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The Tarnished Ones - Literature (6) - Nairaland

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Re: The Tarnished Ones by Iizykidoo(m): 10:47am On Feb 18
Nostradamus:
I love that Jeffrey guy grin

He believes in his brute strength.

Which might be his downfall if he his not careful...with all what he witnessed, he still believes gun is his sure protection...

1 Like

Re: The Tarnished Ones by Royver(m): 11:33pm On Feb 19
CHAPTER 11

The wheels on the bus go round and round
Round and round
Round and Round
The wheels on the bus go round and round
All day long


“All through the town.”


“Say what?” Jeffery took a second to glance at me before moving his eyes back to the road.


“The wheels on the bus go round and round, all though the town.” I repeated. “That’s how it’s sung.”


“Is not,” Jeffery exclaimed.


“Is too.” I insisted.


We had been driving for nine hours straight. Jeffery had finally conceded to Zeke sitting at the back as we sped down to Port Harcourt. We hadn’t stopped anywhere for food, choosing rather to buy snacks on the road from hawkers.


Zeke was currently deeply asleep in the backseat. I had taken a little nap around 12 noon when the sun was high in the sky. Jeffery was the only one who was awake throughout. I had offered to drive for a while but he waved me off, he was fine, he drove long distances like this all the time. Inwardly I was glad he declined my offer, I had never been much of a fan of driving since I crashed my father’s car as a teenager during my first driving lesson trying to avoid what I later realized was a ghost.


“You know, the words don’t matter.” Jeffery huffed, “The important thing is that you enjoy the tune…”


“I think I have heard that excuse before” I laughed. “Only that it was being sung by a pastor and his reasoning was the other way around. Words more important than the tune.”


“I’m curious, what Church do you attend?” Jeffery asked.


“Catholic. Any orthodox church actually. I feel more comfortable in those.” I replied.


“How so?”


Well, you know, Orthodox Churches tend not raise hell as frequently as the other more liberal ones do.” I sighed. “It’s a bit difficult focusing on a sermon if there are manifestations popping up everywhere.”


“What, you mean like spirits? Ghosts?” Jeffery changed gear and increased his speed


“I don’t see spirits per se. I mean, I can, but, I see more of symbols. They don’t have to be literal. Like bottles chained to a man shows me he’s an alcoholic. A woman with broken wings shows me a good person whose potentials have been crushed by bad companionship, and so on.”


“You have issues my friend.” Jeffery smiled. “So, what do you see when you look at me.”


I turned to look at the road, it was long and winding and not too many vehicles were plying this route. I considered my response. I hadn’t seen his dead girlfriend since the day of the proposal so I decided to leave that out for now.


“You’re hiding something from me.” I said, matter-of-factly.


Jeffery slowed his speed and shot me a wary look.


“What? Why would you say that?”


“Oh, I’ve known from when you barged in on me at the joint in Ikeja.” I replied. “There is a small box of secrets floating over your head.”


“I don’t... I don’t know what you’re talking about!”


I looked at Jeffery with raised eyebrows and he swallowed and said nothing more. We drove on for a few minutes in silence.


“So, if I were hiding secrets wouldn’t you know what they were?” He stammered


“Not really. Not unless you told me voluntarily. The manifestation is enough to let me know the secrets do not concern me personally so I’m not worried. Everyone has a past, some more gruesome than others. I’m guessing I will find out more before this journey is over.” I smiled grimly at him and returned my gaze to the road. “I always find out the truth though. It’s not a voluntary thing, it just kind of happens. Can be tiring sometimes.”


Jeffery relaxed a bit and chuckled.


“You’re a queer one.”


“I know.”


We drove on in silence for about half a minute.


“Screw it.” He finally said through clenched teeth.


“Look,” I said, “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to…”


“Well I am telling you so kindly shut up let me pour my heart out alright?” Jeffery snapped.


I kept quiet.


“I killed her bro.”


“Who?”


“My girlfriend.”


“What?!”

