BEFORE THE DARKNESS EPISODE TWELVE

Sarkin Aljan limped away from the room. He had been caught off guard by Sango’s attack. There was no way he could have known that he was one of the soldiers, his idiot helpers did not know too. He knew why he came; Oya! He immediately sent his men to secure her cell, if Sango did not get her, he would come back.
He just suffered ridicule again in the sight of the president and his people. First, he could not destroy Asaba as he promised, now his public execution was disrupted. He was not sure, but with Sango now working with the soldiers, he must have been the one to stop the portal too. He now saw Ibilis’ point; Sango was going to be a great threat. But it was only a matter of days. In three days, Nigeria would fall and not even Sango can do anything about it this time.
He had always known Sango to be proud and self-centered except when it had to do with Oya. Sango was one of the biggest forces that helped fight Ibilis during the great war in heaven. Everyone knew what a great warrior he was but Ibilis trying to convince Oya to join the dark side had given him more motivation. He never lost a battle when Oya was involved. Well, until now.
He turned the handle at the door and walked into the room where Oya was kept. She had been bound and held in the same position for a long time now. An ordinary human would have lost all strength, maybe died but she was still as fierce as she was in the beginning. And he loved her for it. She was a beauty beyond compare, and probably the only goddess as mighty as Sango was.
He knew she would find it difficult to love him, especially after he kills her husband but he would have her nonetheless.
She lifted her head as he approached her. The hate on her face made him shudder.
“What do you want, you vermin?” She growled.
“I look forward to the day you turn ‘vermin’ to ‘darling’. And maybe replace the frown with a loving smile.” He said. He moved close to her and brushed her hair gently.
“Edumare will sooner hand over Heaven to Ibilis than I call you that!”
“Well, that might happen very soon then. Why do you think I’m here? In three days Nigeria falls and when she does, all others will follow suit. By the time we have the earth and we take all men captive…well, you know how much Edumare loves them.”
He observed her; what he said seemed to have affected her and first the first time, he saw the strength on her face fade. But only for a second.
“You think Damola will stand and watch you do that? You think Edumare will stand and watch you take over the earth?”
“Ah, I knew it was only a matter of time before you bring up that husband of yours. It’s good that you did though because I have sad news for you. He was here”
She looked at him and once again, her strength faded.
“Where is he? Where is Damola?!” She shouted.
“All I can tell you is, he got what he deserved and I’m sorry, you will never see him again.”
“I will kill you! I swear by Edumare, I will kill you!”
He could see she meant it. If she could, she would really kill him. It was a good thing both her hands were covered and water was not even close to her.
“I’m sorry love but I must leave you now. In three days I will be running this country, I need to prepare. But don’t worry, I will be back for you my love and together, we will rule this world.”
***
President Lange sighed as the car pulled into the compound. He could still see the look on his ministers’ faces when he left the office. They had not openly condemned him but he could see it in their eyes; they were disappointed. He could not say anything to them, only Adigwe had talked with him and it had been brief.
The whole world now knew about his affair. He had not bothered to check but he knew the major news stations will be talking about his affair and his deal with the masked terrorist. He was not the only one to suffer ridicule and press pressure. Bola had already sent him a text saying she was leaving the country. She did not say where she was going, he did not blame her. She had lost her son to a maniac because of him. Her privacy was gone; she would forever be remembered as the president’s mistress, she had a right to leave.
He had no idea what he would do but he had to do something, and very fast too.
The car pulled over, the door opened and he stepped out. He got to the entrance of the house and stopped; some of his wife’s traveling bags were outside. He stepped in quickly and hurried up the stairs to his room. His wife was picking some jewelries off her wardrobe.
“What are you doing?” He asked, already fearing the worst.
“I’m leaving for Minna tonight with the kids. I already hired a private jet. And don’t worry, nobody but the pilot knows who the passengers are.”
“Susan, no! Please I need you now more than ever.” Lange said, reaching for hand.
