Asterisked

ASTERISKED

Idomo surveyed the list of humans he was assigned to destroy with a malevolent gleam in his eyes. It was a long list, six thousand, six hundred and sixty-six beings long. He had all kinds of deliciously wicked things planned for them: accidents, chronic sicknesses, retrenchment, heartbreak, disappointments, and massive crop failures; even a suicide or two. He enjoyed bringing doom on the human race, but nothing gave him as much pleasure as getting a saint to stumble. And no saint on his list had been harder to tackle that the one listed as number seven – Edima Usoro.

He snarled as he asterisked her name and his ugly face turned grotesque.
How he hated that woman. Sometimes the sheer force of his loathing would shrivel his toe-claws and make his insides froth with frustration. It was useless; he could do little to harm her. Her hedge of protection was impenetrable; there were no Bitterness holes or Hatred gutters to climb in through. Her company of angels were vigilant and alert; each morning she galvanized them with her prayers and confessions. He had been monitoring her for nineteen years and so far nothing he tried had worked. He had to discover a way to trip her before the grand assembly at the Bermuda Pyramid on Friday the 13th. If he didn’t, he would be demoted, made a mere messenger demon and sent to the Sahara desert, a homeless placeless nothingness. He cringed at the thought.

“No” he muttered under his breath.

With a sweep of his arm he summoned a translucent screen and typed in her name and number. Instantly, her entire dossier appeared. He lowered himself to sit on one of the giant branches of the Udara tree he was perched on and studied the dossier with a frown.

Edima Usoro was a thirty four year old spinster who taught Literature in Graceland Secondary school, Abak, Akwa Ibom State. She had lost both parents in an auto crash when she was nine and spent most of her teen years in domestic servitude. At fourteen she caught tuberculosis and was scheduled for termination in three days. A travelling evangelist sensed the hit and spent a week prayerfully looking for her. He found her huddled on a mat coughing up globules of blood. He had shared the good news with her and healed her of the disease. Things were never the same after that. He had estimated that she would be excited for a month or two before returning to lap up her vomit as many did. He was wrong. Nineteen years later she was still burning with love for The Maker and his people… Unforgivable.

Like every of these earthen treasure carriers, she had her struggles, weaknesses and mistakes. The problem was she never built a tent there. She was prompt to repent when she did or said anything incriminatory. She bore no grudges and even dared to forgive people in advance. Even when he got those hard to come by permits to throw a rough spot her way it did nothing. She merely prayed more, gave more and sang praises while she was at it.

He HATED this girl!

She made being a demon hard, hapless, harrowing work.

He had to find a way, he needed a break through. Time was running out faster than a flickering candle. He needed to devise a plan that would work. These were the most desperate of times and they called for the most devilish measures. There was just one thing he could think of. The one thing she still felt shame, guilt, confusion and fear about. The thing she had not soaked in prayers or saturated in daily confessions. The thing she scarcely understood, yet garbled with daily: her sexuality.

Technically she was a virgin but he knew she fantasized about sexual pleasure. She wanted a man. Not just any man though, but one that was strong, honest, intelligent, well to do, sexy and fun to be with. A godly man that would slay her dragons, father her children and treat her like a queen. Someone that would change diapers, take her to see the Obudu Cattle Ranch, give her foot rubs when she got home from the market , teach her a few things about love making and romance. She wanted a cultured man from around those parts who knew his way in the world but wasn’t trapped in it. She wanted a lover, brother, father and friend.

