“David Horror – A Childhood Memory” by Jermaine Kudiabor.

The cockroach run across the terrazzo-floored bathroom, its brown back shiny with moisture in the yellow bathroom light. Light was not good. Light was dangerous. Light was almost as dangerous as the rain that fell only on you, made it impossible to move then killed you. You were never safe in light. The insect fled to the absence of light that was the drain hole in the corner where it knew it would be safe. At the edge of the drain it paused, making sure the entrance was really safe.  Just before it could plunge, a wave of hot water slammed and carried it away till it struck a white, smooth wall. Stunned, and with its legs motoring in the air it stood no chance against the worn chalewote that crushed it.

Kodzo ground his heel into the bug and stared at its smeared remains. He soon returned his attention to his bucket of water. The bathroom became silent again as he turned off the faucet and checked the temperature- Just right. He took off his faded towel, hung it on the shower and started lathering his sponge. Like every ten year old his age he started washing his round belly before his face. He took his time, not because he wanted to be clean as much as he wanted to enjoy his warm water. It felt so good. If he was lucky, Auntie (Auntie is actually his mother, but that is another story.) wouldn’t notice if he watched TV tonight. After all, tomorrow was Friday! Classes will only last till twelve o’clock at school! He grinned at the thought of coming home early and got a mouthful of soap lather which he spat out. He washed the rest of the lather from his face just as the lights suddenly went out. “They have done light off again”, he said to himself. He waited to be able to be able to see in the dark, but meanwhile he groped for the bathing pail to get rid of the soap suds on his body.

“My name is David Hooorrror!” a voice said softly in the darkness.

Kodzo started, and listened again to make sure he wasn’t hearing things. “Fui… Auntie… is that you?” Kodzo said.

“Who’s that?” he said shrilly, looking around wildly. His eyes still hadn’t adjusted. All he wanted to do was leave the room as quickly as possible. His heart started to beat loudly, he forgot about the lather and wrapped his towel around his soapy body. Just as he saw the door he moved towards it as fast as he could, much like the poor cockroach long forgotten on the floor. The exact moment he neared the bathroom door and stretched a hand to open, it flung wide open, and a huge white thing jumped at him. It felt like linen as it brushed against his wet skin, and the shape looked vaguely familiar, but Kodzo was beyond analysis.

“I AM THE GHOST OF DAVID HORRROOOORRRR!!!” it shouted.

Kodzo screamed and run out of the annexed bath house, and across the compound to the safety of the house. Somewhere along the way his towel fell off, but he was too busy screaming. If he hadn’t been, he would have heard the sound of his big brother Fui as he took of his white bed sheet, holding his sides in laughter.

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