‘Come fast Blaise.’ called his partner.
Their clothes were dirty and their shoes dusty. Everyone was tired of seeing those enormous and rigid looking rocks and hence the expedition. Blaise being the leader of the team, felt worried as he bore the responsibility for the whole trip on his shoulders and hence its outcome, which were not upto the mark. They were all here for the sake of curiosity, expecting something from the old ruins of ancient Igbo culture. But after about 15 days of collective efforts, they were empty handed.
Blaise and his reforms were all well known and he was a renowned archaeologist of all times. He had won numerous awards. This expedition was meant to be best of his countless trips.
They had already called it a day. But considering his persistent nature, he was still inside giving a last glance at everything to see if they missed anything.
‘Yes Ifeanyi, coming.’ He said sadly, while coming out of the cave. ‘I guess we are going to go back unsuccessful this time.’ He said to his trio subordinates of Ifeanyi, Max and his brother Elera
Elera was the lazy one who was always looking for an easy way out, never wanting to do any real work.
They came back to their hotel (Downtown Hotel). ‘Hello sir’ greeted the manager of the hotel. Blaise waved at him and sighed his disappointment. Blaise being the leader had conversed with him on frequent occasions. After staying there for half a month now, they had got pretty casual with each other.
They came back to their respective rooms. Blaise put on the lights and indicated Ifeanyi to put on the heater.
Blaise felt really restless though. ‘I think we should give this expedition a last try Ifeanyi.’ Blaise said to his room mate.
‘Bro? It’s ok. We have been doing this last try thing for the past two days now. It’s too late.’ His voice echoed from the bathroom. After a long pause, he said pretending to convince.’ Also, we have been advised not to leave our rooms at night. As per reports of the things that go on at night in this village during late hours. Ifeanyi replied from the bathroom while getting fresh. After a long silence. He continued in his brusque voice. ‘We need to sleep early. You know our flight is scheduled for tomorrow morning.”
Blaise knew he was right and didn’t want to force him. But it was he who held the responsibility of the trip and hence was extremely eager. Then he made up his mind, searched for his torch in the obscure lit room, and packed it. ‘Are you coming with or should I go alone?’ He asked conformingly.
‘No bro. I am not am not going anywhere. You can just do as you wish.’ He said thinking it was a joke.
‘OK. I am going alone then.’ He started walking towards the door without turning around.
Ifeanyi was still inside ‘You are joking right? Come, let’s get ready for dinner. Max and Elera might be hungry as well.’
Max was a foodie, he loved to eat. He was practically hungry 20 out of the 24 hours in a single day, it was that bad. The worst was that he refused to grow fat or tall he was still the shortest of them all.
‘Ifeanyi’ shut the door’ Blaise said, as he left his room. And soon he left the city lights too, entering into the dark peaky mountains. His wristwatch showed 10PM, which was the curfew in Mbaukwu village as set by the leader of the village ‘Igwe Amosu 1 of Mbaukwu’ a very successful king, feared and respected by all in the village and whose success tales spread across the neighbouring villages and beyond. Most believed he possessed some sort of supernatural power which made him untouchable.
He took compass in his hand, seeking for directions from where they started on their first day. In the dark night, all he had as company was his backpack, camera and a torch.
Coming back to tunnel’s place from where they started their research. He searched everywhere, everything, every nook and cranny but was found nothing still . The chilling cold winds were by passing his wind-cheater. But he pulled down his sweater.
‘If I think in same wrong direction, How can I get a different result?’ he thought to himself, after doing the same thing over and over again.
He decided to walk in forest to at least find related traces. He being a traveller and adventurous, was aware of the dangers but his conscience instructed him to do so. He started walking towards the forest.
Entering the dark dense forest further, he walked for about 3 hours in search of any possible archaeological evidence. Following negative output yet again, he finally decided to quit.
Just when he was due to retreat, he heard a twinkling sound. It came from afar. He followed the sound. Seeing the silhouettes, It was definitely a human walking in the dark. Finding it quite odd, he chose to follow his shadow.
‘What might he be up to?’ Blaise pandered.
He got a closer look and found the tall strange figure to be a male tribal. The man looked stoned as he walked. He then stopped near a standing stone, Blaise observed, as he lit a small lamp near it.
As Blaise peeked from the trees, he sighted him bowing in moon’s direction and joining his hands as if to pray. The tribal man stood there for a while and then suddenly turned around and gazed at Blaise.
