It’s been three weeks since the strange boy, Nduka, came into his life and plagued his nights with nightmares, one he was yet to completely get over. It’s been three weeks since Kunle went to Area A Block 2, the compound where Nduka and Nnamdi stayed with their aunty, Gloria, and had brought the duo in for questioning. It seemed to Kunle a stupid thing to do, but he did it all the same. Nnamdi was like any other boy residing in the slum of Nyanya, he didn’t in any way look out of the ordinary, he was a bit scared, but there was only to be expected since he was in a police station, but aside from that, he was normal.
And he knew nothing of what his cousin had reported about him. Similarly, their aunty Gloria, knew nothing of such absurd story; aside from being a chronic practitioner of the oldest profession known to man, a fact she didn’t try to hide, there was nothing of interest, or suspicious about her. She had not heard anything, seen anything or observed anything, Nnamdi has always been his usual self, and if anything, it is Nduka that has been acting strange, a sentiment which was shared by many of their compound neighbors. They all testified that Nduka had become unusually withdrawn the past few weeks. He always appeared lost and so removed from reality he often needed to be called multiple times before he responds. And when asked about the movie, The Pararinnar copy, Nnamdi claimed no such thing existed.
The various testimonies helped to justify Kunle’s initial opinion, that there was nothing of truth in the boy’s story. As far as the police was concerned there was no such movie as The Pararinnar copy, they had searched all known movie databases and could not find any movie with such title, neither could they find any evidence of a boy disappearing at late evenings and returning back home in the middle of the night with hands soaked in blood, disillusioned, and repeating the words ‘I eat whole family’. They then concluded that the explanation to Nduka’s reaction and behavior was more of psychological, rather than physical, they theorized that he was suffering from a ‘mild psychological trauma’ occasioned by his repeated exposure to horror movies or movies with very horrific pictures thus causing a break in his fragile mind from reality: he was no longer able to distinguish what he had seen in the movies from real life. When asked why Nduka was the only one affected, despite the fact that both boys, most likely, were exposed to the same content, Mabel explained that the human mind have varying susceptibility and resistance, what would cause one person to be depressed and suicidal may have little or no effect on another, besides, Nnamdi is two years older than Nduka, the maturity factor can also come into play.
So at that the case was officially closed. Gloria was instructed sternly to censor what the boys were watching and to steer them clear of horror movies, while Mabel offered to do regular check-ins on the boys particularly Nduka so as to monitor his ‘mild condition’. Everything seemed perfect; everyone appeared to have returned back to their normal lives, everyone but Kunle.
Aside from his occasional nightmares and insomnia he just could not get rid of a nagging gut feeling, one that gnawed at him repeatedly, inhibiting his ace performance both in bed, and at work. He just could not shake off the feeling that there was a mistake somewhere, that the assumed villain may actually be the victim.
“That is stupid thinking” He often said to himself, but this assertion did little to quench the pesky feeling.
After fighting with himself for weeks, he finally gave in to the feeling and decided to return back to Area A block 2, if not for anything, but to put his spirit at rest. Little did he know that his spirit was about to experience the exact opposite of rest.
The room was at the extreme of the compound and to get there he had to pass through a dark, damp, smelly corridor of a line of toilets and bathrooms. Five toilets lined the left, while five corresponding bathroom were at the right. Each pair was built to serve two households in the compound, but in reality, the conveniences served more people than it was made for, and this accounted for its poor state; no one was ready to be a slave to another. Kunle clipped his nose with two fingers as he walked through the dark passage, praying he does not step on anything unpleasant.
He finally made it through the valley of filth without any incident and got to the door of the room. He knocked on the door and then stepped back, to wait for a response. In the meantime he looked around the compound; it was all dark and silent, except for the faint sound of television coming from an adjacent room. He glanced at his wrist watch, it said eight thirty. There wasn’t any response to his knock so he knocked again, this time harder, but still, no response. He was tempted to turn around but the nagging feeling would not just let him be, urging him to try again, he obliged. As he lifted his knuckles a gentle wind blew, nudging the door open a wee bit. Curiosity got the better of him so rather than knock again he pushed the door a little more to allow him enough room to poke his head in; he didn’t see anybody. So he decided to enter the room fully and that was when he saw them. Huddled at the far corner of the tiny room, beside a heap of dirty clothes, was Nnamdi; he was in a serious fit, vibrating intensely like an epileptic. Recognizing him was difficult for the veins in his head had swollen and were protruding from his skin, almost increasing the size of his head by double. His eyes were as the boy Kunle had seen repeatedly in his dreams, they were completely white, and his hands, just as Nduka had told them, were drenched in blood. Kneeling by the side of the fitful Nnamdi was Nduka, and in his hands was a wet rag with which he was cleaning his cousin.
