A Walk in the Night

Categories: Night By Elie Wiesel

Taking a walk at night exposes one to the shrill coldness accustomed to a chilly night weather and while walking alone has its own peril, taking a walk at night heightens the possibility. You are introduced to a combination of a hard ruminations on fate and your own life and you become aware of the trajectories of evil that might befall you as you take a walk. The silent hiss of the snakes becomes a reality in your head even when they are just imaginary.

You'll swear you saw an owl looking right at your weakest point. And ghosts, yes it is rumored that they often take customary walks at sunset, when God probably give them up for solitary reflection. Then you'll tell yourself that tree isn't standing properly. Oh! Why is that baobab tree so big? Perhaps things like Jinns really exit after all, living inside that tree and waiting, waiting patiently for me to turn my back and grab me.

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Then when you suddenly hear the whistle of a stranger far ahead of you or a flicker of light, the feeling of tranquility, anguish and relief encircle your entire being and you become unsure of the unknown possibilities.

These were the thoughts of Adewale as he passes through the Agoti forest rumored to have swallowed people and giants alive in the past. Adewale was aware of this when he left home in the morning to visit his fianc?e, Bola at Jokan village, near Abeokuta. He knew quite well that he must not exceed 4pm at Jokan but Bola's sweetness that day was so irresistible that he forgot to listen to the tick of his wrist watch.

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At the long run, when at the brim of pleasure on Bola's bamboo bed, he heard the Muslim cleric call for evening prayers. He jerked himself up and wrenched himself free from the pleading Bola and took the inevitable forest path.

- I'm in trouble. - He said to himself. - Akintoyese is the cause of all this. He was the one who advised me to not act like a monkey and check out the girl I want to marry so that I will not regret after marriage. To be honest though, that girl knows the right move on bed. Ah! Bola will not kill me. I can still remember her moans and the crack of the bird as the two sounds merged to form a pleasurable music to my ears. He quickly came back to himself. - But now I'm in trouble.

- My maker, please look kindly at my transgressions and let me get home safely today. I swear I will not touch Bola again till after marriage. I swear! And this man whistling far ahead, let me see his face on time. - He pleaded silently in his mind.

The whistling stranger seemed to drag his feet as he walks and there were times when Wale felt that the sound of his whistle seemed farther than he thought. He continued to ignore the thought of death enveloping his mind. He began to talk silently to himself - and to think Bro. Adeolu got lost in this forest last year, never to be found again. Then Gbenro too, I heard evil spirits chased him out of sanity and he became a lunatic ever since. Iya Bolu who came to sell her wares at Jokan six months ago had her wares sent home ahead of her to her husband but never her body. Which category will I fall now? Lost or dead in this woods or lunacy? God! No! Not me, I'm Adewale. The giant whose yawns in the morning silences the crows around the neighborhood. "I will survive this". He concluded as he began to run.

Finally, he met the man, whistling, richly clad in a flowing agbada with a leather bad firmly strung across his arms. King heaved a sigh of relief.

- Hello sir - he greeted amidst mild expiated coughs.

- Young man, how come you are walking this path at this ungodly hour?

- I got delayed sir, by unfortunate circumstances

- Unfortunate indeed - the man echoed loudly, giving Adewale a fresh scare.

- Hahahaha, come on my friend, I was just kidding. So tell me, what was the unfortunate circumstance that held you back. The man rumbled on

- Okay let me take a wild guess, a woman? Money? Hmm - Business either of the three, I'm sure.

- His chitty chatty style and the sound of his voice reassured king that he wasn't alone, but his laughter at the same time, scared him. The way his Adam's apple danced up and down when he laughed reminded Wale of his Uncle Adewoye who is revered in the community for being the chief priest. The man rumored to be an expert in preparing animals and sometimes, humans for sacrifice to the gods.

- It's a friend sir. A male friend - he lied.

- Oh! Such "bossomness"! But how could he have made you stay this late?

- We were engrossed in serious matters that we forgot about the passage of time

- Oh I see! Anyways, while we walk, I want to tell you a grave secret. Can you keep a secret my friend?

