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The beggar had been sitting at his usual spot by the commercial bike park near the entrance of Ajao Estate, Lagos, Nigeria for about four hours, fifteen minutes and thirty four seconds when he noticed the lady who never failed to drop a minimum of hundred Naira in the empty ‘Danish Cookies’ container in front of him daily, walking towards him. The lady was deep in thoughts about the disturbing messages she had read while going through the text messages on her fiancé’s phone, he was obviously having an affair and their wedding was only months away. She was so deep in thoughts about whether to bring the issue up with her man or not that she forgot her usual hundred Naira donation to the life of the blind beggar by the bike park that she had grown fond of. She had barely walked three paces past him when she heard him say in pidgin English “madam, I greet you oh” instinctively she made a move for the purse in her handbag and brought out a hundred Naira note and bent to drop it in the container, as she bent a thought hit her hard “how had the blind beggar seen her?”… She raised alarm.
Less than half a second after he subconsciously spoke and the woman screamed “thief! He can see, he’s not blind!” the beggar knew he was in all sorts of trouble and decided to flee the scene before things got bad. He however didn’t bargain for the overzealous heroes who chased him down within seconds and had bundled him to the ground. He bit the dust literally as a small mob began to form as was the subconscious tradition of those who stayed in Lagos State. The barber who had been sitting in front of his shop across the road, the bike rider who was riding past when he noticed the gathering mob, the little girl that had been sent by her mother to grind fresh pepper and tomatoes, and all sorts of people joined the mob which was now really crowded. Opinions and explanations were flying all around with loud voices, high pitched and deep, as the lady stood at the centre of everything, telling the story to her audience and basking in the euphoria of her temporary celebrity status.
Eleven year old Opeyemi’s mother had sent her to the store of the woman who used a local grinding machine to grind pepper and tomatoes for customers in the neighborhood, but as she saw the gathering mob on her way back from the store, her mother was now a forgotten issue. She wrapped her right arm around the little plastic bucket that had ‘Golden Custard’ inscribed on it but contained the now liquid tomatoes and pepper and walked round the mob looking for opening with which she could squeeze herself through. Through the little spaces in between the interwoven bodies, she saw the man in the centre make a sudden dash to the right for his escape; he was intercepted within a second and forcefully made to lie face down. The minor fracas at the centre had other effects however, for the sudden movement by the criminal had started a domino effect that caused the people on the first line of the semi circle that the mob had formed to suddenly fall back on those on the second line and so on till it got to the last line where Opeyemi stood. As she fell, she caught a glimpse of an elegant yet simply dressed woman who was walking towards her and was already inches away.
Rachel Najwa Ehidiamen left her house a bit late for work because she had been in a quarrel with her younger sister which was now normal scene to anyone who resided in the Ehidiamen mansion located at Aba Johnson Crescent, Adeniyi Jones Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos. Today’s quarrel was as a result of her younger sister, Martha Umniya’s decision to use Rachel’s car without her permission and also destroy one side mirror in the process; even worse was that Martha didn’t say a word to her. When Rachel had gotten ready for work that morning, she searched her dressing table for the keys to her Honda Accord 2011 model. It was a daily routine for her to look into her car, inspect it and then leave for work using public transport, an act that Martha could never comprehend, “why have a car and use public buses?” she always thought. Rachel found her keys thirty minutes later on the refrigerator in the main kitchen downstairs, she didn’t remember keeping it there, and thought to herself that she may have dropped it there subconsciously the night before. The images that hit her eyes as she stepped into the compound through the main door that led to the garage banished the doubts she previously had about where she had placed her keys. The side mirror on the right side of her car was nowhere to be found, it was at that moment she had let out an unearthly scream of “Umniya!” and a very loud argument that would last over an hour ensued. Martha had stressed that Rachel would spoil the car if she kept abandoning it and that she was only doing Rachel a favor by taking the car out while Rachel hammered on how irresponsible and unreliable Martha was.
A commercial bike to the bridge at Ikeja, and two more commercial buses got Rachel to the gate of Ajao Estate with about six minutes left for her to get to her office, sign in, and get herself prepared for her radio show which was aired live by twelve (12) pm daily on Maverick FM. She walked briskly towards the park by the gate to get a bike which would take her straight to her office and noticed a mob gather just beside the usual position the bike riders gathered. She decided to walk around the mob and flag a bike to take her straight to the office. She was half-way around the bend when a sudden movement within the mob caused an awkward struggle for everyone in the gathering to stay on their feet and one person who couldn’t see the struggle through was the little girl who fell right in front of her and spilled the contents of the bucket all over the black Aldo flat pumps shoes that Rachel wore…
TO BE CONTINUED.
