The silence was deafening. He knew everything was not alright,
not at all. He moved on the balls of his feet despite the pain
from the sharp stones on the floor. There were a lot of trees and
tall grasses and one or more of them had somebody lurking
behind them. His head told him to turn around and run but
somehow he legs kept going forward.
He paused and listened, nothing! He wondered where they were
hiding. He had followed the shadow, or shadows, he could not
tell if there were two. When it or they entered the densely
wooded area, he wanted to turn back but felt compelled to
follow. He did not see anything scary but still, his heart pounded
and suddenly he wanted to be out of the place.
He turned around and ran. Stones pierced his feet as he ran but
he did not notice , he just wanted to be out of the woods. He
could see the clear field not too far and increased his speed.
Then he saw him! He stopped so fast he fell on his face.
“You look like you have seen a ghost.” The tall shadow said. His
face was hidden behind veils. Ibilis?
The shadow stepped into the light and he saw him. It was Sarkin
“Sarkin Aljan, what are you doing covered up like Ibilis?” He said,
standing to his feet. His fear was gone now that he knew who
the shadow was but still he felt uneasy.
“You recognized me? Esu, nothing could ever go past you, not
even now.” Sarkin Aljan said with a laugh that made Esu even
“What is this? Why are we here?” Esu demanded
“I’m here to warn you and you are here to heed my warning.”
Sarkin Aljan said, his voice getting cold.
“What are you talking about? Warn me about what?” Esu asked,
his heart was racing again.
“The battle is not yours to fight, forget anything the old fool
says to you, stay away from this and you will survive.”
“I don’t know what you are talking about, but I hate being
“This is not a threat, it’s a warning. Stay away!” Sarkin Aljan
Esu was about to reply when out of the shadows stepped a huge
dog. He stepped back quickly. It was Manzo! He had heard tales
about the Dog that troubled the heavens and ravaged the souls of
men. Rumours had linked Manzo to Sarkin Aljan but nobody ever
saw them together.
“I see you recognize Manzo. If you did not take me serious
before, I’m sure you do now. Stay away Esu!” Sarkin Aljan said
and before Esu could reply, he and the huge dog had vanished
into the night.
He looked around him, he was alone, the perfect silence was
“Wake up!” He heard a voice call from the skies.
He looked up, there was nobody.
“Wake up Eric!” The voice came again, this time he felt
somebody hit his arm. “Wake up!”
He opened his eyes and the forest was gone. Maureen, his soon to
be ex-girlfriend was standing by him. He looked past her, he was
in his room. Who was the man in the veil and why did he know
him? Why had he called him Esu? Why had he been so scared of
the huge dog?
“Eric, I need to go to the mall with Dami and Kunbi. I need some
What was Sarkin Aljan talking about? He was a god, a good one,
what was he doing with Manzo? How do I know all of these?
“I’m talking to you Eric!”
He looked up at the girl shouting at him.
“How much do you need Maureen?” he said standing from his bed.
“Fifty thousand should be okay.”
“Are you sure that is enough?”
“What?” She could not hide her surprise.
“I’ll give you double that, in fact, I’ll double the double. But
before you leave, pick everything that belongs to you in this
house and please don’t come back! Don’t come to my office,
don’t call my phone, just go far away from me. Understand?”
He opened his safe, brought out some wads of cash and handed
them to her. He locked the safe and walked out of the room. She
stood with her mouth open till he walked out.
He ignored her and walked to the balcony outside his room. He
was confused. First, there was the man who told him he was a
god, now he was having dreams. He was either losing his mind or
there was more to the past he did not remember than he ever
thought. Either way, his life was surely never going to remain
“Good morning Mr. President.”
The greeting echoed as he walked into his office. As a politician,
he had learned how to make eye contact and wave at people in a
way that made them feel special. He had also learned to look
past their smiling faces, every one of them had an agenda. That
was what confused him about his first appointment for the day.
What was his agenda?
He had seen Doctor Suleiman Aweda on television a few days after
the victims of the strange sickness had died. The death of the
villagers had gotten international publicity. It had to, it was not
every day that over four hundred villagers died from an unknown
sickness. He spoke to the press, assuring the nation that the
government was on top of the situation. The truth was, he did
not even know what the situation was.
Doctor Aweda had an interesting opinion about the sickness that
had made many dismiss him as a crazy man. The Press had
started to give him attention when he predicted the manner in
which the patients will die and his prediction turned out to be
spot on. Some still dismissed him as an attention-seeking lunatic
but he had gotten their attention. Chukwudi, his minister for
Health, himself a well renowned doctor who had advised against
giving Aweda any attention was going to sit in the meeting, so
the president “would not be fed crap”, as he bluntly put it.
The President walked into his office and sat. It had been his
habit to spend the first thirty minutes of his day at the office
to pray but that was a long time ago, before the guilt of his
adulterous affair with Bola sank too deep. Now he just dived
straight into work, God knew he did not have a shortage of work.
