Thursday, 14 July 2016

#ShortStorySeries: ROYAL ROAR BY Ugwu Lawrence Enenche

Katanga in company of two strong, dreaded muscular young men breezed into Michael’s compound at dawn. The self-acclaimed King of Boys in Ranz University had a pair of dark glasses on his dark wide face and an earring dangling from his left ear. One of the comrades with Katanga had a broken incisor, his thin line of moustache extended to his trimmed beard. The other comrade was short and brawn. Their clothes stuck to their skins like Siamese twins and had red scarves tied round their heads.
They darted to Michael’s door and knocked violently. ‘Open the door or I will break it,’ Katanga shouted. His comrades hit the door with their boots. Michael got up from the bed and asked who was knocking but nobody responded to his question. One of his co-tenants who were hearing the trio raging opened his window and peeped. He fastened his eyes on the fierce looking young men and hastily locked his window.

‘Tell me who you are,’ Michael demanded from inside. He breathed heavily and peeked out through the keyhole. He couldn’t see them well. He hissed angrily and opened the door.
Before the door fully opened, Katanga’s comrades jumped into the room and grabbed him from both arms, threatening to shoot him if he dares to shout. Shocked beyond words, he looked at both of them and Katanga before him with a gun pointing at his head.
‘What is your problem?’ he said striving to free himself.
‘Shut up! If you make noise again, I will burst your brain,’ the comrade with broken incisor barked.
Katanga kept quiet looking at Michael murderously. He took a step from the threshold into the room, pointing the gun at him dreadfully. ‘If I see you around Blessing again, consider yourself a dead man,’ he fumed. Michael looked at him from head to toe and let out a faint laughter. He nodded his head with a calculated thought. Both of them looked at each other murderously. ‘I don’t waste my words,’ Katanga charged and walked out.
His comrades slapped Michael from both cheeks and booted him to his bed. ‘You can’t do anything. I’m going to meet her again,’ he ranted making every effort to stand up from the bed as quick as possible. Katanga and his comrades neither responded to him nor looked back. They entered the car and drove off speedily.
Michael stood at his threshold hollering and threatening to deal with his assailants. ‘I know you all. Idiot fellows,’ he thundered. He pulled off his shirt as if preparing to fight the already gone trio. He gnashed his teeth and vowed to revenge.
Two of his co-tenants came out and asked what the matter was. ‘They are trying to intimidate me. I don’t do them anything,’ he simply said. They warned him to be wary of bad guys and report threats to life to police before any eventuality. He downgraded the trio with a hiss and swanked to be more dangerous and bad than them. He chanted incantations he learned from a movie; showing off how spiritually powerful he was and told the co-tenants to watch and see what he would do to the assailants in few days to come.
‘Those guys are cultists,’ one of the co-tenants warned drawing his ear.
‘Cultists my foot! I’m not afraid of them. I’ve dealt with cultists before and I will teach these ones bitter lessons of life,’ he bragged.
‘Just take it easy. They are dangerous,’ the other co-tenant added.
‘I have been to different planes in the spirit world where no cultist can ever reach. They cannot go beyond astral plane. I will show them that I’m above them physically and spiritually.’
He locked his door and went to Alfred’s house. The day was still young and few commercial motorcyclists had woken up to their daily activities. He strode on the road talking to himself and biting his lower lip often. His eyes were red and his breath was heavy and violent.
He knocked several times before Alfred opened the door. ‘Guy, is there any problem?’ Alfred asked yawning slowly. Michael kept quiet and entered into the room. He was about to sit on the bed when he noticed a female figure lying down. He drew the plastic chair near the bed and sat down, looking fierce. ‘My sweetheart spent the night here,’ Alfred told him and sat on the bed. He leaned backwards and laid his head on the lady’s tummy.
‘Mary how are you?’ Michael said.
‘I’m fine. How was your night?’
‘It was cool.’
Michael shifted his chair closer to Alfred and leaned forward, his elbows on his laps. ‘Alfred,’ he called. Alfred searched his mind with his eyes expecting him to reveal what the matter was to him as quick as possible.
‘There is a challenge; Katanga and his guys came to my house this morning and threatened to deal with me if I don’t keep away from Blessing.’
‘That is arrant nonsense. An absolute, idiotic talk. Is Blessing his wife? When did he marry her that he is claiming ownership of her?’ Alfred fumed.
‘Katanga is a complete fool. Blessing told me she is no longer interested in him and he comes to threaten me because I go close to her as if she is his personal property.’
‘There is nothing to fear. Katanga is nothing but a vagabond. If it pleases you to romance Blessing on the street, do. That nincompoop can’t do you anything.’
