I AM ABIKU 3.3

pict. cr. to the artist
This will be my final post from this broadcast! See the end of the chapter for information on how to read the end of the story!

Jumoke’s Bible Study group met in the music room which was on the other end of the block that made up the senior class rooms.

There was already a large group of students inside by the time we got there; a mixture of seniors and juniors with all the girls wearing scarves or hankies covering their heads.

They’d already begun the singing part of the proceedings which was the part I was most familiar with since you could usually hear them from most parts of the campus when they started.

I even knew some of the songs myself so I grabbed a stool in the back and began to clap and sing along. Someone passed me a tambourine and I thought; this might actually be kind of fun.

We hadn’t been singing for long when three girls came in clutching severely worn looking bibles to themselves. They didn’t join in the singing they just went out to the middle and closed their eyes. Aside from Chidera, I noted Jumoke was one of them. This didn’t surprise me since it was well known she was one of the pioneers of this group. I wondered if I would be able to see her after about the Mr Effiong situation.

The lips of the three girls were moving rapidly and silently and they were swaying a little. I assumed what they were doing was praying though I noted no fluctuations in power in the room. Oh well. At least everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Then Jumoke raised her hand very suddenly and the singing and clapping died down abruptly. It was quite dramatic. I stilled the tambourine in my hands anxious to see what would happen next.

Jumoke opened her eyes while the other two girls kept on with the silent muttering and swaying. She stared around at the students surrounding her. There was a kind of – I don’t know – crazy look in her eye. Nobody seemed worried though. In fact they all watched her with sober intensity. It reminded me of one of those movies where – well, where this kind of thing happens…

When she began to speak they almost seemed to be leaning towards her, hanging on her every word like she was re-enacting a ritual they all knew and loved.

“I told you before!” she spoke in a raised voice, “I told you that there is more to this world than meets the eye! Strangers walk amongst us! Unnatural beings!”

Uh-oh.

I glanced at Dolapo. He looked as rapt as everybody else in the room.

Is it any wonder that I cannot stand Abikus.

“Beings that seek to lead us astray and capture us!” Jumoke continued her tirade. Seriously, I had never seen this side of her before. “Beings that seek to torture and kill us! You think such things can not exist in the real world! But they do! Even in this school!”

I started trying to signal Dolapo who sat on the other side of the room by waving my hand furtively at him but the dizzy cow was avoiding my glance.

“But some of you are doubting Thomases,” now there was a smug expression on Jumoke’s face. She walked slowly around in the circular space in the middle of the gathering. “Some of you need to see it with your own eyes and touch it with your own hands!” She stopped in front of where Dolapo stood. “I will reveal the evil in your midst today so that you may cease doubting and increase thy faith!”

That was when I raised my hand and called, “Jumoke!”

Everyone turned to me with the same look of utter astonishment.

Now it was like being in that movie ‘Inception’ when the conscious mind suddenly realized you were there. Creeeepy…

But I refused to be creeped out and I waggled my raised hand about as if I was in class, “I have a question?”

The girls that had been praying in the centre were now shooting annoyed looks at me. Chidera who was next to clueless Dolapo glowered at me. “Maro! What are you doing!” she whisper-yelled at me, “You’re interrupting!”

Jumoke on the other hand after looking surprised started to look pleased. “You really have guts,” she smirked at me.

Suddenly I felt like I’d walked myself into something pretty bad. My skin had started to prickle like crazy. That meant power fluctuations.

Crap.

Jumoke grabbed the front of Dolapo’s shirt and dragging him from his place, easily flung the surprised boy into the centre of the gathering. He landed in a heap at the feet of her prayer warriors who jumped at the unexpectedly hard impact of the younger boy hitting the floor. They stared at Dolapo who groaned then started to cry immediately. Then they glanced at each other uncertainly before turning back to their leader with the first hints of anxiety in their eyes.

Jumoke had not taken her sly gaze off me even during her show of unnatural strength which I wasn’t sure if anyone else had registered.

“You’re also dumber than I expected,” she continued while the crowd of Bible Studiers shifted uncomfortably where they stood, probably sensing the change in the script. “But I guess that just makes everything easier for me.”

Arch-Villain speak.

If nothing else would have told me, that did it. I was suddenly almost 100% sure I was standing in front of my wannabe witch.

Questions upon questions crowded in my head. If she wasn’t a Dim then what the hell was she? And where the hell was she getting the power I could feel increasing in the room even as we stared each other down?  One question however was topmost on my mind and I stood up.

“You took my thing. Why?” I demanded.

