The room smelt of mint and old books. He sniffed and pressed a side of his nose. He walked inside and closed the door slowly behind him. He shook his head and tried to smile, but he couldn’t. He recalled the gardener’s warning almost immediately:
𝒐𝒈𝒂 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒓𝒐𝒐𝒎 𝒅𝒐𝒏 𝒐𝒍𝒅, 𝒑𝒆𝒐𝒑𝒍𝒆 𝒘𝒆𝒚 𝒔𝒍𝒆𝒆𝒑 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒃𝒆𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒆 𝒅𝒆𝒚 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒑𝒍𝒂𝒊𝒏 𝒐
Fear crept into his heart and he stood still for a while. He was surprised at his sudden swing of mood. Is this room truly haunted? he thought. He banished the thought from his heart. Only fools believe in such things and moreover this room is not too bad, he thought and dropped his bag. He scratched his head and took his torch from the pocket of his Jacket and switched it on. With the aid of the light rays from the torch, he found the control switch and turned the bulbs on.
Light flooded the room and revealed things he had not seen when it was dark. On the brown walls of the room were traditional carvings of animals and few imitations of the human form in different postures. Bags of newspapers were stacked against the wall where the only bed in the room was close to to. The bed itself was covered with a pink bed spread and brown pillows were arranged on it. At a edge of the bed was a can of insecticide spray. He walked to the bed and dropped his bag on it. He pulled off his shirt and yawned.
Joseph wondered if the room was really a guest room or an home office. He remembered that his uncle, professor Ben, told him his gardener would show him the guest room. He gazed at a carved mask and shook his head. Am in the wrong room, he thought. He decided to back to the boys quarter and tell the gardener that he was in the wrong room, but he was too lethargic to go. His Journey of three hours from Lagos to Ore, had drained him of his energy. All he had to do now, was, read a book or study anything and sleep.
He stood and pulled his bag closer. He drew the zip and took a Can of 𝒄𝒐𝒌𝒆. He saw a small wooden stool close to a bag containing newspaper. He walked to it and dragged it slowly on the yellow rug to his bed. He kept the can of 𝒄𝒐𝒌𝒆 on it and walked to the bags of Newspapers. His eye caught a book with a red cover. He pulled it out of the bag and took the book to his bed. He dropped the book on the desk and sat on the bed. Josephtook the can and opened it. He sipped the drink and placed it carefully on the desk. He took the book and opened it. The pages of the book were brown and dirty . It rustled like crisp and dried tea leaves. The black ink which the written words were written with was smeared on the pages. On the first page was written: Day 1 at lleto.
Perhaps it is uncle’s dairy, Joseph thought.Joseph knew the diary would only reveal things he didn’t want to have a knowledge off. He stood from the bed and walked to the bag he took the book from. He was about to drop it when he saw the edge of a photo sticking out of the diary. He pulled the photo and gazed at it and his heart began to beat faster. The scene captured in the photo, depicted anoperating room. Two surgeons were bent over a bed , operating a patient. There were lights everywhere. A huge lamp, almost the size of an hair dryer machine was closer to the bed. Beside the bed was a desk with two sacks in it. The odd thing Joseph’s mind was occupied with apart from the endless questions in his head was the surgeon who was smiling. The surgeon didn’t wear a surgical mask and he had a shiny chain on.
Joseph walked back to his bed with the book and the photo which he dropped on the bed and sipped his 𝒄𝒐𝒌𝒆. His hand was shaking and was fidgeting. He stared at the photo again and now , he found something strange beside a bed almost concealed by a blue sheet. He pulled the photo closer and his heart beat tripled.
He saw a person was sprawled on the ground with both hands tied and a black calico bag hiding the face beside the bed .
Who shot this photo? Who are this people . why is this photo here? Joseph thought . He turned the photo and at the back were scribblings.
𝑂𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑑𝑎𝑦 ,𝑠𝑒𝑝𝑡𝑒𝑚𝑏𝑒𝑟 2003, 𝑙 𝑡𝑜𝑜𝑘 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑎𝑡 𝑔𝑏𝑎𝑗𝑢𝑚𝑜 ℎ𝑜𝑠𝑝𝑖𝑡𝑎𝑙, 𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑜𝑟𝑔𝑎𝑛 𝑑𝑒𝑎𝑙𝑒𝑟𝑠 𝑤𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑎𝑐𝑡.
𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑤𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑎𝑟𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑛𝑒𝑥𝑡 𝑑𝑎𝑦.
