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First pages

 PROLOGUE

The four o’clock bus was filling up quickly, thanks to the annual influx of academy students around this time. With July being the start of the school year, the new admissions were required to resume a week earlier, with the exclusion of prefects.

Students filed into the bus with backpacks and cellphones in hand, occassionally lifting their heads to search for preferred seating positions. The air blasting in from the windows felt different on the skin. It was dry and cool; a stark contrast to the usual, blistering heat of Dokano.

The lungs in Juuro Kabashi's chest came together in warm embrace, as he took in the green scenery from his window seat. He preferred seats towards the middle, so if anything happened upfront or at the back, he’d have a higher chance of surviving. In spite of his pessimistic tendencies, there was plenty for him to smile about. He had gained admission into the prestigious Dokano Academy, after passing the entrance exams for that year, and today was resumption day.

Of the available six hundred points, He'd scored five hundred and sixteen, and was second only to another score of five hundred and nineteen. Also, his eighteenth birthday was a little over five months ago, and he was still basking in the euphoria of being legally allowed to drink beer.

Up ahead, the ticket inspector called back the last of the new entrants, a lanky lad with sandy brown hair, and the bulgiest eyes Juuro had ever seen. He informed the passenger that he had maxed out his bus pass credit, and would have to pay anew for this particular ride.

An argument soon broke out between the two, with the lad dissing the inspector, and promising to employ him for less than the price of the bus pass. This angered the chubby inspector, who’d never quite developed the thick skin required for this job, in all his years of service. As a result, he went red in the cheeks, and began taking steps to evict the owing passenger. Before he could get to him however, the kid pulled out a wad of notes, which acted as a wall between himself and the inspector. This made the bus erupt in laughter, a laughter that continued well after the engine had started, and finally died down when the bus began to move.

Juuro wondered if this shared sense of camaraderie was the general mood at his intended destination. Everyone in the bus seemed so happy and at ease with each other, except for his seatmate perhaps. He had plugged in earphones, and gone to sleep as soon as he boarded.

Returning his gaze to the window, Juuro observed the beautiful, blue coast lines, and fine grained, beach sands on the way. It was a port city in a country of the same name. Its sparse population could be chalked down to the fact that it had exited a severe recession in the last decade; a period rife with guerilla assasinations, political upheavals and counter upheavals. However, it was also on the verge of an economic renaissance, and had repositioned itself as a destination for business, and a growing educational sector.

Its most famous landmark; The Dokano academy, prided itself on being the foremost centre of learning in the sub-Saharan region. With high, albeit strict standards applicable to its learning and living environments, he hoped nothing would get in the way of him having fun.

The bus jerked a bit as it drove past the Eastman properties billboard, veering off the clean, tarred road and onto a bumpy, sandy one. The road was flanked on either side by a combination of dust-covered thorny shrubbery, and towering oak trees that cushioned the rays from the high noon sun. As it trudged down the dusty terrain, the bus began to make a grating, screeching sound, before grinding slowly to a halt.

Thin wisps of smoke escaped from beneath the engine's hood, and both driver and inspector jumped down to diagnose the source of the halt. Juuro looked down at his smart watch, hoping this wouldnt be more than a slight delay, as today was the last day for registrations. The bus was still about an hour away from the campus, so he decided against getting too anxious.

The ticket inspector climbed into the driver's seat, awaiting orders to either switch off the engine or keep it running. By now, most of the students had exited the bus to stretch their legs, and see what the problem was. They had resumed their discussions from within the bus, while a handful formed a semi-circle behind the driver, discussing engine specifications and possible remedies to the current problem.

‘Turn it on!’ yelled the driver.

The inspector, doing as he was told, turned the key clockwise in the ignition. However, the engine only belched out a thicker puff of smoke.

‘Turn it off! Turn it off!’ the driver yelled again.

The ticket inspector again did as he was told and switched off the ignition, prompting a loud, metallic rattle from the engine, and a slight jerk, before going completely cold. He then went on a rant about poor maintenance culture, as Juuro watched in amusement, still seated inside the bus, next to his sleeping seatmate.

