Hymn of Vengeance XII

She was dripping with readiness and heaving with surprise. Anger flickered across her features so quickly; the hurt that now sat on her face made the flash of anger seem like my imagination was playing video games. While I tried to fight myself from rushing over to her apologizing with kisses and talking fingers, thoughts of what to and not to do with her lingerie clad body for the rest of the night danced through my mind. She moaned terribly saying,

“Again am rejected on the eve of climax,
Sins against me burn with male sparks.
Though it is release I expect,
Here I kneel; an abandoned project”.

I imploded with sadness,

“I too am abandoned, my wife is gone,
But I am yet no heart of stone.
Disrespecting us would be fun,
But look how close we’ve grown.”

She stared at me for a long moment, like a buyer appraising a product. I dodged her eyes by bowing my head. I still had my body to contend with. While we both sat there on the bed frozen in seeming uncertainty, the next thing happened. There was a knock on the door and to my mild surprise, she got off the bed and opened the door as near-naked as she was.

The lady who was my previous roommate stood at the threshold. I was flabbergasted.
She shot me a hateful look and said to my room-mate,

“The Founder wants to meet,
Noah’s test is thus complete.
Get up with every wit
It is time to fill the pit.”

After we were dressed, we followed her. My roommate went ahead and walked beside her. I surmised that she knew both the way and the lady. Although I could sense a level of malice between the two, I didn’t know whether to be annoyed or just disappointed at my treacherous roommate.
My latest roommate was the shorter of the two women and as they walked side by side, I compared their rears. They were works of art, whispering curves and steam. The way they moved, it was not mere walking. I was too tired to be more shocked.

Outside a certain door, our leading lady knocked twice before turning the door knob and pushing into the room beyond.

Facing the door was a desk with a mobile phone and no tell-tale sheaves of paper. Behind the desk, a chair faced away from the desk and the door towards a large glass wall/window. The Qastivity night spread outside the glass window/wall.
When the door was shut, the chair swiveled around so I saw who sat in it.
I was stunned frigid. The man sitting in the chair behind the desk bore an unsettling resemblance to me. The only difference was our shirts; mine was dark green, his was blue.

It felt like he was me. This must be how having a twin felt.

I looked at both the women but they did not share my surprise. If anything the taller lady seemed a little amused at my reaction.
He gave a hand signal and our leading lady left. I was still trying to understand when he said,

“Like a dog barks at its own reflection,
You express my preferred reaction.
Yet you only wake into a nightmare,
My voice is unforgotten and clear.”

My jaw slackened at the sound of his voice. I was in a nightmare. How could this be? I thought in my very confused mind. I recognized his voice. There was no doubt in my mind.

It was Hymn, the Leopard of Bushy road.
He continued,

“Sonia before Joy, I see you’ve met.
They aid a trap for you I set.
It trips on the antonyms of your verbs in the taxi
Recall the word of advice from a friendly Jesse.”

My eyes widened with realization. Jesse’s last words before he drove away echoed came bouncing off the walls of my memory,

‘If you lean towards Perfectionist
You’ll live after the terrorist…’

I stared at Hymn in dismay. It felt worse, more confusing that he had my face. He was grinning at my silence. His eyes shifted to my last roommate, Joy.

“Tell me how it went and how fast
Quench my thirst for his fall at last.
Did he come with you, at one with Joy?
Did he lose control like a toy boy?

I turned to her exuding as much contempt as I could. I gave her a ‘you-vile-creature’ look but she ignored me and replied,

“Among men there are gods seeming no different,
Their worth’s from God of whom they are reverent.
In their number this man’s name is present.
By interruption or by virtue, our completion was absent.”

Hymn’s grin evolved instantly into a wide mouthed smile. He seemed delighted. He –still smiling- took out a gun –the revolver- from somewhere and dropped it on the desk’s top while walking around the desk.

“A man found worthy; and heir to mercy.
It is beyond human to judge you really.
It is therefore with painful pleasure,
I present my partner of perfidious nature.”

The door opened behind me and footsteps danced through them. I turned to see whose they were and I was washed with a new understanding of the word ‘Paradox’. Joy, relief, alarm, suspicion flooded my eyes with eyes with tears.

There and then I had another doubt about my doubt; for standing there unbound and unharmed was Dew, my wife.
Alarm graced her face for a moment as her eyes flicked between Hymn and I. I remembered Hymn still looked like me. Resolve settled on her face and she spun on Sonia and attacked her.

