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We are who we are because of who we were.

Chapter 1
The Present

The Blackberry phone on the side stool very close to the 12-inch Vitafoam mattress started to ring again and Frank lazily stretched his left hand to pick it up. He was facing the opposite direction as he lay on the bed so his hand had to do a little search before it could reach the phone. He had ignored the phone the first time it rang hoping that it wouldn’t ring again. His mind, soul and body didn’t want to wake up this morning.

He answered the call and placed the phone on his right ear.

Apart from the fact that he was too lazy to wake up, there was also an extra weight of probably another human on his body. A quick search with his almost incapacitated right hand revealed that the weight on him was that of a naked female form. The feel of her smooth butt sent instant messages to his mind and he recalled that last night was so much fun. He couldn’t remember much, but the little he did made him smile.

“Hello.” He managed to muffle into the phone. His head was thumping and his mouth tasted sour. His facial muscle seemed shrunken and he quickly rubbed it all over with his left hand in the bid to relax the skin therein.

“Don’t tell me that you are still sleeping on this Monday morning,” said a sharp and smooth female voice on the other end. “Are you not at work?”

The two words ‘Monday’ and ‘work’ were enough to send signals to his brain and alert his drowsy system.
“Damn!” he whispered loudly both to himself and into the phone. He raised his head to look around his room. His flesh was not willing to stand up but his spirit was.

Frank managed to focus his eyes on the wall clock and soon, after much effort, he was able to see that the time was 20minutes past eight! He was supposed to be at work by 7.30am.

“Do you know what the time is?” the female voice at the other end continued.

“Mnnn,” Frank muffled again as he made to stand up. “When did you come back, Linda?” he called her name like he was just realizing it was her. He stood up from the bed and looked at the sleeping naked girl once again and wished he could remember how it all went last night. Despite that, he was still very sure that he enjoyed every bit of moment with her.

She was still sleeping like a log of wood and the beautiful nakedness made him stop to stare, internalizing the image.

“I came in last night and tried calling you but you weren’t picking your calls. Wait; are you there with a girl?” Linda asked.

Frank almost smiled. Linda was the only female friend he had ever had. He never knew it was possible for someone like him to be in such a platonic relationship with a girl as beautiful as Linda without trying to take the relationship to the next level. Now she knew him better than he knew himself. It was all his fault. He had delayed the move and this had resulted in him eventually seeing her like a sister, not even the slightest feeling of lust whenever he beheld the exceptional beauty.

“Yes, but that is not important now. I am late for work and will be in serious trouble this New Year. Linda, can we talk later? I have to hurry and get ready for work.”

“Alright, just call me later in the day so that we can hook up… Is Dozie there with you?” She asked after a second thought.

“Since when did you start caring about Dozie?”

“And who told you that I care about that womanizing low life friend of yours? I just want to be sure he is not there to make you do bad things.”

Frank smiled again despite the confusion and worry he felt. “I am a bad boy and don’t need Dozie to be bad. Well, he is not here and… just take care, we’ll talk later.” He terminated the call and walked straight to the bathroom.

If he had slept naked all through the night with the lady in his bed, then it must have been a wonderful night, he thought. The only problem now was that he wouldn’t be able to relieve the moment because of the alcohol that was in his system.

What was he going to tell his boss? Dr. Emeka would be boiling with rage by now. The fact that he hadn’t been called by anyone in the hospital only meant that his sack letter might be waiting for him. Sack letter? Why was he wishing himself such a bad luck at this time of the year? Oh! Those nurses would be very glad if such a bad thing happened to him. He already knew that his presence in the hospital was a thorn in their flesh. Frank almost laughed at the thought of this. He had slept with 7 out of the 11 young nurses who worked with him in the hospital, but now they were all angry with him. His presence reeked of nothing but scandal.

He was always getting into trouble but always had a way of getting out of it. It wasn’t easy being the only male nurse at the hospital; male nurses with so much swagger like him were not easy to find these days.

He quickly shook off the feeling of fear that seemed to run all over his body along with the cold water. Dr. Emeka, who liked him, would surely forgive him. All that was left for him was to think of a good lie that might help cushion that good doctor’s anger.

As he hurriedly dressed up for work, the slim model-shaped girl stirred and backed him on the bed. He felt like joining her on the bed at that moment. What a sight! He thought.

He recalled she had come with Dozie’s new catch. Dozie had met Agnes on a social network, Badoo or something, and yesterday had been their first meeting.

Contrary to Linda’s insinuations, Frank was Dozie’s mentor when it came to womanizing. And by following his instructions, Dozie had made the girl have cyber-sex with him, send him her naked pictures and finally desired nothing but to have physical sex with him.

Luckily she had come with a friend and Frank got himself a new year present. He just hoped it wouldn’t turn to New Year sad news by the time he got to his workplace.

He couldn’t wait to see his friend and hear his own side of the story.

Soon he was ready for work and not wanting to wake the girl up, he just left a note for her on the side stool and slipped out of his one room apartment. He would continue from where they stopped last night before he blacked out when he comes back.

** **
[quote author=frank317 post=34624881]Nurse Bisi was outside when the commercial motorcycle that Frank boarded to work halted in front of THE SAINT’S SPECIALIST HOSPITAL. She hastened her step away from him and walked into the hospital like she had seen the devil. Bisi was his second catch amongst the nurses he had slept with. Like all of them, she had professed so much love for him but today she hated even his shadow. Right now, he was sure that she was going to announce to her colleagues that the womanizing devil was around.

As he paid off the cyclist, he hoped Dr Emeka wouldn’t notice he was having hangover when he confronted him.

Frank was all about his personality and not his looks. Sometimes he wished he was half as good-looking as his friend Dozie, even though most of his girls thought he was attractive. He was the type that you would either love or hate, but hating him was no fun and so most times people just had to love him. He was 29 years, average in height, slim built with broad shoulders, and smooth face with two very mischievous admirable eyes. His eyes had a way of responding to the movement of his lips whenever he talked, always leaving observers wondering if both organs were directly connected. His face was usually a sight to behold whenever he smiled, because his eyes responded perfectly to this.

