That day, Pelumi went back to Iseyin to look for the bread crumbs he dropped, it wasn’t there. He was heartbroken, who could have eaten my bread, he thought. Staring down at the dead body of the lizard the dog had crushed, he walked away slowly, the breadcrumbs were important to his cause. 

Behind Pelumi, Azazel, was on his way back to the gathering with the baby and stopped to say hello

“Hey Pelumi” Azazel asked

“The great Azazel” Pelumi replied 

“What could be the problem human?” Azazel was polite as usual

“I put bread here and I can’t find it ” Pelumi said 

“That’s sad man, I need to deliver this baby to Paimon, I’d be back, I no fit run again my brother. That silly Santos will just write what he feels like and make me run like a maniac, why can’t he come inside the story and see what we the characters go through” Azazel seemed depressed

“Forget that guy, all he knows is Taekwondo, Man U, Soulhood and anti-religious talk, he doesn’t care about us, imagine that stupid boy made the dog die” Pelumi seemed pissed

“My brother, from what I heard, many characters will die o, I pity the readers, I hope the idiot doesn’t make me die sha, I want to go far in the story, maybe kiss a girl self” Azazel smiled as he spoke….

WHY ARE YOU STILL READING? This is clearly an APRIL FOOL joke, so errr… APRIL FOOL you are, now fool some others by spreading this link and acting like nothing happened, okay? ( ˘̶̀ ̯˘̶́ ) 

Thanks for reading Soulhood, I’m grateful, the site will be out soon

To be continued… ( ._.)



azazelNot one of the 348 Right Whale Dolphins had seen any reason to worry about the three mermaids who had suddenly joined their cruise until about an hour later, when the mermaids seemed to have gotten a signal and had conducted a minor meeting for about a minute immediately after. The usual calm of the sea that had prompted the whale dolphins to go on this cruise was however interrupted by the turbulence that the Empress Ino caused as it crashed into the water, displacing some of its occupants through windows. Cordelia, Meredith, and Nerissa had gotten the signal from a demon they very well recognized; Focalor was one of the demons the mermaids had gotten really acquainted to over the recent millennium and his urgent call for help had to be heeded. Cordelia had immediately made telepathic contact with Nerin, the head of the Merworld portal, telling her to open the nearest portal for Focalor’s escape and also shut it once he was in. She and the other mermaids would be signaled once the portal was open and they would in turn, let out a scream that would be an alert signal for Focalor to make his move; they were aware Nicor and Crocell would give chase so time was going to be essential.
The mermaids stared in astonishment as the Empress Ino crashed into the waters and immediately began to sink, Nerissa paid particular attention to the young man who was making attempts to swim out of a window on the yacht.
‘He’s not going to make it” she silently said to herself.
Nerin’s signal shook Nerissa with the other mermaids out of her thoughts, they immediately let out sickening screams as they took positions to begin their quick escape to the portal which was located about four thousand feet below sea level. Focalor’s minor hesitation to tell Nicor and Crocell some last few words was all Nerissa needed to suddenly dart towards the yacht, she was going to save the man’s life; she pulled him out through the window, held him round his chest from behind, making a bubble around them so he wouldn’t inhale more water and then, swam back at lightning speed to the others just as Focalor shot into the water. Great, he’s still breathing, she thought.
“Follow me!” Cordelia barked at Focalor as she swam down to the portal, moving at a speed that covered about hundred feet every second.
Crocell was just about two seconds behind the mermaids and Focalor, glowing brightly in the water as he chased them.
