The Patriot Institute of Journalism and Arts (PIJA), Lance Magazine is a public-centric independent media organisation dedicated to fighting injustice, fostering social justice and community development through the telling and retelling of the marginalised-oriented stories.
Note: This story is purely a work of fiction. Any resemblance of names and places mentioned in the story to any personality and place are highly coincidental. — Author
Copyright: All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the publisher.
First Published in 2022
Publisher: PIJA Publishing Firm
CAMPUS IS A PLACE TO DIE YOUNG
PS: you can get the episode one in this series here: Released! Campus Is A Place To Die Young Series One
Are we not as the fool
Longing succour from our foe
Who is garbed in the sterile of an ally
FAINT GLEE WORE A GARB OF SMILE on Lakunle’s innocent face as he made a tread past PUTECH gate.
“I finally made it,” he said. “After four years of waiting, my dreams of becoming a Nigerian lawyer will be realised.”
“Man proposes, God disposes,” Mr Olatunji cut in. “Those years, are of waiting to you, but to God, are years of preparing you for his purpose.”
Lakunle’s smiling face faded with a stern grimace, “Who is that? Does he exist? and if he does, I don’t know him,” His head made an arc as his upper lip tilted upward. “Please Uncle, I told you don’t talk about that coward being around me.”
“Ah!” Mr Olatunji’s wrinkled mien screamed with horror. His eyes pulled. He sharply swung his tongue hung between the crevice of his molars. One who had thought he would bite it right, away. But he doesn’t. He was not so gullible. He knew his ways. He ejected the tongue from the grinding lair. His eyes squinted as a meowing cat would do when begging for a piece of beef. His forefinger, so short and thick in both darkness and robustness hacked within his sharp vampire-like incisors.
“Kunle, may God forgive…”
“Forgive,” Lakunle chuckled with a mocking shrug as he cut in, “that is what primitive people think he can do, but he cannot. He is not the lord of my life. Science has proven it, he doesn’t exist. This is why Mum and Dad…”
He swallowed what he intended to say. He cannot say it. It seemed too hard for him to say, it was like a thorny ring of burdens folded up his lanky neck.
“Uncle,” he softly called, “I don’t want you to mention that coward being around me, again.”
“You see, I believe my God will be with you and open your eyes sooner or later,” Mr Olatunji said as his stern face disengaged with an ironic smile.
“Uncle, just leave me. You can continue to rant in your gospel. It’s a jinx for you. For me, I was affected by its tricky wand, but now I am free,” He flipped his backpack. “You should be going back from here, Pastor!”
Lakunle marched forward on his denim jacket and pencilled black trousers. He doesn’t care much about what Mr Olatunji have to say. His torso made a flap with his broad chest as he dangled his feet forward on the asphalted road of PUTECH. Eastern sun made a dirty touch on him. It caked his corrugated forehead and his blond crewcuts, making them well up to some dots of perspiration. But his mind cared less about these. It had long gone to where it usually dwell. A place of grief, of desolation, of isolation, of regret and of a plan to revenge God. His life, purpose and dreams had overturned five years ago when his parent met their end on the course of discharging God’s will. They were going for an Evangelical Outreach with members of Calvary Chapel at Ogun State. They had reached Awyan, around Igbo Olodumare junction, a few drive to Oyan when the gory occurrence saw the light. They caught them unawares, destroyed their bus, loot their belongings and eventually shattered their feeble hearts with the Russian bullets. He overheard this from the police. Aside from that, nothing more until today. No one survived. All of the 15 evangelists, met their end.
Bishop Thompson of Calvary Chapel had said it was God’s will. But Lakunle said otherwise. To him, God is a wicked being. How can he allow faithful servants of him to witness a miserable death? Is he not all-powerful, all-knowing? if the road will be dangerous if they will be attacked, should he not have told them? Lakunle concluded ‘he is not who people said he is.’ He declared war against him and since then, He has been trying to meet him and avenge his parent’s death. He believed he killed them so he must kill him back. But he hasn’t found him yet, so he decided to study law to prove him wrong and lawfully bring an end to worshipping him in the country.
“What is your name?” A bespectacled woman in her late thirties said as she plopped down.
“Just two?” She frowned. “Don’t you have other names?”
