BEFORE THE DARKNESS EPISODE FIFTEEN

Sarkin Aljan brushed his blazer with his palm and smiled. It was almost over. President Lange had called him to fix a meeting and he fully expected the man to relinquish power to him. Sometimes he felt pity for the man. No president would have fared better than he did. Maybe they would not have handed the portal over to save a mistress but eventually they would all have failed.

He did not expect the meeting to last very long. The plan was very simple; explain Nigeria’s precarious situation to the President and give him the only option – surrender. The question that could waste time was what ‘surrender’ meant exactly. On this part, Lange had no idea what was coming – no idea!

His phone vibrated beside him and he picked it up. It was one of the few human devices he had truly enjoyed using. Another was the Mercedes was being driven in. Humans now lived with so much luxury he understood why they could not understand that there was a place better than earth.

He tapped the answer button.

“Yes?”

“Sir, she escaped!” a trembling voice whispered.

“Who escaped?” He asked, confused and then he knew who. ”You stupid fool, how did she escape? Consider yourself dead!”

“Sir, I am sorry…”

“When did she escape, how long ago?”

“Err…” The man stuttered.

“Talk now or I will tear your head from your neck with my bare hands!”

“Twenty four hours ago sir.”

“Okay, twenty four hours, okay.” He said and ended the call.

Idiots! Stupid humans! He punched the seat in front of him. He could not afford to lose Oya now. She was part of the reason he was eager to finish his mission. He looked at his watch, he had to finish the meeting with Lange very fast. How could they let her go? He punched the seat again.

Calm down! He was about to take over the world, he would have time to find her later.

***

Lange stepped out of the chopper and walked away from it. He could be walking to his death but he did not mind, it was nothing less than he deserved. The chopper would be left running with the pilot ready to go but he doubted he would need to run. He had a plan. If it succeeded, he would return to the chopper with a smile on his face. If it failed, there was no escape for him; he was dead.

He paused and looked around, the terrorist had insisted on him being on time, it was a surprise he was going to have to wait.

“I thought we agreed to come alone!” The voice came from behind him and he jumped.

He steadied himself and tried to gain control of his breathing. He looked up to see the face of the masked terrorist but he could not. The terrorist had found a perfect position to keep his face hidden. It did not matter, everything would end soon.

“I came with a pilot. Surely you did not expect me to fly myself.” Lange said.

“Fair enough, I came with a driver too. Although I can assure you he will not be interfering in this.”

“Can we get down to business?” Lange said, pressing his fingers against his side to stop them from shaking.

“Here is the deal; surrender the country to me and I will stop the darkness and nobody dies.” The voice boomed through the still night.

“What do you mean by ‘surrender’? You want me to step down as president?”

“Well, there is that but it’s a little more complicated. Once you accept to step down, we will hold a joint press conference from the presidential villa declaring that I now have control of the country. Other things will fall in place after that.”

Lange sighed and shoved his hands into the pockets of the large overcoat he had on. He already knew the terrorist would make no reasonable request and he had a plan. His fingers touched it and grabbed the gun! This was do or die! He either succeeded in shooting the terrorist or he would get shot himself. Either way, everything had to end now!

“So, what do you say Mr President? “

Lange swallowed and pulled out the gun. The terrorist stepped back in surprise. He closed his eyes and pulled the trigger. He opened his eyes as the terrorist staggered backwards, he moved towards him and shot him five more times in the chest.

He dropped the gun on the floor and his body began to tremble. He had done it! Tears began to drop from his eyes and his body shook even more violently. Now that he had gotten rid of the terrorist, he just had to find the portal and destroy it.

“This is really funny.”

He heard the voice come from behind him and he paused. He turned around slowly and gasped!

“You really thought I was that easy to kill?” The Masked Terrorist was alive!

He stumbled to his feet and looked down at his gun on the floor. What had happened? He was sure the bullets had hit their target.

“I would normally like to explain what just happened but not today. You see, I just got news my lady has escaped – another long story, so I do not have time. I think it’s time we accelerated this. Where is that chopper of yours? It’s time to go to the Villa, we need to make that announcement, fast!”

***

Damola opened his eyes and looked up. A white ceiling fan rolled above him, he looked around; the walls were also painted white. It looked like a hospital, how did he get into a hospital? He remembered being in Sarkin Aljan’s building and trying to destroy the portal. He had felt some resistance but he could not remember anything that happened after.

He tried to move but he his back hurt so much. Where was he?

“Hello?” His voice was very weak, he doubted anybody heard him.

“I see you are awake.” A voice came from beside him – Orunmila!

“Where have you been old man? And where am I?”

“Is that the ‘thank you’ I get? Do you know what would have happened to you if Sarkin Aljan was the one who found you?”

“Where is this? You brought me to a hospital?”

“Still he refuses to thank me.” The old man said and chuckled. “This is not a hospital. I possess more knowledge than all hospitals in the earth combined.”

“Do I hear bragging? The old wise man possesses a bit of vanity after all.”

“You seem to have needed losing your powers to find your wit. I hope it one day serves you well.”

“Losing my powers?” What was he talking about? “You think because I’m lying on a bed and I feel like crying every time I move a muscle means I lost my power? Give me a few hours and I will be up kicking immortal butts.”

The old man looked at him and paused for a few seconds then burst into laughter.

“Like I said, you found your wit.”

“Where is this and what are we doing here by the way?” Damola said.

The old man started to answer but the sound of a door opening came from across the house. Damola watched him walk away. He needed to get up as soon as he could. He still needed to stop Sarkin Aljan. He wondered what had become of Esu and his dear Anne. They would not know where to find him.

