The Fulani chuckled, taking two steps forward. Mama trying to pass across a message with eye contact was not lost on Christiana. She frowned. Was it possible that mama was one of the people working with the cult? She turned sympathetic eyes on Stanley, wondering how he would feel when he discovers, his mother’s betrayal.
“This is a wrong time to be here”, Keno said, still facing the new arrivals.
“It is a perfect time”, the Fulani countered.
“Things could get ugly”, Keno insisted.
“It is the ugliness we came for”, that was Jude, his eyes fixed intently on Stanley. A wicked smile crossed his lips as more men from the cult trooped in.
“No, we came for only one reason”, the Fulani said. Keno frowned. “We no longer want her dead. If she currently suffers from amnesia, as we were told, then she can suffer from it over and over again. We need her alive. She will still bear the child. Only for me”.
“No such thing will happen”, Stanley stepped forward, and then pointing at Christiana, spoke again, “She is going nowhere. You’ll actually have to kill all of us here if you can before that will happen. Because as of this moment, she carries my child”.
Stanley’s last words got everyone. Sharp sighs, frowns, and murmurings took over. Christiana was as confused as the others. She wondered if her mother used her body to sleep with Stanley and get pregnant without her knowledge.
She looked at Stanley’s clenched jaw and tight fists to the anger and hatred in the Fulani’s eyes. She knew a fight was brewing. But then, the expression on mama’s face was the icing on the cake.
Mama looked like she was going to pass out. Her expression settled on Christiana’s stomach, then back to Stanley.
“Stanley,” she called at last, “you can’t allow her to have that child. She can’t”
Now it was Stanley’s turn to be confused. He had told his mother, Christiana was to bear his child, a child that was to defeat the cult. Why then was she against it? “Mama, we can debate this some other time. Right now”.
“You stupid boy. You really don’t know, do you? That your mother is on my side, because she sees, this girl is nothing but trouble”.
“My mother will never take sides with you”, he spat.
The Fulani’s chuckle turned into wicked laughter. Jude smiled while a few of the Fulani’s men shared laughs with him. It was after he recovered from the laugh, he turned to Mama, “why don’t you tell him our discussion?”
Stanley turned sad eyes on his mother, as she stammered, trying to explain things. Christiana looked away. She couldn’t bear to see Stanley heartbroken by his mother’s own betrayal.
“You did what?” Stanley’s voice came in a whisper.
“I was trying to protect us. They just want the girl. Give her to them and let’s be at peace”, Mama pleaded, “That child will kill us, you and I. What else could I have done?”
“Good question”, the Fulani stepped forward to stand side by side with Mama, “Give the girl to us, or you die along with her”,
Taaa!!! Mama’s open palm landed on the Fulani’s cheeks. His men made to reprimand her, but the Fulani waved them off, before fixing his eyes on the elderly woman again.
“You dare raise your hand to my face?”
“Well you dared threaten my son?” she gritted, “Don’t forget I joined you to save my son and I. Not for you to kill him”.
Stanley, although heart was broken by his mother’s confession, moved to stand by her. The other guards, who had since been silent, moved to shield them.
The Fulani tweaked his lips with a rude smile. “All these men put together cannot help you, Stanley. All I want and have always wanted is the girl”,
“She already carries my son. It’s too late to hand her over”, Stanley insisted.
“You lie”, the Fulani called his bluff, “you’re not talking to a kid Stanley. And if you make me wait longer than I have already waited, you’ll be pushing me to use force”.
“Dare it and see”. Stanley’s expression was grim. And although Christiana couldn’t see his face properly from where she sat, she was sure this was it. A fight will ensue.
The Fulani turned to his men, “take her!” he ordered.
Stanley and his guys already moved to guard her circle, when Keno stood in front of the entire army and Stanley as if shielding them.
“Keno, don’t make me use force on you. We’re on the same team”.
“Not as of this moment”, Keno’s voice sounded deeper and scarier. Like he had been possessed by something, Christiana only had to hope, that someone was her mother. Everyone had been too busy exchanging words; they didn’t notice when he changed, or what led to his transformation.
Even the Fulani couldn’t hide his surprise at the change of voice. He had always known Keno was deep in sorcery, but not so deep as to be possessed.
“The deal was simple, Keno. Kill her and get paid. Now I say, hand her over, and still get paid”.
Keno took two steps forward and swiftly grabbed the Fulani by the neck. Squeezing. “Never, will I hand my daughter to a man like you”.
