“Hey, watch where you are going!” Mfon David exclaimed to the student who had almost collided into her.
Saint Offiong was startled by the feminine voice as he quickly turned to face her. He had been so carried away by the sight of pretty Linda and had not been aware that someone else was coming towards his direction.
The girl opposite him could only be described as a perfect angel. Her wide eyes and sweet smile caused ripples in his blood. He almost felt like hugging her as her fleshy bosom pointed invitedly at him. He was quick to notice that her long braided hair was newly made and the colour of her smooth skin was like a light brown chocolate. Saint couldn’t help but wonder if she was sent from heaven.
She had stopped moving and was staring at him. And then she looked towards the direction that seemed to have gotten his whole attention. She made a helpless gesture that was followed by a funny but beautiful smile.
“You like her?” she asked as she stared from Linda to Saint.
“Sorry for colliding into you,” he apologized, obviously not intending to answer her question.
“She is quite beautiful you know.” Mfon added.
Saint wondered why she chose to open up a discussion with him, knowing fully well that they were both strangers to each other. That was very unlike the pretty girls in the University of Uyo. Yet he knew he couldn’t just walk away from the pretty damsel who clearly wasn’t ready to let him go just yet.
He smiled, “Do you know her?”
“I just know that she is one of the hottest girls on campus. Nothing personal.”
“One of the hottest girls? If you call her hot, what then will you be called? But how come I don’t know you?” he finished.
“You can’t know everybody on campus.”
“No, but it is easy to know all the pretty girls on campus,” he replied, surprised at himself for being so calm despite the effect her beauty had on him.
“You are not serious,” she made to walk away even though she thought he was quite an interesting guy. “Well, be careful on how you look at pretty girls, next time you might fall into a ditch.”
He followed her, “I am Saint.”
“Saint what? Peter or Andrew?”
“Saint… just Saint. Are you an angel?”
She smiled again, causing his heartbeat to stop for a second “No, I am Mfon. Is your name really Saint?” she inquired as they both walked slowly towards her direction.
“Yes” he assured her, “Offiong is my surname and honestly, it is really a pleasure to talk to a pretty girl like you. Losers like me don’t get such an opportunity every day.”
“You just stare at them? Why don’t you just approach her?” she said.
“Hey, that is not fair. Anyway, I used to know her.” he quickly replied, not feeling offended.
“Weren’t you going somewhere?” she asked.
“Oh, good looking girls like you always make me lose focus,” he teased. “Alright, I’ll go but how can I see you again? Can I have your number?”
“Just tell me your department and I will check on you.” she replied.
“Ahh, you won’t do that,” he was sure she was trying to do away with him.
“I will,” she insisted. “Just tell me your department and I will come once I’m through with my lectures for the day.”
“Are you serious?” he looked at her, trying to study her face.
“Try me… will 3pm be okay for you?”
“Yes… the department is Psychology.”
“3pm then, I’ll see you.” With that she began to walk faster away from him.
He stopped following her and watched her sway her pretty figure. He just hoped that she would make it as promised. He didn’t know how possible that would be since he didn’t even have her number.
Somehow, he suspected that she was smiling even as the distance between them increased.
Saint Offiong was a 24 year old Final year student at the University of Uyo. Despite his good looks, intelligence and knowledge of Human Psychology, he had a very low self esteem though he lived in denial of this fact. He was a little bit taller than average with broad shoulders and very well structured facial features. At his age, side beards had refused to shoot out, leaving him with long, straight chin hairs and a light, soft mustache. His complexion was such that, some people described him as fair whilst others as dark, but he was of the opinion that he was mid way between both tones.
The young man had spent most of his adult life wondering why he had such low self esteem despite his obvious good looks. He figured that the main cause was his very poor background. Saint felt he wasn’t man enough to rule his world- though he never admitted it- hence he always needed the encouragement of people around him to achieve the little he did achieve.
While he waited for Mfon after his lectures, he decided to pen down some thoughts in the new story he had been trying to write for some weeks now, but he found himself thinking about Linda instead. Linda was another reason why Saint hadn’t been feeling good about himself recently. She was a 300 level Economics student who had accepted to date him a year ago. Despite loving her with all his heart, Saint had the worse period of his life all through the time they were together.
She had openly shown disdain towards his inability to provide for her needs as a young woman. Linda had made it obvious that being a Prince Charming wasn’t enough to make her respect her man, money was also a key factor.
