THE SECOND SIGHT
THE FURY WITHIN
A paranormal thriller
Whatever had a beginning certainly had an end.
And, of a truth, whatever goes around, comes around.
And when I woke up Hideous was perched at the foot of the bed looking balefully at me.
You remember Hideous, don’t you?
Of course you do, that load of rotten green demon, the one with the bloated, pus-filled, worm-invaded, three-fingered, webbed hands. That vile thing with the rotted neck and dripping shoulders, that same ugly and scary demon with the holed-out head and squiggly worms for brains.
The same little piece of shit with the busted, dripping eye.
Yes, that vile demon with the gill-like things on its neck and the thousands of wriggly squirmy things on its forehead…my one-time protector who had saved me from the gun of Bob and caused that same unlucky fellow to hang himself from the broken windscreen of a truck.
Yes, Hideous was back with a big bang, perched comfortably at the foot of the bed, regarding me with that single pink eye filled with hatred and loathing.
I wasn’t much surprised, though.
I had fallen from grace, and I had fallen hard. Bonner had warned me about it, but I guessed there were times when things sort of just took a natural course, and there was nothing anybody – or anything – could do about it.
Slowly I reached out for Jo Mintah, but of course her part of the bed was empty, and as I struggled to a sitting position and realized I was still naked, she emerged from the bathroom, fully-dressed in a fetching white dress, exquisitely-designed to fit her like a dream … and she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.
And of course she wasn’t Jo Mintah.
Her ordinary black hair was gone, replaced by a rich flowing shiny mass that glittered on her shoulders. Most of her slightly altered features were gone too, and she was now spotting her real face, her real amazing beautiful face.
I had been right.
Josephine Mintah had disguised herself so well, helped by evil illusionary artists, no doubt. She was her true self now. All the disguised parts were gone.
She was Elaine.
I wasn’t much surprised here too. You remember how Jo Mintah had made me feel sometimes that I was with Elaine? Why, they were one and the same. The slightly altered features, the dark hair, had all been a grand illusion.
But the legs had been there, the great legs!
Lord, how I had enjoyed running my hands on those legs last night and cupping those nice buttocks.
Of course I realized that somehow I had been betrayed again, and that I was in some kind of deep trouble.
One thing was for sure: I had obviously not lost my gift as a seer, but the powers that went with it were completely gone. I was back to the crazy days when I was a victim of their manipulations, unable to do anything to stop them.
I was no longer glowing; I had lost my force-field.
Yes, I had dabbled in evil, like Akua Bonsu, the woman I had saved from Frank Styles.
Now I could see it all too clearly.
The step-by-step manipulation to alienate me from Bonner and the source of my power, the elaborated plan to plant in a Jo Mintah to complete the rest of my downfall.
And crazy, crazy me!
I had ignored Bonner’s warnings and like a docile sheep had allowed myself to be led to the guillotine.
She stared at me, and her forehead blazed out the number of the beast: 666!
Her face was beautiful with an inner happiness.
Elaine was convinced she had won me over.
The scales had now been righted, and she was no doubt convinced that we were back on course!
Her eyes roved my face, and I saw her hands balling-up. She tried to speak, but her lips trembled and quickly she looked away.
I could hear voices in the outer room, the living-room part of the suite.
Her head turned apprehensively toward the doorway, and a moment later the giant came through the doorway, hesitated, and then fixed his hate-filled eyes on me.
Samson Basoah, of course.
You remember him too, don’t you?
Samson Basoah was father’s one-time trusted chauffeur. The man I had always known as Uncle Samson, one time even loving him more than I did my own Dad.
The same big powerful man with the ugly scar on his right cheek and the bald head. The man who had had the chamber of horrors under his bed.
The last time I had seen him he was holding a chloroform against my nostrils in that terrible evil ritual in the secret room beneath his bedroom.
He was dressed in an impeccable black tuxedo now, and as he entered the room his grim little eyes never left me. They were black with the depths of his hatred.
He came right up to the bed and looked down at me.
For a long time he didn’t speak, and then his jaw moved, and he leaned slightly forward and spat into my face. I felt the warm disgusting thing on my face, and I reared up in the bed, filled with a vicious fury immediately.
I was almost off the bed when he back-handed me across the face. It felt like being slammed by a moving train – he was that big, he was that strong and he was that mad.
I was slammed back into the bed, feeling the sharp pain on my face, fighting the dizziness that assailed me. I felt warm liquid running down my nose, and I knew I was bleeding.
I grabbed one of the pillows and rubbed my face against it, wiping off the blood and the spittle.
You stinking piece of shit! Look at the damn mess you made of everything! Asshole, what have you achieved apart from hastening the death of your own father?
Samson Basoah spoke through clenched teeth, his bunched-up jaws grinding so badly that I was sure he was going to vaporize them.
I sat up in bed again and smiled at him.
At least I avoided that damn mark of the beast on your bloody forehead, you little pussy!
That got to him. I didn’t know whether it was the thing about his mark or the pun about the female genitalia.
Whatever it was I saw death in his black eyes, a hatred that went beyond the soul, emanating from somewhere far nastier.
His right fist was drawn back as he rushed the bed.
This time I was expecting it, and this time I was ready for him. I swung my head away from his blow, and I could feel the power behind that punch as the air rushed past my face.
My right hand was honing in, fore and middle fingers extended, hardened, and I jabbed them hard into his eyes.
I felt the spongy softness of the eyes taking the hit, and he let out a blood-curdling yowl and grabbed his face with both hands as the fiery agony no doubt knifed into his eyes.
I was off the bed in one fluid motion, and I slammed a hard fist against the side of his meaty neck. He went down, grabbing lamely at the bedside table.
I knew that he wasn’t out.
He was as strong as Hercules, and if I didn’t get out of there he would overpower me in a minute. I gained my feet and rushed toward the door.
Last night my clothes had come off in there, and unless Jo or Elaine or whoever she was had moved them, I expected them to be there.
I burst into the room, searching wildly, and just as my eyes fell on my clothes – they were neatly folded on a white settee – I saw movement from the balcony area of the hotel, and I looked up.
To say I froze would have been understating the issue a bit.
I was absolutely paralyzed.
There was a man on the balcony alright.
He was Andrew Okai.
His trousers were black and neat, his white shirt even neater. It was open at the neck, showing a bronzed chest with tiny little hairs.
His hands were behind his back, and his black shoes glittered as he entered.
(with a dangerous smile)
And where do you think you’re going to, you little bastard?
On his forehead was the dripping mark of the beast, and his eyes showed a blazing inferno – deep amber with little blues licking atop the flames.
His lips were corked to one side in a disdainful little smile.
The Legion had found a host again.
It was funny; I had pursued this group of vile demons for a long time.
There had been a time, shortly after my father’s death, when all I wanted was to meet the Legion and exact my pound of flesh. But here we were, the demons and I, and the only thing I wanted to do was flee.
I knew I couldn’t take them on now.
From the moment I came to Portville to the time I had seen a naked homosexual being eaten by a bunch of vile crows, they had contrived to lead me on their own path, and by allowing myself to be seduced by the Jo/Elaine woman I had let them gain the upper hand, and I was lost.
My powers were absolutely gone; hell, I wasn’t even glowing in their presence again.
I looked at my clothes, and then judged the distance to the door. Elaine had come out of the inner room, but I doubted if she would do anything to stop me.
I could hear frantic movements in there, and knew that very soon Samson Basoah would be unleashing all his fury on me.
Well damn the clothes!
Drastic situations called for drastic solutions. I would flee to the door and go out naked.
Oh, poor, poor, Yaw! You don’t really believe it is going to be as easy as that, do you?
He spoke from the balcony, but the next moment he was standing by the door leading outside.
I whirled, baffled. I had never seen anything like it before. Before I could come to grips with what was happening he disappeared from the door again and promptly appeared on the settee, sitting sideways, legs crossed elegantly, smiling a secret pompous little smile.
Go on, put on your clothes. You look absolutely disgusting standing there with your balls hanging out like that.
Samson came in then, brushing angrily past Elaine.
He sighted me and walked toward me slowly, deliberately, fists balled.
(shaking his head)
No, Samson. Not now. Later, maybe.
For a moment Samson hesitated.
He was too consumed with anger and hatred, and he wanted to take me apart so badly.
Although his voice was low, it was nevertheless a whiplash, a command that allowed no arguments.
Basoah stopped suddenly, and although his eyes still blazed at me, he obeyed. He walked toward the door and sat down on a high-backed chair; he kept his eyes on me though, unwaveringly.
His antagonistic attitude, however, was the least of my troubles.
I was scared, real scared, and it wasn’t because of any of their actions.
What was getting to me were the words Okai had spoken earlier.
No, Samson, not now!
That was what struck my heart with total and uncontrollable fear.
I dressed slowly, my brain racing, seeking for a way out, but I saw none. I felt so alienated from anything good, and I knew my fling with Elaine had done that to me, just as they had intentioned.
For one wild moment I wanted to fall down on my knees and pray earnestly to God, but the doubts were crushing hammers that mocked me, eroding the little embers of hope and faith in me.
When I was done I remained standing, and stared down at Okai.
So, all along you were in on this?
He chuckled, and the flames danced higher in his eyes.
Yes, Yaw, I was. I sold my soul for wealth and power a long time ago. Sure, I wasn’t a Christian. All that stuff was shoved down my throat by a stupid father who would accept nothing else, and went as far as threatening me with withdrawing my inheritance if I ever strayed from the straight and narrow. So I played along to please him, and then I met Nicole, and for a moment the deception was worthwhile. And then you came along, and last night, after she saw you kissing another woman, and after I had offered her the world, she still had the audacity to admit to me that she was in love with you, and couldn’t marry me because that would be wrong.
I smiled as the warmth shot up within me.
Nicole, oh Nicole! She loved me!
I sighed heavily.
Oh, how much I needed her now.
