Editor's ChoiceSuspense and Horror

Hidden Venom

Big-Joe was reduced to tears as he sat in a staring competition with a glass of beer. A white envelope laid near the glass, as though kept separate to umpire the event. Big-Joe won’t dare to read its contents again. For the more he did, the more tears streamed down his cheeks. He had resolved to alcoholism as a way of easing stress and clearing troubles in the head. Hence, the contents of the envelope created a mauling wound in his heart.

Big-Joe had just been fired from office, in a job he had enjoyed for many years. Through this job, he had been sponsoring his fiancee, Nkechi, at the University. Nkechi was a lady he planned to make his wife as soon as she finished schooling. Big-Joe had tucked all his earnings on her, since he himself was not interested in eduction. It was just but a year left to go, when things turned scuzzy. Materialism stole Nkechi’s heart and she left school, scooting away with a Lagos business man, abandoning Big-Joe.

Big-Joe’s emotional turmoil and lackluster attitude towards work, angered his boss. And because his boss could not tolerate anymore of it, he asked that, Big-Joe, be sent a sack letter. This was the letter he brought to drink with him in the bar. The more he thought of Nkechi’s betrayal, his fired letter, and the poverty ahead of him, was the more alcohol became water to his throat. And the more his heart burned for revenge.

As he darted his eyes away, allowing the glass of beer to win the competition, he leaned over his hand and grabbed it. Gulping and belching, the liquid dragged its way through his oesophagus, and splashed against his stomach. Hardly had Joe dropped the glass when a cold hand patted on his left shoulder, and a woman’s voice whispered softly to his ears.

“I could ease your pain if you let me in.”

Though Big-Joe sank deep in thought, the cold air that waved over his shoulders, created a relief, which ran through his veins and formed a base in his spine. Instead of embracing the development, he felt more disturbed and quite nonchalant as to whose voice or hand was keeping him company.

“Perhaps I could give you some cash so you could go get yourself a life and be useful,” the voice spoke again.

Now, Big-Joe jolted to normal, felt agitated. He quickly darted his eyes across his shoulder to see who it was, but saw nothing. Fear gripped his bones. Hastily, he gulped his last glass of beer and made to leave the scene. Just then, a slender shaped woman with oval face, walked up to him and spoke seductively.

“Excuse me sir, you haven’t paid for your drink.”

As he deepened his hand into his front pocket to pay his bills, the woman added, “Perhaps I could ease your pains if you let me in.”

Winking and smiling, she swayed away her seductive buttock side by side. Big-Joe watched her back carefully until she was hidden by the front door of the bar. As if the spell of anxiety had been cast away from his eyes, and replaced with a spell of lust, Big-Joe immediately forgot his worries and began to wipe his eyes as though wanting to see clearer. Then, he began to advance forward towards the direction of the lady.

“Hey, wait!” Big-Joe was running after her. “I said wait!” As soon as he trotted inside the bar, the door behind him shut against him. Everything went pitch black. Power failure!

Minutes later, he began to scream, but no one heard his voice from outside.

When the bar opened the next morning, Big-Joe’s lifeless body laid on the floor, waiting to be carried away by mortuary attendants.

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