In the End
They say your life flashes before your eyes when you reach the end. Whoever came up with that… The adage, probably hadn’t fallen to his/her death before.
What flashed before my eyes weren’t my entire life. I couldn’t even remember a good portion of what transpired in those early years. Memories of some sort of mid-life crisis, but that shouldn’t be right. I wasn’t past 40 years. What I vividly remembered was the gravest mistake I could ever possibly make.
Yakubu warned us. Yakubu warned us all. Pity… considering his death was a rather pitiful death.
What is it with youthful exuberance? You believe that you can own the world and it should bow to your whims. We were young, wild — and as the song likes to point out — free. When we found something provocative, we liked to test it out. When we found something adventurous? That was our next journey. When we found keys that purported to open doors to the underworld, we scoffed and decided we were going to find the locks. Yakubu warned us though. He was the most spiritual member of our quaint group. The rest of us were a mixed bag of odds and ends. One has to wonder how we got along so well. I couldn’t chalk it up to opposites attracting because we were way off the opposite poles. It was a perfect fit, as much as perfect can be used in this world.
And we’re all dead. Well, if you include me then we’re all almost dead.
Do you believe in fate? What about destiny? Do you have this unassailable belief that whatever is meant to be will come to pass? Or are your beliefs just as abdicable as mine? I’ve never believed in fate. I’ve never believed that if you don’t uphold your supposed destiny, then you’ve wasted your life. So… when we were told that we were to forfeit our lives after all is said and done, I think I actually snickered. Onyinye must have laughed hard when she saw the look on Yakubu’s face after we were told of the end. Can’t say I blame her… his face was oddly hilarious. What did we do to bring this upon us?
Simple really. We made a blood oath deal with a demon. And not just any demon… it (he?) had a name.
Amon promised us riches untold for the low price of our souls, and we didn’t even budge at the offer. What we wanted was something far more… idiotic. The best times of our lives. We found a summoning ritual, drew our blood on the seal, called upon a demon from the underworld and told it — him that all we wanted was to have the most exciting lives possible. We wanted the kind of vanity that would ring on even after we passed. I mean… records are broken, but at least the previous record owners are honored one way or the other, right?
And exciting lives did we have. Our little group — Yakubu, Onyinye, Tunde, Sophia, Adeola, Fatima and myself — had the best lives anyone could possibly dream about. Dream jobs landed, dream locations visited, dream items bought… the level of materialism we reached was crazy. We couldn’t always afford the biggest toys, but it seemed that our wishes didn’t necessarily need the biggest toys to come to pass. Even better was how Tunde and Sophia finally tied the knot after the years of ‘will-they-won’t-they’ we were all subjected to. Turns out, when the contract ended they were meant to off themselves.
Tunde and Sophia were the first to go. They were found with stab wounds all over their bodies, in their locked bedroom. Just one knife. The theory was that one stabbed the other and then stabbed him/herself. But how do you carry a knife and stab yourself ten times without remorse? How do you do that while you have a child sleeping not too far away in another room? Sophia was pregnant with another baby… we didn’t even know until the autopsy was done. Maybe they wanted to surprise us with the good news. If the cruelest possible outcome happens to the best of us, what then should the others expect?
Adeola’s was a grotesque passing. At some point on a flyover, she lost control of her car and crashed on the side. The impact was hard enough to send her bursting through the windshield as her car careened on the edge. A broken down signboard was below the crash point, and they say she spent the better part of 10 minutes screaming her lungs out as she was impaled on one of the signboard’s beams. I can’t even imagine how agonizing those last minutes could’ve been.
Fatima and I had a thing going on, though I think we both knew it couldn’t lead to anything serious. That didn’t stop us from exchanging house keys so we could ‘drop by’ should the need arise. On one of those ‘dropping by’ visits, I found her in the kitchen with her face submerged in a deep-fry pot. I can never get the smell of her burning flesh out of my mind. Reports say there were marks of a struggle, which means possibly someone had kept her head under as she thrashed around. I was lead suspect for a while, but I got dropped when there was no evidence to point at me. That didn’t make her death any less painful…
Before Fatima’s death, Yakubu had been telling us how this was our doing. We had made an oath with Amon, and rather than honour our end of the deal and give up our souls, we continued to live on like we hadn’t summoned a demon from the underworld. There’s this thing about the human brain… it strives for rationality. Everything has to have an explanation. And if there’s no plausible explanation? Then discard it and ignore that it exists. Intentionally ignore the fact that you may have actually tapped into the spiritual realm and chalk it up to someone who’s playing a magic trick. And the change that has occurred after you wished for things to be more exciting? Call it the universe finally doing you a favour and seeing that you should be treated better than others. Either that or you deserve the better treatment you’re getting.
After Fatima’s death, I think we all became open to the possibility that we were getting our dues because we didn’t surrender our souls willingly. But how do you surrender your soul willingly? Kill yourself? That’s what Yakubu thought… Yakubu was found in his blissful home, by his children, hanging by his neck off the top floor baluster of their lovely home’s staircase. I don’t even want to think about what it could’ve been like for the children to see their father dangling by his neck as foam and spittle drooled out of his hanging mouth.
Onyinye, bless her soul, was a fighter to the end. Always believed she could stand up to whatever bully was in your way. I wouldn’t exactly call Amon a bully, but I got her point. Her last stand was at a concert she was performing at. While she was on a solo number, one of the overhead lights fell on her. The angle was so spot on the glass broke and her head got stuck inside the fixture. Salt to injury was when the wires had her get a rather strong electric bath. It was quite a… shocking performance.
It belittles me to make a pun out of her demise, but I’m at the end of my rope. At this point, I say damn it all to hell, and to be sure that it is indeed damned to hell I’ve taken the liberty of being prepared. An overdose of painkillers taken with a few shots of tequila. And to top it all off, a nice dive from the top of a high-rise building. Probably excessive, but the idea is to die before I hit the ground, and to make sure that there’s nothing left for me to bring back. Onyinye didn’t die immediately… after all.
Life didn’t flash before my eyes as I plunged to my death. Just the bits that led up to this moment. And, I’m not so sure, but I could’ve sworn I saw Amon looking down at me from the top of the building after I jumped. Doesn’t really matter, does it? If after all this I still make it, maybe I’ll write some kind of memoir that’ll be laughed at for being too preposterous. A dead man can still dream, no?