Previously on House Of Horrors. Our unlikely hero takes up residence in the most disgusting domicile in Ntinda. He returns to said rathole one night when there is no electricity. We proceed with the, well, proceedings.
My mind had been numbed to the consistency of cold porridge and my soul becalmed to that of a pool of old oil. I was in a state of misery, that is to say, because my job in those days was no fun.
It used to be glamourous and shiny and spectacular when I was a showbiz reporter, because I was paid to go to the VIP sections of party events and music concerts and, the best part, it was expected of me that I would drink Guinness and then write about how good the Guinness was.
But I traded that in for a position called “subbing” which means one sits at a desk and waits for sheaves of boredom to be brought to one. Then one dies inside.
I was miserable that night, as I slouched down the road from the Ntinda stage. I was wretched as I stumbled down the path from the road. I was bereft of all light and joy as I snaked my hand through the open pane in the door to manyanga the padlock and open the door.
When I saw that there was no electricity, I could not find the energy in me to be outraged. No, the world had proven itself to be a spiteful and malicious place which had nothing good to offer me, so I just shrugged and sat myself down in the darkness to eat my little rolex, quaff my little safi and then stagger to my little bed and cry myself to sleep.
One needs light to drink Safi, however, so I had to stop to light a candle. That is when I saw it.
At this point I would ask you to play a musical score like tandanDANNNNNN! Because I am unable to embed it here.
You see the sitting room wasn’t well furnished but was furnished nevertheless. By this I mean, of course, and any startup bachelor will understand, I had a TV stand and a sofa.
The TV stand was placed against the wall and the sofa was opposite it. In the dim light it was impossible to see that there was barely anything else there.
But in the dim light I was able to see something move.
Something white shuffled and flickered and moved. It was behind the TV stand.
Something about the size of a large cat. White.
I crept closer to it, steeling my heart as I approached. I held the candle before me with one hand, the other hand clutching the only weapon I had in the house—a wooden spear from African Village that I had bought back in the days of sunlight, when I still believed that I would end up in a house worth decorating.
The white shape shifted.
And there it was.
Trapped between the TV stand and the wall was a live chicken.
Holy shit, what is a chicken doing in here? I asked myself as you are asking now. I will explain. Give me a minute. I’ll be back.
Okay. The rest.
So freaking what. There is a stray chicken in your house. It climbed in through the open window pane and wandered around and because it is a chicken and chicken are not intellectuals it stupidly went and got itself trapped. It was late. I was tired. It was dark.
I didn’t see why I should not decide to deal with this tomorrow. I blew up the candle and went to the aforementioned weeping myself to sleep proggie.
After a fitful and anxious night, I woke up late, because I had already began to develop these habits of not getting to work on time. I had to brush my teeth, take my shower, put on my socks, drawers and et ceteras and fly out of the house in fifteen minutes. There was no time to fit poultry extractions into the schedule. It was not an emergency. The chicken was still stuck. It was evidently going nowhere. I would have to deal with it when I got back.
Little did I know.
That there were forces beyond my ken that were waiting, looming, ominous and sinister, waiting to deal with me.
I returned from work that evening in the same state of despair and darkness as the one before and UMEME had once again opted to ream the neighbourhood so it was Thriller night. Darkness Falls Across The Land kwegamba.
If I was slightly dispirited the night before, I was all-out gloomy this night. I was not going to start running after white hens tonight, no. I was going to sleep the fuck out.
Maybe I should have stayed awake. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so lax. Maybe I should not have procrastinated. If I had just… if only…. Who knows? Who ever knows.
For the next morning, when I woke up to face the chicken, I found it, yes, still in the same place, but for now it was not moving. It was still as a stone.
Well, what was left of it was still as a stone. There was less there this morning than there had been the day before.
The chicken’s head was missing.