- Very well sir. Wale replied quickly and excitedly. Hoping that talking would ease away the tension of the forest.

- I want you to swear - the stranger said calmly

- I swear on my life sir. He demonstrated the swearing sign to the admiration of the stranger.

- On your life? Well, you couldn't have sworn better. What I'm about to tell you is a grave secret. A secret that could determine my fate and my life. You see, this bag I'm carrying contains about 15,000 cowries (about 150 million).

King opened his eyes widely in disbelief and awe.

- What! That's a lot of money sir!

- Yes! There is a good news though.

- What is it sir? - he asked impatiently.

- This money could be ours. I mean for you and I alone. That's if you want the money.

- Absolutely sir! Adewale began to think of what a 7500 cowries would buy. He let his fantasy roam wildly. A 20 acres of land at Ajegunle, the village rumored to have the most fertile land, a big place for himself at Abeokuta, four wives including Bola, few slaves and a big horse. He concluded in his mind and said

- Sir, I'm in.

- Good choice young man. I would have loved us to share the money right away, but there is a little problem which is where the bad news begins. Are you listening?"

- Yes sir

- Good. Let me tell you a story. I had a boss who I served for twenty-eight years. He was very wicked, callous and stingy. So stingy that there were certainly no crumbs that ever fell from his table to we dogs. Even when we wag our tails so violently waiting for a touch of generosity, all we got was more orders to obey. For all the years I spent serving him, he never bought me an ordinary shoe. As servants, we hated him so much that when his troubles became overwhelming, some of us ganged up and killed him. I did not participate in the killing but I cannot deny that I saw it happen. What happened next was terrifying. Within two weeks, most of the people who were involved in planning his death died in mysterious circumstances. Whether it was a ghost that killed them or God I didn't know until one day, as I was packing my luggage, getting ready to leave when suddenly I saw a bag hanging loosely on one of the arms of one of the servants who had died hugging the bag closely. I was scared so I decided to check the bag and behold, I saw a lot of money. As a wise man, I took the money to an herbalist who told me that the money is a blood money gotten from the blood of a young virgin our late boss had used for ritual. He further warned me that anyone who touches even a cowrie will die immediately. The only remedy according to him is to take the money to a renowned herbalist who lives inside Agodi forest to lift the curse. So here we are boy. We have to look for that herbalist. Why am I sharing this money with you? Well, the moment I saw you, I had the haunch that you will be a responsible man who could be of tremendous help to me in the future. I hope you will prove me a prophet?

- Ah! Yes, sir. I promise. But this forest is dangerous sir. It is rumored to have killed people including the people I know personally. Wale allayed my fears.

- You are right boy. But one thing you don't know is that whoever carries this bag is also charmed. No evil can befall me and you, technically, if you are with me.

- But sir, are you sure about this? King asked skeptically.

The man frowned.

- Young man, I don't tell lies. Why all these troubles all in the name of lies? Just say the word if you are no longer interested and I won't be able to guarantee your safety in this very evil forest.

- I'm sorry sir. I thought it was okay if I'm a bit skeptical.

- It's okay to be. Now that I know we are together, let's check our map.

The man brought out a map and checked it. He traced the lines with his fingers and finally stopped.

- Yes, I found it! We are about to be rich young man. You are going to become so rich that your people will dethrone your king and install you.

Adewale could not hide his excitement. He liked the idea of becoming the king of his village. After all, he thought, Money answereth all things. He held the strange man's hand, more tightly this time and they took a turn inside the dark forest and they began to walk down a dark tunnel. Wale silently marveled at the man's mastery of the map in his hands. He seemed to know every corner and angle in the forest that Wale couldn't help but feel safe in the man's company. At the same time, a righteous part of Wale kept warning him about the unbridled thought of getting rich quick without little or no work. "But the thought of money is irresistible. Didn't they say opportunity comes but once and an opportunity lost may never be regained". Adewale reassured himself.

- Young man - the strange man called suddenly. - sir? please permit me to start calling you my young rich man?

Adewale smiled shyly.

