Home Blog Meeting The Mysterious ( A Night With The Deities) by Faith Oyadiran

Meeting The Mysterious ( A Night With The Deities) by Faith Oyadiran

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The crescent moon cast its orange glow on the alley of trees beside Ife-Ibadan Road. As Sophia traversed to the other side, she sought refuge beneath the canopies of the Iroko trees.

Sophia donned her headset.

The pulsating beats of Spyro’s “Who’s Your Guy” blared in her ears.

She hears the rustling of wings and the squeaking of the bats. The feces-smeared ground nauseated her.

She holds her breath to ward off the putrid odor. She observed a sudden agitation among the birds. Their shrill squeaks unnerved her. In a flash, a shadow swooped on the tree. The birds dispersed.

Darkness enveloped the surrounding. A spooky breeze accompanied the shadow sending shivers through her body.

The shadow passed in a twinkling.

She heard dogs barking from a distance. The fractured neon lights that bordered the road flickered before going off. She scurried down the crimson-earth road that winds into Ogangi. The barks and squeaks grew frenetic.

She perceived something sinister lurking in the shadows. Sophia accelerated her pace. Her heart raced as rustling erupted from the enveloping foliage. She burst into a sprint, panting and casting anxious glances over her shoulder. The sound of boots clattered with the undergrowth.

“Who could be out to get her, and why?” She asked herself. She halted and sprinted behind a nearby mango tree. She melded into the shadows. The sound of the boots slowed a short distance from her pause. This convinced her that the horrors in the shadows were out for her.

She stowed her eyeglass in it’s case and stashed it in her bag. She rolled her trousers up to her knees and cinched her shoelaces. As she readied herself to bolt, an eerie cry pierced the night.

The sound came from the tree. Two bulbous eyes pierced her. Driven by instinct, she raised her arms as a shield and recoiled. From a distance, she spotted the silhouette of the creature. She could identify the tufted ears flanking those prominent eyes. Its lengthy, feathery tail executes a sinuous dance.

Myth casts the bush baby (galago) as an enigma. Its piercing cry is alleged to lure people to abduct or kill them.

The bush baby sprang at her, landing on her tousled locks. She hurled her bag aside and engaged in a scuffle with the bush baby. Following the scuffle, she dislodged it from her hair and cast the creature deep into the thicket. The galago emitted another plaintive cry. Sophia skittered off, pausing only to regain her breath.

She scanned her surroundings before breaking into another sprint.

Her pursuers detected her motion, and the thud of boots resumed.

They concealed themselves within the thick vegetation. This got Sophia perplexed. Their determination to hunt her by stealth terrified her. She figured her assailants were either aliens or skilled trackers. None of the options comforted her. She contemplated the absurdity of her thoughts. But she couldn’t dismiss the mystery that surrounds her dilemma.

She puffs and pants. Exhaustion was etched across her face. She pressed on, aware that her life hung in the balance.

Glancing upward, Sophia noticed the crescent moon had evolved into a full circle. She recalls that a dead body lingered around the Lakeside Hotel some days ago.

The lady’s body was mutilated, and her head was scraped clean. Rumours portended the murder as one in a series of ritual killings.

Could she be about to meet the same fate?

She feels the breeze again. The intensity increased, gathering debris in its wake. She suddenly recalled the prior night’s haunting memory. She’d laid on a mat at the heart of a plaza. Tall wooden poles flanked the plaza, forming a loose U shape around it. Vultures, ravens, and hawks perched on the poles, poised for a feast. Masks hung on the remaining poles. Through the aperture of one mask, two large green eyes blinked.

“The haunted grounds would suit this creepy plaza.” She mumbled to herself.

Lost in thought, a sudden gust of wind swirled, lifted, and suspended her in mid-air. Slow, synchronized drumbeats resonate. The eyes burst forth from the mask, turning from green to a fierce crimson. She jolted awake, trembling and drenched in sweat.

After she woke up, the mystery lingered.

Fear pervaded her room. Darkness enveloped every corner. The candle she’d ignited before retiring had been extinguished. An ominous presence loomed. An instinct to scream and flee surged within her. As she scampered from the room, an eerie laughter and jingle of cowries reverberated.