That statement got everyone confused. But not Christiana. She knew exactly who was speaking. A confused Stanley and Mama turned to Christiana and she laughed heartily in the circle that kept her protected.
“Leave him alone,” Jude said from where he stood with the other men, pointing guns.
“Or what?” Keno asked without looking their way. His eyes were fixed on the Fulani, who was now choking and gasping for breath.
“Or we’ll shoot”, Jude cocked his gun, “and not at you. But your so-called daughter”, he aimed at Christiana. Too late. Stanley and his men were already shielding her.
“Get out of the way, Stanley, or I’ll shoot you!” Jude threatened
“Go ahead, Jude”, Stanley dared him, “you never were a real brother after all. So you wouldn’t have to live with the thought of killing your own brother. You can go ahead and act like the murderer that you are”.
Not wanting to be bothered with the exchange of words, Jude aimed and released his first shot. But Keno was faster. He dropped the Fulani like a sack of potato and moved swiftly to catch the bullet. Before Jude and his team could recover from the shock, Keno threw the bullet back the way it came. Jude cried out as it pierced the flesh just slightly above his chest. He held the spot as the men surrounded him.
Looking up at Keno, they decided within themselves, they were no match for him.
“We need to leave this place”, One of the men cried out.
“We are not going anywhere. We are seeing this to the end”, Jude yelled at them.
“Well you see it to the end yourself”, another man said, making for the exit. A few others joined him. But they didn’t get close enough before the doors slammed shut in their faces.
“One thing you all fail to understand is this; we no longer need the boy to be born to end you and your wicked activities”, Keno spoke, moving closer to the men surrounding Jude, “And this is going to be done tonight. In this place”, he turned around then, and although he was a reasonable distance away from the circle, Christiana couldn’t help but shiver at the sight of Keno’s black eyes and suddenly very hard, cracked face. Stanley and the others felt the fear too, but they held bold fronts.
“Step into the circle with my daughter”, Keno spoke to Stanley. Protect her. Then to the others, he spoke, “Join them in the circle”.
With everyone in the circle, Keno faced the cult again. And before they could say jack, he was upon them in a flash, killing and smearing their blood on the titled ground. The Fulani, seeing his men were being killed off, took out a box-like object from his caftan. He did something to it and it glowed with blue light – something similar to the power box of the cross giants, but smaller.
Holding out the object, he ran towards Keno. It was Christiana who screamed, “Mummy!” that got Keno to look back. But it was too late. The Fulani was upon him in a flash and he pressed the device hard against Keno’s chest, holding it in place. The screams that erupted from him afterward got the light bulb going off in sparks and the windows made rattling sounds like they were going to burst into pieces. The windows shook. Everyone present had his/her ears covered except the Fulani, whose ears were starting to bleed.
It took a while for the screaming to stop. And when it did, the Fulani let go of the device, which was, by the way, already attached to Keno’s chest, and fell backward, laughing triumphantly.
“I knew you’ll try to cross me, Keno, and for what? A one night stand with the whore? Oh. You thought I wouldn’t know? You’re a sorcerer wielding so much power. But I’m a leader that is smarter than you’ll ever be,” his laughter increased, as Keno struggled in pain to get the blue glowing object away from his chest. During the struggle the cult men still standing pumped bullets in Keno’s back, making him stagger in pains.
“You cannot remove it Keno,” the Fulani announced happily, “unless you want to die. It has infused itself into your system. Now, I can control you like the puppet you were made to be”.
Ignoring his talks and the bullets, Keno pulled hard at the device, screaming as he detached it from his body, an action that left the Fulani bewildered. For it is known among sorcerers, that pulling off such a powerful device just like that, can cause death to the one it is put in.
But it wasn’t so with Keno, as he held out the device and moved towards the Fulani.”No, no!” the cult leader begged.
“The person you know as Keno, is dead”, he said, still moving towards the Fulani, “you killed him off with this. I am only using his body, for as long as I need, to protect my daughter”.
The Fulani’s eye widened in horror. And for the first time, everyone else understood. Twice, Keno had said Christiana was his daughter. And Christiana had called him mummy.
“Fine! We’ll leave your daughter alone,” the Fulani begged, now realizing he was not dealing with a human.
“I’m here to ensure you do”, Keno dropped the blue box. And in a flash, before the box touched the Fulani, dashed toward the circle where the others were. With hands spread out, he projected a gold fire on the outer circle. And it spread around the circle Stanley and the others were, burning up to the ceiling.
