"I'm so sorry for the man that marries her," another girl said heatedly. "That's if a man will ever marry this wicked witch."
Their eyes were fixed on the young beautiful lady standing in front of a classroom, holding a cane in her hand.
They were students of St. Alice, a Catholic owned girls school in the South Eastern part of Nigeria.
They had come to school late that morning and were ordered to kneel down in front of the class by the teacher.
The teacher's real name, had since been overtaken in private conversation amongst the students by the moniker "Madam Koi Koi" because of the sound her high-heeled shoes made when they echoed through the corridors, carrying with it an air of authority that even the most daring students couldn't ignore.
Her footsteps, accentuated by the rhythmic cadence of her high-heeled shoes, reverberated through the stone hallways like a metronome, setting the pace for the structured life within and giving raise to the nickname.
Rumors and speculations about her origins lingered in the hallowed halls. She didn't let on much about her life to anybody.
Some whispered of a childhood spent in the quiet seclusion of a convent, where discipline was as much a way of life as prayer. Others speculated about her own experiences as a student in the Catholic order, suggesting that the very rules she now enforced had once shaped her.
The classroom where Madam Koi Koi held court was a sanctuary of learning, adorned with religious iconography that bore witness to countless lectures and lessons.
The cane she wielded wasn't merely a tool of punishment; it was a symbol of the school's commitment to molding not just academically proficient individuals but morally upright young women.
On that particular day, for the group of students kneeling outside her classroom, the air was charged with anticipation.
Latecomers, their transgressions etched across their faces, awaited the judgment that would come in the form of disciplinary measures.
"I'll show her," one of the girls promised. "Just you watch, I'll show her."
"What do you have in mind?"
"I'll get my brother and his friends to teach her a lesson," the girl said. "She's probably a virgin that's why she's so uptight. She needs a man's touch to loosen her up. My brother will help her loosen up just right."
"Brilliant idea," the other girls agreed.
The young teacher beckoned on them to come to her. They got up from where they knelt and ran to her.
"Let me see your hands," she ordered.
One after the other, they presented their palms, held together in front of them, and the teacher dished out strokes of the cane on each person.
Any girl that made her miss a stroke, would have to start the count afresh. The girls were not a happy as they filed into the classroom after receiving the strokes of the teacher's cane.
Madam Koi Koi walked into the class behind them, her heels making the trademark knocking sound on the cemented floor as she paced about, getting ready for the day's lessons.
The year was 1972, and the Nigerian Civil War had just ended.
It was a war that totally crippled the once thriving economy of the Eastern region of the country.
The teacher's name was Evelyn Ofor, but even other teachers called her Madam Koi Koi behind her back. She knew what they called her but she didn't mind.
Madam Koi Koi was not in the country during the war. Rumor had it that she was in school in Italy, throughout the duration of the war.
She decided not to become a nun, and came back to Nigeria after the war, to take up a teaching position with the local Catholic school.
Corporal punishment has remained a correctional instrument in African society and schools, and Madam Koi Koi embraced it with open arms, dishing out strokes of the cane on erring students, immediately their misbehaviour gets to her notice.
She was generally hated by almost every girl in the school. She had flogged almost all of them.
She was amongst the handful of teachers that lived within the school premises, and rarely went into the village, expect when she needed something from the local market.
The school was situated a little into what used to be the evil forest in the old village.
It was a forest where outcasts and those condemned by the gods, were sent to in the old days.
It was believed to be demon infested, and nobody had come back to tell what they saw in the evil forest.
Early Catholic missionaries had been given such lands in the evil forest, to settle in, so that the spirits and demon living there, would consume them and their religion.
The missionaries overcame the spirits and demons resident in those evil forests, and built their churches and schools on them.
St. Alice was one of those schools. A bushy untarred road, led from the village to the school.
There were boarding houses in the premises, but many students still came from their homes in the village.
Activities had started picking up a bit since after the war, and the girls were trying to catch up on the lost time.
The Catholic church also had a boys school at the other end of the village, as well as a primary school. They were all run by priests and nuns who had volunteered to help the people rebuild their lives, after one of the fiercest wars in Africa's history.
The Principal, Sister Anges was the only staff that owned a car, an old Ford station wagon.
Some other teachers had bicycles. Madam Koi Koi had neither. She usually walked the long road to and from school, whenever she went to the village.
