Shalom gaped at Calima with his usual goofy smile.
“Bollocks!” he said at length. “Surely, you don’t believe that, do you?”
Her face was filled with horror as she gazed at him with unbridled panic.
“Shalom, don’t you joke with this!” she said with a shudder. “That building is an evil place! A haunted place with ghosts and dwarves whose feet point in the opposite direction! And, on rainy and windy nights, the Clacking Demon visits that building!”
“The Clacking Demon?” he asked and chuckled. “Shucks! What on earth is the Clacking Demon?”
“A most evil and fiendish thing!” Calima exclaimed and shuddered. “It is believed it is a demon of death! Anytime it visits, someone dies! That is why they forced us to come and live here near the demon so that we would die! Every windy rainy night it appears and screams in clacks for long period!”
“And you say it lives in that huge building?” Shalom asked with a snigger. “The Clacking Demon and dwarves whose feet point backwards? That will be interesting to witness!”
“No!” Calima said and grabbed his hand desperately. “I will not let you do this! Come with me to the room!”
“I don’t want to go to the room!” Shalom cried indignantly. “My stomach is in trouble! I need to go!”
“Then please, my darling, let me take you to the bush if you won’t do it here!”
“No bush, I tell you!” Shalom screamed. “I’m not a doggy!”
And then he suddenly turned away from her and began to run hard out of the palace.
“Shalom, Shalom, please, please, don’t do this!” Calima screamed and raced fast after him. “Ekere mo! Ekere mo! Please stop him! Shalom, stop! Stop!”
Shalom was giggling as he fled out of the palace and took the direction toward the elephant yam plantation. There were a lot of people on the plantation, and way down on the right where the lake was, he could see some people in there too trying to cat flathead catfish.
The ones on the elephant yam plantation saw him coming, and some began to flee, but others remained and watched as he ran through the plantation. And then their eyes widened as Shalom continued to move toward the huge building in the distance.
“Heeeeyyyy!” someone screamed to the left of Shalom, and he turned and saw Ntowhe standing there with a huge elephant yam in his hand.
Shalom stopped and grinned.
“Hey, Ntowhe!” he said and waved.
“Nte woho ete, obroni?” the man asked with a wide smile. “Ene ne wo nkpe o!”
“I don’t understand! But I’m going to puupuu!” Shalom answered, and then he saw Calima coming towards him again and he turned and began to run again. Calima shouted at the men in a stringent, scared voice. Suddenly, a look of horror entered Ntowhe’s eyes and he dropped the yam in his hands and began to ran fast after Shalom.
Not wanting to be called a coward and wanting to draw the attention of Calima, Atwiaa also began to ran after Shalom, and so did about half a dozen other men. The rest were too petrified when Calima shouted that Shalom was going to the evil building, so they remained put.
The building was farther than Shalom had imagined, and after running for about two kilometres he lessened his gait to a trot.
The elephant yam plantation had given way to a field of huge and beautiful vegetables! He saw tomatoes, garden eggs, pepper, cabbage, lettuce and even cucumber in splendid rows, and he stopped and looked around with wonder.
Ntowhe came to a stop too and looked around.
“Eiiiii, Awurade Onyankopon!” he screamed in an out of breath voice. “Ekye ntos, tonko, nimo tei ahorow!”
“You see what your fears have done to you?” Shalom shouted when Calima also burst through and stopped with sudden shock. “You’re surrounded by good, good food, and yet you eat cocoa beans!”
“Shalom, please, come back, don’t go there!” Calima called, absolutely out of breath. “Let’s go back!”
“My stomach is going kruuuu-kruuu!” he shouted. “I need to find somewhere good!”
He began to trot again. He saw that more men had come into view, and many of them were plucking the vegetables and had stopped chasing him.
The plantation soon gave way to a rocky terrain, and now the building was in sight. Shalom doubled his speed and looked back to see that Ntowhe, Atwiaa, Calima and about four other men were still following him in a bid to drag him back.
Eventually, he came to the huge building and stopped, awed by how gigantic it really was! It rose about ten stories into the sky. It had been white once, but years of neglect had turned it into a yellowish tinge, but it was still strong. The wall around it was thick and strong too, providing a thick fortress. Because it had been built on the rocky terrain, it had not been overrun with weeds.
