An hour after the assembly, the five gathered at the empty classroom which had become quite a usual spot. They had skipped Mrs.Ireti’s class that morning. This was becoming quite a habit. They were all tensed up at this point.
(Panting) “This is big trouble for us. I can’t pay for a crime I didn’t commit!” Bisi said with thoughts running jumblingly through her head. Tension had creeped in. The boys were terrified only Bayo remained calm on the outside.
“Okay, we’ve all gotta calm down a bit. I’m as troubled as any of you are right now but that’s not gonna fix the mess. So….we’re all gonna calm down and think of a way to come out of this less the bars beckons.” Bayo said pacifyingly.
Ayo had not stop pacing back and forth ever since. He also didn’t want to have a taste of being locked behind bars. In rage, he shoved Deji to the wall grabbing him by the neck with a fierce look on his face.
“….I can’t do this anymore! I’m sick and tired of covering up your a** all the time! You’re either gonna turn yourself in to the police or I’m gonna have to kill you myself! Maybe…Dotun would love that…huh!!!” Ayo said furiously as he held Deji’s neck even more firmly.
Immediately, Kola intervened touching Ayo’s shoulder.
“He’s not worth it Ayo. Let him go.”
Kola pleaded as Ayo slowly took his hands off Deji’s neck. Deji coughed uncontrollably at this point trying to catch his breath on the ground. Bayo kept wondering whether he was doing the right thing covering up for Deji. The words of his grandpa left him in troubled thoughts. Bisi didn’t even know what was right anymore. A graveyard had erupt. They all had one question on their minds. Should we hand him over to the cops? Deji sensed they were giving up on him but seemed unperturbed on the outside. He needed them to be on his side.
“Y’all could go to hell for all I care. I don’t need you guys to come out of this. But know this, if I go down you all go down with me.” Deji said cynically.
“Woosh!” Bayo replied with a big punch to Deji’s right cheek.
Bayo was angered by Deji’s statement. He couldn’t help but respond with a punch. Perhaps his grandfather was right after all. Deji wasn’t worth his protection.
“…Maybe Ayo was right. Maybe we should kill you before you drag us down. Our lives have been a living hell ever since you killed Dotun. Damn! How did I get here?! I hate this sh**!!!” Bayo said rattling and hitting his forehead with his hands continually.
Deji kept holding his right cheek as he had not gotten over the effect of the punch.
(On his knees) “You never liked me Bayo. Did you? You may be many things but certainly not a killer. Your dad didn’t train you to be one…” Deji said with a smirk on his face.
(In rage) “You son of bi***!” Bayo said seeking to throw another punch at Deji but hampered by Bisi.
“Let it go Bayo. He’s just full of crap.” Bisi said.
Bayo still won’t be pacified. “You never mention my father again!” he said as Bisi held him off from possibly killing Deji. Deji still wouldn’t keep his mouth shut.
“Yeah…hit me all you want but let’s face it. We’ve all got one thing in common here. None of us liked Dotun…..For Ayo here, Dotun always treated him like trash. He always called him a wretch. He always made fun of Ayo’s mother who is a farmer. One time, he made jest of her saying she was never going to raise enough money in her whole life to afford his wardrobe. Ain’t that right Ayo?” Deji asked.
“…I guess…” Ayo shrugged. Deji was right. Dotun was a spoilt brat and he treated even his friends like gabbage.
“Kola here, never liked Dotun as well. Dotun stopped him from approaching Lola last year. Lola was a girl Kola always liked but Dotun would not let him be with her because he was the leader of the gang and so he would always get what he wants. Isn’t that right Kola?” Deji queried again.
“…Maybe…” Kola shrugged scratching the back of his head. Deji had hit the right button again.
“You know I’m right…..Bayo never liked Dotun from the onset. Dotun hated him because he didn’t like the idea that the new guy seemed to be getting all the attention especially with Bisi. He always wanted to be in control. He bossed everyone around like he owned the school. Bisi never liked him because of this as well… I for one, never liked him either because he bossed me around like my uncle which I hated. But we all played along because Dotun was a rich kid and he’d always produce the cash for the gang.” Deji said.
Suddenly, it’s all gone quiet as they tried to convince themselves that Deji wasn’t right this time. Deji had succeeded in inking his thoughts in their minds.
“Maybe we’re not so perfect after all. Somehow, we all wished Dotun would just go away. I only turned out to be the who pulled the plug. So logically, I get the tail end of the stick.” Deji said in indignation.
