Avenger of Blood by Franklin Finecountry by Franklin Finecountry - Read Online

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Avenger of Blood - Franklin Finecountry

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FINECOUNTRY

Copyright © 2016 Franklin Finecountry.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted by any means—whether auditory, graphic, mechanical, or electronic—without written permission of both publisher and author, except in the case of brief excerpts used in critical articles and reviews. Unauthorized reproduction of any part of this work is illegal and is punishable by law.

Bible Scripture:

NKJV – New King James Version

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

KJV - King James Version

Scripture taken from the King James Version of the Bible.

The Message Bible

All Scripture quotations in this publications are from The Message. Copyright © by Eugene H. Peterson 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Amplified Bible

Scripture taken from the Amplified Bible, copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

The Maxwell Leadership Bible (NKJV)

ISBN: 978-1-4834-5680-5 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4834-5681-2 (e)

Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models, and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.

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Lulu Publishing Services rev. date: 10/12/2016

CONTENTS

Dead Man Walking!

Part I: The Dream

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Part II: An Innocent Blood

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Part III: The Confrontation

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Part IV: The Execution

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

About the Author

To

Arugbo Ọjọ,

Most feared in the congregation of the

holy ones, the ultimate Avenger Of Blood!

…the author takes us intimately through the nature and character of campus fraternities; the depth and breadth of their organization and their capability for evil and destruction… The plot of the Avenger of Blood is…fast paced. Even the leaning towards Christian religion is not enough to interfere with the action… The language…is flexible and free flowing, indeed, melodious in a musical way… Avenger of Blood is a beautiful action thriller the like of which I am yet to read from a Nigerian author".

Karibi George, Universal Basic Education, Port Harcourt

DEAD MAN WALKING!

Finally he was taking the walk, the lone walk, back to his beloved wife and child. He looked at them with longing in his eyes, his heart pounding. He had missed them. Looking at her now, standing there at the doorstep to their home, he felt the full pressure of the 20-month separation. He could barely make out what she was wearing and he didn’t care. All he wanted was to get to them fast.

Strange ..., he was being escorted along a corridor by two men who seemed to be in uniform. And what was that? A knell? A death toll? It seemed to punctuate their every step. He shook off the thought. It didn’t matter. All that mattered now was her… and the baby. He couldn’t really remember the gender, but he would find out soon.

As he got closer, the excitement heightened inside of him and he didn’t want to hold back. He wanted to rush and grab them. He wanted no interruptions. He could see the same excitement on her face enveloped in that joyous, welcoming smile. She seemed to be talking to the baby, pointing at him as if to say, Look! Daddy is coming home at last!

Yes, Daddy! He had longed to be a Daddy. Now he was and he was going home at last. The excitement continued to build up. He could feel it mounting with each step. He was about to explode, but he kept his head. He didn’t want to spoil the climax. He knew he could hold it until the appropriate moment. That was the one thing she loved so much about him – his ability to hold it for her till the right moment.

He was almost there - only a few steps to go. Suddenly she looked down at an object on the ground, and her smile faded. She looked up at him, a worried and pained look on her face. But then she smiled, as if to say it was o.kay. He turned to look at the distracting object which now glinted in the light. He bent and picked it up. He did not want to stop the procession, but the object had caught his wife’s attention. It was a plastic identity card. He looked up, but she was gone! And he found himself all alone in the open. Even the guards had disappeared. This he did not want. This he had tried to avoid. But the card was still with him, so he looked at it. He could not make out the face in the picture, but the name jumped out at him: ATTAI, Leslie M. a.k.a, ‘Merciless’! And then he remembered.

Slowly, the face came into focus along with echoes of words from the past. Words he had spoken to her … The day you see this card again, is the day you die! Well, the walk had stopped … for another day. A grim, hard look replaced the warm excited look that was on his face a while ago. There was an unfinished business to take care of. One more task, then he would go home. He took a deep breath and started to walk away. Suddenly, there was a loud clanging noise. He turned to look … and woke up!