‘How long since you last serviced this bus?’ The inspector wailed.

‘This is exactly the sort of thing i hate. You guys divert funds required for maintenance and... .’

‘Shut the fuck up!’ said the red eyed, ginger bearded driver.

‘It’s just an issue with the bearing, I’ll fix it and we'll be outta here in the next hour or two.’ He said, to the disappointed groans of the students behind him.

‘Next hour or two?’ asked the short, bald student closest to the engine’s hood.

‘We have to finish our registration within the next hour sir!’ he said, looking at his watch.

‘The radiator is hot, needs sufficient time to cool down, so the top gasket doesn’t get blown’ said the bulgy eyed kid from earlier.

‘Yeah, yeah whatever, Give me a thirteen spanner there’ the driver said to the inspector in a muffled voice.

‘It’s a fifteen you’d need, and it’s a two man job’ said the bulgy eyed kid.

‘The hell do you know about spanners boy?’ said the driver.

‘My father owns an auto repair and customs shop, that’s enough certification’ said bulgy eyes, as he took off his maroon school jacket, and got under the bus with the driver.

‘I don’t see any thirteen spanner here’ said the inspector.

He shook his head, while opening the pigeon hole to search for the spanners.

The earlier jerk seemed to have woken up Juuro's seat mate, as he began fidgeting in his seat.

‘Hey brah’ he mumbled in a raspy, almost musical accent.

‘How’s it going? I’m Kukana, but most people call me Cooks’ he said, squeezing Juuros hand in a steel gripped handshake.

"I’m good man, I’m Juuro, nothing fancy"

He wasn’t sure if the red coloration in Cooks's eyes were as a result of sleep, or whatever it was his jacket reeked off, but the bloodshot hue looked too unnatural to be sleep-induced.

‘What’s happening brah?’ asked Cooks,

‘Car stopped for some unknown reason, we might be here a while’.

‘Fresher?’ Cooks asked.

‘Yeah, you?’

‘Sure mate... Listen, you and me…We’re going to change the world.’ said Cooks, with a bright smile and dimly lit eyes.

Juuro laughed at the grandiose claim, while staring straight at the chubby blonde’s wide, dumbo-like ears.

‘What a weirdo’, he thought to himself.

‘I’m from Ballaran, Ilbury, but grew up switching between Northern Pozonin and Tremojka.’ said Cooks.

‘That’s cool,’ Juuro replied.

‘I’m from Riva’s Cross, Nijora. Grew up in East end of Obenda though. Only just moved to Dokano about four years ago’ said Juuro.

There was a brief silence as the car seemed to have been kickstarted.

‘Major?’ Juuro asked.

‘I’m in education’

‘Why that? It’s not very lucrative, is it? ’ Juuro inquired.

‘Love working with kids’ Cooks replied with a satisfied tone.

‘I’m in Marketing Management’ chimed Juuro.

‘Oh that’s great, nice one mate’ said Cooks, as they shook hands again, before returning to their travel induced naps.

The bus gave a mechanical roar, and revved into action, to the applause of the students outside. They all boarded the bus, and everywhere was noisy and happy again. Soon enough, the bus left the dust path and was fast approaching the Tor Damisa Bridge, with the green scenery giving way to a massive expanse of blue, on either side of the bridge.

High waves made heavy, barrel roll movements in the body of water below, while the wind played macabre music against the bus's windows. Juuro opened his eyes briefly, likening the riverine location to the maximum security prisons he had seen on television.

As he closed his eyes to sleep once more, he was startled by the wild swerving movement of the bus, amidst high-pitched screams. It had somehow veered off the straight path, and hurtled on towards the railings of the bridge, before smashing right through it.

In a flash, the bus was airborne. A feeling of mass panic permeated the entire bus, especially among those who couldn’t swim. The bus was at least thirty feet from the water’s surface level, and must have made at least two flips in the air, before slamming into the water.

As the bus sank, its insides filled up with water from the open windows. This wasn’t a problem for Cooks. He was a first class swimmer, and was already half way out, via of one of the open windows. Juuro was one of the unfortunate few who couldn’t swim, but he knew he would have to learn on the spot, if he was going to have a fighting chance at survival.

