Lavender by David Ephraim



I awoke in the evening. I had been sleeping and waking at odd hours ever since joining the clan. I strolled deliberately around my room, careful not to look at my watch for fear of an anxiety attack. It had happened once when I was set to perform in my university play. Things had changed however in these last few years after my graduation from the university. I had begun to experience life in a way I never thought I would. I owed this to the group going simply by the letter X. They had found me after one of my drug bouts and cleaned me up. It was for this very reason that I was to become a full member of the group on this day. The initiation rites would be completed by the lake at midnight.

A fearful glance at the clock told me I only had one hour left. I took a shower and hurriedly got dressed. The punishment for lateness was death by hanging. For a short moment, in the confines of my room, I stopped to consider how exactly I had gotten myself into such a situation. The power attached to membership of the group had once seemed so enticing. Now I looked at myself in the mirror, a victim of my own foolishness. How had I let myself get so carried away in the rush for social status?

I left the apartment and headed for the car. In the parking lot as I approached my car, I noticed a rather odd looking man, with an eerie look in his eyes, staring at me. As I passed close to him, I was startled to hear him muttering repeatedly, “Don’t go; don’t go!” I quickly got into my car and started the engine. I was spooked by the old man, but tried to drive thoughts of him out of my head. The drive to the lake would be a forty minute drive. I could make it with ten minutes to spare. I drove straight for the lake, taking a hidden path to avoid the highway traffic.

Some yards away from the lake, I noticed a green bus unlike any I had – ever seen before. The bus had pulled up onto the path; the driver was out- and seemed to be carrying out repairs. The passengers were inside the bus, seemingly oblivious to the slight hitch in their journey. The bus being rather large in size occupied the whole path. With only twenty minutes left to get to the lake, I was starting to develop an uneasy feeling. I parked my car behind the bus driver and killed the engine. I calmly walked up to the driver to inquire about the problem. Suddenly, without warning, I was grabbed and blindfolded. Minutes later, the blindfold was taken off. I found myself in the gathering of the clan, in the middle of the blessed circle.

My neck hurt as there was rope around it. The clansmen chanted loudly around me in deep uniform monotones. Their song- soon made me realise- that I had done the unimaginable; I had been late. The chants intensified as their gun barrels were levelled at me. I clenched my teeth for the impact, but nothing came as I awoke to a sunny morning, my sheets soaked with sweat. With one glance at my bedside calendar, it was then I realised-the initiation was not till Friday.

Creative works (literature, art and culture) emerging from Nigeria.

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