Written by Chibuzor Iwobi (@JeSuisChiby)
The room was dimly lit so I saw only half of her face but I was sure it was her, absolutely sure. That voice was one I was could never forget. She stood in the doorway, calm and relaxed, not moving – wearing a long white dress, her hair almost reaching her back, her arms resting by her hips like a soldier having been commanded to a halt.
“Im sorry, Ma,” Temi apologized, “I couldn’t-”
“Shut up and leave this instance,” My mother commanded her.
The tone and manner at which she spoke made me nervous. I observed Temi’s face to my mother’s reply, she was terrified. Upon realizing I was still stark naked, I grabbed a towel off the back of a chair, wrapped it around my body and returned to my original position taking three steps back, but quicker than before. More confused than ever, I kept watch, staying silent. She took three steps forward as if to bring back the distance between us. Now, she was beneath the light bulb and I could see her face clearly. Mother! As excited as I was to see her again, I was deeply terrified by the look on her face; it told a thousand tales of anguish, and her attempt at a smile only frightened me more. Temi, being obedient, had gathered her things and hurried out of the room but not before apologizing again.
“I’m sorry, Ma. Please forgive-”
“Don’t make me repeat myself,” My mother sounded plain and cold.
Temi caught a quick glance at me before leaving. Those eyes that once showed passion and savagery, now displayed fear. She mouthed the words, “I’m sorry,” and right there I knew I was never going to see her again. I had questions that needed answers. Who wouldn’t?
There was an awkward silence in the room that I could hear my breathing which was loud, heavy and fast. My mother observed me while I did the same back and despite being in her presence, my body still trembled with fear. I stood there, wrapped in a towel, shaking, scared of the unknown, but what I really wanted was to run into her arms like seven years old James used to.
“Why are you scared, son?” She broke the silence, “It’s me, your mother,” her tone was different now, sounding more emotional, “I-I carried you… Me…. your mother, I carried you,” She placed a hand on her stomach, “In here, for 9 months….It’s me…..really me,”
“But…. but… y-you died,” I wailed.
She took another three steps forward placing her 6 feet away from me, her face was hidden once again and her white dress illuminated the room. She’s angel, I thought.
“My boy!” She cried.
My heart sank and without hesitation, I ran to her and she welcomed me with her arms opened wide.
“Mum!” I was sobbing. It felt like I was reliving part of my childhood; My head on my mother’s bossom as she stroked my hair gently, in a way, subduing me. I’m in my mother’s arms again, how long I’ve waited for this.
“My boy!” She repeated, “My handsome son,” She looked me in the face and tightened her hug, “I’m so proud of you. What a fine young man you grew up to be. I’m so sorry I wasn’t there to witness it.”
“You’re here now,” I wasn’t ready to let go of her grip. I continued, “Abisola will be so happy to see you.”
I was like a kid again in my mother’s presence. All those years without motherly love left a mark on me.
“No! You can’t let her know I’m alive, we can’t put her at risk, too.”
“What do you mean?” I asked curiously.
I felt unsafe once again. Too?
“Um…. I’ve been watching you and Abisola….wondering who…. wondering who he was going to use to lure me out.”
Lure you out? Who? Huh? Wait! Shit! Oh my days!The Psychotic Man! I’m supposed to be the bait? I pulled out of her hug. She tried pulling me back in, but I was quick to avoid her grasp. More than ever, I was terrified.
“And…. yes, I know about the book, I was there when you picked it up. You were with Tina, weren’t you? And for a minute, I was scared you caught me. You stared in my direction for quite sometime. I should have interfered earlier. I’m so sorry, James. I couldn’t warn you, so I sent Temi.”
She walked to the bed and sat on it.
“I’m sorry for having you dragged into this,” She said, “Maybe I should have died that night then all this wouldn’t have happened. But I’ve been watching over you and your sister ever since, staying hidden, because I thought was the best thing.”
I didn’t say a word, not because I wouldn’t but because I couldn’t. My lips would part but no sound came out. A tear drop rolled my cheek.
“Come here son,” She said, “Please, sit with me.”
She tapped a space beside her. Still in shock, I didn’t hear her. Wondering who he was going to use to lure me out. My hands were shaking. So this was a trap? He’s been watching me all along! He set me up. Oh my God!
“James?” She called out for me.
Slowly, I turned my face towards her, still trembling.
“Yes… Mum?” My voice was shaky.
She repeated herself and I did as I was told.
“Thank you, son,” She feigned a smile, “That day, the day he took me….”
Now the smile had worn off and replacing it with a frown.
“I was frightened…. very frightened! I thought I was going to die and the sad part was, I couldn’t cry. As much as I tried to force those tears, they wouldn’t come…. I had cried enough already. There’s a lot you do not know about, son. Some day, I’ll explain every thing to you.”
