To get acquainted with the first part of the story, read (here)
After what seemed like eternity, the lights came back on.
He opened his eyes and saw himself. He looked around, noticing how small he had become, how very insignificant and…trapped!
He felt the presence of seven different entities, all vying for dominion of his body. The angrier they got, the more they pushed his spirit into something smaller, something less significant. As the entities vied for power and control, he couldn’t help but remember just how bitter and aggrieved his spirit had been because of his deformity. He also recalled how he found out about the cause of his deformity; a result of a failed abortion by his mum. The memories came flooding in.
His mum had wanted to be a career woman. Even though she said yes at the altar, she wasn’t willing to give up the power that came with independence. This was clearly defined when she refused to have sex with her husband without a condom for more than three years after the grand wedding. She definitely was not about to lose the career she worked so hard for just because her husband preferred to go skinny. A broken condom was how he had been conceived. A cliché indeed! Haniel remembered how he had overheard them talking about it one night when his mum was drunk. She had lost her job and found solace by befriending the liquor bottle. He remembered he had been seven then. As she shouted at his father, she called him a ‘freak of nature’, an ‘unwanted child’ and went on to call him a ‘mistake of the highest order’.
As the forces continued to fight each other for dominance, he couldn’t help but think of the sadness he had lived with just because of his mum’s admission. He had hated her with all his might, blaming her (rightly!) for creating a freak of nature. While that thought danced in his memory, he also remembered how his father never came to his aid, never looked at him like a person, never hugged him nor allayed his fears. His brothers, who had been born seven years after him, were no solace to him. All attention shifted from him as his parents basked in the perfection they had created…and at one go. As his brothers grew up, they went from awed wonder at his difference to downright meanness. The picture of his brothers taunting him until he couldn’t cry anymore kept flicking in his head. He didn’t know when he had become hardened, but hardened he was. His only solace was porn and he was sure that if he hadn’t been addicted, he wouldn’t have been in the mess he was in now.
A force stronger than the others bellowed from somewhere outside of him. He watched as a cloud hovered in front of, and around him. The cloud was both a person and not a person: there but somehow elusive. He was sure of one thing: he was freaking scared! Never before had he felt such a malevolent spirit like the one he was seeing. The others paled in comparison. He wanted to run, but even without the other forces, he was sure he couldn’t have been able to go anywhere.
The spirit spoke in some language that could have been Klingon for all he cared. While it sent down chills up and down his spine, it had the effect of stilling the other forces. He watched as the spirit walked – literally – into his body, experiencing in totality all the vile forces which its invasion enacted. Even his cells seemed to shrink in the presence of the ‘being’. His body bent forward and began to convulse. His eyes bulged to the point of popping and the searing pain he felt in every nerve ending of his body was something he could not have fathomed possible. He wanted to die at that point! He begged death to take him, to have mercy on him. It seemed like forever but it was soon over. In his view, it was still the worst moment of his life! The being settled and all was normal…or as normal as it could be.
As soon as it settled in, making sure the other forces were cowering in its presence, it made Haniel’s body stand up. It looked around, seeming to look for something. Then it (using his body) walked to the door, put its hand on it…and opened. He was no longer in control of his body. It had taken over and become one with him. With purposeful strides, it marched down the stairs and followed through to the dining room.
Though he was completely taken over, he couldn’t help but enjoy a brief moment of satisfaction at seeing the horror and revulsion on his family’s faces. His dad dropped his wine glass, shattering it, while the clattering sound of his mum’s cutlery could have been deafening if he had not been enjoying himself so. The being strode to the table, pulled out a chair and sat down. His brothers, with mouths agape, stared at him.
‘Serve me a plate mother dearest.‘, it said in a voice that was deep, husky and surprisingly very, very sexy; something his voice had never been.
The pensiveness of the forces was escalating and they wanted to have a go at his family. They were bustling to escape his body, to attack his family. He was not surprised that he didn’t feel any iota of pity. In his view, they deserved what they were going to get. They had put him through so much and now, maybe they would feel a tiny bit of the pain he had had to suffer. He hated them and he was unapologetic for that! The domineering spirit turned in his body and looked at him. He cringed, trying to make himself even smaller (if that was even possible) than his minute existence. The spirit grew bigger, feeding off his unmasked hatred, until it was overbearing and all too large. It started laughing, enough to make his parents go from shocked surprise to mortification.
