BEFORE THE DARKNESS EPISODE FIVE

He feared for Sango – or Damola as he ignorantly preferred to be called. He could see the anger, fear and guilt that stirred inside of him but what he wanted to do was not the answer. He had watched the kidnapping of Oya from beside Edumare’s throne. He even asked Edumare to let him intervene, all he had to do was send a band of Aljanu and they would have prevented what was sure to be a disaster from happening. Edumare had refused, saying that intervening would alter the destinies of the god-men. ‘What if she dies?’ he remembered asking anxiously. ‘If she dies, she dies.’ had been the reply and it had sent cold chills down his spine.
The kidnap had been successful and his greatest trouble was he did not know what had happened to Oya. She could have gone through a lot of torture, or  even be dead already. And he feared – no, he knew that if Damola went after her he would suffer the same fate. Sometimes he wished Edumare would allow him reach into the minds of these unheeding gods.
“All I want from you is an address!” Damola said.
“You could die.” Orunmila said, his eyes pleading desperately. He could not bear his death on his conscience.
“So could Anne.”
“Please Sango, for the sake of Edumare. If you die now, this world will be lost!”
“How else can I tell you this? Except Anne somehow suddenly shows up at that door, no one can stop me from going after her!”
Orunmila sighed. He knew the battle he was fighting was hopeless, Damola’s mind was set. The best he could do was to prepare him as much as he could.
“If you are going to do this, you need to know all you can about the person you are about to face.” Orunmila said.
“How long will this lecture take? Every second I spend knowing about my opponent; Anne spends in the hands of her captors.”
Orunmila looked at him and for the first time felt anger at his insolence.
“Sit down! Now!” Orunmila said.
Damola looked at him and quietly sat, intimidated for the first time since he met the old man.
“His name is Sarkin Aljan. He is a god of the Northern heavens; a good one too. At least he used to be until Ibilis corrupted him.”
“I thought you said we were here by mistake, how did he get here?” Damola asked. He looked curious now.
“Ibilis must have found a way to send him here. But now he is here, there is no doubt about why. He is here to destroy earth, starting from Nigeria.”
“Why here?”
“I don’t know and Edumare refuses to tell me. But starting from here is a blessing to us, because he has to overcome you first. And despite my fears, he is not going to do that easily.”
“Yeah, thanks for the vote of confidence but why kidnap Anne?”
“I don’t know that yet.”
“Wow, there’s a lot of things you don’t know.” Damola said, shaking his head. “Do you at least know where Anne is being held?”
“No, I do not.” Orunmila said.
Damola slammed the table between them, carried it and threw it against the wall! Orunmila sat still and watched him pace around the room.
“You don’t know where she is being held? You’re telling me I have been wasting my time with you?” His eyes were hot with anger, his right hand was beginning to smoke.
“This is why you should not go to battle yet. You lack patience and self-control. No, I do not know where Anne is being held but I know how to find her.”
It wouldn’t end well. Sarkin Aljan could not stand Sango as a god but as a mortal, Damola would not last a minute.
“So, this Sarkin guy, anything else I need to know about him? Any super powers?”
“Sarkin Aljan is his name! Respect your enemy enough to know his name. He is a great warrior, not a match for you as a god. But the way you are, he can beat you with one hand, blindfolded!”
“So all he does is fight well? Remember this guy who controls fire, lightning? Yeah, that’s me.”
Orunmila shook his head. “Sarkin Aljan’s greatest gift is his ability to make others fight his battles. You will not be fighting him alone.”
“Okay, good! I know all I need to know. Now, how do I meet this fool?”
Orunmila knew that he was sending Damola to his death but meddling with his will would amount to seeking the wrath of Edumare. He knew which the lesser evil was.
***
He had chewed the gum in his mouth for almost one hour as he paced on his porch. He was trying hard to think but he was drawing blanks, his mind could not seem to process anything. Now he just leaned against the walls and looked at the city; the part he could see. The sun was setting and the city almost looked beautiful. He remembered the day he had woken up next to a homeless man naked, months had gone since then but he still remembered vividly. Life had been confusing for him for the first few weeks but then he had found his feet and he had found it fast. His rise had been fast, very fast. The newspapers called him a miracle. A miracle was exactly what he needed now.
Just as Toni had predicted, Morayo Adebisi refused to settle. He was confused. If it was not money she wanted, what was it? He had asked and she said she wanted to go to court and that was it! He did not want to but he was beginning to believe Toni, Morayo was not suing all by herself. Her lawyer was one of the best in the city, there was no way she could afford him.
