“I have come here regarding your brother Delis. He has offended our master and today he’s wanted for reckoning. The Akalango master is in need of his soul because today the day of reckoning has come. It is here for him at last and he knows it”.
Elder Dumayi was the one who answered the door when the strange sounding man came requesting to collect Delis. Our elder brother Delis was always notorious. Always getting himself into trouble. He was mixed up in many runs, deals and even shootouts. He was just trouble personified.
This evening was the end of the day to what had been a family get-together. All the members of our family were present. I was in the room with my son who had just finally gone to sleep. My sister’s children were somewhere playing. I could hear their noisy chattering. Cousin Sumy with my younger brother and the rest of the family were in the main living room watching a game of football. The doorbell had rung and the women in the kitchen screamed for someone to get it before the baby- my baby woke up.
It had been a beehive of activities that day. Bros Sparkie as we called one of the elder uncles was going back to the USA on the weekend so every member of the family had come to send him off as was customary for us in our family.
“Papa P wants Delis today”, he said.
I could hear him speaking in our corridor past elder Dumayi and there seemed to be a scuffle in the corridor. I tiptoed towards the door to the room where I was and closed it shut. It was so scary. The house seemed to drop into a state of silence. I could literally hear everyone’s heartbeat.
“What has Delis done again?” I wondered.
“Who on earth had he offended this time?” My heart was beating so fast.
I heard footsteps…
They got closer…
But thankfully, it was that of all the women and children. The door opened and they filed into the room. Each person looked horror stricken. My uncles were still in the living room. But what was also worrying was that elder Dumayi and the stranger seemed to go silent as well. I could not understand.
“I am giving you five minutes to produce Delis”, the stranger said.
“There is no one called Delis here”, elder said.
“The hour glass has turned”, he said and then fell silent.
At that instant, we all looked at the clock like soldiers on parade with their eyes to the right – It was 6.25 p.m..
No one made a sound. Not even the men in the living room. I desperately prayed for my baby not to wake up screaming.
About a minute later, Delis waltzed in through the door having no idea what he had walked into.
“Delis! Delis!”, I heard Elder saying
“leave this place now!”
Footsteps – quick footsteps were all I heard as Delis ran off.
“Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha”, the man laughed
“Two more minutes left for you to submit him by yourself”, he warned sternly.
It felt like the longest silence ever.
“Now old man since you have refused to submit Delis to grand master Akalango, I have knowingly seen that you sighted him and deliberately made him unavailable to the Lord master for his reckon day as beknowest to him. The reckoning therefore doth resteth on you. You ‘ole man have carried the pot of recompense on thy head!”, he blurted out scarily.
We all grabbed one another in horror. All my aunties, sisters, cousins and mom where all gasping. I put my finger on my lips gesturing for them to stay quiet. Even I could not make sense of the gibberish the man just spat out of his mouth in the name of speech.
Grand master? Reckoning? Beknowest? What was all this about?
Elder Dumayi as we all called my dad’s eldest brother laughed.
“ Hahahahahahahahaha…no chance!”, he said.
My mum opened the door so that she could see what was happening and so I joined her. At that point I saw my uncles Charlis and Peter rush into the corridor. Before the strange messenger man could turn his face, they pounced on him punching and kicking him. I ran back into the room. The man was screaming. I looked at the children whose heads were all dug into the pillows and duvets in fear. The sounds were horrifying.
“Turn up that music”, I heard my father say from the living room.
They were still pounding that man. His screams quietened into shrieks.
“Reckoning what?”, Uncle Charlis said as he dealt him yet another blow.
“Taking who?”, Uncle Peter added
“We will finish you today”, elder Dumayi said
“Lord master want to recompense who? Uncle Charlis said and with that they all burst into laughter.
Why did you not give the stupid Delis to him when he ran in earlier my mother said. She was still watching from the doorway.
“Shut up woman”, elder Dumayi said .
“This is not a matter for women”, he added sharply. At this point I became worried because I could not hear any sounds from the man being tortured..
“He is dead o”, elder Dumayi said a bit triumphantly.
