Ælfgifu and the Charm of Sango

El – fgifu:- (El – ghi – foo)

“… Latini\nized form of Ælfgifu, an Old English name derived from ælf “elf” + giefu “gift”, or/and Æðelgifu, from æðel “noble” + giefu “gift”. This was the name of the first wife of the English king Æðelræd (Ethelred) II… ”

#Nameberry.com

“… The Ikogosi Warm Springs is a tourist attraction located at Ikogosi, a town in Ekiti State, southwestern Nigeria.[1] Flowing abreast the warm spring is another cold spring which meets the warm spring at a confluence, each maintaining its thermal properties.[2] These attributes make the spring a tourist attraction in Nigeria.[3] Research suggested that the warm spring has a temperature of about 70oC at the source and 37oC at the confluence.[4]The Ikogosi Warm Springs is a tourist attraction located at Ikogosi, a town in Ekiti State, southwestern Nigeria.[1] Flowing abreast the warm spring is another cold spring which meets the warm spring at a confluence, each maintaining its thermal properties.[2] These attributes make the spring a tourist attraction in Nigeria.[3] Research suggested that the warm spring has a temperature of about 70oC at the source and 37oC at the confluence.[4… “

Wikipedia.

We had no business going all the way to Osun state!

Well, there was that waterfall and the village on top of the hill, but that is a conundrum for another day. That state is where Becky is from… So yeah… I wanted to go see her roots.

I mean where she is from you evil-minded ogre! Nothing else. You are spoiled rotten. We will not last long as friends…

So we ended up in Ekiti State of Nigeria. We were headed to the exotic Ikogosi warm springs. We had a few other stops at waterfalls and shrines.

I have grown accustomed to paranormal issues in my life. I will be just fine.

And so you can imagine how underwhelmed I was when we arrived at the springs and checked in. There was nothing spectacular for me!

We were about seventeen on the team, three Germans, an Indian, an elf (yes you read that right), a bunch of amazing Nigerians and a lesbian. (uhmmm… I’m being mean I know. But she should have said, “yes” to me. I do not like rejection).

Consequently, I speak for myself. But one or two of my fellow #Backpackers agreed with me.

We hit the pool at about nine pm. The pool had just been drained and so we were reduced to splashing in about a foot of lukewarm water…

Tufiakwa!

(expletive, meaning ‘God forbid’). Don’t quote me though, that is what Muchee told me. She should know I think. After all she is an Ibo girl. Not sure which of the Ibo – speaking states she is from. I should dig into her core values.

I mean where she is from you evil-minded ogre! Nothing else. You are spoiled rotten. We will not last as friends…

A ‘tour guide’ had given us what was supposed to be her version of the origin of the Ikogosi warm springs. By the time she was done, I was bashing my head into random Iroko trees just to stay awake.

Darling Jesus, Maranatha!?

By the time our late dinner swung by, I was successfully plucking out my eyelashes. One strand at a time.

It was drizzling outside. It was pitch black too. It was about eleven pm when my team finally fell asleep.

I crept out of my shared room armed with my trusty machete, walking boots, night vision goggles and a small cup (yes you read that right).

I was home free (well not quite) when a voice stopped me dead in my tracks.

“Hey Sexy…”

It was El-fgifu. Suffice it to say that she is many things to different people. As of tonight, to me, she was misplaced.

I squinted at her beautiful features trying to read her mind.

“Hey baby” I finally replied. “Whatchu doing up?”

“Where are you sneaking off to Sexy?” I hear that she works with her voice in a radio station. I can only imagine the sanctions from the national broadcasting corporation. That woman’s voice is an aphrodisiac!

“If I tell you, I would have to marry you… Or kill you…” I quoted to her.

“Who are you in this body?! Loose him and let him go!!” She recited back at me.

‘If you know, you know.

We both burst out laughing.

We knew.

As I turned away, I heard her voice call out. I turned to see her standing and lifting a locket from around her neck with two hands. She held it up hands slightly apart. The shape of the leather strap to the locket was a perfect triangle.

She said that she wanted to lend me her locket but that I was too tall. She asked me to please take a knee. I am a tall fella, she is all of five feet flat. Her request made a modicum of sense.

She did not allow me touch her or the locket throughout the time . I am not stupid, I knew that that locket was actually a charm she carried around for protection and good luck. And so I gratefully complied. I used to be a prolific womanizer, I have learned to acknowledge a lover’s intuition. As long as she truly loves you.

