start praying about was that she wouldn’t get pregnant. In my excitement and rush, I had forgotten to use a condom. Considering that I had purchased it weeks ago when I first started hatching my plan, it seemed to me like a big mistake. How costly would this be? Only time could tell.
And time really did tell….
All seemed fine after that eventful day. I had continued to teach the students as usual and even though Hauwa was a bit quiet in the first few lessons after that day, she became her normal self as the days went by.
I had also done my best not to tell anyone about our escapade, not even my closest friend Kola who was also a teacher in the same school and with whom I regularly shared jokes about the pretty students we were teaching. Kola was the reserved type, quiet and gentle. He was also very handsome and the girls were quite naturally drawn to him. However, he was not as adventurous as I was and when it came to the opposite sex, I have only seen and heard him talk about one girl all through our time together.
They had met at the University during his undergraduate years and though they were not in the same department, they had found time to meet regularly. He had told me her name was Nike and things was going very well between them even to the point that they were posted to same state even though different local government areas. As I did not really become close to Kola until we met again at the school we were posted to after the orientation camp formalities, I only had the opportunity of knowing Nike from a distance but from what I had heard from Kola, it seemed to me things were perfect between them. Kola bored me everyday about his ‘angel’ Nike and how they would talk on phone every nightfor hours. To me it sounded all fine, what troubled me though was that Kola had never visited Nike at her loocal government which was about 3 hours away from ours rather it was Nike who did all the visiting. Kola explained to me that even though he had asked to visit her several times, she had found one excuse or the other but he felt okay with it. I could not complain afterall, if Kola was fine with it, why should I be bothered.
However, one sunny afternoon after school, Kola and I decided to visit the local canteen to have a taste of the Tuwo shinkafa, a local delicacy. Hajia Amina’s canteen was popular amongst the local corpers especially those who did not have their girl friends around. It was also an opportunity for us to sit together and generally have fun together. It was not different that day except that just before we got to Hajia’s canteen, Kola got a call on his phone.
“Its Nike” he whispered to me as he got the phone out of his pocket. “oh ok…I no fit wait for you o, I’m hungry” I told him as I proceeded to enter into the canteen to join the other corpers in there. “Hello angel” was all I heard him say as I stepped into the canteen.
As we threw banters and discussed, Kola was still on the phone. Even when I was ready to leave about an hour later, he was still on the phone. I was not sure if it was still the same person he was talking to but as I stepped out of Hajia’s canteen to inform him that I was leaving, I noticed the look on his face had changed from the happy Kola I saw earlier. “What’s the problem?” I asked him sensing trouble.
“I really don’t know” he responded “but I suspect something is going wrong at Bauchi” he added. I knew his girlfriend was at Bauchi and was sure he was referring to her.
“What is wrong with Nike? Is she alright?” I asked. “I said I don’t know” he replied harshly. He apologised for his harsh tone and then went on to reel out the details of their conversation. In summary, he had as usual asked to visit her and again as usual she had come up with an excuse, this time saying she had promised her friend Victoria that she would help her make her hair that weekend. Now Kola said he was sure Victoria would be at Gamawa that weekend because her boyfriend who was also a corper at Gamawa and Kola’s friend had informed him earlier. He did not say this to Nike but his alarm bells had started ringing. “About time!” I thought but did not say this to him. I suggested he paid her a surprise visit.
“I don’t even know where she stays in Bauchi!”. He screamed at me. I explained to him that all he needed to do was visit a friend who knew her in Bauchi and ask to be taken to her house. He seemed to like the idea and 20 minutes later, he called me on the phone to inform me he was on his way to Bauchi town.
At about9pm that night, as I was sorting out the result of the tests I had given to the students earlier that day, I got a call from Kola. The silence at the other end when I picked the phone told me something was up and that ‘something’ did not look good.
“It’s over between Nike and I” was all he could say after about 5 seconds silence from his side and over 10 “hello?” on my side. “Why, when, what happened?” I asked even though I believed I had an idea of what could have happened.
“I met her in an alhaji’s house. I was told that’s where she’s been staying since we were posted…..” he blurted out. “What!” I shouted and because of the emptiness of my room, the words came back to me countless times as echoes I almost jumped out of my seat out of fear. “Il gist you when I get back. I can’t come back tonight as there are no buses”. I went on to say a couple of consolatory words though I knew they would have little or no effect on him. He sounded really down and disappointed. He would be staying with one of our friends till the morning and will be returning early the next morning. I remember the last thing I said to him was “see you tomorow then, and please take it easy”, not knowing that that would be the last statement I would say to my friend Kola. It would also be the last night I would spend at Gamawa and maybe the last night I would spend on the surface of this earth. I can only describe the events of that night as it happened. I do not totally understand it myself. All I know is that minutes after I cut the phone, I had footsteps running toward my house and before I could get up to peep through the window to see what was happening, I heard loud bangs on my door.