Don’t gloat so much about that, Yaw. Of course I was maddened by her betrayal, and felt so vengeful, and then luckily for me I was chosen to replace you by my wondrous masters. There was a short ceremony, rather unpleasant, I might say, but absolutely worthwhile. I went through the initiation you spurned, and accepted my future. I became the new host that replaced your father, Yaw. Frankly, I’m awed and humbled by the sheer power I now have. You’re such a fool to refuse such glory, such … tumultuous ecstasy!
And he did that crazy vanishing act again.
He appeared on the balcony, and this time he hovered, feet off the floor, hanging in the air.
A moment later he was invisible again, and then he was standing beside Elaine. A flash, nothing more, and they were sitting on the settee, side-by-side, his arm around her shoulders.
He gloated at her, lusted after her. His eyes roved her chiselled beauty.
And of course this wonderful princess shall be my queen. As I said, you’re such a fool. What woman can compare to this angel? Even Nicole can’t be compared with this ethereal beauty.
You can have Elaine, Okai. Her dark soul matches yours perfectly.
Elaine’s eyes came up sharply as if I had slapped her.
Her lips were slightly parted, and her eyes were bright – too bright.
I loved you! Damn you, Yaw Boat! Everything was so complete. You and I were meant to have a good life together, and to rule over the earth together! And you had to go and ruin it all! I did what I did because I had no choice, do you understand? I had no choice!
We all heard the sincerity in her voice, the choked element of hurt.
And finally I understood: as a human, or the rest that was left in her, she still felt love. She still felt the necessity of a woman’s cravings.
She had hurt me, but she would not have done it if she had ever had a choice.
Okai’s eyes were blazing a fiery red now, a raging cauldron of hatred.
He got to his feet, and his face was as nasty as the passion core of hell.
Nothing is going to give me more pleasure than watching you die, Yaw Boat!
And it wasn’t his voice at all.
It was the ancient sewer voice, the voice of the demons, and now I could smell them; the terrible stench signified their presence.
Both the women I love prefer you, but no problem. I just want you to know, before you die, that I will go on taking revenge on your friends. Pastor Paul Anderson and Charles Bonner will die. I’m going to kill them personally, and after that I’ll kill Nicole, her mother and her brother. As for this arrogant little bitch here, I see a lot of lessons to teach her in life!
Elaine’s head was bowed in silent submission.
Adios, friend. I wanted to manifest and tear you apart, piece by piece, but I’ll reserve that for that pompous, silly little Nicole. Now, I’ll just kill you!
He stretched out his right hand to Samson Basoah, who came toward him with a huge automatic pistol in his hand.
Samson Basoah screwed a silencer on the barrel of the gun, cocked it, and wordlessly handed it to Okai.
Things were not funny anymore.
Surely I wasn’t about to die, was I? This just couldn’t be happening to me. I began to panic. Somehow I was going to end up dead if I didn’t move … now!
I swung toward Samson, crouching, my fist primed for his jaw…
That was … I tried!
But I couldn’t move a single limb.
I was fixed to the spot, as if I had been turned into a statue.
Horrified, I looked down, and saw Hideous smiling up at me from the floor. Its green tentacles were extended, holding me fixed to the spot, just like it had held Bob fixed until the truck smashed into him.
I turned pleading eyes to them now.
You can’t do this!
My panicked eyes seeking Okai.
(with a chuckle)
Of course I can do this. You just can’t imagine the satisfaction I’m getting out of this. Poor Nicole, to find out that she loves you, and yet she’ll never get the opportunity to tell you because you’d be dead. But don’t worry, pal. The fact that you failed God doesn’t mean you’ll inherit hell after your death. You will definitely go to a better place!
I closed my eyes and felt the pinpricks of tears.
What a waste, what a way to go.
I closed my eyes tightly and concentrated. Maybe, just maybe…I focused on God, on all the powers He had given me. I prayed inwardly, seeking divine guidance and help.
I opened my eyes and stared at Okai, and when I spoke my words sounded sincere to my ears, and I felt almost powerful.
You can’t do this, mammon! You can’t touch any of God’s anointed. In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you out of your host!
Okai chuckled again and shook his head with real mirth.
You dumb stupid little prick!
That was so pathetic. You didn’t even believe it yourself. Have you finished, Unblind?
He quirked an eyebrow at me, the shades of his eyes changing quite rapidly now. The host of demons wanted to see me for the last time, to relish in the final destruction of their antagonist.
Andrew raised the gun.
I looked at Elaine, and this time the tears of helplessness spilled down my cheeks.
Elaine looked back at me, her face a little sad, but just that.
She seemed to have composed herself and accepted the way things had turned out. Maybe Okai’s threat to teach her some lessons had gotten to her, making her afraid.
Whatever it was, she was with them now, and wouldn’t do anything to help me.
And then Andrew Okai shot me.
I felt the bullet tearing its way through my body, bringing with it a sudden shaft of pain. I looked down, horrified, and found that there was a red-ringed hole in my stomach.
I looked up, and then he shot me in the chest. The bullet smashed bone, ripping cruelly through me.
I was aware that Elaine had uttered some kind of a sob and had turned away.
I wanted to fall down, but Hideous was holding me fixed upright.
Andrew Okai shot me in the chest again, just above my heart, and this time I screamed, and blood sputtered out of my mouth.
Hideous left me then, and I fell backward.
Already everything was getting kind of unfocused.
My body was filled with heat and coldness at the same time.
I could feel blood pumping out of me, and I looked at the ceiling dazedly.
Okai was standing over me, looking down at my face, his face no longer filled with controlled contempt but with great hate.
You fucking cunt!
I heard him say from a long, long way off. He spat on me, and then he turned to Basoah.
Would you like to finish this, Samson?
I couldn’t hear his voice.
I only saw his lips moving; my life was ebbing out fast.
Samson came into view, and his gun hand was extended.
Die slow and painful, you damn little prick!
And then he shot me in the head.
Blood had formed around me in a pool.
My eyes were open, but I could barely see. I saw them moving, and a moment later they filed out of the door.
I was dying.
Maybe I was already dead!
The blood was pouring out of me.
Already I could see the pool around my feet, a tendril of it extending outward.
The pain was very excruciating, but nothing came through my lips. My eyes travelled upward to the wall…and then I saw it.
There was a painting on the wall, and it showed Jesus Christ and John the Baptist.
The greatest baptism of all time, the baptism where John had said he was not fit to baptize Jesus, but had been ordered to do so anyway. A baptism where the skies had split open, and a dove had descended from heaven…
Bonner had said whatever the Legion had against me, and was making me incapable of dealing with it, was something basic, something little!
Here was it, at last!
I knew without being told that here was the reason why the Legion had called me incomplete. I had accepted God’s word and become an Unblind, but I had not been a born again.
I needed to be baptized to complete the transition from a life of sin to one of righteousness.
I had just required a bloody baptism!
But it was too late now… I was dying, or I was already dead!
And then I heard it, the persistent sound from my breast pocket.
My phone was ringing.
My hand felt like a thousand-ton metal as I tried to lift it. One, two three, four times I tried to raise my right hand, but each time it flopped into the river of my blood.
I could not move my left hand at all.
But the phone still kept ringing.
Finally I managed to close my hand around it and took it out, sliding it upward and pressing the middle ‘OK’ button to activate the speaker mode.
It was Nicole, and she sounded absolutely depressed and agitated, as if she had been crying.
Hello, Yaw! Can you hear me? Are you alright?
I was surprised to hear my own voice.
I had been scared I wouldn’t be able to speak.
Yaw, please! Oh, please, my love, don’t die on me! Please where are you? Oh, please I love you. Don’t die Yaw!
I tried to speak, to tell her how much I loved her, and how she should be careful of Andrew Okai, but I just couldn’t speak.
Tears were falling down my cheeks unheeded now.
What a waste! I felt numb all over, and my breathing was much laboured. I knew that very soon I would take my last breath.
Son, what’s happening?
My hand could not support the phone any longer, and it dropped.
It got lodged between my neck and my shoulder.
I’m dying, old man! Baptize me, now!
My mind was going, and my heart was stopping, but I took a deep breath and said as loudly as my failing lungs would allow.
(in a shocked rush)
Oh, dear Lord, that’s it! Oh, why didn’t I see it?
Go on, goddamn it!
I was almost crying, and I could barely hear my own voice.
But you need water! Are you near water? You need complete immersion in water!
Just do it, please!
Pastor Bonner began to say words.
I bent my head a little, trapping the phone, and then I forced myself to turn over on my stomach.
I fell in a pool of my own blood, and my head seemed to be split into two, and a wave of dizziness and great pain washed over me, causing me to scream and almost grey out, and then it passed quickly.
…and in the name of God the Father, God the son and God the Holy Spirit, I baptize you this day, Nana Yaw Boateng, that being born again, you shall put on the full character of Christ, and be a joy in Heaven this very second!
I felt the relief washing over me, and I let the phone slip.
Now it was done.
The words had been said, and I needed water … complete immersion.
I could go to the bathroom and run water into the tub and then sleep in it, but this was not the movies. This was real life, and a person who had been shot like I had been couldn’t just spring into a death-defeating move like that.
My only hope was the swimming pool ten floors down!
The first step was to get myself to the balcony.
That was what I should think of now.
Maybe it would not work, but it was the only chance I had left.
I continued to drag myself forward.
It was the most painful, most difficult thing I had ever done.
A cry of pain came out of me each second I moved, and it was amazing that I didn’t pass out. Maybe a divine hand was watching over me, otherwise I couldn’t have made it to the balcony.
But trailing my own blood, I made it finally. I grabbed the railings and with a Herculean effort I dragged my body up.
I knew then that I was left with a last effort.
Death was already at my door because I could see a sudden sheen on the balcony, emanating from a foreign being, an indistinct being that shone so brightly that it hurt my eyes.
Whatever it was, it looked intently at me, seeming to glide toward my body.
I knew that the Angel of Death was at hand, waiting for my soul, and the second my heart stopped beating my soul would be whisked away.
