DEN OF CLEVERNESS Episode 7 by Nathaniel Anuma (Bright Daniel)
If actually death has a mouth in which it calls people, the teenagers in the land of zero heard death calling them especially Jade and Wisdom who hung below a cliff through a broken wooden bridge. Already, heat of untimely death had, from inside formed a dropplete sweat on Wisdom’s face. He could feel it dropping through his neck down to the hand in which he held Jade’s.
“Listen, Jade” he began. His voice echoed at the base of the cliff while Ken and co who couldn’t move their legs barely heard him. “I want you to trust me and do as I’ll say. I will pull you up to grab the nearest wood of the bridge your hand can reach. Then we climb up systematically, okay?” Jade looked up and nodded in agreement with tears in her eyes. Instantly, she felt his hand tightened the more on her own hand, feeling her whole body thrusting upward until she got hold of the nearest wood as Wisdom instructed.
However, on top of the cliff, Fred sighted huge rocks rolling towards them like the lions that would have devour them. “Holy shit!” He shouted.
“Oh, my God! We are going to die!” Esther began to cry alongside with Sandra.
“I swear, if I survive this, I’ll kill Wisdom myself!” Paul sworn, glaring at all. Only Ken remained quiet.
The rocks rolled speedily, bouncing like galloping horses in a race competition. Some changed direction after hitting on another rock or on a strong tree. They made the sound of a bull Doser thereby vibrating the ground in a way Wisdom felt the quivering gravity below the cliff. Meanwhile, He had disengaged from Jade after she did as he said. Now, both were climbing up through the wooden bridge like a carpenter, climbing on a ladder. When the vibration became tough, he asked in a loud voice, “Fred, what’s that sound!”
“We are about to be crushed by rocks!” He replied.
“What about the riddle!”
Subsequently after some time, Wisdom heard their shouting voices as an indication that the rocks had drew closer. He got prepared to dodge any that would try to fall on them. Just them, they began to fall, but none fell along their direction. He sighted someone falling with a rock, and that was Ken. He was the only one hit off by one of the rocks, while others were lucky enough to be safe from them. At that point, they regained their freedom of movement. Therefore all sorrowfully and slowly walked towards the edge of the cliff to see Wisdom finally made it up and helped Jade up too, breating heavily and gazing at them all. They became moody, mourning for the passaway of another person, Ken to be precise. Of course the girls were in tears as the tranquility stretched within them.
“Its all your fault!” Paul angrily pointed at Wisdom. “All this wouldn’t have happened if you didn’t save this girl. You should have let her die! Now, how do you feel, a hero or a stupid person? I feel like killing you!” he rushed him for a punch which he finally gave him on the cheek, then pushed him in a way he wanted to fall down the cliff, but Jade caught him. As if that wasn’t enough, he quickly wanted to rush him again. Though Fred’s voice interrupted him.
“Enough of this ranting and blemish character of yours!”
“You are a fool to say that!” Paul turned to him.
“Mehn, I never knew you are such a heartless ass hole” Regardless the broken leg, Fred went into a fight with him. He carried him up then hit him on the ground like a wrestler.
“Both of you, stop!” Jade’s voice came loud and bold. She pulled Fred up from Paul then stood in between. “You should stop acting like kids! What has happened has happened, so instead of fighting and portioning blames, why can’t we use that opportunity for something useful? We should continue to see the end of this horrible place, please”
All this while the confrontation and pandemonium were going on, Wisdom had sat down on the ground, placed his hands on the head and wept bitterly for Ken coz he believed someone like him shouldn’t die that way. And also, he blamed himself for his death. Ken was no man’s enemy, calmed and smart too. “What have I done?” He cried bitterly.
“Don’t blame yourself much, dude” Fred limped to console him. “You did the right thing every other person would have done. I believe wherever Ken is now, he knows you did the right thing” he patted his shoulder.