I walked past the heated waters of the pool and got to the meeting point of the hot and cold streams of water that never mixed. It was pitch black and raining and so I was sure that I was largely unseen by human eyes.

In precise movements, I filled the small cup with equal amounts of the cold and hot waters and quaffed it in one swallow. I knelt in the waters and braced myself… Meditating…

A minute later I rose out of the shallow streams and started up the gangway that held a caution. “DO NOT GO BEYOND THIS POINT”. I broke into a measured jog and vaulted over the wall onto the rocky and uneven forest floor at the other side.

I pulled out my machete and hurried upwards towards the real source of the heated waters of Ikogosi. Sure enough, I saw what I wanted to see. I spent about a minute on my knees doing what I had to do. Maybe one day I will be able to tell you about these things that I saw and did. But right now, I cannot.

I was back over the wall as quickly as I could manage. I was covered in smelly sweat by this time. I had adrenaline coursing through my veins. I was giddy and felt a surge of invincibility.

I got to the pool and decided to take a swim. After all, the warm springs were said to have healing powers.

There were two ladies already enjoying the pool. From a distance, it looked like Becky and Amaka, fellow Backpackers. I dove nude into the pool and began swimming laps. I swam vigorously for about fifteen minutes and then I had to take a break.

I heard Becky call my name and so I waded through the pool to meet them where they were seated under the torrent of steaming water that was filling up the swimming pool.

Though my instincts already knew that they were neither Becky nor Amaka, my legs pulled me toward them on their own volition.

“What did you do?” The first woman asked me. Mild. Gentle. A flirt.

“Do you know what you have done?” The second older (and angrier) woman snapped at me.

I had no idea what to say. Primarily because they were both speaking to me in Yoruba language which I have never spoken, read or understood.

Secondarily because I realized in those seconds that I now somehow understood the said language.

Tertiarily (shut up editor!) because I was now fully aware of who these women were.

My silence seemed to infuriate the second woman because she stood up suddenly and made to touch me.

A small bolt of lightning or was it a livid cackle of static electricity scattered the air in a thunderous boom. They both flinched, screaming in terror.

I placated Oduduwa’s grandchilds’ wives as best as I could. I commended them for working together for the first time in centuries to fight a trespassing sage such as myself. I requested that they go about their fancies and allow me do the same.

By the time I got back to the guest chalets, it was as quiet as a graveyard in the dead of winter.

But El-fgifu was still sitting out drinking out of a cup. An alcoholic beverage I wager.

Why am I not sure about the contents of her cup? After all we were very close as individuals. After all we genuinely knew, liked and respected each other…

You see as I made to remove her locket from around my neck, I noticed that it was no longer on me.

No it did not fall off, it was inexplicably back around El-fgifu’s neck. The charm itself nestled comfortably between her deep cleavage.

It was all too much for me to handle in one night.

I walked past her thoroughly flabbergasted and weary to my bone marrow.

“Goodnight Sexy!” She called after me.

“Good morning Baby… It is two am. See you in a bit” I replied as I walked.

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Let’s Call Her ‘Vitiligo’

Many years ago, I was a struggling young man. I had no money. I did not have a car. I was at the mercy of public transportation.

One day I had to fix all three of my wristwatches. So I went to the main market to have them sorted out.

I was sitting in front of the artisan that day, and there was a mosque behind me. I was smack in the middle of the market.

Ever hear the folklore about looking between your legs in a marketplace? They say you will see spirits or dead entities. Another version says you will see them upside down. Well… I’m the kind of person who likes to check up on stuff like this.

And so at some point I stood up and pretended to stretch. I finished my deception by bending to touch my toes and looked between my shoulder – wide feet. Despite the throng in the marketplace that day, I saw ‘someone’ immediately.

And she froze midstride.

I stood up ramrod like a statue. I knew that I was in trouble.

I sat back slowly and through my peripheral saw her still looking at me. Same position. Same person.
She was tall. Shapely. Nothing too much. But she had vitiligo. Patches around her mouth and neck.
I soon left in a hurry. Ran out of the market to the car park and got into public transportation. I moved suddenly. There was no way she could have caught up with me.
I was seated in front with the driver. Passengers quickly filled up the cab and (to my great relief) we were soon on our way.
I felt eyes locked to the back of my head at some point. Like lasers boring into my medulla. I turned slowly and locked eyes with Vitiligo. Yeah, let us call her that.
I panicked! A street before my stop I disembarked and bolted through an alley.

