The Taking

I didn’t want to do an intro of any sort but for what it’s worth, I really wanna support my brethren: 

Afro says to me (best collaboration category)
The toolsman’s blog (5 nominations),
Chronicles of Dania (2 nominations),
Thoughts from a maverick’s perspective (best student blog),
My Scroll… You Scroll (Most humorous blog)

These are some of my favourite bloggers and I’d like you to please vote for them in the Nigerian Blog Awards here. You might find one or two others you’re interested in as well. So go on and cast your votes if you haven’t already. Oh, and while I’m campaigning, I might as well add that you can follow me on twitter: @OlaToxic 😉

Now, to tonight’s post.

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It is a dark night by all standards. The sky is cloudy, no moon, no twinkles in the swirling canopy far above which I can still somehow see. Strange. The branches of the trees outside my window, some bare, others heavy laden, are silhouetted against the same dark sky from which no light emanates. The same trees and branches that in the cheerful daylight are familiar and endearing as I play in them now seem malevolent and sinister as I watch them keep eerily still in the very audible wind that is moving the clouds in a strange, uniform pattern. Not across the sky, in one direction as we are accustomed to in our subconscious, but in slow concentric circles. Much like uncle Kelvin’s green and white american wonder umbrella when he opens it and spins it to the delightful squeals of the younger children. The heavy darkness outside seems to be pressing in on our small house and somehow sips in through the small, high window above my mat and even underneath the room door.

The power-holders have struck, as always, and so the once-comforting lone bulb that hangs in the centre of the ceiling above me is unavoidably dark tonight. I glance at it and long for it’s stark brilliance but it is not to be. Granma has blown out and put away the kerosene lanterns. Candles are not allowed in granma’s house. She says they’re dangerous around youngsters like us.

I glance over at my eight year old twin sisters who share the big mat across the room to see if they’re also awake and perhaps aware of the ‘oppresion’ I feel about us but they’re both in a blissful state of unawareness. Ada’s right leg is thrown over both of Betty’s in a silent show of superiority but even as I watch them, Betty rolls over, elbowing Ada in the forehead which makes her promptly adjust as well, whimpering in her sleep and relinquishing her ‘victory stance’. They both thrash out a bit, limbs everywhere and somehow end up in each others arms, the strong bond they share in awakedness, evident even in their sleep. In all of this, neither has roused.

I can hear granma’s snores down the corridor and as my mind begins to get accustomed to the steady rhythm of the guttural emissions, they stop. Abruptly. Any other night, that would be reason for inward rejoicing, but not this night. Tonight, it is cause for concern. For hitherto, besides the eerie whispers of the winds outside, they had been the only sounds I could hear, the only sounds that, in their familiarity, comforted my heightened and jangling nerves. And now they had stopped. No, not stopped, they have been ‘put out’. Silenced. Extinguished. Those sounds have stopped too suddenly to be caused by some casual turning over unto her ample bosom or by her head magically finding the pillow which had inadvertently ended up on the floor immediately her ever-busy mind nestled into the deep of sleep. I had attempted many a night past to return that pillow to its rightful place under her head in a quest for the sleep which comes with the natural silence of the night. It always ended up right back on the floor, followed by the rhythmic rumbling from her throat that I was now used to. It seems all the women in my life are thrashers.

As I contemplate arising and going to investigate granma’s sudden silence, my decision is made on my behalf. I hear the creak in the bottom hinge of granma’s door as it slowly swings open, and I know I shall not leave this room to find the answers I seek. I know the answer is coming to me.
I know he is here. He has come for me. Again.

As our door, made from quilted planks of wood scavenged from construction sites slowly, ever so slowly swings open, I take up the defensive stance I saw Bruce Lee take last sunday on Vick Lemon Plus’ small black and white tv as Femi, Tula and I crouched in the bushes behind his window to catch a glimpse of the other american wonder in our little village. My mind wanders briefly and I wonder which would be more scary, answering to corper teacher Victor’s bulala when he finds out our nickname for him or the encounter I was about to have right now. I can’t make up my mind. I glance at the twins and at the 11 year old figure lying on my mat. This is undeniably more dreadful. I glance back at the door in preparation for the showdown.

