Tag Archives: death

PAID IN FULL part 1

AKIN

Everyone calls me the village rascal. Me? I’m not bothered. I can’t care less what anyone thinks about me. Okay. Perhaps that statement isn’t completely true. There is one person whose opinion actually matters to me. That one person is my brother, Oluwadamilola.

It’s funny, seeing us together, you wouldn’t know he’s my brother. He’s a direct opposite of everything I am. While I’m short and muscular, he’s tall and lanky. I’m as black as the bottom of a clay pot used to the searing heat of a charcoal fire, he’s fair complexioned. I’m loud and aggressive. He’s quiet and peaceful. I can start an argument in an empty room, he detests raised voices.

Kpom! Kpom!!

Someone’s at the door. I lift my head up, listening to make sure it’s my door. The sound comes again, and this time, I’m sure. I move to open it. Standing there is Okon, childhood friend and fellow riff-raff.

“Akin, let’s go to madam Smooth’s bar.” His face splits in a wide grin. The thought of alcohol is the only thing that makes Okon smile. The only thing. I swear the boy is even more useless than I am. And that’s a terrible thing. But then, I also happen to have a deep seated respect for a cold, sweating bottle of ’33’ export lager and so I fetch my shirt and pull it on. Snagging the flip-flops from the backyard, I’m ready to go.

We make our merry way to madam Smooth’s, for a bottle or two and a pinch of trouble and excitement.

An hour and a half later…

Things are a bit blurry. Bottles litter the top of the table where I’m seated. Some of them are rolling about, spilling drops of alcohol on the dusty floor. There’s a small plate containing catfish bones which are all that’s remaining of the peppersoup we ordered a while back. At this point,I’ve had enough of stuffing myself. A bit of trouble would be nice, you know, I can use the exercise.

Something tickles my nostrils and I turn to see a lady swish her way past. She’s wearing a shimmering black gown that just calls me. And calls me. And calls me.

I take a deep breath, inhaling and enjoying the heady feminine perfume that follows her passage like froth in the wake of a fast ship. 

Suddenly someone steps in, rudely blocking my view of that nice-

“Keep your eyes in your head, filthy cow.”

What? Who is this one?

“Infact, I think you should apologise to my girl for staring at her like that.” The bar goes quiet, drunk and half-drunk patrons twisting and turning to get a view of the unfolding drama. But I want no part in it, so I ignore him and grab another bottle from the pile before me. I touch the cold, slender neck to my lips and suck-

WHAM!

The fool slapped me! He slapped me?! That’s unacceptable. Before I even know what I’m doing, my hand shoots​ out, grabs an empty bottle of lager and my fingers wrap around the neck. Then from there, it travels with its prize to the floor. It’s a hard cement floor, underneath all that dust, and the impact shatters the lower half of the bottle, leaving me with jagged, sharp edges. A weapon. I swing around to face the man, this idiot that dared to slap me.

I see the daring in his eyes, he’s daring me to go ahead. Despite trembling with rage, I finally get ahold of myself and start to turn, to settle so I can continue to drink the precious lager, and then the fool has the effontery to smile.

Without thought, I swing the broken bottle into an arc, one that ends in the soft flesh of his belly.

In some sort of demented slow motion, I watch the broken bottle tear through cloth and flesh, a wide crimson gap opening in it’s wake.

Blood spurts from his torn belly, all over me. All over my hands, my shirt. Marking me as his murderer.

While the heat of anger rapidly cooling, I hear Okon’s voice as though from far away…

“A-A-Akin. What have you done?”

The broken bottle, now soaked and dripping with blood falls from my limp fingers to fall to the ground…
To be continued…

DEATH AND A CUP OF COFFEE, PLEASE? part 4

The really interesting thing about  Inspector Kowoje, indeed his one redeeming quality was his inability to let go of a case.
Once he had a case to handle, he became a bulldog, worrying it still he eventually cracked it wide open. No matter what it took. The most he ever had to spend on a case was three months, but this one was warming up to take the crown.
First, it was finding out who +23481907897712 was.

From all indications, it was someone  really high up on the food chain- the telecom company was extremely reluctant to reveal who this person was, even after several threats to arrest the employees, their families and neighbours and girlfriends and even the mosquitoes unfortunate enough to fly into any place inhabited by a company employee, they remained mute. At the end, Inspector Kowoje had to go for a court order and even then, the information provided was minimal. It was a line owned by a certain Salisu, and provided a company’s address as a place of residence.
A pre-registered sim, obviously. A dead end.
So he went back to Mrs Andrew’s phone for more info.

