There was a deep gash across the left side of his face, cutting close to his ear. His whole face was swollen and the cut on his lower accentuated the brutish treatment he had been subjected to the previous night. His head hung loosely, tilted to the right side as he feebly wriggled his body to get some comfort on the steel chair he was tied to; the movement only made things worse as it sent shots of pain through his aching body.
Mucus flowed freely down IK’s nose; he looked a shadow of his self. He groaned in agony, but as unbearable as the pain is, he was yet to utter a word to his tormentors; the boys of the Student Union Execute Council. They picked him up just as he was leaving the Bukateria late Tuesday evening and brought him straight to the inner room of the President’s of the Student Union office popularly known as the Truth Room. They say you can’t survive two days in the Room without spilling your guts out. He had survived the first night without talking.
He had denied the picture when they confronted him with it. He denied knowing the other guys in the picture. He denied everything they threw at him, he even asked for his phone call; Shina responded with a resounding slap across his face and reminded him he wasn’t in Hollywood. They slapped, punched and pushed him around but he still refused to answer their questions. After 2AM, they tied him to the steel chair and told him he just had an appetizer with the main course coming the next day. He was left alone inside the room for the rest of the night, in darkness.
IK guessed it was morning when he noticed the tiny beam of light stream in from underneath the door; he could only drift off to sleep for some odd minutes throughout the night. His mind worked nonstop trying to figure out who might have ratted on him, how much trouble he was in, how much he would have to tell the Student Union boys before they hand him over to campus police. The questions were never answered in his mind.
He raised his head sharply as he heard the door knob turn. Shina walked in with some other boys, right behind them was Bolade.
Pause here. Read. If you missed the previous episode, stop right here and follow this link (https://www.360nobs.com/2010/08/bolade-you-are-episode-viii/) to catch up on the events (and collective decisions) that led up to this point in Bolade’s story. As you would have realized (if you have been following the story), Bolade went for option one as suggested by majority of the readers; He gave the pictures to Shina and allowed the Student Union take over. This is the penultimate episode and I’ll like to use the moment to thank you guys for following the story and dropping comments to suggest decisions for Bolade, you make the writing thing worthwhile. Enough of the chitchat, let’s see how things turn out from the last decision:
‘Oh Bolade, I should have guessed.’ IK spat out with apparent disgust. ‘So you are the Judas.’
‘What the heck do you mean I’m the Judas?’ Bolade replied angrily, pushing through to the front. The sight in front of him stopped him dead in his tracks, he turned to Shina. ‘What have you guys done to him?’
‘Oh, this is nothing actually and the sooner he starts talking, the better for him. The Student Union would not tolerate any kind of intimidation and oppression of students on campus, all forms of culti…’
‘Oh! But you are yet to get anything from him.’ Bolade turned back to IK. ‘Dude, I truly pity your present condition but you are the Judas here, how could you have done this to me? I trusted you all along, I confided in you not knowing you are the proverbial worm eating the vegetable. I should have suspected you with your extra curiosity and ever persistent offers to help but I never thought for a second it would be you. Why? IK, why?’
‘You guys have got this wrong!’ IK protested, unconvincingly.
‘No man, everything points back to you. And the picture is the final nail on your coffin, no photo-effect manipulation, how do you explain that?’
IK had no response, Bolade continued.
‘Common man, you’ve got to tell me something or these guys won’t stop. Why go out of your way to set things up like it was Tunde trying to scare me off Tolulope? If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have…’
‘Wait! You got the picture from Tunde?’ IK broke the sentence off in Bolade’s mouth.
‘Oh yeah, but that’s not the issue right now.’ Shina cut into the dialogue.
‘Hmmmm, little wonder.’ IK muttered under his breath.
‘What’d you say?’ Bolade took a step towards IK.
‘I was only trying to help at first, but I guess you won’t understand.’
‘Try me.’ Bolade replied immediately.
IK looked around at the faces in the room; there were four other Student Union boys with Bolade and Shina. They weren’t smiling; a chill went up his spine.
‘I just wanted to help at first.’ IK started, and then stopped. When he saw three of the other guys pull up chairs to sit down and get more comfortable, he knew it was going to be a long day so he continued. ‘The night at the Bukateria when Tunde came over to our table to threaten you, I knew there was going to be real trouble knowing the person he is and I spoke with some of my guys after that. They said we could help you, but I’ll have to bring you in since I was coincidentally due to get a convert.’
‘Dude, you are speaking in parables, could you please break this down.’ Bolade looked confused.
‘Hold it Bolade, let him continue.’ Shine said before IK could respond to Bolade’s question. ‘You’ll understand as he goes on.’
‘You refused my offer for help so I was given a go ahead to simulate an indirect threat from Tunde, which we did with the first dead cobra in front of your doorstep with the attached note. I thought you would snoop around enough to find out a connection with Tunde and the Cobra sect but you never looked close enough.’ The room was dead silent; you could have heard the clichéd pin drop. IK continued. ‘When I asked again and you declined my help I decided to leave you but the powers that be wouldn’t let me, they insisted I had to do everything possible to bring you in.
‘The only way out was to get you in and a direct approach is not our M.O. Asides that, there has been some restrained beefs with Tunde and co. and they thought we could kill two birds with a stone; getting you and getting even with him.’
IK paused for breath, and then continued like the singing canary. ‘Unfortunately you never took the bait, we were to pull back when you started involving the Student Union via Shina, the last scare was supposed to be the last one.’
‘Damn you!’ Bolade exclaimed, stunned. ‘So it was never about Tolulope?’
‘Dude, I told you, I was just trying to help.’ IK replied.
‘So your idea of help is to get me to be a member of your clandestine group? What the fuck is wrong with you, man? You even turned me to a pawn in your mini-war with Tunde. Gosh, I can’t believe this. Does Emeka know who you really are?’
‘Calm down man, Emeka is just as clueless as you were.’
‘Don’t tell me to calm down.’ Bolade turned to Shina in bewilderment. ‘Energy, what do you think we do now?’
‘Before you answer that, can I just put in some words?’ IK asked. He got a nod from Shina so he continued. ‘You might want to manage this well so it won’t get out of hand especially for Bolade; God knows I only have good intentions towards you. If you guys go after Tunde with the info I’ve provided, this could get out of proportion into a full blown war between the two…errrm…groups involved. Even if it doesn’t get to such level, Bolade would be the one exposed here; both parties would definitely seek revenge and they would go for him, being right in the centre of all this.’
Awkward seconds of silence.
‘So you are saying we should just let you walk? And leave Tunde alone?’ Shina broke the moment.
‘I won’t tell you what to do, but I believe you know what the outcome could be if you open this can of worms.’ IK turned to Bolade. ‘How many months do you have left on this campus?’
Bolade felt like smashing his fist into IK’s jaw.
How dare this asshole play mind games with me now?
As mad as he felt with IK, Bolade knew there was some sense in his words; he looked over at Shina, who looked at the other Student Union boys then back at Bolade.
‘So what do we do now?’ Someone asked.
All eyes in the room shifted to Bolade.
What do you think Bolade should do?
(The next episode is the last one so I won’t limit you guys to my options, as usual the line of action with the most number of suggestions would be chosen for the next episode – the concluding one).
So, what do you think Bolade should do?