AN HOUR EARLIER
Assembly was over that morning and all the students headed for their various classes. Deji stayed back. He made sure he wasn’t seen by any of his supposed friends. He wanted to see the inspector. Apparently, he had news the cops could use. So he went to the principal’s office where he had sighted the inspector was heading just after his pronouncement. And so he traced him to principal Peterson’s office.
When he got to the door, he sighed and knocked.
“…Knock! Knock!…” Deji knocked twice.
(In the office) The principal paused his conversation with the inspector.
“…Come on in. The door’s open.” principal Peterson said.
Deji walked in wearing a melancholy with his hands crossed against each other on his belly. He barely took his eyes off the ground.
“…Good morning sirs.” he greeted the principal and the inspector quiveringly.
Principal Peterson was disturbed by Deji’s sullen appearance. He wondered why a boy of his age would be so glumming at this time of the day. The inspector thought the same.
“…Good morning my boy…Why the long face?” principal Peterson worriedly queried.
“…Actually sir, I’m really not happy and I don’t think I’m ever going to be. Perhaps it’s what I deserve.” Deji answered quietly. He barely looked at the principal.
Deji was certainly putting up an act. He certainly had another sadistic plan in his head.
“…Everyone deserves to be happy my child. Tell us, what brings you here?” principal Peterson asked.
“…I’ve got news for the inspector. I know who did it. I know who killed Dotun.” Deji alarmed.
The inspector suddenly took a lot of interest in Deji as he lurched around on his seat with a nosy look on his face. So did the principal. They became keenly interested in the news Deji had for them.
“…Whoa! Have a seat my boy.” principal Peterson offered as he stood up directing Deji to the couch beside his desk.
“Thank you sir.” Deji sat down.
Principal Peterson headed back to his seat. The inspector was very eager to hear what Deji had for them. The inspector stared at the principal who responded with a nod imploring the inspector to go first.
(Sigh) “…So erm-mm…You said you know who killed Dotun. How true is this claim?” the inspector inquired.
Deji seemed a bit nervy by the question. So he shrugged a little and leaned forward a bit. Was he going to come clean?
(Sigh) “…Dotun was a very close friend of mine. We practically grew up together. As a matter of fact, my father also worked for Mr Oyewole at some point. We saw each other as family. Dotun was quite unruly on the outside but if you really did get to know him, you would find out he was actually quite gentle. He would never harm anyone. But this unruly attitude, got him a lot of enemies in class. One of which was the new boy. His name’s Bayo…” Deji was interrupted by the inspector.
“You mean Bayo the orphan?” principal Peterson queried in shock. He couldn’t phantom Bayo as a killer.
“Yes sir. The same one.” Deji replied.
“You know him?” the inspector asked.
“Yes I do. He seemed a good kid the first time I saw him accompanied by his grandfather come to register with us here. A smart kid as well. He’s an orphan. Although, his grandfather is his guardian. He couldn’t have done this.” the principal doubted.
“Nothing is as it seems principal. Maybe we should listen what he has to say first. Go on Deji.” the inspector urged him on.
The inspector knew how vital this statement was going to be. So he got a pen to jot down Deji’s statement.
“Go on my boy. Tell us what you know.” the inspector urged him on.
Deji was frightened for a while there. He wondered how he was going to convince principal Peterson.
“…Bayo wasn’t a big fan of Dotun. Dotun wasn’t a big fan of the new guy either. Bayo got all the attention in class especially with Bisi who Dotun always admired. I remember Dotun always complaining about Bayo to me. Dotun was not used to competition. One time, myself and Dotun approached Bayo. Dotun told him not to go near Bisi anymore. Bayo bluntly refused and warned Dotun never to interfere in his relationship with Bisi again. The look on his face that day was vicious. He did threaten to kill Dotun even.” Deji was again caught short.
“…You mean he threatened to kill Dotun?” principal Peterson asked in displeasure. He wondered why kids would even nurse the idea of murder. Then he took a deep sigh.
“… It’s alright principal…Go on my boy.” the inspector urged him on again.
Deji kept with the lies.