His heart skipped a beat; But then he gave a heavenly smile and turned back towards the jungle. For some reason, Blaise felt comforting. But he was still in utmost shocked.
‘Thank God!’ he said, with a sigh of relief before, he started walking.
As he walked, Blaise was stunned. Still wondering what just happened. ‘He knew all the time that I was here?’ He thought
Seeing his vanishing figure in jungle, Blaise decided to stay still and let it go.
Foot holding himself, Blaise then walked towards the lamp seeing for whom and what was he praying. Just when he looked at moon, his eyes became filled with excitement.
‘OH MY! How on earth did we miss such a thing?’ he exclaimed.
The view was breathtaking. Call that another wonderful creation of God. Amidst the huge mountain partially blocking the moon, he saw a godly face carved on it. It seemed like Amadioha himself, the ancient Igbo god, who they believed created the earth. He went speechless.
Blaise was well aware of the Igbo culture and hence various Igbo myths.
He couldn’t believe he was really seeing it. In that huge sculpture, resided a hidden temple. With his eyes, he admired the monument of legends, which showed the mysteries of the unknown.
Without anytime to spare, he started walking and eventually running towards it. The fear of it, being a dream and vanishing around, tortured his mind. He couldn’t stop himself.
His legs were moving on its own. It drove him so crazy that he forgot about everything and all that he wanted was to go towards it.
This was when he felt something running behind him towards the deeper jungle. His reflexes became sharp. He also became alert. Carefully, he looked behind but found no one.
He sensed a very unusual pressure in atmosphere. It was definitely someone or something. Just when as he was trying to analyze the situation, he heard an ear-splitting sound from the other side.
‘Throooooooooooff!!’ The sound was as loud as a meteor crashing from sky.
As the thing stuck on ground, the vibrations made him stumble, knocking him down on the floor.
With a lot of fear and anxiety running through his veins, and struggling with darkness, adding to the irregular rocky and dry ground, he jumped around and ran as quickly as possible towards the mysterious sculpture and hence the source of the sound. He felt a sharp rise in his body temperature as he approached the source.
Finally got there only to find a huge dent in a mountain. The dent was still very fresh but deep. By applying normal human scientific logic, it was actually not possible. He searched for crashing stones or other elements nearby but couldn’t find any.
After wandering for a while, he decided to go up to the temple , with expectation to find something there. He gazed at the enormous yet amazing sculpture again. He started walking upwards, towards the temple. The sculpture seemed so old that even the mountains had taken the sculpture in its arm.
The reason of the sound was still unknown, but it had made its impact throughout the forest. Blaise wasn’t the only one to hear it . Tribals obviously heard it too. They made recursive howling noise from multiple directions.
Blaise was probably the first modern human to reach there. He suddenly heard a lot of footsteps approaching (cave).
He became more frightened when he heard animal howls and roars, birds in the forest showed their discomfort by making peculiar sounds. Without further thoughts, deciding to follow his instinct, he jumped inside the temple.
Unlike the opening, It was quite huge inside. His torch showed him nothing else but just a straight dark walkable path which seemed unending. He preferred to run though. Contradicting to noisy howling outside, it was actually quite chilling calm inside. He was already panting. The still dead air inside was making breathing a little hard for him. But then, He noticed a sharp reflection through his torch. Confused but with high hopes he ran faster.
Blaise finally reached there and was shocked to see that the light was nothing but his own torch reflecting its light from a gold plated book half buried in the wall. It was loose, as if just put in there.
The walls beside depicted mythological carvings. But, without wasting any time, he kept his torch in convenient angle, and he started pulling it.
After few minutes of struggling, with his muddy hands, he finally pulled it out. The book was quite enormous, nothing he has seen before. It weighed a couple of kgs. He tried to clean the book covered in soil. He Cleaned it enough to see its title in ancient writing.
‘Akwukwo Ndu’ (Book of Life) he read.
He was utter less. He had no other thoughts. In that dark moment, He opened the huge book. Its pages were made up of pure thick tree bark. They seemed to be perfectly engineered so as to survive for ages. The quality of ink and handwritten words itself seemed like a miracle.
He was joyed he won’t be going home empty handed. He was glad. ‘Sometimes in life all it actually requires is just a little more dedicated and honest effort’ he thought. Also in life there are a lot of times when we strive for something and quit. But then after we try a little harder and get extra ordinary results.
‘Finally i have found it.’ He cheered loudly. ‘I have The Golden Book’
– [ ] Pato