Searching through her messages he found a level of romantic correspondence between Mrs. Andrew and the mystery person but not enough info, or was there?
He started picking out personal references in the conversation.
A birthmark on the right thigh. Good for identification, provided he found a way to get every male in Lagos to submit to a strip search. So, another dead end.
Perhaps when he had the suspect in hand, he would use it as a means to cement his identity but otherwise, it was useless.
So Inspector Kowoje kept chasing whatever leads he could find, crossing his fingers and hoping for a lucky break. Who knows? The suspect could just fall into his lap one day.

Three days later, at the police station, Inspector Kowoje was staring at the case file, eyes as red as sango’s trying to think if there was any unexplored avenue to crack the case when someone knocked at the door.

Kpom! Kpom!!

“Yes? Come in.” He answered wearily. The door swung open and the bespectacled company secretary came in.
The day suddenly seemed a bit brighter. He sat up, cleared his throat and asked what he could do for her. She told him she had information. Valuable information. But she was scared. Would she be safe if she testified against the murderer? She didn’t want to end up like Mrs Andrew.
After several assurances she laid the story bare.

+23481907897712 was the manager. Mrs. Andrew had been having a sizzling affair with the manager- an office romance of massive proportions. But somehow, no one in the company knew. No one, except the secretary  who once caught them in the act, when trying to retrieve some files from oga’s office.
On that day, she closed the door and ran down the stairs and out of the company building. She knew if she was caught, it would most likely spell the end of her corporate career.
It was like a shot of adrenaline. Inspector Kowoje thanked her and set things into motion. The manager was invited for questioning. One thing led to another and he made a slight blunder, and Inspector Kowoje clamped down on him like a steel trap. He was put under arrest.

Fast forward to a search warrant and a court order allowing a medical examination of the suspect and all the clues snapped into place. Not only did he have a birthmark on his thigh, the semen sample matched. The manager couldn’t hold it in anymore- he confessed to murdering Mrs Andrew in a fit of rage after days of obsessing over her. She wanted to end the affair and be faithful to her husband. He didn’t. One thing led to another that morning and well- it happened, he raped her. She was going to report him to the police, he knew it, he could see it in her eyes, so he stabbed her to keep her quiet. Stabbed her again and again, crying as he did so.
Then he cleaned himself up, and called the police.

His trial was brief. The judge found him guilty and sentenced him to death by hanging. As he heard the final judgement, Inspector Kowoje smiled broadly. Another job well done.

Then someone tapped him lightly on the shoulder. He turned, it was the company secretary and she was smiling.
“Hello Inspector.”
“Hi. How are you doing?”
“Pretty good. Look I was wondering, if you’re free, would you be interested in grabbing a bite with me?”
A wide grin from ear to ear. Things just kept getting better and better…

DEATH AND A CUP OF COFFEE, PLEASE? part 3

“Mr. Andrews. Where were you on Wednesday, 12th of October, 2016?”
It was common police knowledge. Crimes of passion are often committed by people close to the deceased. In this case, it was a hasty rape and a brutal murder. Obviously the person involved had a very personal stake in the matter. And who else would have a stake as big as the husband?

Mr Andrews was Inspector Kowoje’s favorite for the murderer. But there was nothing to pin him with. He had a clean record, no previous convictions and several people were willing to testify to his peace-loving nature.
The only chance he had was to try to place him at the scene of the murder. But of course, he had an alibi. Perhaps more shouting would make him slip up and say something incriminating?

“Where were you at the time of the victim’s death?!” Inspector Kowoje bellowed.

“My client has answered that question. We are done here.” His lawyer, a slim petite creature in a smart suit and skirt stepped forward and hit her palm on the desk, staring Inspector Kowoje in the eye all the while. The message was clear- back off or we see in court.

Inspector Kowoje wisely backpedaled.
“Just doing my job ma.”
The suspect stood up, sniffling and his lawyer conjured a handkerchief from somewhere. Mr Andrews dabbed at his red, wet eyes. The lawyer pulled him down to a hug, shooting the Inspector a look that would totally roast yam.

