Mudinbi turned briskly, looking away from his phone’s screen, as the light in the room suddenly flickered. A horror movie buff, the first thought on his mind was that of a ghost stalking him. He imagined himself in a precarious situation with a strong evil presence seeking retribution lurking in the shadows. He dismissed this thought with a scoff and returned his gaze to his phone’s screen. This was certainly his mind trying to play a trick on him. ‘What next?’ He thought quietly to himself. ‘Should he expect winds powerful enough to turn the room on its head to follow?”
He was barely done with that thought when the blinds by the window went flying up in the air. A strong wind rushed into the room from the open window, knocking some items out of their position. Mudinbi rushed to shut the window close. But he could still hear the sound of the wind blowing strongly against the panes of the sliding window. It made a loud clanging sound as the metal edges of the window hit each other. It felt like the ground below him was about to crack open and the window was trying to alert him. Where did the sudden wind come from he thought to himself? This was the type of wind you’d expect only in the rainy season. The type of wind the power company wouldn’t hesitate to capitalize on as an excuse for withholding power. But this wasn’t the rainy reason.
He began to pick the items that had fallen off the ground and return them to their respective original positions. By the time he was done with that, he realized the wind had completely subsided outside. The sudden calm left him feeling slightly unnerved. He wanted so badly to tell himself he did not find any of these occurrences strange. But he could not afford to lie to himself, not in his present situation. He just had to admit he was beginning to feel terrified by all that was going on around him.
His parents had been invited to give a talk at a marriage convention in Kolm town. They would be away for three days. Tonight was their first night away. His mother had suggested he spend the weekend at his sister’s apartment rather than stay home alone. But he had strongly declined.
He did not refuse because he had something against going to his sister’s, he actually enjoyed being around her. Whenever he felt bored at home, her place served as his escape. He, however, refused this time because he knew his mother would use as a point to tease him later on. He would not hear the last of it. She would call him a wimp who ran to his sister because he was scared of staying all by himself. He could already imagine her hurling those words at him. She would say it like it wasn’t her idea in the first place. And he knew no matter how hard he tried to fight it, coming from her, the words would hurt. Her words could be very soothing but she also had a way of making them hurt whenever she so desired.
She would pick the most harmless topic and transform it into something excruciatingly hurtful. It was in the way she delivered the words when she said them. She would back her words with gestures so perfect you would want to believe she had previously rehearsed it. There was no way he was allowing her have that opening. Besides, he had stayed alone for two years in his off-campus apartment. So, really, staying alone for a weekend was not going to be a big deal. Or, so he wrongly thought.
His life just unexpectedly transformed into a horror movie scene. And even though he was still in the denial stage, he was getting very close to moving past it. The lights flickered once again and he could swear he heard someone whisper his name in the momentary darkness. He even heard the eerie faint echoes his ears had become accustomed to from seeing horror movies. He became overwhelmed by fear. What was the possibility? Had they been living in a haunted apartment all this while? If so, why hadn’t they noticed any strange occurrence all these years? It never takes so long for the abnormal manifestation to start in the movies.
He began recollecting pictures of the most gruesome and horrific deaths he had seen in his favorite horror movies. With each scene he remembered, he imagined himself suffering the same fate before quickly casting the macabre thought away. His friends had always called him weird because of his love for the horror movie genre. They were always surprised that he was hardly ever troubled by the gory images characteristic of the genre. It was like all the emotions of fear he had failed to experience had compounded and decided to come for him tonight.
He was beginning to get lost in thought when the clanking at the window suddenly resumed, startling him to consciousness. This time it started with a loud thud. Like a human body was thrown at full force against the window. It was as if it came to serve as a reminder that everything was not okay. He stared at the window, terrified. His gaze still fixed helplessly at the window, the light in the room flickered for a third time before going off completely.
Mubindi sat in the darkness for a few seconds, completely paralyzed by fear. When he regained some consciousness, he began to feel around him on the bed for his phone. He was yet to find the phone when he heard his name whispered. He heard it clearly this time, like the person whispering it was sitting next to him. In that moment, he felt so powerless.
As familiar as he was with horror movie plotlines, there was no telling where this one was headed. If it came to the worse, his knowledge of the horror genre was either going to save him or be the death of him tonight. The light suddenly came back on and his phone began to ring at almost the same time. It had been lying right in front of him all this while. He picked it up to confirm who was calling him, it was his sister. A current of hope rushed through him as he swiped his phone screen to accept the call. He would inform her of the strange things happening in the house and beg her to come pick him. He placed the phone to his ears and as he opened his mouth to speak, he heard the words.
“There is no escaping this.”
And with that, the light in the room flickered for one last time before finally going off.