Hymn of Vengeance XI

I was tired. I took off my shirt and pants – sleep ready. I laid in the bed and turned facing the door and away from the bathroom in an effort to fall asleep without thinking about the lady in there. What was she doing here? Who or what had caused the pain she showed? Would she tell me? Did I really care to know?
I snickered privately at that last thought. Lying in that bed, I was already feeling better; like a phone on low battery might feel when it is connected to its charger. I had almost already fallen asleep when she came out of the bathroom, towel-clad. I know because she went and checked the door, locked it. Then she came, lay on the bed and covered herself. For some reason I covered the same blanket.

She whispered throatily,

“Why do I suffer so? Why do my tears flow?
With an arm drawn close, with the other dealt a blow
When men say they love, is it all a live show?
Your thoughts on this, I really want to know.

For I give my soul, to the I adore
The fun I wrought was the stuff of lore
Yet beyond flesh he mauled and left me the whore.
My pride though torn from me he tore more.

I felt so bad for her. I turned to face her. Her tears shed anew had already begun to soak the pillow. I couldn’t bear it. I reached across and over her and switched off the light throwing the room into semi-darkness. The only light was coming from the corridor outside the door. I could smell the hotel shampoo she had washed her hair with, which mixed with her natural scent probably because she didn’t use much shampoo.
She was cold. Instinctively I held her and she did not push me away. For a moment, I let my warmth envelope her and felt the shudder of her tears. I whispered in – what I believed – comfort,

“Men are mostly blind as mute bats and imperfect.
They hardly know what is wise to protect.
It is his loss that he is without;
You, are worthy beyond a good doubt.

Her breath cascaded down my chest in steamy regular intervals. Her right held us in a gentle embrace.

“What then is needed? Who then is safe?
I want to love and be loved in return
Because lonely is sad and ‘couple’ is not safe.
I ask, to whom and where do I turn?

Am I a frog; hopping ugliness
Or like a tree, solitary commonness?
What is my fault and how can I help it?
If only I may find a ring and a pulpit.”

‘A ring and a pulpit’, my thoughts echoed silently. While she wished more of that, I wished less of it. If I had never married Dew, I would be faultless in making sweet, comforting love to this angel. I bulged greedily as she said the words, ‘I want to love and be loved in return,’ but I replied as clear-headedly as I could,

“Only GOD is needed, only he can save.
His love though immortal we ignore him and die.
I see your beauty and sense you’re brave.
The more you seek him, the lesser you’ll sigh.

You are a wonder, a graceful dragon,
Let men covet as they gaze on.
Yet you don’t know your worth
But that is not your fault.

She trembled all over as I said that. My body reacted lustfully. She was warmer now and very soft – I noticed. I extended rigidly and prodded at her thighs lightly. I jerked my waist and butt back awkwardly to avoid her noticing my erection. She gasped and I knew she knew.

To my surprise – somewhat pleasant surprise – she stayed put for a few moments later. Then she released me from her embrace and looked into my eyes,

“Like good wine proud in its age
Your words taste like truth and comfort.
Why are you then a single sage?
To whom is made salacious report?

I must have blushed, but it was dark and no one will ever know. I felt a tad embarrassed but my erection painfully reminded me its urgent intentions.
I said,

“I have explained my cause and matter,
I have, more times than I wish to number.
Forgive my disrespectful rod
It is unruly, its desires are absurd.”

She cringed. I immediately regretted my hurried reply. What would I do?

Oh well, I thought, it was fun while it lasted. She had her head on my left arm even though we were not in that cozy embrace any longer. I half-rolled away from her into the best position I could without asking her to free my arm.

She began to sob again. That ‘my-life-is-a-rainy-day’ sobbing I couldn’t bear. I drew closer to her again and she shifted into me as well, embracing me and sobbing into my chest. My erection was still there.

Her lips found my right nipple and wet with hot tears my nipple prophesied against my last restraint. She sucked on it and my hand infiltrated her panty and squeezed.
There was no space between us. I was on fire, pulsing with need. She clasped her thighs around me and I rolled unto my back with her on top of me.

My ‘evil side’ said’

“This is the answer, to unite with desire
Like a Pride that is lazy with power
Your instincts are to kill the hunger,
Throw caution to its death and plunder.”

“What of your lost bride?
How this will dash her pride.
Will you not hear her side?
Think before you eat outside.”

I thought these things as she sucked my nipples, one after the other after the other. My erection throbbed hot under her belly. I was losing my grip, while my thoughts still battled,

“Is everything not a game and I been cheated?
Where is Dew and in whose company is she seated?
But here is pain that asks my pleasure;
Should we not fly as birds fleeing closure?

I woke up like a man’s head breaks the surface of calm water in his quest for air. She had kissed her way down my flat belly with her hands on the sides of my hips.

