The House On Fake Street

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Nonso walked to the gate always with his suitcase squeezed to himself, between his elbow and his ribs. He was a short man by all ramifications, and he walked with the heel of his legs hitting the ground, as a penguin’s would.

His ears lay flat on his head and his neck was thick with muscle, and in some ways Nonso reminded me of those big box television sets with their slim antennas hanging behind them.But Nonso was a phenomenal man, and he was easy to love. Turn the TV on and you were immediately drawn by the sheer brilliance of it.

I loved to watch Nonso hurry to work, and I always watched him from the window, hiding behind my curtains like a ninja. And he knew, he would always turn, just before he walked out the gate, to throw a wave that made his hand seem shorter than it really was.

Fake Street was where we lived, in a small yet sufficient house, squeezed between a pharmacy and a brothel. Occasionally, inebriated louts were wont to saunter into the compound, and high on the confidence my skill in karate brought, I would always chase them off. Pharmacy was no better. Once, the manager connected a hose to a tap and let fly on the drunken bodies acting as human barricades in front of his store. Water and alcohol never mix so well and it was always a thing of joy to see them scamper away like fleeing rats.

Now, there is a reason why I have put pen to paper today to tell you this tale.One morning, the morning of Christmas, I woke up to find a lady sitting on the cobblestones outside my house like a petrified wraith.

It shocked me so bad my face grew white.

What sort of Christmas ghost is this and why did it come naked?

Soon as I pull the curtains to spy, her eyes are trained on me like poisoned arrows.

I can see the way her perky breasts rise and fall with every breath that she takes, and the morning fog does nothing to conceal the eerie smile on her face.

She looked at me deadpan and she had the audacity to smile on that Christmas morning.

Curiosity took the better of me and I wandered outside, to where the naked woman sat. When she saw me, she looked away.

“Who are you?!” I began to shout. “Who DA F**K ARE YOU???”

That karate boldness had returned and I walked, swift as a serpent, to where she was. Here I stood, but something about how calm she was in the heat of my fire made me recline a bit.

Call it a sixth sense for impending danger, or whatever, but something felt awfully wrong about that lady.

Fog wrapped about her body like a duvet and she sat with her back straight.

When she looked up at me hovering her, she wore an unctuous smile.

“How is Nonso?” She asked with a surprisingly perfect pronunciation of his name. “Where is my Nonso this cold morning?”

Her Nonso? Did this mean that I shared the man whom I loved with this strange woman. I didn’t react, and watched her coolly, ice running up my veins.

“When he wakes up, tell him Christmas is here and I’ve come to collect.” With that, she got and took her leave. The way she walked, it seemed as though she only floated and her feet weren’t touching the ground.

I ran as fast as I could, upstairs to Nonso. He slept lightly so it only took me bursting into his room for him to wake up.

“Nonso! Noooonnnsoooo!” He shouted back at me. “Yes??? What is the matter? Yeeeees!”

I needed to catch my breath and I sat down at the edge of the bed, panting.


“This th is morning-,” more panting, “I I saw a ghost I swear down! She said I should tell you it is Christmas morning and she has come to collect.”

Nonso jolted up the moment I said the words. And then, he relaxed. He walked over to the only window that stood in the room and looked out of it, drawing the curtains away ever so slightly.

“You saw Alyssa, and she is the ghost of Christmas. Some get gifts, some get kisses, others get warm hugs on Christmas mornings, I get Alyssa who demands that I make love to her every Christmas.”

What he was saying was so stupid it sounded near impossible that he may have thought it up himself.

“How did you meet her?” I asked, and I swear I could hear my brain pulse in my ears.

“It wasn’t I who met Alyssa,” he said. “My father knew her, and his father did. And his father’s father. Alyssa is our gift and our curse.”


I stood up slowly and I paced the room. Back and forth I went, the ridiculousness of his words even bigger with every second that past.

Worst part? I believed every word that left his lips.

“One year, my father refused to do it. Oh boy, it was our worst year ever. Father fell so ill. His skin lost so much color, went from deep black to something that was so white, so transparent, we could see his intestines if we looked hard enough.”

He looked away from the window, and looked at me, his eyes stern, “and now she has come again.”


I wanted to scream, to break things, to do all those nasty things I have always imagined I would do should I ever feel betrayed by Nonso. But faced with this situation, I felt only pity.


“Sex with Alyssa is the most painful experience,” he cried.”The first or second years, it’s not so painful. But after then, it feels like she’s sucking the soul out of you. On your 41st birthday is when Alyssa begins to bother you. Daddy explained that every Christmas for 12 years, I would need to share my body with her. He explained this the year after Alyssa’s deal with him had ended. My father died the Christmas after, and his father before him, and his father’s father.”


“For how long have you been secretly seeing Alyssa, Nonso?”

“I’m in my 12th year,” he responded.

“Your twelfth year? Your twelfth year?! And I’m the secretive one!” I fumed. How did the man hide all of these from me all these years? Ten years ago, we had our first and only child after years of trying. I remember how distraught Nonso was to find out we were getting a son as he wanted a girl so bad.

“Does this mean you die next year?”

“Yes,” he responded. “But the life has been worth it you know. I have a couple of billions in the bank, and every single property on Fake Street belongs to me, including this house!”

Alarm rang in my head so hard you’ll think there was a fire to be put out. So faced with the decision, life or wealth, Nonso would choose wealth?


“What happens if you refuse, Nonso?”

“The cycle must be completed. When dad tried it, it was hell, for him and Alyssa. They were almost dead before the next Christmas when dad managed to put his d**k in her. Instantly, he became better and the color returned to his face. But that year was a big lesson on why we can’t lose Alyssa. Because if we lose her, then we lose everything.”

This had gotten very interesting and I hurried to the door, bolting it shut.

