[Class Objective - Write a detailed biography on someone you know. The person you select should be someone you know closely, and can ask personal questions to. This project will be spanning a time frame of four weeks, during which you will be prompted to record every notable detail about your selected person’s lifestyle, and give reasons as to why you find them interesting. Your biography does not have to be in standard paragraph form; it may be an assortment of timed and dated notes, or even a collection of images with detailed captions. Bio’s will be graded on detail, length, and how promptly you express the uniqueness of your selected person. Begin by telling your readers who you chose, why, and what qualities drew you to them. A bit of back-story would be a good choice as well. Finally, please write the name of your subject under your class header.]
Frederick L. Summers
Mr. Samuel Ndiaye
I spent a good portion of the weekend thinking hard on who I wanted to do this project on, and I have finally come to a decision. (For once I’m taking this whole “school” thing seriously.) Now I bet most people are probably going to write about their grandparents or some crap like that, but I think that’s too cliché. However before I tell you who I chose to write about, first I have to tell you about my daily routine.
So every morning I take the city bus to school, sit through 8 hours of BS, and then walk home when it’s all over. I’ve always taken George Street home because it doesn’t have much traffic and it’s usually pretty lively. Sometimes there’s street performers there, playing music for the people that walk by. I’ve gotten pretty friendly with a few of them; they’re actually cool guys and it’s a shame they ain’t got the resources to take care of themselves. So whenever I have some spare change, I’ll toss it in their cases, you know, because I’m a generous guy like that. But anyway, for about a month know there’s been this new guy on the corner. He’s African-looking, kind of old, kind of smelly. His teeth are deep yellow and black in some places. His eyes always got that white puss in the corners and they’re a little crusty underneath. He also tends not to wear a shirt, and he’s got these huge beaded necklaces that look so heavy I almost want to blame them for his deviating slouch… But you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, right? So I got to talking to him and it turns out he’s actually a cool dude.
His name’s Samuel Ndiaye, but I just call him Sam. He says he’s a local here in Louisiana, but he just got kicked out of his home cause he couldn’t pay the rent anymore.
“I’m out here to earn back my livings.“ he says. Now the other performers don’t come around much more because I guess Sam’s act has scared off the usual audiences. You see, Sam’s a magician. He does a lot of coin tricks and levitation tricks, but it’s not exactly the Houdini crap you’d be expecting... Sam practices “Voodoo“, he’s got this whole big book and everything! But he’ll get offended if you call it that.
“I ain’t no damn Bokor, boy. I just connect wif’da spirits and ask ‘em for some fun lil’ favors.” he says, whatever the hell that means..
I chose to write about Sam for obvious reasons; he’s the most interesting and unique guy I know. And honestly I’m kind of curious about his past. I think this project is a good chance to get to know him better! Tomorrow I’ll start by asking him some questions.
Monday, August 4th
Me: “Hello Sam! How’s it been today?”
Sam: “Ah, it’s da Frederick boy! Is good, is good. I have a clear connections with da spirits dis afta’noon. I ask dem and dey help me, you see? De audience love it.”
He holds out both his hands, one sticking out in front of his chest and the other positioned farther below, holding out a quarter. Suddenly the coin begins to float up between both his hands. I couldn't really believe it the first time I saw it. He then says “ Go ahead, grab it, boy.”
Hesitantly I stuck out my hand and felt around in mid air for a string or wire or something, but there was nothing. I held my hand upwards below the coin and suddenly gravity returned. It fell into my palm when Sam withdrew. I stood there in awe, examining the coin. It was normal. No strings or anything unusual about it.
When the crowd dispersed I asked Sam how he did it. He said, “ I look into de other side and I see dis nice ol’ woman. I simply ask de lady here if she can hold dis coin between my hands for me, and she do.”
“Well okay,” I said. “So your magic consists of asking dead old ladies to pull silly tricks with you?”
“No no, Fred. Is not always old woman! Der’s many people, and ‘things’ on the other side. Sometimes it be old woman, sometimes it be men or even chillen!” Replied Sam.
“Wait, what exactly do you mean by ‘things’?” I asked, intrigued.
Sam grew quiet, and looked around to avoid my gaze. I guess he had to take a second and think about how he could describe what he saw. Then he said, “ Well, sometimes der’s, er… demons on the other side. Dey’re gnarly-looking things, and dey come in all shapes n sizes too.” He said, “Dey ain’t human anymoe…”
Sam turned to open up his dusty, ragged looking bag. He pulled out some sketches drawn on dingy yellow paper. (I guess Sam’s also an artist! His stuff was pretty good honestly, although rather disturbing.) He handed them to me and said, “Sometimes I draw what I see, when dey ain’t staring back at me.”
