Underneath | Part 1 I Stories by Ima Udott

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Info: When prayer is not an option, what else could save her from a creepy environment? Read this short story and enjoy yourself!
       

UNDERNEATH - Part 1

            

I moved into my rented apartment, two weeks after I got an admission into the University. I did not like to stay close to school; I loved a quiet and reserved environment and staying close to school was going to rub me of that. This was my reason for renting a house in a serene environment.

It was a new building and from what the agent told me, I was going to be the first person to rent it. Other students were going to rent the remaining rooms with time, but I was happy that I had picked the best; the last room upstairs, close to the balcony. 

It was spacious and had three windows, enough to give me the exact ventilation I desired, especially on a breezy day. It was also isolated enough to curtail the noises of the other anticipated occupants.

It was stressful, dragging my luggage up the stairs, but I did not mind, though it was seriously making noise. I was the only one in the building, so there was no need to worry about the noise of my luggage disturbing others. The driver helped me carry the heavy ones, like my new mattress. It was very huge and heavy, I could never have carried it alone. 

When I was finally able to convey everything upstairs, I paid the driver and he left. I was going to start a new life in school. I examined my new apartment in excitement. I had been there the previous week to wash and paint it. The smell of the paint was still very strong and it made me to almost throw up. So, I had to leave the door and windows open so I could breathe fresh air.

Before evening, I was able to put everything in place. I warmed the melon soup Mom had cooked for me and the aroma overwhelmed the smell of the paint. My kitchen was richly filled. I had bunches of plantain, tubers of yam and potatoes, garri, rice, beans and a lot of other things that Mom bought for me. I was happy that the kitchen was big enough to contain everything; My house rent was not a waste.

I had washed the bathroom the day I came to paint the house, but I had to wash it again because I did not like the offensive smell that hit me when I opened it. It was clean, but stuffy and smelly. After washing the toilet and giving it a different smell with the air freshener that I bought, I showered and went back to the room. Everything was set.

I dished the soup and sat on the tiled floor, resting my back on my well arranged bed to eat. The only noise that I heard was the chirping of birds. This was the exact environment I needed to be.

After eating, I decided to explore the environment so I could get to know where to buy things and as well be familiar with the street. I strolled down the street and was not impressed when I realized that shops were miles away from my apartment. In fact, the building seemed to stand alone. 

I was not too bothered because I believed that with time, I would get used to walking down to buy stuff and who knows, people might rent the unrented shops lining up the street and start selling and it would save me from walking a long mile to get things. I was very positive about it.

When I returned upstairs, I decided to sit at the balcony where I had a clear view of the environment. It was gradually getting dark, but since there was no power supply, I did not see the need to rush inside. Moreover, I was enjoying the coldness that accompanied the evening breeze.

When I was tired of feeding my hungry eyes, I went back inside. I needed to sleep early so I could wake up on time. The next day, which was Monday was going to be my faculty screening. I had already arranged my credentials into a big file. 

I turned every now and then on the bed, struggling to sleep, but my mind kept thinking about Mom. I wondered how she was going to cope without me. My father had divorced her after it looked like she wasn't going to give him any more child. I was the only product of their eighteen years of marriage.

He needed children; male children. He believed that I was irrelevant because I was a girl. He, of course, got exactly what he wanted. After Mom found out that he had been having an affair with Aunty Charity, her best friend, and that she was even pregnant for him, his way of apologizing to her was to file for a divorce, blaming Mom for not giving him male children.

Mom was heart broken, not only because of the divorce, but because she had trusted Aunty Charity so much that when she first heard the news, she refused to believe it was true, until she saw it. After the divorce, Mom packed out of the house and got a new place where she stayed with me. I was her solace.

She was a banker, so she did not have to struggle to take care of me. In fact, I felt much more loved than when Dad was in the picture. Aunty Charity gave birth to twins, two boys and Dad never called nor checked up on us after the divorce.

Mom stopped going to church after the divorce. She was angry that after all the prayers she rendered to God and offerings and tithes, God still refused to give her a male child and even watched her go through a divorce without stepping in to save her marriage. 

Because of her hatred for God, she stopped me from going to church and even praying. She said Jesus was an illusion. And, I had to stick to her rules. So, while others go to church every Sunday, we stay at home. In fact, Sundays became resting days for Mom.

All of these thoughts flooding my head made it difficult for me to sleep. I rolled from one end of the bed to the other, continuously, until I finally slept off.

A few minutes into my sleep, a hand tapped me on my back and I opened my eyes, only to realize that my door was wide open. I had bolted it and even locked it before I slept off. So, how on earth was it open? And, I didn't even see whoever tapped me.

I stood up and examined my bathroom, but there was nobody there. I then went to the kitchen, but still saw no one. I tiptoed out of the room to the balcony and when I looked down, I was confused at what I saw outside the building. 

A group of people were holding hands and chanting some songs. From the songs, I was very sure they were University students because they kept mentioning the word “Aluta” and paused every now and then to shout “Greatest Nigerian students!"

They were about twenty of them, if not more. I wondered what students would be doing inside the compound by that time and since I was the only occupant at the moment, I had locked the gate before going upstairs. So, how were they able to unlock it? They couldn't have jumped the fence, it was too high.

I looked at the time, it was some minutes to 3:00AM. I wanted to get their attention and ask what they were doing there, but I couldn't. So, I just stayed still, looking at them.

The next minute, the song stopped and they all looked up at me and began to scream “Revenge!” Without wasting time, they rushed up the stairs. I could hear their footsteps. They were close by. I tried to run back inside, but I realized I could not move. 

They were approaching and I saw them. There was something awkward about all of them. They had blood dripping from their bodies and faces as though they were brutally beaten. I was so scared that I could hear my heart beating violently. I tried again to run, but I couldn't. I was stuck, and they were just a few steps to where I stood...to be continued.

Anticipate part 2 soon!

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