The Tormented

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Part One

A perfectly rational individual spends dinner with friends, shares his day’s misadventures with them and laughs heartily at every joke they throw in, but only six hours later is discovered wandering the streets, carrying a bazooka and laughing like a maniac.

Wouldn’t you say that is the very definition of rapid decline? Of madness?

But how does it even start? And what sequence of events build upon each other and draw the poor individual slowly but methodically toward their fall over the cliff?

It starts where the sign says “Begin” and ends in one of arbitrarily many possible points. But we already know our destination, we’re really here for the journey and nothing more.

It starts, more importantly, with me, no, not me, you. Yes. You. See, my sense of self-preservation being so high, I am forced to shield myself from the terrifying scenes and sequences that this story will take us through. So, yes. It starts with you.

You are a writer or a composer or a designer of some sort…someone who thinks creatively, who also pulls shifts at a dull day job which just sufficiently caters for your financial needs.

It starts with you being jolted awake by something in the middle of the night. Your mind is pummelled with fading memories of last evening’s soiree and…yes, the most brilliant idea you’ve ever conceived! All work you’ve ever written or composed pale in comparison to this new concept you’ve been inspired with.

Instinctively, you rush to turn the lights on and look for your notebook and a pen. But there’s a blackout. It’s rainy season, so why not? You turn back to your mobile phone and use its screen’s glow.

You manage to locate your tools and sit down, take a deep breath, call on your inner Zen to help you condense your thoughts. It’s getting clearer now, yes…it’s, oh boy…you are going to be stinking rich…this idea…this is a masterpie…

Something interrupts you. A familiar annoying sound from a familiar annoying source. The increasingly irritating creaking of a bed from your neighbor’s room.

At this point you begin questioning why you never moved out of campus after graduating and once again defend yourself by citing the affordable rent prices available here. It’s worth putting up with the shenanigans of these cannabis fuelled campus boneheads. For instance, your neighbor and his girlfriend jumping up and down on a spring bed like kindergarteners. You’d think they get a trampoline and indulge their gymnastics fantasies outside, when it’s warm and sunny, like all normal rational people do.

Thankfully, though, the creaking stops a minute later. Pfft, those pretenders don’t even have the stamina for sustained physical exercise. It’s laughable.

You don’t get to laugh though.

That idea, that crazy, awesome idea…it’s, uh…it’s gone! See ya gone! Vanished!

‘Tis a disaster!

Your mouth does that thing where it hangs loose, and any manner of detritus carried by wind blowing your way would find easy entrance into your system. Completely helpless. Rendered catatonic.

You start pacing around your room in a futile attempt to remember. Then bang your head on the wall, slowly at first and then more forcefully. Then you open your wardrobe and stare in it for a good long while, perhaps expecting a miracle there.

“Akhh!” You complain and decide to go outside and get some fresh air.

You don’t intend to walk too far. The night is too cold and you’re hoping that if all else fails you can just jump back into bed and pick on the thread again in the morning.

You don’t notice the crowd of night-revellers and club-goers is growing thinner and thinner until it’s too late and you’re all alone in a dark street. But, you’re not really alone it turns out. Up ahead, you see two dark silhouettes imposed against a light streaming out from a nearby open window, two stray voices engaged in a lively chat.

The conversation presently comes to an end. The bigger of the two spectres turns towards you, you can’t really tell that it did, you just notice its voice is now projected your way.

“You know the drill mister, phone, wallet, anything valuable, pass it over.”

You turn out your pockets to lay bare the desolate emptiness inside them for all too see.

The big shadow’s voice booms in disappointment, “Well that’s no good at all. Don’t you have anything to offer up? Your life might could depend on it.”

“Them jeans on him look pretty new.” The other voice joins in.

“Yeah,” the big shadow agrees, “I think I’ll have those if you don’t mind.”

“What? I think I’d rather keep them on, thank you very much.” You respond in outrage.

There’s a momentary pause and then the two disembodied voices roar in awful ghoulish laughter. When the bigger shadow speaks again, however, there’s no humor in its voice anymore, just irritation.

“Oya, nugu wee, can’t you tell when you’re being mugged?”

Clearly somebody forgot to give you the script. But you’ve never been one to stick to the script anyway so it wouldn’t have mattered. Stuck between complying and saving your dignity, you decide to do nothing, until the bigger shadow moves towards you and into the light, revealing a face so utterly ugly it pegs homo sapiens sapiens two eras back on the Darwinian evolution scale.

Prisoner to the principle of causality, you find yourself complying without really meaning to.

“Too late for that now.” The Picasso mask twitches in unnatural ways with each word. But while you’re distracted with his face you don’t notice his fifty-pound fist making due haste towards your head. It doesn’t feel like a fist though, more like a train or a truck. In your stupor you have lucid nightmares about metal fists, and trucks…and trucks with metal fists.

When you come to, you’re staring downwards at the moving ground and immediately infer that you must be hoisted on the big man’s shoulder. The pair are still talking. They can’t seem to find a reason not to. Even when they’re carrying an innocent man to God-knows what horrible destination to carry out what nefarious intentions they harbored, they were still in a light enough mood to chat.