His drawings where so morbid. In the first one, there was a scribbly charcoal sketch of what I could only guess was an infant’s skeletal figure. It had almost no flesh. However it looked twisted; It’s pelvis was bent out of place and pushed into its’ stomach, and this caused it’s legs to hang back-jointed like a beasts’ over its’ buttocks. Its’ tiny arms hung directly out in front of the tangled mess with long, sharp fingernails. Tight skin seemed to cling onto each individual bone. The other drawings looked quite similar. They where larger and more proportioned, but it was the same twisted skeleton. The only distinguishing things between the 3 pictures was their skull.
The first one, the infant, had a skull with an elongated jaw. It looked similar to that of an ants’ head, because the jaw was split down the middle. The second skull had an even longer muzzle, so much so that it looked canine in nature. And the third one had only the lower portion of the skull and jawbone. The entire upper half of its’ head was gone.
I’d imagine that if this image where real, it’s skin and bones really would be as black and cracked as the charcoal pressed into the paper.
“Wow Sam, these drawings are brutal.” I told him after flipping through them all. “Well I gotta head home now, my mom will be pissed if I’m late. But I’ll see you tomorrow!” And I left. I’ll try to ask him about his past tomorrow, maybe inquire him on why he became a magician and how he communicates with the ‘other side.’
Tuesday, August 5th
Sam wasn't there today. It was raining outside.
Wednesday, August 6th
The sun came back out today! The street was lit up with people and Sam had quite the audience around him. He was whistling a tune while he preformed his usual levitation tricks. When I came around the corner he had a small child almost a foot off the ground! The mother looked pretty mad but at the end everybody clapped and tossed him some change.
“Hey there Sam!” I said, handing him the leftover buck-fifty from my lunch money.
“Why, Hello der little Fred boy.” He said. “Nice to see you! Is a fine day outside.”
I nodded. “What’cha got there?” I asked, pointing at his book of Voodoo. He had it sitting out on top of his bags opened to a page with what appeared to be a set of instructions.
“I be learning how to whistle!” He says, and I couldn't help but laugh.
“You didn't know how to whistle? Ha. It’s so easy.” I showed off my pro whistling skills.
“Nuh nuh, boy. Is a special kind’a whistling. See here-” We both sat down on the sidewalk and reviewed his large book. The page it was open to had a digraph of a human skull, with instructions leading to the tongue, teeth, and back part of the jaw. However, it was all in some weird, foreign language I had never seen before.
“What does it say, Sam?” I asked, curiously.
“Well, is instructions, boy. It tells ya how to control da demons from de other side.”
“Why would you wana do that?”
“I always see dem lil’ demons picking on de nice an friendly spirits. It just burns me up ‘cause I can’t do anythin' to help dem nice peoples…” Said Sam.
The next couple of pages had some rough sketches similar to that of Sam’s drawings. It also showed a human body, (plump flesh, and all) with deep claw and bite marks all along its legs. The body was huddled under the shadow of a tree at night.
We flipped through the book and whistled for a while, trying to follow the instructions as Sam somehow deciphered them, and before I knew it, I had to go. Tomorrow, for sure I’ll ask him!
Thursday, August 7th
Sam tried to teach me how to communicate with the spirits. It didn't work so well.
Friday, August 8th
Sam asked one of the ghost people to do the coin trick with me! It was so cool. The crowed really seemed to enjoy it.
Monday, August 11th
It was a little bit cloudy today, but the sun was still out. I saw Sam immediately. He didn't have the usual crowd around him today. He was so absorbed in his book.
“Hey, you have a good weekend, Sam?” I said.
“Frederick! Come get a look at dis!” He sounded very excited.
I came and tossed a couple of bucks into his case and sat down on the sidewalk next to him. He was on the same page of the book as the jaw diagram. I guess he finished deciphering it because he was mumbling to himself in a weird tongue.
“So, what’s up?” I inquired.
“I've done it, my boy!” He proudly looked at me, and sat up as tall as he could with that slouch of his. He cleared his throat and angled his tongue at the tip of his front teeth, and began to whistle.
The sound he produced was drawn up from the very bottom of his vocal cords. It reminded me of a deep gurgle, like a beast foaming at the mouth, but it also reverberated with the sound of a cats’ hiss. It was probably the strangest sound I’ve ever heard. Just hearing it once sent chills up my spine. Why could that be, though?
“Dis is da call of da demon.” He said.
“Pretty creepy,” I replied.
“It’s a pain on da throat muscles, but is okay.”
He tried to teach it to me, and I got pretty close, but it hurt my throat so I gave up after a while. The weather was turning again, and I noticed that Sam was so absorbed in his book, and that strange sound, so I decided to go home.
