I was in bed when I heard the familiar screeching and scraping noise, the sound was from the kitchen store. As usual. I had lost consciousness of sleep, I could not close my eyes anymore pretending asleep. The noise got louder and more disturbing; apparently I couldn’t keep bottling up the disgust of sound and movement from the store.
It was obviously Anwuli searching for something to devour.
I rolled off the bed; searching for the flip-flop with my legs…. I couldn’t feel it. I stood up reluctantly dragging myself to God-knows-where. I stood for some time, I was quite dizzy and too lazy to keep up the self-drag.
I could not waste any more time in sleep reminiscence, I staggered to the bathroom; though everything seemed black and white. Maybe I was still dreaming. I sprinkled little water to my face.
Crassssshhhh!!! Now I was fully awake and assumingly agile by the sound from the store. That was the climax. I wonder what Anwuli would be up to at this very moment that led to the most petrifying sound.
I was used to this.
Anwuli was our very renowned neighbor who sneaks up on the family every Thursdays and Saturdays; she has her own private condo in our apartment. She wobbles round the apartment, eating all the leftovers. I felt sorry for her. But she was apparently now a member of the family. Papa and Mama usually reminded us to leave the door-batch open on Anwuli’s visiting days in order for her to make her way inside much easier.
Everyone did not perceive Anwuli’s presence as a threat except me. I hated Anwuli. The morning after her visits were always disastrous and wrecking leaving me and Ogechi to do the whole cleaning and tidying.
It was Thursday; Ebirim always prepared a special delicacy for Anwuli. Fish sauce with onugbu (bitter leaf), he highlighted that the leaf initiates healthy and standard growth, as well as reducing the state of constipation. Ebirim would hide behind the large rubber tanks, admiring Anwuli munch her food. No one seems to be bothered about the noises she made while raiding but for me.
Crassshhhhh!!!!!!!! It came again, this one sound flung me off my feet, as I ran out of my room towards the store with my fist tightly and rigidly clenched, in preparation to punch Anwuli to death. She’d never made any disturbing sound like this. But after I am done with her, she’ll never make any of those sounds ever again.
I came to a halt. Ebirim was in tears before the store entrance. ‘’Eby, why are you crying.’’ I was still annoyed with the latter.
‘’ It’s Anwuli.’’ Ebirim whimpered.
I rose my left eye brow ‘’What about her?’’
‘’She is dead.’’ Ebirim fought back his emotions ‘’The two tanks in the store fell on her while she was eating.’’
That was Ebirim’s best friend.
I did not know whether to console him or laugh out loud. ‘’Who pushed the tank down?’’ The tank wouldn’t have fallen on its own because it had a stable stamina. ‘’Anwuli would not be foolish enough to do that or even strong enough to move the tank.’’
Ebirim paused. He lowered his face like he was about to make a confession, then he looked up at me again ‘’It was a mistake.’’ The eight years old gushed out, crying like a bereaved widow.
Mumu, I cursed in my mind. I went into the store, quite messy and untidy. Onugbu soup splattered all over the floor. Ridiculous how Papa and Mama did not wake up to the crashing sound of the two ‘actually-light’ tanks.
Poor Anwuli. The rat lay dead on the floor.