(Adapted from real-life experience/s)
I have a beautiful name, Paschal that was given to me by my parents during my baptism as a child. My parents were close to our parish priest, who left Belfast several years ago to work as a missionary in Nigeria. They said I was such a bubbly little boy, full of energy and life and had named me Paschal because they wanted me to be like the Irish priest. Family friends who visit my parents are usually thrilled by my stage plays: I could mimick just any sound I hear and my mom believed I would likely become a clown if they didn’t stop me in my tracks. I bought the idea of becoming a priest but by a stroke of ill-luck missed sitting for the entrance exam into the junior seminary.
My parents decided to send me to an all-boys secondary school owned by the church, with the hope that I’ll be kept away from girls. It was the only alternative as close to a seminary education as the regulations in the boarding house were as strict as they could have been in a seminary. With joy my parents drove me down to the boarding house and it became my home for the next 6 years. I was only 12 and my class was a mix-grill of innocent, naive and exuberant boys who had dreams and goals. I didn’t hide the fact that my dream was to become a priest at the end of the day! We all had one ‘senior’ or the other who protected us from being punished by senior students both in the dormitory and during the school hours.
Senior Kennedy was very popular among the junior and senior students alike, and everyone liked him for his cool-headedness. He was made the Chapel Prefect in SS1 due to his consistency and commitment to attending church activities in the school. Since I planned to be a priest, I decided to fulfil the maxim that says, ‘birds of the same feather, always flock together’ and told him I wanted him to be my ‘school father’. My parents were delighted with news when they came during one of our visiting days. So I managed to keep away from the wrong crowd. I closed my eyes when some mischievious classmates pull out ‘Playboy” magazines they stole from their dad’s collections to watch in between lesson periods.
They would usually congregate around the locker of the particular student with each little boy struggling for a vantage position to see the naked women on display. There’s always a giggle and muted chuckles from my classmates whenever a new page is opened. Usually, another student will stand by the entrance door to check when a teacher or prefect is close by. Once he whistles, everyone dashes back to their seats to evade any traps! I liked Senior Kennedy so much and he would rescue us from being flogged or terrorised by the senior students, and sometimes gave us provisions.
He and a few of the senior students had the rare privilege of staying back in the dormitory to rest during preps, and would ask a junior student to attend to them. But none of us the junior students knew why. It was not until my JS that it all came to light. My best friend, Kalu had gone to deliver a message to Senior Kennedy and his group in the dormitory during the games period after the one of the afternoon preps. I waited for him to join us at the football pitch but didn’t come back until the game finished. Kalu liked football so much and was one of the best strikers in the junior team. When he came back, Kalu looked sullen and depressed. I tried to make him talk but he wouldn’t budge so I gave up.
After a couple of days, Kalu brightened up and never told me whatever that happened even though we never hid any secret from each other before then. A week after while we were having our afternoon prep, my classmates hounded around another locker to flip through another porn mag. A particular picture aroused a lot of interest among my classmates. Curious to know why, I brushed aside my religious inhibitions and drew closer to peer at the magazine.
It was a picture of two men having anal sex; which to me was the most bizarre scene I had ever seen. In my naivety, I asked Kalu who was part of the group, ” What are those two naked men doing in that picture? Why did he put his wee-wee into that man’s anus? Will the shit not stain his wee-wee and make it to smell?” The class roared in laughter and many jeered at me with shouts of ” Reverend Father, ” Mr JJC”, ”St. Innocent”, ‘ Mummy’s boy” and ” Mr Ntu” . Feeling a bit embarrassed, I asked why they called me such degrading names especially ‘Mr Ntu’ which seemed to fly around with ease.
One of my classmates, Emeka who is the clown of the class asked derogatorily, ” Mr Innocent, so you don’t even know what is Ntu?
I sure knew what ‘ntu’ was and answered. ‘Ntu is nail ofcourse, or what had a nail got to do with my question? I retorted.
The whole class roared in laughter and chanted…”Mr Ntu, Mr Ntu, Mr Ntu…” singing and chanting, beating their lockers to the rhythm of the chant. The song came to an abrupt end when the next the class emissary announced the arrival of the next lesson teacher.
Still curious, I asked Emeka during that evening’s game and my vocabulary increased that day.
‘Mr Ntu is any boy that does ‘ikpo ntu’ with another boy like those men in that magazine’ he said, chuckling.
”But I didn’t see any nail or hammer in that magazine. Do you mean those men are carpenters? I asked.
Emeka couldn’t hold back his laughter.’ So you want to tell me that you didn’t hear that Senior Kennedy and his ba bad friends forced Kalu to do ‘ikpo ntu’ with them last week? So you don’t know that since we don’t have girls in our schools, the senior boys used to have sex in the anus of junior boys?
”Kalu is my friend, and Senior Kennedy cannot do that kind of thing. Don’t you know he’s the Chapel prefect?”
