There was a sudden change in the clouds — a twirl — a shooting light flashed across the sky. Like a signal, every eye rose to its call. All the kids raced down and gathered at the clear field – the village square — before the older ones could get there. It was nothing we had ever seen before. Looking tiny at first, it became larger as it drew closer to the ground. The once alluring light became so bright that it caused dizziness. A blaring sound followed.
Suddenly, I felt wetness around my ears. I looked around and noticed that most people gathered around were bleeding from their ears. I screamed. The last thing I remember was a blackening sky.
When I drowsily came to, I found myself lying prone on the hard ground. I groaned in pain, and it felt as though something had hit me on the forehead. I could barely understand what was happening as people were running through the dusty storm; the wind’s howl was unimaginably frightening. I struggled to get back on my feet as wailings and screams filled my head. I was terrified. Yet, in the blur of it all, I could sense a strange presence crawling on my skin. Something breathed in the dark storm. Slowly, it dawned on me — something terrible was preying on us! Udi was under an attack.
Cloud-to-ground flashes struck severally in the distance. The storm was growing fiercer and darker. I could barely see my skin. It was with my sixth sense that I made out the shapes of things in the darkness that shaded us there and then. It is really euphemistic to say that I was overwhelmed with a wave of terror and frightened beyond my senses.
As I found my feet, I beheld a silhouette, rising in the dark. There! Beyond large, its hind feet sunk into the very ground, and I, transfixed, watching it. It looked like an oversized mosquito with sticks underneath its long V head, like some mythical creature only heard of in grim old witches tales. I shuddered, nearly choking on despair as my mind tried to grasp the frame of the unfortunate reality I had chanced upon! Its eyes were glowing green and pulsating; I felt hypnotized by its gaze.
Luckily, I slipped my skinny self away, just as its slimy tentacles made attempts to latch on to my legs. I ducked into a hole in the ground and trembled under the cover of darkness. I sat still, right there, in the midst of the screams of terror, cowering like a cornered field rat. I can vividly recall the horror and screams as the thing and its kind vacuumed the unlucky ones from Udi through a thin stream of light, into an endless void in the sky.
On that day — I do not know what got us through — I know it wasn’t bravery or some kind of benevolent spirit that kept us till the atmosphere became quieter. After, all that could be heard were the clanging of metallic objects and the rustle of bushes and awkward sounds from things being swirled around by the whistling breeze. At times, I squeezed my eyes tightly to prevent dust from entering it. I could see familiar pathways sprawled out as the storm settled.
One after the other, we crawled out of our hiding places, our saving graces. Mine was a small hole and the number with me was far greater than the hole could hold. Be that as it may, we managed, crumbled upon one another until the place could hold no more. I stepped out — still trying to recover from the shock.
I scanned the area, hardly able to gulp what was left of my beloved Udi. While the younger ones wept, we the older ones braced ourselves to search through the ruins for other signs of survivors. We found no one!
From nowhere, Gisha, the mad dog, dashed swiftly in-between my legs. Startled, I chased after her with my eyes until she disappeared. Suddenly, everybody was making a crazy dash. Udi can no longer serve as an abode for man! I immediately spoke to my heels too; after all, for the eyes to see no evil, the legs are the immunization needed!
It is a full moon to the day today, according to the time of man – the day on which the gods deserted my people, leaving us to our misfortune. The news broke the internet. Yet, whatever is the truth about the ‘thing’ I chanced upon, of the mysterious attack that swept out an entire community, remains unknown.
And here we are, the survivors, in a remote building on the fringes of the capital city, where they keep us, door-to-door, locked away in underground cells; quarantined, to kill the mystery with us.
harmattan haze night.
. . . I hear prison hall whispers.
. . . quietly complots.
The FG contrived — to release an agitprop — with an armed insurgent group; the press conference is on-air, concocting the alien invasion as another tragic terrorists’ attack on a Northern village: headline reads, ‘No Survivor!’ ✚
Salisu is an aspiring journalist. He currently lives and writes from Zaria, but calls Lagos home.