PHANTOM LABOURER

The fear of death is the beginning of living

Late for class again, I dash between unsuspecting pedestrians as I race for the public bus that would take me to school. Mrs. Funke would be furious at me for showing up late once again. I have promised myself several times that this time would be different but it seems to be wired in my genes to be tardy.

I’m close to the bus stop now, just need to cross the road to the other side and intercept it as it arrives to offload and take on passengers. The day is about to break as bright rays of sunlight stream through the clouds, lightening up the whole street.

I look around before crossing the street, no time to use the flyover, and that’s when I notice them there, as usual, floating above the heads of every single person walking by. A bright green bar hovers a few centimeters above their oblivious heads.

The first time I spotted this thing, I was horrified. I could not fathom their meaning at the time but eventually, I came to understand what they represented.

They were basically life bars that indicated how long a person was going to live. Over time, the green bar would devolve to an orange bar which meant they were closer to their demise steadily. Then a dark brown bar was next which inched them further to their expiry date and most times people with the brown bar had one health issue or were very elderly.

But the one bar I dreaded the most was the deep red bar which means that person was about to die very soon or within the hour. It could be a freak accident, a stroke, or a heart attack.

Whenever I was in public and I spotted a red bar, I did my best to try and save them from whatever impending danger might be lurking around for them before it turns grey, which was the final color that would float above the recently deceased

Often times I succeeded and some other times I failed, their deaths have weighed on me multiple times in the past but I made up my mind to save as many people as I could.

Hospitals were my least favorite places to visit, I would often witness a sea of brown and red bars littered everywhere as people desperately fought for their lives.

Despite this horrific power of mine, I have learned to see the beauty in things and despite my ability to see everyone’s life bar, I can’t seem to see mine which scares me often. I have stood in front of my mirror hoping to see it but nothing shows

I am still lost in thought when I approach the bus stop which was in front of an uncompleted building currently undergoing construction and was laden with a ton of construction materials and scaffolds.

I stood at the bus stop patiently still observing people’s life bars, a kindly old woman in a wheelchair rolled beside me also waiting for the bus, she had a diminishing brown bar which was gradually degrading to red. Her raspy cough indicated to me that she was towards her final years, I hoped she lived a full life.

She smiled and waved at me and I smiled and waved back, I put on my earphones and started listening to music from my phone, which tends to calm me down.

It was then I noticed something strange. A young man in a suit holding a briefcase was walking towards my direction. He was talking to someone on his phone but also glancing at his watch indicating that he was on his way to catch the bus as well.

He had a green bar which was not surprising considering how young and healthy he looked, but then it dropped rapidly to the orange state, I was taken aback, it was a steep drop.

The man looked to be at his prime, he was at the peak of the human physique and there were no visible signs of anything wrong with him. I was still contemplating what I was observing when the orange bar drooped down to a brown bar.

I am perplexed, he was walking on the designated sidewalk and there were no cars in any form of proximity to him. I frantically dart my eyes left and right, searching for what the source of danger could be.

Brown becomes red. Hairs on the back of my neck rise, goosebumps shoot all over my body as my blood turns cold with fright. This man was about to die and I had no idea how.

It was then I heard it. ‘CLANG’ ‘CLANG’ The sound of metal banging on metal. I immediately realize that we are both standing in front of the uncompleted building currently undergoing construction. There are several pieces of scaffolds around the building with a dozen of workers and artisans hammering nails and drilling in holes.

The man was barely ten steps away from me when I noticed his harbinger of doom. High up on the scaffolds, as the artisans tirelessly work away, a piece of scaffold metal had shifted shaken its content which was a workbench that contained a dozen metallic rebars on it.

The scaffold gave way, and rain of metallic rods cascaded down towards the young man. I raced forward and threw my weight at the man, knocking him and myself backward and out of the way of the metallic rain.

“Hey what are you doing?”, the man yelled angrily as he landed hard on the floor.

‘CRASH’ The metal rods, several centimeters thick, landed on the concrete ground. The force enough for some of the rods to be embedded into the hard ground, leaving them standing vertically.

The man’s eyes widened in horror at his luck. He could not believe that he had just escaped death by a hair’s breadth. He stared at where he would have been impaled to death if not for my intervention.

“Oh my God. Thank you so much”, he exclaimed as he was shaking me in a mix of fright and appreciation.

I looked up at his life bar and noticed that it has reverted back to a green color once more.

“How can I repay you?”, he asked

“Please just be more observant of your surroundings”, I reply as I move back towards the bus stop to intercept the bus that has arrived.

