The International Writers Magazine: From the Archives
Peter Ike Amadi
Edwin “Caesar” Clark and his friend Sadiq, picked up two scantily dressed girls and drove them to a small town where they found a chalet that sold alcohol. In Northern Nigeria Sharia law was in full force and the sale of alcohol was prohibited.
However the woman who owned the chalet wasn’t Muslim and made good business catering to the alcoholics like Caesar and company. As they drank beer and pepper soup the couples divided and immersed themselves in their own conversations.
“So what do you do in your spare time?” Caesar asked the girl of his choice called Amaka.
“I’m a dreamwalker” she replied with a small smile.
“You’re a what?”
Caesar stared at her. She seemed serious.
“I’m not crazy” she said, still smiling.
“I like to move around while I dream, visit places and even people.”
Caesar smiled exasperatedly.
“What are you, some sort of witch? Fly around on a broomstick and all that?”
“Some people like to call me that but no, I’m not a witch. I’m just someone who has… ah… what shall I call it? A free spirit.”
“You don’t believe me, do you?”
“Would you blame me?”
“No, I won’t but don’t you ever have dreams that seem so vivid you could actually have sworn that it was real?”
“Yes, I have” Caesar said thoughtfully, “But then again, I woke up.”
“Not all dreams are just dreams. Some are actually what you see as your spirit roams free.”
“I like the concept, but sorry, it’s a bit too much for me to swallow.”
“Okay, then, I’ll prove it to you. Soul travel isn’t just about moving about aimlessly, you can do more practical things… like inhabit a person’s body.”
“Yes, it’s possible. For someone in my level it’s very easy and I’m going to prove it.”
“This I would love to see.”
“Alright then, you see the woman who has this place?”
“Yeah… what about her?”
“Would you like to sleep with her?”
Caesar spilled his drink.
“Excuse me?” he spluttered, “What are you saying? There is no way she is going to sleep with me. That’s a wedding ring on her finger and never mind she’s selling booze, she’s all covered up.”
“Good then, a challenge. Tonight while we’re in bed she’s going to visit us and ask you for sex. I will be in her body while she will be sleeping in mine. Just don’t try waking me up.”
“I think this is going to be an interesting evening.”
Caesar reclined on the sofa smoking while he resentfully watched Amaka’s back as she snoozed on the mattress.
Dream walker, my ass, he thought. Why did he always get the crazy ones?
There was a tentative knock on the door.
“Come in” Caesar answered automatically thinking it was Sadiq.
The door opened and a large figure walked in. Caesar’s mouth fell open.
The proprietress was wearing a see-through nightgown and nothing was left to the imagination. She was smiling sheepishly as she slowly approached him and Caesar noticed her eyes were vacant.
Like she’s sleepwalking, he thought.
“I’m sorry, Sir” she said in perfect English, “I am sorry for being so forward but I want to have sex with you.”
Caesar thought he was going to have a heart attack.
“Er… Mrs. Joshua, shouldn’t you be in bed?” he asked weakly.
“I know I should be in bed with my husband but tonight I just want to be with you.”
She inched towards him and Caesar jumped up from the sofa.
“Please, Mrs. Joshua…”
He shot a furtive glance at Amaka who had not moved an inch. From the rise and fall of her chest she was still fast asleep. How could she not have woken up?
He looked back at Mrs Abdul as she boxed him in a corner. Her eyes were empty as she watched him, as if he wasn’t really there. She hadn’t blinked once.
“Don’t you want to touch me?” she asked again. Her flawless English accent was giving him the creeps. He had heard her talking earlier that evening and she barely spoke English.
“No, Mrs. Abdul, please go back to your husband before you get us both killed.”
“If you insist” she muttered and slowly turned away “Please do enjoy your stay and please do not ask me about this in the morning.”
She drifted out of the room, her laughter ringing in his ear like a bad music box. Caesar slumped back in his chair and actually started shaking. Five minutes later Amaka stirred and stretched. She sat up and stared directly at him. Caesar stared back
“Well that was fun” she said smiling.
“I can also travel back in time.”
“Really?” At this point he doubted if anything Amaka said would sound completely outlandish, still he thought this was completely over the top.
“I’m not exactly sure what stunt you and Mrs. Joshua pulled some minutes ago but there’s no way you can prove to me that time travel exists.”
“But why mot? It is very possible.”
“Everything that has happened, is happening or will happen has already happened.”
“Okay, I’m lost here.”
“Let me put it in very simple terms. Take yourself as a character in a story. If the reader wants to know your fate all he or she has to do is to skip to the end of the story.”
“Are you telling me that I’m a character in a story?’
“Aren’t we all? Our lives are all roles we play in some grand story written by an author. Everything that happens is for a reason.”
“Hmm, sounds like something I’ve heard before.”
“Look… this universe is circular. The most important events and processes are cycles. The world is born, it exists then it dies and then it starts all over again. This goes on for eternity. There is no beginning and no end… an infinite cycle. So don’t say the future hasn’t happened yet. It already has, again and again.”
