The night was still and somewhat quite. Even in the quietness, the noiseless sounds of evils could be heard as they crept between the streets wanting to cause discord with any available chance. The magic ball that sometimes turns the night into daylight shone in the middle of the sky creating a deception of daylight to all living creatures that abounds.
I lay on my bed dressed in my full party regalia of a blue jeans and stripped T-shirt. I also still had my stocking on. The anger caused by my party euphorbia being cut short by my dad refusing me to go to chinwe’s birthday party surged through my system like an ink diffusing in water. My eyelids lay bare refusing to close like a system active on caffeine. My anger had turned into insomnia. Thoughts moved into thoughts and in no time I can’t even remember where the thoughts engendered from.
The room was dark; it wasn’t so when I laid my head to sleep two hours ago. The power holding company had done what they knew how to do best “interrupting the power supply”. Suddenly, the stillness of the night seems to stop, the sounds too. Perplexed,I stood up and looked outside the window; surprisingly my neighbor; Mr Kalu’s door was wide open. The strangest thing had happened…
Mr Kalu is the most mysterious man I have ever seen. He doesn’t have a wife or children that we know or see. Not even a visitor had visited him since he moved to our neighborhood six months ago. Even the house he moved into had not been inhabited for a very long time; its previous inhabitant “the Omonigbo family” moved out eight and half months ago out of fear. They said it was haunted by GHOSTS!!!
Mr Kalu just arrived one day with a portmanteau and a tool bag. He opened the door with a key and moved in. Nobody in the neighborhood could question him as scary tales about the compound abound. He doesn’t come out not to talk of going to work. When the tension was rising about the stranger in our midst, the police was invited into the matter. Mr Kalu came outside in a rare moment in which few courageous people saw him provide documents that proved he was the rightful owner of the property. Henceforth, nobody disturbed him and we never saw him outside…
It was said that he comes out once in a month, and there were terrible tales about him being an alien who could transform into a human. The tales held firm ground since no one could explain how a man who doesn’t come out talk-less of working survives. So when I saw his door open, the spirit of Agatha Christie’s star detective -“Hercule Poirot” engulfed me. Telling no one, I decide to investigate him myself!
I was already dressed, so I grabbed my dirty gloves amongst the heap of dirty cloth that I had packed in the corner of my room, took my Blackberry phone and my portable torchlight. In a flash, I was out of my room closing the door gently in order not to wake up anyone in the house, especially my father who doesn’t sleep deeply.
I moved gently down the stairs and tiptoed towards the front door. I heard a footstep down the stairs, fear engulfed the frame of my heart; my father. I bend down and remained glued to the wall. My father was moving towards my position, I must do something real fast, but what could I do? Three doors were at my disposal, the one in my front led outside, the one by my left led to the waiting room and the third which was to my back led to the passage where my dad’s footstep could be heard sharply now. There was no ado, I resigned to fate. My dad opened the huge passage door and directed the beam of his torchlight towards the locking mechanism of the door that led outside. Satisfied that it was locked, he retreated and slammed close the passage door, he didn’t see me; wonders of PHCN.
As soon as the footsteps of my dad which could now be faintly heard disappeared into the still nights, I carefully unlocked the lock mechanism of the front door and gently moved outside to the compound. There another minute enemy loomed; old soldier: our gate-man.
It had skipped my mind that there was a gateman by the main gates. I had already moved halfway when I saw his torchlight beam directed towards the ground. How daft was I, he must have seen me. Fear engulfed me once more; Old soldier would surely without mercy drag me to my father, then I have no valid explanation as to what I was doing outside at this odd hour of the nights. My dad was sure to conclude that I had gone to the party he forbade me. Fear came to preside over my heart.
Suddenly as I froze realizing the presence of old soldier, the torchlight he was holding fell to the cemented floor and it noise was the king of sound for the few seconds it lasted. It became clear to me that old soldier was asleep. Two out of two escapade; even Hercule Poirot doesn’t have that record. What a wonderful night it is.
It was apparent that I couldn’t pass through the gates, the noise that would be generated from opening its lock mechanism was sure to wake up old soldier. I was left with only one option: climb the fence. That was a fine option as it leaves no suspicion and no witness.
The fence didn’t proof that much tough like it ought to be, I would say the weekly Thursday Boy scouts training was working there I guess. My legs were already on the fence when the torchlight slip and fell from my pocket. Jack began to bark. Jack was our six year old German shepherd dog. It was said to have received strong training in tracing scents and micro movements before my dad bought it. Jack was so good that it could detect the smell of a shadow. His bark was sure to wake up old soldier who should be running to the scene by now. The worst event of the night is about to happen.
I jumped off the fence into Mr Kalu’s compound. I could hear the footsteps of the old soldier; he had arrived at the scene. I let his fear erase from my thoughts. The worst that could happen was my parent entering my room to be deceived by the wonderful arrangement of pillow that depute a sleeping me.
I moved slowly between the thick shrubs growing in the unkempt compound; I could see the Mr Kalu’s house from yards away now. I began to stealth walk like a Seal commando about to execute a deadly kill. My mission was simply; to discover what kept Mr Kalu indoor for a long time without coming to get food to eat. I would surely be a hero by the time the dawn vanished I thought.
I was by the door now; I took a peep through the open door.Darkness loomed in the house. The only source of lights was a bare light probably from a candle stand. Fear encompassed my heart all of a sudden; evil thoughts of all sort penetrated my detective mind. Trepidations crowned my thoughts, what of if Mr Kalu caught up with me in his house, what of if he is killer, or a kidnapper? For some seconds these questions raced forth in my mind. The sudden recalls of the heroic features of Agatha Christie’s detective “Hercule Poirot” freed me from the fears and I entered the house.
The house was dark like I had observed from the outside. There was a long passage that ran into a dark oblivion. To the left was a setting that resembled the dining room. The heavy weave of cobwebs on it indicated that it was long used; on its central table were a crowbar and a candle stand which was stood two candles that lit up the scene. I brought out my Blackberry and switched on the torch application, its lights soon conquered the reigning darkness and it gave me better visuals.
I moved to the room by my right, there were three cushion chairs of unequal sizes well arranged. There was a brown central table with few dirty plates scattered on it. There was also a shelf with a television and a VCR set on it. One vivid thing in the room was a wide irregular round hole on the ceiling. The whole arrangement looked modern and one could see that the room was frequently used in complete contrast with the dining room which I had just left. I took two snapshots and moved back to the dark passageway.
I began to move down the dark passageway. The beam of lights from my Blackberry phone shone and its reign as king was unthreatened. Next on the passageway further in was a ladder that went into the ceiling to the right and to the left was a bolted door that I guessed served as an alternate route that led outside. I still furthered my movements and as I moved, the wooden floor creaked, and my every step seems to weaken the floor as if it would cave in if I didn’t move away from it fast. There were three rooms to the left and right. I tried each of them as I moved and they all locked; with a key probably. I soon began to lose out on hope until I tried out the last room by the right, there I struck gold, and the room was not locked.
I opened the door gently…
I opened my mouth wide like a hippopotamus;
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing
To be continued