This post kicks off a short story by one of my favourite writers. I can't wait to finish this book! :D
His arms were sweaty, even in the mid night breeze. His throat was dry and it was hurting. His outstretched hand felt like it carried more weight than he can handle even with both hands. The moon was out, full and shining high up in the cloudless night and even with that, he could not see properly.
His vision was blurred, not by the blood clot that formed behind his head as a result of a concussion he suffered when a blow was delivered to the back of his head some days ago, but from the reality of what he was trying to do.
There was a gust of cool wind and that was warmed up by the heat from the fire which was burning less than 20 feet away from him. The fire they had started and danced around throughout the better part of the night, a night that has led to this one moment of truth where he was to prove his worth and show that he is strong enough to be called a member and that he would not betray them.
Voices all around him emitted words which, naturally, he should have been able to make out but this was not the time, his mind was focused on just one thing which was the task ahead of him. The advice given to him by his sponsor came to his mind.
“Just close your mind and try not to think of it”.
That was the only advice he got and if that would help him get through this test was a mystery to him. He knew he could not fail this, at least not after going through the whole torture they put him through.
He had fainted and was revived, he had been beaten, locked in a coffin for three days and he could take all that but right now, this final test was proving to be the most dangerous and the most difficult of all the others.
“Remember the son of who you are”
His mother’s words flashed in his head as the memory of his promise, to be in the very best behavior in university, was being broken. In fact all his choices had been wrong according to how his mum and society would view it but he has had to do it to belong and associate in campus.
His hands wrapped around a gun facing a badly beaten and bleeding student, whose only crime had been his bad luck for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. This student whom he did not know is now the final test for whether he was fit to join the confraternity. He won’t survive this even if he decided to ‘chicken’ out and not pull the trigger. He had seen and heard too much to be left and he would be killed by the senior members.
He lifted his weary eyes off the victim and looked around the gathering in the bush where the initiation was taking place and could make out their faces watching him. He could not fail now as he would also be killed. A crazy idea flashed in his head to turn the gun around and face them but he was inexperienced in the use of a gun and even if he was, he was outnumbered and he doubted if he had enough bullets.
They all had the same anxious look. Expecting him to pull the trigger and become a member. His sponsor as usual in the initiations was absent and he wished he was here. Perhaps he would be able to say something or his face might read an expression that will help him right now. He looked back at the victim and back at the older members.
He opened his mouth and words came out. “I am sorry”.
In unison they approached him. The one they call Butcher raising his automatic rifle in the direction of the recruit was not about to waste time in doing what should be done. The boy looked back at the victim on the ground, bit his lips, closed his eyes and saw a bright light which suddenly went off. He opened his eyes and saw the victim on the ground looking back directly into his eyes as he tried to say something. The night once filled with noise of insects and nocturnal life suddenly went still, only interrupted by the smoke that bellowed from the gun’s mouthpiece.
Butcher dropped the angle of his gun, his face expressionless as the wind blew in his face. The smell of smoke from the wood which was burning mixed with that of gun powder and blood. The Don rose from his chair and let out a smile.
“Sunday, welcome to the brotherhood of the Skulls, from today you will be called STING”.
Sunday took his eyes from his first victim after watching him bleed to death as a result of the bullets he shot into his head and chest. Still holding the gun, he dropped his hand and turned his gaze towards the members and smiled.
“I live to serve the brotherhood and for the rest of my life, I will serve it”.
The wind was still blowing softly but this time, it carried death in it as someone has been committed to the great beyond. In the darkness beyond the clearing, the insects begun with their noises again oblivious to what just happened. Some members came to drag the victim’s body away and dispose of it so it is not discovered by the police.
The group broke out in a song to welcome Sting into his new circle of friends.
(Mynd is a final year student of Mechanical Engineering at one of Nigeria's universities. When he's not busy being a nerd he spends his time writing, playing basketball, listening to music and laughing! You can reach him on firstname.lastname@example.org)