POSTED 05/02/2018 13:07:33
Interference – “have gone missing” – interference – “the state is in a state of panic. Nobody knows who is going to be lunch next for these” – interference…
Dad is looking out the window, brushing away absent-mindedly at his teeth. The air coming in through the window is crisp, scattering pimples all over my body. There's only light blue through the window. Cold mist. The spring under the bed creaks as I rise.
“You’re up,” dad says turning away from the window.
“Yes Sir. Good morning, Sir.”
He nods and turns the knob on the radio. As the volume goes down, I realize I’ve not been dreaming. “What is happening?” I say, squeezing toothpaste onto my brush. "Sir," I'm quick to add.
“It’s nothing.” Then he leaves the window and bows his head in the sink in the corner of the room, like a dog about to lap water. And he does, cupping it with his hands into his mouth and throwing his head back to gargle. He wipes his face with a towel and passes it over to me. I hang it over the fan standing in the corner of the room, its place. “Hurry up,” he says, “we got to go.”
The road is bumpy. We’re bouncing up and down in the car as it crawls on. And it’s dusty. Brown air. I wonder how many cars are ahead of us in this road having only trees as companions. Dad hands me a towel and I wipe the mist off the screen. It’s the third time now.
Apart from the road and its dust, there is nothing else to see but trees. Tall trees that look like they have exchanged their green leaves for their height. The leaves wrinkled and browned by the dusty air give a muffled ruffle under the merciless tyres. Approaching December it’s usually like this. Trees prefer to be naked despite the cold. They shed their leaves. It is during times like this that breathing becomes a task. You draw in your breath afraid of that mild pain where your eyes and your nose meet. The mucus in your nose just after waking up are like winter icicles hanging off the roof of a house.
Dad pulls up at a house we see, the second as far as I can remember since we turned on this road. It’s a low house but I know it has an upstair. The kind we see in white epic movies, with the wooden stairs, and presumed to have that mixed smell of pancakes and dust. He orders me to sit in the car. He’ll not be long. It’s a friend he has gone to see.
The dust is already settling by the time the door opens and dad steps out, his friend behind. I can see the sun rising through the trees. The sky is cloudless, as it is during the harmattan, a vast sea of blue, with specks of golden light, more like broken glasses of gold. There are houses ahead, like this one. Low and surely with the same smell, pancakes and dust.
Dad’s sleeves are folded and his face is impassive, like the face of docile pap. At the door his friend who I predict should have a bald head and grey beards when next I see him by the way his face is scrunched up – wrinkled – scrambled egg comes to mind – is waving as we drive off. Dad does not wave. He just tightens his grip on the wheel.
There are less bumps and potholes so I’m able to read the signs as we drive past. "For sale." "For sale." "BEWARE (in red); Electric fence." "Beware: Dog ready to eat!" Dad pulls up at the dog-ready-to-eat house. He himself seems to have been reading the signs as well. He checks his boots as if putting something in order. Then draws his trousers down and pats his legs. He yawns as he closes the door and tells me to stay put. He puts his hand to his mouth and continues yawning as he walks through the side of the house to the back.
A long time passes. The sun rises. The mist on the screen runs down in thin lines. I don't know about the dust but the mist is clearing. It’s becoming less cold. A car runs past and raises dust. I wind up.
That's when I hear a scream. Loud, clear. Then a faint thud. At first I obey and stay put. But soon I find myself running down to the house, uneasy steps. My heart is racing and I feel my head swelling. Dad has not come out. What has happened to him?
At the backyard I stop short. It’s not the pants and bras hanging on the line. It’s not the dog lying lifeless across from me. It’s not the rat that scurries past me. It’s dad.
Few metres away from me he’s bent over a lady. He has just ripped off a breast and is sucking it. Blood is running down his arm. He licks it up to his fingers and turns to me. My heart skips.
And I wake.
I’m panting and water is dropping from my face to the bed. It’s 4:30 in the morning. "More bodies have been discovered..." the radio is saying when the door opens, slowly. The joints creak. A shadow steps in blocking the light from outside the room. I’m looking up when I see blood running into the room. Someone is lying in the corridor. I see the bloodied hand and the watch. It’s dad.
“Hi, son,” mother says stepping in. She’s holding dad’s genital and licking it. “It’s the sweetest part,” she says with light in her eyes. Blood is dripping from the knife in her hand and her milk night gown has patches of red.
“Say hi to mama,” she says and walks over to me.
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