That knowledge just came to me, and I knew that it was the truth. Time was running out for me and suddenly every little second seemed to count.
I got my head and shoulders over the balcony, and then I let myself fall into space.
There was every probability that instead of the pool I would smash headlong unto the concrete floor beneath and rip myself to smithereens.
Whatever it was I had been baptized, and no one would fault me for not making an attempt to get to water for a complete immersion that would complete the baptismal ritual.
I found myself falling freely in space, head over heels.
I could hear screams, shouts, confusion!
And that shining being was following me, just outside my falling body. It frightened me so bad that even in my sub-conscious condition my heart screamed for release, needing that thing to just disappear.
Far away … oh, Lord, so far away! Why in the name Hades was the water so far away?
It took an eternity, and suddenly I smashed first unto hard concrete and felt bones breaking in my body, and then my body rolled once, twice…
My body had struck the sloping concrete of the pool area.
Suddenly I saw my body lying on the hard ground, covered with blood.
I seemed to be hovering just over my body, screaming and weeping, commanding that big hunk of flesh to get up.
I knew my soul had left the shell that had been my body, and chances were that I would never go back to it again. The fear was so terrible that I felt an alien coldness.
Suddenly that glittering thing was hovering just above me, reaching out for me.
Hey, wait a bloody second, you mean sonofabitch!
The Angel of Death didn’t seem to hear me because I felt its constricting presence under me, lifting me up and away from my body as people were rushed out of the reception area of the hotel.
My body was suspended, tilted sideways toward the pool.
I could see that my legs were twisted at very awkward angles, and my head was indeed split into two with some gooey white stuff spilling out; brain matter, more like.
Move into the water, goddamn it!
And then, as if it had heard me, my body began to roll, slipping off that concrete slope by some gravitational force, sliding by painstaking miniscule grades as my soul rose higher and higher, and the Angel of Death placed his hands on me, lifting me away slowly … and then my bullet-riddled broken body splashed into the swimming-pool.
I almost heard the eerie sigh of the strange being bearing me away, and then he seemed to drop me and ascended gradually without my soul…
And then I was falling, easing my way through the water, seeing my bloodied body sinking slowly toward the floor of the pool. My soul smashed into my body, and we became one again.
Mercifully everything blacked out immediately, but not before I had seen the Angel of Death moving slowly toward the skies, and then disappearing into the clouds.
I came to a choking awareness.
I tried to breathe, and got a jolt as water rushed through my nostrils.
My eyes sprang open and my limbs flailed.
I was still in the pool … but I was moving.
I was moving!
I held my breath and brushed my hands over my head, expecting to feel the gaping wound where the bullet had split the skull open, but nothing. No pain, no wound.
My hands were all over my chest and stomach. Nothing! But I had hit hard concrete, hard enough to break all the bones in my body.
But I was whole!
But then there was crimson all around me. The water was filled with blood, evidence that I had entered it fatally wounded.
Damn me to ashes, it had worked!
But I was drowning.
My exhilaration was so complete that I had forgotten for a moment that I was in the swimming pool. Already I felt movement above me and looked up. About three people were coming down toward me, obviously a rescue party.
I kicked upward, swerving them, and surfaced.
I looked into the dark sky and felt like hollering my head off. I gasped painfully for breath and as the would-be rescuers surfaced alongside I grabbed the concrete edge of the pool and pulled myself out of the water.
A sizeable crowd had gathered even at that late hour. A few hotel security were around too, and their faces were so filled with disbelief and shock.
AN OBESE WOMAN
(explaining to a young couple)
My God, he jumped from the top floor! Of all the silly things to do! These young men are mad!
A THIN MAN
No, no, no! He didn’t jump! I was in that chair! He fell on the concrete, and his body was broken! There was blood all over him! That man should be dead!!
There was confusion, and I walked quickly out, heading for the sliding glass doors.
Sir, sir, I think you ought to come with us. What you did is certainly against hotel regulations.
I glared at him.
I was entering the reception area, and could see from the clock above the long mahogany desk that it was three in the morning.
I’m sorry, but believe me, you don’t want to detain me.
They paused, about four of them, looking puzzled.
There’re bullet holes in your shirt, sir! I really think you should come with us!
I glanced down at my wet clothes.
Hell, you’re right, dude, I got bullets holes in my fucking shirt.
He wanted to pursue it, but one of them – a tall, lean man – grabbed his arm and shook his head.
The huge car park was almost empty, but my Chrysler was parked where we had left it the previous night.
Hideous was splashed on the roof of the car, tentacles spread luxuriously.
It was the demon that saw me first, I guess. It suddenly balled itself into a quivering little ball, and its one pink eye turned to me, filled with sudden panic. Its haunches were tensed below its body, ready for flight.
I pointed a finger at Hideous.
You keep still, motherfucker!
It hissed, its fear sending out a repulsive odour from its body.
My wrath was so full it was choking me.
You piece of shit! Just burn! In the name of Jesus Christ just fucking explode!
I saw the intensified panic in its eye, and heard its wail of frantic pain a brief second before bloated and shattered into smithereens, and I got a lifetime of satisfaction from that sight.
I laughed maniacally as the pieces of Hideous began to burn, and heard its screams of abject pain and horror.
Oooohhh yeaaaaahh! That ones for Bob, you motherfucker!!
My car keys were still in my pocket, and I deactivated the alarm and got in the car.
My turn was tight, and I shot out of the car park.
Once more the chase was on, and this time I was armoured.
I had seen death. I had chatted with death, and it had turned out to be something terrible, something scary, something diabolic. They had killed me, and I had returned from the verge of death.
The wrath was a bitter feeling in my gut.
I was so angry that I wished those demons were facing me now.
Luckily I still had one old habit I hadn’t quite gotten to quitting yet.
In my former life of drugs and sex I always kept a small airtight briefcase in my car containing two sets of clothes.
It was one of the codes of the professional player: always keep nice clothes nearby for you wouldn’t know when you might need to change quickly to impress.
I parked the car on a lonely stretch of road, got out, walked to the boot and brought out the briefcase. I stripped off my wet bullet-ridden clothes. The dark suit, silk blue tie and the matching silk tie still bore the sharp lines of the iron and the folds, and I rubbed my hands down them a number of times to restore some sanity to the curves.
I applied some deodorant, dressed quickly, and splashed some perfume on me.
I stuffed my wet clothes into the briefcase again, and then I got back behind the wheel, started up and drove fast out of there.
Someone – or something – was going to pay.
It was as simple as that. I had been scared bad, and the scent of death still clung to me like some dank aftershave.
But no more.
I was tired of the running, and I had finally come into my own, responding to the calling.
This was Showtime!
I drove straight to the Portville General Hospital.
It was basically like the rest of the angel town.
Set apart from the city centre, its route was peppered with laboratories, pharmaceuticals, sports complexes, health shops and other glossy shops ranging from exotic foods to health-conscious fashion shops.
The four-lane street that eventually led to the gigantic hospital was something of an ostentatious exhibition.
The buildings were many, separated by glassy expanses and beautiful mini gardens.
At that hour of the dawn it would all have seemed pretty beautiful and peaceful, but something was happening there when I arrived.
I had felt rather strongly – from an alien kind of awareness – that the Okai-demon would go after Paul Anderson to finish him off as it had promised.
And when I saw the wailing sirens of the cops and firemen I knew that everything was in motion.
A security guard told me when I parked my car and got out that a portion of the Premier Male Ward D had caught fire.
He didn’t know whether it was an electrical fault or from a careless cigarette-smoking patient, but it had grown quite fierce, licking up the skies like ‘the devil’s own tongue’.
I strived to keep the worry from my voice.
Yep, sir. That’s where they keep all those fat rich folk, you know, politicians and the fucking loaded. They’re always doing crazy things like that. They’re gonna raze the whole fucking place to the ground one of these days, I tell ya.
I moved quickly, running when nobody was watching.
I knew what was happening. The fire wasn’t from an electrical fault or cigarette. It had been set deliberately to create a diversion.
If there was a D Premier Ward, then it presupposes that there would be an A, B and C.
The diversion would be aimed at drawing attention from where Anderson was being kept so that his death would be smooth and wouldn’t draw so much attention.
I followed the firemen and cops, and eventually came across four hulking buildings. They were buried in a profusion of royal palms and tall flower plants. They were lettered A-D, the Premier Wards.
The D was covered by a pall of smoke and an angry fire was licking it, but I could see that it was gradually being controlled. Shouts and screams were everywhere.
Police, firemen, nurses, guards – they were all milling around, trying to save patients and property.
I entered Ward C.
A serene reception – soft-coloured furniture, subdued ceiling lighting, a beautiful aquarium, very low soulful music, a glass-topped C-shaped desk – an indication of a hospital doing well.
Two tired-looking male nurses were behind the desk.
A hospital security guard was holding a plastic cup under a Nescafe dispenser, and he glanced at me briefly as I approached the desk.
The two nurses were not at all receptive, and when I enquired about Pastor Paul Anderson they told me there was an emergency, and if I wanted to see any patient I would have to come back in the morning during visiting hours.
No, please. You don’t understand. I have to see him urgently.
Why in the name of God do you need to see that man for at such an ungodly hour? Guy can’t even speak, for crissakes. He’s paralyzed from the neck down, and he’s been on a life-saver since he got here.
A cool voice said behind me, and I turned to see the security guard standing just at my elbow, holding his steaming plastic cup of Nescafe dangerously tilted.
That’s alright, fellas, He’s okay. He’s from the old man’s home. Wouldn’t hurt nothing to let him see the man, would it?
The two of them consulted briefly, and then one shrugged.
Well, guess not, if you can vouch for him. You have to take him, though. We’re a bit busy with calls here.
My new friend smiled.
He was tall and thin, spotting a huge handlebar moustache. It had been a long time since I saw anything like it; I thought they went out of fashion decades ago.
His eyes crinkled at the sides when he smiled.
