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The Invasion of Crackland, Part Two

The Invasion of Crackland, Part Two

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Published by Devon Pitlor
The impending invasion of the subterranean kingdom draws closer. The level of gore rises.
The impending invasion of the subterranean kingdom draws closer. The level of gore rises.

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Published by: Devon Pitlor on Feb 14, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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Laurent Nfono Mbange was like many modern West Africans, a tribal chief,
but one who lived in a normal house and quite often wore a well-tailored suit
and tie to an office in a modern structure erected amidst the squalor and
crushing poverty of a sprawling island negropolis. Laurent, a typical Bantu,
was a member of an offshoot of the majority Fang tribe which populates most
of Gabon, a part of Cameroon, most importantly the largest part of the tiny,
disjointed nation of Equatorial Guinea, composed of a few off-shore islands in

the Gulf of Guinea as well as diminutive but resource-rich mainland enclave,
once governed and exploited by Spain and since 1968, governed, exploited and
bathed in local blood by the ruthless kleptomaniac politicians which have
characterized most of sub-Saharan Africa since the demise of European
colonial rule and the onset of homegrown nepotism and outright close to home
butchery. Equatorial Guinea, although the second smallest of African nations,
has long held the record of boasting the worst human rights violations on
Earth. Since its independence, the number of successful and attempted coups
d'état had been legion and the resulting bloodshed rather adequate to paint
every square centimeter of the minuscule country in the faded crimson hue of
dried human blood.

During the privileged beginning of his life, Laurent Mbange, who had
originally migrated to the inland enclave known as Mbini from Libreville,

Gabon, had joined his hand with some of the major robber barons and
exterminators of the Fang tribe and had no shame in enumerating the number
of state enemies he had killed with either his personal firearms or by wielding a
machete, which in his agitated youth excited his bloodlust more than a simple
bullet from a gun. The first president of the nation had strode over the skulls
of literally one third of the population to achieve one party, absolutist
rulership, and Laurent had been a member in top standing of his party. He
had been present as a guest of dignity when President Francisco Macias
Nguema had personally overseen the execution of 150 alleged coup plotters in
Malabo's national soccer stadium on Christmas Day 1975, where the supposed
ringleaders were lined up to face machetes while loudspeakers carried the
sounds of a local brass band playing Mary Hopkins' tune Those Were The
Days.
This scene of carnage had been followed by the summary massacre of
over another one hundred thousand of the nation's ordinary citizens who were

adjudged without trial to have been accomplices to the executed agitators, who,
in fact may not have even been ringleaders at all. Such was Equatorial
Guinean politics, and when Macias-Nguema was finally overthrown by the
nation's current bloodthirsty dictator Teodoro Obiang in 1979, it was again in
a coup so blood-spattered and horrific that several seasoned African news
sources, well-steeped in native atrocities, refused to cover it with detailed
descriptions of the torture, outright murder and planned mutilations of
citizens suspected of loyalty to the deposed president. It was in this vicious,
sadistic and inhuman atmosphere of post-colonial chaos that Chief Laurent
Mbange grew to middle age and finally to old age, as we find him today at age
seventy, still a powerful local chief, but, strangely, as this story will explain,
having undergone a major change. A change that was both physical and,
above all, mental. And it was this change which had in the past ten years made
Laurent Mbange one of the richest men in all of Africa---and one who had

increased his fortune primarily without stealing from the state or its destitute
citizens.

At some point in his middle age, the thickset Bantu-Fang chieftain, left his
government office in the presidential palace of Malabo on the island of Bioko
and wandered back into his continental homeland, which was buried in one of
the densest rainforest jungles on Earth, a region more suited to roaming long-
fanged panthers, lethal boas, screeching leopards and murderous mandrills
than to nepotistic government bureaucrat thieves, as Mbange had been. He
began gradually to regain the customs of his own tribal Ndowe branch and
took up a mud-hut lodging near the almost inaccessible banks of the dark and
largely unknown Muni River, which traversed the profoundly tangled jungles
of the tiny enclave's unwelcoming interior. He began to realize the untapped
riches of his country in a way that the official political bandits of his

government had not. With the always-available help of hastily formed and
mostly European mercenary troops, he established a consortium of small
export franchises which specialized in the abundant mineral resources of the
African interior. For some reason, which Mbange was himself at a loss to
explain, he made a series of wise alliances and business decisions which began
almost overnight to enrich him. His growing wealth, like that of all tribal
Africans, began to mark him as a man of prestige and respect among his
clansmen, and he decided to dwell apart from the scattered technological
amenities of Malabo and Bata and make the hinterland, essentially a jungle,
his home base. Around him gathered a group of families, loosely related by
clan, who protected his emergent fortune from most of the government profit
takers, who, although nominally in charge of the entire enclave of Mbini, were
often captured, kidnapped and often roasted alive if they ventured too far into
the interior. Mbange began to see visions of things which guided him and

caused him to forsake forever the nominal trappings of his Christian religion
for the more indigenous animistic beliefs of his countrymen, who still
worshipped the abundant animal life of the region, the waterbuffalo, the
horseshoe bat, the omnipresent spotted leopard and the bushbuck antelopes
which ranged throughout the snarled virgin rainforest. In short, his decisions
were wise ones, and by the age of seventy the chimeras of something larger and
wholly ineffable were his daily companions.