The smaller man starts talking about El Estúpido, some rival crew from another part of town and how their ambitious plot to rob an army warehouse tonight is bound to fail. The big man asks him how he could possibly be sure the raid was happening tonight. The smaller man explains that he heard the news from Vickie, the spy that Freddie had planted within the rival clan’s rank.

“Who’s Freddie?” You dare to ask.

The big man laughs again and hurls you to the ground forcefully. “Who’s Freddie, he asks!”

“He’s Frederick Mwaura, of course. Only the most fearsome gang boss this part of the world? Kills hundreds when his heart so pleases? How dare you not know who he is?”

“Don’t worry, you’re going to meet him soon.”

“Yeah, you’re gonna have some good time with him too.” The big man agrees, “He likes his punching bags warm and breathing.”

You want to thank them for clearing that up but get the distinct feeling that your candor would be lost on them.

“Get up and walk,” the big man orders you and you drag yourself to your feet unwillingly.

“If I was the boss, I’d march into El Estúpido’s casa right now and get myself some easy bounty.” The pair’s conversation continues, despite your interruption.

“Yeah,” the big one agrees, “All that cash stashed up and only a couple of guards to protect it.”

“And the chicas man. All of ‘em sitting there pretty and bored and unguarded, waiting for us to rescue them.”

“Yeah!” They burst into laughter again while you continue to contemplate how unoriginal it is for a Kenyan gang to name themselves with a foreign-sounding word. What did El Estúpido mean anyway?

Presently the two thugs chaperone you through the dark streets of a neighborhood you’ve only read about in the crimes section of the local daily, where the dogs’ barks are a tad meaner than the acceptable norm, and the sun’s rays never reach.

Thump thump. A sound close by.

You’re shoved into a dark building where the air smells damp and polluted.

Thump thump thump. Closer and closer.

Paint is peeling off the walls at will and the corridor seems to gradually shrink in size and elegance.

Thump thump. Closer still.

You find yourself in this large room, a cathedral of a room, smoke from a hundred lit joints and a hundred churning mouths drifting around and the faintest glimmer from a flickering bulb reveals to you the source of the disembodied thumping sound.

A man built of bricks, a teenager by all looks of him, is laying waste to another man tied to a chair in the middle of the room while the spectators around him watch in contemplative silence. The teenager looks so imbued by the thrill of violence and so familiar with it, every swing of his hand feels like a well-choreographed and pre-rehearsed dance move. It is this same terrifying aura that seems to hold his audience in captive silence.

You cringe with every blow that lands on the poor man. Finally, the teenager yells. A yell somewhere between a powerlifter’s howl while breaking his personal best record of weights lifted, and a roar of deep pleasure, of release.

When he turns to the three of you standing at the door, for the first time in possibly your whole life you feel genuine panic grip you.

“Next customer, boss.” The big man giggles.

As he nudges you forward.


Looking for part two? Look no more, it’s over here: https://mylitcorner.wordpress.com/2017/03/29/the-tormented-2/

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Microfiction 18: Jacob and TIM

For the heck of it let’s call this the second half of a two-part microfiction ‘series’. In that case, it would probably be better to read the first part here first before reading this one.

…wherein a scientist is drunk…

Jacob was a man obsessed with balance although, ironically, but through no fault of his, his life had been devoid of it for a while now.

When his ex-wife had strangle-armed the kids away from him that had been the tipping point. He’d regressed from the brilliant particle physicist to an ordinary man married to the bottle. On the eve of the day when his boss would lay him off after repeated attempts to return him to the man he’d once been, Jacob did the unthinkable.

He broke into the facility, commandeered a tank from the yard in the military wing and ran with it straight through the TIM (Temporal Interface Machine) even though it hadn’t been commissioned for human testing for another month.

Drunk as he was, he’d still been aware enough to set the destination timeline to the era of Ancient Greece and just toward the end of the conflict between Athens and Troy and more precisely right before that infamous event with the wooden horse which he’d always considered an imbalance of imagination. He was going to set that right! He was going to bring balance!

Having sufficiently and satisfactorily determined where he had landed in time he proceeded to lay out his afore-engineered plan before stepping out and addressing the crowd.

He had never been a man of linguistics, so he couldn’t speak Greek or whatever tongue these Trojans used. In stead he gestured wildly and with little coordination. He pointed to the tank then to himself and then tapped his finger on his temple. Creature/Machine. Man inside. Think.

One thing he had failed to predict was that once they had seen the sheer power of the machine that they would have wanted to know how the machine worked so they could use it against their enemy as evidenced by the sudden appearance of the sharp point of a spear inches away from his right eye.

Another thing, far worse, that in his state of imbibement Joshua had failed to recall, was that the TIM still only worked one-way and that he was by definition, stuck. In the past. Tipping balance from one side to the other.