“Yes, I don’t have. Just two.”
“State of Origin certificate, Birth Certificate, O’level Result, JAMB Result,” she hastily asked with her serious almond eyes looking so holy and naive, but with meticulousness glancing through a white paper before her. It was Lakunle’s screening credentials.
“These are all you asked for.”
“Hold it like that and show me one by one. Okay?”
Lakunle flipped it open, she scanned through, and marked the duplicate with her—Cleared.
Lakunle repeated the previous action until the last part of the documents with him were cleared.
“Okay, you’re clear. Pay 10,000 to complete your registration.”
“Ah! 10,000?” Lakunle’s dry mouth left ajar. “But it was written on the school portal and on my admission letter that we only pay 7,500 for screening, what is with the 2,500 on top?”
“Hmm” her naive effigy flummoxed in a stern grimace. “It seems you’re not ready to complete your screening. You can come back next year, for it. Next.”
“Ah! Ma, I am just…”
She sent her gaze past Lakunle who, before her, stood in perplexity, “Next.”
“Adepoju Christianah” a fruity voice disembodied behind him.
“Come closer. Quick!”
“At least, if I’ll pay something, I’ll know why I am paying. Why are you not answering me?” Lakunle queried.
The woman kept quiet while the lady’s amber eyes shot a pitying gaze to Lakunle. One that could be interpreted as ‘leave them, pay and get out.’ But Lakunle, unwilling, waved away her concern. Lakunle knew not how to be patient. He was already angered. Even now, with his shiny black eyes, his grieving heart thirst to harm the woman with his hands. Like thrusting his blue pen on her eyes and slapping her off the chair she chiefly sat. But he would not. He remembered why he enrolled to study at first—to avenge his parent and kill God. He cannot afford to lose now. He just started.
“I will pay,” he muttered.
A story that makes one shudder with horror and feels pity just on hearing it.
This was what Aristotle said and quoted by Charles Segal about the Tragic Heroism and the Limits of Knowledge displayed by Sophocles in his tragedy, Oedipus Rex. Sophocles’ ancient tale becomes a profound meditation on the questions of guilt and responsibility, the order and disorder of our world, and the nature of man. The play stands with the Book of Job, Hamlet, and King Lear as one of Western literature’s most searching examinations of the problem of suffering—one from an all-powerful being who will gift anyone fate that is quite unpalatable and yet professed it cannot be changed.
As Sophocles depicted, the king of Thebes, Laius just married his beloved wife, Jocasta. Their marriage was not long until they were gifted a son named Oedipus. Traditionally in Thebes, every child had their prophecy. And with Oedipus came a prophecy from a blind old seer whose darkness of the eyes cannot halt him to see the plainness of the future. It was said Oedipus was ordained to slay his father and marry his mother.
Laius was not ready to lose his authority, neither was as husband ready to lose the soothing bed of his beloved wife just as the wife either do not wish to lose those romances with her beloved. They zeroed to sacrifice the son for their pleasure, but they cannot kill the infant boy. Their hearts were so heavy to do so. So they left him to die. In a shallow place where cold pierce as dart and suffering was a favourite whip. But the infant found favour. A shepherd took pity on him. And eventually, the infant was adopted by the king Polybus of Corinth and he grew to become their son—the prince.
In his early manhood, grown-up Oedipus visited Delphi—where temples of the Greek gods were planted. And upon learning about his sour fate, Oedipus left the town. He doesn’t want to fulfil such a prophecy. But could he?
Travelling towards the city of Thebes, Oedipus met Laius who provoked a quarrel in which Oedipus killed him. And the first part of the prophecy made established. Further on his journey, Oedipus found Thebes plagued by Sphinx, who put a riddle to all passersby and destroyed those who could not answer, correctly. Oedipus solved the riddle, and Sphinx committed suicide. In reward, he received the throne of Thebes and the hand of the widowed queen, his mother, Jocasta. Then the prophecy was fulfilled, yet in ignorance. They had four children: Eteocles, Polyneices, Antigone, and Ismene. Later, when the truth became known, Jocasta committed suicide, and Oedipus after blinding himself, went into exile, accompanied by Antigone and Ismene, leaving his brother-in-law Creon as regent. Oedipus died at Colonus near Athens, where he was swallowed into the earth and became a guardian hero of the land.
