Black Funny Thriller

“Remind me again why we’re doing this?” I ask as we park the old beat-up pickup truck at the only available parking spot down the street.

This, is us setting camp to spend the night, not at a friend’s place, not even on a busy road, but at a freaking graveyard – on the eve of Halloween.

The street is basked in a faint yellow glow both from the street lights and from the houses covered in Halloween decorations. It’s around ten pm and everyone’s indoors already, trying to gather enough energy for the trick-or-treaters tomorrow. 

“Oh come on, Chinwe. How many people can say they’ve spent their night at a graveyard, ever?” Lola asks.

“No sensible person, that’s for sure.” I mutter loud enough for her to hear, but she ignores me and jumps out the car.

Lola's displeased face is at my side of the car when she realizes I don’t hop out of the car with her.

“Well excuse me for the being the sensible one between us.” I grumble, folding my arms against my chest.

“Get out of the car, Chinwe. We’ve already made it this far. Besides, if we do this, we would totally dominate whenever we play never-ever-have-I with anyone.”

I glare at her, “I can’t believe we’re risking our lives just to score one point in a silly game.”

“We’re not risking our lives, drama queen,” Lola says, rolling her eyes. “Imagine telling this story to your boss or on a date, it would be a total icebreaker and it’ll earn you major respect points.” She ends, reaching into the car to unlock my door from the open window.

Respect? More like immediately checking you into the closest mental hospital. 

I let out a long, defeated sigh but Lola simply grins at me. She knows she’s managed to get me to concede, being friends with someone for over ten years has its downside, them getting you to do what they want is part of it.

I climb out of the car and drag our overnight bag with me. Lola is the most disorganized person I’ve ever met, the strange thing is how she’s always able to make herself look impeccable, but that’s where it ends. Her car is a mess, not dirty, never dirty but heavily littered with junks and pointless keepsakes, if it were left to her, our overnight bag wouldn’t be one bag, it’d be several.

Lola skips ahead of me like a child on Christmas morning, her being 5’4 doesn’t help her situation. 

“Would you stop being a hyperactive chimpanzee?” I snap, trudging behind her, whatever to slow down the inevitable.

She skips back to me and slings an arm around my neck, making me bend at an awkward, yet familiar angle, “I can’t believe we’re actually doing this,” she mock whispers.

“Yeah, me neither.” I grunt.

The walk to the graveyard is short, it’d have been shorter if I moved my legs more but, oh well. We arrive at the large iron gate, the reflection of the moon casting and eerie glow on it. The gate is slightly opened and there’s no one in sight, except if you count the thousands of people — and animals, Lola buried Mr. Snuffles (her family cat) here — underneath 6ft worth of earth and half lit tombstones. 

“Oh cool, would you look at that, we have a full moon tonight. We could not have chosen a better day for this.” Lola’s elbow kissing my ribs hard shows she’s not pleased with my sarcastic remark.

The graveyard is on the outskirts of town, the closest house is a couple of feet away, not too far but far enough that if one screamed at the top of their lungs, it’d probably just sound like bird calls. On the other side of the graveyard is miles and miles of trees and emptiness, we couldn’t have picked a better place to die.

“You notice how there’s literally no light over here, right? The only source of light is the moon and the faint glow of the streetlight which is by the last house about a stone's throw away. Tell me your Spidey senses are tingling like mine.” I whisper, why I was whispering, I have no idea, but the stillness of our surroundings seemed to demand we speak in hushed tones.

“Hush. It’s fine. We’re safe. The streetlight here is faulty and you know it.”

I open my mouth to argue but she beats me to it, “Chinwe we grew up here, we live in this very town, we’ve been to this very spot countless times in the past. When have you ever heard the news of someone being killed or kidnapped here?” Lola whispers back.

I shut my mouth and think on that. She is right. Aufball is one of the safest towns in Lagos, sure there was the usual crime, stealing, destruction of property but nothing as great as killing or kidnapping. We were safe, somewhat.

We lumber through the gates, heading straight to the spot we’d marked out the previous day. We end up by a large tree not far from the gate, one of the only spots not littered with decaying bodies hidden in rectangular boxes. I always wondered why all coffins were rectangular in shape, I guess digging a star-shaped grave would be back breaking. I’m definitely writing that in my will: Chinwe Achusim must be buried in a star shaped coffin.

“This is actually kinda creepy.” Lola says, sitting on her haunches and going through our bag.

“Really? I wonder what gave it away,” I mutter, then louder I say, “Hey where’s the tent?”