Frank was a happy jovial fellow, always in a lively mood and never angry. He was also naughty and loved mischievous adventures just as long as no one would get hurt. He was a problem maker and a problem solver with an insatiable desire for women and sex. Yet he believed he was capable of loving one girl. That girl had not yet come his way but until then, he wouldn’t relent in having as much fun as possible.

Since the younger female nurses had declared a war on him, he decided to get friendly with the older and married nurses in the hospital. With that, he still had enough loving colleagues to work with.

“Naughty nurse,” one of the older nurses called him his usual nickname around the hospital premises. She liked him because he was a witty guy who always seemed to have answers to the most difficult problems about life. Frank had once helped her resolve a family issue she was having with her husband. She had heeded to his advice and today her family was very peaceful. “Doctor is not happy with you.”

“Good morning, Nurse Mandey, the police came to arrest everyone in my compound…”

“Not me… keep your explanations for the doctor; that is if he does not kill you before you start talking.” She said and began to walk away.

The hospital was rowdy and Frank couldn’t help but wonder what was happening.

Surprisingly and out of nowhere, Dr Emeka appeared in front of him. Was he waiting to pounce on him? Frank thought. This time around, the doctor looked more serious than Frank had ever seen him.

Their eyes met and locked together for some seconds causing the mischievous nurse to wish the ground would just open up and swallow him. There were three nurses behind him. Frank had slept with two of them. None was courageous enough to look at him, but he was sure they all wished the doctor would just sack him and get it over with. Did they really want him gone? Or was he just feeling guilty?

Frank was not sure he was capable of feeling guilty.

“Good morning, sir. I am very sorry for coming late; honestly, the situation was beyond my control. I even tried calling the…”

“Oh, just shut up and come with me.” Emeka barked and passed him by. “Does it look like I have the time to listen to your flimsy excuses?”

Frank stopped talking and followed him, wondering what was really happening in his work place.

The good doctor stopped in front of the theatre and turned around to face Frank. “It is high time you decided if you really want to continue working here or not and we will talk about that later. Meanwhile, I want you to go to Nurse Mandey and get from her the file containing all the information on the patient in Room 9. You are going to be responsible for his well-being for the whole week. Ensure you bath him and clean up all his mess. Now, hurry up and get out of my face.”

“Yes sir.” Frank replied and winked at the third nurse whom he was yet to sleep with. She was looking at him with a smile which Frank couldn’t decide was wicked or friendly.

She responded with a scowl and he backed off and went searching for Nurse Mandey.

Who was the patient in Room 9? He found himself asking as he walked away.

“Are you still working with us?” Nurse Mandey asked as he approached her.

Frank gave her a knowing smile, “Of course, i am. but the doctor assigned me to take care of the patient in ward 9 and i was asked to meet you for his file.”

“Room 9?” there was a frown on her face, “he was brought in this morning and his case is the cause of the commotion you probably have noticed around here.”

“What happened to him and what is so special about him that I was assigned to take care of him?”

“Probably Dr Emeka wants this task to be your punishment. Well, Mr Elisha is a 35-year old man whose family was massacred early this morning. Right now, he is in a coma but his wife is in a critical condition and has been taken into the theatre for surgery. So far, their four kids, housemaid and gateman are all dead.”

Frank couldn’t believe his ears. “Any idea who might have committed such a great atrocity?”

“Direct your questions to the police headquarters. Meanwhile, here is his file. He is now your responsibility.” She said as she handed him the file.

Frank really hated sad news. What kind of robbers would do such a thing? He entered the room and stared at the motionless figure whose life was being supported by a machine. He felt so much pity for the man. How long would he be here before the doctors decided to pull the plug on him? Does he even need to wake up only to be confronted with the horror that had happened to his family? Where are his extended family members?

Frank felt his knees go weak as he knelt down beside the half-dead man’s bed. Then he looked up like he was searching for something. Where the hell was God in times like this? He found himself asking the silliest question anyone could ask, one of the many questions in life without an answer.

** ** **

Inspector Ahmed couldn’t wait to finish up with the press conference so that he could go to the hospital. To him every minute counted and the more time he spent answering these journalists’ silly questions, the further away whoever massacred that family got from him.

He had taken out a few seconds within him to pray to Allah that either Mr Elisha or his wife should wake up. At least they could get information from them about who they had hurt that had decided to kill their whole family. Right now it just seemed like the random work of a group of psychos, but he was sure that either Elisha or his wife must know something. This was more than just a random killing.

Dr Emeka had informed him that the badly injured wife who had lost lots of blood needed immediate surgery and that her life was in serious danger.

Inspector Ahmed couldn’t help but wonder what had led Mr Elisha into a coma because it appeared that he had sustained no injury. The doctor had thoroughly examined him and confirmed that not even his hair was touched. How was that possible and why? Perhaps the shock of what he saw being done to his family was too much for him to bear. Could it be that this man was watching while his family was being slaughtered?

All these thoughts got him carried away almost all through the press conference.

Inspector Ahmed was a goal-getter. He hated leaving any task unfinished and he always got most of his jobs done.

At 36 he was still single and was not looking forward to getting married anytime soon. To him, women were nothing but a distraction, and the only satisfaction one should get in life should be solving difficult tasks, seeking answers to life’s confusing phenomena and making the world a better place. He believed in life after death and so to him every fun or enjoyment one got in this present life would hinder him from having a good afterlife, but every man must be rewarded in the afterlife according to his works in this present life.

He was a healthy-looking, slim and moderately tall man with so much agility that leaves people wondering if he ever got tired.

As soon as he was through with the conference, he decided to head straight to The Saint’s Specialist Hospital. He got into the police saloon car with Detective Dan and pulled out his Nokia phone from his breast pocket. The doctor’s number was switched off when he dialled it and so the Inspector guessed he was still in the theatre.

While the junior officer drove the car silently, Ahmed took his time to recall the gruesome sight he had seen this morning after the police had responded to a desperate call.

Right there in the ordinary poorly-furnished sitting room, the seven bodies were lying in a pool of blood. The bloody footprints indicated that the perpetrators were more than two. There was also a female footprint among them. His head almost exploded as the memory of the severely sliced bodies of even the kids came flooding in. He almost threw up.

They were all below the age of eleven for God’s sake! Why would even an insane person hurt and kill kids? What did the family do to incur these psychos’ anger? He had learnt that Mr Elisha was just a taxi driver and had no record of violence. They were just a quiet family who minded their own business. People even confessed that they were very nice to the maid and the gateman who were also victims. Nothing suggested that he had ever hurt anyone in the last ten years.