The man sat still on the ground, his eyes wide open as he played back the scenario in his head, people crowded him asking him if he was hurt and showing concern.

The man was still staring at me as I board the bus, I look at his life bar yet again and notice that it remained green, he looked up above his head as well, following my gaze and seeing nothing, further cementing his confusion.

“They would not understand”, I think to myself as I find myself a seat on the bus.

I heaved a huge sigh of relief as I approach my school.

Classes were already in full motion, I had already missed two classes, but at least I would not encounter the wrath of Mrs. Funke, for today that is.

I hurry into my third class, stealthily tiptoeing in from the back entrance to avoid attention from the teacher. I see down at the back of the class and scan my surrounding, taking note of my classmates.

Helen and Ali were seated in front as usual, still in denial of been infatuated with each other.

The nerds sat in the first line of the class, as usual, some of the class clowns sat at the far right, making jokes and gossiping.

Nimrod sat still at the far back corner as usual, taciturn and isolated. Kareem and Akeem were ogling the slay mamas in their full-blown makeup as usual.

Everything was going as normal and expected in school. I shiver lightly, my mind flying back to the near-accident from the bus stop. As much as I have faced death, it still bugs me when I encounter it.

I look up at all their green life bars and their cherry happy faces, living their lives as freely as possible.

The class ends and two more follow suit, my mind barely focused on the curriculum and teachers as my mind wander as normal.

“RING” the bell for the lunch break peels as we all pour out of our classrooms to the courtyard to have our lunches and take a break.

Helen and Ali giggle incessantly and disappear behind the admin office which is located far off from the center of the school, probably up to juvenile shenanigans.

The students all rush into the courtyard with their lunch boxes while some approached the food kiosks to purchase food. Nimrod rushed into the toilet, silent and passive as usual.

I unwrap my lunch and sit on a bench still pondering over fleeting thoughts. I was still deep in thought when the end of the break bell rang signifying that we return to our respective classrooms.

I pick a seat in the middle room this time so I could at least appear interested in the next volley of classes. By now everyone had returned into the classroom, Helen and Ali still giggling from whatever activity they had just completed.

Everyone was in except Nimrod, I figured he must have had a bad lunch and was suffering the consequences in the toilet.

Everyone was settled in as the teacher walks in to begin the class. I stare at everyone’s green bar again. seeing so many greenery usually calms me and makes me feel at peace

The class begins and then it happens. one by one, everyone’s life bar drops to orange, my blood turns cold as my heart skips several beats.

What could possibly be responsible for this mass decline?

My eyes start darting back and forth, as usual, looking for the source of the impending predicament.

The orange degrades to brown. I shift violently in my seat, cold chills run down my spine. The sharp drag of my seat draws everyone’s attention to me.

I ignore the looks still frantically searching for the danger when everyone’s brown bar drops to red.

I get up from my seat rapidly. my heartbeat pounding harder than a bongo.

“What seems to be the problem, young man”, the teacher calls out to me.

I gaze at a crimson wave of red bars, sweat drips down my face profusely. Everyone wears confused looks on their faces as they keep staring at me.

I inch backward slowly as the feeling of nausea rise within me, I do a full 360 degrees turn and spot my reflection in the classroom mirror located at the back.

My heart flies into my throat when for the first time ever, I see my life bar. Pulsating in a deep scarlet red, hovering over my head.

What could this mean? I have never seen my own life bar. Was I about to die with all my classmates form a freak accident?

I ran through so many questions in my head when “BOOM” the classroom door flies open. everyone exclaims in horror at what was at the door entrance.

I turn to see what the cause of the commotion is and see the teacher fly across the classroom with a grey bar, as a force throws him off his feet and unto the wall with blood gushing out of his chest. The gunshot was loud and deafening.

I trace the source of the shot and that was when I noticed Nimrod holding a 12 gauge shotgun with rage in his eyes and tears streaming down his cheeks.

I close my eyes and expect the inevitable.

EATOPIA

A story of adventure and dread

“BEEP” “BEEP” Sandra jolts up from her bed, she groans in dismay as she sat upright on her bed still feeling sleepy. She glanced at her wall clock and sprung out of her bed like a jack in a box as she realized that she would be late for work. She had missed her first two alarms, most likely punishment from the universe for sleeping late the night before. She dashed into her bathroom to freshen up and rushed breakfast as she changed into her work clothes. Multitasking under pressure was her forte. She rushed out of her apartment and approached the gate that would lead her into the street.

“Good morning Sandra”, a voice called from behind her.

