DEVIL’S HOUR – 2

 

FULL MOON ON A DARK NIGHT WITH BLACK CLOUDS

The Beginning…

I grew up in Lagos, into a family of three – my dad, my mom and myself. It was a cute little family, and that was how it was supposed to be. In the beginning, as far back as my earliest memories could serve me, things were really good. Pops was a doctor and my mom worked briefly in the banking sector as a top director in one of the new generation banks. That was before I came along into the family.

Then everything changed.

Looking back now, I constantly curse the day I was born. My birth was bad luck all round, to my parents and to me. And most importantly, as events in my later life proved, to the society.

When I was born, the joy of holding a new born baby was very short for my parents. Two months into parenthood, it was evident I was a sickly boy – I was not eating well, finally refused to suckle at all. I was also not growing normally. In spite the fact that I wouldn’t suckle, I was growing rapidly. Then, the most annoying part for my parents – I cried liked a banshee. Day, nights I cried. I cried at everything and at nothing. I cried so much, often times it kept my mom and dad awake all night. It got so bad; I would cry and fall into fitful seizures.

At first, my parents didn’t take it seriously. My sleeplessness was simply considered as one of those ‘baby things’, and for my apathy for suckling, it was explained away as an exhibition of my ‘special nature’ – that I preferred to learn quickly how to eat adult foods rather than milk.

So, in the first few months, I was fed with baby milk and they tried to manage as best as they could with my day and night time tantrums. But, when the seizures began they had to seek medical help.

It was at the hospital that I was first diagnosed with a variety of medical ailments. First, I was diagnosed with Somnipathy. The doctors had been pretty much disturbed at its onset in a baby, since usually all babies are expected to sleep a lot. From that point on, I was taken through series of medical tests and specialist treatments. Several months of treatments, and still nothing changed. From just being diagnosed on a general basis with sleep disorder, further tests revealed I was exhibiting the early onset of Acute Insomnia, it was strange as it was baffling for the doctors and series of specialist neurologists I was referred to thereafter. It was from these specialists that my parents learnt that I was ‘suffering so much because I had high stress hormones caused by irregularities or shifts in the levels of cytokines in my system’. They were also schooled in the likely dangers of not treating the condition quickly – I will develop BPSD or Multiple Personality Disorder, I will most likely grow up to be a tempestuous and easily irritable individual and I might, if care is not taken develop brain lesions due to excessive stress on my still very young and developing cranium which in turn could make me a mental basket case.

Those were a lot of scary information to be taken in by a couple who were just getting into parenthood. A happy couple who had looked forward to a happy life together when they married and an even happier one when they were told they had delivered a baby boy. But, all that quickly went up in smoke. The dream life they envisaged became a living nightmare. They spent the money, as any dutiful parent would, seeking the best medical solution to the problem; but no improvements were forthcoming.

The situation began to tell on the domestics. The familial family fabric began to fray, tempers began to flare and in due time arguments and fights broke out. In all of that, I continued to grow really fast, my body mass was twice that of other kids my age. Outwardly, I looked really healthy and people marveled at how well I was looking – radiant skin, plumpy figure, a strong wailing voice and heightened mental IQ. On the exterior I was fine, but it was what was happening inside of me that scared my parents. All of those things they had learned and heard from doctors.

But my parents knew better. They took the accolades as was socially acceptable and expected, but in the private sanctum of their daily mundane lives the toll was beginning to tell on their relationship.

When I was six, I was eventually enrolled into school. It had been a great debate between my parents whether I was going to be sent to school at all or privately schooled at home. My mom had protested, maintaining that being with other kids would be great for me. It might even help me to learn how to smile more often, share and play with other people. But my dad, unable to deal with the shame and embarrassment I might possibly cause him and the family if I did something really ‘nasty’ in school felt otherwise.

For months, they argued and shouted and eventually my mom won the battle of wits. I was a bright kid, really good with academics as my private teacher always told my mom: “Fehintola has a very high IQ and should be in school, within the normal structure of organized learning”.

According to him, “‘schooling is more than just learning the facts and other stuff in a text book, it involves learning about the real world and the real people who lived in it.’” Being exposed to only a small group of people in the very crucial stage of my psychological and emotional development was not ideal. I guess, looking back, he sold my mom on the idea of sending me to school and I must say, it worked.

…for a while.

I was enrolled in a private exclusive school and for the first few weeks, I had a good time. It didn’t take long for me to become popular with my teachers. I was a bright boy, a handsome looking boy and a sort of curiosity on account I don’t laugh or even smile a lot. I kept more or less to myself, but teachers being who they were, always were ready to dish out an advice or match me up with a friend.

That went on for a while, I did well in academics. In fact, I was the best student in the class by miles. I was also about the biggest, even if I was the youngest of them all. Other pupils steered clear of me, I was never bullied and I never made any friends in the sense of friends.

