We heard quick movements of feet; say about six or eight, and a brief but loud noise followed by a louder bang on the door.
Then silence. Earsplitting silence. Very loud silence.
It was a Sunday morning, one of those Sundays Jennifer and I took a compulsory leave from church.
A break from the church service which was sometimes unnecessarily long and boring.
We woke up around eight in the morning, just late enough for church .
Knowing it would take us another hour to get dressed and by then we would arrive church when the pastor is already preaching.
(I can't bear people staring at us with our short skirts, and Jennifer whose tight skirts do a marvelous job of showing she was wonderfully made by the creator.
Don't worry about me, no matter how much I button my shirts, I must leave some breathing allowance for my twins.)
We simply decided to rest and take a break. We deserved a break after been consistent in church for four Sundays.
"Las las, no be by going to church" we consoled ourselves.
We gossiped and pressed phone in between gossips...
Banging on the door.
Voices of people "gingering"
"Chiza, no be 'Short fair boy' voice I dey hear so?" Jennifer who would rather call me 'Chiza' than 'chisa' no matter how many times I've had to correct her, asked.
And the name isn't even 'chisa' but 'tchisae'. No thanks to one Jecinta girl from Imo state who ruined the name and turned it into an igbotic one.
'Short fair boy' is our own way of referring to one guy called Williams.
Apart from him being short and fair skinned, he has a reputation of lying.
If Williams lie for you ehn... I used to be bothered about his lies till I met his friends, Humphrey and Mikel. Then I stopped bothering about Williams and his lies.
If Satan is the father of lies, then these three folks are the grandancestors of lies.
'Yehhh... My head... My head' screamed a voice from outside.
Jennifer and I stood up in a flash, turned the key at the door twice that way and ran outside.
We identified the voices already.
Williams 'short fair boy',
Charles 'dragon tatoo' and
Charles' roommate, one guy whose name I don't know.
They were fighting over what wasn't their own.
And yes, there's a fifth person
'Omones' I didn't get to know his real name till he graduated.
Jennifer and I took a good position, it was easier as the scene was just opposite Jennifer's room door (my room was upstairs, room 72 third block... Yeah, I come down to Jennifer's room to hangout and I actually spend more time there than in my room) sexy style mother of the bride or groom outfits
The fight was brief.
Charles stabbed Williams with a sharp object and blood trickled down.
People separated the fighters.
Williams gingered and threatened to call the school CSO who is his uncle.
We (other neighbors) laughed and walked back into our rooms, who doesn't know that is another lie from the ancestors?
Jennifer and I smiled as we made our way back to the room to prepare noodles first before thinking about what to eat. (so Williams no even fit fight sef)
About an hour later, we heard a knock on the door.
The person told us to come out that we want to have a brief compound meeting.
We wore something reasonable and obliged.
We opened the door and saw army officers in the compound.
Nothing spoil. We saw other neighbors outside and we joined them.
The next thing we heard was 'squat everybody'
We cannot argue.
Army officers with guns and cables wired into koboko gave the orders.
E don red be that ooo.
Jennifer and I took a comfortable position somewhere in the middle. We didn't squat.
We more like sat on our legs.
We were among the five persons who didn't really serve the punishment.
Army guys drilled the four guys who started the fight.
Williams wore brown chinos trousers with no shirt on.
Charles wore one blue Chelsea shorts on
Charles's friend wore only one grey colored briefs and another depressingly colored singlet on.
Nonso wore only boxers.
Army whipped them and told them to stand on their heads; after telling them to roll back and forth the entire length of the compound.
Chai... I wanted to feel for them, but abeg joor, we are in this together.
We watched in silence, more like humility.
Chideraa, compound beauty queen, tall but no sense; came out of her room. We signaled her to return back to her room but no, when you exchanged your commonsense for height... She graciously cat-walked till she was in sight.
She still mumuishly walked up to the army guy and asked one question I'm sure would have been stupid.
The army guy told her to join her people, or why else would I call you outside on a Sunny Sunday?
We laughed, regardless of the pain.
Army guy went to Biggie's room. Guy's been sick for days.
Army told him to squat alongside his people.
We couldn't talk... We sha felt for him. To every man his squatting.
Thirty minutes later, army man decided to address us. Told us to pray for peace in the compound. Told us to promise we wouldn't fight anymore.
Who cares about peace and promise? We would do anything for our freedom.
Some folks could no longer feel their legs.
Omoh's 'Boobs' legs were already vibrating, she was squatting in front as she was among the first people to come down.
"Oh Lord, let there be Peace in this compound" we chorused for as long as the army guy directed.
We became Christians.
"Now run to your rooms" the army guy ordered.
We stood up and stretched our weak bones.
Just kill us already.
How we wan take run?
With which leg?
Army guys led the four fighters into their van and drove off.
We waited till they're no longer within earshot and the whole compound screamed
"This is injustice... This is wrong"
Another guy standing close to me said "This is against the law. You cannot come and punish a civilian in their own house"
The guy kept ranting.
When I couldn't take it again, I said "Bros, na you first squat even before we understand wetin dem mean by squat o. So calm down abeg."
Shouts of "injustice" continued till we heard a car screech just outside our gate and that's how we all disappeared.
P.S : Nonso spoke English for the first time since we've been neighbors.
And yes, CSO confirmed he wasn't a student. He was evicted from the compound asap.
Williams missed his paper, because they spent three days at the cell before they were released on bail. Bros became humble and calm afterwards.
If army drill you, you go believe say police na your friend.
Biggie's sickness vanished.
He became well and smoked his first wrap of weed in four days.
Something good can come out of a bad situation after all.
Jennifer and I learnt two lessons - don't be quick to respond to every knock, It might just be another army guy.
And if you are not in church on a Sunday, stay indoors and mind your business. Don't go seeing every fight especially when it involves 'short fair boys'
You remember this?