• Thursday, May 30, 2024
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BusinessDay

Monsters

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One minute, I was being tickled on my father’s lap. I was squirming and giggling begging him to stop and promising to be a good girl for the rest of the day. But the next minute, I was all alone. I ran to every room in the house screaming for my father, for my mother and even the house maid, but all I got back was silence. I was confused. What had happened? Where had everyone gone?

Was this that story which my Sunday school teacher, Miss Titi, always told us – that one day, all the good mommies, daddies, girls and boys would disappear and leave behind all others who had been naughty? But I told mommy I was the one who spilled the jar of milk and not the kitten who she blamed it on before. I told daddy that it was I who played with his favourite cuff links and mistakenly flushed one down the toilet when he thought he had lost it himself. Every naughty act I committed, I confessed and apologised. So, why am didn’t I go with them?

Then I remembered the fate of those left behind and shivers ran down my spine. According to Miss Titi, they would be munched by wild beasts. The beasts would start to eat them from their toes and work their way up until they reached the head. She said that the ‘munchee’ would not be able to do anything about it because a spell would have been put on them, paralysing all their senses and allowing only the head to function even after the death of the body but their eyes would be kept open forever. This would allow them to watch their bodies get devoured by the monsters after which they would put the head in an ever boiling pot of water and pepper and according to her; this would go on forever and ever.

I could not be a victim, I was going to escape and hide. I could not let that happen to me. Just as I was thinking so, I heard the front door open. The monsters were here. I ran to my favourite hide-and-seek spot praying that they would not find me there. I closed my eyes tight and I was praying and hoping that my parents would come back and rescue me. Just at that moment, I felt a soft tug on my leg. I could see nothing because my hide-out closet was dark. The tug came again. This time it brought a sharp pain and I was trying to move my leg as quietly as possible. I saw deep red eyes staring back at me and I screamed. Immediately, the door to my hiding place opened up and there were many pairs of bloodshot eyes staring at me with such glaring hunger that I didn’t think I was going to make it past the front door alive.

There was no way out and I had realised it. It would be foolhardy of me to make any effort for it was impossible for a mere 11-year-old to overpower the gigantic monsters. A flash of what my days would be like went by my mind’s eye and all I could do was weep. As hands carried me off to the butchery, I wept and wept. I thought about the good life I had, I thought about my parents, I thought about all the naughty things I had ever done and all I could say was ‘I’m sorry’. I repeated that over and over again even though I knew that it was medicine after death.

Suddenly, the once chilly air became so humid that I could barely breathe. Then I looked up, there was a long table and sitting around it were the red-eyed monsters with forks and knives in their hands. Already on the table were several little girls like me crying and screaming. The monsters had started to eat them from their toes up. As if that was not enough, the screaming head of a little girl was thrown into a huge pot filled with boiling water, red pepper and other wide eyed screaming heads.

I couldn’t accept this fate, I had to fight and I hoped I would die trying. I shut my eyes and began to kick and scream as hard as I could.

‘Chichi…’

I did not bother to look for who was calling my name. I was going to fight till I dropped.

‘Chichi!’, the voice called again but this time in a shout.

‘What!’, I yelled as I turned and opened my eyes, I saw my mother’s worried face looking down at me with her hand on my head.

‘It was only a bad dream my love’, she said.

Happy Independence Nigeria!

Oluwaseyi Lawal