“Does your love for men have no bounds Nerissa?” Cordelia asked with a half a shout.
“Don’t be hypocrite sister, my heart favored him at first sight, you know how it is” she said as she casted a quick glance at and patted the hair of her trophy; the now unconscious Dmitri Malenkov.
Meredith led the pack by about two hundred feet, she was the weirdest mermaid Focalor had ever met, she had never spoken a word to him and even though other mermaids said she was a social one, he never saw her as that; she wasn’t that way to him.
“He’s too fast, we can’t make it” Nerissa screamed, the weight of Dmitri meant that she was the closest to Crocell as she couldn’t be as fast as the others.
“Don’t look back, just swim! Don’t look back!” Focalor barked out orders that sounded like he was groaning, in reply.
Crocell was a hair’s breadth away from Nerissa as the portal was now in sight to Meredith and Focalor, who were the fastest of the group. Focalor disregarded his own advice to have a quick look at the others behind him and noticed that Crocell had overtaken Nerissa and the man she was holding; he was the target and at the present pace Crocell moved, he was hopeless. He turned to catch Meredith staring at him with a look in her eyes telling him she had also made the same calculations he just made, she was such a smart mermaid and he hoped one day he would hear her speak.
“Focalor be quick! It’s you he wants, go!” the tears Nerissa was holding back made her speech sound a bit like she was choked but Focalor got every word of it. The portal was in sight but he wasn’t sure it would be closed before Crocell made his way in and the last thing he wanted was to be the reason that the Merworld security would be breached; few meters ahead of him, Meredith came to a sudden halt and faced Focalor with a bright smile on her face but her eyes showing so much fear.
“All I want you to do is be safe, that’s all… this is for you” it was the most beautiful voice he had ever heard, coupled with the bright smile with which she had spoken before she suddenly darted at Crocell. “Keep going” she yelled behind her “Don’t wait for me”
“Meredith, don’t!” Focalor bellowed
“You’re not thinking of what you’re doing Meri” Nerissa said amidst tears
“Get to the portal! Keep moving!” Cordelia called everyone to order, knowing she probably would never see a friend she had had for millenniums again hurt her but this was no time for emotions; the portal to Merworld was open and vulnerable and Meredith was only being a patriotic mermaid.
Meredith had used every ounce of strength to push Crocell as far away from the others as possible but that bought her only about three seconds and she was now being pushed back down at the portal at breakneck speed by the now angry Crocell, he had one of his fists tightly gripping the back of her neck and the other, firmly holding her tail; he was preparing for impact and she was going to be his cushion. With about two seconds left to get to the portal, she saw as Focalor make his way through the open portal, turning his head at the last moment to catch one final glimpse of her, Cordelia followed suit without looking back as the already bawling Nerissa made it through with her human. With a second left to impact, Meredith stared at the ridged rocky seabed that had instantly replaced the portal and was going to break her fall with Crocell’s weight behind her at high speed; she felt fear.
“God please” Meredith’s words just before impact.
The 9.03 magnitude undersea megathrust earthquake that hit the coast of Japan that day, triggering a tsunami that reached heights of about 150 feet, travelling almost 6 miles inland and shifting the Japanese island of Honshu by about 8 feet was as a result of Crocell’s crash on the seabed. It would lead to over 15,000 deaths, 6000 injuries, over 2700 missing people, about 129,000 collapsed buildings and other major infrastructural damage.
This was the emergency news that Rachel had interrupted her show for.




