A man in his early twenties walked aimlessly with a toothless grin holding a cigarette which he just purchased from the shop close to the pedestrian way. He felt like a happy go lucky guy especially after his latest achievement and rendezvous in his girlfriend’s house. He had finally scored the bitch. She had no idea how patient he had been just to tap into her panties. She had been the no sex before marriage type and of course he had played the part of a good boyfriend. He made sure he was everything she needed in a man. He became a ‘church goer’ for her, went on a cigarette fast and had always succumbed to her every need. Did she for once suspect it was a hoax, a facade he had carefully crafted and maintained to crack her no touching shell? Definitely not.
He must have played his part too well enough for her to willingly give him sex and he didn’t even have to promise her marriage. She probably assumed he loved her enough to think her a ‘marriageable’ partner. The thing was, he didn’t love, never believed in it and probably never will.
He smirked remembering how supple she felt as he repeatedly drove into her and how shy she had felt afterwards… They probably went at it for 3 times and he made sure he got his fill. Four years wasn’t beans and the patient dog indeed eats the fattest bone.
Okon snuck the cigarette into his mouth and exhaled deeply…his old friend. He had missed it. He smirked and bit the tip of the cigarette as he inserted his hand into the pocket of his shirt to retrieve his lighter. His hand met an empty space and his smirk turned into a frown as he suddenly remembered that it had been long he smoked anything. Damn that bitch!
He swivelled his gaze back to the store on the other street he had purchased the cigarette and in hastened pace ran in, his eyes fixated on the distant man selling to demand for a light. In his haste he forgot that he was crossing a high way and probably would’ve looked left or right before crossing. His mistake of course caused a vehicle to run into him. The impact of the car colliding with his form drove him forcefully to the ground with immense pain ripping through his joint. He closed his eyes biting back the pain till he felt nothing but the shift in the atmosphere. People as curious and concerned in the face of accidents were drawn to the scene, muttered curses with astonishing groans began to surround him. He really was not in the mood and with his mind still on the cigarette. He abruptly stood up howbeit with slight tremor in his limbs. He knew it was his fault for running mindlessly into the street and he also knew that as long as he felt better, so much better, nobody else was hurt. Indeed people could be so dramatic as they would always gather at every accident scene no matter now minor it is. So OKon without a backward glance,walked with renewed strength and purpose. The cigarette still in his lips and heading towards the store he was headed for before the accident. Unconsciously his fingers sought the shaft of the cigarette and he inhaled through his mouth only to release rings of smokes from his lips.
He grinned at the satisfying feel with surprise that it was already lighted and gave a slight shrug to wave off the mystery.
He didn’t care.
He was smoking and he loved the high he got from it.
“Excuse me?” a soft and polished voice startled him that his cigarette fell from his lips to the ground. Without looking up, he bent to retrieve it only to stop short at the sight before him… The cigarette was burning out so fast that it caught flames that he quickly with the sole of his Palm clad foot squashed the cigarette in haste. In annoyance, he looked up with a glare at the man who held a briefcase in one hand and a decent almost immaculate umbrella in the other.
An uncontrollable hiss escaped his lips making the slightly older man probably in his mid 30s flinch. Notwithstanding, the man maintained his position even as Okon maintained his glare.
Okon knew exactly what he was here for and he was not in the mood for Jehovah Witness people; but as a means to rattle the man, he asked in his most rudest tone “Can I help you?”
“I want to tell you that you’re going in the wrong direction.” the man simply said.
Flabbergasted was probably the appropriate word to explain how thrown off he was by the ridiculous statement the man had just said.
How the hell could he tell if he was going in the right direction? He ran his eyes over the man seeking for a hint of insanity in him.
He looked completely normal to him. But he sounded completely insane.
“What in the world are you talking about?” Okon snapped in anger “If you want to preach, preach. Don’t come here and be telling me I’m not going in the right direction.” his eyes flashed as he shot the man a glare.
The man’s eyes softened a bit. “I’m here to gather lost souls.”
“Oh for goodness sake! Get out of my sight. Do I look lost to you? Go and preach to someone else abeg.” he huffed, and angrily brushed past the man.
But the man held unto his arm completely halting him…
“This way sir. The others are waiting for you.” he insisted, still with that annoying soft voice.