Microfiction #17: The Curious Beast

…wherein confounding events threaten everything…

Edonis was understandably irritated when his junior commissioner burst into the room and with bated breath gasped the words, ‘Well, sir, I don’t know how to explain this…’

His irritation turned to consternation when his junior escorted him to the courtyard right outside the royal palace, where a gathering crowd poked uncomprehending gazes at an awkward beast that commanded attention as much as it repulsed. It was unimaginably flat and bulky looking, with no discernible limbs but for snaky coil or belt that rattled underneath it and all around its sides.

For Edonis, the creature’s appearance presented a complication. Having been charged with outthinking the filthy Greeks, who right now were busy building some infernal contraption outside the city walls, his failure to predict this event and worse, his inability to recognize the puzzling creature exposed an embarrassing weakness in his leadership.

‘Where…’ he began to ask.

‘From nowhere sir. It just appeared.’ Came the rehearsed response.

Presently, the creature’s snout swung from end to end and like puppets the crowd cleared away at least two paces from the direction it pointed with each swing. Then something remarkable happened. A most unsettling hiss emanated from the creature, and a bright light blinded everyone within the courtyard. The guard post fifteen yards away was, as if through sorcery, reduced to a pile of rubble along with the guard who had been inside it.

It took a while for relative calm to return to the courtyard after that, but with reasonable efficiency and speed the civilians had been cleared and Edonis’ charges had formed a half-hearted perimeter around the beast, and right then a hatch swung open on top of the beast’s back (or head?) and to the ire of the soldiers around, who should step out from in there but an ordinary mortal man.

 

Microfiction #16: Swift and Fair

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…wherein the law is preserved…

There was quite a lot of excitement in Lady Millicent’s court that day. The 57 stone mother of three century pups swung her great hammerhead periodically as the case wore on, a far cry from the benevolent manner in which she usually carried herself and through which she had drawn the admiration and respect from her people.

‘So, set me straight on this article Mr Amida, you were performing a Mambo Jambo dance at the marketplace when Mr Japeth here, apparently affronted you and tried to ‘make a meal’ of you, is that correct?’

A lone figure graced the defendant’s row, a self-proclaimed paradise fish who’d journeyed to the town from whence no one knew, whose colors for once were not the only interesting thing about him, exceeded in eccentricity this time by his half-missing tail fin. Any traces of his characteristic pride were missing on the day, and his voice almost quivered as he responded.

‘Well, you see it’s this traditional ritual we like to perform…’

‘It involves some form of jiggling, does it not?’ The Lady interrupted.

‘Yes, ma’am.’

‘Well,  then,’ said the Lady shaking her head in pity, ‘You do realize exciting your person in such a manner creates what the loony science man over there calls an electric field. No matter how noble a bull shark like Mr Japeth here may be, you do realize such an excitement is enough to rouse the killer he works so hard to suppress, isn’t that so, Mr Japeth?’

In the prosecutor’s row, the bull shark was thronged by sea creatures of equal or more proportion in girth or menace, save for the two adorable pups flanking him who were the youngest of his litter.

‘I just don’t know how to explain it, my Lady,’ he reflected, ‘It’s like the devil took over me all so suddenly. I just couldn’t stop myself if I wanted to.’

‘I imagine no one could,’ empathized Lady Millicent, ‘That settles it then, Mr Amida this court finds you guilty of provocation and as punishment will have you relinquish half of your plankton farm to Mr Japeth and his sons for the next full cycle to do with it as they so please. Fair punishment for equal…’

‘But…’ came and went a weak protest.

‘As for your hesitance to comply with the law, the court bequeaths the other half of your farm to the town council for the same duration, again to do with it as they please.’

The blue seas shook with the roars that followed. Everyone was happy with Lady Millicent’s faultless justice. Yet it only worked so long as no one questioned it.

The Order Of The Forgers (A Microfiction Series)

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Part 6: Children No Longer

There was no telling what Sammy would do next while we were at Sensei’s dojo all those years back.

He was the most fearless of us all. He would talk back to Sensei and was capable of enough forethought and agility to predict where Sensei’s infamous Bamboo stick would fall and jump away. During some nights he would sneak to the village down below and bring back meticulously detailed stories of his romanticizing of girls who, going by his account, swarmed him every time he showed up at the village. Better yet, he would bring us a basketful of gulab and other delightful dishes that were specifically on Sensei’s forbidden list.

Today, Sammy is shivering in a corner, his long dirty nails and falling white hair prominent like an admonishment. Life and duty has not become him at all.

‘He is…a Binder…’ his voice cracks as he whispers.

‘I know what he is.’ I interrupt him.

‘Far as…duties go, he is our exact opposite.’

‘I know what he…look, Sammy I need your help, okay buddy? I need to find this guy. I need you to help me find him, and kill him.’

Sammy shakes his head furiously, pulling at his ears and wails, ‘No! No! No! Can’t go back, can’t. Won’t. Can’t go back. Martha, Teo, Frings, dead…Nacho, Ukwe dead, dead. All dead. Can’t go back. Go away!’

‘Yes Sammy, that’s why we need to get you back in tip top shape, so we can go kill this bastard. For them!’

