THE TOUCH OF THE DEAD – EPISODE 1

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David was running through a lonely dark street, his feet heavily pounding the ground, behind him were two young men firing gun shots at him. He was running as fast as he could, but his pursuers were not relenting. David took several turns in the street to lose his pursuers, but somehow they kept finding him. After making some confusing turns through some streets, he looked back to see if he had lost the men chasing after him; with no sign of them, he crouched under a truck and hoped they wouldn’t find him. While he hid under the truck the two young men trudged heavily to his direction and began to search around for him. He could see their feet from under the truck where he lay. He tried as hard as he could not to panic and drew attention to himself.

He felt a movement at his feet and turned to see what it was, a big black cat was at his feet. Its eyes flashed in the not-so-strong light which gleamed in the dark night. For no conceivable reason, the cat sprang on David. He lost it and screamed hysterically. Hastily he crawled out from under the truck, as he stood to his feet to take off, his two pursuers opened fire at him, shooting rapidly. David slumped to the ground and lay in his own pool of blood, his eyes wide open. As the two young men began to walk away from his corpse, one of them turned back and closed David’s eyes with his heavy booth. 

About thirty minutes after David was shut dead, a glowing white silk material began to drop lazily from the sky and gently swayed by the night breeze. It fell on David’s dead body. A very dark skinned undressed woman with chain wounds on her wrist, neck and ankles appeared inside the silk material on David’s body and planted a passionate kiss on David’s lips. She floated into the air and whispered with a voice that sounded like the crashing of ocean waves, “Rise!” David heavily drew in air into his lungs and his eyes flicked wide open. The bullets that had buried themselves into his body slowly began to push out of his body and fell to the ground. The dark skinned woman in glowing silk material smiled and faded into the night.

David’s ordeals had begun three months earlier when he attended an art exhibition organized by the National Art Museum. The art exhibition centered on artifacts dug up near Nyanyi River. The strange art works were made with shiny black stones and human bones. Nothing like them, before their discovery, had been seen in Africa. Archeologists and art connoisseurs described the art works as probably ancient items used in some weird spiritual worship, or totems used to ward off evil spirits by the people who must have lived around the river ages ago. Art specialists could only hypothesize about the art works, in truth no one knew what they were or the purpose for which they were made. Archeologists figured that they must have been crafted some time before Europeans set their feet upon the coasts of sub-Saharan Africa, which meant the art works must have been created sometime between 14th and 15th century.

As David observed the art work he thought to himself, “These bones couldn’t have come from ages past. They don’t look it. Bones from such a distant past wouldn’t look this way”. His thoughts focused on those whose bones those must have been. The date of the art work having been put at an age in African history which historians claimed was savage due to many fratricidal wars; David couldn’t help but wonder how they must have died. He whispered to himself, “I wish I was there to help”. Immediately, very close to his left ear he heard a male voice whisper, “But you can help now David”. David felt a rush of blood to his head and a ghostly presence around him. He turned only to see a fading feminine figure in a glowing white silk material, gently rustled by breeze and slowly fading into the light of the sun.

Martha, David’s wife saw the look of shock on her husband’s face and stepped over to find out what it was. “You look shell shocked honey. What is it?” David grabbed his wife’s arm and hastily led her away from the exhibition centre. When they got into their car Martha demanded to know what her husband had seen which made him turn white in the face. David simply replied, “Those artifacts are alive! I think the dead whose bones were used in the art work are not happy”. “I don’t get you Dave. How could the dead whose bones were used in the art work be unhappy? Do you know how old they say the art work is?” “I saw a woman in white silk material; she spoke to me before fading into the light of the sun”. Martha studied her husband’s face; she could tell he was speaking the truth. So she asked, “What did the woman say to you?” She said, “But you can help now David”. Martha was struck with terror, her eyes seemed like they were going to pop out of their sockets and her jaw dropped. She remarked, “The dead whom we don’t know when they lived called you by your name”. “Yes”, replied David. “But what did she mean by ‘you can help now David?’” asked Martha. “I was thinking about how the owners of the bones must have died seeing the art work is said to have been made at a time when most of African societies were very savage. In pity to those whose bones were used in the art work, I whispered to myself, “I wish I was there to help” and immediately the voice spoke to me. It was a male voice but when I turned to see who spoke to me, I saw the woman I just described”.

“David I am really scared now. I don’t want us to have anything to do with the dead, especially those who died at a time when even our grandparents were not born”. Immediately Martha said that, they head a pounding sound on top of their car, the car jolted violently and they saw a glowing white silk material whizz right through their car. David shouted to Martha, “That was the woman I saw! It was her! She was in that silk material”. “What is she going to do to us now? Is she going to kill us?” asked a terrified Martha. “I think she was angry with what you just said”. “How do you know that?” “I can hear her thoughts”. “David you can hear what? Jesus my Lord!” Out of fear Martha tried to open the car door and run out but much to her shock, the door had locked itself. David looked on his rear mirror and saw the flowing white silk again. David took courage and spoke to the spirit, “Please don’t hurt us! My wife didn’t mean to speak evil of you”. A thick black cloud exploded upon the car and covered it. In the black cloud a voice like the voice of a thousand people spoke in anger to David and Martha, “You have no clue about what they did to us! You know nothing of the sort of pain we were subjected to! We burned! They made us burn in I-N-F-E-R-N-O-S! We were skinned like animals!”

Continuing, the woman in silk said to David and Martha, “Come and see for yourselves”. Each time she spoke her voice bellowed like the sea. She touched the two of them and in that instance they began to sink into a wide deep cavern filled with darkness so thick that if they had a knife, they could have cut a chunk out of it. To best describe the darkness in the cavern, it had life and was material. From the wall of the cavern and its depth came heart-wrenching wails of men and women. As they descended, David and his wife, cried loudly for the woman in silk to stop and send them out. To those outside their car, David and his wife were just resting against each other’s body and seemed fine. Their descent seemed unending, as they got near the base of the pit; they began to see the gleam of light. When they drew closer, the gleam of light revealed itself as a pit of raging fire. The raging pit of fire sat like the inferno of hades and fountained splashes of liquid fire into the air; in the midst of a large shed built probably with mahogany wood, it stood. David and Martha stood suspended above the wooden shed and watched what could be described as the most horrifying act of barbarism by man against fellow man. A man, he was quite a mountain man, sat on an ancient dark wooden throne. There was no artistry in the making of the throne. It was just pieces of wood held together by some objects. However the throne bore the imprint of horror, death and destruction, as did the man who sat on it.     STORY CONTINUES…

This story was written by:

UZOMA UJOR


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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog: THE TOUCH OF THE DEAD – EPISODE 1
THE TOUCH OF THE DEAD – EPISODE 1
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog
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