Noisy-evening night; the breaking-bones thunders and welding-machine lightning were drowned by the cacophonous booming of traffic-light-horns from impatient vehicles.
Terrified strays and dogs stumbled in forward leaps towards unseen shelter. And the invisible crickets hummed their nocturnal single chants like in a trance.
And like children born with darkened-silver-melee-spoons in their mouths, we ran to warm our feet and sink in raised volume ghost stories, to hear them in the incessant noise and steaming corn soup.
A spoilsport of a transformer conked the lights out; somewhere in the distance, we heard the rain-drowned explosion of water shocked by a livewire.
A cousin was busy disturbing the yellow flame of a white wax candle that had lived before. His forefinger flicked in and out of the flame, like a miracle bird; untouched. Another cousin suggested we fry leaves in melted wax. I wanted the ghost stories. An older one suggested an Oija board.
‘Where’s the soup?!’
‘Let’s watch a movie!’
‘There’s no power, stupid.’
‘Huh! Yah! Am here.’
‘Ooookaaayyy! Now what IS that noise?!!’
Something skittered on a distant polythene cover; one of those covers that drove you nuts when someone’s putting something in it.
‘There are no rats, stupid!’
‘Oh wait. It could be a rat!’
A sudden, clumsy bustle of legs and we grabbed candles to the source. A gnarled cockroach flopped out of a cover, like a war time failure; he couldn’t find any filth in the bag and the plastic couldn’t have made dinner either. He ruined our surprise. We doused the candle and decided to take turns, for it promised to be gory.
In true awe of nocturnal beings, we slapped the shit out of yet another bug.