I grabbed her shoulder and pushed her backwards. I curled my legs away from her and said,

“I will not eat of this regret
Nor betray myself for lust I just met.
GOD will forgive my present blunder
As long as I commit no further.

She was dripping with readiness and heaving with surprise. Anger flickered across her features so quickly; the hurt that now sat on her face made the anger seem like my imagination was playing video games. While I tried to fight myself from rushing over to her and apologizing with kisses and probing fingers, thoughts of what to and not to do with her lingerie clad body for the rest of the night. She moaned terribly saying,

“Again am rejected on the eve of climax,
Sins against me burn with male sparks.
Though it is release I expect,
Here I kneel; an abandoned project”.

I imploded with sadness,

“I too am abandoned, my wife is gone,
But I am yet no heart of stone.
Disrespecting us would be fun,
But look how close we’ve grown.”

She stared at me for a long moment, like a buyer appraising a product. I dodged her eyes by bowing my head. I still had my body to contend with. We both sat there on the bed frozen in seeming uncertainty, the next thing happened. There was a knock on the door and to my mild surprise, she got off the bed and opened the door as near-naked as she was.

The lady who was my previous roommate stood at the threshold. I was flabbergasted.
She shot me a hateful look and said to my room-mate,

“The Founder wants to meet,
Noah’s test is thus complete.
Get up with every wit
It is time to fill the pit.”

Hymn of Vengeance X

My body went rigid. Thoughts and ideas flashed in and out of my mind’s focus before my mind became empty except of pure hot lust.

NO, my heart screamed.
YES, my body whispered even louder.

I didn’t notice until that moment that my shirt’s buttons had been undone. One of her fiery hands was quickly cooling its way into my pants. In a few seconds I would be past the point of no return. Her body had my mind, her hands had my body; but my faith was not from any of these. Just as her hands breached my waistband and singed my pubic hair, I caught both her and freed myself from her embrace getting up from the bed.

I didn’t turn around but kept my back to her. I didn’t trust myself to look at her without lusty result. Behind me, she said,

“You want the same comfort I want
But my pain compared is less blunt
Why is it that you still front?
Even now that you find the love you hunt?

I began to button my shirt and said,

“It isn’t just pain behind my door
Nor do I front when I withdraw
You possess unquestionable allure
But why replicate wrong the more?

With that I straightened and left the room regretfully. My ‘evil side’ chided me once again as I walked briskly to the reception while trying to relax my erection,

“Pure pleasure prevented poorly,
Secret savor silenced sorely,
Regret returns resisted rarely,
Composure comes calming queerly.

When I reached the receptionist, she was surprised to see me – judging from her expression. I was too subdued by my recent resistance to lash out at her for sending me to a prostitute’s room without my own consent or knowledge. Above her head, a clock said 02:40am.

I quietly spoke,

“Should I choose to await my host?
I will be transparent as a ghost;
Without warmth coveted by most,
I require a newer bed and post.”

She nodded grimly and replied after checking her computer,

“Your host will come within the morning,
Warmth must be shocked at your spurning.
Room 49 awaits your lodging
I hope you refrain from dodging.”

Again as I walked away, I frowned at the receptionist’s manners.

The valet who had shown me my previous room lay dozing on one of the couches in the waiting area. He was the only one there. He was awake as soon as I touched on the shoulder. A light sleeper, I thought. I felt oddly guilty as I said,

“Forgive my intrusion on your window of rest.
Even as I speak I feel myself a pest.
Perhaps we will meet again at dreamland’s gates
For in room 49 a new bed awaits.”

With exhaustion etched in his features, he silently led me to the room. He was not too tired however to squint demanding from me I sighed and explained to him,

“I truly have neither note nor the like presently
And I explain only that you don’t resent me.
But if you nurse your disappointment correctly,
The Founder will hear of you reverently.”

He managed to smile a little tired smile and walk away. I entered the room and closed the door behind me. It was illuminated briefly by my entrance and returned so as I closed the door, so I groped, found and flicked the light switch. I flicked it.

The room appeared empty. I sighed in relief and let myself fall on the bed. It was pleasant, to be lying down, resting, quietly. I let my eyes slid close and soaked in the moment. Peace.

No Dew, but peace.

Then I heard it.

Someone was sobbing close by. My eyes still closed, I listened intently. It was really close; like in the same room!
My eyes shot open and I sat up. The room still looked as empty as before. My ears pointed to the bathroom and I stood up, approaching it. As I came closer – slowly – the sobbing seemed to get louder. Finally I turned the doorknob and…

I found her.

She looked younger than the woman in the first room and more erotic. She sat in the shower with her clothes clinging wet to her frame. Her face was matted to the wall as sobbed softly with her eyes closed. She must not have been aiming for ‘erotic’.

