Happy new month guys, I hope this month meets you well? Today being the first day in august ama kick off with a guest post. Enjoy!!

Dare picked up his bag and slammed the door shut as he left the house. His mother had succeeded in ruining his mood once again. He had just had a heated argument with her. He tried to make her understand why it was so important for him to be in Lagos the next morning but she wouldn’t have any of it. She begged him to reschedule so he could travel the next day. “Nigerian roads are not safe during the day, let alone at night. Please my son, listen to me. I am sure they would understand if you explain that you’re coming all the way from Awka”. He remembered her plea. They were only out of a mother’s concerned heart. “I will call her when I reach Lagos abeg” he said to himself, trying to quieten his conscience that pricked him for hurting his mother’s feelings.

The time was 8:00pm. He got to the bus park and was happy he was the last passenger. Hopefully, he would reach his destination in time enough to prepare properly for his interview since he got the invitation very late that evening. A few minutes later, the bus set out on the road. Dare sat at the extreme right of the second row of seats behind the driver’s seat. An hour into the journey, virtually all the passengers were asleep. His eyelids were getting heavy too. He decided to take one last precautionary look at the driver before caving to the tiredness he felt in his body. Through the center mirror, the driver looked straight at him, as though he read his thoughts, an evil grin plastered on his face. Dare rubbed his eyes with his hands to be sure they were not playing tricks on him. He looked at the driver again but this time his eyes were fixated on the road. “How strange was that?” he thought within himself and then slept off.
“Make una wake up o”. The driver yelled, hitting the bus with a stick to wake everyone up. Dare jolted out of his sleep. Everyone else was awake and the bus was parked by the side of the road. He looked at his watch. It was ten minutes to midnight. He got down from the bus and went to meet the driver.
“Driver what’s wrong? Why did you stop the bus?” Dare asked.
“Fuel don finish. Make una enter that hotel down there. I go buy fuel by 4 o’clock.” He replied non-chalantly.
“What sort of rubbish is this? I have an interview by 8am. Do you want me to miss my appointment?” Dare raged. The rest of the passengers began raining abuses on the driver. The driver got down from the bus and faced Dare. His jaw fell open at the sight of how hunky and muscular the driver was. “See, no try me for here. I go finish you”. He started to close the windows and lock the doors. “If una like, make you stand there” he said as he walked away into the darkness.

Dare was infuriated because at that point, there was nothing he could do. He had no choice but to march with the rest of the passengers to the hotel by the roadside. It was a cold night and definitely wasn’t safe out there. As Dare got closer to the hotel, he could feel a negative vibe emanating from the two-storey building. It looked old but not dilapidated. The sign board in front of the building simply read “Hotel”. He reached into his pocket and picked his phone to call his mother and assure her that he was fine but there was no signal.
At the reception was a middle aged woman dressed in a black long sleeved gown. Her hair was braided in small twists that fell on her face and her face was heavy with make-up. The woman welcomed the passengers and handed them keys to their various rooms.

The stairway to the rooms was lined with some old paintings and portraits. Dare felt as if eyes were following his every step. Halfway up the stairs, he heard a voice call out to him. “Dare! Dare!” He turned to the sound of the voice. He thought it came from behind him. “Mum?” he asked as he recognized the voice of his mother, after all nobody in the bus knew his name. A shiver curled through the hairs on the back of his neck then ran down his backbone. He caught himself trying to go back down the stairs, then he realized he may have been tired enough to be imagining hearing his mother’s voice. He walked back up. Dare found his room, 115B and opened the door. He was immediately nauseated by the pungent smell that filled the air. He closed the door, switched on the lights and tried to look around for what could be the cause of the smell but the room was surprisingly neat. A chair and a table were beside the door of the bathroom and the well arranged bed was in the centre of the room. Suddenly, he became light-headed and felt like somebody pushed him. He fell on the bed and blacked out.

Dare opened his eyes slowly. He felt like his brains were about to explode. The room was dark. He got up to switch on the light but it didn’t come on. Suddenly, the door flew open. His heart raced as he saw the figure of a tall, built man holding a machete. As the figure got closer, Dare tried to run out of the room. He tripped the man and he fell face down, hitting his head on the wooden frame of the bed.

Dare quickly escaped into the hallway. He tried to enter the room next to his own but the door was locked. He saw that the door to the room beside it was opened. He rushed in and closed the door. He ran straight into the bathroom and saw five human heads in the tub. He screamed like a little girl. Hands trembling, he covered his mouth. His teeth chattered as he was sweating and shivering. Then, he heard a knock on the door.

Gently, the door opened and the receptionist walked in. “Quick, come with me”. She said to him. When she saw that he was hesitant, she said to him “I will save you. Come with me.” He walked gently behind her and as they tiptoed into the hallway, they heard a girl screaming from one of the rooms. “Let’s go and save her” he said to the woman. “There’s no time. They only need men. Let us go”. Dare stopped and questioned her. “Wait, how do you know they only need men?” Immediately, the woman gave him a jab to the face and signalled to the driver who was already at the end of the lobby running towards them. Dare looked at his direction, from the ground where he laid, writhing in pain from the punch he just received. All the color drained from his skin as he got closer with the machete still in his hand. “Carry your load oga driver, I have to be open for business in two hours.”

“You don try Mama, you go get double pay for this”. The driver said as he dragged Dare’s body on the floor with blood trailing behind.

THE END?

Chopped is a short story written by Tolani Apata (Teerock) she’s an upcoming writer with great talent.

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