I am a prisoner of circumstance, a prisoner to life and I kept hoping that any moment he would open up the door to allow me my freedom. Escape isn’t an option and even if by some freaky stroke of fate I see a way out, I still wouldn’t be able to save myself for I am too weak to fight. I feel so cheated, deprived and unloved, I feel like a thief, a robber of happiness that has stolen from my parents again and again or so I have been accused. I can hear the rustling of the leaves outside as the cool evening breeze caressed it and the echoes of the other kids call as they fell into the rhythm of our nightly games and disturbing memories threatened my sanity. With nothing to do other than to stare hopelessly at the thatched roof of a room I soon began to associate with as my prison, memories of the good times flashed by in quick succession like it was but a blur in the distance, only to be replaced by memories of the mental and psychological abuse suffered, tortures and cruelty meted on me and the very fiber of my existence shook as I wailed in torment, like a broken soul.
Tonight I must lead the village of Nsukwu to where I have hidden it, for my crimes and the suffering of my parents must end. Desperately I listen to hear of my missionary teacher’s return, the “Onye ocha”, the only person that stood by me even when my family and village forsook me. But he was a tardy too late because I can now hear the sound of approaching feet and whispers as the time for my reckoning arrived. And my broken soul yearned for solace as I saw the inevitability and hopelessness of my situation.
I still remember the day it all started with so much clarity and intensity that it brought tears to my inner eyes. It was in the rainy season of the year after the missionary had come into our village, Nna had come home angry after he had consulted with the oracles about my constant illness. It was revealed to him that I was an “Ogbanje”, an evil spirit who has been bringing pain to them by tormenting and dragging them through the rigorous rituals of childbirth, only to leave them shattered and heart broken by dying. The oracle claimed that my mission was to rob them of all their happiness by dying, watching them mourn and then coming back when the scars have almost healed to give them hope only to shatter it again.
Is it my fault that three others of the same gender and likeness have died before me? Is it my fault that we all were afflicted by the same mysterious illness that eventually took their life and would eventually claim mine? Was it my fault that I was never as strong as my peers and even now lay sick and weak on my bed? All these I asked myself as I was being carried away to the dibia’s shrine where I would hence forth remain till I revealed the whereabouts of my “Iyi-Uwa”, or the rites of “Ibe-Ugwu” would be performed on me because it was sometimes thought to get rid of the “Ogbanje” too.
All these accusations I could have lived with if my sweet and loving Nne hadn’t shied away from my touch when I cried out and tried to reach for her as they carried me away. That singular action from her brought down all the bitter tears I had struggled to hold back because I could accept Nna deserting me to the verdicts of the gods but not Nne. That sweet loving woman who stayed up and sang to me in my worst nights, Nne that cried with me when the pains of my illness had become nearly unbearable for me, the same Nne who carried and bathed me when the rigors of my illness had ravaged my body had looked the other way like I was an “Osu” and that singular act of betrayal burnt so deep in my innocent soul that it left it forever scarred.
I could understand my Nna and Nne trying to find answers to their problems, but why blame me an innocent child for a misfortune that was not just theirs but also mine? Aren’t they emphatic to my plight? Don’t they know that I go through the most heinous of pains and suffering during my bouts with this mysterious illness? Or do they think I would want to put myself through that kind of pain and suffering just to make them suffer? Where is the sense in that? The gods should answer me please. Are the gods really watching over us? Are they seeing my predicaments? Is their no justice in this cold world? Are the gods responsible for this? Or are the gods laughing at me now as they break “Oji” over my sufferings? All these I bitterly asked myself as they battered me with incantations and forcefully made me drink different herbal concoctions just to reveal where my “Iyi-Uwa” was buried.
I was told an “Iyi-Uwa” was an object that bound my spirit to this world and caused me to return to my Nne after I have died. The dibia also revealed that the oracle has shown him that my “Iyi-Uwa” was a piece of coloured stone and I must show them where I have hidden it, so that they can destroy it and thereby put my evil spirit to rest. So I was faced with either showing them my “Iyu-Uwa” or face the excruciating pains of the “Ibe-Ugwu” rites [circumcision].
