Madam Koi Koi
Eastern Nigeria, formerly Biafra.
“She’s mean,” one of the girls said.
“Very wicked,” another said.
“She’s so cruel,” yet another interjected.
“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 late to class, and the lady teacher, who they tagged Madam Koi Koi because of her high heeled shoes, that always made a loud knocking sound when she walked about, knelt them down outside the classroom.
She was very disciplined, and expected the same level of discipline from her students.
Many students in the school believed she was very high handed. She always had a cane in her hand whenever she was in school, and dealt with every student firmly, whenever they broke the rules of the school.
“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 lady 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 bunch as they filed into the classroom.
Madam Koi Koi walked in behind them, her heels making the trademark sound on the cemented floor as she started preparing 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 real 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 outcasts and those condemned by the gods, were sent to. It was 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 libing 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 stores 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. She stumbled back to the road, and made her 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.
She 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 Sister Agnes,” 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. 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.
She still wore her high heeled shoes.
The news of her death spread everywhere. The police was called in, and after investigation, it was ruled a suicide.
The police promised to find those responsible for raping her and bring them to justice, but it was a promise the thinly stretch police could not keep on their own, and nobody expected to hear anything from them over the case.
The girls met behind the classroom later the next day. They were all scared. They had heard about Madam Koi Koi’s suicide.
“We shouldn’t have gone that far,” one of them said tearfully. “She didn’t need to die.”
“We didn’t kill her,” the originator of the plan insisted. “She killed herself remember. We only wanted her to loosen up a bit.”
“But she’s dead now,” another one started crying. “And we caused it.”
“Shut up your mouth,” the originator of the plot barked at her. “Don’t let anybody hear you say that. We’re going to keep this secret between us. Do you want to die in prison? Better keep your mouth shut.”
Nobody wanted to go to prison. They swore an oath to keep the secret amongst themselves till the day they died.
Madam Koi Koi was buried in the cemetery within the large premise. There was an old church building beside the school and the old cemetery was beside it.
A week after Madam Koi Koi’s burial, the four rapists sat inside the bushes to smoke marijuana and cigarettes as usual.
“You hear say that babe we sleep with commit suicide,” one of them said in crude pidgin English.
“Too bad,” another one said. “And the babe was so sweet. I was expecting to do it again with her. What a shame, what a loss.”
“You dey right,” another agreed. “This ground don chop fine things oooo. Just see as e don chop that fine girl.”
“But her head no correct ooo,” the fourth man said. “How she go just kill herself like that, just because we fuck am small?”
They didn’t feel another presence over them. A presence listening to them. An angry presence.
The four men would be seen two days later screaming in pain, and begging an unseen presence for mercy, as they ran around the village.
Their bodies were beaten and blooded, as their clothes were torn up. They couldn’t run fast enough from whatever was chasing them.
Their bodies will be found hanging from trees in the forest the next day.
They hung themselves on trees surrounding the spot they raped Madam Koi Koi.
The Chief Priest was called before they would be cut down as was tradition.
The old man was dressed in a single piece of cloth, covering his lower body. He carried an iron staff which made a rattling noise when he walked. His face and body were designed with white chalk.
He went around the spot, ignoring the bodies still hanging from the trees.
“It was here,” he said. “A great crime was committed here. Oh, she is angry. She is very angry. Woe betide who walks in her path.”
He looked around as the crowd watched him. He could sense the presence. It was a very angry presence, hovering over them.
“I can feel you,” he said. He turned suddenly. “Yes I can see you. I understand your pain. It is terrible, the wrong they did to you.”
The people felt a cold chill sweep across the place, and some people took to their heels in fear.
The young men were cut down from the trees. They bodies were covered with marks like they had been beaten severally with a cane.
They were taken to the shrine of the Chief Priest for cleansing. It was a taboo in the village, for one to kill himself. The Chief Priest would perform as cleansing and appeasing rituals, before the person would be accepted for burial.
Fear gripped the people of the village as they circumstances of the death of the young men became public.
The girls living in the dormitories, started hearing sounds in school. The distinctive sound of female heels, clicking on the concrete floor, terrified the girls every night.
The girls that set Madam Koi Koi up, would always wake up in the morning with marks all over their bodies. They were marks from beatings given to them by an unseen presence
It was now obvious what was happening. Madam Koi Koi was back, and she was after those who wronged her.
