“Josh!” I strengthened my little hands further as I fought the tears that blinded my eyes. “Just grab my hands. It will be alright. T-take my hand. Pl-please, brother…”
“I-I can’t,” Josh struggled to steady his balance, “I won’t make it. Let me go. I won’t make it.”
I felt like slapping him, “Go where, brother?” I was fuming. “I’m not leaving here without you, so take my hand and let me help you. Please?”
“We shouldn’t have come out here. We should have listened to mum and dad,” he sobbed, “now, see what we’ve gotten ourselves into.” Then he looked at me squarely, beads of sweats trickling down his frightened face. ” Why did you do it?
“Do what?” I knew what he was asking me about, and it scared me to death that he still remembered that incident.
“You struck Andy hard on the head, and it killed him. Because of what you did, he suffered from cerebral haemorrhage. The Surgeons couldn’t save him. You killed him.”
“I-I didn’t mean to. It wasn’t intentional. H-he tr-tried to touch me. He had been ma-making advances to me. I didn’t tell you because I didn’t think you would believe me…”
“You think I believe you? He was my best friend!” He screamed. “… and you killed him.”
I wondered why he was bringing this up now. He knew very well how that incident had dealt with me. I began breathing with some difficulty. I was asthmatic, but I didn’t know why I was having an asthmatic attack now. It was indeed strange, because nothing prompted it. I held my chest with my two hands, momentarily forgetting I was holding on to Josh. He fell. He fell off the cliff… and died. I had killed him too. He was Dead.
After I had successfully used my inhaler, and I was now breathing well, I realized what I had done.
“Josh? Josh!” I screamed as I peered down the bottomless lonely space which held my brother’s lifeless body. “No. No. Josh!” I moved further, towards the edge of the cliff. I was going to bring Josh home, and if I couldn’t bring him home, then I would stay there with him. I was going to find him. Maybe he still had life of some sort in him. He could still be saved. He could still be treated. All I had to do was to go down there and rescue him. I couldn’t llive with the guilt of being a murderer. Yes, even though it wasn’t intentional, I had killed Josh’s best friend, and now, I had also let Josh go. I killed him too. I killed my brother, and I didn’t deserve to live. Josh hadn’t forgiven me before he died. I regretted coming here. Mum had warned us, but we didn’t listen.
As I took the last step which would have taken me down to wherever Josh was, firm hands gripped me from behind. Whatever had gripped me had claws and it pierced right through my arm. I turned around slowly to face the person, but what I saw ripped me apart. It wasn’t a person, neither was it a thing. I didn’t know what it was because it was dark outside; but from the little I could see, it fitted Josh’s description. I never believed Josh’s tales of ghosts, because I never believed in ghosts. Whatever it was that stood before me…was my worse nightmare.
“Sara! Get up little one, or you will be late.” Late for what? We had just vacated from school the previous week, and Christmas holiday had just begone.
“Did you forget we are going shopping today?” Mama gave me a big smile; so big that I feared her cheeks would probably tear if she continued.
“Good morning, Mama,” I jumped down from the bed, and gave my mom a quick kiss on her left cheek.
“Are you crying, Sweetheart?” Mama rubbed my tear-streaked cheeks, worry lines visibly drawn across the features of her beautiful face. “It’s the nightmare again, isn’t it?
I nodded, “Mama, you never told me how Josh died. I don’t remember what led to his death. How did he die?”
Mama’s face lost color instantly, and she quickly avoided my eyes. “Don’t you remember anything about your brother’s death? You really don’t remember?”
“I only know that he’s left us. I don’t know how it happened. I did see him in my dream, but I don’t remember what happened either. It’s happening again, isn’t it?”
Everytime I dreamt and saw that awful-looking creature in my dream, I tend to forget everything related to Josh’s death afterwards. Papa had left us a long time ago. His death was strange, yet still fresh in my memory. I had killed him to, because the creature had manipulated me into murdering him. Mama and Josh(before he died) were unaware that I was Papa’s murderer. So, you see, there’s more to me than you will ever know. I don’t know who I am, neither do I remember that I committed these killings. Somehow, the creature made me forget everything after each nightmare. Till now, I don’t know why the creature chose me, and how I happen to be connected/related to the creature or its so-called missions.
“You will be fine, Sara. You will be fine,’ Mama stroked my head, trying to keep me freaking out.
I looked towards the dining room and there it was… the creature from my dream. I could see it clearly now. It was shapeless, and I didn’t know if it had a body or not; but, it had a face, or rather something that looked like it. I couldn’t fathom how it had no body but still possessed forelimbs. It’s hindlimbs were also missing.
I caught a glimpse of the bat he held in his left hand, and my heart did a voilent turn. It was Josh’s best friend’s. That was the bat we had used to play. The bat I had used to… Suddenly, memories of Dean’s death, for that was his name, began to surface, but the memories were conflicting and jumbled, and I couldn’t make out anything from them. The creature started coming towards me, and I backed away from Mama’s embrace in horror.
“Stay away from me!” I shrieked, and ducked behind mama, hiding my face behind her big sweat shirt.
“You can’t run away forever,” the creature laughed, and I could feel it’s hands against my cheeks. My blood ran cold, and I threw up. It grabbed me by the arm, and made me look it in the eye. It’s face was upside down, or maybe I was the one who was standing on my head. How’s that even possible? Where its forehead was supposed to be, his mouth was, and his forehead took the position of his jaw. I wanted to scream, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t scream, because it didn’t let me. It was now very close to me, and I wondered how Mama couldn’t see it.
