I Now Know Why the Door Made the Creaky Sound At Night

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A teenager's journey into discovering the truth that surrounded a little mystery that has worried his mind since he was three years old...it was indeed a shocking truth..

Submitted: November 05, 2009

A A A | A A A

Submitted: November 05, 2009



At the tender age of three, many little things worried my mind; like why my height was that way, why we slept most hours of the night, and why my mother was the only one adult whom I saw at our house. Wasn’t there supposed to be two grown-ups at our home? A question my little mind was so curious to know. Mother usually mentioned that I asked too many questions for a kid my age. It was at four years of age that curiosity had gotten the best of me the night I had heard the creaky sound coming from our living room. This sound was no stranger at all because it had always visited. Asleep on my little mat, once I heard the sound, my initial instinct was to jump right up and go find the source of the noise. But the fear of the dark was a battle that I had to contend; darkness always enveloped my little room anytime the sun had gone down for the day. Hence, sleeping on my stomach became a new habit I had developed. I wanted to seek out this rickety sound before dawn.

One day, very early at dawn with the first sound of the cock crow, I got up with the resolve to find out the source of the strange sound that had become a familiar tune. The sweet smell of fresh stew and rice greeted my little nostrils but it was not strong enough to deter me. It was a beautiful Sunday morning. As I ran through the kitchen door right into the sitting room with no particular direction in mind, bumping into the furniture; I walked towards the door that led into the small hallways where the toilet, bathrooms, and mother’s room were located. Laying my little pudgy hand on the knob to open the door, there came the familiar creaky sound. Alas, to my victory, I had found the source of the sound; and so, I practiced opening and shutting the door waiting for the sound to disappear. Realization hit me when I figured the sound was only created at the slight turn of the knob when opened slowly. My little ego boosted at the discovery and it satisfied me deeply.

But now at the age of thirteen, I had grown to be a boy who loved to know about everything, even though I had still not found out who it was that came and left our house at night each time, causing the creaking sound. Chinonye, my baby sister was my number one job and priority once my mother was off to the market. I would gladly trade caring for her with the task of plucking fruits from the popular orange tree at our back yard. Please don’t get me wrong. Chinonye was such a lovely baby; she was hardly the crying type. Her routine was to eat and sleep. Once asleep it could be tricky to put her down, get up and walk away as she’d react to any slight movement. That being said, Chi loved to be held. And this was a task I was not quite prepared to handle. And so, I would sit there like an affixed statue holding her quietly. She’d always have that look of satisfaction on her face even while sleeping; as if to say, ‘just keep holding me. Don’t drop me.’

On this day, I sat motionless as usual, watching my baby sister sleep; mother had gone to the market. When it seemed like I was slowly falling asleep, a rude knock on our door shook me out of my drowsy state. Scrambling to my feet and obviously waking Chinonye, I walked to the door. My first thought was that I’d see my mother through the peep-hole on the door; instead, the huge figure of a man with protruding belly stared back at me. Automatically, I made out the identity of the man without difficulty; it had to be my Uncle Gozie, my father’s only surviving brother. Mother used to sing of his praises to me. She said he was the only person who really cared for and supported us; especially after the death of my father. I believed her. He had shown it severally, therefore, he had earned my respect. And so with a new burst of energy, I flung the door open.

“Welcome Uncle!” I greeted him excitedly and found my way into his open arms.

“Ah, Obinna, how are you?” his deep croaky voice responded as he walked into the house filling our little sitting room with his heavy frame.

“I am fine.” I responded.

I used to think that when he was a kid he must have eaten lots of frogs or may have something rubbery stuck down in his throat because his voice would have made a perfect fit for a town-crier. His body size had gotten bigger; his dark face still looked like his mother had managed a zoo once before giving birth to him.

“Is your mother at home?” he asked, still standing on his feet. “Call her for me. And how is Chinonye doing? I hope she hasn’t been crying too much.”

“Mother is not around now. She went to the Eke market and she said she would be there for a long time.” This was my reply as I looked up at him with the utmost regard. I always wondered… ‘What if he was my…’ No, I chose to forget that thought.

After slamming his fist into his palm in disgust, he dipped his hand into his breast pocket and pulled out a brown, medium envelope. “Nna, here give this to your mother when she comes back, ok?” he said handing the envelope to me.

I nodded.

“Tell her it’s very important and she should read it as soon as she gets back.” He went on and I nodded again.

“I have to leave now, but I shall be back soon to pay you and Chinonye a special visit.” He winked as he said this.
“But you never answered my question about Chinonye. How is she doing?”

“Yes of course uncle, she is very fine. I am taking good care of her as her big brother.” I replied with a wide grin on my face. He chuckled and made a small rusty laugh which made his face turn to a mess whenever he attempted to even smile.

“Oh my boy, it is true that you are her big brother, and a big boy at that,” he replied; and turned abruptly towards the door. “Do tell your mother about my visit and that envelope in your hands. It is very important. Please do not forget.” He pointed his index finger at me in a commanding way.

“I will tell her uncle about your visit. I will not forget sir.” My firm response seemed to satisfy uncle Gozie.

He grabbed the door handle firmly as if to pull it off, opened it and stepped out.
“Bye-bye uncle.” my wave came after the door was slammed shut.

As soon as he was gone, I locked the door and sat down re-visiting the work of putting the baby back to sleep which took light years before she drifted off to sleep again. The words of my uncle played back in my head.
‘…don’t forget to give her the envelope, it’s very important.’

Looking down at the sealed brown envelope, curiosity began its famous itch with me. What was so important in the envelope? Could it be that uncle Gozie had finally decided to take me to the city as he had been promising? Or could it be the ‘big supermarket’ he had promised my mother? All of these unanswered questions troubled my young mind. For the first time, my mind paused and instinct took over; in a flash, I tore frantically at the lid of the envelope to find out what lay within. Chinonye was snoring softly beside me. Now, with its contents in my hands, a check of fifty thousand naira and a letter neatly written in red ink, I pondered whether to quickly put the items back into the envelope or continue digging for more discoveries. After what seemed like a long battle with my mind and conscience, I decided to read the letter. The letter was brief. It was the last lines of the letter that got a hold of me. My eyes almost popped out of its sockets at what I saw. I could not believe what I had read or if I read right at all. I went over the lines again and again, only doing so very slowly this time. The words of the letter rang out aloud in my ears as if someone actually read it out.

"Comfort, I am very sorry for disappearing the way I did; especially after the birth of Chinonye. Like I promised you, I will always send money to you to take care of your family. Though I might have to do this from a distance, since I cannot stay in this village living with the reality that Chinonye is a product of the many nights I slept with you, my late brother’s wife. I accept that I am her father and will take care of her.

…yours always,

The letter dropped.
Everything stopped.

At that instant, I found myself at a place in time far away from the ugly truth.
Only this time, in that place, back in time, I heard the creaky sound of the door which opened ever so slowly; and out emerged the dark familiar face of my uncle. Uncle Gozie.

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