I arrived home panting and shaking.

About fifteen minutes later I walked outside for some reason I cannot recall and saw her standing outside my fence. Staring at me. I bolted bank inside.
She hounded me over the next few days.

It got so bad that my neighbors moved out citing spiritual harassment. They told me that a lady with patches on her face kept tormenting at night.

I had a girlfriend in that year. She broke up with me and ran. She said a spirit was harassing her at my place. Especially when she closed her eyes to sleep in my room. Day or night, she would suffer bad dreams. He’s the culprit was a woman with vitiligo.
My brother and I shared my humble abode. He began to suffer severe sleep apnea. In all his nightmares, a woman with vivid patches on her face and neck would sit on his chest and smother him until he woke up screaming in terror.
I would be at church and feel eyes staring at me. Sure enough, I would turn around and see her standing not too far behind me.
She was just outside my door at work. Staring at me.
Now, it was obvious to me after the first week that ;

I was the only one who could see her without fear.

I was the only one who she was not tormenting. At least not in a life threatening manner.
She could not, or would not harm me.
And so I did the only thing reasonable…
I set my alarm for twelve midnight and woke up by said time.

I walked outside and sat on a wooden bench that was more of a death trap than bench.

Sure enough she was outside by the fence.
I beckoned her over and she acquiesced.

I invited her to sit down by my side, and she complied wordlessly.

I turned to face her, looking straight into her eyes and apologized for my stupidity and immaturity.
I requested that she forgive me and go about her previous endeavors going forward.

I promised her that I would not be doing anything as stupid going forward.

She got up and without saying a word, vanished.

I have not heard of, or seen her since.

Serti Takum

Veni veni, Emmanuel captivum solve Israel, qui gemit in exsilio, privatus Dei Filio.

Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel, nascetur pro te Israel!”

I do not think that there are many of us left. I am afraid I may be the last one.

Lore, strange truths were whispered in my ears from birth. From lips I never saw. They told me of ancient mysteries, they spoke to me repeatedly long before I had understanding. I have grown with these ‘gifts’. I Am.

Joan was there.

Becky was there.

I. K. was there.

Nura too, I think. The remaining Backpackers were in the second Hilux pickup truck.

It began that morning when we set out to camp at Mayo Kam. We stopped after the petrol station. It’s name (the petrol stations’) escapes me now. Where those traders line up to sell their wares to travellers. As always, we stopped to ‘eat local’. We got some moi-moi (bean pudding) cooked in plastic bags. We also got the yams we intended to roast by the camp fire from there too.

I was seated in front with ‘It Is Raining‘, our eerily quiet driver. I cannot lie, his name really is, It Is Raining. The rest of the team were fussing about trying to buy a bunch of stuff we did not need. I. K. came to me smoking a cigarette and being as rambunctious as only he can manage.

She was standing slightly behind the rest of the traders. She was tall for a local. The table upon which her kuli -kuli (deep-fried, hard and crunchy groundnut paste) was placed was understandably higher than anyone else’s. She had a boy of about ten years old beside her. She was close to this child I perceived. Not a sibling, he was too plain. Or maybe I should say that she was too beautiful. As of right now, despite all that transpired, I still do not know the ties that bound them together.

She was wearing a black cotton embroidered gown. She was slim and lithe. She was exotically beautiful. Dark Nubian. She truly did not belong there.

She and the boy… And so I stared a tad too long.

Naturally, she bristled under my direct gaze and as is the manner of men and women and love and sex and marriage; she made me know that she was interested in me too.

Taraba state of Nigeria still embraces a laid back and traditional culture. Decorum, modesty and decency still obtain. So I discretely commissioned It Is Raining to arrange for a discreet rendezvous scheduled for the next day. Seven pm to be exact. It Is Raining returned to me bearing news that gladdened my heart and my pleasure showed. She watched my face and coyly began stealing admiring glances at me. While Backpackers are not in fairness indecent, they can be quite direct. They teased me relentlessly about the obvious chemistry Serti (yes, that was her name) and I just shared.

As I have revealed in a previous tale, Mayo Kam was a kind of ‘Garden of Eden’. Permit me not to relive that past at the expense of this future. Suffice it to say that we got back to the transit camp the next day, at about noon.

I. K. and I immediately set about imbibing copious amounts of beer. We were joined by one Backpacker after the other until the makeshift ‘bar’ became pleasantly rowdy. At some point, we all decided to barbecue some meat later that night.