The crazy look was back in full force in Jumoke’s eyes. “First confess before everyone what you really are, filthy spirit!”

Filthy spirit??? Was she for real?

Angry now I stepped forward and poked her in the chest, “I’m not confessing anything to a half ass occultist playing with forces she’s completely clueless about! I’m not joking with you, Jumoke! Where is my thing and why did you take it?”

“Jumoke what’s going on?” Chidera asked in a small voice behind her.

Jumoke pointed at me and yelled, “This girl is an Abiku! An unclean spirit!”

I pointed back at her, “And you’re a witch! So?”

Murmuring broke out all around us.

“Don’t listen to her! It’s in her nature to lie!” Jumoke cried addressing her followers who unfortunately looked like they believed her. They were staring at me like if I’d sprouted another head. “She and Dolapo are possessed by the spirit of Abiku!” she now strode over to where the junior still crouched and pushed him roughly with her foot, “Confess!!” she snarled.

“It’s true! I’m abiku!” Dolapo cried out with tears streaming down his face, “save me!”

“Shut up, you dumbass!” I snapped at him but it was too late of course. Everyone was already gasping and pointing at us and generally acting like we hadn’t been going to the same school and classes together for the last several years.

“Hold them!” Jumoke ordered her minions. “We will cast out the unclean spirit from both of them today!”

The prayer warriors took Dolapo by either arm and hauled him to his feet. To my disbelief, two of the Bible Studiers gave me the same treatment. I struggled to shake them off but they were determined and held on. In a case like this I would usually have just escaped through my door and let my body crumple in their arms knowing they would rush it somewhere for help and eventually leave me alone. But without knowing where my thing was I still couldn’t risk that, thanks, apparently, to Jumoke Talabi.

We were both dragged before the head girl who looked us over with satisfaction before holding her hand out behind her. “My bag!” she ordered.

Chidera fetched her school bag from wherever it was and put it in her hand by the strap. Without taking glittering eyes off us Jumoke drew the bag to herself and plunged her hand into it. When her hand reappeared, it was clutching something.

It was a little clay cup thing decorated with beads and feathers. It kind of looked like something a child would make and from the dismayed look on Dolapo’s face I realized I was looking at the physical manifestation of his true name.

Off all the stupid-

Could he have made anything more easily destructi-

At that point I couldn’t anymore with the kid…

“Behold this Abiku’s connection to the spirit world!” Jumoke proclaimed holding it above her head. The loud murmuring began again. “Once it is destroyed! The evil spirit in him will die!”

I noticed that Dolapo didn’t look so sure he wanted to be saved anymore. He was trembling and pulling back in the hands of the girls that were holding him tight.

I sighed. This was going way too far.

“Jumoke, stop this!” I said trying to sound reasonable. “I get it, now. You have beef with me. Let the kid go, he has nothing to do with this!”

The only acknowledgement she gave of having heard my words was to look directly into my eyes, showing me, in one glance, a world of bitterness and vindictiveness I could never have imagined earning as she let the clay cup drop from her hands and shatter at her feet.

Dolapo whimpered and simply collapsed beside me.

Stunned I watched as the prayer warriors  let him fall to the ground then resumed their silent mutterings, snapping their fingers over his prone form.

Not that it made a single difference.

With his name destroyed, the Abiku that was Dolapo, my poor, scatter-brained sibling, was already gone for good.

I turned back to Jumoke. “You are such a bitch,” I couldn’t resist telling her.

She smiled at me, “You’re next Maro.”

So this is it! We made it to the final post.
When I originally started serializing this Novella my plan was to send interested readers to the link of the published version of the story to get the end. But as I went on I realized there was a problem with this plan and  that is this: I have edited the manuscript so much since the time it was published that even though it’s basically the same story, I feel like it’s a completely different reading experience.
So here’s what we’re doing instead. You’re still free to check out the original Novella published by Comic Book Bandit. You can download the PDF for the book which also has some other really good Nigerian stories for free off their website right here.
But for the end of the story as it exists now and as you have read it up till now you have to subscribe to The Indigo Radio FM Broadcast Club! This is a free Newsletter I will be putting out twice a month as a way to get closer to my readers and keep you up to date on all the fiction (and maybe music?) I’m working on! Subscribers will have get to have the latest free chapters of my serialized stories as well as News from my work desk, anecdotes from my process, story recommendations and more things in the indigo spectrum directly delivered to their mailbox, twice a month.
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FYI: All the chapters for this story can be found HERE on Channel One with the most recent chapter at the top.

 

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