“You might be wondering about me. The name’s Josh Aboagye. I’m a member of the church. Been seeing you and the pastor together quite lately. Come with me, I’ll show you to his ward.
I murmured my thanks as we entered an elevator. It travelled just one block and stopped.
We were on an L-shaped corridor which was brilliantly lighted. We walked past another glass-encased nurses’ quarters and he waved to the three fresh-looking nurses in there.
When we went round the bend we met another security guard, this one big and muscular, and Josh Aboagye stopped.
You go ahead. The Pastor’s ward is the last door on the right.
Who, your pastor?
Yep. Man here is pastor’s friend. He wants to see him.
The other man gave me the look over, and then he nodded.
You have to wait a bit, though. There’s a doctor with him.
Aboagye’s eyes narrowed.
A doc? At this hour? Why something bad happened to Pastor Anderson?
The man shrugged.
“Nothing that I know of. This guy just came in about a couple of minutes ago, one of the visiting specialists, he said, and he had the tabs to prove it. We had orders since morning that he might come around, and he chose this hour to arrive. Said there was some complications he had at the female ward or something like that.
First the fire, and now a visiting doctor to see Anderson?
Well, I’ll ask him if I could see the pastor.
Aboagye waved me away.
I took just three steps, and then I saw it.
A black moving mass, a cloud of blackness with a violent inner core, and it was sidling up against the white wall.
It was sparkling, acutely agitated as if it wanted to be unleashed.
The shadow of death …
It was here again.
Death was in the air.
I quickened my steps slid past that vile thing, giving it a wide berth.
I could feel its intensity and the stench it exuded. This was prime evil, and I could hear the huffing crackling sound in it, the angry undertones of violence. It wanted to be free, but I had the impression that it was being kept tightly in control.
The door wasn’t locked when I turned the knob, and I entered quickly.
A large white room, recessed fluorescent bulbs illuminating everything adequately. The temperature was controlled by a faintly humming split air conditioner in the uppermost part of the right wall.
The bed looked huge and the pastor was looking very frail and tiny on it. He was surrounded by gadgets – machines that emitted beeps and sent images to four television screens on the wall.
There were gadgets fixed to his legs, arms and ribs.
Some were running into both nostrils. Some were being fed into his body intravenously.
He was absolutely still, but his eyes were wide awake, staring with panic at the white-clad bald-headed man standing over him and patiently extracting a clear colourless liquid out of a brown bottle with a syringe.
Samson Basoah, dressed just like a doctor, complete with disposable gloves and tiny spectacles perched precariously on his nose.
He was facing me, head bent as he concentrated on what he was doing. He didn’t look up as I entered although he would’ve heard the door opening.
Leaving it unlocked in the first place spoke of the man’s total confidence in himself.
He thought it was one of the nurses, or a doctor … or worse a security guard. He had no fear or use for them. He would deal with them in his own way.
I could hear Paul Anderson’s silent screams of horror, and as I closed the door gently I was suffused with a wrath so strong I trembled. I stood just inside the room and watched him.
He finished drawing the fluid into the syringe and slipped the bottle into the side pocket of the white overcoat he was wearing.
He lifted the syringe and checked for bubbles, tapping it a couple of times and depressing the plunger slightly to get rid of gathered bubbles … and then he finally looked up and saw me.
I took great pleasure in his quick intake of breath.
I saw the fear that filled his face, causing the blood to drain from that bestial face. His disbelief was so total that his mouth sort of fell open, and again this brought me considerable pleasure.
He breathed hollowly, and he swallowed deeply.
Slowly the mark of the beast emerged on his forehead, red and angry, blazing blood.
I took another step into the room.
He shook his head numbly, and then slowly he began to puff himself up, to give himself a slice of courage to face me.
I don’t know what happened, boy, but I believe we killed you. It is just a matter of killing you again.
I said nothing, but I took another step into the room.
I could see the sudden perspiration on his face now.
He glanced at Anderson, and then at me.
He was gauging distances, calculating his moves, weighing the odds. He was scared, but he aimed to go out fighting and causing the gravest destruction he could achieve in the little time he had.
Suddenly his right hand flew upward and downward, aimed at Anderson’s breast. He wanted to stab the sick man with whatever poison he had in the syringe and possibly kill him before doing battle with me.
The unfortunate thing was I had come into full control of the awesome power I wielded, and at the moment the syringe would have disappeared into the pastor’s body it simply disappeared from his hand.
He stood thus, transfixed, looking at his empty hand with stunned intensity.
He chuckled, a hysterical piece of cursed sound that only helped to aggravate the fury I was feeling. He whirled suddenly, and now his left hand was clutching a huge gun.
Die, you fucking asshole!
He hissed and pressed the trigger again and again.
The bullets left the gun, eight of them, but instead of traveling at a speed so fast that the eye could not follow them, they sailed through the air sluggishly, lethargically, in perfect slow-motion.
The gun made no sound although there was no silencer attached.
Finally we all heard the clicks – the sound made by an empty gun.
He had fired all the bullets.
The slow-motion bullets struck my chest, one at a time, and they slid and fell at my feet with light metallic thuds.
He was standing facing me, gun still extended, and now I could smell his pungent fear as the sweat trickled down his face.
A man I had once loved above all else, a man who had been a friend and a guardian, a man who had sold his soul and caused great pain to many.
In that silent moment when our eyes met and held, a story of a lifetime was told, the good weighed against the bad, the judgment silently passed … and he was guilty.
Slowly he dropped his hand and shook his great head again.
What happened? You died! We saw you die!
I said nothing.
He took a longing look at the window.
It was closed and barred, reinforced with a metal sash mounted into the wall behind.
His lips came off his teeth in a poisonous snarl.
You can’t win, shitface! We’re far too many, and far too strong!
So you think.
He slid the gun into his pocket, and then his great hands balled up into fists, and his mark blazed angrily.
Are you going to kill me, Yaw? Is that what you want? Go on, shitface, do it now! Do your worst!
My voice was brimming with all my rage and disgust.
Suddenly I saw it, the Death cloud.
It whirled into the room – vibrant, sizzling, angry, evil, volatile!
I could see the tentacles struggling to come out of it, the nasty little faces that shimmered in there, wishing to tear, to possess, to destroy.
Samson was cringing now, his face filled with a terror that for a moment thawed my heart. He took frantic steps backward until his back came up against the wall.
No, you can’t do this! No human can do this, Unblind or not! Yours is not this power!”
The Death Cloud was all around him, whirling, wailing, howling!
I looked on, slightly afraid as I gazed on the sheer malice in that thing. It moved, agitated, swirling round and round, the little faces mad as they now gazed at me with hatred and impatience.
Samson was looking at me now, and there was a desperate look in his eyes, a look that told me he knew something, a secret that he was keeping tightly.
And suddenly it dawned on me.
They – whatever they were inside the Death Cloud – were waiting for me!
They could not act without my command.
And suddenly I understood: Samson Basoah knew about the Death Cloud, and he knew only I could control them. So long as I remained a novice they could only come so close, but they could not cause him any harm.
Maybe he saw the whole thing dawning on my face, because suddenly his huge frame began to tremble with great fear.
No, Yaw, don’t do this to me! Shoot me, push me out of the window, take my heart … but please don’t let me die like this! Yaw, please! Yaaaaaaaw!”
I looked at the evil force again, and I nodded slowly.
Go on, go get him!
I spoke, not with a vengeful heart, and certainly not with even fury.
At the last moment I realized that the power I wielded went beyond my personal vendettas. It was to be used impartially, without guile, without hatred.
So I pushed my hatred and fury aside; I even pushed thoughts of my father aside, and I was left with a simple truth: despite his charisma, despite all the good things the man Samson Basoah had done for me, he was evil, and didn’t deserve to live.
The terrible things inside the Death Cloud howled with glee and rushed upon the hapless man.
White and ash claws reached out and tore into the frenzied Basoah.
Evil being after evil being tore into him, reached in and grabbed.
His soul came out, a dirty soul that struggled brutishly, resisting the strength of the evil hands tearing into it. I could see the agony on the face of Basoah’s soul as it was being forcibly wrenched free.
Finally, with an evil whoop, the whole soul came out, gripped fiercely in the hands of the evil forces inside that ash cloud.
They enveloped it, screaming with frenzied evil, dragging that squirming little thing into their middle, eating it, taking it over, and in that manner they crashed through the wall with a final wail … and were gone.
The great hulk of Samson Basoah fell forward, hitting the floor hard, his head turned to the side, his tongue lolling out thick and blue, his face still bearing the mask of the terror he had experienced.
He was dead.
I could not stand it any longer.
I turned and rushed blindly through a side-door into the bathroom.
I barely made it to the sink, and then the vomit came spewing out of my mouth.
After a very long time I came to grips with what had happened.
I splashed water on my face and wiped it off with a hankie, and then I returned to the room.
Basoah was where he had fallen, horror-struck eyes still staring. I bent and closed his eyes, and then I turned my attention to Paul Anderson.
Pastor Paul Anderson was trying to smile, the effort causing his face to twist up most horribly.
I closed my eyes briefly and touched him, putting all my will into it.
The explosion blew me clean across the room and slammed me against the wall.
I lay, dazed, not comprehending what had happened.
Something had left my body and entered Anderson, a power source whose exit had been violent enough to knock me senseless.
As I struggled painfully to my feet I saw that Paul Anderson was now sitting on his bed.
He looked like a mad alien with all those gadgets and cords sticking out of him. I saw the tears washing down his face.
Above all things I thank God, my dearest Father above who has never forsaken, and I thank you, Yaw, for letting our Lord use you to heal me. Oh, thank you so much!
When I gained my feet the door opened and Josh Aboagye and his friend came in.
(with bulging eyes)
Holy fucking shit!
His eyes were dancing orbs that flew across the room, taking in the occupants, obviously quite unprepared for what he saw.
I sat down weakly, tremulously, and my body began to shake as slow reactions began to set in.