Adama his secretary had followed him into the office, wondering
if he would truly be seeing the doctor so early.
“Send them in Adama.” He said.
She stepped out of the office and almost immediately the two
men entered. The first was Professor Chukwudi Adigwe, the
minister of health. He had known Adigwe since they were friends
in his secondary. The fact that he was a famous successful
doctor made it all the more easy to appoint him as a minister.
Following him closely behind was Dr. Aweda. He entered clutching
a brown bag that had some files sticking out of it. His shirt was
loosely tucked into his oversized trousers which somehow did not
compensate for his undersized jacket. His big-sized glasses gave
him a clichéd look of an over-studious doctor.
“Good Morning Mr. President.” Professor Adigwe said. He never
called him Mr. President except when other people were around.
“Good Morning Mr. President.” Dr. Aweda echoed the greeting.
“Good Morning gentlemen, you are welcome, please take your
seats.” He said, shaking their hands.
He spent ten minutes discussing nothing in particular. Dr. Aweda
did not seem to like small talk as he kept rummaging through his
“Let’s get down to business then.” Lange said. “Dr. Aweda, I
want to know all you know about this sickness.”
“Sir, this sickness was first diagnosed in Egypt in 270 BC.”
“270 BC?” Lange asked, surprised. Adigwe sighed, he obviously
had a problem with what Aweda had said.
“Yes sir, two seventy years before Christ. I don’t understand why
our dates are recorded in reference to Christ, but they are, hence
“I know what BC is Doctor, I was wondering how this could have
been in existence for so long and nobody seems to know about
“I know about it sir.” Aweda said.
“Yes, I mean it’s not common knowledge. Please continue what
you were saying.”
“The reason why a lot of people don’t know about the Black
death disease or BDD- that’s what it was called then – is
because it has struck only three times in history. After the
Egyptian incidence, it happened again in the Gold Coast four
hundred and thirty years ago.”
“Where did you get all this information from Aweda?” Professor
Adigwe spoke for the first time.
“I have been out of this country for many years researching
diseases of the past millennium and I stumbled upon the black
death disease. I was shocked when I heard news that some people
in my home country were showing symptoms that looked BDD, I
had to come back quickly and lend a hand. Of course, my help was
thrown back in my face,” he said, casting a mean glance at
“Are you saying you could have stopped the victims from dying?”
“Maybe I could have, but we will never know now.”
“Prof, could he have saved the victims?” Lange asked turning to
Adigwe who was not looking impressed at all by Aweda’s words.
“He had no concrete solution when he came to us. We could not
risk the lives of Nigerians just because a man thought he had a
solution. We had other solutions we were trying.” Adigwe said.
“Well, how did that work out for you?” Aweda asked with a
“Before we can find a solution to a problem, I believe we need to
find the cause. Do we know the cause of this BDD?” Lange asked,
he was not sure whether to direct the question to his Minister or
this man who claimed to know more than every other person.
“Yes sir, we know the cause of BDD” It was Adigwe who
answered. “It is not physical, it is nothing medicine can prevent.
It is the curse of Apophis”
“The curse of what?” Lange asked, eyebrows raised.
“That is why we did not listen to him.” Adigwe said , shaking
his head. “Mr. President, I’m sure the good doctor here wants to
help but I think we need to focus on finding a more reasonable
cause of this awful disease.”
“See how he dismissed my theory without even hearing me out.
You don’t think curses can cause sicknesses?”
“I know people get sick all the time and none of them were
caused by any dead Egyptian king or any other mythical deity.”
“They are called Pharaohs and they are more powerful dead than
alive. Haven’t you seen ‘The Mummy’?”
“Now you base your medical theories on a movie? Of course you do
since everything you do is nothing but fiction anyway.”
“Do you know that 56.7% of what you know today, you learnt
from one form of video or the other?”
“Where did you get that statistic? The Half-wit’s magazine?”
“Stop it, gentlemen!” Lange said. “We need to find a solution to
this disease in case it strikes again.”
“Oh, it will. It kills thousands and thousands before it stops. It
spreads from one village to another, increasing the number of
people who die in each incident until people get tired of
Adigwe shook his head and said. “We don’t know all of these Mr.
President, I will like that we continue our research with the CDC
instead of wasting time on a single man’s theories.”
“What is the solution you propose Dr. Aweda?” Lange asked
despite Adigwe’s subtle request for a dismissal.
“The Egyptians sacrificed the Pharaoh’s only daughter. In the
Gold Coast, they sacrificed twelve virgin girls. But…”
“Jim, can you please see the problem with this man? Can we
please end the meeting so I can go do some real work?” Adigwe
asked, he was already getting agitated.
“Dr. Aweda, we will not be killing anybody. I hope this would be
the last occurrence of whatever this BDD is.”
“Oh, I can assure you there will be more occurrences. Believe me,
I am never wrong.”
