So, I held a pen last night and didn’t stop scribbling till I slept off. NB: This was after the lamp I was using had died. If this piece ends abruptly, it is because I cannot read most of what is at the end and I am afraid I cannot get back into the same zone as I was last night to complete in one breath. If this piece does not end abruptly however, then I confess, you are most loyal of all readers and probably more brilliant than I.
“How far have you fallen? How far have you fallen,” the wingless bird muttered to the wizened tortoise squatted above him. “It’s easy sitting there pretending to be sagacious when you haven’t felt any pain. Not the pain of loss or incompetence”
The tortoise stared back, her lined face expressionless in the gathering gloom of the forest dusk. Then she turned away and ambled out of the grove and through copse of trees for the rocky cliffs beyond. The bird stared, wet eyes glazing over as they strained to focus through a haze of pain. As the mist came down upon his eyes, washing on both sides in the same hue as the spreading blood around its form, he saw at the end of his tunneled vision, a hunched back figure striding to the cliff’s edge to plunge over to the rocky bottom.
Tears are not enough What did you assume, little fool? You think your spine is curved for no reason? Wailing will profit nothing sobbing and weeping will not suffice. As your eyes can never empty the curve will never straighten. Embrace the wet dust then you’ve only just begun. If mucus were wine surely you’d be drunk. Keep at it, furrow your brows Calluses and scars Blood and sweat Wrinkles and age These be the only propitiations you can make Because tears will never be enough.
Every time I am under duress, my already small voice becomes smaller, fading away with each blow life or the devil delivers, until my mouth produces squeaks barely audible to whichever perplexed person is listening and I eventually become mute as I stop talking altogether and become wrapped in my misery.
I like to think that I am not a lazy person but sometimes when challenges come, my first reaction is to stop and let the lamentations spill through my eyes, like a few days ago when I was just celebrating a successful August and looking to shock myself and colleagues by steadily climbing higher this September, and then all of a sudden, a brick wall just sprang up in front of me, right in the face of my joy. I hate that I cry at these times. I hate the weak feel it gives and the frail person it projects me as but try as I may (and have in past times to no avail), my frown always gives way to salty leaks.
Ironically, I feel better after a good cry. So much better that only after tearing up can I function normally again. Only after sobbing and thinking of how the universe is against me am I usually more alert, as I am now, barricading my feelings and emotions, preparing to wave off future blows.
My smiles these days are more from self-pity. I keep comparing myself to friends that have achieved what I am still dreaming of but I find that I am being ungrateful. There are thousands in this country that will be happy to have even half of what I own so I try to replace my stupid self-pity smile with one of gratitude and hope.
I’ll keep pressing forward, bending my back to the full glare of the sun with SZA’s Omega and Sia’s Titanium sending me to sleep when it has set.
Look at me talking like I have a choice.
It’s been a while since we posted anything here, and for that I apologise. I promise we have changed, (yes, Tele is among). After all, Mary appeared in Ubiaja yesterday, Endtimes have come. Meanwhile, today’s post I wrote in a well, slightly different style; played a bit with locations and timelines. But you’ll follow..
The night was moonless. Above, the sky was inky black, and sparsely spotted with stars. The town was quiet, and as people slept, darkness woke and evil lurked. But it is not always like that.
Originally, the plan had been to dump the body over the bridge and into the river, but no more. As he slowed the Jeep Cherookee, the dark SUV coasting down the Ikpoba hill slope leading to the bridge, the lights from the streetlamps revealed silhouettes of several men milling about the river banks below.
“Shit!” He cursed. It was 2:00AM. What were those bastards doing here?
Even as he wondered, he realised. He barely made out the parked vehicles; buses and trailers, the half-clad men stretched out over the vehicles, their arms going back and forth in swaying motions. It was a Carwash anyway. He gunned his car, the powerful engine responded with the slightest hint of a purr. There was no point waiting around here any longer.
He could have left the body anywhere on a dark quiet street. But it was imperative he was not found out. Not anytime soon anyway. She was his daughter after all.
Seven years earlier..
“Daddy?” “Yes?” “What are you?” “I’m your daddy.” “No nah..” Her face frowned indignantly. “I know. I mean, what do you do in your office?”
