Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 3,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."


 

Èéfín ni ìwà; kò ṣeé fi pamọ́.

Character is like smoke; it can’t be covered up.

***

“What just happened to me?” Odion asked as he ran his hand through his hair and stood up. This was too much to handle. “What did I just see?”

“Me,” Sango answered.

His grey eyes were glittering now as if an idea was forming in his head.

“You just saw a fragment of my life. There are some mortals who have special…abilities, and this allows them to do amazing things. I suspected you were one, but I was not sure till now. You have the gift of—”

Sango stopped abruptly and looked sideways cautiously, like there was some oncoming danger.

“We do not have much time. They are coming.”

He nodded his head sadly, met Odion’s eyes and said, “The Igbos called them Ogbanje. It is not their fault they are like this. You must remember that.”

“What are Ogbanje?” Odion asked in exasperation. Just one more thing he’d have to take note of in this crazy world he’d inadvertently entered.

“And what gift do you think I have. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m just a normal—”

“They are cursed children” Sango interrupted, completely ignoring his second question.

“The are filled with hate before they were even born. They do things that children would otherwise not do.”

Sango placed his hand on the ground and, using the wall as support, pulled himself up. He looked worse now and so frail that if the wind blew the wrong way it would take him away with it. After much effort, he managed to stand up. His posture was wavering. His skin had a greyish tint, and his eyes were slowly losing their glow.

“What are you doing?” Odion asked. “You should be sitting down. Should I call a doctor or someone else?”

“Nothing can save me now,” he said grimly as he placed his hand inside his garb. “Except you.”

He pulled out two objects. The first was a silver dagger. It glowed in the pitch darkness. The hilt was made of ivory and decorated with ancient looking runes that Odion didn’t understand. It’s blade was curved, thin and sharp. It shone with an ethereal glow and Odion almost had to squint when he looked at it. The second object was a smooth small oval stone that could have fit easily in the palm of a child. Like the dagger, it also seemed to shine from within.

“In the old days, I was known famously as the god of war,” Sango said with pride. “But I was also the god of truth. Followers would come from far and wide to my shrines so I could reveal to them the hidden truths in their lives.”

He held the two objects in his now outstretched hands and seemed to present them to Odion.

“These are two of the tools that will help you in your journey. War and truth. Both are not how they seem. You must understand that or you will most assuredly die. Painfully.”

Sango beckoned on Odion to take the two objects. Odion hesitated for a moment. All his life he had been waiting for a moment like this, one where he could show the world just how much of a hero he was. But this was not what he was expecting, far from it—a pool of blood on the floor of a dark alley and a dying god? Then, he thought of his mother. What would she have done?

He found them lying on the floor, both of them dead. He had just woken up and felt an excruciatingly painful migraine, someone must have hit his head and knocked him unconscious. He looked at the empty husks that were once his parents and screamed. He screamed and screamed for help, but no one came. He was just twelve at the time. He didn’t know what to do. He reached into his father’s pocket, still sobbing and dialed the police. After he had called, he ran. He didn’t know why, but he ran. He couldn’t bear a life without the two people he had ever truly loved.

Odion took the objects from Sango. He placed the dagger in his back pocket, and the stone went to his front pocket, fitting easily.

“When you desire the truth crush the stone, and it will be revealed to you. But be careful, the truth, like war, is not always kind.” Sango said this as he looked at Odion, with a strange sadness in his fading eyes. And then Odion noticed that his hands were still outstretched. “After this, go to the weeping woman near my statue in Marina. She will tell you where to get the Tools of Creation. When you get to her, tell her I sent you.”

“Tools of Creation? What are those?’ Odion asked. He was getting used to not knowing things at this stage.

“Do not worry, she will tell you what you need to know.” Sango answered hurriedly. “Now, take my hands.”

“No, no, nope.” Odion said while shaking his head. “I can’t do that again. My head still hurts from the last time I did that.” Odion wondered briefly how they’d look to a passer-by. Two males, standing. One tall adolescent dressed in a grey hoodie and black jeans who seemed to be shouting at an old man dressed in a warrior’s garb worn by ancient warriors of old.