She either did not notice my entrance or did not care. I stood transfixed for a moment before my surprise wore off and was replaced with pity.
Her short hair was drenched as were her clothes so I couldn’t tell if she was shivering from pain in her heart or just cold. I turned off the shower.
She still did not open her eyes. She sniffed loudly and continued to shiver. I stooped silently and touched her neck. It was cold. My heart went out to her. I sat down beside her.

I said,

“Speechless before my sorrow’s twin
    I sit beneath the question of a painful sin.
       Like flying fish, your gasping is a wonder.
       Drink peace, oh beauty and no longer ponder.

She opened them then. Big, brown, African eyes: if seduction was her intentions or business, men would buy and sell tickets to temptation.
She sniffed again and blinked, rapidly adjusting her reddened eyes to the light within the bathroom. She examined me and then herself, saying,

“I am hurt and now cold
And no warmer in these damp folds.
I know this request is too bold,
Allowed, I pray a few barred holds.

I did not understand her request. Was I too tired to understand or was she hurt to speak clearly? I got up and left the bathroom so she could take off her clothes. She still just sat there looking forlorn and pained. I went to the bed and sat down. After a while, she got up slowly and closed the bathroom door.

I was tired. I took of my shirt and pants – sleep ready. I laid in the bed and turned facing the door and away from the bathroom in an effort to fall asleep without thinking about the lady in there. What was she doing here? Who or what had caused the pain she showed? Would she tell me? Did I really care to know?

I snickered privately at that last thought. Lying in that bed, I was already feeling better; like a phone on low battery might feel when it is connected to its charger. I had almost already fallen asleep when she came out of the bathroom, towel-clad. I know because she went and checked the door, locked it. Then she came, lay on the bed and covered herself. For some reason I covered the same blanket.

She whispered throatily,

“Why do I suffer so? Why do my tears flow?
With an arm drawn close, with the other dealt a blow
When men say they love, is it all a live show?
Your thoughts on this, I really want to know.

For I give my soul, to the I adore
The fun I wrought was the stuff of lore
Yet beyond flesh he mauled and left me the whore.
My pride though torn from me he tore more.

I felt so bad for her. I turned to face her. Her tears shed anew had already begun to soak the pillow. I couldn’t bear it. I reached across and over her and switched off the light throwing the room into semi-darkness. The only light was coming from the corridor outside the door. I could smell the hotel shampoo she had washed her hair with, which mixed with her natural scent probably because she didn’t use much shampoo.
She was cold. Instinctively I held her and she did not push me away. For a moment, I let my warmth envelope her and felt the shudder of her tears. I whispered in – what I believed – comfort,

“Men are mostly blind as mute bats and imperfect.
They hardly know what is wise to protect.
It is his loss that he is without;
You, are worthy beyond a good doubt.

Her breath cascaded down my chest in steamy regular intervals as we cooked in a gentle embrace.

Hymn of Vengeance IX

When I got to the receptionist’s, dry confusion was still sketched on my expression. I gave her the note Jesse wrote and half-collapsed on her shiny porcelain desk/platform. She seemed to read the note and something just shifted in her eyes. I was too tired. I just waited for her to say where I should go.
She said,
“Go to room 4, whose door is unlocked
And if it is empty then don’t be shocked
As guests of the Founder hate to be mocked
Wait or leave, your path is unblocked.”

I frowned and walked away. The hotel had these men who directed you to your room. I followed one of them to room 4 and thanked him. I slithered quickly into the room to escape his tip-asking eyes.
The room was dark so I groped the wall for the switch on the wall. I soon found it and flicked it.

She wore a dark green mini skirt that covered just a third of her thighs; that and a brassiere. My eyes fixed on her bedded form like flies to death.

She was awake.

She seemed to have been waiting too. Waiting in the darkness? I asked my stupefied self. She looked at me with expectation in her eyes but I knew we had never met. She was really pretty.

I remembered Jesse (strangely) and how he said the founder as a terrorist. Well I was certainly positively terrorized. But could this be the Founder? (Definite Stupefaction)
She held me in her gaze and even though her eyes were less provoking than her body, I was slowly (not slowly enough) losing control just standing there.

I decided to speak, both to excuse myself and to end the moment,

“Pardon my intrusion, Dear Lady
I had the impression, someone awaited me.
Perhaps at reception, she misdirected me.
I beg your discretion, please forgive me.”

And then I turned with my hand on the door, I was leaving. She spoke in a light, calm, mellifluous voice stopping me instantly,

“Visitor of the Founder, Noah in my den
The founder is away, he will return again.
I know who you are, the founder told your name.
Pleasure me and stay, hint at the leopard’s game.”