Idomo toggled over to her wants and a faint smile lit up his face. There was a chance after all. She wasn’t an angel, she was a woman. She had a crazy wish list but at least she wanted something.  All he had to do was fan that desire and provide a suitable object for its expression. Luciferiously, Biology and Physiology were on his side, they had awakened parts of her she hadn’t even known existed. Her nesting instincts, her sexual impulses, and her desire to feel loved…. all of this was creating the perfect environment for his plan. All he had to do was find the man, one that was a good imitation of her outrageously impossible imagined man. He needed a man good enough to arouse her attention, but bad enough to do his bidding. The trouble was, there were few men like that in the entire South-south region. Most of such men were either working themselves to the bone in the major cities like Warri Uyo and Port Harcourt too busy to take up the demands of courtship, or serving un-noticed in some out of the way locations. They were caught up in the daily grind, slaving for the elusive naira, catering for aged parents, loving the wrong women, ending up jaded, bitter, broken….

Luckily, he had not left his fate to demographics. He had expected this sort of challenge with Edima and prepared accordingly. He knew just the man for the job: Marcus Ekanem Ekpe.

Marcus Ekpe was a forty year old Electrical engineer with a 200 mega watt smile and a natural way with words. The third born and only son in a family of five children he knew more about women than many knew about themselves. He worked for Vodacotel an international Telecommunications company with major operations in the Niger Delta as a Site Engineer. He was 5 ft 10 inches, coconut-shell brown, well built, good-looking in an under stated way and great company. He was a ladies’ man, serial monogamist and one time church boy. He loved the thrill of conquering women that played hard to get. He knew the routine and relished it.  Marcus was a hunter who loved every part of the chase. His friends called him the Bullet, he scarcely missed his mark. They even liked to joke that an easy girl was like an antelope that willingly collapsed at a hunters feet; probably old and riddled with incurable disease.

Idomo clapped and his work screen vanished. He knew what had to be done. He had to get Marcus sent to set up the new Vodacotel Telecommunications mast at Abak. It had to be at the start of the long holidays around July 27th. Edima had to be in the middle of her cycle when her hormones were most volatile. Marcus had to have enough cash to fund his seductions so his arrears and upfront allowances had to be paid in full by August 1st. Eno his current babe had to be out of sight and out of touch, aha! NYSC posting to Birrin Kebbi would be just the thing.

One thing still bothered him though.

What if The Maker revealed his plans to her beforehand?  How in creation was he going to stop that?



52 thoughts on “Asterisked” by Sunshine (@nicolebassey)

  1. Wow! I love this! Characterization and Setting were well developed.

    Brilliant writing sunshine. Well done.

    1. Sunshine (@nicolebassey)

      Thanks @Chemokopi ,you always make me shine. :-)

  2. I hate stories like this na.
    Hope no one is going to write about rapture.
    A young man should not be reminded of these things!

    You write well.

    1. Sunshine (@nicolebassey)

      Thank you @kaycee hehe, you dey fear? Am honoured by your compliment , it is high praise indeed. :-)

      1. @nicolebassey @kaycee I was totally en-RAPTURED!

        Nice work.

        Very, very nice.

        1. Sunshine (@nicolebassey)

          Thank you @shaifamily you are a tremendous ENcourager :)

  3. Beautifully written. I loved it.
    And the title’s cool…really cool.
    Well done.

  4. Thank @Dira, you make writing a pleasure .

  5. Very easy read – told with engaging casualness. And the story is REALLY interesting; I smiled throughout this. Abeg, take am! :-)

    1. Sunshine (@nicolebassey)

      Thanks @kelechi

  6. Hmm…Okay na. Make we see.
    Not bad.

    1. Sunshine (@nicolebassey)

      lol. Thanks @Raymond wetin we wan see?

  7. Waiting for part 2

    1. Sunshine (@nicolebassey)

      hehe is that a publishing contract? Thanks for reading.

  8. no matter how the devil schemes he can never defeat God- good story and i enjoyed it

    1. Sunshine (@nicolebassey)

      Amen bro,am glad you enjoyed this,very glad.

  9. Engaging…Waiting for the next to come…Well done…$ß

  10. Sunshine (@nicolebassey)

    @sibbylwhyte Hmmm i did not plan a sequel to this piece, but if the price is right… ;). Thank you so much for reading .

