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Captive No More (Part VI)

Captive No More (Part VI)


Tanto, my grandfather’s dog

was busy harassing a lizard

when he caught the scent

of strange bodies.

He did not hear them

and he did not see them

but he could smell them

within fifty yards from him.

He compared the scent

with other scents from the compound

eliminating one by one

all the characters living and dead

that he had come across

in his eight years

of dogging around the neighborhood

come rain, come shine

come harmattan, come whirlwinds

which he particular loved

as the air turned round and round

and he spun around chasing it.

He could also smell the rain

which was still several miles away

but was certainly inching its way

Nearer and nearer without falling.


The fat red neck lizard

was nodding its head up and down

as it stayed low enough

to drive Tanto crazy

Yet far away enough

On the craggy adobe wall

to feel safe and free

of Tanto’s predictable chasing.

They had been playing the same game

for a couple of seasons

and the agama lizard could feel

that Tanto’s enthusiasm and speed

was already slowing down

even as its own energy

was just starting to grow

as its red neck began to glow.

But the agama could feel

that Tanto was preoccupied

with some unseen character

as he stopped chasing it

holding high his head

and fanning out his ears

trying to catch some sound

far from where he was.

It smelled evil to him

and he wanted to find out

who it was that reeked so bad

and what their business was

within the walled compound

of the chief’s mansion.


Tanto moved away from the agama

to a special hidden spot

where he could watch my grandfather

without losing the scent

hanging so heavy

in the air.

To his annoyance

the scent was not getting nearer

but seemed to sit on one spot

which he found curious.

Suspicious of this stagnant scent,

he moved away from sight

and hid behind a dead tree

which has lost most of its barks

and was lying on its side

frequently playing hosts

to rodents and wild squirrels

hiding their loots in shallow burrows,

for rivals to discover and steal

as they sought rivals’ banks to loot.


As Tanto settled inside his favorite hole

within the dead tree trunk

his gaze spanned the spot

where Akin was playing

and he could still keep an eye

on the mischievous agama

halfway up the adobe wall

within twenty yards from him.

Tanto knew the scent belonged

to at least three people

none of them female

none of them children.

He kept his nostrils open

and scanned the air with his ears.


Suddenly he saw them

and within a matter of seconds

they pounced on Akin

as he dashed out of his hiding

and sunk his teeth really deep

on the calf of the one

nearest to him

biting as hard and as sharp as he could

Without letting go,

looking to break some bone.

It was that same moment

that a bolt of jagged lightning

lit the evening sky

tearing it to shreds

and a loud thunder crashed

striking the dead tree trunk

making a roaring sound

more frightening than he had ever heard.

Startled, he let go of the man’s leg

because he was petrified

by the sudden firework and terrifying noises

when the thunder rumbled

and the electrifying lightning struck

with ferocious fury.

That was when the sky opened up

and a storm of rain

so heavy began to fall

pelting him with rocklike stings

that for a moment he couldn’t see

where he was

and couldn’t smell where

the strange evil men went.

But he noticed with great concern

that Akin, his watch,

had also disappeared

with these foul-smelling strangers.

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