Fourth Day (Corrections)

Hi everyone. I had a particular post I planned to write for today, until something happened yesterday. I hung out with Remy yesterday, and he pointed out to me that what I had given y’all to read as Chapter One of Fourth Day was actually section one of Chapter One.

*dodges all the stones and rotten tomatoes*

However though, I realized that the entire chapter is quite long; long enough to be very tedious to read here. So instead of giving one chapter a month, I’ve decided that I’ll break the chapter into sections and put it up on the fourth day of every week, which Thursday for all purposes. So today, we’re going to rehash Section one which y’all have already read, and then sections two and three. The next sections will be up next week…and so on, till next month when Chapter Two comes out.

Make una no vex o.

Let’s not forget that voting is still going on for the 2011 Naija Blog Awards, and you can vote for your favorite blogs by clicking HERE.

So then, on with the First Chapter of Fourth Day.

Fourth Day (Chapter One)

I

It was a rush of light followed by a solid darkness. He was told to always remember his name. His true name. As out of body experiences go, this was as much as his mind could grasp without fragmenting into detached splinters of memories. He heard roars of things hungry for things not flesh, blood and bone. The roars spoke with a sentience older than time. It was the kind that had always been. If he could shiver, he would have, but all he was left with was a sense of something like complete, infant-like helplessness. He was experiencing death. Lightning flashed around him with such fury that he suspected each bolt might have been a once-living being cut down in his/her prime. With this intuition he understood what it meant not to fear the first death. It did not compare with the promise of finality that echoed in the darkness, an emptiness that seemed eager to absorb him into its history known only to the first dead souls. Nothing was truly random.

He thought of looking up, but he let it go, because he had no sense of direction or balance. He just ‘drifted’ along. The lightning became even more fierce, tearing at the darkness and he fully realized it wasn’t a storm of clouds and rain. It was a storm of life looking to catch him and bring him back. The lightning became more purposeful and fiercer. It sought him out with a distinct desperation, seeking him out as one would seek an important thing. He felt a shiver and his logical mind told him he was quickly re-acquiring his body. He had no idea of what to do next to speed him out of the nothingness that was quickly separating him from the living. He heard his old name being called out by something close to him. He remembered stories of spirits claiming a man when he responded to his name. He didn’t want to answer. He knew it would be death, sure and unyielding. He recalled what the elders told him.

“Remember your name. Even a fool can do that without proving how different he is from the others who barely returned.”

He started to call his name out, and then he heard others calling his name as well, in a kind of chant. Soon he found himself being held down by 7 of his peers. His body felt alien, estranged to him. As he looked about him, he found he saw past the ‘solid’ and could actually see the ‘true nature’ of things. He wept from the shock. He had only taken the first step towards a journey to the true nature of reality. Reality as it truly was when the first lights were called into being.

He looked at the men who stood around him. His eyes hurt, his lungs were numb but working, his limbs seemed to relate to more than one shade of reality. This feeling spread throughout his body. It seemed he was very tired and at the same time he was not. An elder signaled to the others.

“This one’s transition seems to still be going on. It seems he connected with something between the gates. Whatever it was, it took a liking to him.”

There was a silence in the room and the boy suddenly realized another had joined them. They gave him wide-berth as he walked towards the boy. His face was young, but his gait, his hair and his eyes spoke of an age beyond that of anyone else in the room.

“I see. I never liked coming to these transition ceremonies. But I could not stay back. I recognize what happened to him. It called out to me.”

He walked to the boy and asked, “What is your name? The name they gave you to bring yourself through the gates and back?”

The boy looked at the elders and they nodded assuredly to him to answer the question.

“Nedeseh”

The stranger smiled and said, “There is no coincidence after all. That was my name. It is given to the least likely to succeed in line with ‘established’ traditions. It happens very infrequently. Very infrequently. The last time it was used was over 50 generations ago…”

An elder spoke up, “You speak too much. The boy cannot take more information. He will be confused.”

The truth was the boy was disoriented. The fact was the boy did bring something with him and it spoke to the stranger the way a Lion would greet another.

“That boy was me. When the time is right, you will drop Nedeseh and pick up mine. A heritage older than anything you can imagine outside of everything you know awaits you.”, the boy heard in his spirit.

He looked at the stranger, who looked back at him and said, “We will meet again. Soon.”

 

II

It is a strange to me that people find some things strange, like the fact that paranormal things occur in most societies, but under different names like vampires, werewolves…but that is for another time.

The stranger spent his time observing the boy’s progress as an acolyte of the Half-Moon Chamber. Depending on certain pre-dispositions he has, he might be of the Light or of the Shadow.

To be of the Light or of the Shadow had nothing to do with good or evil, clean or unclean, right or wrong. The man who founded them made them understand that there are only degrees of light, complete darkness does not exist. But all things function according to the least level of light they can use. Members of the ‘Shadow-Circle’, and indeed of the ‘Light-Circle’, do a lot more than just see with the levels of light. So much more.

The lessons Nedeseh started with were akin to learning a ‘new maturity’. In the old days, acolytes were chosen just before their adolescent years. Their testosterone levels were about to climb…they would need all they could get. So as they got used to older, bigger bodies, they would also adapt to their post-transition phase.

Wankiko was the Nda, or father, that guided their awareness. He brought them into an open field at night and had them stand in silence for about an hour. It felt like an eternity. Then there was a loud explosion. They all started to run and suddenly they were in different location. Nedeseh found himself in a desert. The air tasted differently and he was puzzled by the sudden cold. He then saw a girl with the same expression walking ahead of him. He tried running up to her and suddenly found himself standing next to her. Then she was behind him. He was about to turn to where she stood and he was behind her.

This game of tag continued until the dawn was near.

