Half a century from your time Edojah my dear friend, all the gods and goddesses are dead except twelve of them from the pantheon that is Odinani. The deities from every pantheon had been held captive somewhere in Limbo by a very powerful being called Aea. Her powers which regulated the prison that held the malevolent deities stopped working and that had caused something akin to the big bang. The twelve surviving Alusi were quick to return to their birthplace.
The end of the world the Christians called it. Lucifer’s arrival with the horsemen. The apocalypse. But none of that was true. There was no apocalypse. No cataclysm. Just the gods and their show of power. They did not even come on horses. They just fell from the sky like meteorites.
What was once Nigeria became an independent nation cut off from the rest of the world. We had gods and goddesses behind us now. Real power. We did not even have to go nuclear. The rest of the world became afraid of us.
The country was divided into twelve regions controlled by the Alusi.
They made the land flourish. Technological advancement skyrocketed. There was peace too. All they asked of us was complete obedience. True Worship. And the sacrifice of a child to them no more than eighteen once every six months.
The anarchists or former staunch Christians of course rallied against this idea. The idea of being ruled by the devil’s children and the human sacrifices. They were hunted down by leviathans, conjured minions of the Alusi and killed. The rest of us fell into place.
It was easier to give in than to fight. A lot of people did not really give thought to the children being sacrificed because they usually came from special families selected for this role. These families called Osu bred children and these children were randomly selected through the system.
When the leviathans would come to take the child, all the family had to do was hand him or her over to them. Then a live beheading would be streamed across the regions.
This year my brother Kalu was the first random selection in Agbala’s region, the most technologically advanced region. The boy was just ten years old. I was not ready to do that. Let him go so easily that is. Neither was my father.
The plan we had to take Kalu out of the country was not going to be easy. But we were going to get help from other Osu like us. We had taken over from the Christian zealots and became the anarchists.
“Long have we suffered under the rule of the Alusi who require that we kill our children for them!” My fathers booming voice reached the end of the underground hall where anarchists gathered. He was one of the leaders of the movement to fight for our freedom.
“My son Kalu has been selected for the next sacrifice.” There was murmuring across the hall. A few eyes fell on Kalu who sat next to me. “But I will not let them take him. Not while I am alive.” I nodded to my father’s words.
My father inspired me. He was a man of honor, a brave man. A man that would one day lead all Osu in a revolt against the Alusi. Sure they had the power but we had a voice. And we deserved to be heard. We deserved more than we were getting. And if push came to shove, we would have to seek power wherever we can find it and fight back.
After he was done speaking, a woman replaced him, talking about her sacrificed son.
“Xana,” he called me as he took the chair next to me. “How is Kalu?”
“I am here father. You can ask me.”
“I ask your sister because she will say the truth. She is not held back by the chains that hold a man from saying how he really feels. Your answer is always going to be that you are fine.”
I touched Kalu’s forehead. “He is still hot. But not as hot as before. He will need to rest.”
“I don’t need rest. I am fine.”
My father gave him a knowing look. “You will do as your sister says. The virus will be gone from your body in no time and you will feel better.”
“Yes father,” Kalu conceded.
A door opened from behind us and my father’s closest friend, Okpara, ran toward us. He was the one of the people who was risking his life to help us get out of the country to Cape Verde.
He rushed to my father. “You have been compromised. Someone tipped off the leviathans. You have to go now.”
“Let’s go. Xana, Kalu.”
We all rushed out of the hall and up through the hidden stairs and into the streets. We walked along the domes meandering through holographic images.
“I have already called for a transpod. It will meet us here in about two minutes.”
We turned right into a street and was met with gunfire. Okpara jumped out of the way but my father immediately sheltered me and Kalu with his body. The bullets pierced him through and through until he could no longer stand. He fell to the ground in front of us, dead.
“Kalu, Xana, this way!” Okpara called from behind a blinking recycling bin. “We have to move!”
Kalu who was breathing hard looked up from our father’s body at the leviathans who were now marching toward us. His wrath was evident in his twisted face.
“Kalu,” I called my brother who appeared to be in another world. “We have to go!” I touched his hand and withdrew my hand hissing. His skin had burned me.
Kalu stood up, his chest heaving and his eyes dark with smoke coming out of them. He shouted and his body shot out a wave of fire that incinerated everything and everyone in front of us.
I could not believe my eyes. I stood up just in time to catch his falling body. What he had just done had weakened him but his eyes were still open. They were no longer dark and smoking, just brown and dazed. Okpara came out of his hiding place staring at Kalu as if he was seeing an apparition. Just then the transpod came rolling onto the street with a low hum.
Okpara opened the door and helped us in. He typed in an address and looked at me.
“The pod will take you there. Right to the doorstep of Baba Yaga. Just tell her Okpara sent you. She will know what to do.” He glanced at Kalu and was about to say something but decided not to.
“What about my father?” I asked. Then it dawned on me that my father was dead. Kalu and I were orphans. And we had leviathans coming after us. Also Kalu’s virus had turned him into something else. I was not prepared for this. The tears flowed freely.
“I will take care of his body. Go now.”
He shut the door and the pod moved ahead on its own.
I pulled Kalu into my arms not minding the scalding effect of his skin. He stirred and opened his eyes a little wider.
“Kalu are you alright?”
“I will kill them all,” Kalu said, his voice low but harsh. “The Alusi will die by my hands. I promise you.”
I held him even closer. Knowing just how true his words were.