Checkpoint (4)

Checkpoint (4)

12

“C’mon help me up!”

Reginald moved over, ignoring the painful chorus his body was singing and grabbed Femi’s hand, pulling him upright. He tried to ignore the screaming which, together with the snarling and growling seemed like a perverted form of thematic music. The screams were the cries of fear confronted by madness and savagery. They were the screams pulled out from the deepest recesses of the brain, the place past all reason, all thought, the place reserved for the unthinkable, and then some.

Reginald clamped down hard on the fear; he could feel it building like a whirlwind, so he clamped down hard on it and dragged it screaming into the bars of his soul.

He fished out his handkerchief and handed it to Femi, who mumbled his thanks. Picked his bag and rummaged through it, found his water bottle and gave it to Femi. “Here. Don’t finish it.”

“Thanks.” Femi rinsed his mouth, spat out the bloody water, then drank some. Screwed the cap back on and handed the bottle back to Reginald. Reginald unscrewed the cap and took a drink. Screwed the cap back on, then put the bottle in his bag. He realized that the screaming had stopped. They both looked at themselves for a while, and as they turned in the direction of the road, they heard thrashing in the forest.

Something was coming their way.

Wordlessly, they dived back into the bushes. Eventually the ‘thrasher’ came into view and stopped.

It was a passenger, the last guy to leave. He turned around in a full circle, head darting this way and that. His fright was evident in his every gesture.

Reginald waited a beat, until he was sure the only sounds he could hear were his own loudly beating heart and the guy’s deep breaths, and then he tried to get his attention. “Psst.”

The guy stopped, cocked his head.

“Psst. Psst.”

He turned in the direction of the sound, squinted, then his breath caught in his throat as he rushed over to them, babbling in a whisper, as much a whisper as he could manage.

“Oh God oh no they killed them all they killed them and ate them and burned them God please they-”

“Shhh,” Reginald cut in. “Calm down boy, calm down. Just tell us what happened.”

The boy, for he really was a boy, he didn’t look a day over twenty-one, stared at them wide-eyed, facial muscles twitching, lips trembling, as he tried to speak.

But when he opened his mouth, he began to cry.

Somehow, this was worse.

Reginald realized that he was hearing the cries of a person who knew he had no chance under the heavens, no hope, of survival.

13

“I followed them,” the boy who had introduced himself as Chike began, “after…you know…I’d said sorry. I didn’t like what they did to you, but there was nothing I could’ve done; they would have simply pounced on me because they would see me as a traitor, that’s why I kept quiet.

“So I followed them. They were well ahead of me, I tried to move faster but I slipped and fell. I could hear them talking, urging themselves to move faster. I knew when they had gotten to the bus; they were hollering at themselves to close the door, and I tried to get up to meet them.

“I never made it to the road, and that’s why I’m alive. If I’d reached the road I would’ve died.”

Chike stopped. They were seated on the ground, where the beating had taken place. Chike looked towards the road, the fear in his eyes. He turned to Reginald and Femi.

“I was almost on the road when I heard the car start.”

Chike took a deep breath.

“It was an ambush. At least it seemed that way. There was no way they could’ve survived. It was as if these…beasts knew we were going to come back. They…they…”

“Alright,” Reginald said, patting him on the back. “I think we get the picture.” Chike heaved a sigh of relief.

Silence. Then Femi spoke up. “What do you think is going on here?”

“Apocalypse,” Reginald replied.

“We are all going to die here,” Chike said.

No one disputed that.

14

About an hour-and-a-half had gone by since the whole thing started. To Reginald it seemed like a day-and-a-half. Now, they were just three guys against God knew how many of these things. They could even be hunting them right now.

“We have to keep moving,” Reginald said, standing.

“To where?” Femi asked.

Good question.

Exhaling, Reginald said, “I… I don’t really know, but we have to move, we’ll stay away from the road and walk. Okay…let me see… Alright. Let’s walk back in the direction we came from. Perhaps we’ll be able to leave this place. ’Cos I don’t think we are in our own world anymore.”

