(Continued from THE DAY OF RECKONING)

The BOYS COLLEGE was the only one, of its kind; its buildings stood with splendor and the attractive colors made the environment a beautiful sight to behold. Every parent wanted their kids to attend the college for no solid reason. Maybe it was because it had been operated once by white men or because of its beautiful environment. Every new session, more and more students were admitted into the school and in no distant time, there was need to erect more buildings to accommodate the increasing population.

 Behind the college, some meters away, a water body made its way southwards, in the opposite direction of the school and emptied into a larger body. This area served as the meeting point of Mathew, Ike, Okon and other some students who preferred not to learn in the classrooms but to while away their time, by swimming and playing soccer.

            “Goooaaaal!!!!” Okon and his teammates shouted; the young boy had scored the winning goal for the team. The Goalie who stood in between the goal post made of two stones and crossed with a stick, had dived very late to catch the ball, leading to the goal. The ball rolled into the little stream and Okon quickly dived in, to get it. 

            Okon, who once feared skipping classes, was now a champion at it. Asides the three boys who had earlier found their way to the stream, some other students had also discovered the little water body which was close to the school. The number of boys who visited the stream daily, had increased from three to thirty within a space of two months. With Mathew, Okon and Ike acting and feeling like the founding fathers of the stream, they formed rules and regulations and organized everyone into three different teams.

            The three boys would leave the house early in the morning to a particular concealed spot where they would change into their casual wears and then head straight to the river instead of the school. “I can’t wait to score another goal” Okon said excitedly one morning as they made their way towards the stream. He noticed that Mathew was absent minded. “What’s the problem?” he asked. Mathew seemed to be in deep thoughts, and then he spoke; “The boys are disrespecting us” he said and paused for a while before going on. “We need more respect from them” he said. “You’re right” Okon said nodding in affirmation even though he didn’t understand the angle he was coming from. “I’m referring to myself and Ike” Mathew fired back immediately. Okon halted; he was a bit confused; “What about me?” he asked but there was no reply. “Why should I be left out?” he asked further. “Once you stop being too fearful, you’ll earn their respect”. Ike said. “I’m not scared of you!!” he pushed Ike, raising his voice. Ike got up and dealt him blows; the duo got into a fight. It was Mathew’s intervention that separated the both. 

            Meanwhile back at the college:

The form teacher of the class came in. he always wore an angry look which succeeded in marring his handsome face. The students were already used to his ugly face, but the expression on his face showed that something there was something serious. “Most of you didn’t do well in your continuous assessment tests which two place two weeks ago” He said with a firm and raised voice. “I’m not impressed with your performance” he paused and continued. “Make sure you put in efforts in your upcoming exams next week.” he added.

            “Where is the class prefect?” he queried.

A boy stood up from the middle row where he sat; he was light skinned and a bit tall. “I’m here sir” he said. “Follow me to get the exam timetable for your class” the man said and left.

            That morning at the stream, one of the boys walked up to Mathew; “Boss, have you heard that our exams are coming up next week?” he asked. “Mathew laughed out loudly; “Philip you like joking a lot” he teased him. “No I’m serious, I was in school yesterday that’s why I didn’t make it to the stream yesterday” he said. “If I find out that you’re lying, you’ll be banned from coming to this stream” Mathew said. 

“Understood Boss” Philip replied.

The moment Mathew and Ike got to know about the First term Exams scheduled to take place the following week, they froze; it was the least news they were expecting to hear. They knew Okon would feel more freaked out than them; “What do we do” Ike had asked Mathew who seemed to be lost in thoughts once again. He kept thinking for a while and then spoke; “We will visit the Man Of God tomorrow for his prayers and anointing” 

“Will his prayers work for us?” Ike asked calmly.

Trust me it will. He is a popular prayer warrior” Mathew assured him. He looked around, he sighted Okon swimming with the other boys; he seemed to be having fun. The young boy shouted on top of his voice happily; he didn’t have the slightest idea of what was to befall him. “That boy is too fearful for my liking” he said to Ike.

Help me inform everyone about the issue at hand” he instructed Ike. 

Yes boss”. Ike said.

That evening, Okon returned home looking sullen and scared. “How was school today?” his mum asked. He froze; he hadn’t been to the school premises for the past two and a half months. He didn’t know what to say to her. He stood still like a rat which just got drenched in the rain. “Am I not talking to you?!” She asked.

Very well ma, it went well” he said and walked into his room quickly, and then her final words hit him hard; they stung him like an insect scouting for blood on his skin. “Ensure to make us proud in your exams next week”. She said. He froze again. He felt bad for her; she must have been thinking this whole while that he was attending his classes. That night, he sat on his bed and thought about his sorry life; the school; the stream behind the school; the boys; the goal he scored; Mathew and Ike; and then he thought about the forthcoming exams; he became more sullen and weak. He didn’t want to fail it, and if he did, Mum and Dad would finish him. He wept; something had to be done. 

            The next day, the trio finally made it to the school premises after about two and a half months of their unnoticeable absence. The class of about a hundred and fifty students was filled to the brim. Okon sat at the front row while Mathew and Ike sat behind planning on the next move to take, to ensure that they didn’t fail the forthcoming exams. The English Language Teacher walked into the class room. “GOOD MOOOORRRNINGG SIIIIRR!” the students all stood and chorused. “Please sit, I’ve not come to teach” he said looking at their faces. “I’ve come to wish you luck in your exams, Goodluck to you all!”  He said and walked out of the classroom amidst cheers and claps from the students. 

It was a revision week, it was expected that all teachers should have rounded up their courses, and indeed, every teacher who came into the classroom that day said the same words and left; “Good luck in your exams”.  It then dawned on Okon that he had made a costly mistake; the two demons whom he called his friends had landed him in trouble. He decided to have nothing to do with them again. 

A hand tapped him on his back while he was still in thoughts. It was Ike; the closing bell had been rung; classes where over for the day. “If you want to pass the forth coming exams follow us now”. Ike said, sounding confident. Okon sighed; It hadn’t been long that he made up his mind to terminate his friendship with them, now one of the demons was here again trying to convince him that passing the forthcoming exams was possible.

            “To where?” Okon asked curiously. 

Who cares?” Ike said and left with Mathew and some other boys. The boys looked familiar; they were among the students who came to the stream to swim and Play. They didn’t seem to be going to the stream, neither did they seem to be going back home immediately. If they had talked about passing the forthcoming exams, then they must have had a plan in mind. He reasoned.

            He became excited; alas he wouldn’t fail the forthcoming exams. “Please wait for me!” he shouted as he picked up his school bag and went after them.

(Continued in THE DAY OF RECKONING 3)


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