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Re: The Tarnished Ones by Kaycee9242(m): 10:05am On Feb 20
OK na, well done op

1 Like

Re: The Tarnished Ones by Royver(m): 11:38am On Feb 20
“It’s not like I pulled the trigger, although I might as well have.” He sighed. “Look, I just want you to know you can trust me one hundred percent. I know you think I’m some sort of tough guy with nerves of steel…”


And extremely talkative too if you ask me, Chukwudi the Stronger’s voice wafted into my thoughts but I mentally shushed him.


“…and that’s true, don’t get me wrong, you’ve nothing to fear by my side. However Christy, she saw right through all of that and knew I needed to lean on someone too, you know? Like I needed some good loving, not the tarnished type that money gives, but…”


He gestured close to his heart with his free hand and I nodded my understanding.


“It was love at first sight for both of us. She didn’t care about my past, only about my future. I told her all my secrets and she didn’t budge, rather offered to pray for me and introduce me to Jesus. I laughed hard at that but she was serious. I told her I had a string of girlfriends already and was a heavy drinker and smoker and I wasn’t talking the simple stuff like tobacco. But she didn’t give up, turned me into some sort of project to clean me up and make me better, more responsible. It was all fun and games to me at first because I wasn’t taking any of it seriously.


But she was a real life church girl, always praying for me and stuff. Waved away all the money I threw in her face. Walked out on me a couple of times and didn’t tolerate an inch of my bullshit. Even had me call my parents once.

She was the real deal you know? I didn’t need her to tell me, I could see that she was looking out for my best interest. Something that my spoilt upbringing had never offered me. She kept on telling me she loved me for me, and that I had great potential for kindness and generosity. That my happy-go-lucky attitude could be put to better use than getting people in trouble. If I could only stop treating people like objects, feel how they felt when I hurt them, empathized with them and all that. And I loved her so much for bringing out that part of me that I tried to be good. I tried real hard for six magical months.”


He suddenly became downcast.


“A month ago, she caught me with another girl. I don’t know what I was looking for, maybe I had gotten bored or whatever, maybe I wanted to see if I was still fit for the hunt you know?” He sighed, “A laundry staff in one of the hotels my dad owns. She walked in on us in my apartment. I tried to explain to her that it was nothing, the girl was nothing, just a fling, but she ran out of my apartment crying.”


The silver box above his head disappeared and in its place was a miniature phantasm of his young and pretty girlfriend, slim and dark skinned in her purple silk dress. She looked at him sadly and smiled.


“I was angry at first and said to myself good riddance but by evening I had begun to miss her. I realized I was being a fool and of all the girls I had had she was the only one that showed me genuine love. That night I couldn’t sleep. I sent her messages after messages preaching my undying love and begging her to give me another chance. I called her a couple of times and she didn’t pick. I thought she was still angry with me. So I thought I’d give it some time. The next day I went to her apartment and…and…”


His voice became shaky and a sob escaped his lips. The apparition sat on his shoulder and patted him comfortingly. He fought back the tears and bit his lip.


“She was hit by a car while trying to cross the road. Apparently she had been too emotionally distraught to look where she was going. She died just a few yards away from my apartment but I didn’t know because I was too stupid to run after her, stop her, calm her down. My neighbour filled me in on the details. He didn't even know I was indoors when it happened, felt I had gone off on one of my travels. By the time I got to the hospital where she had been taken to, her parents were already there crying over her body in the morgue. When I asked to see her, they inquired who I was and I said ‘a friend from secondary school’. I didn’t have the guts to tell them we’d been in a relationship for six months. I don’t know if they knew but they never asked. She was buried in her home town the next day.”


The apparition on his shoulder gave him one last smile and vanished and the silver box came back into view.


“Whoa. That’s pretty deep.” I breathed.


Jeffery smiled wistfully. “Well, there you go. That’s my big secret. I killed the love of my life and didn’t even have the guts to go to her funeral. But I’ve tried to be good for her since that day. Got myself cleaned up, ostracized all my friends, not one good one among the whole lot. But I refuse to go to Church. I don’t see why she had to die when I was the one doing the bad stuff. I’m gonna be good for her, for myself, not for anyone else.”


