Chicken Run

Life comes at you fast and it does not matter how fast or how strong or how smart you are, one day the penny will drop and it will be you. It would be your turn.

Life comes at you fast and it does not matter how fast or how strong or how smart you are, one day the penny will drop and it will be you. It would be your turn.

It was not always like this, you know. Someone said, it is always the law abiding ones you need to watch out for. He was right. He was referencing me when he said this, but that doesn’t stop him from being right. I was a law abiding one. Maybe that is what started this; my love for the law, for order and stability and a proper and just way of doing things. I paid my taxes, had all my complete papers, paid my bills on time, and never as much as made a turn without signalling first. It did not stop me from being pulled over regularly by the police though. It is Bushiria, and every marginally successful looking young person is a potential criminal until proven otherwise.

May 15, 2021. I remember the date as vividly as anything else in my life. I and my girlfriend has been returning that evening from a party. It was perhaps 5pm, so you can tell, it was not that kind of party. One of her girls has turned twenty-nine and they were celebrating her last year before the big 3-0. We got pulled over at the checkpoint. A routine check, they said. After five minutes of going through my papers and licenses, several times and asking countless questions, the lead officer; a Corporal, by his stripes, leaned closer to me and went:

“So, anything for us, young man?”

Being a law abiding citizen, bribery is one of the things I detest the most. I play my cards straight and follow all the rules so I do not have to pay bribes to get anything done. Now, here was this idiot, demanding one irrespective. To make matters worse, if there is anything I hate more than bribes, it is being patronized. It was there, the way the officer smiled, “young man”, the ugly stains in his teeth, the way he leaned towards me, I wanted to burst.

He noticed my hesitation, mistaking my countenance for contemplation or something and he continued, still smiling that stupid, ugly, ugly grin.

“You know say e easy to put exhibit for inside your moto. Na wetin people dey do, but me dey ask. Make your woman no come start to dey cry.”

And that was the moment I snapped.

It was not the threat to place an unlicensed gun or bullets or drugs in my car, or how it would make my girlfriend feel that changed everything. No. It was nothing like that. It was the thought of how easy it was. How easy it was for a police officer to just plant false evidence and indict an innocent person, forcing them to commit a crime, to bribe. How terrible the police force was that such a thing could happen under their watch, within their ranks, and there was nothing that could be done for it.

So, I snapped.

When I wrenched the AK-47 from his hands, it was on pure instinct. I whirled, allowing my elbow catch him in the face. His nose split open audibly. That I possessed enough strength to do that, that the nerve endings in my elbow suddenly erupted in agony barely registered above my subconscious, I was still moving. I shoved the rifle into the arms of the other officer standing beside me, causing him to drop his gun on the floor. Then holding the barrel of the rifle in both hands, I clubbed both men until the crumpled unconsciously to the ground.

I was not seeing their faces as I hit them. It was not Corporal Baboon or the other fellow, whose name tag or face, I cannot recall even now. I was not seeing those indolent, underpaid louts. I was seeing the system, the faceless men behind it all. The ones who did not pay enough, did not hire enough, did not equip enough, and so forced these men into these despicable acts of criminality. I was deaf to the cries at that moment, deaf to the screams of my girlfriend in the car or the passers-by who raced away in the rapidly emptying street. I did not hear anything, did not see anything, not until I stopped.

“Get in the car,” I said quietly to my girlfriend who was now standing beside me, staring at the bloody mess of flesh on the tarmac, her hands at her sides, her eyes blank, catatonic.

She did not argue as she normally would have. She simply entered into the car. Still gripping the barrel of the rifle, whose butt was slick with blood and what seemed like bits of skin and hair, I entered after her and started the car. Then I remembered, there had been three officers at the checkpoint when I stopped. I could see the last man running down the road.

I gunned the car.

***

Burying the gun was out of the question. I simply threw it in a culvert close to the house. Getting the girlfriend to keep quiet about the thing was another matter entirely. By the time she recovered from her catatonia, she kept babbling, begging and threatening me in turns to stop the car and go back to the police.

“I won’t tell anyone baby. I promise. I would never. Not on my life. But you have to tell the police. You have to turn yourself in.”

She, I buried.

I borrowed my neighbour’s car, told him I wanted to drop my girl off at the car park. When I got to Zoobadan Garage, I offered to drive her to Zoobadan myself, ostensibly so we could talk. She believed me. I strangled her and buried her body somewhere in the bushes past the Foresamu overpass. Then I returned to Woodgos.

But it was not enough.

I could not help the boiling anger that still coursed through me every time I saw a police checkpoint that week. Every time I saw another group of young people being mistreated by the police on social media, I wanted to burst. How were they not learning? How did the death of three of their officers not strike some fear into them? How come they were still acting with all impunity?

In the evening of the next Saturday, I drove out. It had been a week and as typical, there was no investigation. Not one single image of the incident had been caught on camera. There was no suspect, no real ones anyway. A bunch of people had been grabbed off the street the day after and paraded in front of cameras, beaten, humiliated, and then coerced to pay bribes to get free. In all, it only served to fuel my ire.

So when I drove up to the checkpoint on that lonely road, wearing a snapback cap, shorts, a tank top and gold bracelet son my wrist, I must have looked like the usual soft target. I was the only one at the checkpoint, surrounded by armed police officers. Another one, ripe for the plucking. Another innocent in whose car they would plant marijuana and extort 15,000 Shakira.

I did not give them the chance.

“Young man, please turn off your car and step out of the vehicle.”

I did.

One officer pretended to engage me in a conversation about my papers, while the other one poked his head into the back seat. The third officer was on the other side of the car.

“Ehen! What do we have here?” the one with his head in my car started. “This looks like igb…”

I shoved the door hard as he was bringing out his head from the car. The door jamb cracked against his skull, causing him to yell. At the same moment, I grabbed for the gun of the one in front of me. He was a smaller man than Corporal Baboon, but I did not have quite the element of surprise as I had had before. He did not let go of his gun.

So, while I grappled with him, his colleague writhing on the floor in pain, I heard a crack as the third officer cocked his gun.

Many education psychologists have theorized the veracity of passive learning. Is it possible for someone, like Neo in The Matrix to simply learn a physical skill like fighting, from countless hours of being exposed to it visually? Maybe it isn’t, but there is no better explanation for what happened next.

No explanation for how, I with no formal military or otherwise offensive training, suddenly twisted to put the officer I was grappling with between myself and the third officer with the gun. The sound of the gun shot was loud and jarring. The bullet thudded into the first officer’s back with an audible thwack.

Yaaai! Fuck!” the last officer screamed.

I kicked off the dying body, sliding back the hammer to cock the rifle in my hands in the same motion, and fired a short burst into the stomach of the last officer before the first officer’s body hit the floor. To finish up, I returned the rifle’s safety and moving deliberately around the car, clubbed each officer in the head till I was certain they were not breathing. I left the back of weed they had been planning on planting in my car on the body of one of the officers and drove home.

***

This time around, I was famous.