From the bed in his suite on The Empress Ino, Dmitri Malenkov had a clear view of the yacht’s surroundings but with the sounds outside and no visible change in the atmosphere, the young billionaire decided to walk closer to the window to get a good view. Twenty-three year old Dmitri had been given out by his parents as a seven year old to Oleg Malenkov, an old and wealthy merchant; sixteen years after Oleg died and willed his entire fortune to his servant boy. Dmitri was on the phone for about eight hours non-stop with many of Oleg’s friends and business partners daily, one of these men was Dai Katashi who convinced him to be on this cruise to discuss very delicate issues regarding Oleg’s business. Dmitri had seen so much in his young life but he had never seen a body of water as huge as the one he currently saw not so far away from the yacht, it had the form of a man’s head. With its unshaken gaze at the bottom of the yacht and series of voices that seemed to be arguing in a very complicated language, Dmitri silently said The Lord’s prayer to himself.

Focalor listened as Nicor calmly stated his mission, making it clear that Mephis really wanted him back at the Abyss and had sent him and Crocell to pick him up, in Nicor’s words 

“… And we’re here to pick you up.” He didn’t like the tone with which Nicor spoke, seemed more like a threat than a request. 

“And if I refuse to heed this call and choose to keep roaming?” he asked in his usual slow and barely coherent tone. Crocell replied in a mysterious way, mixing up words and using unrelated phrases to make sense. He had spoken for about a minute before Nicor interrupted 

“All Crocell is saying is your refusal to come with us wasn’t on the script so we really don’t have a backup plan for that and you know? Might be forced to use our discretion to achieve our goal” a smile played across the lips of the face of the body of water that Nicor possessed at the time as he spoke. Focalor interpreted these words as “With or without your consent, you’re leaving with us”.