I pull his arm from his face but he shoves me away with such violence and power that for a moment I think I see the fire back in his eyes and am tempted to recount to him his misadventures from his teen years in the hope of fanning the spark. But I hesitate too long and the moment soon slips.

‘Death. Darkness. Can’t go back. Won’t. Go away!’

The Order Of The Forgers (A Microfiction Series)

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Part 5: Villainy

If you are one to indulge in the thoughts of dramatists, connoisseurs of literature and even the intelligentsia who claim to have mastered the art of influence, to have unlocked the working of the human mind, then you are probably familiar with the narrative of a valiant hero standing up to a villainy force that is a thousandfold more powerful than he or she.

He flings me across the room with a flick of his wrist as I rush toward him, every inch of me but my mouth screaming die!

The villain would possess a peculiar set of weapons that overwhelm our hero. On occasion one of these might be an unexpected charm with which he gathers support to himself or completely disarms the hero.

‘Oh hey, hey, hey…am happy to see you too and I like bear hugs as much as the next person…but that would kill us both, remember?’

Maybe that’s the idea. I try to shout but the words choke my throat as my eyes wander to where Sofia lies. He laughs at the message my actions personify.

‘Oh, I like you. I really, really do! Do you want to know why?’

Then, as you would have it, the villain would conflict our hero with a truth that’s often a product of machinations they put in motion a long time ago…

‘You my lovesick friend are a usurper.’

‘I am not!’ I scream back.

‘Oh but you are. “Sealed from mankind, To serve its plight.” You defied the very essence of what you are, just so you could feel loved, ‘he points to Sofia, ‘Blinded by her acceptance to the point where you willingly ignored that you were subconsciously applying your influence on her, manipulating her very thoughts and slowly decaying her will…and emotions.’

‘Liar!’ I scream as I will my limbs to move again.

…or sometimes, only the bare truth, unaltered.

‘Ooh, spicy! I should consider investing in this business of romance, I muse it could amplify my powers too…but you misread me forger. I never speak in vain. In such close proximity of each other, our powers should cancel out just enough to break your influence on her. Maybe now, you would like to hear what she really feels about you?’

Sofia stirs where she lies. She struggles to sit up, the shackles and chains on her arms and legs clanking loudly.

She scans the room slowly to get her bearing. Her gaze rests on me.

‘Who…who are you?’

For one long wanting hearbeat, the answer eludes me.


 

So today happens to be my second anniversary of starting this blog, even though WordPress tells me it was yesterday. I tell you WordPress is beginning to let things slip through his memory, that poor chap.

Now I haven’t figured out yet what annual tradition to carry out on this day (or if there’s even a need for it). But today I’ve decided to publish two posts at once, something I’ve never managed before.

And so, without much further ado, as one famous ‘doctor’ was fond of saying: allon-sy to part six!

 

Liebster Award 2018

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Greetings and salutations to you all!

Oh what great joy! To find myself nominated for a WordPress award for the first time ever, and that less than a week before my second blog anniversary (has it been that long already?).

Anyway, if I sound excited today it is because in being nominated for this award I have been presented me with quite the challenge by being forced to ask myself some really introspective questions that I have been too wary to ask myself before.

This nomination came courtesy of the talented Tia from Masked Snow, whose posts you can read through this link here: https://maskedsnow.wordpress.com/

1. What inspires you as a writer?

An insatiable need to entertain and educate others. As a young boy I found myself devouring entertainment pieces in whatever they came, books, movies and all. As a teenager, I learned the just how powerfully literature and other means of entertainment can transmit messages that proffer change in society. And now at this stage in my life where I question everything around me, I have fallen to writing as a way of expressing my dissatisfaction with issues in our society and so on, because I doubt if people would hear me otherwise, even if I carried a megaphone with me.

2. What is the most fascinating thing about being a blog writer?

Reading other people’s blogs. Oh yes, to produce a single post of my own, I’ve found myself scouring the WordPress blogosphere reading tons of other people’s pieces. You’d be amazed at how much character and creativity you can find in this community and that has really played a big part in my development as a blogger myself.

3. What’s the one thing that transformed your life?

I’ll go ahead and mention two since they were similar and am not good at following instructions anyway. J The first came during a family event when I was still a young boy. In a quiet corner of our home, an uncle I’d never met before told to one, keep my family members close (still working on that – I have a very huge family) and two, to not neglect my education (in university right now, only two semesters to go – Alhamdulillah). The second was with a different uncle whom I admire terribly and is a content manager on zeit.com, he told me two words: ‘Tunnel Vision.’ They got me through university so far and also gave me that final push to start my own blog.

The similarity between these two is that they both used very few words, which happened to be just the right words to stir something inside me.

4. What makes a good content? How do you know if a piece of writing is doing well?

In my opinion good content, in fiction at least, has to strike the right balance between educative, entertaining and provocative. Anytime I stick to this code, the engagement I get on my piece through comments seems to tick upwards, which is how I know that I have written something good.

