In The Perils Of Darkness Episode 3
© Lewis Dampson
Gabriel decided to look away for a while. He then mustered courage and decided to look on the screen.
“Thank God!! This will make daddy very happy”, he said aloud. “I will go and print the results out and give it to daddy in the evening. I am sure I will get the bicycle he promised when I finished my papers.”
Gabriel went with smiles on his face to meet his father. His father was very delighted with the results. His son had passed excellently in his exams. This meant that Gabriel would be admitted into his first choice school.
Within the week, shortlist for admitted students to the finest male Senior High School came out and Gabriel’s name was part of the admitted students.
His joy knew no bounds when the names came and he realized he was admitted. He called all his friends to tell them about the good news. He had a week to prepare to go to his new school.
Gabriel was 15 years old when he stepped foot into his new school. A school of which he had heard many stories about. Both good and bad stories. Stories of people destroying their lives and stories of people improving their lives. Which of these inequalities was Gabriel going to fall into? Was he going to destroy his life or was he going to make it better by being in his new school?
Which of these inequalities was Gabriel going to fall? Was he going to destroy his life or was he going to make it better by being in his new school?
Gabriel arrived at dusk in his school with his parents. Most of the students were enjoying their siesta when they arrived at the school’s entrance.
They brought out Gabriel’s luggage with the help of other students. Some of the students offered to help Gabriel carry the luggage into his dormitory.
His parents were very excited with the kind of help their son was getting on his first day at school. One of the students approached Gabriel’s parents with an offer of taking custody of him.
He was a big guy, looked very tough and muscular. He had a very deep voice which made him seemed older than the rest of the students around. He had thick black lips with a thick black eyebrows that made his face look tougher.
Gabriel’s parents who knew about bullying in the Senior High Schools’ thought it wise to relinquish custody to this tough guy. They knew he could protect their beloved son from other bullies and make his first year in school a memorable one.
Satisfied with the situation, they sat in their car and drove out the school to the house. Gabriel watched the car as it passed through the school’s main gate unto the road.
Within some few seconds, the car was out of his sight. He was now left with strangers. He was very scared as many of the students around him seemed matured than him.
He didn’t even know where his dormitory was. The tough guy, Eugene signaled him to follow him. Eugene carried some of the luggage and called some other students to help.
After five minutes of brisk walking, they came to the front door of Gabriel’s dormitory. Gabriel’s dormitory had two hundred students as residents. Eugene took Gabriel to his bed.
“Rest for a while and get ready for dining,” said Eugene. “Okay senior Eugene,” responded Gabriel.
“Please senior, where are my other roommates?” asked Eugene. “They are weeding and if not for the fact that you reported late in the day, you would have joined them,” he answered.
Thirty minutes of siesta seemed like just two minutes. Gabriel was startled when the bell ranged for dining. He had never been in the position of being awakened from bed with a bell that brought out a loud sound.
He got up and changed into his white shirt and black pair of trousers. That was the prescribed uniform for dining. He took a plate his mother gave him from his box and also a cutlery set. He was told by senior Eugene that he would be punished if he didn’t bring along a cutlery set.
He got out of the dormitory with some of the other new students. He did not like what he saw. The whole place was in chaos with students running in one direction. It was like they were in a sort of an Olympic game.
He did not like what he saw. The whole place was in chaos with students running in one direction. It was like they were in a sort of an Olympic game.
He came to realize later that, most of the students were racing for a better seat in the dining hall. Oblivious of that fact, he gently walked to the dining hall. Upon his arrival, he was very amazed at what he saw. The big place is almost full.
One of the seniors who happened to be the dining hall prefect asked him to get seated on a table that was half full. It looks like everyone was avoiding that particular table. He obeyed the orders and sat down quietly.
The meals were served in pantry bowls. That evening, they were served with rice and stew with eggs. Each table had twelve students around it. The students were mixed up from different classes.
The senior on each table dished the food from the bowl and served himself and every other person on his table. In the case of Gabriel’s table, they were six in number. He was the only junior on that table with the rest all in their final year.
When the bell went for the food to be shared, one of the seniors got and took the ladle. All the other seniors’ on that table brought out their big bowls. The one in charge served the bowls to their full capacity.
The shared the twelve eggs among themselves and stuffed the rest of the food into a polythene bag they brought along. Young Gabriel was left speechless as he looked at his empty bowl. The seniors on his table looked at him, laughed, stood up and left the table.
Gabriel sadly took back his plate and sat down quietly on his chair till dining time was over. He went back to his dormitory saddened and hungry. “How can they do this to me?” he pondered. “How can these seniors be so heartless to leave me in such a state? I have heard that going out of the school’s premises is prohibited and is punishable by three weeks suspension.
Where am I going to get food at this time of the day? Hmmm!” he sighed. “I will go and eat the biscuits mom gave me with the canned Coca-Cola,” with that thought, he walked to his dormitory.
“What!!!” He shouted. “Who this this to me!!” Gabriel started wailing as he approached his provision box. Someone had picked his padlock and made away with all his provisions.
He could not be consoled. Just a brief moment in his new school had not been friendly. He sat on his bed with his head buried in his palms crying and thinking of what he was going to eat that evening.
“I have never slept with an empty stomach before. In fact I have never fasted before,” he said while sobbing. After he finished that statement, someone touched him on his shoulders. He looked up to see who it was.
“Senior Eugene, I was denied food when I went to the dining hall and when I came back to my dormitory, someone has made away with all my provisions,” he said while still in tears.
“Don’t worry, it is a normal thing for a first year to go through such experiences. Anyway, come along with me to my bed, I will give you some provisions so you can get something to eat this evening,” Eugene responded.
With that light of hope, Gabriel stood up from his bed, wiped off his tears and followed senior Eugene to his bed. He stayed with senior Eugene throughout the evening till prep time was due. Senior Eugene consoled him until Gabriel stopped crying.
During that moment, senior Eugene thought it wise to get themselves acquainted, so he started introducing himself properly to Gabriel.
To be continued