From June 8, I will be telling horror stories on Twitter. What that means is Monday nights for four weeks, I will be tweeting stories – stories intended to scare you, put a chill in your bones and a scream in your throat –
Don’t mind me.
I won’t be tweeting links, the actual stories will be told on Twitter! Every Monday from June 8, a new story title will be announced via # so you can curate and follow the story!
Sounds fun, right? Just follow the #TwitterAfterDark #StoryTitle – for example if next week’s story is Bullet For Brains, that Monday’s hashtag is #BulletForBrains.
Share your Monday nights with me – and I’ll write you a new prescription for terror.
I got more than my fair share of support (God bless you!) and quite a number of mails concerning whether other writers could contribute. And then I thought, ‘why not?’ So instead of just #MondayFrightNights we’ll be having Monday and #FridayFrightNights! How cool is that? Mondays I’ll be sharing my own stories, Fridays I’ll be sharing stories from other writers! Two for the price of none! What do you think? Let me know in the comments, please!
UPDATE II: Monday Night Frights will remain on Mondays.
Thank you so much for your feedback and prompts.
God bless y’all!
Thank you. Have a great week!
#MondayFrightNights begins in a few hours.
There’s this thing she does.
When we eat together – or whenever I’m eating something she made, she takes the first dip from the food and eats it, and then puts the second dip in my mouth. Depending on how she’s feeling, she might continue to feed me or she might just allow me continue to eat myself.
I like it either way.
She’s spreading the pasta, smearing sauce that smells just right in the middle of it. She serves food like that, meal in one plate, complimenting sauce in another, toppings; meat and suchlike in yet another. Me, I just dump the whole thing in one plate – whether eba or rice or whatever.
Won’t it mix in the belly?
Still – she likes to do it and I like watching her do it. She takes her time as always, dressing the food as though it is something other than a regular meal. Twirling the fork deep in the pasta, she lifts a huge clump of it and dumps it in her mouth – and then chews…I mean masticates energetically.
I laugh. She laughs too – and we both are laughing.
I hope she doesn’t choke.
She swallows calmly and looks at me, spearing yet another clump of pasta and holding it towards me. I open my mouth and close my eyes – and then she speaks.
“Be careful, babe. It’s still hot.”
I open my eyes, stare deep into hers and receive the food with my tongue. It tastes just like it smells – just right.
I chew carefully – but then there’s a look in her eyes that captures my attention. It’s a look of utter vulnerability – a completely defenceless look into her heart. I see everything clearly – what she’s said and what she hasn’t said. She holds my gaze for a moment – before smiling shyly and lowering her head.
There’s a car racing somewhere close to me – it takes me a moment to realize it’s my pulse. Steadily, I reach for her hand, take the fork out of it with the other hand and hold hers in both of mine.
I clear my throat.
“There’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you…”
“Yes?” she answers, eyes saying she’s nervous but trusts me anyway. Her hand is warm; welcoming.
“Will you go out with me?”
I surprise even myself. I see the shock unfurl on her face – before she starts to smile warily. I mean, I could do worse, right?
There’s an lump in my throat – and no matter how much I swallow, it won’t leave.
I nearly knock over the glass as I hastily reach for the pack of Ceres – and ignoring her amused look, hold the pack to my mouth and drink from it.
I feel better. There’s also that painful realization that I just really embarrassed myself – but it does not matter anymore. Not at this point.
“I’m not trying to put walls between us. I’m just not…” I pause and consider my words carefully.
What do I hope to achieve with what I’m about to say?
I look at her; this woman who is basically throwing herself at my mercy. She stands like she does when closing a presentation; head thrown
back, eyes narrow as though she’s squinting, lips slightly open. Slim fingers of one hand tap on her left thigh while the other is wrapped around
a glass of something or the other.
There’s a set to her jaw – a warning if I’ve ever seen one. She looks relaxed but ready.
“I’m not trying to throw up walls – ” I break off as I realize I’ve said that before. “I’m just…I’m not quite where I need to be concerning…concerning
a commitment. I feel like…” I stop again, realizing I’m just spewing a well-rehearsed self-serving speech. I look at her smile and wince.
How did I get myself into this?
I’m just scared. Of everything that could go wrong.
But how am I supposed to tell her that?
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“Why hello there,” Dapo said as Yemisi stepped into his apartment. “Uh…there’s nothing wrong with MTN or Etisalat today o,” he added.