The baby had moments ago had its umbilical cord clipped and majority of its blood circulation had been immediately redirected to its lungs and kidneys so it had to wait for some moments for its lungs to be decongested of the fluids that were now being pushed into the circulatory system. Its rapid heart rate, the mucus in its mouth and the sudden drop in temperature caused it to subconsciously open its mouth and let out a sound which it later in life would find out to be called the process of “crying”. It missed the warmth of its previous home, the constant thumping sounds and the distant sounds which really were human voices for what it heard now was an array of loud confusing sounds and what it felt was a sensation of cold that it had never felt before, cold like no baby born in Iseyin had felt, cold that was caused by the sudden weather change that had come as a result of the hourglass falling and spilling out contents that Azazel, the wild demon of the desert would now chase for half a second and would seem like eternity.
Azazel ran at such speed that to the human eyes, it would have been assumed that it had disappeared which really wasn’t the case. The bright light was moving at unbelievable speed so Azazel had no time to concentrate on its surroundings or locations, too much concentration had already been shared between speed and having visuals on the content but there was enough for it to notice the humans and animals that were left dead by mere contact with the content. Peculiar was the staggering man with a bottle who had fallen in a very awkward manner as the content passed him and barely touched his ankle, even more peculiar was a dog which was trapped by some human technology, one moment it was in pains, the next it could feel nothing. “Farewell soldier” Azazel managed to mutter in respect of the dead dog as it made its way through the clustered houses in Iseyin now lost in thoughts about it had gotten itself to be here. Sometime in the Abyss Damian had walked up to it and said “hello Azazel” then went on to tell it the entire Kuzmaneak plan, a long speech that Azazel had given the rather short answer of “okay”, it was more interested in the fact that Damian, son of Mephis was talking to it. Azazel saw the infant from a distance; it was curled up in the arms of a bulky woman who was facing the entrance of the building she occupied, it knew the infant was in mortal danger only because the woman who presently held him would be dead in less than quarter of a second and would drop the infant.
The baby felt like its brain exploded as the content filled the room and a moment later, was falling to the earth with a cold rush of blood to its head mixed with the even more sudden drop of temperature. The baby may have lacked a very functional brain at that point in life, but its brain was able to appreciate the warmth of Azazel’s arms as they caught it. Azazel looked around the room that was now loud with the silence of death, dead women everywhere. Spread-eagled in front of it was the bulky woman who had been holding the baby, her eyes were open but lifeless, trickles of sweat still rolled down on either side of her face. There was a really young one who had open eyes too and seemed to be staring transfixed at Azazel, “I wouldn’t like to look that way if I was a dead human” Azazel thought, for a second, it seemed like the dead girl had made a sound but Azazel knew for sure that it was impossible and the fire that was slowly starting by a broken but lit lantern and a curtain at the extreme of the room also was a cue for Azazel to return to the gathering. It turned and set for the gathering at normal human pace because moving at its own speed could kill the baby, it also provided the baby with warmth by covering the entire little human with its furry palm. As Azazel left the maternity it noticed a girl walking towards the maternity from a distance, at the pace she was moving, she would have a clear view of it in about five seconds so it diverted to the right and hid in the bushes to wait for her to get into the maternity.
Bisayo wasted so much time with her friends and now was moving at top walking speed to get to the maternity, she was sure she had seen shadows outside the house but as she got closer it seemed to be only her imaginations. The maternity was unusually silent and only the really bright light from what must have been a really large lantern was the sign of life in the room. She panicked and broke into a run to kill her curiosity and what hit her eyes left her wishing she had arrived a bit later, dead women on the floor all around the room and a burning curtain sent her into a dizzy state, she had to make use of all her strength to stay on her feet. She knew the worst had happened and frantically searched around the room with her eyes for her mother, she didn’t have to look so far, but she did and when her gaze finally rested on the woman right in front of her, she broke down and cried “ah! Mo gbe, mummy mi, e joor, da mi lohun”. How was she going to live? How were her younger ones going to survive? Their father had died years ago as a result of poisoning and a man across town with whom her father had a land dispute with, was the prime suspect. She wept for a couple of minutes as the realization that she was now alone in the world hit her. She was alone in a world of wolves and alone in a room of dead people, her sobs were making the only sounds in the room until she heard what she believed to be a sniff from within the room, she raised her head and stared at the direction from which the sound was made.
THE END OF CHAPTER ONE.
