Two Hangmen, One Scaffold Book II
330 Pages
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Two Hangmen, One Scaffold Book II


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Learn more
330 Pages


When a correlation emerges between a prophecy and a police investigation, and a kidnapper maintains his presence at a crime scene, a woman dreads the passage of time. She cannot understand why a man set an innocent teenager on fire and kidnapped her son. The kidnapped boy�s father knows when two warring hangmen stand on the same scaffold, one must bow to the other or die. Into the fray comes a game ranger, an ex-decathlete expert at tracking man-eating crocodiles. However, a Senator twice his age counting her fertility days desperately wants him in bed. She isn�t aware her sweetheart is in the belly of a world no criminologist can understand. As mayhem takes centre-stage in a community suffering the brunt of a veiled matrix of calamities, is the ranger further bait, a weapon or a sacrificial ram between crouching outlaws?



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Published 15 February 2012
Reads 1
EAN13 9789956727254
Language English
Document size 1 MB

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In the hangman’s shadow
Two Hangmen, One Scaffold In The Hangman’s Shadow Book II Basil Diki
L a ng a a R esea rch & P u blishing CIG Mankon, Bamenda
Publisher: LangaaRPCIG Langaa Research & Publishing Common Initiative Group P.O. Box 902 Mankon Bamenda North West Region Cameroon Distributed in and outside N. America by African Books Collective ISBN: 9956-726-46-X ©Basil Diki 2012
DISCLAIMER All views expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Langaa RPCIG.
Foreword As stated in Book I,Baiting the Hangman, actual events inspiredTwo Hangmen, One Scaffold.Because Book I technically ended in a catastrophe,In the Hangman’s Shadowis not strictly a sequel to Book I per se, but a pertinent continuation of the story. (NB: In pursuance of an editorial recommendation, I had to split the tale into two,Baiting the Hangman andIn the Hangman’s Shadow,for technical conformity; otherwise, the two books are components of one story though both are technically readable on their own). I remain profoundly thankful to my heroes, the anonymous illegal gold diggers in my country, who volunteered tales of their experiences in defunct gold mines. Of course, without The Great Dance,Gule Wamkulu, orNyau, narrations by its practitioners who conveniently chose anonymity by virtue of their membership to a secret society, the tale would’ve acquired a different character. As stated inBaiting the Hangman (Book I), aspects of this cult herein are without favour or bias. The Johannes Masowe Apostolic Sect, founded in 1932, was a flourishing faith in Zimbabwe and many southern African countries at the time of writing this story. (The sect’s songs and prayers in this story are verbatim and their bracketed English versions transliterate) Some residents of Empress and Venice mines, at the time of writing operational and closed respectively, will testify of the coming to the area of a criminal gang that defied arrest and axed many people. Led by one Jajaraza, a sobriquet for ‘Decapitator’, the group operated at its peak between 2005 and the time of its spirited leader’s death sometime in 2007.Two Hangmen, One Scaffolda fictionalised is attempt to tell the tale of this killer and his gang, and the criminal psyche that propelled it beyond criminological understanding. Basil Diki, Harare
Matipa found it uncustomary to stand erect in the doorway when a respectable man was squatting. She sank on her knees, her hands clasped respectfully like his. However, when she looked over the men’s shoulder at the apostolic men under the mango tree, she learnt their number had more than doubled. Four trendily dressed men had joined Remegio and the elders still engaged in inviting Joshua to the land. The intruders squatted in a semi-circle around the believers. One of the men had a five-litre plastic container. Matipa supposed the container held ordinary water the bearer brought for sanctification. It was customary for non-believers to ask apostolic members, especially the sect’s elders and prophets, to sanctify or bless various items for them. When she looked at the shrub, the vulture had gone. “Madam, allow Bomani to greet you and introduce himself.” The stranger spoke like a pope uttering a benediction. His bearing was priestly. “How’re you, madam?” “I’m fine, thank you,” she said, forcing a smile, and assuring herself there just was no need for her to be afraid of such a respectful man. However, half-formulated fear held her bowels. “But I can’t help wondering who has called on us. You come at a terrible time—” She stopped abruptly, realising she was panicking and about to confide in the stranger. “Bomani doesn’t really understand you when you say he comes at a terrible time in your life. What Bomani knows is that terrible times are definitely coming.” “I insist, who am I talking to?” “At birth his parents named him Bomani, which means warrior,” he continued like a Catholic cardinal reading a canonical citation, his voice and its suppleness reflective of a man in total control of himself. “Later, respected figures initiated and gave him a second name–Kumanda, which means graveyard. In the land of snails, mists, v
mountains and diamonds where Bomani is coming from, he’s a respected professional.” He stopped briefly. “Madam, Bomani Kumanda is an old friend of Binga.” “Binga? I don’t understand. I suppose you’re lost.” “The warrior has travelled nearly five hundred kilometres to see him.” “I doubt if you’ve come to the right place. My husband is Akar, Akar Muja.” “Bomani seeks Binga Jochoma. He’s come to the right place.” “I’ve no knowledge of the man you seek. Who’s Binga?” “Madam, you know as much as Bomani does that Binga is your husband.” His voice remained level. “Supposing you didn’t know, then you can as well learn now that Binga is his other name. You cannot shield him from Bomani. The warrior learnt Binga left two weeks ago. Where could he be?” She refrained from believing this stranger. The last time she had heard someone speaking in tones like his was by Pope Benedict XVI when he presided at the beatification of Pope John Paul. She witnessed the ceremony live on satellite television. A twanging voice within her sought to convince her that this was the prophesied demon, but reason overrode it arguing the courteous man was lost and would not admit it. “I’d want to help you, but by insisting wrongly my husband is Binga, you mislead yourself. I suggest you describe him a little.” “God gave us everything except time.” “May I know why you’re looking for this man?” He smiled drily. “Is it out of vulgar curiosity that you ask, madam?” “I’m not given to weird motivations. It isn’t my nature to be rude, but I don’t know how to tell you that you’re lost. There’s no one by that name in this compound. Kindly go and look for this Binga elsewhere. I’m sorry.”
