Before you read this story, I’d tell you a little about the mythical incubus (plural: Incubi).
According to the fairly reliable Wikipedia, ‘An incubus is a demon in male form who, according to mythological and legendary traditions, lies upon sleepers, especially women, in order to engage in sexual activity with them. Its female counterpart is the succubus.’
In essence, an incubus is what Nigerians would call a spirit husband.
Caveat: The story you’re about to read would sound rather unbelievable; like a breed of an Igbo movie and a legendary movie.
Sometimes, I wish I could tell Grace’s story in the first person. Not because she lived a life I envy but because she had such a good heart… and she had Jaws. Jaws was a dog; Grace’s only inheritance from her parents. She was a tiny 12-year old with a heart of gold; an amazing best friend cum pet; and an indifferent uncle.
What historical figure made that profound statement; that ‘the opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference’? Grace’s uncle was an indifferent 41year old man, with a drinking problem, a women-problem and a hardly booming shop. After the death of Grace’s parents in a bus accident in 2005, Grace and Jaws were ‘given’ to Grace’s uncle who was her only other relative in Ogun state. Her uncle was not (and I don’t think would ever be) married. He was not so educated neither was he ever sober enough to pick up a pen and write, but if we were to read a list of Grace’s uncle’s hobbies, I’m pretty sure it’ll go like;
- Inviting women into my home
- Opening a bottle of beer and making obscene jokes with them
- Make that 10 bottles
- Yes, just for me. My women are sissy drinkers
- Just kidding, I just go for women who won’t finish my beer. Beer is my real love
- Basically, being with women all day everyday.
- Did you say my store? What’s that… errr… girl *snaps fingers* The one with the dog. The one I sometimes see around… yes, that girl. What’s she alive for? Of course, she takes care of my shop. What better training is there?
- Talking yidda yadda and laughing
- Laughing at that girl
- Laughing at her when my women insult her
- Laughing at her when my women hit her
- What? Don’t look at me. Everything is funnier with my women.
And despite all this, Grace always showed that she had the purest heart of gold. She was only 12 but she was way more than that. She was the house cleaner, house manager, shop manager and her uncle’s caretaker. And then, she had Jaws. She and Jaws were the best team ever. I could go on and on about Jaws and Grace (and I’d never still really capture the kind of bond they shared). Jaws was Grace’s hero and the Villain to anyone who ever tried to hurt her. In fact, the only reason why her uncle’s women ever had the opportunity to hurt Grace was because she’d tie up Jaws when the women were around. That was how good Grace was; she’d protect her assaulters from assault.
One hot afternoon, Grace returned from the shop more tired emotionally than physically. They were rapidly running out of money. Her uncle had not stocked up the shop in a long time, some of the few available goods were expired (and knowing Grace, she’d never sell them) and her uncle was spending the little they had on women and booze.
As she stepped into the living room, she saw her uncle surrounded by two really fat women and numerous bottles of beer. They were all apparently intoxicated. Grace broke down and started to cry. That was the first time she cried since her parents died. Instinctively, Jaws also lay at her feet and started whimpering. As Grace stroked his hair and contemplated going to tie him outside, one of the fat women opened her eyes and turned to them. She said (and these were her exact words) ‘Litu geh, you beta leav hia. We’re about to do sum nasti tins your inursent eeys should nat see ngwanu… and take det smeli dog out of hia’
I would never understand why Grace did what she did, but she immediately stood up, ran into her room, took the few belongings she had and she and Jaws just ran… and ran… until they ran into (best believe) an evil forest.
Even in the forest, they just kept running. The sun had gone down when they heard the rich voice of a boy (about the age of 15). He called out to Grace and Jaws. They stopped and turned. He was… stunning. He looked a lot like some guy named Olayinka Success (that is, if you know him. If not, let’s say he looked like Omar Borkan Al Gala). Grace wondered to herself why this person with the un-earthly looks would stop them. Jaws, on the other hand just kept barking at him. He walked towards them and introduced himself as Cube (later, the reader would realize that this was simply short for ‘incubus’). He was super nice and offered them help; shelter and accommodation. Jaws just kept barking at him. But Grace was delighted for the help… and his looks.
He took them under a tree and produced an apple from his pocket. Grace accepted it and ate it. She slept almost immediately. Who would blame her; she was so tired. Right? (But later, the reader would realize that the apple was drugged). As she slept, Cube brought out a knife… and cut out the little heart of great Jaws. He couldn’t risk the barking dog blowing up his cover.
The next morning, Grace woke up to a furiously apologetic Cube. He kept saying, ‘I tried to tie him down, but I think he just really likes running around. It’s a big forest, but don’t worry, dogs would always find their owners. I mean, at least we can still hear his barking in the distance.’ And truth be told, Grace could hear a dog barking in the far distance (the reader would later realize that incubi are skilled magicians and distortionists… if there is a word as such).
After a breakfast of Paw-Paws, Cube took Grace on a walk to ‘sight-see’. They laughed at Cube’s jokes and Grace told Cube about her Uncle, and his women and his shop and Jaws. They turned right at the end of the road and suddenly stepped into a cave…
And stepped out…
They walked a little further down and suddenly it seemed like they were transitioned into paradise. It was such a beautiful place, Grace thought; like a dreamland. And she was not far from the truth. Because, indeed, they had walked into a nest of incubi. She was just about to comment on how wonderfully beautiful this part of the forest was, when all the incubi stepped out; led by the Alpha Incubus.
Grace froze. (The reader may never know whether she froze because of the powerful effect of sighting an army of staggeringly stunning men or because of some magical element or because she knew she was in trouble). But she froze.
The incubi started to walk towards Grace; in a very intimidating manner. Grace found her voice and began to scream; ‘Jaws! Jaws, help me!! Please Jaws, I’m so sorry!!’ But Jaws had gone where all the good animals go when they die. And he couldn’t help her.
Even as the incubi surrounded her and she felt them claw at her skin with their perfectly manicured fingernails, Grace focused her mind on Jaws… he was her happy place. And she just lay there, smiling to her death and hoping that the good animals and the good people go to the same place when they die.
*This is the weirdest story I’ve ever sat down to type. But then, it isn’t even my story. It was told to me by a young man named Olayinka Success… I just re-told it in my own words.*