She coughed for a while and continued,
“He told me when I was going to die, so I braced myself for that day. I was ready but that bastard…. that bastard… he wasn’t… he wasn’t satisfied…..he wanted more…. he said…”
She inhaled and exhaled deeply and continued.
“He said my death needed to be appeased……so I can rise to my true form. So that I can be in the spiritual realm what I once was – An Omniscient Being. And for that to happen……a ritual must occur….”
She started sobbing.
“So on the night I was to die…..I thought the ritual was… was that he wanted to have me…. but no….that bastard……you k-know what he did?…. he had gotten t-two girls to serve as rituals for my death,”
She broke down and tears flowed faster.
“Little girls….. Couldn’t have been older than your sister. ‘They are pure,’ he said. That bastard. I watched him…. I watched him, James…. gut those girls like there were animals. I was helpless….H-H-He… he made me watch…..”
She cried harder. I threw my arms around her, holding her tight, doing my best to comfort her.
“I begged him to stop, James. I begged and begged and swore to do anything he wanted. ANYTHING! But he didn’t budge, he wouldn’t. He insisted the deaths of pure souls were prerequisites for my own death. The animal was looking for excuses to kill little children….”
Her tears flowed harder.
“They couldn’t have been older than Abisola. And all I could do was watch, James…….. Watch him tear up those little girls…. seeing them cry…….seeing them beg for their lives that had just begun….it killed me…….and……every night, I hear their cries… every night I see their innocent faces…. ”
She wiped off her tears, exhaled deeply and then stood up from the bed. She walked to the window and heaved a heavy sigh. Staring out of it for a while, she forgot herself and murmured in a deep murderous tone,
“I’m going to kill you,”
Then to my surprise, she began laughing.
“I’m going to kill you,” She repeated, “It’s been way overdue.”
Rays of light from the moon shone on her face, her lips were stretched to its limit, teeth on display, her eyes said blood and vengeance. My face was ashen. I wanted to run but I couldn’t, it was my mother, she wouldn’t hurt me. My eyes kept watch on her. What happened to you all these years, mother?
She didn’t respond until I repeated myself three times.
“I’m sorry, James. Don’t be scared, son,” She responded turning her back to the window and facing me. She looked me straight in the eye. This isn’t my mother.
She continued, “As I was saying, he felt so high and mighty with himself. He swore he was a god. He could do no wrong, he thought, but he was wrong. He didn’t for once suspect I could break loose from his hold. Maybe he thought I was ready to die. He never checked the rope he used to bound me. I really thought I was going to die but the death of those girls was my driving force to break free. At the final moment, I regained my freedom and pounced on him. There was a struggle, I was at a disadvantage but I managed to damage his left eye paving way for my escape.
“It’s okay mum,” I held her hands, “He won’t get you ever again. I’ll kill him, I’ll fucking gut him.”
I put on my clothes and sat down.
“James, he never stopped chasing me….”
She ran her fingers through her shiny black her,
“Do you know how I managed to stay alive all these years?”
She paused as if she was waiting for an answer.
“I was out of his reach. I had to be careful especially after he caught me slipping.”
Unconsciously, I put my hands over my head. “Oh my God! He recaptured you?”
She turned her back on me staring out the window, again, just standing there like a mannequin.
“Yes….. He caught me not too long after my escape. I couldn’t help myself. You would have done the same in my shoes. I practically walked into the Lions den.”
And again, her tone was back to being emotional.
“I had to see my babies… I had to see if both of you were okay. He told me the hardship you and your sister were passing through, so I had to see for myself. I shouldn’t have, but I needed to see you and your sister and hold both you in my arms again.”
I smiled amidst the tears. Oh, dear mother! You didn’t deserve this.
“When he recaptured me, he was more sadistic than ever. He never talked to me like he used to and his body count was on a rise never leaving a trace of his victim behind. I’m disappointed to admit, but he is one intelligent bastard,”
She took a deep breath,
“I went through hell being his captive for the second time. He didn’t give me the privileges he previously gave me. He kept a tight watch over me and relocated to a more remote area. I would have picked death over the conditions I was subjected to. I went through hell and why he didn’t kill me immediately is what I will never understood because many came and I stayed. But, I thank God because I think he sent someone to break me free. Yes! I was very prayerful! I believe so because out of nowhere a young man came to my rescue. For once in my life, I appreciated an over sabi.”
“He saw me chained to the ground. It took a long time to break me free. The murderous bastard had gone hunting. Just as we were about to leave, he came home. The young man, trying to be heroic, told me to run. Quite frankly, I wasn’t going to do anything better than that. In my stride, I heard cries, I thought the young man was actually winning the fight. I stood there, waiting for my saviour to emerge the victor but instead came my captor and I took off.”
She walked towards me till she got close enough to hold my hands.
“It’s been very difficult eluding him all these years. My fear was he was going to inflict his wrath on you and Abisola.”
“Shouldn’t Abisola be aware of this?” I asked, “For her own safety.”