The news of the death of the four rapists was everywhere. The words of the Chief Priest was in every mouth.
One of the girls would confess their crime to Sister Agnes. She didn’t want to die like the rapists.
Sister Agnes will call in the police to take care of the matter.
But the angry presence did not find peace.
Every night, like when she was alive, the girls living in the dormitory would hear the clicking of female heels on the floor, as she prowled the halls and corridors.
Reverend Father Patrick would prepare himself to perform an exorcism, to rid the school of the evil force that had taken over.
He came in company of some nuns, including Sister Agnes.
They started with Madam Evelyn’s room, where they prayed and sanctified with Holy Water.
Then they went around the school, sprinkling Holy Water everywhere, and praying. They moved to Madam Evelyn’s grave side and started the exorcism to banish the evil spirit.
A towering form emerged from the grave and unleashed terror on them. They were flogged with an invisible cane, as they scattered and ran for dear life.
The village wasn’t left out in the horror, as the sound of female heels were heard in the night, walking around in the market place. The presence also terrorised the family of those responsible for Madam Evelyn’s death.
Fearing the worst, they ran to the Chief Priest for help.
“We must appease the land,” the village Chief told Sister Agnes. “The soul of Madam Evelyn is not happy. She is not at rest. She needs to rest. The ground upon which she killed herself is sacred land, not minding you white people, have taken it over with your church. That place was the evil forest, the land of the spirits, where demons roamed free. Spilling of her blood on that land, awakened forces beyond your imagination. We’re going to give to tradition, what is for tradition, as your Bible says, give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. We must appease her spirit, so that she may go back to rest. Right now she is a very angry spirit, without a place to rest.”
The Principal had seen and heard quite enough, to know that things had gone beyond what she, or the priest in the old church could handle.
An attempt to exocize the grave, had turned out badly, and she had bruises to remember what happened.
“I shall not stand in your way,” Sister Agnes said. “But I will talk to Father Patrick about it before I give a final consent. But I’m confident he would not stand in your way.”
Father Patrick was Irish. He wouldn’t have gone on with the idea, but Sister Agnes reminded him what happened during the exorcism.
“You have to admit,” she told him. “There are some things beyond our understanding here, and with what we saw during the exorcism, I think we should be open to any help we can get.”
“If we must do this,” he said. “It must remind a secret within us all, the nuns and the staff included. The Bishop must not hear that we let a fetish priest perform some form of ritual on our consecrated ground.”
“Of course,” Sister Anges said. “I won’t have it any other way.”
Sister Agnes sent the school gateman to the leader of the village Council of chiefs, confirming the corroboration of the Priest to her acceptance of their request.
A fortnight after, at midnight, the Chief Priest and some village chiefs visited the grave of Madam Evelyn.
Cries, horrific, demonic screams, filled the night, striking fear into the hearts of the students and the staff.
The Catholic ngiest and the nuns took refuge in the church, where he prayers the rosary, calling on all the archangels to come to their rescue.
His eyes still hurt from where something had lashed him across the face, during his attempt to perform an exorcism on the grave.
Sister Agnes sat in her office, her fingers crossed, as she muttered prayers. There was nothing else they could do but to pray. She prayed for Evelyn’s soul. She loved her like her own child even though she didn’t have any.
The foundation of the buildings in the school trembled as a great force ran through it, banging windows and doors, as the screams continued.
The Chief Priest kept shouting incantations, as he carried a small calabash with fire burning inside it, and danced around the grave.
The village chiefs stood by the side of the grave. They all had palm fronds in their mouths. A bag of cement, four iron rods and a very big chain lay at their feet. A white fowl was tied up near them.
The wind and screams became stronger around the grave, but the fire in the calabash didn’t go off.
The Chief Priest shouted louder, daring the spirits in native language, as he called upon his gods to subdue the powers of the restless spirits.
Then came a very loud and agonising scream, and the wind stopped blowing, and the night became calm again.
The the grave stated to tremble. Sand started flying, as unseen hands dug open the grave. The casket Madam Evelyn was buried slowly came out from the ground.
The chiefs were now very afraid, but the Chief Priest had warned them never to show it.
“She’ll take control of you the moment you betray your fear,” he had warned them before they embarked on their mission. “She feeds on fear, and she’ll possess you and use you against us.”
