It started with dreams. The dreams with all my ex-boyfriends—from Ebuka, my first boyfriend in the junior secondary school to Damola who I’d found out was married after dating him for three months. They all chased me, waving clubs with the thickness of my wrist in their hands and what sounded like sex-induced moans floating out from their gaping mouths. I didn’t dream of Gabriel though, I suspected it was because I didn’t sleep with him. There had been no chance to do that, not when I’d found him receiving an anal from his male neighbor two weeks after we started dating.

These dreams woke me up in the early hours of the morning, leaving me sweaty and breathless with fear, less eager to jump on my bed the following night. Once, I had stayed awake the whole night and during the short nap I took at the office during my break, the dream became more vivid, their clubs exchanged for what looked like huge, gigantic vibrators. When I got home that day, I had packed the two vibrators hidden at the bottom of my wardrobe and threw them away.

The dreams haunted me for two weeks before I decided to visit the Pastor.

“It is your spirit husband,” he had announced as soon as I recounted the dreams to him.

His reply had shocked me. I had heard of spirit husbands, the prime suspects of the many sex dreams women had, and the reason why some women found it hard to get married. I had trouble believing it, that I had a spirit that claimed me to be his wife, one that in the words of the pastor, could move heaven and earth to make sure I had no successful relations with any human male.

The pastor invited me to a series of prayer and fasting, prayers that ended with me on my back the pastor pounding into me and emptying his seed into my nonexistent womb.

The dreams stopped after the prayers. Sleeping with the pastor who was twice my age seemed like a small price to pay for my peace of mind. Five days after the dreams stopped, I started seeing him. He sat in front of the keke napep I took to church on Sunday. He borrowed my pen when I went to the bank to deposit some money and didn’t return it. He bumped into me when I was hurrying to catch the last BRT bus to Ikotun. And soon, he invaded my dreams, teasing me with his light touch, peppering my skin with kisses, taking me to heights that I couldn’t reach no matter how hard I tried. His voice was seductive, calling to me from an unknown place, whispering promises of ecstasy with feather-light kisses behind my ears and on my neck. Dreams that had me waking up to strange mewing noises that came from my throat, my right hand pulling incessantly at my nipples, the other hand reaching for his elusive shadow. My legs would be rubbing that tender place in between, already wet and aching for his touch.

I soon got another vibrator. But the purple vibrator, despite its size was not enough to dim the fires that had been lit inside me by the dreams. I wanted to meet him, he who had without any permission, invaded my dreams, and threatened to make me go crazy from his touch.

And I did meet him, on a Friday, when I went to a bar with my friends. Even in the dimly lit room, I recognized him as soon as I laid eyes on him. He smiled at me. My friends ‘oohed’ and ‘ahhed’, pushing me not-so-subtly to go talk to him. I didn’t need their push, my body was all the push I needed, responsive just as the sight of him.

I couldn’t remember what happened when I approached him. A couple of shots? Introducing ourselves? Talking about nothing or anything? But I remember the look in his eyes as we left the bar, eyes that told of the levels of pleasures he would take me to, eyes that said yes to the need that was reflected brightly in my eyes.

The journey home took twice as long as his clever hand offered ministrations to my body. I was oblivious to the car that took us home or how he knew where I lived. I was lost in a cloud of ecstasy.

It was a long night. My mind dribbled along the lines of consciousness and unconsciousness, being and not being. Musical tones left my lips as he took me past edges that I never thought existed. I fell and kept falling.

In the early hours of the morning, I fell asleep against a hard chest, amidst sweaty and rumpled sheets.

I woke to voices. I stood up and found myself on an arranged bed. Looking around, I saw my mother beside the bed. She was crying.

“Mum,” I called. She didn’t hear me. I tried to grab her but my hand went through her thin, dark hands.

A sudden realization hit me. I looked back and saw myself still lying on the bed, dressed in cotton white clothes, eyes closed as though locked in a peaceful sleep. I was dead. I had died. I looked around at my room which now seemed too crowded with relatives and neighbors, most of whom I had never exchanged words with.

My eyes settle on the door and I saw him, looking straight at me, a small smile playing on his lips. He gestured towards the door. Let’s go. I didn’t want to but my legs had a life of their own carrying me to him. Whatever laid behind the room was covered in blinding light, though it didn’t give my eyes any prickly feeling.

When he took my hand, I felt my room, the tears that had been sliding down my cheeks, and my mother suddenly disappear. The only feeling I had was my small hand enclasped in his cool hand as he led to a world I knew nothing about.