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TWO PART ONE

4th of November. A date, most students of Bridge Stone University spoke of. A sports competition hosted by the Federal Sports Committee will take place on that day and various universities are invited to participate in any sport of their choice. The competition enthuses the students as the school will take part in the state championships and the top ten universities will compete in the national championships in Russia, in two years’ time.

“Bola, I’m not going. You know that I don’t go for stuff like that and this time won’t be any different,” Nike said to her friend as they sat on her bed.

Bola pleaded with desperation written all over face. “Why are you doing this to me? I really want us to go together.”

From the day Bola heard about the competition, she has been begging Nike to accompany her, but Nike prefers to stay in the room rather than attend the event.

“I’m not doing anything. I don’t understand why you are hell- bent on me going. You know that’s not my type of scene.”

“Nike, you are my best friend, and I want to enjoy that day with you. You have attended none of the event organized by the school. Aren’t you tired of staying in the room doing nothing?”

“Point of correction, I keep myself busy while I’m alone in the room. You know an idle hand is the devil’s workshop. Before I forget, you know we have an exam coming up and I have to study hard,”

“The exam is in two weeks and moreover, we have been studying. We will pass”

“I’m not going”

“Please. Do you want me to kneel?”

Nike is the type that enjoys her privacy and prefers a quiet time reading a book or studying the word of God. She knows if she attends the competition, Bola will force her to stay for the after-party. She has no choice because walking alone in the night isn’t the best idea.

After the competition, the students of the school that wins have a party at a club some hours later. Nike has never been to a club, and from the stories, Bola has told her she had promised herself never to step foot in one. She had read about how girls get raped and some have to leave school because they are pregnant.

“You are persuasive, but I will go on one condition.”

“Anything you want as long as you are going,” Bola replied.

“I will wear what I want to wear, no make-up, no heels, and we should be back to school by 7. You know I don’t enjoy roaming about in the night.”

“That’s more than a condition” Bola murmured.

“What did you say?”

“Nothing but anyway, you will have lots of fun and you won’t regret going.”

1.25pm Friday 4th November

“Hurry, James and Tayo have been calling, and they are waiting for us at the reception,” Nike told Bola who applied her lipstick for the umpteenth time.

James and Tayo are Nike’s closest male friends, and they have been with her through thick and thin. They have been friends since their first year, and what made their friendship stronger is their belief and faith in God. All of them, including Bola with some other students are in the same prayer group called Jabez prayer group and they meet every Wednesdays and Fridays to pray and dwell on the word of God.

“It’s about time you girls arrive,” Tayo said, hugging both of them.

“It’s Bola that delayed us. I don’t know what she wants to use the lipstick she kept on applying for,”

“Bola” James said as he looked at her with a mischievous grin. “I hope you are going for the competition and not something else”

She looked at him and asked, “What else will I be going for?”

“You know what we are talking about. Stop pretending,” Tayo said.

“I forgot to tell you guys something. There’s this guy she talks to every night on phone. She’s always in a corner smiling, saying I miss you too.” Nike said.

“Bola!” Tayo and James shouted together.

James and Tayo weren’t surprised, they both knew about her encounters with different guys and most of them turned out to be bad.

“It’s not like that. I have stopped talking to boys. I want to focus on my studies.”

“Liar. I saw this girl yesterday holding hands with a guy,” Tayo said. “Maybe it’s the same guy you’re talking about”

“How does he look like?” Nike asked.

“Tall, dark- skinned, he is on dreads. This guy is very muscular.”

“That’s him. That’s the guy”

“Tayo, you can exaggerate. He’s not very muscular, he’s just muscular,” Bola said.

“What’s the difference? Very muscular, muscular. He has muscles, that’s all we need to know.”

“What are you saying? He can beat you” Nike said.

“Beat me? It’s not possible. I, Adetayo Adeola Ayoola black belt in Karate? That boy cannot beat me” He beats his chest with so much pride and his friends looked at him and laughed.

“Black belt that we haven’t seen in action,” James said with laughter.

