I’d sworn I’d never spend another holiday here in Abuja with Uncle Tijani because he is as closefisted as those exquisitely dressed Christians who crumple their five naira notes into a tiny ball before dipping it in the offering bag. But Lagos is a long way to go especially when the strike is quite unpredictable. And so, here I am again, even though he’d only squeezed out one thousand naira before I left the last time – a little over a year now, I think.
I was relieved when Amina came in to rescue me from the  incessant babbling of Uncle TJ’s wife after she’d informed me that he’d soon be home from work. Now, as we lumber up the steps with our free hands grasping the banister so that the weight of my luggage doesn’t send us tumbling down the stairs, I wonder at Amina’s strength.
Finally, we reach the guestroom and Amina unlocks it tentatively.
“Aunty, I don dey go,” she says, her words thick with the Hausa accent.
“Haba! Help me carry am inside.”
I observe her demeanor, a commingling of reluctance and consternation, as she stands, rooted to the spot.
“Oya na,” I prod.
“Aunty, I don stop to enter this room.”
A moment passes before she offers an explanation.
“Aunty, somebody die for here last month.”
I’m not particularly sure what to make of her statement and so I contract my face until she sees the confusion in my quirked brow and explains further.
“Aunty, one of oga friends come visit from village. He stay for this room. The second night, armed robbers come here. Them shoot am for head because he dey argue with them. Aunty, if you see how blood full everywhere. Since that time, I stop to dey enter here, unless to clean. And I dey leave the door open.”
Her brief recount leaves a vivid image in my mind, one filled with warm, sticky, metallic-smelling blood pooling on the tiled floor, and for a moment, the room loses its appeal.
I know, for sure, that I will have nightmares if I sleep here, but what other options are there since Amina’s bed is the kitchen floor.
We fit the bags in a decent space and Amina leaves. A moment later, exhaustion causes me to climb atop the bed without a shower, and soon sleep whisks me away.
A loud whooshing noise startles me into wakefulness and I sit up with wary eyes. My mind darts to Amina’s earlier divulgence and a paralyzing terror creeps up my spine. I convince myself that ghosts aren’t real, even though there is the issue of the lightbulb having been turned off by someone who certainly wasn’t me.
Now, I stare into the darkness until my eyes become accustomed to it and I begin to see moving black figures. I should really just go across and flip the switch just to be sure, but who’s to say what will happen if I venture out of this bed.
Now, I hear the quick patter of moving feet. The sound is light, too light to be human, but who can say what ghost feet sound like. I pull the covers over my head and whisper The Lord’s Prayer. The words leave my mouth incoherently, as though I have hot food in it.
The uncanny noises multiply now, as though there are more spirits than one and they are dashing about the room. And then, one of them topples a steel cup from the table so that it lands with a resonating metallic clang and my heart nearly jumps into my mouth. I remember the name that surpasses all and I scream: “Jesus!”
Someone opens the doors and flips on the switch. It is uncle TJ.
“What is it?”
“Uncle, ghosts.”
Two gigantic mice dash past his feet out the door and embarrassment washes over me as realization dawns on me.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. holarwale says:

    Haha Niiceee.. the gigantic mice got me laughing..
    Cool story.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kadiri Alex says:

    Thanks for reading.


  3. Nigo says:

    Oh my God MICE…dat got me laughing

    Liked by 1 person

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