I am merely a blossoming fourteen year old girl who had dreams of becoming a teacher in the missionary school someday, but I have already experienced eight years worth of pain and suffering. At one fell swoop I had lost the affection of both my parents and my friends to the verdict of the gods and nobody in the village cared less. Even my childhood friend Iheoma abandoned me to my fate, but still the memories of Iheoma and times we spent which now felt like a figment of my imagination almost brought a smile to my face. Iheoma and her penchant for mischief, Iheoma and that twinkle in her eyes when she was up to no good, The fun we had together on the days my illness loosened its grip on me, the times we spent in the forest day dreaming when we were supposed to be at the stream, the days we helped Nne fry garri, our quarrels and our love. All those cherish-able memories marred by the injustice meted on me.
I remember the day I was too ill to participate, let alone attend the dance festival of my age group in the village. I remembered the pain I felt knowing that Iheoma and my peers would be out there jiggling and shaking their small rotund buttocks while I lay on my bed hapless and helpless. I cried my soul out that day like I am doing now, as I am being led out to find my “Iyi-Uwa”. The only difference is that today the gods are crying along with me and as the intensity of my tears increases so did the out pour of the rain outside. It was like the celestial bodies were mourning the iniquities of my life with me.
The search is about to begin and I am surrounded by a handful of the villagers but I am surprisingly filled with renewed vigour because of the sacrifice I have decided to make today. Deep down I know I won’t survive the night for I most surely would die from the long trek into the forest, but I would rather die than face the painful rites of “Ibe-Ugwu”. I go light hearted and with hope because of the promise my missionary teacher made to me. He was the only one who vehemently fought for my release, he was the only one who came to visit me throughout the two weeks I spent in the dibia’s shrine and he was the reason I agreed to take them on this wild goose chase for if I hadn’t, he would surely have been harmed for interfering. His explanations that my Nna and Nne were the reasons for their predicaments fell on deaf ears, he tried to explain that there was something in both their genes that made them incompatible and therefore led to them birthing sick children but that only further infuriated Nna and the elders for they were willing to use the gods to blame an innocent child for nothing she knew about rather than accept the blame.
I remember his last words as he left my side;
“Anyuli I will do everything in my power to help you because I know that this isn’t your doing. I leave you now not because I want to abandon you but because I want to gather help and save you from this hell, and with the support of the mission I will forever put an end to this abomination. Wish me God’s speed and wait for my return,”
Tonight I pay the ultimate sacrifice for others like me out there so remember my names, “Anwuli” which I was named because I was supposed to bring happiness along with me, that same happiness I have been accused of robbing off my Nna and Nne. “Okwukwe” which I was named for I had brought hope to my parents, the hope they have lost in me and that I am now giving to others like me out there, and “Ifunaya” which I was named because of the love I had brought along with me into this world, the same love I have lost from everyone and now showing to you all by sacrificing myself. Please weep for me, please remember me.
- Nne- Mother
- Nna- Father
- Dibia- Witch doctor’
- Osu- Outcast
- Ogbanje- An evil spirit that deliberately plagues a family with misfortune
- Iyi-Uwa- an object that binds an Ogbanje to this world and caused them to return after they have died
- Onye Ocha- White man
- Oji – Kola nut
- Ibe-Ugwu – Female Circumcision
Symbol – Zn
Atomic weight – 65.39
Ionization energy – 9.3942eV
Chemist – @dollstreasure
I always remember this story with a smile.
That Monday afternoon, I stayed behind for ‘Calabar lectures’ alongside Mandy and Beluchi after everybody had gone back to the dormitory to hurry up their activities in preparation for afternoon prep. Before us was a huge pot of eba and steaming egusi soup (yes, it was the next big thing after jollof rice). My heart sang with joy, I never had the time to savor lunch because we had to go prepare and look fresh for afternoon prep. That’s what I’d have been doing if I wasn’t here in this old dining hall devouring eba and egusi with my cunning friends. I would have been standing in front of Girls dorm’s locked gates pleading with the ‘Baba Duros’.
“Baba, please I can’t stay for afternoon food, I’m a Muslim.” – Works only during Ramadan.
The new idiots from Niger (I don’t even know what people from Niger are called) with their ugly brown dentition were brought a couple of months back because they looked fierce and could supposedly catch ‘Blackman’. In their thick accent they would say,
“Recite Suratul Fathia.”
I would gladly recite and enter the hostel like a hero alongside the other Muslim students.
Other pleas included,
“Excuse me, sir. I’m stained.”
“Excuse me sir, I’m really pressed.”
“I’m not feeling fine. I have medical report.”
The looks of desperation had to be there. The oldest and the most disgusting ‘Baba Duro’ was ‘Labcoat’ (because of the dirty white coat he always wore). Word went round that he was a ‘jazzman’ (another story for some other time). He’d then go ahead and say, “Unless you say Please, Baba, my good, handsome and faithful husband.”
