The Bleeding Son (Part 5)

Chapter Five: Nameless


Everything about today had gone wrong for Linda. She had kept the devastation in her life to herself, as she had a tendency to do and not a single soul realised how much pain and hurt she was carrying. What she had read in the novels was that when people went through unprecedented moments of grief, they drowned themselves in either prayer, food, alcohol, sex or in work. She had chosen work and had poured herself into work at the bank where she was currently employed, going through the drudgery of branch operations and struggling to keep her smile and composure as she worked with customers. Maybe it was the events of the last few days, or the creaky sounds in the roof of the temporary accommodation she had been putting up with, or the waves of pain and anger that came again and again, threatening to make her go crazy – but at the moment, she just felt like there was no point living. She finally understood the feeling people talked about when they said they wanted to roll up into a ball underneath a rock they found somewhere, and just die.

Bottom line was that she had snapped at her boss, right in the banking hall for reasons she could hardly remember at this time. Her head was crowded like everything else. Paul, with his massive beer belly and horn rimmed glasses had looked at her intensely when she exploded, and then, without a word, he had turned and walked back towards his office, the one with the shiny silver name plate on the door that screamed “Paul Imasuen” for everyone to see. He had opened the door slowly, and just before he walked in and slammed the door with a resounding slam that made the security guard almost jump out of his pants, he had said:

“If you like your job, I want you in my office now!”

His voice was like cold water, not the soothing relief one felt when it came on a sunny day, but the jolt a horrible singer got when he was singing off key and everyone in the crowd had reached the end of their patience because they paid exorbitant gate fees and had decided to put their water cups to good use. So she had gone into Paul’s office and he had giving her a thorough blasting before telling her to take the rest of the day off for disgraceful behaviour. She knew she had gotten off easy because the few people who had ever had a run in with him normally had a way of wounding up before the bank’s disciplinary committee and out of their jobs. But considering he had been looking for a way to get his greasy fat fingers on her in the name of intimacy, she figured this was why she was getting off the hook so easily from a man who was called “the slime box”. Paul was unashamedly perverted, he was disgusting – and yet, he was one of the most intelligent and cunning people she had ever worked with.

So she found herself walking along the road at 4pm in the crowded throng of Marina, walking absent-mindedly and surrounded by frenzied people who were in a hurry to get to God-knows-where. She had walked for about an hour, her mind numb, her gaze lowered, and her body, tired. Everything felt wrong: the sun was too hot; her shoes were too tight; her lips were too parched; the day was too long. She longed for the night when she could hold onto her pillow and just cry again. Somehow she found herself in a restaurant, looking out at the passing crowd, sipping on a drink she could not really taste...and day had turned to night.

Hilda was gone. Just like that.

That was the problem with death, the finality. Yes, there had been challenges with Hilda’s health from time to time, but she had starting getting better after the last bout of sepsis. They had spent so little time playing together because her health had always been fragile, but those moments of holding her, playing with her hair, singing her to sleep, rocking her softly, talking to her, those moments had been priceless. Hilda had become her world. She had tried for six years to have a child and finally, Hilda had come, after a million fertility tests, the unending visit to doctors, and the myriad of sexual techniques that the experts had promised were sure fire ways to have a baby. Yes, Hilda had come, and Hilda had become her world. But now, Hilda was dead. Hilda was gone. And there was no one to run to, no shoulder to cry on, just no one to lean on because her husband, the one who had been her life, her everything, had failed – and no, she could not forgive this.



“Madam, sorry to disturb you, but we’re about to close.”

She didn’t realise time had flown so quickly. She had been too lost in thought to realise that its grainy particles had been slipping past rather quickly - but then, it was time to go “home”. At the thought of what had been home, her eyes became misty and she turned to look at the waitress who had spoken to her a moment ago. As their eyes met, impatience quickly gave way to concern as the younger lady noticed the tears in her eyes. No, she was not going to bawl and be pitied by strangers, Linda said to herself and with that she got up abruptly, standing tall and trying to garner as much dignity as she could muster. She walked quickly towards the door, out into the dark streets and hailed the first cab that she saw. Darkness had fallen quickly.