He laughed quietly, his eyes still on the road. He loved to tease his brilliant daughter.
“I’m a businessman, a black operations contractor.” He grinned at her briefly. “A businessman, a contractor? Daddy which one are you nah..how can you be many things? David that is in Primary One Yellow, said his father is a Doctor. Our Aunty said we should clap for him.”
He laughed then. Loudly. These teachers, already paving the way to discrimination. “Well, tell them that your mother’s a doctor too.”
“Okay!” She smiled and settled into the seat, a contented grin on her face.
Thirteen years earlier
The doctor came out of the delivery room, looking drawn, a tight smile on his face. He was a businessman, he knew the look of loss. His heart began to beat faster.
“Doctor..doctor,” his voice increasing in volume and intensity. “My wife, is she alright?”
“You have a bouncing baby girl,” the doctor announced.
He was not to be fooled!
“Doctor! My wife! How is she? What is wrong?”
“Could you please calm down Mr…” But he was already around the doctor and dashing into the delivery room.
“You can’t go in there,” came the doctor’s yell.
Till his dying day, the sight haunted him. The two nurses, one bent over a tray of gleaming silver instruments a look of fear on her face, and the other holding a tiny brown baby against the breast of his wife. A look of guilt on her face. In their eyes pity.
His wife’s eyes were closed.
He stifled back a sob as he rushed to her side, turning over the tray of instruments. He took her hand. She didn’t grip his back. He started crying.
He flashed his headlights, speeding past the intersection at First East circular/Akpakpava junction, ignoring the RED warning of the Traffic light. There was no one about at the hour. He slowed as he entered the Ring road. Light from the extensive array of lights within the square shone brightly on his tinted windshield. On the front passenger seat, well within his reach, the barrel of the Browning pistol glinted.
“Get the fuck down!” “Get down you bastard! Then he shot him.
“Daddy?” The small voice whimpered from the back seat. “Yes dear?” “I’m scared..” “It’s alright. I’m here now. The bad guys are all gone.”
The bad guys are all gone. There were never supposed to be any bad guys.
Ten years earlier
“Why does the cat always get beaten by that rat?” “It’s a mouse. And it’s because he’s the bad guy. But don’t worry, Bad guys only exist in Televisionland.”
She seemed satisfied for only a bit.
“Is Aunty Kate my mummy?”
The question jolted him. He had always expected it. Prepared for it even. But it still jolted him.
Reducing the volume so the capers of the mischievous pair on the television could barely be heard, he drew her close. She was holding a rag doll.
“Aunty Kate is not your mummy. She is my cousin, which means she’s like my sister. She only stays here to take care of you and cook indomie for us.”
He grabbed a picture frame from the mantel beside the television. “This is your mummy. See how beautiful she is. Just like you. You even have her ugly nose.” He tapped her nose gently.
She giggled again. Then she sneezed. An involuntary action, but even at that age, so similar to her mother’s. He felt tears well up in his eyes.
“But she’s dead now,” he continued painfully. “For three years, she’s been with GOD protecting us.”
The child’s eyes went blank with incomprehension. She glanced at her doll. He didn’t know when he had taken it. He gave it back to her. “But know this, she loved you very much…”
Even though she never met you.
“Hey! Ouch! That was painful”
She squealed happily and smacked him on his bum again. He chased her round the compound before catching her beside the car. When he caught her, he lifted her into the air, giggling and squirming.
“Look at how small you are, beating me,” he laughed. “Who taught you that?”
“Yout friend,” came the answer.
“What?” He dropped her slowly. He had meant the question only rhetorically.
“Your friend that stays there,” she pointed at the Senator’s mansion next door. Her face puckered, as she wondered what she had done wrong.
“Oh it’s alright. He’s just playing with you,” he said thoughtfully.
Then he smacked her on her arm and darted away as she chased laughing.
“Sir, I would like to respectfully ask you to stay away from my daughter.”
“You would mind the tone you use. This is a senator of the Federal Rep..”
He walked away while the aide was still talking.
Until her came home and found her room locked. No one ever locked their rooms in his house. Kate wasn’t around that day.