I was aware of Josh making calls, of doctors getting inside the ward, of policemen wheeling the body of Samson out…and I felt detaches from it all.
Finally, Chief Inspector Jack Frost, one of the first to arrive and the last to leave, followed me to the Chrysler.
Pastor Paul Anderson was already seated in the car, freshly discharged by confused doctors who had spent almost two hours running checks on him, and then shaking their heads with more confusion when they found that every little crack in his bones had been restored to healthy proportions.
Frost lit a cigarette and regarded me through a blast of smoke.
CHIEF INSPECTOR FROST
So, officially, a badly-damaged man who wasn’t expected to walk again – hell, he wasn’t even expected to sit again – somehow gets his health back, miraculously, and a very healthy medical doctor suddenly dies of a massive heart attack.
The man Samson Basoah wasn’t a medical doctor. The last time I met him he was a chauffeur for my father.
CHIEF INSPECTOR FROST
They checked him up thoroughly when he came here a couple of weeks ago. His credentials checked out. He’s been practicing for years, highly recommended.
Wow. All along Uncle Samson was a very qualified doctor? Wonders will never end. I’m not surprised, though. They’re very thorough and very resourceful.
The policeman breathed softly, holding his cigarette between middle and fore fingers and pushing his free hand deep into his pocket.
CHIEF INSPECTOR FROST
They. They. Who are ‘they’?
(stifling a yawn)
You don’t want to know, believe me. Now if you don’t mind I’ll leave now. Feeling really bushed. Need to sleep a spell.
He nodded gravely.
CHIEF INSPECTOR FROST
Do I assume that you’re through now? The menace is over finally?
No. One more thing to take care of, but I don’t really know whether it would be here in Portville, or somewhere else.
He took another drag of his cigarette.
CHIEF INSPECTOR FROST
I don’t know what’s going on. Sure, I’ve heard all that bullshit. All I know is that since you got here Portville has been turned into a graveyard, and people are sitting up now and asking a lot of questions. The shit is really beginning to hit the fan ‘cause a lot of media assholes are here, and we’ve had to clamp down really hard on the hot issues. Like we found a lot of blood in a hotel room this dawn, and heard about how you fell from the top floor, smashed into the concrete – at least one old woman claimed that was what happened – and then you came out of the swimming pool as fit as a one cedi coin. The bottom line is that I ain’t got no beef with you. Hell, I guess I even like you a bit, all your arrogance aside. But I’d be really happy to see you leave Portville.
I smiled at him, one of my genuine ones.
Alright, Chief Inspector. Give me another day, and I think all this will be over.
CHIEF INSPECTOR FROST
I hope so, Yaw. I really hope so. Just get it done and get the fuck outta my town.
He put the cigarette to his lips again, and I scowled at him.
You know, I think you smoke too much. About time you gave it up. It can kill you.
CHIEF INSPECTOR FROST
Been trying to quit smoking for years. Tried everything in the book, including all the silly drugs and nicotine patches and meditations E-cigarettes. Nothing worked. Seems I’m stuck with it.
I reached out and touched his left shoulder, concentrating on him.
I felt the trembling in my hand and the energy sizzling through me.
It hit him, and he recoiled, stepping back from me with a little cry.
CHIEF INSPECTOR FROST
(in a hard voice)
Hey, what the fuck was that?
I think you just got your cure from those cigarettes.
He looked at the cigarette in his hand, and then he looked up at me.
CHIEF INSPECTOR FROST
He put it to his lips, and immediately his face screwed up in a grimace.
He tried to pull on the cigarette, and he gagged.
He looked at it, frowned, and dropped it.
He looked at me, and although he tried very hard to hide it I saw the shock and disbelief written in the depths of his eyes.
He stepped on the smoking cigarette, and looked at me again with awed eyes.
Yeah, I know, fuck me.
He chuckled, shook his head and turned away.
CHIEF INSPECTOR FROST
See you around, kid, whatever the fuck you are. Fucking fake magician!
I stood watching him, and when he reached a dustbin he pulled out his cigarette case and lighter and dropped them into it.
I smiled and got behind the wheel.
I was feeling good.
We reached the house around eight o’clock in the morning.
Paul Anderson had been behaving like a kid with a new toy ever since he got out of bed, chatting incessantly, and he wanted to surprise his family, who should have been at the hospital in the morning to visit him.
He had had one of the doctors call them to reschedule that particular meeting for the evening simply because he wanted to see their faces when they saw him at home.
She might have seen the Chrysler coming over the bridge because she came flying out of the house the moment I hit the grass lawn.
She came down the stairs, her hair flying behind her, wearing a black jeans and a pink shirt that was inches too big for her, but which fit her like a dream nevertheless.
I felt the emotion soaring high in my chest as I brought the car to a halt.
Her dear beautiful face was filled with something deep – really deep – as she came to a stop. Her eyes were shining, her lips were parted, and she was breathing hard.
She shone, as if some secret light had come on inside of her … and God, was she beautiful!
Nicole, my dearest sweet Nicole!
Paul Anderson got out of the car quickly, smiling from ear to ear, holding out his arms to her.
Her gaze shifted to him, took in the fact that he was walking, that he was quite healthy, but although her eyes reflected her sudden shock and obvious delight, and although she ran to him with a whoop of joy, her eyes still scanned the car hungrily, desperately.
Other people were coming out of the house.
A lot of people, mostly church members, I was sure, come to sympathize with the family of the pastor no doubt.
There were more squeals and instantaneous songs of joy as the pastor embraced first one, then the other, and then a screaming Mrs. Anderson was pushing her way through the throng, her face awash with tears of joy as she flew into the arms of her husband, and as they hugged fiercely their tears fell softly, and they touched each other wonderingly, and a message passed between them…a message that softened the woman’s features and made her shed the terrible load that had aged her so prematurely.
Yes, the storm was almost completely over.
And then Nicole was standing beside my door, gazing in at me.
Above all the emotions on her face – relief, remorse, peace, happiness – love reigned supreme.
I saw it, because it was in me, flooding me, drowning me.
I got out of the car, and sudden tears came into her eyes.
Oh, Yaw! I kept calling your phone since you spoke to Pastor Bonner, but it was always off. I was so scared. I th-thought …
She could not continue.
I didn’t know who made the first move; maybe we both did, but suddenly she was in my arms, and her arms went around my neck, crushing me tightly as if she would never let go.
Her tears wet my shoulders.
I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry for the cruel words I said to you. Uncle Bonner told me everything that has been going on, the terrible things you’ve been through. Oh, my dearest love, you’ve suffered so much!.
I mumbled into her hair, and my heart was thudding so loudly that I could barely hear.
I’m okay now. I’m fine now, my dearest angel.
She tensed for a moment, and then she drew her head back from my shoulder, but she still kept a hold on me.
Her face was flushed, reddened by tears and being mauled so closely against my shoulder, but with her hair dishevelled and her face shot to hell, she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.
Her dear eyes roved my face and searched my soul.
(tenderly, sweetly, lovingly)
We’ve found each other, haven’t we?
Her voice filled with wonder and something sweet.
I smiled and pushed a lock of beautiful black hair from her brow.
I love you, Nicole Anderson. I love you with all the breath in me. I never knew love could be like this. Yes, my angel, we’ve found each other.
Her hands came off my body, and she cupped my face, her fingers tracing the planes gently, wondrously, her face a little startled.
This feeling I have for you frightens me, Yaw Boat. It is not like anything I’ve ever known. It is more than love, Yaw. It is like … you can hurt me bad if you take advantage of it. Would you be for me, all for me alone, and make me happy?
I chuckled and held her face.
What you feel for me is mutual, Nic. I’m incapable of hurting you, my love.
She smiled, and then chuckled, and then she looked at my lips, just like I was looking at hers, and my breath quickened, and her face flushed a deep red.
I’ve loved you and wanted this for a long time. From the very first time I saw you, I fell in love with you, my Princess. I’ve dreamt of this moment for a very long time, Nic.
Nicole Anderson rested the side of her head against my chest, and she gently rubbed my forearm.
No more dreams, my dearest love. Only the reality of true love…a love that will last a lifetime.
I put a hand to her hair and smoothed it gently.
Life was good.
And that was when a rusty voice suddenly intruded in our sweet bubble.
Charles Bonner of course.
You two lovebirds shouldn’t get carried away too far. Closeness like that breeds fornication which is evil in the sight of the Lord. We shall get the two of you married, and then you can chew each other if you so wish.
There was general laughter around us, and we became aware for the first time that we were the attention of a sizeable number of people who had been experiencing some form of unease, no doubt.
Nicole looked at me and we both giggled; we realized just how close we had come to kissing passionately.
We broke free, and as they all began to go back inside, Pastor Anderson once more the centre of attraction, Old Bonner came toward me, still grasping his walking-stick, and he stopped within touching distance.
His eyes searched my face, and I saw the concern on his face, and the strain he obviously had been under, for my sake. I felt a rush of tenderness toward him, and I smiled wanly.
It was close, wasn’t it? We almost lost you.
I nodded, and a shiver of fear passed through me as I recollected the bullets smashing into me and my soul leaving my body as the Angel of Death waited for me.
It was bad, really bad.
Bad, yes, but in the end necessary, as is the ways of our Lord. You came into your own. Paul’s amazing recovery is a testimony of the maturing of perhaps, the greatest Unblind of them all, a certain uncouth boy called Yaw Boat.
I smiled shudderingly, but I said nothing.
He took a painful step toward me and reached out his right hand.
Innocently I reached out and shook his hand. There was that blinding jolt, the sharp spark that rocked our bodies, and I released his hand quickly.
He stepped back and slowly he flung his walking-stick away from him. He took a deep breath, and then he did something downright crazy.
He shuffled his feet – Muhammad Ali style – and he threw four quick jabs into the air.
His limp was gone, and his painful arthritis was gone.
He dropped his hands slowly and his eyes – now brighter, more-coloured – bored into me. And then he gave a mighty smile that transformed his old face into something of a beauty.