Yemisi’s smile was bright. “I wasn’t sure you’d pick,” she answered. “I wasn’t sure you won’t be in one of those your alcohol-induced hazes.” She dumped her bags and hugged Dapo tightly. “Thank you for Monday again,” she finished.
“Ah. Em…don’t mention it – again.” Dapo said as he eased away, face averted slightly. “You’re my babe, abi?”
Standing hands on hips, Yemisi looked picturesque image in a pink blouse and azure jeans. Her hair was done in a ponytail and soft-soled shoes completed her ensemble. Standing next to her t-shirt and boxers while resisting the urge to scratch his armpit and yawn, Dapo felt filthy.
She looked around. “You’re the first guy I’ve dated who I don’t need to clean up after. I’m not sure how that makes me feel.”
Picking up the bigger of the two bags she winked at Dapo as she walked past.
He waited till she had disappeared in the kitchen and moved quickly towards the larger of two sofas in the sitting room. He disappeared behind it for a few seconds – and then reappeared carrying a bottle of McDowell’s. Throwing furtive glances towards Yemisi’s back, he tiptoed till he was past the kitchen door – and then ran full speed into the room at the end of the short corridor.
“I hope you’re still in ‘banga-eating’ mode,” his girlfriend remarked when he emerged behind her seconds later. “I’m making you enough for two days.”
“Have you seen Ini Edo lately?” she asked Dapo, snuggling against his chest. “She’s so hot.”
Dapo looked down at the top of her head. “Yeah, I noticed she’s shed all the baby fat and stuff. I assume that happened because she started having babies, yes?”
“Who cares? She’s hot!” Yemisi snuggled deeper against Dapo who quickly put down the glass he was carrying to avoid spilling the juice in it. He nuzzled the back of her neck and whispered, “Maybe, but you’re hotter.”
“You’re just saying that,” she mumbled sleepily, shy smile caressing her lips. “You don’t really think so.”
“You know I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t think it,” Dapo answered, heat from his mouth raising goose pimples on her neck. “You have the nicest legs I have ever seen on a human being – male, female or the third kind.”
Yemisi sat up, her eyes searching Dapo’s, “Do you mean that?” she breathed.
“Why do girls like to deflect compliments? Why do you think every guy who pays you a compliment has an agenda? Well, you’re mine already – what kind of agenda could I have?”
Yemisi lowered her eyes. “Sometimes its insecurity,” she said slowly. “And sometimes – it’s really because you’ve heard so much of it from the wrong sources it’s lost all meaning.”
Dapo kissed her forehead. “Truth is truth, honey. No matter the source or how many times it’s repeated.” He pushed away from her gently. “You wanna watch some more AfroNolly stuff while we wait for the meat – or I should just kick your delightful ass in Scrabble?”
Interestingly, Dapo’s delightful ass was being kicked.
A few minutes into the game, they were neck to neck. After a bit Dapo got in the lead and then Yemisi caught up and sped past – back and forth like that. Then Yemisi hit premium by spelling D-A-R-L-I-N-G-S; springing off an ‘S’ Dapo had left carelessly unattended.
That was the end.
Imagine playing Scrabble with someone who had the entire Webster’s dictionary – that hardbound, nineteen thousand one hundred and eighty-six-word unabridged volume in her head.
It was worse than that.
After a while, Dapo simply stopped playing and sat back; watching Yemisi effortlessly massacre him. And she, having the most fun she’d had in a long while, kept dishing it out.
What saved Dapo was they ran out of tiles – else it would have ended something similar to that mythical Nigeria vs. India football game; 100 – 2.
As it were, the final score was too shameful to write down.
“You could have at least allowed me win, seeing how I’m the man and all that,” Dapo said, sounding like he was across the table from a client. Yemisi laughed, covered her eyes and stuck out her tongue at him.
“Score one for all the –“ She stopped talking with the abruptness of a loudly-playing sound system suddenly switched off.
“All the hearts I’ve broken abi? Always tagged you for the vindictive type,” Dapo finished as he rose to his feet. “Drink? I’ve developed a thirst.”
Yemisi stood up and blocked his exit. “I’m sorry. That was careless of me – I meant nothing by it.”
“I know, no offense taken,” Dapo smiled and kissed her perfunctorily. “I do need a drink.” He stepped around her and disappeared into the kitchen.