That evening, in preparation for my date, I had a long shower and massaged a lot of coconut oil onto my entire skin. It was lightly perfumed with frankincense. I donned a flowing white robe and made sure to wear my ceremonial beads. I finished my ritual by burning a specific special Oudh from Asia.

My ‘hotel room’ (if you could call it that) was basic. A small bed, a one-seat sofa and a plastic chair. I had arranged both seats side by side at the foot of the bed. Behind the seats was a large window it’s panes were made of glass louvres. I shut them and pulled the curtains shut. I required privacy.

I then proceeded to sit in the dark. I meditated on Serti until a soft knock on my door announced her arrival.

I turned on the lights and opened the door. Unsurprisingly she was still as beautiful as the day before. Unsurprisingly, she came with the boy. I sat them on the seats and then sat down opposite them both.

I gazed into her eyes for a bit, and then his. I returned to her lovely face and smiled at her. She smiled shyly in response. I held out both my hands; one to Serti, the other to the boy. They took my hand in theirs and then at my request, held hands too.

“It is time Serti…” I gently informed her.

Her face clouded over as the pain, bitterness, memories all popped out of her soul, through her eyes and into my consciousness. The preceding twenty two words is the part of my calling I hate. I blinked back tears of empathy and gently whispered,

“It is time Serti.”

This time she nodded curtly. The boy answered ‘yes’ even though I was not talking to him.

And so I lifted up my voice…

“…O come, thou Rod of Jesse’s stem
From every foe deliver them
That trust thy mighty power to save,
And give them victory o’er the grave.

O come, thou Branch of Jesse’s Tree
Free them from Satan’s tyranny
That trust thy mighty power to save,
And give them Victory o’er the grave...Amen! “

And they both vanished into the bosom of the Lord.

Then I cried.

Mourning them.

Those two Spirits Lost.

I do not think that there are many of us left. I am afraid I may be the last one.

Lore…, strange truths were whispered in my ears from birth. From lips I never saw. They told me of ancient mysteries, they spoke to me repeatedly long before I had understanding. I have grown with these ‘gifts’.

I Am A Watcher.

I am mandated to maintain spiritual harmony and balance.

To evict and to summon.

To bind and to cast out.

I have been blessed with (The) requisite power and authority.

Mayo Kam 

I am not originally a Backpacker®.

I only signed up for this trip because I was tired. I was tired of life.

I was tired of being alive. I actually went on that trip hoping to die. Misadventure, murder, animal attack… Anything. Even via the auspices of the pack of prescription sleeping tablets I had stashed away just in case my mind got made up.

Mayo Kam.

River Kam.

Yes, I believe ‘Mayo’ means ‘river’. The waters were deep, clean and cold. We were soberly lectured by the park rangers that a tourist fell in and drowned about a year ago. I so wished it had been me!

Listen, Mayo Kam is an excellent place to camp. Especially during the dry season when the waters have shrunk and left more sand and land in its wake. There is no mobile service in the Gashaka Gumti Game Reserve. If you are Nature’s kid, you have a home there. It is truly amazing. It is beautiful, pure and largely unsullied.

We were eleven Backpackers in all. Two heavily armed park rangers and four local fishermen that met up with us by the camp site.

Leinad, Raj, Rebecca, Henry, Bashiru, Noorah, Joanne, James, ‘Long John’, Sarai…and me. Enez.

Lovely, lovely people. Diverse experiences, countries and character. Never a dull moment with the Backpackers. Yet I was dead inside.

I was not sure of the time, but I was positive that the day was Saturday. For two reasons:- Firstly, there was going to be a Super moon tonight, and a lunar eclipse of some sort. Secondly, today was supposed to be my wedding day.

Cards printed. Venue paid for. Ivory white sleeveless wedding gown bought. Everyone that knew me in any capacity was aware. And why not? I was twenty five years old, I was in love with the only man I gave my spirit, soul and body to. He knew that even Jesus took a back seat when he arrived. Yet… Yet… He PUBLICLY called off the wedding after mandatory blood tests revealed that we were both HIV positive. As in, why?! Who does that?!! HE knew that he had infected me, I was his submissive emotionally and physically!

My mum consequently suffered a stroke. My dad tried to kill me twice. I tried to ‘kill me’ twice… I was the brunt of every joke. An object of pity and ridicule. The subject of many conversations. All of these inside a week.

And so I fled with the Backpackers, to this remote and dangerous adventure, hoping I would die. By my own hand or otherwise.