Sandra turned and noticed her neighbor greeting her. Silas was a tall, pale, and lanky man with a long face. He wore a crooked smile and a pair of large eyeglasses. His countenance always freaked her out as he would often stare at her and make her feel very uncomfortable.

‘Hope your night was good?”, he said with his permanent grin.

“Erm, yeah, it…it was fine”, Sandra replied as she fiddled with the lock on the gate desperately to escape from this conversation.

“You take care now”, he said as she exited the gate.

Sandra hastily walked towards the main road to hitch a ride in direction of her workplace. Ever since her car broke down and had been at the mechanic’s shop, she had had to hitch rides to work, an act that she had to endure out of necessity.

She got to the roadside and waved down various cars. She clutched down hard on her purse, she could feel the large wad of money that she had been entrusted with delivering to her boss. She hated the idea of having to carry such a large sum of money while hitching a ride with strangers.

“In a hurry, are we?”, a voice spoke behind her, startling her.

She turned to see an elderly man standing beside her, smiling as he looked at her.

“You look eager, young lady”, he added.

“Yes I need to get to work urgently”

“Ah yes, the hustle and bustle of youth”

Sandra smiled back at the man as not to appear rude but kept her eyes on passing cars still trying to wave one down.

“Ah I see, so you are going with the old school hitching?”, the old man added.

Sandra smiled at him once again but was silently praying to get a ride as quick as possible.

Alas, a car came to a halt beside her, in the vehicle was the driver, a front passenger, and two back passengers.

“You need a ride madam?”, the driver asked jovially

“Yes, very much, thank you”

The old man scanned the car and gently grabbed Sandra’s arm as she approached the car door to open it.

“Be wary of whose car you enter”, he warned “Not every smiling face is a friendly one”

“Look, old man, I’m almost late for work and don’t really have many options”, she sneered at him.

She got into the car and the driver turned the ignition key to start the engine. Sandra took one last look behind her to see the old man disappear in the distance, shaking his head disapprovingly.

Sandra shifted in her seat as the car drove on. She glanced at the other passengers beside her. One was a young man in a suit wearing glasses, clutching a briefcase while the other was a young woman in yellow braids. The front passenger was also a young man but in a bright green shirt.

“So where are you headed, madam”, the driver asked politely.

“My place of work is around Bastion, if you can drop me off around Harry Crescent, that would be fine”.

The car sped on along the highway, zooming past market places and pedestrians. She gazed at the bespectacled man beside her, he stared forward without blinking, evident that she was staring at him, but undeterred in his conviction to be bothered, Sandra figured that he was not in a chatty or expressive mood; the same mood she was in

“What’s a fine woman like you doing hiking?”, asked the front passenger in green

“My car is in the repair shop”, she replied dismissively, she didn’t feel like engaging in any conversations, she just wanted to get to work as soon as possible and get the money off her hands.

The front passenger kept engaging her in more banal conversations to which she kept responding as uninterestingly as she could.

“Erm, this route looks very different”, said the female passenger with the yellow braids.

“Oh yeah we are trying to beat the traffic along Tony Street” replied the driver as he turned a sharp corner.

They continued on for a couple of minutes before the bespectacled man asked.

“Why then are you taking such a rough route?”

The car had turned off the highway into a street that led into a forested area and had no smooth surface unlike the tarmac of the highway. The car galloped over multiple bumps, rocking the passengers like a ship on the rough seas.

“Trust me, this is a faster route to your destination”, the driver said hiding a smile which unnerved Sandra.

The car went on for a few more minutes before coming to a full stop deep in the forest.

“Why have we stopped?”, asked the man in glasses aggressively.

“If you don’t mind, I need to ease myself quickly”, the driver replied as he stepped out of the car and walked into the bush.

The front passenger in green also alighted from the car and beckoned at the remaining passengers to take this opportunity to empty their bladders before returning to the road.

Sandra felt exposed and uncomfortable deep in the jungle as the two men walked into the bush and disappeared. The suited man in glasses got down from the car as well.

“I might as well follow suit”

He then sauntered into the bush as well and spotted a large iroko tree which seemed like the ideal spot for him to relieve himself. Sandra got restless in the car and decided to stretch her body.

“Wouldn’t you come out of the car as well?”, she asked the other female passenger.

“No I am fine here”, she replied.

Sandra strolled about to stretch herself and aimlessly wandered about until she spotted the bespectacled man doing his business when she noticed something strange.

The front passenger in green was sneaking up behind him with a large wooden stick in his hand. Sandra’s eyes widened in horror as she could not believe what she was observing.