The driver, in his red cab, had sped off and Linda settled into the comfort of the back seats, thoughts coursing through her mind. She had been totally lost in thought till there was a faint realisation that something was amiss. Perhaps it was the sudden bump the cab had slammed into or the never ending feeling of the ride, but all of a sudden Linda realised that the journey seemed to be going on forever. She had looked out of the window and her eyes had widened in horror and amazement. This was not her part of town at all!. She looked away from the window, turned sharply to the driver and just in time to see his eyes dart away from observing her through the mirror. Yes, something was definitely amiss.

“Where the heck are you going?” she roared.

“Madam, I know where I am going. I just want to use a different route to avoid traffic!”.

Linda knew that was very far from the truth. For cab companies where prices were based on the length of the trip, it was common knowledge that some unscrupulous cab men would take really long routes so they could make more money off what could have been a much shorter trip.

“Are you out of your mind?” Linda said quietly. “So just because you want to make more money off me, you decide that you can elongate the trip? Do you think I don’t know this stupid trick?”. Her voice was beginning to rise now.

“No madam, I cannot cheat you. I cannot cheat you…” the driver began. That particular line was often the preferred choice when can men in the city wanted to con people.

“You are ALREADY cheating me!” she roared now “What is wrong with you? What the hell is wrong with all of you people? Why do you do this kind of nonsense? I will definitely make a complain to Uber or whatever company you work for because you don’t know your job! What kind of rubbish is this?”

“Madam I am just trying to…”

“Don’t ‘madam’ me, for goodness sakes!

“Madam, please calm down….”

For some reason, that statement was like setting fire to a powder keg.

“Will you keep quiet?! I will NOT calm down! What do you mean by ‘calm down’? Can you afford to pay the fares that you are trying to rake up right now, you idiot!”

“Ah, madam, please don’t abuse me now oh!”

“I will abuse you all I want, you stealing idiot! Don’t you know this is stealing?!”

“Madam, please, it is enough. If you don’t want me to carry you, you can come down. Please, please!”

“Fine! Park this bloody vehicle right now!”

The response was instantaneous as he slammed his foot on the brakes and parked sharply so she could leave the cab.

“You will get a zero rating, you can be sure of that!” Linda yelled

“If you are coming down, please come down! It is enough!”

Without a pause, Linda jumped out of the cab and slammed the door with as much force as she could muster just as the driver sped off into the night with a screech of wheels. How the windows did not shatter remained a mystery, but now, as the tail lights of the cab faded into the night, realisation slowly began to dawn on Linda that she had not gotten off at the best part of town. Where she stood right now was not exactly a place for ladies to be at this time of the night. She glanced at her watch.
9.43.

Gosh, she thought to herself, completely forgetting her anger now, I have to get out of here quick! She knew she was in Surulere, she knew there was a major bus stop in the area somewhere, but this was not exactly her part of town. There were some guys sitting down on a bus stop bench, a few lights from shadowy buildings around her, a man smoking something that looked like a badly rolled cigarette, eyes shiny in the darkness as they peered at her with the curiosity of a toad observing a fly…

She shuddered.

Now she could see that there was a hub of lights far off in the distance, but there was an alley between her and the promise of more people and safety. The ideal thing was to stick to the streets, which meant a longer walk, but at this point, it was beginning to look like the alley might be a quicker win.

It will actually make more sense to go through the alley. A brisk pace and I can get to safety and sanity.

She turned towards the alley and began to walk.

Seretus smiled softly behind her, then dabbed delicately at his saliva-covered mandibles. He was in a dimension she could neither see or sense but he had been watching her for a long time and now it was time for the hammer to fall, he judged. He just loved the way he could make people take stupid decisions by saying the most ridiculous things and adding the word “I” to make it look like it was their own thoughts. Safety and sanity my foot, he thought to himself. What lay ahead was going to be really interesting, he was sure. Divine Law may not allow the killing of human beings by those in his circles, but Divine Law also did not stop human beings from killing each other. All they needed was a little nudge… A ‘reason’, which could be as trivial as inconvenience, when mothers were made to kill babies or when muggers were made to slaughter people with shiny watches so they could get some cash and have a meal. The woman was already walking down the alley and though he could see a few colleagues of his in the darkness ahead, he knew they would be too concerned with other matters to realise this kill was key.

