Fiction: The Dark Day of the Beasts

March 15, 2016 Fiction , POETRY / FICTION

By

Celestine Chimummunefenwuanya

 

 

The boy wearing round glasses swallows, stood up from the flint boulder and walked slowly down Kwacha street toward the gamelia trees.

The smoky fat lines of gust dusts swished around his neck thrice before slithering across the narrow gritty path rimmed by granite slabs for the gamelia trees stretching before him. In the circular bluish clearing the brass boy waited for him and there would tell him how unfeasible and ridiculous the prophecy sounded to the boys and would, if convinced more, appeal for magic – to the boy the brass boy is a magician – to enslave their hearts temporally for the period of the warfare. After all it’s better to be temporally enslaved than bleeding to death under the no-sentient aliens’ swords.

And just after Eme’s vagrant refutation of the prophecy this morning he too had seen reasons to Intrepidly rebut it.

 

How does someone just agree to a funny prophecy claiming a squadron of queer aliens preparing somewhere would wage a terrific battle against peasant mine workers comprising old men and women and largely young boys who have worked themselves in the sizzling sun and hard stones to clean fragility, for the reclamation of their lost territory in a day known to these aliens.

This morning, the prophecy was best summarized by the boy to the boys in the Shanti open-pit mine as;  A decade ago when this acreage, now a stone mine, was a fortress of queer humans banished from a planet and a forest of jacaranda, sandalwood, bayan, white teak, rhododendron and ashoka trees a foreigner discovered stones underneath it.

Mr. Drake employed a witch that banished the queer inhabitants to another forest on the ground they wound be okayed to have the dominion of it back a decade later.

It’s now the tenth year after the compromise and having waited for the banisher for their reinstatement and the humans’ relinquishment of their territory all to no avail, they’ve decided the day, the darkest day known to the aliens, to zap the mine workers.

And him, the brass boy, an emissary of brass  from a planet in the space had been sent to equip a number of boys to fight these evil beasts for the evasion of the macabre annihilation of poor workers ignorant of a selfish concession once made. He was the first boy the brass boy met and had been ordered to gather in twenty more boys for intense training. Physical and spiritual.

 

The mine boys had laughed at the boy and the cynical  prophecy as he relayed it to them this morning. And to him, after a second thought stirred by Eme’s boisterous laughter the whole story had become a silly trumped-up fable. And he would tell him just that as soon as he met him.

He bravely stepped up the gritty path. This bravado that had enamored the brass boy.

The boy had only agreed to hearken his orders for his head’s sake and for his power to come in the form of dusts and transfigure to a brass-skin growing boy of his age with round glasses tightened at the nape of the neck with silver rope. He had appeared in his dreams umpteen times in the form of a large number of people pursued by a scarlet throng of dragon-like humans screaming for help. Saying Wewe help us, Wewe save us, Wewe they would kill us, if they kill us our blood is on your head.

And from nowhere in the swiftness of the whale’s tumble in a vast sea with a sharp gold-hilt sabre the boy dropped with twenty young boys girded in flaming metal regalia, slinging quivers of arrows, handling bows with long swords.

His voice changed in the dreams, his velvet voice to growling bass. He yelled “let’s go” and the boys charged forward with a force whose velocity and tremor frightened him. They struck the aliens with their swords, breastplates to breastplates, filigreed fusillades suffusing like gas in the air, carmine blood of the aliens sprouting as shattering rocks of spring, all metal boots carving the earth, eyes flashing as glints of cesium and sun, their cranky screams filling the boys with a flourishing sense of triumph, making their swords swish faster as fans of windmills, smoke of ivory from the boys’ lips as against the aliens’ thick black, floating like feathers until vanquished. This  warfare had continued to perturb his sleep, heart, mind and soul until he decided lately to listen to the voice ordering him to the bluish clearing in the gamalia forest all day.

The first time, the swish made him scurry through the trees until he had less air in his lungs to draw and blow. As soon as the boy stepped on the narrow path a cold swathe like soft cotton disheveled his neck towards the heavy gamelia that struck his forehead. A bloat grew that took five days to deflate. He was running, falling and standing, yelling and screaming, his vision blurred and was lost until a soft voice opened his red eyes in the center of the clearing. He supined and sought air and water.

Above him like dreams, hovered the smoky fat lines of dusts until he rejuvenated to normalcy. The dusts settled on one of the coquina boulders framing the clearing and transfigured to the brass-skin boy that reached out to shake him and made him sit on one of the boulders opposite his.

The small opaque eyes blinked dull in the round glasses, a yellow satin gown dropping on his heels, peach skin and snowy large wings sticking out from under his arms to join above his hairy head surprising him. He was a discredited angel, he thought. But after an hour of debunking his identity, claiming he was the curator of his dire dreams and the brook-sound voice calling his name and ordering him to the gamalia trees ,he realized he was neither an angel nor human, but a good alien sent from a planet far away in space to savage a crop of suffering humanity to feel the coarse sweep of annihilation invert their homes.