“There’s something else though.” I said, eyeing the box which had strangely turned black. “Something you said would make me think you were crazy. What is it?”


“Well, last night at the inn, I didn’t go to get high or anything. I’ve been clean for weeks now. I…er, had a dream where…” he hesitated.


“Go on,” I urged.


“Well, she kind of appeared to me in a dream, Christy that is, and told me to go to my former hangout at Ikeja, that someone I would recognize needed my help. I’m not one to believe in ghosts and the supernatural and all that but I couldn’t quite shake of the feeling no matter how hard I tried. I finally decided to check the place out to ease the nagging thought and besides, I had lost my job so I wasn’t really doing anything. I got there around eight in the evening and got another urge to wait. And so I did, right until close to midnight when you walked in. Crazy I know but that’s what happened.”


The car went downhill and in the distance a lorry approached on the other lane, carrying logs of timber.


“You said earlier that you saw ghosts right?” He said, glancing at me.


“Yeah, sometimes.” I replied. The box was behaving oddly. It seemed to be vibrating and metamorphosing into something else, bulging and bringing out blebs which popped spontaneously into nothingness. “Er, are you alright?”


“Who me?” Jeffery glanced at me again in surprise. “I’m fine, you are the one that said crazy is your thing. I just wanted to ask if you could like see her floating around me or anything like that.” He laughed nervously.


“How would that help you?” I asked, still eyeing the now violently vibrating little box. “Would you feel better knowing there was a ghost following you everywhere and dotting over you? I doubt it. Leave the dead alone, focus on your life.”


“Not that I believe any of that stuff, you understand…” Jeffery was saying, but then he stopped and became quiet.


And then the box, now a huge misshapen mass and vibrating like a black cartoon alarm clock, burst open and a dark substance flowed out of it and covered Jeffery’s eyes.


And then the manifestation vanished.


Jeffery suddenly turned the car sharply into the other lane right in the path of the oncoming timber-hauling lorry. The lorry driver swore loudly and swerved, missing us narrowly even as Jeffery steered back to his lane.


“What happened?!” I gasped.


“The bastard swerved right into me!” Jeffery exclaimed. “All these drunk drivers!”


“No he didn’t!” I said, “He was driving steadily on his lane! You were the one that rushed into him!”


A thin film of sweat appeared on Jeffery’s forehead.


“What is wrong with all these drivers today? See them, fighting to overtake one another!”


I looked at the road ahead; a tanker laden with fuel was headed at a moderate speed in our direction followed closely by a truck carrying what looked like yams. Both vehicles were keeping to their lanes. I looked at Jeffery’s hands and saw that they had begun to tremble.


“What the heck?” He fumed, “There’s nowhere for me to pass!” He swerved to one side of the road, then the next.


The fuel tanker approached us with caution, the driver blaring his horn and watching for any more erratic moves from Jeffery. I turned back to Zeke, he was still sleeping peacefully in the back, then I noticed a bald headed imp sleeping beside him, on his shoulder actually, the kind that usually appeared when people said long prayers or weren’t paying attention in church. It was a somnolence imp, usually sent out to make someone drowsy and lose concentration. Despite it's small size, it was the fattest one I had ever seen. The blue orb from the psalm I had said the night before was still there but it had cracked in some places. It held strong as long as the protected didn't think negative or fearful thoughts. Zeke's hidden fear of what we were going to encounter with Egbegradudu must have worn it out eventually and the imp must have gotten in through one of the cracks.


There was no way a somnolence imp of that size would have happened upon Zeke by chance. He had been knocked out.


We were under attack.




“Jeffery, what can you see in front of you?” I asked urgently.


“These tankers, they are blocking the road, do they want us to have an accident?” Jeffery cursed under his breath.


And yet he made no attempt to slow down.


I grabbed the steering wheel and wrestled it with Jeffery as he stubbornly continued to steer us into the path of the oncoming vehicles.