That was very repulsive. Some girls didn’t mind though, they would go ahead to say what the guy wanted just so they could enter the dormitory. What did we do in the dormitory? We had about 30mins to wash our school uniforms (or give juniors to wash if you’re a senior, normal thing), stand in line to get water, get the water, have your bath, gather books, dress up for afternoon prep and oh remember to put powder on your neck so that boys would think you’re neat or you had your bath.
I was ‘stabbing’ at present and enjoying it. Mandy and Beluchi however were professionals in this kind of shady business. They stabbed afternoon prep especially on Mondays. On getting to the dorm, I did everything at my own pace. Uche, my area partner asked if I was going to class and with a superior smile, I said no.
Gradually, the number of people in the dormitory reduced until it was just me, my professional accomplices and some a few others in separate parts of my dormitory. So I went to Mandy’s corner, she and Beluchi had bread and sardine set in front of them.
“Oya come and eat o.”
“You guys are just enjoying. Are you sure those soldiers won’t come and check?”
“Na wa o. Dolapo, calm down na. This is not our first time. Plus don’t kobalize us abeg.”
But I thought to myself, this is my first time and I ‘mara’ a lot for cane. They never get caught, so I wouldn’t. Mandy even used to stab night prep and iron her uniform with the school’s back-up generator, her skirt was blue instead of green. She was the queen of contraband.
We had spent like 20 minutes of our free time eating bread and sardine and chattering away until we heard people scurrying from Octopus house followed by the heavy footsteps we dreaded, the soldiers. They were around.
Without thinking, Mandy shoved us into the nearest wardrobe and covered us with the clothes hanging on the rack. She proceeded to cover herself with a wrapper and began her act. Beluchi and I crouched in the small wardrobe holding our breaths and keeping mute, making no sound.
“What is wrong with you?” A brusque voice said. It was ‘Baby soldier’
“I’m not feeling fine.” Mandy responded in a shaky voice.
“Why didn’t you go to the MIRoom? My friend you are not sick. Stand up and wear your daywear. You are going to guardroom. Baggar!”
Yes, if you didn’t vomit, you weren’t just sick enough.
We felt sorry for Mandy but we knew she’d take care of herself. The soldier came so close to our hiding place, we could even see his heavy brown shoes. That was when we really held our breath. He left however and walked to the other side of the dormitory and we heard him leave. At that point, we let out our breath in a whoosh. We had made it.
Beluchi and I were still trying to decide whether to leave the cupboard or stay in for a while when suddenly, the hanging clothes which shielded us were moved gently, staring at us with narrow yellow eyes was Isiaka, the disgusting Niger security dude. He called out to Hamidu, another security man and that one hurried towards us with glee. We were still in our underwear and they were ogling at Beluchi (There was nothing to ogle at on my body, haha you should see me now.)
“Go wear daywear. Una dey follow us go meet the remaining people.”
I was so angry, I wished my anger would make me a superhero and then I could kill them both. I dreaded the events that were about to ensue. So we silently put on our ‘daywear’, each of us plotting a way of escape.
‘To your tents O ye Israel!’
We were led to the gates and then rounded up with other students. By the time we all got to the dormitory gates, near the Baba Duro post, Beluchi had disappeared. I was on my own. I had to make plans to escape. The penalty was being flogged in public and the guardroom. Dreadful, dreadful, dreadful!
We all got on our knees, a light bulb loomed over my head and next thing I was kneeling, bent over, clutching my belly and ‘vomiting’ blood.
The soldier looked unfazed.
The tears began to flow.
In my tiny, tear-influenced voice, I said, “I did an operation sir and when the crisis starts, I vomit blood. That’s why I stabbed prep.” I vomited another again.
A flicker of pity flashed across his hairless face and then brusquely, he said,
Those words were my liberation from koboko mayhem that day. Many people know all about koboko business. That shii aint fun.
Don’t you just miss boarding house?
Calabar lectures – Extra food after every student has eaten.
Baba Duro – The security men at the girls’ dormitory.
Blackman – The mysterious naked thief who attacked the girls’ dorm at will. Almost every boarding school has this, right?
Mara – Unable to tolerate cane/koboko hence you ‘display’ and maybe cry.
MIRoom – School clinic.
Guardroom – Student prison.
Symbol – Cu
Atomic weight – 63.546
Ionization energy – 7.7264eV
Chemist – @Volturi_Lord
Code name please….