He followed Cooks, but found it hard to keep afloat. Water had begun to seep into his lungs, leaving him with a choking sensation in his throat. His eyes welled up with saline tears, as bubbles escaped his mouth in an attempt to scream. By now, those who could swim were making their way to the top for air. The others continued their descent into the darkened depths, of a soon-to-be-certain watery grave.

He tried to claw back some air, but it was to no avail. Time seemed to slow down, and he became numb to all but the river’s icy caress on his face. In his head, the scene of his death had always been one of him on a plane. He had always imagined what things would be like, in those last moments before the plane crashed. Would he attempt to contact his loved ones? Would he swallow his pride and cry out to a divine power he never believed in? Or would he remain calm in his personal belief that nothing existed after this life? He didn’t have time to choose, as he could still feel his body fighting against the pull of the river's magnetic darkness.

The light at the river's roof grew dimmer. He felt a painful throbbing in his ears as his vision faded into darkness, right before the bus hit the water floor.

***

When he came to, he was lying on the middle of the bridge next to Cooks, who seemed shaken by the entire incident. He sat up straight; a shivering, red eyed mess, holding onto a drenched set of headphones. ‘Were it not for the graveness of the situation, it would have been an almost funny sight to behold.’ Juuro thought to himself.

‘Ay, WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED MATE!’ Cooks screamed.

Juuro was none the wiser, he had just woken up and hated being screamed at.

‘You tell me, I just got here’ ‘All i can remember is the bus sinking beneath me, and then I blacked out’ Juuro blurted.

'Mate, All i can remember is being unable to get to the top. It’s like there was some sort of water ceiling …no, a water prison of some sort, and none of us could get through.

I’m running out of air right? And then I look down and see you struggling to come up, so i go down to help. But then you were covered in some weird kind of blue light, and then i passed out"

Cooks stopped for a bit, furrowing his brows in full concentration.

‘Wake up and there absolutely no sign of the others or the bloody bus mate’ he said, while still shaking.

There was another pause, and the boys stared at each other in tensed silence, until they were interrupted by the rippling waves of the water beneath them. It was as though a massive cooker had just been turned on, and the entire body of water had reached its boiling point in that instant.

The sky had darkened in a matter of seconds, and the once fluffy white clouds had given way to jagged patches of grey. To the left of the bridge, a water tornado reminiscent of Juuro’s childhood bath memories, had begun to form. The memory was of one in which he would stick his hand in a bucket of water, and move it in a circular motion to create a swirl effect. This was similar albeit on a much larger scale, and instead of remaining below the centrifugal point, the swirl had risen upwards.

As the water spin decreased in velocity, certain humanoid features became readily identifiable; long slender limbs and large, transparent breasts with a concave hollow where nipples should have been. A slim midriff with rounded hips that merged at the solar plexus, marking the beginnings of a fish tail. Long liquid locks of hair flowed downwards between two, large, bat wings, completing the look of the monstrous apparition before them. The admiration came to a halt as soon as she bared a set of jagged dentition. There were gaps between her four front teeth, and sharpened incisor fangs at the corners of her mouth, much like a vampire.

Letting out a guttural roar, she lunged forward towards the freshmen, but before she could reach them, she got sucked into a wind-like vortex and disappeared, causing the vibrating water to calm down.

Juuro looked to the sky, absolutely mortified. None of it made any sense. Feelings of confusion and paranoia coursed through his head. It was as though a page out of a Greek mythology textbook had flown out, and manifested itself in real life.

He had gone all these years, happily debunking religious dogma on the basis of unseen evidence, and had just been treated to a spectacle. He wanted it to be a dream, hoping that it was perhaps the residue of whatever Cooks had been smoking, taking its toll on him, but Cooks had seen it all too.

‘Do you believe in the supernatural’ said a voice from behind the two teenagers.

They turned to face the direction of the voice, and found a girl Juuro hadnt noticed all this time. She lay groaning on the bridge, gripping her right leg in pain. Her studded, black, bomber jacket and jeans were soaking wet, along with her inner white tee. She had a patch of purple hair to the left side of her head, and a golden, tortoise shell amulet on her neck.

