The Doctor shook hands with Felix then offered him a seat. After sitting, the doctor asked in concern now. “You look tensed, and as if you didn’t have enough sleep too last night, hope everything is okay?”
“Yes.” Felix lied, trying to cover his distress with a fake smile. “It’s just work stress.”
“Okay then… I hope you know that every human is required to have at least eight hours of sleep daily…” The doctor told him and when Felix nodded, the doctor leaned forward from his chair with a serious look on his face now as he entwined his fingers in front of him after placing his forearms on the desk, then he said in a low tone to Felix. “I am about to tell you something very important, Mr. Felix, but how you take it really matters.”
“Okay… Doctor what is it?” Felix asked, trying to sound undisturbed.
“That girl you brought in yesterday, where did you say you rescued her from?” The doctor began his interrogation now.
“From an abusive fiance. She almost ran in front of my car while he was chasing her.”
“Ever since you took her from him, has this fiance visited you yet to ask for her?”
“No… He probably wouldn’t because I threatened to get him arrested.” Felix answered.
“I see…” The doctor said then gave him a scan. “Look at that… That’s the scan pictures of the internal part of a female human body from the SPECT machine. Can you tell me what is out of place in this pictures?”
Felix examined the scan pictures thoroughly and when he saw what the doctor wanted him to see, he looked up and answered: “The heart is missing and the womb is gone too.”
“Good…” The doctor commended, taking the scan back from him and putting it away. “You have keen eyesight.”
Confused, Felix asked: “But doctor, what has any of this got to do with me? Why are you showing me this?”
“Good question.” The doctor said then resumed locking his fingers together on the desk in front of him. “That scan belongs to the girl you brought in last night.”
Felix stared at the doctor in shock then his brows narrowed into a frown. “No, that’s not possible.” He scoffed now. “I can understand the missing womb but no human being can live without a heart.”
“Exactly! I like that phrase- no human being. Now, since you took that girl home, have you noticed anything strange about her?” The doctor asked but when Felix hesitated, the doctor quickly assured him. “Trust me, you can tell me anything. Anything you say in this office remains in this office, I give you my word.”
Felix sighed now and said: “All her bruises and scars are gone.”
The doctor chuckled, as if not surprised. “Anything else?”
“Um… Besides the fact that she has been trying to seduce me, I noticed that she was with someone else that I couldn’t see last night, and they seemed to have had sex.”
“Wonderful.” Exclaimed the doctor.
“Doctor, what is it? Is there something you know that I don’t?”
“Remember that I told you that she looked familiar as if I had seen her somewhere before?”
“Yes.” Felix answered.
“Well, first, I want you to look at this…” He pulled out his smart phone from one of his white coat’s pocket, unlocked it and warned as he stretched the phone towards Felix. “Please, try not to fling my phone. It’s pretty expensive to fix an iPhone.”
When Felix took the phone from the doctor and his eyes settled on the picture the doctor had shown him, he almost threw the phone away in great trepidation but quickly caught it. He looked away for a moment, before he cautiously sneaked a peek at the picture again. It was a picture of him and Loveth which the doctor had taken the previous day in his office, but while he looked normal, Loveth did not. In fact, there was no Loveth at all. What sat next to him in the picture was completely terrifying. It was the rotten face of a girl with maggots spilling from every hole there was; the eyes, the ears, the mouth and the nostrils. Her hair was thin, dirty and sparse on a bony scalp. Swallowing hard, Felix quickly handed the phone back to the doctor, wishing he could unsee that.
“How’s that even possible?” Felix asked, completely disgusted. “Are you trying to tell me that I had spent a night with that thing?!”
“That’s very much the case, Mr. Felix.” The doctor answered. “Do you believe in demons?”
“Well, I’ve read of it in the bible ans have seen something like it in movies but never thought much of it.” Felix answered.
“Do you believe in ghosts?”
“Well, I don’t know what to say about that. I’m not really the superstitious type.”