I leaned towards the cute girl, modulated my voice down a notch and replied her in my tested and trusted bedroom voice:
She raised an impeccable groomed eyebrow and managed to look unimpressed while still smiling politely.
Now both perfectly arched eyebrows were up and a tiny crease was beginning to appear in what I imagine was a botox enhanced forehead.
“Password please” she repeated….
“Oh sorry, illuminati was last month’s…..Ogboni!”
“Yea, the password’s Ogboni!”
The raised eyebrows immediately dropped, creased forehead went back to its obscenely smooth paradigm and the polite smile was back on her face as if copy pasted at the end of a wizard’s wand.
“Welcome to the Invictus corporation TBH, please go straight down the hallway”
Being an immortal god and been around for more than a couple of centuries would do that to a man, I’ve been in slightly different versions of this scenario over the last couple of a hundred years that I was almost on auto pilot. But this place was different. It wasn’t the dark sinister looking cave-like nest of festering evil we always expect from these take-over-the-world types. It was airy and cheery with a slight hint of cinnamon in the air……could they be baking cookies?
After months of undercover work and cunning slithering through the ranks, I was finally invited to the holies of holy, into the organ in the organization. I finally had a chance to know the unusual mind behind this unusual sublime entity called Invictus.
The fact that I was here alone was unfair, and the fact that I had being relegated to hunting minor offenders for frivolous misdemeanors while other gods, white gods in fact were out there doing awesome shii while I was used as a gofer was maddening. Avengers my ass!! If this wasn’t racism then the Nazi’s hadn’t killed 6 million jews……well actually they hadn’t killed six 6 million jews, more in the range of 11 mil. But who could account for humans and their mastery of the art of covering shii up? I just stick to my job and occasionally set some annoying earthlings on fire when I “accidentally” belch fire.
Over the years, I’ve had several code names for my clandestine operations, but just 2 had stuck. The first “the bawdy paet” was in the words of the urban Nigerian youths of today “casted” seeing as I had over centuries sent a lot of demons to Hades domain using that alias. So now I just go by The Blue Paet.
But of course I digress. Today’s mission is supposed to be a simple; get in, get the identity of the Head-nigga-in-charge as he likes to be referred to, get out, email a report to my supervisor, get home to my couch, a chilled can of my favorite brew and ESPN.
ESPN….human’s greatest invention! One couldn’t explain…..
Again I digress, I was now in front of a gold plated elevator and the red tinged motif on it almost had me laughing out loud. Who would have thought this possible? That I Sango, the once feared and revered god of thunder, lightning and all things loud and scary would be reduced to hunting down minor demons with drawings of a “cartooned” god on their elevator door. Who would have thought that I would be shutting down some of the few people who still actually remember that I exist?
Still chuckling I entered the elevator and pushed the single button available to be pushed. Sometimes I wonder if these evil-genius-maniac types took courses on how to be dramatic cause apparently they sha excelled at it.
The elevator opened into a corridor featuring a huge poster;
” 3,155,414,400 Seconds
We give you as many of this as you want.”
I felt a tug of excitement and forced myself to calm down. Now, This. Was. Very. Interesting.
I think a little education would do a lot of good here. You see, in the 1400th century, Lord Banks and some of his minions had escaped purgatory with approximately 17 liters of primordial ooze, which they had immediately and with high enthusiasm embarked on introducing into the drinking water supply of major cities the world over. Thus the Bubonic plague and the 25 million Europeans black death episode.
History had again repeated itself when the never-captured Lord Banks had again reappeared in the 19th century. This time toting an entire knapsack of meta-physically enhanced cholera pathogen that he was in the process of applying to the Asian and African continents (thankfully sparing) when he had being nabbed, hanged, drawn, quartered and had his remains scattered to the far ends of the world by our predecessors.
So when I stepped into the corridor and closely examined what had drawn my attention, I wasn’t only excited, I could feel a chill run up my spine. The Decal at the left upper corner of the poster was exactly like the one we had studied during one of the many mini-courses they made us take at one time or another. This one had stuck with me for a simple reason. The face on it was ugly as hell and it kinda reminded my of my ex-girlfriend ‘Olokun’. All gnarly and scaly.