The people of Iseyin were dealt a rude shock as the clouds had suddenly gathered and covered the setting sun like the town had been cursed with an invasion of locusts. The wind had come quickly and in a zig-zag manner too, raising up dust, rolling buckets aside, displacing hung clothes, and bending trees in its way, Iseyin was unsettled. Babies screamed, some in excitement and some in fear of the bright blinding flashes of lightning and the deafening cracks that followed.
Abosede dished out orders to her maternity workers in their more acceptable Pidgin English “go cover window” “Bunmi , go bring all the wrapper come inside” “Laju, go on all the lantern, work still dey today” “Laide, cover all the place wey dey leak” the women were here and there. Four babies had successfully been delivered at the maternity today, the last of the women was already in the process of delivering. Nineteen year old Tokunbo Amosun, a native of Iseyin who had been the talk of the Town for a couple of months, She had been raped by an unidentified overzealous drunk youth during the last ‘new season’ festival and had discovered her pregnancy barely a month later. Being an orphan who coincidentally lived with Laju Dosunmu, a barren widow that worked at the maternity of Iseyin, she was advised to have the baby of her rapist and Laju was present to make sure it all went well. The signs of a brewing storm had briefly and mildly interrupted the birth process, however the lightnings and thunderclaps were only a spate of happenings triggered by Paimon speaking, one of these statements was a roar of “AZAZEL!!!”
Azazel , the wild demon of the desert was deep in silly thoughts when Paimon yelled its name and brought its focus back to the gathering that was now a tad unsettled. Being a demon that could be felt physically even when not possessing a physical being, Damian had seen it as useful and told it about the plan, a long speech that he had gotten only the short reply of “ready when you are Master”. It had the appearance of a man with the head and hind legs of a goat and was the demon appointed to accept the sacrifice of the “scape goat”, an ancient human tradition. It was a demon that never paid attention to details and never really thought of its actions, an impulsive and spontaneous one. Paimon had quickly thought about his options within the split second after the hourglass fell and Azazel chasing the content of the hourglass to its chosen one and bringing the baby back was the best choice. “Get the child”, he sneered.
The content of the hourglass came out in a body of very bright light emitting countless sparks and moved at the speed of sound from the hourglass to the maternity as Azazel chased it in equal speed. Abosede held the baby that had just been born facing the entrance of the maternity and backed Tokunbo its mother who was wailing in pain and was being comforted by Laju’s soothing words of “no cry, no be em you don born so?, remain small, you go rest”. Abosede saw the bright light from the gathering that had come straight at the maternity within half a second with a deafening sound that was heard on every border of Oyo State. The loud sound was followed by an eerie silence in the maternity that was interrupted seconds later by the thuds made by the lifeless women that hit the maternity’s hard floor…
TO BE CONTINUED…
Though Paimon had his sights set on them, he had actually been looking beyond the comic human and the helpless dog that was staring at him. He had been deep in thoughts about how he had gotten to play a really important role in the history of the Earth, how Damian had suggested him to Leonard, Master of black magic and sorcery. Damian, son of Mephis the Fallen wanted to overthrow his father and Leonard had been his backbone till this moment. Paimon was well aware of the fact that, Leonard’s helping of Mephis against The Light was a failed attempt, but he believed this time, against Mephis, it was possible.
Damian’s plan was to try out the first phase of the kuzmaneak ritual, a myth known to all spirit beings for millions of human years. After the war, The Light banished Mephis to the Abyss, alongside the angels who had joined forces with him. The sketchy part of the myth however was that The Light had banished Mephis to the abyss to protect a very important item, the same item Mephis had initially stolen from The Light, the same item that had gotten him the name ‘Mephis The Fallen’ , the same item that Mephis had found no use for. The Light saw the item as defiled but still very important, so He decided to protect it with the one who initially stole it, Mephis.
The Light wrote out a process by which the item could be released – The Kuzmaneak. The complete scroll of the Kuzmaneak was stored safely in the secret library at the Zenith, home of The Light. Angels can be unstable and so Harahel , angel in charge of the library got overtaken by curiousity and read the Kuzmaneak, when The Light found out, he banished Harahel to the Abyss. Harahel in turn, carelessly told Damian the full process of the Kuzmaneak during one of their usual banters It then occurred to Damien that his father didn’t use the item because its powers could only inhabit a man and Mephis would never risk giving a man such power. He loathed man.