She was walking back from the market two days later, when she met four young men on the road.
They were rough looking, and smoking cigarettes. They started following her, and making remarks at her as she walked by.
"Baby," one of them said. "Aren't you going to greet us?"
She said nothing. She walked faster, but the school was still some distance away. She didn't want to betray her fear. She was never one to lose control, and hoped they will leave her alone.
"We just want to talk to you baby," another one said. "Just take a look at us, are we not handsome enough for you?"
"You know it's not good to be rude," another one said. "I thought you teach that in class."
Then one of them grabbed her by the neck and planted a kiss on her check. She slapped him across the face.
"That's what I'm talking about," the man laughed. "I like that fire in a woman. We'll burn together in pleasure."
"Get away from me," she screamed at them, as they started circling her.
"We just want to have some fun my love," the one she slapped said. "We want to show you some good time."
"I'm not interested."
"Oh yes you are."
They pounced on her at the same time. She tried to fight them off, but they were too strong for her. They grabbed her and dragged her deep into the forest.
She screamed but nobody heard her. The things she had bought in the market, along with her handbag, lay abandoned on the road.
The men dragged her deep into the forest, to a place they had already prepared. The men took turns with her. She was a virgin and it pleased them more to hurt her and use her.
"Let's loosen you up small so you don't go about flogging little children," one of the men said as he pumped her roughly. "You need a man in your life to soften you up. We'll soften you up really good Madam Koi Koi."
The others laughed as she screamed. She lost count of the time. They came one after the other until she didn't know who was on her.
They had already stored bottles of beer in the forest, and while they rested, they drank their beer, before they went back to her.
They took her from all sides till she would pass out, then they'll revive her and continue.
They left her there as it got very dark. Slowly, she stumbled back to the road, and made her way to the school. She didn't bother picking up her bag or the things she bought from the market.
The gateman noticed her torn clothes but she waved him away. He noticed she still wore her shoes, and could hear the sound of the heels, as she walked on the interlocked floor to her room.
Throughout the night she wept. Her neighbours knocked on her door, but she refused to open the door to anybody.
"Evelyn," Mr. Donald, the Physics teacher, who was closest to her called. "Open the door, what is the matter? Did you lose somebody? Talk to me Evelyn."
She kept on weeping. They later heard her praying softly after which she wept some more.
In the morning, everywhere was quiet. Donald knocked on her door but heard nothing. He didn't hear the usual sound of her heels, as she made her usual final touches to herself before leaving for the day.
Donald was worried, but he decided to give her some space.
She didn't come to class that day. The girls were talking amongst themselves about what happened the night before.
"They fucked her real good," the girl who set the whole thing up was telling the others. "She was indeed a virgin. They really took good care of her. She'll loosen up after that, you'll see."
Madam Koi Koi did not open her door throughout the day. Donald knocked and called out her name without response.
The Principal, Sister Agnes, a British nun on missionary work in Nigeria, had been told of Madam Koi Koi's absence from class that day. It was very odd, as she had never missed class before since she started teaching at the school.
A teacher would find Evelyn's belongings on the road leading to the school and report to the Principal.
The worried Principal was coming to check up on her favorite teacher, when she saw Donald knocking and calling her.
"What's going on Mr. Donald?"
"Good day Mother Superior," he said. "I'm worried about Evelyn. She came back yesterday and locked herself in. She cried all through the night, but she's been very quiet since today."
"Evelyn," Sister Agnes called as she knocked on the door. There was no response. "Evelyn open the door. Donald, get me the handyman, let's him come with his tools."
The school carpenter, who also took care of odd jobs within the school premises was summoned. He was soon working on the door lock with his tools.
"Jesus Christ!" Donald screamed as the door opened.
Sister Agnes stood there staring in shock at the sight in the room. She started muttering a prayer.
None of them seemed to notice the strange chill that filled the place, but the carpenter fell down, as he felt a cold presence leave the room.
Everybody thought he fell because of the sight he beheld. It was something else.
Madam Koi Koi's body was hanging in the center of the room. She was still dressed in the torn, dirty and blood stained dress, she was raped in. A Bible and her rosary lay on the floor below her, where she had been burning candles throughout the night.
The chain keeping her confined within the grave was never to break. Her story was passed from one generation to the other, to ensure the chain remained in tact. One generation forgot to take it seriously...