They maintained the posture a bit longer than was necessary, a fact that Inspector Kowoje noted with amusement. Mr Andrews was not going to stay a widower for long, if he didn’t manage to get him locked up quick. Kowoje adjusted his trousers, fiddled with his belt.
Damn belt again.

As they left, he turned in his chair to stare at the picture of the president hanging on the wall. Just he begun to contemplate whether he would eat a king-size plate of food for brunch or two normal plates, the door flew open.
“Sir!”
“Damn you Shehu don’t you know how to knock?”
“Sir. I’m sorry sir. The forensic expert just got to us sir!” Remembering where he was, he gave a crisp but hasty salute. Then shut his mouth, though he obviously couldn’t wait to spill the beans.
“Alright man, go ahead. Say what you have to say and get out.”

“Sir. I think you’d better read it sir.” He slammed a sheet of A4 paper on the desk. On it were the text messages received by the victim.

You see, it wasn’t easy. She had a password, and also encrypted her phone with the latest software. But then, phones are a great source of information for any case in this modern era, and as such, Inspector Kowoje had okayed the contracting of a forensic expert with top-notch technical skills. Seemed his gamble had yielded result.
He scanned the messages with his eyes until he got to the part outlined in red ink. This was what had caused the great excitement leading to Shehu’s brief lapse in protocol.
It read as follows;

+23481907897712:
U knw u should hv stayed wit me. I luv u. I hv alwys. He cnt compare wit me. Why liv me for him? U belong wit me, & if I can’t hv u, no 1 else will. I’ll nvr share. Ur mine!!!

Inspector Kowoje scratched his head again. This was puzzling. A third party? She must have been seeing someone behind Mr Andrews back. As such the marriage was not as happy as it seemed.

Obviously this person was passionate about the victim, and terrible diction and abbreviations apart, this person fit the profile. But the question remained.

Who exactly was +23481907897712?

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DEATH AND A CUP OF COFFEE, PLEASE? part 1

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Rushing through the mad traffic that is part and parcel of Lagos, Inspector Kowoje was able to make it to the office an hour and thirty minutes after the phone call made to the police station soliciting for help had ended.

Truth be told, he would rather not have come at all. But sadly there was no subordinate officer to push the work on. Those yeye subordinates. When you wanted some peace and quiet, they were everywhere. Like flies.

Harassing the inmates. Hailing you and asking if there was anything for the boys. But the moment there was some real work to do, they vanished- it was almost like they had some sixth sense regarding such matters.

Kowoje adjusted his belt, fitting the belt through the last loop on his plain black trousers. Problem was, it was sure to come out again, seeing as the belt was ill-fitting, and then the stiff leather would stick out like some sort of prehensile tail.
The sheer madness!

Somewhere at the back of his mind, he made a simple note to harass belt sellers more. They had to feel some of this pain of course. But back to the present. He cleared his throat loudly and knocked.

Kpam! Kpam!!

“Yes, come in.” Answered a soft feminine voice from the other side of the door. A woman! That alone made it worth the time he spent getting to the nonsense office. With a wide grin, he opened the door and stepped in, fingering the huge baton attached to his trousers by the simple expedient of tying the stupid thing to a belt loop.

“Inspector Kowoje of the Nigerian Police For…” His voice trailed off as his brain practically shut down on all other activities, to take its sweet time in observing the vision of loveliness, seated cross-legged on a chair before him.

He didn’t know his mouth was wide open. It was so wide in fact, you could have comfortably put your fist in it.
Could, not should. If you did, Kowoje would most likely clamp down with his teeth. He’d bite you. He was that kind of person.

One enterprising housefly flew in through the open door, hovered briefly around the open mouth, changed its mind and flew off to find somewhere else to perch on.

“Excuse me?” The bespectacled goddess in pink and white said. And just like that, Inspector Kowoje got his marbles back. He drew himself up smartly, saluted a woman with no official authority whatsoever and said in his deepest baritone
“Inspector Kowoje of the Nigerian Police Force madam. We got a distress call from this address. Something about a suspected suicide ma. Reporting for duty ma.”

Tsk tsk tsk. Men can be so silly sometimes. The power of a pretty woman. But I digress. Back to our dear friend Kowoje.

The four-eyed beauty (counting the lenses, of course) gave a soft sigh. She shook her head briefly from side to side as though trying to clear it of an unnecessary burden and pointed to a door on the far right.

“Take that sir, follow the stairs to the fourth floor.  Then the first door by your left. The manager is waiting for you there.”

