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"who is, I am" by Adedapo Adeniyi and Saint Adam

Mummy Adanma had just gotten back from another day of work at the farm, she lived in a village called Nsugbe in Onitsha along with her eleven children; Daniel 1, Daniel 2, Daniel 3, Daniel 4, Daniel 5, Nneka 1, Nneka 2, Nneka 3, Nneka 4 and Frederick-The Ghost boy.

“Nneka Nomba Wan!!!” She screamed in her thick Nkwere accent as soon as she stepped into the house.


Mummy Adanma and her twelve children lived in an unpainted three-bedroom bungalow with the main entrance leading directly to the kitchen, this was because Mummy Adanma had been taught from childhood that the kitchen was the most important room of the house, and so when her late husband decided he wanted to build a house, she demanded from him that the kitchen must be the first room of the house.

Her husband vehemently rejected her demand and when it seemed liked she could no longer convince him to do what she wanted, Daddy Adanma mysteriously died of poison days before the construction of the house began.


“Nneka Wan!!! Where are you oo!!! Come and assist me in the kitchen.” She continuously yelled out as she dropped the basket of onions and tomatoes that was on her head onto the kitchen floor before emptying it into an iron bowl full of water.

“Haew, Nneka Wan this girl, are you deaf or what?” Mummy Adanma screamed at no one as she tugged her blouse into the local brown and yellow wrapper on her waist; {her "Dolce & Gabbana item," Daddy Adanma used to say} like a lion going to pounce on its prey.

She immediately took flight as she violently bounced through the corridor of the house like a giant, her footsteps echoing around the walls of the house with every step that she took;


Once she got to the door of the girls’ room she stood in front of it, preparing herself to attack; she loosened her feet from her slipper, just in case she needed to execute the Signature Nigerian mothers move; "How fast can you dodge my slipper!"; a move that transcended physics, if it hit you had to suffer some more and if by the lord’s mercy you dodged…well, let’s hope you don’t dodge.

Mummy Adanma tightened her Dolce and Gabbana item once again to ensure maximum mobility and rubbed together her palms; just in case she needed to execute her passive ability, "The hand is more powerful than the sword" or as some would call it, "The iron palm."

Once she had finished her gear up, she pushed open the wooden door and pounced on the first person she saw, recklessly beating whoever to a pulp before standing.

“Haew, haew….these children will not kill me,” she said, catching her breath before looking up.

Hoping to find the stunned faces of her children, or at least hear their screams as they fled from the room, Mummy Adanma was stunned to see that no one even paid any attention to her, as a matter of fact, all of the children were in the room and all of them had their heads turned away from her, staring into some otherworldly force that no one could comprehend.


The door immediately shut itself as a chill ran through Mummy Adanma’s spine,

“Blood of Jesus!” She silently chanted as she finally summoned the courage to continue disciplining her children.

“So…” Mummy Adanma began as she adjusted her wrapper with one hand and threw her slipper into the other, “So, none of you could hear me shouting since, ehn, Nneka, Nneka…. I was shouting like a mad person and none of you could even answer your mother”

“Mommy!” A voice suddenly called from behind Mummy Adanma in a cold almost dead tone as all her children’s faces turned 180 to face her.

Not their bodies, just faces.

“Blood of Jesus! Blood of Jesus! THE DEVIL IS A LIARRRR!!” Mummy Adanma screamed as she watched in despair the horror that unfolded in front of her as the faces all spoke in chorus.

“Mommy, who is Nneka! I am Adanma!” 

“Blood of Jesus, blood of Jesus,” Mummy Adanma began chanting as her knees gave out and she fell on the floor

“I am Adanma!!” the children said in a deeper voice this time.



“So is that how the story ends?” Julius asks, handing Boye’s phone back to him

“I don’t know yet, it feels incomplete but then again, ending it on a cliffhanger no go too bad,” Boye answers

“Did you like it?” Boye asks

“Hmm,” that’s all Julius can bring himself to say, putting his hand on his chin

“Baba talk”

“I liked it, the story itself is good, but bro that idea, omo I dey fear oh,” Julius tells Boye as his face metamorphoses into a wide grin

“Guy, I’ve loved that idea for a while now, think of it like parallel dimension midnight NTA, just odd shit like that running throughout the night,” Boye says

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, or like one of those news broadcast where they follow one woman to her house to document how she lives her live daily with twelve children, they na get there and ah, all of them are possessed ke?” Julius says, they both laugh

“That would be fucked,” Boye says

“I swear, but for real though, I’m just a reader, na you write am, do you like the story? are you satisfied with it?”

“Omo I don’t know oh, I feel like it could be more, it feels rushed, sometimes I like that it feels rushed, but sometimes I feel like I could pace it better, maybe flesh it out a bit more, build on the characters…,” he gets interrupted by Julius

“Baba na all that fantasy wey you dey write dey fuck with you, which one is ‘flesh it out, pacing, build on characters,’ this is horror guy, niggas just want to be scared, and this story scared the shit out of me, so it’s great”

“Oya na, I don hear, I still need to edit sha, I should probably do that now”

“So I should be going to my house abi?”

“Ehen na, it’ll soon be night, before paranoia kills you and they say it’s my house you were coming from, have you even been using your meds?” Boye asks

“They finished last week,” Julius tells him

“Crazy, when are you going to buy more?”

“As soon as I get money sha”

“Are you good though?” Boye asks

“I mean I’m trying, so help me God,” Julius answers

“So help you God sha, before you get out now and start seeing ‘I Am Adanma’ everywhere,” Boye says and starts laughing, Julius gives him a weak smile

“I’m going already, do you have water?” Julius asks

“Yeah, fridge on your way out,” Boye tells him, pointing to it.