Leinad was making it hard though. To kill myself I mean. Or to even suffer injury for that matter. He was clearly interested in me. Men! They are so predictable, they would fuck anything given half the chance.

The fishermen arrived at dusk and immediately set about fishing roughly five hundred meters away upstream. They brought their own gear and so ours was redundant. While the rest of the female Backpackers fussed over roasting yam tubers and frying tomatoes, onions and peppers to make a sauce for the imminent fish, I somehow anchored three hooks together and found a spot on a boulder and began to fish.

Faithful and loyal Leinad tarried beside me in abject misery until my dark mood forced him to seek lighter spirits. He joined the group by the large fire and soon forgot about me.

A short time later, I got a bite and expertly reeled it in. It was a foot long indigenous catfish specie. It paled in comparison to the humongous sizes the fishermen were catching and so I killed it just as my dad taught me years ago and decided to use it as bait. I had just tossed my line into the water when I got called to supper. I wedged the flexible but strong fishing rod in a two foot deep crevice, and left.

I woke up reluctantly sometime during the night. I badly needed to pee, but my sleeping bag was very cosy. Besides everyone, including the park rangers, was asleep. I guessed that it was about midnight. It was pitch black outside the influence of the camp fire light.

One look at the sky decided me. I got up and walked towards the river and did my business in a hole I dug in the sand. I was just rounding up when I heard something thrashing about weakly in the water. I intuitively knew that my line had caught something big. I was up the boulder in a flash and back down with my fishing rod.

I think that all three hooks played a part in my catch. I think that the crevice helped wear down the fish. I think that the super moon and it’s unusual brightness lured that fish from the deep.

It was the largest fish I had ever seen in my life! It was not a shark or anything predatory. I think the locals call it ‘water elephant’ or ‘Giwan Ruwa’ in Hausa.

It was beautiful. I was not afraid. Death by this fish if it could would be welcome anyways. And so I darted knee deep into the treacherously cold and fast flowing water and dug my left hand into its gills and began pulling it ashore.

I came to pee in the bikini bottom of a two-piece swim suit, with just a hoodie over me and the bikini bottom. The rocks under the water were slippery and sharp. The humongous fish clearly did not want to leave the water… I was almost drowning within seven minutes.

Whatever I lack as a woman; big boobs, bubble butt et al… came to my aid that night. I used all of the six feet of lithe physiognomy I possessed to lever my catch out of the water.

The fish was only a little shorter than me. My left hand was still locked under it’s gills. That hand was now numb. I locked my right hand into the gills on the opposite side of its head, sidestepped the last foot or so onto the sand and lunged, pulled and lifted in one explosive move.

I landed on my right side painfully with the fish’s head between my thighs. Both my hands still gripping it tightly. I was exhausted! My breath was raggedy and labored. I was wet and cold, I was shivering and shuddering – (from hypothermia, shock and adrenaline).

As I slowly caught my breath, the fish too started to calm. As I slowly warmed up from the heat my body was producing, so did the fish.

But I knew that something was wrong… and so I slowly eased off my painfully cramped fingers and looked down at the fish.

It now had long hair and was a naked girl. I could feel her cheeks on the insides of my thighs. I could feel her cleavage on both sides of my right thigh.

I was by now hyperventilating in shock. But I was spent, lactic acid had built up to the detriment of my muscles. I simply could not move.

And then she started convulsing; flopping about in a most unnatural way. I did not need to be told, she was dying.

I successfully struggled to sit up. I held both her shoulders and began to push her back into the water… But the sand and my tired body impeded my noble intentions.

I began to weep. Not just because of there and then, but because of before. I finally got to cry at the injustices, at the curse of being a woman in Africa, at being ‘the weaker sex’. I was simply so exhausted and tired on the inside and outside. All I could do was to keep stroking her hair and back babbling, ‘I’m sorry. I’m so sorry…’ over and over again.

I learned something that night; we are spirits and we live in physical bodies. At some point she stopped shivering and translated. I felt her leave. She was not her body, she was gone. Her body went limp, numb and cold. I saw her stand beside me wearing a look of slight confusion and wonder.

“Please, I didn’t mean to… I am so sorry!” Were my exact words to her.

She looked down at me for a while and then her beautiful face softened. She knelt beside me and then blew softly on my face, and then lightly kissed my lips.

“Enez…baby girl… Wake up!”

“Did you frigging catch this behemoth?!” Leinad’s handsome face inquired in disbelief.