Tuesday, August 12th
“Sam! I kept forgetting but I've seriously been meaning to ask you something!” I said, running up to him after school.
His usual audience wasn't here today either, although his case had some small bills in it still. Upon coming closer I noticed some stuff; Sam was smellier than usual, which I didn't really mind. But his eyes also looked red, like he hadn't gotten any sleep last night.
“What’s up?” I asked.
"I messed up, Fred boy.” He said, looking down at his book.
“What’d you do? Lose your props?”
He was silent. I prompted him further.
“What’s wrong, man?”
His eyes where pealed wide while looking at the concrete. He then said,
“I made da whistle while in de shadows.”
“It says right here-” He pointed to a small caption of gibberish at the bottom of the page, “- dat you ain’t supposed to make da whistle while in da shadows! Only in da sunshine.”
“Why should it matter?” I asked him.
“Dey’re weakened by da sunshine, it can penetrate to der side, you see? But in de shadows dey can have free reign on our turf, if you call dem…”
Thoroughly creeped out, and questioning Sam’s sanity, I decided to go home early. Honestly I’m a little upset to see my friend in such a state. He sincerely looked terrified. Now that I’m writing this, I feel like an asshole for leaving like I did.
Wednesday, August 13th
Sam wasn’t there today.
Thursday, August 14th
No Sam today, either.
Friday, August 15th
I’m starting to get a little worried about Sam. He was absent from his usual spot, yet again! It was a really nice day outside too…
Monday, August 18th
The weekend was pretty crappy. The weather sucked. But thankfully Sam was back today!! I apologized for leaving so abruptly last time, and asked him where he’s been the past couple of days.
“Fred boy, it’s no worries.” He said. “It was probably for de best.”
He was so quiet, avoiding my question. He wasn’t even performing today. Actually, he didn’t have any of his bags with him either. All he had on him was his book of Voodoo, and the coin he was flipping in his hand. I repeated my question once more.
“It follows me.” He whispered.
“After de first night, I see it in every corner. In every shadow…”
I guess I had a puzzled look on my face because he continued to explain in further detail,
“I called dem, and now dey can see me. Dey watch me and I can’t sleep at night, boy. I’m too scared. If it gets too dark, dey might catch me. Der’s only one light where I is living now. I sit curled up in der and try to sleep but de faucet keeps drippin’ and it drive me crazy and I see des tiny lil’ white eyes darting around in every shadowy corner, agh!” Sam coughed, running out of breath. He was really getting worked up. There where tears coming out of his eyes… I guess this whole, “other side” thing really is serious to him.
I sat with him a little longer and tried to comfort him. I went and bought him a soda and stayed there well passed the time I was supposed to be home. (My mom was pissed, by the way.) But I just couldn’t leave Sam like that. Lots of people walked by and tossed some change in his case, though. I guess they noticed that absolutely pitiful look on his face.
Tuesday, August 18th
I found Sam a little bit father down the road today. He was sitting under a streetlamp, and still had nothing with him. He really smelled. It looked like he slept there last night. As I approached him, a police officer drove by, and jogged him into consciousness. The cop said he couldn’t stay there, and then drove off. I really wish I could let him stay at my place, but my mom was strictly against it.
“Hello Sam.” I said.
“Oh, hello, Frederick boy.” He said, seemingly in a daze. I guess he was still half asleep. Poor guy.
“You didn’t go home last night?”
"I thought dat, maybe if I stay here, dey wouldn’t find me. But I was wrong. De sun go down and dey find me but dey couldn’t bear de light from de streetlamp so I was okay. Dey still watch me though, with der beady, white eyes. Dey pace around and scratch on de concrete and disappear into de shadows when de sun come up.”
I helped him up and we walked back to his usual place. I gave him a bottle of water and the food I bought for lunch at school today. He practically inhaled it.
“Thank you, Fred boy.” He said to me.
“Not a problem, man.” I stayed with him for a good little while again, but then it was time for me to leave. As I turned to go, he grabbed my wrist.
“Frederick,” He said, “Don’t make de whistle in de dark.”
He placed his lucky coin into my hand and told me to hold onto it for him. It sounded like he was planning on going somewhere for a while.
I’m worried now, writing this; it’s beginning to sound more like a horror story than it is a class project or biography..
Wednesday, August 19th
Sam wasn’t there today. I kind of expected that, though.
Thursday, August 20th
No Sam today either.
Friday, August 21st
I wasn’t feeling too good today, so I stayed home. It was raining today anyway, so I doubt Sam would’ve been there. I sure do hope he’s alright though.