Nothing hurt half as bad as having to walk away from her, but Kowoje was nothing if not a man of action who put duty above all others.
With a silent solemn oath to spend no more than five minutes with the manager upstairs so he could come back here to know the delicious slice of humanity seated at the front desk better, he marched off in the direction he was given.

He barged into the described office. True to her words, there was a small pudgy fellow waiting for him.
Men like Kowoje hated men like the manager. They envied them because they were everything they weren’t. Rich. Pampered. Powerful.
Kowoje was sure the secretary downstairs was not a cold fish around this man.  She was probably chatty and overly friendly whenever she was chanced to see him. Cursing the dumb luck that cursed him with such a hard life bereft of fawning beauties, Kowoje barked out a harsh “Yes? What is it?”

“Good day officer, glad you could make it.” His voice contained a hint of sarcasm. But there was nothing Kowoje could do about it. This man held the knife and the yam. He was rich and probably watched football with several of his ogas at the top. Recognizing the danger of letting his contempt show, he drew himself up and tried again

“Inspector Kowoje of the Nigerian Police Force. We got a distress call from this address. Something about a suspected suicide sir. Reporting for duty sir.”

Then the man nodded, like a master finally satisfied with the efforts of a particularly promising, but lazy apprentice. Then he spoke.

“Apparently we’ve had a suicide. One of the members of our staff. Of course this doesn’t bode well for the company, especially now that we’re vying for a particularly juicy government contract. So here’s what we want you to do…”

THE MAJOR DECEPTION part 1

In Yoruba folklore, the tortoise was a mischief-maker, always up to something.

As such, more often than not, he was on the run from someone or something.
At times it was even an entire group of someones!

Sometimes, however, he served as the source of solutions, often giving cunning but useful advice to enable friends get out of tricky situations.

This is a story that tells of Ijapa in his second capacity as problem-solver. In this tale, Ijapa helps an ailing King avoid death. Of course, he achieves this through great mischief. Enjoy.

Once upon a time, when the earth was young, animals walked on two feet and spoke like men, and there were two kingdoms. The animal kingdom and the human kingdom. In the human kingdom, which happened to be a short distance from the animal kingdom, the king, Kabiyesi, fell terribly ill.

All the medicine men were called, and sacrifices upon sacrifices were made, but all to no avail.

With each day that passed, the king grew progressively weaker.

As the days became weeks the flesh fell off his frame, until a once robust, barrel-chested man became a sack of bones and loose flesh. It was a terrible thing.

The people were seriously worried as Kabiyesi was a just and kind king to his subjects, and the chief priest, acknowledging that this was far beyond his powers, gathered a few strong men in the community and set off to find the world’s greatest herbalist- Ifagbemi.

After kissing their wives and children goodbye, they got provisions and set out, determined to get the King a cure or perish in the effort.
They crossed seven rivers, climbed seven mountains and endured a multitude of hardships before they found Ifagbemi and they pleaded with him to return with them to save their king. After listening to their tale, he agreed and followed them back to their kingdom.

When they got home, the King was unconscious and at the brink of death. Quickly, the herbalist administered a herbal concoction and Kabiyesi was revived. Then Ifagbemi locked himself in a room for seven days, with intense divination to find out the source of the King’s ill health, and the cure, if any.
During this seven days, Kabiyesi’s condition did not deteriorate, but also, it did not improve.

On the morning of the eighth day, Ifagbemi the herbalist came out of the room and proclaimed that the cure for Kabiyesi’s condition was to be found in the heart of an elephant.

Instantly a royal edict went out, decreeing that all hunters were to be on the lookout for elephants, to kill them and harvest their hearts.

Any hunter able to do this, was to receive a large monetary reward, and also marry any one of the princesses born to the royal family.

There was a particular hunter with the name Ogunyemi who set his mind on getting the reward. He went into the bush and after days and days of searching, was unable to find any elephant to kill. Dejected, he sat on a stone to think and worry, and it was in this state that his friend Ijapa met him.

Ijapa who despite his numerous failings, could nonetheless prove a wonderful friend picked up on Ogunyemi’s dark mood. He asked his friend to reveal his problem, but he was rebuffed. Not to be turned away, he asked again and again until the hunter opened up and revealed that he was searching for the heart of an elephant. But despite his efforts, he had not come across even an elephant’s shadow, not to talk of killing it and obtaining it’s heart.

