Skriiiiii… came the worrisome sound once again.
Ade leapt to his feet and scanned the area with bulging eyes. His heart gave a sudden lurch and accelerated as his fear escalated. He wondered what could have produced such a sound.
It was peach black and there were ominous noises all around him.
He thought he heard movements but realised that it was the chirping sounds made by wild crickets and other insects of the night. His face was wet with sweat and they merged into huge droplets and fell continuously to the ground with suppressed thuds.
Dada Balogun, the strong and well built medicine man, had promised him wealth untold and undisputed protections were he to successfully carry out the sacrifice and initiation into the spiritual realm. Ade remembered how the old man had spoken in a deep and brash voice that was painfully abrasive in his ears, reassuring him and at the same time, boasting.
The medicine man’s way of enunciation had essence and his incantations was ancient and came out forcefully such that it began to affect the things around them ; the trees shook and the winds became fierce and seemed vindictive with the intent to destroy. It had caused fear to creep into the heart of young Ade and he knew he was playing a dangerous game, one which could end his life at the slightest mistake.
Ade was already getting fed up of it. It was one horror after another and he was losing his mind as a result. He just wanted to get done with the process and become rich, “filthy rich”, he thought and smiled to himself. The idea of making big money made his predicament somewhat bearable and he forgot all about the sound he had heard and went back to his thoughts and fantastic imaginations.
It was the last day of the process and according to the medicine man; it was the day that determined if he would be ushered into wealth untold.
“Your last assignment is simple”, the witch doctor had said in a deep and mechanical voice with powerful gesticulations. His eyes, under the dim light of the moon, were bright amber orbs; Hard and penetrating, terribly cold and they blazed with wicked intent at young Ade. “You are to pass the night in a shallow grave in the Abaka graveyard”.
“Ah!” Ade had exclaimed, shocked at the words of the medicine man. “But, our father”, he had said in a mellow and shaky voice that betrayed panic, “that graveyard is a deserted graveyard. The horrors within are capable of killing a man. It could kill me, Baba and to think that I would have to sleep in a grave the whole night in that… that deplorable and horrible place, that’s crazy; it is unacceptable, our father!”
“Shut up!” Dada Balogun had screamed at Ade in disgust.
“A grasshopper does not dance in the congregation of hens! How dare you?! What gave you the authority, audacity and tenacity to question my words?” The medicine man asked, his voice a pitch higher and filled with anger. “Be warned, you mere demi-semi-mortal; a bird that thinks it owns the sky has not been struck by lightning! One more word from you and I will show you what fire does to the ears of a stubborn rat”, the witch doctor added with a wicked glare, pointing his elephant tusk at the hapless young man and everywhere had become silent as though every entity was listening to know if Ade would say a word.
Ade had felt the evil coldness about him, a wicked and domineering presence that convinced him that the medicine man worked in conjunction with spirits and was only saying a little of what he could do; this compelled him to keep mute.
Eventually, he was in the infamous graveyard which was a plain overgrown by grasses and dotted by tombstones, shallow algae ponds and concrete mounds that indicated graves, covered in spirogyra and other weeds of the wild, occupying a shallow grave. The grave was freshly dug, equidistant from four huge and ancient looking tombstones that were cracked in places. That was the stipulated position by Dada Balogun, the huge wicked medicine man!
It was midday now and Ade could feel that there was something sinister about the weather. The plain had become humid and terribly hazy all of a sudden. Mist rose from the ground and ascended into the sky and there was that potent feeling of evil that bore down on him and seem to choke him up.
“Something was coming”, Ade though with trepidation and his tired body shivered alarmingly.
Suddenly, the tim tim tim sound of a shrill bell filled the air, penetrating the night with evil intensity and an undertone of demonic intent and malicious evil. The sounds were rhythmic, getting faster and louder and closer.
It was obvious that whatever was coming was running.
Ade’s heart gave a painful lurch as a demonic looking entity materialised out of the dark and fixed him with hateful eyes, no, those were not eyes- they were burning orbs of fire and they blazed a terrible blue flame. The being gave a terrible howl and lifted up its staff to the sky. There were thunderclaps that reverberated through the plain and lightning raked the sky aggressively in torrents. The mythical being pointed its staff at Ade and then, the ground began to move.
The four graves burst open and half-rotten corpses jumped out and began to make their way towards Ade. One had the costume of a clergyman. A gold chain with a big cross extended from his bony and rotten neck and maggots fell off his rotten jaws which was set into a macabre smile. Another was missing a leg and crawled with determined intent towards Ade. His jaws moved rapidly in a clatter. The other two were dressed in suits and looked bigger and covered in cobwebs. As they moved, maggots, ants and other creeping things fell off their belly, hands and face.
They all reached for Ade with razor-sharp phalanges which were all that was left of what were once fingers. Their rheumy, rotten eyes stood conspicuously in their sunken skulls and held no emotions and their noses were a grotesque hollow that instilled fear.
Ade’s fear was palpable! “Ah!! Please… pleeeeaaase!” He screamed wildly and pleaded on his knees.
“Thou puny, runty, shrimpy and stinking human!” The mythical being spoke effortlessly in an ancient voice with obvious hatred and gooey liquid drooled out of his mouth. “You have the effrontery to come into my forest, desecrate my lair and insult my presence?”
“No! Nooo… no”, Ade screamed wildly. The being cocked his head to one side and his amber eyes became fiercely red.
“No?” The mythical being asked in a tight voice and his hideous teeth shone. “Your hands are stained with the blood of an innocent virgin. Your heart is full of greed and covetousness, your whole soul is a storehouse of wickedness! I am Dagon, and I see everything, did you just say no?” the being asked as he sizzled in rage.
The mythical Dagon pointed his staff at Ade and those horrible looking zombies descended on him and began to tear him up.
Ade screamed and screamed. He was still screaming when he woke up from the deep sleep he had been in with a start and wiped his face. It had been a terrible nightmare! He thought about the dream and how it related with his intention to indulge in blood money.
It was warning, he realised and smiled as he walked to his provision shop. “My ancestors are not dead after all”, he said with a triumphant laugh and he gave the dream a name.
He called it; THE HORRORS OF THE GRAVEYARD.
Emmanuel is a student of civil engineering at CRUTECH, Calabar, Cross River State. He loves writing fiction and currently has some books he’s working on and wishes to publish this year. He’s hearing impaired but jovial. He wrote in via email@example.com