“…Then we left him alone. Dotun would still not give it up despite Bayo’s threat. He always wanted to hang around Bisi. So did Bayo.
One day, after school hours, Dotun told me he was going to take the bush path home. Dotun always went home with his driver. He told me to use the school bus home. But I did not oblige. I knew Dotun was lying so I followed him. He wasn’t aware I hid behind the trees watching him closely as he walked. Then he stopped for while. I peeped trying to know why he stopped. Then I saw Bayo come out from nowhere clutching his fist. I was shocked so I laid low a bit to avoid being seen.
“So you still had the guts to interfere despite all my warnings huh?” I heard Bayo ask so furiously.
“Let’s get this over with. Only one of us can be with Bisi. Now man up and let our hands do the talking.” Dotun replied audaciously. Dotun would never back down from a fight. Apparently, they had both planned to battle.
“Alright then…you’re sure gonna lose kiddo. Now the rule of the game is pretty simple. Your back completely touches the ground and you’re out.” Bayo scoffed. I watched them do the cold war for a while. They kept throwing jibes at each other. Apparently, they had decided to fight to see who wins Bisi once and for all. Stupid but if that was what it took for them to stop the beef, fine by me.
“…Bisi’s mine that’s for sure.” Dotun said.
(Chuckling) “Not on my watch.” Bayo replied.
“Then we fight!” Dotun yelled as the two collided to do battle.
I peeped as they tussled, punched, kicked and shoved each other and I remember myself cackling at their stupidity. But all wanted was for the beef to end so I kept watching waiting for one’s back to touch the ground completely. The fight kept going on for minutes. Both of them had sustained injuries but they kept on going at each other hardcore. I wondered where my friend had learned such martial art display.
Eventually, Bayo missed a punch and got speared by Dotun to the ground. Dotun was victorious. He was really excited he had won as kept he hopping around like a kangaroo. I remember hitting my head with my hands in shame. I was ashamed he would display such stupidity for a girl but was kind of happy he could beat Bayo to it. I found it ludicrous. Finally, it was over. At least I thought so.
“Wooop!!!” a stick was swung into the back of Dotun’s head. I closed my already opened mouth with my hands in shock of what I had just witnessed. Apparently, Bayo was not in any way pleased he lost out to Dotun.
Bayo was filled with rage he’d kill just to have Bisi to himself. Dotun laid flat on his chest to the ground with blood gushing out from his head. I couldn’t raise an alarm. I didn’t want to get caught.
“…Now look who’s down on the ground…Bisi’s mine. Goodbye Dotun.” Bayo said and tossed the stick far away into the woods. He made sure it was out of sight. Then dragged his deadweight out from the open and covered his body with fresh leaves. Then I saw him walk out of the scene swiftly.
I had my heart in mouth at this point. Dotun was dead. It wasn’t supposed to end this way. He wasn’t supposed to die!!!” Deji cried.
“…It’s okay…Why didn’t you report to the police earlier?” the inspector queried.
“…While I was still sobbing from what I had just witnessed, I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was Bayo’s. I was shocked how you had found me. Then I lurched. I was scared he was going to kill me as well so I tried to scream but he covered my mouth as I opened them and grabbed me by the neck shoving me to the tree further.
“Sshh…I knew Dotun wouldn’t come alone. I saw you hiding. You can’t hide from me. I heard queer sounds around here. Knew it was weird…Your friend is gone and I may just do the same with you. But I won’t cause you are not my enemy. But if you say a word to anyone, I will kill you! Is that clear?!” Bayo yelled with such fury in his eyes.
I was certainly terrified and quaking at this point. I felt like I had seen the devil himself.
“Yes..Yes…Yes! I’ll keep my mouth shut.” I complied stuttering like I was born with it. He threatened he was going to kill me. I’ve never seen such fury my whole life like I saw that day in his eyes.
“…Now move it!!! And don’t come back here!!!” Bayo hollered angrily. Scared, I accelerated.
“Wait!” I retarded at the sound of his voice.
