They called it Magodo K.

One of the most notorious slums deep in the heart of Lagos, by day it was a riotous pool of sweaty hustlers and traders, stomping along its wooden paths and ducking into makeshift buildings to conduct transactions both fair and unfair.  But by night the collection of wooden houses, held together by straining lengths of rope and flapping tarpaulin, became somewhere else, someplace a lot more dangerous. No one knew what the K in the slum’s name stood for, but given the muted whispers of its penchant for taking people in at night and not spitting them out in the morning, a few people had decided it meant ‘Kills’.

Magodo kills.

**  **

It was a depressingly familiar scenario playing out.

A pretty girl, with pert breasts jouncing beneath a small top which showed off her navel with each step she took, the typical high heels made her steps wobbly. Each tap of her heels seemed like a small nail hammering her fate to the night as she stumbled along the darkened street. A small purse was pressed against her side and although her strides seemed relaxed, her eyes were opened as wide as they could go. Perhaps it was fear, or maybe she was just trying to adjust to the gloom through which she walked as she hurried toward a distant, lone streetlight. It was past midnight and she had seen no cars, bikes or people for over thirty minutes.

That was about to change.

The three boys who watched the girl with the perky breasts approach were another familiar fixture along many darkened Lagos streets. They lounged against a wall, just shy of the only working streetlight on the empty stretch of road, spiders waiting for the orange light to draw in a beautiful butterfly or two. Their dirt-stiffened peaks of browned hair, rugged jeans and reddened eyes spoke volumes. Marijuana butts idled between stubby, dirty fingers, white exclamation marks declaring their identity, the fiery points promising bad things to whoever crossed their paths at the wrong time.

Àwọn ọmọ ilẹ̀.

The ground they slouched on was theirs, they believed. Everything they could take without consequence was fair game. Including pretty girls who wandered about unescorted.

One of them raised the small fragrant cylinder to cracked lips, a pull illuminating the tribal marks on his face. The boy beside him snapped the fingers of his right hand impatiently- an admirable feat, considering he had no thumb. An angry bus conductor had bitten it clear off a few years ago.

“Guy, pass that thing na.” Four Fingers growled, voice roughened by years of hard living. “Na kuli-kuli?”

They both chuckled at the joke, but the third boy was silent, clutching his own marijuana butt with a propriety that would obviously not be challenged, as he intently watched the girl walk towards them. His face also lit up as he took a long considering pull, features almost pretty, reminiscent of the renowned Fuji music crooner, Pasuma, who every tout in Lagos adored.

“Meehhn, this girl make sense o.” Tribal Marks whistled softly. “See Manchester na. Attack things.”

Pasuma Face frowned. The boy was right. The girl, loudly clopping her way toward them, was very pretty. Her fair skin gleamed in the midnight dark, and her breasts jounced as her rolling hips, sheathed in skin-tight jeans, danced their way to where they were waiting.

Too pretty to be here, he thought. Probably just left a late party. Obviously very stupid.

Just as the thought crossed his mind, she reached them. There was a slight hesitation in her step as she noticed the boys, then she breezed on, her pace quickening. The smell of her perfume filled three sets of marijuana-tortured nostrils and there was a simultaneous sniff. All other thoughts disappeared, save for one.

This one, we must taste.

“The Arsenal follow tight o.” Tribal Marks muttered, eyes glittering with lust as they roamed over her backside. He raised his voice, a mocking falsetto. “Baby girl, how far? Won’t you say hi?”

The girl with the perky breasts clutched her purse tighter and said nothing as she walked past the boys, and past the pool of the last working streetlight. The orange light fell on her braids flatteringly, inviting pin-points of light bouncing off the glitter she had liberally sprinkled on her head. Just before she stepped out of the nimbus of comforting light, she threw a look over her shoulder.

Her eyes were wide and frightened, a silent scream that sent a come-hither message to the loins of the three touts she had just passed. With shared looks and meaningful smiles, they traded hi-fives and gave in to the call of opportunity.

Frayed flip-flops flapped as they began to follow her.

