An eerie silence filled the room, like the girls were afraid to speak because talking about it seemed like it would reinforce the reality of the situation. Then they began to whisper among themselves.
“What happened to her?”
“They said she screamed in her sleep”
“Is she dead?”
The girl lay on a mattress, still as death, her bunkmate beside her, sobbing and wringing her hands
“They should go and call the officers”
“We should rush her to the clinic”, a clear-headed person ventured.
“Let me help”. It was the dead girl’s bunkmate.
“Okay. We need two more people”
The room was quiet. Nobody volunteered, and some even began to shift backwards.
Then Westlife’s cover of Terry Jacks’ Seasons in the Sun began to play.

Goodbye to you my trusted friend
We’ve known each other since we were nine or ten

It was like the Universe was playing a sick joke on them. The owner of the phone ringing, embarrassed, searched for it awkwardly as the song played on.
“Who’s that now” clear-headed girl hissed
“I’ll go”. Kenny was surprised to hear her cracked voice say the words. Ringing phone girl, perhaps out of guilt, offered to help too. So the four girls rushed the body to the orientation camp clinic. Two officers showed up half an hour later.

The dead girl’s name was Queen. According to her bunkmate, she had been a sickle cell patient, even though she had seemed healthier, compared with most people who suffered from the same disease. Initially her parents hadn’t wanted her to travel for the orientation, but she had pleaded and wheedled and threatened until she had her way. It was said that having lived a sheltered life, she had really wanted the camp experience.
“She was na├»ve but nice”, a girl said, after her death was announced.
Kenny thought it was quite unfortunate. Queen’s death threw her in sober reflection of the brevity of life. The morning after the incident, she called her boyfriend again.
“Hello Mr..”
“Wats up”
“Na wa o. Am I your friend or your girlfriend? ‘Whats up’. Can’t you be romantic for once”, She joked
“Oya sorry ma” was his curt reply
“Was just kidding na. Why are you so serious?”
There was silence.
“No answer. Ok fine. How was night?”
“Great. What about yours?”
“Scary oo. You won’t believe what happened. I don’t think anyone slept in that room”
“What happened?” now he sounded genuinely concerned.
“Somebody died” She lowered her voice to a whisper.
“What! How?”
“She yelled from her sleep. They said she was a sickler. Hmm. May God help us oh. Why did they even allow her to come to camp? May God console her parents”.
“Amen. What a pity sha”. As he was speaking, one of Wale’s platoon members, Folake, walked up to him to high five him. He smiled and raised his hand to meet hers.
“Ehn, osheey parade Commandant”, she teased. He made a signal to show that he was on the phone
“Who is that?” Kenny asked
“My platoon member”
“Ehen…what’s his name”
“Her name is Folake”
“Folake. Wow, how many days in camp and you’re already...?”, She began
“Please don’t start again”, He sounded irritated
“Yeah whatever. Talk to you later and have fun” she said coldly, and hung up.

Wale tugged the earphones away from his ears with more force than necessary. “Hope nothing?” Folake asked.
“Nothing jare” He spied Austin coming towards them “See your boyfriend coming” He winked at Folake. She laughed.
“Whose boyfriend? God forbid. That woman wrapper. He thinks I don’t hear of his escapades abi. Abeg o, I don’t want akoba”. As he got closer to them, Austin began to saunter. It seemed to be going well until his left foot hit a stone, half-hidden in the grass. He yelped.
“Poor stone”, Wale said, loud enough for his friend to hear. Austin glared at him for a moment, then regained his composure, his signature smirk back on his face. He ignored Wale and sat directly beside Folake’s curvy figure on the soft grass.
“Babes, what’s up?”
“The sky”
Austin thought about it for a moment, and then laughed. “Nice one”, he said. Wale rolled his eyes, bored. He made to get up.
“Hey Maestro, don’t forget our meet-up later” Austin said. He looked at Folake, “You’re coming right?”
“Coming to….”
“A few of us just hanging out at Mammy market after evening parade” Wale sounded like he’d rather not, but seeing the eager look on Austin’s face, he said, “We’d like for you to be there”
“Sure. Call me.”
Austin stretched out his iPhone 6 eagerly, smiling like a lovesick calf. “Your number then”
Wale rolled his eyes again.

Kenny opened her Facebook app for the third time in 30 minutes. She checked her inbox and saw the same fifteen message requests she had ignored earlier on, and closed them again. She went to the search bar and typed “Wale Akande”, and selected the first profile that came up. She scrolled down his wall. There was nothing new- the same useless photo tags and the same stupid piano videos. She really wanted to throw her device to the floor but it was an expensive Android device hat her father had bought for her with his hard-earned money.
BBM status 8:31 am
“Love without jealousy is not real love.”

Mhiz Kenny:
Wale         8:40
Mhiz Kenny:
My Love   8:45
Mhiz Kenny:
PING         8:45
Mhiz Kenny:
I’m sorry…..<3     9:00
For? J         9:01
Mhiz Kenny:
What I did…   9:01
Ok        9:01

Mhiz Kenny:
Please talk to me    9:02
Sorry I had to go do something.
Dunno what you want me to say…      9:15
Mhiz Kenny:
But I said I’m sorry       9:15
And I said OKAY     9:15
Mhiz Kenny:
Okay…     9:15
Do you think I should contest for Miss NYSC     9:20
Lol    9:21
Mhiz Kenny:
Wats funny J .
After all you always tell me I’m beautiful ;)     9:21
And you are.
Its just that..
 U should b prepared 2 answer tough questions   9:21
Mhiz Kenny:
So you think I’m dumb. Wow.
Are you even my boyfriend right now?      9:22
I didn’t mean it like that. I’m sorry….   9:22
Mhiz Kenny:
Yeah sure    9:22

The Mammy market at night was like a busy town full of corpers. There were those who could not stand cafeteria food and were solely dependent on the small restaurants and bukas in the market for their feeding. Then those that always wore Khaki uniforms that were freshly laundered and so-well ironed, that their sharp edges were commonly referred to as ‘Gators’; or those that were just too lazy to do their own washing; or those that lived in continuous fear of having their clothes stolen from the washing line by daredevil colleagues- these were the regular customers of the several ‘Laundromats’ and laundry services in the market. Then the unlucky ones whose uniforms always needed mending. These ones could almost always be found beside many a tailor or seamstress, who is often huddled behind a sewing machine, pedalling away, a head of Khaki Uniforms to be amended beside them. Then the shopaholics who always had to buy something- cheap perfume today, white shirts tomorrow, and provisions the next. Then those who patronised the several “charging centres” available where they had their phones’ batteries charged at a price, the safety of their devices often guaranteed by the eager business owners. Finally there were those who were just looking to have a good time, a distraction from the dull and stressful day-to-day camp activities, like Austin, Wale, and the six others with them.
“This is the place”, Austin said, as he led the other seven to the seedy looking bar. “My friend told me their service is really good”. Wale has known that Austin was not taking them to a regular bar, yet he couldn’t have imagined it would be this bad

Seun Ajijala


  1. nice one ... could we have more frequent updates please?. Don't make addicts of us and leave us hanging..