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Michael Corbis is dead, so Forreal Corbis freaked out and smashed up the place. The apartment was stripped of any dignity it had ever known. The monsters from the back of beyond won't take long now. Forreal Corbis had revealed this in a long epistle Michael didn't take any seriously.

"Football is a game of two halves, and so is life." That was how the epistle had begun. "That face you are pecking is Aunty Becky's." the epistle continued. "You are not even that small pikin that needs her petting. Stop it now and fix your life, Mikey. The Mazoka monsters would soon be all over the place. Leave your apartment, leave Becky, leave Beer Ki. Just move to Fi Town. I have a small apartment there. It should at least, I suppose, be enough to keep you alive, Mikey. Open the blue box on the stereo Boski. Take my key and run, Mikey. Goodbye."

But somehow, Michael Corbis stayed back. Instead he wrote back to Forreal: "I have of course already devoted my time to developing this closeness with Becky, and her little Beer Ki. To leave, even without her, is to begin practising with renewed effort how to live life alone. I should hope then, that by the time of your return, I should be in a position to pleasantly surprise you."

On receiving the letter, Forreal Corbis entered his convertible and drove with breakneck speed on a journey that would take days no matter how much speed he applied generously to the tyres of his blue automobile.

And when he arrived at the house with chicken legs, he found Michael Corbis dead and lying with some of his teeth on the floor. He looked up to the ceiling where the plastic chicken legs hung, shook his head and remembered what the landlord of the house had said on the day they first entered the house to see if it was something they could live in. "Don't worry, these chicken legs are the relics of the people who once lived here.

They are gone, but not so gone. They were the best tenants I ever had. I suggest no one takes them off, it reminds me of them." Frankly, they had tried to protest. But in the end, they accepted the condition and packed into the wooden house on 845 Troops Park.

Now Forreal Corbis is angry and smashing up the place, the chicken legs dangling over his head. Now looking at them, a great urge is telling him to take a rake and bring every one of those legs down. He goes for a rake, and while trying to find the tool begins to ask where Becky and Beer Ki could be. Becky was a single mother whom Michael had brought in.

He looks at the pictures on the wall, the one Becky, Beer Ki and Michael are in. He sighs and goes to unhinge the chicken legs. He knew he didn't have much time, the monsters could still be lurking around. Those monsters that had been unleashed the day he discovered a key in the cellar of the wooden house.

On opening a cupboard, the monsters had made him swear he would never tell anyone of their existence. He had agreed, not until he realised the monsters were secretly killing his friends and family. So with the rake up to do his bidding, a loud shriek came from behind. And before he, Forreal Corbis, could turn, he was dead.

  • BIO: Marvel Chukwudi Pephel is a Nigerian writer and biochemist. His short story "Cecilia" was a finalist for the 2020 George Floyd Short Story Prize.

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