By Patrick Ngugi, Kabete, Kenya
The dark grey clouds that had hung precariously over the sky most of the afternoon finally made way for a clear and somehow chilly twilight that was lit up by the rounded full moon that ambushed the horizon of the sleepy countryside.
My sleepy eyes scanned the patch of heaven that could be seen through my car’s windscreen and enjoyed the array of twinkling stars and shimmering planets. At least one shooting star flew just under the moon and disappeared after flaring up, brightening the skies further.
It was one of those nights I wondered how come flying saucers and other types of UFOs never visited Africa. All we had learned or read about the alien crafts were from events happening in Europe, America or Asia. I moved my drowsy eyes back from the skies and onto the road, as I stifled a yawn.
I was tired from driving the for last one hour or so and needed a deep rest before driving on to Elgeret, a city that was still about 200 kilometers away.
Full Moon Boulevard Motel, 500 metres away, said the signpost on the left, and I chuckled at the coincidence. We had a beautiful full moon coming up beyond the Tilget hills on the south-eastern horizon; and here, a mere half-a-kilometers away was a welcoming Full Moon Motel.
I decided to stop there for the night. I was feeling sleepy and hungry and needed a good dinner, a good drink before retiring to deep slumber and waking up early to drive to Elgeret for a business conference with a group of clients.
I heard a bump and a yelp
Shortly I reached another signboard which directed me to Full Moon Boulevard Motel, this time taking me to an off-road track, which to my dismay, went on and on through a bushy road for another kilometer or so. I cursed under my breath when I remembered that the first signpost had spoken about 500 metres. It meant half a kilometer to the next signpost, I thought as I gently shook my head.
I yawned again and decided to drive faster to get to that hotel bed and disappear into slumberland. Sleepiness was invading my body and mind fast and I feared even blinking, as it could send me to sleep while on the wheel.
Since darkness was also approaching fast, I decided to put on the headlight, and lo… suddenly there was a huge black dog jumping across the road and I had to apply the brakes sharply, stepping on the pedal with all my might, as if my life depended on it. I heard a bump and a yelp. I must have killed or maimed the poor dog, I thought, my heart starting to beat fast.
With my hands trembling in shock, I switched off the engine and got out. I had to check how seriously injured the animal was. The icy evening air hit hard against my face as I got out of the car’s air-conditioned comfort, and felt somewhat rejuvenated as the cold air entered my nostrils, and down into my lungs, somehow insulating my shock.
I cautiously went in front of the car. I could see nothing. No wounded dog, or cat, or anything. What was happening to me? I had clearly seen a dog jump in front of the car, and even heard a bump and a yelp after I hit the dog, I thought. I went back into the car, opened the glove compartment, and took out my flashlight. I shone the powerful torch around the car’s front and side. There was nothing. I checked the car’s bumper. It was intact.
Then I saw her
Was I dreaming? I wondered as I scratched the back of my head. It must be fatigue, I thought as I nervously started getting back to the car. The surrounding heavy and misty air seemed to mingle with the semi-darkness glow of the moonlight, giving the countryside a blanket of an eerie glow. The stars up above shone, some seeming to dance to some inaudible cosmic tune, while others just seemed to stare blankly back at me. I felt a shiver down my spine and quickly decided to get into the car.
Then I saw her.
My heart stopped and my eyes popped out as I noticed how she had kind of materialized from the chilly darkness, her eyes shining almost like those of a wild hound in the dark. She wore a dark tightly fitting dress, the colour of which I could not tell immediately due to the dimness that surrounded us. I quickly shone my torch towards her, to confirm that I was not seeing things again.
She was real and was coming towards me with a disarming catwalk, a handbag in one hand, and a rucksack on her back.
‘’Hello Mister,’’ she said in greetings slightly nodding at me with a smile.
‘’Hi,’’ I said finally feeling slightly comfortable, realizing that this was a real person, but not a phantom-like the invisible dog.
‘’Are you going to the Moon?’’ She asked with a dazzling smile.
‘’What?’’ I asked, dazed.
‘’The moon. I mean Full Moon Boulevard,’’ she said still smiling.
‘’Yes I am,’’ I managed to say a bit sheepishly.
What were you doing outside the car?
‘’I’m on my way there, mind giving me a lift?’’
I first gaped at her, not really grasping her question. Here was a lass who just popped out of the darkness, just after I had knocked a ghost dog, and here she was, asking for a lift. How timely…
‘’A lift. I’m going to the motel too,’’ she said and half chuckled, waking me from my confusion.