Ijapa told him to cheer up, that he would procure an elephant’s heart for him. With that assurance, Ogunyemi soon cheered up and soon was roasting corn for himself and his friend Ijapa to eat.

After much merriment, it was time to for Ijapa to return to his home in the animal kingdom.
Ijapa before leaving, told Ogunyemi to sharpen his machete, dig a big hole at the market square the next evening, cover it with mats and wait there for the elephant’s heart.
The hunter agreed to do this.

Ijapa then went home. Upon getting back to the animal kingdom, he went straight to the home of Erin, the elephant.

When he got there he prostrated himself with his face to the floor and greeted the elephant saying
“Kabiyesi, live forever.”
The elephant, surprised, asked the tortoise what he meant.

The crafty tortoise then asked if he knew of the humans and their current search for an elephant.
Erin responded in the affirmative, but admitted that he did not know why they wanted him, and that he wanted nothing to do with the humans and their fire-sticks.

Ijapa laughed and told him that they were searching for a king, as the old one had died, and the Kingmakers had declared that the next king was to come from the animal kingdom.

Claiming to have been there when the old king passed away, Ijapa then spun a beautiful tale of how he had suggested an elephant and successfully convinced them to appoint him as the kingmaker supreme. As such it fell to him to produce the king. And having gotten that task, he had come to invite Erin to his coronation ceremony so he could be crowned as king.
The vain elephant was pleased to hear this, and agreed to follow the tortoise to the land of humans to be crowned, the following afternoon.

The next day, the tortoise came to fetch the elephant and with drumming and singing and lots of fanfare, they set of for the human kingdom.

Soon they arrived at their destination, and Ijapa led the unwary elephant to the hole covered with mats. With a sign, he gestured for the elephant to take his seat.

The elephant who at this time was exhausted from so much dancing, walked up to the mats and flung himself down to take his seat. With a whoosh, the mats fell from under him, and Ogunyemi quickly came out from his hiding place to kill the elephant and get his heart.

He then took this to the palace where the remedy was made for Kabiyesi.
Soon enough, Kabiyesi recovered fully and gave Ogunyemi his reward…

OUR FEAST OF BONES part 3

Four days later.

It’s almost time for the council of elders to send for the youngsters. Uzochukwu has been marking the days, making tallies on the gigantic tree where he made his home.
Six white slashes show against the greenish-brown bark, a slash for every nightfall. If he is able to make it till then, tomorrow evening a group of strong men would come to guard him out of the forest. From there to the huts of adulthood where his head would, for the first time, be fully shaven.
As with most children, since there was no recurring reminder, the danger of the previous meeting has faded to nothingness in his mind. As such, he hasn’t been as careful as he could have.
He has failed to cover up his tracks, failed to properly mask his scent with fistfuls of mud and leaves smeared liberally across every inch of skin.

He has forgotten.

But she hasn’t.

Leaving her den as the sun sinks over the distant horizon, the lioness yawns deeply and sets out for her night-time hunt.
With a nose able to take in and disseminate far more information than a weak human nose, ears that pick the barest sounds, and eyesight unencumbered by the approaching darkness, she makes her predatory way out of her den and into her range.
It doesn’t take long for her to pick up a particularly interesting scent, one exactly like the one she came across a few days ago. With the scent trail as clear to her as the beams of a lighthouse on a starless night, she begins her hunt.

Meanwhile, Uzochukwu has had a terrible evening. Failing to properly ration his catch the previous night, his stomach rumbles and he leans against a tree trunk, nibbling on the last strips of roasted meat. Soon he is done and he wipes his hands on his loincloth, smearing grease and adding more easy-to-follow scents.

It doesn’t take long for the lioness to follow the scents back to their source and she sees the huge beast that would most likely end up as her next meal. Hidden in the shrubbery, her yellowish brown coat virtually indistinguishable from the dust covered plants, she manages to get within 27 metres of her target, crouches, muscles tense- and snaps a twig. In the silence that covered the forest like a blanket the snap is loud enough to jolt Uzochukwu, who jumps to the right in fright, just as the lion pounces.

That jump takes him out of the lioness’s trajectory, and she lands without her intended target. Quick as a flash, she turns to face him.

Man and feline take in the full measure of each other, moving about, making two halves of a circle.

He knows he cannot run.