“What’s that supposed to mean. You should support me, you are my bro,”

“There’s no bro in this one. It’s the truth,”

“Let’s go. I’m not in the mood to talk, I’m angry”

“It’s a lie. He is just looking for attention,” Nike told Bola.

“I know.”

“I’m serious. I’m not going.”

“Don’t go. We wouldn’t notice your absence” Bola said.

“Can you take that? Can you take that bro?” James asked Tayo as he laughed in his face.

“Where are you going to? Let’s pray before we go,” Nike said to Tayo as he walked ahead of them.

Tayo went back to join them and they held hands while Nike prayed.

“Don’t go” A voice told her as she finished saying the prayer.

“What happened?” They asked seeing that her eyes were closed.

“We shouldn’t go to the event. I heard a voice, and it told me not to go.”

“Nike, not now. If you knew you had changed your mind about going you could have told me earlier” Bola groaned.

“I want to go but I believe it’s the Lord sending a message.”

“We have already dressed up and we can’t go back to change,” Tayo said.

“What will happen if we go?” James asked.

“I don’t know, but you know when I hear such things, it’s a warning. The Lord is trying to warn us about something and we need to take heed”

“Nothing can happen to us. You know I’m a black belt in karate so anyone that wants to cause trouble will have to go through me first” Tayo said trying to ease off the situation but Nike wasn’t in the mood for his jokes.

“Nike please, just come with us. Nothing bad can happen to us. You have heard what Tayo said---”

“See, she believes in my karate”

“Tayo, not now” Nike and Bola said to him with a glare.

“Sorry” He apologised.

“We will not leave your sight throughout the event and if it’s the time that’s a problem for you, we will be back at school before 7” James said.

They pleaded with her but Nike had decided. Nothing they said or did could change her mind.

“It’s not about the time. You guys don’t seem to understand where I’m coming from. I didn’t make all this up. The Lord spoke to me and I’m begging you all to listen to His voice. Remember Jeremiah 7:23”

“We will never forget that bible verse. Nike, we have prayed to God, and he has taken control. Nothing bad can happen to us, but if you insist on staying we can’t force you” Bola told her.
“Let’s be on our way, the bus will soon leave,” Tayo said.

Still standing on the same spot, the silent sobs got out from her mouth and she watched them walk off without turning back until she couldn’t see them. She was waiting for any of them to turn back and apologize saying they were joking and won’t go for the competition.

As she got to her room, she knelt and poured out her heart to God. She prayed that God could forgive her friends and protect them. It would hurt her if they end up in trouble. She tried everything she could to keep calm, but her heart was racing fast and fear was in her.

She paced around the room and held a Bible to her chest as she prayed. While she tried to figure out what the Lord meant by what He said, Nike drank water, danced to some Christian songs, did some stretches, but none could keep her still.

5 pm

“Are you okay? I hope you guys are safe” She sent messages to her friends, but there was no reply from any of them.

“My God, manifest your power in this situation. I don’t know why they haven’t replied to my messages, but Lord God it’s only you that knows the reason and the solution. Please come down and manifest your power” She held her phone and waited for any messages from them.

She got on her knees and wept. She analyzed what would have made them not to reply to her messages but it was too much for her to process and she took a nap.

7 pm

“Thank you, Father. Thank you, Lord. May your name be highly exalted” She said as she stood up from the bed, realizing what the Lord was trying to tell her.

She ran out of the room like a cat was on her heel and she had to save her dear life but the situation was the opposite and much worse. She tried to stop various imaginations from flooding her mind, but it was like it had a mission and it won’t stop until it completed its mission. It wanted her to think of the worst and she couldn’t blame it; she knows what are friends are capable of.

She imagined Bola lying drunk on the club’s floor with people passing by giving her pity looks while James and Tayo tried to get her on her feet. James and Tayo had told her about how she had gotten into several fights while drunk and she shuddered as she imagined her best friend beaten to a pulp with her eyes swollen, blood dripping from her mouth and cannot move. She knows that Bola can’t control her anger, and it’s worse when she’s drunk. All she prayed for was for her imagination to not be the truth and to see her in good health.

“Security, stop her!” A security guard ordered as he saw Nike running towards the school gate.