‘’Of course… I will give you a ride. Come, get in,’’ I said as I went back to the car, entered, and opened for her.’’
Before she entered she removed the rucksack from her back and literally threw it in the back seat, and quickly settled on the front passenger seat, comfortably as if she partly owned the car.
My heart was still beating wildly since I had not fully recovered from what I had experienced just a few minutes earlier.
‘’What were you doing outside the car?’’ She suddenly asked.
‘’I thought I had hit something… I went out to check. But it must have been my imagination,’’ I said.
‘’That is interesting. Anyway, it’s good because I managed to catch up with you and get myself a lift,’’ she said with another chuckle. I glanced at her. Despite the semi-darkness, I could see she was young and beautiful. Probably about 26 years old.
Agatha, That’s a beautiful name, I said as we shook hands.
‘’What do you mean, caught up with me?’’I asked.
‘’I needed this lift. I was walking to the motel and I saw your car back there. I tried to flag you down, but apparently, you didn’t see me,’’ she said.
‘’Honestly, I didn’t. The only thing I saw was the signpost,’’ I said.
‘’That’s funny. I was standing next to it.’’’
‘’Sorry, I didn’t see you.’’
‘’it’s okay. I’m Agatha,’’ She said extending her hand in self-introduction.
‘’Agatha, That’s a beautiful name,’’ I said as we shook hands.
‘’Thank you,’’ she said.
‘’And I’m Heston. Heston Kigutha,’’
‘’Glad to meet you,’’ she said, her sweet-looking lips betraying her sparkling teeth when she smiled. I turned to look back onto the road.
I could see the lights in the middle of the dark wooded area, about 300 metres away and I guessed that it must be the motel.
What a coincidence
About a minute later, we were at the parking lot. It was big enough to accommodate at least 20 cars, and currently, there were about five. The motel was three storey building that seemed to have been constructed at the beginning of the century by the colonialists.
Old it was but it looked cozy. I hoped they had a fireplace where I could warm myself after a shower as I had coffee or a shot of whisky if the beautiful lady I had picked would agree to join me for a drink.
‘’Here we are,’’ I said as I switched off the engine.
‘’Thank you so much, Heston,’’ she said as she turned and stretched herself to pick her bag on the backseat, her luscious tits rubbing against my cheeks, and a faint aroma of a heavenly perfume romancing my nostrils. I must buy her a drink, I thought, as my blood pressure shot up a degree or so.
‘’You are welcome,’’ I said somewhat breathlessly and I got out to close and lock the car. I did not have much luggage except a briefcase, and so after locking the car we walked towards the reception.
‘’How long are you staying?’’ I asked.
‘’Just a few hours. I’m expecting a friend to pick me at 9. We are driving to on Karunu.’’ She said and I felt slightly offended… or was it jealousy?
‘’How about you?’’ she asked, staring at me with those lovely large bright eyes.
‘’Well I’m spending the night here, then continue on with my journey to Elgeret.’’
‘’What a coincidence… We shall be traveling with my friend there tomorrow.’’
In a few minutes, I had taken a refreshing shower and changed.
‘’Well that’s cool,’’ I said as we reached the counter to make my booking. She said she would be at the restaurant where she would wait for her friend. We agreed I would check on her after I freshened up and maybe have a drink or two together while I helped her wait for her friend.
The boring clerk with sleepy reptilian eyes at the counter gave me my room key after I paid and lazily pointed a crooked finger to the direction where I would find the room.
The flight of stairs to the second floor where my room was, made creaking sounds with every step I took. I was thrilled by this because it meant the hotel was a real antique, and I loved such old-fashioned stuff.
Finally, I entered my room, and wow. It had a double bed complete with very comfy-looking beddings. A towel hung at the head of the bed. There was also a full-length mirror in front of the built-in cupboard, a tub, and a shower, complete with hot water.
There was also a digital TV in the corner and even wifi, with the password pasted on the wardrobe door.
This is worth it, I thought as I placed my briefcase on the bed.
In a few minutes, I had taken a refreshing shower and changed.
I should not keep Agatha waiting, I thought as I looked at the clock. It was 7.30. There was a whole two hours and a half before her friend arrived. We could have supper or a snack together, and that drink before he, or she arrived. This could be the beginning of great things to come, I thought as I combed my hair and threw a wicked wink and grin at my image in the mirror.
I gasped as I checked the image again
What the hell! I gasped when I saw a fine crack on the mirror, running across it from the left side to the extreme right side of the mirror, neatly slicing my image’s neck. There was, for a brief moment a thin crimson line that followed the crack, just as if my neck had been sliced into two.
