Ghale was leaving the office for an unscheduled appointment down town. She had received a phone call with some important information that, she was expecting regarding the whereabouts of an informant. She quickly got changed and rushed to the elevator and down the street where she hailed a taxi.
She told the driver, to take to her to the James Town district, which alarmed the driver at first; she could see fear in his eyes. She assured him that he only needed to drive as far as he was willing to go and she would walk the rest of the way. He feared for her because it was notorious place for things that go bump in the night and many a person never returned once they had entered. Regardless, he had to earn a living to feed his family, so he didn’t quibble much and began to drive.
Ghale gazed out of the window as the driver cut through town with ease, he seemed to know allot of the shortcuts and revealed new ones, Ghale hadn’t taken before. Curiously, Ghale asked him how he seemed to know the streets so well.
As he drove he told her a story of how he ended up as a taxi driver. His luck ran out one day, when his cocoa farm near his home village, got destroyed. Ghale recalled the time a story broke out, about a mysterious disease which wiped out a large proportion of farm crops some years back. She recalled a colleague at the newspaper who covered the story, disappeared under suspicious circumstances.
The journey across Accra didn’t take long but long enough for Ghale to think about how she was going to explore James Town. James Town was a broken down derelict part of the city and so many structures were just not safe-in more ways than one.
The taxi turned into a dark street, one of several entrances into James Town and yet far enough not to be seen by anyone who might be casually loitering around. Ghale stepped down and paid the driver. She looked at the mobile number on his business card and then confirmed that if she needed him, he would pick her up from the same spot. As he turned the car and drove away she made a mental note of the registration number.
Now Ghale stood alone in the twilight of late afternoon and it would be a while before the sun would finally set. However, James Town had tall dark buildings and broken shacks and huge tilted cylindrical drainage stone pipes like make-shift subways that gave the impression that a small earthquake created the slum-although that wasn’t the case. Ghale turned her head and surveyed her immediate surroundings. Feeling no danger except the tingle down the back of her spine, she began to walk deeper into the town. There wasn’t much sound around, apart from the occasional rustle from the bushy overgrowth and birds hawking from the trees.
Ghale continued onward and found what looked like the main road of the old high street. The streets were becoming darker the further she travelled into town. She could have turned on the torch to improve her view, but decided against it. She didn’t want to draw any unnecessary attention to herself. Her anonymous tipster explained that the person she sought could be found by the old river bridge in the heart of the town. Under the bridge the sewers ended the process of channelling waste into the sea. The anonymous source on the phone added that the town was now a disease ridden despicable place, with desperate figures that lurk in dark shadows. Casualties of a disease that changed them into beings that no longer had a moral compass, destitute and may even be partial to be a bit of human flesh.
A figure stares at her from the dark shadows. it wheezes, and clearly uncomfortable meeting in any place, away from the safety of the toxic sewers. Its vision is impaired by the dry oxygen-polluting-air it finds repulsive. It begins to speak.