“Jesus! What kind of plot does the enemy have up his sleeves?” Mrs. Yorke gasped as she folded her arms. Her first born had entered the room with a very forlorn expression, and upon asking what was wrong, had told her about a very weird and pretty horrific dream concerning him and his friends.
In the dream, the trio had been in some kind of long but cramped up building, with each person standing on another’s shoulders. Faisal on the ground, with Jake on his shoulders, and Ambradu at the top, looking through a small window. Suddenly, Ambradu raised a finger, which had something red on it. Almost like blood.
Immediately, chaos ensued.
The strange part about it, though? Jake couldn’t remember what kind of chaos it was that ensued.
Either the room bursting into flames or a room full of blood was what happened. But that was a hazy detail in Jake’s mind. Whatever it was, though, it had not been pleasant. And he remembered hearing screams and wails in the dream.
Springing up from his bed in pure fright, only one place to head for was on his mind: his parents’ room.
His father was in the bathroom as he narrated the tale to his mother, but Jake knew one thing was for sure: the two of them would hold his hands, fervently and ferociously rebuke whatever plan the enemy had planned for and shower him with blessings to counter those evil plots.
Which is why he came there in the first place.
His father came out of the bathroom, and upon seeing the grave expressions on the faces of his wife and son, asked what was wrong. Jake duly gave him an account of the dream.
Mr. Yorke crossed his arms, deep in thought for a moment, then started. “Hmmm, I dunno what exactly it’ll mean, but it’s obvious the devil has set his sights on you and your friends. For whatever reason, he wants to wreak havoc on you guys. But listen, you are a child of the light, not of the darkness, and John 1 verse 5 makes it clear that darkness can never comprehend or overcome the light. Let us pray and bind those powers right now in the name of Jesus! None of you shall be touched or harmed in the mighty name of Jesus! Let’s pray!”
Hands held as they formed a prayer circle, the atmosphere immediately caught fire as Mr. and Mrs. Yorke fiercely prayed in tongues, declaring war on the powers behind the scenes.
As Jake prayed along with them, other thoughts went through his mind.
Should I tell the boys about this dream?
It look less than a second for him to immediately answer this in the negative. Word of another bad dream was the last thing the Slash Kings needed to hear. Given Ambradu’s last discussion with them concerning that strange boy, this would only strengthen his belief. As for Faisal, the least said about his passionate antagonism towards things beyond the physical realm, the better.
Besides, as he had already said, even if there was something spiritually wrong, the two adults in front of him were there.
Spiritual giants who he trusted to pray away any ungodly plan against him. And of course, in praying for him, they always included his friends, so he knew they would be covered too.
Even Faisal, Mr. I-Don’t-Believe-In-All-These-Spiritual-Things, would be covered.
There was nothing to worry about.
Nothing at all.
Everything would be just fine.
“Good morning,” Jake muttered as he took his seat next to Ambradu at the bus stop where they always met.
“Yeah, good morning,” Ambradu mumbled. He was still in no mood to seriously engage his best friend or Faisal; his mind was still occupied with the young boy.
He had been up all night, thinking long and hard about the issue. And while starting to regret laying a finger on the young man, it had now bled into reconsidering this whole Slash King vibe.
Yes, having power was sweet, no doubt. But was it really worth trampling upon others? Even if there was no motivation to help those below him, wouldn’t it be better to just leave them alone than to pump his ego with their tears and pain?
It hadn’t been easy. Being cruel and vindictive to those younger and less financially fortunate than him was a trait he had thrived on. The knowledge that he could get away with a lot because his father would come in with threats and warnings always gingered him to carry on. Indeed, money stopped a lot of nonsense. But now, it didn’t seem so straightforward…
This was something he needed to deal with personally, however. If their reaction to the previous day’s events was anything to go by, there was no way Jake and Faisal would be pleased to hear this. The latter would definitely fly into some ridiculous rage, while the former would just grumble ad nauseam. He preferred to keep mute about it.
After about twenty minutes of silence between the two, a trotro stopped by the bus stop, and out stepped Faisal, the regular cold look on his face. As Ambradu and Jake stood up to join him, they greeted each other in rather stiff tones of voice. Making their way to the school premises, the same aura of silence that had kept Ambradu and Jake quiet continued its reign.
It wasn’t long, however, until Faisal dethroned it. In his usual brash, no-filter style.
“Chale, you guys. I dey beg, that your spiritual spiritual talk you dey like do, you for shun. Coz you start dey make my mind dey play plus me.”
The two looked at him, puzzled expressions on their faces.
“Ah, yestee, I dey go bath norr, for mirror inside, I dey see some weird writing for top. I no know where e come from. I see norr, the writing disappear. You niggas dey raise these funny funny things make I start dey bore. Make you shun those things!”
Ambradu’s look was one of disgust. He already was not in the mood for communicating with him, and the last thing he needed to hear was this skeptic ranting about how supernatural stuff supposedly didn’t exist and that they were filling his brain with fluff.