I wasn’t surprised that news of the Leopard was known but had the Cross really let my name out with news of everything else. Suddenly, I could vaguely see a naughty plan by the Cross to find out all I knew about the Leopard of Bushy road. Perhaps even the so-called ‘Founder’ was their piece as well.

I looked at her again with suspicion that just quickly faded. She had stood up and was gliding towards me. In the time it took me to decide if to go or stay, she reached around me, pushed the door close behind me and locked it.

As she led me to the bed, my fatigue ironically evaporated.

As I sat down, she climbed into the bed and knelt behind me. She slowly began to massage my bunched and tense shoulders. I began to feel relaxed and relieved. Perhaps this wasn’t a bad way to wait for Mr. Founder, I thought as I closed my eyes.

They didn’t open when she spoke either. Her dreamy hands and voice melted together,

“To what end did you fall in such danger?
Is not the Armor a cozy enough manger?
Except, to all you’re a perfect stranger,
Demise like yours would be a life changer.”

Eyes still closed I replied deftly,

“The Armor’s coziness was not the issue
I thought my spouse to me was untrue
A night in suspicion promised to be blue
I followed her to find a releasing clue.”

For a moment’s shadow she seemed to pause but it passed and she continued soothing my muscles with her dainty but efficient touch. Slowly her thighs slid down my sides as she sat more comfortably behind me. Her breasts were barely touching my back so when they pressed into me during her kneading I noticed. When next she spoke, it was close.

She said,

“Be your spouse untrue, could fault be yours?
During season fishes seek and swim new shores.
Dissatisfaction is an illness that cures and thus
Change a person and what she does”

I frowned deeply as I tried to think about this from beneath the pleasure of her hands. I tried to think of a time when Dew had ever hinted at dissatisfaction. I did try, but I couldn’t find an instant or instance. If Dew was cheating on me, there had to be some other reason.

Then I had my third doubt about my doubt. I had no real proof that Dew was cheating on me apart from her present absence. I opened my eyes to scan the wall in front of me for a clock. When I found one it said 02:25am in bold red digits.
What was a married woman doing out in the night with another man at this time? No matter how I looked at it, she was red with guilt.

But wasn’t I guilty as well?
My masseuse’s hands were – not slowly enough – accomplishing seduction by now rather than relief. She leaned closer me with her lips brushing down my neck just under my right ear, her breast pressed into my back and whispered,

“Disregarding one, she followed another into the night,
I understand your pain and know your plight.
But let us love instead of fight
And let your pleasure be my might.”

Her hands slid into my shirt, brushing past my nipples as they glided across my chest. She gave my neck a few kisses before sucking on my earlobe and nearly licking my entire ear.

My body went rigid. Thoughts and ideas flashed in and out of my mind’s focus before my mind became empty except of pure hot lust.
NO, my heart screamed.
YES, my body whispered even louder.

I didn’t notice until that moment that my shirt’s buttons had been undone. One of her fiery hands was quickly cooling its way into my pants. In a few seconds I would be past the point of no return.

Hymn of Vengeance VIII

There were so many people; by the roadside, in the shops, going to and fro on bikes, in cars and in Kekes. I was surprised because a few minutes before, the road had been desolate.
Now there were so many people I wondered how Kass was in the daytime.
Jesse said,

“Like ants they work all day
So hard, they were appearing diurnal.
But at night are they gone? Nay!
They don’t sleep, they’re nocturnal.

I was quite puzzled at hearing that. If Kass was this busy at night, what work would be left at day time. They milled around like cursed zombies.
Yes, I thought, one mind bending curse: MONEY.

I told this to Jesse,

“Those creatures that sleep
Trust GOD for needs met
But the faithless must weep
Or struggle till death.

He smiled bitterly and replied,

“Faith for some is a luxury
As death lives next door,
For those immersed in Penury
GOD is hard to adore.

Suddenly a child tried to cross the road about eight cars in front of us. The car that would have hit her stopped suddenly. Nice brakes, I thought.
But the car behind that car ran into it with a muffled smack.
That started a traffic jam.

The driver of the bashed car came out of his car. The basher also came out and the drivers met at the space between their cars where they began an unnecessary, unintelligent argument. It was some seconds it took for the drivers behind them to start going around them but as the road was only three cars wide, this too became a problem.
Jesse craned his head out his window looking for the nearest short-cut to where-ever it was he was taking me.

