“TREAT HIM WELL!” came the voice.
Immediately, I felt a hand hit me across the face and someone kicked my feet. I staggered and regained my balance. Just then, a blow landed on my nose and another at the back of my head. Something strong hit me on the ribs followed by a strong punch on my tummy. The beating became intensive I fell on the ground with my hands still bound behind my back. I thought I was going to die when everyone bounced on me like a hungry lion. At a point, I didn’t feel much of the pain anymore. Instead, I started feeling drowsy as a result of the head blows and kicks.
The beating felt like forever until the voice shouted, “halt!”
They immediately stopped and I laid face down on the ground with some blood taste in my mouth.
“raf the smelly pon!” the voice commanded.
I felt two hands lifting me up under my armpit. I discovered my legs were too weak to stay steady and all over my body ached like hell. They dragged me as I struggled to keep up. We eventually got where the heat of a fire was. I suddenly began struggling, thinking I was going to be thrown into the fire. The guys held on to me tight and forced me to my knees.
“fly way the smelly!” the voice said.
My blindfold was removed immediately. I could see I was facing a fire. Then, they turned me towards a guy in black overall. I would see after a while of straining my eyes. The gentle looking guy at Jacky’s house was standing in a black overall and a red hood over his head and two guys wearing black beret and a yellow scarf around their neck stood beside him. I recognized him immediately because of his complexion and handsome face. He was smiling at me as I managed the hurt all over my body.
“Rise up! You are now a superman. You withstood the storm and remained on your feet. Rise, new birth!” He said cheerfully.
I tried to stand up but the pain in my rib held me back, so the two guys who brought me there helped me up.
“Hope you all took your pound of flesh for our rugged brother whom he splayed?“ he shouted to crowd around the fire.
They all responded, “Aweee!”
“his drilling was meant to last for 7 minutes but I made it 10 minutes so all of you could take enough pound. I always knew he is a material. He didn’t die!” The guy said to the crowd.
Then, he turned to a guy standing at the adjacent side of the fire, holding a calabash. The guy came immediately and held the calabash in front of the guy speaking. Then, the guy in the black overall beckoned me over. I limped to him and he asked me to bring my palm. I did. Then he used a razor blade to cut the middle of my palm. He then turned my hand over for the blood to pour into the calabash.
After that, he asked me to drink it and I did. It tasted like blood and gin. Then he said, “Repeat these words after me: I…mention your name…”
I repeated after him as he continued.
“I hereby swear…that I will live and die in this confraternity…I will not reveal any secret…if I do…let me die a horrible death.”
After the oath, he said, “You just drank the blood of 100 supermen standing here tonight. Today, your fight is our fight and our fight is yours. You will die a superman and be buried as such.
The crowd began singing some strange songs and danced around the fire, hitting a drum, drinking and shooting in the air. I was led to a side where I was given a black beret and a white scarf around my neck. The other smellies(newbies) were brought in and made to take the oath one after the other. We sat beside a fire and I was given a cup of gin. The night hit its climax as everyone jumped and danced with reckless abandon, singing and shooting in the air. I nursed my pain silently, wiping the blood that poured from different parts of my head and body.
When it was about dawn, we all stood together and said a kind of prayer before the grand commander dismissed us and asked I and the other newbies to stand aside. He came with the two guys that always stood beside him. Then he took his seat, which was a mortar turned upside down. The two guys stood their positions behind him. Then he began speaking emphasizing every word.
“You are welcome to the brotherhood of the supermen. We are very happy to have you all in our midst. 12 of you survived the night, one didn’t. Which confirms you are all materials.”
“You!” he called to me.
“You are going to be part of my cartel. You have what I need. And all of you, I have an assignment for you all.” he said.
Then he took a sheet of paper and handed it to the guys behind him. “You are to read and carry out the assignment within two weeks. Please, don’t let us come looking for you, if you know what I mean. You can now go home and take care of yourselves,” he said and stood up abruptly.
To be continued…