She’d lost her biological parents to a mysterious fire incident at age eight. This forced her to live with her grandparents in Akama-Oghe, Enugu.

She burst into Grandpa’s bedroom.

Grandpa jolted awake, hastily switching on his lamp. Sophia’s complexion had paled.

“You resemble someone who’s encountered a ghost,” Grandpa remarked.

Without a word, she leaped into his embrace. She clung to him. Grandpa consoled her until she could articulate her experience. The nightmare and its occurrence left him intrigued.

The next morning, he took her to Pastor Philip of the Agape Life Christian Center on 9th Mile Avenue. After the pastor’s prayer, he turned to Grandpa with a question: “Are you her father?”

Grandpa shook his head and said, “I’m her mother’s father.” The pastor exhaled. “This girl is tormented by a deity.” “Her father may hold the answers.”

Grandpa’s shoulders slumped. “I have some clues,” he admitted. “My daughter mentioned that her husband joined the Vikings two years before their mysterious deaths.”

“That explains the nightmares,” the pastor concluded.

“Please help me; I don’t want to lose another daughter.”

“The Lord would help us.”

Pastor Philip prescribed a three-day fast and prayer for her. She followed the prescription, but the nightmare continued. Grandpa Edafe taught her a simple prayer to combat the nightmares. She’d recited the prayer every night for the past eighteen years.

She’d prayed the same prayer that morning before leaving her hostel. Maybe the prayer had become another religious clichê, she pondered.

A sudden whoosh! jerked her back to reality. The wind had turned boisterous within a few seconds. It blew everything into a circle while the debris floated and twirled in midair.

The hairs on her body bristled. She dashed behind the nearby tree. Suddenly, she understood that the thought of escape was an illusion. As a sheep, she had been led to the slaughter. She felt the chill coursing through her body again.

In a flash, her surroundings dissolved into a deserted square. Ten poles encircled an elevated platform. Skulls, ravens, vultures, and masks of various sizes sit on the poles. Cold, green eyes pierced through the apertures of the masks. It dawned on her that the dream she’d harboured for eighteen years and the day’s omen foretold this destiny.

The place looks familiar; it’s the haunted plaza. She wanted to scream. In a few seconds of lucidity, she realized the insignificance of words in this realm.

The Agu fraternity had demanded the appointment of a male heir or the sacrifice of a female child. Since her father’s passing left no successor, she’d be the sacrifice.

Tears stream down her cheeks.

Drumbeats reverberate throughout the surroundings. The disembodied faces began a haunting procession. They chanted in perfect unison. With each rising hum, the encircling group tightened their ring. Her hand trembled, and hot liquid trickled down her genitals.

Her memory stirred. She remembers Grandpa’s prayer. She clasped her hands and muttered, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadows of death, I shall fear no evil, for thou art with me.”

As she repeated the prayer, the circle tightened, blocking all escape routes.

A gunshot roared from the distance. The night sky bursts into fireworks. She paused and gazed upward. She struggled to fathom the unfolding spectacle. The gunshot and the fireworks caused a commotion.

The circle broke, and discontented murmurs filled the air.

Another gunshot thundered in the air. The masks receded into the shadows with urgency. Once more, the thudding of boots ricochets through the night. The disembodied faces hurried away amid the commotion.

The breeze reemerged and spiralled into a tornado. As she fixed on its movement, she felt weightless and in motion. She closed her eyes for a moment and reopened them. She discerned the outline of a tree. She’d hidden here earlier before the world dissolved into the mysterious realm.

She hears a tick-tock. The wristwatch was passed down by her father just days before his demise.

The moon casts its reflection upon it, revealing an image of a lioness gazing into celestial space. It dawns on her that her father had primed her for the sacrifice during her twenty-eighth full moon. She unfastened the straps and hurled it into the thicket.

She walked into the middle of the crimson road. She heard the frogs croaking and the crickets chirping. Even without the mysteries, the nighttime casts a dread of its own. She sprinted and never stopped until she got to her room.

Oyadiran Faith is a graduate of English Language and Literary Studies from Obafemi Awolowo University Osun State, Nigeria. He is an avid reader and a passionate writer. He currently works as a Diction instructor. He is on Instagram as @Op_bolu and can be reached @oyadiranfaithopeyemi@gmail.com

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