Thirty minutes later, we pulled into the parking lot of a big hotel. The name ‘AT LAST HOTEL’ glowed high on top of it. The ‘LAST’s’ ‘T’ kept flickering on and off. Jesse took out a pad and began to scribble. I noticed from the paper – its pattern and line color – that the paper he had written the sixteen lines of ‘24’ in might have come from this same pad as I alighted from the car.
As he wrote, I said,

“All must realize they were made for reasons
And serve our Maker despite the seasons.
The poor should know faith increasing;
Not by their power do they keep living.

If the poor don’t share their sorrow
The rich might share joy tomorrow
But everyone was made to say, ‘Oh!
What a good GOD, we’re blessed to know.

Jesse shrugged and gave me an I-can’t-argue-with-that look as well as the paper he had been writing on.

Then he put the car on reverse and backed out. I stood aside from the path of the reversing car trying to read the paper.
It was unintelligible.
When the car was pointed at the road, he said to me through his window,

“Give that note to the Receptionist
The founder is this Hotel’s protagonist
If you lean towards perfectionist,
You’ll live after the terrorist.”

As I walked towards the reception, past the gates and the bored security men – who ran some sort of scanner which I normally, associate with security men over me –, my brows were furrowed as I realized that; aside from giving the note to the receptionist, I didn’t understand any other thing Jesse said.
I walked tired and solemn into the Hotel.

The person behind the third door I entered froze me frigid with surprise. I had thought my troubles over for the night. Clearly I was sexily mistaken.

Hymn of Vengeance V

The car began to slow down. I could see the very faint outline of the check point at Ghostel. A thought vague and weakly tugged at my mind. I decided – as I had enjoyed the conversation – to ask him,

“Earlier, I said, ‘Life is like a house.’
When I spoke of forgiving my spouse,
You spoke of mercy and a mission to abort;
I don’t know what that was about.”

He smiled that ruefully smile that he had when I first saw his face in the rear view mirror. I was suddenly reminded of the terror-faced guard.
The driver slowed and parked the car. I felt sure the Cross (Police in Qastivity outnumbered by crime as in everywhere else but the Cross are the local militia used by and as the Police authority) could see us from their check point.

I was about to ask why we had stopped. A feeling of dread was creeping across my skin as he killed the engine and switched on the inner lights. They revealed a revolver pointed calmly at my crotch. I sat very still. He said,

“Long ago on this same land,
I caught my wife in a stranger’s hand.
But just before I unleashed my wrath,
They died escaping down this path.

My anger mounted, I sought release;
But flings were pain and just a tease.
I poured my rage on men like these,
They spread flirtation like disease.

I am a leopard, this road is my cage.
I end all those who swagger my range.
Their suits litter my bushy stage;
And yes I find forgiveness very strange.

Once I met a man like you,
Some other time, a woman too.
A silly thing they made me do
I made a promise I’ll keep with you.

To spare the good another day,
And take them safe from harm’s way.
I am the death you’ve dodged today
So throw your valuables my way

I am reluctant and not quite eager
So I will make with you a wager.
Be quick! Flee my perimeter.
And may GOD see your life longer.”

Petrified, I slowly began to devalue myself. I took out my wallet and shiny silver necklace I knew he had seen. I even took of the Maplet. In my terror, I didn’t care about its significance. Then I put them beside me and exited the car.

He started the car after adjusting his aim. As soon as his head lights came on, we both – at once – saw the Cross Hilux coming up the road. As I had earlier thought they had noticed us and had tried to slowly – too slowly though – creep up on us. He did a crazy U-turn and sped off in the direction we came. The Cross increased their velocity and darted past me after him in an instant. I watched them till the bushes blocked them from my sight.

Then I turned and started walking toward the check-point. I wondered if Dew was still with her lover. She had to be, I thought. On the other hand, here I was recently spared by a murderer. Hurray!
I had only walked a few moments when they accosted me. Three Cross.
I felt a little relief at seeing them but that quickly receded.

“The day is bright yet full of evil,
…For good things to not be nocturnal.
State your name with proof and quarrel,
…Before we turn your trouble plural.”

I replied as calmly as I could,

“I have been robbed, I have been robbed;
I met with you before I sobbed.
Your comrades have gone after him,
And here I am all that I seem.”

They took me to their station in Mega to write a statement and call the Resort. I only wished Dew was still there I knew she wasn’t.
I knew it in my bones.

12:30am

Who are you? What happened to you? What were you doing out so late? What is your phone number? What is your wife’s name? What was taken from you? Could you identify the taxi driver if you saw him? Etc
I answered all their questions as politely as I could, all the whole thinking what a good time Dew must be having in contrast. The philosopher, Sean Carter once said, ‘No good deed goes unpunished’, I remembered as they put me in a room to wait for an emissary from the Resort.