He laid in bed awhile, gasping and trying to get re-acquainted with his surroundings. He was in his cell. What had made that noise? He wondered. It was his food passed through the only accessible hole in the cell door. He sat up and noticed he was sweating - not unusual in this environment. He was in a 4x8x10ft cell sealed with an 8ft-high steel door. The upper half had bars and a wire mesh, while the lower part was of corrugated steel sheet. In the middle was a 3x6 inches opening, through which he received all the materials he needed, including his meals.

There was no other opening except the lavatory pit on the floor by the wall to his right. The 2x6 ft. bed he sat on was held to the wall by chains on both ends, and was barely able to hold his 1.85m frame. The once 3 inches thick mattress, now as flat as the cardboard sheet which assisted it, was barely able to cushion the metal springs underneath, not even with the moth-eaten blanket that was meant to support it. The pillow, like an oversized puff begging to be put out of its misery, was itself helped in its duties by his hands. The 40 watt bulb on the ceiling perpetually struggled to illuminate the cell whenever it was on, which was rare. So his eyes had become accustomed to the near darkness of his home.

Not for long, though. On the wall behind him were marks - strokes which he had put there. Each stroke for each day he had spent here. There were other strokes and sketches made by former occupants, but he recognized his. He had been here for just over 90 days and he had three days to go. Yes, he was in a cell for condemned prisoners. He was on Death Row in the most secure prison in the Federal Republic of Nigeria - the Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison, nicknamed ‘The VIP Lounge’.

His execution was already set for Friday, 3rd October 2003, by lethal injection at 11:30p.m. All the relevant authorities had appended their signatures. Only the final confirmation, expected to be given tomorrow 1st October, 2003 at the nationwide, Independence Day broadcast by the President, was being awaited. This execution would be a major landmark in Nigeria’s history, because he would be the first to be executed by lethal injection. After the brutal execution by hanging of the Ogoni 9 by the General Sani Abacha regime in 1995, and the subsequent ruckus by the International Community, the Federal Government had decided to try a more humane, internationally accepted, lethal injection technique.

But the sweat on his body now, came more from the trauma of the dream than the atmosphere of his accommodation. What did it mean? He wondered, a pensive look on his face. He knew the owner of the card in his dream. She was in his past. A life he had tried hard to shut out, to forget. Now the past had come calling at a level over which he had no powers. How did he get here? It seemed just like yesterday. He was a Pastor, a loving husband, a brother and a friend. He was loved by his parishioners, cherished by his family, respected by his colleagues, favoured by his boss and his God; adored by all.

Thought of that life came flooding in and his face softened, a smile playing around his lips. He had enjoyed his work. He loved excitement. He loved to laugh and he loved, yes, he loved his wife. His body seemed to relax and his face brightened as he allowed himself to relish those thoughts.

Suddenly his face hardened and his body stiffened as the dream interrupted the sweet reminiscing. And, as bright and soft as his face had been a moment ago, it became twice as hard. The dream, he remembered, was the beginning of the storm.

PART I

THE DREAM

…If there is a prophet of God among you, I make myself known to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams.¹

CHAPTER ONE

6:15a.m on Friday, 21st December, 2001

T RAFFIC WAS BEGINNING to build up on Old Aba Road in the Rumuomasi/Woji axis of Port Harcourt metropolis. The early morning mist was slowly giving way to a dusty haze and those trying to beat the traffic by using commercial motorcycles without adequate cover had the cosmetic privilege of going grey at the hairlines and any other exposed hairy part of the body. It was the gift of the harmattan season. The motorists also had their share of the haze and drivers had to ensure that there was enough water in their vehicles for their windscreens. Otherwise they employed the services of touts who used the opportunity of the traffic hold-ups to move from car to car cleaning screens this season, for a few bucks.