Organ dealers? Joseph was surprised. He couldn’t believe that he just read the scribblings. He was relieved his uncle had nothing else but a witness of the gruesome scene. He was in an hybrid of awe and distress. How can people be so wicked and inhumane to fellow humans. He had only read about people taking body organs from trafficked people and those places where outside Nigeria. 𝑔𝑏𝑎𝑗𝑢𝑚𝑜? He shook his head and he dropped the photo on the desk. He decided he would gather more story about the incidence from his uncle when he comes back the next day. With the macabre scene painted on a canvas in his mind, he laid on his bed and ….
He was jarred from his sleep by an ear piercing scream. He pulled his bed spread away and he stood from his bed. The light bulb was blinking. He took his torch and turned it on . He gazed at the wooden door and stood still.
Help me! Heeeelp. Am not donating!
He fidgeted and gripped the torch tightly. He walked slowly, a step at a time towards the door like a magician walking on spikes. The bulb went off, leaving the torch as the only source of illumination in the room.
He walked closer to the door, filled with dread. With his left hand on the knob , he pulled it gently. He walked slowly out of the room into the hallway where the the air was filled with the smell of antiseptics. He turned to close the door and to his astonishment, the door was closed and a dirty label was pinned on the door. On the label was written: Operating Theatre.
His jaw dropped at the revelation that he was not in his uncle’s house but at an hospital. He turned to his left and saw and hallway. The hallway was lit by blinking bulbs. He walked cautiously away from the door to avoid making any sound. He was few metres away, when he heard a sound and turned sharply.
A woman was pushing a trolley towards him from the other end of the hallway at his back. He gasped. His heart was beating faster.
He heard the scream again. His heart lurched. His legs were shaking and he was sure he would soon wet himself with urine. He was surprised the woman pushing the trolley was not alarmed. She was pushing the trolley slowly towards him. He noticed something was dripping from her eyes. It was sienna coloured. His heart kept palpitating. He turned slowly , maybe he could see a place to hide. He saw a door opened , three rooms away. He glued his back to the wall and sighed with relieve. Then almost immediately a pan fell on the floor, he jerked and turned to see the trolley closer. He wanted to scream, but only air escaped his lungs. On the trolley were two transparent bags and the content was dripping through it into the flat tray the bags were in. The woman kept pushing the trolley came closer almost touching him and kept pushing the trolley. Joseph was shocked that she didn’t see him. He stared hard when she was almost past him and he saw that she had no eyes and her sockets were dripping with blood. He covered him mouth and suppressed a scream.
How did l get here? What am l doing here? He asked himself .
When the woman was metres away, almost at the third room down the hallway , he walked slowly after her. When she got to the third door, she pushed the trolley against the door and it opened. She went inside.
Joseph tiptoed to the door . He heard the scream again. This time, he was sure , it was from this room. He pushed it slowly and he saw the macabre scene .
Two surgeons were operating on a patient. The room was filled with operating equipment. On a far end of the room was a transparent storage with different body organs. His body became hot. He held the door tightly and he sensed wetness between at the meeting of his hips. Sprawled on the ground were people tied down. He squeezed his eyes shut quickly and opened it. It was the same scene. To his shock, now, the surgeons carried the body they were operating on and laid it on a stretcher. After this, they dragged another person .
“ Stop!” Joseph shouted before he realized he had said it. The surgeons paused. They stared at him and shook their head. One of the surgeon , a bit taller than the other pulled the surgical mask off.
“ what are you doing here?” He asked. Joseph gawped at him .
“ Answer me!”
Joseph’s intuition kicked in, he turned, released his grip on the door and ran. He kept running down the hallway. When he got to the end of the hallway, he saw another door. He kicked it and the door opened.
There in front of him was the two surgeons he saw earlier. He turned and tried to run but he couldn’t. His leg was stuck in something. He glanced at his legs, nothing was holding them. He tried again and could not move. Hands grabbed him. He was dragged into the room. One surgeon held his hand behind his back and the other took a scalpel from a desk. He walked closer . Joseph was struggling , but he couldn’t free himself of the tight grip. The scalpel came closer to his chest and he screamed.
“Joseph! Joseph!” His uncle said, “ lt is a dream”
Joseph opened his eyes and saw his uncle who sat by his side on the bed. He was sweating and palpitating.
“ Boy, it is a dream. And by the way why did you sleep here?. Didn’t you meet Okon, my gardener?”
Joseph was too weak to answer, all he did was stare at his uncle in relief.
Oladejo Victor Olayemi is a budding artist and a secondary school
graduate. He lives in Ore, Odigbo, Ondo state and wrote in via email@example.com