It’s been quite a while I felt fear, so when I caught myself hesitating to take the long walk down the corridor to the huge double doors; I was startled and a little bit gratified. Fear was healthy. Fear was the difference between an immortal ‘godling’ and burnt immortal toast. Fear was exciting……. and if the thought has even crossed your mind that a god shouldn’t be scared of anything, then you obviously have no idea how fearsome, awesome and inherently scary the array of entities, beings, demons and incomprehensible things out there are. What was I expecting sef? You know absolutely nothing.
I slowly moved forward, each step filling, mingling and woven with trepidation. If I say I felt like going back I would again come across as a coward, but I’d like to officially inform you that the thought crossed my mind more times than the pointy edge of a pentacle. Call it what you wanna, but Lordy Banks had a reputation of being a Badoo! And when you think about the fact that he was single handedly responsible for the death of over a hundred million mortals, he was rumored to have once torn out the still beating heart of a succubus just to use it as a paperweight. Add to that mix the anger and wrath he’ll be feeling now after spending the last couple of a hundred years in various isolated parts and pieces. I just would love not to be there and definitely not to be the agent assigned to stop him when he decided to hatch out whatever he had in store for you people this new millennium. Where were those white gods when you need them? All full of heroic thoughts, delusions of grandeur and glory and of course…..full of horse shit!
The corridor curved at the end and flared to meet a massive double arched door of smooth fine bronze. No finishing, carving handle or protrusions of any kind. It just cast a dull sheen and stood there preventing unbidden entrance. Silent and forbidden…..You’d need an anti-tank missile to burst through this if those behind had no use for your presence but obviously they wanted mine, because the door slowly slid open on hidden hinges. Without even as much as a muted groan and I took a short step into the unknown. This was it… There was a very high probability that I wasn’t going to step back through those doors. Every good run has to have an end.
The first thing I noticed was the swirling pink mist, followed by the thudding and head convulsing banging techno music. Well this wasn’t what I was expecting. I cautiously pushed forward through the haze towards the source of the Owlcity jam that was on and what sounded like laughter. Visibility was zero and the air smelt like vanilla and lubricated latex……wait, make that vanilla scented Condoms. The entire environment reeked of vanilla flavored condoms. I wonder what the hell Lord banks was cooking up now. I had come with the expectations of maybe sitting in on a meeting, being introduced to him and maybe kotowing to le boss, but now I had being allowed into what seemed like their laboratory and when unknown “lowlifes” were allowed into their laboratory, that went a long way explaining a lot about how confident this group was.
I stepped a little bit forward and discovered what seemed like a short step that lead into a depressed hollow area in that great room. As if prearranged, the mist opened up a bit and I laid my eyes on what I was most scared of. Someone must have snitched and told these fellows my weak spot, my kryptonite.
I could just feel my power draining outta me. An African man wasn’t supposed to witness this, talk more of an African god, the epitome of manliness and strength. I had walked right into the middle of a gay orgy.
Symbol – Co
Atomic weight – 58.9332
Ionization energy – 7.881eV
Solution – Lady in Blue
Chemist – @Sisijacobs
She sat alone at a table for two,
An oasis of quiet in a city of chaos,
Voices rising and falling, glasses clanging merrily,
Life happening all around but none beside,
A blind date gone wrong or simply awol.
He stared from afar, struck as always by her inner beauty
Till her misery he saw and swore to fix
A sense of desire filling his pores
To wipe her blues away and erase her woes
Her knight in shining armor and to her rescue he rode.
Pretty red liquor, oh so glorious and vibrant,
Tonight you convey the means to rock her world
To awaken her smile and the beat of her heart,
Like bees to honey, to her side they would flock,
Drawn by pheromones distilled and hidden within.
A shadow of a smile appears, as that initial sip slithers down,
And then the first lad stops, awestruck and smitten.
Where have you been all my life, and to think I had given up?
And so they gathered and oohed and aahed,
Bedazzled by the lady in blue.
Called away by wives and nature,
One by one, her side they left,
Pledges to call, visit and woo fell by the wayside
As the charm wore off and her allure was forgot.
And she sat alone by a phone that never rang.
He sat and groaned as her blues returned,
His wings fading with the fall of each tear,
Pondering on yet another plan to mend his wrongs,
To find her love and right her world,
As he took to the skies, her benefactor in white.
Symbol – Fe
Atomic weight – 55.845
Ionization energy – 7.9024eV
Solution – How to be a Gangster.