“Sara!” Mama shook me, terrified of the expression I had on my face. ” What’s wrong with you?”
I desperately wanted to tell her all about the creature, but I couldn’t talk for some strange reasons. I knew it was the creature’s doing.
“It’s our little secret. Nothing and no one can seperate us,” the creature laughed, “your Mama can’t know about us.”
“Us?” I asked it, surprised I could get that one word out from my lips. Then, it hit me. He had temporarily released his hold on me. It only meant one thing, the creature could control some of my actions. “There’s no us!” I screamed furiously. “Leave me alone!” My cries startled my terrified Mama, who looked at me as though I had lost my mind.
The creature chuckled, “you are a murderer, and so you will pay for your sins.” It lifted me up above the ground, wriggling my arms all along so that I writhed in pain. He bit me just below my jaw, leaving behind a disgusting sore on the spot. The creature had Josh’s scent. But, how was that even possible? Josh was dead.
“Hold onto this,” it gave me Dean’s bat, “I will be back.” It left, and that was when I realized that I was alone in the room. When did Mama leave?
I found Mama in her room. She was kneeling down beside her bed, her face tear-streaked, and her hands clasped together. Beside her was a Holy Bible. She was praying. As I quietly walked closer to her, I overheard some of the words she muttered in prayer, and it paralyzed me to the spot I stood.
“O Lord, please help Sara, your daughter. Please deliver her from the clutches of the enemy, for I think she’s possessed and has lost her mind…” As she made the sign of the cross, I knew she had ended her prayers and would soon open her eyes, so I tiptoed out of the room, with my heart shredded into a thousand pieces. She had witnessed that creature first-hand. Hadn’t she seen it? How could she possibly think I was possessed and has lost my mind? If she had seen the creature, and what it had done to me in that room, why would she make up such false story about me being possessed and insane? I went straight to my room, bad before I knew it, I was fast asleep; only for Mama to wake me up at exactly 12am. That was one thing that puzzled me. The time never varied.
I opened my eyes slowly, and looked at Mama. She stared right back at me fearfully, “you were having a fit as a result of your nightmares again, so I had to wake you up.” I Wonder why she even explained the reason she had woken me up to me. Then, I noticed that she maintained a reasonable distance from me. She was scared… scared of me. But, why should she be?
“Mama,” I sounded tired and stressed, “it’s here again.” I knew I was in panick, but the last thing I wanted was for my Mama to be uncomfortable with me, so I tried to keep my cool.
“What are you talking about?” Mama looked at me as if I had suddenly developed a limb on my forehead.
I pointed towards the dining room, pain written all over my face, “The creature… and I think it wants you too.”
The creature approached me with a big smile on what was supposed to be its face, “If you don’t hand her over to me, she would take you to a psychiatrist, where you will be chained and held for the rest of your life. We can’t let that happen, because I am not through with you.” It nibbled at my ears, and for a second, I thought it was going to chew it off.
Apparently, Mama couldn’t hear our conversations, neither could she see the creature; but she could see my mouth move, without hearing anything I had said.
You’ve taken away everyone dear to me from me,” I sobbed loudly, “must you take Mama too?” Puzzled and alarmed, Mama quickly made for the door, but the creature shut the door before she could reach it. Mama screamed, and fell on the floor. I thought the fear shock she felt might even kill her before the creature did.
“I can’t take your Mama from you unless you permit me to. She’s our last mission for the month, and she must go for this mission to be successful and accomplished.”
“What mission? How’s my Mama a part of one of your useless missions?”
The creature finally gave me a very deep cut on my ear, “You will understand in the future. Right now, we’re running out of time…” The pain on my ear was excruciating. I saw the chunk the creature had bitten off on the floor. I couldn’t take it anymore.
“Take her,” I sobbed, “you can take my Mama.”
I watched in horror as the creature approached my Mama who was gradually losing consciousness. It picked her up as though she weighed zero kilogram. Mama tried to wriggle free from it’s grip to no avail. Then, when it was done with scrutinising her, and finally decided on what way to end her life, it laid her straight on her back. With its claws,it opened her belly, and took away her stomach. Those organs were also missing from Dad’s, Josh’s and Dean’s dead bodies.
I couldn’t take it anymore, “Why are you doing this to me? You’ve taken Mama’s life, and you did it in such a horrible and despicable manner. She was innocent. She didn’t deserve this. What do you want with me?” I sobbed. I was sure my heart was going to stop beating if I kept up with the pace. There was no need to live anyway, but the creature wouldn’t let me go. To it, I was still useful, and so my time wasn’t up yet.
It smiled, “you will understand in the future.” What did that even mean?
I don’t know who had alerted the police, but before I could blink my eyes, they were already in the room. The creature stared from afar as they handcuffed me and took me away. Before the police van drove off, I looked behind. The creature was there, “There’s so much left for us to do,” I heard its voice in my head, “lay low, I will get you out very soon.”
The vehicle that held me crashed against a big truck, taking the lives of the police men and women with them. Everyone in that vehicle was lifeless… except me. I was unscathed. The creature sat right next to me, “I am coming for you,” it tilted its head and looked right behind me, “yes you. You are next. Get ready. Be prepared.”
“Yes. You, who’s reading my story,” it grinned, then continued, “no one is permitted to read or know anything about me, no other than Annie. Because you’ve read and know about my story… you must go. I’m coming for you, dear reader, and I will take you with me. You know what that means, don’t you?”
Ekwebelum Chizurum Melody
Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi State, NIGERIA.