Where did that crack on the mirror come from? It certainly hadn’t been there when I started combing my hair. I gasped as I checked the image again. The mirror was fine. There was no crack. It must have been a figment of my imagination, just like I had seen that black dog earlier on… I decided to walk out of the room quickly. I am not sure why I was rushing out. Was it to get out of my hallucination or go and meet my newfound lady in the pub?
My breath became near normal as I opened the door and stepped into the wooden corridor. I locked the door and started walking down the creaking corridor which seemed to scream and heave at every step I took. The floor must be aged, I thought as I smiled wryly. They have to replace it. But that mirror…
As I took the corner to head to the pub, I was stopped dead in my tracks by a black something that seemed to jump at me. It gave an ear-shattering scream and I had to duck before it hit my face. When my senses returned I realized it was just a black cat on whose tail I had accidentally stepped on.
It screamed howlingly as it ran up the corridor, disappearing into one of the rooms, as I broke into a cold sweat, with my heart had jumped from its ribcage, now beating somewhere in my throat.
What the hell. What is all this, I thought as I wiped my cold sweat and walked on to the pub, wondering why would a hotel like this keep cats. Well, perhaps to keep away the rats?
Then I saw her.
I entered the pub and briefly stood at the door for my eyes to get accustomed to the dim light. There was soft background music playing a mournful melody, and a handful of clients minding their businesses over a drink, being served by one or two uninterested waiters.
The dim pinpoint lighting from the chandelier hanging from the ceiling in this bar blended well with the silky moonshine from the full moon outside, which now shone brightly, accompanied by dancing clusters of stars under a cloudless sky.
Then I saw her
She was seated at a corner, a slim drink of something in one hand, as the other hand waved at me to come over.
I smiled and felt myself grow a few centimeters taller as I walked; avoiding mostly empty seats cluttered around the lounge and joined her.
‘’So you are still here?’’ I asked eyeing her drink.
‘’Yes, I’m still waiting for Val,’’ she said giggling.
‘’Val? That must be your friend’?’
‘’Yes,’’ she said looking at her watch. My eyes glanced at the clock behind the counter. It was approaching a quarter to eight. Well, still a whole hour before Val arrived.
‘’What will you have?’’ She asked. ‘’ Allow me to buy you a drink,’’
Wow, I thought. In my thirty-something years on this planet, no dame had ever bought me a drink. And I decided I would not disappoint this one.
So she bought me a drink, and I reciprocated. She bought me another, and I bought her yet another. In between, we ordered some snacks because we did not feel like having heavy dinner, and before we knew it, time had flown to wherever it always flew during good times.
Then the call.
Then the bed
It was Val calling, Agatha said as she waved me to silence. I watched her closely as she spoke, noticing her somewhat disappointed, and before even she told me, I had guessed. Val was not coming. Something had held her up somewhere, and could they meet tomorrow in Elgeret?
For me it was a sigh of relief since it meant that I would have Agatha all to myself tonight, that is if she agreed to stay overnight at the hotel. Which, to make a long story short, she did.
After we had had enough drinks, and feeling too much immersed in love for each other, we paid for the drinks and somehow drunkenly waltzed to my room. This time I did not meet any wild wayward cats, or ghosts of dogs to worry me, and even if they did, I was this time brave enough to fight them. How would they dare to embarrass me in front of awesomely amazing Agatha?
Then the bed.
In my thirty-something years, I had never been so thrilled by a woman, as Agatha did that night. She helped me undress as I reciprocated. Our feverish and lusting lips met and as tongue caressed tongue. I felt and saw nothing except the implosive inner space that left me breathless, as she whispered a sweet vacuum into my ears and throat before we collapsed into a stupor of exhilaration, exhaustion, and drunkenness.
We seemed to have cozily slept in each other’s arms forever, until sometime in the ungodly hour of the night when I woke up with the urge to visit the bathroom. I disentangled myself from the warm arms of sleeping Agatha and got out of the bed. Stark naked, I walked bare feet on the cold floor, through the semi-darkness and made my way to the loo.
Then I heard it
After I was done I came back longing for Angela’s warmth, but as I walked past the dressing mirror, I had the urge of staring at me again. I was about to switch on the dressing table light when I saw a strange ray of light reflecting from the mirror.
I looked again. Yes, there was a steady yellowish stream of light that was shining from outside and reflected through the mirror.