Silence.

Femi was tired; he looked like he had a nasty accident and came out lucky (true). Chike looked scared. Reginald was doing his best not to fall to pieces.

What a motley crew.

Reginald realised that he was the only one capable of leading them at the moment; he didn’t think the others could lead themselves anywhere if they were left alone.

“Alright,” Femi said, “let’s go.”

15

They set out, Reginald in the lead, Femi behind him and Chike bringing up the rear. The leaves and branches slapped and scratched their faces and arms ( Reginald’s arms were quite safe in his jacket sleeves). They tried to stay away from the road without losing sight of it. Reginald didn’t really know what to do. He wasn’t really what you would call an ardent churchgoer, neither was he a good Christian, hell he couldn’t even remember his last Confession. But he was praying now. He took out his Rosary, looked at it. Despite the fact that he was not a good Catholic, he never left home without it. Now, he was glad for that. Holding the Rosary in his hands somehow seemed to calm his beating heart. Slowly, his fear receded into the shadows of his heart, his eyesight seemed to clear, he felt lighter. If only-

The rustling stopped his train of thought cold.

Reginald stopped. Femi nearly bumped into him.

“Get moving,” Femi began, “will y-”

“Shhh,” Reginald cut in, finger on his lips, motioning for him to be quiet. All three were silent as Reginald scanned the bushes.

After a moment, Femi could contain it no longer, and he whispered a question, “What?”

“I thought I heard something.”

“What kind of sound?” Chike asked.

Reginald kept quiet for a moment. Then shrugging, he said, “It’s probably us. Let’s go.”

Rustling again.

Nearer this time.

Another one.

All three stood stock still, eyes darting this way and that, breath coming in short gasps. “Calm down,” Reginald whispered, “just calm-”

The beast sprang.

They heard the snarls and growls, looked upwards and to the left as a large shadow covered them all.

Reginald’s thought was, I hope it ends quickly.

The bullets struck the beast in the neck, hard and fast, digging bloody furrows, hitting the face, the chest, hands, reddish black liquid spraying everywhere, the gunshots sudden and ear-shattering in the oppressive silence. Reginald, Femi and Chike flung themselves to the ground, hands over their heads, faces digging in the dirt. Someone was screaming, screaming.

They heard the beast snarl in pain; a chilling, vocal outburst so animalistic and yet so human at the same time.

A thud, and then rustling.

Then nothing; nothing but the screams which tapered to whimpers.

“Shut up boy,” a gruff voice said.

The whimpering continued.

Eventually, Reginald raised his head and heard the crunch of footsteps on leaves and stones and twigs. He looked sideways, took in the boots. He sat up and raised his hands to shield his eyes against the sun so he could look at their saviour.

He found himself looking at a soldier.

A soldier with a smoking AK-47.



78 thoughts on “Checkpoint (4)” by Raymond (@raymond)

  1. @Raymond!!!! i am still searching for something to complain about, NONE! maybe i’ll find one later… this is just the right time to introduce SALVATION (Rosary MAGIC?) and the hand of FATE. NICE job.
    i’m happy to be the first to read this. WOW!

    1. @xikay…I’m honored that U would think so…It came with a whole lot of practice, patience and self-criticism…I hope I don’t give U or anybody anything to complain about…

  2. I see you are good with repetition and suspense. Beautifully written. Well done!

    1. @jeff…I try my best bros…Glad U like it…

  3. This is good. Know it hasn’t ended shah.

    1. @jaywriter…No it hasn’t Jay…I’m GLAD U r reading, even if this is not Ur cup of tea….or plate of garri and ogbono soup.Hehehe…Thanks.

  4. @raymond, hope that we complain o! thats how you’ll receive the Nobel prize! again, i say, NICE 1

    1. @xikay…THANKS!!!!! Hope to receive more than A Nobel Prize in the future…

  5. hmmm..ray oh ray!
    always good at it…so so good!
    keep it up. well done!