“What about reincarnation?” The doctor pressed.
“Like the abiku or ogbanje thing?”
“Yes… When children who die come back to life again?”
“Yes… I think my mother once told me a story like that.”
“Good… Well, so you know… I’m almost fifty seven and that girl in your house right now, I knew her when I was just nine years old in Niger state.” The doctor revealed.
Felix scoffed in skepticism now. “Forty eight years ago? That’s impossible, doctor. That girl is just twenty-one. Perhaps, you are only mistaking her for someone else, doctor.”
“I might have been a child when what happened to her did, but I have a pretty retentive memory, Felix and I know that I’m not mistaken. At least, if you don’t believe me, what excuse will you give to the picture that I just showed you? You think that I made that up too? You think that that’s all Photoshop?”
“Doctor, that’s not what I meant. I’m scared shitless but for the sake of my sanity, a skeptical part of me really want to believe that this is all a bad dream and that I’ll wake up from it soon and everything will return to normal once again.”
“Well, dear Felix, this is reality and there’s no running away from it no matter how hard you try. Before I explain how I came to know her when I was nine, I want you to go back to the house where you picked her from and bring me the supposed fiance.” Said the doctor.
“Why should I? I mean, is that really necessary?”
“Just do as I say first, Mr. Felix and other things will fall into place themselves.”
After a brief consideration, Felix made up his mind to obey the doctor. “You want me to go right now?” He asked.
“Yes please, right away.” The doctor leaned back into his chair. “Delay is dangerous.”
“If you insist.” Felix rose now, shook hands with the doctor again then walked out of the office.
As he walked out of the hospital to his car, an elderly woman approached him now, begging for alms. Eager to be on his way, Felix quickly searched himself for a lower denomination. When he found two hundred naira, he handed it over to the woman. Grateful, the woman began to thank him while he tried to unlock the door of his car. Felix simply acknowledged the woman with a shake of his head, eager to be on his way, but as she turned to leave, she paused, turned and said to him:
“My son, you look very worried.”
Felix paused to look at the old woman and dismissively replied: “Mama, I’m fine. I just need to be on my way.”
“Is that why there’s a dark cloud hovering over you?” The woman pressed.
Felix looked up now in confusion but when he saw nothing, he asked: “What do you mean by there’s a dark cloud?”
“Don’t worry, my son, you can’t see it except people like us. You accidentally rendered help to a dark entity and now, things have taken a drastic turn. Although, she won’t kill you no matter how bitter she is, but she simply wants to procreate through you. My son, no matter what you do, please do not lie with her. Once you give her that which she desires most, you’ll never remain the same again. She didn’t come alone, there are three of you in that apartment. You, her and that which cannot be seen with the ordinary eyes, who is Lord over her. To see him, use a mirror or take pictures of the coldest part of your apartment and he’ll be revealed to you, but no matter what you see, do not for any reason try to confront him because he’s not of this world and he brings nothing but doom to man. He’s the herald of death himself and she’s only his vessel sent to destroy man. Her only drive is her vengeance against those who had wronged her decades ago. Heed my warning, my son, do not be tempted no matter what.” The old woman said, turned and walked away. Felix watched her cross the double lane road and as soon as she crossed the gutter on the other side, she vanished.
Felix gasped, flattening his back against his car in disbelief. He blinked several times but the woman was no where to be seen. Quickly getting into his car, he pulled out of the hospital and joined the traffic. When he got to the street where he had picked up Loveth, he was shocked by what he discovered. The red gate he once saw was there quite alright but the house looked abandoned and was covered in thick bush and crawling plants. The roof was burnt off and most of the walls were black as if the building had been engulfed by fire. Felix stopped the car and glanced up and down the street, wondering if he had driven past the exact house Loveth’s fiance lived, or there were two houses with similar gates in the street but he saw no other?