I was not alone on the street that day. Twitter user @Ogbosky_JUJU had been walking home, intent on passing the checkpoint while the officers were busy with me when I had exploded into action. Dropping his backpack of school books, with recessed portions where he hid the pills and marijuana he peddled, he hid behind an empty kiosk and made a video.

I woke at 5am the next morning as a celebrity. Social media was agog with the arguments, left wing and right wing arguing about the extremism of the violence, the tie in with the previous incident and the abundant theories as to the legality of it all. Above everything was the question of who I was. It did not take long for me to be identified from the video. It actually took less than 12 hours and it was not done by the police. Certain individuals, skilled at ferreting information for countless twitter wars, had linked all my social media accounts and found my address less than 2 hours after I woke. Then someone mentioned the police handle on the information.

By the time I was walking out of my house at about 8:30am that Sunday morning, I was more than famous. I was infamous. Getting to my car and driving to an ATM sufficiently far, but close enough, took about 20 mins. I had only the basic essentials in the car, two changes of clothes and a toothbrush. I withdrew 300,000 Shakira using two bank cards, then I started driving. I did not know where I was going, but I was determined to go. I would have disappeared. I think I would have but, the police had some help again. My banks divulged my withdrawal information, then my internet service provider my whereabouts. I heard all this on the radio while I drove but by then, it was too late, they were on my heels.

It had taken a week for my life to unravel, to spill everywhere like a bucket made of sieves. I knew I was doomed, doomed as surely as the devil himself. Not only was my story going to be a mess in the telling and retelling, but if I lived long enough for trial, I would be in the worst pains possible. No, damn it.

Disclaimer

  • Violence is never the answer
  • This is clearly a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead, as well as places or systems existing is purely coincidental.
  • Learn, please.

Simeon

Watching the light leave their eyes never did it for Simeon. It wasn’t the dying that he enjoyed. It wasn’t the dying that kept him up at night, tossing and turning, unable to sleep until he went out and killed. It wasn’t the dying. It was the death.

To slice a knife across a neck, to feel the sharp blade slide across furrows and furrows of skin, biting in and then deeper, while the blood spurted out. To hold the person as they struggled, bound and helpless against his iron strength, to feel the fierceness of the struggle intensify and then wane into stuttering tremors. Those were minor pleasure, tidbits and freebies, enough to please a lesser man, but pale when compared with his actual desire. The bare foreplay, the teasing at the proper finale. It didn’t compare, not to the death.

The finality of it all, fascinated Simeon. To end a life. The knowledge that only a few minutes ago, this heart was beating, pulsing life through a body that leapt and laughed and loved and had a family. To end all that. It was the power of God. To hold a heart, bloody and lifeless, stuck through with tiny splinters of bone from a crushed rib. To feel it still warm as it grew cold, and to know that only a few minutes ago, it had given life. It made him flush hot and cold all over.

The little girl on the side of the dark street, her pink pinafore swaying in the late evening breeze as she waited for him before she crossed the road, one hand clutching a basin of pineapple cuts wrapped in transparent nylon.

“Go on,” he motioned with his hand. Accompanying the action with two short blasts from his car horn.

The girl smiled gratefully, stepping onto the empty street.

Simeon took his foot off the brake and stepped down on the throttle.

The car hit the small body with a dull thud, pushing it forward and under the grille of the Mercedes. The basin of pineapple cuts banged against the bonnet, rolling off and out of the way, spilling out in careless array. 16 inch wheels, treads as wide as 225mm, rolled over the stunned body, crushing its tiny ribs, splintering it to pieces that exploded into the thoracic cavity, and killing the girl instantly. Simeon slammed on the brakes again. Switching the gear into reverse, he turned the steering wheel, rolling again over the dead body, crushing pelvis and arm. It flipped and flopped all over the road, a dusty brown thing that used to be pink.

The sun went behind the row of houses in the distance, the last light reflecting briefly off plastic wrapped pineapple cuts, strewn across the road.

Similar to this: Ruki’s Desire

The act of killing the body lying across the still empty road in front of his car had no effect on him. Nothing. His heart did not suddenly lift, his breath did not catch. Stepping out of the car, his palms sweaty, his breath only now beginning to come quickly, he walked to the mangled body, tiny trickles of blood already beginning to stream out all the orifices and bruises on the splotchy skin.

He stood over it. Kicked at her. It didn’t move. It felt like soft stone. She was dead. Gloriously and completely dead. Hot steam hit his eyes, filling them instantly with tears. A short moan escaped his lips. A wet patch spread on his trousers.

It wasn’t the dying that did it for him. It wasn’t the dying that sated him when he was tense and unable to sleep. It was death. It was becoming God.

He picked up a wrap of pineapple cuts as he walked back to the car, dusting the sand off.

Disclaimer

  • I do not think GOD finds killing or death fascinating. I think only crazy people do.

Nwin-Nwin: The Legend Begins

Dedicated to the most self-less man I ever knew and the few stories he could tell me

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In Africa, the sun rises and sets without warning, and the winds blow through the old forests with the songs of legends, the marks of their passing staining the blood-red sands.

And some of those legends are true.

******

In the old Edo, the first true black civilization, the empire was home to many tribes and cultures. Bound together by the Obas who ruled after the era of the Ogisos, the sky kings, it stretched almost five thousand miles in either direction; from the steppes of the Dahomey to the swamps of the Niger Delta. Within were the Itshekiri, the Etsako, the proud Ijaws and Urhobos, the noble Esan, the big and powerful Binis and the Igbos both west and east of the Niger River. All paid homage to the Oba and in turn were blessed by him, for the Oba was more than just a man, the Oba was king, the Oba was god on Earth.

Oba ghato kpe e!

The Bini empire was called Edo and it was powerful, the envy of the neighboring kingdoms to the west and the north. Their trade guilds employed the most skilled of artisans; blacksmiths and hunters, their warriors, soldiers from birth, trained in the knife, spear and hand-to-hand combat, and also in the finer arts of war and strategy and juju. It was strategy that led to the building of the Bini moats and high wall which surround the capital of the Edo Empire at Benin City, till this day. Moats that were built with the aid of giants enslaved and brought from across the deserts. Strategy and wisdom, both physical and spiritual.

The warriors who came from all over the kingdom, all swore allegiance to the throne of the Oba, and whether Esan or Ijaw, all spoke the lingua franca, a bastardization of the Bini language, known as the Edo language. Within this military were special cadres, the strategists, the juju priests and the elite warriors. This is a story of one of those elite warriors, and as with such tales, it began at night… Continue reading “Nwin-Nwin: The Legend Begins”

So, who’s the rant king now?

 

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.

Continue reading “So, who’s the rant king now?”

The Recruit

I initially wrote this for Jeremy Target’s blog,you can see the original post here.

Anyway, I thought about making this into a sort of series, but let us see what we think about this first. If you are a lover of Espionage and spy thrillers and of course, if you are familiar with the awesomeness that is Codename: Ali then you are welcome.

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The Recruit

November.

East-West road, Choba

5:35am

“Move you fool! Is that all you are capable of? You giant lummox of a fellow! Come on, move those feet ma fren! Would you call yourself a champion? Would you call yourself a leader of men when you can’t achieve a single goal? Run fool!”