It is like that, huh?
It’s like that.
He nodded in turn, and then he smiled, and a broad happy smile split his lips.
Welcome home, Unblind.
I took a shuddering breath, and then I laughed gently.
I felt powerful. I felt exhilarated. I felt free. I felt happier than I had ever felt in my life.
Life as a Christian wasn’t going to be such a bad deal after all.
Pastor Bonner proudly took my hand and we went inside.
There was happiness all around, and the day ended rather quickly.
It was quite late, getting close to midnight.
It had been a hectic day somewhat. More people had poured in to congratulate the pastor on his unexpected return to full health.
Of course everybody attributed it to God, especially when the story spread – obviously some had previously gone to the hospital to enquire about him, and been told by the baffled staff about the strange way he had recovered – that he had been sick one moment and healed the next.
Suddenly it restored confidence in him, and created the right atmosphere, informing the congregation that their pastor, whom they had momentarily thought was losing his touch, was in truth enjoying the blessings of the Lord, and still had the grace bestowed on him.
They were happy, and they were triumphant.
Pastor Anderson and his family were happy in more ways than one. They had been prepared for a lifetime of pain and depression.
The fact that the man would be confined to a wheelchair, unable to tend his flock, had been a bitter pill to take, but in a flash all that life had now been reverted to one of hope and promise.
And there was one amazing thing which I saw: with his recovery came his confidence. The fear and paralyzing guilt had vanished, restoring him to the full, making him finally believe that the Lord had fully forgiven him for the indiscretion of one sad moment.
He had started to glow again.
I saw it when I was riding home with him, and I had remarked on it. He had nodded, and told me that he had been a fool. It had cost him so much to realize what every first grade Christian knew: the good God always forgave a genuinely repented heart.
Nicole had called her office and told them she would not be in for the day.
Her excuse was that she was needed to handle the throng of visitors, but somehow we both knew that was a front; we had found something rare and deep, and both of us were frustrated because we hadn’t had the time yet to say all the things we had in our hearts.
In the afternoon, during a lull in the hectic cycle of arrivals and departures, we finally managed to find a little time for ourselves.
We fled to her room, and there we revelled in the joys of newly-found love. We held hands and talked, and we laughed and smiled.
Sometimes little awkward moments crept up on us, moments where we held hands and looked into each other’s eyes, unable to speak, and then we would both giggle or laugh, and the moment would be gone.
Charles Bonner had told her a lot, and I filled in some of the blanks.
When the full picture of what I had gone through finally began to emerge she had touched my cheek with cool hands and looked at me with love and terror in the depths of those lovely eyes.
My dearest poor darling! How you’ve suffered!
She had been a little troubled when she realized she could be hitched for a lifetime to a man who would never be like any ordinary husband.
She would be the wife of a man who would see things at every turn, and who would be chasing after ugly stuff no one else could see. That had scared her, but in the end she had knew she had to be strong, because her love for me was strong enough to conquer all her fears.
As she put it, the love was a force she could not fight, and its raw strength amazed her. Maybe, she reasoned, God had put that love in her heart, and there was just no way was she going to be able to fight it.
Finally she smiled and held my hands gently.
My mother did it, and I don’t see why I can’t do it. The truth is that I love you, madly, and I can’t stay without you, even if that means a life of worry and tension. But we will make it work, my darling. Yes, we will!
They were the sweetest words I had ever heard, and we spent a long time just holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes, and this time there was no tension.
Only love … pure, unadulterated, virgin love.
I didn’t tell her the terrible thing that had happened at the hotel where I had almost lost my life, and the role Andrew Okai had played in it all.
The time would come, pretty soon, when I would be able to tell her about Andrew, but presently, for no particular reason at all, I felt it was better to wait.
Late in the evening, just after dinner, Charles Bonner and the pastor had managed to usher me into the huge study, and there we had remained for almost two hours.
We explored all the angles and put everything into perspective. Their experience and new-found vitality fully complemented my enhanced power and youthful exuberance.
We were trying to predict the next line of attack from the Legion, now firmly embedded in Andrew Okai. We worried about how people like Andrew and her mother and the young widow had been in the church, all of them demon-possessed, and yet they had not been found out.
Could they have developed something else, a sort of shrouding disguise that allowed them to mingle with true Christians? As horrible as it sounded, we could not overlook that fact.
Finally, tired and sleepy, we gave it up.
Bonner spoke from one of the windows where he had been standing for a while now; since he lost his cane standing and walking had become quite a habit to him, and I couldn’t say I was particularly surprised by that.
Andy Okai is near, I hope you all know that. He can’t run now. You have the ultimate Godly power, and he has the ultimate evil equivalent. Both of you can’t survive, and one has to go. Paul is okay now – he has triumphed where he was meant to burn, and the Legion wouldn’t forgive that, but they wouldn’t dare touch Paul again. They would be scared because of his refreshed protection. You, Yaw, shall be held responsible for their failure to kill Paul. Not only that, you have been a direct cause of all the Legion’s latest string of defeats and fear. It now hates you with an infernal fury, and they would come after you. A final pitch, a battle of survival. One of you would have to go.
(stifling a yawn)
I’m ready. They should bring it on. I’ll be tracking it down anyway. No one crushes my father’s skull and gets away scot free, man or demon!
Paul Anderson laughed and shook his head.
Too known Unblind!
We all chuckled at that.
Abi you see that kan thing? Make I flex small. I dey form brutal!
We all laughed again, and then Anderson’s face got serious again.
But as is the way of the great Evil One, the Legion wouldn’t be foolish enough to face Yaw in a fair fight, would it?
No, of course not. I think the Legion would try to get an advantage over you, Yaw. It could be slight, and it could be major, but believe me once it thinks it has the leverage it would call for you. You need to be extra careful.
I nodded, and I was serious.
Believe me, I’m careful. I know how evil those demons are, and how brutal they can be with their tactics. I’ll never take the Legion for granted ever again. I’ll be ready.
Yes, you are. I now understand why our dear Lord saw it fit to recruit someone like you, son. You’re doing what I’ve never seen any Unblind doing. Now you can even command the elements of life and death.
I looked at him, startled and confused, not really understanding his last statement.
His kind eyes appraised me, and saw my sudden air of bafflement.
Yes, Yaw. That thing you described as the Death Cloud, the one that came for Basoah’s soul. Surely you don’t think it appeared by chance do you?
I shook my head, totally baffled now.
I don’t understand. I told you that the Death Cloud was outside Pastor Anderson’s ward before I went in. It was waiting.
Bonner came forward and sat down, his old eyes fixed on me.
No, I don’t think so. You remember the first time you saw the Death Cloud?
Yeah. In Jackson Peak, it came for Ray Mensah. I saw it following him out of the hospital earlier, and later it was in the backseat of Mensah’s car at the point of death, and seemed to take Mensah’s soul with it.
Ahuh. So you see, that episode with Mensah was different in the sense that you did nothing. The messenger of death was there to take Ray’s soul because it was Ray’s time to die; the appointed time had come for him. You had absolutely no control over it. But in the case of Basoah you had total control. You ordered it to attack before it did just that. That’s the difference. In Ray’s case, the time was the appointed time, and you couldn’t have stopped the Death Cloud from taking Ray, but in the case of Basoah, if you had commanded the Death Cloud to go away, it would’ve gone and left Basoah alone. Do you understand me?
I don’t get it, Charles. What you’re trying to say is very, very scary, to say the least. Are you saying Yaw is also a Summoner? We thought that didn’t exist. What are you driving at?
Simple. When the time comes for men of God to die there are always angels around, as Yaw found out in that hotel when his soul began to leave his body. And when a sinner dies his soul is taken by the forces of evil, as was the case of Ray Mensah. That’s the general belief, anyway, from our perspectives as Unblinds. That aside, when it comes to the real people of the Devil, people who had sold their souls for the power of this earth, they are different. Yaw has been endowed with the power to summon their messenger of death. I was once told this phenomenon was possible by an old Unblind who claimed to be a Summoner, but I disagreed with him. He said that the appointed deaths of human beings are the sole prerogatives of God, and we agreed on that. However, he continued, when it comes to human vessels inhabited by demons and who have received the marks of the beast, an Unblind can call for the death of such a human being, and although I disagreed with him on that, I now know that is true. It is evidenced by the way Yaw commanded the Death Cloud to take Basoah.
So, put bluntly, you’re saying that Yaw can conjure up his own death squad for the people with the marks of the beasts?
Exactly. When he’s angry and pissed off enough, as I’m sure he was when he found out Basoah was in your room, he could unconsciously call on the dark forces of death.
“But that’s so impossible! That’s preposterous! Blasphemous, even! I never even thought about such a thing let alone called on it unconsciously. It was there because it had to be there! I found it outside the door!
No, boy, no! I told you that yours is a different calling. You’re the new breed of Unblinds: strong, fearless, and totally dependent the broad spectrum of amazing powers bestowed on you by God. I think you have the power to call on the messenger of death, and I think you have other abilities you haven’t even tapped into yet. Explore, boy, and I’m sure you would be surprised to find out just how powerful God has made you. The question is, can you handle something like that without abusing it?
I was stunned.
I trembled a bit, totally humbled by the fact that I had somehow called upon that evil thing and used it to kill Uncle Samson.
I was a murderer!
I had thought his time had come, but to find out that I had orchestrated it filled me with bitter guile and a whole lot of sudden sadness and the crushing weight of guilt.
It was so sobering that I felt my throat closing over.
Such power could just not be! It was as frightening as it was exhilarating. No, it just couldn’t be, no man should be endowed with something like that!
Twice I tried to speak, and twice nothing came out.
And then, suddenly it was not that important anymore because the madness returned just then … and it all started when Nicole suddenly opened the study door and stood in doorway, gazing at us with dismay!
Her nightgown was a killer.
It was a filmy silky red, stopping short above her knees.