Shalom was facing the back. There was a rusted metallic gate which was secured from the inside so he moved around the wall as he tried to get to the front entrance. Calima and the men had also come to the rocky terrain, but suddenly they had stopped, their fear too great now.
Calima was almost weeping as she called Shalom to come back from the evil place but Shalom only smiled and ignored her, and they watched him with horror on their faces.
“This stranger will kill all of us before he leaves!” Atwiaa said bitterly in their language. “You see where he has brought us? And you see how everybody has loose bowels and shitting because of the food he made us eat?”
“That delicious food?” Ntowhe asked. “I’ll rather eat it and shit than go hungry.”
“Fool!” Atwiaa said furiously.
“Enough already, you two!” Calima said. “He warned us not to eat too much because it was our first time. We didn’t listen. Oh, what’s he doing now, gods of tatafu?”
Shalom had reached the end of the wall and was facing forward, and suddenly he jumped and punched the air a couple of times and turned an excited face toward them and beckoned.
“Seems he has found something exciting,” Ntowhe said uneasily.
“Well, nothing will make me go near that evil place,” Atwiaa said. “It is getting windy already, and the Clacking Demon will wake any moment.”
“Well, I trust him!” Ntowhe said and began to run hard toward Shalom.
Calima took a deep breath when she saw Shalom running out of sight, and then she followed at a run.
“Calima!” Atwiaa said and tried to hold her back, but she was gone already. The four men soon followed. Atwiaa was afraid to be alone and afraid to be called a coward, so he also broke into a run and went after them.
He found them laughing and gazing at what had excited Shalom so much! To one side of the wall around the building which was not a rocky terrain, was a sort of garden! There were fruits and a lake that had ducks floating majestically on top!
Some of the men were already biting into mangoes that had fallen on the ground whilst others were plucking guavas and oranges. There were guinea fowls and chicken clucking around.
“Oh, heaven, heaven!” Ntowhe was screaming. “Oh, Shalloa, Shalloa, may the gods bless you Shalloa!”
“Ntowhe, don’t call me Shalloa!” Shalom said indignantly. “Don’t spoil my name and make it like yours, Ntowhe!”
He moved toward the front of the huge building and saw that there was an overgrown road that led up into the mountains. Thankfully, the huge gates were closed but not locked as the back gate. It was held closed by rusted metallic chain and three huge padlocks which were locked.
However, the chains had rusted and parted over the years so it was easy to pull it away from the metal gates. Shalom opened one of the gates which groaned and made a loud noise, making the others stop what they were doing.
Suddenly scared, they raced around to the front and saw Shalom entering the yard of the edifice. They all raced after him and just then there was a strong gust of wind and immediately a most heinous, horrible clacking sound shot out all around them.
The people shivered and cowered with fright!
“The Clacking Demon!” Atwiaa screamed and fell down on his knees and covered his head with his arms.
One man’s bladder loosened with fear and warm urine fell down his legs! Two of them simply turned and fled from the site with screams of horror!
“Gods of tatafu help us!” Calima cried as she and Ntowhe also got on their knees and covered their heads as they shivered horribly.
But Shalom remained standing and laughed uproariously as he pointed to the tall building.
“Oh, you these people!” he cackled. “The clacking sounds are the plastic windows of the building which had been open for a long time! The winds move them together to clack against the walls…see, see!”
Slowly Ntowhe lifted his head and watched Shalom’s pointing finger, and saw the huge windows smashing into the wall and each other and making the horrible clacking sounds.
“The building is empty, mostly, I guess, and so the hollow within amplifies the clacking sounds, making it sound unnatural,” Shalom continued. “But it is nothing really.”
Slowly they got to their feet and watched the clacking windows. Shalom pointed at the unfortunate man who had urinated and guffawed with laughter.
“Hohoho! You peed on yourself!” he shouted. “Koshiaaaaaaa!”
The man smiled sheepishly and bit into an apple in his hand.
Shalom raced into the compound.
It was huge and had been well-preserved over the years. It was just littered with dust and leaves. At the far end, he could see about three old-model vehicles parked. He mounted the stairs to the front doors and pushed them open.
It opened to a huge hall!
There were some long benches and reception desk covered with dust.
Shalom looked around desperately and saw a door on his left above which were huge, dusty lettering that said WASHROOMS.
One had a male shape, and the other female.