Kunle was shocked to his very marrow, goose bumps riddled down his entire length as the hair on his body all assumed a standing posture. This was not a dream, he was sure this was not a dream, it was naked reality; he was absolutely petrified. At this point Nduka looked up at him, and their eyes held for a minute, and in those brown childish eyes Kunle could read a message that said; I told you but you wouldn’t believe me. Then suddenly there was a change, the boy in fit seem to notice the presence of another being in the room, and his helpless demeanor was rapidly replaced by an aggressive one, he started to make strange and disturbing sounds. Kunle noticed it, but before he could even think of what to do the boy leaped from where he was crouched, and in less than a second he was by Kunle’s side. The boy hit him with such severe blow that it threw him across the room and against the wall; so powerful was the force that the entire room shook as he hit the wall. Before his body touched the ground he had passed out.
Danlami and Mabel looked on as Kunle placed a bag of ice on his forehead, his eyes were shut; he was obviously in serious pains. His head was banging like a war was going on inside. The pain killers that were given to him in Nyanya General Hospital had either not started working, or it probably could not stand up to his mighty headache and body pains. As he battled with his pains and aches he wrestled hard to believe what had happened. He couldn’t tell how long he was out but when he woke up he was in so much pain that he could hardly move a finger, his mouth was sore and rigid, like he had just chewed a bag of gravel. He was dazed and confused as to where he was, and only when he saw Nduka knelling by his side did recollection come crushing on him like a flash flood. He found out that after Nnamdi slammed him against the concrete wall he ran out, and since then, had not returned. Kunle managed to place a call to Mabel who rushed over as fast as she could and drove him to the hospital; it was in the hospital that she later called Danlami. They all believed Kunle’s story, of course they would, they were Africans, not some white folks in a movie who continually disbelieve the existence of the paranormal until they are almost completely wiped away. Mabel took Nduka back in for questioning and this time she followed the standard procedure; she had a tape recorder in the room.
“Perhaps you should go home and get some rest” Danlami suggested.
“No” Kunle said, shaking his head the best he could, “I will stay. Mabel what is the outcome of your questioning?” He asked.
“Hm, well, he told us a little more than he did previously, I guess it’s because the incident is still fresh in his mind and due to the gravity of its outcome” She said, gesturing at Kunle, “There is something in particular I would want you guys to take a listen to, personally I think it’s just gibberish due to the boy’s seizure but still maybe you guys can find some meaning in it”
She pressed Play on the cassette player, and then fast forwarded it to the point where Nduka was recounting what he heard his cousin say. His voice came out clearly but a little shaky through the cassette player speaker:
“He was saying; ‘atova…heart…ubah…dauthus est certus…logos est hura…na requiescant in pace…ilesanmi…andeis habban qiman…I eat whole family…I eat whole family’ he just kept saying that.”
Mabel stopped the tape.
“So he told us a lot more but we are still left with what we started with ‘I eat whole family’” Mabel said, almost frustratingly.
“No, not exactly” Kunle said in a tired voice, speaking, was to him a huge task.
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t understand the…babble but am sure I heard something that sounded like a name” Kunle said.
The other two shared glances, the kind that suggested they felt he was losing it.
“Can you play it again?” He asked.
“Kunle, maybe you should–” Mabel was saying.
“Humor me, just…please, play it again”
She obliged. And just before it got to the end he exclaimed jubilantly, almost shouting.
“Exactly, it’s a name; he mentioned a name ‘Ilesanmi’”
“Are you sure it didn’t just sound…”
“No I am sure, it’s a Yoruba name. I once had a colleague back in school that bore that name”
“So why would he mention a name in the middle of his incomprehensible chatter?” Mabel asked, more rhetorically than addressed to anyone. There was silence for about five seconds, then, Danlami spoke.
“In police investigation we use the ‘knowns’ to decipher the ‘unknowns’, I just hope it is not what I am thinking right now. Mabel get Eddy on the phone, tell him to report in ASAP, I don’t want to know if he is sleeping. Am guessing it is going to be a long night for all of us”