‘Didn’t quite get you the first time’ said Cooks, breaking the uneasy silence.

‘Do you believe in the supernatural? Ghosts, ghouls, creatures and events that can’t be explained, all that stuff.’ she repeated.

‘Only on Sundays and Thanksgiving I guess’ Cooks replied.

‘I don’t’ said Juuro, ‘at least not in the religious sense.’

‘You are atheist? How unfortunate.’ She said.

‘I wouldnt consider myself that either, as i do not care much for labels. I do however believe that behind every strange phenomenon, is a satisfactory explanation backed by the powers of science.’ Juuro stated.

‘Mate, I believe you make your own luck, but science better be able to explain the last thirty minutes mate, because there’s no explanation for what we just saw. Cooks chipped in, letting out a stressful sigh.

Juuro nodded.

‘I mean, like to an extent, you can plan properly for the next day and go to bed, and when you wake up next morning, things work out as planned.That’s the scientific way, not dumb luck or fate.’ He said.

‘Oh?’ the girl said with a light chuckle.

‘Let me ask you this then, what’s the best way to make a god laugh?’

‘You still assume that i even acknowledge such a thing as the concept of gods’ said Juuro.

‘Fair enough,’ she said with a mischievious smile.

‘Another weirdo’, Juuro thought to himself.

‘Look, nightfall is fast approaching, and not a single car has passed on this bridge yet. We can either sit here and wait for help, or begin to trek the rest of the distance to school.’ he said.

‘Please help me up, i seem to have broken my other leg, i can’t feel anything’ the girl said.

‘No problem mate, we’ve got you’ Cooks replied, as the boys lifted her onto their shoulders, and began to walk towards a huge, black, gate in the distance.

***

chapter 1
HANGOVER

Three days had passed since the resumption at Dokano, and Juuro had been awake since five o’ clock that morning. It didnt matter what time his eyes closed, his body seemed to be just fine with five hours of sleep. As a consequence, he hardly ever slept during the day. Most times, like the night before a date, or a journey, he remained up after the first wake.

This time however, the reason for his insomnia was connected to the events at Tor Damisa Bridge. He hadn’t died, who or what had saved him? What was that creature? Where had it come from? Where had it vanished to? These questions had haunted his thoughts, and kept resurfacing at around the same time of the day, at the tail end of his sleep sessions.

He thought about taking the next available bus back home, but wondered how it would sound telling his strict, spendthrift father, that the fees for the term would have to be forfeited over an illusion. An illusion of which he had constantly made a mockery of, with regards to a lack of evidence. Besides, there were other things to worry about. He had lost everything in the crash, and therefore, staying put seemed to be the best course of action.

The room was pitch dark. The blinds were drawn, and the lights were off, just the way light he liked it. He got up from the bed and felt his way to the toilet, switching on the lights for the first pee of the day. It was the first Saturday of the month, and most of the new students had swapped contacts and beers, at last night’s party. He glanced at the mirror beside him, and was reminded as to why he’d sworn off soda and alcohol. He’d broken his resolution last night, but the effects on his overall appearance were rather miniscule.

At six foot one, his figure had always betrayed his true athleticism, and in high school, he was frequently relegated to the goal keeping position during soccer tryouts. His hairstyle might have played a part in the stereotyped selection, as the curly hair was shaved at the sides, and almost always in short, twisted locks at the top. Lean, abdominal muscles reflected in the mirror. They weren’t the clear-cut, six pack diamonds he had wished for with the liquid fast, but they weren’t completely invisible either.

Pulling his eyelids downwards with both forefingers, he observed the hazel brown pupils sitting amidst clear, white backgrounds, which gave him a sense of assurance about his vital signs. He then turned on the tap and doused his face with water, before heading back to the room.

The table in the center of the room held up a computer. To his surprise, it wasn’t completely off, and had just finished installing updates. He must have slept off while trying to sign up on the school's social network; DokePoke. Everyone seemed to be talking about it at the party. ‘Hopefully, she would be on it as well,’ he thought to himself, as he clicked the sign up button.