“The meat is burning o!” he yelled some seconds later.
“So how did Toke’s party go?” Dapo asked, mouth full of banga-flavored Semo.
“Oh, it was great,” Yemisi answered. “They liked – her friends actually liked the food. They kept coming for more helpings and her husband asked why I wasn’t married.”
Dapo sucked noisily on stockfish bone. “You should…” suck “…take this…” suck “…cooking of a thing seriously though…” suck “I mean….seriously….” suck
Yemisi chuckled. “I wouldn’t know what to do – and who would trust me with cooking for a party sef? I couldn’t handle that volume!”
“Toke did, and have you tried to cook that volume before?”
“Don’t knock it till you try it.” Dapo picked up a toothpick and looked at Yemisi, punctuating each word with a stab in her direction. “I trust you, and I know you’ll make a go of it. “
“Maybe it’s what I need sef, after plenty years of the same thing. I don’t know how it would look sha, me professional spinster cooking for marrying couples and naming ceremonies.”
Pausing dramatically, raised toothpick a few inches from his open mouth, Dapo looked at her as though she was overpriced boxers in a boutique. “That’s encouraging – and me being your boyfriend and all,” he finished.
Yemisi punched him in the shoulder. “Oh you – you know what I meant jo!”
He nodded. “Yeah, you’re my friend and that’s why you feel so comfortable being so pessimistic about our week-long relationship. I mean, what was I thinking?”
“Actually, that is your fault. You’ve been reminding me of it all day.”
He pulled the toothpick from his mouth. “And how have I been doing that?”
She ticked the points off her right-hand fingers as she talked. “Kissing me like a sister, not looking me in the eye – and hugging you is like hugging a teddy bear; even the bear puts its arms where you want them to be!”
Dapo’s sigh coincided with Yemisi’s release of pent-up breath, and they both laughed self-consciously.
“Okay, I admit. I have been feeling a bit awkward since…I was just wondering how to make the transition from ‘friend’ to ‘lover’. You can’t blame me for that,” Dapo finished.
“Maybe if you stopped worrying about hurting me and just enjoyed the fact that you’re no longer alone, you might actually start to live like a lover. Ever think about that?”
Dapo looked her in the eye. “No, but I’m starting to.”
“Is there some sort of juju you have?” Yemisi asked, arms around Dapo’s neck.
Dapo rubbed his hands up and down her waist and smiled. “Why do you ask?”
“I like…like kissing you. I think I like it too much sef.” She self-consciously brushed her hair as an okada sped past, and then smiled at him. “If this is why you’ve been holding out on me, it was well worth it o.”
“Is your mum still around?”
Yemisi untangled her arms from around his neck, pulled her keys from her back pocket and opened her car door before answering. “Yes o, the woman no wan gree go. I tire sef.”
Dapo dropped his arm. “Give me a minute,” he threw over his shoulder.
“And where are you going?” Yemisi said, confusion on her face.
“To freshen up. We’re going to say hello to your mum.”
“Oh. Wait.” Yemisi ran up to him. He’d turned and was waiting for her, looking expectant.
“Yes?” he said.
“She’s not home at the moment – she’s visiting friends or something like that.”
Dapo looked at his girlfriend patiently, nodding as he realized; I’m obviously not the only one who’s scared about all this.
She touched his left arm. “You’ll meet her soon enough, baby.”
He nodded. “Whatever makes you happy.”
Suddenly he scooped her, laughing at her screaming and gently deposited her on the boot of her Corolla. The shriek became laughter as she put her hands against his chest. “You crazy boy, we’re outside o!” she said. “What are you doing?”
“Being crazy,” he answered, and kissed her slowly, savoring the banga aftertaste that flavored her lips. Yemisi gasped in surprise, hands freezing around Dapo’s shoulders as she tried to meet him passion for passion. He stopped and looked into her glazed eyes.
“Tell me that felt like a brotherly kiss,” he said, grinning impishly and supporting her with his hands around her waist.
“Hmm…uh…” Yemisi looked like she was trying to gather her scattered wits. “Why did you stop na?”
“Do you want to finish everything in one day? Cool down jo,” Dapo said. His girlfriend burst out laughing. It’s funny how everything is different.
