Eniola whistled excitedly as she made her way back from the meeting with her publishing company. Her agent had called her the previous day to give her the good news that her manuscript had been accepted and that the publishers wanted to meet to hash out other details.
She waited to get a taxi and when she didn’t get one, started walking with the hope of a cab meeting her on the way. She was too excited to stand still anyway. As she walked, someone waved at her. She stopped and stared but couldn’t place the face. The face looked familiar. The lady looked like someone she had met before but she just couldn’t remember where or who she was.
As she was still squinting, trying to connect a name with the face, the lady crossed the main road and nearly crushed her as she threw her arms around her.
“I love your hair!” The lady shrieked, patting Eniola’s hair.
Eniola gently wriggled away from her and forced a smile. “Thank you.”
After she left the lady, she had not walked for more than two minutes when she passed another woman. The woman was short, had legs that looked like tree stumps and eyeballs that looked like they wanted out of their sockets. The woman sized her up, spat on the floor and hissed as she passed. Eniola turned around, wondering what was going on. That woman too looked familiar.
“Sisi Pelebe!” A man called as she rounded a bend. His voice was familiar too. But just like the others, she couldn’t tell who they were.
As she rounded the bend, she heard a car approaching and turned around only to discover that it was filled up already. She turned back to resume walking when her leg hit a stone. Her bag fell and the contents spilled on the floor. A copy of her manuscript was one of the things that fell. As she bent up to pick the manuscript, it suddenly hit her; the faces, she knew them. She knew them all. They were characters from her novel.
She remembered now. The lady that hugged her was Helena. She remembered her face from when she was building her up in her head. She remembered that she described her as a hugger. She remembered the voice; smooth as silk and the fact that she loved giving complements.
And the short woman, she was Gbemi. In her novel, Gbemi’s husband had left her for the maid her mother brought from the village. Gbemi had been bitter since then. Every lady that had the audacity to dress well and appear beautiful was an enemy to Gbemi.
And the man who called her “Sisi Pelebe”; she remembered him too. She introduced him in Chapter 3 of her novel. He was the man that sat outside waving to people as they went to work and greeting them welcome when they returned. He had a name for everyone that passed. Bolanle, a fat girl in her novel was called “heavy duty” by the man.
As she entered the gate of her house, she rubbed her scalp and sighed in relief. She didn’t know what was happening but whatever it was, she was grateful that the antagonist in her novel, Kelvin, a dashingly handsome medical doctor was not part of those she had met. In her novel, he was a medical doctor by day and a serial killer by night. At night, he hid in the shadows and called his victims sweet names before digging a scalpel into them and slicing them open like ileya ram.
As she looked for her keys in her bag, she sighed again. Maybe she was hallucinating. Maybe she had spent so much time building those characters that they were now a part of her life. But whatever was going on, she was grateful that she hadn’t met Kelvin. She just couldn’t…
Her eyes caught movement. She saw the shadow step out from the darkness before she heard the voice whisper: “Hello sexy!