  11. At once, I knew on the drape of the sky, even at the dusk, that the sun shines.
    I am Ostar and I know the ambience of the cloud well.

    Sunshine shines!!!

  12. Awww @ostar, thank you!

  13. @nicolebassey,

    I can’t believe that you didn’t plan a part 2 to this.This has ‘SEQUEL NEEDED’ written all over it!

    Anyway, I’m not a believer in forcing sequels where there was never any intention of creating them, so I will leave be.

    I enjoyed the story very much; I loved the premise of a tempter (who has his own personal worries) setting out to trap a believer. I liked very much the descriptions of how he was setting about his task, and how he had researched his subject so well that even I had a good idea who she was.

    Please accept 20 points (but sha, I would have given you more if there was a sequel).

    1. Sunshine (@nicolebassey)

      @TolaO I am speechless… sniff, This means so much to me, sniff sniff, :-) . Thank you, You have made my day!

  14. Sunshine (@nicolebassey)

    If You liked this try Sister How Can You Be Gone and What Are Friends For :-) .

  15. Sunshine, you should call Peretti up and tell him you have a facsimile of his ‘piercing the darkness’, see if he would want to buy this from you as a continuum to that astounding prose-fiction that he wrote. I bet ya, he would break the banks for this. Beautiful write man.

    1. Sunshine (@nicolebassey)

      :-) , I will @fervency, You have got me blushing red clay brown. Thank you for reading.

  16. Wow…why didn’t I see this story when it came out?

    I have to confess…you write beautifully. You took your time to build your characters and make them REAL. There’s also the verisimilitude aspect…that this is a very striking semblance of reality. It’s thought provoking and very believable.

    The idea behind the story is also novel – you’ve given us a thought provoking perspective; one from a supernatural angle that gives possible answers to imagined questions.

    One thing though…you called the demon ‘Idomo’ an African name…is there a rationale for that?

    On the whole I love this story…it looks like the way I write…even your striking title sounds like the way I title my story.

    1. Now @Afronuts you make me want to write a book!
      Thank you, for your generous and kind words
      Thank you for taking the time to read this through.
      Thank you for the NS points too :-)

  17. And for this I’m giving you 30 points.

    well done!

    1. okay…I don’t know whats up with NS…they keep saying I’m entering invalid receipient…@Admin wetin dey happen? Why can’t I donate points?

      1. @Afronuts,

        Please check that you are entering the person’s mention name in the ‘Recipient’ box.

        The mention name is the name that you see next to the person’s replies that is preceded with an ‘@’ sign.

        In sunshine’s case, her mention name is nicolebassey.

    2. Also i think most people missed this because it wasn’t an Editor’s pick. I have been wondering what makes a story picked by the Editors… @afronuts @admin

      1. @nicolebassey,

        If the work is well-written with very few typos and it is an interesting readable work, this will increase its chances of being selected as an editor’s pick.

        However, we do not select novel excerpts, and that is why this was not selected.

        1. Thanks @admin , i appreciate the insight, but the poem Sister How Can You Be Gone , Surely that wasnt a novel excerpt was it? Why was that left behind?

          1. @nicolebassey, the editors pick only a certain number of all published submissions at a time. Cheers.

  18. adams (@coshincozor)

    I like the flow!

    1. :-) thank you @adams , am glad you liked it. Read through my other posts and tell me what you think if you dont mind.

  19. Beautifully written. You held me all through.

    Very well done.

    1. Yaaay! @Electrika *dancing* So gooood to see you ma :-) . Thank you!

  20. I’ll try not to ramble on how good this is. (I’ll try not to)

    So I’ll let brevity dispatch my thoughts on this one with the freshly distilled drop from the finest ensemble of words.

    And the word that aptly convey this feeling is…

    Beau-ti -ful !