The assailant whacked the unsuspecting man “THUM” the bespectacled man collapsed like a house of cards. Sandra backed away in terror and clasped her hands over her mouth to prevent herself from screaming.

She crouched low to avoid been spotted. She immediately dashed towards the car to warn the other female passenger of what she had just witnessed.

She got to the car to find the back doors wide open and the female passenger nowhere to be found. She heard a loud shriek erupt from somewhere else in the forest, she darted towards the source of the scream. She stood rooted at the spot at what she witnessed.

The driver knelt on the female passenger, who laid prone on the ground motionless and groaning in pain as the driver repeatedly plunged a long kitchen knife into her chest. Sandra could not contain herself anymore. She yelled in terror and the driver spotted her.

“Ok I know this looks bad, but trust me when I say that I will make it quick and painless”, the driver said as he inched towards Sandra, bloody knife at hand.

Sandra turned around to run towards the car when she bumped into the front passenger in green who had been trying to sneak behind her and knock her out as well. She knocked him over unintentionally as she hurried towards the vehicle. The driver pursued after her.

She got to the car, her heart pounding furiously against her chest like a caged animal. She prayerfully checked the ignition and was elated to find the key in it.

She swiftly locked herself inside the car and fidgeted with the keys in a desperate attempt to start the car. “CRASH” The side window smashed open, spraying glass all over Sandra as the driver grabbed on to her shoulder.

With panic running down her spine, she slammed her entire weight on the accelerator and zoomed off with the driver still holding unto her. The car picked up speed and the driver had to let go as the momentum dragged his body across the rough road.

Sandra steered and swerved the car as much as she could, fighting every ounce of anxiety and agitation. She managed to find the main road again and continued to drive on with the hope of finding the expressway and civilization. Her mind raced with so many chaotic thoughts. Should she go to work? Should she go to the police? Should she go back home?

Sandra drove on lost in her thoughts when “BANG” a heavy force slammed against her shoulder. She cried in pain as she managed to keep control of the steering wheel and not veer off the road.

She stuck her head out to see the source of such rude disturbance when she spotted the front passenger clinging on to the roof of the car with his trusty wooden club in his hand which he had hit her with.

She could not fathom what she was seeing as the front passenger struggled with her over the grip of the steering wheel, most likely trying to slow her down.

He must have climbed unto the car when she was struggling with the driver, she thought to herself. In a desperate state to relieve herself of this perturbance, she turned the steering wheel aggressively from left to right to throw off the assailant. This resulted in the rear end of the car fishtailing and losing control as she veered off the main road and into the hard embrace of a nearby tree. “BAM” Everything went black.

TO BE CONTINUED

EATOPIA PART 2

Sandra wakes up with a massive headache, her right cheek resting on the steering wheel, her ears ringing from the crash. A warm liquid trickles down her forehead and she raised her hand to touch it, quietly hoping it is not what she thinks it is, but to her sickening horror, blood oozed out of a cut on her head.

She was gaining her bearings when she realized what must have happened. The car had smashed into a tree, the majority of its bonnet wrapped around the tree like a violent hug. Sandra winced as she moved, she had sustained some minor fractures to her ribs but had not gone flying out of the car thanks to her standard intuition of wearing a seat belt.

The same could not be said for the fate of the front passenger who laid lifeless beside the tree with his skull cracked wide open from what must have been a violent collision with the tree.

Sandra eventually wiggled her way out of the damaged car with the money still in her hands. She staggered forward in the forest looking for the main road when she heard some voices coming off a location. People chattered and bickered like it were a marketplace. Sandra hurried towards the source of the sound, hoping to meet someone that would help her ordeal.

She dashed to the front of the supposed market and was greeted with a very intriguing sight.

“Oh my God”, she gasped.

In front of her, in the middle of the forest laid a large abattoir, festering with swarms of flies and oozing a rancid stench of dismembered meat parts. People walked back and forth, haggling prices and making purchases. They all looked unbothered by the putrid odor and swelting heat.

She inched closer and noticed a large wooden misshapen signboard bearing the name of the place. EATOPIA. Written in red, presumably blood, hanging above the gate entrance. Sandra got closer and made a second horrifying discovery. The cavalcade of meat and chopped body parts were all human.

A cold chill ran down her spine as she tried to understand what she was looking at.

“It can not be”

She thought to herself as she stood frozen in terror at the abomination she was witnessing. A human meat market in the middle of nowhere with dozens of people buying body parts like they were animal parts.

As she stood rooted, a deep voice called at her.

“Hello madam, are you entering or not?”

