excerpted from my Amazon kindle novel THE KILLER
We kill girls. We rape them before we kill them. As for me I do not join the boys to rape them. But I take extreme euphoria in killing and butchering them ; pruning out their delicate organs without feelings of pain and remorse. Their ghosts never appear to me in my dreams neither do I see myself swimming in the pool of blood nor twirling like an oiled renegade in a velvet whirlpool
Welcome to Zone 6 Stone Mines and Quarries. Here, everything happened .It’s my wound and my anchorage. Though I’m in Tete prison now waiting for death and with dignity and fulfillment I await it. And from here and cell one I write to the world. Read my story.
That evening, may be, an hour from the noon I see backs, dusty bare backs.
I know the owners, and am used to seeing them. They belong to the boulder crackers; and it’s why they freely flexed in the sun. I despise them as my Mother. A son owes it as a duty to love his mother but I, Achebe decided not to and my reasons are clear as crystal.
They are armpit reeks. The smells as rotten snails smother the air, a blend of ivory quarry dusts oozing from Parker-Plant crushers within and out of the stone mines.
If a quarry site exists with more massive dusts’ outputs it’s Zawa’s.The potbellied mustachioed man now in his late 60s made dough, plenty of it in Paris and fondly tells people It’s well. He came home to build the largest stone empire, with the hugest sixteen crushers, a singular fit that amuses many , make many to curse God and assumes he sent the assassins that terminated Kewekwe his brother in hardnosed butchery. He’s an exporter too, dealing on chemicals in London as him . It’s never calm in there. He has five Lista engines with endless gas to work, at the deck and call are almost a legion of engineers ready to work in case of abrupt breakdowns, and when they work it’s with nonstop jollity conferred by the liquid they draw from the straws licking from the stomachs of well-brewed beer drinks; Star ,Gulder the larger, tubur king , Macdonald and so many more, some come from London and he says London brews bright beers and cheerfully they work and wish to work more, Once a Lumba, the jobless engineer graduate from OAU fixes up the erring nut cursing regular interruptions in Fifth Crusher and spends an hour claiming he still works, after, he tells Akpan, a friend he’d have enjoyed more beers and Oga’s smiles and jokes. Kewekwe is the rich man you see among the quarry workers reeking of sweat grimes- of all other travelled mine owners who came home to relax then decided to build a stone site, it’s him who shakes tawny hands dropping from broad shoulders carrying the gold-inks of the southern sun, throw infectious megawatt smiles about like hays and forbids cultism among the mine boys-just him refuses to contract the loosed mine boys for works. And his reason? He detests cultism. And these cultists claim to hate him for this as their contractors. Am not a cultist then but most of my friends are and i’ve been under pressures to join one.
Certainly I’m used to seeing them but not around my mother’s shack in still clusters, nodding sun-burnt necks over and over again and it’s why my heart pulses fast as Cone crushers’ swing-Jaws. Am scared. I know my mother is a thief- She’s known all over Zone 6 for breaking into people’s shacks for cooked and raw foods- I know my mother is just hungry, but a thief is just a thief. And the crabs and shrimpers she came back with yesterday had made me just furious and I had taken decision to leave her shack.
Has Ofuvi located her? And she’s been smacked to coma?. She is used to been smacked to coma. And I’m used to crying for the shame. If it’s just this and not what My friend, Kpai had predicted. I’d never cry. I’d hiss and turn back never to come back again.
