A Novel Written By: Kolade Segun-Okeowo (KSO)
“Everything will soon be brought under control”. He said and moved near the door, he placed his ear on the door and listened for any sound. He appeared to have heard no sound. Gradually, he opened the door and stepped carefully into the room… he looked around the room, the bed was rough quite alright, but no one was there, he bent to check under the bed, it was empty suddenly two pairs of hands grabbled his neck tightening his windpipe.
Lanre had hid behind the door for his next victim.
The manager screamed, two of the hotel guards rushed in and rescued him from Lanre’s hands. Immediately, he scrambled out of the room. The two stewards joined the guards to overpower Lanre and bundled him out of the room to the security post.
“Sorry Sir, I hope you were not hurt?” said Alfred as he returned to the Manager’s office.
“Oh my God!” said the manager panting. “I’ve never seen anything of this sort in my life… where is he from?
“From the campus … I think I know him Sir”
“You know him?” asked the manager with a renewed enthusiasm.
“He is the President of the Sstudent’s Union on the campus” Alfred said with certainty.
“What! President of the Students Union?… I hope this is not going to lead to a crisis” Fear was written all over the face of the Manager.
“I don’t know Sir O” Alfred said scratching his head. “Akpan said he saw Student’s Union car parked outside there under a tree while coming to work this morning” Alfred said pointing to the direction of the gate.
“May be that’s the vehicle he brought” said the Manager as he rose from his chair and moved towards the window to see if he could sight the vehicle. He felt a sharp pain on his neck as he tried to move.
“That monster has broken my neck!” He tried to stretch out his neck; he screamed and quickly returned to his seat. “So, what about the girl who came with him last night?”
“The girl was not in the room when I got there”
“She must have escaped when she saw the situation, who knows, it may be ‘Magun’!” The manager said his expression gradually becoming emotional.
“The strange aspect of this case is that the gatemen said nobody has left this hotel today, so how did the girl escape?” Alfred said with emphasis. He was happy discussing with the Hotel Manager. Such privileges are rare.
“The girl could have escaped before midnight!” The Manager said in a “you-fool” manner.“Any way, tell the security men to bind him with rope … and put him inside my car, I’ll get him to the campus myself”
“Oga you alone?”
“Off course not … the security men will have to go with me… it was broken neck before, I don’t want a broken head now”
The Students Affairs Dean wasted no time in getting Lanre to the University Teaching Hospital. He had already become extra violent when he got to the hospital. The Dean had to bring along six of the university security men who bundled him into the hospital. He struggled violently with the six men cursing loudly and spitting. By the time they succeeded in getting him into one of the wards, some of them had bruises.
Dr. Charles Omatshola stared at the laboratory reports on his table he compared them with his findings; they seemed to make no sense. He brought out his handkerchief and wiped his face. He clenched his fist and slammed it on the table. The telephone on the table jammed up and fell on the ground breaking the outer panel.
Dr. Omatshola did not bother about the telephone; he looked closely at the two reports again. This was going to be the most complex case he would handle since he qualified as a psychiatrist, sixteen years ago. He stood up and paced around the room. His steps were rhythmic and systematic. He must have paced round the room in a circle when he suddenly thought of an idea. He grabbed one of the two reports and dashed out of the room as if on an emergency call.
Dr. Omatshola had instructed the room where Lanre was kept to be under lock always. None of his friend was permitted to see him. Not even the Students’ Union officials. The two days he had spent under Dr. Omatshola were like hell to the middle aged Psychiatrist. He had never seen any case like that before. All the reports showed that Lanre was perfectly alright. The brain showed no sign of damage or stress. The patient was not expected to behave abnormally, but this was not only behaving abnormally but also violently.
“Who’s the nurse on duty here?” Dr. Omatshola was almost screaming now. All the nurses in that psychiatric ward detest working with Omatshola. He shouts and commands as if on a battle field. Some say his father was a soldier who died in active service. Others say Omatshola himself had actually spent a few years in the Nigerian Army before he proceeded to study medicine. His huge frame and searching eyes are enough to make any nurse jittery.
“I say who the hell’s on duty ‘ere!” he shouted again.
“I am Sir”. Nurse Ifeoma stepped closer slowly to see what Bully Omatshola had seen again.
“Open the room, I need to see the patient” Omatshola commanded.
Though Ifeoma was expecting the worst, she never had in mind close to what she saw! Lanre was there on the bed sitting upright, the ropes used to tie him to the bed had been broken, and blood gushed freely from his month and nostrils. He stared wildly at Omatshola and Ifeoma and let out a deafening scream. He shook the bed violently and snapped off the ropes across his arms.
