Published on February 21st, 2013 | by The Alchemist33
Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Alchemist’s corner. The theme for the month is still – Twisted Love.
Some say love is not true unless it is mad, overwhelming, consuming. All-consuming. Do you believe this?
Either way, we are taking this assertion and twisting it, extrapolating it to its limits. Perhaps we will even extrapolate beyond.
Today we continue with our (anti-)valentine trilogy. I have co-written this story with the very promising Joshua S. Lean (@_Nebular) who also writes HERE
Read. Enjoy (or not). See you on the other side.
A love, bright and incandescent like an ancient sun.
Shining through glass hearts with a golden eminence.
Free to claim, free to be, free… to consume.
She stared pensively at the man seated beside her; the thick scars on his face seemed to speak in the moments his mouth chose to keep words to itself: moments like these.
They’d been aggressively navigating the Abeokuta-Lagos expressway for almost forty minutes and neither of them had said a word to each other word since the chase began. Sarah, weary of conversing with scars, looked away, out of the window of the old Mercedes Benz that was their chariot and gazed longingly at the blur of hawkers displaying luscious, ripe bananas by kerosene-lamp-light along the road. The thought of asking him to stop so they could buy some crept softly but earnestly into the presence of her mind like a hungry pet but the reality of their situation stopped her from feeding it. The sirens that blared behind them were more than enough reminder that they could not stop now. So she turned to him again, still hungry, still silent, she let him focus on their escape.
She was desperately in love with him; she knew this with as much certainty as she knew her own name, felt her own heart beat. His soul belonged to her as hers belonged to him, and every minute they spent with each other she felt their love blossom within her and threaten to burst out in a glorious display weaving this way and that like great, grand garlands of gorgeous royal black roses. She would shout of their love to the entire world but she knew no one would believe her. How could they fathom that true love would be conceived in rape, birthed in murder, christened in defilement? How could they? What did they know about anything? He had brought her light, redemption, a sweet salvation no preacher could give.
In her mind, she found herself unconsciously laughing at all the people who still waited steadfastly for the return of a messiah. Her messiah had come already, and with glory he had enraptured her. It was just as her father always used to quote from 1 Thessalonians 5:2:
For you know full well that the Messiah will come just like a thief in the night.
And so he had. In fullness and in truth: a thief he was, at night he had come. And the first thing he did was shoot the man who had prophesied of his coming in the head. She clearly remembered that fateful night when their hearts first melded together.
She would never forget it.
It had all happened so quickly, from bang on the door to the piercing scream that followed and then the first gunshot that had ended her father’s life without giving him time to even cry out the name of the god in whose purported service he had extorted money from his congregation. They were ransacking the house when she had come downstairs to see what was happening. That was the first time she had seen him – her scar-faced messiah. He held a pistol in his left hand and her mother’s throat in his right.
He’d pointed his gun at her and commanded her silence. It was given.
He resumed asking her mother questions and when she finally told all she knew about the location of the money and he had relayed the information to his colleagues-in-arms, he shot her in the head. Twice. Each shot had sounded like the end of the world.
Sarah could till smell the gunshot residue on him when he had slapped her, pushed her over the dinner table and entered the barely-blossomed, fifteen year old virgin flower between her thighs with a conquerors confidence. Like Hannibal would have entered Rome. Claiming what was his by right of conquest. After a few angry thrusts – an initial tearing of the gates, he turned her over, threw her on the floor and rode her fearsomely; with his teeth biting into her tender breasts, his sex pushing deep into her, she’d felt herself become wet. Perhaps with blood, perhaps with her natural lubrication, most likely both. She’d found herself consumed with a twisted kind of pleasure she had never felt before. It was overwhelming. Exhilarating.
”Men do bad things when anger sits in their heads’ her mother had always said. But that night, with him on top of her, his heavy presence suffocating her, she did not feel violated, she felt completed. She absorbed his anger and cruelty with each painful thrust. She imbibed his strength and power when he ejaculated in her. She felt it all and it filled her body with a consuming, pure fire. In defilement, she had found liberation from the drab, mundane life imposed on her by her parents – a keeping-up-of-appearances for the congregations sake. In the cruel embrace of a thieving murderer, she felt more alive than she had ever been. He had stoked a latent fire.
When he had spilled his seed into her battered body, she whispered “I love you” in his ear. He had laughed loudly but confusedly, pulling away from her and reaching for his weapon. But then she’d clung to him desperately, drawn him close and kissed him with with fervid authority and blood for lipstick. Shock held him in place as he lost himself in her eyes. She saw into his soul and he into hers. They shared each other and in that moment and place where hope had come to die, something inexplicable was forged between them – something profound. After what seemed like an eternity, he planted a gentle kiss on her forehead and then she knew he knew and felt it too. She was his black-veiled bride. But she knew she needed to offer a sacrifice on the altar of his trust, to prove herself worthy of him.
“Please, let me prove how much I love you” she offered.
He’d remained silent, but nodded in assent, his hand pulling her up with him.