Chemist – @CaballeroZubair
Enter Denzel Washington as Frank Lucas. He’s evidently mad at the other guy. It’s something about money. A small argument ensued and the other nigga was like “what you gon do nigga? Shoot me in front of everybody?”. Denzel gave me a near orgasmic feeling when he calmly pulled the trigger on that nigga and coolly kept the gun back in his pocket. That was the kinda man I wanted to be – An American gangster.
Rewind a little and you have Curtis “50 cent” Jackson in bed. Bullet wounds to his chest and limbs. He is being fed food and oxygen through a tube. He is gonna survive this and when he gets out, he’ll make sure his enemies have it worse than him. That’s another gangster right there. The Flenory brothers also define what a gangster is all about.
I wanted to be them. I listened to all the songs marked “gangster rap”, had the lyrics in my head, watched more gangster movies and finally I was ready. I couldn’t get get into a gang battle or dope to buy/sell as this is Nigeria but I still did gangster stuffs like entering buildings through the exit, loading MTN recharge cards on my Airtel line, calling the customer care – with my credit, pulling out the flash drive without safely removing it and shooting ‘muthafuckers’ down – in Grand Theft Auto 4. I was a real hardcore gangster. A triple O G. Or so I thought.
I met Master Codi months ago, he taught me what being a real gangster means. Being a gangster isn’t about guns, bitches, drugs, violence, going to jail or supporting Chelshit Fc. It’s about choosing to do extremely hard things – and doing it like the perfect gentleman. Heck, anybody can go to jail. It’s easy to do drugs and be violent. There are malignant bitches everywhere, so getting bitches isn’t hard *in Riley freeman’s voice*. As such, those things ain’t even gangster. The million dollar question now is -> What does it take to be gangster? I have here today 10 quite simple ways of achieving your lost long dream of being the standard nigga gangster (tautology but who cares right?). When you’re done following these steps, you’ll be a super nigga – like Morgan Freeman.
1. Go to school, be attentive in class and do your assignments on time. Who knows anything that is harder than this?
2. Be honest – almost always. Lies are easy to tell. Everybody and anybody can tell a lie to make an impression or to get out of a tight corner. As a gangster, you gotta try hard to resist the urge to lie except of course when you’re talking to females, please tell them lies.
3. Do not sag your pants or do that color blocking shit. That stuff is for bitch niggas.
4. No matter how popular a song/movie is, if the lyrics/story-line are/ are dumb, do not fuxx with it.
Side Note: Most Nigerian and foreign rap songs fall into this category.
5. Be hygienic, It’s super hard to take your bath on time and stuff. It’s even harder to brush your hair or cut your nails but that’s what being a gangster is all about.
6. Read wide. Super nigga M.K.O said we should try to know something about everything. That is super hard. I’m sure you understand why we as gangsters must do it.
7. Be respectful. Respect strangers, your parents and everybody in fact. Respect their life choices and their persona. It’s too easy to hurl swear words and stuff at people on the internet.
The most important thing about being a gangster is the final and greatest rule. I call it the “Ultimate Rule”
8. Do not tell everything you know. The smart ones among you know why this post will end here.
NB : No Auto-tune was used in writing this post. Thank you and follow our blog/twitter.
Symbol – Cr
Atomic weight – 51.9961
Ionization energy – 6.7665eV
Solution – Below The threshold
Chemist – @Haemlet_
It all had to do with the susceptibility of the human mind.
GALASHIELS, SCOTLAND 1984
The overbearing rush of blood coursing through his veins, threatened to overwhelm his senses as he rushed up the staircase to investigate the screaming. With one swift kick he knocked down the door to the room, rushed towards the window and saw Petre’s remains lying spread eagled and squashed on the pavement floor. For the second time in less than twenty four hours his stomach failed him yet again.
After disposing all he had eaten, he turned around to inspect the room and realized it contained a bed and a computer unit. He also noticed that the room was sterile and lacked any form of human emotion save for some framed pictures hanging on the wall. When he took a closer look at the pictures, the cold fingers of terror crept up his spine at what the pictures revealed. Now he was sure that he wasn’t here by mere chance but by the machination of unknown forces. “Or could he be wrong”?
THE EVENING BEFORE:
His brain felt foggy as he slowly woke up the night skies. After a careful mental probe which yielded nothing substantial, he wondered where he was, how he’d gotten here and worse, who he was. He checked his pockets in the hopes of finding some form of identification, but all he found was a wad of cash. When he tried to rise for further investigation, he was forced back to the ground by a splitting headache. Five minutes later, he managed to get up and discovered through a sign post that he’d been lying at the outskirt of a very small village called “Harmony”. The name didn’t ring a bell and as he slowly made his way into the village, he wondered what kind of asshole gave a town such a crappy name.