Getting down the car in amazement, he placed his hands on his hips and stared at the house for a moment. Then he turned and glanced up and down the street. When he still couldn’t find an identical house nor recognise the one before him, he began to talk and describe to himself as he gesticulated what had occurred the previous day to be sure that he wasn’t losing his mind.
“I was coming this way… I can still remember this pothole here… This was where I marched the break because this sign ‘This House is Not For Sale’ was written on this fence.” He pointed to the fence of the adjacent house. “The girl ran out from this gate…this gate o…” He pointed at the damaged red gate. “And I was watching everything from the car while the man beat her up. Then how come there’s bush in this house now? Even if it had rained throughout yesterday, this bush ought not to be taller than I’m.” Felix said to himself. Shaking his head in puzzlement and wonder, he began to move along the fence to see through the holes on it if there was anybody in the compound but it was abandoned and there was no sign of life. As he moved towards the red gate and tried to push his way through the bush, a group of youths who had been playing ludo on a bench in the opposite house across the street, paused their game to curiously watch him now, wondering what he was up to.
“Oga, you wan go shit for there?!” One of the three youths asked and Felix turned to find out that there was an adult midget and two other guys watching him suspiciously from across the street.
“Chairmen!” Felix acknowledged them and quickly crossed the street to them, hoping they would help him out. “Una good evening.” He greeted them.
The midget was standing, while the other guys were straddling the bench and facing each other with the ludo placed between them. “Na wetin you be wan go do for that place?” The midget asked.
“I dey find person.” Felix replied.
The youths exchanged looks and laughed. “Oga, you sure say you no dey mad so? You dey find person for inside bush?” The midget asked again.
“Abegi, na shit this man be wan go shit jawe!” The first youth piped in now.
“Shit ke? You sure say no be rituals? See how he take be na… This man look like one of those people wey dey go around dey find person to use.” This second youth stated, suspiciously pointing at Felix as he scrutinzed him through narrow eyes. “All this big men with motor, no dey trust them o.”
“Abeg, I no wan shit and no be rituals carry me come here either. I be honest civilian.” Felix quickly told them.
“Na why you wan kon enter bush?! Your thing lost?” The midget snapped.
Felix looked down at him then repeated: “I say I dey find person.”
“That place look like where person dey stay for your eyes?!” The second youth snapped now.
“But I enter there yesterday and this bush no dey there at all.” Felix explained.
The second youth who was now amused, said now to his companions: “Guys, una sure say this man never mad so? Make we carry am go Yaba Left now o before he scatter area.”
“Wait…” The midget said to his companions, holding out an open palm towards them as he regarded Felix now. “Before we conclude, make we ask am well well.” Then he cleared his throat and asked in a sober tone now: “Na who you talk say you dey find? Tell us, na for this neighbourhood we grow. Nobody wey we no know.”
“Okay…um… I am actually looking for one Mr. Emma like that…” Felix answered.
“Which Emma? We get three Emmas for this street o, though, one don go Malaysia.” The first youth answered.
“I don’t really know him… I only saw him yesterday.” Felix informed them.
“Na how he take resemble? Describe am.” The second youth urged him.
“Well, he’s kind of huge… He has beard…like a stubble all over his jaw, one upper tooth is missing from the left corner of his mouth-“
“Ha!” The first youth exclaimed now, cutting off Felix as he pointed at the second youth in a proud way and said: “I remember! Na that Emma! That one wey my papa commot him teeth when that mumu man dey toast my sister up and down!” He fisted his hands and threw punches, probably imitating what his father had done.
“Yesssss!” His companion replied, pointing at him too as he remembered. “I remember that day too! O boy eh, your papa na John Cena o.”
“E be like say we don know the Emma wey you dey talk about now.” The midget said soberly to Felix now. “But why you dey find am?”
“I saw him beating up his girlfriend yesterday and-” Felix started to explain again.
But the midget didn’t let him finish. “Yesterday?” He asked with a confused frown.
“Yes, yesterday.” Felix answered, wondering why they were all staring at him in a strange way now.