She stopped in her tracks realizing what was happening. A security guard was walking to her direction, and he would ask questions which she didn’t have any time to answer. Any second she spends in the school without leaving the premises will move her panicking to any level higher than the highest.

“Where are you going to?” The security guard asked.

“Somewhere important”

“If you can’t tell me where you are going to, I have to take you to the guards’ house.”

“Why? I have somewhere important to go to and I’ve wasted much time here.”

“So you are trying to say I’m wasting your time? What an insubordination”

“Oga (boss), please come. I need your attention” The guard called the head of the security guards sitting on a chair in front of the guards’ house.

“What is going on here?” The head of the security guards asked.

“She has refused to follow my order.”

“Then she has to follow us to the guards’ house to explain herself”

She kept on glancing at her wristwatch on her way to the guards’ house and heart started to beat faster than normal when she saw that the time was 7.25. She repeated the time in her head and hastened her steps. She prayed it won’t be too late when she gets to her friends.

The house is large and looked like it could contain fifteen people or more. The walls were painted dark blue and the marble floor was so clear that one could see his or her reflection from it. Nike watched her steps and tried not to stain the floor but the dirt staining the floor was inevitable. A wide wooden table stood at the center of the house with different books scattered on it. There first thing a person would see after entering the house was the TV’s that were arranged in a straight line fixed to a wall. The TV’S were connected to the CCTV cameras that were at different points in the school.

Leaning forward with his hands tucked under his chin the head of the security guards asked, “Are you ready to tell us everything?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Are you a student at this school?” He asked.

“Yes, I am”

“What is your name?”

“Olanike Olapeju”

“What course?”

“Biochemistry”

“Level?”

“200.”

This was her first time being called by the guards about any issue. She wasn’t scared because she had nothing to hide and she hasn’t done any wrong that requires questioning. She wasn’t surprised anyway, they would over-do their job just to get a promotion.

“So can you tell us where you were running to?”

“Club 99” The guards looked at each other before they looked back at her.

At the mention of the club, the other security guards who were watching TV turned their attention to the questioning.

Awon omo ode oni, won ti yipada. Kii se asise won sugbon awon obi won ti ko ko won daradara (children of nowadays, they have turned wayward. It’s not their fault but their parents who didn’t teach them well)” The first security guard said in the Yoruba language and shook his head.

She smiled. She understood everything he said, but only if he knew her personality, he would have regretted saying those words.

“Why are you going to the club?” The head of the security guards asked, back in questioning mode.

“I need to save my friends. The Holy Spirit spoke to me through a dream and told me to save Bola, my best friend, but since they went out together, I need to save them. I think they are in danger,”

“Do you think you’re super woman? Wants to save everyone” The first security guard asked and laughed with the other security guards that were inside the house.

She didn’t know whether the question was rhetorical or not so she decided not to reply.

“I’m asking a question” The security guard said.

“No, I’m not”

“So you think your friends are in the club?” The head of the security guards asked and she nodded.

“How sure are we that you are not lying?” The head of the security guards asked.

“I can’t lie in God’s name”

“We can’t let you leave the premises” The first security guard said.

It was like her heart stopped beating when she heard those words. She couldn’t feel any pulse in her body and she became numb, hopeless. One tear dropped from her eyes. Two dropped. Three dropped and boom, she sobbed. She lost hope at that moment, the probability of helping her friends is deep down in the ocean never to be found again.

“Are you okay?” She heard, and saw a hand waving in her face.

“Please, I beg you in the name of God. Allow me to go to the club. I’m not lying. You can follow if you think I’m lying. I need to save them, I love them so much and I would never forgive myself if I don’t make an effort to rescue them. I have called their numbers, but none are picking. I’m so worried and I know something bad must have happened. I’m in so much pain and my heart would shatter if I don’t obey God’s voice. Please, just let me go because someone’s life might be in danger” She knelt on both knees pleading with tears flowing down on her cheeks and she prayed that God will touch his heart to allow her to go.

The guards discussed amongst themselves and agreed to take her to the club.

