The Expedition: Episode 3
The Face Of Death
‘What? You found what?’ exclaimed Favour in total disbelief.
He remained mute. He had carefully wrapped it in a neat red cloth. He started unpacking the book. ‘I packed it and put it in when you knocked the door, so that nobody finds out what I was upto.’
He unpacked it carefully. Favour was startled. The book was extremely large and looked ancient. It was almost made of tree bark, with a well organized binding coated around. The book had traces of gold, whose shape resembled a human hand. She could tell it even in candle light, the gold was best of its kind.
‘What’s written here?’ she asked pointing her finger towards book title.
‘Akwukwo Ndu(Book of life)’ Blaise said outrightly .
She further opened the book and was amazed to see some pages had golden scripts on it. It all just seemed impossible. It’s pages were literally made of thin finely sliced wood which gave it a real cruddy feel.
He then told her that according to his knowledge the book dated back to in 3rd to 4th BCE.‘Are you serious?’ asked Favour. ‘What does the book say? Is it really it?’‘I have no idea. The script is too old to understand or interpret easily.’ he said.‘Also take a look here.’ He slightly rubbed over the cream colored cruddy page. ‘This fine quality ; these are handmade. Also just look at the quality of this ink. The chemical combination is extremely good that it will easily sustain another century. ’She stared at him. Favour believed in such things and she was already convinced it was the Book of life. She then asked ‘When will you be able to translate it?’She thought for a while. ‘This will also be one of the world’s most treasured scripts ever! ’ she exclaimed. She gazed at him as he looked at her with his cold eyes.’Why are you so troubled?. It should be your greatest moment, shouldn’t it?’ She came back to her original question.He was in awe. All the forgotten memories came back to life and his excitement turned to grief and fear. ‘I didn’t do anything Favour. I don’t know how it all happened.’ He mumbled.She was still confused. She saw sudden stillness. He had no practical reason to be so depressed. ‘What happened? You tell me, why are you hiding here in this old apartment?’He looked at her. He was already sweaty. But he continued. ***************************** He couldn’t believe it. In that dense dark cave, his cheer echoed. He suddenly became energised. Like a small child, he started turning those cruddy pages. He was surprised yet excited. The content inside was not as understandable as the title, though. The language used was ancient and would need additional know-how. He tried to push it into his backpack. The book was too big to fit in with current items. He tried harder to force it in, but was all to no avail.‘bluhh bluhh bluhh’ now the tribal sounds were coming closer. They were closer now. Their voice resonated through the cave. Fear stuck his mind. Without any second thoughts he emptied the bag pack. He pushed the book half inside and waved the bag on his back. Getting hold of the torch, he started running back towards the entrance of the cave.The tribal people were still making those horrifying recursive sounds indicating their discomfort towards unknown presence . They were disturbing animals sounds too which made the noise more intense and disturbing. Being tensed, Blaise tried to run as fast as possible. He came to the entrance to see that it was raining heavily, he leaned out of the cave to see hundreds of fearless tribals were running towards him. They had weapons in their hand. Some held handmade fire torches and others were holding very large metal knifes and bones too. He looked back, but he knew he would be cornered inside anyways.He tried to run aside but they had surrounded him, approaching from every direction. Even from the distance he could sense their blood thirst. They were furious yet frightened for the intervention.The palpitating sound was ferocious enough for them to think that they were in danger. For them it might simply be a bad omen. Though Blaise couldn’t be held liable for it, he knew most definitely that he would be killed mercilessly.There was no scope of running. Behind him was the dark empty cave and running troop of wild humans everywhere else. He thought about running but they were already too close. One of them was ahead, he saw him pausing his run and clipping up the rock. Painting himself in black, even in the rain he only had limited tree bark on him. His eyes showed true rage. It seemed as if he was not a human but an animal. Looking at him anyone would already conclude he was not going to show any form of mercy.Others followed him, Blaise saw them coming towards him. There was no escape. He knew it, It was scarier than anything he had feared in his life yet. Just when he had his moment of joy, he was going to face it. In that cold windy weather, he knew his fate was sealed.‘This is death’ he thought and closed his eyes. **************************
Favour noticed his cold eyes. Chills went through him even while he spoke. She couldn’t believe him, but he looked serious. Not expressing her disbelief but a little disagreement, she asked ‘Blaise you are alive. Just calm down’ She held his hand to comfort him. His hand was still quivering.‘How did you escape?’ she asked.He looked at her with bemusement. ‘I don’t know!’ he exclaimed.He held her tightly and abruptly went unstable. ‘I don’t know what happened. I didn’t do anything’
Rain droplets were hitting him delicately. Closer to the dawn, with his eyes closed, he knew he was going to die. Blaise could hear their rush and blood lust. It was too loud. And getting louder. He could hear the birds, and other animals. He could hear his own heartbeat. It suddenly became louder. He freed his hand from burden of the torch.‘This is it’ he thought.But suddenly, the other noises went on depleting. It depleted till there was pin drop silence. Neither the tribal wildlings, neither the animals, or birds nor the breeze, he could hear nothing. The sound of cold winds disappeared as well and hence the rain. To contradict, there was warmth. He felt comfortable. It was relaxing and all he could sense was silent darkness.‘What happened? Is this death?’ he thought.He slowly opened his eyes. It was blurry. His forged eyes barely agreed to open. It was dim. The mild soothing lights were familiar, he had seen them somewhere. He sensed feeling of homeliness.He focused further to see a ceiling. Seeing the dim orange lights around, he soon realised that he was in his hotel room. He widened his eyes. ‘Was it just a dream?’It seemed very real. The fear was real. He cleaned his forehead sweat. He noticed a dense environment though, something was not right. He focused his eyes on the ceiling, and saw blood spots. His nose suddenly noticed a sickening, pungent and stinking smell. He got up unbearingly and coughed. Just when he was feeling relieved, dreadful pain stuck his mind again on what he saw. ‘AAAAAhhh’ He screamed. Every vein in his body was horrified.Chills went through him as he saw Ifeanyi, Max, and Elera lying down besides his bed. They had been brutally murdered. They were headless, lying in a pool of their own blood. Blood was spilled everywhere in the room and also on the wall. Their heads were thrown helplessly besides them. They were not only decapitated , but it seemed like someone pulled their heads of their spine. He went insensate for sometime. It was shocking. Blaise didn’t know what to do. Just when he was feeling relieved from the dreadful dream, he was unwarily facing another terror. He screamed again. With fear he slided back towards the wall on the bed, without landing down. The room itself smelled dead. Looking at the speechless room. He questioned himself. ‘What the hell just happened?’ He turned to his left and was shocked. His senses went dumb as he saw an old gold titled book with a warm shine. Besides the bed, it was placed carefully on the table. It seemed to have no problem with things going on in the room. With words carved on it in ancient Igbo Language .‘The Golden book’ it read– [ ] PatoBlaise