Was this a random killing? Well, only survivors would tell.

He got to the hospital and walked straight to the doctor’s office, Detective Dan followed behind. He was surprised to be ushered in by the doctor himself.

“Doctor, I didn’t expect to see you here.” Ahmed said in a gentleman’s voice.

Emeka had just entered his office and was yet to sit down. He looked gloomy and the presence of the cops was even more depressing. He was much shorter than the Inspector and so had to look up to establish an eye contact.

“I am sorry, Inspector. We lost her.” He sat down dejectedly. “We tried the best we could but unfortunately she had lost so much blood and the little remaining in her couldn’t carry her through the surgery. She died before we even commenced the surgery.”

“Oh, my God! What about the husband? Any improvement?” Ahmed asked.

“I am afraid he is still in a coma and we cannot even tell when he will wake up. Let’s hope he wakes up soonest. You know the police can’t afford to pay for the machine for long. Soon, there will be pressure on us to pull the plug, especially if he continues to show no sign of improvement”, the doctor replied.

The cop remained silent for a moment, “Can I have one more look at him?”

“Sure,” Dr Emeka stood up and led the way.

Frank was in the patient’s room when they got there. He was just through with cleaning him up and was now taking records of vital signs. He looked up when the doctor and the Inspector came in and continued his observation and recordings.

Inspector Ahmed stared at the patient for some time and said, “Let’s just keep him here for this week at least, I will talk to my boss to continue to fund the bills for the sake of this investigation.” Then wonderingly, “the monsters that did this are out there and this man could be the only key to finding them. There must definitely be something he knows that could help us.”

Doctor Emeka just nodded his head in agreement and looked at Frank, “let me have his form.”

Frank handed him the form while he tried so hard to avoid the doctor’s eyes knowing that his boss was not happy with him.

*** ***

Frank got to Dozie’s home looking dejected. For some reason he couldn’t understand, Mr Elisha’s case had got to him despite not knowing the man. Dozie and the two lady friends with him were quick to notice that the normally hyperactive Frank was looking troubled.

Frank had called up his friend earlier in the evening when he got home and found out that the girl he had left in his home this morning was no more there. Dozie had intimated him that she was with him and had thought his friend had gotten into serious trouble at work when he noticed that Frank’s voice sounded unexcited.
Dozie allowed him to sit down before speaking up, “What’s bothering you, my friend?” He was a thickset handsome man with a face that would definitely be idolized if seen constantly on the television screen. Frank often wondered why such a good-looking young man was shy and dodgy when trying to dealing with the opposite sex. For instance, Frank was sure that Dozie had a strong crush on Linda but had given up trying to woo her after she had rudely told him off. Yes, Linda could be difficult sometimes but Dozie wasn’t like that with just her, he was also that way with almost every girl; shying away at the slightest turn-down.

They were both of the same height but Dozie was much lighter in complexion and was also much hairier.

Frank was not sure, but he already suspected that Linda could be wooed by Dozie if he could add more swagger to his personality.

Instead of replying to his friend’s question, Frank drank from the half-filled cup of St Remy brandy on the table. They were all staring at him and waiting to hear the bad news. The three were sure that Frank must have been sacked.

He told them about Mr Elisha and his massacred family.

“I saw something like that on the news,” Dozie said. He obviously didn’t think this was worth getting his friend worked up.

The girls were touched. “Why would any reasonable person kill innocent children?” Agnes asked. Frank was not sure if she was really Dozie’s type.

“What made you think the people who did this were reasonable?” Frank asked. He was staring at his friend. Despite having always observed that Dozie was a little bit withdrawn, he had also noticed that the handsome dude was also cold and unemotional. He could also be confrontational at times.

There was so much about Dozie he didn’t know because his friend hardly talked about himself.

Looking at him, it would not be difficult for an observer to conclude that there were secrets, deep secrets about him that he wasn’t willing to let anyone know.

Something was troubling him, Frank had always believed; it was a mixture of both pain and fear.

Dozie had moved into his neighbourhood six months ago. And the two had taken a liking to each other when they had coincidentally shared a table of drink in Classidy Bar somewhere around the neighbourhood. Frank liked him because of his gentle nature and he looked like a very calculating person, a personality Frank always looked out for when choosing his friends.

Then, Dozie obviously had enough money to spend, but where or how he got them continued to remain a secret.

Frank didn’t think that his new friend was a criminal. Nothing about Dozie suggested that, and Frank always trusted his judgments, thanks to his special interest in psychology during his training as a nurse. With various psychological tools at his disposal, he was able to carefully observe and make reasonable conclusions about people. And Dozie definitely didn’t sound like a criminal, yet the nurse felt there was so much about his friend that was yet to be known.

Recently, Dozie was beginning to grow a lean purse. Who wouldn’t, after spending without earning for six months?

Yes, Dozie was a graduate, but Frank was sure he was lying about the institution he claimed to have graduated from and that he was also lying that he was job-hunting.

Yet Frank liked him. He was nice, gentle, observant and a good company. Whatever brought him to Umuagu City could remain covert until he was ready to let it known just as long as Frank was sure he wasn’t in any sort of danger.

“It’s just the thought of those innocent kids being slaughtered for something they probably knew nothing about”, Frank sadly said and took another gulp of drink.

“That is a sad one, but life goes on. Why are you sounding like you know the family? Dozie said, “Why not just pray the police find the perpetrators and punish them rightly?”

“It’s just… seeing the man lying helplessly, knowing that his family was all gone and… thinking of those children, it’s just so depressing. I don’t know if I prefer that the man should die or not.”

“Ha,” Dozie exclaimed, “that is not for you to decide. So are we to suggest that your job is secure?” he quickly changed the topic.

Frank looked up at him and told him what happened.
Soon the girls were about to go home and Frank also decided to take his leave, “Linda has been calling me all day, let me go and see her.”

“It’s high time she got herself a boyfriend instead of clinging unto you like you are her lover.” Dozie said. He obviously wished that she had been calling on him instead.

“Hey, she is my friend. It is not my fault that you can’t get along with her.” Frank bantered and made to leave. There was a slight smile on his face and Dozie was glad his friend had finally smiled.