One such chimera was a great, shadowy thing with an ill-defined body and tiny
glowing eye-slits which he often met at appointed times in a place so
inaccessible that even Laurent himself often had trouble finding it. He was,
however, guided by some sort of interior radar, which never failed to make him
stumble in to an exact local in the dripping jungle where the dark entity would
appear. It would suddenly come before him, always as a huge and gloomy

shade, tower above him and speak to him more or less telepathically with
directions of how to maneuver with government officials, mercenary
corporations and his own dark Sub-Saharan kinsmen. Sometimes its words
came in Spanish, the official language of Equatorial Guinea and sometimes in a
jumble of indigenous dialects, all of which Laurent readily understood. The
towering being always identified itself only as Ngoro-buba, two words which in
the Fang dialect spoken by Laurent's clan meant only The Thing.

The Thing never threatened Laurent Mbange. It summoned him often and
guided him. It told him what to do for his own sake and for the sake of his
extended kin. It was all-powerful, but benevolent in nature. It never told him
to slay, for example, and often admonished when he had killed---especially a
corrupt capital city official who had penetrated too far into the jungle
heartland.

Among the many dictates of The Thing over the past ten years had been to
clear another landing strip for private plains in the mahogany, okume and
walnut forests and to purchase a small fleet of seaplanes, mercenary surplus,
from the multiple campaigns waged by venal corporate interests from the
island of Bioko and its squalid capital city Malabo. In later times, as Laurent
neared seventy years of age, The Thing told him to begin engaging a fresh
group of mercenary soldiers in preparation for a campaign that was never
explained in any depth other than it was "far away and would start in
Malabo." Far away, to an Equatorial African could have meant only an
incursion into nearby Benin, Togo or Congo, but in time, as Laurent Mbange
complied with the wishes of his hallucinatory benefactor, it came to mean a
place far under the Arctic ice cap of Canada, a place located beneath the crust
of the Earth itself on glacial Somerset Island, a place ruled by an exploitive

assemblage of white men under the guise of a repressive and cruel monarchy
that would put the kleptocrats of Malabo to shame in its iniquity and malice.
Like all sub-Saharan Africans, Laurent Mbange loathed the white colonists
and their unapologetic maltreatment of other races like his own. The Thing
not only directed Laurent, but also capitalized on his innate hatred of
European colonial masters. It explained to him that other shadowy and huge
creatures like itself had once fled from this underground world and had settled
in various remote places on Earth. This race had the natural birthright to the
subterranean realm of which The Thing spoke and now had plans to reclaim it
as rightfully theirs, but this would be with Laurent's help, as well as that of
paid mercenaries and the strongest and loyalist of his dark countrymen. Those
chosen, and they would be many, would be "awarded" a badge of honor on
their dusky skins, a lustrous "crescent of fire" which would identify them one
to another and give them other "magical" powers, the likes of which Laurent

had already tasted in his mystical rise to wealth.

"Will I ever see you for what you are?" asked Laurent of the specter with great
reverence and unquestioned obedience.

"When the time comes, you will see us for what we are," roared the entity into
Laurent's mind, "and you will see us as good and benevolent to all races and
species."

The shadow creature had also told Laurent the name of the place, which, of
course, was Crackland today, but it had been something very different in past
eras, and it would become that again with Laurent's help.

"Gather your forces and wait for our instructions," the manifestation said

before once again dissolving into the matted vines and jumbled mangroves of
the tepid jungle. "Gather your forces."

And Laurent, dark and swarthy, wearing only a pair of French made corduroy
shorts, trudged back to his hut. He was proud to be of service and enjoyed his
comfortable and easily-gained wealth. He was untroubled by the fact,
respected by his clan and countrymen, that all about his body were radiant
rings of purple and red "fire." He was proud that many of his tribe, the
strongest and the best no doubt, manifested lesser versions of the same hard
and proud extrusions--which won them the attention of the most fecund virgins
of the Bantu-Fang forest dwelling tribe.

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