“What the hell is going on here Ifeoma? What have you given him” Dr. Omatshola demanded.
“I don’t know doctor … I have not given him anything. The pharmacy is yet to deliver his drugs” Ifeoma said managing to cover her stammering and shivering.
‘It’s getting worse!’ Dr. Omatshola declared talking to no one in particular. He shook his head, sighed heavily and walked away. Ifeoma stood there waiting for instructions on what to do.
“You lock the door” He turned around and gave a final word. Ifeoma quickly closed the door, happy that Dr. Omatshola was leaving at least. His presence was more than enough to send shivers down the spine of any nurse and especially the interns.
Professor Bankole had known Omatshola for over twenty five years. They had first met at the Balewa Hall in the University of Ibadan when they both came in as freshers. Bankole was admitted for History and classics, while Omatshola came in for medicine. Bankole knew Omatshola was not the man who minces his words. He says whatever he meant and meant whatever he says.
When Bankole became a Professor two years ago and was appointed Dean of Students’ Affairs, Omatshola was the first to send him a congratulatory card. Bankole and Omatshola live on the same road in the university Staff Quarters.
As Omatshola ushered him into his office that morning, Bankole knew something had gone wrong. Bankole had taken special interest in the case of Lanre. As the Dean of Students’ Affairs, he had enjoyed a relatively peaceful relation with the Students’ Union. He was particularly sad when Lanre’s plight was reported to his office.
“Have your seat” Omatshola said. Bankole sat, but very slowly. He knew something unpalatable must have happened.
‘Was Lanre dead?… May be broke away from the wards’
“Victor … I must confess to you” Omatshola started “This case is beyond medical explanation. The results of all our tests say the boy is perfectly okay… but there’s no single sign of improvement on him. This might not be unconnected with some esoteric forces…”
He paused to see if the words were sinking, then he continued.
“Well I don’t know what to do again” Omatshola said, sighed heavily and relaxed on his chair. Bankole knew his friend had said the final word, he meant what he said.
“So what do we do now?” asked Bankole, his voice laden with emotion.
“Remove him from here…it is no use keeping him here. Have you informed his parents?”
“Not yet … some of his friends have suggested they use spiritual means … but I felt that can’t be the solution”. Said Bankole,
“Well, I don’t believe in spiritual solutions, but in this case any alternative is worth a trial at least to save the poor boy. He has not eaten in three days….He may die if that continues in this condition”. Bankole shook his head.
“Allow his friends to try the spiritual alternatives”
“You can come and see him…He started vomiting blood today” Omatshola was on his feet.
“Oh my God… blood?”
Bankole paced slowly behind Omatshola who was taking him to see Lanre. The pace increased as Omatshola moved closer to the Psychotic ward. The screams of Lanre were all over the ward. Soon, Omatshola was running towards the ward as the screams increased rapidly. Bankole followed him running and panting heavily. His heavy frame, creating a great hindrance as the gap between him and Omatshola increased by the seconds.
“What’s going on again?” Omatshola asked the nurses on duty who had clustered around the door. Ifeoma was peeping through the key-hole.
“Sir, we heard a female voice talking to him, suddenly he started barking and increased his screams. When we peeped inside, we did not see anyone there” said Ifeoma.
“Where’s the key?” Omatshola asked.
“Sir, he must have broken the ropes, maybe we should call in the security men”
“The key first!” barked Omatshola. Ifeoma quickly handed over the key to Omatshola. She blamed herself for trying to ensure her boss safety. She must have forgotten that Omatshola is not a man who takes suggestions from Nurses and interns. Only consultants like him could talk to him. As Omatshola turned the key the three nurses stepped back to a safe distance. Gradually, Omatshola opened the door. The screams had ceased, only grunts and animal-like growls came from the room.
“Oh my God!” Omatshola almost screamed. “Victor, see what I mean” He beckoned at Bankole who had since maintained a safe distance. Bankole moved closer and saw what he least expected. Lanre had rolled down from the bed to the ground sprawling there. He had become paralysed. One of his legs appeared shriveled. His eyeballs were red and bugling, blood streamed down his nostrils, while his mouth twisted drooping with his saliva. Bankole burst into tears. He could not hide his emotions.
“I’m sorry Victor, but just as you can see, there’s absolutely nothing I can do again … why don’t you inform his parents?”
“I’ll have to do that. I thought we could handle it all alone”
“But we’ll have to discharge him immediately”
“Oh yes! No problem, I understand your plight”
“Ifeoma please get some security men to come and get him out of here” said Omatshola.