The Cross examination had reminded me that in my initial hurry – I had lost my zeal by now – to tail Dew, I had left my phone in the room in the Armor. When the Cross called, it rang in the empty room. I also remembered I did not close the door to the room.
So there I sat, in the room they had left me in and Dew comes in. She closed the door and leaned back unto it staring at me like a child whose mother had just goofed. She was so beautiful.

Then I had my second doubt about my doubt.

If she asked me what grounds my suspicion was based, what would I say – A feeling? Even to me that was ridiculous.

She was beautiful.

Suddenly she came and sat across from me and held my hand.

“Everyone has more than one doubt.
Not without cause these feelings can sprout
But why do you harbor rather than shout?
Murdering trust rather than speak out.”

I looked away from her accused eyes feeling rightfully accused. I replied, with as much conviction as I could muster,

“Does an archer with one arrow shoot carelessly?
In the dark with one match, is a candle lit so easily?
I needed evidence a little concrete
…To not appear a jealous half wit.”

She shuddered suppressing a sob. Sometimes the expected still stings unexpectedly. She said,

“And did you find your evidence?
Did you find any proof of my pretence?
What questions have you answered tonight?
But put yourself in a difficult plight.

It is said, ‘The truth is bitter’, but is it really a surprise? As her words got interpreted by my brain, I was surprised. I was getting angry,

“You left our bed without a word
And here you sit, your tongue uncured.
Instead of re-established trust
You fuel my fire and freeze my frost.”

She didn’t waste time in replying.

A Hymn of Vengeance IV

        “Only a fool will deny GOD
Thus the wise must revere him
As vengeance is the LORD’s
It is my choice to not help him.”

The driver squinted at me before snorting in disbelief. I knew what he was thinking; what was coming next, and it came. He asked me the same question my friends back home usually asked (even though I USUALLY had the same answer) only this time he asked it when I didn’t have as much fortitude as I usually did. I was contemplating my answer before he asked,

“You are wise but so naïve?
You walk the path but dodge its end.
Should guilt arise, will you forgive?
Or bring your marriage to its end.

Your wife be sorry she might beg
And plead from you a second chance
Or she might say, ‘Don’t break a leg,
Divorce is not a lovely dance.’

Either way prepares your words.
And makes less blunt your fleshy sword
To see beyond a lie to loot,
You must devour the bitter truth.”

Even after he was done speaking, he didn’t look at me. I could see – and feel – the pain on his face; the anger in his eyes and the wrath of his words. I buckled under pressure. My mind couldn’t produce a suitable enough retort.

Just when I had bowed my head in silent defeat, a little crumb of knowledge found its way to my tongue. Suddenly I wasn’t really bitter, my heart still seeped of pain but I had another idea to give me strength.

Another way to deal with this; I was sure that this was the right thing to do, the right thing to say. I looked up in the rear view mirror and for an instant his eyes met mine. He was slightly surprised at the assurance I knew was resonating from me.
I said,
“Life is like a house being explored by an intruder:
Some rooms will disappoint and other may not,
Some walls hide treasure awaiting a finder,
Some stairs are traps; impending blunder.
If of my house the LORD is master,
Of what use is a gun or soldier?
Forgiving makes the healing faster,
Not mentioning that line of the Lord’s Prayer.

He didn’t relent. He seemed to have heard the same speech at least once before. He said,

“So turn around, denounce this road.
Go! Nurse your wound and lick a toad.
I will show mercy and abort my mission,
…After you have made a sturdy decision.”

I thought about that, but not seriously. I couldn’t miss this golden opportunity to catch Dew in the act. I couldn’t let the suspicion I was having continue to eat me slowly from my inside out.
Every time I didn’t know for sure exactly where she was I thought the worse, every time her mobile network acted up I nearly died. I told him,

“Opportunities mostly come to few
Others must pray and prepare
After noon there is no dew
To swim a river you must be there.

He thought solemnly about this and seemed to agree. He looked at me with mild surprised, like a goalkeeper who saw the goal coming but couldn’t stop it.

I looked at the Maplet.
Dew’s dot was moving out of Mega. After a few seconds, it turned down the road to the Bubble house.
The car began to slow down. I could see the very faint outline of the check point at Ghostel. A thought vague and weakly tugged at my mind. I decided – as I had enjoyed the conversation – to ask him,

“Earlier, I said, ‘Life is like a house.’
When I spoke of forgiving my spouse,
You spoke of mercy and a mission to abort;
I don’t know what that was about.”

He smiled that ruefully smile that he had when I first saw his face in the rear view mirror. I was suddenly reminded of the terror-faced guard.
The driver slowed and parked the car. We were just within sights of the check point that marked the boundary of the city’s innards. I felt sure the Cross (Police in Qastivity are outnumbered by crime as in everywhere else but the Cross are the local militia used by and as the Police authority) could see us from their check point.

