LOST - Episode 10

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - gun, soldier, river, village, soldiers, guns, house, village shrine, boats, sacrifices, shrine, ritualists, seer, policemen, Ogoni.

The next morning, we woke up very early and went down to the police station. The station was filled with both soldiers and military policemen who were armed to the teeth. It was as though they were going to war. I and Maya were given bullet proof vests and were given handguns. Neither Maya nor I had used gun before. Though we refused to take the guns they were forced on us. A soldier took us to the back of the police station and quickly showed us how to use them. We were asked to fire a few shots after the lesson. “I have been on such missions a couple of times. To go into that bush without being armed would be very risky. If things don’t go as planned and you find yourselves in a fix, do not hesitate to use the guns,” the soldier instructed. We nodded and I mumbled to myself, “Things will go as planned.”

By 5:15 am, we were already on the boat heading back to Gatha. We had made effort to inform the soldiers that Gatha was not as evil as the village on the other side of the river which was our actual destination. We however told them that there were some ritualists amongst Gatha people. The leader of the mission, Adebanjo Samson, assured us that those people would be picked up or possibly killed. We preferred the earlier option. The gun boats we rode on were faster that the local boats we rode on earlier. By exactly 6:43 am, we arrived at Gatha.  All the boys and men fishing and washing their nets on the river were asked to lie on the ground. I and Maya took time to look for Kasa and James for different reasons. We found James. He was shocked to see us back that soon in Gatha. He was scared, but we told him not to worry. We wanted to make sure he was safe. We continued our search amongst the men but did not find Kasa. When we asked after him we were told he was at home.

I led some soldiers to the white house a certain girl had directed us to. The soldiers did not knock, they yanked the door off and barged in. Inside was a young man and a teenager. She probably spent the night with him. When the young man was asked who he was, he identified himself as Muso. His hut had more than ten human skulls hanging on the wall. The soldiers did a quick search of his house and found twenty more human skulls. They were all dry and old. Even the soldiers were scared by now. If major Adebanjo had not told them not to use their guns in Gatha, they would have killed Muso on the spot. He was quickly cuffed and led outside his hut while the soldiers packed the skulls into a drum. When muso was asked about the skulls, he said those were the skulls of those used as sacrifices by his grandfather and father. When he was asked about the heads he and his brother had used in their own sacrifices to their gods he led the team to a pit inside a farm near his house. The soldiers dug up thirty human heads from the pit. They were not old, most of them were fresh. Some even still had rotten skin on them.

When I saw those heads, I was glad that Maya had not come with us to Muso’s house. From his house, Muso led us to their village shrine and masquerade house. The shrine was like a slaughter house. There was a litter of human remains everywhere. Then we saw the most shocking part, a human cage. Four young girls and two men were in the cage. We found out they were not for the village sacrifices to their gods, they were for sale to ritualists. Kasa, whom I identified the moment I saw him at the shrine was the owner of two of the girls, while the other two girls and two men belonged to Muso and the seer. This seer was the very one Ode was taking us to before I and Maya fought to escape from them. The soldiers tied up all the men found in the shrine like goats. From the shrine, Kasa and his brother Muso, led us to the seer. Her shrine was far from Gatha. She was busy with some customers when we stormed her shrine. About six men and two women were in her shrine. All over her shrine, there were fresh blood and human parts. One of the soldiers with us, who was from Ogoni, threw an object from his bag at the seer and she stood still. After the soldiers had her secured her, the Ogoni soldier forced some black powder into her mouth and the soldiers cut off the tip of her tongue. That was done to nullify her incantations and to make sure she did not disappear.

The six men, two women and the seer’s apprentices were arrested. The six men and two women were all naked from head to toes. They must have come for either money ritual or for some protective charm. They all were tied up like animals and left on the ground. A big pot was boiling over fire in a corner of the shrine. When soldiers opened it, a man was being cooked inside it. Strangely he was alive. Some soldiers amongst us said that long life and protection charm was being prepared for the man. Such charms according to them required another life. In anger, they pushed the put down and when the man inside the pot came out, they beat him to death with big sticks.