Yeah, a few bucks! That’s what everybody was hustling for in these last days to Christmas. The shops and other business places were beginning to open up more out of routine than in actual expectation of making serious Xmas sales. Yes, there would be sales, but not the kind of huge sales you’d expect, particularly in the last days of November or early December when most people stocked their homes with enough provisions, ready for the holiday season. The downturn in the economic situation in the country made sure of that. A lot of people were now more interested in lower prices than in the availability of quality goods. Hence they did not hesitate to walk to three or more shops comparing prices before making actual purchases. The big companies were also affected, with the exception perhaps of the very big oil companies who could still afford to contract out, as opposed to direct labour, the purchase and distribution of hampers, in the usual end of year appreciative gesture to their valued customers.

This Friday morning, the last but one working day before Christmas, everyone was trying to make one more contact, one more business deal, one more sale, just a few more Naira before the holidays. Joseph Bongele, owner of Sir Bongs Interiors was musing on this fact as he went through his books in his makeshift office at the back of his shop. This doesn’t look good, he concluded, closing the books. He looked around at his almost fully stocked shop and lifted up his eyes in prayer. Oh God, not again this year, please Lord, he whispered under his breath.

His experience the previous year almost destroyed him. He had travelled to Dubai three times in the later half of the year to stock his shop with rare and expensive interior décor materials in anticipation of huge Christmas sales. He was clearly over-stocked and sales were so bad that it took him almost six months to clear it all up at a near suicidal loss. He had only a few months ago recovered from the shock of that disaster. This year he had gone to Dubai once, and he had been careful not to overstock his shop, yet he still had choice and expensive materials in his shop. These also have to be sold, he seemed to say, still looking up. But the economy, coupled with the attitude of customers, was not helping matters. He needed a breakthrough in the nature of a huge sale, to regain his confidence. Presently, a customer walked in.

Good morning. Please, do you have this material? he asked, showing Bongele a piece of cloth, I need it urgently for an occasion tomorrow. Sir Bongs, as he was popularly called. took the material from him and examined it. It was expensive quality stuff, and he had it. He showed the customer the roll of the cloth, and was happy as he saw the look of relief on the man’s face.

Thank God, the customer heaved. I’ve been looking for this material all over Port Harcourt. The lady specifically insisted on this stuff, he explained. How much is it?, he asked.

Two hundred and fifty Naira per yard, Sir Bongs said and the excitement on the customer’s face disappeared. Name your price, we’re in the market, Bongele tried to encourage him, putting on a smile. The man brought out a pocket calculator, punched on it a few times and named his price. Now Bongele needed to encourage himself. This should be expected he reasoned; after all the man also wanted to make something for himself. There will be some haggling, but the sale will be made, he assured himself.

The haggling started, during which the man recited an unpublished version of The Lamentations. But they had to agree to disagree. The price difference was so much that any more adjustment on his part was suicidal, Bongele thought. He watched unhappily as the man walked out of his shop.

Five minutes later the man walked back in. It was all he could do to keep from jumping off his stool. This is it, he told himself. But when the customer asked if the price difference could be shared, Bongele with a plastic smile on his face, calmly told him, No. He sat back down. This is a new day, he mused. Others will come. He prayed they will not all be like this.

#34 Enugu Street, a single storey building with four 2-bedroom flats, was beginning to show signs of activity. Its occupants were at various levels of preparation for the new day. Music, varied and at different decibels, floated through the air to announce life, and the season. In flat #4 upstairs, Josiah Datubo Stowe was standing in front of the mirror whistling a tune from Phil Driscoll’s Power of Praise album, oblivious of the build-up of traffic at both the Old Aba Road and the expressway on both ends of his street. He was in his stockings, boxer shorts, BYC singlet and a clean cream-coloured shirt. He was not bothered about Christmas preparations right now. He felt happy and excited. The major part of his Christmas was before him now, helping him to knot his tie. She stood so close to him, he could just feel the outline of her body as she arched backwards to get a good view. So doing, she pressed her lower part into him, a position that excited him, and he wanted to grab her but he knew she would protest as she didn’t like to be disturbed while at this chore.