    1. @posh…The Posh Lady…I’m blushing pink and blue…yes even a black man blushes!!! I’m glad U like it…

  6. @raymond i wonder how ugly a black man will kook blushing..like the Devil?

    1. @xikay…Hehehehe…Nah. The devil won’t blush…There is a story I wrote about the devil though…I just might put it up someday…

  7. 2cute4u (@2cute4u)

    Oh my God.. You’re so good in suspense writing..
    This is so good, I couldn’t help being glued to it. I didn’t even want it to end.

    1. @2cute4u…This is not the end, but everything has to end someday…I hope U continue being glued to it, and many more to come…

  8. the one you wrote about the devil, post it but dont expect me to believe he blushed o!

    1. @xikay…Hahahaha!!! No, he didn’t…

  9. loool..@xikay,(not used to the new name) what made you think the devil is black? have you seen him before?
    well i think raymond will look good,blushing..like denzel..lol
    @ray…you know you deserved it..

    1. @posh…That’s why U r my Posh Lady….Thanks!!!

      1. [strolling past

        1. *Whistling along…

  10. Denzel is even good…but i wonder how the beast killing the people in this story will look when blushing…lol

    1. @xikay…HAHAHAHAHA!!!! Omo, dat one go be REEEEAAAAALLL Horror film like dis!!!

  11. i no go even look the face to know whether e dey blush

    1. Na to PEEL OUT!!! FAST!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Well done Raymond, I see the story is descending gradually. You’ve done a brilliant job already, I’m very impressed.

    1. @scopeman…Thanks bro. I try my best to impress, U know…

  13. Ayo (@boringblogger)

    @Raymond, good story but maybe Im slightly biased cos Ive read a lot of S.K books, it’s not really kept me on my edge like that to be honest. But don’t worry, that happens to me even when I read some of S.K’s books these days.
    With your story, I almost know what will happen and how this will end. I hope you surprise me.

    I like the way you are trying to blend it with Naija sha. Not easy to do, warp zones and parallel worlds are not a Naija thing so you’ve done well in that regards. Kudos.

    1. @Ayo…Hmmm…Now this has gotten my antenna up…Pray tell, or better still, pray inboxe me (hehehe) what U think the end will be…
      Thanks too. Glad U like it. Guess I’m not the only S.K. man around here.
      Speaking of which, what S.K. books have U read lately that have made U feel this way?

  14. hmmm..cant wait to read the blushing devil’s story,hope you’ll publish that soon…lol

    1. @posh…Posh Lady…to the best of my knowledge, the devil doesn’t blush…unless…Hehehe..It’s gonna be published one of these days…

  15. Ayo (@boringblogger)

    lol..Not telling how I think it will end cos I’m still hoping you’l surprise me. I’ll keep reading.

    Been a long while since I read a S.K book in fact been a long while I read anything that can’t be referenced in a journal or conference paper. Thinking of getting one from Amazon next week though but this one reminds me of one I read long time ago..’Langoliers’

    1. @ayo…Spot on with the Langoliers stuff…That story stuck with me, though the story is different. As for surprises…I’m pretty sure I have one or two left somewhere…
      U should read DUMA KEY by S.K. Or Lisey’s Story…I just got his latest, Under The Dome. Only read an excerpt from an earlier work, but it rivals The Stand and IT in size…and it’s been hailed as his greatest since THE STAND, which I plan on re-reading soon…
      U said U haven’t read anything that can’t be referenced, so I’m guesing U r in school, in the UK. Which one? Unless I’m mistaken…

      1. Ayo (@boringblogger)

        You’ve done the portal thing with this story so its still same line with Langoliers though the way you write makes me want to keep reading.

        Surprise me please!

        Thanks for the S.K. books. Il def get the new one next month.

        1. @Ayo…U r welcome bro…I hope I surprise U….