I walked back to Nonso where he stood and I looked him in his eyes.

“Your dad was a selfish fool. Had he sacrificed himself with her, you won’t be in this mess. She would be gone! Do you see the sense in my words?”

Nonso eyed me once, the fresh stubble on his jaw seemed to throb with life, as he threw his gaze away from me.

“These things are not as easy as you think. The tradition must be maintained. We have a delicate position in the society, and everybody respects us. We have to keep giving to Alyssa so her blessings can remain with us,” he eyed me once before looking away again, his hands grabbed the window’s bolt like it was about to be blown away by wind. “Death is a small price to pay.”

I could not believe my ears.

“So what happens to Noah? He gets to his 41st year and the cycle continues? You would damn your son to that ghost?”

He looked at me once, and he looked away, and I knew this was a decision I couldn’t talk him out of.

I barged out of the room, my feet hard on the marble flooring. I had quickly, made up my mind on what I had to do. There was no way I was letting any harm come to my son and only way I saw that happening was if I went as far away from Fake street, and all of its fake life. I took Noah and I put him in the back seat of my Mercedes, and I drove far, very far.

I like to watch Noah walk to the gate. He walks always with his suitcase squeezed to himself, between his elbow and his ribs. He is a short man by all ramifications, and he walks with the heel of his legs hitting the ground, as a penguin’s would.

His ears lie flat on his head and his neck is thick with muscle, and in some ways Noah reminds me of those big box television sets with their slim antennas hanging behind them.

He is married now, with two kids and a doting wife. I come to visit and I stay as long as I like. Here’s one benefit of being old, I get to fold my legs and let others do my bidding. Noah has grown into a good man, and I’ll love to keep him this way. Their house on Forged Avenue is a two storey building with more rooms than I can count.


Noah turned 41 last week. It has been almost thirty years since I last heard from his father. I heard that Nonso died peacefully, in his sleep. Fear won’t let me pay my respects. And there is a new fear that has gripped my soul. Every morning, before the cock crows, I bundle myself up to the highest window in the house. From this vantage, my eyes scour the area. Maybe I’ll see a stray shadow? Maybe I’ll see something unusual? Maybe I’ll see a ghost?

Nothing ever happens. Just a few pines enveloped by fog and dancing in the slight breeze.

In time, I become calm and care free. Might be that Alyssa, with all of her gifts and forbidden fruits, has left us alone for good.

A day before Christmas, I tell Noah the story of Alyssa, and whom she had been.

He laughs so hard and calls my story fantastic. A small part of me wishes she’ll appear and smack him right out of his folly.


I resign to sleep on Christmas eve, with Noah’s mockery ringing in my ears.

The next morning, I wake up to a fresh stench in my room. In fact it is the smell that arouses me.

“Did you really believe you’ll be difficult to find?” I look and she is right here, hovering over me.

“Tell Noah that Christmas is here, and I’ve come to collect.”


I say the words to Noah and I beg him to flee. I say it over and over when the hands in white gloves grab me by my legs and my hands and force me into their white white trucks.

“Alyssa is here!” I scream over and over again. “She’s come to COLLECT!”


They lock me in a white room with white walls. To my right I see a bucket, metal. I hear my abductors laugh in the hallway as they walk away. If only they knew.

The walls are scrubbed off. The paint peels backward. A fresh community of moss decorates the east wall. Moss with a backdrop of algae. Higher they climb. All that is fresh must become stale. Dust must become dust. Old must die to give birth to young. Disaster must come before glories are attained. Around and around we must go.


The mental home has quickly, become home for me.

There is another bucket to the left. Blue. Or Black. Depending on perspective. Sometimes a beckoning red.

For me everything is a haze.

The walls bleed sometimes and I imagine there is blood on my hands.

The door? There is no door, no way out of this. They think  they have locked me but they are locked, outside, with their brains in their phones, and their hearts in their sexual needs. If I look hard enough I never see a way out for them.

There is no way out.

My baby is crying. Noah is crying.

The sound is coming from inside this bucket. The stainless steel bucket that has become my sole companion.

When I look at its metal skin, I am white. My long hair is frenzied and I have lost some teeth.

The peeled back paint on the wall soon become a million fingers that reach for me.

Come hither, I hear Alyssa say, come and give what you’ve kept from me.

So I am afloat. My body hovering some centimeters from the ground. I get to those fingers. I lose myself in my romance with the walls of this solitary confinement.


Till I look at the bucket.

I see me.

I see the walls.

I see the fingers.

I see Nonso.

I see Noah.

I am looking at myself.

I am Alyssa.

I am the ghost of Christmas.

I am I.


I kick the bucket and there is more blood on my hands.


The discussion outside becomes louder still.

I see Alyssa float away with the remnants of the emptied bucket.

I pick her up, and hold her to myself like a baby.

In the distance I can hear Noah scream, “what do you mean my mother has gone mad?”


“Shh- there there my child- its ok,” I say while rocking the baby in my hands.


I feel their eyes on me.

I hear their whispers…she’s insane, that’s all we know.

I hear them speaking from behind the big mirror. I know they can see me even though I can’t see them.

I throw my child at them and I start to scream at the top of my lungs.

“The Christmas ghost is coming! She’s coming for you all!”

Them, the masked men, they whisk in and they take hold of me.

They stick an injection in my neck.

The walls become a beckoning white and I see an open door and I see Alyssa.


The light that comes from the door is blinding, and wraps about Alyssa like the fog did all those years ago.


She’s smiling at me, and I observe she has more gum than teeth.

“It is Christmas,” she says in that sly voice of hers. “I will collect your soul.”


The doctor pulls the injection out, and I hear Noah scream so so loud.

Before I fall asleep, and into Alyssa’s arms.


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