Julius stands up, they dap each other up, he walks to the fridge, takes a bottle of water and leaves, his house is only a street away so it isn’t particularly a long walk but tonight, Julius feels a bitter taste in the air, he lied to Boye a couple times tonight, he lost money betting on three games, not two, he had stopped taking his meds two and a half weeks ago, not one, and Boye’s story didn’t just scare the shit out of him, (for our readers at home, this is an exaggerated statement, Julius didn’t actually shit his pants, he’s not that deranged yet), it terrified him to his core, he had to act like he was okay when in reality, as soon as he finished the story, he could hear the children chanting again and again in his head, all twelve of them, sometimes their mother even joined in.

He’s walking home as fast as he can, glancing behind himself whenever he can, he has the strangest feeling that he’s being watched, that he’s being followed, his fingers feel frozen, the road is dark now, his feet feel like they’re on fire, this is all too much for him, everybody he passes stares at him and then stops walking, halting to keep staring, it’s just pedestrians at first, then okadamen stop to stare too, then people driving cars, they never stop in front of him, just behind, with enough distance that they have to turn their faces 180 to face him.

Not their bodies, just their faces.

He gets to his street, convinced everything is in his head, convinced Boye’s story fucked with him good, he even laughs nervously to convince himself, he looks back again and stops when he sees how everyone behind him has stopped to stare at him with their heads turned, even in the darkness, he can see the dead look in their eyes, a shiver ripples through his body, his left eye start to twitch, on your marks, get set, go. They all start to walk towards him, okadas fall as their riders get off, car door opens and never close, feet feet feet steps steps steps, rehearsed, calculated, in sync, Julius gasps in fear, he’s still not wholly convinced, 

“It’s all in my head, it’s all in my head, it’s all in my head,” he says to himself over and over again

He doubles his pace and soon he’s home, he senses that the people are still coming for him, he’s not about to waste any time, if he can get into his house, he’s safe, he swears he’ll get his meds tomorrow even if he’ll have to steal it, he brings the keys to his gate out of his pocket and shoves it into the lock, twist turn twist turn, omo gate no wan open oh, sweat starts dripping from his face, he turns and sees that the people have made the corner to his house and are now closer than ever, twist turn twist turn, the gate stays locked, this is the right key, he knows this, the gate knows it too, even the key knows it, there’s some force out there too that knows it, but that force would rather the key and the lock didn’t successfully collabo with each other, that force wants to fuck with Julius proper, in that moment, he starts to think to himself, at first it’s thoughts of his death, then thoughts of climbing the fence even with all the barbed wires, and then thoughts of why Mummy Adanma killed her husband because of the whole kitchen situation, he’d have to tell Boye to change that because it made no sense.


He turns and the people walking like zombies are almost at his house, there’s at least thirty of them, he starts walking in the opposite direction, he brings out his phone and starts calling Boye, over and over, it rings every time but he gets no answer.

He starts to run.

He runs and runs, crying in fear as he does, his feet are on fire and his head hurts like fuck, the road to Boye’s place is longer since he took the back route, he doesn’t turn back all the way there because he’s afraid of what he might see, but the feeling is still there, of being watched, of being followed.

He gets to Boye’s house and stumbles in, he meets Boye sitting on the floor, facing his laptop, white screen with words on it, he’s working on the story like he said he would

“B-B-Boye, guy I swear…I don’t know what’s going on, t-t-there’s all these people following me, and I don’t know, they want to kill me… fuck… I’m so fucked, and it’s your story, it entered my head and now I’m seeing things,” Julius says, stuttering, almost incoherent

“I need to get my meds man,” he’s pacing back and forth now

“Boye please can you borrow me some money to buy the drugs? I’m so fucked, I literally ran here, can I sleep here tonight abeg?,” he starts laughing uncomfortably

“I know how crazy I sound, I swear it’s not that bad, I just got scared again and I thought they were going to kill me, I really thought they were going to kill me,” he says and then stops, he realizes immediately, he realizes something is wrong, Boye hasn’t turned back to look at him or even moved once

“Boye,” he says

“Boye!” he says

“Boye fucking hell!” he says and touches him on his shoulder, he turns his face backwards 180 to Julius

Not his body, just his face

Julius steps back in horror and falls

“Who is Boye?” Boye says, in a voice that isn’t Boye

“Who is Boye? I am Adanma,” the voice that isn’t Boye says

“I am Adanma”

“Jesus Christ,” Julius says, even though he’s an atheist

“I am Adanma”

Boye keeps repeating over and over, Julius on the floor watching in all of his fright.

He hears the door open behind him and he looks to see someone he’s never seen before walk in, with dead eyes

“I am Adanma,” the person says, in harmony with the voice that isn’t Boye

The door stays open, more people walk in, dead eyes, they all turn their backs to Julius and their faces—heads 180 degrees, there's ten of them, then twenty, then thirty, then fifty, space is elastic and Boye’s room is bigger now, cathedral size, just so everyone can come in, Julius loses count, their mouths all open at the same time.

He turns to Boye

“I am Adanma,” the voice that isn’t Boye says, dead eyes, chorusing with everyone in the room

He closes his eyes, hearing the voices around him, seeing their face in the darkness of his mind

“I am Adanma”

“I am Adanma”

“I am Adanma”

He shits his pants.


Adedapo Adeniyi and Saint Adam are two Nigerian writers, Dapo, pioneer abstractist experimenting in paranoia and metafiction, Adam, a poet and horror enthusiast transitioning into short fiction, Dapo has been previously published by Expat Press, DON'T SUBMIT, and Hobart. This is Adam's first publication.

Adedapo Adeniyi and Saint Adam are on X @dapotheabstract and @thesaint_adam

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