She snapped out of her trance as she noticed a hulking man in army fatigues and a rifle talking to her.

“Are you going to buy something or are you just going to stand there?”, the man added.

As she moved to speak, she noticed him clutch his rifle hanging at his waist and deduced that he must be a guard watching over this obscene place. She thought to herself, she had to act like she was not there by accident.

“Ah yes, I am going in, I just had a minor accident on my way here, you know”, she replied with a forceful smile.

The guard beckoned towards her to enter Eatopia, Sandra walks in, holding back every ounce of anxiety and panic. She has to keep up the charade and then find an exit out of this horrid nightmare.

She walked deeper into Eatopia and saw more unspeakable abominations, human legs and arms hung from meat hooks, human guts, and intestines laid in bowls, swarmed by huge green bottle flies. Sandra was getting woozy from the terrifying sight and fetid odor when a familiar voice called out to her.

“Hey Sandra, I didn’t know that you shopped her as well”

The voice raised goosebumps on her nape as she turned around and saw her lanky neighbor Silas grinning at her.

He was carrying a bag that contained a human lap and casually gestured towards Sandra to join him. Sandra realized that she had to play long enough.

“Silas, wow funny running into you here, do you come here often?”, she said, smiling forcibly.

“Of course, very often, in fact, let me show you my favorite parts to buy”

Silas pulls her to a particular shed that was selling human legs. He pointed at several parts, touching them as he tried to decide which one to take.

“Won’t you pick as well?”

Sandra tensed at the unspeakable horror, she stared at the festering body parts and fought back the thoughts of whom those legs must have belonged too. A doctor? A student? A mother?

It did not matter, she had to make a decision quickly so she could get out of the place as soon as possible.

She realized that the driver and his friend must have been bringing them here to sell them off. She fought back the urge to vomit as she selected a leg of her choice.

The merchant mentioned the price and it shook her as to how costly it was. She grabbed her purse which contained the money she was meant to deliver to her boss. She had to pay for the leg or else she may arouse suspicion.

Silas continued poking at different legs, haggling with the merchant like it was a fish market. Sandra could not believe that she had been living beside a cannibal all this while.

She determined that once she was out of this hellhole, she would relocate from her current place of residence as soon as possible.

Eventually, she decided on the piece of leg she wanted and the merchant proceeded to wrap it up for her. She handed over a substantial amount of the money and collected the item.

“Enjoy tour meal”, Silas said as she walked away briskly.

She sheepishly smiled and waved back at him as she headed for the exit. She kept on fighting back every ounce of her body from retching all love as she reached the exit and bolted out of the market in search of the expressway that would lead her back to the city.

She staggered in exhaustion as the day had gone entirely off the rails. She realized that the leg was still in her possession and she shrieked in horror as she tossed aside the dismembered body part. She kept on advancing forward until she could hear the familiar whosses on speeding cars zooming past.

Her heartbeat quickened in relief as she dashed towards the main road. She gave off a tired smile as she waved her hands frantically at the various cars driving past. Fatigue was beginning to set in heavily as her eyes got weighty. She walked into the middle off the road, arms stretched out, and not having a care in the world before collapsing from all the stress and tiredness.

“BEEP” “BEEP” “HISS” Sandra slowly opened her eyes as various strange sounds echoed around her. She adjusted her sight and focused her attention on understanding where she was. a fan twirled lazily above her as strong odors of chlorine and antiseptics washed over her olfactory senses.

She inched upwards and made the realization that she was in a bed in a hospital. She touched her forget to feel a rough material taped to it, noting the plaster on her forehead. She was still a bit woozy from her experience.

“Good to see you awake”, a voice said beside her.

Sandra almost flew out of the bed as she noticed that there had been a second person in the room. The nurse wore a smile and asked her.

“Hope you are well-rested, a young officer has some few questions for you, if you don’t mind”

She gestures towards the open door of the hospital ward as a young man in a police uniform walked in.

“Good day, madam, my name is Officer Adams and I was alerted to your arrival into the hospital”

Adams inched forward, pulled a chair, and sat on it. He politely signaled towards the nurse to kindly excuse herself from the room to give him and Sandra some privacy.

“I was told that you were found on the highway deep in the Halcyon Forest, covered in bruises and cuts and nearly dehydrated”

Sandra nodded her head slowly as if she was worried it might fall off.

“Upon further investigation around where you were found, we came across a human leg which confused us”

Sandra’s eyes widened as she moves her lips to speak but her throat was extraordinarily dry. Adams noticed this and spotted a jar of water with a glass on a table right next to her, he moved to pour some water for her to drink.