 

Years ago, the brass boy begun and the boy had paid rapt attention as fear clutched him as an iron fist, Zala the finest chorister, gifted in the control of any musical instrument conceivable, coincided with the guards’ brothers of our planet to topple his creator and the creator of our planet.

The guards’ brothers agreed with him, except one called Lurio. Lurio revealed the conspiracy to his majesty. Before the court of our great planet and in the presence of nine-hundred and seventy two judges preceded by his lordship, Zala with other conspirators appeared under unbreakable fetters for the accusation leveled on them. Zala abused his majesty and bragged to overthrow him if freed.

Others bragged along with him, and the judges concluded their verdict, presenting it to his majesty. He endorsed their verdict of ousting them off the planet. His majesty released him and his cohorts, and ordered their ousting. Just before this five of the cohorts begged with blandishments and blarney of words for absolution. The majesty who made and knew their hearts rebuffed their duplicitous pleas, and down the putrescent hearts were cast to travail until the majesty decided on what to do with them.

They crashed in a misty dense forest of edible fruits that dried to flaps upon their arrivals. Therein they build cabins and chalets and hunted wild animals for food. Two decades later a foreigner discovered stones; hematite, marble, matrix, ore, sandstone, quartz, soap and shale stones underneath the forest’s crusts. Lifted above and hurtled to fragments was the first batch of caterpillars that came to sweep the trees down surrounding lakes. So was the second and third.

The neighboring locals warned the foreigner and the workmen to back off on the claim the forest was the home of gods and goddesses. The foreigner threatened to zap them off with his rifles if they dare intrude in his business. They avoided the forest and now he came to utilize the resources. The worst was that the foreigner never believed in the existense of gods and goddesses. Mr. Drake continued to doubt until Zala himself appeared to him one evening and gave him the chase of his life. He summoned a witch to banish the aliens. A concession was made after Zala’s inability to conquer the witch.

And the concession was that the aliens should stay away for ten years after which they were through with the extraction of the resources they could come back to settle. It’s ten years now and only Mr. Drake and the witch are aware the concessions were dead. Who would believe the story now?

 

The brass boy was already sitting on his boulder when he got to the clearing. Sitting in the center was a golden box, upon which was a large brass plate of forty different ‘fruits’; dried apricot, avocado, beetroot, cherry, clementine, guava, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemon, watermelon, nectarine, orange, pear, pineanaple, quince, strawberry, to mention but a few. Despite a hungry stomach the fruits barely interested him and was for having more to think than eat magical fruits. Yes magical fruits. He got them from their magical planet and hardly agreed it would taste normal. He wanted to tell him that but he closed up and sais a minute later, after an invitation to eat them, that he was not hungry.

The brass boy stood up and walked to his left side. He was not comfortable each time hte brass boy came closer to touch him and wasn’t now comfortable as his soft palm, cold as ice, caressed his nape as the nuzzle of a voluptuous lover. The  boy stood up and paced three steps out of his touch. From there he told the brass boy the reactions of the boys. They laughed and mocked him, telling him he was seeing an illusion as if someone had been filling him with lies. Some of the boys decided to beat him that night for predicting doom on the Kwaso mine. And he knew they meant it. They would mill around his mother’s shack tonight after work. He therefore needed two things  from the brass boy; more conviction he was real, and magical powers to protect himself and captivate the boys as soon as possible.

The brass boy bit from the satsuma he picked before smiling. The boy was surprised when he said he was as real as the skies and would never give him any power to enslave anybody. The boy was grumbling when he heard what placated him. He decided to give him power to perform strange things and protect himself. He was to display incredible actions he could conceive before the boys. The boy could not believe he would do something extraordinary as the brass boy until he was touched. The brass boy gave him a short cross and ordered him to say anything and raise the cross to enforce it. It was to the boy impossible until he commanded a nearby gamelia tree to run. He formed quick circles around his head with the cross and the tree ran from the root around them. He twirled the cross faster and the tree swirled around them. The brass boy laughed and laughed as the boy was in shocks.

 

He ordered him to still the cross beside him, at which time the tree ran back to it in an uprooted position. The brass boy said to him, “now with this go back and tell the boys they must follow you here for fortification and training as soon as possible, before it’s too late,” warning him to mind what he wished for when he was with the cross, for he would have it.

The boy picked two fruits;  courgette and carrot, before dashing through the trees for the mine.

It was twilight when the boy entered the mine and an hour to the night by the time he climbed into his mother’s hut. The shack was dark and smelt of wet quarry dusts. He scrunched his nose before striding to his box hanging.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celestine Chimummunefenwuanya  

Celestine Chimummunefenwuanya, a Nigerian young veteran Photographer, songwriter, organist, poet, playwright, short story writer, novelist and lover of birds and wild animals. A Chelsea fan that enjoys table tennis, football, basketball and frequently romps through woods for scenic animalistic displays. He visits a Nigerian stone mine from which he derives heart-ripping hunches and vibes. African stone mine workers travail in felters of pains and emotional conudrums and he catalogues these in photo-images and as graphically as possible in a new novel ‘Five Fingers’ he currently works on. He’d be happy to share it with an experienced publisher that cares.

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