This is Lagos

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“I’m so sorry about this”, I say to her, before I sink my teeth into her neck and suck her blood.

I don’t taste it, I just drink. I had already tasted it moments ago while she was still standing on the sidewalk waiting for a taxi. I tasted it as the scent of her blood called to me and I heard the vein in her neck pulse with life.

I had tasted it when she was still alive, and she had smiled at me through the corner of her lips and shook her head as I first offered her a ride. Then as she bit her lip gently and finally gave in after I pressured her to get into my car.

“It is not safe for a pretty girl like you to be standing out here alone. In the dark. At night. This is Lagos”, I had said to her.

I clamp my palm over those lips now as I drain the final drops of blood from her body. It is true. It is really not safe. But is it safe anywhere? We all die someday.

She goes limp under my hold and I slowly place her head on the car seat. It rests at an angle like she is sleeping, and I almost convince myself she is. But the way her eyes are open — wide and lifeless — brows unblinking, I try to remember if she had fluttered those brows rapidly when I made her laugh as she got into the car or slowly as she blushed when I told her she had a lovely laugh.

I like to make them feel comfortable before I eat. Something in that relaxed mood leaves a sweet taste in their blood. I could feed on them whichever way, but I preferred it this way. Also, I’d like to think I made them happy if only for a brief moment before they died — before I drained the life out of them — their hearts beating rapidly and then going very still.

The silence that follows always feels deafening. A beating heart is very akin to the sound of a drum. When it stops it is too sudden, like the final bang pulls me to my senses and I am awakened from a drunken haze the banging drum had lulled me into.

My pupils dilate and I begin to see clearly. I know where I am but I do not know who she is. I do not remember her laugh or her shy smile or how she gently bit her lip. I do not remember the sound of her voice as she slowly declined a lift from a stranger, or the subtle shrug of her shoulders as she finally agreed. I do not even remember why she is in my car. But I lick the drop of her blood that is smeared on my bottom lip and I remember how she tastes.

I shut my eyes, lean my head on the car seat and think; this tastes good. Really good. I pull my handkerchief from my breast pocket and dab at the corners of my mouth: More as a gesture really, for I do not spill when I eat. I return the handkerchief and glance at my reflection in the car’s side mirror.

It is dark but I can still see a section of my face just above the warning that says objects in this mirror may be closer than they appear. A light appears from somewhere behind and gradually increases as a car speeds past with its headlights at full blast, illuminating the road.

I suddenly become aware of her silent presence in the passenger seat and turn to close her eye lids and adjust her head as it rests slumped on the seat. I knew I could call it a night and carry her to join the others in my guest house.

I start the engine of the car, determined to do just that, when I hear the clicking of heels on the pavement. I should have ignored it and just driven off but greed, lust and a variety of overwhelming human emotions suddenly flood me. The thirst becomes stronger than I have ever felt it and as usual, I taste her blood before I even see her.

It had a tinge of something extra mixed into it. The fragrant hint of a spice I cannot place. I know that now, I cannot leave without having it. I glance at my seemingly asleep companion and I know that in order to succeed with this new one I must change my story.

I start the engine of the car and drive slowly till I am only a few feet away from her and then I slow down and call out to her.

“Please, my girlfriend and I are lost, can you help us?” I say.

Her eyes dart from my ‘girlfriend’s’ slumped body to me and back again.

“What’s wrong with her?”

“She’s sleeping”, I say, but much too quickly for my liking. The thirst for her blood is overwhelming and I realise that I have begun to feel dizzy. My new prey seems to have doubled now and I wonder if it is my eyes playing tricks on me or if she has really just been joined by an identical twin.

“Are you okay?” She asks, and leans closer to the window.

She is over my ‘girlfriend’s’ body now and I know she sees the blood dripping from the puncture in her neck because she gasps slightly and her eyes widen. But it is the look she sees on my face that makes her scream in fear.

It is the last thing I hear before I feed on her. As I finish draining her blood, I know for certain that I have been right. The more relaxed they are, the sweeter they do taste. But a meal is a meal and I cannot afford to be picky. After all, this is Lagos, man must chop.

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Originally published at thenakedconvos.com on August 30, 2016.

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