“That’s what I’m looking for,” she responds, offloading the contents of the bag unto the damp ground.

“You have got to be kidding me. Lola, the tent isn’t in that bag, it wouldn’t even fit. I thought you had it stashed somewhere around here.” I groan, running my hands through the mess of closely cropped hair atop my head.

Lola stops scattering our things around and stares at me all wide eyed and a lax jaw.

“I knew it. I knew this was a recipe for disaster. We’re going to get our limbs gnawed off! Have you ever had any part of you gnawed off before? Yeah, me neither and I’d like to keep it that way forever!” I start pacing, my hands still running through my hair. Why did I ever agree to this again? 

Lola laughs and I stare at her like she’s grown two heads.

“Are you insane, woman!” I demand. “Did you hit your head on your way here? We’re basically fucked. Exposed. I bet they can smell us right now, they’re just waiting for the cue to pounce.”

“Who’s they?” Lola says in-between laughs.

“Zombies! Who else? We all know how this stuff goes. Late night, full moon, things start to take a turn for the worst, have you not seen any zombie movie, has Hollywood taught you nothing?” I ask.

Lola is laughing too hard to give a response, so I continue, “Resident Evil, Live or Let Die, I Am Legend, World War Z, Night of the Living Dead, The Walking Dead, have you learned nothing from them?”

“Oh relax, Chinwe,” Lola says, her laughs morphing into giggles, “Zombies aren’t real.”

“That’s what they all say before they end up with gnawed limbs. Do you think Ishmael would still marry you if you got turned into a Zombie?”

“Okay, first, if zombies really do exist and I get turned into one, marriage would be the least of Ishmael's problems. Second, none of those movies started off in a graveyard, so we’re safe,” she says, rising from her haunches and shaking her legs to get blood flow going.

“What? Okay, what about Thriller? That Michael Jackson's song? You know what?” I pause, “You’re probably one of them too.” I let my gaze rove over her, trying to find anything that’d tip me off on her, anything that’d show she wasn’t Lola Adenuga, my best friend since secondary school.

“Don’t be ridiculous. And the song doesn’t count, no one’s limbs got gnawed off in the end. Look, the tent is probably in the car, you stay here while I go get it.”

“Why can’t we both go together? Hollywood really hasn’t taught you anything. Splitting up is definitely how the characters get eaten alive.”

“You’re staying here because once you get to the car I have no doubts that you’d immediately drive us off.” 

Damn, busted.

“You have no proof of that.” I insist.

“I know you, that’s enough proof. Just stay here and try not to get gnawed off by zombies.” She laughs, making her way towards the entrance gate at the distance.

“Ha. Ha. Ha. You laugh now but you won’t be laughing when you come back and find me with my limbs gone and my head leaking brain fluid!” I yell after her but she ignores me.

“What am I gonna do if there’s an emergency?” I holler. 

“Use your phone!” she hollers back in a duh tone.

“Stupid smartass.” I grumble, reaching for my phone.

With the recent events, I'd completely forgotten about the existence of a phone, now all my previous worries feel a little overboard. If anything happened, we’d just use our phones. Ishmael — Lola’s fiancé — is on standby, ready to come get us the moment we say so, I made sure of that. No wonder she was laughing her head off, we’d covered the emergency route, it’d just slipped my mind.

I glance at the phone to make sure I have enough cell service, if not, I was definitely going after Lola, screw being adventurous. The service bar is full and I let out a breath I wasn’t aware I was holding. Then I notice the time, do a double take, and the air gets sucked right back. 


The time blinks back at me mockingly, the first verse of Michael Jackson’s Thriller plays on a loop in my head.

I start to pace. My heart throws on its active wear and begins its rounds with light jogging, forcing air out of my lungs then back in, slowly picking up the pace. 

I try to calm myself, there’s nothing to be afraid of, zombies are just Hollywood moneymakers, they aren’t real. Just because it’s the eve of Halloween doesn’t mean the probability of monsters being real doubled, besides, if anything goes wrong I could always call …

I stop dead in my tracks. 

This can’t be happening.

The service is bar is empty, hell it blatantly displays NO SERVICE. Just then, the moon vanishes and everywhere is plunged into a darkness so thick it’s almost suffocating.

Okay, fuck being adventurous, I’m heading to the car. This is definitely the cue the zombies have been waiting for, hell if I’ll be here when they get out.

