The full moon peaked itself high up in the sky, its glittery silver light pouring down like a caress on the residents of Dushante, a small town hidden in the middle of Africa. The Dushante men already knew what was expected of them for the next two days —they have to stay indoors and never show their faces outside at night until the full moon phase is passed.
Opimae had brought his mixed-race friend, Jake, home for the holidays. They are both undergrads at the University of Alberta in Canada. Whenever he told Jake tales of his hometown situated on the hills of Idir-ong which brought back happy memories of his late father, Jake was always excited and wished to visit.
An opportunity presented itself after the first semester exams and Opimae's family were more than happy to host the almost white boy in their home.
The day the young men arrived home, Opimae's mother and his two sisters would not stop smiling. Jake was treated like royalty. When night came, Jake suggested Opimae take him out to the local bar for some ewe drink.
"What? Are you nuts, as you would say in America? I told you already. It's a full moon. We cannot go out. Men are not allowed outside."
Jake scowled at him. "Yes, you said so but you didn't give me a good reason. C'mon man, live a little. All these could be superstitions anyway."
Opimae stared at him in disbelief and hissed. "This is no superstition. It has been so since I was born. I can't just remember the reason now but that is why our male population is very low."
Jake grinned. "Now I am beyond interested. If you won't go, I will!"
Jake stepped out of the house as Opimae struggled to put on his boots and ran after him. This guy is crazy, he thought.
Jake had walked quite a distance away from the house on a quiet, long stretch of road that leads to the local bar. It was a cool night and Opimae could see two young ladies walking on the same road too.
They were dressed in a colourful skimpy tank top that stopped right below their breasts and a small piece of ilai (clothing) that covered their hips and stopped mid-thigh leaving their shoulders, arms and slim waists bare for every eye to feast on.
One of them turned to look at him. She winked at him, smiled widely, displaying such a nice, white set of teeth that charmed Opimae. She moved in an enchanting way, her curvy hips swaying beautifully like she was dancing and not merely walking.
Opimae blinked and mentally hit his head to get his thoughts right when he suddenly realized he had lost Jake somehow. He ran down the road.
"Mmhmm, we have two strays for the night," one of the ladies whispered behind him as he ran past them. What are they talking about? Opimae wondered. He came to the end of the road which diverted into the forest.
As he ran into the forest, he could glimpse the Idir-ong hills ahead and saw a group of people on it. He drew closer and was shocked at the scene playing out before him. Young, beautiful brown-skinned ladies dressed like the other two young ladies he ran past formed a circle and danced under the glowing light of the full moon.
As they raised and twirled their hands up towards the sky, they swayed their waists and hips sensually at the same time. The sight was mesmerizing and seductive. Then Opimae noticed something odd.
Right in the middle of the dancers was Jake seated in a throne-like big chair with a shining silver crown on his head. His eyes were glassy, like he was hypnotized, and focused on the dancing ladies while he grinned stupidly like a buffoon.
Then he remembered what his father told him when he was seven, the memory pierced through his mind swiftly and sharp. He had asked for the reason why their menfolk were grounded on full moon nights. His father replied, "Son, if you do not stay hidden, you will become the feast. There is no escape from such."
"Well, well. Our sweet male made it here," the two ladies Opimae ran past appeared behind him and pushed him forward before he could react. The dancers stopped at once and turned to look at him. Sweat broke out on his brow and head.
"Oh! Another male," two dancers chorused, came towards him and pulled him into the circle.
Opimae did not waste a single moment because his life was on the line. He forcefully shook off the two dancers that held each of his hands, fisted Jake's shirt and bulldozed their way out of the circle.
There was a loud shriek of female voices at the disruption. The dancers ran after Opimae and Jake.
"W-w-what are you doing, man? I love those ladies!" Jake struggled to get Opimae's hand off his. Opimae stopped for a moment and slapped him sharply. "Are you crazy? Do you want to get us killed? They were going to feast on us. Come on!"
The dancers were already gaining ground and drawing closer. The young men ran for their dear lives till they got to Opimae's house, threw themselves in and shut the door. The dancers banged and banged on the door. Then there was silence.
Opimae turned to look at Jake who sat on the bare floor, silent, in a daze, his left cheek flushed red from the slap that broke the hypnosis.
"I think they are gone. We are safe now." Jake said.
Then sounds of harsh breathing echoed in the room right behind them, followed by a lady's voice. "Oh, sweet males! There's no hiding from us."
The two young men turned slowly to look behind them. Chests heaving and staring down at them were the Dushante dancers grinning eerily. Jake screamed at the top of his voice.
"Wake up, you buffoon!" Opimae slapped Jake and he sat upright in shock, his hand on his left cheek that was slowly turning red.
"W-what happened? Are we free? Did we really escape?"
Opimae shook his head at his friend's disoriented look and pitifully obliged him. "Yes, we did. Barely. We ran inside and the dancers returned to the hills. Remember? Then we fell asleep on the floor. Me from exhaustion, you from idiocy!"