Bush baby- Chikaodili Emelumadu

  With this short piece, the Nigerian born author delves into one of the African myths about a primate Garago that is fast going into extinction and is purported to possess certain kind of uncanny spiritual or magical power. The primate is widely known with different names among different people, like Nagapie for the Afrikaans, Aposo as the Ghanians call it. It has a characteristic cry like a baby which gained it the name Bush baby.
  When Ihuoma hears a bang at her gate she wishes it to be the wind and not another relative coming to cut his or her own share of her supposed rich reserves as a returnee from England. The knock was so loud on the gate that she thinks the person was “whacking it with a stone.”
  Idi, her gateman comes back to tell it’s madam’s brother Okwuchuckwu or Okwy for short at the gate. Okwy enters and is a sorry sight to behold. Ihuoma recants her relationship with her brother in the past year since their parents’ death.
Their Mother being the first to go followed by her father at whose funeral Okwy had come with a band of friends and wayward girls and did not contribute anything for the whole burial rite of their father. At first Ihuoma thinks her baby brother had been drinking as usual, then she thinks he walked like an accident victim, all conjecture proved wrong when he was closer and saw the wretch her brother had turned into- he smells of filth. Once inside he falls on his sister and becomes unconscious.
  As okwy sleeps on Ihuoma’s bed as she recants their younger days and how endearing, selfish and stuborn, the mess of a human being now on his bed was as a child and how it had been hard for his parents to conceive another child after they had her but at last Okwy arrived. Okwy wakes up and Ihuoma asks what he had been into this time around, drugs? Okwy does not give a straight answer, he kept referring to his lost teeth and how he would get golden ones once the thing is over. “Just three days” he says.
  The first attack in Ihuoma’s house comes. It is a deadly struggle for life as both Ihuoma and Okwy is terror stricken by the sudden, quietness and deadness of the night that ensues following the wailing of the bush baby. The wailing stops as abruptly as it has started. In the morning Idi comes in to tell Ihuoma that what came yesterday was Gwei Gwei, which is supposed to be the name Idi’s people from the North called the Bush baby. Idi tells her that it is her brother that brought this and that is a terror which will not leave till it ate them up and that he would henceforth not work again for Ihuoma if there should be a repeat of the incident last night.
  Okwy wakes up and Ihuoma confronts him with the question of Gwei Gwei. Okwy opens up finally. He had gone gambling and lost the three houses he inherited from their dead parents to some men who gave him the condition to recover the wealth was to get a mat belonging to an old man in the forest. Okwy had gone and returned with the mat now the spirit (Bush baby) is after him it would haunt him for seven days. He either dies within those seven days or becomes rich afterwards. Okwy thought the spirit is allergic to concretes and other forms of modern amenities so he had come to his sister hoping it would not follow him. At night the generator cuts, the wailing comes on again and Okwy writhes in pain on the bed. Ihuoma is frantic.
  It’s morning, Idi comes to tender his resignation. He could not bear it again, as newly married; he would want to enjoy his marriage. He however leaves Ihuoma with a clue to fight the spirit. He says: “na to naked yourself. You go dey naked fight am. Only person wey no want im property, na im fit fight gwei gwei”Ihuoma gets her little property in order and ready for the bush baby to attack again.

The story is written in the first person narrative, planted in a present tense. In the opening paragraphs, one would most likely not expect what follows next. However, she introduces the reader bit by bit into a full fledge horror that is the theme of the story- Ihuoma and Okwuchukwu’s struggle with the creature- Bush Baby.
  In the third world of West-Africa, Nigeria precisely, where the story is often told and told again of Bush babies, like it is some oral tradition, one familiar with the tale probably would feel some queasiness, like in the first instance of the narration. But, to others from other climes, who are not familiar with the myth, it would be an equally horrible terror story served on the table of Caine. The writer, undoubtedly and artfully brings the reader to feel something between the lines of spectacular, listening to the Bush baby tales as the effect is strewn throughout the storyline.
  In the end, Chikaodili leaves one hanging and one reason could account for this- she would want a spark of imagining all sorts of ending. Did the Bush baby come back even after Ihuoma discards her property and adopts Idi’s advice? Did Okwy survive? Did he get rich? And on and on…