  16. OK Raymond, this installment was simply brilliant. I have nothing else to say, except please have 30 points on me!

    1. @Tola…Now I am pleasantly shocked…Thanks…I mean it…

  17. Raymond, i’m putting on my fave writers list, right behind S.K.
    This is WOW!

    1. @Lade…U honour me too much…I don’t know what to say…Thank U…

  18. @posh, he said the devil wont blush, lol

    1. @xikay…No he won’t but he has an offer though…

  19. I see why your attack was so sharp on me… You are really good and do not need literary tips…
    Don’t mind me… I nearly took your critique on my work personal… I don learn sth….

    1. @Idoko…Sorry my criticism seemed harsh. I learnt how to write by criticizing myself the same way. As for me not needing literary tips, U r wrong. I learn everyday. I get tips from everywhere, but my greatest teachers have been published authors…I have read and studied their styles, and that has helped develop me. U just need to patient with yourself while writing. I’ll tell U a secret…
      I started writing at the age of 4…Yes U read right. Not constantly though, but I knew I had it in me, and after reading a book written by my age-mate at the age of 8, I knew I could do a whole lot better than that…but after starting one, I stopped, read the first chapter I had written, and decided to read a whole lot before starting again…and that decision was the best I ever took…

      1. Ray,
        You are very correct man. Reading is the best way to learn writing and every writer must embrace criticism with all humility.

        1. Thanks Boss…

  20. @idoko, he’s good but like we all are not perfect…he needs every advice and criticism

    1. @xikay…Yes oh my bros, most of all me! I need whatever will make me a better writer!!! So, never hold back when criticising me people…

  21. Nice one. Interesting too. Looking forward to reading other instalments.

    1. @Shope…Thanks Shope. The other ones are coming up soon…

  22. @raymond and that better be VERY soon

    1. @xikay…Na NS hand, or pocket e dey oh! Hehehehe…

  23. @raymond,,,you know what? i am happy. why? i saw that part5 of this great food(your story) is out….going there to read it now…dont disappoint me o!

    1. @xikay…I hope I didn’t…

  24. lol..@xikay, so raymond story is now your food abi?
    well, thank God the next part is out so you dont need to go hungry for a long period of time. (hope you got filled and won’t need some more)lol

    1. @posh…Food for thought for him right? Or food for nightmares…Hehehe…

  25. Omo no be small thing o! Not really a suspense/ thriller person, More of a literary/mainstream fiction reader/ writer.Can’t explain how this got me hooked.

    Off to the next part!

    1. @Lawal…Glad I converted U somehow…Hope U like the next part…

  26. @raymond i guess from my comments there you’ll know that i was wowed by the next part…you did well and better with each part

    1. @xikay…That na why I dey always use U dey make mouth naa!!! Thanks bro.

  27. @raymond, the way you guys are going, naijstories go soon explode o!

    1. @xikay…Which guys na? No be U we dey look?

  28. @raymond, come off it. me wey just join naijapals?…. i dey una side sha.

  29. Wow. This is absolutely brilliant.
    Going to part 5 right away.

      1. You have been warned.

        1. Yes Aunty-sorry, Sir!!!

          1. Who be ya aunty?!?!

            Seems you need a small something….

  30. you better do..its the bomb

    1. @xikay…I hope it doesn’t explode wound anybody oh!

  31. i hope it does!…wound the intellect

    1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

  32. One of the parts of the story that started my NS journey…..Thanks guys, for being there for me, and for dropping Ur sweet words n critiques….I am highly indebted to U all….

  33. hmmnnnn.
    No comments; were you expecting some? Make I land first…
    Next one, pls.

    1. No jam pole oh!! Hehehe…

  34. Stephen King fingerprints dey all over your work. This reads like The Fog…that story where a guy went to town with his son and they were stuck in a store with some people while outside some monsters were…

    You’re good tho. Good.

    1. Thanks bro…

  35. Good lord, wetin bring me come sabi this man! Don’t kill me with this your suspense stuff o….big fan any day. Great stuff!

    1. Hahahahahahaha!!!!! Thank U oh!

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