‘Open your bag!’ The house mistress shouted harshly.
Everyone in the room could see it, everyone could easily predict the outcome of the following event. Sharon was the thief obviously. Although she was a known poor girl, yet none of her room member had any suspicion that she had finally resorted into stealing.
Modupe was the smartest girl in the room of six, she was ready to defend the poor girl once the cat is let out of the basket, although Sharon’s fate was predictable. In Magrack Girls’ College, thieves were given two choices; they either accepted to dance naked round all the girls’ hostel or they chose to receive twelve strokes of fierce cane for five days on the assembly ground. Now, with the hopeful intervention of Modupe, Halima and others in the room, the house mistress would do well in not exposing Sharon.
The accuser – Jumoke had reported to the house captain that two thousand naira had been stolen in the room and she was sure that it was the deed of someone in the room, if the petite house captain had been gently received in the room to carry out a quiet inspection, there would have been no much noise, but Sharon’s stubborn stance on not going to have her bag checked by the “tiny looking brat” had produced the necessity for the elder’s intervention.
‘I said open your bag Miss. Osueke!’ The house mistress yelled again, ‘are you deaf?!’
Sharon tightened her frown. It was now becoming unbecoming and unnecessarily annoying. It had become obvious that Sharon was avoiding her bag being checked earlier because she was the thief, but why on earth was she still refusing to give her bag up for inspection when everyone could already tell what she was hiding? From the way things are, the house mistress now seemed uninterested in seeing the money as much as she was in seeing the content Sharon was hiding.
Modupe gave a quick quiet guess, perhaps when the bag opened up, all the stolen items in the room – or perhaps in the whole dormitory would be revealed in it, surely that was going to be the case – but even if that would be the case, it would still be the same punishment Sharon would have to go through.
‘Mistress, may I open it?’ Jumoke asked quickly, observing that the curiosity was thick in the atmosphere, with a slight – almost imperceptible nod from the house mistress, Jumoke swung into action. She was swiftly intercepted as Sharon rushed quickly to save the bag from being checked, Sharon clung unto the bag, gripping it tightly so that no one could separate it from her. Jumoke was not going to give up, she was chubbier and stronger, she attempted ripping the bag off Sharon but ended up hurling both the bag and the two of them into the concrete floor.
‘Jummy stop!’ Modupe screamed, she could not bear it, everyone had gathered in the room to avoid a second-hand gist of the actual event. The house mistress stopped Modupe’s next action with a wave. The drama was now very interesting.
‘Seize her!’ The house mistress instructed, as Sharon stood combatively guarding her bag. As twelve girls headed in her direction violently, Sharon dropped the bag fearfully and said quietly, ‘That’s it! Check it! Check it and bear the consequence!!!’
At the sound of ‘consequence’, the girls miraculously retreated into their former positions as if they had not marched bravely towards her.
Observing that none of her student was brave enough to unveil the content of the bag, the house mistress herself swaggered towards the bag which was now sitting peacefully in the centre of the room. She unzipped it and everyone stretched their neck from a distance to catch the first glimpse.
‘What!’ The head mistress screamed but that was going to be her last word. She became deaf and dump instantly, Sharon grabbed her bag quickly and zipped it up. ‘Anyone else want to look?’ She said to the standing crowd.
Everyone ran off, leaving the house mistress wailing in gesticulation as she tried every effort possible to communicate what no one was going to comprehend.
Sharon left Magrack Girls’ College that evening before the intervention of the state police, she was thereafter unfound. The housemistress could not explain anything she saw, all attempts failed. Till date, no one knew what Sharon kept in that bag that made the house mistress go permanently deaf. No one even spoke about the two thousand naira that was never found.