Looking at the time on the computer’s clock, he turned on the speakers and began playing some music. The walls seemed to reverberate, as Cook's room wasnt just the one with the best view of the river dock, but he had somehow managed to get some powerful speakers installed in the walls, in no time.

He bemoaned the loss of his phone and other personal effects, and cursed the site's password registration system. It was picture based, and required new users to upload seven personal pictures. They would then have to click on five of the pictures sequentially, in a photogrid that appeared beneath the sign in box. He immediately went on facebook and downloaded the required pictures for the password setup.

In a few more clicks, he was done, and proceeded to log in his school i.d number. The page loaded up fully, and he clicked on the tag named #Freshers18 on the livefeed stream. Searching through the associated pictures, he came across a group selfie with the girl in it. She was the only girl in the pic, and therefore, singling out her name "Ada ‘Youthful Sparrow’ Ross", wasnt difficult.

As he moved the cursor to send her a friend request, His ears picked up a faint knocking sound. Turning down the volume of the music, he paused to listen closely. This time, the decibels had increased slightly, causing him to walk up to the door and unlock it.

Standing in front of him was a prefect in formal school wear. It consisted of a starched, white, long sleeved shirt, tucked into dark blue pants, a navy blue skinny tie and a pair of polished black shoes. Draped around the left sleeve of the shirt, was an arm band akin to those worn by the captains of professional soccer teams. It had the word ‘Prefect’ emblazoned on it, with the letter ‘P’ in a large, gold, uppercase font.

‘Your attention is required at the Dean of Student Affairs office, please wear a proper shirt and follow me’. He said with a stern look.

Juuro eyes rolled as far back in his head as they could, as he tried to recall any offences he might have committed. As far as he was concerned, last night’s party had been fun, because it was devoid of prefects, so he should be in the clear.

He closed the door and squinted up at the ceiling, mentally replaying the series of events preceding his exit from the party. Or at least, the bits he could still remember.

‘Here, take this,’ said a guy in a grey hood, as he handed a small pill pack, over to Cooks.

‘Thanks to your loan from earlier, i was able to finish up what i had been working on. I’ll pay the fourty grand as soon as I can’ he said.

‘Chill, didnt you just meet?’ Juuro cut in.

‘How are you lending him that much money? He asked, with a confused stare.

‘We've been mates from time, grew up together in Ballaran before i moved to Ilbury, even share the same birthday, mate’. Cooks said, patting the hooded guy on the back.

‘Plus he gets to invest in the start-up that will spring from this, so it’s not entirely altruistic’ said the hooded guy.

He held up a small purple pill with a yellow strip in the middle, and moved it around for everyone in the drinking circle to see.

‘The mixture is my trade secret but, I’ll let you in on the ingredients involved nonetheless. The nano chip particles, i designed myself. The rare amethyst dust and Lunacin, I had to buy. Can’t afford to divulge details about my plug, for proprietary reasons of course’ he said, nodding his head.

‘Once ingested, the amethyst dust acts as a bonding agent, while the neuro ganglia are drawn to the lunacin like magnets to a fridge door, and guide the nano chips to specific memory centres of the brain. The result is a chemically induced reality, in which the user’s brain manipulates stored memories and sensory receptor cells, according to a set of pre-programmed realities that come embedded in the nano chips.’

‘Tonight is not the night mate, you might want to speak in a more human dialect’ scoffed Cooks.

‘Alright, long story short, it’s a smart drug which grants you the ability to design your own high. You determine the visuals and sensation in your high, right from the software. It’s a high that’s custom made for you and you alone.’

‘Designer dope’ Cooks interjected, with a smile on his face.

‘No, not designer dope, Happy Ghost. That’s the name’, the hooded guy corrected.

‘The usb stick is 400 bucks, with another 20 bucks per pack for the pills’. He added.

‘That’s nice and all, but I believe I have something even better, and it’s free’ whispered Noma, the girl from the Tor Damisa Bridge incident.

‘It’s called Black Blood, you should try it’ she said, as she held out an open palm to reveal six black pills.

‘I don’t do drugs’ said Saimon, the evangelist’s son.