8:30pm

“We will split,” The head of the security guards told them as they stood in front of the club.

He explained the directions they will head to after Nike sent a picture of Bola, James and Tayo to them. She wiped a tear as she scrolled through the pictures they all took together in school and at home. Those pictures brought back loads of memories.

“We are not going back to school until we have found them so let’s go” The head of the security guards said.

“Please have you seen them?” She asked a group of girls.

“No,” They replied.

She asked around for a while and the responses she received weren’t pleasing. Her shoulders sagged and her head hung low as she walked to the bar to sit. She puts her head on a table and felt a tap on her shoulder.

“No good news?” One of the security guards asked as he saw her red and swollen eyes and she nodded her head.

“Same here but don’t worry we will find them”

“Where are the rest?” She asked.

“They are outside. I came to get you so we can plan our next move”

Nike met the security guards and they assured her that everything would be all right. She kept on wondering where they could be if they weren’t at the club where could they be?

“We are going to where everything began. The stadium” The head of the security guards told them.

9:45 pm

“You can see it’s locked. Let’s go,” The head of the security guards told her.

They stood in front of the stadium for the past five minutes and Nike hasn’t said a word since they got there. She needed some time for herself to think the situation through.

“They’re probably in school. No one can be here, people would have seen them if they were in trouble and would have done something about it” Another security guard told her.

“I feel they are here and my intuition is always right.”

The security guard knew at that moment that they had to leave the decision up to her. They had to look for a way to enter the stadium if not, they would have to wait until morning for the stadium security guard to open the gate.

“I have found a road, and it leads to the stadium” A security guard shouted and Nike rushed to the road leading the others.

“Bola! James! Tayo!” They shouted.

“I can hear a sound,” She told them and signaled for them to stop calling their names.

She listened to the sound and realized they weren’t far from it.

“The person is whimpering” She told the guards.

“Bola! James! Tayo! Where are you?” They shouted, pointing their torchlights at every direction.

With her torchlight stretched forward, Nike said, “I can see someone.”

“Bola?” She asked, and the person made different noises trying to get on feet.

“Oh, my goodness” She exclaimed with her hands over her mouth as she got in front of the person.

“Bola! Who did this to you?” She knelt removing the duct tape from her mouth, legs and hands.

Before Nike came to her rescue, she laid on the ground and did all she could to sit. She squirmed her body to remove the duct tape holding her hands that was at her back but was unable to.

“I thought no one will find me,” Bola said as they hugged and sobbed together.

“Who did this to you? Why are you bleeding so much?”

It confused Nike how Bola who left with jeans on is with her underwear with blood flowing from her thighs and laps. It looked like someone cut her laps with a sharp object.

“Check for the boys,” The head of the security guards told the other security guards.

“There’s no need,” Bola said.

“What do you mean by there’s no need?” Nike asked confused.

“They’ve gone” She said in tears.

“Gone? Who took them?” Nike asked.

“No one. They…”

She didn’t know how she was going to explain to her best friend what happened to her.

“They what? Bola please explain to us what happened”

She pointed at the blood flowing from her thighs.

“Oh, my goodness” Nike gasped. “They raped you. I’m so sorry”

She pulled Bola close to her and hugged her like that was the solution to the problem. She didn’t know what to do or say and the only way she could think of comforting her best friend is by hugging her. They both cried together not saying a word.

“Bola!” She shouted as Bola released her hold on her and fell to the ground. “Bola please don’t do this to me. Please I need you to wake up” She shook Bola’s body but there was no response.

She panicked and at that moment, she lost herself. The first aid processes she knew flew out from her memory and she didn’t know what to do. She tried her possible best to calm down and think straight, she started to list the first aid processes she knew and went straight into action.

“Her pulse is faint. We need to take her to the hospital” Nike said checking Bola’s pulse, “God please teach me what to do. I need you right now”

“I need to cut something to stop the bleeding? Do you have any thing I can use?” Nike asked the security guards and they replied no. “We have to use something to stop the bleeding”

She used one of the security guards jacket and her scarf to compress the bleeding on Bola’s laps until they got to the hospital.

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