“This is the only way.” Sango said. “This is the first step; this is how you can heal our land that is now breaking apart. You must.”

Odion looked at Sango’s calloused hands. They were large enough to engulf his. They looked like the hands of someone who’d had to fight his whole life. And now even in certain death, he didn’t stop fighting.

Odion was about to place his hands on Sango’s, but he had one more pressing question.

“What am I meant to do exactly?”

Sango looked at him as if he was the most stupid person in the whole expanse of the world. He sighed and said, “First find the woman, and she will give you directions on where the tools are hidden. Then find them and use them to find whoever is behind all this. After you’ve done this, you can go back to your…life.”

“Or?” Odion asked.

“There will always be evil in the world,” Sango said, “If you wish, you can fight them and protect your land. Now, enough talk. Take my hands and let us do this.”

Odion thought for a second how his life was about to change. And he knew from experience just how bad change could be. But sometimes, change paved way to new amazing things.

Odion placed his hands on Sango’s, and the world as he knew it, was stripped away.

It felt like he was swimming. Except he was not in water but in Sango’s life stream. And unlike swimming, he had no control over this. The images seemed to pass through him, but he could only discern a few scenes. He saw a large hall filled with lots of Orisha. He saw drinking and laughing and cheering. Then the image shifted again. Now, he was in the same hall, but there were a lot less Orisha. Then a god with sharp green eyes looked and smiled at him. He felt the hairs on Sango’s back rise. Fear. The image shifted again.  He was kneeling down, and the blue eyed woman he saw before was now lying dead in his arms, her once beautiful skin was now a patchwork or scars and welts. He felt Sango’s heart tear. He felt the despair and hopelessness. He felt what Sango felt at that exact moment. Pain. Experiencing Sango’s life was hard to explain. It was like he was being dragged in a million direction at once. It was like being in a tornado that just won’t let up, and he was in the centre. Feeling it all. He was beginning to understand Sango a little more. He was an honor bound soldier who had been through the toughest parts of existence. He had been beaten and battered but out of sheer stubbornness, he just kept on going. Time and time again the universe had told him he was going to lose this time, that this was going to be it. But Sango just stared at the universe and said, No. That will to endure, that refusal to ever cease. That was what defined the great god of thunder. That was what defined Sango. Just as soon as it started, it was over.

Odion didn’t know his eyes were closed until he had to open them. He opened them expecting to see Sango healed and standing before him. Sango wasn’t there. Odion turned three hundred and sixty degrees and still did not see Sango. He was confused. Did he do something wrong? He was about to shout his name when he heard a whisper. It was like an echo in his head.

You have freed me from this existence. I am now at peace. Tell the others that the great god Sango has retreated to the highest part of heaven. Tell them I am gone. You are now the only one who can save our land. Find whoever is doing this and put a stop to them. Be strong. You must be. And in your darkest hours, remember who you are. Remember your story.

Odion felt the tear roll down his cheek. He bowed his head and kept on saying something under his breath, repeating it over and over again. I will not fail you. It had started raining again and thunder and lightning threatened to split the sky open, but there wasn’t a sentience in the thunder anymore. It felt empty somehow. Odion heaved a great sigh. The great god Sango was gone, and he had a mission to do.

He felt in his pocket for the smooth pebble and removed it from his pocket. Before he began, he needed to know the truth of what happened to his parents. He needs to know who killed them. He couldn’t remember what happened that night, and every time he tried to remember, his head seemed to erupt in a banging headache.

He crushed the pebble and was taken back in time to that night, the night it all happened. It didn’t feel like being in Sango’s mind. This felt more pleasant. Like a fluid dream. In an instant, Odion stood in the parlor in his family home. His father was already lying dead on the floor, a bullet hole in his head just above his eyebrows. His eyes were still open, unseeing. His mother was crying and her voice was cracking with all the sobs. She was kneeling next to his father’s body as she pleaded with the attacker. She kept on saying something, barely audible. He moved closer and heard her more clearly.

“It’s not your fault, my baby,” she was saying, “it’s not your fault. I’m so sorry.”