The upper part was a sweet lacy affair, accentuating the beautiful orbs of her breasts. Her figure was incredibly breath-taking, and as I turned to gaze at her I felt the joy spreading slowly through me – not the lustful kind of joy – and I felt pride at having won the heart of such an angel.
My train of thought occurred, however, before I had taken a look at her face.
I told you earlier that I was a sort of leg freak, didn’t I? So naturally my eyes roved downward to upward, spending a long time at her long beautiful legs, and up her midriff and settled finally on her face.
First I was aware of Pastor Anderson getting up quickly, and asking a question in a worried voice.
And then Charles Bonner spoke, and his voice was suddenly filled with great fear. He stood up quickly and began to move toward Nicole.
Something is wrong. Nicole, what’s wrong? What’s happening to you, my dear?
And then I saw her face.
The corridor behind her was dark, but the lights in the study illuminated that dear face, and what I saw on it chilled me to the bone.
Her eyes were wide, and her mouth was opened wide as if she was struggling for breath.
There was terror in the depths of those dear eyes, and her arms were reaching out blindly, clawing at thin air as if she needed to hold on to something.
The fear hit me like a bullet, propelling me out of my chair, sending it crashing backward.
EVIL IN THE FOREST
Her voice seemed to be coming from far away when she spoke, as if she was in some sort of a tunnel or hole far away from me.
Yaw! Are you here, Yaw?
I whispered, reaching out for her, the fear crystallizing into some hard metal in the pit of my stomach. There was a buzzing in my head and a pain as sudden as it was severe racked my whole body.
I could feel the evil presence all around me.
Already Bonner and Anderson had started to glow brilliantly, but Nicole was not so protected.
She was not glowing!
She didn’t have a force-field!
My dulled brain tried to find out why, even as I was moving toward her. I knew that if I could only touch her everything would be alright.
She was within touching distance now.
She screamed, her voice that terrified and that fierce, freezing us all momentarily, and just when my hands were about to tighten around hers she was sucked forcibly and viciously backward.
It was as if a giant just reached in and pulled her away.
She was lifted off her feet and hurled backward. I could see her body in the dark corridor, legs and arms flailing in the air, and then she was deposited hard on the floor just in front of the door leading into the living-room.
I began running.
She tried to get to her feet, but only managed to get unto her hands and knees before she was yanked up and thrown sickeningly against one of the walls!
She was dragged along the wall, vertically up, straight up, and then whatever evil force was controlling her flung her against the ceiling!
There she was, hanging from the ceiling, hair down and almost covering her face, but she was pasted on the ceiling, defying gravity!
Suddenly she was dragged across the ceiling, then down the wall, and she was yanked through the door violently.
One moment she was on the ceiling, and the next she was gone.
I screamed as I ran.
There was a buzzing in my ears, a kind of irritating bass drone that just wouldn’t go away. Mrs. Anderson and some of the servants had come down, faces worried, enquiring about what was going on.
I didn’t pause or break stride. I was aware that I had pushed somebody out of my way, hard enough to knock her down, but I paid no heed.
When I burst into the living room I found her in an armchair.
Her head and shoulders were on the floor and her legs and buttocks in the armchair. The nightie was bunched up under her breasts, and she was exposed from waist down. I caught a flash of white lacy panties, but of all the emotions I was feeling, horny was certainly not one of them.
Nicole! Oh, my darling … what is happening?
And then she was yanked out of armchair and straight into the air, and her head missed the overhead ceiling fan just by inches. She was drawn through the door and out of sight.
I jumped over furniture, knocked my shins against a low stool and came down hard.
I scrambled to my feet and flew blindly through the door that leads to the compound beyond.
I jumped the steps and landed on the green grass.
I was reminded of the night Bruno had died, right here, and my fear found expression in the drops of tears that ran down unheeded down my cheeks.
I saw her.
She was on the grass, but one beautiful leg was held perfectly still in the air as if an invisible hand was holding it up.
As I watched she was dragged across the grass at speed, and just as I began to run after her she was jerked off the grass and flung with power and fury into the air.
I screamed again.
I ran hard after her. Whatever was controlling her was taking her into the garden…and beyond.
When I reached the garden I saw her being dragged through the air straight into the forest that formed the border of the Anderson residence.
She was flying mid-air level, hands and legs still flailing, just out of reach.
I crashed into the dark forest. I could feel the evil all around me. Sneaky ghostly fingers reached out. I was surrounded by a thick fog, and I could hear the eerie voices within, just around me, but invisible to even my second sight.
Leaves slapped my face, and branches reached out to hold and entwine me. The trees seemed to have a life of their own as they fought against me, controlled by an evil presence so strong that it had changed the whole place and made it into an atmosphere of potent evil.
They seemed to move, trying to block my charge.
They were looking at me out of their barks, extending their leaves to slap my face and reaching out with their branches to scratch and hold me…and all along they were speaking in their crazy drone, driving me crazy.
Nicole was being dragged too far away; already she seemed too far away, and always her cries reached my ears – terrified, dying!
Roots reached out and curled around my ankles. I felt the climbing ropes closing in, swishing through the darkness and lashing viciously across my body.
I crashed into the forest floor, and suddenly the leaves were all over me. They lashed my face and flooded my mouth even as the roots slowly curled around me and the climbing plants dragged my face into the earth.
I felt something wet and squishy across my neck, and then slithering around my face and then it was choking me.
The hiss, the sliminess … it was a fucking snake!
A poisonous black mamba was entwined around my neck now, seeking a place on my face to strike.
This couldn’t be happening!
They had hit me where it hurt most, right in the heart. Nicole was more than a woman. She was more than just another person and certainly more than just someone I wanted to marry.
The few past minutes had shown me just that. She was my soul, the one person who made my heart beat. She was somebody I could not live without, and it seemed that evil forces had come to that realization too, perhaps ages ago, and now they had me by the balls.
By punishing the woman I loved so much they had caused me to abandon my fate and the special powers I had been endowed with.
But no more.
I was the Unblind, after all.
The fury was a living thing in me as I forced my face off the ground and spat out the acrid soil.
Get off me right now! How dare you touch God’s anointed? Git, arseholes!
The brightness blinded me, and a moment later I saw that I was glowing gloriously.
The branches, leaves, roots and climbing plants left my body, and for a moment I thought I heard their screams of agony as they fled.
I got to my feet, but I didn’t run again.
The terrified mamba was slithering away, and I stepped down on its neck, and immediately a demon with a half-rotten face and yellow blazing eyes filled with fear shot out of the mamba and tried desperately to float away.
I didn’t even open my mouth.
I just willed it to burn, and it burst into flames in mid-air, its cries of horror and pain feeling with me uncontrollable glee.
I was suffused by a fury so total that I could feel my body shaking with its intensity. The trees stretched ahead of me, dark and silent, secretly fuming at having been rendered so helpless.
The coldness bit into me, and I could still hear the grumblings of the ghosts and semi-dead in the air around me, restless spirits of wickedness which couldn’t vacate the earth.
I could feel their animosity around me, their great urge to hurt me badly. I could smell their foul scents and feel their creepy breaths on my skin. I could feel their slimy fingers reaching out with evil, wishing only to tear me apart.
Evil faces glinted darkly on the tree trunks. Breathing, huffing, fuming … evil rot!
This was Funky Grounds come alive!
They were creeping up behind me, gnarled fingers crooked, reaching for my nape, serrated teeth opening, closing in on my flesh…only held in check by my blazing force-field.
Be still, and shut the fuck up, y’all!
I hissed without breaking stride, and then I felt them stiffening and going absolutely still, although their foul evil continued to permeate the air.
And then, just ahead of me, I saw the woman.
She was dressed in white; it was a ghostly sort of white, the material filmy and soft, fluttering slowly in the still air.
She looked like a headless devil because from that distant I couldn’t make out the features of her face or the movements of her legs and arms. She just seemed to be suspended in the air.
Her gown looked like a wedding gown as I drew nearer.
The trees seemed to lean away as I approached, as if they were paving way for me. Maybe they sensed the destructiveness in my heart, and it scared them.
My walk was slow, almost leisurely, but the fury was a raw fire burning in me, wishing to be unleashed.
And then as I got near that evil thing the whole place began to glow amber.
I could not see the source of the light, but it was there. They were in a clearing, a clear area devoid of tree and weed, a large round circular patch that showed brown earth.
The thing wasn’t hanging in the air after all. I saw that its head was a mask of horrible wriggling scaly things.
They looked like eels or giant smooth snakes, fat and rounded, thrashing about restlessly and emitting a creepy squishy sound as they rubbed against each other.
The same things were in the arms and the legs – hissing, thrashing, gyrating. They had flattened ends and huge protruding pinkish eyes. As I stepped into the circle of clear earth I looked up and saw Nicole.
She was suspended in the air, spread-eagled vertically, but nothing seemed to be holding her. Her face was turned downward, staring at me with a terror so great that my intestines knotted.
Oh Lord, why should this happen to her? Why didn’t she glow?
Where was her force-field?
I was breathing hard as I turned my attention to that thing below her.
I saw now that the thrashing snake-like things seemed to be merging to form a whole. Already the ones forming her right arm had merged into one huge ugly thing, and at their tip was the perfectly formed hand of a woman.
I watched, mesmerized, as she metamorphosed rapidly.
I had thought I was dealing with the Legion-possessed Andrew Okai, but this was another entity altogether.
Her lower arm had appeared now, and already half her face had appeared, perfectly formed, but the other part still maintained that horrible reptilian feature.
One of her legs had completely become human, and the other one had a foot complete, but the calf and thigh still thrashed and struggled to merge.
She had two smooth arms now, and her head was almost complete save for her lower right jaw which still squirmed, bulged and emitted that sound as it struggled to merge.
And then, finally, she emerged out of that horror.
It was Elaine.
The most beautiful girl on earth!
Lord, what the fuck had I slept with?
I was so horrified that for a moment I felt like vomiting.
She regarded me, and her eyes were sad, if not remorseful.
