“You have to make a report, Abbey,” she says over and over again. “What is the meaning of this? In fact, you have to make a report.”
She brings out her smartphone and takes pictures of me.
“I report and they get in trouble, and the next time, I die in my sleep. Thanks but no thanks,” I say.
She wears me down about treating me anyway. I lie on my stomach, and she cleans my butt with liquid antiseptic. I bite my pillow to keep from crying. It takes me a minute before I realize she’s taking pictures of that side as well.
Unfortunately for me, I can’t jump up much as I wish. “What on earth are you doing?”
“This is evidence, Abbey. If you don’t plan to use it, I do.”
I moan. “Use it for what?”
“To apply for a transfer from this hell-dump.”
“Of course not.” I jerk up and wince. “You won’t use pictures of my butt to apply for your transfer.”
“And yours as well.” She chuckles. “If this picture reaches my head of department, they’ll give me less than 24 hours to get out of here.”
She takes a few more shots from different angles and then covers me with a wrapper. I hate her at that moment but she’s right. If there’s any report of assault, I will be transferred to another school. Which is such a good idea. But the humiliation of having to recant my ordeal is overwhelming.
“Please, Toro. Don’t do this to me. Don’t show pictures of my—”
She winks. “Trust me, Abbey. I’ll be discreet. You’ll need to make a report to your school as well.”
“Or else yours will have no basis.” I smile despite my pains. “Thanks for pointing it out.”
“You wish. Whether you report or not, I’m filing for transfer based on this assault, no water and lack of concern by the school authorities.”
“You’ll be implicating many people.” I snicker. “I pray for you, Toro. That the boys who assaulted me will not feel offended and come on to you.”
“I’m a big girl. I can take care of myself.” She closes the door behind her, and then shouts. “We still need to get water since you came back with none.”
The following morning, I force myself to get to school. The students would expect me not to be there. The pain on my behind has settled in and spread through my body. I have to walk like my body is in a cast but I refuse to look at any of the students in Bisi’s class.
Many thoughts cross my mind on what to do for revenge but as they come, I push them out. If I react, then they have won. My only concern is Toro. I need to stop her from making any reports.
Foyeke makes several implicating and provocative statements throughout the class period but I ignore. I may not be a village boy but I’m metal. I don’t dissolve in fire. Bisi giggles a few times. I think of asking them to stand in front of the class and read, or give the whole class a test, but each thought is swallowed up by the peace I feel within me.
I may not win with my cane, but these village kids will break under my will. I am resolved on this.
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