He watched him walk away and thought to himself, ‘my good friend, Frank… life is not always a bed of roses. The world is a cruel place, and we have no choice but to live through these cruelties when they come our way.’ Then he shook his head and gladly walked back into his room.

It had been a good day.

*** ***
“At least we should be grateful to God that you didn’t lose your job. I think you should be more careful, Frank. Your boss might take a more drastic measure next time”, Linda cautioned. She didn’t think Frank had enough reasons to be bothered about the stranger in a coma.

“What drastic measure can he take again? He assigned me to take care of that man in a coma and not only that, I will be working double shifts for two weeks in which I will be in charge of that man. I feel his pain by just beholding him. His room reeks of nothing but sadness and pain. I… I… just don’t think I can handle it. It’s pure torture” Frank complained.

Linda was really surprised at this reaction. “Why are you like this, all of a sudden? You are just acting like you are new in the job. Nurses are known to have hearts of stone because of the severe cases of human sicknesses and injuries they have to face on a daily basis.”

“Yes, but I really can’t understand why I feel this way. This tragedy is just contagious. I can’t help but think about those helpless kids. The whole family of that man met their early death just like that. That is too much for my soft heart to bear.”

Both remained silent for a moment after Frank stopped talking.

Linda distracted herself by looking around. She didn’t really want to internalize whatever it was that Frank’s patient had gone through before he fell into that coma.

They were at Pleasure Bites, one of the numerous fast food restaurants in Umuagu. Linda had asked him to meet her there.

Linda liked Frank. She had been impressed by the way he had once taken care of her when she was admitted to The Saint’s Specialist Hospital. And he had made her come to the conclusion that, just like male hairstylists, male nurses also paid more attention to details compared to their female counterparts. She was sure that the way he treated her at the hospital had been the reason she had recovered quickly. Frank had explained to her that her positive reaction to the way he handled her had aided in her speedy recovery.

By the time she was discharged, she was sure she wanted to have him as a friend. And somehow she was able to deduce that he would be a better friend than a lover until he decided to really settle down. Looking at him, she was sure he wasn’t ready to settle down and that was why any girl who loved him would definitely get hurt.

She really liked him; he was so much fun to have around. He was so fun-filled that he could make even animals get excited. He wasn’t just fun to have around, he was also sharp-witted and perceptive.

He was a Sigmund Freud wannabe.

Right now their relationship was in the friendship zone and at this stage they were more like siblings than friends.

Frank could be a fun loving guy but he sure didn’t know how to handle sad situations like the taxi-driver’s case.

Right now he wasn’t even eating or drinking anything.
“You are beginning to sound like Dozie, how can you not show sympathy or empathy to these people?” he asked her.

“Don’t get me wrong, I feel bad for them, but there is nothing I can do for them either. However I feel will not help their situation at the moment. By the way, why are you comparing me to that low life friend of yours?” she returned.

“You know I hate it when you use such rude word on my friend. Dozie is no low life and he likes you. The best thing you can do for him is to be polite. Both of you are my best friends.

“Oh please, tell him to shove his likeness into his pocket and go get a life.” Linda was always like this at the mention of the name ‘Dozie’.

“How was your trip,” Frank quickly changed the topic. He just wished Linda could stop being rude sometimes.
She had just graduated from Umuagu University and was on a job hunt but made manageable cash by buying and selling clothes and jewellery. She would buy from the countries state capital and sell to bankers and workers who were so busy and didn’t have time to go shopping. Sadly she felt everyone must be business-minded like her instead of being idle. To her, Dozie was lazy and was waiting for money to land from God-knows-where. She was also suspicious of the fact that he could spend money on a daily basis without working for it. She suspected he was a dubious fellow.

But why so much antipathy towards him? He was cute, she couldn’t deny that but she didn’t think he was man enough to take care of her. Linda liked hard-working men and didn’t think Dozie was hard-working.

Linda was drop-dead gorgeous and Frank was proud of her. Every man would love to have such a beautiful girl around him. She was chubby with perfect curves in the right places, a figure enhanced by an ample bosom and a pair of full but straight legs. He often called her ‘ebony’ because of her dark skin and her eyes were large, taking a large chunk of her eye lid. Frank often wondered how she managed to close them when sleeping, but they were beautiful and they also complemented her smooth face, pointed nose and thick lips that had the ability to warm every heart when she smiled. She was just an inch shorter than him.

Yet he was sure she was not in a relationship. Frank and Dozie had come to a conclusion that her beauty was scaring men away. Damn! Her beauty gave Dozie sleepless nights; in fact he believed she was something from a fairy tale. People also think Frank was her lover and this got him always asking himself why they really weren’t lovers. Surprisingly, the thought of having an affair with her was sickening; he was more comfortable seeing her as a sister.

Frank believed that Linda and Dozie would make a good couple but unfortunately Linda believed otherwise.

Why did she dislike him so much? He could understand her reasons for turning other men down but why hate Dozie? Not even a room for friendship with the handsome dude.

Frank had met Linda before Dozie and since Dozie came into their lives, Linda had got a good reason to complain and find fault.

To her, Dozie was lazy, but was that enough reason to hate him?

Linda was naturally rude and arrogant to strangers but had chosen to remain like that with Dozie. Only Frank knew her better and whenever she was around him, she was a friendly and nice girl. That was Frank for you, always bringing out the best in people.

For now, Frank was tired of matchmaking his two friends. The more he tried, the worse it got for Linda and the more hopeless Dozie became.

“My trip was fine.” She replied. “I bought some nice stuff; I have some shirts that I think will fit you.” She regretted upsetting him. Her love life was empty and the sight of Dozie always unconsciously reminded her of what she was missing. Why does it always seem like it was all his fault? Why was she taking it all out on the poor cute dude?

Frank shook his head in rejection, “You can keep the nice shirts for now. I am still thinking of how to pay for the stuff I took from you on credit.”

Linda laughed and Frank thought a special light just brightened the eatery. “You are the one bothering yourself with that. I am sure you will eventually pay me but till then, my duty is to ensure you look good for all your girls. Speaking of girls, who was this new catch that made you almost lost your job?” Linda was now more cheerful.

