As I walked along the deserted path that night, imminent trepidation hung on my throat like a morsel of food that I couldn’t swallow when I was ailing, or when I lost appetite.
I knew I shouldn’t have waited until twelve before I left the church’s night vigil and headed for home.
I knew it would be too dark to navigate this terrain at night, but foolishly I ignored all the warnings my mind gave me and waited anyways.
So there I was, walking alone in an unknown path to my home which seemed miles away, the funny thing about that was, the more interspace I think I’d covered, the more the road stretched into a vast distance of nothingness.
It was awfully frigid that night. My jacket wasn’t providing as much warmth as I desired. I hugged myself subconsciously and rubbed on my biceps to provide little warmth, but that didn’t suffice.
It was still frigid.
I thought about going back to the church, and maybe spend the night there, but I was already far out, and I couldn’t give up, not now.
As I walked under the crescent moon’s little glow, I thought about why I stayed, I thought about Dae.
My joy and pride.
She invited me for this church program, and I couldn’t bring myself to say no. I stayed up late with her, now in a weird way I am paying the consequences.
It got even colder and stranger as I got deeper into the deserted woods. I could feel the nebulous night reaching out to me with blood-cold stained hands.
I heard the owls hooting distinctively, each sound reverberating through my head with an earthly echo.
I looked around nervously, my eyes darting to and fro in a frenzy pattern. I was swallowing and gulping down my saliva. I needed to get out of there, and I needed to quickly. I could tell something ominous was about to happen.
I was prophetic. Something didn’t feel right.
I increased my pace, moving real fast, almost as if I was running, my heartbeat thudding loudly beneath my chest, it was so vociferous I couldn’t tell between my footstep or heartbeat which was more resonant.
The night was haunting me slowly, I could feel it, I could sense it. I glanced quickly at my wrist-watch, squinting to get a better look, the moon’s obscure shape glistened back, but I could tell it was twelve-thirty five or something. I hurried on, sprinting, and that was when I heard the pounding
I slowed down a little, straining my ears to listen better, I could hear vividly the dreadful sound of pestle pounding on mortal.
That was unusual. Who pounds at night, I wondered?
The pounding continued, but it got bizarre-ed as it went on further, it sounded like bones been crushed. The sick sound of flesh tearing off skin.
Then came the cries. The newborn cries. The wailing in the distance. The cries had a pattern with the pounds. They synchronizer. The cries continued, then after a while, the pounds came, and then the cries stops.
This process continued as I walked. I was trembling badly. Whispers fluttered in the air around me, I couldn’t make a word of what I heard, they all sounded like deep sighs.
I had this mental image of infants being pounded alive. Wood crushing tender bones, woods splinters compelling themselves on effeminate flesh. I shuddered at the thought, and walked on. My disturbed mind reciting ‘the Lord’s Prayer’ as I moved in a really fast stride.
The owls continued hooting, the clouds were getting emotional, tears drizzling from there fluffy eyes. It was about to rain.
“Oh crap!” I cogitated. “I am gonna get wet.”
I was about to shield my phone when the dripping sound erupted, like a faucet leak in the kitchen, only this time the drip-drip sound wasn’t slow, it was a bit faster.
I paused, not sure what I was hearing, where was this sound coming from? It was uncertain, I was undecided. The unexpected sound added to the eerie sound of the creepy night.
I was about to turn around and head back to the church, when a sound stopped me. I doubled back tardily, because what I saw wasn’t normal. It was something I was having a hard time comprehending. My eyes were seeing something my brain couldn’t register.
I couldn’t speak. I tried to, but I croaked. I swallowed saliva, and looked. Right there standing few feet away from me were three kids. But these kids weren’t normal. They looked like daemons from hell. Dreads were hanging from head, covering their eyes. But as they swayed side to side, I could see their eyes, it was the color of deep, red blood, with multiple scars on their body, long stretch of brutal laceration that seem to be oozing yellow decaying pus.
The kids made a move towards me, I could feel their mephitis like a dead air, like a hovering cloud of stagnant pungent. It was a stench of death. I was frozen. I couldn’t move. I tried talking again, but I couldn’t. My voice was stolen. My mind was gone with the wind. The tremor I was feeling was tremendous.
I stood there frozen till the kids reached me. Now in proxy range, I discerned the kids were naked. They looked at me formidably, their necks twitching as they did.
“Uncle, help us, we are hungry,” they chanted in unison. “Uncle, help us. We’re starving,” they repeated.
I tried to move, but I couldn’t. I was rooted to the floor. My head and mind in a state of taciturn. I was speechless. I groaned from the pain of trying to move when I couldn’t. My head hurt.
The kids kept chanting of how they were hungry, their voices soaring through my head like quick jabs.
I yelled out.
I tried to move, fighting against the anguish I felt afterwards. Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw something glisten in the dark. A shiny object.
Before I could register fully what it was, and what it was intended for, I felt a sharp pain on my lower abdomen.
I can’t tell you what I felt, it was unexplainable. All I could feel was warm blood drooling slowly from my stomach to my groin. The knife extracted from my stomach, and went in again with a greater force.
… and that was when I woke up to my little brother tugging the sleeves of my shirt, “Chinedu, Chinedu, food don done. Mummy say make you con carry your own.”
I looked perplexed. Saliva on the side of my cheek.
Eyes red like I took a whiff of Jamaican weed.
“Emeka, wetin you talk?”