Mickey, the middle-aged black mouse pokes its head out of the tiny hole burrowed into the floor. Similar holes dot the four corners of this dingy room at the Kru Kru prison. Wary of the sole occupant of the room, it pushes forward, surreptitious and whiskers-alert. Only the staccato drop of water from the leaking roof can be heard as it joins the puddle near the centre of the room.

Until only three weeks ago, when the occupants were two, it was difficult, very difficult, to steal crumbs from them. That Monday morning, two prison officers, a man and a woman, marched to the entrance and called Pius, the older of the two inmates, out of the room. They slipped the handcuffs onto his hands and led him to the hangman’s noose. He never returned.

For a week now, the rat has made away with Agbako’s meal – a paltry loaf of bread and some watery, half-done beans. Agbako has refused to eat, but only stares in the dark. Every night, all he sees are strange things as Pius’ ghost visits him. In those apparitions, Pius never smiles…

After three years in prison, no one bothers to visit Agbako anymore. Even his wife, he heard, has run off with an Alhaji and left his children in custody of his widowed grandmother. The nightmares wouldn’t go, or even move an inch. Last Sunday, he was told he would finally be hanged today.

Continue reading here: BN Prose: Agbako Was Here by Gbenga Awomodu