“Wide Awake” by P. K. Opoku.

“NO!”

Aku jolted out of her bed, panting heavily. Her heart was racing, she slowly came to terms with her surroundings and sighed deeply, Not again. Oh God, not againMaybe I should go and see Pastor Owusu like Frank suggested, she thought to herself, All my reading has gotten me nowhere. Aku had been suffering from what she assumed was sleep paralysis; sometimes, in her sleep, her eyes would open, she would be fully aware of what was going on around her.

… But she could not move a muscle in that state. It terrified her. The very first time it happened she thought she was dead. After several mental prayers to God about how she swore she would change and be a better person, she somehow sprung awake. Ever since then, she had been too scared to fall asleep comfortably.

After her morning cleansing rituals, Aku walked outside her house to join the waakye queue for breakfast.

I wonder if the pastor will think I am demon possessed… I feel fine though…, she argued internally. Had it not been for the new character that recently started appearing in her paralyzed sleeping state, she would have ignored the phenomenon. The curved, disfigured woman-like creature kept crawling into her room, her joints twisted in opposite directions. Arms grew out of her body; her face, her stomach, several random places as if they were reaching out to her. Her long dark hair hid her face, and that creepy sound it made. Its head was always cocked awkwardly to the side; it never looked anywhere straight.

“Aku eeeei!”, the waakye seller exclaimed, banging her ladle against the food pan. “What’s the matter? Your mind isn’t here today. How much are you buying today?”

“Sorry, auntie”, Aku excused herself, “I’m not hungry anymore”. Aku exited the front of the line promptly and walked hastily over to the bus stop by the road to get a taxi to her church.

If this doesn’t help, I don’t know what will, she thought.

*******************************************************************************

“I’m sorry oh, pastor has gone to prayer camp!”, said Joyce, the church’s semi-literate administrator. Aku’s heart sunk. She was completely lost as to what she should do next.

“But, madam! I can help oh! What do you need? Is it prayers? You have no problem, I can pray paa. I am a prayer mama!”, Joyce boasted to no avail.

“Thank you Joyce, I’ll come back tomorrow”  She set off back home, finally deciding she would spend the rest of the afternoon cleaning up the house.

Whew!, she exhaled while sitting back into her chair. That took a lot longer than I imagined, but at least I’m done. She looked out into the dark night sky, fighting her tiredness. She liked to keep her mind busy so that she could stay awake. She often counted to a billion in twos.

2… 4… 6… 8…

She breathed deeply.

… 124, 126, 127… Ei! No. 128, 130…

132, 133…

500, 555, 665, 66…….

*************************************************************************************

 

Her eyes flew open. They searched the room frantically, but everything seemed quiet, still…

The distinct screech of nails against the tiled floor. Crawling feet and scratching hands like spiders. Guttural, barely human grunts echoed in the room. The creature came with its friends this time around, she wanted to get up and run,  but her body wouldn’t budge. Her pulse immediately went up. Before she could even start ‘bargaining’ with God, they came close to her bed, slowly circling in on her. She knew she couldn’t go anywhere. Her eyes widened as one of the creatures reached for her, she tried to scream….

Nothing….

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