A smile played on his lips now. He had stopped whistling and was replaying in his mind what happened earlier. They had woken up about 5:00a.m and shared from the Scriptures as their custom was. This morning, they had read from Songs of Solomon, Chapter 7. While she read, he moderated. Mid-way into his explanation of a portion of the Scripture, he noticed her breathing become heavier and the look on her face softer and alert, asking – no, demanding - for more. He knew she was getting excited and wanted to feel what he was talking about. So he stood up and moved closer to her seat without stopping his explanation. Not taking her eyes from his face, she now stood up clutching the Bible, her excitement mounting with anticipation. He picked her up and walked into the bedroom still talking, now in lower, softer tones. He put her down slowly on the bed and got undressed. She put down the Bible beside her on the bed and allowed herself to be undressed.

Now both naked, she read again the specific portion that had enthralled her and he went on to explain practically, what she had just read. He was whispering in her ears, touching her, caressing, kissing, and filling her up. She was open, responding, urging him on. He kept at it with all his heart, drawing up on the reserves he didn’t realise he had, enjoying her excitement. She could not explain what was happening to her, she only knew she was ALIVE! And every cell in her body was screaming it. As they climaxed together, though she couldn’t remember how many times she did, it was as if they were flowing into each other without reservation, restrictions or restraint. She held on to him whispering again and again, I love you, I love you, I love you. They had just enough time to catch their breath before the alarm went off. It was 6:00a.m and they had been at it for over half an hour. He wanted to rest but he had to go to work and…

I’ve finished. The words brought him to the present. He examined the knot in the mirror. Perfect! How had she learnt to do this? Most men couldn’t do it this good. She said she had learnt from her grandfather and her brothers.

What was that smile on your face? She asked, allowing herself to be pulled into him. He smiled some more looking at her in the mirror. His face had tilted upwards to allow her access so he didn’t think she saw it.

I was just thinking about this morning, he told her truthfully. I enjoyed it. And I want some more. She looked back into his eyes and replied.

Me too, but you have two options. He arched an eyebrow. You either do it alone or … she pushed deeper into him and whispered teasingly into his ear, you come back early. I have 9 o’clock lectures. At the mention of time, he let her go and picked up his trousers from the bed. He had obviously chosen the latter option.

He finished dressing, checked himself in the mirror, picked up his briefcase and handset and walked into the sitting room as the music was playing, "All hail the power of Jesus name …!" He joined in, … let angels prostrate fall. Bring forth the royal diadem …! The clock above his chair on the 4-sitter dining table said 6:49a.m as he sat down. She had prepared some egg sandwiches and a warm mug of Bournvita for him. Ten minutes later he was done. He rinsed his mouth with some water and took the empty plate and cups to the kitchen sink.

I’m done sweetheart, he called, coming out of the kitchen.

O.k.!, came the response from the bedroom. He walked to the bedroom to find her dressing up. She turned briefly to look at him. He was looking good in his black jacket, cream shirt, tan trousers, tan pair of shoes and a light blue/yellow striped silk tie.

This is my husband, she smiled, walked up to him and kissed him. Can I pilfer? she asked.

You mean ‘can I be pardoned?! he countered and walked out of the room, trying to ignore the heightening excitement in his loins. How much? he asked.

I took N2000 just in case, she explained, anticipating his protest. He turned around sharply to do just that, but then changed his mind. She had split the money in his wallet into two. Well, she needed it, he reasoned and that meant he had to go to the bank. Besides she had to go shopping for the weekend not to talk of the Christmas. They concluded arrangements for the day and he turned to leave after giving her a peck on the cheek.

Have a nice day, she said sweetly.

You too, he replied and he walked out through the door, closing it behind him.

Josiah D. Stowe or JD as he was fondly called, closed the compound gate behind him, turned and walked briskly to Aba Road junction to pick a taxi to the office. He was still whistling to the tune of All hail the power of Jesus name. He was happy this morning, and felt so light that he barely felt the strain of the nearly 10-minute walk to the junction. Close to the junction, he heard, "Pastor!" He stopped and turned.

Ah, Joe Bongs, JD responded, walking towards the shop. Both men