The lid of the casket opened, and Madam Evelyn, dressed in her white burial gown stood up.
She wore her red high heeled shoes which she was buried in.
The Chief Priest noticed blood between her legs, and it soaked the dress. The blood was still very fresh. Tears were running down her face.
“I understand you are in pains, but you have had your vengeance,” he said. “It’s time you go to rest. It’s time for you to go and find peace in the world of the dead. The dead have no business with the living.”
“No!” her voice was cold and lifeless. “I am just starting. I have a lot to accomplish. Discipline must be instilled. Justice to the tenth generation must be served. I came to this life to fulfil a purpose, that purpose must be fulfilled.”
“The sins of the father,” the Chief Priest said. “Shall not be visited on the children, and their families. You’ve gotten your justice. It’s time for you to leave the living to dispense justice. Let the living fulfil your purpose.”
“No, old man,” she sounded. “I shall strike you down if you dare stand in my way. Nobody will stand in my way. Nobody will stop me.”
The Chief Priest ignored her and started chanting incantations. Evelyn raised her hand and a cane appeared in it.
She started moving towards the Chief Priest, but a strong wind lifted her from the ground, and threw her back into her coffin.
The coffin descended into the ground, and unseen hands covered it up. The chiefs were now paralysed with fear with what they witnessed happening before them.
The Chief Priest shouted at the to comport themselves, because the battle was not yet over.
The Chief Priest instructed the chiefs to dig four deep points around the grave, and filled it with cement mixture, which a bricklayer amongst the chiefs had prepared.
The four iron rods were dug deep, into the holes, and more cement was added to make it very strong.
The Chief Priest made incantations over the chain. He took the fowl and beheaded it, sprinkling the animal’s blood over the grave, as he made his incantations.
He danced around the grave as he worked the chain through rungs on the iron rods and locked it with a big padlock.
A ghostly form appeared over the grave. It tried to move forward, but a force kept it from moving.
The troubled spirit of Madam Evelyn had finally been caged within the confines of the grave.
“It is over Evelyn,” he said to the form. “It’s time for you to find peace. Leave the living and embrace your new home.”
The form let out a loud scream that resounded around the school compound, and the surrounding forest. The Chief Priest continued dancing around the grave and chanting.
The form slowly descended into the ground.
“It is done,” the Chief Priest said, turning to the chiefs. “Her soul will remain caged within the confines of this grave, for as long as this chain remains in tact. I have cast a strong spell that will keep the padlock from breaking, and as long as the spell remains active, her soul will not trouble anybody.”
“What about in the future?” one of the chiefs asked. “When we are no longer here to watch over it?”
“The story of the woman buried here,” the Chief Priest said. “Must be passed down from generation to generation. My successor will ensure this chain remains intact, as will his successors. This is a burden we must bear, because if she returns again, I fear for whoever stands in her way.”
Sister Agnes was the first to come out from her office. She met the chiefs and the old Chief Priest, as they started coming out from the cemetery.
The Catholic priest came out from the church, and came to join Sister Agnes.
“It is over Sister,” the Chief Priest said. “But I must warn you, under no circumstance, must the chain around her grave be removed. Evelyn is a very angry spirit, and every day she remains caged, makes her even more angry. She would be even more dangerous if she ever escapes her confinement.
“I shall be coming around regularly, to ensure the chain is secure. Please make sure your successors know what happened here today. The story of Madam Evelyn, must be told to every generation. The safety of this school and the staff and students, the safety of our village, depends on those chains remaining firmly in tact.”
“I understand,” Sister Agnes said.
She watched them walk away into the night. The rattling sound of the Chief Priest’s staff could still be heard in the distance.
Normalcy returned to the school after that night. There was no more strange noises or sightings in the school or in the village.
The girls who set Evelyn up were more than eighteen years of age, and were tried as adults. The judge handed down five years sentences on each one of them.
Sister Agnes hoped the sentencing would appease Madam Evelyn’s soul wherever she was.
One night, Sister Agnes would be walking past Madam Koi Koi’s grave when she’ll see her.
She was a white flickering form. Sister Agnes noticed her shoes were not flickering like the rest of her form. It seemed the only solid part of her.
She urged Sister Agnes to unlock the padlock and set her free.
“You know I would have loved to,” Sister Agnes said. “But you know I cannot.”
The form folded up and disappeared.