“The thing is that we have actually been tracking a cannibal ring in that area for a while now and the leg served as a clue to where the location may be”

“Di…ididi..did you fiii..innd themmm?”, Sandra asked in a raspy voice as the water cleared her throat and airways.

“Sadly we did not, and so we are hoping to get some information from you that might help us solve the case”

Sandra sat up on her bed, cleared her throat a couple of times, and began narrating her ordeal. she narrated everything she could remember from the hitchhike to the crash to Eatopia and to her neighbor. Adams nodded intently as he listened to all she had to say.

” Wow, that is incredible, thank you so much. This should definitely help the case”

Sandra managed a weak smile, Adams got up from his seat and picked up a rag from a counter nearby, he walked over to the sink where an assortment of bottled chemicals sat.

“However…”, Adams said as he reached the sink, he opened one of the bottles and dabbed some of its content on the rag “…we can’t have you ruining our business”.

Sandra’s heart skipped two beats, she was not sure what she heard. Adams walked back toward her as she laid prone on the bed with the soaked rag in his hand.

“You have no idea how long Eatopia has been and how highly profitable it is”

“My Goo..ood, you are pa..part of them?”,Sandra muttered weakly.

“I’m afraid that I can’t let you go and ruin this for us, there are so many people involved and benefiting from it”

Sandra shifted violently in her bed, but the drugs that must have been administered to her, and her overall fatigue restricted her. Adams was standing over her now and she could smell the content on the rag. She was not a chemist but she did enough basic school chemistry to determine the smell of chloroform.

Adams shoved the rag onto her face, holding her down as she struggled under his weight. She tried holding her breath but it was a futile effort as the chemicals traveled down her nostrils and relaxed her entire system until she started slipping into unconsciousness.

She passed out from the chloroform and laid motionless on the bed as Adams beckoned to some strange men that had been waiting outside the ward. They came in and carried her unresponsive body away

She had escaped the lion’s den but ran straight into the belly of the beast.

THE END.

DYSTOPIA 

​A concept once imagined

A theory once propounded 

An era that served as fodder 

For the world of media 
I wake up day after day

Unsure whether I am asleep or awake

Situations I once witnessed on screen alone 

Manifesting themselves around my vicinity 
Fiction becomes fact

Fact becomes reality 

Reality becomes happenings 

Happenings become now
Hope rests like a lily in the mire

Struggling for survival 

The cesspool of bleakness drowning it slowly 

Its petals waning from asphyxiation 
Alas not all is lost yet

Spores emanate from the dying lily

Spreading to little bits of fertile land

For in the face of darkness 

Little hope still reigns 

The Cosmic Pyramid 

​First there is Nothing 

A total dark abyss of non existence 

A chasm of zeros and nonsense 

A blank canvas where ideas are made
Next comes Chaos

A sudden jolt of energy 

Concepts, meaning and manifestations erupt

Disorderly without purpose and direction 
Then Order is established 

A stoic system of formation 

The atoms arranged, the assembly organized 

A mindless strata erected
Design is made

As thought is used to enact logic

Intricacies and complexities interwoven with intent

A format built with purpose and direction 
Mind is the master

The overseer of all design and order 

The consciousness that powers the mortal coil 

That approves and alters at will
God the final phase 

The zenith of the cosmic pyramid 

That the mind endlessly strives to attain 

Until it falls short only to begin again from Nothing 

Genuine immortality 

​Immortality 

Human’s ultimate desire since the inception of time

The notion of existing perpetually 

Living and breathing continually 
Mortality 

A concept that haunts the mind on end 

The notion of fading away

Rotting and decaying day after day
The philosopher’s stone 

The fountain of youth 

Relics and myths pursued for ages

Time spent chasing the death cure

Only brings man closer to his departure 
For immortality is not about flesh

It is not about maintaining the mortal coil

Like every machine, the body will cease to function 

Because physical living is not the only option 
What do you accomplish 

On your brief time on earth

Were you a tool of change

Or an object of shame
Can you linger in memories 

After you are long gone? 

Ever living in the mind of people 

And not regarded as an essence of trouble 
Gandhi, King, Mandela 

All men of valor that we ever mention and respect 

For genuine immortality 

Is not about simply living

But about leaving a legacy

Meningitis: The Avoidable Plague

Compiled and submitted by Igbo Gabriel 


The Nigerian centre for disease control (NCDC) has raised an alarm in February over the outbreak of meningitis across north western (Zamfara state to be precise) Nigeria. It was recorded that as at 30th of March 2017, 282were confirmed dead while on the 4th of April, the death toll rose to 336 and as at April 7, 2017, it rose to 438. This predicament brings us into looking deep into what meningitis is all about. 