Ayo jerked rigid in bed, heart slamming in his chest, every nerve electric with worry. He stared at the darkness, struggling to quell his panic. Someone was phoning him.
He picked, “A.A!” the other end voice called out. Ayo instantly recognized the voice. It was his PRO.
“Yes?” said Ayo.
“One of our students is complaining of stomach pain. She already went to the school health centre and she has been referred to Adebolu Maternity because her condition was critical. Your attention is needed, as soon as possible.”
“Oh! My. I’ll be there, shortly.” Ayo absentmindedly dropped the phone as he turned on the lamp. He stared at the clock. It was 2:45 A.M. He’d slept only three hours. The brown trousers were still draped over the chair. It looked like something foreign, from another man’s life, not his own. On his reading table laden properly arranged books. One was opened. It was Politics and Blood of the 19th century. Perhaps, the book he was reading, now. The french suit he’d worn to bed was damp with sweat, but he had no time to change. He brushed her thick-dark-Wole-Soyinka-ensemble hair and went to the sink in his bathroom to splash cold water on his face. The man staring back at him from the mirror was a shell-shocked stranger. Focus. It’s time to let go of the worry. Justice will win. He slipped his bare feet into the running shoes he’d retrieved from a mate as compensation and, with a deep breath stepped out of the room.
Ayo pushed into Adebolu Maternity with rushing feet. In a glance, he saw his Executives and others prepared for the worst. Three poles were hung with Ringer’s lactate; IV tubes coiled and already connected to a patient’s hand. A courier was standing by to run blood tubes to the lab. The two interns stood on either side of the table, clutching IV catheters, and a man, so calm and reserved on a sterile gown using a stethoscope on the patient.
Ayo scurried to where he stood, then draped his arms into his wrists. The stethoscope nearly fell. He knew he is the Doctor in charge.
“What’s the story on the patient?” He asked.
“Then, who are you?” The man asked as he slowly released his wrists from his arms captivity.
“He is the SUG President of PUTECH!” PRO slammed.
“Oh! Abortion!” He leaned backwards. “Sorry for my previous approach, it was an incomplete abortion.”
“What is the solution?”
“We will do it again.”
“What do you mean?”
“We’ll do the abortion again to perfect the process or else, she will pack,” He said quietly.
The patient groaned, painfully.
Ayo paused, his heart jangled again with worry. The sound could almost fill up the whole ambience.
“What do we need to do?” He asked, disorganised.
An Ambulance was pulling in. “Doctor!” A nurse yelled through the doorway.
“We have a case?” She flew the door open as the sound of gurney wheeled through the passageway in a hurry.
“What is it?” He turned his gaze away from Ayo.
“Eh! Doctor sir,” Ayo said as he sensed he will leave him any time. “What do we need to do, start operating on her. Save her!”
“Walk with me to the door,” the doctor said.
They both took a stone’s throw walk and disappeared to the solitary passageway of the maternity.
“It will cost you 250,000 and besides, we need her parent or guardian, or do you want to stand for her? We will do a CS for her. This is what I wanted to say and I can’t say that in front of her.”
“I understand. I can stand for her. It is not an issue.”
“Get the money then…”
“A.A,” PRO’s voice softly called from behind. “She asked for you. She needed to tell you something.”
“Okay. Doctor, I’ll get back to you, shortly,” Ayo said.
“Just be quick.” The doctor said as he left.
Ayo went back to the ward and squatted beneath the gurney where she was laid.
“Sorry. I learnt you called on me, can you talk?”
“Y–e–s,” she said sluggishly as she picked words as if they will hurt her tongue.
“The pregnancy aborted was of Mr Adegboyega….” She painfully moaned and let out a gnashing scream.
“Sorry, sorry,” Ayo said. “Don’t bother saying anything, for now, you’ll be fine to tell me later.”
She sighed, “take my phone. Password: omotolani. check my pinned chat on WhatsApp, you’ll find what you need to know. Please…” Fear crinkled her creamy face, bloodied-red screeched out of her green eyes. Her right palm tightly held her abdomen while her left held Ayo’s sleeve so firm. It was as if all her life depended on it.
“Please, do the needful,” She gasped as her soul delivered himself from her carapace. She gave up.