He rushed to the male side and pushed it open, and then he sighed with relief when he saw the four urine basins, four sinks and four short closed doors. He pushed one of the doors open and smiled broadly when he saw a dirty water closet. Shalom rushed to it and lifted the lid off the basin and saw that it was filled with brownish water, and that the cistern was also dirty but free of any dump!
And, luckily, there was a pack of six tissues on a rack still covered with tendrils of broken rubber! He took one and brushed the rubber off. He unrolled a generous amount and wiped the seat with it, and then he quickly pulled his boxers down and sat down with relief.
The door opened and Atwiaa and Ntowhe stood there looking at him.
“Hey, do you mind closing the door?” Shalom asked with indignation.
“Whata youa doinga?” Atwiaa asked with shock.
“What does it look like I’m doing?” Shalom asked with a scowl.
“Ahhko a?” Ntowhe asked with shock.
“Yeiyei!” Atwiaa said with equal shock. “Youa are shittinga insidea thea bowla?”
“Oh, just go away, would you?” Shalom said and made a shooing gesture.
They continued to look at him with shock, and soon Calima and the other men joined them at the doorway to stare at Shalom.
“Really? You want to do this? Stand there and look at me taking a dump?” he asked with disgust. “What’s the matter with you?”
“They have not…seen a water closet before!” Calima said softly. “I saw one when I was in school.”
“Well there are others over there!” Shalom said and gestured. “They can go and take a proper look!”
Calima spoke to them, and they moved off excitedly to look at the other toilets. She stayed for a while in the doorway and looked at him tenderly.
“Oh, I love you so, Shalom!” she said with tears in her eyes.
“Calima, let me shit, aaaaba!” he said.
She blew him a kiss and finally shut the door.
He could hear the men speaking and shouting excitedly, and he shook his head with a smile on his face. He sighed with relief when he was finally done with his business and flushed the cistern.
Shalom came out and headed to the sinks to wash his hand. Again, there was a dust covered block of soap on the dish, and he took it and opened the tap. It hissed for a moment, and then water gushed out. He wondered where the water was coming from. He had seen some huge black tanks erected on the compound. Maybe there was a well of sorts somewhere with a pump. He would investigate presently.
The men once again cried with excitement and crowded around him to watch him washing his hands. They immediately pulled up the other taps and shouted when the water gushed out.
“Where’s Atwiaa?” Shalom asked, looking around.
“He used one of the closets,” Calima said as she rubbed Shalom’s thigh tenderly. “He’s still there. I can hear him groaning.”
And on cue Shalom heard a groaning sound from the next cubicle, and he scowled and turned toward it.
“Hey, Atwiaa, are you okay?” he asked.
“Yesa!” Atwiaa groaned. “I havea finisheda thea puupuua, buta I can’ta lifta the bowla offa the grounda to poura ita awaya!”
Shalom began to laugh uproariously as he immediately pushed the cubicle door open.
Atwiaa was bent double and his arms were wrapped around the bowl of the water closet as he struggled to lift it off the ground.
Shalom hooted with laughter so loud that he could barely breathe as the man humped and strained to lift the water closet from the floor. His face went dark with fury when he saw Shalom laughing uncontrollably.
“Youa foola!” he screamed with rage. “Whya youa laugha ata mea? I’ma justa tryinga lifta thea thinga anda throwa outa thea puupuua awaya!”
Shalom was on one knee holding his stomach and laughing.
Calima looked at him with disapproval and then looked at Atwiaa kindly. She spoke to him in their dialect.
“This is the white man’s toilet, Atwiaa,” she said kindly. “We don’t lift it like our chamber pots and throw out the contents. The water takes it away. Just press that little handle on the bowl above.”
Atwiaa pointed at the handle, and Calima nodded.
He pushed it down, and the water gushed in and a moment later the bowl was clean. The fury left his face as he stared into the bowl with awe. The other men rushed forward and stared inside, and then looked at each other with shock.
“Heeerhhhh!” one of them cried. “Ibo wonwa papaapa! Te se cine!”
Language of the Little People Used In This Episode:
Ekere Mo – catch him
Nte woho ete, obroni? – How’re you, white man?
Ene ne wo nkpe o! – We thank you very much
Ekye ntos, tonko, nimo tei ahorow! – See tomatoes, pepper and assorted food
Ahhko a? – Is he passing stool?
Yeiyei! – Yes
Ibo wonwa papaapa! Te se cine! – It is really amazing. Seems like a movie!
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