Cars whizzed past him on both sides in the early morning light, their headlights making wavy yellow lines in the misty harmattan morning. He jogged on the median of the road, the white nylons and trainers a blurry piston to the pedestrians and motorists. At this hour, the sidewalk and the median, which had become a sudden favourite for pedestrian commuters, was mostly empty. As far as he could see in the mist, he was alone on the median, just how he liked it. Ahead of him loomed the big Setraco mile marker. The stone block was his goal, only two hundred yards from him, but still so far. Essien was alone with his thoughts, and his voice to berate him.

“How do you ever hope to be reckoned with? How will you raise your head above your peers? You fat, ugly, un-fit fuck! Run! Don’t stop now, the goal is no further than the next step idiot!” he cursed, the words puffing out his lips with each breath in small clouds of mist as the mile marker seemed to belie his words, retreating further into the mist.

“Now, I have found self-flagellation to be a suitable motivator, but never so vehemently,” came the smooth voice beside him.

Continue reading “The Recruit”

Zelophehad’s seed

So, I was reading the Bible in church the other day – yes, I do study, and I sorta stumbled on this. And a story grew. Enjoy…

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Zelophehad’s seed

Her father stood at the summit of the mountain, his arms spread out as though to fly or to catch a draft of the wind. The base wind tore at his robes, the air smoky and dense with ash and flinty sparks. At the foot of the mountain a fire seemed to rage, the reddish glow a foreboding backdrop to the man who stood with arms outspread.

“No…” she breathed as she ran towards him, the mountain seeming to become steeper with each step. Below she could hear the sound of jubilation, raucous laughter, the shadows of what seemed as waving arms all reaching for her father. Zelophehad grinned in the light of the flames below, the tongues dancing in his eyes, then he stepped off the edge of the mountain, his robes flapping wildly as he fell.

“Noooo!” Milcah screamed, her hands clutching the empty air as she reached for her father, to see him fall into the fiery darkness, and jolted awake.

It was dark. Looking through the flaps of her tent, she could see the sky, billions of lights danced across the dark blue floor of the firmament, Jehovah’s eyes; the portents of things to come. She got up from her bed, her clothes rustling as she made her way through the mess of pans and skinning knives to the entrance. Standing there, a willowy silhouette, she stared at the night sky and wondered what portent her dream might hold. I wonder how long Father has to foray this time. When would he come home?

Then she heard the scream.

*****

Mahlah held the rabbit by the ears and slipping the knife into the flesh at the throat, skinned the entire animal in one cut. She dropped the skin into the bowl, and began to dissect the rabbit to remove the entrails. On the floor beside her was a narrow tipped, red fletched arrow, one of Noah’s. Several other animals lay on the dirt beside her, their eyes almost lifelike that one would almost believe they lived, but for the arrows sticking out of their throats. Thank Jehovah for Noah’s aim, and the extra food. Noah was easily one of the best shots among the people, everyone knew her aim was uncanny. Not once had she put many a boy to shame in an archery contest, her arrows finding mark in whatever she set her sights on. Oh, that she would find a man soon. Already she was eighteen.

The knife twisted through Mahlah’s fingers, her mind absent, yet her fingers deftly skinning the rabbits in expert strokes that broke no blood. Strange how she should be bemoaning Noah’s insistence that the time had not come to find or even be found by a man. She herself was to be twenty come next Hannukah and yet to be joined before the tabernacle. Though for her, it wasn’t a matter of decision, circumstances beyond her control had dictated it so. She thought of Obed then, and that fateful night as he stole into her tent, his scent filling the small space. She had awoken to his smell, the male virility that poured off him, washing wave over wave upon her desire. Her nostrils had flared, drinking him in, as she reached for his body, her body taut and stiffened peaks of need. Oh, how she had wanted him that day. The knife slid into the furrows of the last rabbit’s neck. But for the scream. Mahlah shook her head. And now, she could not marry. Not anytime soon.

It had been four months now and Obed rarely came back to camp, always out scouting the Promised. She knew he avoided her. Mahlah, put the skin into the bowl.

*****

Tirzah sat upon a rock overlooking the camp. It was a favourite spot of most of the teenagers. The cliff-face of the rock gave a birds-eye view of the entire camp; tents and tents stretching to the lip where the earth kissed the sun. At night with the sky dotted with light, and one could see clearly through the crisp desert air, the beauty of Jehovah in the pillar of fire that rose into the sky. Oh hallelujah! Those were the best times. The camp lights flickering below her, the people moving about like gaily arrayed ants, above the angels flitting about the stars making them twinkle and sparkle, and from her father’s harp sweet melodies even the LORD could not ignore. Then they would dance, light feet skipping on the rocks, Zelophehad was the nimblest of men, his feet barely touching the floor as he twirled and spun, dancing from rock to rock. Tirzah blinked back tears. She said she wouldn’t cry again.

“Look! There she is, the sinner! Daughter of a sinner!”

Tirzah turned to see the boys as they walked towards her. It was Becher and Tahen and their brothers.

“Crying again? Your father was an evil man, perhaps your tears might save your own soul,” laughed Becher.

Tirzah got down from the rock, her back stiff as she tried to ignore them and walk away.

“Look! She is running,” it was Tahen. “He has to be in hell now. Only the souls of those whose hearts are pure may go to paradise. But those the ground swallows up are doomed forever. Cursed!”

Tirzah whirled, her plaited queue flying as she spoke. “You are an ugly fool, Tahen, and all your brothers. My father may be dead, but better than yours. Cursed is the man who lies with an animal, and surely your mother must be a pig because that snout you have can belong to none less ugly.”

Tahen reddened, his face contorting into a snarl as he lunged for her. Smoothly, she sidestepped to her left, her right hand reaching to smack the back of his head almost playfully as he sailed into the dust.

“I may be wrong,” she danced on the balls of her feet. “She may be a clumsy goat after all. Who else would fall for an oaf such as your father?”

The other brothers, all growling now, surrounded her, fanning into a semi-circle pushing her backwards towards a large rock that jutted out of the ground. Tirzah backed up. They were all larger than she was, but she wasn’t scared. Dan, Tahen’s older brother, brought out a switch, his evil face in a grin. That was when she knew they must have planned it before coming. Tirzah backed away some more, her heart beginning to race now. Maybe she had pushed them too far. Going into a crouch; all her weight on her left leg which she kept backwards, she kept her right foot forward and ready to be lashed out. Tirzah drew up her dress, exposing toned thighs the colour of warm caramel. Maybe she could take them, they were only seven. At that moment, an arrow whistled through the air and thudded firmly into the ground mere inches from Dan’s toe, the red feather fletching waving in the breeze.

“Don’t you think seven is a bit too much for one girl,” her older sister’s voice drawled.

Tirzah glanced up at the rock behind her, grinning widely. Noah sat there carelessly, a man’s breeches showing from underneath her dress as she swung her legs over the edge, another arrow already nocked almost lazily to the bow.