“I swear, what possessed me to ask you out I’ll never know,” she said when she was calmer. “If I knew this is what I was asking for…”
“We can make it work,” he said, interrupting her. “I know you see something in me – something worth you risking your heart. Do you think I’m going to play around with that?”
He eased away and helped her down from the rear of the vehicle. “You know me better than that,” he finished.
Yemisi nodded. “I do, don’t I?”
Dapo nodded humbly as he opened the car door for her. He waited till she was seated comfortably before shutting the door and putting his head through the window.
“Tell your mum I said hi. And think seriously about the…you know; the catering thing.”
His fingers lightly brushed her forehead and she touched his cheek with her palm. Holding it against his mouth, he closed his eyes and pressed his lips to the center of her hand. He felt Yemisi shudder and he smiled, tasting the different parts of her hand. There was a haunting scent around her wrist and he nuzzled it, trying to remember where he had smelt it before.
The memory eluded him and he deepened his kissing of her wrist – and the next moment he was kissing air.
Her hand was gone.
“What are you doing?” Yemisi asked, bosom heaving as she dragged in air. “You don’t want me to go home again abi?”
“Mi casa, esu casa,” Dapo replied as he leaned back out of the car window. “Oya fasten your seatbelt –“
“Stop. Just stop, you hear? I’m your baby, not a baby o.” She strapped the seatbelt and took hold of the steering wheel. “I’ll call you as soon as I’m home,” she said.
“Thank you for not drinking anymore.”
Dapo shrugged. “I’m not a alcoholic – and I don’t drink because it solves problems or makes me forget. It helps me sleep nights it’s hard to.”
Yemisi dipped her head. “I don’t care why. Thank you for stopping.”
“You’re welcome. I want to –“
Dapo broke off as Yemisi sped off, waving goodbye to him.
As he turned to head back into his compound, a voice across the street stopped him.
“Uncle Dapo! Wassup?!”
He waved at a grinning thirteen year-old. “Just chilling, my guy. Just chilling.”
The boy gave the thumbs-up signal. “I want to be like you when I grow up!” he yelled.
Dapo smiled. “Grow up first, you hear?”
The boy ran off as Dapo waved again and walked into his compound.
I looked everywhere except at her face. Obviously I was still upset.
Somehow, this daughter of Eve had convinced my boss that they would sign the deal – but needed to discuss some finer points of the contract with the media head.
So my boss had
ordered suggested that I have lunch with her. I hadn’t gotten the call from Chevron or Shell…so I obeyed.
Maybe if I were right-thinking my chest would have expanded a few inches and I would have been levitating. Yeah.
All I felt was anger. I really wasn’t in the mood for socializing – especially not with a member of the opposite sex. Not then.
So I sat there with a wooden face and kept navigating the conversation towards business hoping to get done and get back out and into the safety of my small cubicle.
After a while she sat back and stared at my mouth, chewing slowly and steadily. When she finally spoke…
“We have all day.”
I sat there in silence and swore bitterly.
My fingers tapped on the dining room table.
Tap tap tap tap
Again and again they went.
Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap
She had sounded unlike herself – but it was her. No one in the world can imitate that breathless, impatient quality her voice has.
She said she would be here by two-thirty. It was almost three o’clock now…
Tap tap tap tap
And then her knock came.
Ko ko Ko.
Or something similar. I walked over, opened it and smiled hesitantly at the beautiful girl who stood there. She was so beautiful, so…so innocent. She struggled with her lips for a bit – and then she gave up and smiled at me. I think NEPA restored power at that point.
I drew her to me to hug her – and then all the alarm bells of Aso Rock went off in my head. I jumped back, hitting a sofa with the back of my thighs and fell down heavily. Fireworks went off somewhere in my head and for a while all I could see were beautiful, colorful spots.
And then a voice told me about how we were all alone, how my girlfriend has gone to Abuja.
How I was spending the next three days with her – willingly or otherwise.
Not the best time for me to pass out. But I guess I did.
Because the next time I opened my eyes…
Okay, I admit, the first kiss was a lie
The second was – I just thought to try
But the third one? I couldn’t look in your eyes
Cause I felt I was drowning – no water in sight
Now they telling us we were wrong for each other
Now it’s easy to believe – but why did you bother?
Truly we can move on and we’ll both be fine,
But who wants an ordinary day after an extraordinary night?
Even if it was for a moment…
Is That It?