- I don't mind sir - He finally managed to say.

- Good, do you know why rich people will always be rich and poor people will always remain poor?

- No sir

- Now listen, it is because rich people take risks and make choices. You see, sometimes, such risks could be dangerous and seem frightening but they still take it. Now look at yourself boy, you are going to be rich at such a young age and here you are taking the risks in this dangerous forest and you could have just decided to go your way but you didn't. You see, you have made a fantastic choice and I must tell you that I see a rich man's mentality in you.

Adewale couldn't feel any better. "A rich man's mentality? Wow! I love that". He said to himself. He suddenly remembered all those who had wronged him in the past. He remembered Baba Alaga the village clairvoyant drunkard and soothsayer who once told him that he will die young and never make it. He had laughed it away then but he never forgave the man. There were others whose offence won't fill up his cup but he was determined to fill it up for them when he gets his money.

- My young rich man we are just about to get there. I want you to brace yourself. Be confident and act like a rich man. Do not let the baba intimidate you. Let him see the riches in you.

- Alright sir -  Wale adjusted his clothes and wished he was wearing his best shoes. But nonetheless, he was confident that he would play the part just well.

Far ahead, Wale could see a flicker of light and as they walked towards it, the view became clearer. A big hut sat confidently on the soil surrounded by three small huts.

- Sir, is this where the man lives? Wale asked impulsively

- Absolutely. It's a big place isn't it?

- It is sir. Vey big - Wale remarked.

Few steps closer to the hut and Wale began to hear noises that sounds like groans. He became uncomfortable but couldn't say it because of the fear of what his guardian will say. Also, he knew that separating his hands from the man's grip could make evil spirits living in the forest to come after him so he held the man's hands more tightly.

They walked to the entrance of the big hut and the strange man knocked loudly.

- Who's there? A voice echoed from inside.

- Sworn brother - the strange man replied

- Eh! Sworn brother, welcome.

He opened the door

- And who do we have here?

- Oh! It's our new richest young man.

- Oh! My sire! Please remember me in your kingdom'. The guard said squatting in mockery

Wale laughed. He couldn't contain his excitement.

- My young man, this man here will take you to your resting place while I go see baba. While you wait, remember to think of what you'll buy with your money.

- Alright sir - said Wale vividly excited at the thought.

Adewale followed the guard through a thinly lit passage adorned with paintings of various reptiles, snakes, crocodiles, alligators and on the corridor that leads to the last room on the right stood a giant painting of mammy water standing adoringly by the wall. Her eyes seemed to be smiling at Wale's and the thought of having a giant painting like this sent wale's thought on a roam.

- Here is your room sire!

- Oh! Thank you - Adewale was surprised at his own tone of superiority. He is really now a rich man in action, only that he doesn't have the money yet. He thought within himself.

The room was small but well furnished. Everything in it suits Wale's taste. He collapsed on the easy chair and for a moment or two he thanked his stars. The once described dangerous journey has turned out to be that of affluence for him.

- I wish I'd take a walk through this forest every day. He said to himself.

He thought of buying a motorcycle, the first of its kind in his village. He thought of how proud his mother would be. He would be made a chief and Bola and her family would never look down on him again. He gave himself a satisfactory smile as he dozed off.

In his dreams he saw himself climbing a mountain and sitting on the mountain is a basket containing gold. He kept climbing with all his strength, but just before his last step, he slipped and fell

The sound of his own groans woke him up and the sight in front of him sent shrills down his spine. He could feel a strange coolness on his head and immediately, he knew his head has been shaved. He could not move, his body has been tied to a pole and just ahead of him stood the strange man holding a large calabash and a red staff adorned with cowries. Adewale immediately came to terms with what he was seeing. There wasn't money in the bag, he was going to be the money. He realised there wasn't any evil in the forest either. The evil, if there is any is greed, human greed and Wale needed no soothsayer to tell him what had befell the people he thought the evil forest had gulped.

Updated: Dec 17, 2022
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A Walk in the Night. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/a-walk-in-the-night-essay

A Walk in the Night essay
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