With most of the evil people in Gatha secured, I and some soldiers were sent to inform Major Adebanjo that the mission in Gatha had been successfully accomplished. When the Major saw the number of human skulls, fresh heads and parts in Muso’s house, at their village shrine and at the shrine of the seer, he ordered that all the men who had been arrested in that operation be killed. The soldiers wasted no time. All of them including the seer’s customers were quickly beheaded. It was not easy to kill the seer. Her end however, came when a virgin girl from the village was asked to urinate on her. When the girl squatted to pass urine on her, she grunted desperately obviously try to plead for mercy. No one understood what she was saying since the tip of her tongue had been cut off and her mouth covered. It was only after the virgin’s urine touched her that machete was able to nick her skin. Soldiers and military policemen present attacked her with machetes until they tore her body wide open and were able to kill her.

Some of the soldiers and policemen in the operation were left behind to occupy the village, find others who were involved in the ritual killings in the village and kill them. The rest of us left Gatha for the village on the other side of the river. I wanted Maya to stay back in Gatha, but she refused. I was afraid for her. Imoh’s home would have been a safer place for to stay until I returned from the operation on the other side of the river; which was clearly a tougher one. Though Gatha had been easily taken, we were not foolish to think the entire mission would be that easy. When Maya would not listen, I allowed her to come with us. Major Adebanjo had asked his men not to use their guns because he would not want to alert the ritual killer in Ode’s village that soldiers were around. That was the same reason he did not go to Ode’s village first. Had we gone there first and started shooting, the people in Gatha may have heard the gunshots or someone may escape to tell their colleagues in Gatha that we were around. It was a good strategy by the Major.

When we arrived at the river bank from where Maya and I were taken to Gatha in Ode’s boat, some young men were there fishing, loading some good into boats and smoking weed or drinking local gin, just like in Gatha. Paloni was on a boat taking hot drink with two bare-breasted girls. Around the neck of all the people on the river bank, including the bare-breasted girls, were hung live tortoise. I could not have missed his face, the moment I saw Paloni, I pointed at him and told the soldiers to get him alive. The entire team members were fast. Before the young men could run, the soldiers had reached the bank of the river, pointing their guns at them and shouting, “If you move we shoot you!!” The soldier from Ogoni led the charge. The moment he got on the ground, he scooped some sand in his hand and began to speak to it. I and Maya were shocked to see the effect that had on the young men. None of them could move or was able to summon his voodoo. When Paloni saw Maya and I, he was shocked. He could not believe his eyes. The soldiers did not take any prisoners, all the people on the river were killed and their bodies thrown into the bush. Only Paloni was led away from the river bank. He was needed alive to lead us to the black seer, her younger colleague and the camp were Maya and I were slapped on the chest by a certain elder.

As we moved, every man, woman, boy or girl we met on the way was dropped dead. The soldiers were there to clean out the village. When we reached the mud wall which Maya and I had run into in the night, a tree appeared from nowhere and stood on our way. From Paloni, we learnt that the village had become aware of our presence and had sent the tree as a warning to go back. Paloni pleaded with us to return, but Major Adebanjo refused and urged his men forward. In front of us was the soldier from Ogoni. He removed something from his bag and began to speak to the tree. “The tree is a man! The tree is a man! Shoot! Shoot!!” shouted a soldier from behind us. “Hold your fire!” Major Adebanjo shouted. He was waiting for signal from the Ogoni soldier. He was their juju master. Like in the movies, the tree began to increase in size and daylight began to give way to darkness. I grabbed Maya and we began to pray.


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Written by:
Uzoma Ujor

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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog: LOST - Episode 10
LOST - Episode 10
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - gun, soldier, river, village, soldiers, guns, house, village shrine, boats, sacrifices, shrine, ritualists, seer, policemen, Ogoni.
Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog
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