Morenike was a liar, a boaster, a cheat and most of all, a
friend snatcher, she just had to see two close friends and immediately craved
to be the third person in the duo, hence destroying the closeness between
friends. She had always had an eye for Freida and Isuiwa’s friendship but they
seemed too close, however, today, during break, she noticed something! The two
girls were not walking together anymore as they seemed to have parted ways. It
was Morenike’s time to strike!!

Frieda was walking down the classes’ corridor when she saw  Morenike walk up to her, she literally rolled
her eyes. She wanted to be alone and she really wasn’t interested in chit
chats.
“Hey Frieda….you look good…” Morenike praised.
“Thank you, I just returned from a weekend trip at one of
the best resorts in Lagos.” Frieda boasted.
“Wow! Lucky you…fancy that!” Morenike said.
“Yeah I’m lucky…” Frieda said and moved to walk pass her.
“Wait…c’mon, I don’t have anyone to talk to and its break
time, I was wondering if we could hang out together.” Morenike said.
Frieda wanted to move past her again but stopped when she
saw Isiuwa walking down the corridor and towards her. It was the best time to
show her former friend that she had moved on without her. So, she placed her
hand on Morenike’s shoulder and started walking with her down the corridor, and
when Isiuwa was within earshot, she said aloud.
“Let’s be best friends…we’ll be super close and nothing
will ever separate us.”
“That’s so cool…I’d love that very much.” Morenike said in
smiles.
*********
Isiuwa walked pass her former bestie and tried hard to keep
a straight face, she overheard her talking about being best buds with Morenike
and she shrugged. Morenike was a foolish girl whose lies preceded her. She boasted
that her father had a Rolls Royce and her mother drove a G-wagon, but her
bubble burst when her father came to pick her up one day with his taxi cab. Instead
of hiding her face in shame for her lies, she heaped more lies by claiming that
he was her daddy’s driver who also drove a cab as a side-business. It was when,
on one occasion, the same cab driver came to the school for Open day and
introduced himself to her class as her father that all hell broke loose as everyone
gave her nicknames, from ‘Liar’, to ‘Rattle Tongue’. Morenike could also gossip
for Africa, everyone could testify to the fact that she carried baseless
rumours that on more occasions than none has found her suspended or kept in detention
for hours according to the school’s disciplinary methods. Isiuwa was hurt that
she had lost a friend, but was glad that she had been saved. Since her nasty encounter
with Uncle Fry she had asked herself several questions like; ‘what if he really
had raped her? What if Josh didn’t come to the rescue at the nick of time?’ She
was so grateful that she was saved from the claws of Uncle Fry, even if it
meant her losing her best friend. She resolved to focus more on her studies and
forget the incident. Today was her birthday and no one wished her a happy birthday, not even Frieda who knew that it was today and not even her parents who were too busy settling Osas’s problems. It was a bad day for her, she concluded.
The bell for the end of break was rung and she hurried
into her class, and before she could even settle down, the maths teacher walked
into the class.
“Can Frieda and Isiuwa come quickly to the staff room now?”
He said and walked out hastily.
Everyone turned to look at her, Frieda wasn’t back from
break so, Isiuwa walked out of the class and headed to the staff room. As soon
as she got there, she was asked to kneel down, soon after, Frieda arrived and
was shocked to see her kneeling down, she was asked to do same and they both
knelt down facing the teachers at their desks.
“Cheating is an unpardonable offence as far as this school
is concerned. Isiuwa and Frieda, the both of you cheated during my last test…”
“I…” Frieda started.
“Shut up and let me finish.” The teacher barked. “My
attendance shows that Frieda didn’t come to school on Friday the 3rd
and she wrote my test. My question is, how could Frieda write my test when she
wasn’t in the class? Isiuwa, you were present and wrote my test but you gave
yourself away by mistakenly writing your first name on Frieda’s test sheet and
finishing off with Frieda’s last name, so instead of Frieda Akpan,  you wrote Isiuwa Akpan and after which you
signed off on the space provided under the test sheet, as Frieda Akpan, hence
contradicting yourself. Aside from that, the handwriting which you used on your
test sheet and that of Frieda’s is similar and has been identified by the
teachers as your handwriting, Isiuwa. How can you explain yourselves?”
“Sir, I am guilty, Frieda wasn’t available on that day so, I
wrote the test for her.” Isiuwa said truthfully.
“Hmmm…Frieda what do you have to say to defend yourself?”
The maths teacher asked.
“Sir, I was not party to whatever Isiuwa did. Yes, I didn’t
come to school but I didn’t beg her to write a test for me. I just told her in
passing that I was not feeling too good and wouldn’t be in school on Friday but
I had it in mind to meet you and explain the reasons why I didn’t write the
test. I never believed she would write for me and I didn’t ask her to, either.”
Frieda supplied.
“Frieda! How can you say that? You told me to do you the
favour of writing the test for you…”Isiuwa started.
“Show me proof! How can you say that I told you to write a
test for me when you have nothing to show that you are actually telling the
truth. Isiuwa, I’ve told you several times that we are no longer friends and