I was about to ask why we had stopped. A feeling of dread was creeping across my skin as he killed the engine and switched on the inner lights. They revealed a revolver pointed calmly at my crotch. I sat very still.

A Hymn of Vengeance II

3
2
1
PING!!
I shot out into the ground floor, nearly running into a pretty lady. As I hurried past her, I kept myself from looking back at her. My ‘evil side’ chided me.

Did you see what she was wearing?
That’s who you should be chasing.
While your wife is night parading
Don’t! You should be pimping!!

I ignored myself. The reception was a minute’s walk outside the Shiny Armor’s main building for guests. A technique designed to keep the guests better secluded. I liked it earlier but now it meant extra space between our dots.
Dew’s dot had disappeared from my screen. The Maplet was designed to show my location, not exactly hers; I had to get nearer her soon or I wouldn’t be able to see her anymore no matter how much I zoomed out. The Maplet could zoom out five times. I had already zoomed out twice.

When I got to the reception desk, I stopped to catch my breath. I caught the attention of the receptionist on duty. Her name-tag said ‘DORA’. She must not have seen the direction I came from because she said,

“Welcome, this is the Shiny Armor:
Service is the reception’s door;
As diligence is our culture.
What can I do you for?”
I replied,
“My wife is dew dropped on my world;
This ring is proof of this.
She left our room without a word;
Her whereabouts are now amiss.”

Dora’s eyes ran down to my wedding ring. Her expression went somewhere between pity and curiosity. I was not bothered by that. I handed her the key to our room and signed out, intermittently glancing at the Maplet. Dew’s dot was still on the Bush road – as it was called, though not for its bushiness – and soon it would reach Ghostel. I would have to zoom out again.

I looked at the receptionist – Dora – and pushed the logbook across to her,

“I am exhausted and have not slept’
Forgive my manners as left they left.
But it was you, who was on duty;
When I arrived: Do you recall me?

We had arrived by 05:00pm which was near the end of her shift. For some reason however she was there then and now too.
She smiled a slightly tired smile,

“I do recall you and your spouse;
I liked the color of her blouse.
So guess the new height of my brows,
When she left with a different spouse…

She waited; silently for his cue,
I can only say he looked like you.
Her gown was black, his shirt was blue.
They left together, stuck. It’s true.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. I felt a grass cutter in a campfire; like there was a rod sticking from my anus through my mouth and the world was spinning as I cooked away. I left the reception and strode purposefully out the doors.
Outside I checked my Maplet. Dew’s dot was at the edge of my screen – at Kass. I had been told the Shiny Armor was second only to the Bubble House in Qastivity. Kass was a market area known to be dangerous at night; all day too. But things could get very affordable there. I checked the time at top right corner of the Maplet.

11:12pm

I looked around. A guard was walking up to me. I didn’t have time to chat with him so I scanned the road and called a passing taxi. I jumped into the back seat as soon as I yanked the door open.
The guard broke into a run. I could see him in the rear view mirror. Why was he running to us? I didn’t care, I decided. The taxi-driver seemed to understand my urgency because he zoomed off without asking where I was going. And he was heading in the right direction.
I learnt later and too late, that that was not good. As the taxi taxied into the night, I slipped my wedding ring – with its shiny diamond whisper – into my pocket’s pocket sadly. I didn’t want to lose it yet; I didn’t want to wear it either.

I looked out the rear window at the guard. He had stopped running and stood staring – or glaring rather – at the rapidly retreating taxi. The look on his poorly illuminated face was quite unnerving. It was beyond disappointment.
It was pure poorly masked horror.

The taxi-driver smiled ruefully at me. I was already uncomfortable so I smiled back. I checked myself suspecting something might have fallen off me as I scrambled into the car; nothing had. My wallet was in my pocket where I had left it earlier that evening, too tired to care. My Maplet was unharmed – Dew’s dot had stopped moving – and we were slowly closing in on her dot in Mega. I wondered what she was doing in Mega. I remembered vaguely, some advert I had seen back at the Armor about a show in Mega. Was her lover taking her to see some show?

The driver bashed into my train of thoughts suddenly jolting me back to the dark and unknown road that was reality. I would have been stoned to coma than believed I had already travelled this same road once on my way here.

White Rat

I have a little thorn
Whose nuisance I have worn
Its effects stall my slumber
When I think you’ll discover
That bashful little worm
That irks beneath my calm

I hope it leaves me be
One day quite soon I pray
Before I have to cleave
Before,’I do!’ I say
Because you’ll see its tail
Before I tell its tale
All so I may abscond
That taunting tiny thorn