“I didn’t almost lose my job because of any girl. I went to bed late last night after taking so much alcohol… I just woke up late” he replied defensively.

“I know your colleagues must be disappointed that you got away once again.” It was a statement rather than a question from the pretty damsel.

Frank’s face suddenly brightened up, it was obvious he was having much fun working at the hospital. “Ha! If just a wicked stare could kill I would have been dead by now.”

Linda was glad he was lively again, “Mhn, you are really enjoying your life, all these girls flocking around you, that is what every man likes, right?”

Was that what every man wanted? Frank wasn’t really sure.

Like so many single men and women in general, both Linda and Frank were in that stage of their life where they were faced with the fear of certain outcomes of their relationship lives. Frank was afraid he might not find the right woman that would really satisfy his physical and psychological needs and fill that emptiness inside him. While Linda, like most eligible spinsters, was afraid she might eventually fall for the wrong guy.

Both were facing the same dilemma but coming from different directions.

Chapter 2

Bella remained naked on the bed with her legs still spread apart. She watched as the love of her life stood up from the bed and walked straight to the door where his towel was hanging.

Banjo was a large man with a very muscular body just the way she liked them. Not only was he thick, tall and muscular, he was the only man that had ever given her real sexual satisfaction. He could give it to her just the way she liked it.

He was a pure symbol of ruggedness – everything about his physical outlook said it all. His whole body was tattooed with crazy religious symbols but the best image on his body that she liked was the image on his back. It was the only image that had nothing to do with religion. It was a perfect drawing of her naked self, spreading her legs apart just the way she was lying down on the bed at the moment. The tattoo had been on his back for the past two months and somehow it was making her fall deeper and deeper in love with him. At the moment, she was sure that the love she would have for him tomorrow would be far greater than what she felt today.

She had tried to use sex to calm him down and take his mind off the so-called seer for a moment but watching him clean up his sweaty muscular body revealed that he was still perturbed.

“We can’t just let him remain in the hospital all alone, we can send in someone to be there with him until he eventually wakes up”, she advised.

Banjo was thoughtful; the situation was very dicey. He never intended for things to go this way. All he needed was just a little time to carry the seer along with him after the operation this morning. The police just took time out of his hands. But he sure wasn’t going to back off, not after coming this far. “We have to be careful not to mess things up. The last thing we need right now is for the cops or doctors to know what this is all about. We will send Dimka to go over there and scout this evening.” Banjo could only remain optimistic. He still had hope just as long as the seer didn’t say any word to the wrong person. He must act fast and find a way to make sure he got first-hand information of whatever the taxi driver would say when he woke up.

Bella knew that her man would never be relaxed until this mess was cleared up.

Bella had met Banjo a year ago just when she thought her life was about to come to an end. She was just 22 and was hawking her body for money. She had lost her father three years earlier and was raped by three guys six months later.

She had always been a smart tomboyish girl and was at the verge of being a lesbian before the rape. She liked it and was very angry with herself for liking it. It had made her think she was insane, how could she have enjoyed something so abhorred. Not that she was a virgin before it happened but the sex she had had prior to the rape had made her think sex with men was overrated and so she was thinking of trying it out with women. But the ruthless way those three strangers had handled her had made her rethink her idea of pleasure. Then she learnt that she was a masochist, not that she knew the word but she knew the act. Sadism came along with it and all these somehow gave her sexual pleasure. The death of her dad gave her the opportunity to hit the street full time. He had been the only obstacle she had had and so after his death her mother wasn’t strong enough to take his place.

So she left her poverty-stricken home and entered the world in a bid to find a better life guided by her need for a special kind of pleasure.

As a hawker, she was fond of provoking her men by saying rude things to them or even hitting them. Unfortunately most men avoided her instead; they were scared of her. Nothing was satisfactory.

Then she turned to drugs but it wasn’t working either, in fact drug was distracting her instead. Her body already had a full dose of adrenaline; all she needed was action and not drug. She needed an avenue to express her masochism and sadism. She was sick in the brain and suicide sounded like fun.

Then Banjo came along. At the site of the beast-like man, she instantly knew that he was the angel that would rescue her life and she was right. He was her dark angel, but this time around, the dark angel was her saviour.
“Why don’t we storm into the hospital and take his body? We can’t sit here and do nothing,” she suggested.

Banjo shook his head in disagreement, “Not yet, babe. We must exhaust every possible option first and if there is no way we can get him, then we will strike.”

“We don’t know when he will wake up; we don’t know who he will be talking to… why don’t you send me too as well as Dimka? We must get every bit of information we can before we decide on the next move. There must be no mistakes, remember.”

Banjo smiled and looked at the naked beauty on the bed. He liked her slim strong body; who would have thought the she was comparable to a tigress? Making love to her always sounded like making love to a virgin. She would scream like the act was hurting her yet she would beg him not to stop. Making love to her was like fighting with a wrestler; a slim, small-breasted and beautiful wrestler.

She was right; they must get all the information they could in order to come up with a perfect plan.

“Alright, you will be going to the hospital tomorrow. I don’t know what you intend to do but you have to come back with tangible information.”

“Of course, I will,” she was still lying down, legs spread apart.
“Care to wrestle me one more time?”

Obinna Nduka came out of his hut that was made of clay and grass; the dim nature of the rising early morning sun and the singing bird type indicated to him that today would be sunny. He looked around his environment with delight and allowed the morning fresh air to travel through his nostrils.

He would make out time to clean his surrounding so that there would be a bigger living space for his family, he thought, just as he stretched his neck to see if he could see other households nearby but it seemed he had no neighbour yet. At the rate things were going on in Oboagha, Nduka knew that soon, the bush distance between neighbours would close up.

They had arrived yesterday and were lucky to have been accepted by King Agudi and now they were automatically citizens of Oboagha which was the most secure place to live at the moment.

He couldn’t help but thank his ancestors for delivering them from the hands of the ruthless bandits who had attacked his clan and killed his people. He had spent the better part of the night praying that the souls of his relations and kinsmen that were killed be accepted by the gods. He also hoped that someday, he would see some of his kinsmen who escaped and went different in directions.

The bandits were making the world outside Oboagha a living hell for the weaker communities, the stronger barbaric clans were busy devouring the weaker ones.