5. Tell me some 5 random facts about yourself

I love and fear swimming in equal measure.

I spent a year in Kentucky in an exchange program. Sadly didn’t get to carry home that silky Southern drawl with me so now I can’t prove to the naysayers that I actually did live in the US (sigh).

I chose my university major (Computer Technology) on a whim, and it wasn’t even my first choice. I’ve warmed up to it better than I imagined.

I am crazy about science fiction.

I have a feeling that I am usually an inch or two taller in my dreams. As you dream so shall you live? One can hope?

6. What do you usually write about on your blog?

Initially, I used to write non-fiction essays. Nowadays I prefer fiction because of the creative freedom it affords me, but of course I draw my content from normal everyday things in the same way I used to with the non-fiction pieces.

7. What should be the ideal length of the content?

I suppose it depends on the amount of content that needs to be presented. It shouldn’t matter whether the content will take a hundred words or two thousand so long as the content is meaningful. But that’s an entirely subjective answer.

8. What is the one trait that makes you different from everyone?

My humor. I have a sense of humor very few people actually get. I can count on my fingers the number of people who cracked their ribs laughing at my jokes. It always pains me when I part ways with them. I have considered locking them all in a room so I could visit them at whatever time of day I felt an urge to tell a joke so I could feel worthy.

See, no one got that one either (sigh).

9. What are some of the things that makes you confident?

Succeeding in creating something. Whether it’s a piece of writing, or a fully-fledged (or even just half working) software.

Having such a wonderful mum. She defies the odds every single day, and that encourages me to be a better version of myself too.

10. What are your posts are based on? Are they based on your emotions or they are trying to give a social message to a reader? Also share your favorite blog posts.

Tough one. It’s a combination of inspiration from other writers, events I see around me or hear about every day and my own quirky way of thinking, all thrown into a messy blender.

Are they based on my own emotions? Quite possibly, unconsciously at least. I try to focus less on my own emotions and instead try to adopt the emotions of the characters I write about so I can meaningfully capture their plight and present it to others.

11. What do you think of me?

Haven’t known you for that long but from what I’ve read on your blog so far I think you are wildly talented. You have a way with words (rhymes always get me). I’ve personally shunned away from poetry because of its heavy requirements of having to wrap messages in layers of imagery and clever juxtaposition, but you seem to have mastered that which leads me to believe that you have a great future ahead as a poet and blogger.

 

The updated 2018 rules for the Liebster Award are as follows:

  • Link to the official Liebster Award in your Liebster Award blog post. (https://theglobalaussie.com/liebster-award-2018/)
  • Answer the questions given to you.
  • Create more questions for your nominees to answer (I’m looking for unique and creative ones)
  • Comment on the official Liebster Award post with a link DIRECTLY to your Liebster award.

 

My questions are:

  1. What do you enjoy most about blogging?
  2. If you had a chance to bring back one the greatest names of literature that are deceased so they could groom you, who would it be and why?
  3. Have you ever lost track of time while reading a piece of literature or book? Tell us its title if the answer is yes.
  4. If you had the skills of Cobb from the movie Inception and enough resources to incept everyone in the world, what ideas would you plant in their minds?
  5. If you could adopt the life of any character you’ve ever read about in a book who would it be?

Here are my nominees:

https://hilalthoughts.wordpress.com/

https://asfamobin.wordpress.com/

https://jefwahhhh.wordpress.com/

https://raindried.wordpress.com/

https://ahmedshayo014.wordpress.com/

https://armoneokech.wordpress.com/

https://undulyunruly.wordpress.com/

http://theafricanswan.wordpress.com/

 

 

The Order Of The Forgers (A Microfiction Series)

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Click HERE to read part three!

Part 4: Famous Last Words.

Sensei once basked in the company of kings and monarchs. Word around is he used to be so good at telling jokes, he made a living out of it. That was a long, long, really long time ago. Then something changed him completely. As he described it, something just snapped one day and like a zombie he wandered in a hazy quest of self discovery until he found himself amongst the Forgers.

Nowadays, the only joke he can tell involves a rap across my chest or back with his infernal bamboo hell-stick. But he tells it so well it cracks my ribs every single time.

‘You aren’t taking any of this seriously enough!’ He barks.

‘What’s our motto?’

Under my physical and mental strain I struggle to remember, ‘With great power, comes…’

Pain! Sharp pain sends me crashing to the wet ground.

‘If you quote Spiderman one more time…’

‘You are the real joke here.’ He scolds.

‘This is where the road ends for me kid.’ He says one day, lying on his bed, amid fits of coughing.

‘This is what you need to understand. This is it. This is your life and this is how you die. You will never know love, your abilities won’t let you experience that. You will live forever and then die surrounded by inept irksome students who hardly know you. If that future scares you, you need to choose something else right now.’

‘But sensei, my training…’

‘Your training ended years ago…but you are not ready. I fear you will never be. What’s our motto?’

Sensei is a shrewd man. He wouldn’t pass on a chance to knock some sense into his students even if that included using the dour atmosphere surrounding his deathbed to finally get through to me.

