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Anike BY…Tolu Akindolire

Anike BY…Tolu Akindolire

Anike felt her pulse racing, she clenched and unclenched her fists where she sat. She won’t be bullied or made to feel small. Femi had told her, ‘stand up to bullies always and they will back down’; her brother was always right.

Debola was clearly the leader ‘Well newbie! What brought you to this school?’ Anike looked up but declined to answer, she owed no one any explanation.
Debola kicked the table and the clatter of the cutlery as it bounced on the plate turned heads at the nearby tables, a hush fell across the cafeteria.

Debola rolled her eyes and looked back at the two ‘sidekicks’ as Anike thought of them. They smirked and simpered; pleased with the audience they had quickly gathered.
Many felt sorry for the new girl but none felt brave enough to speak up; those were the school ‘elites’, she stood no chance was the unspoken consensus.

With the audience gathered, the girls couldn’t afford to lose face so they stepped up, Debola leaned against the table and tipped the carton of juice on Anike’s meal. There was an audible gasp across the room. They waited with baited breath to see what will happen next, the audience could sense that this new girl was no pushover.
Anike expected this show-down, her first week had been plagued by these girls sniggering as she walked by. Her very first day, during introductions, she had noticed the look they exchanged…

######
Anike knocked on the door of the classroom, the first lesson was already in session, she hesitated in pushing the door opened, despite seeing the nod of assent from the teacher. She wanted to run all the way home, well the place that her parents have brought her to and had unceremoniously told her would be home now.
When she finally pushed the door open, she walked into a room with 30 pairs of eyes, watching her, assessing her. As she stood through the introductions, she noticed the look passed between two of the girls seated at the third row…’mean girls’ she thought to herself.

At the teacher’s request, she grabbed a seat; one at the back of the class and prayed for the end of the week so she could escape the scrutiny.
The week did go by slowly but surely, Friday was a half-day and she planned to leave immediately after lunch. She made her way to the cafeteria, pausing by the door to survey the familiar scene, the various cliques already in position.
Anike sighed again, she had never been one for cliques or groups, she made for an empty table. As she did, she saw the girls from her class at the centre table surrounded by the ‘jocks’- the ever popular football players. She had been right.

And now this!!

Anike stood up, grabbed her backpack and made to walk away, Debola blocked her path, this enflamed her and she nudged Debola as she attempted to sidestep her. The other girls quickly formed a circle around her.

‘Three against one?’ she queried sarcastically. Debola arched her brow in response
‘Look, I don’t want any trouble so move out of my way’
‘Or what!’ this from the third girl, Anike couldn’t remember her name, she barely even acknowledged having heard her speak.
‘Move out of my way’ she repeated this time, her voice clipped, her gaze unflinching. To drive home her point, she let the backpack drop to the floor.
####
Nky as she was called observed the whole scene from her vantage point. This girl had spunk she thought but definitely outnumbered, she didn’t like that!
She was known as unpredictable, the first to be caught smoking behind the chemistry lab! She showed no remorse when paraded at assembly to the admiration of many; her infamy was legendary. Whether due to being scared of her or fear of being tainted by her reputation, even the elites avoided her.

She jumped down from the podium behind the curtain, heads swivelled in her direction. Some barely caught their breath at what they guessed was about to happen, mobile phones up, recording, mouths agape at this new entry to the unfolding drama.

‘Seems unfair to me…’ she said as she saunters over. Anike glanced sideways, seeing who it was, she had heard snippets about Nky but had only seen her once; her third day during Literature class. She appeared then like she really didn’t give a damm, she came into class late but the teacher pretended not to notice with only a mild ‘Thank you for joining us, Ms Taylor!’ She did not acknowledge the comment.

Debola and her group took a step back as Nky placed herself between them and Anike.
‘Don’t you ever get tired?’ she queried
‘Please mind your business’ Debola snapped back ‘This doesn’t concern you’
‘Oh but it does especially when it’s about bringing you lot…’ she paused to stare disdainfully at them ‘…down to size’

Her voice changed ‘Keep it moving ‘she said forcefully as she stepped forward menacingly.
The girls dropped back and looked at each other, searching for a way to extricate themselves from this reputation destroying incidence. With a hiss and an exaggerated eye rolling, they flounced off.

‘I can take care of myself’ Anike pipped up

‘No doubt…’ Nky replied not turning back ‘…but don’t deprive me of this opportunity’ with this, she turned and winked.

Anike gave a wry smile in response, bending to pick her bag from where she had dropped it. She said ‘ I can defend myself, but it would not be nice to be suspended, first week in ….’

‘No’ Nky said as they walked back towards the podium, ‘But stick with me, its early days yet’.
Anike broke out in laughter, maybe this new school won’t be so bad after all.
The rest of the school watched them walk away, many were left disappointed.

 

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Posted by:- on October 12, 2018.

Categories: Literature

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