His heart skipped a couple of beats when he saw the caller ID. He was in the midst of a little crowd and trying to answer the call right there did not seem like a good idea so he walked on a bit to get himself isolated. By the time he got there, his phone had stopped ringing and Sunday wished he had picked it and told Wale to hold on or call back.
He was about getting out of the bush and into the road when his phone rang again. This time he answered it immediately.
“Hello Bear, what’s good. Is anything wrong?”
There was a pause and Sunday looked at his phone wondering if the line was dead.
“Does anything have to be wrong before I call you bro?” was the reply from Wale.
“Well, I was just worried that’s all, nothing else. So what’s good?”
“Not much, I want to go see my girlfriend Wunmi. She is still shaken up about last night, you were shaken up too so I wanted to check up on you and if you like, we could go together”.
“I am fine thank you. I was just heading home too.
“Okay man, remain safe and if anything happens, give me a call, you know we watch out for one another”.
Sunday hung up and one thought lingered, that he had Bear watching his back. He made his way out of the bush and headed straight to where the shuttle buses were parked. He was glad that at least this time he did not have to wait long before getting a bus as the buses were all parked and waiting for passengers to enter.
He inquired about the routes as there is no specific parking space for a designation route and just when he was about entering the appropriate bus, he heard someone call his name, not just his name.
“Sting, how are you today?”
He froze from the inside as he felt his blood go cold. No one other than Bear calls him Sting, and the thought that another person will call him that in public was scary. He sat down in the bus and he tried to look at the person calling him and he did not see any face he recognized.
Someone in a red shirt came and sat down beside him and offered him a handshake while smiling but Sunday could not take the handshake and all he did was look at the person. He did not recognize him even though the person seemed to know him enough. His face started going white as he tried to say something but his throat was dry and no words came from his mouth.
Three other people entered the bus and sat behind him while the remaining seats were getting filled, all of them chatting amongst themselves but still Sunday could not relax. Different thoughts ran through his mind.
“What if the other people in the bus were in on this? What if they were there to kidnap him and torture him or worse? What if they were police or security operatives?”
The events of the previous night had left a lot of people dead and it is not inconceivable that a special security squad had been called in to investigate what happened.
He thought of calling Bear but his phone was in his pocket and getting to it might be hard.
The guy still had his hands stretched waiting for his hand to be shaken and he was looking at Sunday with suspicion in his eyes.
One of the three who sat at the back seat leaned forward.
“What’s wrong mate, don’t you remember us anymore?”
Sunday looked back the guy who spoke looked sort of familiar, he tried to place his face but it was difficult until the guy raised his right hand up to reveal a green wristband and suddenly, Sunday placed his face. He was one of those who dragged the body of the person he shot at his initiation.
“Now can I get my handshake? You are beginning to make me look bad”.
Relief came his way as he took their hands one after another and he apologized.
“I did not recognize you and I am just getting used to being called that, please I am sorry”.
“No problem” one of those behind said.
“So you stay off campus?”
Sunday answered nervously, “Yes I do, it is quieter there and less friends to disturb me in case I want to read”. They all agreed that it was a great reason.
The remaining spaces in the bus started to fill up and before long they were all caught up in a conversation that ranged from the road conditions to house rent in school to the weather. They all avoided speaking about the fraternity and Sunday picked that up and just went with it. All four of them got off the bus but not before they had exchanged number and real names. They got off and Sunday was glad. He was beginning to know more members and they did not seem like bad people, just ordinary people who liked ordinary things.
Bear did not like the sound of Sting’s voice that morning one bit. The boy had displayed bravery he had not seen in a long time the night before but his vice just sounded off. After the call to him that morning, he thought of driving to his house to go pick him up but he had more important things to do.
The night before had created a big mess that needed to be dealt with. Immediately, he dropped Sting, he had gone to see the top guys of the Skulls and brief them on the event. They had also met the Royals in a bid to see if the fighting was to continue or if they were willing to drop the fighting, after all they did not have an outstanding fight so the attack on them at the party was not called for.
He could not attend the meeting with Royals because he had to head a delegation to see the police commissioner that night so as to help the whole issues of keeping the policemen quiet and stop them from harassing any of their members. He also delegated some of the guys to tell every member to be ready for possible attacks from the Royals. It is always good to be prepared for any eventuality he thought to himself.
The meet with the Commissioner went well; he used to be a member of the Skulls while he was a student but in another university so what they asked for was easy. The Commissioner even asked if they wanted the police to arrest the Royals for the death of the slain individuals but Bear was not for that. The order from the top was for the issue to die down and that was what he did.
He got home in the early hours of the day and sank into his bed; he reached beneath it and put his gun there. He always slept with a gun under his bed ever since he became an active member and since the incident was far from over, he wanted to take no chances. He said a little prayer for the dead souls (Catholic by birth) and slept off almost immediately. He had woken up late in the day and made that call to Sting on visiting Wunmi. He promised to come see Wunmi that day after classes and thought of killing 2 birds with one stone by checking on Sting.
The drive to Wunmi’s house was not one he liked, her house was on campus but the road leading there was bad and he hated having to take his car there. She on the other hand always wanted him to bring his car there so she could show off to her friends that her boyfriend drove a fancy car. Taking the car there also had its advantages though; he could always keep a gun in the car instead of carrying it around in his bag.
He pulled in front of her house and said hello to a couple of people idling in front. The hostel was dominated by Skull members and his greetings took a while. He walked to her door and knocked.
“Who is there?”, a voice he did not recognize replied from inside the house.
“It is Wale” He does not use Bear when he was alone with her as he liked keeping the two lives he lived separate.
He heard the door unlock from inside and Wunmi was standing at the door.
“Why did you come this late? I have been so worried about you. I thought something else happened” she muttered as she sank into him.
He saw Tope in the room too and she whispered a “Hi”.
He nodded in response and she looked behind him as though she was expecting someone else. Wale also looked back trying to see who she was looking at.
“Well, where is he?”
Still confused Wale asked, “Where is who?”
“Well, my boyfriend and knight in shinny amour of course. Where is Sting?”
(Mynd is a final year student of Mechanical Engineering at one of Nigeria's universities. When he's not busy being a nerd he spends his time writing, playing basketball, listening to music and laughing! You can reach him on firstname.lastname@example.org)