Suddenly, just as it looks like his lights are finally blinking out, he musters some strength from seemingly nowhere, eyes wide like a haunted child and drags me to him by the shoulder.

‘There’s something you need to know…abou…about the Forgers.’ He whispers.

That’s all he manages to whisper.


 

PS: I wish to apologize to everyone who was the following the series for taking too long to post this. As soon as I posted the previous part, I fell sick as a rat who’d spent a night in a cage in a dark room with cat sounds blasting in through speakers and cat odor being pumped into the room through vents. Between that and having to travel twice in a week, I found I’d lost the thread of this story and so it took me a while to recover that.

To make for lost time therefore, I promise to do my best to post more regularly from now one. Thank you all for reading!

Microfiction #15: The Prohibition

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…wherein everyone seeks the same thing…

That morning Sami woke up craving blueberry pie but felt a bit of angst as he looked into his wallet and noticed the five dollar bill.

The lonely octogenarian spent the rest of the morning frantically looking around town for a possible benefactor of his small fortune. The first two of his neighbours slammed their doors in his face when he showed up to donate the sum to them and soon after that the rest closed their shutters long before he’d approached them.

He ventured into town, growing ever more distressed, until by pure chance he came upon a man of the streets, one of the remaining few who’d chosen such a life for themselves. After a frivolous back and forth, reaching a point where Sami almost broke into tears in defeat the man finally accepted his offering.

“ ’Spose I should trade this in immediately.” The street rat grumbled.

Flushed with a fresh breath of life, Sami finally settled down to serve himself a slice of blueberry pie from the nearby food dispenser and sat down on a bench to take in his latest moment of triumph. It was to be short-lived, however, for a young lady appeared from around a corner, every manner of her relaying an innate disruptive nature, walking towards Sami with wide eyes and an impatient gait.

“Am sorry old man,” she grimaced, “They’ll probably sentence you to life for this, but I exhausted my trade-in tokens and anyway let’s face it, you have what…seven maybe ten years left to live?”

With that she knocked the old man out cold with a single punch.

When Sami came to, he noticed immediately the swansong siren call of the moral police drawing closer. His hands instinctively reached for his pockets which he realized with dread were now bulging threefold. He reached into one and pulled out its contents, neat bundles of crisp hundred dollar bills.

“Oh dear….” Sami agonized, “They don’t make blueberry pie in prison, do they?”


Photo credit: WallDevil.com

The Order of The Forgers (A microfiction Series)

 

Late to the party are you? You can still read part one/two here and here.

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Part Three: Darn Them All

Darn all these secret government buildings with their fifty cameras in every hallway or room. Darn them to heck with their keycard doors everywhere.

Give me a lock any day, I’ll have it open within a second. These darn keycard doors, with all their complex constitution and extravagant merriment, why they take me way too long to open using just my natural talents, and worst of all, every effort I put into one of these shaves off a couple of years from my life.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: a nigh-immortal like me worrying about losing a few strands on the grand tunic of life he cloaks himself with, what is he smoking? But you have to understand, a nigh-immortal I might be, am still carved from the rock of humankind, thus do I still dread the end and of course, if I am to carry out my noble duty, it would do us all much good if the blood is still pumping in my veins.

So yes, darn them key card doors, and darn whoever invented them. Darn the fact that I have to break into the rooms where they keep the keycards or knock a few amiable security guards senseless to steal theirs.

But then darn the sight that meets my eyes when I finally arrive at my destination. A man sits on an actual throne in the middle of the dark room, lean as a chicken leg, with a beard long as my arm and not half as charming, sunglasses so dark they could be tiny black holes manifested, a demonic blood-red halo swirling over his head and smoke billowing from his nose and mouth.

And there on the floor, what else should lie there except the limp, chained body of Sofia. The girl, my girl.

Well darn the whole world, because the rage I feel could conjure up the spirits of billions dead and forever doom the living.

Click HERE to read part four!

The Order of The Forgers (A microfiction Series)

 

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Looking for part one? It's over here!

Part Two: The Girl

Her voice carries the softness of a feather on silk.

Her aura is that of a sunset on a tidally locked planet. Perpetual, haunting, notoriously hard to tear yourself away from, as if the key to its liberation lay in the sharing of its imprisonment with others.

I am never in control when am around her. I run away from her only to tumble and find myself reeling back into her arms again.

‘So you can unlock every door in the world, is that it?’ She asks one day.

‘Well, everything with a lock on it essentially, yeah.’

‘With a magical master key?’ She teases.

I sigh. How do I explain this part? Do I have a key or am I the key? Am I a manifestation of a practice or simply its practitioner?

Am I but a sorcerer?

No.

I am not a sorcerer. I am hardly better than your average chemist. Or artist. Why then, if you think about it, your best of writers and artists are mere chemists too. How else would you explain how they affect their audience so? They intrude upon their audience’s chemical composition, causing them to ‘feel’, and laugh or cry, using otherwise lifeless symbols on paper or canvas. So men of art as it turns out, are men of science after all!