The sound alerted the girl and she looked back again, a modern-day Lot’s wife, salt looming in the unshed panicked tears that made her eyes shimmer. Her heels tangled and she almost fell, generating a muted cheer from the boys following her. Her step quickened further and as the tempo of their slipper orchestra matched the canter of her Aba-made Louboutins, she broke into a tottering run.

Four Fingers and Tribal Marks whooped happily and increased their pace, but Pasuma Face followed grimly, his expression tight. One thought cycled through his mind. She was a pretty thing and he wanted to have her.

He wanted to break her. He NEEDED to break her.

With another wild look, the girl broke left and fled into a darkened alley, running towards shadowy buildings that loomed in the dark.

The boys barely paused as they reached the corner and plunged into the darkness after her, but Pasuma Face had time for a new thought, and the smile that crossed his lips was part triumph and part worry as he followed his friends deep into the heart of a barely familiar darkness which seemed to throb in welcome.

Why did the stupid bitch have to run into Magodo K?!

**  **

The running girl dashed along the wooden planks that made up the thoroughfares of Magodo K, traitorous heels telling her pursuers each corner she turned.

The boys followed confidently, eyes wide in the gloom. They were more familiar with the slum, as they spent most of their day winding through its warrens, picking pockets and looking for buyers of the stolen phones and watches that lined their tattered backpacks. But with each step they took further into the heart of the slum, their confidence dimmed.

It was general knowledge that Magodo K grew strange at night, but the boys had lounged on its outskirts a few times and never thought much of the rumour. As the girl led them further in than they had ever ventured at night before, they began to understand what had birthed those tales. The familiar surroundings had become odd under the weak crescent of moonlight that glowered down at them. Planks, leather and plastic creaked and flapped as they ran past the empty shops and enclosures, rods and twigs reaching out to tug at their feet.

“Jesus!” Four Fingers cursed as a sheet of damp tarpaulin fluttered around his waist. For a moment he was reminded of a foreign horror movie he had watched as a child, wide-eyed, peeping through the window of a neighbour’s one-room apartment. He fancied he was being engulfed by some slimy, bulbous, alien monster that would slowly digest him alive.

“Where’s that ashawo?” he grunted harshly as he wrenched the sheet of plastic away, heart thudding at the vividness of the forgotten childhood memory.

Pasuma Face stopped abruptly, one arm out to halt the other boys, his body tense. He also  felt currents of unease run through him, but he ignored them, only one feeling pulled him along- His desire to catch the pretty girl and make her ‘unpretty’. He did not recognise the emotion for what it really was- a desire to deny others of the soft things of life he had been starved of by a prostitute-addict mother and a tout of a father who died of syphilis. His hate for beautiful things was directly related to his yearning to be a beautiful thing living a beautiful life.

“Keep quiet.” He hissed.

The other boys stopped moving and waited, silent, as the heat of the night settled an almost oily film of sweat on their faces. For a few seconds the night was filled with the sound of settling wood and skittering plastic, and then what they were waiting for came to them again.

Heels, tapping frantically on old wood.

They burst into motion again, chasing the sound, legs pumping and hearts thumping with excitement. Tribal Marks and Four Fingers drew steadily ahead of the third boy, their teeth glinting in partly-opened mouths as they seemed to drink in the scent of their prey. Pasuma Face took in a shaky breath, his head filling with the loveliness of the perfume. He would lick that smell off her skin.

The girl ducked into a ramshackle building, but not fast enough. The boys grinned at one another and made a bee-line for the place she had entered. It was a comfortingly familiar spot to them, an anchor in the weirdness that Magodo K had become at midnight. The popular Iya Monsurat plied her trade there in the daytime, her wide buttocks spread over a long bench as she stirred pots bubbling with assorted foods and sauces which her similarly heavy-bottomed daughters dished out to hungry customers.

The boys ducked into the enclosure after the girl, grinning at the thought of how they would grab her and spread her on Iya Monsurat’s bench. She could yell as loud as she wanted. Magodo K was empty and deaf.