“I’ve got my eyes on you boy…One wily move and you’re gone too. Now go!” Bayo warned seriously. I nodded back and forth so quickly I could feel my neck leaving my body. I felt my whole body wobble. So I ran as my legs could carry me. I ran sobberly fast I could feel my legs touching my head. I kept wondering who was actually the murderer. Me or him? I stood there and did nothing. I watched my friend die. I’m just a coward. I’m just a coward! I let my friend die….that’s on me. It’s my fault!” Dotun cried out in pretence.
(Sigh) “…It’s okay my boy. It wasn’t your fault. You were smart that’s all. When did this happen again?” the inspector asked.
(Sniffing) “…Friday sir. About two weeks now. He had been stalking my every move since then. One time, I had to cover up for him in a literature test. Mr Biodun asked about Dotun when he noticed he was missing in class that day. Dotun always sat beside me in class. I remember looking at his seat as Mr Biodun threw the big question. The whole class stared strangely at me wondering why I had kept mute at Mr Biodun’s question for seconds. I was scared to tell the truth as Bayo’s gaze beckoned on me not to say a word. I succumbed because I had seen how evil Bayo could be. So I kept my mouth shut.
Finally, I lied. I told him I had no idea where Dotun was at that point. As a result, Mr Biodun got pretty upset at my delayed answer and decided to end the test. Little did he know that my life was being threatened by a psychopath. The class can attest to this. I mean…they thought I cost them crucial marks. You could confirm this from the class…” Deji implored the inspector.
“Alright kid. We’ll certainly conduct our investigations. You’re sure you’re the only one who knows about this?” the inspector queried.
Deji knew he had the inspector where he wanted. On his side.
“Uhh…not sure though but lately he’s been hanging out a lot with Bisi. She certainly isn’t aware of how dangerous Bayo could be. He also hangs around with Ayo and Kola…” Deji was retarded by the inspector.
“Wait a minute. Who are they? Are they connected to this in some way?” the inspector queried.
Deji’s plan was working at this point. Apparently, he had perfectly premeditated and rehearsed his deceptive lines pretty well. So well the inspector couldn’t read he was the enemy.
“…No I don’t think they know yet. Bayo warned me not to disclosed anything to them either. They wouldn’t keep silent if they knew something. Ayo and Kola were both friends of Dotun. We all did hang out at times. But no one knew Dotun better than I did. Unfortunately, I was the only one with Dotun that day. I didn’t want to be a coward again not standing up for what was right. It’s the least I could do for my friend. That’s why I’m here.” Deji said.
Everything seemed to be going as planned. He was certainly a good poseur.
(Sighs) “Wow! I’m lost for words right now. I can’t believe what my ears are hearing.” principal Peterson loathed.
“Hm-mmm…Where is Bayo now?” the inspector asked.
“…Saw him this morning. He wanted us to meet after your pronouncement on the assembly ground. I guess he felt the police had him on their radar and he would get apprehended at some point. He wants to make sure I don’t say a word. I told him I would meet him up. I really don’t know his whereabouts right now. Lately, he’s been skipping classes. I suspect he’s into something shady.” Deji said.
“Then I’ll need to you to keep him close. Keep an eye on him. Make sure he doesn’t suspect you turned him in. Alright?” the inspector asked.
“…Good thing you reported this to the police son. I’ll let Mr Oyewole know we’ve got a massive lead on the case. Your friend will be avenged.”
“…That’s all I want officer. I want justice for my friend.”
“…You can go now. Do exactly as I instructed. We’ll take it from here my boy.” the inspector stood up placing his right hand on Deji’s shoulder.
“…Alright sir…” Deji took a deep sigh.
“I guess I’ll take my leave now.” Bayo said as he stood up. He shook the hands of the inspector. He still put on the depressed face again like he was really sobber about Dotun’s death. Then he walked slowly to the door.
“We got him Deji. We got him.” the inspector reiterated.
Deji paused for a second and stared at the inspector with sullenness.
“Thank you inspector. Bye principal Peterson.” Deji bid farewell as he opened the door and walked right out. He had successfully framed Bayo for the murder to save his blushes. Then he leaned his back on the entrance door to the office.
