Vanessa, 24, recently got a job at Credence High School located at Amaru, Imo State in September, 1978. This was at a time when there was a major boom in the education sector which resulted in massive creation of secondary schools across the country, including the rural explosion of boarding schools.
Credence High is a unisex boarding school which necessitated the citing of the school at Amare, a peaceful community in Owerri with a population of at least ten thousand people. Vanessa and her parents lived in a neighboring town. Since the school offered a nice pay for the job role he applied for, she had to relocate to the Teachers Quarters at Credence High even though she initially opted to come from home.
Mirabel, a course mate from her days in the university had referred the job to her, insisting that she should apply for it because of the opportunities it will afford her. She said the huge pay the school is offering graduates for the role of English and Literature teacher will surely give her a decent life if she takes the job very seriously. The role will afford her the opportunity to teach the senior students of the school.
Not long after she started, Vanessa succeeded in mesmerizing the students with her intelligence, wits and beauty. These traits of hers endeared her to students and staff alike who all worshipped her natural elegance and candour.
After two years, Vanessa became a reference point for students and parents alike. Many of the parents would buy her gifts and give her money for the special way she handles her students and duties centered on their intellectual uplift. By the third year of her stay at Credence High, she became synonymous with the school and with it came increased paychecks and more promotions.
Apart from her charms and beauty, Vanessa was also known for one other thing in the school – the brisk catwalk steps that unleash familiar sounds whenever she is walking down the tiled corridors of the senior block. Although she was arguably the most jovial in the school, Vanessa didn’t tolerate aberrant behavior from students. Therefore, whenever her signature shoe sound started drawing closer, silence reigned supreme in the senior blocks.
On 10th of July, 1983 a bad omen befell the school. Credence High was one among a group of interconnected secondary schools owned by philanthropist, Mr. Daniels Echefi. Mr. Daniels is a businessman from Orlu area of the State. After amassing significant wealth in the United Kingdom, he came back and decided to invest heavily in the land of his birth. Many news reports cited him as the pioneer of the massive boom that overtook the junior education sector from 1975 – 1982.
On the stated date, one of the teachers located at Amapu reported a missing child incident. It was Vanessa’s friend who referred the job to him. According to her, a child went missing after taking the day’s exam. All efforts to find him proved abortive. The school authorities mandated that the case should not be reported to the police until every necessary step is taken on their part first in order to avoid to causing panic. Two days later, Vanessa didn’t hear anything else about the matter from her friend, Mirabel. The last thing she was told is that the school authorities has taken care of it and that the said student sneaked out of the school and went home.
She didn’t make anything of the story until about a week later when she travelled to Amapu, her maternal home and decided to check in on her friend. She was told that Mirabel died in a mysterious sleep the day before. She was also told that the family received a handsome reward from the philanthropist due to the sudden demise of their teacher.
“You don’t look so well, Vanny” her grandma said out loud to amuse her a bit. She was imitating the way Vanessa called her Granny. She has been dull and felt awkward since the unfortunate news about her friend’s demise.
“I’m good mama… just very tired that’s all” she replied.
“You should go and rest then. Sleep will refresh you and rekindle your beautiful face… the beautiful face of my one and only Ada”
“Mama the mama” she said, smiling at her adoration.
“Go and rest my daughter”
“Good night mama”
Miss KoiKoi will return in our next issue. Don’t miss out.