I got a room in a ramshackle hotel that night in Ife. Room 101C. Looked better than i expected for the four thousand naira i paid for it. "Budget cuts, Change has come" my editor had said. Like we didn't all know that, now i had a travel allowance almost half of what they used to be while things are getting more expensive. Journalism isn't what it used to be, might be time for a career change.
I had gone to Ife to investigate a story - word on the street really- about a high member of the Obafemi Awolowo University Administration. He allegedly raped a girl and i was here to get the scoop. Turned out the streets whispered words without roots and my investigation hit a dead end.
After a disappointing day in the town i needed an upliftment of spirits and asked the hotel receptionist for the best hangout spot in town. I was directed to an open space with plastic chairs and tables where men were served by women who looked like men with wigs wearing tight shirts and short wrappers. After a few beers and cigarette i decided to hit the red light district and take a lady back with me to warm my bed. A few minutes of asking my brothers in beer in ghetto lingua perfected over the years as a journalist i was directed to the closest ashewo stop.Took me two glances to pick the one to grace my bed, it wasn't particularly because of any physical feature -though her gluteus maximus was a thing of many blessings- there was just something that called to me.
After writhing in ecstasy a few times it was time to catch some sleep. I had a pleasant snooze until i heard an ear wrenching shriek. It was almost like a banshee had come to life right there in my room. As i sat up and held my ear to disallow the discomfort more passage i realised everywhere was silent. The sound must have been all in my head. At that moment i realised the naked body of the female i had sex with was no longer beside me, and as i glanced around the room i saw her silhouette by the window. She was mumbling words in a language i have never heard before and never wish to hear again. I tried to call out to her but my words could not be found in my mouth. I had been robbed of my voice. A feeling of dread overcame me, as an atheist i had chosen to believe all spirituality was a hoax but at that moment the fear i felt watching juju movies as a child came upon me anew a hundred times over. I tried to run but my legs wouldn't move. I tried to scream but words escaped my mouth. I was helpless.
As if finally noticing me after my futile struggle she walked up to me. Her eyes were black as night with no hint of white in them, her breasts lay saggy on her chest and her vagina had a glow about it. As she got to the edge of the bed she lay flat on her back and started to move strangely. Her stomach came alive with something hitching to get out. I could make out a hand, a leg and then a face at different point in the undulating mesh her stomach was becoming. I was helpless, unable to move i began to pray in my mind to a god, any god to save me from this vile being before me. The being gave birth right there to what i can only describe as a golem with only a mouth on its otherwise blank face.
It came up to me on the bed and started to claw at my abdomen with sharp claws on its hands. I felt pain that day, a pain i cannot describe, and it got even worse as it pierced a hole in me and ripped me a wide one that ran across my stomach. Air filled my insides and my entrails spilled out. Unable to scream and unable to move i could not act like i felt. I wished for death. But it refused to come. The golem ate my organs one by one with the singular orifice on its face.
After a full meal of me it plucked out my heart and with the last of my consciousness i saw a ruthless smile appear across its face as it prepared to eat the last of me.
I woke up drenched in heat and sweat. I looked around and saw no one. No being,no golem, no female. No one. I ran as fast as my legs could carry out of the room that now read "Room 105" and sprinted past the reception before a guard chased me down and asked what was wrong.
After i was calm the receptionist asked what happened. I asked if he had seen my female companion and he told me i came alone. I told him i returned with a harlot after going into the town and he was surprised. " Oga you don dey your room since you check in o" came the reply. I could not believe it. Could it all have been a dream. I checked for scars and saw none. I refused to return to the room and left Ife at first light.
Since that day i have seen the tag "101C" severally, on a random T-shirt, in a book, a paper and once on TV. And every time i feel a phantom scar throb, picture that wicked smile of the golem in HD and pray to God for my life.
At this moment i still feel like I'm in a dream, and still really asleep in Room 101c.
- Written by Moyosade Mok