“James, what have you done?” Janet challenged.
“It wasn’t his idea.” Tumininu came in between them. Soon they were at one another’s throats.
“Guys, please stop the brawling.” One of the policemen interfered, walking towards them. Closely following him was the Campus Chief Security Officer alongside his protruding belly.
“Please, come with us to the Security Station. We would love to explain some things and also take down statements.” The young man continued. James left the driver’s seat to the front passenger’s. The girls squeezed themselves into the rear without objection as the young policeman got set to drive them. The Campus CSO climbed into the Campus Security van behind.They soon arrived at their destination. The aura of paranoia and suspicion in the air was palpable. They entered the CSO’s office and each found a space on a bench. The policeman and James sat on the seats directly in front of the CSO. The chief cleared his throat and begun the demystifycation of the entire plot.
Tumininu was about opening her door one afternoon when she heard Bermota’s voice. Before then, Bermota rarely came to the room except she wanted to pick something. The fact that she was having about five male guests who were courteous enough to leave their shoes outside aroused her suspicion, fully aware that it was a taboo for the members of a particular cult group to enter someone else’s house with their shoes. Tumininu overheard Friar and some members of the squad sternly reiterating the conditions attached to the car gifted to her by the Numero Uno. Part of the deal included seven young ladies for their annual rituals to be delivered when the time was right. Friar told her the penalties of failing them. Tumininu remained outside, listening to their conversation. As soon as she heard them saying goodbye, she took to her heels. She was soon back, pretending to have just returned. No sooner had she settled in than Bermota requested for Janet’s digits. Tumininu’s felt uneasy but could not afford to say no. She could not lie either. She approached James for help. James saw the need to inform security operatives so as not to create unnecessary tension for Janet in case the speculation was wrong. They could not make arrest without concrete evidence so they decided to draw a plan to catch them in the act. The game was not to have any risk especially since the gang didn’t know the Campus Security and the Police were a step ahead. James advised not to explain to Janet what was going on, fearing she would panic.
Janet nodded in agreement. The story was self-completing from this juncture. Everything they did was to make her stay away from Bermota, including writing the sticky note and trailing them with a similar car. Apparently, they so much knew Janet and Pheya were not going to take the free ride.
What if Pheya did not save the number?” Janet asked
“I would have. I checked your phone during the over-night reading.” James replied
“So what about the party? Was there really a party?” She poised further
“There was going to be. We wanted to make sure you girls were not at home. If Bermota couldn’t reach Janet, they would have to come and fetch her by force and any other person they found. If Bermota and the gang do not find you, we knew Bermota would also be victim for not fulfilling her part of the deal. We were not even aware they were going to need one more person aside Janet, maybe Pheya. We could have just trialled them back to the venue of the rituals and arrest them. We posted policemen to your hostel to do that. What we are yet to figure out is how the plan went wrong.” The young policeman answered.
“I told Omohafe we were going for Tumininu’s party”, Fumbi announce with a guilty look
“Who is Omohafe?” The Campus CSO asked
“The other girl that was arrested sir” the young policeman replied.
The chief nodded and continued, “Omohafe could have completed the ritual. She was probably threatened too.”
“If you didn’t know the venue of the ritual, how did you find us?” Fumbi asked
“I messaged James. I was to meet James after the party in front of Tumininu’s hostel. When the venue was changed, I told him I won’t be seeing him later this night because the venue was changed. He then insisted on knowing the exact house number in Fleur Estate. I told him, thinking he just cared so much” Pheya said.
“James then notified us immediately. We were hiding near Tumininu’s hostel. We thought it was impossible for the venue to be changed. We mocked him and told him you were only pulling his legs especially when the police posted to your hostel radioed to tell us you were headed for the party. James chose to not to believe and when we would not agree, he decided he was ending the mission. He tried dialing your numbers but none of you picked. He then took a bike to the address. On seeing Bermota’s car outside, he called us. We had to re-strategize and call for back-up. But we were too late.” The chief explained.
“What a reason! So this is why I have to keep quiet? You played us! You had a chance to even save us in time. You made us baits! Is this even legal?” Janet burst in another round of tears. She threw herself to the floor. James came close to console her.
“Don’t touch me! Don’t ever touch me! I thought you were the only male friend I had. I never knew you could do this to me, to us” she snapped back.
“Pheya, Do you know why I was assigned to this case?” The young policeman stooped by her and calmly asked.
She shook her head. More like she did not care.
“My sister was a victim five years ago. Campus journalists won’t let her that the other six bear their grieves In peace. She made too many headlines and never got through the trauma. She gulped down a quite sufficient quantity of disinfectant. I found her with hematemesis in her room. I approached the Commissioner of Police to allow me start a department for cultism and other student-related crimes. We have been tracking their rituals for the past four years. We only get to know at the end – when the victims come in to report. We then send them for therapy. This year will be the first time we will get ahead of them, thanks to Miss Tumininu. It is quite unfortunate that there was a casualty – entirely our fault and not James’. He is really smart and always looked out for you. We should have listened to him. Shame on my years of training abroad! And by the way, I am a researcher and a detective – not just a policeman. ” He explicitly explained.
“Well, Pheya, I have been in this campus long enough to know when someone is more than a friend. I’m sure you and James know what I mean” the Chief summarised
James and Pheya made eye contact for the first time. The reaction finally got completed.
“We will book appointment with the Campus counsellor for you, just to be sure you are handling it well” the chief added as the kids stood to leave.
“I’ve felt the trauma before. That was why I didn’t let Janet go through it. Based on logistics, I’m a profession. I still even remember the birth control pill I used then to prevent pregnancy. I will go for a series of test. See, I know the rest. All I need now is rest” She courageously replied push the incidence behind her.
All jaws dropped. This is one strong woman!’
Well, to cut the short story shorter and make my readers happy:
* James, Pheya and Janet finished school after six months with the best results In the faculty in that order. They each clinched a number of prizes on the convocation day. The young Policeman influenced their posting to their choice state for their service year.
* James and Pheya, of course got married in an elaborate wedding and launched an outreach to rape victims.
* The love of books sent Janet to far-away Australia. She soon returned to start a student organisation that helps youth understand the demerits of cultism and also assist cultists to break loose. She had help from the Campus CSO and her husband, the young policeman. After all, Pheya told her back in school that age difference does not matter, against Janet’s mother’s counsel though.