He walked for about a mile without seeing a soul and just when he began to fear that he’d stumbled upon a ghost town, he arrived at a pub. The sign on the pub said “Jolly good ole’ fellas” but he felt far from jolly as he pushed open the door to enter. Once inside, he looked around at the faces of those in attendance and when none showed any sign of recognition, he relaxed a little and ordered a mug of ale.
He then took a sit by the entrance incase a quick getaway became necessary, before he joined the other patrons in watching the game. He watched the game till the end of the first quarter and while he waited for the commercials to end, he suddenly felt eyes boring into him. He looked up to see one of the patrons staring at him from across the room. Then quite suddenly, the man staring got up on a full trot and continued to ram into the wall till his head became a red juicy pulp.
He got up and ran over to where the man lay on the floor. When he saw the extent of the man’s injuries, he yelled for help but the reply he received was the sound of smashing glasses behind him and as he turned to investigate, his blood turned icy cold at what he saw.
The bartender was smashing bottle after bottles of whiskey on his head, while his assistant was repeatedly stabbing away at his abdomen with a serrated knife. A burly looking man at the far corner was drowning himself in a barrel of ale, then another who had just gorged his eyes out was mutilating his face with a piece of broken bottle. While he watched in shock, the other partrons were competitively engaged in more gruesome and creative ways of ending their lives. But the terrifying part was that none of them uttered a single sound in anguish.
It was as thought the horror bandwagon was in town and he had arrived right at the nick of time to witness the exotic freak show. With a scream trapped in his throat he made for the only other room in the pub which happened to be a kitchen. In it was a woman taking a nose dive into a large boiling pot of broth and when he tried to pry her away, she struggled with him ferociously until the pot toppled off the fire and exposed a braised up head of a once beautiful woman. With that grim sight forever imprinted in his memory, he decided that he had seen enough as he rushed for the street in search of an explanation.
But before any logical explanation could be sought, a series of illogical occurrences continued as something fell in front of him in a splat. On closer inspection, he discovered that it was the remains of a baby, and as he looked up to investigate, the mother followed suit.
All around him, mothers who had somehow managed to get the rooftops of their home, gleefully held out their babies like a sacrificial offering to the gods, while their husbands were gathered on the street with firearms pointed at their temple or mouth. In a matter of seconds, the whole street was littered with blasts, muzzle flashes, the stink of gun powder, plummeting bodies, madness, blood and gore. All he could manage to do was dance to the discordant notes of self destruction that rented the night.
When he could bear the madness no more, he ran into a house but only met more horrors. In every house he entered there was at least a kid’s dead body that had met its untimely demise in a macabre sort of way. He saw kids drowned in their baths, others mutilated to death and some burnt alive. He even saw a couple of skinned bodies, while some others died by sinister circumstances that eluded his understanding.
From house to house he ran till he rushed into a shop at the end of the street. The shop he’d just entered was a butchers shop and the butcher [assuming it was the butcher who was responsible for this butchery] had the six heads of his family members lined up on the slaughter table, while he’d hung their bloody wrapped up remains on the meat hooks lined up on the wall. The abhorrent part was that the butcher had outrageously hung himself on the meat hook and then attempted at cutting off his neck, a feat that was completely impossible to achieve because before he could finish, he’d bled to death, thereby leaving his head dangling from the neck in an odd and gruesome manner.
That was his last sight before the welcoming blackness enveloped him completely.
He woke up screaming from a ghoulish nightmare, then he recalled last night’s real nightmare and he scampered from the cold floor of the butchery. Daylight showed that the peace and harmony of the village called “Harmony” had been disrupted by sinister forces and had therefore been rendered “Disharmonious”. The once sweet village he had initially presumed was a ghost village had actually become one overnight and scavengers who’d been attracted by the stench of death were already feasting away. The whole village was dead quiet save for the mechanical buzzing of flies and the bloody sight of flesh was so overwhelming that he fell on his knees retching till he felt the cold feel of a muzzle at the back of his neck.
He slowly turned around to see the face of a surprised and terrified looking man. With unsteady hands the stranger raised the evil looking double barrel towards his head and asked him what he was doing. Scared out of his wits, he explained to the double barrel wielding stranger that he’d been passing through when the madness started last night. He then told the stranger the series of event that he’d witnessed and by the time he was through the man was so white that he had to quickly hold him.