“For where?” The second youth asked.
“That house.” Felix turned and pointed across the street and they all craned their necks to see where he was really pointing at.
“Abi ele yi ti yo ni. (Or is this one drunk?)” The first youth muttered, rising from the bench now almost the same time with his companion.
“Ogbeni, which kain play be this?” Asked the second youth in a hoarse street voice, all traces of humour gone from his face now. “How you go talk say you see Emma for that house yestetday? You don high?”
“No, I’m serious.” Felix stood his ground even though he was a bit intimidated now by the angry looks on the faces of the youths now. “I met Emma and his girlfriend in that house!” He pointed yet again.
“Girlfriend ke?” Said the midget, glancing up at his companions. “That one no possible o.” He shook his head and clicked his tongue at the same time in negation.
“Yes, his girlfriend!” Felix answered, glancing from one face to the other.
“Is something wrong?” He cautiously asked.
“You sure say na Emma you really see and for that house?” The second youth pointed across the street. “I mean, Emma wey tall like Ijele wey dey act film, wey kon get plenty hair for chest?” He gesticulated with his hands for emphasis.
Remembering the hairy chest, Felix quickly answered: “Yes, he really did have a hairy chest!”
“Guy… If na true say you see that particular Emma, e mean say you don enter yawa o.” Said the first youth, rubbing the back of his head with his palm.
“Is something wrong? Felix asked, wondering why they were all reacting that way.
Folding his arms under his chest and hunching his shoulders, the second guy explained: “Emma die five years ago…” Then as if for confirmation, he turned to the others and asked. “…abi, no be him climb pole wan fix light for street wey the thing shock am?”
“Na him.” Confirmed the midget. “The wire even fling am enter the next street sef! That night, he be like goat wey dem roast.”
“Wait a minute!” Felix began skeptically, remembering the stuffs like televisions, radios, irons and other appliances he had seen around Emma’s room in the BQ. “This Emma is an electrician. He actually repairs electronics.” He told them.
“Yes na, na the same Emma wet dey talk about! He climb pole and light shock am!” The first guy stated. “He don die siinnncceee…” He clicked his fingers repeatedly above his head to emphasize on how long ago Emma had died.
Felix couldn’t believe his ears. “But I saw him yesterday!” He insisted.
“Where?” Asked the midget.
“That house!” Felix pointed again.
“Nobody don live for that house for the last two years now!” Stated the second youth.
“Ahan!” Felix wondered, even more confused than ever. He turned partially to stare at the house now. Was he dreaming? How could they tell him that nobody had lived there in the past two years when he had seen two other tenants besides Emma and Loveth the previous day. It was just not possible! He had even spoken to the fat woman who was processing her pap. Returning his attention to the youths, he concluded that it was either these guys were toying with him or probably wanted money from him before they told him the truth.
BACK AT FELIX’S APARTMENT
Loveth was lying on the couch in the position of the dead. She lay on her back with her hands placed together against her stomach. Suddenly, her eyes flew open and she slowly sat up to perceive her environment.
“Someone is coming to me.” She whispered and in her mind’s eyes, she could see Mathew’s car turning into the street from far away, then she continued to speak. “He’s a man… In his early thirties… He’s married and his wife is heavily pregnant…” Then she lifted her head to smile up at the ceiling and asked as if she was speaking to someone she alone could see. “Can you feel it too?” When whomever she had spoken to replied her, she gave it a bow of her head as she said with an evil smile: “Your wish is my command.” These words had barely left her lips when her shirt suddenly turned into a sexy short nightgown that was not only transparent but also hugged her features; perfect makeup magically appeared on her face, while her long natural hair turned sleeker and longer, taking the resemblance of a weavon (hair extensions). When Loveth was sure that she looked more alluring, she slowly laid down on the couch again to wait for their uninvited visitor with a sly smile playing on the corners of her sensual lips.
To Be Continued…
© Angela Okoduwa