“So you think am lying to you ehh? OK now, when you go back to the dormitory ask Kalu if am telling the truth or not”, Emeka said and walked away
I felt a hand move and rove over my body . I was far from deep sleep. But it was a soothing caress that lulled the hairs on my body to rest. The fingers of this hand were discreet in their cadence; stroking, teasing and gently kneading my chest muscles and wriggled down to my pubic area. A current of pleasure surged through me like hot flushes of blood and I tried to open my eyes, but the weight of darkness made my eyelids too heavy.
The same hand that caressed my body now enveloped my eyes. Another gagged my mouth. Additional hands hauled me out of my dormitory bed; a double-decker bunk bed! I could only hear the eerie screeches of crickets and the howls of owls. I was afraid but couldn’t shout. I struggled and kicked my legs but the hands that gripped them were stronger. I knew I was been carried away; to where, by whom, for what purpose? Ritualists? Human traffickers?
The dormitory door was unlatched quietly, and the door hinges didn’t protest nor cringe. I felt the cold air over my body as my pajamas eased out of my body. My heart raced and bumped like a bike on a bumpy road. Am I about to be slaughtered? God don’t let them kill me?
Prayers refused to exit from my gagged-mouth; now stuffed and sealed with my pajamas, I suppose. The faint voices sounded familiar but distant. Could that be Senior Kennedy’s?
“Abeg make I go the first round’, the first voice pleaded.
“No, I go do am quick quick’, the second voice said in hushed but firm tone.
‘E suppose be my turn this time around’, a third voice protested.
In a matter of minutes, they flung me into bent-over position. I felt a hand rub my anal area with an ointment; maybe Vaseline jelly. A stiff object poked through anal orifice like a jagged nail and began to thrust in a sequence of movements. I cringed and let out a cry but couldn’t hear myself.
I felt a current of excruciating pain tinged with pleasure surge through my entire body as the back and forth thrust increased in intensity. I was between heaven and hell and co
uldn’t figure out what went in and out of me. The only sign that I was alive was the hushed voice that moaned and heaved with each thrust; and the pressure of the hands that gripped my waist and trunk.
The thrusts ceased and the stiff object limped out of me.
“Na my turn now” the other voice said.
“You better be fast before them go catch us oooh!”
Another round of rhythmic thrusts assailed my sore and painful anus for what seemed like eternity. Hot tears seeped out of my sealed eyelids. The pain had become unbearable and I tried to kick and punch at my assailants to no avail. My arms had grown limp and my body, flail.
Someone shook my body vigorously. I managed to open my eyes but saw only a silhouette-like figure bent over me. He shook and shoved me the more.
“This nonsense boy, common wake up jooo! Everybody is getting ready for class and you’re still lying down on your bed like a lazy cow.”
Though I didn’t make a sense of what he said, his voice mocked like Emeka’s; the clown of my class.
“Mummy’s boy, you better stand up before the senior prefect flogs the hell out of your coconut head”.
Full of mischief, he pinched my forearm and I gave a grunt and twitched in pain. Still uttering no meaningful words, save for the groaning hiss that escaped from my clasped lips, he shook me as he tried to rouse and move my body.
He paused. Two big eyeballs leered at me with dilated pupils. His shrieking scream jagged me back to life.
“Blooooooood!” Emeka shouted.
In a flash, a horde of my dorm mates circled around my bunk to see the blood stain on my bed sheets. Apparently I had fainted along the line and my assailants quietly tucked me back in my bed, and covered me with my swaddling clothes; now stained with blood.
My rumpled pajamas had sucked in the blood like surgical swabs stuck into the sore ends of a sutured wound from a scalpel. As they turned me over to my side, the source of the blood stains no longer could hide like the tummy of a pregnant woman.
They made a quick diagnosis of my condition; a case of sore and bleeding anus in an all-boys secondary school can only point to what we called ‘bone-to-bone’ or ‘ikpo ntu’- translated literally as hammering a nail into an object-; the rape of a junior boy by the senior boys and a rite of passage to a world as dark and sordid as anyone can imagine.
This usually happens when senior students are about rounding up their final exams, targeting boys they want to send to hell. My assailants may’ve even joined to commiserate with me. And even if anyone had known, no one would dare to open up.
Kalu’s case was reported to the Principal but the case died as soon as it was opened; ‘ikpo ntu’ was a necessary evil; an outlet for seething passion and lustful embers lodged in the loins of rabid teenagers whose animal instincts ruled once they enter their moments of heat.
I couldn’t go to class that day and was taken to the dispensary where the matron cleaned me up with disinfectants, before dressing my wounds. Her needles pumped in antibiotics and analgesics into my blood stream.
“God punish those wicked boys, and it will never be well for them’, she cursed.
After the initial shock and all, life in my dorm settled back to its normal pace. And I became one of the butts of the class jokes; a victim of ‘ikpo ntu’ who now belongs to a class of boys that have had an experience that is etched in their memories forever.
A cult of boys who grew up into men overnight. A group of boys whose psyche and sexuality has become transformed. Angry at other men, and abhorrers of women but lustful of some men. A strange world that I found myself!(To be continued)