It was about dawn, not quite bright yet. I made him help push the fish back in the water. We watched it bob in one spot eerily before it sank suddenly.

I shivered suddenly and hugged myself. To my utter amazement, I was bustier! I groped my new and improved breasts in confusion. I looked up at Leinad and the look of pure lust on his face terrified and thrilled me.

I am no longer ill. Have not been ill since that day, not a cold, rash or headache. I am at peace. I am rich and I am wealthy. I am happy.

P. S: “Please, I didn’t mean to… I am so sorry!”

Chappal Wadi

About my Christmas…

It was supposed to be nice and easy. Time spent with family and friends. That is until she called me from the fire.

My muse I mean. Not the young, hot one though. It was old, old mother. I was stir-frying venison and vegetables on the 21st of December 2017 when the bright blue flames of the gas burner cackled and grew. She was within. Within hours I was mysteriously the wildcard selected to accompany the urban myths, adventurers extraordinaire and totally bonkers Backpackers Nigeria® to climb Chappal Wadi. The highest point in West Africa and Nigeria. And aka, The Mountain of Death.

We took off on the 23rd of December, 2017. I refuse to bore you with details of that journey. It was gruelling and fun though.

Fast-forward to the 26th of December, 2017. We were finally at Ngoruje, a transit camp run by the Nigerian Gashaka Gumti National Park. We arrived at about six pm after about seven hours traveling on bad roads. We set up our tents and soon had a fire going. We were surrounded by the reserved trees of the national park. It was chilly and windy. It was dark. The only light came from the campfire.

Yet I could sense that she was waiting for me. And so I walked towards the edge of the forest. It was dark and cold there, but quiet. I sat gingerly on the exposed roots of a tree and almost immediately I perceived her. She always smelled of cinnamon and wood smoke. Old old mother is very very old. She told me a lot of things about the Backpackers Nigeria® and bid me to put my life on the line for them. She is not one known to be garrulous or to linger. I left the edge of the forest with a heavy heart.

It is called the Mountain of Death for various reasons. The park rangers told me that it was because many tourists had died there.

The majority of the good people of Taraba state were largely unaware of the existence of the Mountain of Death. Did not know, did not care.

The motorcycle riders that risked their lives and ours for about four hours ferrying us on dangerously undulating rocky foot-wide trails up and down mountain sides from Ngoruje to Njawai told me that it was because many families had died there simultaneously – mysteriously many years ago. No evident reason.

The head of the hamlet at the base of the mountain, in Njawai told me a lot of things. He especially asked me to convince the Backpackers Nigeria® not to climb. When I asked why, he said that I had ‘the mark of pure light’, and that I knew why. The conversation was in Fulfulde (pronounced Fool-fool-day), the main tongue of the Fulanis. One of the motorcycle riders was ineffectively translating to and fro because I was speaking in the Hausa language.

At the end, the head of the hamlet reluctantly gave us his permission to go up the mountain… But not his blessings. We were ten Backpackers, two park rangers, two journalists and three local guides.

Just before I lost view of the hamlet, I raised my hand in salutation to the head of the hamlet, and he curiously waved ‘goodbye’ back at me.

The altitude sickness was gradual and severe. We were in poor shape within the hour. The climb was up a gradual slope. We sighted antelopes, birds and startled God-knows-what further into the bushes.

There were a couple of things that had been bothering me.

Firstly, we were definitely in Cameroon and not Nigeria-Mambilla as was advertised. Secondly, we had not secured migration passes from the Cameroon’s immigration authority, I was not sure, but I felt like we were being watched. Stalked even. Thirdly, and most importantly I was gradually getting covered in goosebumps… It’s my gift. An early warning signal of sorts.

I was one of the only three that was armed with a firearm. I was the only civilian armed. I had fallen behind because I had to relieve myself. I was on my way back when I heard muffled moans and hushed tones ahead. When I caught up, my team were all standing still like statues. All of them.

I could hear the sound of flapping. Like really large wings flapping. But I could see nothing. The pungent smell of sulphur confirmed the presence of what I could not see. The gusts of wind from the flapping was raising up dust, leaves and grass. Items of clothing worn by people standing stock-still billowing eerily.

I heard the flaps move slightly away to the first local tour guide. Before my eyes, and in a few seconds, the man gradually emaciated like he was being sucked dry. Like an adult dragging on caprisonne quickly. Kukah crumpled (obviously) lifeless to the ground. Bardeh, the second local tour guide suffered the same fate. Then I perceived it move towards Sarai.

