Fear

I think I’m one of the few people I know who truly enjoy watching horror movies.

Okay, not think. I know.

I like the feeling of great suspense. Not knowing what is going to happen next and being in a state of apprehension. Yes, it’s just a movie but you could actually get so immersed in that fictional world that it may feel like you’re part of it.

Horror movies and even novels, even if they’ve become so cliché, are one of my favourite fictional genres. I love how my heart pounds when some dark force jumps at some overly curious fellow from a dark, shadowy doorway or an evil corner. I’ve watched horror movies so much that, in a way, I have projected some of that “it’s just a movie. It’s not real. These dark entities don’t exist in real life” way of thought into real life. Even when it involves occasions when it’s not really about supernatural occurrences but some other logical, fear-inducing event which should make a man piss his pants. I am not usually so frightened like others would be.

A story comes to mind about how, one good evening, when I was taking a stroll back from my father’s place of personal business. It was late, say… past 8:00 pm and I was walking with my younger cousin by my side. He’s taller than me and appears huge due to his constant consumption of food. But he’s not 20 yet. So we are walking and we notice that there’s a bit of a ruckus happening about twenty to thirty feet away from us. I notice it first and I think maybe they’re just being playful. Then I notice that a weapon had been brandished and a phone passed from the pleading hands of a lady into the hands of one of the boys who were in a group of five. I live in Port Harcourt so I know how these boys look like. I’d also heard stories. I’d never encountered them before so that night I was not quite sure how to react. I told my cousin to stay close to me. He obviously didn’t know what was happening until he heard one of the ladies (they were two) pleading that they let her keep the money in her purse. That was when I heard the slap.

My chest constricted, first with anger at what they were doing to the girls and then with the beginnings of what looked like raw fear. These guys were coming for me and my cousin next and I just bought the phone in my pocket two weeks ago. My cousin whispered that we should turn around and run like hell. I told him to be calm. Told him to remain close to me and not panic. I reduced my walking pace to a lazy stroll and we continued till we got to where the boys were. I kept my face straight, without giving them a glance, then we both walked right past the lot of them without being harassed or even regarded. The boys did their business and continued on their movement down the dark Street I and my cousin had just come from. I didn’t speak a word till we got to the gate of my house. My cousin said…

“You have mind o.”

I chuckled, but inside me my heart was beating like a…

Till today, I ask myself why I had chosen to walk towards and past those guys when turning around and running for it might’ve been safer. Then I say to myself, if we had ran, they might have chased after us. But could it be that our boldness to walk right past the midst of danger without fear made them to not bother harassing us.

“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death… I shall fear no evil”

Or it could just be God who was protecting me the whole time.

A few minutes before typing this, I heard a series of gunshots from just outside my bedroom window. Gunshots are a usual occurence in this city of madness and so everyone is used to it. But, bullets end lives and it is only normal to take precautions if you want to preserve your life. Lock your doors. Shut your windows. I didn’t even move from where I lay on the bed. The woman next door had been humming a song. She probably paused for a while after the shots and continued from where she had paused without being perturbed. The children playing in the yard continued to play. It seemed like nobody was afraid anymore of a potential attack to their lives.

I live with people who have lived with fear for so long that fear has lost its ability to cause a skip in their heartbeats.

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