Nduka’s clan was a weak one and so they had been devoured. Now, they were a people without any root. He had never imagined that such a thing could happen to his clan. Stories of such happenings had always been told to him since he was a kid; his grandfather had told him how they had fought off strange warriors and retained their land in the past, but today he had seen his kinsmen get slaughtered like goats and their women raped. He was lucky to be among the handful that escaped, all thanks to his seventeen-year- old daughter, Amarachi, who had struggled along with him in other to ensure that the family was safe.

He brought out his arrow and knife and began to sharpen them on a big stone on the floor.


Nduka looked back only to behold his beautiful and energetic daughter. She had the beauty of her mother but inherited the strength of her father. Nduka could only wish that his sons, who were much younger, could be as strong as she was. “Amara, you are already awake,” he watched as she gently approached him while she scratched her eyes.

At seventeen years old, Amarachi had refused to cover her already developed breasts with the calabash cups that were littered everywhere in the bush. She would quickly take them off once her mother was away, complaining that they were uncomfortable. She would rather go bare-chested like her dad even though she didn’t like it when the boys tried to touch and play with it back then in their community.

Nduka thought it was high time she started preparing herself for marriage and so it was necessary for her to start behaving like a woman in order to attract the right male especially now that they were citizens of Oboagha. “I want to prepare for hunting. I am hoping to get the best animals in the bush for the king and also for my family.”

“Yes, the sun is up today, I am sure most of the animals will be out to gather much food before the rain starts.” She sat on the floor, very close to her dad, “But I will come with you.”

“I don’t think you should.” He adjusted himself to face her properly, “This is a new community and I believe people will find it strange to see a girl hunting in the bush. Now, I want you to locate the stream around here and go do some woman duties; hopefully a handsome man will soon see you and marry you.”

Amarachi was not even listening, she had already stood up to prepare. “You know you cannot stop me from going with you, Papa, so save your words for another day.”

Nduka just smiled, he knew she would definitely come with him. Amarachi was his favourite child and he was weak at stopping her from doing her heart desires.

He stood up to tell his wife, who was still sleeping in the hut, that he was leaving. He had spent yesterday building the hurt with his kids and was glad they could come up with something big enough to house all of them.

His wife made some inaudible sound from the dark hut and Nduka understood it to mean that she had acknowledged his request to leave for the bush at the moment. So without much ado, father and daughter left for the bush to hunt.

While they hunted, Amarachi looked like a goddess of war with her athletic thighs dividing the bushes and her bare foot stumping the grassy floor as she ran for the kill with her dad. Her strong full breasts heaved up and down as she fought to regain strength in order to be at the same pace with her dad.

Before the sun was up in the sky, they had captured two mature grasscutters and one young male wolf. They decided to take a rest before retiring for the day.

“You have to mark this area of the bush, I saw some tracks that indicated abundant game and it is obvious that few people hunt around here” Nduka said. It felt like he was in the bush with a son.

“I noticed that too, Papa. I have taken note of all the areas already.”

“We will take the two grasscutters to the benevolent king who has accepted us into his kingdom. We will go there directly from here before going home.”

“Yes, Papa,” Amarachi replied and made to stand up; suddenly there was a sound of shuffling grasses behind her father.

Both father and daughter looked towards the direction, as they instinctively grabbed their weapons and stood side by side each other.

“Who is there?” Nduka asked, trying not to give away the fear he felt. He could only hope it wasn’t the barbarians who had devoured his home. After what he saw a few days ago, he now lived in fear of the barbarians.

A young man of about 26 years gently pushed the tall grasses aside and made himself clearly visible.

He was looking different with strange feathers on his long hair and there were chalk marks all over his body, “Do not be afraid,” his voice sounded like one who was used to giving orders that must be obeyed. “I am the seer of Ntaa community. We are a small clan that lives behind the dreaded sacred forest over there.”

Nduka and his daughter didn’t know anything about a dreaded sacred bush, “What do you want from us?” the brave hunter asked.

“It’s about your daughter. I sensed a strange spiritual vibration from afar and decided to come and see who it was that was arousing my sixth sense,” the strange young man said.

“What do you want with my daughter? What spiritual vibration are you talking about?” the father probed.

“Just relax, sir. I don’t mean you any harm. I am just a seer and I sometimes sense things about people. I can tell your future, your past or tell people about themselves or personalities as it relates to the spiritual. Right now what I see about your daughter is not clear. I can’t say if it is good or bad, but I will advise you to leave Oboagha as soon as possible.”

Nduka almost started laughing, “You can’t be serious. We just escaped death a few days ago and the gods were kind to us by helping us get refuge in Oboagha, one of the strongest communities around here. My family was accepted by the good king and now we have shelter and fresh hunting ground and the best thing you can come up with, as a seer, is that we should leave this peaceful place as soon as possible?” The man must actually be crazy, he thought. “So where do you suggest we go, dear seer?”

“You can go anywhere else but here.”

Nduka scoffed, “Is that the best you can come up with? Anywhere but here. And you want me to just go take my family and go anywhere.” He looked at his daughter, “Let’s get away from this man. Get the animals quickly.” To the seer, “you’d better stay away from me and my daughter.” It was a stern warning.

Father and daughter packed up their things and began to leave.

As the distance between them increased, the seer’s voice was heard, “Your daughter is special, and she has a difficult future! Young girl, meet me up in three days and I will tell you things you need to know. I will be waiting for you right here in three days’ time!”

“Do not pay any attention to him”, Nduka said to Amarachi as he saw her look back once again. “Let’s keep on going.”

Once they were out of the strange man’s sight, Nduka quickly dismissed thoughts of their encounter with the seer out of his mind. But it continued to bug the young girl.

Soon they found themselves on the way to the king’s palace. It was a large compound with beautifully designed clay/raffia huts. The king had three wives and each of the wives lived in a separate hut.

King Agudi was one of the strongest warriors that ever lived. It was believed that he could fight and kill twenty warriors all alone at the same time. No barbarian dared attack his kingdom because he wasn’t just a strong man; he had the best warriors alive around him.

The good news was that the king was a very kind and wise man. He believed that there was strength in numbers and so made his community a haven for refugees. He would take them in after they had sworn an oath to be loyal to him. And so young men from all over the place, who felt they owed him a favour, joined his ever-growing army thereby making Oboagha a much stronger nation.