“Stop!” I yelled.

I felt it stop, deliberate and veer towards me in a slow whoosh. I remember wishing that I had called out ‘stop in Jesus name’ instead of just ‘stop’.

However, about a meter away from me, I heard the sound of singeing and I smelled burning feathers… I think.

I swear I heard whimpering and another rush toward me and then singeing again, burning feathers… and then all went quiet.

It spoke in an ancient tongue. In guttural and curt syllables. I deduced that I was being asked questions. And so I introduced everyone by name and explained in English why we were here… And then all went quiet.

“Please. Leave. Now… ” it grated in its harsh guttural voice. And yes, in English.

Instantly the air cleared. The bodies on the floor vanished and the trance was broken. The Backpackers® emerged all seemingly clueless as to current direction, location, urgency and time.

“Let’s hurry back down!” I shouted.

“Hey Big D, what about Bardeh and the other one?! Raj enquired.

“They went back faster.” I quietly replied turning away so he could not see my face.

“It’s getting dark, I’m getting cold…” Rebecca petulantly whined.

“We need to pick up the pace! This place is dangerous, especially at night!!” I called out and began to lead the long way down.

All Backpackers® are alive and well. Clueless about what really happened on the Mountain of Death, but alive and well.

May Bardeh and Kukah rest in peace.

Happy New Year!

Death Becomes Him

I can not believe that this impetuous, over-pampered and carnally-minded simpleton actually picked up that phone call… 

I swear by the throne of Jehovah, I will kill him first chance I get. 


Ring… Ring… Ring… Ring… 

“Hello…?” 

“… I kept hoping that you’d pick up one day…” 

“Uhmmmm… Yeah… I was conflicted.” 

“Because of what I am?” 

“What are you exactly?” 

“I could show you…” 

Laughs…“For real?” 

More nervous laughter… “Where are you exactly?” 

“Here.” She answered from behind him. 

I kept watch over him. He could not see me, but she could. 

From that day they were inseparable. That day in which he had unwittingly summoned her by accepting her ‘hello’  from’ the other side’. They talked a lot. Very often. He was a very curious soul. 

He was exactly thirty three years, three months, three days, three hours, three minutes and three seconds old when he (unfortunately) stumbled upon the ability to ‘summon’. 

I confronted her one night when he was asleep. I was after all his protector. In righteous indignation I insisted on being told her plans. 

She knew that I had the power to translate her spirit back into the abyss. I am holy and righteous. Maybe that is why she demurely replied me in almost suspicious humility. 

She told me that she loved him. 

“But you are a succubus, a demon!” I recall blurting out. 

She then reminded me about the time the sons of God took for themselves wives of the sons of men. And how they cohabited in love and harmony ever after. It was their offspring that became unruly, not the abominable anomaly. 

I can not believe that I am admitting this, but she was right. 

I immediately summoned Headquarters for wisdom; and reinforcements were expeditiously despatched. The Company clearly considered this client untouchable. He was the apple of someone’s eye. He was clearly special and the beloved of someone important. 

We watched as ABIKU taught him great mysteries. She revealed ancient Truths and Verities that he clearly hungered for. She showed him the treasures of darkness and the hidden riches of secret places. He inevitably became very rich and prosperous speedily. He practically rode the high places of at least two worlds. 

She was plump, shapely and comely. The human vessel she chose was as he found pleasing. She inexplicably favored him for his warmth and meekness. Under our surveillance, she metamorphosed into human (female) tendencies of jealousy, tears and domestication. 

They were under no illusions about who and what she was, and yet they proceeded to know each other carnally. Because of her default (basic) existence and office, they copulated often, and with reckless abandon. Succubi are carnal like that. She was extremely pleased with him. They were in love. 

It has been a decade now. Their unholy liaison is now confirmed by the presence of a ruddy, cheeky and naughty lad. ABIKU is a mother. 

My name is Chrioni. I am the messenger of Yahweh; (The Alpha and The Omega, The First and The Last, Holy of Holies, Jehovah.) 

I am the head guardian angel primarily assigned to this mortal, and then to his family. 

The situation has all of us messengers befuddled. And from the murderous looks of the demons snarling and hissing constantly at ABIKU, her kind are incensed beyond belief. 

We are all watching and waiting. 

Spawn of Satan

I imagine that you are reading this from somewhere not in Africa. 

As you read, you will probably sneer and then dismissively chuck me off as backward, gullible and ostensibly religious-bordering on the insane. 

