Kenny loved the quiet senior. Some of his colleagues said he had been expelled from the minor seminary before. But having known him from afar for more than three weeks, Kenny couldn’t see why he had ever been expelled in the first place. The senior had everything a junior student wanted. He was light-skinned and handsome. He walked gently and talked calmly. He even gave out his food and provisions to other people sometimes. Kenny already had a school father, but he knew he had to get close to this senior too.

For a shy boy of ten, Kenny was popular. He had a long list of seniors who wanted to be friends with him. Perhaps they loved his innocent face or the gentleness of his bearing. Others said they loved the way he danced. Whatever it was, Kenny knew he loved making friends, though making the first move was always the problem. This was why he didn’t know how to ask Senior Matthew to be his friend.

An opportunity came when Samuel, one of his classmates, wanted to go visit senior Mathew.
“Whoa! You know senior Matthew?” Kenny asked, mouth wide open.
“Yes nau,” Samuel responded with an air of pride. “He is my school Father.”
“Oh please do take me with you.” Kenny pleaded.
“No way!” Samuel objected. “He does not like new faces.”
“That has got to be a lie, right?” Kenny asked, eyebrows raised in doubt. “I see many junior students around him. I just want to be friends, that’s all.”
“Well,” Samuel shifted his weight from one foot to the other, “come sha. I can always tell him you wanted to follow me…”

That was how Kenny became one of senior Matthew’s friends. He was everything Kenny had expected – loving, caring and selfless. What more could a Jss 1 minor seminarian ask for? Matthew even went out of his way to make sure no junior student got punished unjustly. And since the other seniors respected him, they never argued with him for too long over any issue.

The first time Kenny felt something was amiss was when senior Matthew found him crying inside the hostel during Prep. Senior John had told him to sit on the wall for hours. Kenny thought he would die that day. His bones were on fire. His body shook like that of a child having a fit of epilepsy, yet senior John would not let him go. That was when senior Mathew walked into the hostel. There was so much shock on his face when he saw his school son in tears. He went straight to senior John to plead on Kenny’s behalf. Minutes later, senior Mathew was back.
“Sorry dear. What did you do to senior John though?” Matthew asked, bending slightly towards his school son.”
“I don’t know senior,” Kenny sobbed. “He said I had long nails.”
“Long nails?” Matthew screamed. “Is that why he is punishing you like this?”
“Yes senior.” Kenny tried to stretch his wobbling legs. He knew he wouldn’t last much longer. He wanted to collapse. Perhaps senior John would have some compassion if he suddenly fainted.

Matthew went a second time to plead with senior John. When he returned, he planted a kiss firmly on Kenny’s wet lips. Kenny had no time to react. Something told him deep down that senior Matthew was not supposed to do that, but he could not deny that it felt exciting. He felt a part of him tingle.
“You’re free now,” senior Matthew said in a husky voice.
Kenny wiped his lips with the back of his palms. “Thank you so much senior…” Before he could finish, senior Matthew’s lips were on his again…

Kenny knew he wasn’t supposed to undress inside senior Matthew’s cubicle. But he was having a hard time convincing the senior otherwise. The older student kept going on and on about things Kenny couldn’t understand. But Kenny felt his body tingle again. That unknown part of him was curious. It wanted something more. Kenny got a bit scared. He had no idea what senior Mathew wanted inside his pants but he wanted to find out. Senior Mathew kept saying it was nothing wrong, and that he would really like it. So he finally let senior Matthew pull off his shorts…

Kenny’s body was on fire. Before he could utter a word in self defense, another blow had landed on his face. He could taste his own blood. He knew he was going to die this time. No one should be able to bear the blows that came at him from every direction.
“Wetin una two dey do inside cubicle today?” A voice barked at Kenny for the umpteenth time.
Kenny wished they would simply let him explain. Amidst the belt and fist blows, he could hardly speak. He knew senior Mathew had done something to him that afternoon. He had felt something sticky on his body at a point, but that was it. He had no idea what had happened. How was he to know it was something so bad as deserving death?
“So you be homosexual abi?” Another voice yelled at him.
“Oh God please!” Kenny wailed. He had never heard the word before.
“Shut up there, idiot! You dey call God for dis kind matter? After you go let that useless senior f**k your yansh?”
Kenny tried to see the faces of those who assailed him.

Some senior students had taken him, Samuel his friend, and some others to a dark classroom during night prep. Kenny had suspected something was up. But he had been too scared to ask. But he couldn’t shake the feeling that whatever it was had something to do with what senior Mathew had done to him that afternoon. The slap that welcomed him into the dark classroom had thrown him off balance. At first, he had thought there was a secret cult in the minor seminary, and that he was in the process of being recruited. But that was before the voices started asking him questions he couldn’t answer…

Kenny stood with six of his classmates inside the Rector’s office later that evening. He was glad they were before the Rector. He knew he would finally get the chance to explain what had happened to him. But the appearance of the Rector when he finally came into the room wasn’t encouraging.
“So you kids are the homosexuals we have in the minor seminary huh?”
Kenny was shocked. What did it mean to be homosexual, and how had he suddenly become one? He raised up his finger to speak.
“Kenny! You know I’m so disappointed in you. How will your parents react when they hear you’re homosexual? Tell me!” The Rector bellowed in angry tones.
Kenny looked at his colleagues as he let his finger drop to his side. No one said anything. The words he had wanted to speak rushed back inside his throat. He felt sick, so sick he wanted to go home. It seemed he was the only one not yet convinced of being homosexual. He had to silently agree he had done something unforgivable.

When the Rector brought out his koboko and began flogging them, Kenny decided in his heart that senior Mathew was the worst thing that had ever happened to him. But he bore the pain inflicted by the cowhide whip as it landed again and again on his buttocks. After all, it was nothing compared to the beating he had received earlier that evening…

“Mathew, you are hereby expelled from the seminary. You have not only brought shame on your family, you have also brought shame on all of us. Your actions have clearly shown you’re an abuser of children. You preyed on their innocence and used them. If you weren’t under 18 you would be jailed for this heinous crime you have committed…”

From where he sat, Kenny closed his eyes and prayed. He knew the Rector would call their names next. Then the whole school would know he was homosexual. No one would believe him if he told them he was homosexual only for a day. Everyone would blame him for going to senior Matthew’s cubicle. He began considering suicide… He waited and waited, but the Rector never called any of their names. He breathed a sigh of relief and made up his mind never to trust anyone ever again. He eventually had to agree he had been abused by a minor in a minor seminary.


© Oselumhense Anetor, 2017. All rights reserved.

Photo credit: Pixabay free images.
Disclaimer: Image is used only figuratively and it does not in any way represent the actual person(s) portrayed in the story.

This is only a tip of the ice berg. Have you bought the ebook, Triumph of Innocence?