“Jeffery, I know what I’m about to say is crazy but close your eyes!”


“What?!”


We were now bulleting towards the tanker at high speed. The driver of the tanker started to make frantic movements in his cockpit, struggling to avoid us and blaring his horn continuously at the same time as he slammed on the breaks. A sharp piercing noise rent the air as brake-pads burnt unto the tarmac trying to bring the huge vehicle to a stop. The one behind started to swerve out of the way to avoid colliding with the one in front.


“Just for a moment, close your eyes!”


Jeffery stared teary-eyed into the oncoming disaster and then suddenly closed his eyes, letting me control the steering wheel. I steered the car back to our lane as the tanker whizzed past us, the driver ejaculating expletives and spittle in our direction. The truck driver behind him swerved back into his lane just in the nick of time, giving us a clear route.


“We made it! Thank goodness!” Jeffery exclaimed, opening his eyes. And then he yelled

“Cows!” and shut them again.


I looked ahead, the road was clear both physically and supernaturally.


“Id!” I shouted.


Chukwudi the Stronger came to the fore.


You’re looking at the wrong place, he said, directing my eyes away from the road and back at Jeffery. I looked upward. Right there sitting on Jeffery’s forehead where the box initially had been was a creature I hadn’t seen in a while. It looked like a big black bat but on closer inspection was a cross-eyed hairy monkey with leather wings. It sat squarely on Jeffery’s head and squealed in delight as it gave him delusions.


“Hello there!” Chukwudi the Stronger grinned. “Long time no see!”


The creature gawped at me and then screeched in terror at having been seen. I ignited my hands with yellow flame and grabbed the manifestation off of Jeffery’s head. It was like holding a small bolt of lightning in my hand which was usually how it felt when I made physical contact with manifestations. In one swift movement I snapped its neck and it disappeared.


“Whoa, what happened?” Jeffery said, opening his eyes, “I feel much better…Hey, the cows are gone!”


“Are you alright?” I asked, as I surreptitiously checked the car for other unwanted passengers.


“I should be asking you!” Jeffery yawned. “I am so sorry; I must have dozed off somehow and started dreaming.”


I nodded. “Sure. Right in the middle of our conversation.”


‘It’s happened before,” Jeffery yawned again. “That is why it isn’t good for one person to be driving; fatigue can do a lot of things to the brain.”


“Yes it can,” I replied, not interested in arguing. “Want me to drive now?”


“Yes please.” I’m so sorry, I almost got us killed.” He looked very confused but was gradually calming down. “I’m going to take a short nap.”
He parked the car and we exchanged seats. I took over the driving from there while he relaxed in the passenger chair and soon dozed off. As I drove down the express I happened to glance up and saw a cloud of the lunacy creatures hovering above the vehicle. I swore under my breath but Chukwudi the Stronger rumbled just beneath my skin unperturbed. They seemed to be undecided whether to send another of their kind down to finish the work. Some of them fluttered towards the car tentatively.


“Try it again, I beg you.” Chukwudi the Stronger dared, his fangs bared for slaughter.


The creatures shrieked in terror and dispersed.

I sighed in relief and focused on the road. If Egbegradudu could control that many lunacy creatures he must be very powerful indeed. He reminded me of someone from long ago.

What if…


I shook the thought from my head. It wasn’t possible, he had gone mad.


I faced the road again and drove the rest of the way to Port Harcourt as Zeke began to snore loudly in the back seat oblivious to all that had just happened.