I try to switch on the flashlight on my phone, it takes longer than it should as my palms have gone clammy. Finally, I’m able to get it on. I shove as much of our things as I can into our bag, my movements are jerky and haphazard. I start my way back to the car with the tiny widespread light of my phone’s torch. I can barely see beyond my feet, my heart starts sprinting. Birds of the night screech and scree and oddly enough I find it comforting, comforting enough that when the night suddenly becomes quiet I drop all pretense of not being scared and break into a jog.

 That’s when I hear it. A loud groan, rumble, whatever. 

I bolt. 

Feet pounding hard against the moist soil, the sound reminiscent of the pounding in my ears. The ground beneath my feet grow unsteady and I push harder, ignoring the stitch in my side. If I had known I’d one day need to run for my life, literally, I’d have taken up Lola’s copious invites to join her and Ishmael on their regular morning run, but at the time it felt like such a waste of minutes best spent sleeping.

Something catches my foot and I scream as I go down, banging my knees and elbows, losing my phone in the process.

My whole body throbs and my knees and elbows smart, I’ve probably scraped them and they’re probably bleeding now. The thought chills me down to my spine, a bloody cut would definitely attract the zombies, like moth to flames. 

I scramble up to my feet and limp over to the glowing light of my phone’s torch which is still the only source of light present. I check the service bar and notice there are major cracks on the screen, better a banged up phone than gnawed off limbs, I muse. The service bar is still empty and the battery level is lower than half, things could not be going any better.

But just then, everywhere lights up, the moon is back. I sag in relief as the gate comes into view. Guess I won’t have my limbs gnawed off today, Chinwe-1, Zombies-0. I start towards the gate again but something cold clasps my left ankle, a tug later and I’m pulled to the ground again. I flip over and pull myself into a siting position. 

The scream dies in my throat as my gaze latches on the object of my second fall. My skin tightens at the unusual stretch of my eyelids and terror freezes everything in me in place, including my respiratory system.

The smell of decaying flesh fill up my sinuses and a pain so intense tears through my ankle, jump-starting my fight or flight system. I let out a cry of, pain? Fear? A mixture of both? I don’t know, and kick at the hand around my ankles with my other leg, dislodging the fingernails that were stuck deep, blood oozing from the punctured holes.

I scramble backwards on my ass, afraid to turn my back on them for even a second, fear making my brain slow. I throw stones, sticks, whatever my hand can grab at the advancing legion of death, trying to think up a way out in the clouded fog of horror my mind is stuck in. My phone is nowhere to be found, I must’ve lost it when I fell again. I rack my fear addled brain for any zombie trivia that might help me get out alive and with all my limbs intact. Then it hits me, fire, zombies are afraid of big, loud fires. 

I pull my bag off my back without taking my gaze off them. Dipping my hand into it, it comes back with handfuls of thermites, Lola laughed hard and long when I went shopping in preparation of a Zombie attack, who’s laughing now, still not me.

I scatter them in front of me. I go back and do the same again several times, all the while scrambling backwards. Finally, I grab some sparklers and a lighter, lighting them up with shaky hands. It is only then I’m able to rise to my feet as the advancing deformed creatures pause at the sparks flying from my hands. I take a few steps backwards and throw them in the general direction of the thermites, they immediately catch and the night is lit up in fiery yellow as the chain reaction of minor explosions take place, the only sound of the otherwise silent night.

“Okay, you win okay? Lola? You’ve scared me, okay? Can you tell them to stop now? I mean, I have to nod at the genius who’s in charge of the costumes. The smell of decaying flesh was a nice touch. The hideousness too, they really look deformed.” I babble on, “And I agree, zombies are pretty stupid. I mean, so they infect everyone then what? And eating people, that’s just stupid. It’s not like they’re hungry or anything, nothing works like normal, everything is gone, their nerve endings don’t work like normal, so they feel no pangs of hunger, so why eat people? And …”

“Chinwe!” I’ve never been so happy to hear Lola’s screech, I half turn my head and there she is, just a couple of feet away, but something isn’t right. Instead of her laughing at how scared I must look and for the fake-zombies to stop cowering from the fire and join her laughing too, a look of horror is etched on her face, the tent discarded on the floor.

“It's okay, Lola. I held up well, won’t you say? Now, tell them to stop so this disastrous night can finally come to an end.” My voice cracks as I say this, my mouth fills with salty water and my throat clogs up. My mind in total denial of what’s happening even as the rest of my body has already caught on.

“Chinwe. Run!” 

October 30, 2020 22:51

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