THE BOY WITH A CRYING SOUL
“Come on. Make a wish.”
“Elias, blow out your candles.”
Elias Oghosa did blow out the cake candles on his birthday, October 30th, 2019. He did make a wish with his tinniest inner voice, but that was all for nothing—it didn’t stop them from lashing out words at one other. They still bickered hours after he made his twelfth birthday wish–for serenity in their tumultuous home.
His mum, Rachel Oghosa, planted a kiss on his right cheek before he slept that night. She wore a heartwarming smile on her face, yet he could see past the mask of happiness. He could see tears brimming behind her sockets, just waiting patiently for him to sleep before it gushes out.
“Goodnight Mum.” Elias exhaled deeply and closed his eyes.
For a few minutes, he just laid there, supine and dormant like a doormat, while his mind travelled between past and present memories.
“Efosa! You’re not the man I married years ago! Give me back my loving husband!”
GRRRRR! He jumped up in his bed, his sheets flying in the air. Elias’ heart slammed into his chest and he panted as his eyes earnestly searched the room. The lights were off and darkness enveloped his room, yet he strained his eyes.
What? Something caught his attention. He held his gaze beamed at one direction–his closet. It was starkly dark, but he could sense something swimming in the darkness. He threw his right hand back and forth across the bed, looking for his flashlight–he always kept one close to his pillow, in the event that he woke up to pee in the middle of the night and there was no electricity.
Whew. Elias felt it. He held it in the air and turned it on.
“Ah!” He yelled, as the creaking closet vomited something from its darkness . His flashlight fell from his hands onto the floor and rolled away.
“Don’t be scared.” A cracking voice emanated from the being before him.
It was a lady. She was light-skinned, slender and was covered in a glowing blue gown. Her hair was black, shining bright and fell straight to her shoulders.
“W-w-who are you?” He managed to utter a sentence as he trembled in his bed, squeezing against his bedsheets.
“No. No. No. Don’t be scared. I’m a friend.”
“Yes.” The lady took a step further, stretching her right hand out to him. “A friend who wants to grant you your birthday wish.”
He stared into her eyes for a while. They were also blue, but lighter, like the sky. After about a minute, his heart slowly stopped attempting to tear out of his chest.
Elias couldn’t define what came over him but he reached out gradually and held her hand. She smiled.
“So, I hear your birthday wish wasn’t granted.”
“No. Maybe next year.” He sucked his teeth and reclined.
“Oh. What if I told you I could grant you your wish.” She paused. “You see, I heard your soul crying throughout the universe and I came all this way here to help you.”
“Yes.” She responded firmly.
“I just want the house to be peaceful. My parents keep fighting everyday. I just want it to end.”
She threw her left hand into the air and waved it from left to right, and a knife materialized in her hand. Elias jumped back into himself.
“Don’t be scared. ” She said with a soft voice. “Give me your right hand.”
He looked firmly at the knife, then at her eyes, her light blue eyes. Slowly, he raised his right hand and placed it gently in her right hand.
She looked at Elias and smiled. “Relax. Your wish will come true.” He watched her bring the knife in her left hand close to his right hand, then kissed his thumb with the sharp edge of the knife.
“AH!” Elias yelled as he jumped up in his bed, sweating profoundly. Almost immediately, the house walls reverberated his scream.
He threw his eyes across the room, scanning left and right. He noticed something—his room door was opened. He grabbed his flashlight from beside his pillow and threw himself off the bed.
He turned on the flashlight and pointed it downwards. “Gaah!” His leg was stained crimson. His heart began to pound against his chest again.
Is this blood? How did–?
“Mom! Dad!” He screamed as he flew out of his room. The entire house was covered with darkness–the electricity company still hadn’t restored their power supply.
As he walked, step by step, Elias could hear the house walls whisper into his ear. The windows were opened and it invited a whistling sound and chill in the air. As he arrived at the entrance of his parents’ room, the door creaked open all by itself. Without a warning, his flashlight went off. He hit the head hard and it came back on.
He pointed the flashlight down. “Gaah!” He nearly vomited his heart out. He blinked twice and stared again. He saw red footprints on the floor, as though someone walked out of his parents’ room.
He turned around and pointed the flashlight out the door, all he saw was darkness and nothingness. He turned back and walked slowly into their room.
The flashlight went off again. This time, he had to hit it thrice before it came back on. He pointed it towards their bed. He saw his parents sleeping. Phew.
Then something caught his attention. A red substance begun to accumulate on their cover sheet. Soon, it was dripping down the bed.
He jumped, grabbed their cover sheet and threw it in the air. He stumbled back, his hands threw themselves to his mouth and the flashlight fell to the floor.
His face began to burn as tears filled his eyes. Before him was his mom and dad lying in a pool of blood.
“Mom.” He sobbed. He took a step closer. There were multiple holes in their bodies that expelled blood and their eyes stared into nothingness.
“Hahaha….” laughter cackled behind him. He turned around and saw her–the lady in the glowing blue gown–again.
It took about him three seconds to put two and two together. “Yo-Yo-You. Wh-What did you do?”
“You wanted peace. Look—” she threw her hands in the air and inhaled deeply “—I can taste serenity in the air,” she snickered.
“What? This isn’t what I wanted! This isn’t what I wished for!”
“Well, tomayto, tomahto,” she said as she tilted her head left to right. “My work here is done.” She sneezed and a blue light dispersed in the air, then her blue gown fell to the floor.
Elias stared down at the gown, contemplating whether or not to take a step forward. Just then, a black cat waltzed from underneath the gown.
It held Elias gaze hostage with its alluring blue eyes. Silence hung in the air for a few seconds, and then a ringing ensued.
“Ow!” Elias yelled as he locked his ears with his palms.
WHEN Elias opened his eyes, it was morning and he was in bed. His head rung a little bit and it stopped after a few seconds. He put aside his cover sheet and threw himself off the bed, then he walked out of his room and into the living room.
The brown walls of the house stood out starkly against the white curtains and the wind clapped hands against the closed windows.
He searched the living room, no one was there. He took the flight of stairs to his parents’ bedroom. He opened the door and walked slowly into their room.
The whole room was consumed by dust and the air was thin. He stood in the middle of the room for a few seconds, then turned around and exited the room.
“Hmm. I thought it was someone’s room.”
Written by Praise Osawaru
Praise Osawaru, also known as Wordsmithpraise, is a writer, poet, content developer, avid volunteer, SDG Advocate and entrepreneur-in-training. He’s an undergraduate at the University of Benin, Nigeria.
His works have appeared in Black Youth, Nantygreens, Sprinng Literary Movement (SLM) website and Writers Space Africa (WSA). He was also a finalist in Clash Of Pen Poetry Contest 2019, Longlisted for African Writers Award 2019 & Shortlisted For The Zi Prize 2019.
When he isn’t binge-watching a series on Netflix or reading a book, Praise also blogs about art & literature on his blog – www.wordsmithpraise.com. Connect with him on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook: @wordsmithpraise