First of a three-part series

I’m going to die. Every teenager says that at one point during their lives. They don’t really mean it though. However, when I say I’m going to die while tied up in a room full of blood and bones and palmwine, you best believe me.
But wait, don’t you want to know how I got here? Okay then. Let’s take a little trip back.

My family and I are on the way to the village. We’re Igbos. So we’re expected to complete the yearly ritual of spending the Christmas holidays in the village. The bus is quite tight and everyone packed like sardines. Ugh. It’s dad’s fault. He didn’t want to drive the car. Lazy old man. The driver’s talking about the special ritual taking place tomorrow. Apparently, it is held every fifteen years and it involves crazy stuff like human sacrifices and masquerade dances. I wasn’t listening though, I was trying to reply all my messages on WhatsApp before we got to the village and it’s network-less environs. I’m sure you know I hate this trip by now.
Fast forward hours later and I’m lying down on Grandma’s bed. She’s the only good thing in this Godforsaken place to be honest. Always amazing to see her. She’s talking to me in Igbo and I reply her with some weird sounding grunts. Can’t blame me. I don’t speak the language. The evening breeze coming through the window is amazing and I feel my eyelids drooping. Just a little nap I say to myself. I’m quite tired from the journ…

I wake up with a start. Whenever my dad calls my name in full, it only means one thing: he has been calling my name for a very long time. As I trudge to the living room, I mentally prepare myself for the barrage of insults and name calling. He surprises me however. Jordan how are you? I reply that I’m fine. Then he hits me with it. Ogechi, the help is sick so I need you to go to the village Square to buy akara.
Really? Really? I take the money from him and head for the door spewing all sorts of swear words (in my head of course).
The harmattan outside is crazy and I rub my hands together to fight the cold. For the umpteenth time, I wonder if that guy is really my father. I look up and notice that the village square is empty. I hear the sounds of beating drums and weird chants. Then it comes to me in little bits. Ritual. Fifteen years. Masquerade dances. Human sacrifice!! I hear a sound behind me and I turn. In front of me is a big black masquerade. He laughs evilly and shouts something in Igbo. He’s calling his brothers. That’s the first thing that comes to my mind. Suddenly, a second masquerade appears behind the first.
That’s when I ran.

Written By Joshua Nwabuikwu

Published By Great Opara

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