As am I. Only I don’t just make the science, I am it as well, but how do you go about explaining something you can’t quite articulate, barely understand yourself.

‘Yes.’ I reply.

‘Cool!’ She replies. ‘Well, what else can you unlock besides doors?’

Your heart and mind, and should I do it long enough I could bend your will to my own amusement if I choose. Maybe then I could be rid of you.

‘Just locks. Am afraid as far as superpowers go, mine’s not that glamorous.’

The Order Of The Forgers (A microfiction series)

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Part One: In Deplorable Company.

‘This is a secured government building. How did you break in?’

He’s in full control of this conversation. It ebbs and rises as he sees fit. He alternates between using his tongue or his fists to communicate. I in turn respond well within my disposition with silence, grunts of pain or the occasional insult against his mother. I’ve crossed paths with men of his ilk before. I’ve been through worse than him.

The conditions could have been worse, of course. Not to say I enjoy being suspended in the air with my arms clamped and chained to opposite walls of the room, and a cup of coffee would have been nice too, but I’ve been in worse positions. One room I was exiled in once, I stretched my hand before my eyes and could not see it. When people talk of purgatory, I remember that place.

This place, it’s nothing. This man, he will tire. They always do. He does, and he leaves.

That’s when I whisper to my arm, ‘Mif-tahun.’

There are exactly seven hundred and twenty nine locks in this entire building. I can feel each one of them, but right now I need to focus on just two.

The process has always been painful, it’s never not been, but I need to be rid of these chains.

It stings.

It burns.

Then it gets worse.

In my haste, I drop my newly acquired key. It clinks mockingly as it kisses the floor, then rolls away and disappears into a drain in the floor.

I swear in exasperation.

Right then, let’s try that again.

 

In case you're wondering, Part Two is over here!

Microfiction #14: Origins

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There was a clock. Ticking and tocking.

Tick, tick, tock, tick.

He couldn’t see it, but it certainly was there, constantly.

Tock, tock, tick.

It ticked whenever he did something good, like that time he helped the sickly old lady cross the road and she thanked him by telling him he had a very special destiny to fulfill

Tick tick tick.

It tocked whenever he did the opposite, like when he punched the homeless guy in the dark alley out of rage for being fired from his third job.

Tock tock tock.

In spite of himself, he often found the tocking more soothing. So he bought himself guns, until later he could afford rockets and a presidential campaign.

We Can Lose Much More…

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(Fair warning ahead, parts of this piece describe a scene that might make your stomach queasy)

There are some subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) nuances that define as a people. Cornerstones of our society, so to speak. Tiny, often easily overlooked actions we do for others, things we say that bring a feel-good atmosphere and knit us closer together. They are values that are inherent in all of us even at the darkest of our times.

Lately, it feels like these foundations have been under siege.

Several months back, while heading back to campus from Thika, our bus zipped past a body lying in the middle of the road. I don’t remember where specifically. I don’t remember how the deceased was dressed. I don’t remember if it was a man or woman. I do remember that the head was not attached to the shoulders. I do remember that cars swerved around the body and sometimes over it. I do remember finding it near impossible to keep my food down for the next two days.

Worst of all I do remember that after the initial shock wore off, my fellow passengers got down to work speculating how the body might have ended up there. Had the man/woman been mentally ill? Had they willfully stepped in front of a car, driven by an urge they could not comprehend? Had they actually been murdered elsewhere and dumped on the road to cover up the crime? A consensus, completely uncalled for, was finally reached that there was no way the deceased had not been murdered elsewhere and then dumped on the road.

One thing that, ironically, seemed to escape everyone’s attention was the fact that there was a body on the road, and nobody seemed to care about school kids in other buses and vans who would pass by that same spot and have nightmares that night or that other drivers might be traumatized running over the body, because no one stopped. Always in such a hurry to get to wherever we want to, we don’t care what we throw away, when a simple hazard sign might have well warned other drivers to steer clear.

Fast forward several months and it seems we’re living in a constant spell of expiation for a sin we have no idea about. Our country is being held hostage by an election that just won’t go away. For those of you who aren’t fully versed on this yet, we held our election this August which inspired so little confidence in our judiciary that they declared them as null and void. The repeat elections, which are to be held tomorrow, are being overseen by more or less the same officials who bungled up the original one. Which is why the opposition is having none of it. Which is why for the past few weeks we’ve had demonstrations in the country to oppose the commission. The response of the government unsurprisingly is to use force and as a result more than a few lives have been lost.

But that’s nothing compared to the fact that the people who died are now used as icons of some ‘resistance’. Uncensored images of them in their undignified state have been plastered all over the ether to elicit some reaction from all of us. I see them when am on Whatsapp, they’re in my face when am on Facebook. A more considerate person might stop to think, ‘How will the deceased’s parents feel if they see their son or daughter in this manner on the news or social media? Should I really post this?’ But we seem to have lost that. We traded in empathy for higher resolution cameras and faster internet connectivity.