“Oh, no need, some of his colleagues are outside there in my car. They’re all Students’ Union Officials. They came with his roommate who has volunteered to invite some Christians to pray for him… they’ll pick him themselves”
“Well there’s no harm in trying prayers especially now that we can’t offer any medical explanation for his condition”.
“I’ll call them myself and explain to them…Victor, thanks for your understanding” said Omatshola.
Every student on the campus knows that the University Sports’ Centre was not only a sporting arena. In fact it had been put to more usage outside sports. Christian Fellowships on the campus have virtually turned the whole Sports Centre into their prayer grounds. No less than nine separate fellowships hold regular programmes in different parts of the Sports Centre.
Not only was the Centre removed from the academic arena and hostels, it has a quiet and serene environment suitable for devotion. Fellowship activities in the Sports’ Centre are normally high especially in the first weeks after resumption. Gradually the activities decrease as exams approach. In fact some fellowships were known to have suspended their weekly activities in exams period.
Bolaji had spoken to Lawon the leader of the deliverance unit of Evangelical Christian Union, one of the largest fellowships on the campus. As they arrive the basket ball pitch of the Sports’ Centre in the Health Centre’s ambulance. Lawon spoke continuously in tongues even as they carry Lanre from the ambulance to the pitch.
“Now, every demonic spirit in this body, I command you, come out in Jesus name” Lawon shouted after about fifteen minutes of non-stop speaking in tongues. He had commanded the rest to speak in tongues. Bolaji stood a safe distance away. Unable to speak in tongues, he simply prayed for his friend’s deliverance.
The whole episode had been very embarrassing to him in the last four days. He and the Students’ Union officials had tried everything possible to suppress the news, but failed. A campus journalist blew up the story! He had seen the Union’s car where Lanre had packed it on the night he took Betty to Hotel de Pleasure.
The guy had returned to the hotel very early in the morning to find out from one of the hotel staff what the Union President had come to do in the hotel. He had arrived in time to see Lanre being bundled into the hotel’s van by the security men. He got more information from Alfred and went straight to the campus. Within six hours, everyone on the campus had heard the news.
“SUG PRESIDO GOES BANANA!!! “
Various Press Clubs quickly got their boards reactivated with the news.
“LARRY BEE GOES CRAZY” said Campus Echo.
“SUG PRESIDO ON RAMPAGE!” reported the sensational Student’s Tribune.
The Campus Guardian simply said “LARRY BEE RUNS MAD”.
Bolaji was ashamed of himself when he heard the news. Everyone knew he was Lanre’s roommate. He knew when Lanre was dressing up for the date with Betty that fateful night.
“Larry Bee, your dating is getting too much” he remembered he had warned him.
“… and so what !!!. Have I stopped you from dating any girl” was Lanre’s response. He had shouted Bolaji down that night before going out to pick Betty at the Queens Hall.
“The Bible says at the name of Jesus…” Lawon continued. He was now standing in the middle of the circle formed by the other four members of the team “…every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth, and that every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord… Now I command you, out! In Jesus name” Lawon’s voice rang out in the dark.
As if troubled by the impact of Lawon’s loud voice, Lanre wriggled and struggled violently on the ground. The rope was still around his arms and legs. Suddenly, a strange croaking female voice spoke through Lanre.
“Stop! Why are you disturbing me! What business have you in this? Do you know what transpired between us? Don’t disturb me; I don’t want to disturb you because none of you is capable of arresting me!”
“You lie!” Shouted Lawon immediately. “The name of Jesus Christ is our shield. Don’t you know that through the name of Jesus, I have power to tread upon serpents and scorpions? … You demons spirit residing in this body I challenge you to battle in Jesus name!”
Lawon moved closer to the Lanre and laid hands on his head. Violently, he shrugged and barked exactly like a provoked Alsatian dog.
Bolaji was already shaking where he stood. Though a karate expert, he knew what was going on was beyond the best karate fighter in the world. He had never seen anything like that before.
“You… you are challenging me to battle?” The strange female voice started again. “You are stupid! You want to cast me out of this body? Impossible! What power do you have to challenge me? One of you fornicated yesterday! Now you all come here screaming at me … go away you fools… and you, did you not cheat in your exams, yet you call yourselves Christians… you’re no match for me!” The voice screamed hysterically.
Suddenly, Folake, the only female lady in the team fell violently and started rolling on the ground, shaking. Fear gripped all the rest including Lawon. Bolaji moved a few metres away. The whole affair appeared like an epic movie.
To be continued in Episode 21