(Sighs deeply) “…Wow pulled it off! Let’s see who gets detention now…” he scoffed and smirked away back to his class. Apparently, Deji’s deception proved fruitful.
Back at principal Peterson’s office, the inspector stepped out. He stood just outside the office to put a call through to Mr Oyewole. Apparently, he didn’t want a third party in their conversation.
(On phone) “We’ve got the culprit sir. His name is Bayo.” the inspector said.
“…Bayo? I remember Dotun always complained about that boy. It all makes sense now. Arrest him at any cost. I’ll triple your pay check by any amount you require. You just name your price. My son must be avenged. He would want that right now.” Mr Oyewole spoke furiously on the phone.
The inspector was thrilled at Mr Oyewole’s offer.
(Smiling) “…Yeah I’m sure he would…I’ll do that sir. As long as you stick to your own part of the bargain?” the inspector queried. Apparently, he was money driven. He was all smiles just after Mr Oyewole’s promise to him triple his pay check.
“I always keep to my word inspector. You know that too well.” Mr Oyewole assured.
“You’re the boss. I do trust you.” the inspector raised Mr Oyewole’s ego even more.
“…Do the job inspector. Goodbye.” Mr Oyewole ended the call.
LATER THAT DAY
Bayo had been locked up in juvenile detention for a crime he sure didn’t commit. He was locked up in a cell secluded from the other inmates. Apparently, he was said to be dangerous. As a result, a serious threat to the other inmates. Bayo had only spent three hours in detention and he was worried he was never going to come out of this. He had given a blue detention uniform. He sat on his bed wearing a glum all over.
(In his thoughts) “Hmm-mm…how did I get here? I allowed myself be fooled by Deji’s trickery. My father would be disappointed in the way I turned out after all. He always told not to trust anyone. He always said trusting people made you vulnerable. I guess he was right after all and so was grandpa. I never should have trusted Deji. Is this how I get punished? Locked up because I tried to see the good in people. Olorun sanu mii…” Bayo wept with his head up. He looked into heavens praying for some miracle of some sort.
Then a guard hit his wooden bat against the iron bars of Bayo’s cell.
“Hey you’ve got a visitor.” the guard said while he unlocked the lock on the bars.
Bayo was pleased someone had come to see him.
“It’s my grandfather right?” he asked the guard.
“You don’t get to ask the questions here kiddo. Now move it!” the guard declined to answer.
Bayo wasn’t pleased with the guard’s response but he kept quiet to avoid more trouble. So the guard walked him to the visitor’s corner in the courtyard. Grandpa sat on the seat and crossed his hands against each other on the round wooden table. Bayo sighted his grandfather.
“Grandpa!!!” he exclaimed in excitement as he ran into his shoulders.
“Oooh my son! Thank goodness you’re okay…” grandpa said tearfully as he hugged his grandson. Grandpa was on his knees at this point. The two shared a tearful moment for a while even as they hugged.
“…I’m sorry grandpa but I didn’t kill anyone I swear I didn’t do it. You’ve gotta believe me.” Bayo pleaded in tears.
“I know son. I know you didn’t do it. It’s okay. I’m here now.” grandpa said pacifyingly.
Emotional as it were, the guard still remained unperturbed by their immense display of affection for each other.
“Hey hug time’s over. You’ve got seven minutes left. And no more contact please.” the guard instructed sternly.
The two got a hold of themselves and sat on the seat in opposite directions. They had their hands on the table but avoided contact as instructed.
“Tell me Bayo. How did this all happen?” grandpa queried.
(Sniffing) “…Uhh grandpa?” Bayo called.
“Yes my son.”
“…Remember I told you I fell from a tree after I woke up from coma?” Bayo asked.
“Yes I do recall.” grandpa replied.
“Well…I lied. A lot of bad things has been going on at school that I never told you about grandpa. I thought I could handle it on my own. Perhaps it’s time you found out the truth.”
Bayo was going to reveal his biggest secret…[To Be Continued]
Watch out for the next episode of “The Orphan” on Danny world next tuesday.