Focalor knew he had been caught off-guard and had to think really fast, Nicor had never been a threat to him and had always been seen at the Abyss as a lower version of Focalor, he knew that Nicor really disliked that tag but did a good job in hiding that fact to the others as he always embraced the joke with loud laughter whenever it was aired. Focalor for decades had always seen the hunger in the eyes of Nicor to prove that he was a superior demon to him and deserved more respect than he got, it was with no surprise that Nicor’s actions at that moment, came to him. Nicor would sure fancy the idea of being the one who captured the hermit Focalor and brought him back to the Abyss but knowing him to be a proud, selfish and independent fellow, Focalor was surprised he brought Crocell along to share in his possible glory. This isn’t about Nicor and me, he thought, it was way more serious; Nicor would never come here with Crocell if he wanted to prove a point”. Focalor wasn’t going to go down without a fight, neither was he going to make it clear that he was going to put up a fight; he needed to think fast and accurately. 

Focalor let his being glide high up to just a few feet above the top of The Empress Ino and then, moved away from the boat, he seemed to be preparing himself for any attack from Nicor or Crocell and was clearly taking the lives of the humans in the yacht into consideration. 

“What do we have here?” Nicor started… “Has the human hating Focalor suddenly fallen in love with the creatures that he used to kill for fun? This is interesting, don’t you think?” 

The question was rhetorical; Focalor saw Nicor’s eyes light up with excitement as he turned to Crocell and gave a slow nod. 

“Okay Focalor, let us test your love for the swine… REACT!! !” 

The next series of actions followed within half of a second after Nicor’s sudden scream; Focalor saw Crocell send a large cuboid shaped flame with the circumference of about half a soccer pitch from his palms straight at the Empress Ino, he instantly raised a body of water high and wide enough to keep the flames from the yacht, the flames he saw on the masthead of the Empress Ino told Focalor he had been slow and had extra work to do, he knew he wasn’t going to be able to save the humans for long and had to devise an escape plan for himself. 

As Focalor kept his water shield up with one hand and killed the flames on the Empress Ino with the other, he listened to the activities deep down in the ocean underneath him seeking an escape route. He felt a school of needle dogfishes swimming around harmlessly, paying no attention to the activities above the water, there were two mosaic gulpers not too far from them and a larger school of sepia tenuipes much higher than the other fishes just about 200 meters below the Empress Ino; they were all useless to his cause. He increased his concentration level and felt about 300 Right whale dolphins travelling at top speed deep below sea level, what caught his senses was the fact he felt some spiritual force within them; they were clearly accompanied by spirit beings, he could feel them, he concentrated a bit more and felt the spiritual aura that could only come from mermaids… he had hope.

This could only mean that there was a portal leading to Merworld around and he had to get in there at all costs; Nicor may have had the ability to understand Crocell’s mysterious language but unlike Focalor, couldn’t relate with Mermaids and therefore couldn’t enter their realm. Mermaids did abduct male humans at sea and drag them down to Merworld from time to time but only spirit beings who could communicate with them could make it into that world. Focalor had to distract Nicor while he tried to establish communications with the passing mermaids 

“Is this your wise plan Nicor?” he started, “you’re going to use humans as your negotiation tool?” he smiled and calmly added “Idiot”

Focalor slowly dropped the water shield that had been protecting the yacht from Crocell’s flames and sent the body of water straight at Nicor with blinding speed just as the flames hit the Empress Ino; he turned to save the yacht and with the corner of his eyes saw Nicor easily absorb the tonnes of water that had been shot at him. 

“silly me” Focalor grunted to himself as he noticed the flames engulf the yacht but still not burn a bit of it, it had only been a mirage, how could he not have thought of that? Illusions were Crocell’s specialty. He silently completed his conversation with the mermaids few miles below him.

“Look who’s talking, the same genius who just tried to subdue a water demon with water? Your brilliance astounds me” Nicor slowly approached Focalor and the coastline. “Since you don’t care about the humans, I bet you don’t also mind me doing this”

Focalor saw the Empress Ino slowly rise almost to a thousand feet before it slowly turned upside down sending passengers crashing left right and center within the yacht, getting all sorts of injuries, even fatal ones. Nicor wasn’t done; he sent the boat crashing down into the waters, breaking the yacht into two distinct pieces even as the boat slowly sank. A few moments later, the mermaids gave Focalor the signal he had impatiently been waiting for, a heart shredding scream. Who would have thought something so terrifying would sound so beautiful, he thought.

