Lekan was walking down from the ATM just beside the entrance to a popular Lagos market when everything went to shit. Like shit hitting the fan and spread round the four corners of the walls of his life.
He was hearing commotion behind him but paid it no attention until he heard a woman scream shrilly.
The woman kept screaming over and over again. Lekan actually stopped to look, curious to see who the thief was actually.
“Where the person go?”
One man built like a tank with scars all over his face asked. The woman almost going hysterical pointed in Lekan’s direction. Lekan actually turned around wondering if he had missed the direction that the thief had gone.
Puzzled, he turned back to see a fist travelling with alacrity towards his face. Too stunned to react, it connected squarely to his face and driving him off his feet. He flew backwards in a lazy corkscrew manner before crashing into a small puddle of water. His head was ringing, he felt like he would black out at any moment. Blood was pouring freely out his nose that was most likely broken. He struggled to orient himself and failed.
Strong hands roughly gripped him and dragged him to his feet.
“Na him abi?”
A voice that sounded like gravel poured in an iron bucket asked. He stared at the face of the scarred well-built tout who held him by the scruff of his neck.
“Yes it is him. It’s the boy that was in my shop not long ago. He was wearing a white shirt. After he left I discovered my 5000 naira on the table was missing.” She declared. Her arms folded across her ample bosom as she glared at him.
“Madam I didn’t take your money. This is just a big misunderstanding.”
Lekan wanted to say in reply with as much authority as he could but it came out in a hoarse whisper.
“Why are you lying? Are you not the person that came to my shop just now?”
“No.” He replied with indignation and was rewarded by a slap across his face. For a lady the slap had a lot of power behind it and it threatened to make him black out.
The mob behind the woman had thickened considerably all angry and out for his blood. The scenario wasn’t looking good at all.
“Okay madam, I want you to calm down and look at me very well.” Lekan began using his most placating voice. “Isn’t it possible that you are mistaking me for someone else?”
For a split second, he could see the hesitancy fleet across her eyes before it became it became icy resolve.
“Make una search am. My money go dey dia.”
Lekan had barely processed what she said when he was swept off his feet and sprawled to the ground in an ungainly manner. Rough hands proceeded to search his pockets.
Within seconds, the tout that we have been referring to as tank held a bunch of notes triumphantly in his hands. The five thousand naira that he had just withdrew from the ATM.
He tried getting up to protest his innocence, but he was roughly shoved up to his feet by Tank. Tank brought him nose to nose with him and glared at him.
“So na you thief this woman money abi?”
“I didn’t steal anything. I am just coming from an ATM…..”
“IT’S A LIE!” the woman screamed shrilly. “Do you take me for a foolish person? One of the notes had an ink stain on it.”
Before he could utter another word, tank glanced at the bills and sure enough there was a splotch of ink on one of the naira notes.
“I am innocent.” He muttered weakly before tank slapped him so hard that he felt himself spinning in the air before he landed in the same puddle of water.
He tried to orient himself from the onslaught he was facing, but everywhere was spinning. He had no idea which one was up or down. Trying but failing to prop himself up off the ground. The liquid that oozed out of his ear accompanied by its ringing, made him sure he had ruptured his ear drums. That was the least of his problems.
He shook his head and tried to orient himself. He stared at the rapidly growing crowd and not one eye cast in his direction seemed to be sympathetic.
They should beat him very well!
Children of these days all they do is lie and steal!
Thank God I don’t have children like this that lack home training!
The litany of words continued while he could only watch helplessly.
I am innocent! His mind screamed but could only watch helplessly as tank walked towards him like his nemesis. His eyes fell on a boy that would be no more than eight. The boy stared at him with wide innocent eyes. For a split moment, Lekan had this fleeting hope that the boy would somehow see his innocence and trigger this blood thirsty mob to forgo their desire for blood. That was before the boy’s face split into a wolfish grin. The boy hurled a stone the size of a giant mango in his direction, throwing him off balancing as it hit him just above his right eye. It landed with a wet thunk and it sent him crashing to his left side. His head erupted into so much agony that for a moment he lost all form of logical reasoning.
