“I sat beside the man, thinking of the possibility of me dying so early and how my plans and aspirations just ended. The old man stood up, pointing to a large group of people of different race and color waking on a single file and he said, “let’s follow them.”
“to where?” I asked, confused.
He ignored me and started walking towards them. Few minutes later, I felt lonely, so I ran and joined in the queue. The guy behind me was Chinese looking and the girl in front of me was African. So, I tapped her on the shoulder and asked, “please, where are we going to?”
She looked at me, her face heavy with sadness, she just turned to her front and kept walking. Many walked as though they were tired. But we all had one thing in common; A sad look.
Suddenly, we stopped and everyone started moving in different directions. I stood in the middle, wondering what was going on. The place was dusk looking and had a sad feeling about it. Suddenly, someone screamed and another joined in, then whole place was filled with loud cries. I tried to see who it was that was crying but found no one. Same as everyone else in our group. A little boy of about 5 years old approached me and asked, “excuse me. Please, I was with my dad some minutes ago and suddenly I can’t find him. Please can you help me look for him?”
I looked at the poor boy with no answer for him, so I asked, “where was the last place you saw your dad?”
“In the hospital. I was sick and he was beside me. I suddenly started coughing and he went to get the doctor. Before he returned, I felt tired and slept off. Then I saw myself here,” he explained.
I couldn’t tell him that he was dead, so I said, “your dad is around somewhere. Don’t worry, we are going to meet him soon.”
So, I held the boy’s hand and led him to a side where we sat down looking at the happenings. A fat lady suddenly surfaced from nowhere shouting, “where am I?! Sam! Sam! Where are you? Sam!” until she ran away, screaming.
“that’s how they come here by the minute,” someone said behind me.
I turned to see who it was. A young lanky guy stood beside me.
“can I sit with you guys?” he asked, sitting without our consent.
“I have been here for a very long time, more than so many, since then we have been walking,” he announced.
“how do you mean walking?” I asked.
“just as we were before long,” he said, looking at the little boy beside me.
“a lot of lads like this come here in thousands everyday,” he added.
“where are we going to?” I asked.
“paradise,” he said. Then continued, “There’s a place I’ll take you to before we begin walking. It’s called Zixc.”
“Zixc?” I asked.
“yeah! Zixc. Its a channel that leads to the world. But lemme warn you, you may not like it. And there are risks involved,” he said.
“what kind of risk?” I asked with keen interest.
“you may be trapped if you don’t return on time, and if you get caught by Bazimzz, you will be taken to ghost cell otherwise known as prohell”
“bazimzz? Ghost cell?” I asked in awe.
“yeah!” he responded.
Just then, a baby started crying very loud it almost deafened us.
“what’s that cry?!” I said, covering my ears.
“aborted babies,” he said, standing up.
“seriously?” I asked.
“you haven’t seen anything. There are more babies aborted daily than people dying of accidents. I’m going to Zixc, are you coming?” he replied.
“what if we start moving?” I asked, standing up.
“you don’t know…” he said, smiling, “…two days on earth is like two minutes here?”
We both walked straight on a long distance with the kid’s hand in mine.
“how do you know where we are going to?” I asked as we kept walking.
“don’t worry, trust me.” he said, smiling.
After walking for a long distance, we met two giants with the biggest muscles I had ever seen, standing adjacent each other.
“these are the gate keepers,” the guy whispered.
“katu hijaz poraq intit zimalu,” one of the giants said.
I turned to the guy, he just smiled at me and replied the giant, “katu milob potas intit zimalu.”
The giant stretched forward his hands and said, “jikkizx.”
The guy looked at me and asked, “where’s the coin?”
“what coin?” I asked.
“in your pocket! Don’t you know that Every good you have done has a coin saved for you?” he informed me.
I looked surprised, then checked my pocket and noticed lots of coins. I took one out, it carried an inscription, ‘the fire incident’. I brought another one out, it had ‘the helping hand’ inscribed on it. I looked at the guy and asked, “what about yours?”
He smiled and said, “I have used it up. Do you know how long I have been here?”
So, I handed him one. He looked at me frowning, I didn’t understand what he meant, then he said, “two more. One each for me and the boy!”
I handed him three coins, but not the one of the fire incident. That I kept aside. The giant collected it from him and showed us a pathway behind them. There was a hole in the air with wind blowing strongly around it. We moved closer to it with the guy in front. He put his hands inside it and the wind took him away. I drew back in shock. The little boy held on to my legs tightly in fear. I carried him and said, “let’s go see your daddy.”
He nodded and we both stretched our hands into the hole and saw ourselves on earth, in a market place. People rushed towards us. I held the boy thinking they were going to push us down but they passed through us. I looked for our guide but he was nowhere to be found. So, I carried the boy to a street that was less busy. A dog saw us and started barking. The owner kicked it but it kept barking. I carried the boy who was scared of the dog and left the place.
“hey!” someone called.
I looked around but didn’t see anyone.
“up here!” came the voice again.
I looked up and saw a fat man on a tree. He looked different from the living so I knew he was a ghost.
“what are you doing walking aimlessly?” he asked.
“I am looking for this little boy’s father,” I replied, still carrying the frightened boy.
“I can show you. Do you have coins?” he asked.
I nodded and he floated down from the treetop gently. I was thrilled so I asked, “how did you do that?”
“it’s easy to do anything on earth.” he said.
“wow! How do I do that?” I asked.
“it will cost you!” he said, smiling.
“please, I need to see my mum and his father” I said anxiously.
“you can’t see your mum,” the fat man said.
“why?” I asked.
“because you’re not dead yet,” he said, walking away.
I followed him and asked, “how do you mean I’m not dead yet?”
“can’t you see that you and a few are different?” he answered.
I looked at myself, the boy and the man, they were almost invisible but I still had flesh-like body.
“Am I in a kind of coma?” I asked.
“until you are like us, you are not dead yet,” he said.
“okay, lets see this boy’s father,” I said.
“why do you want to see him? The dead has no business with the living. Even as we are right now, it’s risky. Bazimzz are around looking for the likes of us” he said.
We followed him to a half completed building with dirt everywhere. An old man lived there. He sat on a chair reading when we arrived. He looked up and said, “Buga! You came with a half dead?”
“he’s the curious type,” Buga said.
“this is Ishmael. He’s one of the few that can see us. Tell him whatsoever you want to tell your folks. He has been my link to life,” Buga informed me.
“please…Tell my mother not to cry for me. That I will come back to her soon.” I said.
“you will have to pay,” Ishmael said in a coaxed voice.
I laughed and said, “How can a I pay you? You know it’s impossible.”
“nothing is impossible. You are what you think,” the man said.
“okay. How much?” I asked to avoid argument.
“Five hundred coins,” he said.
I was shocked. “why coins I asked?”
Bugs laughed and said, “he needs it in his after life.”
“are you ready or not?” the old man asked impatiently.
“if I part with that much, how will I survive here since all spirits talk about is coins?” I asked in return.
“you are not dead yet. You may rise up anytime, so what do you need it for?” the old man asked.
“what if I die?!” I asked him.
I turned to Buga and said, “let’s talk about the boy.”
He smiled and opened his palm.
“how much?” I asked.
“just 10 coins. I’m not greedy.” he shrugged, smiling.
I counted ten coins and gave to him. He smiled and said, “let’s go!”.
To be continued…