The waiter placed the food in front of the young woman. Aduke reached for the plate but the man’s hand shot out in front of hers.

“No, eat your own, and she eats her own,” he snarled.

Aduke retained her hold on the plate. “No, I want it!”

An effigy moaned. “Everyone eats from their own plate.”

The man slapped her hand, hard.

Aduke woke with a start. “Aha?”

She blinked several times, her breath squeezed out via her mouth. She stared at her right hand, which was slapped in the dream. It was as normal as ever, and there was no pain or discomfort from it. She picked her phone. Though the time showed a quarter after three, she speed-dialled Aunty Ranti’s number.


“Aunty Ranti. It’s me. Eh!”

“Come to my room,” Aunty Ranti said.


The doors along the corridor opened to two- and three-bed apartments in the three-story building. The landlord knew how to maximize space and at least achieve an average of ten tenants per floor. Aunty Ranti lived on the first floor in a three-bedroom house with her two sons, aged mother and invalid husband. She was at the door when Aduke knocked.

“It’s the dream again.” Aduke panted though she had climbed just a flight of stairs. “The same one.”

“Come in,” Aunty Ranti retied her wrapper about her chest. “Mami and I just turned in to sleep.”

“Aunty Ranti, what does it mean? We need to pray, aunty mi.”

“Did you see the faces this time?”

Aduke shook her head. “No. The voice is the same. And this time, he slapped my hand.”

“Something changes in each dream. He never hit you before.” Ranti sighed. “Did the young woman say anything this time?”

“No.” Aduke heaved. “But the effigy.”

Ranti leaned forward. “What did it say?”

“That everyone eats their own plate of food.” Aduke moaned. “The fear…the way my body shakes when I wake up. This is a lot of evil, and I don’t know what it means.”

“I remember when my Ola was going to have that accident that left him an invalid till tomorrow…this is how I was having these dreams I could not understand but I would be so afraid. The devil wanted to kill him!”

“Ah!” Aduke clasped her hands over her head. “This is the fourth time in how many weeks. What does it mean, my God?”

“We just have to pray. That is the only thing we know how to do. Hmm.” Ranti paused. “Let me get my olive oil and tell Mami. Then we go to your house and anoint it.”

“Maya was asleep, hope we will not disturb her.”

Ranti scoffed. “It is part of the disadvantage of a mother who is a prayer warrior. She either joins us or stays awake until we finish.”

Aduke shrugged half-heartedly. “This dream should just go away.”

She cherished her daughter. Praying the way they did, Maya would not be happy but what can a prayer warrior do in such a time as this?

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