    1. @midas you are too kind, thank you :-) . check Sister How Can You Be Gone too, you might like it :-) . Many thanks

  21. My dear, this is just good. I wish I could buy you a plate of afang soup and shiny white pounded yam! You and Raymond are proving to be this site’s most outstanding sci-fi, supernatural yarn-spinners.
    Seriously, I wanted a tale where our dear sister took on Marcus and won or failed (God forbid). I could see Idomo scheming and spinning his luciferic plots. For ‘akwa ibomising or cross riverising’ your characters, setting, plot and pace you deserve a medal.You need not believe in Jesus to enjoy this.
    Next time, spread out the canvas. Details, hon. Na novel, abi?

    1. :-) i ll expect my afang …. thank you Sir! You too much! @ezeakukwo

  22. @nicolebassey…mma…this is wonderful! I enjoyed it…Idomo will just remain that…an Idomo. I just have the faith that even if she falls, God’s mercy will remain on her. I am thinking you must have read Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness and its sequel Piercing the Darkness…if you haven’t please do…Well done…once again mma titia

    1. Eyeneka @enoquin Sosongo O!

  23. I like your imagination but i wouldnt say i totally enjoyed the story. it was sort of predictable and am a sucker for story that keep me pondering. in fact, your narrative kept given away the story and rather than us experience the story by ourselves, we are just been told. (something like tales by moonlight)

    Also a few grammatical errors like:

    1) And no saint on his list had been harder to tackle that (than) the one listed as number seven – Edima Usoro.

    2) He had to discover a way to trip her before the grand assembly at the Bermuda Pyramid on Friday the 13th. If he didn’t, he would be demoted, made a mere messenger demon and sent to the Sahara desert, a homeless placeless nothingness. (i think this sounds a little off. how about “a home to nothingness or a place of nothingness”)

    3) Like every of these earthen treasure carriers, (this line seems unclear)

    4) She made being a demon hard, hapless, harrowing work. (“work” at the end of the sentence doesnt seem to work. or probably use “and a harrowing job”)

    5) All he had to do was (fan: dont understand the word use) that desire and provide a suitable object for its expression.

    In all, good story. i hope i was helpful. keep it coming!

    1. Thank you for the detailed comment @meshybizzo

      1.That was a typographical error due to over reliance on my computers spell checker.

      2. Nothingness refers to what he would be, irrelevant to the kingdom of darkness and anyone else for that matter.

      3. The Bible says that Christians carry treasure in earthen vessels hence the synonym treasure carrier

      4. Try reading both lines aloud. I did, i prefer it the way it is.

      5. Desire is like a flame hence the allusion to fanning. To fan a flame/desire is to increase it.

      Lastly, this was an excerpt, telling you about Idomo so I can show you God’s goodness later.

      1. Fan desire? like flame? wow, i think that’s wrong use of English men. you can strengthen you resolve or desire maybe but to fan it? that’s from a naija English writing perspective i believe.

        Anyway, i just gave my opinion. We all are still learning.

        1. Are You an english graduate? @meshybizzo ? l re-read that sentence and yes you can fan someone elses desire. Well, i ll do my research , and if you are wrong you apologise, if i am i will do same. Naija English? LWFMDH! Laff wan fall me down hia.

          1. English graduate? lol. Am just a sucker for good writing. the problem i have noticed is that many writers here on NS just dump there first draft which is most times full of errors.

            Yes o! its Naija spoken English which unfortunately is wrong.

            You sound so sure. Please, do your research. Am willing to learn.

            1. Yes, @meshybizzo I am back, i just checked and yes, desire can be fanned. For an example , type fan desire into google and press enter, you ll see this sentence from Gallup.com | International Connections Fan Desire To Migrate. So ….

              1. hahahaha.

                No disrepect here men. Yea i saw it. Sorry. but like i said we are all here to read, write, learn and improve ourselves i believe. :)

  24. @nicolebassey
    you’re super
    reading through your works
    brought sunshine to my thoughts…………

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