Damian planned, plotted and strategized on testing out the Kuzmaneak on a human and using its powers to overthrow his father and thereafter wage war against The Light. He convinced sixteen great beings of the abyss to join his plan, Bifrons, master of geometry , arts and astrology had picked Iseyin, one of the twenty four zones as the best location for the ritual. The human which would have to be born on that same day, would be from the axis where the ritual was performed. They would then wait twenty four human years when the spiritual strength of every human is at its peak, Damien would possess the body of the human and make an attempt for the item with one final ceremonial ritual. Leonard had chosen Paimon on Damien’s counsel to conduct the Kuzmaneak project and by being the master of sorcery and magic, honoring Paimon with such a task was an opportunity Paimon swore to eternally appreciate, he wasn’t going to let Leonard down, he wasn’t going to let Damien down.
The hourglass in the centre of the gathering had one hour left, in an hour it would uncork itself and send its contents straight at the nearest child being born with inhuman speed. At the moment, if uncorked, it would be toxic to any living being around the newly born child of its choice or in its path to the child, Paimon didn’t want such attention. In as much as human life meant nothing to him, he wasn’t going to let a minor issue like the impatience of himself and the other beings ruin this.
Kobal’s laughter interrupted Paimon’s deep thoughts. A long and awkward silence followed, since the fall of Mephis and his consequent banishment to the Abyss with his fallen Angels, it had never been recorded that Kobal laughed. Kobal was once the funniest being on the planet, having been created as the Archangel of hilarity. He joined Mephis and when they fell, he left the Demons for a while to an unknown destination on the planet and returned as the fierce and feared demon he now was. He still had the ability to make people laugh with his very wicked sarcastic comments and witty sayings but still, never laughed. Kobal always appeared in the form of a man with wings as bright and intimidating as the tail of a peacock, he had the aura of a proud and composed being.
Paimon turned to face Kobal, “the humour is lost on me, would you mind letting me in?” with a voice that sounded like a thousand thunderclaps, Iseyin felt tremors, but Kobal remained silent for ten tense seconds, then he said with barely more than a whisper, “I may have been banished to the Abyss, but one right that hasn’t been taken from me, is my ability to laugh freely without having to explain that action”. Paimon saw a tiny smile play along Kobal’s lips and chose to remain calm. He turned to Leonard as if to say “which way? Old friend”, Leonard’s straight face spoke a thousand words, which Paimon interpreted as “Go on with the process, it’s the priority”
No sooner had he thought this than the hourglass began to tremble, “it was WRONG! It wasn’t ready, this shouldn’t be happening!”. Paimon remained calm outside but was turbulent inside, he whispered “what the Heaven is going on here?”. The Hourglass fell, its cork dislodged, and for a second, the world was silent…
TO BE CONTINUED…
About three kilometers away from this gathering, the dog stopped short in its tracks. It had noticed Abosede making herself an obstacle to its mission of entering the maternity’s centre room; she was standing right at the door staring blankly away from the dog. It decided to creep slowly beside Abosede who was lost in thoughts about how she should have told her eldest daughter that she wouldn’t be home for the night. Trickles of sweat ran across the ridges on her forehead. She lazily lifted her right palm to her forehead and wiped slowly from left to right sending thick drops of sweat on a crash course for the red Iseyin clay.
It was one of these supposedly innocuous drops that altered the entire plan of the dog, which was now a hair’s breadth away from Abosede’s right knee. The tear dropped straight into the right eye of the dog, it let out a loud whimper and within half a second, Abosede’s pupils dilated, her heart’s rate doubled, her muscles reacted as her blood vessels constricted, yet with all these activities, all she did was to let out a loud cry of “JESU!!!”…
The dog, now temporarily half blind and of course startled by her cry, set out for the first possible exit which was the path directly opposite the maternity. Abosede wasn’t about to let the dog go scot-free. She picked up the nearest golf sized rock and sent it hurling at the fleeing dog. A distant yelp let her know she had hit home as she cursed under her breath that was yet to stabilize “ Aja esu rada rada! ”
The dog was in pains, the rock had hit it hard on the left paw of its hind legs, it broke one of its claws and took flesh with it, leaving it no choice but to limp down the path. It was going to go as far as possible from the person that had hurt it. It went past three girls who were so engrossed in their conversation, that they didn’t notice the limping dog. One of those girls was Bisayo Ogunbanwo. She had been on the way to the maternity to check on her mother when she ran into her buddies, Seun and Folake. The girls had gone deep into a conversation that blinded them to the fact that the sun was slowly setting. Bisayo had totally forgotten that she had left her house for the main purpose of getting to the maternity as soon as she could to find out what unusual event had stopped her mom from returning home on time without sending a message regarding dinner preparations. However, at that particular moment, all that mattered to Bisayo was to get as much gist as she could from the new development in Seun’s relationship.