I’m glad you made it, Yaw, and didn’t die. It is you I want, and not Andy. I didn’t want things to turn out this way, but you forced my hand.
I looked at her with all the revulsion I felt, and the wrath that burned within me.
Let her down now. You’re going to die, Elaine or Jo or whatever the fuck you are! Believe me, you’re going to die, here, right now!
Her eyes flashed then.
She was instantly angry, and as her eyes glowed a terrible crimson, the mark of the beast appeared suddenly on her forehead.
She will die if you fight this, Yaw! Just don’t tempt me!
I stepped forward, and her as furious as she was, I was ten times as pissed off.
Death Cloud, to me!
I whispered fiercely.
It rose up behind her immediately – a great, twisting Death Cloud, crackling with evil, emitting lightning and thunder as the evil hosts within fought each other, each trying to be the first to tear into the body of the evil woman.
Elaine looked over her shoulder and sudden fright filled her face.
She looked at me, her face terrified.
I’ll kill her, Yaw, if you don’t send them away!
She said in a rush, but her broken voice lacked conviction.
You can’t harm her!
But I heard my own doubt.
She shouldn’t have had any control over Nicole in the first place.
Nicole was a good Christian, and I had seen her glowing on more than one occasion.
What then had happened now?
Why had Elaine been able to maltreat and abuse her so badly?
What had she done?
Of course I can hurt her!
And immediately I saw Nicole’s neck constricting inward, the veins standing out as if an invisible giant hand was squeezing her neck. Her tongue lolled out, and her eyes began to bulge.
Leave her alone!
I screamed, impotent with fury, and the Death Cloud hissed ominously and seemed to move a mite toward Elaine.
Elaine took a step away from me, but not too far toward the Death Cloud.
Now I could see the things in the cloud, staring hungrily at me, begging to be set loose on that evil woman.
She’s dirty, Yaw! She’s a sinner. She slept with her uncle, got pregnant by him, and then she had the poor baby aborted! She’s a fucking sinner, and through her sin I have total control over her!
My startled eyes went up to where Nicole was hanging.
I hadn’t known that about her.
She was coughing now, her throat obviously injured by that near-strangling.
As bad as it seemed, and as bad as the information hurt me I knew it was the truth. It made perfect sense, in a way.
It explained why she had had no protection against Elaine.
She had committed incest and murder, and try as hard as she could I was sure the guilt had never left her, and where there was guilt these ugly things would feed on it, twist it until a person felt total insecurity, and then finally it would make one feel alienated from God, overburdened by the intensity of the sin, and then the evil one would move in.
I looked up at Nicole.
Her tears drenched her face as she looked down at me – remorseful, imploring, scared.
Pray, Nicole. Pray. God has already forgiven you for your sins, so just accept that! Find it in your heart to forgive yourself, and everything will be okay. I love you, and I’ll always love you, my darling…no matter what! Pray!
I saw the conflicting emotions on her dear face, and then she shut her eyes tightly.
Elaine said in a rush and held out her right hand and I saw a beautiful golden band glistening in her palm.
You’re wasting your time, Yaw. Did you think I was going to let you marry another woman? No, you’re mine, and together we shall rule the world. Take the ring and put it on, Yaw, or I promise you she will die in the next ten seconds!
I noticed that she was wearing a smaller version of the ring on her wedding finger.
(filled with revulsion)
You and I will never be partners of any kind, woman! You’ve gone too far, Elaine. By touching the woman I love, you’ve brought judgment unto yourself. I’m not going to spare you.
Elaine’s lips trembled, and the hand holding the ring shook, and then she snarled with a terrible anger.
Briefly, just briefly, all her good looks disappeared, and her face changed into that of a terrible hag.
I saw grey breaking hair, a skull-like head, bony cheekbones, huge serrated teeth, long wolfish tongue and a big bulbous nose.
But then it was gone, and as her eyes and forehead blazed crimson Nicole began to choke again.
Nicole’s pain made me sick to my stomach, and I screamed sharply at her.
Pray, Nicole, pray, goddamn it! Help me out here!
For a brief moment I considered setting the Death Cloud on Elaine, but I was scared.
What if they took her soul and I was unable to reverse whatever perverse evil she had placed on Nicole?
I just couldn’t live with the guilt.
Elaine screamed at me, her fury overriding her fear of the breathing cloud behind her.
Take the damn ring and put it on or she dies, Yaw! Take it now! You are mine!
Nicole’s legs began to jerk, her fingers curling into claws, her feet straightening out as her body began to convulse for air. Her face was already turning blue, and her tongue was sticking further out.
She was dying!
With a little sob I dashed forward and snatched up the ring from Elaine’s hand. Tears blinded me and for a moment I couldn’t put it on.
Finally I extended my wedding finger and began to slip it on as my heart beat with a mixture of fury and sickened horror.
I didn’t know what putting on the ring would signify, and what would happen to me afterwards where God and my gift as an Unblind were concerned.
But I knew I couldn’t let death steal Nicole.
No matter what happened, her life was a priority.
Elaine bellowed with triumph, but suddenly the ring turned a fiery red, as if there was fire within, and I dropped it.
My side-vision was suddenly filled with a brilliant light, and when I looked up Nicole – the dear, dear sweet girl – was glowing brightly at last.
Elaine screeched and fell backward, thrashing and covering her eyes, desperately moving away from the circle of Nicole’s glow.
Nicole fell from the air, and I caught and held her tightly.
She was trembling, and as my tears of relief fell there was that hot sizzling energy in me again, passing from me into her, and although it shook us hard and threatened to pull us apart we held on desperately, and I knew that she was repaired – whatever was broken, whatever was lost, was being replaced.
And then I was aware of a slithering movement in my periphery vision, and I immediately pulled Nicole to one side.
Elaine was trying to creep away.
Her face was a terrified mass as she stared at the Death Cloud now sizzling around her.
Gently I released Nicole.
She tottered, but stayed on her feet.
I walked slowly toward the vile woman on the ground. She turned her panicked eyes to me, and I could smell the stinking stench of the fear emanating from her.
She was sitting on the ground, dragging herself backward as I bore down on her. Her eyes and forehead still blazed, and her face kept changing horribly – fresh and young one moment, old and wrinkled the next.
My revulsion was complete and real. How had I ever thought she was beautiful, and what had I made love to?
Of one thing I was sure: this thing wasn’t human.
Let me go, Yaw!
Her voice was a hiss, and I saw that her tongue was beginning to turn yellowish, and that there was a fork in it. She confirmed this by licking his lips, and for a moment my breath caught as I witnessed her forked tongue.
Her lips had changed too, pointed like the striking mouth of an anaconda, and her long forked tongue flicked and flicked as she hissed at me with her snake eyes.
Somehow, between the time Elaine had left that room of horrors beneath Samson Basoah’s room, she had accepted something, and had totally changed and become an evil incarnate.
No, Elly! I can’t let you go now. You went too far, and you touched my eye. This is it, Elaine. You must die, all of you and whatever the hell is now occupying you! You will die!
I couldn’t believe I had uttered those words, but indeed I had.
I realized dimly that somehow within the last few minutes when panic and terror had laid hold of my heart, I had matured considerably in my talent.
I now knew what to do, and how to do it.
I was not only an Unblind now; I was death, a murderer of the worst kind…cold, merciless, sure.
The Death Cloud huffed and puffed.
Dark squirmy tendrils reached out impatiently for Elaine’s legs.
She screeched with panic and pulled her legs under her, her huge eyes seeking me out, begging and reaching out.
(with a scream of horror)
You can’t do this to me!
Yes, love, I can.
I turned to the huge Death Cloud.
Go get her.
With a screech of pure hatred and demented glee the cloud moved in like a typhoon, enveloping Elaine completely.
Gnarled and claw-like hands reached out for her, shooting into her screaming body, getting hold of her soul and then dragging it out of her.
She thrashed wildly – whether in pain or dread I never knew – but she just wouldn’t stay still.
The vicious things in the cloud dragged out her head, and proceeded to haul out the rest of that transparent ghostly thing.
Stop it, Yaw!
She screamed, and it seemed to come to me from a very long way off indeed.
For some particular reason I felt uncomfortable all of a sudden.
I could hear something else calling to me. It wasn’t so much the voice as it was a feeling, a sudden sharp feeling that deeply depressed me.
As I looked at the struggling woman in the cloud I suddenly seemed to hear two voices and two heartbeats. I saw the tendrils of the cloud entering her body, groping around for something … for someone!
It hit me with the impact of a double-legged kick of a mad mule!
There was another soul inside Elaine!
Two hearts, two souls, two human beings.
Elaine’s voice reached me, and glimpses of her terrified eyes searched for me.
Yaaaaaaw!!!! Please don’t hurt our baaaaabyyyy!
She was pregnant!
I felt the hollowness begin somewhere deep in my guts, making me faint for a moment.
Yaaaaaw!!! It is your baaaaaaaaby! Your son!
Her voice came, weak and pained.
And I could feel that innocent baby screaming deep within her.
I could feel its sudden terror as the little safe bag it was lying inside threatened to burst. I could feel its little heart stretched to the last breaking point.
And it was calling out, blindly screaming for a release.
Our baby…your son!
The realization was shocking and so numbing that I fell to one knee.
There was a baby in there.
Still not more than a clot of blood, yes, but it was there, and it was mine and it was calling out to me, its unwilling father.
I reached out a hand toward that swirling grunting Death Cloud.
Stop it this moment! Leave her! Let her go!
For a moment the black thing still fed, drawing her out inch by inch, unwilling to let her go.
Stop it! Just stop it!
This time they listened.
But their anger was great.
With a howl and great moans the Death Cloud retreated. It swirled around the trees, regarding me with millions of hate-filled eyes. It hesitated for a moment, and for one wild second I was afraid that it might turn on me.
And then, thankfully, it blew deep into the forest and out of sight with the power and fury of a storm. I heard it lashing the branches and the leaves together, and then there was total blissful silence.