“Hey! Open up, it’s Daddy..open”
It took a few minutes.
“Are you okay?” Her eyes were red.
He smelled the blood instantly. His first thought was that her period had started. She was twelve after all. A mixture of pride and revulsion flashed through his mind. Where was that damned Kate at a time like this?
“I’m bleeding Daddy..”
He almost started to smile knowingly. Then he saw the panic and fear in her face.
“I know you said it’s alright, but the Senator…”She broke off sobbing as she buried her face in his chest.
That was when he knew he’ll have to kill him. Raising a furore would be pointless, it won’t catch. It was his word against a powerful figure.
Then they still lived in Kaduna.
It had taken almost a year.
Senatorial committee inspections of dams in the Benin river basin. Illicit late night visits in a house just off Winners road in a slightly secluded part of Aduwawa, Ikpoba hill. Easy details for a man of his means to find out.
Easy to get there ahead of time, undetected. To neutralize whatever resistance present. To scare to silence the thirteen year old sex slave imprisoned there. To stare into the Senator’s shocked eyes with your daughter beside you as you take a Browning to his shoulder and shoot him through.
“Get the fuck down!” “Get the fuck down you bastard!”
Enough pain to cause him to pass out while you gagged him and smuggled him through the darkness to a waiting car.
But change of plans..
There was no point hiding the bastard’s death. Best to make it a spectacle. The bolder the statement, the less likely the investigation would be traced back to him.
“I will always protect you. You know that right?” “Yes Daddy.” “This is what happens to bad guys okay. He caused this to himself.” He handed her the Durbar knife. “Cut it off” “Yes Daddy.”
They left the body at the junction of the Airport road with Ring road. Less than 50 yards from the State House of Assembly building. A naked, blind man. Gagged and tied, but alive, blood seeping from what appeared to be a gash in his groin, and what seemed to be raw meat hanging out of his gagged mouth.
As we come to the end of this series, in his typical style, Lord Haemlet…
There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact – Arthur Conan Doyle
Relief and gratitude washed over P25 as he finally loosened the restraints that had held him captive for so long. Soon after, he began to shake in terror, so to calm his nerves, he closed his eyes and focused real hard on his immediate environment. He listened for voices, footsteps, the clinking of keys or the menacing clank of the metal doors, but none of those sounds assaulted his hearing. What P25 did hear disturbed him tremendously, so he strained his ears harder, and still heard nothing, only an ominous silence which offered him no comfort.
Secretly working for two mutually antagonistic agencies at the biddings of another agency, came with an unhealthy amount of peril. He’d known the risks involved as he’d known every one of his enemies. He’d known their capabilities, and therefore knew better than to underestimate them. He’d also known the measures and extent they would go, so he’d tried preparing for it. He’d also tried so hard to make sure that the one person, who he’d loved, was properly taken care of. But alas! It had been to no avail.
He’d met her on one of his assignments, in fact, she had been his assignment. He’d been told that she was a threat, and had to be eliminated without it being traced back to the agency. He’d followed and watched her for days, and by the time he was ready to kill her, he’d already known every little detail of her life. He’d known her joy, her pains and regrets. But he’d also come to realize that she was a lonely, harmless and beautiful soul, who was lost in this dangerous world.
So he’d offered her redemption and given her hope. He’d given her love and dedicated his life to her, as he’d done for the agency that birthed and betrayed him. An agency he’d for year’s garnered the trust and respect of all. An agency who’d for years, administered illicit drugs which rendered the human mind cold and void, into his system. An agency who’d for years, tortured him in the slowest possible ways, just for him to appreciate the concept of pain.
After a time, he understood that he was but a dog on a leash, while they were the master. He was theirs to command, and as every master would accord a dog, he was named P25. He was their enforcer and ‘Trojan horse’. He was their Rottweiler; one that was deceptively shrouded in the golden coat of a Retriever. For them, he’d risked his life by successfully infiltrating two hostile factions in what was termed, the ultimate coup de grâce the world had ever known. But everything changed after he’d tried to kill her.