When he got better, they both went around checking for survivors while the man who introduced himself as Petre told him he’d gone to bed early because he’d taken a very strong sedative for his insomnia. After they’d ascertained that there were no other survivor, they went back to Petre’s house to access their grim situation.
In the house, he was ushered into the sitting room while Petre went to make some coffee and sandwich. While Petre was in the kitchen, he switched on the VCR to see that a muted comedy flick had been on pause, so he continued watching as they exchanged theories as to what probably caused these mass murders and suicides. He suspected mass hallucination through poisoning but Petre was leaning towards supernatural forces. Thirty minutes later when Petre eventually came out of the kitchen, he stumbled and almost dropped the tray. He apologized, blamed it on his weary legs, quickly set the tray down and begged to use the toilet upstairs.
When Andy got upstairs, he went into a room, locked the door, quickly switched on his computer console and began to tap urgently at his keyboard.
BELOW THRESHOLD INITIATIVE
AUTHORIZED USER- ACCESS GRANTED.
ARGON: Reporting on the field experiment carried out in Harmony. STOP
COMM: What is your status? STOP
ARGON: Experiment was a success and all the test subjects exhibited all symptoms prior to expiration. STOP
COMM: Excellent job! Have you initiated phase II? STOP
ARGON: Negative sir. STOP
COMM: Why? STOP
ARGON: We are presented with a very serious complication sir. STOP
COMM: What complication? STOP
ARGON: He is back sir! Boris is alive. STOP
COMM: Impossible! I made certain of his death. STOP
ARGON: Well you weren’t certain enough because he is right at the moment in my living room and he seems to be immune to the subliminal initiative program. STOP
COMM: How is that possible? Are you positive it is him? STOP
ARGON: Of course I am! He somehow survived the live feeds I transmitted through the town’s local station and at the moment he is watching via my VCR, one of our rawest feeds without the protective lenses. STOP
ARGON: I am freaking out here. What if he remembers who I am? STOP
COMM: Are you sure it’s him? STOP
ARGON: Damn it! I still have the pictures we took together on the wall here; what if he sees them? What are you going to do about him? STOP
COMM: Stay calm. New directives will be sent to you immediately this transmission terminates. STOP
THE KREMLIN, MOSCOW, USSR
Colonel Yuri Vladimir sat in his office disturbed. He detested loose ends and the encrypted communication he just had gave testament to some loose ends. He hadn’t gotten this far in life by being careless and foolish in his dealings, but by being ruthless and meticulous, so he couldn’t tolerate this present predicament. He above all knew the consequences of loose ends and this loose end in the name of Boris worried him tremendously.
The cold war had been raging on for years and this experiment offered the USSR a much needed edge over their enemy, America. Now it seemed it was all going downhill with the reemergence of that bastard Boris. Yuri first met the brilliant Boris Vasilyev three years ago at a scientific seminar in Moscow where he’d talked about subliminal perception [Below threshold] as opposed to supraliminal perception [Upper threshold]. Boris had theorized that contrary to scientific beliefs, it was possible to enhance the strength of subliminal messages through visuals, thereby achieving a strong and lasting change in human actions and behavior. The excited Boris had talked about a breakthrough and cutting edge in medical science while all Yuri as a soldier thought about was mind control and the military/espionage application.
After the seminar Yuri had approached Boris with a proposal. He proposed that he would fund Boris project in exchange for a larger percentage of the profit when he’d made his breakthrough. Boris had been so happy that he’d been quick to point out that he wasn’t interested in the financial angle because he was in it purely for the love of science. But a year later Boris began to get suspicious and started asking questions. When his questions were answered, he was horrified, wanted to shut down the program and go public. So he had to be gotten rid of and it wasn’t a hard decision to make then, since Boris was already in the final phase of the project and his best friend cum research partner Nikolai Anisinov had already informed Yuri of his willingness to betray his friend and continue with the project.
The sudden ringing of his telephone jarred Yuri from his reverie. As he picked it, he hoped it was a call confirming that Nikolai had been sent his transmission. On the line, an indistinct voice could be heard talking as Yuri listened for a minute, then he barked fresh directives before he dropped the phone on its cradle.
Tsk, tsk! Loose ends will always attempt to entangle one’s feet and bring you down.
Loose ends, he thought as he held his forehead in pain. He didn’t dare accord himself any small measure of happiness now that Nikolai had been taken care of because with Boris still out there, his dreams may never be realized.
“Damn I need to find the bastard”.