Pasuma Face paused at the entrance to the empty space. The other boys converged on the corner where they could see the girl standing, the edge of her right shoe caught in the slash of moonlight that lined the edges of the door where the third boy stood. Her smell wafted out to them enticingly, and their bodies were turgid and ready, their own musky scents already taking over the enclosed space.

The boy with the almost-beautiful face frowned, hands gripping the opposing edges of the door. Something nagged at him through the clouds of his desire to break the girl. She was quiet, her silhouette in the dark corner unshaken by trembling or other obvious signs of fright.

For a moment, he felt an impulse to tell his friends to back off. The tiny hairs at the back of his neck stirred and he opened his mouth to say something.

The words were interrupted by the meaty clunk of a large piece of wood meeting the back of his head.

Pasuma Face’s eyes rolled up and before his body reached the ground, the man who had hit him stepped forward. The plank swung around smoothly with a whistling sound and Four Fingers was down. Tribal Marks wrenched his attention from the girl, his eyes widening as his eyes took in the hulking figure standing before him. The marks on his cheeks stretched and writhed in a rictus of fear. Another silent whoosh and his head met the business end of the man’s truncheon with a solid thunk.
There was a brief silence, broken by the tap of the girl’s heels as she stepped forward into the light. She looked up at a face fashioned to give nightmares.

The man was talk and hulking, shoulders and neck writhing like a mass of tossed, mouldy boulders. Hips jaw teemed with half-ripened pimples and his bulbous lips hung open, held apart by jutting yellowed teeth. To crown it all, he had only one eye; the empty socket was a mess of wrinkled skin and scars.

His good eye glowered down at the girl for a moment, and then skittered away like a surprised bead of water falling on a hot pan.

“Are there any more coming?”

The girl sighed and leaned against a wall to slip off one high-heeled shoe. She ignored the question.

“These shoes are killing me. It’s not easy being a girl; heels are evil.”

The man said nothing, but his eye jumped in a nervous tic as he watched her. She was a petite creature and her waist was so tiny the hulking man could wrap one hand around it and snap her like a twig if he chose to. But a close observer would have noticed one strange thing.

The man was afraid of the girl.

She bent over to slip the shoe on her foot and limped to the door, unmindful that the pointed heel dug into the bodies of the unconscious boys. The man watched her, eye narrowed.

“Tie them up and keep them in the other shed.” The girl ordered, glancing at a slim watch on her wrist. “Three boys by midnight. Hmm. Mr Stone will be pleased.”

Again, the man wondered about the identity of the enigmatic Mr Stone.

According to the girl, he was the one who paid for the people they lured into Magodo K at night. The man with one eye had accepted the story. As long as she paid him for his part of the work, he would tie up her victims and deposit them in the other shed. He had decided not to wonder where the people went to before dawn broke. He had never seen anyone come to get them, but as sure as the sun would rise, they were always gone before morning.

And yet, something instinctively told him the girl was lying. He suspected the buck stopped at her pretty feet; there was no Mr Stone and she alone wanted…needed…the people he helped her catch.

What does she do with the people? a scared voice screamed in his misshapen head.

When she moved past the hulking man, he shied away from her smell.

The girl paused at the threshold and took a deep breath of the rancid night air. She seemed to glow in the rotten light that bounced off the stagnant pools that surrounded them. He watched, certain somewhere deep down in his murderous heart, that whatever the girl was, although she….it….looked beautiful, she was uglier than he was. His huge hand tightened around the length of wood in his hand, but he knew…he just knew… if he swung it, he would be dead before he could touch her.

She is the pulsing, maggoty, hungry heart of Magodo K, that scared voice whispered in his head. And one day, she will take you too.

“Time to go for another stroll, handsome.” The girl sighed. She turned around to look at the man, her eyes gleaming in the moonlight, amused as though she had heard what he was thinking. Her hips swayed as she walked away, heels tapping out a deadly sound. “I won’t be too careful.”

She melted into the darkness, off to prey for Magodo K.

