Damaged Goods (Part 3)- a short story

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Do you love crime fiction? Then this story is all you ever wanted.

 

Please follow the story from here.

A rose is a rose

Back in secondary school, Onono was much of a different personality. Her quiet demeanor bellied the grit underneath. She was overlooked by almost everyone in her classroom as though invisible, yet she carried herself with aplomb. Nothing stood out with her; her grades were just average, she didn’t have a pretty face and her parents were civil servants at the state ministry in Calabar, who could barely afford to make her and her siblings comfortable. 

She was that short girl, who wore her hair bald, making her head smaller than the rest of her body. She had few friends and spent a lot of her alone time studying for the university entrance examination.

One teenager in her class, took genuine interest in her, his name was Efetobore. He was one of the back-benchers that mothers warned their daughters about.

“They are up to no good. Don’t frolic with them” her mother’s voice echoed inside her head.

And, up to no good he was!

Efetobore would mimic subject teachers when they turned their back to the students to scribble on the blackened chalk board and still throw paper plane across the room at other students during classes, while pretending not to notice.

He led the boys who made a habit of chasing the girls around the field during beak time, just because they could pick on anyone without a fight. He laughed the loudest when his friends cracked sordid and offensive jokes that displeased the girls in the class. But never at Onono.

They were popularly called “NFA”, an acquired acronym for No Future Ambition.

Efetobore friendship with Onono started after he defended her from the other girls that picked on her. The girls said unkind words to her before the assault started. They pushed her roughly to the ground with a stern warning never to wear beaded bracelets to school again. They claimed, it was the exclusive privileged of the “Star Girls”- a self-styled group of 5 girls who liked to dress weirdly to school.

Efetobore stepped in before they roughened her up. He warned the girls never to lay a finger on her as she was now with him. The girls dispersed grudgingly, failing to understand the mismatch between the duo. Efetobore could have any girl he wanted in the class, they wondered why this small, ugly looking creature caught his attention.

Efetobore’s rascality ended when the new corps member arrived at the school to complete the rest of the compulsory one-year service period. Only two corps members initially posted to the community ever stayed, during the last 5 years that Efetobore had been in the school. They complained about its proximity to calabar – the nearest city to the community and lack of electricity.

But this corps member, stayed. His name was Ekpeyong.

********

Everything about Ekpeyong was different. He was the kind of young man others followed, not because he said so, but because everyone felt safe around him and trusted his judgement. He was a natural leader, the sort that held the class of youngsters spellbound whenever he stepped in to teach.

He had the looks of a young man who was well nurtured and refined. He oozed with an unusual sophistication that endeared him to many.

“What in God’s heaven was he doing in this remote village surrounded by the most uncouth set of humans?” Onono always wondered.

“What was he trying to prove?”

When he stood in front of the classroom to teach the unpopular science subjects, the usual blanket of silence, that was the trademark of such classes, was promptly replaced by a gust of energy and boisterous excitement about the strange elements of science. It felt like they only started learning when Ekpeyong arrived in the school.

Onono was not only “in love”, but she was also well and truly smitten by his presence. As weeks turned into months, when he taught them in class, she caught herself starring at his biceps, intricately carved jawline, thinly cut lips and his oversized ears seemingly perched within his well-groomed afro hair. 

For her, it was often a struggle to listen when he was speaking, even when she didn’t want to stare, her eyes kept flicking to the man in khaki, so still, so decrepit. When he was within a few meters from her desk while he taught, Onono would hold her breath, locking them within her lungs till he walked away.

Whenever she asked questions in class, he provided explanation that left her satiated. She made sure to ask a question or two even if he only stepped into the classroom for 10minutes. To her there was no trait more attractive than calm empathy, and this young man had all that and more.

Of course, it didn’t take long for the young “Corper” to notice the cute, soft-spoken, and dark-skinned girl, sitting three desks away from the chalk board. With his interest ignited, they became friends.

Weeks later, they took their friendship up a notch when she sent him this note;

“Of all the companions the universe could have sent, I am forever in gratitude that it was you I met. For in your company, in your strong emotional warmth and intelligence, I became a version of myself that I had given up as lost”

Love is beautiful! It found them both one evening sitting next to each other outside her empty classroom sharing Onono’s first kiss. It was an intense moment that left them both breathless and yearning for more.

But it was Efe that broke their warm embrace when he coughed out phlegm from his throat. He had been watching the duo as they sat on the concrete bench right by the dark and deserted assembly ground. He couldn’t hear the lovers’ whisper but watched in horror as they shared “the moment of magic” that he had dreamt of, so often it left dried sperm all over his old sunken mattress.

He felt like he was a jilted lover. He couldn’t believe that Onono could stoop that low to frolic with a stranger in their native land. It didn’t matter that the stranger was their teacher, it didn’t matter that he was older, it didn’t matter that he was incredibly good looking, and it sure didn’t matter that he was a corps member- a federal worker.

Nothing mattered.

“Onono, How could you?” It was a rhetorical question that needed no response.

The lovers broke their embrace, with guilt emblazoned on their faces, to the embarrassing stare of Efe as he hopped off the short walls of a classroom adjoining the assembly ground where he had been watching.

“Efe, I don’t understand?”

“What are you doing with this stranger in our land. I will report this to the Chief” and with that said, Efe picked pace walking the long stony driveway towards the local chief’s palace, with Onono hot on his trail.

Ekpeyong watched with keen interest as his students conversed in animated whisper.

He was confident that with the sort of reputation that Efe had, being a rascal and never-do-well, it would be Efe’s words against his. As long as Onono stayed true to their budding love, he had nothing to worry about.

“It’s not what you think Efe.” she pleaded.

“Then what is it? I asked for your friendship and you repeatedly turned me down. But here you are making out with…with….with…..Corper.” his voice ending, first, with a trail of disgust before breaking into a sniffle.

“Please don’t go to the Obong’s palace. I beg you”

“Onono, am I not good enough for you. What does he have that I can’t give you?”

His eyes searched for answers in her face despite the darkness, but she looked away. She knew for certain that her eyes would betray her emotions.

The boy then broke into a cry, with mucus slithering down his nostrils as his mouth let out a gut-wrenching wail. Within seconds, he pushed Onono aside, before starting a giddy anger-fueled sprint towards Ekpeyong. His fist, clenched into a ball of bones, aimed for his teacher’s skull.

It was the clattering and munching sound of gravel against each other, that stirred Ekpeyong. He could sense the attack even before he turned his back to them. When Efe was within a few steps, he turned suddenly, shifting his body so he was out of his raging path, while sticking out his right leg to help the boy into the comfort of the dusty ground.

It was a bad fall. One that left the boy groaning in pain. But blinded by rage, he struggled to lift himself off the ground spitting out small pebbles of stones. His chest heaving deeply as he watched his assailant walked calmly away without a care in the world.

It was Onono that raced to his rescue, patting down not only the film of dust that covered his face and cloths, but also his anger.

The fight had been won and lost in only a few seconds. It ended before it started.

Onono knew which side of the divide she belonged now and Efe could see it in her eyes as she admired Ekpeyong who walked further away towards his lodge.

Please follow part 4 here

 

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11 thoughts on “Damaged Goods (Part 3)- a short story”

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