There was a bit of respite for my parents too. I more or less blended in with school life as best as I could. I was treated differently, on account of my exceptional academic performances and the fact that the school authorities were aware of my medical situation. Everyone was nice to me, and ever ready to overlook any one of my ‘silliness’. But, there were pockets of incidences, nothing so serious until later in my school life.

There was a bit of respite for my parents too. I more or less blended in with school life as best as I could. I was treated differently, on account of my exceptional academic performances and the fact that the school authorities were aware of my medical situation. Everyone was nice to me, and ever ready to overlook any one of my ‘silliness’. But, there were pockets of incidences, nothing so serious until later in my school life.

That was until basic five. It was my final year in junior school and graduation was fast approaching. I had grown into a gangly eight year old boy. I had settled well within the school system. But, somehow things still didn’t seem right. I was beginning to be aware that I was specially treated. I resented it, even if there was nothing I could do about it at first. I couldn’t tell my teachers to stop fawning on me or giving me special treatment. I couldn’t protest and tell them to stop trying to pair me with kids I want nothing to do with.

It became stifling, the attention I got from the teachers; even more the ones which I received from my class teacher. She was always asking me questions in class, very well aware that I knew the answers. However, this made me look like a show-off to the rest of the others in class. Whenever the questions were asked, no one even raises their hands to attempt to answer, because the teacher was sure to call on me to do the honors.

As was normal with a school system, there was bullying always going on. And there is so much talk. So, when I overheard two of my classmates talking about how I received preferential treatment from the class teacher and my way of showing off that I was an ‘ITK’ something came lose.

It was my first taste of the inner turmoil that raged within me. A turbulence and emotional upheaval that will later come to the fore and upstage the normalcy of my early teens and later development.

I was bigger than the two boys, and I had pounced on the one who was unlucky to not have escaped and beaten him till he was unconscious. A naked rage had swept through me which I didn’t understand and couldn’t control.

It was the first time I became aware of the strength coursing through my veins. I didn’t stop hitting the prone boy until the teachers, alerted by screams and shouts from other pupils had come and dragged me away.

I could have killed the boy, if I had not being dragged away in time. And, I would really not have been able to stop myself. I was simply unaware of everything else around me in that moment when I became enraged and kicked at him. Everything had receded to the abyss of non-existence. I had not heard the boy’s screams and pleas for mercy. In fact, I had not even noticed or heard my own labored breathing as I pummeled away at his face, scratching and biting with intent to cause the utmost damage. All that was in my head was how to satiate my rage and wean my body of the force of energy flowing into my brain.

That singular incident had caused great uproar in the school. The parents of the assaulted boy had initially threatened to press charges, but later dropped the idea. However, the school had no choice but to ratify the PTA’s decision that I should be suspended.

On my parent’s part, it led to a great argument between them which began the final steps to the end of their marriage. My dad was terribly afflicted by the shame the incident had brought to him and his status in the community. He blamed my mom for making him accept to send me to school in the first place, laying the fault squarely at her feet. For weeks, the constant argument kept raging.

Then, my mom resigned from her work. She wanted more time to be able to care for me and also she felt she was responsible the incident in school and for how I had turned out. She worried and fretted. She also loved me very much.

After serving my suspension, I returned to the school just in time to start the final exams. I didn’t worry I would lag behind in my studies. I was already smarter than all the pupils in my class, and even without being in school I was confident I would still able to ace my exams. However, for the rest of the weeks before the exams the other pupils steered clear of me, except for one. I became a pariah and that further drove it into my head that I was different from everyone else. So, I kept even more to myself. And the teachers left me alone and to myself.

After the exams, the school hosted a valedictory party for the graduating students. It was at the party that my second incident was recorded.

Kemi was one of those little girls who are curious and piqued, even from a very young age, by danger and something different. She was one of those people who always wanted to try something different, one of those girls that will always be drawn to the bad boys. There are girls like that, the ones who live and will die for the thrill of that adrenaline rush. Nothing is ever so simple for them. I had lured one of the girls from my class to a deserted part of the school. She had willingly followed me when I told her I wanted to show her something. I didn’t even know her name or cared, but she had been a puppy who had always drooled at every word I spoke in class.

I led her into a classroom and had promptly begun to rough her up. I didn’t have a clear agenda what I had in mind to do to her, but I kept touching her amid her stringent protests. I touched her breasts, thighs and was pulling up her skirt to touch her vagina when a teacher walked in on us. She was crying and pleading, but I had not heard her. My mind had been taken over and I was in another place. It took three strong slaps from the teacher to get me off her and back to the reality of what had happened.

When my parents were called from the hall and invited into the head teacher’s office, my dad’s face had said it all when he was given the report of what I had done.

I was no longer his son.

Right there and then I knew that to him, I was dead and lost. And to me, he was dead and forgotten too.

I was eight. But, in me already lived an older and more malevolent being. One capable of heinous things. I was really not aware of the situation at the time, all I knew and understood was my father was an ugly man who didn’t love me, a man who refused to shield me from a cruel, judging world.

That was how it all began. But, we will skip a few things and get to the really interesting part.

My first kill.

 

— To Be Continued —

 

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