“So how can you ‘travel’ in time?”
“By using soul travel. Physically it is impossible for me to time travel but my soul or consciousness can. The soul is like energy and energy can travel in time. In the dreamscapes time and space mean nothing. Haven’t you had vivid dreams of your past or even strange dreams of the future that actually happened?”
“Then why do you doubt me? Nostrademus could see the future because in his dreams he could visit any point of the circle of the universe. You can too… if you want to.”
“So prove that to me.”
“Okay, is there any part of your life that you would like revisit?”
“Yes, but is there one in particular you would like to change?”
“Yes. Are you saying I can travel back in time and change things? How?”
“You travel to your body at that point in time and you will be practically in control of yourself. All you need to do is to change things you did then to alter the future.”
“That’s impossible. Do you have any idea of the implications of such an action? You could rewrite history. That is not possible or even if it is, very unsafe.”
“But would you like to try?”
“Yeah of course!”
“Then let’s do it.”
“So how does this work exactly? Incantations, spells… magic potion?”
“Shut, up, Caesar. How far back do you want to go?”
“Twenty five years… 1984… when I was seven.”
“Sorry, that’s private.”
“Suit yourself. All you need to do is to go to sleep and start dreaming of the place and time you want to go to. It would be easier if you practice lucid dreaming…”
“The process of consciously being aware you are in a dream state. Anyway since you are a rookie I’ll help you enter this dream state.”
“By making you go to sleep and inducing you to dream. All you have to do is focus your mind on the event of choice and your soul will travel to your body at such a time. Which means you will experience being inside your seven year old body.”
“Wow! So you are telling me that I will be seven years old but with the mind of a thirty two year old?”
“That is so cool! And I can control my seven year old body and actually perform tasks and such?”
“So if for instance I had a goldfish that died because I forgot to feed it I can now go back to feed it and save its life?”
“Is that what you are going back in time to do?”
“No, but is it possible?”
“You keep saying that. What happens to my seven year old soul?”
“It will be residing in your thirty two year old body right here on this bed fast asleep.”
“Are you ready?”
“Look into my eyes and think only of that place. Remove every other thought from your mind. Focus…”
Caesar stared into the black depths of her eyes and seemed to find himself falling to a bottomless abyss. Amaka’s voice became more monotonous and he struggled to hear what she was saying as his mind began to drift, her face dissolving like sugar cubes in hot tea…
I woke up suddenly shivering, the blankets damp with my sweat. I stared up at the familiar ceiling wondering where that awful dream came from. My goodness it felt so real!
I hopped down the stairs and wondered what my dream was all about. I could hardly remember it since it was rapidly fading into nothingness.
I could hear voices talking heatedly from the living room as I approached.
I walked inside and stared at the two of them. I felt crushed. What had they been arguing about? They argued all the time but this sounded different. They stopped talking abruptly and stared guiltily at me.
“Hello, Edmund!” said Mummy gently, “I thought you were playing with your toys?”
“I slept off, Mummy. I just woke up. What’s going on?” I looked from one parent to another.
“Your Mommy wants you to go to Nigeria, Edwin” he said looking at her accusingly,
“Would you like that?”
“Stop saying it like it’s a bad thing!” hissed Mommy, “Nigeria isn’t a bad place, Edwin, there are so many nice people there.”
“Are you two breaking up?” My heart felt like a torpedoed ship.
“Of course not!” Mummy said quickly, “It’s just that I’ve just gotten a very big job with the Nigerian Government and I will like to use this opportunity to take you to your roots.”
“I suppose that’s okay” I said finally. Daddy looked at me with a hurt expression on his face.
“You see, Edmund?” said Mummy triumphantly, “He wants to come with me…”
I would never forget the way they glared at each other. I felt guilty and even though Daddy was the greatest I just couldn’t bear to be without Mummy Dearest.
Then why this nagging feeling in my chest like I had made the wrong decision? Like I was supposed to choose to stay with Daddy instead? Like I was supposed to be on some kind of mission? Something felt amiss. The dream… what was that dream all about? Why was that dream so important?
I walked over to Mummy and climbed on to her lap. I rested my head against her warm bossom and my eyelids began to feel drowsy, my thoughts began to drift, Daddy’s sad face dissolving in front of me like sugar cubes in hot tea…
Caesar jolted awake and stared in bewilderment at Amaka’s face.
“Well did you accomplish your mission?” she asked.
“It was all a dream” he whispered hoarsely, “Just a forgotten memory brought back to life.”
“Really? Are you sure?”
The next day Sadiq and I dropped off Amaka and her friend. She was behaving strangely, as if she didn’t know who I was. Sadiq later told me that she had a drug problem. She was probably so stoned she couldn’t even remember who she had spent the evening with. The proprietress was peeping at me through a window as we left the chalet and there was a strange look in her eyes… like she had seen me in a dream.
I wondered about last night and the strange dream I had had. It had been so vivid, I was sure it was real! But I guess it was just a repressed memory.
Huh! Next time I must remember to pinch myself.
© ike amadi September 2010