He saw her shade of skin. She was Bedouin, but he didn’t know that. She just seemed to be a darker shade of albino to him. She spoke to him in a tongue he couldn’t grasp at first, then after her fifth sentence he ‘heard’ her voice; her true voice. The voice she hears when she speaks to herself.

“Don’t tell me you are deaf?” she said to herself, frustrated obviously with his silence.

“No. I’m not deaf.” he replied and she stood still in half-fear, half-amazement.

Then the stranger appeared next to them. He looked at the girl and said something in her language. It calmed her down. He turned to Nedeseh and laughed.

“Your teachers haven’t travelled this far before. That’s why they couldn’t find you. Do you even know where you are?”

Nedeseh said, “The Sahara desert, where the slave caravans travel.”

The stranger looked at him evenly then asked, “How did you know this?”

Nedeseh wasn’t sure and the look on his face confirmed this. The stranger said something to the girl and she suddenly vanished.

“Come. Let’s get you back to your people.”

Nedeseh turned to see the girl and she literally disappeared into the wind like a dream bordering on a nightmare. The stranger laughed at him.

“You think that’s disturbing? Wait till you realize what ‘you’ did.”

The stranger took hold of his hand and they burst into the darkness to appear in the midst of the other acolytes gathered by the elders. The look on the faces of the elders suggested they had lost a battle they never wanted to fight in the first place.

“He wasn’t found by any of you because he stepped out farther than any of you has had the courage to try reaching. And on his first try.”

Nedeseh was stunned by the words of the stranger. The elders didn’t share the amusement of the stranger. They quickly gathered Nedeseh amongst his peers. The stranger nodded at everyone present and suddenly wasn’t there anymore.

Nedeseh was now curious about the stranger. Very curious. It must have been all over his face because Nda Waniko placed a hand on his shoulder then gave him a look that promised to exchange his patience for the truth.

III

Nedeseh grew in the art, gave all he could to it, but it took even more from him than he thought he had. He could travel through the space between shadows and lights with ease. All of them could. They even had an advanced game of tag and all you had to do was touch someone from behind. Nedeseh loved playing that game so much. He never really ‘experienced’ his first run and he hoped he could recapture the ‘feeling’. All the acolytes did.

Like the time Nedeseh discovered a new angle running. He came in late into the game but he was told the most impulsive of them was ‘catching’ everyone else. He had decided not to run away, but to run on one spot. To be more accurate, he ran so as not appear to be running.

The first few tries the earth seemed to race up from beneath him and met him very hard on his ass. When he adjusted his timing a bit, he ended up in the earth neck-deep. It was almost like being buried alive. He ran out and found himself hugging the earth with gratitude. Had he ended up in a rock-formation, he would have been killed for the second and last time. He adjusted his timing and this time ended up chest-deep in the red earth. He looked at the game so far and noticed the others were too engrossed to realize what he was doing. He pushed even harder and ended up waist deep. It was better than the first try, but he hated the grains of sand accumulating in his clothes. Then knee-deep, then ankle-deep…then he kept his ‘relative’ standing position. He pushed himself to do it faster and faster that when he was ‘ambushed’, he ran behind and tagged the boy. The boy turned around to see him, and then screamed in fear as he ‘ran’ 25 paces away from Nedeseh. Nedeseh was almost confused until he saw he had outrun his illusion of himself. It stood where he had been practicing running on one spot. It was breathing and then when he recognized the moment he decided to run off. Then the illusion looked at him with a face a little older than he was. It winked at him, and then faded away. The boy overcame his fear and walked over to where the illusion had been performed. Both of them had lost breath from the experience.

“That was the best surprise I have ever seen since they made us do the first run that night.”

Nedeseh smiled and said he thought so too.

“But you are still the best ‘catcher’ amongst us.” Nedeseh offered.

The boy studied the patterns on the floor, “I’m guessing you tried it about…23 times? Or you were not counting?”

“My name is Nedeseh.”

“My name is Pandieh.”

“Want to try what I did?”

“No. I don’t think I have what you have, Nedeseh.”

“What do you mean?”

“That trick was not your trick. It had a life of its own. It belonged to itself.”

“I don’t understand…”

“It looked at you when you stood behind me.”

Nedeseh was confused because he could tell Pandieh was not lying, but he didn’t know how to explain it away either…and it did wink at him.

He got so very curious on grounds that would prove to border dangerously on disciplinary action, had he been caught…every time. Nda Waniko grew wary of Nedeseh’s influence and called all the tiers of the acolytes together to explain their reason for being and their need for discipline. He pointed out the danger of going where you’re not prepared for. He spoke about the Long-Shadows and Nedeseh’s tier were wondering what he was talking about.

“When the time comes, you will see them. You will see them. The sight of them has driven bolder men than you mad with fear…and they do more than just frighten mortal life. They guard you.”

Eventually they all grew out of the search…almost all of them anyway.

Nedeseh’s best friend was a boy called Pandieh and those 2 were trouble. Nda Waniko knew this as well as all the other elders, but he resisted any suggestions to separate them. He insisted that the bond would help in the long run.

“None of you has lived long enough to see a circle being completed. There’s only one of you here that knows how important it is for these boys to stay close. Even the griots know what I speak of. So kindly do not assume my reasons for insisting. Should you live long enough to understand the wisdom in my words, remember this day.”

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About The Capoeira Panda

Panda makes his home in the world of words and metaphors. In the hopes to be more than just a confused blogger, he currently works as the editor for an ecommerce company that was good enough to hire him, and lives with his flat mates & two imaginary dogs who get along just fine. He enjoys reading good books, writing, relaxing with his friends, & poking fun at his mother over the phone. When he's not doing any of these, he sometimes sits back and wonders why anyone expects to learn anything useful about him by reading this bio. View all posts by The Capoeira Panda

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