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Re: The Tarnished Ones by Kaycee9242(m): 7:13pm On Feb 20
Nice one op
Re: The Tarnished Ones by cassbeat(m): 11:52pm On Feb 21
Been a while expecting more updates...
Re: The Tarnished Ones by littleguy444: 5:04pm On Feb 22
It looks like chukwudi is ready for actiin
Re: The Tarnished Ones by littleguy444: 5:05pm On Feb 22
It looks like chukwudi is ready for action
Re: The Tarnished Ones by MightyFortress: 1:17pm On Feb 23
Superb!!!
Re: The Tarnished Ones by Jesubaby(f): 11:39pm On Feb 24
Nice one. Thanks for the update.
Re: The Tarnished Ones by Mimisboygreat: 11:21am On Feb 25
Royver oh Royver! what have you done?! I'm glued mehn.. keep it up bro ✌️
Re: The Tarnished Ones by olenyi(m): 12:04am On Feb 27
Royver:
CHAPTER 10


"Holy shit."
*******

Ride on Royver
Re: The Tarnished Ones by Royver(m): 4:18pm On Feb 27
CHAPTER 12


“Ah, Elimbu!” Jeffery exclaimed, reading the name of the town we were passing through from a sign post. “We are almost there.”


We drove on a few more kilometers until we got to Trans-Amadi way. Zeke had woken up at the back seat and was watching the surroundings intently. He suddenly signaled for me to go right.
“Turn in here.” He said, his hand going round his throat reflexively for protection from the oath. Nothing happened and he relaxed.


“Trust me, it’s gone.” I said as I glanced at him from the rearview mirror.


“And once more I am appreciative.” He replied. “But do you have a plan once we get there?”


“Sure,” I said without taking my eyes off the road. “Walk in, grab her and get out.”


Zeke blinked and then stared at me for a long time.


“What?” I raised an eyebrow, “Not simple enough?”


“I mean Egbegradudu sir. How do you plan on defeating him?”


“Well honestly I was planning on playing it by ear.” I said determinedly.


“You still do not understand sir. I have the fullest confidence that if we meet Egbegradudu and you do not defeat him immediately, I will not make it out of there alive. And neither will your friend here. He is that ruthless. You’re our only hope.”


“Don’t worry asshole.” Jeffery patted the gun holster at his side. “I’m packing heat. Depending of course on how many body guards there are.”


“Egbegradudu does not keep bodyguards” Zeke said then added ominously. “He does not need them.”


“Oh I sincerely hope he believes that.” Jeffery said with a wide grin and winked at me. “This will be easy.”


“It’s been three days, We are a good two days early.” I replied. “Whatever he planned on doing he definitely hasn’t done it.”


“If she is hurt in any way, I’ll kill your former master.” Jeffery said, turning around to eye Zeke belligerently. Zeke simply rolled his eyes.


The road we had taken was a lonely one, with thick bushes on either side. It gradually narrowed into one lane and it became obvious that cars rarely plowed this route. Jeffery sat up straight, sleep completely gone from his eyes as he became alert.


“I don’t like this place bro.” He said, bringing out his gun. “It gives off a bad vibe.”


“Look who’s perceiving the supernatural.” I teased, but Jeffery wasn’t amused.


“I don’t need any super powers to tell we are in a bad place.” He jabbed an accusing finger at Zeke, “Your boy here could be leading us right into a trap.”


“I know you don’t trust me, Mister Jeffery.” Zeke responded biliously. “And you don’t have to. Trust Mr. Chukwudi, he’ll keep you safe.”


Jeffery snorted and turned his gaze back to the road, his gun at the ready.


I drove on for another half hour and then the road came to an abrupt end. Ahead of us was a narrow footpath. Around us were trees and bushes so high they almost blotted out the sunlight. I stopped the car.


“We continue from here on foot.” Zeke announced, and alighted from the vehicle.


Jeffery and I looked at each other for a moment, then followed suit.


“You think the car will be safe here?” I asked Zeke who shrugged.


“Maybe. Nobody comes here except people like me.”


Jeffery grunted in obvious disapproval and then went about locking the car doors after which he put the key in his trouser pocket.


“What kind of security does Egbegradudu have in this place?” I asked Zeke


“As I said before, none, usually. At the most two guards if he is around, to run errands for him. Where we are going is very isolated and the victims are usually well tied up so they cannot escape. We only come around once in a while to bring them food.”


“Bastard,” Jeffery muttered.