Lange sighed and said. “Well, we can only hope you are wrong
this time. We can only hope.”
“I cannot believe I am studying mythology with you.” Anne said.
The day was perfect. She was lying down on the rug in her living
room, resting her head on Damola’s broad chest. The open
windows let in just enough air to keep the room cool. Soft music
filtered through the room as she sipped from a tumbler.
She hoped the intensity of her joy at being with him was not
showing on her face. It was ridiculous! It was only four days
since their first date and she was madly in love with him. She
had tried her best to hide it and she was failing miserably. She
had spent almost every minute of her day and some nights with
him. Despite the stares she got from her employees and
comments from her friends, she had made sure he was with her
everywhere she went.
“Studying mythology is way better than that boring karaoke
thing I had to go to and I did not complain.” Damola said,
nudging her playful.
“You complained, a lot!”
“That was because I had to sing. But you can’t deny that you
have been educated studying the gods of your fatherland.”
“Hmm, true. Since you like reading so much, I’ll get us
something fun to read.” She said standing.
“Yeah? What would that be? One of your fashion magazines? I
don’t see how that is better than the karaoke.”
“I was interviewed in this one, I’m sure you’ll love it. Don’t ask
me why it’s in the bathroom though, that is one question I’m
not willing to answer.”
She heard him laugh as she walked to her room. She wished her
life could just pause so she could live forever with Damola. He
made her happy, more happy she than she thought she could be.
She opened the door to her bathroom and paused. She could have
sworn the magazine was on her dresser, maybe she had taken it
back to the bookshelf then. She turned around and headed for
Her hand was on the doorknob when the light flickered. She
paused, that rarely happened, not with her generator which
kicked in when power failed. She turned the doorknob and the
light went off. The bathroom went dark except for light sifting
in through the window. She shook her head, the stupid generator
was malfunctioning again. She shook her head and opened the
She stopped and staggered back! Standing in front of her was the
biggest fiercest dog she had ever seen. It was as tall as she was
and its eyes seemed to ooze darkness. It stood there looking at
her, its giant tongue hanging out. She tried to scream but her
mouth was too dry. She staggered back into the bathroom and
tripped over a bucket. The dog kind of took that as a cue to
attack. It strode towards her slowly, each measured step adding
to the fear that now threatened to burst her head.
She stumbled to her feet and felt around the bathroom for
something to hold. She stumbled against the tap and turned it
on. The water touched her hand and suddenly the dog stopped. As
the water flowed off her hand she felt a sensation run through
her hand and into her body. She withdrew her hand from beneath
the tap and waved it around as the sensation moved through her
body. She felt a strong wind begin to blow in the room, the dog
seeming to have recovered from whatever made it stop began to
move towards her again.
She heard things fall and break as the wind grew stronger. The
dog unruffled by the wind got closer and she moved backwards
away from it. She wanted to run but her feet only shuffled, very
slowly. She moved one more step and felt something solid against
her back, she had reached the wall.
“Daaaa…aaa…” She tried to scream at the top of her lungs.
The dog stopped in front of her and bared its teeth. It looked
like he was smiling. She felt her eyes start to close.
He picked up the remote and reduced the volume of the music
playing. He thought he heard something coming from the
bedroom. Anne had been gone for close to ten minutes. He had
not noticed at first because he had dozed off for a while but
now he was getting worried.
He stood from his chair and moved towards the bedroom. He got
to the door and the light flickered. He paused, then he heard the
sound of things falling. He hurriedly opened the door and ran into
the bedroom, the light was back on. He looked around the room,
Anne was not in the room. She had mentioned going to the
bathroom. He rushed to the bathroom door, he grabbed the door,
turned it and pushed it in. It did not give way. She locked the
“Anne?” He called as he knocked on the door.
There was a total silence. He had just turned around when he
heard a sound. It was a whimper, but he knew who it was; Anne.
He turned back to the door and pushed it as hard as he could, it
did not give way. He moved backwards, and hit the door with
more force. It did not budge. He moved further backwards and
ran towards the door but stopped before he hit it; the key was
in the lock. His hands were shaking as he fumbled for the key.
He turned it twice and pushed the door, still it did not open.
He stepped back from the door, there was no other lock holding
it. What was happening inside the bathroom? He moved backwards
again, this time moving farther from the door then he ran to
the door. He closed his eyes as he got close to the door and
braced his body for the hit. Just when he expected his body to
hit the door, it swung open. He crashed through the doorway and
into the bathroom.
He scrambled to his feet quickly and looked around. The room
looked like a tornado had gone through it. There was water all
over the floor, buckets, bowls and bottles were scattered around
Then he saw it. The clothes Anne had worn all day, it was lying
in a corner of the room. She definitely had been in the
bathroom. Why would she remove her clothes? His heart beat
faster as he opened and searched each closet. He stopped and
looked around again, he held his head between his palms and let
out a small cry.
“Anne?” He screamed.
She was gone!