Nduka and his daughter quickly knelt down on the floor in respect to the great man as soon as they were ushered into the palace.

The king was sitting on his throne with his first son, Prince Andaka, by his side. There were four guards beside them and an extra four at the door.

“May you live long, great king of Oboagha! May the spirit of your fathers continue to guide and strengthen you”, Nduka loudly prayed.

“You are welcome,” King Agudi replied with a warm smile on his face. He knew that they were among the families that were accepted yesterday into his kingdom.
Nduka and his daughter stood up and he beckoned unto her to present the gift to the king.

The king and his son continued to stare at them with curiosity. Prince Andaka’s eyes were focussed on Amarachi.

With the two grasscutters in her hand, Amarachi walked up to the king and knelt before him, “I and my father haunted these animals down from the bush this morning. And we thought it wise to present them to you as a sign of appreciation for your kindness towards us. Please accept this token from us, great king.”

King Agudi smiled and beckoned on one of his guards to take the dead animals from her. To her father, “Thank you very much. May I know your name and what you do?”

“I am Obinna Nduka and I am a hunter”, the hunter confidently answered.

“Very good. I don’t think we have very good hunters in Oboagha, I will like you to train anyone interested so that Oboagha citizens can also begin to enjoy abundant meat from the bush”, the king requested.

“I will be honoured to do as you please, Great One.” Now he understood why the surrounding bushes were in abundance of game.

Twenty three-year-old Prince Andaka couldn’t take his eyes off Amarachi. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She was a thickset young girl with a very strong appearance. Her long hair was brushed downwards allowing it to flow down over her shoulders stopping right at the base of her full firm breasts. The two were pointing directly at him; never in his life had he seen such firm breasts. Even that of younger girls in Oboagha didn’t stand this solid, yet they struggled to cover it with calabash cups. This was a sight to behold as they led his eyes down to her flat tummy that balanced on an amazing feminine hip. The grass that covered her private part could barely go around her hips and as she turned to face her father, she displayed a rigid butt and two strong thighs that were carried with confidence by two equally sturdy legs.

He fell in love and began to day dream about the girl just as she walked out of the palace with her father.

*** ***

Prince Andaka could be said to be as strong as his father, some even thought he could be stronger. He was feared by all the warriors and citizens of Oboagha. This was because he didn’t in any way look as benevolent as his father. The fact was that he was the complete opposite of the king.

The brave warrior-prince was responsible for training the warriors and guards on how to fight. He was a master in the art of wrestling and the use of weapons. He was well-respected and it was believed that he would be greater than his father. But the people were worried because this soon-to-be king instigated fear rather than comfort.

Andaka on the other hand couldn’t wait to take his father’s place. To him, his father was becoming weaker by the day and this attribute would put the kingdom at the mercy of barbarian clans in the near future. Andaka believed that being fierce and strong had got nothing to do with being kind. To him, being kind and nice was a weakness on its own and a great king should never have such attributes. He was angry because he felt people were taking advantage of his father’s weakness and soon the throne would lose its respect.

He felt he needed to act fast before things got out of hand.

Talking to his father had not helped the situation and it seemed the king was bent on destroying Oboagha before he passed on. Prince Andaka remembered the last conversation he had with his father just before he accepted the last batch of refugees.

“Father, I would suggest that from now on, every refugee must work for the palace for a period of time before becoming a citizen. Furthermore, they must realize they are second-class citizens and should be treated as such. Therefore, those who have cattle should give them all to the king.

I am not happy with the freedom they enjoy at no cost. Soon they will want to enforce their strange beliefs on us. Have you thought of this, Father?” the prince had complained and suggested.

But to his amazement, the king had got mad at him. “I cannot believe that this is coming from my son, my heir. Have you failed to realize that we have become stronger over the years by accepting more people into our community? What has blinded you, my son, that you can’t see how we are becoming a greater community where the people are happy?”

The prince didn’t see it that way. “Everybody might seem happy today, Father, but you and I know that it will only be a matter of time before things get bad. All these bad people out there that are destroying weaker communities and taking their things were once good and happy. My worry, Father, is that we are not doing anything about solving future problems that might arise when people get greedy and want more than you can give.”

“I am King Agudi, remember. I am afraid of no one. I can take down more than twenty men all by myself with my bare hands! I am your father, and I didn’t build this great kingdom on fear. My strength is more visible when I am able to make the people happy,” the king echoed.
“There is no doubt that you are a great man father, but do the people still see you like that?”

“What choice do they have?” the king asked with a confident smile on his face.

“I am afraid they might think you are weak in the long run, Father”, the prince tactically said.

This stopped the king for a while. He walked up to his son and looked into his eyes. “How dare you say that?” he roared. “Do you think I am weak because I am good to the people?”

“I know there are barbarians out there who will do anything to take over all the goodies this kingdom has acquired. I know every day opens up with a possibility of this kingdom being attacked by these barbarians. I also know that there is also a possibility of the people who you accept in here for free on a daily basis becoming an internal danger for us all. We have the outsiders to worry about and we can’t afford to let our guards down with these strangers in here, they…”

“I am in control of everything! You don’t have to remind me of anything like I am retarded.” He stopped and looked intensely at his son once again, “Do you actually know who you are talking to? You think I should be afraid of these weak refugees that couldn’t even protect their land? You think I will appear stronger if I oppress the weak and instigate fear in them?”

“I believe you will soon appear weak if you don’t, Father.”

“Oh, shut up!” the king barked.

“I believe I speak the truth. You can’t be nice and gentle and think the people will respect you at the same time. I am afraid my strong father is getting weaker by the day…”

He was stopped by an unexpected slap from the king. “Listen to me and listen real good. You might be my first son but you are not my only son and I decide who will be the next king of this kingdom that I built with my sweat. I didn’t raise a barbarian and I will not allow you to ruin everything I have laboured for with such thinking. If you seriously want to be the next king of Oboagha, you desperately need to change your mind set about what rulership entails.”

Those last words of the king had sunk into Andaka’s heart like a heavy stone thrown into water. They had woken him up every morning and they were always his last thoughts before he slept at night. They hunted him in his dreams because he knew he could not afford not to be the king of Oboagha. Worse still, he could never change his mindset about his desired style of ruler ship.