“It was nice meeting you fellows again, honestly I would have loved to continue this charade but I have a mermaid to catch if you would excuse me of course… peace” and with that, Focalor shot into the waters. Nicor reacted with a scream 





Meanwhile, at about twenty three minutes past seven o’clock in the evening at the Rikichu Kaigan National Park in the Tohoku region of Honshu in northern Japan, the cool breeze from the Pacific Ocean mildly brushed the ‘Rosa rugosa’ shrubs that grew about a kilometer away from the Sanriku coastline. The Rosa rugosa was a type of rose flower that was usually found in Eastern Asia and known for its unmatchable pleasant scent, it was this pleasant scent that attracted two Japanese serows that were also enjoying the cool evening breeze not so far away to walk over and get a sniff; if possible, a taste. Hajime Ono had gone with his friends, Kenta Kazama and Rokuro Orochi to the coastline areas to pick up some Rosa rugosas to use for the special pot-pourri that had a combination which was exclusive to the three men and was the toast of the small community in Tohoku where they resided. Kenta who was the first to see the ‘Kamoshikas’(as the serows were called in Japan) sniffing on and probably about to destroy the rare shrubs that had made him and his friends a lot of money lately, broke into a run towards the serows, yelling curses at them as he did; the two other men followed suit. The Kamoshikas were already over a hundred meters away from the flowers when the trio got there and without wasting any time, set to picking shrubs to take home as it was really dark as the sun had almost entirely set. Rokuro stared into the waters as the others picked up more flowers at a flash of light in a distance, further observation told him that the lights were from a vessel that probably belonged to either one of the upper class Japanese citizens or a rich foreign tourist.

‘The Empress Ino’ was a 125.35 meter long motor yacht that was custom built in 2001 with a steel hull, an aluminum superstructure, a draft of about 5 meters and a beam measuring 23 meters. It could accommodate up to 35 guests with about 90 crew members and was capable of hitting 21 knots, with a cruise speed of 16 knots and possessed fuel tanks that would need 820,000 liters of fuel to be filled. She belonged to Dai Katashi, the CEO and founder of Dai-Ka Entertainment which specialized in making video games, slot machines and arcade cabinets. Ranked 112 on the Forbes list for the world’s richest men, Dai wasn’t afraid of spending his money and two days prior to this time, he had invited two of his friends to spend three days with him on his yacht for a series of parties which involved a lot of loud music, drinking and women too. Of the about three hundred Black-tailed Gulls that were preparing for their night’s rest on their latest spot which happened to be the top of The Empress Ino, only one noticed the large moving ripple on the waters to the East of the boat that seemed to be caused by something unseen. The bird’s little brain couldn’t comprehend what it saw and so it looked away without any further thoughts spared; if it had the ability to see Spirit beings though, it would have seen Focalor gliding slowly on the water by the side of the yacht.

With the appearance of a man clad in a cloak made of sea weed and wings like that of a Griffin protruding from his back, Focalor a great duke of the Abyss also known as ‘the weeping demon of the drowned’ was slowly gliding beside the boat he had contemplated drowning for the past hour just to cheer himself up. He was so depressed a demon that he could make any being around him feel really sad or even break down in tears by simply being around him, his constant look of anguish, weeping and inability to utter a coherent word made it almost impossible to know the reason behind his sadness. Focalor had once been an Angel of the order of thrones at the Zenith and even when he fell with Mephis, he had nursed the hopes of going back to the Zenith someday; he was once even tricked into wrecking havoc on ships and men for 1500 years for a reward of a probable return to the Zenith by Mephis… he played his role but remained a roaming demon. Recently he lost the urge to cause water disasters, drown ships and humans too and would just glide oceans beside ships as he constantly told himself that he could renew his hatred for man once again, but he had no inner will to; his depression kept getting worse.