‘Far be it from me to fear him. I will pay any price to keep Blessing to myself. I will deal with that criminal and his guys in a way that when they sight me on the road, they will run,’ he boiled.
‘Just go home and rest. This is not a serious matter that can make anybody lose the pleasant sleep of the dawn,’ Alfred said.
Michael went home and after taking his bath, he watched an Indian movie. He called Blessing and kissed her over the phone. He told her he had a lecture to attend at noon and would come to see her at dusk. He caught the call and stared at her picture he used as wallpaper of his mobile phone. ‘Drop dead sexy beauty!’ He showered encomium on the picture and shook his head. ‘I will kill that drongo if he troubles me or her. Foolish animal like him want to cage a queen to himself.’
He continued watching movies until Alfred came to his house at about noon. They planned on how to deal with Katanga and his boys and left for the campus. The security men at the campus main gate asked them of their identity cards and Michael searched his pockets. He brought out his two ATM cards. ‘Officer please, I forgot my identity card. I thought I carried it with my ATM cards but I didn’t know I left it on the table.’ One of the security officers asked Alfred of his and he told him he forgot it inside his schoolbag he went to school with yesterday. ‘I won’t take these excuses next time,’ the officer said and let them go.
They walked around in the campus with their sagged skinny trousers and high-heeled shoes as if were angry with the ground. Their wireless earphones and golden chains on their necks were good to behold and the fragrance of their perfumes testified to their self-acclaimed big boys. They rigmarole from one garden to another, greeting every lady they came across. They trudged to a sport viewing centre and sat there arguing about football.
‘Let’s go home and come back in few hours, I’m hungry,’ Michael whispered to Alfred’s ear.
‘I’m hungry too, but I don’t have any cooked food at home.’
‘Let’s go and cook beans in my house and eat it with garri.’
‘That is good. I’m very tired and hungry. I spent lot of energy on Mary.’
Michael laughed and they jerked to their feet, walking as if the ground was their slave. Every lady they came across on their way received the gift of their erotic salutation and smiles. They stopped at a vendor’s shop and read sport news before proceeding to Michael’s house.
Michael set a pot of beans on the stove and they lied down discussing about their sexual relationships and Katanga. ‘I will never break my intimacy with Mary. She is giving me the best any lady can give his guy,’ Alfred said. He closed his eyes as if imagining their conjugal moments. ‘Mary, my love,’ he muted in a soft voice. Michael looked at him and laughed. ‘She took you to third heaven in the night,’ he said. Alfred shook his head and laughed. ‘She took me beyond third heaven. That gal is an expert in bedmatics. Her downstreamsector is nothing but a paradise.’
They laughed and Michael stood up to check the boiling beans. ‘I’m hopeful that I will tour Blessing’s downstreamsector this week. I know she would be a professor in bedmatics that is why that idiot called Katanga is crazy about her,’ he chortled.
Alfred told him to deal with Katanga severely if he threatened him again; promising to support him to any length no matter what it would cost him. ‘When you keep quiet, you dignify them by your silence. But if you confront them when they are threatening you, they can do you nothing. They are just paper tigers. Katanga is a fool, we would show him and his beggarly boys,’ he said.
They ate the beans with garri and Alfred left for his house. Michael lied down and fell asleep.
After several calls to his phone which were not answered, Michael went to Alfred house. What he saw sent rage and fear to his spine. Alfred door was opened and as he stepped on the threshold, he could perceive tragic incident. He looked at the curtain which was stained with blood wanly. 'Alfred ', he called but no one answered. He looked at the compound, there was no sign of any human being and all the doors were locked.
He lifted the curtain and there was Alfred's body in the pool of his blood without head. 'Haaaaa! This can't happen', he thundered. He stretched his neck to the room without moving a step from threshold. 'Katanga you are dead!', he blotted and suddenly looked around as if was gripped with fear. He released the curtain and moved away quickly, mumbling in rage.

Ugwu Lawrence Enenche
07032769241, 08176050494
Ugwu Lawrence Enenche is a prolific writer and reputable researcher on African literature and folklore. He is a celebrated public speaker with a distinguished, ineffable, modest and pro-active personality from Owukpa community in Ogbadibo local government area of Benue State. He has written many published and unpublished articles and essays. His recent novels are Gone With Love, A Talking Dream and Just After Dawn

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