It struggled further for some minutes before its nose picked up a scent that seemed really appealing. It broke into a mini run, as fast as its injured paw could permit. It followed the scent about an extra fifty metres before it got to its would-be dinner. After casting furtive glances around to see if it would be having any interference, it made for the already prepared meal that was placed in-between two iron bars that bent over at the same angle on both sides. The dog took a step to balance itself beside the meal, that step was the entire trigger underneath the pan where the meal had been placed, needed. The jaws of the trap Ajani had placed came together and caught the right fore-leg of the dog. It let out a loud yelp and made desperate attempts to free itself. It was in all sorts of pain and could struggle but for a few moments before it resigned itself to its fate. Ajani had been on his usual trap check when he heard the yelp and whimpers of the dog from a distance. He walked briskly towards the direction of the sounds. And as he got closer, it occurred to him that his trap had not caught its intended target, it had caught a dog. He walked a bit slower and with less enthusiasm towards the dog which was now letting out gentle whimpers to appeal to Ajani’s conscience. Ajani crouched beside it and set to the usual process of loosening the jaws of his locally made trap. As he lifted his right hand to take hold of the trap bolt, the dog let out a loud bark. Ajani instinctively rolled away to avoid getting bitten. Now shaken, he turned to look at the dog which was still barking at a particular direction, a direction which, when Ajani casted a glance at, was empty. The dog didn’t stop barking, it seemed more scared than aggravated. The dog was mad, Ajani concluded. Barking with so much vigor at thin air had to be a symptom for a mad dog, if anything like that existed, he thought.
The dog was barking at the most unusual creature it had ever seen, it had the body of a man and the face of a woman. Adorned with a glorious crown, it was sitting on a camel-like creature, staring right back at the dog in what seemed to be amusement. The creature was Paimon, head of the infernal ceremonies of The Abyss. Paimon turned to face the other fifteen members that were present for the gathering; it was going to be a long and eventful night…
TO BE CONTINUED…
The crumbs from the bread Pelumi had been eating when he passed this particular path had been there for about seven hours, forty two minutes and twenty three seconds when the frontline lead of the ants took its mini army on a straight course for the crumbs. The mission was simple: cross the other side of the path which measured about a metre and a half, pick up the crumbs and return to the hide-out. It was going to be a simple mission.
The Agama lizard that had assumed an attacking position about half a metre away from the army of ants had other ideas. It had been hungry for hours, and now food was coming to meet it. The ants saw it too, however, too late. About a minute later, it had over twenty ants being pushed down its throat. It was filled up; excited about the fact that it could crawl aimlessly around town for a few more hours. If given a second chance, it would have ignored the ants for as it raised its head, it had honoured the earth with its last action on the planet.
A dog nearby had heard awkward sounds from that part of the village; it had to discontinue its evening stroll around town. It took the first path in that direction, made a left turn, trotting at full speed. This, didn’t help it notice the lizard it was about to kill. The dog’s right paw on the hind legs landed on the raised head of the lizard, its full weight crushing its skull and one of its claws picked one eye of the lizard as the dog continued its dash towards the awkward sounds. It went at top speed past a drunk young man.
The young man was Fadeyi Alabi, a popular wrestler in town who spent the interval between competitions drinking to stupor, daily. The dog finally got to the place the tears were coming from; a robust woman had just walked out of the hut – Abosede Ogunbanwo, the chief matron of the town.
It was the busiest night ever at the maternity, about six deliveries happening. Five pregnant women, one was going to have a twin as her stomach suggested. Bulky, with thick flailing arms suspended above a mass of fatty stomach, Abosede used her wrapper to wipe the sweat off her forehead as she felt the cool breeze of the evening hit her black, visually challenging face. The cool evening breeze was normal if you stayed in the humble town called Iseyin, located in Oyo State, Western Nigeria.
Iseyin, a small agricultural town was a peaceful, naturally blessed town. It was a beauty to the eyes of those who enjoyed nature. But to those who couldn’t feel nature, those who weren’t in physical bodies, beings that exist but aren’t seen by human eyes, only by the eyes of some mammal, which can’t be proven, The Spirit Beings. They related with the town of Iseyin because it was one of the twenty four zones on Earth for these kind of spirit beings, demons. The demons had twenty four zonal headquarters, with no central body.
Iseyin had been randomly selected by a not so random process to be the venue for probably one of the most important spiritual gatherings in the history of man…
TO BE CONTINUED