“Sango, I have some visitors here to see you.” The old man said as he walked back into the room.

Damola looked behind him. Esu entered with a stocky man he was sure he had met somewhere, he could not place him yet. If Esu was here, what happened to… His heart seemed to stop as the love of his life entered – Anne!

She rushed to his bed and hugged him. She held on to him for what seemed like eternity. He could not bear to think of the horrors she must have gone through but that was story for another day. She cupped his face between her palms and stared at him without saying a word.

“I am happy for you both but we have more pressing matters to talk about.” Orunmila said, back to his no-nonsense self.

“Who is he?” Damola asked, nodding at the man who entered with Esu.

“This is Ogun! He was sent to earth with you.”

“Why is he just showing his face? Where were you all along?”

“Remember that day when someone or something rescued you from Sarkin Aljan?” Ogun asked. “Yes, that was me. This war was and is none of my business and I’m only here as a courtesy to Orunmila.”

“Now that we are introduced, we or you – Sango do have a problem.”

Damola looked at the old man, what was he talking about?

“After spoiling Sarkin Aljan’s plan for Asaba, he anticipated your attempt at doing the same thing again. So he made some preventive measures – a magnetic field that could repel your powers.”

“That was the invisible wall that stopped me from reaching the portal!”

“Unfortunately, the magnetic field did more than prevent you from reaching the portal.”

Damola looked at every one in the room; their eyes were on Orunmila. He shifted his attention back to him.

“Sango, you can no longer stop the portal” He paused and sighed. “Because you have lost all your powers!”

***

Lange sank into the chair and turned away from them. He was still in shock at what he had just experienced. He could swear that all the bullets landed on Sarkin Aljan, how then was he still alive? He was puzzled and now he was afraid. He had tried to kill the terrorist so now he was at his mercy.

They had arrived at the presidential villa together in the chopper. The masked terrorist had come with three of his men, all dressed up in suits. With his cooperation they had all made it into the villa. He had considered alerting the soldiers but it would only have led to his death. He was not sure exactly what the terrorists were after but his mind was made up; he would die rather than give in to their demands.

He had taken them to a private room, he did not anticipate any interruption.

The masked terrorist pulled a chair and sat opposite him. “Now that we here, let’s get down to business.”

“What do you want?”

“You see Mr President, way back before Nigeria got her independence while the British were here, a secret transmitting device was built. Do you know about it?”

Lange swallowed and kept quiet. He knew about the device and so did every president before him. According to what the British Prime Minister told him at his first commonwealth meeting as president, only the president was supposed to know about the device. How did the terrorists know about it?

“I’ll take that as a ‘yes’!” The terrorist said. “Do you know what it does?”

Of course he knew. It had access to already weaponized nukes scattered around the world belonging to the commonwealth. So this was the plan? Kill enough Nigerians till he handed it over them?

“I’ll take that as another ‘yes’. So I guess by now, if you are as smart as you look, you already know what I want.”

“I think I do Mr Terrorist! But you are going to have three problems”

“Yeah? Enlighten me Mr President, what are they?”

“First, you need three codes to get it activated. One is carried by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. You are never going to get that!”

“Let’s just say we have a way around that. What’s the second problem?”

“The second code was given to a random Nigerian and he doesn’t even know what it’s for. You will not find that person.”

The terrorist chuckled. “You have no idea what money can do. We have the guy already. Please move on to your next problem.”

He paused, there was no way they had the second code. It had been given to one of his most trusted friends. Had he been betrayed?

“The third code is in my brain and the only way you are getting it out is if you cut my head open and manually copy it out of my brain.”

The terrorist looked at his men and they burst into laughter.

“Mr President, you have a great sense of humour. I will miss that when you are gone.”

“So all of this was about getting your hands on nuclear weapons?” Lange asked. It made no sense. He already had a chemical weapon that already had the world scared.

“Nuclear weapons? You think I will kill so many of your people for nuclear weapons? Oh, I see. You think I want the transmission device for the nuclear weapon it controls?”

“That’s what it’s looking like to me.”

“Okay, let me educate you on what is going on here. You see, my target is not Nigeria, you are just the conduit. My target is the whole world and from here, I can get there. That device is much more than a weapons activator, it is a transmission system that can get me into every country of the world. Imagine the darkness spreading, not over Minna or Asaba but over Brazil and New Zealand and Portugal, all over the world. Even you have to admit that it was worth killing a few Nigerians over.”

Lange dropped lower in his chair. He thought about the darkness spreading all over the world and he shuddered. There was no way he would let that happen.

“I know you are making some stupid decisions right now not to give me your code. Well, I just want to tell you that I will get it out of you even if, like you said, I have to dig it out of your brain.”

“Good luck with that.” Lange said with all the courage he could muster.

“About that second code you mentioned, I think it’s time you met one of my main men. He has helped me stay one step ahead of you always. He helped me get rid of that eccentric Professor who for some reason knew more that he should. He told me about the tracking device too, although I should have known that myself.”

One of men with him went to the door and opened it. Lange held his breath as he heard footsteps approach.

“Good day Mr President.”

Adigwe!

“Why Chukwudi? We have been friends for years and I always treated you right. I gave you that code because you were the person I trusted the most.”

“I’m sorry Johnson, it was not personal, it was just the smart thing to do.”

Lange looked at the Masked Terrorist. “I swear on the life of my wife, I will not give you that code.”

“Hmm, okay then, let the torture begin.”

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