He had eagerly tolerated her rudeness because of an unconscious belief that she was doing him a favour by dating him. He didn’t believe he would get any girl as pretty as her if she left him.
Just at the beginning of the semester, she had dropped a bomb; the relationship was over! He would never forget her words.
“You know I like you Saint, but this relationship obviously cannot work” she had started gently.
“You can’t do this to me Linda, you know I love you,” he’d whined in return.
“Love is not my problem Saint. There is not much I can do with it right now.”
“If you know how much I cherish you, you will never dream of letting me go,” he had then proclaimed.
She scoffed. “Seriously, I have managed to put up with you all these while and I think I have done you enough favours. Do you know what it feels like putting up with a loser like you? You might be good looking but that is not what a girl needs right now…”
‘Had she just called him a loser?’ Saint was thinking. He couldn’t believe his ears. Had the girl he loved so much just called him a loser?
It was so embarrassing, because her friends were giggling close by in delight.
He had told himself that he wouldn’t allow the incident weigh him down; neither would it stop him from being the gregarious fellow that he was, yet deep down he knew that his insecurities had increased and his self esteem had been dampened.
Now he had no woman in his life but his one and only poor mother.
He stopped thinking and continued his writing. After a few minutes, he paused and looked at his wrist watch.
20 minutes past 3pm. Looking out the window, he thought to himself, ‘She won’t come’. He suddenly felt foolish. How had he expected that such a pretty girl would waste her time with someone like him? Why was he still thinking about girls after what Linda had done to him?
“What are you thinking?”
Saint was brought back to reality by the sonorous female voice. He looked up and there she stood! He couldn’t believe both his ears and eyes. She had actually come just as promised!
“Forgive me for coming this late; I didn’t even think you will still be here. I only took a chance,” he continued.
“You came,” was the only thing the surprised Saint could say.
Mfon found herself smiling at his genuine astonishment, “Of course I did, I don’t make promises that I can’t keep… So, what are you doing?” She asked as she settled into a seat beside him.
He felt his breath stop for a while. There was something decent and easy about her personality that he truly liked. But he wasn’t sure if she was for real. He found himself really desiring to be her good friend and even something more.
‘Stop that!’ he quickly cautioned himself. ‘Don’t get your hopes up.’
“It’s nice seeing you,” he said softly and his heart stopped for a moment when she looked into his eyes.
Mfon suddenly felt a strong attachment towards the young man. She knew that those words came from a deep. emptiness inside him. She liked him.
“I was just doing some writing while waiting for you”, he continued.
“Your assignment?” she asked.
“No, I am just trying to write a story…”
“Wow. That is interesting, can I read?” she asked, looking up playfully at him.
“Yes, but I am yet to go far into the story. Maybe I will let you read once I am through.”
“So what is the story all about?” she asked.
‘Who is this girl?’ he thought. How could she be so free with him? “If I tell you it will kill the suspense, wouldn’t it? Well the title is…Secrets of the Gods. It is about a golden medallion that was stolen from a strange group of monks in Ibibio land.”
Her eyes opened wide in wonder, “Interesting, that is creative of you. I can’t wait to read it.”
He began to fold up and pack up the books on the table.
“Why do you write them on papers?” she asked.
He looked at her with surprise written all over his face, “Where should I write them?”
“In a computer… Don’t you have a laptop or something?”
He stood up, “Nope, I don’t have one. Let’s go and hang out somewhere interesting.” He began to lead her out of the classroom.
She followed him, thinking that it would have been best if he simply typed his story into a computer instead of writing it on pieces of paper.
The Ibibio monks gathered together. They all stood in silence watching their leader and expecting him to speak up at any moment. They knew the situation was dicey and the fact was that none of them had expected this would happen in their life time.
They had dedicated not only their life, but their soul to protecting the golden medallion. Now that it had been stolen, their souls would never find rest. The fear they felt was not just for the fate of the world, but also for the fate of their souls.
“We have failed. We don’t even deserve to live. But our deaths cannot atone for the loss of the medallion,” the master monk finally spoke. Like every other monk in the territory, he was bald headed, wearing nothing but a red robe. “We have to try our best before giving up. For now everyone should go into his chambers. We will eat no food or speak any word for the next three days. Remain in your chambers these three days and meditate. It is our responsibility to rescue the world; it is our responsibility to find the medallion and save not just our souls, but that of the entire world. We must have faith… the medallion must be recovered before it is too late.”
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