“We never wished…for him…to die that’s for sure.” Bisi stuttered.
“He’s right.” Bayo admitted.
The others stared mystified at Bayo wondering why he would agree with Deji.
(Sighs) “…Hate to admit it but Deji is right. A part of me wished Dotun would stop being so scornful but certainly not this way. Perhaps if not for Deji, I would have been killed that day by Dotun. I could as well file a report against Ayo and Kola…. I mean you guys joined him in the beat down. Isn’t that right guys?” he queried them.
(Ayo and Kola) “…Yeah…” they both muttered.
“He did help Bisi get me medical treatment. Bisi wouldn’t have made it to the hospital without him. Isn’t that right Bisi?” Bayo queried again.
“…I guess that’s true…” Bisi stuttered.
“…So I guess he might have killed someone who we all hated but that doesn’t mean we all haven’t done something bad in the past ourselves. He made a mistake to kill Dotun. The guilt will hunt him for the rest of his life but let’s not allow him suffer for a crime some of us are also guilty of. The attack that day was premeditated by you guys (Ayo, Kola and Deji) led by Dotun to kill me. But the table turned on its head when Deji became a Judas. Question is, what if y’all had succeeded in killing me? I’m sure you would have also covered up for Dotun. I mean he did pay your bills so…wouldn’t have been a bad idea…Ain’t that right? Bayo queried them again.
“…Mm-mmm…” Ayo and Kola hummed staring at each other. They knew Bayo was right.
“…Yeah that’s what I thought too…I guess we’re not perfect after all. It doesn’t justify the fact that Deji took a life but it doesn’t make some of us any better than him. We’ve gotta have each other’s back on this one. Make sure we tie up all loose ends. He doesn’t have to get caught. Are we on the same page here? Bayo queried the group.
Everyone seemed quiet at this point. They all had one question on their minds. How long?
“How long are we gonna keep covering this up?” Bisi queried indignantly.
“For as long as we can Bisi. For as long as we can.” Bayo reiterated.
They all stared at each other for a while. They wondered if this was right but again Bayo made a point. They looked at Bayo who opened up his hands begging them to hop on.
(Sighs) ” Then…I’m in” Ayo said.
(Sighs) “I’m in” Kola joined in.
“Urrghh…I guess I’m in as well.” Bisi grumbled in too.
Everyone seemed to have agreed except Deji who said nothing. They all stared at him spurring for him to hop on.
“…Well I guess I’m the killer. I don’t have a choice here. Do I? I guess I’m in as well.” Deji said wanly.
“So now that we finally agreed on something. What’s the plan?” Bisi asked the group.
Then Bayo beckoned on the group with a nod to come closer to him. They bent down forming a circle in the process. Bayo had become a mastermind as the group relied on him to come up with the plan.
“…Now since the police doesn’t have any lead yet, we’ve gotta make sure they never get a lead on the case. If they don’t get a lead, then they might wanna drop the case after a while. We were the only ones present at the murder location and so we alone have the evidence the police needs. So if we all work together and keep our mouths shut, then we can pull this off. Our job is to make sure the cops never get a lead cause if they do, then they’ve got us.” Bayo said orchestrating the plan.
They all responded with a nod.
“Good…Deji, where is the stick you used on Dotun?” Bayo asked.
“…Huh…Don’t know…left it in the woods maybe…” Deji stuttered.
“…Find it…Hide it and if possible, burn it. Just make sure the police doesn’t find it before you do. Your fingerprints could be traced.” Bayo instructed.
“Alright…” Deji consented.
“…How sure are we somebody apart from us doesn’t know about this?” Kola queried.
“…Then we know we’ve got a snitch among us.” Bisi replied instantly staring gloomily at Deji. She didn’t trust him not even one bit.
“…Really??? You think I’m the snitch? Oh come on! How is that gonna help me?” Deji was irritated by Bisi’s accusations.
“…Well…you tell me?” Bisi queried vexedly.
“…I get it…you don’t trust me…And I can’t blame you for that.” Deji scoffed.
“…Well maybe you haven’t given me a reason to silly!” Bisi was again hostile.
“…Okay…Okay!!! You guys knock it off now. We ain’t got time for throwing jibes or taunts at each other. We just have to trust each other at this point. We can’t afford to blow this up. We good?” Bayo asked.
(Bisi and Deji) “…Yeah we got it…” they both stuttered.
