The Mystery of Madam Koin-Koin – Part 1

Her Shoes

Her Shoes

Temi woke up and looked into pitch darkness.  Save for the snores of the other girls in her dormitory room, there was no other sound.  Well, except for what she assumed to be crickets chirping.  But it was not the crickets that had woken her up.

“I shouldn’t have drunk so much water before going to bed.  Who’s going to follow me to the bathroom at this hour?”

She slipped her right hand under her pillow and drew out a digital watch.  Her brother had given it to her just before she went off to boarding school three months ago.  Her classmates had teased her for wearing a “boy’s watch” as they called it.  This boy’s watch was the only source of light in that dark room.

2:34 a.m.  Great! Perfect time to go wandering off to the bathroom alone.  The same question repeated itself in her mind: “Who’s going to follow me to the bathroom at this hour?”

She quickly ran through a mental checklist.  Dayo, her bunk-mate who slept on the top bunk, slept like a log.  She would be sure to give Temi a hot slap if Temi made the mistake of asking her to accompany her on this night-time visit.  Dayo did not joke with her sleep and had already made that clear the other day.  Temi had interrupted Dayo’s afternoon siesta to ask if she could borrow a few cubes of sugar.  If not for Temi’s fast reflexes, Dayo’s hand would have made a temporary tattoo on Temi’s face.

“No! Definitely not Dayo.”

What about Jemima? Jemima was the new girl who had transferred from a school outside Lagos to their school,  in the middle of the semester.  She seemed to get along with everyone, including the senior girls.  They did not send her on useless errands at all.  Temi was not so lucky.  She seemed to have a large sign on her head that read:


Suddenly, she remembered. Crap! Jemima had caught that cold that was going round the school, a common occurrence during the rainy season.  Because Jemima was asthmatic, she had to sleep in the sick bay until she recovered.

What about Esther? Temi pondered on this option for about 30 seconds and then crossed her name off the list.  Esther was just as scared of the dark as Temi was.

Exasperated, Temi was faced with only one option: go to the bathroom alone.  For the past three months, she had been careful to make her bathroom run before going to bed.  However, last night was different.  She had unexpectedly developed hiccups just before lights out, and had to down a few cups of water to get rid of it.  Now, the water was begging for release at 2:34 a.m.

To make matters worse, she remembered what her classmates had told her during prep the day before.  A group of girls in her class had decided (without her permission, of course) to inform her of the prevailing myth in school: the mysterious Madam Koin Koin.  At first, Temi had laughed at the idea of a woman or creature – no one knew which – who patrolled the halls of the dormitory only at night.  No girl had ever seen her.  In fact, as the myth went, no one lived to tell the story.

“Why did those silly girls have to tell me this rubbish story? Who said ignorance was not bliss?” Temi lamented bitterly.

The pressure on her bladder was urgent, interrupting her mental soliloquy.  She knew she did not have much time.  The other option – to sit there and wet her bed – was not exactly an option.  “Bed-wetter” was not a nickname she looked forward to.  Labels like that never go away.   Jimi, her elder brother, was living proof.  Although he was now a university graduate, his friends and ex-classmates still jokingly called him Camphor.  The name had stuck just like the strong smell of camphor on his school uniforms.

No, Temi was not going to be labelled.  She got up and hurriedly wore her rubber slippers.  Gingerly creeping around the dorm room, she felt her way to the door, bumping into a few beds along the way.  As soon as she reached the door, her foot struck something odd.  The hollow sound that bounced back was like that of an empty box.  Opening the door slightly, she tried to look at what she had kicked.  Just then, the moon unveiled herself from behind a cloud where she had been hiding.  The moonlight shone near the door and Temi saw what appeared to be a shoe box by the door.

Who on earth would put a shoe box by the door? While the thought was still forming in her mind, Temi turned around sharply.  She heard approaching footsteps.  But, these were not rubber-clad soles.

“Koin, koin, koin ….”

The sound of shoe soles hitting the concrete floor sounded eerie at that hour.  Temi’s impression from the timing of each step was that this person was walking leisurely.

“This person is taking her sweet time,” she thought.

And then, almost as suddenly as it started, the footsteps stopped abruptly, a few yards shy of Temi’s dorm room door.  This whole time, Temi had stood rooted to the same spot, frozen stiff with fear.    Was this who she thought it was?

Just then, it started whistling.  Faintly at first, and then slowly it became louder.  Temi could not believe her ears.  She knew that tune.


[Picture Source]

24 thoughts on “The Mystery of Madam Koin-Koin – Part 1

  1. Hahahahaha! You go boarding house well well. Those silly boarders and their horror bedtime tales. I was a victim once and woke up middle of the night hallucinating ; imagining I was being “pressed” by 3 witches in pitch-black cassocks. The pranks kids play can send one to an early grave. Dem nor try at all at all.

  2. Lol! Sharon! I love love love this piece and I am grateful I never experienced the boarding school life. Madam Koin Koin would have fried my skinny self and had me for dinner…


    • Bola: You need to have seen the way I was shinning my teeth on reading your comment. Been a while o. Thanks for ‘love, love, love’-ing the piece. Madam Koin-Koin couldn’t have touched you … if you didn’t go off wandering at night 😉

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  4. Sharon, I also experienced both sides. I was a day-student from JSS1 to SS1 & a boarder from SS2. I prefer boardin jor. It prepares one beta 2 face d challenges of life. Besides, u get a chance 2 romance Madam Koi Koi *winks*

    • King Koboko: Lol at romancing Koin Koin. I am not sure about that sha. Maybe she will agree if you show her your Koboko. Who knows? But you’re right. Boarding school prepares you for life’s challenges in its own unique ways. So does Uni.

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  6. Hahahahahahhaha….I can’t believe I’m laughing now, but when I was in boarding house it wasn’t funny at all. My eyes saw things….strange things….or maybe my mind had just been extremely fed with all those scary stories that my mind made my eyes believe they were seeing scary things. *shivers*

    • Munwa: Lol! Yes, in boarding house you are forced to hear strange stories, even the ones you don’t want to hear. I heard that those ‘bush baby’ sounds were baby goats bleating sha. Still don’t believe it.

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