Before the darkness chapter 11


Chapter 11



Damola dusted off his khakis and jumped off the Humvee into
the darkness. He could tell the soldiers were not comfortable
with the fact that he did not have a gun. He was not one of
them; he knew it and so did they. The leader of the team –
Major Madu had made all the plans without any major function
given to him. He did not mind though, he had his own plans.The
president had drafted him into a tactical team to go and rescue
somebody. He was not sure who the person was, but she was
definitely important. He accepted reluctantly; it was better to be
out than being locked up in a cell. He got more excited when he
learnt they were going after Sarkin Aljan. He had not had the
time to make another attempt at rescuing Anne; this could be
his chance.
“Listen up everybody” the Major said. “There are no certainties
that this is not a trap, so we are going to tread carefully.”
Damola looked away from the soldiers – the four of them
huddled together. Everything they were saying had been said
severally already, they were probably just afraid to go forward
and die.
The Major had a point though, it was probably a trap. He was
not sure what he would do yet, it depended on whether Sarkin
Aljan came or not.
“… she is immensely important to the President.” The Major was
saying. “The mission will be judged on whether we bring her home
alive or not.”
If she was that important to the President, Sarkin Aljan would
not let her go so easily. The soldier started moving and he
followed them. They snuck along a bush path till they were could
see a house not too far away.
“That’s where she is supposed to be.” One of the soldiers said
and pointed to the house.
The Major brought out a pair of Heat Sensor Binoculars and looked
into them. He seemed to be confused or intrigued by something.
“There is nobody in or around the house but the woman.” He said
and handed the binoculars to another soldier.
The soldier looked and confirmed that there was nobody and he
passed the binoculars. They all looked at the house and wondered
why the house was empty. Damola wondered too. Sarkin Aljan like
any bad person was very tricky. But to find out what was
happening they had to go closer.
They crawled closer to the house as quietly as they could. They
looked again, there was no one still. The Major decided it was
not smart for everyone to go in despite the seeming lack of
danger. He decided he would go in with two of the soldiers, the
last one was to stay behind with Damola. They would cover them
as they went into the house, he said.
Damola started to protest but stopped. Something was wrong; he
would wait.
Fifteen minutes later the soldiers were walking out of the house
with the woman. Had Sarkin Aljan really let them have the
woman so easily? Something was wrong.
The Major signaled to them to meet at the Humvee. Damola
wondered as they moved to meet the others. What was Sarkin
Aljan’s move by letting the woman go? If she was supposed to be
very important, what was the President giving him in return? It
hit him! The portal! That could not happen! The portal back in
Sarkin Aljan’s hand meant more trouble, this time maybe more
than could be handled.
They got to the path that led to the Humvee when they heard
gunshots. The soldier with him stopped and unstrapped his gun.
He corked it and looked at Damola.
“That gunshot is from one of our guns. They must have watched
us come and waited.”
He had to know if Sarkin Aljan was part of the people attacking
the soldiers. He looked at the soldier, looked away and starting
running towards the gunshots. The soldier ran after him. They
got close and saw the soldiers on the floor being tied up by a
group of men. The woman was crouched at another side of the
road crying. Damola stopped and pulled the soldier with him to
the side of the road.
“We have to rescue them!” The soldier protested. “We can’t just
stay here and watch.”
“Nobody said anything about watching.” He did not see Sarkin
Aljan among the men. If Sarkin Aljan did not come, then he
would have to go to him. “I have a plan.”
“You have a plan?” The soldier asked and looked at his colleagues
apprehensively. “Does it involve rescuing them? Why should I
listen to you by the way? You’re not even a soldier.”
“Hey, be calm, okay? If three soldiers could not stop those men,
why do you think that you alone can stop them?”
“They probably were surprised. I am sure we…”
“Here’s the plan, I will run after the men as they start to move.
They will probably take me with them, I will rescue us all and
you take the woman home to the President.”
The soldier opened his mouth then closed it. Damola could see
the anger in his face.
“This is your genius plan? We should allow the Major and others
to be taken? Okay, I’m out of here.” He said and started to run
towards the men.
Damola ran after him and punched him from behind. He crashed
to the floor and Damola pulled him to the side of the road. He
had fallen on his face and his forehead was bruised.
“Sorry about the injury, but you have to listen to me.” Damola
said, holding the struggling soldier down. “You will only get
killed or taken too if you go after them. Remember what the
Major said? This mission will be judged on whether or not she is
brought home safe. That is your mission soldier!”
The soldier had relaxed but still breathed heavily.
“Now, wait till I am gone with them and go and rescue the
woman. Take her home!” He said and released his grip on the
Damola rose to his feet and started to walk towards the men. He
hoped he was right and they were only going to be taken, not
Sarkin Aljan wrapped the robe tighter around himself. The
darkness had a certain chill to it. He knew his robe could not
help him, but he held on tight to it still. Once again he was
going to have to wait for Ibilis to come. He hated meeting Ibilis
more every time he saw him. It was worse this time because he
had come to report a major failure. He had thought that by the
time Asaba was destroyed, the president would surrender the
country to him and one country at a time he would take over the
world. It would have been easy to desert Ibilis then. Now he had
to suffer through another torture or worse; a tongue lashing.
Suddenly he turned around. There was nobody. Ibilis was close, he
could tell. He pulled the robe closer and folded his arms across
his chest.
Aaaarghhh! He screamed. He felt the pain before he saw Ibilis!
The pain seared through his head and he could smell his hair
burn. He squirmed and screamed but the pain only got worse. He
