They found themselves in an almost exact scenario as they had been when they had confronted the Forerunner the very first time; it was so very similar one may be tempted to believe it was a replay of their first encounter. However, some things were not the same, one of which was the heart beat rate of the officers, rather than go crazy from the impulse of fear, it beat with a tempo consistent with confidence, there were no small hairs standing at the back of their neck, neither were their pupils dilated unnaturally, they just stayed prepared. The changes were partly due to the fact that this was not the first time they were standing on the same turf with the horrible-looking being, but majorly it was because this time they had something new up their sleeves, they had gotten extra help. Over and over again they had broken a simple but cardinal mafia rule; they had brought a knife to a gun fight, and repeatedly they had ended up getting burnt, but not this time. They had the very right tool for the right fight.
They had given the priest the thirteen plastic bullets that he had requested and he had taken the bullets away for three days just like he told them, after which he returned it, placing on them a commission that they were now ready to be demon hunters, a term that unnerved some of the men. Repeatedly the priest was asked what he had done with the bullets and he had repeatedly remained mute about the answer. All he said was;
“I have done my part; what is left is yours”
With faith they accepted.
What the priest actually did was a ritual that had been in practice for hundreds of years, longer than anyone cared to know or remember. The ritual had undergone changes over the centuries but the principle however remained unchanged.
He had immersed the thirteen bullets into water for three whole days, a holy water of some sort, and at seven different times during those three days, each at a precise hour, he had read into the water versus exorcizare literally translated to mean ‘the verses of the exorcist’, an ancient text hardly known to many. The writing was still in Latin and had never been translated to any other language; it was forbidden. The book from which the verses were read contained verses for diverse purposes, to conjure, to assign, to instruct…everything you could think of, it was a typical two-edged sword, one that cut both ways and to be used by the reader in the way and manner that he pleases. But with such power also came great damnation for times when it was improperly used.
It had taken twelve days of exhaustive work to track the Forerunner, they worked day and night all round the clock, waiting and hoping for a breakthrough, meanwhile the number of missing people climbed steadily. The search was frustrating. Then suddenly, when all hopes seemed lost they got a tip, they religiously followed it up and here was where it got them.
Just like the other time the Forerunner started to walk towards them. Kunle took the first shot. This time he didn’t need to follow protocols. After him came a rain of shots, and then there was silence. They held their breath and waited for an impact but rather the Forerunner kept walking towards them like nothing had happened. It was one rude shock to the team and fear fell heavily upon them like a wet blanket. They were totally defenseless. They had relied so much on their special bullets that they never considered the scenario: what if it fails to work.
The forerunner was boiling with rage, and just when he was about to reach the motionless Kunle he stopped abruptly, threw his hands to his head and started to scream bitterly, it was so loud and so unearthly. He dug his long nails so deep into his forehead it made cuts the shape of semi circles. He kept screaming and cursing, uttering words that had no meaning to the men that watched the wonder. It flung itself to the ground with a loud thud like someone in a seizure and after what seemed like an eternity of violent movement calmness started to come upon the body. The large blood vessels that stood out on the boy’s head started to fade away, and gradually, just like a movie the menacing being started to give way to the figure of a fourteen year old boy. The transformation happened before their very eyes. But he was no longer just any fourteen year old boy, he was a boy with bruises, burns, wounds and sores all over, an evidence of what the boy had passed through, the evidence of what he’d had to endure.