The Empress Ino at that moment had 118 people on board and every one of them heard the sudden thunderclaps, the unexpected sounds of wild wind blowing, the sounds that the heavy rain drops made as they hit the ocean and a distant sound of rushing waters that seemed to get more distinct by the second. The imminent storm was not predicted or expected so it caused a sudden panic-filled frenzy within the yacht; everyone went to the nearest window to catch a glimpse of what the rain was already doing to the waters. The calm water and clear atmosphere that they all saw came as a huge shock to everyone who had a look because the sounds hadn’t stopped; a mystery that no one on the boat could fathom. Focalor was one of the few beings in the universe that had the ability to invoke these water illusions and usually used that ability when he wanted to drown a ship but on this particular occasion, he wasn’t behind the illusions and the sound of rushing waters that kept getting closer. “There is only one other demon that can perform the ‘storm illusion, Focalor thought, but that wasn’t the same demon that came with the sound of rushing waters which had become very evident to Focalor and the occupants of The Empress Ino. The demon who could make those illusions was Crocell, the demon that appeared as an angel and the one who came with the sound of rushing waters was Nicor, old time friend of Focalor whom he had not seen or spoken to in a couple of decades.

Focalor looked up at the huge body of water that took the form of a 300 feet high human head as it slowly rose from the ocean about 800 kilometers away from him with the deafening sounds of rushing waters, he was well aware of the fact that Nicor had possessed the waters and morphed into the shape he presently saw; an ability that was unique to Nicor. Hovering around Nicor, with the appearance of an innocuous angel with wings, was a grand duke of the Abyss, Crocell; he seemed to mutter gibberish as he stared down at Focalor. Focalor remained silent as both demons approached him slowly without saying a word to him; this was his good friend alongside a being that was also his acquaintance. It was evident they were here because of him, what he didn’t know was if they came in peace or war.




“This is not good”
Remi Phillips silently said to herself, Rachel was always at work at least thirty minutes before she was due on air and yet with about five minutes left till ShowTime, there was no sign of her in or outside the office premises. As an intern serving directly under Rachel, she knew all questions that the absence of Rachel would raise were rightfully going to be directed at her and having conversations of any sort with any of the staff at Maverick FM was something she avoided in every manner; you see, Remi was a shy girl. Through the corner of her eyes she saw the Head Of programs, a veteran radio presenter Sylvester Okiro, a very short man with a visible pot belly, walking towards the main studio deep in a phone conversation, with a limp he was now known for after his involvement in a ghastly motor crash about seven years before. He was the most inquisitive man she had ever met and quite rightly the last person she wanted to speak to at that moment. She made her move when he stopped to have a brief chat with Akpos Jacobs; a sports presenter at the station, taking her first left turn and heading straight to the exit, Remi could only pray that Rachel was close. She got right outside the compound in less than a minute running, walking, side-stepping, side-walking, tip-toeing, and practically crawling along the way, turning heads in the process just to get as far away as possible from Mr Okiro and to get as close to Rachel as possible.
As the bike came to a halt right in front of Maverick FM’s main gate, Rachel saw Remi and Idris, the security man in a conversation and also saw the evident relief in the eyes of Remi when she had eye contact with her; a smile played across the lips of both ladies who had great mutual respect. Remi didn’t let Rachel get off the bike before she started throwing her questions without necessarily waiting for a reply
“Why are you late?” she started and without waiting for a reply
“What’s wrong?” still no reply
“Oh my God, your shoes… ewwwww, what happened to them?” Silence.
“Is that puke?”
Rachel’s reply was less vocal; blab blab, I can’t hear you, she sang in her head as she took her shoes off right in front of Remi and ran into the office screaming
“Help me clean them!!!” behind her.
Remi loved Rachel from the day she was assigned to her as intern, the bright warm smile that she received from the very beautiful on air personality made her feel so important that day. Rachel stood at about five feet and eleven inches with the physique of an hourglass and cute eyes that said I’m a friend, thin lips, semi pointed nose, a voice that one could kill for and most importantly, an attitude that endeared her to many. Remi was enjoying her internship days in the best possible way and with the best possible supervisor one could have.
Running into the office late and with her bare feet was an act Rachel never rehearsed and so the few seconds when the entire office turned and went silent at the sight of her contained one of the most embarrassing moments of her life, “good morning everyone” she managed to say in a tone that sounded more like a question. The myriad of questions however that hit her once she was done greeting the house were unbelievable, she had just three minutes left to begin her show and therefore had no time to answer the questions. “We’ll talk after the show” was the same reply she had for everyone who asked her a question irrespective of what the question was; as she said the same word to the last of her interrogators, she turned and walked right into Mr Sylvester who was walking from the other direction, still on the phone.
“Are you okay dear?” he asked and without waiting for any sort of response, continued his phone conversation still walking towards his initial destination which was his office. Thank goodness, she thought.
Rachel walked into the studio to see that her friend and colleague Chidi Obi also known as DJ Epiphany, had set the studio up already in anticipation of her.
“Where have you been? I’ve been calling you but you didn’t pick the call, what happened?” he asked as he ushered her to her seat and placed the headphones over her head.
“Oh crap! I forgot my phone at home” the questions from Epiphany reminded her that she left her Apple iPhone back at home in all her hurry and bad mood at the time. She sighed then said “I can’t even start explaining my dear, after the show, we’ll talk”.
Remi barged into the studio noticeably without Rachel’s shoes
“Idris is cleaning your shoes up, had to leave him to do it; there’s just a minute left”.
Rachel made a gesture with her head towards the chair beside her and Remi needing no further hints, sat beside her.
All systems on and ready to go, Rachel waited for DJ Epiphany’s thumbs up sign to begin the show, she didn’t have to wait for long before his right fist went up with a clench that involved every finger except his thumb.
“Hey everybody, it’s your girl Ray-Chee on your favorite show ‘Noon Rave With Ray-Chee’. It’s Friday and we all know what that means… ‘NAIJA TOP TEN OF THE WEEK!!!’ We’re gonna drop the ten hottest joints in Naija right now…and …and… And all we need you to do is… hold up, I’ll play ‘Aphrodisiac’ by Brandy for now and when I come back, we’re going straight to number ten!!!”
Rachel fidgeted at the end of her speech because she had noticed Mr Okiro jumping repeatedly and waving at her through the window of the studio, he obviously wanted to pass an urgent message to her. DJ Epiphany got the hint and played the song as Remi slowly shifted the knob for the ‘faders’ on the console towards the side of the DJ and away from Rachel’s microphone. Rachel rushed to the door, turned the keys on the lock and stepped aside as Mr Okiro walked in and started speaking without a second to spare.
“Stop everything for now! There is an emergency, Rachel you need to go live right now! We need to broadcast it like right now!”