Meningitis from the word or it’s most affected region was coined from the ‘MENINGES’ which involves three membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis occurs when the fluid surrounding the meninges becomes infected. It’s an acute inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. 


There are several causes of meningitis such as pneumonia, irritation, drug allergies and some cancer related diseases. Apart from these cause which are mere, there are more serious and severe causes of this meningitis which are in two forms namely viral and bacterial infections. The most common of it is the viral infection. It has been discovered that it affects 10 to 15 percent of infants per year. It affects 85% of the entire population, but the most interesting thing about viral infection is that it only affects a small percentage of people and only a smaller percent with viral infection develop meningitis. It is also interesting to know that the viral infection can go away without treatment. 

Bacterial meningitis is more deadly and dangerous. It becomes chronic if left untreated and unattended for a significant amount of time. It affects about 5% of children and between 20 to 50% of adults which eventually leads to the death of the patient even when proper treatment is administered at the right time. Bacteria that cause meningitis can be found in the respiratory tract, sinuses and nasal cavity.  


Furthermore, meningitis can be transmitted through body fluid such as blood and body discharge. Symptoms ranging between viral and bacterial meningitis are similar but bacterial meningitis is more severe. Symptoms vary depending on the age which includes decreased appetite, irritability, sleepiness, lethargy, fever, stiff neck, seizure, photophobia(sensitivity to light), phonophobia(sensitivity to sound), nausea and headache. However bacterial meningitis is bound to develop suddenly and its symptoms may include altered mental status and nausea. 

Meningitis can be very deadly and lethal. This is the reason why it’s important to be medically alert at any time. Once any of the above symptoms are noticed, seek immediate medical diagnosis and treatment. One cannot deduce the presence of meningitis merely through feeling, a doctor is more suited to determine whether one has the disease or not. Meningitis may be deadly but ignorance is deadlier, one must not ignore their health until it’s chronic lest it becomes too late. 

However, meningitis can be complicated, as certain demographics are more vulnerable to the disease and this includes people with immune deficiency diseases that weaken the immune system like HIV, AIDS, organs or bone marrow transplants. Another set of people prone to meningitis are people living together in relatively small environments, which may include people living in dormitories, barracks, day care centers where people mingle constantly and have close body contact. Pregnant women are also at risk of contacting the disease as it can affect their unborn children and children under the age of 5 are also at a high risk of contacting viral meningitis. 


In a nutshell, having known about all these, diagnosis becomes necessary which gives rise to the question of how.  Doctors can perform a procedure known as lumbar puncture which involves the injection of a needle into the base of tof skull in order to extract some cerebro spinal fluid that can be tested in order to discover whether the patient has meningitis or not. 

To crown it all, treatment of meningitis is best determined early. Prevention is better than cure, hence ways of preventing the disease should be announced and widespread if not, this article would be incomplete. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is ultimately paramount, which includes been aware of what goes into one’s mouth, what one puts on their body, the people one mingles with. For those who are prone or vulnerable to meningitis, they are advised to get adequate amount of rest, avoid vices like smoking, avoid contact with sick people and opt for vaccination as early as possible. Sadly the absence of the knowledge of vaccination is the chief reason for the rampant spread of the disease in the northern part of Nigeria.

 I hope you have been enlightened by this article. Share it and spread the word to as many people you know and together we can cull this plague efficiently.  

Life: The Ultimate Medium


There are two prominent sentences that are uttered in everyday life especially during crisis ‘Life is unfair’ and ‘Life is meaningless’. These two sentences are ubiquitous to the everyday man trying to make sense of his existence. To address the first statement ‘Life is unfair’, I would be remiss if I didn’t highlight its notion, ideally life owes no one anything but is merely a raging sea of randomness that sploshes and splashes to and fro occasionally effecting its contents either positively or negatively. An antelope in the Serengeti that gets devoured by a lioness, obviously wouldn’t have wanted to be eaten but alas it was and its death would be used to benefit the lioness and her cubs. In essence, we come into this world already in motion and expect situations to always go our way. We can’t control the laws of nature, all we can do is live in it and ensure as much as possible to do our best to make it conducive for ourselves. Stop grumbling about the unfairness of life and live in the moment because none of us knows when our end will come. Death is an inevitability for every organism, so why worry about it. Live in the now and make the best out of it. 


