All Stories, Fantasy, Horror

Lives End Where Two Roads Meet by Enyi Nnabuihe

There were naked children rolling tyres in the rain on this particular Thursday the masquerades came. About seventeen of them; their wet, charcoaled skins, and little, rubbery limbs, emitting joy, radiating hope. There were mothers breastfeeding children in front of their shops; talking and selling, chatting, laughing and howling with the winds that accompanied the rains. There were dogs, goats and cats, roaming, resplendently, around the muddy streets, feeling at home.

One of the children dropped their tyre and began chasing a dog down the streets. He didn’t catch up to the dog, his legs could barely hold. He fell to the ground; his protuberant belly, billowing and flat-lining with every deep breath he took.

That is when the masquerades came.

They were dressed in ragged clothes, ragged wrappers, and ski masks woven from vintage curtains. They were with canes the length of many healthy children, sharpened machetes, and one of them swung a very frightening weapon back and forth, like a pendulum. Once he cocked it and the people heard the “gba!”, they and their animals started scattering to wherever they’d come from— huts, houses sculpted from mud, and animal homes made of planks of wood.

The masquerades started singing and dancing, soon after, like headless gods drowning in a bitter drunkenness. There was no one on the road, but some people, like you, were watching from the balconies of their homes, and through the creaks in their gates. The one with the frightening weapon dropped it when he saw the panting boy, who’d now fallen asleep, under the rain. He looked at his tapered limbs and looked at his protuberant belly. He smiled. He picked the boy up, picked up his weapon, and started marching to the T-junction, like a soldier returning from battle, with a prize on his shoulder, one with illness in his bones. A child, a sacrifice.

There was no sound heard after. No rain pattering. No howling wind. No discordant laughter. No loud gossiping. No friendly hollering. No aggressive bargaining. No barking. No honking. No bleating.

There was just a sepulchral sadness.

The mother of the boy was in tears. She rushed out of her house to the muddy streets. A discoloured quilt wrapped her bosom, and it dropped as she ran. As she screamed. As she cried. As she tore her hair vociferously. As she cursed the masquerades who claimed to be divine entities burdened with human flesh.

People like you watched as she kept screaming and cursing and as other women, in similarly discoloured quilts came crying after.

Enyi Nnabuihe

Image by Roman Grac from Pixabay 

11 thoughts on “Lives End Where Two Roads Meet by Enyi Nnabuihe”

  1. Hi Enyi,
    The first thing I said when I saw this was that I really did enjoy it as it’s powerful.
    On-top of that you were willing to tweak it and that shows professionalism!
    So overall, a powerful story from an opened-minded writer who works at their craft.
    That is all good my fine friend!


  2. This is such a striking piece that is beautifully written and packs a real punch. Images that will st it with me for sure.


  3. Love your story Enyi. it reminded me of the same sort of of masquerade that I used to see in my early age in Mexico. From the way you describe them, with their rags, masks, and weapons, they sound exactly like Los Huehuenches. They came every year from a village close to ours. They did scared the hell out of us kids. They danced along the street, dancing to the music of a fiddle and guitar like instruments.This was a tradition in parts of Mexico. They would run after us kids and even came into the houses. They were kind of obnoxious to some, but, really, it was in good fun and they were making a collect for their yearly celebration of their village’s patron saint. It was a sort of an “entertaining holdup.” But at a young age, I was terrified of them.The way your story ends was the kind of scenario I’ve imagined the first couple of times I saw them. So it was a strong surprise ending for me, in a way. Strong writing! I’ll be looking for more!
    Brigido Galvan


  4. Ahhh, this is it, Brigido! Around the time i wrote this piece, the masquerades were everywhere. I’m honestly so glad the masquerades in Mexico, Los Huehuenches, aren’t all terrifying and violent, but the ones where I stayed in Anambra, Nigeria were.
    They danced, of course, but if you were in their way, they’d ask you for money and if you didn’t have any, or were reluctant, you’d receive lashes on any part of your flesh. I saw my own blood from their lash once.
    What annoys me is that they are just alcoholic men who think they’re gods, hence the metaphor: headless gods drenched in a bitter drunkenness. Gladly, they were fined and haven’t been witnessed for a while now.
    Thank you for sharing this with me. It’s always wonderful to know your pieces impact people near and far.


  5. Pretty scary kind of like a nightmare scene…. I like the part where it says “people like you watched.” ….as long as it’s not your child they take you are a spectator not a participant, staying uninvolved. It also seems like there were only women and children in the village, the men were elsewhere, likely working…so the masqueraders knew when to come and take the weak.


    1. Oh, yes, I love this insight! Where really were the men? While writing this, I saw some of the men as the ones behind the masquerade masks. But, ofcourse, as it was morning, the rest who weren’t jobless could’ve been at work.


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