On that day, he’d gone into the bakery she worked, killed everyone and then waited for her to arrive. He’d convinced himself that killing them all was necessary because it would hide his real motive, but he knew better. Ten minutes later, she sashayed into the bakery only to see a pistol being pointed at her head. He’d tried so hard to pull the trigger, but for some strange reason, her hypnotic eyes had held him hostage as she stood in shock.
For the first time, he realized that rebellion was the greatest feeling ever. The feeling had intoxicated and invigorated him. His deception remained a secret because he’d burnt down the bakery to make validation of her death impossible. For the first time he’d discovered the real import of life. For the first time, he realized that his work wasn’t his life. For the first time, he realized that he deserved to be happy, and soon, they were secretly wedded. And for a time, he was the happiest man alive.
‘For a time’!
He was finally at peace with himself, and he began to think of a way out. All he wanted was a clean break, a second chance at life, and a fresh start with Katharina. But as fate would have it, his deception was detected, and she was wrenched away from him forever. He’d sworn to destroy those that were responsible, but first he had to hide in the only safe place known to him. A safe haven only he and another knew existed.
But he was presented with the greatest shock when he realized that his safe haven had been compromised. He’d walked into a trap, and was devastated by the deceit that was unveiled before him. He’d stood dazed and horrified by the magnitude of the betrayal. He’d been effortlessly outwitted in a trade he was considered the best. His shame knew no bounds, and as he was finally bundled away, he howled like a wounded beast.
Finally he heard footsteps coming his way, and a feverish excitement coursed though his spine. Then he heard the clanking of keys and his heart stopped. After a minute, he heard a click as the door was unlocked, and when it was swung open, he let out a guttural shriek and attacked. A few minutes later, the fight was over and P25 was on the floor with a syringe sticking out of his limp arm, and five men gathered around him.
Three hours later, P25 sat strapped to a chair, with his head bloodied and eyes staring almost sightless. His once torturous face was now peaceful and forever devoid of the pain and horror it had known. His lobotomized brain, forever free from the poisonous grip of his schizophrenic psychosis. Now he was but an empty shell that was no longer a danger to others.
Standing before him were the the doctors who’d performed the lobotomy procedure on patient 25. They all stood watching him as they sadly bemoaned the route they’d been forced to take. For years, they had tried all forms of drugs and medications to no avail, and only turned to lobotomy as a last resort. After what seemed like an eternity, one of the doctors finally turned away in tears and left the ward.
It was quite understandable that Dr. Katharina could no longer bear to look at the now docile and empty shell of her husband. It was quite concievable that the experience may have forever scarred her.
Deep apologies for missing the post yesterday. Circumstances beyond my control and all that jazz.
By the way, Happy Democracy day! 14 years and I’m free to tweet what I want.
Stay gripped for the next instalment.
Follow on Twitter @Janus_aneni
Peace to Nigeria.
Ali never really liked biscuits as a kid. Unlike most of his mates, chinchin and cake had been more his thing than crunchy wafers. So it was almost inexplicable that he would suddenly be standing still, drawn to a billboard advertising the latest in Cadbury’s inventory of creme-layered, wheat-filled, chocolate cookies. But he was, and it saved his life.
The bullet winged past his head, barely missing him by the width of a thread, and thrumped into the sandy road. The sound of the shot was silent, but for the cloud of dust, it would have gone un-perceived. But Ali heard it.
The world slowed.
He took into cognisance his position; body bent in a defensive crouch, arms spread out about him, the fingers extended, weaponless and in the middle of the road. He took into cognisance his surrounding; beside him on the right, a mallam kiosk, against the low fence of a residential building. On his left, an abandoned two-storey building with a huge signpost of Cadbury biscuits in the middle of the compound.
He recognised the danger, a McDonell Helicopter about 500m above him and to his left. He could even hear the slam, as the shooter lined up a bullet for the next shot.
Ali woke up.
He woke in sweat, his bedsheets all bunched up and soaked beneath him. Above, the fan spun lazily, trying it’s best to cut through the humid air.
It had been a vivid dream. Every detail had seemed so real. He had been walking down a street off the Benin-Agbor road. Just enjoying an evening stroll on a cool day. His hand had been in the pocket of his combat shorts and a comb had been jutting out his bushy hair. He then saw the billboard. He never even heard the helicopter.