Only one of them can make it out of here alive.

She will not let him go this time.

The laws of the jungle are absolute. Eat or be eaten.

At the same time, both predators launch themselves into a blur of motion, locked briefly in the eternal dance of life and death.

The following night, when the group of young men come to retrieve the son of the soil who has achieved manhood, they find a gory sight.

Blood and entrails scattered on the ground.

Bloody paw prints to and fro.
A spear, broken into pieces, with the sharp metal head conspicuously absent.
Leaves flattened, evidence of a great tussle, and amidst all these, a badly scarred but still breathing man-child, with the corpse of a lioness in his arms, as he struggles to take in air.
Filled with awe, the leader of the group of mighty warriors sent to retrieve him walks forward and touches his big toe. The one attached to his right foot.

“Strong one,” he says “the fight is over. Come home.”

OUR FEAST OF BONES part 2

It is been exactly two days since Uzochukwu made it to the thick forest at the boundary, where he is to spend a lonely week. And he is adjusting quite well.

With the spear in his hands, he kills small animals for food, and makes a fire to roast them with the flint he found among his rations. He also gathers edible fruits from several of the fruit trees that are scattered throughout the forest. There’s a stream a fair distance from the entrance to the forest, and that is where he made his camp.

However, if he knows what lives in the forest with him, he would most likely relocate to somewhere safer. Like home.

You see, water is a must. And in a forest with as few options as the one he currently stays in, any body of water is close to sacred. Little animals come daily to drink, to slake their thirst. Indeed, more often than not, Uzochukwu doesn’t really need to hunt. He just waits and spears them as they make their furtive way to the stream. All he needs to do is remain hidden and cover himself with mud, to mask his scent, and he gets a steady supply of meat for his cooking fire.
But on the third day, he comes across a small deer, with its belly torn out, and huge chunks of meat missing. He shudders in fear.

He knows he didn’t do this. There’s another predator in this forest, and from the look of the bite marks, and bloody paw prints around the carcass, it’s pretty big.

That night, he sleeps up, in the branches of a tree.

That singular action saves his life, as in the wee hours of the night, when he is deep in sleep, a lioness approaches his regular sleeping place. She is responsible for the torn deer he stumbled across earlier, and having filled her belly by devouring another animal before stumbling on the deer while making her way back to her den, she quickly lost interest in the meat after a few bites. So she left it lying there.
Wrong move.

Where there are predators, there will also be scavengers, and some of these also stumbled across the carcass a few hours before she woke up for her usual nocturnal hunt. With a scavengers hunger, they ate every scrap of meat on the deer and promptly made themselves scarce.
Now she just got back there, and couldn’t find anything to eat. But she could smell a slightly different scent, a scent left behind when drops of fear-soaked sweat leave a trail, as a boy takes to his heels upon discovering the presence of a beast far bigger, stronger and meaner than he could ever hope to be. She looks at him, hanging up in the tree. He looks like an ape. But he isn’t an ape. Apes happen to be very delicious. Although she isn’t really hungry, she considers climbing the tree to kill him anyway.

At this precise moment, Ozonna the medicine man, back in the village is making a sacrifice to ensure the safety of his boys. The white, spotless lamb has just finished eating what it doesn’t know is it’s last meal. After a drink of water, it raises it’s head to check who’s approaching. It’s Ozonna. Being a part of Ozonna’s herd, it doesn’t associate him with danger, so it relaxes and listens to the termites as they scurry about on the wood of the shed nearby.

It doesn’t see the knife he has hidden at his back, and barely notices it when he slits it’s throat in one quick, smooth move.

Ozonna observes the blood spatter as thick jets of the lamb’s lifeblood pour to the ground. Nodding to himself, he picks the carcass and takes it to his private sacrificial altar and sets in on a fire he has kept burning since the previous afternoon.

He watches the smoke rising from the burning meat, muttering some incantations for strength, wisdom and protection for his charges. He takes a concoction from the corner it was hidden in earlier and sprinkles it liberally on the meat as it sizzles and burns. A sweet scent greets his nostrils and a loud shriek pierces the night.
The ancestors have accepted his sacrifice.

Back in the forest, the lioness considers the distance she’d have to climb, her still full belly and her love of fresh meat, and decides she won’t kill him now. Maybe sometime in the next two days, when she’s truly hungry, she’d find him.

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But for now, she allows him one more day of life…