“Ah, but where from this?” he immediately shot back. “Does this warrant such careless babbling? Ah, you too, wossop? So another strange thing happened yesterday or what?”
“Ah, what you dey try tell me? Me wey you dey tell me sey I dey babble carelessly?” Faisal spat, not amused by that response. It was quite clear he was going to ignore that last question.
“Na if you just gbele your mof dey talk talk anyhow, what make I talk? Make I talk sey you get sweet voice or what? Massa, make you no start. Ibi too early for those your unnecessary rants about spiritual things.”
If being told he was babbling carelessly annoyed Faisal, that comment about unnecessary rants doubled the irritation in his chest.
“Kwasia, ibi me you dey talk to like that? See, make you no make I bore. I still vex over the foolish thing you do yestee. Reason up make we move aa, see some jon nibbies you dey talk for there. Aboa, make you no do make I slap you…”
“Chale, chale, Faisal, Faisal, e chill, e chill,” Jake intervened, standing between the two and visibly preventing Faisal from moving any closer to Ambradu.
Ambradu simply shook his head and smirked. Lord knew how much those nasty words made him want to give that boy a dirty left hook. But he just wasn’t in the mood for that. Peace still looked more attractive to him at that point in time. “You know what? Lemme give you some time to cool down. Jake, you can help him out. I need to get some work done. See you niggas around.”
Jake was not amused, as Ambradu quickened his footsteps, separating himself from them. “Ah, but Ambradu, what this? We all dey go the same place, why you-“
“Bye, niggas!” Ambradu responded without turning his head to look at them.
Jake and Faisal stopped for a moment, watching him as he briskly made his way to the school on his own.
Jake shook his head. This was so not like the guy he had known for years. “Ah, so what at all is wrong with Ambradu?”
“He fool, that be all. I no tell you yestee sey he no get sense? Gyimi! See how he dey talk to me sef. He make lucky waa, like inobi small beating I go beat am for here…”
“Chale, I dey beg, cool down,” Jake interrupted, patting a still miffed Faisal on the back. “This no go help we. I no know what dey wrong am, but chale, we for settle am. We for restore the unity, else, chale, enemies go come wreck wana movement.”
“Inobi he naaa he dey wreck the movement? Mtcheww. Ah, I figure sey Ambradu be hard guy wey he get brain. Saana he be toke. Chale, he dey bore me. Make we forget am. We no dey hia am again.”
“You too, relax eh. Ah!” Jake shot back. Faisal’s hot-headedness was starting to go over the top now, and he wasn’t amused at all. Just a tiny misunderstanding, and this boy was already willing to break things up? “Tempers dey high. Make we all cool down. This no be any matter wey we go split up. Just some funny occurrences wey dey play plus ein head. This no be any serious matter.”
Faisal shot him a dirty look, his upper lip curled in disgust. “You sef, make you no take your matter come. As I talk earlier, you then am all dey pollute my mind plus that your religious bulls**t. Now I dey see things wey e no dey sef. Watch yourself kraaa.”
With that, Faisal broke away, also moving in his own direction.
Definitely not a good morning so far. And with what Faisal was saying, he had had another strange encounter the previous night. His laughable attempt to downplay it wasn’t fooling Jake; he knew whatever it was was real.
But hey, whatever it was, it wasn’t going to work. After all, his parents had prayed it off them earlier that morning, so hopefully, things would get a little better.
The time was 4:20.
The venue: Barnes Road.
Jake and Faisal were walking along that path, coming from the shop nearby to get themselves some drinks.
Once again, another day where Ambradu totally shunned their company and moved solo. During break time, it was only the two of them that occupied their bench; Ambradu chose to stay in the class, doing whatever it was he decided to do. Jake had made known to him his intentions to sit the three of them down and settle the issue.
Ambradu’s response? “Sure. But not now. Get that crude, unrefined Philistine under control. Then we can talk.”
Jake could tell his best friend was getting weary of all those invectives Faisal threw at him, and was itching to let him have it. But that would only be like salt in a wound. Jake wanted the normal order of things restored, so he decided to let him be for now while he tried to bring Faisal’s temper under control.
It wasn’t easy, though. In reality, Jake was slightly afraid of Faisal, and tried his possible best to err on the side of caution in dealing with him. So at best, firm pleas were all he could offer when Faisal continued to spit out his contempt for Ambradu throughout the day.
After school hours, however, Faisal agreed to calm down and halt the insults. After a few discussions, where he agreed that this didn’t need to go overboard, he then declared the need to release some tension and suggested they get themselves some Blue Skies.
So the two were walking the path, taking big swigs of their drinks as they discussed the success and failure of their recent bets.
“Ei, so you dey do Turkish league all?” Jakes asked, surprise on his face.