Monday, August 22nd
Again, no Sam. Damn…Well, I figure this is worthy of mentioning anyway; Over the weekend I found myself whistling. I didn’t realize what I was doing at the time, but gradually my subconscious whistling turned into “the whistle.” The one Sam warned me, never, ever to do. Luckily, however, all the lights where on in my house. Ha. I’m just being paranoid now, I guess..
Tuesday, August 23rd
Sam wasn’t there today. His usual place on the street corner has been empty for a week now. I’ve begun to fear the worst… But I left a bottle of water there for him, just in case.
Wednesday, August 24th
I couldn’t focus in any of my classes today. One of the asshole teachers almost confiscated the coin Sam gave me, because I was fiddling with it during algebra. On my walk home today I noticed that the water bottle I had left was still there. Knocked over, of course, but still there. Sam was not. I don’t think he ever will be.
I couldn’t sleep tonight. It’s like 3:00 AM right now. I just used the bathroom and accidentally whistled that God Damn Thing! Crap! I’m so paranoid now. I felt like the was little white, beady eyes watching me from the corner when I got back in bed. I might just be acting like a child, but I had to get up immediately and turn the lights on. There wasn’t anything there, of course, but I don’t think I can go back to sleep now. (Sigh.) This might sound ridiculous, but… What if Sam was right? “What if,” though. I mean, that’s just silly. Those drawings where very creepy, but in no way where they realistic.
Thursday, August 25th
Police came to my house today. They said people often saw me hanging out with Sam on George Street. I told them he was a very good friend of mine, and then they proceeded to tell me what I already suspected.
Sam is dead.
The police found him when some kids reported a bad smell coming from a locked rest-stop a few blocks down from the school. Apparently Sam had been living there, in the men’s side of the washrooms. They told me he had been sleeping under the sinks and had a bunch of stuff stacked up all around the stalls. Bottles, cans of food, newspapers, the works. I never knew he was living that badly. At least he had a roof over his head and running water, though.
The cops asked me some questions, like what my relationship was to Sam, if he showed any signs of masochism or mental instability, all that good stuff. I said no, Sam was a really cool guy. He always had a smile on his face and he was always friendly to everybody. I did however, decide to mention to them his interests in Voodoo and the “other side.” I also told them about his book and the whistle, but the cops didn’t care about that, of course.
They pressed me for anymore information I could think of, but I drew a blank, so they showed me some pictures from when they discovered Sam.
To my dismay, his body was shoved into the corner, his back arching forward with his arms dangling out… His fingernails where pitch white, same as his eyes, which where wide open and lifeless. His pelvis was contorted forward and up, into his gut. His kneecaps had been pushed in so that they where back jointed, like animals’. His legs had deep, bloody claw and bite marks all along them, torn into his clothes and flesh alike. So much like the pictures in the book and Sam’s drawings… The worst part of it all; Something appeared to have eaten the skin off of Sam’s face. Below his eyes, his nose, lips and cheeks, where all gone. The police had no idea what to make of it. Before they left, I asked them if the light was on when they got there. Confused, they told me the only working light in the place seemed to have burnt out shortly before the time of death.
1:00 AM. Again, I can’t sleep tonight, for obvious reasons. If I hadn’t napped all during my first three periods, I’d be dying right now. To see my friend like that… Sam.
Well, it’s about 2:30 AM now, and I’m just an utter mess. I just turned the lights on. I was laying in bed in the dark thinking of Sam, and flipping around the coin he left with me, I completely zoned out, and started whistling again. Dammit. Why did I do that? I should know better by now. Even if it isn’t real, it still scares the crap out of me. I’m so paranoid now. Dammit Sam! …Maybe this is all some huge, elaborate joke or magic trick Sam is playing on me! That must be it. Because now in the corner of my room in the shadow of my side table there’s these little freaking white eyes staring at me. I went to go get a drink and in the doorway to the living room I see a small shadow dart across. (I don’t have any pets, by the way.) The door to the bathroom is cracked and I swear to God there’s something looking at me from there right now, too. Crap! I’m so out of it. I quit! I’m keeping the lights on, because I’m childish like that, but I’m going to sleep.
Friday, August 26th
Well, I guess this is the worst biography of all time, because I never even got to ask Sam any of the questions I wanted to. I suppose I’m going to fail this project, and this class now. But I don’t really care. Honestly, I don’t really care about anything anymore. Everywhere I go, even at school, things seem to be lurking in the shadows… All because of that damn sound!? All because of Sam!? No. It isn’t Sam’s fault. He was just a victim. I don’t know. Ugh, it just all seems too real…
I don’t care about this project, or what the people who read it think of me. Really though, I might not be around much longer, with the way things are going. However, if there’s anything you take away from my- No, Sam’s story, then let it be this;
I swear to God…
Never whistle to yourself in the dark.