Pitch blackness hangs from the door beam like a curtain of death and as I look into it a little longer, I see him materialise out of that same blackness. He is but a shadow shifting around on itself in the doorframe. As he comes into the room, the temperature drops steeply and I sense rather than see my sisters hug each other closer. Ada even let’s out another little whimper, Betty shivers a bit in Ada’s arms and settles back into sleep. Thankfully, he doesn’t take notice of them, his attention seems to be on me. No. Through me. His attention is on the figure on the mat behind me. I crouch deeper into my stance, hardening my countenance and flexing my puny bunched up fists in front of me. Ha! Like that would make the least difference. He steps a little closer. ‘Floats’ would better describe his movements… he floats a little closer and I hear the wind I thought was outside all along come from where his mouth would have been. But it’s not the wind. It is his breaths. Breath with a ‘S’. It’s the sound of a million breaths. And they all seem to pour out of his blackness of a mouth. I can even make out grandma’s snores which stand out in that cacophony like the town-criers gong from the night from which he calls.

I am now rooted to the spot. I can’t move a muscle and he no longer acknowledges my presence. Doesn’t even seem to see me any longer. His formlessness pours forward, straight at me… straight through me. Without turning around, without moving an inch, my awareness follows him and I can still see him as he bends over my small frame on the mat beneath the small, high window. I will myself to move towards him and do something, anything but as always on nights like this before, my awareness is at this point floating on its own in the centre of the room like that lone bulb hanging from the ceiling. He seems to have taken a shade more of a tangible form, very likely when he went through me, still largely shadow but slightly more discernible and I know the time is near, the time of the taking. He takes one last glance at me and entirely dismissing me, lowers his face to mine and takes the gentle sleep I have been immersed in all along from my nostril and mouth into his. As the last of the sleep drains out of my suspended awareness, a short, blood-curdling scream follows the now sleepless breath out from my lungs even as I rapidly push myself up from my reclining position on the mat to a sitting position. I breathe short, ragged breaths as my startled wide-open eyes take in the square of dark sky in the wall high in front of me and I know it has happened once again. The taking has occured once more and I was powerless to stop it.

It shall be another long, lonely night, for he has come and robbed me of my sleep once again. Insomnia has struck once more.

 

 

Sleep tight… if you can. 😉

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36 comments on “The Taking

  1. @jmkmeena says:

    wow!!! this is wonderful!!! i love it so much…u are such an awesome writer!!!

    Like

  2. BBB says:

    this is deep
    wow u write really good
    i couldnt even predict what was happening
    very scary too
    id be back

    Like

  3. d3ola says:

    Really good story! I like!

    Like

  4. Swift says:

    You’re getting to the point of insanity with your writing…..which is a good point to get to cos you won’t be a geniuses genius if you don’t lose your mind first.

    Very nice piece….Keep it up

    Like

  5. Creative Director says:

    Good one. Keep writing…

    Like

  6. kelvin says:

    You are gradually losing it but thats the story of where greatness starts…Lovely read bruv..iand i recognise all them characters…lol

    Like

  7. BoukkieO says:

    wow

    Like

  8. zeesparklez says:

    Your style is just awesome. I couldn’t even try to figure out what the ending was.
    Keep up the good work sir. Looking forward to more posts frm u. + I would ff u on twitter NOW.

    Like

  9. Funny thing is this was posted in the middle of the night while i was fast asleep and you obviously couldn’t. Invoke the spirit of valium 5 to banish that evil spirit. *sleep walking away…*
    Nice read brah! I like.

    Like

  10. PreyingMantis says:

    Mr toxic and i mean this literally, you say ‘no moon’ & it’s ‘unavoidably dark’ but some how you’re able to see in detail the interaction between your sisters. You must have x-ray vision. That’s some inconsistent shit you’ve got going on. No need to revel in praises. Your readers are minions. Not bad

    Like

  11. 2lu says:

    lovely piece…well done!

    Like

  12. 2lu says:

    he has come again….

