“Mummy, tell Uchena to pick his baggy jeans from the floor o!” Chidimma would yell as her eyes met the old linoleum. The tiles had always been objects of hominess for her, a reminder that she still lived in the same house.
“Chidimma, calm down and stop yelling. Uchenna, go and pick up the clothes.” Their mother would say, and Uchenna would totally ignore her and life will go on as usual.
That had been their routine for the past two weeks since school closed. Chidimma didn’t do much. She’d sit on the long couch and read novel after novel, and then clean up after her brother. The former seemed to bring her tranquility and the later, drove her mad. Uchena was very stubborn, and Chidinma thought that it was time to teach him a lesson. If their mother wasn’t going to do anything, she was.
“Uchena, I want to show you something,” she said, smiling cockily.
“What?” Uchenna asked in the offhanded manner teenage boys talk. He looked up at his sister from the sofa where he was engrossed in his cell phone and he regretted having a sister. If he had a brother for a sibling, he thought, they’d both fling their clothes together and live more harmoniously. He was tired of the way she usually said, “I know how the house is old-ish, doesn’t mean we should debase it more!”
“Just come,” she said, “It’s a surprise.”
Uchena wondered what surprise this could be this time, as most of her surprises were usually boring things. One day she behaved like she hid a treasure under the bed, and dragged him to come see, and it was nothing but a pair of lame ass flip flops.
‘Maybe her novels were getting into her head,’ Uchena wondered.
So, he followed her as she led him to the wardrobe in their parents’ bedroom. This wardrobe was almost as old as the house and had two doors and no slits. A wardrobe plastered with a white wood wash that held their parents sparse clothing.
Uchena had been inside before, when they were much younger and played the Hide’n’Seek game. A flash of the memory rushed through his mind as she swung the doors open; a memory of her, winning once again at the game by hiding in the wardrobe even though he had looked in there twice.
“Get in.” Chidimma said nodding toward the wardrobe.
“Get in the wardrobe.” Chidimma said softly.
“You are kidding, right? Because there is no way I am getting in there.” Uchenna said folding his hands over his chest.
Chidimma arched an eyebrow. “Do you wanna know how I hid from you in there all those years ago?” she asked, Uchenna nodded. “Then, get in.”
It might have been so long ago, but Uchenna was still very intrigued about how she had won so many of those games. So, he stepped in.
Then she closed both doors behind him. Uchenna turned and knocked against the door. “Chidimma, what is this? Open this door.”
“Uchenna, shut up and learn.”
“Chidimma, learn what? I don’t want your stupid game. Open this door now.”
Nothing. No response.
“Chidimma!!!” Uchenna shouted and pounded his right fist against the door.
“You’ve been a bad boy, Uchenna…” Chidimma slurred from the other side.
“Chidimma! Chidimma!! Let me out! I don’t like this. I don’t want to see your stupid secret anymore.”
“Do you know the amount of time and energy it takes to pick up after you? Pick up your clothes, pack our dishes, do your laundry. Do you know what it’s like?” Chidimma continued, paying no attention to him.
“What do I care? All you do all day is read…”
“And clean up after you. Don’t you think that’s tiring? Having to ask someone to do something over and over again is tiring.” Chidimma continued.
“Open this thing and let me out!”
“Little boy, you aren’t listening. Saying the same thing over and over again is tiring.” Chidimma said, and Uchenna could hear a certain discordance to it. Like she was enjoying this…
“If you don’t let me out of here this minute, I swear, I will push this wardrobe over and it will crush you.”
Chidimma cackled. “Now, that will be interesting. But the wardrobe stays closed.”
Uchenna couldn’t bare it anymore, her overbearing attitude. He should have known. It was going to be another lame surprise from her. He needed to get out, so he traced his way back, and then rammed his left shoulder into the door.
A thud and a sharp pain travelled through his shoulder and hand. That was all he got. The door was surprisingly still locked in place.
“There. You have tried your might, right? Well, let me show you a trick, or two.” Chidimma cooed.
Then something happened. A subtle change he barely noticed, a repetitive sound; the movement of air. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Breathing.
He suddenly wasn’t alone.
He turned back into the wardrobe and then it struck him how it had lost its back lining. He wasn’t seeing a back wall anywhere in sight. At first, he thought it was because of the pitch darkness, so he stretched out his right hand expecting it to hit wood.
But he met nothing, only dark voidness, amid the breathing.
The breathing became more pronounced. As if the person it belonged to was coming closer.
And that’s when he saw her, a creature with Chidimma’s face, and a pair of menacing horns, glowing eyes and haggard skin. She kept coming closer and with every step, Uchena’s heartbeat increased so that by the time she was standing directly in front of him, his heart was beating in an irregular pattern against his ribcage. Uchenna screamed, plastering his back against the wardrobe door.
The creature smiled, her face contorted in a frightening picture of haggard scaly skin and glowing eyes and grey lips.
“You have been a bad boy, Uchenna.” She said, exposing a set of dangerous looking fangs. “Let’s teach you a lesson.”
Uchenna shivered and a dampness grew in the front of his trousers.
“I will be good. I promise! I will pick up my clothes! For god’s sake, I am sorrryyyy!” He pleaded.
He screamed and screamed, but oddly, their mother couldn’t hear it when she came into the room.
This piece was written by me and Uziel Michael (check facebook). All rights reserved.