Concerning the second statement ‘Life is meaningless’ it can be argued that it is closer to the truth than expected. A person born into this world, that grows up without any ambition, simply eating, sleeping and breathing only before returning to the soil can be perceived to have lived a meaningless life. I will once again use a maritime metaphor by saying that life is like a raging sea of purposelessness which a sailor must traverse while searching for clues and adventure that would make him feel fulfilled and satisfied. Just like the sailor, we are all born into a chaotic world filled with ups and downs without any specific direction. You choose to decide what will make you feel fulfilled. You choose what makes sense and meaning to you. Whenever you feel downcast, that is merely a moment when you have struck an iceberg in the sea of purposelessness but with the right mettle and resolve, you can pull out of the iceberg and return to the sea in search of purpose. 


In a nutshell, life can be unfair and meaningless but with the right attitude and conviction you can find purpose and engage yourself meaningfully until we eventually run our course on this earth. So you are the one that determines where your life will go. Get up, stop complaining and take action. You might fail occasionally but as long as you are alive, you can always change your situation. Life is the ultimate medium and you are the catalyst capable of changing its effects on you. 

Watch “Kingsman: The Golden Circle Trailer #1 (2017) | Movieclips Trailers” on YouTube

Recently, the first trailer for the upcoming Kingsman: The Golden Circle was released. It rattled the bones and whetted my appetite with its visually satisfying cinematics and explosive action. The first movie was a surprise hit from the visionary mind of Matthew Vaughn, a master at blending action and comedy as seen in his other works like Stardust, X-Men: First Class and Kickass. This new trailer introduces a couple new A-list actors like Channing Tatum(21 Jump Street), Julianne Moore(Still Alice), Halle Berry(Monster’s Ball), Jeff Bridges(The Big Lebowski) and many more. The trailer showcases action and comedy reminiscent of the first movie and seems like it would continue its satirical deconstruction and parody of spy movie tropes. Kingsman is looking to be more expansive and franchise worthy. Hopefully we will get a nice and even better treat than the infamous church scene from the first movie. The movie comes out on the 22nd of September 2017. Remember manners maketh a man. 

The Fast and the Furious: A Cinematic Zeitgeist 

The Fate of the Furious also known as Fast 8 is the eighth installment in the Fast and the Furious franchise which began in 2001. The story still follows Dominic Torretto(Vin Diesel) and his motley crew of skilled associates. The synopsis reads as thus,  Dom has finally settled down with his wife Letty(Michelle Rodriguez) until a new threat arises in the form of a cyber terrorist named Cipher(Charlize Theron) forces Dom into working for her and turning him against his team, who must now rally and collaborate with reluctant allies to take down Dom and Cipher. This will be the first film not to feature Paul Walker since his tragic fatal car accident in 2013. The film is directed by F. Gary. Gray most popularly known for his astounding work on Straight Outta Compton. This movie also happens to be the highest grossing opening of all time with an opening weekend of $532 million. 

The Fast and the Furious films have become popular due to their high octane action set pieces and exotic locations. The franchise started way back in 2001 with The Fast and the Furious which was about an undercover agent Brain O’Connor(Paul Walker), infiltrating an elite street racing crew led by Dom Torretto, in order to expose them for their frequent hijacking of expensive electronic equipments from truck drivers. The movie was a hit and thus began the the little bud which would eventually bloom into this current worldwide phenomenon. 

Next came 2 Fast 2 Furious in 2003 which introduced the character of Roman Pearce(Tyrese Gibson) and Tej(Ludacris). This was followed up with The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift in 2006 which occurs chronologically after the events of Fast 6 and concurrently with Fast 7. This was also the first movie in the franchise to take place in an exotic and foreign location. 

This was superseded with Fast and Furious in 2009, the fourth film. It featured the return of Brian, Dom and Letty. Fast Five in 2011 succeeds the prior film and is also shot in an exotic location which was Brazil. This is also the first movie to implement heist themes into the franchise. This movie also introduced Agent Hobbs(Dwayne Johnson) into the foray. Fast and Furious 6 in 2013 supervenes and takes place primarily in London with Owen Shaw(Luke Evans) as the main antagonist 

Furious 7 came next in 2015 and fully fleshes out the character of Deckard Shaw(Jason Statham) who was briefly showed in the previous movie. The movie takes place majorly in Abu Dhabi this time. This comes full circle to the incumbent release of the Fate of the Furious and with more installments in the works, this is one franchise with a long runway and ample fuel to keep going for as long as its gears keep turning and the cash keeps rolling and until we the audience can no longer stomach the outrageous stunts and epic cinematics. Till then we will ride on.