Okon growled, his fist tightened with the urge to connect with the man’s jaw. But he didn’t want to be harassed for beating up an evangelist. But the man was harassing him. It was not by force go accept Christ. He was an atheist and he liked it that way.
“What is your problem?” he asked with false calm.
“You need to come with me. You don’t belong here. Not anymore.”
Okon laughed. He laughed hard; a boisterous one at that. He couldn’t help it. Throughout his lifetime he had never imagined he’ll be face to face with a mad man and one that was properly dressed at that.
“Mad o!” he couldn’t help but chuckle out the new slang. “Abii you wanted to say, you’re are born into the world but you’re not of the world.”
The man just looked at him blankly and Okon’s chuckle continued but in short bouts. “Guy is this is the new style, did you really have to phrase it that way?” his voice rang in mirth.
“Well you don’t belong here anymore.” The man said calmly with much certainty.
“Bros calm down. I’ve not given my life to Christ yet so I’m still of this world.” Okon smirked and shrugged the man’s hand away. The man’s hold loosen but now he was looking at Okon with pity.
Okon ignored it. Pity. An emotion they always showed while the silently judge and condemn you.
“Things have changed. You’re no longer flesh and blood–” the man began to rant and immediately OKon cut him off.
“Ehe ehe stop there. Which one is I’m no longer flesh and blood. Abii I be spirit?”
“Yes.” Was the man’s only reply.
“Guy off me.” OKon groaned. “I resemble spirit now. Okay let’s say I’m a spirit. How come you can see me?” he challenged haughtily with a smirk.
“Because I’m also a spirit.” the man said.
“Chie! Guy you aff mad. I don’t know why I’m still here arguing with you. If people see us now they’ll also think I’m insane.”
“No one else can see you except me and maybe other spirits.” The man shrugged.
Okon flinched and shrunk back. Startled by his words he unconsciously swept his eyes around his environment and a gasp escaped his lips when he noticed that as people pass, they looked directly at them as if they weren’t present.
Fear began to creep in as he began to acknowledge the man’s words. This was stupid. Why was he even considering this man’s ridiculous statement. These people were probably minding their business. He shrugged the thought out of his head and looked at the man to tell him he is mad only for the man to tell him–
“You are not a living being.”
“Excuse me?” He echoed back outraged.
“You are dead; And that’s your body over there.” he pointed to his back towards an accident scene. The scene he just fled.
Okon felt at lost for words. He wanted to retort back a reply but his voice was stuck into his throat as he followed the man’s hand to see a crowd hurdling over a form.
Curiosity and fear urged him to pick a race to the site; the man completely forgotten, he cautiously and warily drew closer to the scene which a few minutes ago he had just fled.
The sight that met him brought him to a sudden halt with his feet stuck. Motionless, a gasp followed as he beheld the body of a man in his early 20s lying lifeless on the cold hard ground. His body twisted awkwardly. And laying next to it was a crushed cigarette.
A sob rose from OKon’s chest as he looked at the eyes staring back at him with a blank look. His eyes as wide as saucers reflecting back in the unsuspecting lifeless man he knew and could see was Okon himself. At least his flesh and blood.
Indeed it was true. He was no longer flesh and blood and people passing through him as if he wasn’t there was evidence enough.
He was a lost soul.
“Are you ready to leave this world behind?” The man’s voice whispered close to his ear.
Okon couldn’t reply. He didn’t know how to
“Okon! OKon! Guy wake up!”
Okon jerked up with heart beating widely. His eyes flashed open to see himself in his room which was lit dim by a little ray of light that escaped the window. It was morning already and his roommate and course mate was looking down at him impatiently.
“Guy we go miss class o. Time no dey. Go baf abeg. You dey smell.”
OKon of course was disoriented. He blinked and blinked until he came back to his senses.
He touched his body and immediately grabbed his friends arm…”am I dead.”
“Mad o!” His friend laughed. “Guy you dey craze o. Which kind dream wey you dream sef?” he continued laughing.
Okon couldn’t help but give a sigh of relief. It was only a dream.
“Ehe your girlfriend bin dey call.” His friend said absentmindedly as he shrugged on a T-shirt.
Okon’s heart stopped and a shiver went through him. Of course goosebumps followed and he inhaled sharply, shakily.