That night, inconsequential it had seemed, turned out to be the start of a cascade of unusual events that seamlessly dislodged the previously held ideology of life in Lagos and shoved in a new scary perspective.
On the 15th of May, a night that promised rain, I trudged past blaring Fuji music from various stores and the peculiar stench of cannabis trapped in the air into my new apartment. I walked into the hallway that housed my room and saw, at the extreme end, sparsely lighted by a tallow, my landlord in a white robe slaughtering a fowl, chanting inaudibly. Flanking him was a large metallic contraption and a bottle of local gin. I fumbled my key out of my pocket and the jingle, amplified thanks to the silence, caught his attention. He looked up, frowned and returned to whatever he was doing.
Later that night on my bed, as I danced between slumber and vigilance, the strange event I had witnessed kept emerging in my head. My mother, being a prayer warrior, had lots of books detailing strange spiritual antics and the mind gripping significance they had on reality. They had seemed funny to me, at least till now. I opened the bible application on my phone and started reading. It was a battle to keep my eyes open but I kept at it.
A loud bang jolted me back to consciousness. I sat up in bed, heart beating, head throbbing, drenched in sweat that slinked all over my body like tiny snakes. There was nothing to explore in my room. It was stark blackness. The bang sounded again. It was an angry knock against a door. Not my door, but a door nearby.
“Wicked man open the door.” An angry voice bellowed.
I rushed to the door and opened. There was a shirtless podgy man in front of the door adjacent my room, a rechargeable lamp in hand. He turned to me and banged hard against the door, like he wanted me to know he was the source of the noise.
“Is everything okay?” My voice was throaty
“If you love yourself you better leave this house,” He shouted. “This evil landlord and his yeye property is about to be destroyed. He said he will cause me pain because I bought a generator.” He rushed towards me and cocked his head to reveal several boils pocking his tensed neck muscles. “Can you see? That is the pain he promised”. The man broke into a sarcastic but almost sincere laughter. “He thinks he’s the only one with power abi?” He rushed back to the door and banged again and again.
The fowl slaughtering from earlier played in my head again and a painful knot formed in my throat. I returned to my room, numb with fear. Within minutes of touching the bed, I slept off.
The next morning was bright and permeated with the melodic chirps of birds. As I walked out of the hallway into the warm sunlight, ready for another long day at work, I met my landlord seated on a chair, reading a bible.
“Good morning sir.” I greeted as I walked away.
“Good morning jare,” he replied. “Don’t mind that foolish man o”
“He brought it upon himself, but you look like a gentleman, we shouldn’t have any problems”
I turned back and smiled. He smiled back. As I made way into the street, I tried to think of a next step, any form of reaction, but I was as blank as a sheet. I’ve never felt more helpless.
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