you shouldn’t try to win back my friendship through petty means. Do you see
what this has caused you?” Freida said and addressing the teacher. “Please sir,
I am missing my biology class, can I go now? I have nothing to do with Isiuwa
and I definitely didn’t tell her to write my test for me. I have never told
anyone to write any test or exams for me and I never will.”
The teachers in the staffroom looked at themselves, the
English teacher spoke up.
“Well, I’m pushed to believe Frieda because Isiuwa has no proof
to show that Frieda actually asked her to write the test for her. In my
opinion, let Frieda go and let’s report Isiuwa to the principal, she deserves
to be punished.”
“Please ma, I know that I deserve to be punished but believe
me when I say that Frieda begged me to write the test for her and I refused at
first but…”
“Whether she asked you or not, the truth is, you were
gullible enough to write the test for her and that is cheating which is against
the school’s rules and regulations. You need to be punished for that Isiuwa.”
The Chemistry teacher spoke up.
“The both of you can return to your classes and by the end
of school today, expect your letters which will determine your fate.” The maths
teacher said.
The two girls stood up and walked away from the staffroom,
each avoiding the other like plague.
******
Osas didn’t know what to do, last night his parents had
found out the secret he had been trying to hide and since then, they hadn’t
spoken to him. His dad had quietly told his mom to offer Miyebi the guest room
and had gone to bed, followed closely by his mother.
Since then, he hadn’t heard a word from either of them as he
had been holed up in his room for hours since he woke up. He stared at the
clock the umpteenth time and realized that it was some minutes past one o’clock.  Suddenly, there was a knock at his door and
Osas quickly did the sign of the cross in fear and hurried to open it. It was
his father and he was with a very long whip.
“Daddy please…I can explain…Please…” He pleaded.
“Is that how to greet your father ? With pleas?”
“No dad…Good afternoon…daddy.”
His father entered the room, pushed the door closed and
locked it behind him. Then, holding out the whip, he sent a hard lash down Osas’s
legs.
“Ahhhh….my God! I am dead ooo…Daddy….it didn’t
enter…I will tell the truth sir, it didn’t enter.” Osas cried.
“Oh…the cane didn’t enter ehn…” His father said and
lashed out at him again.
“Nooo…that’s not what i meant sir, I meant that
….that…it didn’t enter sir…I’m not sure I’m responsible…”
“Really? So after doing the deed, you have the guts to deny
it? Is that how I brought you up? To lie?”
“No sir…I am telling the truth …please.” Osas begged and
held on to his father’s whip.
“Leave this whip Osas…leave it! Since you’ve decided that
at the age of eighteen you want to be a father and raise a family, I’ll teach
you what it means to be a father!” His father barked at him and pulled the whip
from his grasp.
Osas screamed as his father flogged him mercilessly, he ran
about his small room, crashing things about, from his laptop to his heavy text
books but the more he dodged, the more the whip found the perfect spot on his
body to fall on.
******
Miyebi heard the shouts from Osas and cringed, she too had
quite similar experience last night in her father’s house. She really didn’t
want her father to know about her state but trust the sharp eyes of her mother
who when she came down for dinner that evening spotted her wearing an
over-sized cardigan.
“You’ve taken a likeness to sweaters of late Miyebi.” Her
mother had noted.
“Ma?” Miyebi had replied in a shudder.
“The weather is warm, why are you wearing a sweater when it’s
not cold? Are you ill?” Her father asked.
“I er…I have been feeling a bit cold but it’s…nothing.”
“Why don’t you remove the sweater….it’s not necessary…”
Her mother said.
“No mom…I’m fine.” Miyebi had said.
“Something is not right Miyebi…I have been watching you
closely and I am suspecting something….I hope it’s not true.” Her mother said
calmly.
“I am…I am fine ma…” Miyebi said quickly.
“Then if you are fine, do as your mother says and remove the
cardigan!” Her father had ordered in his military voice which made the ground
quake.
Miyebi had taken a deep breath and removed the cardigan,
draping it on the arm rest of the chair which she sat.
Her mother stood up and walked towards her, as she inched
closer, Miyebi’s heart started pounding hard, her mother touched her breasts
and she jolted.
“Miyebi…are you pregnant?” Her mother asked.
“What? Who is pregnant and in which house?” Her father
shouted, standing up from his chair in shock.
Miyebi burst into tears and spluttered. “I am so sorry…it
was…it was a mistake I promise.” She had said.
Her father advanced towards her in anger while her mother
paced the dining, taking deep breaths and speaking in their native language.
“Who is responsible for this child?” Her father had asked in
anger.
Miyebi knew she had to supply an answer quick or she might
find her head rolling on the ground from the slap her father was prepared to
give her. She thought of saying the truth that she honestly didn’t know since
she had had many sexual partners but she knew that she’ll be dead if she said
that so she quickly said.
“It’s Osas…Pastor Igbinovia’s son…”
That was how dinner was abandoned and she was practically
pushed into the car and driven to Osa’s house by her father.

Now, as she sat on the bed and lamented her fate, she heard
the crash from upstairs and cringed as she thought of Osas who was being
punished for what he had no hand in.

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