    Like

  13. Vivian Obey says:

    You sir, are a brilliant writer…I’m not sure what i was expecting but definitely not insomnia. Im interested in how a perons mind has to work to come up with this

    Like

  14. TheExtrovertKid says:

    I love this post and it makes me feel bad for insomniacs if this is the sort of thing they experience daily. Very graphic & imaginative writing though. (Y)

    Liked by 1 person

    • 0latoxic says:

      Well, in this case, it’s just using a big word to blanket a little boy’s problem. But after just a few nights of not being able to sleep about two weeks ago, I felt I could relate and I certainly feel sorry for them too. Thanks bruv

      Like

  15. freshprinz says:

    So I have now become Vick’s lemon plus *snaps fingers*. We shall see @ d next board meeting. Great post btw, very spirishual something….:D

    Like

  16. afrosays says:

    Smiles. Thank you.

    I usually make the same mistake myself. I’m trying to change. Starting flash fiction with detailed descriptions of the environment (especially when it’s not all too important to the story) they say is wrong.

    I kinda caught my self skimming through, looking for the essence of the story till I disciplined myself and went to read it all up from the top, patiently to the bottom.

    Think abourrit.

    Thank you again.

    Like

  17. 0latoxic says:

    You’re right, somewhat. I used the details to establish the fact that this was a spiritual somtin. That this is all in his subconscious, a nightmare if you like, think Stephen King-ish, rather than purely physical. I do admit they weren’t entirely necessary, but they helped me in leading the reader away from our final destination without any contradictions. You see, I pride in ‘The Twist’ 😀

    Like

  18. chinnydiva says:

    hahahahahahahaha! I know I shouldn’t be laughing but it just kinda felt like you had sexual knowledge of your sisters. 😐

    this was nice, fortunately, insomnia isn’t one of my problems

    Like

  19. missfadesomi says:

    Love it. Unique writing – Love it. 🙂

    Like

  20. *applause* gotta say the end was worth the read…really really good twist…I kinda agree with Banxman…u could have established it was more spiritual than physical without d detailed descriptions…but hey…it’s a great story and that’s all that counts.
    N as for Vicks Lemon Plus…it is hereby noted… darrizall…*sips som shilled Zobo Imperial*

    Like

  21. thetoolsman says:

    I see I have carried last but at least Im carrying something.. Good stuff Brother Toxic.. Vicks lemon plus? hahaha… and the short swipe at Betty and Ada.. One day, they’ll tell us the truth.. Interesting comment from Banxman and Mr Mallam.. I’ve always wondered about striking that balance.. theres that risk of losing your naturally restless/impatient readers when you adopt the extremely descriptive writing approach as opposed to reinforcement techniques where you work your way back from what you’ve already told them… Still a huge dilemma for me.

    Like

  22. 0latoxic says:

    Can’t deny it, I was defensive at first, but as I get even more of that same feedback, especially on this post in particular, I’m learning to actually go and work on that in my writing in general. Thanks to all y’all for taking out the time to point that out to me…

    Like

  23. 😐 Yes, I have just arrived. Hehehe *private joke* I don’t like this piece because it’s one of those ones where I keep getting tempted to scroll to the bottom and see the end. Had to exercise patience and discipline, and it was worth it.
    But, Ola why so focused on the sisters and they just had to be twins ba? Okay oh! No p.
    Love the story, love the writer more 😉
    Bwuahaahhahahahaahaaaa!!!!!!! VICKSLOLOLOLOL!!!! *rolls away*

    Like

  24. Kemmiiii says:

    This is really lovely..

    Like

  25. edgothboy says:

    LOOL! This is hilarious!!!

    Like

  26. ThinkTank! says:

    SUBS noted and acknowledged.

    The story was basically a dream about insomnia coming? I’m getting you… the irony.

    Detailed word-weaving. Sometimes I like it, Sometimes I don’t. Depends on my mood. *shrug*

    Like

  27. Belles Pomme says:

    Speechless…

    Honestly had little idea what was going on until towards the end.

    Love it…

    Like

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