*****

“You shouldn’t tease them so,” said Noah as they walked home, the line of sullen boys in the distance ahead of them.

“And you should teach me how to shoot, then I may not need to,” replied her spitting image of a younger sister.

Noah was beautiful in a dusky Midianese way, her olive green eyes wide and yet flinty, the long lashes giving them a smoky luster set off by the sensuousness of her lips. She was laughing now, her long limbs swinging as she skipped down the side of the mountain back to the camp.

“Father and I have already taught you Ramses fist, what more would you learn?”

“Milcah says it is more of a dance than an art of fighting”

“With Milcah, everything is a dance or a dream,” replied Noah.

“What has Milcah done now?” asked Hoglah, appearing suddenly from behind a rock outcropping, a basket of herbs under her arm. “And what have you girls done to the band of crybabies I saw walk past me cursing deeper than an army of Amalekites?”

The two other sisters, each a copy of the other, burst out laughing.

*****

“What are Shemida’s men doing here?” queried Noah furiously as she burst into her sister’s tent, her olive eyes flashing angrily. Mahlah silenced her with a look. Noah fell silent, and went to stand behind her sister. The five of them; Mahlah, Noah, Milcah, Hoglah and Tirzah, all stood hands clasped in front of them and watched the man sitting before them being attended by six others in leather jerkins, heavy wooden cudgels in their belts.

Shemida looked up from the ledger being read to him, “Ah, my daughter Noah. Good, you are all here.”

“Yes we are, now get on with it.”

Noah started, staring at Mahlah. She had never heard such intensity in her older sister’s voice. That was usually her line. Suddenly she was afraid, whatever would make Mahlah so angry must be really serious.

Shemida paused for a second, his ingratiating grin never leaving his face. “Your father has been dead four months now, may his soul find embrace in the bosom of our father Abraham, and I have allowed you enough time to put your things together. According to the law, since he had no sons, all that he had, including you girls now belongs to me,” he licked his wet lips. “I have decided to take possession after the tabernacle meeting tomorrow, where I will make my intention known to the people. So do well to…”

“No! Never! You will never!” spat Noah. “Our father did no wrong! He never cursed GOD! He was not swallowed up!”

“It is the law child,” smiled Shemida as he sauntered out, his men in tow.

Milcah collapsed on the chair, her head in her hands. Her two younger sisters sat at her feet, eyes all turned to Mahlah. Noah opened her mouth to speak, but Mahlah raised up a finger. “Milcah, go make sure they’ve all gone, then come back. I have a plan.”

*****

Eran crouched in the olive basket, his ears trained to detect the slightest sound. He had watched from the shadows as the little Zelophehad girl scouted the perimeter of their tent, then doubled on her to sneak into the basket. Heard when she announced triumphantly that there was no one about. Eran giggled to himself. No one indeed. Everyone knew who was the lightest footpad in all the people; trained by Caleb himself. He giggled again and listened to hear even further. They were hatching a plan just as Shemida had thought. Silly girls. Eran had to marvel at their bravery though, he almost felt sad for what Shemida would do to them.

*****

The tabernacle of the Ark of Jehovah stood in the middle of the camp, the other dwellings radiating from it for miles around. It was a large structure, the huge tent which housed the ark surrounded by heavy wood pillars which fenced off an area around it within which the white-robed priest and blue sashed Levites could be seen moving. It was the law, upon a certain day, all were to gather at the tabernacle as they made their offerings unto Jehovah and asked for forgiveness of their sins and received instructions on what to do next. Shemida gave his orders quickly to his men, each of them placing a hand on the ram as they filed away. There would be no sin and whatever might be committed, the ceremony started soon and once the priest took the ram, their sins would be absolved as the ram was slain, and with it all ties to the Zelophehad line cut from the world. He could remember his joy that night when the scream had woken almost the whole camp; Zelophehad under all those rocks, not much more than his arms the only things showing.

“He has been swallowed up!” he had screamed too, first in genuine shock, then in earnest as he realized what that would mean.

The Hebrew man drew his kaffiyeh across his mouth as a wind blew from the west kicking dust and sand. Oh, he could not wait to leave this godforsaken desert and live in a city again. It had been forty years now, and though he remembered little of Egypt, he had been little more than a child at the Passover, but it had to be better there. Oh, look what the girls were making him think. Jehovah forgive me. He slapped the head of the ram. Take my sin. He would not be swallowed up.

Take my sin.

*****

Hoglah walked in between the tents, through the back alleyways of the camp. Mahlah’s instructions had been explicit. For no reason were they to walk in the thoroughfare where they would be seen by all. As they made their way to the tabernacle, they would each go singly through the side ways in the shadowy corners, easy prey for those who would attack them. Or so it would seem.

Hoglah could understand. She had understood Mahlah’s motives without explanation, like Noah with her warrior’s mind, Hoglah thought herself to be adept with strategy. It had been their father’s bane to have no sons, but daughters. After their mother died, not long after the birth of Tirzah, he had begun to train them in the arts of the warriors and priests, and also feminine arts of music and dance, for Zelophehad had been a skilled dancer. Each of them could stalk a rabbit up to two paces, and could skin a bear if they had to, and kill a man when the occasion called for it. Her father, their dear father, all he had ever asked in return for the doting he showered, was obedience. Simple obedience. And that was where Hoglah had failed.

“Go get the herbs Hoglah.”

But she had wanted to play with her friends. It wasn’t like she couldn’t get the herbs and return. She had been stubborn. Disobedient. She hadn’t gone. And then there was no light left, and father had climbed the cliff face alone in the dark, so dark he hadn’t seen the crumbling handhold he had hewn in himself so long ago. So dark he didn’t see the fissure that had been growing in the rock. So late had he been climbing, so angry had he been at his stubborn daughter, it had been too late when he saw. And father fell, the landslide toppling rocks upon him, one after another, as his screams rent the night. Cursed is he who the land swallows. But it was the mountain who fell on father. And now, she would pick herbs all the time, for all who needed, all who asked.

Out of the shadows of one of the tents a figure leapt out, a tall man in leather, holding a cudgel and a wicked-looking knife. “Now girl, all you have to do is go back home, and I would not hurt you,” the man smiled.

Hoglah just kept walking towards him. The man lifted his cudgel to strike her. Moving with the swiftness of a cobra, she darted under his arm, the skinning knife flashing out from under her basket of herbs, striking him under his right arm. Twisting around his back, she tore the sharp knife across his back, ripping open leather, flesh and sinew. The man arched his back and neck as the beginnings of a scream began in his chest. Hoglah slit his throat from behind.

She was walking away, knife once more hidden in her basket of leaves when his knee thudded to the ground, his throat a gurgling mess.

“Make sure they attack you first,” Mahlah had said.

*****

Tirzah slid between his legs, her knees scraping the dirt, and reached upwards as her knife sliced off his manhood. The man made to scream as Milcah leapt into the air, the flat of her fingers slamming into his throat paralyzing it in an Anubis strike. The man’s face went blue as he suffocated on the scream of pain his lungs tried to force upwards through the constricted trachea.