Enebeli, my mother had cried and wept for her son’s forgiveness, saying she can’t make out why she must steal, I had hissed and before running out to my friend’s shack along Evo Woods told her, I have a father, but you let him die- yes, you killed him, you stole the Town Kings’ crown and when Papa heard of it he collapsed and died and look at us we are here because of this crime- here with loosed boys wanting me loosed, I had prayed for a life so moderate and I deserve a moderate life but I know I would never have it I’d soon succumb and it’s what you cursed, if I had not come here I would have been through with Royal High school and I’d have known no bad boys hassling me here and there you curs…., because of you the king banned us and here we are travailing in the sun and still you would never stop to disgrace me and yourself , out there my friends call me the son of a thief, and that’s not all you go about sleeping with men for money- I know my mother does this to feed herself and me but a whore is a whore- and you are shameless mama. Look at Buntu, who is her father’. Buntu is my sister from a strange man. ‘Mama I did not support you and it’s why I would have to go now before you corrupt me. People says I do not advice you and no matter what I say their own myopic perspectives prevail. Mama I did advice you. Just this morning you promised to change and this afternoon these are crabs and shrimpers I know where they come from, you stole them from the river side, and by now Ofuvi would be out there cursing and cursing the thief. Mama I must leave you so I could save myself. I’m going to stay with Kpai and if you come looking for me I will run away and you will never see me again. Mama, if I see changes I would come back. I had wept as my mother and snatched my thin arm away from my mother’s clutch and left. Running eastward with the jute bag in which I parked few of my clothes.
Kpai told me I’m making a mistake. Go back to your mother. You are her strength, you are the only thing she could claim she owns now. Her people and the world rejected her and if you also reject her he’d hang her self and die. I don’t know but I predict she would turn psychotic. I had said but I promise to come back if she changes and am not leaving her forever, I’m doing this to scare her. No! she can’t understand, she’s psychologically wounded. She lost her husband because of her misdeed and his son is gone without permission she’s become a failed mother and a disgrace to motherhood. The guilt would be much on her. Go back Achebe for your mother before it’s too late. And it’s too late when I understand why the backs gathering round our shack . My mother is dead. The backs had not nodded their heads and wept because she committed suicide, but because she was murdered-her breasts are clipped out, her Vigina is gone her eyes plucked out as her tongue, and when I removed the Lappah covering my mother’s nakedness i saw everything. Someone killed my mother.
This is not a new kind of killing in Zone 6. And I understand why the backs had been livid and calm. And i understand why they’d rushed out of work. I lift myself up and smacks my left ribs on the gritty ground ,twitches and jerks my legs and faints. Buntu is five. She did not weep much she just mop like frog.
It’s six years after my mother’s butchering. And so many a things had gone wrong. I’ve taken so many decisions that made my mother a better person compared to me. At least she’s a whore and a thief , because she’s hungry and immensely felt pressed by the needs to feed her son. But me, am a killer, an assassin, a cultist and a dreamer. But i would forever not forgive her. She cursed it all. I could have bore the whole pains. I could have forgiven the killers. But the discovery. That letter she wrote, detailing how it all started, how she started to steal and why she’s dying for having failed to be her son’s love, altered me and made me felt like a murderer.
When i saw it on the obsidian slate at the left angle of the shack i realized she had committed suicide before she was butchered. I need not ask who the killers are for I’m not different from the killers so I thought twice and for many a times i had butchered innocent bodies too. And I, as others and the killers of my mother works for a man…. And think about it. The man that openly loves the peasant workers and forbids cultism. Zawa. He’s the man. He sent the boy’s that butchered my mother for ritual. For multiplication of stones in his mines and quarries. And now I’m a member of the cult that killed my mother, that would have killed me too if I had not decided that afternoon to go and we laugh and roam the mine together , and we kill together and Zawa whom my mother likes to call a good man, who killed her is the boss I work for. We kill for others yearly, but for him biannually we kill for him in a year. And we laugh together and he never cares to think I hate him and plan to kill him and my gang members. And just one day, just one day I’d clip out the iniquitous elements and savage the mine, with my life. Yes, with my life because I’d surrender.
We are the Stone-birds of Zone 6 stone mines and quarries and the pell-loader boys that walk and work two by two around the mine during the day and together as a gang in the night.
I and Nnam step up along Peccuno lane now for the rendezvous, an uncompleted roofless couquina construction, a mile away from the last quarry site of Pa Zimalife and five miles from Evo and Zilite woods, two plots of dusty land upon which an influx of wooden shacks were built in 1998 when the stone was discovered in which the female workers lodge , trusting others trek up along their own different paths now in accordance to the twosome code.