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the dark notes

They called her The Ember Killer.

Named after the notorious ‘ember months’, coined by superstitious Nigerians obsessed with the spate of fatal accidents and misfortune that seemed to thrive in the last four months of the year. Those were the months in which she began her murderous spree.

Mid-September had seen the discovery of what Amauche Benson claimed was the third victim, a French lecturer in the University

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the dark notes

Chisom staggers out of her house, almost falls and then grips the railing on her verandah.

Her head is swirling, thoughts jostling each other in her head, full of red stains and broken flesh and the vivid images throw a hook down into her stomach and try to pull up bile. She retches and clamps a hand over her mouth, careful not to look back at the door she has left open behind her, frantic to find something to anchor her to the moment.

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the dark notes


Gbagada, Lagos


There is nothing overtly unusual about the scenes in and around Emeka Okorie’s one room apartment that evening.

Neighbours mill around the house, smiling, pumping Emeka’s fists with gusto.


You’re now a man.

Welcome to the club.

He looks pleased, accepting the congratulations, slightly discoloured teeth on display, chest puffed with pride.

In the single bedroom, his wife Nkiru is on the bed, back to the wall, slim body curved away from the two swathed bundles lying next to her. The new babies are sleeping, sweat plastered hair curling on the edges of their identical faces.

Nkiru’s oldest sister is seated on a low stool beside the bed, watching over the new mother whose eyes gleam in the early evening light coming from outside the small window over the bed.

And that is where something is not quite right. Their eyes.

Outside, Emeka smiles graciously…

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The Tuesday Arsenal Lost The Game

For almost a year, every Tuesday has been the same.

And I mean that literally. Every morning , I would wake up on the same bed, wearing the same clothes, and turn to see the same date on my bedside calendar.

At first, I panicked. I tried so many different things. I tried to tell people what was happening. I refused to go out of my house. I screamed. I tried to stop myself from falling asleep. But the next day, I would still wake up caught in that unending Tuesday; caught in a loop of unending deja vu.

So, i resigned myself to my fate. I would wake up, bath if I felt like it, and eat without pleasure as I walked the streets of the town I lived in. Occasionally, I would play those games that used to excite me. At night, I would watch sullenly as Arsenal FC lost the Champions League football match to Barcelona FC. Over 300 times, I’ve watched that game and just before I crawled into bed, I would once again wonder if I had died and gone to a hell designed specifically for Gunners and murderers.

Yeah, I kill people.

I think I carried out my first successful murder when I was fourteen. She was a class mate I had invited home. We went into the kitchen to get some cold fruit juice, and she pushed me up against the counter and kissed me. And when she turned away and wiggled her butt seductively before she opened the fridge, I slammed the door on her head. Then again, and again until she stopped jerking.  In the days that followed, I would grow excited as I remembered how her legs had juddered. Like a mouse with its head crushed in a trap.

Cleaning up the blood had been soothing. The swish of the wet rag soaking up all the red made me smile and the coppery scent lingered on my hands for days. But most satisfying was the thought that I had everyone fooled. They were stepping over places where I had killed and spilled blood, yet they had no idea. For the last twenty years, cleaning up after myself when I was done ‘playing’ always calmed me.

So, when I got caught in the Tuesday-That-Wouldn’t-End, I began to play a lot. I would go into people’s houses and bludgeon entire families to death. I would abduct young women and torture them slowly in my house. I killed a lot of people.

But cleaning up wasn’t fun any longer. There was no need to. Wednesday never came, remember? I wasn’t fooling anyone and every morning, my sins were wiped away. It was a very distressing situation.

So, I decided to kill myself.

I sat through the Arsenal-Barcelona match one more time, cursing at the referee, then climbed into bed and slit my wrists. It was difficult to cut my left wrist with my right; I had sliced the tendons too deeply. As I watched the blood soak my bed, I was filled with regret. I wished I could have cleaned up after myself.


The next day I woke up and it was still Tuesday.