“Of course! Hw3! You dey depend on just Premier League then La Liga? Massa, I dey bet for Finland and Sweden leagues sef. Ibi you wey you no make wild.”
“But chale, I no dey follow them leagues. French league sef, if I dey bet for top aaa, just PSG.”
“Hoh, massa, so Lille thems all, you no dey bet for dema top? Rennes, Marseille all dey there. Massa, you for be adventurous ooo! If you no cast your net into the deep, forget oo. So-so fingerlings nkwaa you go dey catch.”
As they continued to discuss football betting matters, passing by the uncompleted store, Jake commented, “So this store sef, ibi sey them no dey want finish am or what?”
“Me sef, I dey wonder. The way them no touch am like four months this…” Faisal started.
His eyes falling upon the bench nearby, he stopped.
There was a young boy seated on it. Hands on his laps, head down, seemingly deep in thought.
A young boy who he immediately recognized.
“Chale, Jake,” he whispered. “Inobi that small boy we beat beat am the last time?”
Jake looked in the direction of the bench and squinted. “Yeah, that be the same boy.”
Faisal scoffed. “So this one wey Ambradu dey talk sey he dey do things behind the scenes? Ah, massa. See the way he dey sit there like some jon bi. Chale, make I release some tension for in top.”
Before Jake could respond, he was already trudging over to the bench. He had not been thinking about inflicting cruelty on anyone at that time. But hey, it had been a while, so why not? The fact that Ambradu was suddenly chickening out didn’t have to stop them from having a good time.
The boy lifted his head up too late; by the time he realised who was near, Faisal already had him in his grips.
“ABi you say we go regret sey we beat you?” Faisal scoffed as he dragged the boy off the bench and towards the store. “Nanka what you go dey do we? Huh? You go fit beat me? You go fit beat am? Huh?”
By the time he was done asking those questions, the three of them were in the uncompleted store. The young lad looked proper terrified. One could tell from the dread in his eyes that that fateful late afternoon beatdown had been a source of PTSD flashbacks, and to encounter them in any way would be one absolutely terrifying nightmare.
Some nightmares unfortunately do come true.
“I say as you dey lie there dey get mof tell we sey we go regret, like what you go do?” Faisal repeated, that familiar wicked look on his face as he continued to hold the youngster tightly by the scruff of the neck.
The young man trembled, unable to speak, as Jake snickered and mocked.
Without warning, Faisal let his neck go, held his shoulders and pulled his upper body downwards, and drove a knee right into his stomach.
A groan of pain escaped his lips as he fell on his knees, grabbing his stomach. Before the exquisiteness of the pain could fully register, Jake placed a foot on his back and pushed him to the floor.
Then the abuse began.
Faisal and Jake played out an unwelcome sequel to the first pounding as they kicked the youngster again and again. His pitiful cries for mercy were drowned out by the sickening desire to be as nasty as possible. Just for the crack.
“Kwasia boy! You know the niggas you dey deal with wey you dey threaten we?”
The person behind that sentence, obviously Faisal, then moved over to pick a long block of wood. Grabbing it steadily in his left hand, he swung it at the boy’s backside.
A loud scream was the reaction to that piece of wood making contact with his skin.
Even Jake was stunned, suddenly becoming a spectator as Faisal whacked the boy a couple of times with the plank. He did not anticipate things escalating that much. If the Slash Kings resorting to all-out violence, foreign objects usually weren’t involved.
But his fear of Faisal’s explosive temperament still existed, and he’d rather let him have his way than become a victim of his sharp tongue.
“Aboa toke! Next time, gbele your mof talk s**t make we see again! Stupid cow!” Faisal snarled as he tossed the plank aside. Turning to Jake, who still had a stunned expression, he sneered, “Na you too, what dey wrong you?”
“Uhh… the plank. Isn’t it… you know we don’t…”
“Oh, massa, forget. That be how I release my tension. Besides, you no see sey I whack the ass p3? Boss, make we move. The tension all lef now.”
“Umm, sure, sure,” Jake agreed, quickly moving as he took a look at the boy. He seemed to have lost consciousness, blacking out from all that pain. Chale, this nigga, ibi like I for do make Mummy pray give am ooo. Coz this ein over-the-top attitude… if God go make e change the plenty insults and love for violence, that go be cool…
Stepping out behind Faisal, he looked around. As usual, not a soul in sight. Barnes Road being the ever secluded area it was.
“Well, at least, nobody dey around, so we’re good to go,” Jake muttered as they moved away from the ‘crime scene’.
“Of course nobody dey. Barnes Road di33, what you dey expect? Ghost road ankasa. Anyway, make we switch back to the betting. So this one day, eh, I go stake for ADO Den Haag dema top…”
“Ah, ADO Den Haag? But they, them be proper team sef for the Eredivisie there?”
“Boy, make I finish, eh!”
So Faisal and Jake descended upon the boy again? Hmmm. I have a feeling things are gonna go pretty bad for them soon…