SWINE FLEW (pt.1)

I was awake before I opened my eyes. It was a quiet night, the companion of NEPA light. After a while I realized it was too quiet, not even sound of crickets or distant frogs punctuated the eerie silence. A ‘whoo whoo ooh ooh whoo’ of an owl sent a cold tingle down my spine and reassured me of my membership with the club of the living.
I sighed and adjusted my position on the bed as a rumble from the highway half a kilometer away brought more evidence of normalcy to my senses. Mild vibrations from what sounded like a passing tanker coursed through my room. The echoes of its adventure with potholes were however not music to my ears at all, a good night’s sleep is not easy to come by.
The driver must be too fatigued to dodge potholes I thought, I could picture him with chewing stick between kola-nut stained teeth, huge brown lips and blood shot eyes. Eyes that were heavy with monotony, alcohol and sleep. I kept my eyes closed and willed myself to be embraced once again by that kingdom of overlapping images, I wanted to be lost in its mutating story lines, hallucinations and flash memories, I wanted to succumb to oblivion.
I have slept through storms and caravans, yet I have also been roused to consciousness by the tiniest whisper of my name. Did someone say “Asukwo” while I was in deep slumber? Is that why I woke up, I wondered? I listened hard till there was a mild discomfort in my Adam’s apple. It must have been the owl.
Unable to shake off my unease, I started counting sheep to cure my current insomnia. I felt so small in a bedroom at the top floor of a massive four-storey apartment. The weight on my shoulders was not noticeable, till I heard something like a pin drop on the concrete below. Stunned by the clearness of the sound, I was alarmed at a movement on the roof. I soon found out that I could not open my eyes, getting up was also impossible, something invisible and strong had me pinned firmly to the bed. A struggle to get up seemed to suffocate me, so I relaxed to catch my breath and found myself on a field. Endless rows of small ridges covered a field that sloped sharply towards a dark horizon. Stars glittered like fire flies in the night sky while the moon gleamed balefully in one corner.
A gust of wind knocked me to the earth and I started rolling inexorably towards the horizon. Bouncing among the small ridges, I felt no pain. I was caught in a wave, like a surfer who has lost his board. Yet my surroundings were arid and the only wetness I could perceive was the smell of years of rain mixed with sunlight. I shuddered as I thought that this might be the end.
(To be continued)

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