Then the unthinkable happened last week. One of the officials on the electoral commission, having fled to the States, penned a letter of resignation that revealed much of what happens behind the curtains. That the ‘independent’ commission was only independent in principle but not in creed or action. That her fellow officers were imposing influence on the whole process according to how it benefited their respective party, either way.

Because of people’s irrational party affiliations she’s been mocked, ridiculed, intimidated and threatened. That she fled out of fear for her own life, even as one of her colleagues was kidnapped and murdered under dubious circumstances a week before the original election, that she resigned out of fear for her staff, in the hopes that their security would be considered ahead of the plight of politicians who seek power and nothing else, seems to be lost on us. Whether she’s being honest and warrants our attention is beside the point. Once upon a time the search for truth used to be integral to the whole idea of us being ‘decent’, whether that truth resides within the people we call family or friends or our government. But that too appears to be gone.

As bloggers, as fiction writers, we often include conflict, tension, corruption and scenes of gore in our work, I know I too have been ‘guilty’ of this a few times. But we often add these things to mock them, to deride them, to expose them so we can fix ourselves, but in truth we do not want to see them creep into our daily lives and become the norm. I want to be comforted by the knowledge that if I end up lying in the middle of a busy road for whatever reason, people would be considerate enough to stop and shield my body, and not instead take photos and post them everywhere and make light of the moment. I want to believe that in a position where I possess forbidden information critical to the welfare of the public I would not be mocked and threatened if I choose to divulge such information. I really want to believe in the people I call my fellow Kenyans.

I will not take a stand here about whether or not I will vote tomorrow because that would make this a political statement, when this is far from it. This in converse is a rallying call to all of us, especially right now to all Kenyans, to stop and reflect about where we’ve come from, where we are headed and how we want to be judged by future generations.

Only one person can ever win an election, but all of us stand to lose so much more if we don’t stop to reflect and change.

Stay safe tomorrow everyone and God bless you all!

Microfiction Monday #13: The Meet.

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…wherein curious meetings take place in the witching hour…

Two men stood in the middle of the park, wrapped by the darkness of night. One was tall and lean, the other conspicuously rotund.

I spotted them on my way home, having stayed late at work, and took my time to observe them from a position of isolation.

The tall man remarked to his friend that the ‘radius of your midsection keeps defying expectations by steadily growing past its cap.

The round man replied that he worried his friend’s closer proximity to the sun would render him inoperative in a few years with a plethora of skin tumors and such.

Both men then laughed a hearty and long laugh before the tall man asked of his friend’s wife. The round man replied that she’d seen better days, but that her ailment had yet to put a damp on her spirits. The tall man explained that his own wife and the kids had gone to their grandma’s and he was fascinated by the unbridled peace and clarity of mind that it brought him.

He then took off his jacket and asked his friend in a most forlorn voice how they’d let their friendship get down to ‘this’. The round man took off his jacket too and retrieved a blade that glinted in the moon’s light and complained that he too did not like how things had turned out and that he would rather prefer to be done with it in the swiftest of manner.

Then the lean man cocked his head to one side and told his friend he suspected someone was watching them. His friend turned and shouted in my general direction, ‘Oy if you don’t mind, we’re trying to settle a private dispute here, so…bugger off now.’

Shivering and shaking from the tension of expectation, I took my cue to retreat to the beckoning comfort of my home, all the more worried about the fate of the two men, despite my knowledge that they would turn back into oak trees by the first light of next morning.

Microfiction Monday #12: Receipt

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…wherein dissent is punished…

In her defense, she hadn’t meant to do it, or rather she hadn’t done it consciously. The dust bin just happened to be there, at the supermarket’s exit and she extended her arm and threw the receipt inside. There was no thought to the action, just a habitual reflex.

Which is why she was more than mildly surprised when she answered the door a few hours later and was accosted by two sneering policemen. One of them held the offending receipt at eye-level for her to read the contents there.

‘This yours?’ He asked.

She pored through it once more, before confirming to the officers that it had in deed once been in her possession.

‘CCTV cameras caught you dropping it in the bin a few hours ago.’

‘Nothing odd about that, is there?’ She asked, puzzled.

The second chuckled, ran his fingers over his tablet and started reading rapidly, ‘Chapter three section four of The Accords states, “Any and all pieces of parchment, pamphlets, documents, clothing material, fabric, posters and all other manner of signage bearing an image of his Highness or the Crest of the Crown shall henceforth be treated as holy as his Sovereignty and any show of dissent towards such material will be treated as a show of dissent towards the King himself.”’

The first policeman flipped the receipt and the blood drained from her face. There, inscribed at the bottom of the receipt using cheap ink and barely visible to the unfocused eye, was the Crest of the Crown.

‘But, I love the King,’ she protested, ‘I named both my first son and my first daughter after him.’

‘Very funny in deed. May your humor assuage you in whatever bin His Highness’ magistrates decide to dump you in.’ The first policeman mocked as they dragged the poor struggling woman into the waiting police van and with each desperate cry for help, she noticed painfully her neighbours windows and doors shut ever tighter.