Across the tents to their left, the people thronged on the thoroughfare, none looked in their direction.

“Make sure they make no sound, we will not call for attention,” Mahlah had said.

*****

Noah danced.

The five men came at a rush, their eyes furious, mouths open in silent yells. Maybe someone had told them about their fallen comrades. Good. They were afraid. Slipping an arrow out of the quiver strapped to her side, she gripped it in her hand like a dagger and waited. The first man came and she lashed out with her right foot, kicking him to the side, her left arm blocking the thrust of the second man, the arrow in her hand plunging into his neck. She retrieved the arrow, already moving before the blood spurted. She sidestepped the next blow, got under the arm of the attacker and using her shoulder, she broke it and twisted around to stab at his neck from the other side, before dancing in again.

“Whatever happens, leave them dead,” Mahlah had said.

*****

Mahlah walked into the congregation, her head bowed. The black shawl she wrapped around her head doing little to hide the determination in her eyes. Behind her, she led a small goat, the neck bound with sacrificial hempen. Two men dislodged themselves from the crowd and came at her from both sides. Giving no indication that she had seen them until one of the men made to grab her arm, she twisted her hand suddenly like a snake, her nails digging into the man’s flesh as she pulled him close. The force of the pull jerked him downwards and her knee caught him at the underside of his throat in a sickening crunch. The other fellow produced a knife. She dodged his thrust, leaning backwards, letting the knife hand sail in front of her. Then using her left knee to the small of his back, propelled him forward and yanking on his knife hand, plunged his knife into his throat. The man fell.

The crowd scattered, some running to the side, most yelling for Moses. Mahlah stood still as a loose circle of space opened up around her. She stood still even as her sisters joined her and the soldiers surrounded them, spears leveled at the ready. Her sisters seemed uninjured, though their clothes were bloodied and Hoglah was without her bag of leaves. All the while she had not let go of her goat. Moses stood before them, his eyes an angry white storm. “What have you done?” his voice was thunder.

“We have committed no sin here,” answered Mahlah, her voice cool. “We were attacked by men who would kill us and steal from us, would we not defend ourselves? These men were hired by him!” she pointed at Shemida, who had been trying to disappear into the throng. “And we have brought a sacrifice to plead for mercy.”

One of the soldiers, the son of Nun, grabbed Shemida out of the crowd and threw him at Moses’ feet. The white bearded leader ignored the pleading man. Moses glared at them for what seemed to be an eternity, then he gestured for Eleazar the priest to collect the goat.

“We also come with a grievance before the LORD, and we shall not enter the tabernacle to say it,” added Mahlah.

Moses raised a white eyebrow.

From the fourth book of Moses also known as the Book of Numbers, what comes next is found in chapter 27 verses 1 – 10.

Disclaimer

  • This is a work of fiction, all characters however are based on actual persons though dead, as recorded by the Bible
  • All events may or may not have occurred however, depending on if one would attribute the source of my inspiration to the Holy Spirit of GOD
  • I have never been accused of feminism, and in fact may be the most chauvinistic man alive

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GOD bless you, and GOD bless Nigeria. Peace.

Abiku

Colder than the breath of Iku himself
egbon has come, slippery as an eel yet again
with mien as a shield
immune to the loud silence
as Iya Agba lay
spent in her mess.
Baba murdered infants in the war
and Iya Agba spat into Osun
a juvenile fool
but what is my own sin that you torment me so?
As flowers to a bee
As feces to a fly
I call you egbon, listen to my cry.

Oh Ika, ancient though you bawl
Irunmole buruku, timeless though you crawl
Have mercy on these children of men
Forget their blunders of before when
they knew of your wrath and unforgiveness.
Accept their offerings
appeasements being made
since before Maami bore me
for they are old and worn
this is a battle you have won.
Aburo, think of me
as you close your eyes in mock
I promise to follow you
To the river
To the market
To the end of the earth if you want
Only wait and play with me.
By Baba’s shriveling loins I swear
Not one scar on your body
Who would dare?
Egbon mi, Aburo mi
Stay
Let me be your protector
Till Iku your accomplice
takes me when my years are done
be-shielding only you.

 

Glossary

Iku -Death

Egbon  – Elder sibling 

Iya Agba – Older mother

Baba – Father

Osun – River goddess of fertility in Yoruba land

Ika – Wicked one

Irunmole buruku – Terrible demon

Maami – My mother

Aburo – Younger sibling

 

N.B.

I’ve always been fascinated with Wole Soyinka and JP Clark’s Abiku poems, and thus this was borne from them both. Wole Soyinka writes from the perspective of a proud Abiku who feels no remorse whatsoever about the pain he causes while JP Clark tells the story from the side of a relative begging the Abiku to stay.

A Myth and Ciprofloxacin

No, not a true life story.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I looked at the man pointing the gun at my head with bulging eyes. Sweat was further darkening the ski mask he wore on his head that left spaces for his two eyes and mouth. His nostrils, though not visible, were flared in anger as I sat firmly on the bench of the danfo bus, not moving or even planning to move. I knew his nostrils were flared because his chest rose and fell rapidly and of course, I could see them expanding with each second I remained on the seat. I also knew he had not pulled a trigger before. I would be dead or seriously injured if he had. But all this did not count. Only in death would people know my shame.

See, it is not my intention to continue to aggravate this thief. On a normal day, when I am with my dignity and senses, nothing will make me more obedient than seeing a masked man wielding a murder weapon and pointing it in my direction, threatening to end my life with a twitch of muscle.

“GET THE FUCK DOWN FROM THIS FUCKING BUS OR I WILL FUCKING BLOW YOUR FUCKING BRAINS ALL OVER THIS FUCKING BUS!”

I did not move. Tears clouded my vision as I pointed my bag at him as I had done for the past two minutes he had been raving.

“Please, I beg you in the name of God, take my bag. Everything is inside.”

Shame is a serious issue for me. Even slight embarrassment. Once, I had fallen terribly ill to the bafflement of the school nurse who found nothing to be the cause of my illness, just because a boy in my secondary school four years ago had told me that my skirt was unzipped. I had thought the whole thing through a million times in my head, wondering if he saw the holes that stood as Winnie the Pooh’s eyes on my panties (which my mother had promised to replace the next visiting day) that showed clearly when I turned to look at my open skirt zip. So, you see, I might just slump and die if anybody discovered me now, no need for trigger-happy fingers.

The driver had fled earlier at the sound of gunshots, just about two minutes after the conductor had left for the nearby bushes to ‘ease’ himself and left five frightened passengers struggling to open the door of the rickety bus to no avail. The moon and the stars had fled too, leaving us with no option than turn on the flashlight applications our mobile phones for illumination. There were no passers-by at this time and most especially in this location where the driver had passed to cut corners.  The driver side of the bus was demarcated from the passengers’ side by a metal sheet with a window too small for any of us to fit through. The fair guy that sat beside me had begun to whimper, all thoughts of collecting my mobile phone number completely forgotten. The mechanic in his dirty overalls had fiddled with the door, cutting his fingers in the process and when he finally got the door open, the masked man was there waiting patiently, pointing his gun at the entrance. The middle-aged woman sitting at the last row had screamed and the boy with a wooden tray on his lap that had probably held agege bread in the morning had begun to cry. The thief had ordered us to lie face flat on the floor of the bus, gotten crazy when I refused to move as others were lying in awkward and uncomfortable positions, and exploded when I continued to plant my buttocks on the seat. This is where we are now and my mother’s voice is ringing repeatedly in my ears.