She withdrew her hand and continued to pack the jewelries. After a few minutes she stopped and sank into the bed. She looked up at Lange, there were tears in her eyes.
“I loved you Johnson, with the whole of my heart I loved you. To the point that even after I found out about the affair, I kept quiet. She made you happy but you did not let it affect the happiness here, at home. I thought I could survive, after all, I was the one at home.” She stood and walked towards him. “But then you gave up your country for her? The people who voted for you, the people you swore to keep and protect? For a mistress?!”
“I’m sorry dear, I didn’t plan for this to happen. I am so sorry.”
“I have to go Johnson, I don’t want to delay the flight.” She said and picked the box she had stuffed the jewelries in.
“When will you be back?” Tears were beginning to come to his eyes.
“I’ll be at the house in Minna till all this trouble with the terrorists is over. You can come and see me then. I’ll call to tell you if you need to bring a lawyer.”
“Susan please don’t hate me. Please don’t let my children hate me.”
She paused and looked back at him. “Your children will not hate you, you are their hero.”
“How about you?” He said, eyes pleading.
“Good night Johnson.” She said and walked out of the room.
***
Toni sat in silence a few feet from Eric. He looked at her with concern; she had been sitting quietly for hours. She could not quite figure out what Eric – or whatever his name was, just told him. She had never believed in myths and gods but now she was seated in the presence of one. She had met and seen a lot of people during her few years as a reporter, none of them compared to what she had experienced the previous day. Eric had tried his best to explain but still she did not quite get it. It was obvious she would have to make a decision; freak out or deal with the information as if it were normal.
It was more important now to make a quick decision especially after what they had watched on television. Eric claimed to have met the masked terrorist, he even claimed to have stopped the Asaba darkness. She believed him, she really did but she had no idea what to do with the information she now had. Then there was the part of him being wanted for murder.
She had asked him if he killed the lady; he denied but she was unsure. He could disappear into thin air, there was no telling what else he was capable of.
“You’ve been quiet for too long? It’s been almost twenty four hours since I told you already.” Eric said.
She had sulked enough; she would not find clarity sitting on her butt.
“What are you going to do now? You are wanted – you can’t exactly walk around town anymore.” She said.
“I need to find out who is trying to frame me for murder. Pearl – my assistant mentioned that Morayo called and said she was being forced to sue me. I waved it off… whoever did that must have killed her when she got in contact with me.” Eric said.
“Do you have any idea who it could be?”
“I’ve been here only a short time. I don’t know any enemies I could have gotten in such a short time.”
“Well, except for people who are jealous of your fast rise.”
“You could help me. I’m sure you know people who could help.” Eric said and looked at her with pleading eyes.
“Look Eric…” She started but was cut off by her ringing phone.
She picked the phone up; it was her boss from work.
“Hello Boss.” Toni said and walked towards a window.
“Where have you been?” Her boss asked.
“I’ve been running some errands, I’ll be coming in tomorrow though.”
“No, you will not need to, you are going to Minna tonight.”
“What… Minna? Why?” She had never been to the town, nothing ever happened there.
“The first lady just left for Minna. A philandering president, a scorned wife, it all makes for a good story, don’t you think?” The boss really sounded excited.
“You sound so excited about this…”
“Of course, I am, this is potentially a great story.”
“It’s the possible end of a person’s marriage and all you see is a great story?” Toni said and discovered her temper was rising. “I’m sorry about that, it was totally unnecessary.
“Oh-kay. I want you to come in now, we need to finalize this plan.”
The call ended and she sighed. She wanted to go so she could get far away from Eric but a part of her dreaded the trip.
“Are you okay?” Eric asked.
She turned and faced him. “I have to go to Minna tonight. It’s okay for you to stay here till you sort yourself with the police but I need to stay away from you for a while. Please don’t call me, I’ll get in touch with you if and when I am ready, okay?”