‘I only do drugs when I smoke, and I only smoke when I drink, and I only drink when my mate creates something as mad as this. I’m having both, saving them for later’ said Cooks, as he picked a pill from both peddlers.

Juuro followed suit and swallowed both immediately. The hooded guy picked two of the Black Blood pills, and dropped them in a small pouch containing his own Happy Ghost pills. The two girls in the circle were about to pick theirs, when Juuro was startled out of his recollection by the prefect’s voice, asking him to hurry things up.

***

The trip down memory lane reminded him of his meeting at the Student Affairs building by noon. He was due for course registration, along with Cooks and the girl from the bridge. They had only been able to register for housing placements on the day of resumption, as the academic staff had closed by the time they arrived. As luck would have it, the resident registrar had listened to their tales about the bus breakdown, and decided to help by alloting them a special registration time slot on the weekend.

He put on a red and black checkered shirt, with black pants, white socks and black flip flops. Grabbing his black, beaded bracelet, he switched off the room lights and headed out towards the administrative block.

Walking past the cafeteria, he knew didn’t want to miss the afternoon lunch. The menu said there’d be a serving of boiled beans and noodles, with a side helping of chopped beef sausages and fried plantains. He sighed as he glanced at his watch, observing the short hand pointing at four, and the long, hand static at eleven, and a deep groan escaped his chest, upon the realization that he was going to miss the meal.

‘Don’t keep the dean waiting, hurry your steps’ the prefect said.

‘Any ideas as to why I’m being requested for? Any problem?’ Juuro asked, as they approached the admin block.

‘Dont ask me anything. You will know once you get there’. The prefect replied in a stern tone.

They made a left turn and headed into a tall building with students jostling about; papers and book folders in hand. The prefect stopped to exchange greetings another prefect, before making his way up a flight of stairs, with Juuro in tow. Three offices to the right, and down the hallway on the second floor, was the door to the dean's office. It was semi-transparent and made from blurred glass. The prefect knocked on it twice, before opening it to poke his head in.

‘Good day sir, I’ve brought him here.’ The prefect announced.

‘Come in’, a voice answered from the other side of the door.

Standing behind, Juuro could hear low-pitched murmuring ahead, as the prefect stepped aside to let him into the office. It was a large room, filled with books stacked on wall shelves. A photocopier stood at the extreme end to his left, close to a flatscreen TV flanked by potraits of the dean in school regalia.

Twin desks doubled as work space, and an additional book shelf was placed close to the large window, to form a longer desk. Behind it sat four people, with one of them being a woman in a pink frock. Another was a middle aged man, squinting in thick, black framed glasses and a plain, blue polo shirt. That was Mr. Harrison Moghalu, The Dean of Student Affairs at Dokano. The other two on the panel were random lecturers, and they all seemed to be having a hard time with the three students seated in front of them.

‘Mr. Ilgrove. I’ll ask you again. Have you got anything to admit to this panel, concerning the events of last night at the quadrangle?’ asked Dean Harrison.

‘I think so.’ Cooks replied sheepishly.

‘And have you finally come to a conclusion on what happened?’ hissed the woman in the pink frock.

‘Yes, I think I’m starting to remember bits and pieces of what i was told, seeing as i wasn’t there myself.’ said Cooks.

‘You want to play coy, young man?’ asked the Dean.

‘We’ve seen a lot of your type pass through here, and believe me, life can get difficult for you really fast?’

‘I’ve told you everything i can remember, sir.’ Cooks replied.

‘Nothing to add?’

‘Nothing at all, sir.’

‘Well then, how bout I make some suggestions to you. Last night at about ten pm, you and your cohorts organised a party for the freshman students; and in that same party, banned substances such as marijuana and alcohol flowed freely. True or false?’

‘False Sir’ Cooks answered with a sigh and a shake of the head.

‘Eye witnesses report that you were in fact, the primary peddler of these substances, and even filled the whole quadrangle with enough smoke to set off all fire alarms in the building.’

‘I dont recall doing that sir’. Cooks interjected. ‘Definitely not me.’