“Look!” Esther pointed at the cliff. “The bridge is back”
All, except Wisdom looked at the direction to see it dangling like a flexible wire that could cut at any time. At the end of it was a mountain and a door. Of course the teenagers needed to walk through the bridge otherwise face another tragedy or answer a riddle to stay alive. Therefore, Wisdom raised his head and his feet up, sniffing continuously to subside the tears hormone. He took the lead by staggering into the bridge followed by Sandra who thought that Wisdom would be her saviour if anything should happen to her on the bridge. In fact, she held his shirt from behind, seeing the falling distance from the bridge. Fred followed suite and Esther didn’t let him out by her side. Jade also entered, having nobody in mind to save her if anything should happen to her again because Paul, the last person behind her, though a human being, but she rated him off from any form of organism. To her, he was like a walking stone.
Nevertheless, they made it through the bridge successfully. Then another riddle appeared on the door saying, “Answer to enter: You’re in a dark room with a candle, a wood stove, and a gas lamp. You only have one match, so what do you light first?”
None of the teenagers got the answer to the riddle. So they had to camp there for a while until any of them answers to enter. Wisdom sat down alone on a rock with his face bent downward, while Fred led Sandra to a stagnant water that took the shape of a deep flattened rock, for she was very thirsty. Esther and Paul sat differently. Just as Wisdom wallowed in thought, he felt someone that sat very close to him, so he looked up to see Jade and bent his head again.
“I just want to talk to you” Jade began. “I appreciate you, saving my life back there. I owe you one.”
Wisdom remained silent.
Jade began to twist her fingers. “Also, I.. I.. I’m sorry for everything. I only talked to you in that manner simply because of our parents issues” she waited, still twisting her fingers.
On the other hand, Sandra watched them closely after drinking the water. Instantly, she became jealous. Fred traced her eyes to confirm what she was staring at. So he smiled after the confirmation. “Hello..” he brought back her attention.
“What?” she looked at him.
“Let them be coz they’ve come a long way.”
“What do you mean?”
Fred sat down. “You are obviously jealous of them, aren’t you?”
Sandra said nothing in reply rather stared back at Wisdom and Jade again, for she accepted the fact that she couldn’t help it but get jealous. So she swallowed hard and averted her eyes from them.
Meanwhile, Wisdom had not said anything to Jade neither had he raised his head up. That made Jade look stupid. She stood up to leave but Wisdom held her back saying, “I’m also sorry for my actions.”
Paul’s voice came that moment, shouting and bosting that he had figured out the answer to the riddle. While everybody looked at him, Sandra saw the tender hand Wisdom held Jade after which he released it, going towards the door. “What’s the answer?” he asked.
“The first thing
to light up is the match not any of the illuminators” Paul answered
then the door opened. The sound came like an empty hallow cylinder.
Any sound made in it must echo almost three times before it fades away.
Wisdom took the lead as usual followed by others. Immediately they all
entered, the door closed.
At the residence of Mr Nnanna, the sky clouded with lightnings. Sooner did a heavy rain begin to pour down on the roof of the building. Mercy woke up to the sound of Ken’s voice shouting for help. She wore a fairy transparent pyjamas that could refract a light ray. “Help me, Mercy!” the voice came again. So she quickly rushed to the door of their living room, opened it to see Ken lying on the ground and looking like a prey vomited by a shark. “Ken?” she called.
“Please, save me”
As she wanted to step out to help the poor boy, thunder struck and she saw him no more. “Ken!” She cried, only to wake up from bed to find out that it was a dream. Still on reality, she heard her parents making noise from the living room where she rushed to, but discovered that their noise was based on the news broadcasting on a television. “What’s going on, mom and Dad?” she asked.
“It has been discovered that land of zero is evil and the competitors are nowhere to be found” the mother replied.
Mercy’s heart skipped at the hearing of that news. She could see on the screen of the television how people lamented and cried out for their children. She couldn’t believe she won’t see Ken, her diamond prince, again….
DEN OF CLEVERNESS Episode 7