“No!” She shook her head, “You’re going to tip him off. No!”
“What do you mea-”
I was interrupted by a vibration in my pocket. It was my phone. Five missed calls and Five messages from Tina. Oh brother.
“What’s that?” My mother asked, “We don’t have time, James. We need to leave.”
“My girl… my ex-girlfriend,” I replied, “Please, give me a minute.”
The first text read, “Hey baby, I miss you. We never discussed when I’ll be coming to spend time with you. In fact, I’m on my way.”
I sighed. I haven’t told her yet.
The second one read, “Baby, pick up now. Please, answer me. Are you still angry with me? I’m sorry baby.”
The third one, “Baby, there’s a man who has been standing in front of my house. He hasn’t moved. I’m scared. Baby, please come. I’ve called the police.”
The fourth one, “He’s just standing there. I am really scared, James. Please pick up. The police aren’t here yet.”
The fifth one was a video message. I was in for the biggest shocker of my life, one that would leave me scarred for life. As I played the video, I saw was a weeping Tina crying profusely, begging miserably. I felt my mother’s warm breath on my neck.
“We are too late,” She said.
Her arms and legs were tied to each bed post. He used a knife to draw lines from each breasts to a foot. Then he carved some words I couldn’t see on her stomach.
“Let’s begin,” He said.
He cut off both of her ears, her nose and gouged her eyes. Tina’s screams brought tears to my eyes. This is my fault. He proceeded to chopping off all her fingers and toes. Fucking Bastard! I could barely watch but my mother forced me to. She said I had to see what be was capable of. The camera was now facing him. He had an eye patch on his left eye. He licked the bloody knife and said,
“Isn’t she beautiful?” He smiled showing his tobacco stained teeth, “Sam’s next.”
“Oh my God! Sam!” I shouted.
“James, he may have already gotten to her. Don’t go.”
I ignored her, ran out of the house and jumped into my car. In a bid to save Sam’s life, I hurriedly drove home dialing her number but she didn’t answer my calls.
“No! No! Sam, No!” I cried.
I got to my front door calling out Sam’s name, still no response. My fear seemed true. Sam, please don’t die.
“Sam! Sam!” I kept shouting as I entered my home.
There was no sign of forced entry or blood, regardless, I didn’t let my guard down. She wasn’t anywhere downstairs. I hurriedly climbed the flight of stairs, tripping twice and busting my lips. I got to our bedroom, she wasn’t there.
Oh my God, No!! He’s gotten her. There’s no time. I started packing a few of my things when I heard the door downstairs slam shut. I froze. I could barely hear footsteps. He’s here! I searched for anything I could use against him. Oh my God! I’m going to die tonight! I heard the footsteps climbing the staircases. The steps were so faint, I hoped I wasn’t being delusional. They were getting closer and closer. I grabbed a pair of scissors and placed my back on the wall behind the door for stealth. The footsteps stopped. Why’s he stopping? The beeping sounds of a phone followed and my phone rang out. Fuck! In my panic, I couldn’t get the phone out of my pocket. My hands were trembling.
“James? Are you in?” Sam called out.
Oh my God! This bitch wants me to die of a heart attack.
“I’m in here,” I caught my breath, “Hurry!”
She saw me panting, blood on my lips and a pair of scissors in my hands.
“Jesus, James!” She shouted, “Why are-”
“No time for that” I interrupted. “Pack your things. We’re leaving.”
“What’s going on, James?”
“Sam, please, there’s no time for this. Just do as you’re told.”
“I’m not going anywhere until you tell me what’s going on,” She blustered, “Your lips are bleeding and you have a pair of scissors in your hands. Tell me what’s going on.”
“Can’t you just do as you’re fucking told?” I shouted angrily.
“Did you just curse at me?”
“I’m sorry, baby, I’m sorry but our lives depend on it. If we stay here any minute longer, we will die.”
Her eyes widened with fear. “James? You’re scaring me. What do you mean?”
I put my hands on her shoulder. “I promise to explain when we are out of here. Please, baby.”
Finally, She succumbed to my pleas. We packed a few of our belongings into one suitcase and ran downstairs.
“Where are we going to?” She asked.
Where he will never find us, I thought.
I opened the front door, and there he was, 6ft tall, thin as a broom, with a sadistic smile followed by a sinister laugh. He had something in both hands that he flung at us. I jumped back pulling Sam with me. They made such a mess that I was disgusted, so I took my eyes off them. But another look and I realized what they were. Jesus Christ! I cried out so hard.
“No, oh my God, No!”
Sam screamed out on the top of her lungs.
They were human heads. At first, out of fear, I couldn’t recognize the faces, another look and I saw them clearly. Mum? Temi? Oh my God!
“Play time is over,” He whispered.
Written by Chibuzor Iwobi (@JeSuisChiby)
Edited by; Gbadebo (@Oaa148) and Oladoyin (@Miss_Ola_D)
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