Grandma’s Grave by darkBetty
I don’t like Aunty Biola’s house. It’s always musty and dark. It doesn’t help that we’re here for this gloomy reason.
We’re here now. Mum, Aunty Biola, Aunty Sola and Uncle Bimbo. We’re sitting around the solitary candle on the low center table. The brown cushions on the sofas are old and worn out.
I’m keeping myself busy thinking of all the insects that could be crawling under my butt and thighs.
“We should just bury him in the backyard..”
That catches my attention. “What?! Uncle should be buried in a proper cemetery!” I say with a huff in my voice. What an atrocious idea!
“See this one.. Grandma was buried right here. Under our very feet. Who has money for cemetery?”
I’m here now. Lying on the very cushions with the invisibles insects. Mum said it was too late. “We should all just sleep here.”
The youngest would sleep in the living room. How nice.
They have left the candle burning for me. It is nearing its end but it still casts eerie shadows on the peeling walls.
Grandma is here. Just under me. Just lying there. Under me.
The curtain sways. I sit up. There’s no breeze. My eyes dart around.
Grandma. I used to laugh at grandma. The way she stooped and shuffled about.
Now, she’s back for me.
A humming begins in the background.
It’s that yoruba song grandma used to sing. She tried to teach me but I had stamped my foot screaming- “I don’t wanna learn your dumb song!”
Cold fingers brush my shoulder. I bite my lips. I won’t. I won’t scream.
This is only my imagination. Grandma is dead. Dead. Under the ground.
I regret the tank I’m wearing. Mummy had asked me to change, I didn’t listen. Now, I’m so cold. But there’s no breeze.
A shudder runs up my spine. Grandma used to call me ‘omo mi’; I’d just hiss and say- “My name is Deola!”
The humming and whispering of the words amplify and my eyes widen. I look up at the ceiling. If I don’t look at the floor, maybe it’ll stop.
“Hmm hmm mmmm…”
I’m not alone in the room.
I won’t look. I won’t. Look.
My lip is bleeding. I’m biting too hard. I sneak a peek. The arm chair isn’t empty. She’s there. She’s there!
She is sad. I can’t see it. I can feel it. It reaches out to envelope me. Her face is blank. No, she has no face. Just a gaping black hole that seemed to exhume black smoke.
I can’t hold it back anymore. I scream.
My mother comes running out. “Kilode? Deola?” She meets me in tears, my arms hugging my belly.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” I’m shouting. Tears meeting my snot, caressing my face.
Aunty Biola was out now. “Deola! What’s wrong with you?”
I gulp in drags of air. “I didn’t mean to push her! She was looking at my phone. I just.. I just..”
The humming stops. The whispering stops. The curtain is still again. The arm chair is empty again.
SOUL MIRROR by AfroSays
The darkness was familiar. My eyes knew its curves so I kept them half shut.
My skin knew the cold touch of its fingers. My ears knew the participants of its orchestra. My bitter soul was at ease with it.
Slowly, I poured off my bed with a drawn yawn, dragging most of the cotton sheets along with my left foot. I left the beddings behind with a few steps as I lumbered clumsily towards the bathroom.
The alcohol from the night’s drinking guided my gait in a hellish half-dance. Hands outstretched, only to guide; head limp on my chest; hallelujah hair; breasts swinging askew, I cast a freakish silhouette against the wall, the yellow beam of the moon, my spotlight, I was a freakish masquerade.
I danced left, right, left, right in the darkness I knew, making my way for the bathroom door; the moon a, salivating voyeur.
I danced past the full-length mirror that is my talk-to companion on very lonely days, and then moon suddenly shone a fire, blinding me. I blinked twice and I danced past.
The toilet door.
I danced towards the bowl and sat for some time. How long I cannot remember. I only know that I cried out the anguish in my heart that I’d tried to drown with alcohol. When the tears were gone, the bitterness remained.
Amidst spasmodic sobs, I stood up and waltzed out of my panties. I resolved to pick them up later.
Naked, I crumbled out of the dark toilet room and the moon threw itself on me with a startle. I ignored its frenzy and began the dance back to my bed, past the closet door, past the shoe rack, past the mirror?
And suddenly I could not move. I ignored the glare of the moon but it would not let me on my way so I grudgingly tilted my limp head and looked through the open window with a side gaze.
The moon was alarmed. “There is something wrong”, it seemed to say.
Then as I slowly turned my face in the opposite direction, following the leading of the moon, a bizarre stringed harmony found me.
In my state of inebriation, I beheld a strange sight, burning colours of lights that caused to lift my hands to cover my swollen face.
Then a dull red remained with a soft glow, then it was gone.
The dirge continued as I slowly dropped my hands to see my reflection. I slowly came to myself as I lazily studied the image before me and in a sudden moment of truth, I fell on my back screaming, face-to-face with a horned nubile, grotesque beastess.
She had her back to the floor, screaming too.
And then the moon went out.
The following morning, I woke up on the floor and she was there, whatever she was, in the mirror.
And she’s been there ever since, the avatar of my soul, and on some nights, when I have peace, the music is beautiful and so is she.