‘Granted, you have the right to social congress and throwing parties, of course, that’s okay, but we are very clear on what we do not allow on the school's premises. Its all in there" said Dean Harrison, tapping the school prospectus on the table with his forefinger.

‘Quite frankly, this makes my case for the inclusion of security cameras in the dorm rooms’ said the woman in the pink frock.

‘No need to go that far Madam Zacha, He is allowed to wriggle as much as he likes. Afterall, there are many ways to catch a fish. Two ways in this case, the easy and the hard.’ said the dean, holding up two fingers in the air at the students.

‘Both come with consequences, and we would much prefer to not go the hard way.’ Dean Harrison stated.

He shifted his gaze to Noma who was seated next to Cooks.

‘Young lady are you still goin to maintain this lie?’ He asked with a tone of finality.

‘There was no party, sir.’ said Noma, shifting in her seat.

‘In that case, we can’t go any further here. Would you all please go over to the ground floor, and wait by the reception desk.’

Cooks stood up to leave, and as the woman in pink motioned for Juuro to come over, he could clearly read Cooks lips saying, ‘dont say anything’.

‘Please sit down Mister...’

‘Juuro.’ He stated promptly.

‘Any other names? Essien. Kajuuro Essien Kabashi.’

‘Good. Now, Mr. Juuro, I’m going to ask you to kindly relate to us, the events of the party last night at Omi House’ said Madam Zacha.

‘It was fun’. Juuro replied.

‘And?’

‘Plenty of fun. Most fun I’ve had in my life.’ answered Juuro.

‘Did you consume marijuana last night?’ she poked.

‘No i didnt. The party was drug and alcohol free, and i got to socialise with my fellow fresher students. It was clean, harmless fun.’

‘Look, I’ll tell you what we told your colleagues out there, there is an easy way to this, and a hard way. If you are willing to put down on paper, your admittance to the claim of posessing marijuana last night, we may be lenient and let you off with a semester's suspension.’

Juuro shook his head slowly.

‘If however, you choose to let us bear the expense of following through with a lab test, then it will result in the direct expulsion of you and your friends, after you must have all paid for the lab test costs.’ said Dean Harrison, as he took off his glasses.

‘I dont recall ever coming in contact with marijuana, in my time at Dokano sir.’

‘Alright then, you guys have it your way. Please proceed to the reception area, there is a bus waiting to take you all to the Esadomo Medical Center.’

Juuro got up and pushed his chair back in. As he walked to the door, he wondered if he had made the right decision, or a bad situation worse, as he closed the door behind him.

Downstairs, Cooks and the others were already seated in an open ambulance. He was busy chatting up the girl in the floral dress. Noma was decked out in her favorite black, bomber jacket, and leather pants. She was seated across the hooded guy from the night of the party.


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

Hi guys. I'm Sirra Arris, the author of Juuro: The Night Key. I got done with school a while ago, and with all this free time, decided to engage in my favorite, childhood past time; reading about fantasy worlds, and creating them. TV time was limited for me while growing up, & as soon as i got home from school, i would make these papier mache humanoid figures, and use them to enact scenes in my head. These days i just smash the words into my half broken PCscreen. I hope you enjoy the read :))

Q. What was the hardest part of writing this book?
A.
The hardest part of writing this book, was keeping my eyes open at 2 am, when i needed to be out the house by 7 am. Had almost no time, because i need to eat to survive. I do odd jobs and come back by six. By the time i bathe and eat, its already 10 pm or so, and my eyelids are heavy with sleep. :'(
Q. What books have influenced your life the most?
A.
Honestly i'd start with all of Robert Green's books, and then Robert Kiyosaki. Probably got a thing for robs. Outside that, i've pretty much been a manga reader. Sometimes i catch myself attempting a shadow clone jutsu from Kishimoto's Naruto, or comparing my badly dressed habits to L from DeathNote
Q. Where can readers find out more about you?
A.
Working towards getting a site in the nearest future, but for now, You can all follow me on twitter, @BadCreativ3 or if you'd prefer to hear me speak, search for my youtube channel. Its @SirraArris and its available here https://youtu.be/q4M2wcyV9Ak Dont forget to like, subscribe, share and comment.

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