He woke up with his heart racing and his singlet drenched in sweat. The sweat was not because of the poorly ventilated one room apartment he stayed in, but because of the dream he had. It had been the same dream for the past two months and sleep had become a necessary evil. He however needed sleep if he wanted to get to work in time to remain the marketing manager of the 8-man company he had been working for the past five years.
He picked up his old, battered phone and sighed, it was 2:35am, the same time he had been getting up for the past 2 months. He sighed again as he took off his singlet and wiped the beads of sweat on his forehead. It was getting alarming. The same dream and waking up at the same time was something to be worried about. There was no one to talk to. His neighbours were not friendly. Even if they were, he did not want his business to be available for public consumption. Gossip was the local currency in the compound and it was traded for almost everything with reckless abandon.
Tunde stood up from his bed and walked towards the door of his room. The rumbles of the sky accompanied by flashes of lightning was getting intense with each passing moment. He picked up the bucket by the door of the room in anticipation of collecting water from the impending rainfall. The door creaked gently as it opened and he placed the empty bucket underneath the end of the roof.
The lightning struck once again, this time it looked like it struck just close to the rickety gate of the compound and at the end of it Tunde saw a lifelike person fall to the ground. He waved it aside and concluded it was his eyes playing tricks on him. Alas, he saw the lifelike figure walking towards the compound. With a gentle sway of the figure’s left hand, the gate flung open. Tunde did not wait to see what it was as he ran into his room, locking the door with such aggression that seemed to only make it more difficult for the door to lock. Eventually, he got it locked.
The thumping of his heart was loud enough to be heard in the next room. His mouth was dry and a lump developed in his throat. He did not understand what had just happened. What flung the gate of the compound with just a wave of its hand? He pinched himself to make sure he was not dreaming. What kind of dream could this be? His mind wandered. He looked to the window of his room and rushed to lock it. He was not ready to take any chance.
He stood quietly against the door and listened. Faintly but surely, he heard it from a distance. The drums. The last time Tunde heard a Bata drum was when he was a rebellious teen before he fled to Lagos. Even though it had been ages, there was no way he could miss the rhythmic sounds that the drum produced. It was playing softly outside his door now. He pinched himself once again. It was not a dream. The beating of the drum did not cease, instead, the intensity increased and with it were the sounds of footsteps, as if they were dancing. Fear had enveloped him in his room as he could not fathom what was going on. There was no explanation for why anyone will be beating drum at almost 3am.
The beating of the drum ceased and there was a soft knock on his door.
To be continued…