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Perils Of An Evening By Chibundu Ikay

POSTED 07/06/2018 14:57
1971 Reads Perils Of An Evening By Chibundu Ikay, short story on Tushstories
Evenings stand out to be the best time of the day for such a thing as a casual stroll. It is that time of the day when the blazing sun gets exhausted after the day's hard work, and looks for a comfy place to lay its head; somewhere down the western sky. A time when the atmosphere ushers in with an applause a cool, gentle breeze that comes to blow off and clean up the scorching mess which the sun had left behind.

On such an appealing evening; one devoid of the moon and glowing stars, Maleek stepped out of his one-room apartment for a stroll. A pretty casual one. He had walked a few meters out into the streets of the neighborhood that prided itself to have a boisterous evening life. The smell of beer, nkwobi, and assorted cigarettes wandering out of different joints and bars was hellbent on snuffing the life out of the oxygen in the cool air. Nevertheless, Maleek enjoyed the smells, the sights, and the earsplitting sounds of various traditional music that played from different loud speakers.

Passing one of such bars, Maleek was fascinated over what his eyes had just beheld. He paused in his tracks and stood in awe, watching keenly how a drunk man who had challenged a fellow drunk to a drinking duel smashed an uncorked bottle of beer on his rival's bald head. Blood and the spilled alcoholic content of the bottle mixed together and washed down the head of his rival. In fuming rage, the baldheaded man retaliated by flinging an empty bottle back at his attacker. And when the empty bottle found its way to the other man's eye, he screamed in pain and anger, charging toward his baldheaded rival.

The bloodier the fight became, the more the teaming number of spectators increased in size, and gradually limited Maleek's vision. So, out of heightened curiosity, Maleek uprooted his feet that had been planted firmly to the ground for a while and walked gently, closer to the fight scene. But as he traipsed further, the lights at the bar began to twitch recklessly, and with the flickering lights came confusion. Then, the great noise caused by the two drunk, fighting men died down progressively.

In futility, Maleek paused and ransacked his mind in search for a logical answer to why flickering lights would be effective enough to pause a fight as brutal as the one that had just unfolded before his eager eyes. Soon, the large crowd downsized a bit as some persons hissed and walked out, disappointedly; for what attracted them to the scene had been brought to a brief standstill by such a fickle thing as the twitching of lights. But a greater number stood before the bar, patiently, with hopes to see the fight to its very end.

Maleek made no sense of continuing to the fight scene, so he turned away, gently, to proceed with his evening stroll. And while he retraced his steps, the power supply to the vicinity was completely seized; making welcome a thick, engulfing darkness. In unison of voice, everyone shouted, heaping curses on the electricity distribution company. And shortly afterwards, loud, agonizing screams began ringing out from different corners. The screams were short and sharp. Maleek feared greatly for his life and took to his heels, for time failed him to think like a sane man.

As he ran from before the bar into the gloomy darkness, the loud screams lingered; piercing aggressively into the dreary night. Suddenly, all the screams went mute and in the same second, the power got restored. This made Maleek slowdown in his flight, to study the environment discernibly. Turning around with deep gasps of air, his face grew pale and his heart threatened to fail him at the sight of goriness all around him.

His stomach churned with a strong feeling of nausea as he gazed upon the countless, shrunken, lifeless bodies littered like dead pigeons all over the face of the brittle earth on which he stood. More in number were the corpses in front of the bar where the bloody fight had earlier unfolded. Maleek's teeth chattered from the jittering curls in his blood, for never before had he seen a dead body let alone an uncountable number of them.

Still shivering fearfully as he stood on edge, a gentle tap got registered on his shoulder from behind. Instinctively, Maleek ran a few steps forward, and paused to look back at what or who must have tapped his shoulder with such gentleness. And as he turned, two silhouettes stood before him in blurriness. Immediately, Maleek rubbed his eyes with his hands that were already dripping with sweat, for a clearer vision of what he had just seen.

He batted his eyelids incessantly as his sweaty hands left his face. Then he looked harder and what was blurry became vivid. In that moment, cold chills of helplessness rushed down his spine when he saw smiles on the faces of the beings that stood before him. He recognized them to be the two men that had engaged in the fight at the bar. Maleek tried to move back as the men closed in on him, but the bones and muscles in his legs thought otherwise.
The baldheaded man came closer to Maleek's ears and whispered softly, "Did you enjoy the little show my friend and I put up at the bar?"

In place of speaking, Maleek broke down in tears, still shaking visibly.
And while his tears traced down his plump cheeks, the other man approached with a laugh saying, "Aha! Those must be tears of joy, my friend!"
And the two men laughed aloud as they seized Maleek and put him to eternal sleep with their fangs lodged deep into the sides of his thickly-veined neck.

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