Chimanemeka turns away from him frowning, He finishes his drink and gets up. he meets him outside in four minutes.
“Good man Chimanemeka, Good man” He had smiled “My name is Chizendu , follow me while I change your destiny”
He had followed him out of the pub and into a car as they drove further down the road, cutting corners and kept driving.
“Are you scared ?”
“No” Emeka lied
“Being honest doesn’t make you less of a man Chimanemeka and what sort of a name is that? can I call you Emeka, lose the other part of your name”
“My mother gave me that name and she loves it”
“Emeka is your name too isn’t it?”
“If you take away the chiman”
“Toss it” Chizendu says turning into an uncompleted building further down where the house links breaks and no living body walking nor going, he turns off the ignition and comes down “I mean no harm..if I wanted to kill you you would have been dead in a second. follow me..”
Chimanemeka is scared but then he takes a deep breath and alights following him..
Then he saw them, a few dozens of them,they had on black singlets and red scarfs tied on their harms , legs and foreheads…
“who are these men?”
“My comrades, ” Chizendu says taking off his white shirt and revealing black singlet , he takes the red cloth on the floor and begins to tie around his arm,leg and forehead. then he picks a singlet and red cloth and gives to Chimanemeka. ..”Put this on..and we shall begin”
“You are ealready here. if you would be reluctant you shouldn’t have come out to meet me… There is only one door in , there is no door out unless you are taken away in a box. .”
Fear grips Emeka. what had he gotten himself into
“Chimanemeka we have been waiting for you” A man who seemed elderly says,he was the only one who was sitting down on his legs,there was a fire burnng infront of him in a pot, there was a basket of sand but it wasn’t seeping past it and then there was a bowl of water… he sat staring at it..
Everyone is looking at him, waiting for him
‘Who are you…what do you want from me?”
“the question rather is , What do you want from life? To remain poor and wretched going by each day waiting for death to come upon you because life seems useless to you or…doing something to change it? we are the change..and we offer you that change ”
“What change are you ? what change do you mean?Who are you people?”
“My name is Nsiksala, High priests of Mbadinuju, seer of all, protector of all, elements breaker and Fortifier. And I am the cloak cover of the lives of these men. They on the otherhands are Vigilantes by night, operators by morning. ..”
“I do not understand. ”
“We are the Bakassi boys” The men replied
“I have heard stories of the Bakassi boys , who were young men recruited and formed by the Ariara Market Traders sequel to the failure of men of the Nigerian police to check the high level of crimes in the state”
“True. .you know your history. but is that all?”
“I hear that they are not men but gods. but that is another fable told by women in tales by midnight ”
They laughed ..they laughed some more .
“It is not a fable.. they are not men but gods , they are men fortified by gods that they become gods themselves. what are the elements you know of?” The priest asks him still staring into the fire.
“I do not understand?”
“Think,what elements do you know of and have been taught in school, I hear you are intelligent. Do not be stupid before me now”
“Fire, Water, Earth, Air”
“And what does each mean?”
“I do not know..”
“Fair enough.. let me summarise “Fire is used to refine , to make stronger , to melt something to become bolder..sharper..for instance if you must make a sword you must use a stone against it, you must melt it and that is by using fire and then you shall pour it into a scarved stone and it shall become a sword…but before it becomes perfect it must go through the fire. And water? even when one needs to be cleansed , you must use water to wash away your dirts and uncleanness, if you want to be baptised as christainity goes, you need to be dipped into water. Even the God they speak of used water to cleanse the earth at some point…and water gives life.. and Air? Air is what we breath, without air you cannot live. you see how they all connect…A man is considered dead when he stops breathing and when you don’t have water to drink for days you die faster than when you have food. water can save your life…food can’t. and with water we become clean..and fire..fire can refine you after melting you”
“I still don’t understand what this all means”
“It means that..what you have heard and be told isn’t a tale it is real and they are before you. ..and the elements are gods on their own used to protect them. Have you heard of the word Odeshi?”
“In school , it means impregnable ”
“Good. In your dailect pronounce it ”
“O dighi eshi ” he speaks in igbo
“What does it mean? ”
“It is not leaking ” Chimanemeka says frowning
The priest smiles. “Give him a weapon ”
Chizendu hands him a matchet lying by the wall,
“Why do I need this?”
“Take it and strike the one who give it to you”
“Wait what?” Chimanemeka gives it back, Chizendu takes it and places it back in his hands
“If you don’t strike him with it you shall be cut down. So I say strike him with it” The priests orders
“But..he would bleed…he would die…I cannot”
“Strike me with it or I will strike you down myself ” Chizendu says, angered. He didn’t expect him to be a weakling…he had vouched for him telling them that he had found a good replacement for Tony who had died and they had asked him to go get the replacement, but if he refuses to do what was asked of him, he would kill this Chimanemeka here himself.
“Strike him now” the priests shouts
“If he doesn’t, you have my permission to kill him and drop his body in the sea”