Zeke glared at him, “I never said I was a good man, far from it. But I am trying to help and your consistently snide remarks are beginning to irritate me…”


“It’s alright Zeke,” I tried calming him down. “What kind of place is it?


Zeke sighed. “It is a house, a strange house that we do not enter unless the master tells us to. That is where we kept the woman.”


“Was she…badly hurt?” I asked.


“She put up quite a fight at first but we were able to knock her out and tie her up tight…” He saw the look on my face and paused. “We did not hurt her.”


“Alright,” I said. “Lead the way.”


Without another word, Zeke entered the footpath.



I followed suit and Jeffery took up the rear, his gun in his hand.

_______________&&&&&______________&&&&_______

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Re: The Tarnished Ones by oghenekome51(f): 12:47am On Feb 28
Thanks Royver for the update! Please don't leave and abandon us your loyal readers! Eagerly Anticipating your next update!

2 Likes

Re: The Tarnished Ones by Royver(m): 8:11am On Feb 28
The bush-path was eerily silent and isolated. There was no sign it had been used recently. The plants seemed to reach out and grab us in a vain effort to keep us from moving forward as we forged deeper into the bush.

After a while the path divided into two. Without hesitation, Zeke took the left path. We continued until the path divided into two again and once more Zeke took the left. We walked for more than thirty minutes when we suddenly came to a wide clearing.


“No guards huh?” Jeffery sneered.


In front of us, standing watch outside a makeshift hut made of wooden planks was a man. He was dark-skinned, thick set and bald-headed just like Zeke. On his chest and arms were various amulets. Hanging on his right shoulder was an old AK-47 rifle.


“No guards most of the time,” Zeke whispered with a shrug as we quickly took cover in the bushes.


“Friend of yours?” I asked


“I don’t recognize him.” Zeke replied, spying through the thicket. “Maybe he’s new.”


“Doesn’t matter.” Jeffery said, bringing out his gun and cocking it as quietly as he could. Then he took aim.


“If you shoot you might alert others.” I cautioned.


Jeffery thought about it and sighed, holstering his weapon. “So what do we do? Can we go around him?”


“No, this is the only way in or out." Zeke said. "We will make too much noise if we cut our way through the dense bush. We have to find a way to neutralize him without alerting anyone else, though I doubt there will be anyone else close by.”


Jeffery sniggered but kept quiet.


“Let me go to him.” Zeke offered. “If I can get close enough, I should be able to get the gun from him.”


“No way. No way!” Jeffery whispered harshly and turned to me, “He’ll simply alert him of our presence. They are in cahoots together and this is his opportunity to get help!”


Zeke sighed.


“Why don’t you blast him with fire or something?” Jeffery urged. “Use your heebie jeebies or whatever magic you call it and knock him down. I’ll guard this one.” He jerked his chin at Zeke who remained silent.


“I don’t throw fireballs, Jeffery! It doesn’t work like that!”


“Well then sneak up on him! I would have gone myself but I don’t trust you and this guy alone, you’re too relaxed around him.”


“There’s too much clearing between us, he’s bound to see someone sneaking up on him.” I said, racking my brain for a solution. “Maybe if we…”


Zeke moved so fast it was like a cobra striking. In one swift motion he spun around and buried his fist deep into Jeffery’s gut. Jeffery gasped and doubled over as Zeke pulled out his gun and pointed it at us.


“Ba…Bastard,” Jeffery coughed in pain as Zeke stood to his feet.


“Hey, Hey you!” He shouted at the guard who became alert immediately, pointing his AK-47 at us and cocking it.


“Oya come and help me with these two! They have been holding me captive since. Is Oga Egbegradudu around? This is the seer he was talking about.”


I was shocked and that was putting it mildly. Zeke kept the gun trained on us both, standing a good distance from me in particular, apparently he saw me as the worse threat. Inside of me I felt Chukwudi the Stronger growl angrily but I calmed him.


Nothing rash now, I thought.


“Identify yourself!” the guard said, approaching us menacingly.


“I was one of the guys who brought the girl we kidnapped from Lagos a few days ago. The one Oga himself followed us na. My name na Zeke.”


