Dhamani’s Mused Minds: TENEBRIS

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I wake up. It is the dead of night. The crickets chirp at their loudest. The owls are heard from the far distance. My heart is pounding hard against my chest. My body is drenched in sweat. The bed is damp and soaked from the liquids that escape the pores of my skin. I realize that my breathing is heavy, and I’m dragging air as fast as I can.

The darkness around me is immense. My eyes still adjusting to it, I try to find my phone with my hands. It lies just beside me on the bed, where I had dropped it after I had fallen asleep while chatting with Cynthia a few hours earlier. The time on it says 2:09 AM.

A nightmare it is that has stricken fear into my very being. One that I had never dreamed before…the details of which brings goosepimples to my skin. I have watched many horror movies in my life, but none surpasses the great evil I experienced in that nightmare. The gruesomeness of it is the reason why I have woken up in such manner. And

I am startled instantly by a scurrying sound in my room. My eyes widen in the black darkness as I still all thoughts and raise my alertness. There is no power, as is usual around these parts. My kerosene lamp is at the far end of the room and I am not bold enough to reach for it. I grab my phone then, and quickly switch on its torchlight and scan the area I had thought the sound came from.

I see nothing. And just as my heightened sense of dread begins to decrease, I hear it again. Closer this time. I jump, making a whimpering sound as I do so. Ashamed of myself that I would do such a thing. But the fear from that nightmare still shakes my being, and has made me very wary. The scurrying sound could be a rat, or some other rodent. A lizard or a cockroach. A snake comes to mind too, but they have no legs and cannot scurry. I swallow hard and make towards the part of my room where I last heard the sound. I point the torchlight ahead of me, and what I see makes me shriek, making my phone fall from my hands to the floor. I am whimpering and wailing as I scramble and reach for the door of my room. I try opening it but the door is locked. In my frenzied state to leave the room as quickly as possible, I have forgotten that the door requires a special way of opening. I keep dragging and pulling at it, whimpering still. Then I hear the scurrying of little tiny feet again and I know that the hideous creature I had set eyes upon was making its way towards me. Trying to do what it wanted to with me. I let out a small cry and finally, the door’s locks yield to my frantic twisting. I get out as fast as I can and close the door behind me, making sure the lock clicks in place. I realize then that I have just locked myself outside, past 2:00 AM in the morning, and I do not have the key to let myself back in.

The night is thick with great darkness. My place of abode is a lone hut, surrounded by bushes. The nearest house to mine is a bit more than a stone’s throw away. I cannot find a single glimmer of light in my scan of the area. I have always hated coming to serve in this state. I cannot imagine myself standing outside by this same time in a Lagos night and not find one glimmer of light. The people here loved the darkness. And they dwelled in it so they could set about doing their evil deeds. Worshipping their gods and making animal sacrifices to them. Maybe even human, a voice in my head said. I began to tremble again. Whatever creature that had been which had made me leave my room and lock myself outside, I was quite sure I had imagined it. Or they had made me imagine it, knowing that I will be much frightened and leave my room instead of thinking straight and realizing it wasn’t real. It is they who had also visited me in my sleep and planted such an evil nightmare in my subconscious mind which prompted such great fear in the first place.

The cold wind blows against my dampened clothes and I feel a shiver run through me. Realizing that I have been foolish to have let them make me lock myself out has replaced my fear with anger. The chirping of the crickets get louder, the wind carries the sounds of the owls and all the other eerie sounds that have become familiar with the night time in this village. I am barefooted. I cannot go far in just my singlet and boxer shorts. I cannot go back in. They have me right just were they want me.

“YOUR F**CKING GODS DONT SCARE ME!” I scream at the darkness surrounding me.

My voice echoes into the night.

And a reply greets my outburst. An insane laughter emanating from an unseen source, with a voice like that of a thousand demons. My fear multiplies at the sound of that malicious cackle…as my feet finds purpose, and I begin to run.

I run as fast as my legs will let me, not minding that I am barely clothed and without shoes. I run in the direction of Biodun’s hut, trying hard not to look behind me even as I hear the rustling of the bushes. That evil laughter still sounding in my ears, livid fear pumping my adrenaline. It already feels like I have been running for ever and am lost. I look around me and see nothing but blackness and bushes. I am whimpering like a coward once more, as I fear that my end is approaching. The laughter has gotten louder, and louder, and louder…until I feel the bursting in my ears and the gushing of warm liquids from it. My palms cover both my ears as I crouch to the ground and lay there… waiting for the entities that own the land to take me.

Then I hear that same laughing voice, whisper these words into my very

“Wake up child… wake up”

I wake up then. It is the dead of night. The crickets chirp at their loudest. The owls are heard from the far distance. My heart is pounding hard against my chest. My body is drenched in sweat. The bed is damp and soaked from the liquids that escape the pores of my skin…and great darkness abounds still.



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