***
Eric punched the cushion, stepped away from it then ran at it and punched it harder. He wanted to scream but it would attract the attention of the neighbours so he stopped himself. He had no idea what to do, it was not a position he loved being in. He wanted to speak with Pearl but he knew the office would be under surveillance and so would she. He had to find out who was after him one way or the other. And then there was the matter of the masked terrorist.
He had to make a choice. He could not do both; save the country or save his life. He had always considered himself selfish but something inside him stirred him towards ending Sarkin Aljan’s reign of terror. To do that, he needed Sango. He had seen him on television and could only hope that he escaped. Maybe there was nothing he could do about Sarkin Aljan for now. Maybe he had to wait and soon everything will fall into place.
“This is the day of trouble, you must not wait!” The voice came from behind, it was Orunmila.
“How great of you to show up now. Where have you been? Sarkin Aljan is gaining strength and is getting bolder and you choose now to go into hiding?” Eric asked.
“You have to take responsibility for what is coming. I am only here to help, the battle is yours to fight.” Orunmila said with such calm Eric relaxed.
“I don’t know what Sarkin Aljan is planning; I have no idea when or where he plans to strike next. Even if I did, what am I supposed to do?”
“Nigeria will go down in three days…” Orunmila started.
“What?!” Eric exclaimed.
“Well…except Sarkin Aljan is stopped first. Sango is not here, he has faced him in several battles, he would know how to beat him.”
“Surely Sarkin Aljan can be stopped, surely he will be stopped.”
“Well, in three days, Nigeria would either be shut down by the Black Death disease or Sarkin Aljan would be destroyed. It is in your hand to save this country.”
***
The room felt colder than usual that night. The chill probably came from inside him and not the air-conditions. Lange rose from his bed and walked into the bathroom. He had a pack of cigarettes hidden away behind the closet. He had not smoked in six years but he always had a pack close to him. He stuck his hand behind the closet and rummaged around till he found it. He opened the pack and brought out a lighter he had kept inside it. He thought about stepping out into the balcony before he lit the cigarette but with his wife gone, he was free to do what he wanted.
He lit cigarette and watched it burn. Was he ready to give up six years of abstinence?
His phone rang. “Ah, saved by the phone.”
He looked at the phone and gasped; it was the masked terrorist again! He dropped the phone. Nothing good had ever come out of his calls. He stared at the cigarette, paused for a second then put it in his mouth. He puffed at it for a few seconds then took a long drag. He spit the stick out and crushed it between his fingers. He started to cough and his eyes started to hurt. The smoke did not seem to agree with his system anymore.
His phone rang again; it was still the terrorist. He grabbed the phone.
“What the fffu…“ He started to say then paused. “What do you want?!”
“I’m beginning to think you don’t like me calling you. Is that true?”
“What do you want?”
“Okay, strictly business then, just like you want it. Tonight is the beginning of the end. We are currently on our way to the heart of your country. In three days, Nigeria will be history. I just thought you should know.”
“You will never get into Abuja, we are waiting for you. Nobody, nobody at all threatens me or my people, you son of…”
“Hey, calm down. There is no need for name calling. Abuja is ready for us huh? Okay. I warned you though. And hey, don’t worry about failing as a president. You won’t be the only president to give up his country to save his people, you will just be the first.”
What was he talking about?
“Are you done with your threats? Do not call this number again! Next time we talk, it will be with you behind bars.”
“Very funny Mr. President, because I was thinking the next time we talk will be when you are begging to spare your country. We both agree on one thing though, this is the last time I will call you. Goodbye Mr. President.”
Normally he would be afraid with the threats he just received but there was something he knew that the terrorist did not know.
He dialed a number on his phone.
“Hello Shina, you are still monitoring the tracker, right?”
“Yes sir!”
“Let me know as soon as it moves.” Lange said and ended the call.
He left his bed and walked to his wardrobe. It was time to end the terrorist once and for all. He had work to do.

 

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