He laughed, a dramatic ha-ha-ha. “You give Bomani the impression you’re not close to your husband.” “I’ve already told you, Bingamy husband. I don’t know isn’t anyone by that name.” “Bomani was fortunate enough to avoid marriage this far, but from what he hears, he’s tempted to believe a husband and a wife ought to confide in each other.” He paused and rubbed his hands respectfully.“Because you ask many questions, Bomani’ll answer you with a question. It takes a missile to destroy ballistic missiles. You’ll excuse the exegeses, but when Abraham pursued the enemy to recover Lot and looted Jewish property, on his way back, he had the gracious honour to meet Melchizedek. The question Bomani poses to you, madam, is; did the two men, both divine and mysterious, merely exchange greetings and part? Be reminded Abraham was a friend of God. Both men were cut from the same cloth.” She wanted to consider the question and its significance then answer him, but he had mentally toppled her. For a fraction of a minute, she couldn’t think rationally. Instead, she wondered if a demon could cite holy men in its speech. No, this man wasn’t the prophesied evil. When she was about to tell him he was incomprehensible, and incomprehensibility wouldn’t lead him to the man he was looking for, he turned his head and faced her. She nearly suffered a cardiac arrest. For the first time she looked at his face squarely. His entire upper and lower front teeth were missing. Scars disfigured his face. His cheekbones were jutting, the jaws angular. His eyes were bloodshot, boring, cold and almost reptilian, rendering his gaze petulant. Above his left eye were surgical stitch marks. Below his eyes were neat traditional cicatrix marks. He wore double strings of small red and blue beads around his wrists. People who delved into ancestral spirits, mostly sorcerers and herbalists, wore such beads. His palms were heavily calloused.
Doubt vanished from her. A cold wave ran down her spine. She remembered the prophet’s words:the plumage of the raven is his clothing. The man squatting a few metres from her was the demon. Instinct dictated to her to scream. No words came from her mouth though it opened. She shook as if suddenly stricken by Alzheimer’s disease. “Terrible times are come. This place shall not know peace until your husband presents himself to Bomani. The warrior bans all church gatherings in the hills and in this compound including the one behind Bomani under the mango tree. No one shall collect firewood or go to their field until Bomani meets Binga. In other words, Bomani is declaring a round the clock curfew and decrees bloodshed beginning now.” He brought his right hand to his chin, clipped his lower lip between his thumb and forefinger and sucked in air, whistling once and shrilly. He brought his hand down and bared the gaps in his mouth to her in a weird smile. Under the mango tree, the elders stopped singing unceremoniously, and a scuffle seemed to have ensued. Then she saw Remegio pinned to the ground and gesturing. Gesturing and pleading for mercy as though he were strapped to a guillotine. Two of the four intruders held him down. The one with the container was on his feet pouring its contents over the teenager, drenching his garments. The fourth man stood guard, a machete in his hand. She couldn’t understand what was happening. Was this a reversal of roles; normally sect members drenched believers with holy water during exorcism. Were the men performing some baptismal gimmick on the teenager? The man pouring the unknown substance all over Remegio stepped back, throwing the container at the teenager’s feet and digging his hand into a hip pocket as his colleagues let go of the young man and retreated from the small group. Remegio was rising and making a bewildered gesture facing the man who dosed him when the man struck a match and cast the burning stick at the teenager.
Matipa watched in horror as a small flame hitMadzibabaRemegio on the chest. Searing tongues of yellow and blue fire engulfed the teenager and the container on the ground. He slumped on the ground and began screaming. The intruders were immolating Remegio in a scenario reminiscent of the brutal South African xenophobic attack pictures she watched on TV; recalling the disturbing images of black foreigners in that country when they were set on fire alive in the streets of shanty settlements. Her initial reaction was denial. No! No man can be this cruel to another! It’s a realistic nightmare. Nevertheless, the fire on Remegio was ferocious, burning with a crackling sound and sending columns of thick smoke into the boughs of the tree. Still screaming and now trying to beat out the flames, the acolyte staggered to his feet and dashed from the tree. She wanted to rise and flee the scene, but she fell back into the lounge, slumping hard on the floor. He ran as a beheaded cock let loose. The other apostolic members fled in different directions. Someone had better help, she thought as she watched him bump into the wall of a hut of pole and clay next to the Muja’s, fall to the ground and begin to roll back and forth kicking frantically. Though he kept screaming in agony, the screams diminished with his vanishing garments and skin. Remegio’s images danced in her glazed eyes filling with tears. His screams drew people out of their huts, cabins and shanks. Some men came running to find out the cause of the commotion, and perhaps to help, but halted, cringed and held their heads as the teenager rolled, kicked and blazed. Bomani’s men waved them away with machetes. The cautious witnessed the horror through open windows, while the overcautious opened neither door nor window. Charred remains of Remegio’s garments clung to his blackened body, raw with burns in many places. He lay on his back pressed against the hut, his arms stiff and half-raised in the air, his knees propping up