An eerie sound filled the air as a bullet was fired. It went straight to his mother’s chest. She was dead before she reached the ground. Odion was suddenly filled with the anger and hate that he had suppressed for so long. His life had been turned upside down because of one person’s cruelty. Now he turned his head to look at the evil twisted creature who was so devoid of human—

Odion’s heart seemed to stop beating, and he almost collapsed from shock. He looked at the attacker and saw his twelve-year-old self. Holding the smoking gun that had just killed his parents. His mind felt like putty, and he fell on his knees. He didn’t even notice that he was now back in the alley. Sango’s words echoed in his mind. But be careful, the truth, like war, is not always kind.

He killed his parents? So he was one of the cursed children Sango had told him about. Ogbanje. He felt weighed down by all the years of sadness and anger. He was crying now. The pain he felt now was unlike anything he had ever felt. It threatened to break him, to destroy him. He did it. No wonder he couldn’t remember much from that day. No wonder he ran.

A familiar voice came from the alley entrance and blocked the light.

“Didi the boy, you get something wey I want.”

Odion recognized the pidgin and looked up at Emeka’s face, but it wasn’t Emeka’s face. His skin was now darker, and his mouth had been stretched up his cheeks to reveal inhuman fangs. In his eyes, the whites were all gone and there was only darkness. His nails had been replaced by claws. He resembled the werewolves he had once seen on Teen Wolf, but these were far more real.

Odion scrambled backwards. Emeka laughed, walking slowly toward him. His demeanor was like that of a predator that had cornered its prey. Odion knew with a certainty that he was going to die.

 

***********

#TFOG is a weekly series published every Monday. Catch up on the entire series by clicking on the links below:

Introduction

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

***********

About the Author:

Anthony Azekwoh is a seventeen year old Nigerian who graduated from Whitesands Secondary School and is now in Covenant University. He started writing at the age of thirteen and since then some of his work has been published online and in his secondary school’s annual publication in which he won the first prize for both fiction and poetry. He won the ACT Joint Award in 2017 for his story, ‘The Fall of the Gods’, which is now nearing completion. He is currently writing a series based on the stories and folktales from various Nigerian tribes and spends his spare time painting and reading.

Tags: , , ,

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

3 Responses to “The Fall of the Gods | Chapter 5: Àrún | by Anthony Azekwoh | #TFOG” Subscribe

  1. Simeon Mpamugoh 2017/10/06 at 12:07 #

    Tis is a good fictional prose from you. Keep it up.

  2. Simeon Mpamugoh 2017/10/06 at 12:08 #

    Tis is a good fictional prose from you. Keep it up guy.

  3. Anthony Azekwoh 2017/10/10 at 12:10 #

    Thank you very much for reading and I will.

Leave a Reply

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

A Kenyan Tank Engine Joins The Hit Children’s TV Show Thomas & Friends

nintchdbpict000360191926

Thomas the Tank Engine is the fictional character in Reverent Wilbert Awdry’s The Railway Series about steam locomotives. Thomas who […]

The Fall of the Gods | Chapter 6: Ise | by Anthony Azekwoh | #TFOG

anthony-Azekwoh-fall-of-the-gods-1-e1502690904876

Ebe onye dara ka chi ya kwaturu ya. Where one falls is where his god pushed him down. *** Emeka […]

Our Favorite Sci-Fi Filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu Publishes a Children’s Book

wanuri kahiu wooden camel 2

For those of you who are desperately and constantly in search of African children’s books, Wanuri Kahiu’s recent collaboration with […]

Akwaeke Emezi and Uzodinma Had a Moment

Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 5.14.25 PM

Akwaeke Emezi is, in more ways than one, the writer we all want to be. Her debut novel is still […]

An Ode to Depression | Victor Enite Abu

14395331431_1727aab52d_o

Some mornings, getting out of bed feels like carrying ten bags of cement. Other mornings, you float through space, watching […]

The Brittle Paper Award for Essays/Think Pieces: Meet the Nominees

billy kahora

To mark our seventh anniversary on August 1, 2017, we announced the inaugural Brittle Paper Literary Awards, to recognize the finest, original pieces of […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.