2 Daydreams of horror
Jide awoke to the sound of pounding on the inn door and his Uncle's footsteps running down the stairs.
"Who the blasts will be coming to an inn at this hour, goddamit! If it's that drunkard Musa I will give he a good beating." Jide's Uncle complained as he heading to the door.
He pulled the pin-hole open and shouted at the person outside, "What is it?"
"Good evening my humble innkeeper, my master and I require a room for the night and any supper you have left over."
Peeping through his cracked door, Jide saw his Uncle tense up with a bit of apprehension once he got a clearer look at the stranger. It seemed he had seen something that gave him a fright which only served to make Jide terrified as he always assumed his Uncle was fearless.
"Well I do have a room for your master but you will have to sleep in the stables, and that will be 12 silver a night without food or feed...did you bring any horses?" Jide's Uncle replied. At this, Jide was further surprised as he knew there were more rooms available and his Uncle usually charged 8 silver/night.
Why would this miserly man increase the price for one room and then refuse the chance to sell two rooms?
"My master is an old man and needs me to attend to his needs. I can sleep on a pallet on the floor. And we don't have any horses. So about that supper?"
Jide's Uncle reluctantly opened the door and said, "I am innkeeper Emeka Obiozor...what's your name and where you from stranger?" then turning around and bellowing, "Hey, Jide! Get out here and get some soup and bread from the kitchen...and you better not steal any!"
Jide shuffled out of his cubby to the kitchen without hearing their names; scooping up two bowls of soup and a large piece of bread on a tray, he hurried back.
When he returned to the dining room/bar, he saw the two strangers. One was an athletic and tall man with short black hair. He carried a bastard sword at his waist and a shield on his back like a guard. The other was a hunched cloaked figure. As he removed his cloak, Jide saw a scarred old man, who looked remarkable slim and fit.
However, on making eye contact something remarkable happened.
Jide's body froze as his vision blurred. The next thing, he saw these same two strangers, with two other men, killing their way through Nnenna's father's guards, like they were standing still. He heard the screams and could smell the blood. The image broke and next he saw Nnenna's parents, dead on the their living room floor and the old man holding something in his hands. The Image broke again and he was running through the woods with Nnenna and the drunkard Musa.
As another image tried to form, he felt a hard impact on his face and fell back to the floor of the inn.
"You Useless Brat! Don't you know this food and dishes cost money? And look at me when I am talking to you. Clean up this mess while I get this guests their food. Hmm...useless, no good daydreamer..." Uncle Emeka went on a tirade as he went to the kitchen.
While mopping up the mess on the floor, Jide heard a croaky voice, "Hey boy, what happened to you just now?" As he turned around, Jide knew two things.
One, this was the old man's voice.
Two, he must not tell them what he saw.
Jide looked down and continued cleaning as he mumbled with fear, "I am sorry... Sir. I am..am... very clumsy and was a bit, a bit... tired just now so... I slept off for a bit. Eh, please forgive me."
"Hmm, boy, who do you think you are to lie to us?" the younger man responded angrily.
"Now, now, Nze. You are usually much better at controlling yourself or is it just that you don't like brats. He he he, there is enough time to address this later, remember why we are here."
Nze shot daggers with his eyes at Jide while the old man relaxed in his chair but before the situation could get anymore awkward, Uncle Emeka return with the food and Jide was set up to make sure the room was ready.
As Jide climbed up the stairs, he vowed to keep as far away as possible from both men and also to ask Musa about his vision. After all apart from being the town drunk, he was also the town's librarian and only he had so many books. It was said that Musa was a great traveller before, but everyone who heard this tale now, just laughed in disbelief.
Jide quickly finished his task and on reporting to his Uncle, went back to sleep in his cubby. However, images of a bloody night and a croaky laugh kept him awake.
Nnenna never understood why Jide liked to visit Musa. Jide had already read all the books in Musa's study/bookstore and besides Nnenna preferred the stories Jide told because she was always the heroine.
However, although Nnenna was the leader in most things, going to Musa's bookstore was one thing that Jide insisted on and she could only follow. So every morning, Nnenna would be waiting for Jide in front of Musa's on the chance that he could afford to sneak away.
On this morning, Nnenna saw Jide coming towards her with bags in his eyes and a palm print on his face which was more distinct than the usual beatings Uncle Emeka gave to Jide. But more importantly, Jide looked frightened. Nnenna was immediately angry. One of the main reasons she wanted to learn to fight was to protect Jide. She had told her dad about Jide's condition but he was reluctant to intrude. It didn't help that her mother was so against Jide, especially because of his friendship with Musa. All in all, Nnenna just felt that if she was stronger she would be able to protect her best friend.
"Jide what happened to you? What did your Uncle do? Oh I just want to..."
"Forget about it Nnenna. Quickly, let's hurry up to Musa, I need to ask him something."
The kids went into the cluttered and dusty bookstore that smelled like the bottom of a beer barrel and found Musa sleeping on the floor in a mess of empty bottles and stained books.
"Ah Musa, you stained the books again." Jide complained as he quickly rushed to salvage what he could.
"Huh, who's there?" Musa grunted before going back to sleep.
"Wake up Musa, Jide needs to talk to you." Nnenna shouted as she tugged on the his arm.
"Alright, alright. I am up, I am up. Haah...did you bring anything to eat?" Musa asked
Jide responded, "I smuggled out a bun, here you go. I have something to tell you...there were this two strangers that came to my house and on seeing them..." At this point, Jide stopped and looked at Nnenna. "Umm...umm."
Nnenna was curious at his hesitation. Musa was still a bit groggy but he also noticed Jide's anxiety and his pause, so said, "It's alright Jide. If you can't say it in front of Nnenna I am sure she will understand. Do you want her to step out for a bit?"
"No, I will be fine. Those two guys I was talking about, along with some other two guys were attacking Nnenna's family in my vision. I couldn't move and I couldn't break out of it. Am I going crazy? It, it felt so real."
Musa's face became very distraught. His hands began to twitch and his eyes scanned the bottles around him. He took a deep breath and said,
"You're not crazy. Don't worry. It may just be daydreams. Lets see if it happens again...anyway, I am feeling a bit tired today so why don't you guys go out and play."
Nnenna was already heading to the door dragging Jide as she wanted to see these two visitors whereas Jide was staring at Musa to make sure his vision wasn't anything to worry about.
After the children had left Musa mumbled as he went to the backroom to get another bottle, "impossible, impossible...he can't be...I have never heard of this type. But if it is....Ah why are the gods so cruel. No, no, calm down, I need a drink."