And how the hell was he so good at observing his environment as the danger increased?
He had been watching too many action movies.
Getting up, he pulled on a pair of shorts over his briefs, tossed on a T-shirt and combed his bushy hair.
It was a dream. Most probably a hunger dream. His body was trying to tell him something. It was time to buy Indomie.
As he walked home, swinging a water-proof nylon containing two Indomie noodles Super-packs and an egg, he thought of the dream again.
Coincidence does not exist, his father always said. And this was not the first time he was having a dream like this.
Last week, in his dream, he had been sitting in an office. Sitting behind the door actually. A man had walked into the office carrying a folder. The instant, the man closed the door, Ali had shot him pointblank with a 9mm P22 Walther completely fitted with a sound-suppressor. Three shots to the chest. The man was dead before he began to fall. Ali had caught him, eased him into a chair and swivelled it away from the door before leaving the office. Then he had woken up.
The dreams always left him sweaty, nervous, in a high adrenaline state, and horny.
Maybe he should call Chioma.
Yesterday. Yesterday, it had been too vivid.
In the dream. There was a truck. A big truck. You know, those types with about eight wheels and a big IVECO sign in front. Ali had been driving this truck. The scene again, had been Benin city. How he knew these places, haven never stepped foot outside Port-harcourt, he had no idea. It was a white monster, eight wheels and over 300HP, and ten cylinders, all of them firing. The truck barreled down the highway as Ali clung on for dear life. Horns blaring, the tiny buses skid out of the way of the monster from truck hell. In the rearview mirror, Ali could see the two Hilux trucks in close pursuit. His pursuers were armed with top-level automatic rifles and they were gaining on him.
Swerving out the 3rd east circular road, tyres screeching, the engine howling in agony, Ali twisted the truck onto the Akpakpava road as a spray of bullets riddled the side of the truck and knocked out the right side mirror. Pumping on the clutch, Ali tossed the truck into higher gear and ground for the Ikpoba hills, the white IVECO churning at 120kmph. Ahead, at about 100yards was the Ikpoba bridge. Once past that, he had a feeling, the pursuers would leave him be. He just had to pass that bridge.
Then one Hilux swerved suddenly to the left of the truck and began to come closer, the shooter holding the AK-47, sitting in the trunk of the Hilux truck, aimed the rifle at Ali’s head. Without thinking, Ali swerved the truck to the left, hoping to drive the Hilux into the shoulder of the road and onto the path of incoming traffic. But it was a ruse. The Hilux slowed down instantly and in those seconds, the other Hilux had sped up on the right side and began to pepper the cab of the IVECO. Swerving back to the right, Ali over-compensated and missed the entrance of the bridge, hurtling the truck over the embankment and towards the brown swirling waters of the Ikpoba river.
Then he woke. As usual, sweaty, horny and nervous.
This night was calm though. An oddly cool breeze blew in from the sea and for a second seemed to calm Ali’s nerves. There was nothing to trouble for. Who knows, these were ideas for a movie that God was giving him. Enough of website designing, there were other ways to make money in PHC.
Then, with the breeze came a sound. It was like the tinny sound we here when a bell is rung far away from us. Or the tinkle of a spoon against a glass. Whatever it was, Ali had heard that sound before. It was a background sound in all his dreams.
Every nerve was instantly alert.
A man suddenly walked up to him. Arms outstretched, as though to embrace him. But Ali knew better.
The world slowed.
As the left arm came up, Ali raised his right elbow and blocked it. As the right arm swung in, he raised his left elbow, nylon of egg and Indomie still swinging, and blocked. Without giving the man space to think, he twisted his body and slammed his back into the man’s mid-section. The fellow went down.
As the man lay on the floor struggling to get up, Ali crashed his knee into the man’s head and he went out cold.
The tinny sound was still ringing.
Ali didn’t wake. He kept running, splashing into a barely visible puddle. He was scared, the street looked so empty and though lights spilled onto the road from quiet compounds, all he could see were the shadows. Shadows; dark places, from where anyone could jump out wielding a sword or a knife or a gun.