“Now let’s work as a team here and try to find a way out of this situation. Now we’ve all gotta stick to the plan. No one opens up this secret to anyone. For us to do this, we’ve gotta trust each other. The cops will look for the slightest twig and it mustn’t come from any of us. We’ve gotta play smart and act like we know nothing. The cops might try to psych any of us to see if we’re gonna give in at some point. We mustn’t give them that chance. From here on, we work as a team even though we don’t like each other. Are you guys with me?” Bayo queried loudly.
“…Yeah we got it.” they all replied.
“Alright…that’s more like it. I guess we all head back to class before people begin to suspect we’re doing something shady.” Bayo suggested.
“Alright…” they all replied.
Then the five headed for class. Deji walked a bit slower than the others who were ahead. He wanted to talk to Bayo. Apparently, he had something on his mind. So he tapped Bayo on his shoulders indicating with his hands he wanted to talk to him. Then Bayo tracked back a bit.
“…Thanks for standing up for me today. You’re good person…Problem is, you may have done it for the wrong person. I’m not worth your good judgement.” Deji said wanly.
“…Erm-mmm…I did what I felt was right for all of us. Maybe you’ve been given another chance to do something right for once. My advice? don’t blow it.” Bayo said trying to instill bield in Deji.
Deji scoffed. “I hope you’re right about this one smart a**.”
“…Come on let’s catch up with the others.” Bayo winked as they picked up the pace.
Some minutes later, they got to the class and heard the awkward humming from outside. They wondered why the students would make that much noise in a maths class. Mrs.Ireti was having a talk with two police officers. Apparently, the police were conducting an investigation on the students. So they stuck to the plan and tried to act like they knew nothing. Then the five entered into the class through the front door. Suddenly, the students begun staring at the five strangely.
“Bayo is here.” the class said simultaneously.
Bayo was perplexed at the response of the class. He wondered why only his name was mentioned. The five kept staring at each other puzzled on what was going on while they stood in front of the class.
“Oh there you are. Officers that’s him.” Mrs.Ireti said pointing at Bayo in disgust.
Bayo stood bewildered at the whole situation.
“…Ah! Ah!…What the hell is going on here?!” Bayo queried and stuttered in astonishment. His eyes were widened at this point.
The police officers walked towards Bayo with a handcuff in the hands of the corporal. The others stood mopping as the officers approached even further.
“…You’re under arrest Mr Adebayo Olaolu for the murder of Mr Adedotun Oyewole. You have the right to remain silent or anything you say will be used against you in juvenile court. You have the right to an attorney and if you don’t have one, the state will provide one for you. You’ve been charged with juvenile delinquency. You will be placed under juvenile custody and if within 48 hours, there is no evidence that proves otherwise, then you’ll be given a hearing at juvenile court…” the inspector said hurriedly while the corporal puts the handcuff round Bayo’s wrist.
“…This is madness! I didn’t kill anyone. I’m innocent.” Bayo pleaded.
Bisi noticed Deji had looked away suggesting he might have had something to do with this but she remained silent. They could do nothing at this point.
“Sorry Mr Bayo but you have to leave with us now.” the corporal said.
“Call my grandfather…” Bayo pleaded.
“Your grandfather has been contacted but he can’t take custody of you because this is a murder case. Officer, take him away please.” the inspector commanded.
“Yes sir!” the corporal responded.
Then the inspector walked to Deji.
“Thank you Deji. The class confirmed he was indeed not a fan of Dotun. We’ll take it from here.” he said.
Deji nodded and scoffed at Bayo.
“Told you I wasn’t worth it.” Deji said and winked at Bayo.
The others stared in dismay at the betrayal Deji just displayed. Deji had framed Bayo for the murder to save his head.
“You lying bastard! You’re not gonna get away with this Deji. I promise!” Bayo yelled in rage trying to get his hands on Deji but held bound by the corporal.
Bayo had been wrongly accused of murder. The students kept staring awkwardly at Bayo in disappointment including Mrs Ireti who always held him in high esteem. They all murmured among themselves. Bisi, Ayo and Kola kept staring at Deji with disgust. Bisi affirmed her doubts about him.
“I didn’t do this! I didn’t do this! I swear!!! This is a mistake! I’m not a murderer!” Bayo screamed as he was forcefully taken away by the police.
Bisi’s eyes began to tear in harsh wind. Ayo and Kola were distorted at this point. Deji had lost their trust. The plan was off the table. The class had gone sour. Was Bayo ever gonna come out of this?…[To Be Continued]
Watch out for the next episode of ‘The Orphan’ next tuesday only on Danny world.