The Unraveling Mysteries

First, I felt him constantly staring at me everywhere I went. And then I saw him in brief flashes, eyeballing me as I walked down the streets. He was everywhere- at the supermarket and at the library; always staring at me viciously and  seemingly vanishing into thin air each time I tried  to approach him. This most certainly drove me crazy, for I thought I was hallucinating. And just when I thought I couldn’t have it any worse, the most bizarre part of the drama unfolded unexpectedly…

I got home that faithful night to find the stranger in my flat.  He had undoubtedly made himself comfortable, having made dinner while I was away. And as I stood in the middle of the kitchen with fear gripping and wrenching my heart, I puzzled over what was happening to me. Who was stalking me, I wondered? And why was he creepy enough to invade my privacy the way he did?  Could anything be creepier in the world?!

But unknown to me, I was yet to see creepy.  As I tiptoed upstairs to the sound of music coming from my bedroom, I was met with a surprise.  There was the man lying lifelessly on the floor. With my hands shaking uncontrollably, I turned on the light and beheld him closely. He was  covered in his own blood; obviously dead!

I stared at the sight, horrified. The wound on the man’s head still oozed fluid, with the smell of blood so pungent and nauseating. Meanwhile, my mind was confused as I thought about several things all at once. Just then, my cell phone vibrated in my pocket, startling me even as I answered the call with my shaky voice and listened to a rather cold female voice address me in a crisp, Nigerian accent.

“You have three options: report the crime to the police, dispose of the body or disappear tonight. And if I were you, I’d disappear. That way,  the authorities will believe  you’re the victim! That will enable you unravel this entire mystery; with my help of course. Now yu have five minutes to make your decision and call me back. Don’t call back if it is a stupid decision!” Click.

I stood in shock, the phone still held to my ear as I stared in surprise at the dead man on my floor. For the first time since he mysteriously showed up in my life, I could see that he bore an uncanny resemblance to me. It was almost as though we were twins. This shocked me, and without thinking straight I immediately redialed the unknown female caller and told her that I was ready to disappear. Two hours later, I was in a bus bound south, heading towards Calabar in line with the instructions give me by the caller.  According to her, the first step to finding out what had happened was to be on that bus heading to the southern Nigerian city. Nobody must know I was on that bus, she said…

The following day, it was reported in the dailies that I had been murdered in my flat- High-profile Government Official Found Murdered in  Lagos Home.The news said the police was working hard to find the killer. And that was funny because of course the  mystery was mine to unravel; at least so I had been manipulated into believing…

(This is culled from one of Emmanuel Abara Benson’s manuscripts. His first novel Shame and Forlorn Gaze will soon be published.)

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