That singular act seemed to throw the crowd into frenzy. They all descended on him like a pack of wolves. He tried wiping his eyes that was filled with blood running down his face, but he seemed to be rubbing it in the more. The skin above his eye had parted.
He turned and saw a policeman holding a baton and standing behind the crowd. Lekan screamed at the top of his voice.
The policeman glanced between the baton in his hands and the frenzied crowd in front of him. He quickly backtracked while speaking urgently in the walkie talkie in his hand.
Lekan was still screaming for help, when a scrawny looking youth with shifty eyes and pockmarks all over his face swung a huge stick. The impact shattered lekan’s jaw and drove fragments of teeth and bone down his oral cavity.
“Thief like you still dey shout for help!” the scrawny youth shouted “You will die here today.”
People were pelting him with stones and he weakly raised his hands up in defense to protect himself. Another person swung a stick at him, aiming for his face but ended up smashing his arm instead. He watched dully as his arm folded up on itself. His bone white and glistening among the sea of flesh and blood dripping from his arm.
That is my radial bone. He thought with amusement as his vision started going dark. Someone hit him again with such force that he felt something in his back shatter. He fell to the ground and realized what had been thrown at him was a brick of cement. He could not feel his legs anymore even as he turned to his back and faced his stick wielding assailants.
PLEASE! He tried to say through his shattered jaw but all that came out was gurgling sounds in a mouth full of broken teeth and blood. His reward was a stick slamming on his chest and blood exploding from his mouth.
Mercifully, that was the last time he felt pain. He only could watch the gradual destruction of his human body like he was having an out of body experience.
He even felt a bit amused when tank that had been out of the picture for a couple of moments came back with an old tire and a small can of petrol. Unsurprisingly, he was greeted with cheers like he was father Christmas and he had come bearing gifts.
The tire was dumped unceremoniously over his head with smattering of applauses and he was doused with petrol. For a brief moment, he had clarity of vision and he was greeted with the eyes of the crowd staring hungrily at him. They seemed to enjoy the spectacle that was unfolding in front of them. Lekan suddenly felt this powerful wave of hatred. Hatred so strong that it shook his entire being. He wished with all his heart he could destroy this people utterly.
I Olalekan Bamidele, a 22 year old 300 level student is about to be murdered in cold blood for a crime I am innocent of.
He watched as tank lit a match and stared at Lekan. A feral grin on his face and murderous intent in his eyes as he flung the match. He screamed through his damaged jaws as the match hurtled in his direction and everything became mercifully dark and silent, a silence that seemed to stretch on for an infinite period of time.
Are you planning to open your eyes or you want them to remain closed. I don’t have time to dawdle all day and time is not only my side.
He opened his eyes in shock and saw that he was standing in an infinite of white that any form of border could be delineated neither could he assess which what up or down. What was even more shocking was that he was completely intact and whole without a single injury.
Is this heaven?
“No honey it’s not” a silky female voice answered beside him. It made him yelp in fright and land on the ground in an ungainly manner. It was akin to falling on a bed of clouds.
He stared at the woman walking towards him in a white flowing gown that undulated about her even though he could feel no wind blowing with the most perfect caramel skin he had ever laid his eyes on.
“This place is a simulacrum of what your mind would be most adept in processing. I am in your mind and also in another plane of existence.” She said as she walked towards him.
“W-who are you?”
Her eye brows arched up. “Really! That is the first question that comes to mind when you see me?”
She stretched out her hand and pulled him up with a grin that was strong.
“Many people have called me a lot of things over the years, a spirit, a supernatural being, a higher level of existence, I am even worshipped as a god. In all reality I have no idea what I am. I was human like you once, then a long time ago I became something different.” She ended with a wistful voice and a faraway look in her eyes which soon became ice cold when she stared in Lekan’s direction and he felt chill run up his spine.
