It took ages before Lady Bermota could stand from the couch. Fumbi’s back came in handy for her toe-off phase of gait cycle. It was quite obvious that Bermota was not after just Janet because towards the parlour area were whimpering voices. Bermota slid open the door between the lobby and parlour. She tried squeezing herself between the door frames and drew the curtain to one side. She then beckoned that the girls be brought in. For the first time, Fumbi got to see the figure of owner of the feet. Her lips moved, seeming to mutter “Bermota” She was one of those who knew her well.
Bernice Asemota was Fumbi’s roommate the previous session. She is a student of Agricultural Engineering in that school although she was admitted into Electrical and Electronics Engineering department initially, a spot reportedly acquired by money. Bermota wasn’t born in the country. She was tricked to the country by her frustrated parents. At 15, she had spent almost more years at the local Youth Detention Centre (juvy) than at home. She was a regular visitor or more like a part-time staff on cases bordering on illegal possession of fire works, battery, attempted arson, assault, theft and attempted rape. Well, she did not turn a new leaf as expected although she was strictly monitored by an old-soldier maternal grandfather and retired school principal grandmother. She was a little tamed till her wild side took over again when she got to the university. She managed to scale through 100 level but 300 level had no place for her because she did not pass the number of required courses. The normal drill in the institution was to get withdrawn but once again, money and influence bought her a space in Agricultural Engineering department. She had to start 200L level again though. Well, she’s now a finalist, for the second time. Her carry-overs tied her down for one more year. In short, it was her seventh year in the school.
“Let’s get this party started. Our last guests have arrived” Bermota announced as she finally got herself through the door, not as though she was referring to those in the lobby. There seemed to be a panel of hosts waiting in the sitting room aside the owners of the whimpering voices. Two guys saw the three girls through the door before sliding it behind. It was physiologically impossible to literary explain the condition of the sitting room that night, thanks to the veil of tension and the stench of fear and anxiety. Well, for Janet, another word could better describe her fears. Pheya tried concealing a thousand anxieties as she was obviously fuming with anger. All she just hoped they’d get out alive so she could shred Tumininu for luring them into this snare.
“Are they now complete” Friar, one of the men seated in the sitting room asked.
“Yes. I even got you a bonus” Bermota replied, pointing at Fumbi. Fumbi burst into tears. Lady Bermota reflected a sad face to mock her. Pheya squeezed Fumbi’s hand to give her some confidence, then patted her back.
“Let’s get out of here and watch me knock out that your moon face.” Pheya feigned confidence. Bermota motioned to hit her but Friar cut in.
“No! No! No! We do not treat our guests like this.” He disagreed as he stood up and took few steps towards Pheya who was still at her best concealing her fear. He stroke her hair and ran his fingers over her face. The tickle sent an irritation of disgust down her spine and she removed her face from his touch.
“You must be that Janet, I think.” Friar said as he smirked. Pheya shook her head, visibly terrified for the first time. Not for herself though but for Janet whom they seemed to be after.
One of the boys came in from behind a curtain and whispered to Friar whilst Friar nodded his head repeatedly.
“All is set. I’m starting with Janet, whoever she is.”
“No, please, start with me” there was no better way Pheya could have mentioned she wanted to be the first to go through whatever their hosts had for them. Her sacrifice shocked everyone in the room and Janet, who despite muted by fear cried out louder.
“Okay, let’s go in with our last three guests.” Friar conceded.
Fumbi let out another episode of tears. Left to her, her only offence was picking a room with these hunted girls. Although she still had the guilt of implicating them in the mess. She only met them first semester of that session when she was seeking escape from Bermota. Tumininu however remained Bermota’ s roommate by fate. She had a problem with a Math course and told Fumbi about it. Fumbi got Janet to help her out. Bermota got to know Janet and Pheya as Tumininu’s tutors. Meanwhile, Bermota has been carrying over this same math course from her 300L. She therefore paid Janet to teach her. So Fumbi carried the guilt one way or the other for initiating the chain. Omohafe on the other hand was a close friend of Bermota, more like a pawn. She was a regular visitor at Bermota’s when Fumbi was her roommate. Fumbi always tried not to be around whenever Bermota was hence she wasn’t usually in any conversation with Omohafe. Well, until that afternoon. She now understood that Omohafe probably sent the text to change the venue of the party.
Two guys led the three girls behind a curtain one of them emerged from earlier. Behind was a dark room with their Numero Uno. Well, they already knew what the drill was – a cult group initiation and kingpin ascension ritual. The drill was pretty simple. 2 rookies take up from where the Kingpin (the Numero Uno) stops. There will 7 girls available altogether.
“Before anything happens, I need to ask Lady Bermota a question” Pheya said, looking up to Friar. Friar nodded for her to go ahead.
“If you were the one that needed us, why did you have to send the Sticky Note to Janet? You could have just called without first giving us the heads up”
“What sticky note? This is a cult dealing, not a Momma boy’s parole.” Bermota replied, all puzzled.
TO BE CONTINUED…