Day 1: Her

My eyes caught her gaze again as I moved fluidly to the sound of blasting calypso melodies. The sounds kept rolling in, track after track in this lightly lit space of jamming bodies gyrating against each other; everyone mindless of the sweaty stench thanks to the freshly drawn gallon of palm wine moving through their systems.

I had seen her earlier at the art gallery in the capital city. It was known for its remarkable display of collections. ‘The trance’ it was called and yes, it had that appeal of enchanting art lovers and collectors by combining works of art from the most queer minds – images of twisted landscapes with light-hiding darkness, grotesque portraits with bared teeth exposed in what one might call a smile, and the likes of such.

The way she looked at me, it was like an invitation; a hint or puzzle, like she was expecting me; like she had gotten me already; like there was a mission she had for me as her gaze had stared at the gallery, so too was it that night. She had served me a drink in a glass, as she was a waitress.

I had begun to suspect something was not sitting quite right, as she was also a waitress at this very party too. I had come to the party because I was searching for intimacy, any kind for that matter, but intimacy in anonymity. These big parties had a way of hiding everyone from everyone while promising to connect everyone to everyone.

She brought me a drink as with the last time; a single drink in a glass on a tray like the last time, as though it was the only drink she was meant to serve. Her smile was full as was her figure – all packaged and sitting in the right places. I had been told time and time again that I was an impressionable young man. My siblings always wondered about that; how I lacked ambition in my professional career even if I was considered the prolific one of the bunch. I was more likely to give-in to my emotions before using what everyone else deemed reasonable.

The intoxication of the first drink was like the effect of a hallucination, connecting two worlds in one; a new world where carefree abandon was the norm as opposed to mindful exertion in drudgery.

In this, I actually felt abducted by a force into a space of reasoning different from mine but occupying the same realm, if I could call it that. My willingness pulled my reluctance into it like a battle-play of suction. It reminded me of an alien invasion using a high technology not hitherto witnessed on Earth. But then a typical alien invasion would have green-looking mutants highlighting from a spaceship in the middle of town, sucking up people through a pipe-like stream of steam and whisking them away to an unknown planet where they would be studied before said aliens made a final move to seize Mother-Earth.

With this second drink, the hallucinations came with greater strength and a greater mindlessness. She vanished from the scene the moment I began to sip my drink, as if addicted. This time while drinking, I found myself in a painting on the wall of my room. It was at the foot of a vast waterfall with splashes of rain drenching myself and water rising to my knees. I engaged my legs in-flight fruitlessly since I couldn’t swim, and finally I welcomed its rising intent…

When I opened my eyes next, I was at home hosting a dinner for my colleagues. I looked around to see unfamiliar faces save for hers, smiling and winking at me as she had the other times with another tray of drinks in her hands. I had become a mindless, gallivanting, pleasure-seeker in a world where I knew no one, and without a compass to find reason.

There is no concept of time in this reality, only a stimulating wave of constant ecstasy. I have flashes of lost memories replaying in my head; pictures of ‘extra-terrestrial’ life – at least that’s how best I can describe them – sticking probes through orifices I didn’t know I possessed. And then it’s back to my distorted reality – I still cannot recognize anyone here beside my physical space – I am a stranger in this world.

Between my enjoyment of what I secretly deemed alien foreplay in the probe room, and the desire to glide through this life unnoticed and hyper-indulged, I really do not know who I am anymore. With that unexplainable ‘knowing’ that one understands without proofs, I know my physical world hasn’t budged an inch. I also know that my consciousness in it has been seized by whoever the governor of this alien realm is, and I can’t help but wonder what manner of information these guys are feeding my undergraduates. I was a lecturer in the real world, you know…

Perhaps their agenda has something to do with my scientific inclinations. I was on the verge of extracting the genes responsible for abnormal psychology in man and comparing them to mutant clones preserved under high security in my laboratory. And besides, what better way to lay hands on my research without drawing suspicion…

Thinking aloud, I try to grab hold of what remains of my voluntary senses in the real world. To fall from the grace of the public and never to rise again was one of the many reasons I was starting to bond with aliens…

‘FOCUS, FOCUS! You must find out what their deal stands for!’ I forced myself to voice. The dream of a thousand travels usually began at night, when in a drunken stupor my guard was down and the ease of intoxication lent its wings. Tonight I had pumped my system with pills to keep active through the night…

By morning I was all heavy-eyed, sore and red through my ocular membranes. I didn’t know how much longer I could keep it up. Boxing the air in frustration, I called to my alien abductors to show up: ‘Show yourselves, cowards and face me now!’ I couldn’t afford another drift beyond this reality. My hold on my world was fading with each hallucination…

– Patrice Idoko

 

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