The old rain coat that belonged to the late Timothy Ehidiamen, father of Rachel, Martha and James, was harmlessly dangling at the position it had been hung for years in the store at the Ehidiamen residence. Martha sat for about five minutes that seemed like seconds to her, staring at the dangling coat with a facial expression that was a mixture of surprise and shame. Surprised that what had seemed so real, was only an illusion, ashamed that she had made a fool of herself, all because of the paranoia that came with the marijuana. She casted furtive glances at every angle surrounding her to see if anyone else had seen her awkward moment and noticed that Sally, the family’s Doberman pinscher was more interested in licking the area around her genitals than the unusual sight of Martha butt down on the floor. She pulled herself up and went back into the storeroom to finish the business she had in there; every sort of buzz that she got from the previous drags had disappeared.
She lit her blunt with her first try this time around then took yet another long drag as she slowly scanned the store; she had left the door ajar so she could have fair vision of the room and soon, her eyes fell on an item she had overlooked in all her visits to the storeroom. Martha stared at what used to be her school box while she was in secondary school and a myriad of memories hit her like cool breeze right after a bath. She remembered her secondary school days at Queens College in Lagos, Nigeria and how she had spent all six years of those days in the boarding house of the school, spending four of those years invisible and under the shadows of her sister’s fame in the school. Rachel was known and idolized all around QC by her nickname ‘Ray-Chee’, a name she initially hated with a passion but turned out to be her stage name as a radio ‘On Air Personality’ and Martha just couldn’t understand why her boring, rule-keeping sister was such a celeb in the school. Almost no one called her Martha; it was always “Ray-Chee’s sister” here, “Ray-Chee’s sister there and it pissed Martha off to no end, even her teachers referred to her as “Ray-Chee’s sister”.
With really good grades, excellent manners, a good sense of humor, mild sarcasm and the ability to always look as neat as a pin, Rachel was what every parent wanted. She became the first girl to be made house captain in the school who wasn’t in the graduating class of SS3; she was in SS2 and retained her position in her graduating year. QC usually divided students into six houses of different colors named after some Nigerian traditional ruling positions and heroes of note which were Obong house (Orange), Emotan house (Green), Obi house (Yellow), Danfodio house (Red), Efunjoke house (Purple) and Obasa house (Blue). Rachel was a member of Obasa house, a house known for its success at the school’s annual inter-house sports competition and she rose to prominence when in SS1, she became the school’s best sprinter and inspired Obasa house to yet another inter-house sports victory. The next year however, her sister Martha of Emotan house gave her a run for her money at the inter-house sports and even though Rachel and Obasa house won respectively as usual, everyone began to see Ray-Chee’s sister as one for the future, they expected a stiffer test for Ray-Chee at the next inter-house sports competition which would be her last as well.
Martha remembered the next event pretty vividly as it was really eventful for her, she had won the 100 meters sprint event and the 200 meters category as well, beating her elder sister by almost a meter in both races, she was the new deal. With just the 4×100 relay race to go, the medal table had Obasa house and Efunjoke house tied at the top with 6 gold medals each and Obasa ahead by the virtue of having 5 silver medals, 2 more than Efunjoke house but 1 less than Emotan house which had 5 gold medals and could win the competition with a gold medal at the 4×100 relay race; all the pressure was on Martha. Emotan house had not been in such a position in a while, as a matter of fact they were known for their eternal battle with Obi house for 5th place; this was like a dream come through for Emotan house.
Three Obasa seniors Doofan, Amina and Blessing had other plans; they couldn’t afford to lose their bet with some Efunjoke seniors so they ambushed Martha behind a water tank where she was washing herself up, gearing up for her race and bundled her into an empty class, they had five Obasa juniors watch her to make sure she didn’t leave until the race was over. Just before the race began, Rachel heard about her sister’s sudden disappearance and decided to pull out of the race to look for her sister ignoring all pleas from Doofan who kept insisting that Martha got scared because of too much pressure and was probably hiding somewhere. Toyin Lawal who replaced Martha crossed the line just ahead of Efunjoke’s Sandra John to give Emotan house a very historical victory at the same moment that Rachel and her search party found Martha and her captors in an empty classroom. The juniors fled at the sight of the approaching search team but one of them was apprehended and she gave out the names of the three Obasa seniors who sent her. A series of events followed, Rachel, Martha and two Emotan seniors gave the three Obasa seniors a beating right in front of the teachers, students and visiting crowd which included parents, Rachel got stripped of her house captain position and got suspended alongside Martha, the three Obasa seniors, the two Emotan seniors and the five Obasa juniors who stood guard.
That day, Martha felt something she didn’t know she had felt for her sister all along. Distant sounds from the television in James’ room upstairs pulled Martha out of her deep train of thoughts; she could hear the usual opening sequence of the “News at noon” come on. She pulled herself up and broke into an awkward sort of run towards the room to hear the headlines of the news, she pushed past the main door into the living room downstairs and took the steps on the staircase, two at a time, then took a right turn at the top of the flight of stairs and pushed the door into the room open. James gave her a quick glance and stared back at the television; he had gotten a Blackberry broadcast message about a recent happening in the world and quickly turned his Playstation off and then reconnected his television to the satellite TV provider to get first hand view of the situation. Martha heard her brother whisper “oh no, not again” as he stared at the written headlines just before the voice of the newscaster came on.