He had no plan yet, but he knew something must be done.

Then he remembered the girl he had seen earlier today, the one that had come to the palace with her father.

The thought of the angel almost made him forget his dilemma.

Did she actually go hunting with her dad?

Wow! It would be fun having a wife who could actually hunt, a beautiful one at that.

“Who is there?” he called out.

One of the guards outside his hut came in, “My prince,” the young guard answered.

Prince Andaka was sitting on a carved stem of a palm tree in his room; it was a royal seat that was beautifully carved for the royal house. He looked up at the guard, “I want you to find out everything you can about that girl who had brought those grasscutters with her dad. I want to know where they live, where she baths, and where she hunts. Find out if there is a man in her life and I want to know what it will take to woo her.”

“I will do that right away, my prince.” The guard replied and walked out of the room.

“She will definitely be mine.” Andaka whispered to himself with a determined grin on his face.

*** ***

The Present

Banjo paced up and down in his living room. He couldn’t wait for Bella and Dimka to come back from the hospital with positive news that would enable them determine the next step. Of course, he was sure that they would definitely succeed; Bella wasn’t the type that would leave a mission incomplete before retiring.

Somehow, Banjo knew that Prince was in the sitting room watching him. Why didn’t he want to speak with him? he thought. He looked around the room in a bid to check for signs of the invisible being, but he knew it was a wasted effort because Prince only appeared just when he wanted to. Still the spiritualist continued to search in vain.

His house was a two-bedroom flat that hardly saw any visitor other than Bella and Dimka. The entire house looked more like a modern traditional shrine.

The whole house was littered with expensive sculptures that were made of gold and rare woods. They were custom-made sculptures that looked like nothing but alien images to observers. Banjo believed these images were the best he could portray the spiritual beings that he had seen in his dreams and during meditations.

The walls of the whole house were also covered with strange paintings of creepy spiritual beings. The images looked more like wicked demons of the underworld. Some looked like unfriendly water spirits while others looked like beings from the pit of hell.

Right from when he was a teenager, Banjo had always been fascinated by spiritism, mysticism, occultism, voodoo and abstract travel, no thanks to his early religious upbringing which had left him with nothing but the desire to communicate with spiritual beings. He didn’t relent in this quest.

So while he mates were busy talking about sex and girls, going to parties and watching movies, young Banjo buried himself in spirit-finding activities. He read every material available on spiritism and he visited almost everyone who claimed to have contact with spiritual beings.

Soon he found out that people knew very little about what they were talking about, but he also came to believe that these beings were real. Another great discovery was that evil beings were far easier to communicate with than good ones, if there were any.

Spirit beings – at least most of them – were bad and if you want to get to them you have to be bad, Banjo believed. Perpetrating evil acts was one of the easiest ways for one to open up communication with majority of the evil spirits available. And so Banjo justifiably involved himself in bullying, petty theft and molestation. He just had to ensure he wasn’t caught.

Banjo also believed that the physical body had to be in a good condition before the spirits could make contact with the spirit being it contained, so he fed well and exercised in his spare time.

Like every average man, Banjo also desired to be rich, famous and great. But, just as the musicians believed they would make it by diligently indulging in musical activities or just as the medical doctors believed they would make it by studying hard to be better medical practitioners, Banjo believed the path to a successful and great life was by understanding spiritism.

As he became older his criminal activities graduated into organized crime, something he loved doing because he believed his guardian angel was with him. He also believed he was fulfilling his destiny.

Unfortunately, by the time he was thirty, he was yet to have any form of communication or contact with a spirit being. Yet he wasn’t discouraged because he still believed that he would get there; in fact he was sure he was on the right path because of the kind of dreams and inspirations he sometimes got.

He knew his dreams were different from that of the average man. He also saw vision sometimes and could hear voices or manipulate people with his mind. He had the ability to sense danger and knew when to leave a crime scene. What he had, some people would say, made him a super-human but he knew he was still on the journey to his destination.

Banjo had seen Bella’s image in his visions and dreams even before meeting her. He had known where to seek her and so when he found her he knew she was meant for him. That was why he had drawn her naked image on his back. He had also done rituals that would ensure their souls became one in the spirit. No wonder, they had been able to have telepathic communication on few occasions. He was still working on perfecting their sixth senses through spiritism.

She was the best thing that had happened to him and he sometimes wondered if she was real. Bella would watch him molest a fellow girl to death and would feel aroused by the act. She even brought out the craziest part of him and sometimes made him feel he was not an ordinary being.

She was crazy and so was he.

And he believed that together, they would one day achieve what no human had ever achieved.

Banjo was on the right path to establishing physical communication with spirit beings and he was sure that this would make him a supernatural being. What happened to him a few weeks earlier confirmed this.

He had started noticing that the arrangements of his stuff – furniture, electronics, etc. – were out of place once he left his house and came back. Bella had observed this too. At first they thought that this was the handiwork of an intruder but after observing this phenomenon for a week, Banjo realized that something beyond the ordinary was visiting his home whenever he was away.

The excitement Banjo felt upon this realization made him abandon every immediate project and concentrate on finding out what was really happening. Then it dawned on him that something spiritual was trying to communicate with him in a way very few humans had ever seen. So he began to research on the best way to create a medium of communication.

After much research and consultations which took him about ten days, Banjo knew what best to do.

He fed well for three days without going out, had continuous sex with Bella and molested adopted girls. He also exercised and meditated. On the third day, by midday, he lit seven red candles in his sitting room and arranged them in a circle. Then he sat in the middle and began to speak to the being.

Just as he believed, the being spoke with him.

“Can you please tell me who you are?” Banjo had politely and confidently demanded.

“I am Prince Andaka of Oboagha and I am very happy that we can talk. I believe we can help each other and we both have important roles to play towards achieving a great goal”, a strange voice echoed in Banjo’s ears. He didn’t run because he wasn’t afraid. This was what he had sought for all his life.

And that was how it all started; the mission towards a greater goal in which he had found himself involved for the past three days.

Right now, he decided to stop pacing up and down the room and go and do some meditation. He had to patiently wait for Bella and Dimka to return from the hospital with positive information about the seer.

Everything just had to work out perfectly so that he could achieve all that the invisible Prince had promised him.



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