Oh how I missed the good times! The good times when our compound was the most envied house on the whole street. The times when the serene environment of my compound rivaled that of a churchyard. All of that changed at the arrival of Shadow and Ghost. My landlord suddenly appeared with them with the flimsy excuse that his son was travelling out of the country therefore he had to adopt them. Shadow and Ghost were the fiercest and ugliest dogs I had ever seen. They both looked like failed mutant crossbreed experiments between a Rottweiler and a Great Dane. Their mammoth size did not help matters as they easily towered over most people in the compound. Nevertheless, my landlord assured my family and our neighbours that they were gentle and good-natured animals.
On the contrary, baba landlord couldn’t have been more wrong. The dogs turned out to be actual incarnates of the devil himself. Regardless of the heavy-duty chains which the landlord used to restrain them, they found ways to constantly harass everyone including the landlord and his family. From stinking up the compound with faeces to relentless attempts to sink their deadly canines into people’s legs, we could hardly wait until the landlord’s son returned to carry his rabid monsters away. It was so bad that we could not move around the house without first peeping around every corner to be sure that neither Shadow nor Ghost had broken out of their chains and were lying in wait for their next meal of human flesh. Mundane tasks like spreading clothes on the line or sweeping the compound became deadly survival missions, in fact visitors dared not show up unannounced or risk becoming dog food.
However, the match in the powder’s barrel was lit one rainy Saturday afternoon in December. It was the day of my introduction ceremony and my in-laws were coming over to be acquainted with my parents before our proper wedding in January. My dad had already gone to inform the landlord severally to find ways of keeping his terrorists in check. My dad even went as far as giving him money to buy new and stronger chains to prevent any accidents. In view of this, our minds were at rest and occupied with more important details of the impending celebration. By noon, the ceremony had started; the elders had performed the prayers and the introductory rites before proceeding to call on item 7. Everything was going smoothly, even when it started to rain lightly; the canopies rented beforehand prevented any issues. Amidst the merriment, my father-in-law excused himself to use the restroom and unknowingly ventured into the lions den, unsuspecting of the fact that Ghost and Shadow had broken loose of their new chains and were waiting for their first victim to open the backyard gate. In the chaos that ensued, I remember sitting in my wedding chair and watching my father-in-law run out of the backyard like a lunatic with his trousers shredded into pieces like Lagbaja’s mask. As the dogs charged into the compound, people climbed over each other to run into the house or out of the compound. Even I flung away my bridal veil and swiftly flew into the house. Almost everyone was covered in mud from falling into the puddles of dirty rainwater during the stampede. A caterer and the slightly overweight DJ who wasn’t light on his feet enough had to be taken to the hospital for stitches and tetanus shots.
Needless to say, We promptly sacked our landlord and I did not get married in January.