The traffic was expected. This was Apapa road, any other thing would have been suspicious. The long lines of cars, tanker drivers parking on the bridges, cars and trucks vying for space and superiority, was all prepared for. So, Timi was not surprised by the traffic. It was the eerie quiet that bothered her. The absence of the usual useless loud honking, throwing around of insults in English, Yoruba and any language that came to mind spooked her.
It could only mean one thing – an apocalypse had taken place and she was the last of humankind. She refused to think it was rapture because that would mean she was left behind and would go to hell. That was one possibility she refused to contemplate. She was honking loudly when she felt it- a seismic vibration. It was like everyone was frozen and the sound of her honking had awoken them. Pandemonium broke out. Screams of hurried prayers, incantations,jumbles of meaningless words that they hoped would save them. People leaving their cars and running. The two minutes of eerie quiet had turned to a stampede.
And that was when she saw it. A large beast. It was 7ft or maybe taller, with a gnarled, flaking face. From its nose, phlegm and green slime ran,with hot breaths puffing out, causing it to flare and relax sporadically. It’s mouth was wide and couldn’t be closed. From it more green slime poured, rancid and hot. It’s skin was mottled and greying, like an aging oak tree. It’s eyes were large and bulbous, but they were somewhat beautiful. Bright baby blues, clear like the morning skies.
It walked slowly, each step drawn out and calculated,purposeful and it seemed to be coming toward her. Timi was too stunned to run. She willed her hands and legs to move as she watched it clear cars in its path with a sweep of its hand, but they seemed to have fallen asleep. Two blinks later, the beast stood before her car, it yanked her door off of her car. She screamed as it pulled her out of her seat and help her in its long mangled dirty fingernails.
It’s hot breath fanned her frame, some of the gooey green from its nose and mouth dripped onto her hair and clothes. It was rapture afterall, Timi thought, this was the eternal torment. ‘It is not, Timi, it is not rapture. It is you’ its voice was horse and painful to hear.
‘how do you know my name? How do you know what I said ?Are you going to kill me?? Please just Kill me fast. I didn’t do anything ‘
The beast laughed, or tried to. The sound was like the scratching of nails on a chalkboard.
‘Therein lies the problem, you didn’t do anything. I cannot kill you, I am you. I am your mind. I am all your dreams you left to rot, I am all the intentions left on pages now yellowed with age. I am your gifts, left redundant. I am the shadow of a future meant to be beautiful, the broken chords of your discarded symphony. I am the embodiment of all your ifs and maybes. I’m everything you’ve never tried, the beauty you left to die.’
It thought again for a moment and then it said, ‘or I was. Now I rotten dying flesh. Now I am a robot, subject to fear and mediocrity. I am a demon. The demon of your creation.’
Timi shook her head spasmodically, like she could shake it away from existence. ‘no, I…. I…. No… No… No’
‘I am the cure you never spoke of, the reason some souls lie six feet below. I am the embodiment of your procrastination and inactions. I’m the light some still stumble in the darkness searching for. I am what you get for burying yourself. Now, I am here to take you to hell. Hell in your head. To forever plague you with thoughts of ‘I should have, had I known, I could’ve tried ‘ I have returned to replay what could’ve been like a broken record in your head.’
Then it raised two of its mangled fingers and pulled her right eyeball from her sockets. Blood poured and Timi screamed,repeatedly. The pain was blinding.
……..It’s time to wake up, the time is six o clock, it’s time to wake up the time is six o clock…it’s time to wake up the time is six o clock…….
Timi’s eyes opened to the familiar purple walls of her room, drenched in sweat and throat parched. She felt for her right eye and sighed with relief as she touched it. Life was normal, she was just a 100lvl student. And as she stared at herself in the mirror, contemplating the weird dream, Timi saw in a familiar gooey green, the words ‘La bete’,and the silhouette of the beast in her dream. Then she blinked and it was gone.
It’s the things we never do ,that keep us up and wondering .That fills our lives with maybes and had I knowns. The mistakes we make can be forgiven, it’s our inactions that become the ghosts that haunt us. Live out life, with everything in you,till you’ve exhausted all you were born with. That’s true success and satisfaction.