“You don’t think this your beans is too far gone for eating?”

Lanre blew some chaff from the bowl of white beans he was picking before responding to Tofunmi’s query. 

“Because of ordinary weevils? Abeg, if I die, I die. This is my last kongo of food until I go home next week, so nothing dey happen.”

“Urgh! You should at least have put it in the sun to drive them off. Looking at them crawling everywhere is doing my body somehow.”

“Hahaha,” Laide laughed aloud at her expression. “These ones? They’re extra protein. Once I add pepper and oil, everything becomes crunchy crunchy.”

“Eeww! You’re disgusting.”

“You should have brought me food then,” he countered.  

“I hear you, as if I have a surplus myself,” she fired back. 

“In that case, allow me cook and eat my food in peace. You’re welcome not to share.”

“God forbid,” she flung over her shoulder as she headed out of the kitchen he shared with two other tenants. “Don’t dare bring that sacrifice to the room though.” 

Again, he laughed. 

Later that night. 

The sound of prolonged coughing woke Tofunmi up. Her eyes were still half-closed as she felt for her boyfriend’s warmth on his side of the narrow bed. She only became fully conscious when her palm didn’t meet naked skin.  

The room was in darkness. 

“Bloody NEPA,” she muttered. There had been power before they drifted off to sleep after their bout of bodily pleasure. 

Yawning, she shoved her hand under her pillow for her watch and checked the time. It was 12.45 according to her luminous dials. 

 “Laide?” she called softly. 

Another bout of coughing answered her. He was definitely in the room, somewhere to her left.  

“Laide, what is it? Are you okay?” she asked with more urgency. Outside, a dog howled as if in severe pain and the sound carried far in the silence. 

Tofunmi sat up. “Are you okay?”

“My tummy,” Laide wheezed. “My…..”

A sneeze took interrupted the statement. 

“Ah. Cough and catarrh? You were fine before we slept and we didn’t leave the window open. How come? You know I told you not to eat that gruel.” 

Another coughing bout answered her. The unseen dog howled again, longer this time. 

“Pele. Hold on, let me get a light.”

She plunged underneath her pillow for the second time and brought out her phone. Typing quickly, she inputted her password, engaged her flashlight app and pointed the beam in his direction. 

Laide was seated on the floor with his back to the wall. His nose was bloody, and there were smudges of red at the corners of his open mouth. He coughed yet again, ejecting a small dark mass that spattered on the floor.

Then he sneezed at her.

Something wet hit Tofunmi on the chin. Instinctively she rubbed the spot and glanced at her hand. 

In her palm, all wet and wriggling energetically was a bloody weevil. She flung it away in shock, just as she saw the millions of others crawling on the floor around her boyfriend. Each time he coughed, he brought up more.

Her scream tore through the night.

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