Cry of a baby filled the dark cloud at a refugee camp. His voice sounded so high like a Catholic soprano, singing with a high pitch voice to bring down the glory of God. Fire from different sticks, mounted at four corners of the camp illuminated the surroundings. One could see several tents also mounted closely to one another, refracting candle-light from them to the nearest atmosphere. Suddenly, not only the cry of the baby filled the air but also the gallop of horses and clinching sound of swords followed by shouting of adults. It was like in the great days of conquerors.
Quickly, a young woman placed the baby in a basket, running inside the nearest bush as if it was her own life she was saving. She tighed a short wrapper across her waist while another across her chest like an igbo cultural dress. On her feet were no footwear and on her ankle jingles a bead. She was brave, fearless and determined to save her only child.
From behind came another woman, running with a basket of a baby too. She met the first woman in a way both looked at each other to know that they were embarking on the same mission of procuring the life of their babies. Before them was a deep sea with low current. Obviously comprehended, it was a dead-end for both of them.
“What are we to do now? They will kill my child.” Adaku, the second woman cried, pitifully looking at her baby.
“I don’t know” Ola, the first woman replied on the same manner.
Suddenly, they heard galloping of horses coming from behind. Swiftly, Ola broke a dry thorn from a palm-front, pierced it into one of her fingers to get blood like one about to perform a blood covenant.
“What are you doing?” Adaku whispered to her.
Ola stretched the thorn to her saying, “Take it! Use your blood to tag your baby’s name on your baby.”
Ola understood and tagged her baby, ‘Daniella’
Ola did same and tagged her baby, ‘Murphy’ “The sea warrior.” she whispered, staring at the sea.
Before the horses approached, they had hid the babies running back to be caught rather than their babies. Seeing the men on the horses, they fell on the ground.
“Please, don’t kill us!” Ola shrieked.
One of the men drew his sword.
“Tie them!” Another ordered.
The two ladies had their hands tighed behind them and taken away.
The next morning, teacher Nwachukwu was sailing across the sea when he heard the crying voices of the babies. He was moved to know the cause of the cry by the little ones. With his men, he walked to the spot to see the two baskets.
“Follow this way to check on their mothers.” He intructed his men.
The men got to the camp to see it deserted. Sincerely, they came back with the news.
“Teacher, we guess it’s refugee came attacked by some men.” they had reported.
Nwachukwu carried one of the baskets up saying, “Your name they say is Murphy, meaning the ‘Sea warrior’. From today, you shall no longer be ‘sea warrior’ but knowledge warrior for you shall be fighting deep knowledge.”
“Iseee!” His men bowed with a smile….
Pass midnight at the white house, Erika didn’t know how to explain to Murphy her deal with death itself. So quietness stretched in the broad classic room with a long table at a corner for the purpose of organize meeting with the carbonate members.
“What’s going on, honey?” Vivian asked in an angelic voice beside her husband, thus, breaking the ghost-mood.
“Erika called me earlier tonight. She gave me a letter I thought was from her mother to her father. I decoded it to Jungle of Agura; 4 4 3 as the location to the solution of the suicidal death in the country. I put her to test and discover that the letter wasn’t from her mother.”
“Then who was it from?” Dave asked.
“From only one person; papa Joe, man-owl. He is death himself, lived on the same island with Erika.”
All surprisingly stared at Erika who’s tears was still flowing.
“He said it’s a revenge.” She began. “He made me enter into a deal with him to give you the letter which will lead you to your doom. He said he can’t kill you because….” the sound of a gunshot from behind interrupted her; a guard killed himself.
The girls screamed especially Judith who held Dave tightly. Cynthia ran to the gun on the floor, picked it and aimed at herself.
“Noooo!!” Murphy shouted along with sound of the gunshot which killed the girl instantly.
“Death is here! Everybody hold your partner!!” Dave exclaimed. All did as instructed but unfortunately, nobody was holding Erika. She picked up the gun too and aimed it at herself.
“No, no, no, Erika, please, don’t do it!!” Murphy pleaded, holding his wife tightly.
“I’m sorry.” The girl pull the trigger only for it jam indicating that no more bullets in the gun. She ran upstairs.
“Erika!” Murphy pursued her. He saw her breaking a window to jump, before he could catch her, the girl jumped! “Erika!!!” Murphy cried in a loud voice.
The next sound heard was Erika’s body on top of a car which compressed as a result of her weight. Seeing her through the window, Murphy ran down shouting, “Go take her to the hospital now!”
The driver sped out to carry out the instruction. Meanwhile, blood from lifeless Cynthia and the guard filled the floor. Fear couldn’t allow anybody to move an intch; Ada squeezed her body at a corner with Obi holding her, likewise Dave to Judith. All began to shed tears even the remaining guards.
Murphy placed Cynthia on his thighs the same posture Nwachukwu died in his arms. He looked at her with tears and cried with a loud voice, “Teacher, I have failed you!!! Take this burden away from me, please!! It’s too much!”
His words became a catalyst that set others in a deep sorrow, so their crying voices circulated the building, remembering their past with their lovely teacher, teacher Nwachukwu.
A few minutes later, an ambulance came and carried the dead away. By then all seated at the round table, mourning and weeping silently.
“That Erika of a girl needs to die! She brought this omen upon us!” Obi broke the silence.
“I never liked her for a bit.” Judith cried.
Dave angrily stood up, fudging ahead to the door like a Spartan warrior.
“Dave!” Murphy called on him.
He stopped without turning back.
Murphy continued. “Never will I allow you to touch the only seed of teacher Nwachukwu if she’s still alive. She’s not the cause of this. She was only protecting her life to end mine which is a foolish move. But the foolishness of a man is a clever move of the devil to end his life. Do not act foolishly for you not to be used by the devil.” He paused staring at the sky through an open window.
Like a robot, he stood up as others watched him closely.
“Honey?” Vivian called him but he gave her a deaf ear.
Murphy stood at the window examining the stars in the sky to read meaning from it as taught by his late teacher. Others were beginning to come closer to know what had taken the mind of their teacher.
“The brightest star is still out there.” Murphy said without looking back at the people who clustered him.
“I thought Erika is the brightest star.” Vivian said.
“So did I” Murphy turned, looking at them all. “I still have an enemy to defeat.” He said with a scared heart, walking away from them.
“Who could be this brightest star except the man-owl?” Dave asked.
“Sincerely, I do not know and I’m scared now that i know there’s somebody more clever than I am.” Murphy sincerely said.
Silence creeped in.
“No doubt it’s the man-owl.” Ada concluded…..
TO BE CONTINUED