Linda had covered about a third of the alley when she realised three critical facts: The ally was longer than she had anticipated, there was someone jogging towards her from behind, and right ahead, smack in the middle of the alley, there were about eight suspicious looking characters. They looked a bit like teens or young adults, but she could see from their body language, the misty of smoke, the loud cursing that floated towards her that it would be difficult to go through without some drama. The footsteps behind her slowed from a jog to a brisk walk and she didn’t need to look around to know that the figure was coming towards her.

See free meat. Fine woman, nice body, nice watch, hand bag. Working class. Sweet.
Seretus whispered softly into the ears of the toughest looking fellow of the pack, quickly applying a mist over his eyes except for Linda’s direction, making her stand out like a sore thumb in the surreal grey light of the night.

“Guys, “ the young man began, leaning against the wall and trying to look as casual as possible, “look at enjoyment coming!”. The others who had been focussing on drinking, talking, playing their game of cards or dice regarded the speaker and slowly turned in Linda’s direction. She was about fifteen feet away from them now. Now, Seretus did his magic, working on each of them as quickly as possible, priming them, getting them charged up in anticipation. It was a challenging job darting between the eight of them as he prepped them for the kill and the truth was he hated the fact that these human beings never stopped breeding, staying true to their purpose of ‘being fruitful and multiplying’ like a pack of rabbits. They so many of them walking around and sometimes, so hard to kill. There wasn’t enough of him to go round, but over a period of time, one quickly learnt that there were ways to handle these things. He could not be seen or felt; they had become blind a long time ago to his dimension and that defect of limited sight was passed on from generation to generation. And to be honest, that was one of the reasons why they were so easy to exploit.

Linda was sweating now. She was too deep into the alleyway to turn back now. She wasn’t blind either; she could tell that they were watching her with interest that did not have good intentions. She knew if she turned and ran, they would give chase and she would walk right into the man who was behind her. Now, she totally understood the trap she had walked into. It was so simple and basic that she wondered how she could have been so stupid. The idea was to watch for anyone who would venture into the alley, and then when they were too far in, they would be accosted by the pack in the middle of the alleyway - and if they turned to run, the escape would have been cut off before the ‘prey’ could reach the exit. Which was the precise job of the man who was coming towards her from behind.

God please, Linda caught herself saying.

“Hello!”

The voice was so startling that Linda jumped. Then she started walking faster now, right into the group of men ahead. For a split second, it appeared they were distracted and looking past her to their colleague behind her, but she was too panicked to really take in the details. One of the tougher looking guys who had been leaning against the wall smoking had pushed off from the wall and slowly walked right into the middle of the alley, obstructing her path. She kept on walking, praying and hoping that somehow, he would let her walk past, that her terror would suffice…

It didn’t.

With a squeal of delight, Seretus, smelling the overwhelming smell of her fear and naked terror, could hardly control himself and dove into one of the young men. In retrospect, the young man would attribute the events that followed to whatever he had been smoking, to being ‘high’. Right now, for a split second, his eyes glazed over and then rolled white as Seretus took front seat in his consciousness, activating the medulla and triggering a rush of Adrenaline. The effect was immediate. The young man leapt off the wall and stood in the middle of the alley, his hands shaking, his heart beginning to beat at over twice its normal rate, his senses fuzzy and heightened at the same time as a sheen of perspiration doused him. For some reason, he felt like raping this woman - and then killing her! Ah, somebody was going to die this night!

From behind the woman, some had said a loud “Hello!” for the second time, but he hardly heard anything now. The world was in slow motion, the woman was all that existed, blood was rushing through his head and he felt the dull ache in his nether region as desire surged through him, and yet, there was a knowing that she had to die. She was right next to him now, attempting to weasel her way past him. He could see her shaking, he could feel her fear, she could smell her sweat, mixing with her perfume that was driving him crazy - and without a moment’s hesitation, he reached for her and grabbed her ferociously, pulling her towards him before bringing his face close to hers for a kiss. With a scream, Linda shoved hard at the thug, but he was too strong. He held her firmly and pulled her against his body and thrusting his hips towards hers.