But I know what I am talking about. 

Welcome to a warm and dark continent. The traditions and customs here are still archaic. The first gods are still worshipped here. Worshipped, not merely served. There is a difference. 

I do not believe in coincidences. 

Once, yeah… Okay. 

Twice, I start to reach for my sidearm. 

Thrice, I come out of my den snarling behind a hail of bullets. Machete in the other hand. 

The following took place about ten years ago. (Between the eighth to the tenth years… to further misdirect you… I am smiling broadly right now.) 

One. 

I was in a long term relationship with a lovely young woman. By this time I already knew that I could not marry her. She was a snooping, manipulative, arrogant bitch! (Hmmm… Now where did that emanate from? Forgive me, I am clearly still upset with her). One midnight, she surprised me while I had my pants down. Erect phallus in hand. Indulging in self-help and self-love. She lost it! She broke down in self-righteous tears,  and when that did not work she told me that it would never be well with me until I learned to treat her right. In retrospect I regret not replying her ominous words. You see, I am a creature of habit. I am a maverick, but I have method to my eccentricity. So I know and notice when my jewellery and items of my clothing suddenly disappear. I know about her father, and I know that her mum still worships the first gods. Despite being a deaconess in a local community church. So I knew that her threat was not idle. 

Two. 

By now things had deteriorated quite badly. I was in a bind in every respect. While I did not owe money at the time, I used to be a millionaire. Yes I was still involved with ‘Evil-ynn’, that conniving, stinking maggot. And sibling of Satan! (Hmmm… Now where did that emanate from? Forgive me, I am clearly still upset with her). It was a hot and dry Friday afternoon. I was in between (seemingly futile) business meetings. I drove to a quiet park. They were typically leased to vendors who maintained them via recreational facilities and restaurants and / or a beer parlour. All sorts of mobile vendors would stop by tables offering wares ranging from roasted peanuts to lingerie to cheap electrical accessories. This particular vendor was a Yoruba traditional medicine man. He was selling bottled plant roots and potions purportedly able to cure piles, diabetes and all sorts of ailments. I was bored and I am likable, so he told me that I was on the verge of greatness but that I needed to pray more fervently. He said that my prosperity had been tied up in a tree somewhere. He advised that I prayed that night with a white handkerchief last thing before I slept. That he would stay up and pray in agreement with me at my preferred time. He was a Muslim. I am a Christian. 

Three. 

I was out of town officially. I was mentally chastising myself on why I had bothered to arrive by air. The assignment was clearly not going to be as lucrative as I had hoped. Then that sneaky, succubus that hated Jesus called. She typically called at my lowest times, just in time to make matters worse. Witch! (Hmmm… Now where did that emanate from? Forgive me, I am clearly still upset with her). Luckily a former colleague called me right after her call. He knew I was in his town and wanted to swing by. He arrived with a young man he introduced as ‘his prophet’. They were on their way to dedicate a parcel of land or something. Just before he left, he told me that I had made a mistake dating ‘Evil-ynn’. He told me that I needed deliverance. He said that ‘they’ had ‘tied my progress’ to a particular shrub somewhere in Ankpa. A town in Kogi state, Nigeria. 

Sigh! 

I had no choice but to speak with my pastor. He had us both pray at a set time with a set of specific prayer requests. 

It has been a while since that prayer session. Believe it or not, I am wealthy and rich. More so than ever, and this is me modestly understating things. Everything is going well. Perfectly actually. 

Evilynn’s mother ran mad. She had a mental breakdown in a NEXT –  CASH AND CARRY supermarket. She was said to have rambled on and on about her being a witch. She reportedly asked for my forgiveness. 

Evilynn’s sister ran mad. She had a mental breakdown in a popular Abuja market. Same story, she mentioned my name too. 

Evilynn. Chikadibia – went slightly bipolar. She broke into my convenience while I was there seated waiting on gravity to call on nature. She sank to her knees right there in the ‘shitter’ and apologized. She told me that her mum did it to protect her daughter from harm. I absolved her of wrongdoing in my books. Hey, I loved her once. 

A popular shaman in Ankpa apparently lost his damn mind and stepped in front of a truck suddenly. Before he died, I hear he confessed to a lot of vile things. Yes. Yes, my name came up… Again! 

At this juncture, I wisely relocated. Left town for good. Good thing I did. 

Inside of a week all the aforementioned, plus one or two unmentioned were dead. 

They all died in their sleep. They were insane until they died.