‘Well…it is about time we balance the scales, yeah?’ the being asked. Haniel didn’t know if it was talking to him or to his parents.
And with that, the forces were let loose.
He hadn’t been outside for years. The air smelled so fresh, so warm, and all so inviting. Looking at the stars, he felt, for the first time in a long time, alive. The other spirits were having a field day with his family. The more powerful being, still using his body, had walked out into the night, preventing him from knowing his family’s fate.
It started running, first in a jog. Before long, he was at full speed, sprinting like an athlete. His body was not made to take that much exertion. He could feel the searing pain from his flesh, though his spirit was only a small part of it. Soon enough, they were at the bridge overlooking the city’s magnificent river. It seemed to drink in the cool, wafting breeze coming off the water. In the dark, the water seemed almost still, but the ‘squish squish’ sound of the water as it moved belied that thought.
It gradually moved to the railings of the bridge and grabbed it. At this point, Haniel was really really scared. What was it going to do? What was going to happen to him?
It smiled or better still, snarled. In one fell move, it raised itself on to the railings and started laughing. It spread its arms like it wanted to fly. Haniel started screaming, knowing his premonition was spot on. The more he screamed, the more it laughed. With one final laugh, it exited his body, the force of the exit pulling him forward to the water below.
His last coherent thought was that he never did learn how to swim.
Monday mornings were always bad for Maria. She hated working for the Ositas, though they paid good money. She was totally disgusted by the way they ignored their first child, forcing her to interact with the weird thing. She had tried to love him but couldn’t bring herself to look at his deformed body. He was better behaved than the twins, but she would choose their misbehaving arses all day long instead of the freak. She was going to leave soon, she assured herself.
As she opened the gate, she looked around for the security guard. He was nowhere to be found. She shrugged. Maybe the foolish old man had gone next door to the Ajayis. It was no secret that he was sleeping with their new Calabar house help. She shook her head. How he could still get it up at his age – and this early in the day – was a big surprise. She hissed and continued into the house. It was unusually quiet for a Monday morning. There should have been the hum of the coffee maker, the car being warmed, the boys already fighting, Madam’s high heels click-clacking as she hurriedly made breakfast and the sound of the boss reminding them that there was no time. She didn’t hear any of these. ‘Odd’, she told herself. ‘Maybe someone died’. She followed the back door and entered the kitchen. No dishes; exactly as she had left it yesterday.
‘Madam did the dishes? Hmmmm.’
She went out of the kitchen and headed into the dining room. She was surprised by the fact that all the lights were all on. This was so out of character of her employers. She was so engrossed in the lights that the smell didn’t hit her immediately. When she turned to the table, she froze. Oga, Madam and the boys were lying at awkward angles, with pools of blood around each of them. The violence of the scene she was staring at was something out of a horror story. Madam had multiple slash wounds on her face, arms, and torso; the boys had their table knives sticking out of their hearts and huge strangulation welts trailing their tiny necks. Oga looked almost as bad. His throat had been slit from ear to ear and he looked like a macabre version of the joker. Overall, the entire scene was one of messy violence and utter revulsion.
Maria didn’t scream. She just retraced her steps, took her handbag and walked out of the house. She knew that the police would blame her for this and she sure didn’t intend on going to jail for some mean people. She was going to disappear, maybe go to the North and start a new life.
At the gate, she paused. She should have checked on the freak and where in the hell was the security guard? She wanted to go back in but thought better of it. As she closed the gate, she dusted her feet and walked away.
The media in town were all agog with the mysterious death of the Ositas. How could an entire family have committed mass murder with table cutlery? How could a blunt cutlery be the weapon for such gruesome murdering spree? Why didn’t one person run out? Escape? What happened to their maid and security guard? Questions like these hounded the community and the media outlets. Everyone was so engrossed in the multiple deaths that the bloated body fished out of the river only had a brief mention in the papers. No one connected the dots, no one knew that it was a family of five that died, not four.
Haniel David Osita was unknown in life and in death. It was like he never existed.