shouted and fell on his face. He touched his head with one of
his finger and he screamed. His hair was gone on one side of his
“Stand to your feet!” The voice came from above him.
He struggled to his knees. Every movement of his head sent pain
surging through his body. He opened his mouth and let out a
great scream. He cursed Ibilis, he cursed Edumare, he cursed the
day he decided to help Ibilis.
“Your curses do nothing but disturb the peace of my already
tortured abode.” Ibilis said.
“There is no peace here! You know no peace and you never will!”
Sarkin said through clenched teeth.
“I have come to find out that just like humans, you are weak
and cannot do anything right. Rise because our time is here, I
cannot wait anymore. Everything ends in seven days!”
Sarkin Aljan rose to his feet and looked at Ibilis. He had a
triumphant look on his face.
“You look surprised, maybe because you underestimated me. In
seven days the world will be mine and then I will decide on what
to do with you.”
“What do you mean? We had a deal!” Sarkin Aljan said. He felt a
slight tremble go through his body.
“A deal, that we have truly, Sarkin Aljan.” Ibilis said and
laughed. “You have plans to secede from me, don’t you? I know
you more than you know yourself. I am all that you are and
more. I will not hold it against you yet, not as long as you
execute the plan.”
“Execute what plan?” He asked with as much disgust as he could
“In three days, you will have Nigeria. After the president hands
over the country to you, you will have the whole world in your
“How am I supposed to do that? Three days is a very short time.
You only seek a chance to find fault with me, you soulless
“Aha, I see you are angry, very angry. And soon you will get your
chance to unleash your anger. And surely men will feel pain.”
Oh they will! Starting with the President, they will know what
the anger of a god is like!
He was in the most inconvenient meeting he had ever been in as
President. He would have found a way to boycott the meeting
but it would mean losing the confidence of a lot of his top
officials. They wanted to know why he had released the portal
back to a known and deadly terrorist. He dared not tell them the
truth. He could not even repeat the truth to himself. He had put
the whole country in danger to save a woman he was having an
affair with. He was a fool, a fool that made a decision that
could cost him his presidency maybe his life.
Bola was safe and hid somewhere very far away. Only one other
person knew where she was and he planned to keep it that way.
The members of his cabinet had to make some sense out of the
“The portal while here was of no help to us.” Lange said.
“But it was of no help to him too.” One of the ministers
“We don’t know that he doesn’t have another one.” Lange said.
“What do we gain from this now? He has the portal, we have
nothing.” Adigwe said to Lange’s surprise. He rarely said
anything against him in meetings but maybe even he was appalled
by his decision.
“That is the question you should have asked in the beginning.”
Lange said. “We put a tracker on the device and soon we will
know where this terrorist operates from. That way we will not
only get the device, we will get the person who operates it.”
They all took the information in and the room was quiet for a
few minutes. Finally Lange spoke up.
“I know this was a very risky thing to do but this is not a
typical terrorist. If we are to catch him, we have to do things in
a different way.” Lange said.
He felt thankful someone had suggested putting a tracking
device on the portal. He was sure if it would help them catch
the masked terrorist but at least it helped him buy time with
his cabinet.
“Sir, I just got a text from my secretary. She said the masked
terrorist is on TV.” One of the minister said.
Lange’s heart paused. What was the terrorist going to say? Why
had he not called instead?
“Put on the TV please.” Lange said and stood from his chair.
“How does he keep getting on TV by the way? Aren’t those
frequencies protected from hacking?”
Somebody put on the TV and Lange swallowed. There were four
soldiers kneeling on the floor with their faces covered and their
hands tied behind their backs. The masked terrorist looked
different. He had on a different mask. This time his head was
also covered.
“Everything rises and falls on leadership. One of your great
experts said that and he is right. You trust your president so
much but is he worth it?” The masked terrorist said.
Lange had a bad feeling. This was not going to just be a
threatening session, he was in for some trouble too.
“Your President made a choice; he released my device in exchange
for his mistress. Is that true leadership?”
Everybody in the room turned around and looked at him. He bowed
his head to avoid their stares. What was he supposed to say?
What was he supposed to do? He had no explanation. He pulled
out his chair and sat down.
“These poor soldiers here he sent to die on his behalf. All for a
woman who is not even his wife. He sent them to die and I will
oblige him.”
Lange bowed his head and stilled the vibration of his hand. He
could not forgive himself; he did not deserve to be forgiven. He
was a cheating husband, a weak president and a big liar. Now he
was going to be a murderer too.
“I’m sorry if there are children watching this but I have to kill
these men on live TV so you can all understand what your
President has done. I hope this will be the last time this would
happen. It all lies in the hand of the president. Will he redeem
himself? Will he do the right thing?”
Lange looked up at the television and covered his mouth. These
men would die and it would be his fault. He made up his mind;
he had spent his last day as President. If he could not lead the
people, others would. He kept his eyes on the television as the
terrorist picked a butcher’s knife and set it on the throat of the
first soldiers. The people in the room stirred and started to
whisper to one another. He ignored them.
“In the name of President Johnson Lange, I kill these innocent
Suddenly fire erupted from behind the man with the knife on his
throat, it struck the masked terrorist like a lightning bolt and
he fell backwards. The soldier shook his head and the bag fell
off his face. It was the prisoner! The prisoner looked up
momentarily at the camera and then something erupted on the
camera and the screen went dark and the room went quiet.
The silence was deafening. The only sound that he heard was his
thumping heart.


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