I got up, walked slowly out of the chapel. That was really my first time in the chapel. I didn’t have any cause to enter the chapel, but I had been on the chapel tarmac few times. A lot of Christian students in the university prayed on the chapel tarmac. That morning, even though it was a weekday, there were students who were already on the tarmac praying.
I washed off my face at the tap in front of the chapel. Then, I adjusted the flip-flop I wore and headed out of the chapel vicinity. As I walked, thoughts strayed my mind. I thought about Catherine, I did not know how I would face her. Surprisingly, she did not even call me on phone when I left her. When I saw 10 missed calls when I woke up, I had thought it would be Catherine.
“Well, probably she had an hint.” I thought.
Approaching my hostel – Sultan Bello Hall, I noticed people were gathered at the top floor. As I moved closer, I saw people moving in and out of my room. This made my heart race faster than before, I hastened my pace to see what was happening. The closer I got, people from the scene were pointing to me, this raised fear within me. I also noticed police cars and the university security patrol van parked in front of the hall. What could have happened?
In a rush, I ran up the stairs till I got to the top floor. People were staring at me, nobody said anything. I couldn’t ask anybody anything. The look they wore on their faces was not encouraging. I moved closer to my room, paused a bit, then hastened up and entered the room.
I was shocked to the bone marrow what I saw. It was as though my heart stopped working for few seconds. I was literally shaking on the stand. I burst out weeping, I wanted to cross the taped area but they wouldn’t allow me.
“Are you Michael?” A policeman that held me strongly asked me. I answered him staring at him as I sobbed.
“That’s him o. Yes, that’s his roommate!” One of the hall porters pointed to me as he entered the room.
They didn’t allow me to go too close, and also made sure I couldn’t leave the room. His hair was shaved off, could it have been part of what the forensic officers did to him? It could not be. His face was already pale, his lips were white. There was no blood, “Catherine!” I screamed in my head.
His body was wrapped up, packed, and carried into the ambulance. I wanted to see his face clearly. Fredo was the only close friend I had on campus. It was all like a nightmare. They didn’t let me go near those who carried him. I kept weeping out, tears streaming down my cheeks as the policemen held me back tightly
I got tired and broke down crying. One of the policemen brought an handcuff and said to me, “you’re under arrest for the death of Frederick.” With a running nose, I screamed out. All the students in the hall did nothing. Some had pity written all over their face. Some murmured.
The policemen dragged me up, and handcuffed me. They were trying to take me away. When I saw Gold, there was this surge of energy that came upon me. I nearly broke loose from the policemen’s hold. When I saw that they would not allow me, weakly I said. “Please let me talk to him.”
Gold came closer with tears clouded in his eyes. “Michael, be calm. Everything will be fine.”
“What really happened? How did he die?” I winced.
“I doubt if anyone knows, Michael. But God does.” He wiped my tears.
“Please, pray for me.” I said looking into his eyes. I really meant it.
“I have always prayed for you, and I will, still.” He hugged me.
The policemen broke us off and was taking me away before I remembered something. “Gold, come!” I shouted.
“please, which police station are you taking me to?” I asked the policemen and they replied.
“Take the phone in my pocket. Call my mother, and tell her the situation on ground.” I worried greatly that my mother would be dead worried. My heart bled.
“I will come there.” Gold said.
When we got outside the hostel, the school security officers talked with one of the policemen that brought me out. It seemed like a tug of war, they were pulling something. The policeman angrily left him, and dragged me into a van.
The police station reminded me of Margaret, when she died in an accident, how she was thought lost, and how I was also arrested. Fredo’s parents were already waiting in the police station. As I was brought in, a woman who was Fredo’s mother gave me a huge slap. It was really a great pain. Fredo’s father was sitting in a corner, it was obvious he had wept his eyes out. The policemen stopped her from harming me the more. I was taken into one of the cells.
“You’ll rot in jail.” Fredo’s mother hurled at me.
About an hour later, Gold came in asking for me. I was brought out and we talked at length.
“That’s what happened?”
“As things are, now. No one thinks this to anyone but you. At least, I have not seen any one who claims to know who might have done it.”
“Gold, I can’t kill. Trust me.” I cried. “He was my roommate and best friend.”
“I know,” he sighed.
“My mother is on the way?” He nodded. “Gold, I’m scared. A lot. His parents are influential. His mother was saying that I’ll rot in jail.” I continued.
He sighed. “I trust God will vindicate you, Michael.”
My mind strayed to school, it was just one week to the second semester examinations. I knew what it meant if I didn’t do the exams.
“You don’t have to worry about school for now.”
“Michael, the lady…” he paused. “Where did you get to know her?”
“In a class at CBN lecture theatre.” I held my forehead.
He stared at me for a while, “Michael, you need Jesus.”
I looked at him. That was the only help he could offer. He must have felt uncertain if it was the right time to offer me the gospel at that delicate time, but it was just the perfect time. I was worn out, tired.
“Would you allow Him? With Him, there’s peace.” He looked at me earnestly.
I was already at the brink, there was no where to turn to, but I wondered if God would really forgive me.
“Gold, I am not sure I can be free from the things that I do. Will God forgive me?”
“No matter what it is, God forgives and sets free.”
“You really don’t know…”
“I do. Michael, I do.”
He led me to the Lord. I said the salvation prayer after him. Even though, I had said these prayers as a kid when my mother would instigate me after sermons to go for altar calls. I just did as she incited, but this time, It really meant a lot. I felt peace gush through me immediately. It wasn’t so spectacular, but I felt it. It was as if a heavy cloud was dissolved off my chest, it was relieving.
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