Suddenly he had a feeling that he was being watched. He turned around and there he was! The old man was the last person he wanted to see. There was a time he wanted to see him, but that was before he heard that he might be losing his career.
“What do you want now?” Eric asked. He did not quite understand who or what the man was yet but he was beginning to believe he was not just in his mind.
“There is a lot you need to know! You are not ready but we cannot wait anymore. Could you please come in and sit?”
Looking at the man, his dream came back to him, and suddenly he wanted to talk to him. He walked into the room and sat close to where the man was standing.
“Before you start telling me anything, I need to ask some things.” Eric started before the man could speak.
“Go ahead.”
“Orunmila, that’s your name right?” The man nodded. “I had this dream….do you know anybody called Sarkin Aljan?”
The man shot up from his seat. “How do you know that name? I was here to tell you about him.”
“Okay, so he is a real person. If my dream is anything to go by, he is about to do something terrible. And he had this massive dog with him; Manzo.”
“You saw Manzo too?” The man’s eyes were wide with surprise and maybe a little fear. “What did Sarkin Aljan tell you?”
“He said not to believe anything you tell me and that the battle was not mine to fight.”
The man sighed and said. “Ooh, good!”
“Good?” Eric was surprised.
“I thought he was trying to recruit you.”
Eric laughed. “No, he wasn’t. The question is; who is this guy and what does he want from me?”
“There is war coming on this world and you are the one who can stop it.”
“So you are the one trying to recruit me then. Why do you think I will do this? Whatever ‘this’ is.”
“There is something I have not told you.” The man said, moving his chair closer to him. “You are not the only god here. There are four of you! Oya, the only goddess, has been abducted by Manzo! Sango, her husband is going to rescue her even though he is not ready and he will probably lose his life. That leaves only you!”
“There was a fourth person.” Eric said, looking intently at the man.
“Let’s say he is not one of us for now. What I’m saying is, if you don’t take responsibility for this, if nobody does, this earth is as good as lost!”
“Why can’t you do it, take responsibility?”
“I cannot operate in this realm and I am not a warrior, I am nothing but a humble priest.”
“Alright, what do you want me to do?”
“Remember your disappearing hand? Well, it’s not just your hand that disappears, you can totally vanish. You cannot do that now, you have to learn. I will teach you all you need to know and I will like to start tomorrow.”
“I think that will be…” He was cut off by his ringing phone. It was Pearl. “Hi Pearl… no I’m not busy.”
He paused for a while and listened, he nodded and listened again. Finally he ended the call and sighed.
“Do we start tomorrow?” Orunmila asked.
“I’m afraid I can’t. I have to be in court throughout this week. If I’m not there, I could lose my career.”
“Your career?!” Orunmila exclaimed! “Do you know who you are? Do you know what is at stake? The whole world is about to be destroyed!”
“I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I don’t care about the whole world, I care about my career!” Eric said, a little louder than he planned. He paused for a second and continued. “Look here old man, I really don’t know you and the only reason I’m talking to you is because of that silly dream I had. I will be available next week, I need to take care of this court matter.”
“When this world goes down, you and your career goes down with it. You have a chance to fulfil your purpose as a god, but you will rather pursue vanity. Maybe you truly deserve to go down with this world.” The man said and vanished!
***
The first person had died in the second village and now the world was starting to pay real attention to the Black Death disease. Doctors and scientists had come from all over the world, the disease had to be stopped. The disease appeared to have killed faster this time, although they had to wait to be sure. There were several labs trying to find what was killing the people. They had found that the blood of the victims had gradually become black but there was no reasonable cause for it. The only positive was that it was not transmittable.
He was seated with his minister for health and some of the leading doctors and scientists from the around the world. They had talked all day, each person giving their hypothetic opinions and having it ruled out in less than five minutes. It was a nightmare, one he did not believe his presidency could survive; if the country survived.
“This is ridiculous! We have the best scientific minds in the world in this room, are you saying this problem can’t be solved?” Lange asked, his squeezed face showed his frustration clearly.
“And there is no way to tell that this won’t get to America or Europe eventually.” Adigwe added.
“We know that and we are trying our best here.” Dr Vladimir, a Russian scientist said. “But we…”
He stopped as the door opened. Aweda rushed in. He had not been invited for the meeting on Adigwe insistence and had finally lost his patience after a long stay behind the door.
“Mr. President, put on your TV now!” He said immediately he entered.
“What is happening Doctor Aweda?” Lange asked reaching for the TV remote. He put on the TV.
