T.O.F. Chapter 2. A Camouflaged Serpent. 5

T.O.F. Chapter 2. A Camouflaged Serpent. 5

“I pray so,” I said in a low voice; almost inaudible. Angel had dismissed the boy she was attending to.
“Hi Angel” I greeted her. “Hi Stan,” she greeted back as she washed her hands in the wash hand basin.
“Can I talk to you for a sec please, in private?” I asked beckoning on her with my eyes. “Sure, you can” she said as she shrugged and made her way out from the clinic, still wiping her hands with a hand towel. “Excuse me ladies” I said as I followed her immediately. We moved few steps away from the clinic before we stood.
“The epileptic girl! Who is she, do you know her?” I asked her in a somehow desperate tone. I sounded too disturbed as if the girl is related to me and I know Angel noticed.
“Well, I don’t know much about her, but… her friends said that her name is Sarah Johnson and that she lives in the hostel.” She bluntly said, turning to make her way back to the clinic. Her voice albeit sharp had been filled with an awkward sort of jealousy. To her, it seems I’m now interested in the epileptic girl more than her.
“Wait!” I said almost in a scream as I held the muscle of her right arm. She stopped abruptly and without turning, looked down at her muscle with my fingers still gripping it. Her arm was warm and comforting, twas so soft and fragile that I couldn’t let go and it tingled a kind of sweet sensation in my veins. Slowly but calculatively she turned facing me and looked straight into my eyes. Shit! A sneeze traveled up to my nostrils and I had to force myself not to let it out  at least not now that I’m standing face to face with Angel. God please; whaddahell.
“Angel, I…” my words hung on their own accord but I covered it up immediately. “Can we talk more privately? Maybe later after school hours in the library?” I asked with furrowed eyebrows and inquisitive eyes. She remained still, looking deeply into my eyes  deep into my soul. I felt like she was searching for something within me. She mildly shook her arm off my grip.
“I don’t know how possible that’s going to be, but I’ll try” she replied and walked away back to the clinic. She had missed almost all lessons today. Serving as a clinic attendant is really not easy; I just pray it doesn’t affect her studies fatally. Okay, what about me? Being a library prefect hadn’t been easy too. I had missed about four lesson periods where I was at the library receiving submissions of new book, likewise cataloguing and arranging them.
I watched Angel walk into the clinic as Verona stepped out and spat at the corner of the building. Our eyes met and she just winked and went back into the clinic. I made my way back to the class, half thinking and half concentrated. It just seems I’m a stranger to my own very self; a newcomer in a world I know nothing about. My thoughts! Oh yes my thoughts imprisoned me in the four walls of nasty fantasies. I felt my head will just blow up at least to give me a rest from the twenty-two players using my head as their pitch.
Slowly, I walked back to class, wanting to go and catch up with the ongoing lesson. The time was 1:25 p.m. and Mr. Andrew the Facts teacher ought to be in the class. When I got to my class, Mr. Andrew wasn’t in; no teacher was in and the students were busy chatting away their time. There was noise.
As there was no need entering the classroom to join in the noise, I decided to go to the library and indulge myself with a novel. I walked up to the class window where I halted and called out to Dan my friend whose seat is beside the window.
“Dan let’s go to the library” I said to a ‘speaking Dan’. Dan’s mouth was in motion, he was surrounded by Ben and some other students. Alexander was on my seat. Probably I guess they were arguing about something.
“Thank God you’re here,” Dan breathed out almost as immediately as I called his name.
“What’s it?” I asked nonchalantly, knowing fully well that it must be an argument.
“Please Stanley, help me tell this doubting Thomas, amidst Asian and African elephants which has bigger ears.” Dan said, referring to Ben and his colleague as Doubting Thomas. All of them about six in number utterly believe in me in knowing most stuffs especially Facts. In fact, right from SS1 I had been and still remains the best student in Mr. Andrew’s class. Facts.
Obviously vivid, I don’t know who’s proposing the motion or who’s opposing it, so I can’t side any team. I have to say what I know actually siding with nobody. I just have to say the truth. I coughed slightly as I read into their eager eyes, all were hungrily awaiting my verdict. I lingered for a while before I spoke.
“Let me go straight to the answer. African elephants have bigger ears than Asian elephants. In fact, the African elephant has it ears shaped just like the map of its continent and it’s lobes are tiny but wide and flat allowing it to capture distant sounds.” I concluded, slightly throwing more lights into it. I wasn’t even through when Dan yelled out, celebrating his victory.