I abominate the twosome code but it never began with the gang. The murder or better put the butcher of Cynthia curated it. The man that saw us the night we murdered or better put butchered her, although the man is a dead man now I chunk out his bald head from his robust neck before Bruno clipped off his stiffened penis with a pincer as sharp as razor blade. His killing was done on his bunk bed at his backyard ,he told the police the murderer of Cynthia of Evo woods were a gang of relatively young boys wearing Halloween masks with jack-knives , glittering short axes and short sabers and in dark long gowns. And may Ja place him in the worst abyss for recognizing us that lucid.
On the 5th of January, the day after the report and the day after Mr. Eleberu the parrot’s death the filigreed rotating bullhorns of five Police black-vans swished round the mines and through the quarries with paralyzing peals and heart-plunging sirens. After it was said they scraped up twenty boys Strolling along Malaki lane into the back of the vans.The same day we were in the redenvous sharing the cash chief Zawa gave to us; ten thousand naira for the murder or better put butcher and breasts of Cyntia Mbachu.
Out of fear, Bruno decided we must adopt a code of safety. Twosome code was born and for two years we’ve stuck to it like paint on the wall. The morning Brunno the leader of our gang and cult of ten boys proposed this code in the third floor of the rendezvous he said he’s proposing the code for the fear the apprehended boys , none of them belonged to our gang though, might have been scraped up for the cells for walking together and the assumption they were a gang of the killers that could be us the murderers of Cynthia and the brain behind the fifteen dead bodies of young girls without private parts seen within and out of the stone mines and within and out of the quarries from the beginning of the seven years. Bruno set up the gang seven years ago.
We sang a song for his imagination; for the preservation of the spirits of the stone-birds and we eulogized the code with robust claps and champagne pops . From that morning henceforth we walk and work two by two along different paths; and now I and Nnam walk the path we choose for the rendezvous. Bruno said we have a business tonight. We have a girl to kill.
I was the one who saw Eleberu that night. Bruno was slicing out Cynthia’s left breast when I saw him. He was peeping from behind a huge granite boulder upon which a spoilt tanned dumper trunk leaned, I pretended he wasn’t there until the police arrival the next day and I regretted never telling them, the boys would have rushed over for him. He stirred this code that so much disintegrated us. We no more drink and dance in restaurants and beer parlors at a time , together.
We kill girls. We rape them before we kill them. As for me I do not join the boys to rape them. But I take extreme euphoria in killing and butchering them ; pruning out their delicate organs without feelings of pain and remorse. Their ghosts never appear to me in my dreams neither do I see myself swimming in the pool of blood nor twirling like an oiled renegade in a velvet whirlpool and the sweet dreams of riding on eagles’ wings and white horses after each murder puzzled me, does it mean the bodies have no souls or spirits, were they told in the afterlife never to blame me for my abominable actions, were they told I did what I did because the memory, the callous vista of my mother’s murder beclouds my sense of reasoning.
Bruno and others take infinite glory in raping the helpless girls. They quake on them until the girls’ sleep. The boys wag on them until their eyes glowed and glinted as adder’s. I only raped a girl once and it was the day I was initiated into the gang. It was in the rendezvous. I wept as awkwardly on Odili, that was her name, Odili wept too until something gum-like and immaculate snaked out of me with a paralyzing chill that instantaneously conveyed me down the dale of brief ecstasy. It’s the first time I would experience such peculiar flow. After me others danced on her until she closed her eyes, smoky blood gushing out in endless swirls from between her thighs. And amid the blood flow and the pains and aguish Bruno handed me a short knife , and I did what he ordered me in tears ,sorrows and furies. I scrunched out her breasts, plucked out her eyes and pollarded her heart from her podgy chest . I was blood-logged that night. The girl did not scream, she died an hour ago.