“You can call me democri and am here to save your life. Not that you have a choice in the matter but you can either die a fiery death or you can work for me. However, I have to warn you that you will be virtually my slave and subservient to my every whims and caprices. In fact you basically become my bitch. It will be a hard life but at least you will still be alive.”
Lekan’s brow furrowed in concentration as he thought of the ramifications of what she had just said.
Oh piss off on your medical school. Her voice boomed inside his head. You won’t need that where you are going. His eyes widened in shock and if it could go any wider his eyes would have fallen out of his head in shock.
She could read his thoughts. Sure enough, she was staring at him with a feral grin that made his heart drop to the floor. Just what on earth was this woman?
“What did you see in me that you decided to help me?”
She smiled even wider. “Oh honey, you have a gift with a unique signature that called out to me over the cosmos and I am the only one that can unlock it and show it’s potential. Now do you accept?”
Lekan was positive that this woman felt like he was bargaining with the devil where he was given a gift and expected nine different things in return. However, he most definitely did not want to die.
Her face broke out in a grin so wide that it seemed not even humanly plausible. “I am glad you have done the right thing and I already I have a task for you. I need you to find me my daughter…….”
“Y-You have a daughter?” he blurted in surprise.
“Yes I know you are wondering how a supernatural like I could do it but I have a daughter that I pushed out of my vagina but that is a story for another day. Let’s not get side tracked.”
She reached out and touched his cheek and it was almost tender.
“I am sorry for what is about to happen next. I left you a parting gift and I hope it gives you a modicum of closure but before I can make use of you, you actually have to die first.”
“Wait what?” Lekan asked and before he could fully digest what she said, he had this sensation of falling and he blinked his eyes closed and opened them to see the match stick hurtling towards him and ignited on his body in fiery glory.
It was as if he was suddenly immersed in a supernova of pain with every nerve fiber of his body screaming out. He screamed like he had never before but it brought him no respite and he screamed even more even as the flames greedily rushed into his oral cavity.
There was a sudden explosion and everyone within a dozen feet radius from where he stood got instantly incinerated with people further back suffering grievous injuries.
Lekan’s accuser watched in horror as the man she had accused of stealing money from her shop was set on fire. She thought all that happened would be a little rough handling before he was handed over to the police. It had happened on a few occasions before but this time around it seemed a malevolent force had gripped the crowd and whipped it to an uncontrollable frenzy.
The scent of burning meat assaulted her nostrils and threatened to trigger the emetic center in her brain and she turned to go unable to bear the scene in front of her. An explosive force hurtled her forward and she tumbled end over end on the muddy ground before coming to rest and noticed that she couldn’t move and part of her was on fire.
Despite the fact that her ears were ringing, she could still hear the sounds of screaming from the hurt and injured. She opened her eyes and all she saw was chaos and in the midst of that chaos, a naked man with his skin still glowing and the ground sizzling where his foot came in contact with walking directly towards her. When she saw who it was her eyes widened in surprise and she begged her body to move but of course it refused to obey her.
Lekan marveled at the power that resonated inside him. His skin was rapidly losing its blinding glow but he could still feel it inside him waiting to be unleashed. He stared in front of him and somehow he was able to pick out his accuser lying helplessly on the ground in the midst of all that bedlam. He could feel the anger coursing through his body in torrents before he made a beeline for her.
She looked up to him and tears leaked out from the eyes that hadn’t been burnt and the inevitability of what was about to happen next was so apparent to her.
“I am sorry.” She said. And lekan was actually sorry for her because democri had gifted him that moment in his memory that he had overlooked. Someone who had worn exactly what he was wearing and had his same height and build was across the road staring at him with wide shocked eyes while he was slowly beaten to death and….
She watched me burn..
His eyes became steely even as he placed his hand on her forehead, his eyes glowing. She started screaming in earnest but he didn’t stop. Not even when her skull started glowing or she stopped screaming. Not until her head exploded raining blood and gore all over him. Then he calmly stood up and walked away in his naked form.
Written by Itua Peter