If you have sex, you will die.

Sounds stupid, doesn’t it?

Just three days ago, my boyfriend of two years dis-virgined me. He had waited long enough and I knew all the love he showed was no joke, (marriage tinz). It had been planned and I had taken the Postinor 2 he bought as he told me to but pregnancy was not what I should have been worried about. I had noticed an infection yesterday. Not sexually transmitted, no. I dis-virgined him too. Apparently, he pushed bacteria from my ‘backward’ into my ‘frontward’, at least that was what the pharmacist with the pitiful look on her face told me.

E. coli belongs in the rectum and goes crazy elsewhere. The female reproductive tract included. The trip from the first point to the second is very short in females, thus, we are very very susceptible.

I had spent about two thousand naira to purchase the drugs I needed to get well and I had called my boyfriend and told him. Of course he was sorry and felt guilty but I shushed and assured him I knew precautions for next time. Looks like there wouldn’t be and my mother had been right after all.

I had started taking the drugs immediately; the pharmacist even gave me the water I used for my first dose free of charge. Urination was frequent and painful. Thank heaven I was home due to ASUU strike. All those busybody roommates of mine would have asked me questions. My mother had sent me on an errand to Oshodi and traffic had been bad as usual, resulting in this situation. The noises in my stomach started shortly after my fourth dose this afternoon, right before I left home, and just like the ciprofloxacin leaflet said, my stool was loose. So loose, it felt like I was urinating via my anus. Four more days, I thought to my self, four more days.

I remembered the first time I wet myself during the journey home. The fair boy had faked a British accent and I had burst into laughter despite my state of duress. The smell of antibiotics filled my nostrils and I bit my lip hoping he was as stupid as he sounded. Subsequent ones had followed which I couldn’t help as the traffic dragged on. I was comforted by the fact that I had a permanent scarf in my bag. I would wrap it around my waist when the time came for me to get off. And I also thanked heaven for the darkness, I would walk the short distance home from my bus stop in the shadows. I would tell mom that her vegetable soup did not go well with me today.

It was when the rumbling began that I knew I was in trouble and told the idiot to leave me in peace. I resorted to insults hoping he would change seats, but he just sat there, giving the condition that unless I gave him my phone number, he would not leave me. As horns honked and drivers screamed, I let out a fart whose sound was drowned by the ongoing noise but whose release brought my doom for it was accompanied by loose stools. And that, my friends, is why I cannot, must not, stand from this seat.

“I WILL COUNT TO FIVE.”

“Please. I beg you.”

“ONE.”

“Please.”

“TWO.”

“I am sick. I cannot stand.”

“THREE.”

“In the name of God.”

“FOUR.”

“JESUS.”

My mother voice was the last thing I thought of.

 

 

Pick ciprofloxacin.
Pick ciprofloxacin.

 

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Ruki’s Desire

What I’m about to write may be a little unusual, but I recently completed Stephen King’s Dark Half  and came out into the bright sunlight to see two sparrows take flight from the roof above my window. So I guess, there is a little George Stark in me right now, and I want to pen.

Ah yes..this contains scenes involving sex, violence and other quite disgusting stuff. For the sqeamish and innocent at heart, please stop readin now.

***___________________________________________________________________________________________________***

“ Are you going to be home tomorrow?” he typed

“Yes”

“Good”

“Why”

“Because I’m coming to fuck you..”

****

Peter was blunt. He was always blunt. It was a privilege afforded tall, handsome men with strong fingers and sensual  eyes. His lips, though full and inviting, were cruel and constantly parted in the most sardonic grins. But men found him sexual and were attracted to the danger he presented. So he used them, used those eyes they were attracted to, and beguiled and betrayed and dumped.

Ruki was shocked and annoyed and secretly pleased. She hadn’t heard from Peter in almost a month, asides a half-hearted “Happy Sunday” chat two weeks ago. And here he was pinging her now, for sex! Well, she had a boyfriend now, as she had informed him two Sundays ago, and he had one too. So leave me alone for gossakes!

But she knew.

She knew she wanted him. Knew deep within her, in that sweltering core that was slowly beginning to moist, that she needed him.

“Gerrawt jor!” she typed. “That’s how you’ll talk and you’ll not show”  That much was true.

He sent a ‘devil smiley’. “Tempt me!”

She grinned, her centre getting wetter, and told herself it was just harmless flirting.

“LOL,” she typed, and sent a ‘batting eyelashes smiley’.

“So, 10:00am?” he typed.

“Haba! Isn’t that too soon? I won’t have bathed even…”

“Better…I want you dirty even..”

She giggled then, and shifted her position, her body was beginning to get that warm feeling. An image coursed through her mind: she and Peter, naked, twisted among the sheets, as she clutched at his back, her centre thrust toward him, her neck arched back in desire.

“LOL..you’re just too horny..” she typed.

As she watched the message deliver. The screen suddenly dissolved to show an incoming call. The caller ID read ‘Nathan’. Inwardly, she groaned in exasperation, as the flow of hormones to her brain cut off suddenly. She thought about ignoring the call. But he’ll only call again. And then he’ll ask questions.

“Hello..?” she answered sullenly. Almost guiltily.

“Hello baby..” her boyfriend replied.

Fifteen minutes later, she ended the call. Her phone beeped with a new message. She checked. Peter.

“I just want you so badly now. You can barely imagine. Or maybe you can..’grin smiley’..wait for me, 10:00am”

And then later, “I’ll bring chocolate..and the pineapple flavoured ones…”

He meant condoms, she thought, with a throb of guilt and an inner warmth spread through her again.

Oh, Peter..

****

Two years ago, she was in 100l, a fresh student, new to school and innocent as a jay-bird in July. It was afternoon and she had been buying a novel from a stand in the shopping complex right beside her Science faculty. Till now, she wasn’t sure if she had been listening subconsciously, or if her ears had suddenly picked up on the sound of a particular word or phrase, but she suddenly wanted to know who the voice belonged to. And when she saw him, her heart gave one of those little flutters.

He wasn’t as tall then, and his features weren’t as chiseled,  but as he stood talking animatedly with his friends: two guys and a girl, about some author he had just read, she was taken. To hear him talk, Ruki found herself wanting the book, wanting his voice, wanting him. These were emotions strange to her then, and for a while she was both excited and puzzled. The girl with him, a skinny thing, kept looking with such rapt attention as Peter talked, her nostrils flared as though to drink in the very scent of him. Ruki found herself getting jealous of the proximity.