‘The A Team’, a song by Ed Sheeran, who at the time was a twenty year old British singer that was beginning to gain popularity amongst those who listened to the kind of music he made, was the particular track playing for the sixteenth consecutive time on Martha’s Blackberry Bold. She had only one piece of her earphones on and left the other ear free so the Jehovah witness lady who presently was stressing a point about God’s plan for the earth would assume she had her attention. Her entire attention however, was equally shared between her wonder about what on earth could be the inspiration behind Ed Sheeran’s music and a couple of very random issues just so she wouldn’t have to pay any attention to the lady standing right before her. Just when the song was about to end for the sixteenth time, she heard a series of howls from the top floor of the house that could only have originated from her younger brother’s room.
James Amir Ehidiamen couldn’t wait for the EA soccer game “FIFA 12” to be released in less than two months but for now, even though he and his buddy Karael Amos had gotten tired of playing “FIFA 11”, they played with the vigor of debutants. Anyone who stayed in or usually visited the Ehidiamen residence would already be used to the unpleasant howls which really had no pattern that came from James’ room. Having being expelled from a private university in Nigeria, he got closer to his childhood friend Karael, a Namibian who had lived almost all his life in Nigeria with parents who were foreign workers in the country. He knew Karael since he was two because his parents were the first to pay a visit to the new neighbors who had moved into the bungalow two compounds away. A couple of visits later and the two year olds had a bond that was uncharacteristic of babies at such age. From sharing candy to exchanging Nintendo cartridges, from exchanging ideas for secondary school assignments to exchanging Intel on best locations to smoke marijuana safely; they were closer than brothers.
In 2008, both boys graduated from Tendertouch College, Lagos and immediately sought admission into a higher institution. Naturally, both men went for the same school as first choice and when the results were released, Karael had scored 231, while James scored 195. The University of Ibadan was the school both men picked and it required a minimum score of 200 for those who would take the school’s own entrance examinations, James couldn’t. While Karael prepared for his exams, James obtained the admission form of Covenant University, a private school in the South-West of Nigeria. Karael was not so lucky at his exams and failed to get admission, while James was to resume at Covenant University some months later. James would later get expelled for having explicit pictures on his laptop while Karael would gain admission into the University of Lagos the next year. Now Karael was in his second year of studying Business Administration at the University of Lagos, while James awaited the 2011 admission list of the University of Benin. Since Karael attended lectures from his family home on Aba Johnson Crescent, he was able to spend a lot of time with his friend James; time which they spent on FIFA 11, supporting Arsenal FC and smoking marijuana at the nooks and crannies within and outside the Ehidiamen residence. James’ sisters knew about his habits and while one expressed her disdain for the act, the other got introduced to using marijuana, the other being Martha.
After what seemed to be a millennium, the preacher rounded up her message to Martha whose joy at that moment could not be quantified; she locked the gate behind the preacher and headed back into the house for her recent daily routine of doing absolutely nothing all day. She had graduated from the Igbinedion University, Okada, Nigeria about two months back and would have to wait for about another three months to begin her youth service at whatever state in Nigeria she was eventually posted to. She walked right past the security post by the gate and went straight for the store that was behind the main house to spend some time alone with the half smoked tie of marijuana she had rescued from the pocket of one of James’ trousers. The store contained old and unused property and was one really stuffy place to stay but since it was a place her parents almost never checked, it was her perfect spot; even her brother had no idea about what she had going on in there.
Martha lit the joint after six frustrating attempts with different matchsticks and when she finally got it right, she took a long drag with her mouth and held the smoke in her head for a couple of seconds before slowly but surely exhaling from her nose and her mouth. She let out a sigh that seemed to say “I missed you blunt” and went through her blackberry chat messages, subconsciously mumbling as she read. After her third drag, she began to feel the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) settle in her head, her eyelids twitched, and all five senses worked at an unusual rate with a great deal of paranoia to round the array of feelings up. Clouds were gathering and the wind blew with rage like that of a mother who just saw her child get beaten up by the lady her husband has an affair with. The wind blew into the store and shook the items that its force could budge and also managed to kill the spark of Martha’s joint. That was her cue, but as she had got up to leave for the main house and get in before the rain started, she heard what seemed to be the sound of footsteps behind her. She panicked and in one sudden movement, turned around to find out who or what the sound was coming from; and what she saw, stunned her so bad that she fell backwards and landed on her buttocks.
She looked up at the silhouette of a man who was nothing less than 1.9 meters tall clad in a robe that swayed on the lower region from side to side and seemed to be staring down at her, getting closer with a movement that seemed like it was gliding. She used her bottom and her hands to drag herself to the door behind her with her eyes still locked on the figure, the store was dark and even the open windows could do nothing to direct sunlight to the room. Martha knew that one last surge would open the door then she would have clear vision of the man and also an escape route, so with all the strength she could muster, she threw herself at the door and fell on it as it flew wide open. Martha was an unusually brave and inquisitive young lady and so, instead of running away in fear, she turned to see her predator. She stood there for five seconds in total shock at what she saw.