Upset, I left the house without bathing and killed more people than usual. And then, hands in my pockets wet with blood, i strolled home slowly. Before I entered, I lured in a girl hawking oranges. Then I slit her throat with a blunt knife, sawing slowly with all my strength. When she stopped moving, she looked surprised. I couldn’t bear her gaze, so I took out her eyes.

I settled in to watch that accursed football match, sucking on the oranges that had been on her tray. I didn’t bother to peel them; I just simply sliced each orange in two with the bloody knife, savouring the sting each squeeze left in my eyes. And slowly, those eyes grew wide with each goal I witnessed on the television screen. As the final whistle blew, I gasped in shock. Arsenal had just won the game!

As the shouts of jubilant Arsenal fans celebrating in the streets filtered in through my windows, I sat in my favourite armchair, citrus tears brimming in my eyes and fingers sticky with bloody orange juice as I wondered what this meant. This was jamais vu…. this had never happened before.


The next morning, I woke up and it was Wednesday. The curse of déjà vu had been lifted! I was free to move forward.

As I was taking that in, I heard someone banging at my door. Grinning, I ran to the door and yanked it open. Two very grim faces greeted me. Behind them, I saw the vehicle they had arrived in. It was a police car.

Then I remembered I had a dead body in my house.

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I am a sojourner .
Let me travel your paths, my love.

Your valleys hold secret founts I want to discover.
Let me plunge my head into your spring,
And drink deep where your waterfalls hide.
Your roars will reach my drowning ears
And strengthen my sojourning wand
So I may push aside your lush shrubbery
And discover soft petals, beaded wet
Blooming at my gentle, throbbing knock
Letting my wooden canoe slide into depths
Where your whirlpool swallows me whole.
Let my hands find those burrows where your squeaks hide.
Let my lips echo your bird cries.
And then let us take flight.
Till the sun blushes as we burn the clouds.
I will cradle you as i fall.
One shooting star, exploding in your milky way.
I am a come(t), my little bang
Seeding your ocean.
Where I come up for air, gasping
And crawl to shore, taking deep sips of you
Until I am ready to travel some more.

Let me travel your paths, my love.
I am a sojourner.

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Fright Flight


April 12, 2020

Dr. ****************
The Director, STRANGE (Secret Research and Archives of Nigerian Extranormals)
STRANGE Headquarters,
*************** Lagos.
Ref. No. : STR 687513/LAG/644


Re:Retrieved email from account of the mother of still-missing subject: Helen Bruce


Mum, I’m scared. I don’t even know if you’ll get this message. How can I explain what’s happening when I don’t even understand it? How?! I suppose I should start at the beginning…

You know I’ve never really liked kids. So you shouldn’t be surprised that when I got on the flight back home for the holidays, I was annoyed to discover my seatmate had a baby. That’s how the day started, and it all went downhill from there.

There were other kids on this flight, screeching and being a nuisance. Who flies with kids on the evening of Christmas Eve?! I had a headache and my seatmate’s baby just kept crying…. Jesus, mum, I could barely stand it. I tried to change seats, but the plane was full. So I just put in my ear plugs, and napped.

I woke up with my head pounding. Beside me, my seatmate was suckling her baby; she didn’t even cover his noisy mouth with a shawl! I leaned closer to ask her to and then I saw the baby’s reflection in the darkened window’s glass.

Oh Jesus, mum, he had no face. Just a round mouth lined with a row of sharp needles. His sucking was so loud. I could see the breast flesh pulled taut around his…. maw.

I got out of that chair so fast, I almost tripped. And then, I did trip over something on the floor. It was a person, mum. But… the person looked like a deflated balloon, and I realized my heel had sunk into the boneless mess. When I pulled my shoe free, the body made a sloshing sound. Like a bag of… of… sachet water.

I ran down the aisle, gagging. And people were like that all over the plane. They were all just boneless flesh bags, lying everywhere. Except for the children. They were alive. And they stared as I ran past.

I’m in the cockpit now. Both pilots are dead. But the plane is flying itself…
I’m sorry mum. I don’t think I will be home for Christmas this year…



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