As a sharp Sapele girl, to whom slacking is not an option, she called out in her best accent, and asked what novel it was they were talking about. He turned then, dark-brown eyes appraising her quickly; expertly. If he liked what he saw, he gave no sign. But he smiled when she said, she could have heard him from the other side of the campus, with the way he praised the book, and if she bought it and the author was no good, she’ll probably have no choice but to jump naked in a bowl of hot egusi.

“He is that good,” he laughed. His mind probably already imagining her naked, 5’5, narrow-waisted form drenched in oil. The other girl hissed in envy.

She achieved two things that day. One was exchanging numbers with Peter and the other was buying a copy of Janusaneni’s latest bestseller.

It wasn’t till a year after that they first fucked. After that night, she was completely smitten. She bought a new Janusaneni the next day.

Outside, Peter was sarcastic, malevolent and a playful tease. In bed, he was  nothing but a beast. He tore at her, devoured her in ways she thought impossible, leaving her spent and sore and always wanting more each time.

But it was never normal.

One time, he let himself into her room while she was in the bathroom, using his spare key. He then hid beside the bathroom door, waiting for her to come out. As she stepped out, oblivious, clad in only her towel, her shoulders and legs glistening with beads of water, he came up behind her and clamped a hand over her mouth. She nearly fainted from shock. Shoving her against the wall, he tore at her towel. Instinctively, her brain still reeling from the shock, her first reaction was to retrieve her towel and cover her nakedness and she bent over. Without warning, he stuck a finger right into her vagina. She tried to scream then, but his hand was firm over her mouth and all that came out was a muffled cry. Then he spoke in her ears, his voice a harsh whisper.

“I’m going to fuck you Ruki.”

Turning her around, so she faced him, he pinned her to the wall and bit her shoulders. His eyes were wild and crazy.

“Peter, sto..” she tried to say, but his hand was over her mouth again. She could smell her sex on his fingers, and impossibly, crazily, she began to get moist.

Peter? Peter was already naked and ready for action.

****

Are you going to be home?

I’m coming to fuck you!

****

She had had other men. Some were boisterous, some languid and sensual, but none of the experiences, none of the styles could hold a candle to Peter’s. Peter was an animal. There was no conventionality with him.

Once she was on the toilet bowl, taking a shit. They  had just come from this Chinese restaurant, and it was already obvious, from the groans and loud noises erupting from her anus, that any food prepared by a small yellow person was certain to disagree with her.

Suddenly Peter was in the bathroom, naked, his small member, swollen and throbbing.

“What the hell are you..?? Can’t you see I’m in the..!”

“I want to fuck you Ruki.”

And so he had. Right there in the bathroom, her head in the sink, her arms flailing to the sides, dribbles of yellow shit falling from her buttocks to splatter against the white floor tiles. He thrust into her, repeatedly, consistently, for hours it seemed. Till she was lost in a kaleidoscope of colours, and pleasure, and later pain.

He was insatiable.

He was coming tomorrow.

****

The next day, at 10:15am, the knock came on her door. Light and yet, insolent. Like he owned the place.

Peter.

She opened it, and there he was. First time she was seeing him face-to-face in almost a year.

“Hi,” he grinned shyly, his eyes twinkling. “That’s a nice gown. Chocolate?”

She loved him. Of that she was sure. Why she loved him? Why she loved this coarse, very dangerous animal? Of that, she had no idea.

She let him in.

All through the night and early in the morning, she had steeled herself. She was prepared for him. She was prepared to rebuff all his advances. She knew her desire might betray her and for that reason, she had set the stage to detract from such intentions. The curtains were wide open with the bright sunlight streaming in, and playing on her TV was The Hobbit, the most ‘un-sexual’ movie she had. But he made no pass. For all intents and purposes, he was there simply for the movie, and the chat from last night might as well have been typed by a mischievous alter ego. She decided not to bring it up.

They watched the movie, while he lay with his head across her lap, her hands unconsciously stroking his face. They were perhaps fifteen minutes into the movie, chewing on chocolates and laughing, when she suddenly stood up, walked to the door, locked it, and let down the curtains.

“Ah..a cinematic feel eh?” he started.

She straddled him, and kissed him, deeply and fully on his lips. For a second, he seemed to hesitate, and then he was kissing her back, but not in the usual hungry manner. He was kissing her slowly, almost sensually.

What was happening?

But she couldn’t help herself, she wanted him. Had wanted him for so long. Still kissing him, her expert hands flew over his shirt, unsnapping his buttons. In seconds she had his shirt and singlet on the floor. She was already naked. There was nothing underneath her gown.

“Fuck me Peter…”

“Ruki calm down. I…”

“Fuck me dammit!” she was trembling.

She didn’t care if he was in a homosexual relationship. She wanted his body. She always had. She needed that canine ferocity he brought into his lovemaking. Stabbing her nails into his naked chest, she scratched deep red lines on his skin, drawing blood.

Peter roared. Inflamed. Twisting around he slammed her into the bed and slapped her.

Yes..yess.. she moaned.

But still he paused. “Ruki, I shouldn’t have come here today. I just wanted to talk to you that’s all. I really can’t do this anymore.” He got up from the bed and picked his shirt off the floor. Ruki was stunned. Whaaaat?!!

Hell no! She scrambled up from the bed, her heavy breasts swaying, and grabbed his arm. “You wait here! Where are you going?!”

That was when he pushed her.

_____________________________________________________________

If you didn’t look at her head, she seemed to be sleeping. She lay on her left side; her right arm flopped over in front of her. Her head however rested at an unusual angle against the wooden side of the bed, her eyes open and sightless. Peter was stunned.

Oh my God! I’ve killed her! When he pushed her, there hadn’t really been that much force! It was the chocolate! It was the fucking Cadbury wrapper! When she stepped on it , she had slipped and fallen backwards while he looked on. Her head had struck the sharp end of the bed rest where it protruded towards the doorway. The sound it made had been sickening, like the sound of breaking coconut. At first he thought it was an ordinary bump until she slid to the floor with her neck at that angle. Then he realized, she had hit her neck.

He crouched beside her, afraid to touch the corpse. Oh my God! He wondered if the neighbours had heard her when she called to him. But he doubted it. It hadn’t been that much of a shout. He drew out her legs. Her head fell to the floor with a dull, lifeless thud. From her mouth trickled a thin line of blood. He stiffened. His penis stiffened.

He touched her lips, using his thumb to paint the blood on her lips. He got harder. He caught sight of the Cadbury wrapper, there was some chocolate still left in it. He took out the chocolate, it had gotten mashed up and coated his fingers nicely. He smeared some of it on her vagina. Peter smiled. Then he got naked.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

I can’t go on abeg..

Raw material..
Raw material..

Disclaimer

  • I love Cadbury’s Dairy milk
  • These events are not based on any real events, however close they may seem
  • I am not a violent man, nor ehm..lover. (¬_¬)

I hate abusive relationships. If you’re in one, GTFO of it!!! You will die.

GTFO = Get The Fuck Out. [I have no idea why I didn’t put that earlier]

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Peace to Nigeria.

Anastasis

The sky was dark..

The sky was dark..