Ali knew his thoughts were no longer rational, but he could barely help it. On a subconscious level he realised he was running at measured paces, his breath was not raggedy or raspy, and his eyes were darting in every direction is precise, calculated movements. Outwardly though, he looked as ungainly as a fat turkey with a broken leg.
And how he had taken that man down. So fast, so clinical. It had barely taken five seconds.
Ali reached the door of his house, his pulse coming as fast as a runner’s after a five mile sprint. Quickly unlocking the door to his one bedroom flat, he made to enter. And then, that tinkling sound came again, and with it, the sound of powerful rotors.
Instantly, a black helicopter swept over the house, it’s searchlight beam aimed directly at Ali.
Two things happened, of which Ali was never sure of any till this day.
In front of his house was a carton box in which he kept a certain amount of debris. Basically, a clutterers useful nonsense; empty bottles, broken plates, an old burner, things which had outlived their purpose, but he would not throw away. This box had stood in front of his door for ages, beckoning to be disposed, but for some reason, some inner instinct had stopped him. Now he knew why.
Kicking the carton box to jostle the contents, Ali retrieved a black Walther P99, 12-round, 9mm caliber semi-automatic handgun, complete with polymer grip from the box. In one fluid motion, he spun around, thumbing off the safety, and squeezed the trigger, aiming for the light.
The bullet hit its mark. That was the first thing.
Diving away from the fullisade of bullets which erupted from the helicopter, Ali hit the ground on his right side. Before the shooter had time to correct his aim, the killer, who was Ali, fired three shots. Two went through the throat of the pilot while the third took the shooter in his chest. That was the second.
Scrambling to his feet as the helicopter began a deadly spiral toward the ground, Ali ducked behind a pile of cement blocks as the helicopter crashed into the building.
The apartment complex erupted in a huge fireball as glass and metal shrapnel filled the air. Ali stood up as the air seemed to settle. He had eight bullets left, but it was enough. In the gloom of the settling smoke, other attackers came at him from different angles, rushing out of the building where they had probably been hiding. Killers. His enemies.
Ali shot them all. Shot them in their throats.
Then he ran.
The Real Real Newspaper.
Sunday, 21 April, 2013.
Widespread panic hit the people of Diobu yesterday when, in a strange development, a previously upstanding member of the society ran mad and murdered nine people.
Ali Damascus, an Engineer and web designer with Almatech industries was said to have let leave of his senses and gone on a killing rampage.
Eyewitness reports say, Ali had left the house earlier to buy something to eat from a nearby store.
“When he bought the Indomie from me yesterday, I noticed something was wrong about him. I always tell my husband I know these things. His eye was shaking, and as he was buying the indomie, he was talking something. He was talking about dream. Me I don’t know, I just gave him the Indomie and collected my change,” says Mrs Oladipupo Bimbo
The suspect was said to have attacked a man on the road, a friend of his from work. The friend is now in the hospital. When our correspondent tried to reach him, they were informed he was in intensive care. A source however revealed, the patient to have said “I only wanted to hug him”
On getting to his house, the suspect then tried to set his neighbour’s generators on fire. When an attempt was made to stop him, he killed one man and seriously wounded another. According to the survivor, the suspect went on to burn the house and kill the survivors of the fire with a broken knife and bottle he kept in a carton box outside his apartment.
The Police have declined to give a statement, though the assurance is high that they would catch the suspect, who is still at large. However, in a strange development, the SSS, the NIA and the Defence Intelligence Agency are involved in this case. It is even rumoured that Israeli Mossad agents are being utilized to find the man. Quality manpower has been dispatched here. It is obvious that Mr President has taken a leaf from Obama’s tackling of the Boston Massacre and is determined to bring the killer to book.
Schizophrenia is a bitch innit? Or was it?
*I’m not a Psychologist. I’m a Microbiologist. Which is not the same thing, except you can abide Microbes lying on your couch, so the psych profile I tried to paint may be a bit grainy. And..it’s up to you to tell if he went bonkers, or he was really being attacked by ‘mysterious government agents’. *I know the difference between the P22 and the P99.
Drop your comments in the box below..and err..
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