Behind, the box already landed on the Fulani and instantly penetrated his flesh into his body. He had started to glow from within and swell at the same time, screaming. His men who had moved to help him pulled back instead, and ran to the door, banging hard on it.
“Take care of my daughter”, Keno said to Stanley, “Promise me”.
Stanley looked behind at Christiana briefly. She looked sad as she focused on Keno, tears on her cheeks. He wasn’t sure who she was crying for. Her mother, or Keno.
Seeing that Stanley was not forthcoming with an answer, he spoke again.
“I’m her mother, Stanley. I took over her body to be with Keno. It is the only way I am now able to possess his body. A transfer of spirit”.
Stanley nodded in, even though he couldn’t really understand her reasons, “I will take care of her. I promise”.
“Mom, will I see you again?” Christiana quickly chipped in.
“We will find a way for that”, Keno smiled, “Now I must go”.
Keno turned around just in time to see the very blue and swollen Fulani, now the size of a giant, burst into a thousand pieces. The flame from the blue box spread out in all direction, killing everything it touched. But of course, it couldn’t get past the circle of gold fire. Stanley and the others watched all the men drop dead, including Keno. The blue box, now on the bare floor, blinked twice, before disappearing into thin air.
The fire gold fire subsided and the men emerged from the circle to inspect the destruction that had taken place. Christiana moved to Keno’s lifeless body. His eyes were normal again, and the hard cracks of his face had disappeared. She wanted to touch him, but Stanley stopped her, pulling her away from the body.
“That’s not your mother anymore”, he hugged her to himself, as she let go of the tears she had been holding back.
That night, as they worked to clean the gym house after getting rid of all the dead bodies, Stanley knew that the other cult members back at the Fulani’s mansion would run into hiding, once news reached them about the death of their master. And he was going to ensure, news got to them.
As for him and his team, life looked bleak. They had spent so much time working to end the cult. They didn’t know the end would come sooner. Now they were not sure how they would start working towards living a normal life.
As for his mother, he knew she’d corner him after the cleanup and try to plead her case. Yes, she did what she did to protect him. But he had expected, she’d confirm from him first, before taking such risky decisions. She endangered their lives. Although he was angry at her, he already forgave her. But he wasn’t sure he wanted to trust her with secrets again.
Christiana was the last person he had hoped to forgive, but with all he witnessed, and the confession Christiana’s mother made about using her body to be with Keno, was even more devastating. But then, how else was she going to take over the body of a sorcerer?
He didn’t really want to believe her, but after Christiana had asked if she’d ever see her again, he understood then, that she was crying for her mother, not Keno.
It wasn’t going to be easy to wipe off from his head the images of Keno thrusting into her in ecstasy. But he’d try. One day at a time.
Christiana wasn’t sure if returning to her apartment and back to work was a wise decision. She just wanted a place to start life afresh. And she couldn’t see any other place, than with Stanley. He was, after all, the man she loved, the man who risked everything just to keep her safe.
He had promised her mother, he would take care of her. She only hoped he would keep to that promise.
Her mother didn’t keep her promise about wiping out the memory of her lovemaking with Keno. She prayed Stanley would put that scene out of his mind and really open his heart to her again. But even then, she was glad to keep the memory. Because it reminded her of her mother, who even in death, chose to keep her safe.
Ovi, after seeing how Christiana’s mom, through Keno, had insisted Stanley took care of her daughter, didn’t think her place was with Stanley. Now she saw what a waste it was, trying to scare Christiana off. Stanley loved her, more than he cared to admit, and Christiana’s mother seemed to have arranged their love from the spirit realm. Nothing was going to tear them apart now. Not even her love for Stanley.
It was going to be hard moving to other things. But she had to try. The world out there was after all, full of adventures. As soon as possible, she was going to have to tell Stanley, she was leaving.
Mama was sad she let herself be deceived by Jude and the Fulani. And to think she worked with them to almost kill her son and end the life of an innocent girl.
Stanley was mad at her. That’s for sure. The way he looked at her made her cry inwardly. She had lost his trust. But then, she was determined to work double hard to gain it again. Even if that’s all she does for the rest of her life.
©️Karo Oforofuo. March 2018. All rights reserved
Wow! We see the end finally. Thanks so much for your patience, and thanks for reading. Please don’t forget to like, share with your friends and drop a comment. God bless you!