“Yeah! I said it. I knew it! it’s high time you guys stop arguing with me on Facts. I’m the boss, after Stan.” He blurted. Victory was vividly written all over his face. Ben and his crew that had been against the motion all claimed that they were for the motion. No one wanted to accept defeat. MERE MORTALS; that’s a trait of them.
“Was it not what I said before? Will I be too dull not to know that African elephants got big ears like earth? Come off it guys, I was just testing Dan’s knowledge” Ben chipped in, making a face- a somehow serious face. Albeit saccharined with sarcasm, his voice gave him out; it was vividly detectable. I knew it was a lie, a white lie that is born out of necessity. He just can’t go down.
“Dan, let’s talk in the library now. Please” I resurrected the plea. I really wanted to speak to him.
“Right at your back” he said as he made his way out from the class and joined me. We walked silently till we were off the classroom block. That was when Dan’s lip fell open.
“Dude what’s up? What have you found out about the girl…?”
“Her name…?”
“Her age…?”
“Does she have any feelings for you? Come on dude talk to me.”
“Did you really kiss her like I heard? Her boobs laying subtly on your chest?”
“Have you talked to her? What’d she say?”
“Oh dude, wait a second. Do you think she’ll. . .”
“Come off it Dan, will you?” I interrupted Dan in his litany of questions. We were now standing just few feet away from the library door. I’ve already fished out the key from my pocket and was now holding it in my right hand with my left hand still buried deeply into my left side trouser pocket.
“Dan, just take it easy let’s get to the library first. I’ll tell you everything, that’s the main reason I called you. Just keep calm, huh?” I said with an air of finality and he just shook his head like a defeated lizard. “Okay,” he said almost in a mumble as we continued walking.
I unlocked the padlock and we stepped in, Dan entering before me. He went and sat down at one of the seats at the far left end. I didn’t sit; I actually did not feel like sitting down. I just paced around up and down the library. I was certainly uneasy and my head was still aching me, this time around more painful.
Dan just kept calm, as calm as a stealthy mouse. He just quietly watched me fight with my emotions.
“Stanley, what is it?” he asked. I left the question unanswered as he hit me again.
“Okay calm down and talk to me. I understand how you feel and I believe that together we’ll pull through this.” He said, wearing a saccharined face of assurance.
Finally, I drew out a seat in front of him and sat down. We both gazed into each other’s eyes in silence for few seconds. I heaved then spoke.
“Daniel,” I called as I looked away from his face. I focused my sight into open space.
“Yeah, I’m all ears” he replied crossing his left leg over his right, and scissored his hands over his chest. I guess he was adjusting well to take whatever news I’ve got.
“Her name is Sarah Johnson, her class is SSc and she lives in the hostel.” I said with a plain face. I kept calm and let Dan assimilate what I’d just said. He drew in a long breath.
“You said she lives in the hostel?” he asked, now bearing a perplexed face.
“Yeah.” I assured and adjusted slightly on my seat. I sensed something’s wrong. “Well, it’s just that I’ve never seen that face before in the hostel. Not even during games or prayer time that both girls and boys do come together.” He concluded and added almost immediately, “…or have you seen her?”
Just like early morning dews on the body of an early traveler . . . sending chill sensation within the system, it dawned on me like pure daylight that what he just said was ‘the-biting-truth’. He’s analysis had been accurate, and he’d came forth with a striking result. FACT one had been confirmed a lie.
“No, I haven’t seen her. Not for once,” I replied his question when I’d finally found my voice. Goddamnit! Why the hell haven’t I thought about this?
“Have you talked to the girl?”
“No, I haven’t. She was sleeping when I went” I replied. Absolute silence revisited, everywhere was so calm that a drop of a pin could be heard. We both sat still; perhaps wondering. The silence was beginning to get awkward; I know it was to be in the class, someone (inevitably Ben) must have said ‘Angel of God has just passed’ after the silence.
Daniel was first to come back from wonder land. He yawned slightly, cupping his right fist over his mouth. “How did you come to know that she lives in the hostel?” he asked interrogatively like a police detective. The question brought me back to reality.
“She told me.” I said, trying hard not to get another surprise revelation. But just as immediately as the words were still flying out from my mouth, Dan attacked me.
“No, that can’t be!” he bellowed, standing up and hitting his fist on the table, leaning over a little, his face was just inches away from mine. “She can’t tell you such thing. When did she enter the hostel that we did not know?” he said and continued immediately “… by the way, you’ve even acknowledged that you haven’t spoken to her.” He completed and sat back down, shut his eyes and hushed. Bullshit!
I have never seen him so tensed up before. Maybe I am getting him to involved in this my escapades. He has gotten it all wrong.


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