“The foolish guy, he thought he could rattle us!… Get that large trunk box and we will put him there before he gets stiff”, elder Dumayi said it like he had done this before.
I was in shock. What had we just heard…. Or better still witnessed. A murder?
Oh my God the kids heard it all!
It was supposed to be a happy day. I realised that nobody had still moved from the living room. It was like we all knew our positions and it felt like somehow pretending we were not there kind of made us absent – less guilty… Not witnesses.
“Put him in Sparkie’s trunk and I will give you further instructions”. I heard elder Dumayi saying.
I don’t know what even scared me more at this point. The crime or the expert way elder Dumayi was handling it. He was just too composed and I hated to admit that it felt like it was an activity he had the mastering of.
“Sparkie’s car is not here in the driveway”, Uncle Charlis said.
Well that was because Sparkie had taken some of our cousins home earlier. They all seemed to have forgotten.
“Let’s use Kolo’s car”, elder Dumayi suggested.
“No way”, I heard my dad scream from the other end of the corridor towards the living room.
“And rope him in?”, My dad asked a hint of fear in his voice.
“True that”, said elder Dumayi.
“Then we have to go traditional”, elder Dumayi announced.
“We will do it the old eldee way”, elder Dumayi said.
At this point I was sure that he must have been a killer himself. My uncle… A killer?!?… I could not even bear the thought.
“Get a trolley and you guys will push him, you have to powder your hand. Get Soki’s powder here”, elder Dumayi instructed.
“No chance”, that was my petrified father again
“There is nothing like Soki’s powder here. There is powder… Can you all stop calling names?” My dad screamed.
“You always were weak Semante”, elder Dumayi said to my dad.
“Oh dear, even my name too! Seriously?” My dad raged.
“Elder, trolley is ready o”, uncle Charlis said. I could hear a trolley scrape the ground now.
“Good Charlo! Now Peter let’s lift the trunk box into it. I will say the blessings of the journey to seal the deal. I heard Elder’s footsteps some minutes later, he was back with things that sounded like coins and plates. Whatever they where, they clattered as he brought them.
“Now first things first”, he said “we call his name”
“but we no know him name elder”, Peter said
“why are ya worry man?”, Elder said
“Dem ah no call me eldee for nothing bwaay” , he said
“I search de eyes of Kolanga for im name and im ma tell me now, arite? Worri nat man”, our elder Dumayi said.
It was getting worse. Elder seemed to be a cultist!
Then he screamed.
“Sokoni….Sokoni…me call ya! You alive in dat trunk you answer, you dead as cold meat, you stay dumb forever man.”
“Sokoni…Sokoni…for one last time….You there?
“Me hear you loud and clear sir!”
I nearly passed out where I was. Who the hell just said that? Surely not the man whatever it was (I could not even bring myself to accept his dead state). It sounded like a voice from the radio. Like a walkie-talkie static sound.
“Me hear you loud and clear man, you take me bwaay, me come fe ya. Ya family, ya people, me gat all ya names. Me hear it all…static sound…Me the Lord master Akalango. Me no send me akorlites out on their own”.
“Since ya heard it all, then hear this,me family na do you natin. You send ya akorlite into me home to ruin and scar all the lives of innocent people. If ya strong as ya claim you are, you fe take Delis already. Me fit take ya now to bury ya alongside Sokoni…me give you one last chance of life now”. Elder Dumayi spoke so authoritatively and fearlessly. If it was not all such a horrible situation, I would have been proud. Then with what seemed like a roar elder Dumayi said,
“I am the soul of Akalamavon river, me the life source, the length and breathe of it. Anything comes there drowns…”
“The soul of Akalamavon river??” the so called Lord master said through the static sound. I picked up a hint of fear in his voice.
“Why ya na say that first, me for take away me akorlite…we still need sort this out with Lord Zukan the highest Lord”, he added quickly.
You do that…ask Lord Zee about me. You come clear up this mess you cause me to make. For ya sake i been exposed to me family. For that you pay dearly.
Eldee, Eldee…hailings man…Eldee! Lord master said and with that there was a loud bang in the corridor.
Then I fainted.
To be continued…
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