I was running as fast as my legs could take me. I was certain my lungs were almost out of air and my adrenaline, packed with full force. How could a python with three legs be chasing me at dawn? There were no houses around or anyone in the hood that I could run to for help. I risked looking back to see if the python was still far behind. But this time, the sight of what I saw made my heart jump. The head of the python had taken the shape of a goat’s head.
All of a sudden, it seemed as if my legs were paralyzed as I could no longer run. The python didn’t stop running towards me either and the only thing I could do was to scream. I screamed like my life depended on it until I felt strong arms embrace me. I opened my eyes immediately and saw that it was my mum. I hugged her immediately and then the reality of what really happened hit me hard.
“Bunmi, it was just a dream. Just one of those dreams”, my mum said as she withdrew her arms. I nodded in agreement and gave her a sly smile. “I’m just glad it wasn’t real.”
“You’ll be fine honey”, my mum said as she got up from the bedside.
“Mum, will I? I mean, it felt so real. I was alive in my dreams”
“Go back to bed, we have a lot to do tomorrow”
“Mum, please, try to understand me. If I go back to bed again, another of those nightmares would definitely haunt me”
“Ok, we’ll go and see Woli Jemimah tomorrow. He’ll pray about it and your nightmares will disappear”
“Ok oo”, I said as I closed my eyes to sleep again while my mother left the room.
The next day, my mum and I arranged to meet with our Woli in the church. After waiting for over two hours in the prayer room, Woli Jemimah attended to us.
“Good afternoon Woli”, we greeted.
The Woli bowed his head in response to our greetings. “How may I help?” he asked.
“Woli, it’s my daughter oo”, my mum began. “Anytime she can close her eyes to sleep like this, it’s always nightmares upon nightmares. Today, goat head. Tomorrow, chicken mouth. Next tomorrow, five-headed monster.”
The Woli nodded in understanding, stood from his seat and took up his bell. “Ok, let us pray”, he said with confidence.
My mum and I went on our knees at his word to pray. After praying for forty five minutes, the Woli gave me a bottled water to drink. “Don’t worry dear. No more nightmares.”
I collected the bottled water, thanked him and we went back home.
Two weeks after, I still had difficulty sleeping. The night before, I had dreamt that I died. I was more scared than ever. I was even terrified of sleep itself and saw sleep as an enemy. I remember that sometimes last week, I sleep-walked, got out of bed and walked out of the house. My mum couldn’t stop crying after she was able to wake me up and rescue me from wandering around. She was always saying things about village witches attacking me and every night before going to bed, I’d hear her pray like her life depended on it.
“This is getting out of hand”, I thought to myself as I picked up of my phone to see if my problems had a name. After surfing the internet, I finally came across the medical term that described the exact issues I was facing. It was termed parasomnia; a nightmare disorder.
“Oh my God, what do I do? How will I make this go away?” I cried in silence.
Iwayemi Iyanuoulwa Olubunmi, Ekiti State University, NIGERIA