The TV showed a man with a mask on. The mask was not a regular one, it looked that it grew out of his skin. The man had such an evil presence, Lange shuddered at whatever the man was going to say.
“What is this?” One of the doctors at the table asked.
“The man said thirty minutes ago that he had an important announcement to make about the recent deaths in some villages. I’m assuming he is talking about the Black Death disease. How come nobody has told you this?”
“I don’t know.” Lange said. “Where is he shooting this?”
“I don’t know but it looks like he hacked into something somewhere because all stations are showing it.”
The man on TV spoke.
“Hello viewers all over the world. I would introduce myself but none of you would know me so I will go straight to the point. You may or may not have heard of what your leaders are choosing to call the Black Death disease. By the end of tomorrow, the death toll of this disease would have reached one thousand. I know that is not much because terrorists kill more in a day. But here is the difference between the BDD and terrorists, terrorists can be stopped. The villages were just for testing, we are moving on to bigger cities now. We have perfected our methods and patients of the BDD will now begin to die after forty eight hours of serious pain.”
The men in room had their attention glued to the television. Lange could barely breathe as he waited for the man to make demands, terrorists always had demands.
“Why am I doing this? I know some of you are asking.” The man on TV continued. “I want the earth! Every single nation on earth! So here’s the deal, if you can hold one of your world leaders’ meetings and decide to hand your nations over to me, I will stop this mindless killing. If any President on his own decides to surrender to me, his country will be spared! I have to go now. As you probably can tell, I have a lot of planning to do. I will be back later though. Until then, have a great day.”
The screen went blank momentarily then it went back to the National TV station.
“So this is a terrorist attack?”
“Who is that man?”
“What terrorist group does he represent?”
“Is he threatening the whole world?”
The questions went on around the room with no one able to answer. Lange hung his head; he knew the citizens of his nation would want an answer from him. What was he to say?
For the first time he wished he was not the president.
***
Damola stood at the edge of the forest and for a moment he wondered if Orunmila was right and he was walking to his death. Orunmila had said the moment he walked into this forest he would find who he was looking for. He had brought a knife with him in case his fist would not do. And then there was fire that came from his hand. He had read about himself as Sango online and he had found that he could attack people with lightning. None of the sites he read from had told him how to do it though. Maybe he should have learned about his gifts before coming to fight.
But learning would take time, time that Anne did not have. They had kidnapped her with him in the house! He felt the anger begin to rise in him. He marched into the forest and paused. He did not know what to look for, Orunmila had said he did not need to look for them, they would find him. Whoever ‘them’ was, they were taking their time to show up.
He took a step forward and heard a movement to his right. He paused and faced the direction. There was nobody.
“Are you lost?” He heard a voice call from behind him and he spun around.
There were four men standing in front of him. They were fierce men, one of them very tall. They had very long knifes hanging from their belts, suddenly he did not feel good about his chances. He held his knife tighter and watched out for any sudden movements.
“We know why you are here and I’m not surprised you came. I have seen her naked and I can tell you anybody will come after that.” The tall man said and his colleagues laughed.
“And even when tied up, she is still the best woman any man could ever have.” Another one said.
They were trying to get him angry and it was working. He flexed the knife in his hand and immediately two of the men ran at him. He ducked under the arm of the first man, barging his shoulder into the man’s chest, the man stumbled backwards. The second man threw a punch at his face, he dodged the blow and the man lost his balance. He took advantage and landed his two elbows on the man’s back. The man landed on the ground, writhing in pain.
“You are just as strong as I expected.” The tall man said. “But I think the play is over, it’s time to end this. And guess what? I will be thinking of your wife’s naked body as I kill you.”
Damola ran at the man but the man sidestepped his lunge and he went crashing into the ground.
“Is that the best you have? No wonder your wife seemed to enjoy me, it was obvious she had not had a real man in a while.”
Damola stood and looked at the man, hate burning in his eyes. He felt his grip on the knife loosen and it dropped. He looked at his hand, it was beginning to smoke. The men saw the hand and paused. Damola smiled, surely he had them now.
He moved forward towards them and suddenly the smoking stopped! He tightened his fist, then released and flexed it. Nothing happened. He looked at the men, they were all on their feet walking towards him. He quickly picked up the knife and waited for them.
Suddenly he felt a blow to his head from behind. He fell to the ground and the knife dropped from his hand. His body was too weak to move and he struggled to keep his eyes open. He felt somebody pick him up from the ground, he tried to struggle but his muscles did not seem to function.
Anne! What on earth was going to happen to her? His eyes closed as he slipped into darkness.

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