His colleagues in arms were demanding their turns with her but he’d silenced them with a word. She’d led him upstairs to the room beside hers where her baby brother, Chibuzor still slept, oblivious to the fact that he was now an orphan. Sarah took Chibuzor in her arms, cradling him softly and led her love back to the kitchen with her. A jerrycan of kerosene sat beneath a shelf in the adjoining storeroom.
Chibuzor only roused from his sleep when Sarah emptied its contents onto him. Her dark messiah had kept silent, watching carefully as she lifted her wailing infant brother into the air, holding him by his left foot. She struck a match and set fire to his sparse, curly hair. The hungry tongues of flame licked him enthusiastically and bit into his soft skin, climbing him and rising quickly to match to volume of his agonized screams. Sarah stared intently into the eyes of the man she loved, silently pleading with him to accept her burning sacrifice with tears in her eyes for at that point, there was no turning back. They’d stood there for what seemed like an eternity.
The screams had ceased, the fire had completely enveloped the dead child and was burning her own hand when two of his men had burst in. They’d shouted when they saw what was happening but she still did not let go. She would not let go of her sacrifice until he blessed her. Accepted her.
It was only when he turned around and shot his protesting comrades, that she’d finally let go of her brothers charred corpse, the skin of her hand black and red with burns.
They’d both made the necessary sacrifices to be with each other in that kitchen, words had been rendered unnecessary.
He had taken her that night, along with his bounty, to the incomplete building in Ajah that served as their hideout. He taught her what to do with a gun: how to hold it with confidence, use it to inspire fear, use it to kill those who stood in the way of their being together. He initiated her in the way of those who took what they wanted, the way of conquest. They practiced thoroughly, and every time she missed a step, he’d put out his cigarettes on her bare back. Such a sanctimonious union did not come without punishment for error. He corrected her because he loved her and she was thankful for it.
The night of her first kill, they’d celebrated with a bottle of Chardonnay, intense lovemaking and a gift. He gave her the gun he had used to kill her parents. She had thanked him with grateful tears in her eyes.
She’d come to terms with the fact that the uninitiated, they who had never felt themselves so forcefully liberated, would never comprehend their love. They would never see things the way she saw them. They called him a thief and a murderer, so they would call her a lunatic and a whore. But he was no scoundrel, he was her savior.
Their partnership had been joyful and successful on most days, they stole enough to live out a modern day African Bonnie and Clyde fantasy that was far more glorious than either Bonnie Parker or Clyde Barrow could have imagined but tonight things were going badly. Spectacularly so.
They’d been raiding the mansion of a retired politician in Magodo when an entire squad of MOPOL had arrived and begun to encircle the house, laying a deathtrap for them. They’d managed to find an escape route through a bush path close to their vehicle and barely got away in time to escape arrest but not to escape being seen and chased. The MOPOL trucks were still behind them. Now.
She was forced out of her memories by a sudden jerk and she watched his grip on the steering wheel tighten as over a dozen police cars suddenly materialized ahead of them like dizzy locusts. Time seemed to stop in its tracks. More sirens blared, gunshots rang out and people screamed. The Philistines were upon them. She watched helplessly as he tried to turn the car around but there was not enough space – he rammed into a vehicle parked by the side of the road in front of them just as a MOPOL truck swiped the back-end of their Benz. The vehicle fishtailed, hurtling towards the bush as more bullets flew towards them from what seemed to be every direction possible.
She was bleeding and everything was blurring into everything else. A bullet had passed through his arm but he didn’t seem to feel it. She watched him wrestle with the steering wheel and try to extricate them from the dire situation but it was impossible. With a loud screech, the car toppled over and rolled until it found itself in a compromising position with an ancient tree.
When the world stopped spinning, she tried to open her eyes. They were veiled by streaks of blood from what was either a cut in her head or on her jaw but she wasn’t sure what side of the world was up. The smell of fuel fumes and smoke saturated the air and blurred what was left of her vision. There was a spreading pool of petrol beneath them. She could barely see him but he seemed to be calm. He took her hand and squeezed it. Despite the pain from her broken finger, she felt comforted. He looked at her and his eyes welcomed hers, the knowledge of his love poured through and made love to her entire being. She erupted in a tender smile.
His hand reached for the glove box and she knew what he searched for. He looked at her again. Her smile grew like a bubble, becoming complete, exuding content and blissful anticipation.
She wanted to tell him that it was all right, that she understood what he had to do. She wanted to tell her lover that they had fulfilled their destinies. That the brightest flames never burned for long. She wanted to tell her messiah that he should forgive them for they didn’t know what they had done. That they had murdered true love which transcended understanding. She wanted to, but she could not. She choked on her words as warm blood bubbled through the bullet hole in her lungs and into her throat.
It didn’t matter anyway, he knew what she wanted to say, they were soul mates after all.
He had found her and claimed her in this world; he would find and claim her in the next. He just had to make sure they arrived together.
He struck the lighter.
Suddenly, the world became a bright orange womb of heat and flame and smoke and passion and death; sealing their dark union in this world of flesh, sacralizing it; before explosively birthing it into the next.