The guard lowered his weapon. “Okay, na una do that stuff? Oga has been expecting you. He said you were on your way here.”


“Let’s take them to the house. Oga will be happy to see them.”


“You’re making a big mistake Zeke…” I began


“Shut up!” Zeke snarled. “I told you this was not going to be child’s play but you weren’t listening. You don’t even have a plan! And this bastard here…” He kicked Jeffery, who had finally managed to stand up, in the stomach again and Jeffery went back down on his knees. “I can’t wait to deal with you!”


The guard came and shoved the nozzle of his gun on our faces. “Oya, move!”


I helped Jeffery to his feet and then we raised out hands. We proceeding through the clearing to another path. The guard followed close behind us and Zeke took up the rear. We had not moved more than a few feet when we heard Zeke’s calm voice.


“Drop it brother. Drop it or die.”


We turned around, our hands still in the air and saw Zeke pointing his gun at the guard’s occiput.


“Did you hear me?” Zeke said, his voice still calm but deadly. “I said drop your weapon.”


The guard smiled, didn’t look back. “You’re going against Oga? You’re already dead.”


“I know. Still, this Seer here saved my life. Maybe he can do it again, even though unwittingly. Now drop it brother. I will not ask again.”


The guard sniggered and dropped his weapon.


Jeffery quickly lunged forward and grabbed it, pointing it at both of them.


“That went well, yes?” Zeke asked.


I nodded. “Thanks man, for a moment there…”


“I swore allegiance to you sir. I’m a man of my word.”


“Says the bloody kidnapper!” Jeffery snarled, still pointing the assault rifle at the two of them. “Did you have to kick me in the stomach? Twice?!”


Zeke grinned for the first time. “You have no idea how pleasurable that was. But it was necessary to maintain the deceit.” He spun the guard to face him, ignoring a now grumbling Jeffery. “How many of you are there?”


The guard laughed. “You expect me to give you information?”


“Yes.” Zeke said. “Give me information and I will do you the favour of shooting you in the leg so you can have a reason to tell Egbegradudu how we passed you.”


“You know this place.” The guard said. “You know there is no need for guards. Egbegradudu placed me here and said I should keep watch and expect visitors, that I would be performing a service to him. I told you before, he is expecting you.”


“So you will lead us to him?”


“Not at all brother,” the man said, “I am to fight you to the death.”


He suddenly grabbed one of the charms on his neck, blowing into it.


Time suddenly slowed down. It was like we were in a dream state, none of us could move. Our limbs became heavy and our eyes drooped in sleep. From my hazy vision I could see the man laughing and collecting the guns from Zeke and Jeffery who were helpless to stop him. I looked up and saw a thick black cloud just above our heads. It was rumbling and emitted intermittent sparks, like it was housing lightening. I looked back down and the man was approaching Jeffery, gun in hand. His words came in slow motion.


“I no know why oga say this thing go hard.” He seemed to drawl. I watched as he slowly raised the gun to Jeffery’s temple.


Id… I thought.

Chukwudi the Stronger took over and with all our strength we tore through the mesmerizing charm. The guard turned to us, a look of surprise on his face but it was too late. Chukwudi the Stronger landed a blow on his jaw and he was thrown backwards. The cloud dispersed and everything came back to normal. Chukwudi the Stronger picked both guns and threw them deep into the bush.


“Hey!” Jeffery yelped and ran after the weapons.


Chukwudi the Stronger began to approach him but Zeke put a hand on his chest.


“Allow me, Master.” He said.


Chukwudi the Stronger grinned and promptly sat on the ground.


What…what are you doing? I gasped


He wants to help, let him help. Besides, I’m spoiling for some entertainment. Chukwudi the stronger smiled and gestured to Zeke like he was offering him food. “Please go ahead.”


“No be you I wan fight, Baba no talk say make I kill you, comot now before I tell baba say you betray am!” the guard shouted.