From that point, everything happened really quickly.

From behind her, she felt strong hands pull her out of the clutches of her captor, saw the intelligent eyes that had been concealed underneath a baseball cap, saw the beginning of what looked like a smile on that handsome face, and felt hope and relief begin to surge through her being. Then suddenly, the face changed and hardened, there was a blur of motion, and just at the last moment, she saw an open palm appear from nowhere, felt a blow slam into her head.

And then her world went dark….

                            ***********************************************

There was a sweet scent in the air though there was total darkness all around with no sliver of light. As though from far away, there was the sound of a familiar voice that spoke in low tones from time to time. And there was also the sound of music, with a lot of strings that seemed to come from a string quartet with a great deal of emphasis on the cello, low warm strings that produced the most soothing melody. The talking continued from time to time and slowly she could hear more and more of the conversation. It was an eerie monologue.

“...to kill her quickly.”

Her eyes flew open and she quickly shut them. There was someone in the room and he was covered in black, backing her.

“As though the blood would not suffice!”

She decided to play dead for a bit and listen. She had thought today was a bad day, but now, she knew things had gone from bad to worse. What is happening to my life, Linda thought to herself. Now she was alone in a room with a mad man who was dressed in black, talking about blood. From nowhere a thought crossed her mind - and her panic multiplied tenfold.
What if others were coming?

I have to get out of here, Linda thought to herself, but where was she? She took another peek to look around and started to take in details of the room she was currently confined in. She was definitely in a strange place. She was lying down on some sort of soft long red cushion that was on a wooden floor. In corners of the room, she could see white thin wisps of smoke from burning incense as they reached lazily towards a bare white ceiling. In between the floor and the ceiling was a wall. And on that wall, was a scary array of weapon comprising of knives, daggers, swords, spears, halberds, maces and other weapons that she had never seen in her life. Now, she was truly frightened.

“Oh really? Then let us attend to our guest!” the man had been kneeling not far from her and he turned slowly towards her. She shut her eyes quickly and waited….and hoped. Maybe he would think she was still sleeping and leave her alone.

The tap on her shoulder was firm.

“You can open your eyes now and stop pretending. I have been informed by very credible sources that you are awake; the fluttering of your eyes is also not very convincing.” The tone was firm but had a hint of humour. “You have had a terrible day and have only taken half of the God-given remedy for a tough day - rest. Now, it is time for you to eat, Linda”

She couldn’t tell if it was shock at hearing her name or the sound of his voice, or maybe it was the things he said, but her eyes flew open when he called her by name. He looked at her for a few moments, then a warm radiant smile lit his face. And those eyes...

“Where am I?” she began.

“My house,” he said. “Come along. I have made some food, rice and meaty stir fry, which I hope you’ll like.” And with that he got up and began to walk towards a door she had not noticed, before stopping to turn abruptly to say, “Or do you want to eat here?”

“Oh,” she was too taken with everything he was saying. He was...different. “I...I...suppose I will ‘come along’. Yeah?”

“Good. I have been told your name is Linda, yeah?”

Told?

“Er, yeah. My name is Linda. Your name is?”

“I am Nameless.”

“Nameless?”

“Yeah. I know it’s odd. I will have a new name at some point, but at the moment, I am Nameless”.

“Interesting,” she was on her feet now. “And the folks at your place of work are okay with that?”

“Oh. Well, I don’t “work” in an organisation. I do my own thing. Full time”

“I see. So what do you do?”

“I’m a warrior prophet,” he said as casually as if he had said “banker” or “lawyer”. “I also do some management, IT and financial consulting business on the side to pay the bills.”

Now she was really intrigued and began to walk towards the door where he stood waiting for her, a million questions pouring through her mind.

“And the guys who attacked me? What happened?”

At that, another smile lit up his face, and he went from man to child in that instant, looking slightly embarrassed as he responded.

“Well, I arrived on the scene and knocked you out.”

He paused for a moment.

“And then, me and the others.” Another pause. “Well, we danced….”


To be Continued...

Comments

Popular Posts