Curiously, with my heartbeat starting to misbehave again, I walked to the window to find out where the light came from. It seemed to emanate from beyond the hotel compound. It was a queer sort of light since it kept on changing cooler; in throbbing fashion – sometimes green, sometimes yellow, sometimes blue or red. It did not seem to be a car or a lantern.
Then I heard it.
The soft electronic whirring-like sound coming from the light’s direction. Gosh, could this be a flying saucer? Was this my opportunity to see one at last? I wondered.
I did not want to miss this… the excitement was too much that it eclipsed the fear. I had to go out and investigate what this was all about. I was about to open the door and dash into the corridor when I remembered that I was still naked. Shit, I cursed as I came back into the room and hurriedly put on my underwear, trouser, shirt, and jacket. Then giving Agatha one look, I opened the corridor door and went out.
It was strange no one in the motel had seen the light or heard the humming which somehow glowed brighter and hummed louder as I got outside into the hotel lawn.
The dog was barking at me
I could see the light right into the bush. It brightened a radius of about 10 metres, and it was quite visible through the bush, reminding me of Moses’ burning bush. Was this a historic event about to happen? I wondered as I hurried through the shrubs towards the humming and the glowing.
Funny, I thought because the further I went into the bush the farther the light and the humming went. What could this be?
Then suddenly it was dark. Pitch darkness surrounded me.
I gasped as my heart stopped. I looked around; nothing. The full moon was forty-five degrees above the hills. The stars were dancing like crazy around it celebrating in the celestial stillness.
I looked around. I could not find the flying saucer anywhere; that is if it had been one. The motel, where I had left Agatha tucked in blissful slumber was also nowhere to be seen. God, what is happening to me? I thought as I feverishly searched for the Motel in the woods.
I could feel the air getting warmer and the moon and the stars seemed to have grown bigger, their light becoming even brighter. Then the dog and the cat. The dog that I had earlier knocked down on the road earlier in the evening, and the cat that I had met in the corridor. They were here!
The dog was barking at me threatening to gobble me with its sparkling silver razor-sharp canines, while it jumped and yelped around, dragging along its bandaged and bloodied hind legs. The cat also seemed to be stealthily coming towards me as if I was one huge fat rat that had to cross its path.
I turned and started running away, hoping to find the motel, and hide in the room, under the blanket with Agatha. I believed that if I managed to reach the bed and hide under that blanket, the animals wouldn’t get me.
I ran with all my might but without success as the dog and the cat seemed to catch up with every step.
Then, as I tried to climb over a boulder that was in the way, I tripped and fell, hitting my head on the rocky patch. Then darkness.
Apparently, the dog and the cat could not see me in the dark, and it was all quiet. I feared opening my eyes and getting up, lest the animals found me. Since it was comfortable behind this boulder, and not that cold, I decided to wait here until I was sure the animals were gone. I do not know when I fell asleep.
The dog was barking again when I woke up. It was bright and the sun had risen, chasing away the chilly night and the horrifying events of the previous night. But the dog was still here?
I opened my eyes.
Goodness me, how had I gotten back into my car?
And fully dressed in a suit? From the aches in my joints, it felt like I hadn’t left the car. But how could this be? The dog. The dog was still barking.
What hotel? He asked looking confused
I looked outside. I was in the middle of a clearing in the forest. I could see some herders tending their sheep and cattle. I looked around in the car, not understanding what had really happened. My briefcase was on the back seat, where I had placed it when I left Nairobi.
And Agatha? And the motel? I got out of the car and looked around. It was really the middle of nowhere, with just a one-way track for vehicles that had brought me here.
I called one of the herdsmen. I needed to find out where I was.
‘’Jambo,’’ I greeted him.
‘Poa sana,’’ he answered looking at me closely.
‘’Hapa ni wapi?’’ I asked.
‘’Ilkuren,’’ he said as he chewed a black stick.
Ilkuren was supposed to be about 50 km from where Full Moon Motel was. What the hell was I doing here?
‘’Wapi hoteli?’’ I asked still hopeful I was on the right track of mind.
“What hotel?” he asked looking confused. When I mentioned the name, he laughed and said there wasn’t any hotel by that name, and the only other hotel nearby was miles away. ‘’Umepotea,’’ he said.
He showed me the way out of the forest and to the main road, which was about 20 kilometers away.
I feared I was losing my mind. Had I slept on the wheel after veering into the forest, and dreamt all that I thought I had experienced?
I later googled Full Moon Boulevard Motel, and… you have guessed it; I could not find it anywhere. Apparently, it was all a figment of my tired mind. Together with sweet Agatha, ghost dog, and cat, and the flying saucer.
[c] Patrick Ngugi 131018