Zeke smiled grimly but said nothing. Muttering some words under his breath, he struck the ground with his open palm, covering it with sand, and approached the man, palm outstretched and facing his opponent. The guard was furious for some reason.


“Wetin be all this? Comot na, make I carry out oga assignment!”


“You will have to fight me first.” Zeke said calmly.


“Bastard!” the guard replied and ran forward yelling, grabbing another amulet from his waist and thrusting it at Zeke. Zeke deftly caught it in his sandied palm and closed his fist around it. The guard tugged and pulled but Zeke held on strongly. Eventually the man let go and took a few steps back. Zeke smiled and dropped the amulet on the ground like it was useless.


“Simple neutralization.” Chukwudi the Stronger observed out loud.


“It is the same charm we used on you at the club, Master.” Zeke replied, not taking his eyes off his opponent. “One hit from it and you won’t get up again.”


“But I did!” Chukwudi the Stronger said with a grin.


“Which is why you are a worthy master sir.” Zeke said


“Indeed I am.” Chukwudi the Stronger nodded in approval of the praise.


Show some humility why don’t you? I murmured to a chuckling Chukwudi the Stronger.


The guard bawled in frustration and picking something from the ground, rushed at Zeke again. Zeke responded by raising his sandied palm once more but it was a wrong move. The guard had simply picked up sand. He threw it into Zeke’s eyes and Zeke stumbled back, momentarily stunned. The guard pounced on him pushing him to the ground and sitting squarely on his chest, raising his hands up to deal blows to his face.


But Zeke showed his strength then. He grabbed the man by the neck and flung him to the side. Sill holding on to his neck he got to his feet, ignoring the blows being rained on him until the guard began to choke and claw at him. Zeke lifted the man off his feet and sent him crashing to the hard ground with a loud thud. The guard gasped and held the back of his head in pain even as Zeke tried to get the sand out of his eyes. The guard struggled to his feet and searched his waist for yet another amulet but Zeke was faster. Rushing at him, Zeke knocked him to the floor with an uppercut. The man promptly passed out.


Zeke stood up straight, brushed the sand from his eyes and approached Chukwudi the Stronger who shrugged and receded, making me in charge again.


“Nice work.” I said, getting to my feet.


“I apologise for the affront on your person.” Zeke said, “Usually there are no guards. This security post wasn’t even here the last time. He knows we are coming.”


“Yeah, I knew that already.” I replied. “Now where on Earth did Jeffery go?”


Suddenly there was a loud shout behind us and we turned around just in time to see the guard who had regained consciousness rushing at us with a dagger. Zeke jumped in front of me to protect me but there was a loud bang and the man was thrown back to the ground, blood spraying from his chest. He lay there dead and we turned to see Jeffery, coming out of the bushes, his gun still aimed at the assailant.


“Thank you” Zeke said. “I would have been killed for sure.”


Jeffery glared at him furiously. “You said no guards! You emphasized no guards! Maybe I should have let him run you through with the dagger! At least that would be one less person I have to look over my shoulder about!”


I stared at the dead man for a moment longer then averted my eyes. I had never seen a man killed in cold blood like that before. Even with the Leopard of Asaba, he had already been close to death. I had seen too many deaths in the past few days. It was beginning to get to me.


“What is the matter, Master?” Zeke asked with concern, seeing that I had suddenly become silent.


“Noth…nothing. Let’s keep moving before someone else is attracted by the noise of the gunshot.” I said and let the way further down the path.


“He is not accustomed to this kind of violence.” I heard Zeke whisper to Jeffery. “Perhaps we may need to be more protective of our master after all.”



And for the first time I could feel Jeffery and Zeke agree on the same thing.


______&&&&__________________________&&________

6 Likes

Re: The Tarnished Ones by daddio(m): 12:17pm On Feb 28
Thanks for the updates.
Re: The Tarnished Ones by Kaycee9242(m): 2:29pm On Feb 28
Lol Jeffrey and Zeke cat and rat. Nice one op
Re: The Tarnished Ones by Iizykidoo(m): 8:24pm On Feb 28
nice

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