Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The Day The World Ended Episode 9

“It’s not play.” A pupil said. “The dog is trying to tell the man something.”
“Or lead him somewhere; look at how it keeps pulling him away from the house. It keeps jumping around him as if trying to herd him like a dog would herd cattle or sheep.” Sola said.
“Sola the scholar!” One of the boys hailed. “Tell us more!”
Sola was about to say something else when the dog suddenly stood still. It watched its master as he went into the house. Then it wailed some more and suddenly bolted into the nearby bush. The student all began to speak at once:
“Playtime is over, I guess.”
“That dog should be checked for rabies now oh, am saying it nobody is paying attention to me oh!”
“Keep quiet my friend, you are making noise. Everybody go and sit down before I start to write names!”
The crowd began to disperse as the Class Prefect menacingly brought out his list for noisemakers. As I went back to my seat I pondered on the dog’s strange behavior. Could it have anything to do with the way Chief Akpati’s guard dog had behaved this morning? And then I remembered the headmaster’s incident. Why all these strange behavior from animals?
I was beginning to get an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. As I waited for the next lesson that uneasy feeling grew until I felt as if my head was swelling to twice its size. All my hair stood on end and I felt as if unseen forces were in the class with us. The classroom was eerily quiet and I was sure it wasn’t because of the class prefect’s threat. Everybody was looking at everybody else but nobody uttered so much as a whisper.
“BAAA!” Emmanuel, one of the bigger boys in the class suddenly shouted. I screamed, alongside some other girls and we jumped out of our seats. He and his group of friends burst into laughter, some of them falling off their seats in exaggerated mirth.
“What happened just now?” Bimpe said as we all went back to our seats with some of the girls hurling insults at the boy group.
“Angel pass!” Sola said, making the sign of the cross.
“I had the strong urge to run!” I gasped. “It’s still there now!”
“Me too,” Bimpe said. “It’s as if some inner voice was telling me to take cover, but from what?”
“I’m probably just edgy from all I’ve seen today.” I said, taking my seat.
“What about the rest of the class? What is making everybody afraid?” Bimpe said out loud.
“Not everybody, we are not afraid oh, abi boys?” Emmanuel said and the boys cheered. “Don’t worry, the boys will take care of the girls. You know we are natural warriors!”
Suddenly the Maths teacher came into the class clutching her textbook. Everybody settled down as she walked over to the teacher’s desk. Picking a chalk, she moved to the front of the class, textbook and chalk in hand as we greeted and brought out our own textbooks.
“Open to page 84.” She said. “We are doing advanced algebra today.
There was a flurry of noise as we all opened our textbooks to the required page. I tried to relax and ignore the feeling of trepidation inside of me as I concentrated on the new topic, listening intently as the teacher began to explain the examples.
“ AHHHHH !” Emmanuel screamed again and we all jumped again, including the Math teacher who almost dropped her chalk. One of the girls seated in front of him turned back angrily
“For goodness sake Emma, stop this childish behavio-“and then stopped. We all turned around to see what was wrong.
I’ll never forget that sight for as long as I live. Emma stood there petrified as a snake coiled itself around his arm as it slid unto his desk. It was a green snake, with a white underbelly. It was staying quite still at the moment as Emma’s scream had startled it. Emma had tears running down his cheeks and his mouth was wide open but not another sound came out. He was barely breathing as he looked at the girl in front of him in alarm and his frightened eyes said everything
“Ade, don’t move, don’t scream, stay very still. If you move the snake might get frightened and bite Emma.” Sola said calmly, her voice a little higher than a whisper. Ade, the girl sitting in front of Emma, made no move and Sola nodded approvingly. However, we had all forgotten about the Math teacher.
“What is going on there? Why did you shout? Emma, why are you always misbehaving in my class?!” She said as she approached Emmanuel’s seat angrily. Then she saw the snake.
Her screams were much louder than Emma’s and the snake was so startled it lunged forward. Emmanuel jumped back in alarm, cracking his skull against the metal edge of the open window. We saw a spray of blood spurt out from his head as he rebounded forward in pain. The snake sprung from his arm to the ground and slithered swiftly among the chairs and desks. The rest of the class went into a panic as the Math teacher ran, screaming, for the door. Some of the students jumped through the open window, crushing Emma under their weight as they violently shoved past him. I ran for the door but was stopped short by the math teacher who had barricaded the door with her body but for some reason, refused to go outside. Some of the students, not knowing what was preventing her, pushed hard and she fell screaming unto the flowerbed. It was then we saw what had stopped her.
Snakes literally covered everywhere. Not only that but there were lizards as well. They came in droves, darting about, climbing over the snakes that coiled around themselves in a bid to cross the field and enter into the bush. The math teacher screamed some more then started jerking about and convulsing violently with bloody foam coming out of her mouth. Whether this was as a result of her fear or whether she had been bitten I couldn’t tell. I just stood there, horrified as some of the boys who had previously jumped out started shouting and running across the fields to the tarred road that led out of the school. The students in other classes who had heard the commotion came out and on seeing the spectacle before us, joined in the commotion. The other teachers quickly tried to take charge of the situation, driving all the students back into the class and shutting the doors. From the class next to us we heard the sound of louvers breaking as a boy jumped out, a cut on his arm and a rat hanging from his shoulder.
“Rats!” Bimpe screamed as she pointed it out to me. I heard a rushing sound from the roof above us and knew that if we were to knock the tiles off the roof now, our classroom would be invaded by rats.
“Why is this happening!” Sola shouted as she tried valiantly to use her handkerchief to stop the blood still pumping out of Emma’s head. He was lying on the floor and groaning and I saw his right wrist was visibly swollen and reddish. He must have been bitten there, I thought.
And then, as quickly as it had begun, it was all over.
The snakes and lizards passed through the wire fence and entered the bushes and the rats jumped from holes in the roof and followed suit. I looked up into the sky and saw hawks and other strange birds following in their wake, probably feeding off the stragglers. All moved in the same direction and soon the fields and sky were empty.
The class prefect was trying to get some order.”Everybody back to your seats! Don’t go outside! Wait until the school prefects come. Guys, help
Sola carry Emmanuel back to his seat. Sola! Sola!! What is it?
Sola looked at us tearfully. “He’s not breathing!” She said between sobs. “I…I think he’s dead!”


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