This post was mainly Ifeoma’s idea. And as usual, I do not claim any err..’Correctness’ to this. Read, enjoy the story, search out the Truths. Learn the lesson.

Lightening blazed across the sky, white light tearing up the inky blackness of the Night. The air smelled like burnt cordite and wisps of smoke danced upon the sun-starved stony hills. In an escarpment stood a lone sycamore, it’s leaves long gone and it’s branches bare. From one of the branches a man dangled, his neck taut within a hempen noose. A crow perched on the man’s head, its feathers black as a witch’s robes. It’s shrill cry piercing beneath the shrouded sky.

In the city, the streets lay empty, lamps blazing in doorways behind which crouched families in hushed silence. Soldiers in full armour and with red cloaks fluttering in the stiff breeze manned street entrances, gloved hands gripping the shafts of their spears in locks of tight knuckles. The mood was of barely concealed terror and prayer stayed on the lips of every man.
Within the House of Arimathea, a man paced the courtyard, his head bowed in deep thought, an oil lamp burning brightly by his side. His slippers staccatoed on the cobble-stoned yard, yet he took no notice, for his thoughts were dark and full of rue. Through an open window, he could see his wife, with a baby to her breast. The eyes of the little one were wide, pupils dilated to absorb light, yet she did not cry. The silence which engulfed the Holy City was so intense, even babies barely whimpered and the gnats which disturbed the horses could barely buzz. The fountains ran silently and in the ponds, the frogs refused to croak. The world was holding its breath. For what? Few could barely tell.
Joseph, him of Arimathea, kept pacing. Already a rider had been dispatched to the next province with a message for his friends there. Succour was needed, Refuge was sought! He had played a gamble and suddenly it seemed likely to go against him. A jaybird has whispered to him in the early hours of the morning that a sworn group of men had been commissioned by Annas to attack his mansion. He had immediately requested a platoon of soldiers from the governor, and already Roman legionnaires stood guard over his gate. But he didn’t feel safe. Evil pervaded the land and its stench overwhelmed him. Frightened him. He needed a second option.
Jehovah knew, he believed. He might not always have declared it in the open, but he did. But he had to hedge his bets. You didn’t become this rich playing only one side of the game. It He didn’t rise by the time Night was done, then there was nothing left.

*****

The horses thundered through the night, hooves pounding in the stony desert floor. The riders bore down on their horses, jerking on the reins of the mounts, their heels digging into the flanks, trusting only on instinct as there was neither star nor moon to guide them.
Thomas Didymus rode with tears in his eyes.
“Whither thou goest? And how will we know the way?”
His vision blurred and sadness rolled down his cheeks in fat drops of wetness. Just the day before, at about the sixth hour, not twenty-four hours now, his LORD, his Master had cried in his own voice. Cried!
“It is finished!”
He had never heard his Master cry before. Anguish tore through the disciple’s heart. Pain and hurt and betrayal bore down as one. In one instant, his perfect world had crumbled. Oh, how he had believed. How he had trusted. The kingdom! The kingdom! Riches and Glory! But not this! Not this darkness. Not this emptiness. For three years, he had walked with his Master, learning and serving. Using every waking breath to worship and in one stroke, and by the flash of lightening, the world had faded to black and his source of strength was gone. Gathering a few men, he had fled the city as soon as the Sabbath was over. Tearing down the stony roads, bound for Galilee, where a boat waited to ferry them across the River. They had to run. Evil owned supremacy now. It was over here for them. By morrow, they would be hunted all over the country. And if caught, they would be crucified. Scourged and then crucified. Hung on a tree till they died. A cursed death!
Thomas spurred the horse on.

****

In the temple, the lights blazed brighter than ever. The outer courtyard was half empty, but with the usual assortment of traders and beggars and those loafers who always hung about the temple telling tales by the fire. Tonight however, the banter was quiet and the men sat warming their hands in silence while the women exchanged fearful looks and hid their faces within their habits.
The only voices to be heard in the courtyard were murmurs of the Roman soldiers at the gate and the agitated whispering of the Greeks who sold doves. But even they were hushed by the gloom of the Night.
In the inner courtyard, two men could be seen huddled in a corner talking in hushed whispers. Across the courtyard, hidden behind a balustrade from which sprouted a hedge of thorns and petals, another man stood watching in silence. His name was Malchus, and though the distance was great, his right ear picked up that Caiaphas and Annas spake.
The veil of the Holy of holies was rent in two!
At the moment in which the Great Healer has died, as the ground rumbled and the world turned to Night, the veil of the temple had torn up at the midst. So shocking was the news, Malchus nearly fell over in fear.
A stiff wind blew through the courtyard and chilled Malchus to his bones. JEHOVAH has abandoned us. We have killed His Son and now, the veil has been torn and he is gone.
But he remembered. Three Hannukahs past it was when he had heard the Rabbi speak in the temple.
“Destroy this temple and in three days, I shall raise it up..”
He had died and the temple veil had been rent down its middle, could it be? Would he then rise in three days?

****

Shaggy hair dropped down into his eyes, stringy and lank with perspiration. The room was stuffy. So many of them here. Too many. Simon, who was also called Peter sat on a cushion on the floor, his head in his hands, a babble of voices like a sea all around him.
Sea. The sea. Sea and fishes. That was his business. Not this. Not this issue of leading men and surviving a Roman manhunt. Already, a few of the disciples had begun to arm themselves. Surprisingly, it was he, brave, strong and vicious who now pleaded with them to relax and to pray. He who owned a gleaming and wicked knife.
How are the mighty fallen
Simon smiled wryly. It had taken an ear to set him to his senses. Thomas and a few of the men had already fled the city bound for Carpaneum. May it be well with them. He wished he could ask them to have faith. But he sought for faith himself and could not find. Despair cloaked his heart.
“Wherever thou goest, I will go.” Those were his words. “I will lay down my life for your sake” Those words were his too.
Yet he had denied Him three times.
“Peter, lead my sheep.”
A simple instruction. But so much weight. So much responsibility. He couldn’t! Couldn’t!
Oh Father, help us. Abba Father!

_______________________________

“Lift up your heads, O ye gates;
even lift them up, ye everlastung doors;
and the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle…
The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory.”

It Was finished.

The seals of the sepulcher burst open with a flash of lightening and a crack as the sound of the earth splitting. There was a blaze of white light and a force as that of a powerful Presence. The men who stood watch were blown away senseless. So overcome were they by the Presence. The stone was rolled away to a side, and from the tomb, from the centre of which Death held sway, strode out the LORD Almighty, Jeshua. Jesus.

****

I would not dare to profess any true knowledge of the story I have told you. My name is Christopher and at best I’m a christian like any of you, and at worst, I am a sinner worst than most of you. Nevertheless, the truth of these is evident. When we despair, when we lose hope, when it does seem as though all is lost. When we are troubled and when we are frustrated and when it looks as though there is no help in sight. Behold! The doors open. The gates lift up.

Stay true.

Peace.

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Shalom.

And yeah, Anastasis is simply Greek for Resurrection. 🙂

He was risen!

He was risen!