Blood Strain

Blood Strain



This is how the world ends.

Not with a boom, or with a gunshot.


The world ends with a bite.

Just one bite; that’s all it takes.  A bite that erodes all that makes you human. And as I lie here on this floor, left eye squeezed shut and right eye pressed to the ‘scope of this HK417 sniper rifle, I can’t help but wonder at the murky miasma that is the human soul. Filled with avarice and disregard for the consequences of our actions, we sometimes make the Devil look like a Saint.

And to think I had been a part of all this…

Deep breaths. In, out, in, out. Wind speed is constant, and the day is fading fast. I don’t have much time. She always wakes up first; always. I know this because I once watched over her. I watched them as they studied her habits, fed her with…with…

I dare not think about that part of my life, but try as I might, I seem to have no power over my memories. The blood of the innocents cry out, and my heart…my heart is irreparably damaged now, I think. I don’t sleep much anymore, and when I do, I see the dead.

I have until early dusk, and then one shot.

Just one; the difference between life and death, between redemption and annihilation.

I will take you back to the beginning of this story; well, my story at least, because I only joined them halfway. Some people talk about Destiny, but if that was mine, then God must really have it in for me.

Night-time, when all will be washed in blood, and the dead and the dying will walk the earth.

Oh God, save us all…





I am Ikechukwu ‘Iyke’ Mojekwu, and I once killed for my country. Within Nigeria, outside it; anywhere my skills were needed, I went. I trained with the U.S. NAVY SEALS, and while I was with them I was part of a small group of soldiers that were sent to Russia to train with the Spetsnaz. Not a bad place, Russia, that much I can tell you. I picked up a couple of languages along the way, and I received extensive training in combat planning, counter-terrorism, firearms, weapons and hand-to-hand combat. I am a black belt in Jiu-Jutsu, Karate and Taekwondo, including extensive training in Krav Maga and Spetsnaz GRU.

The life of a soldier…

Sometimes it feels as though all of my life has been spent in front of or behind a gun or knife. Don’t think though for a second that I never went to school. I have a B.A. in Business Administration, and an MA in International Relations. My C.O., Major General Johnson, always spoke of the importance of getting an Education. My handler in Nigeria, whom I will call Uche, also approved.

I do not know the details of the arrangement my country had with the U.S. regarding me or the others like me that were sent to be trained, but I know that whenever there were ‘jobs’ that required my ‘expertise’, I left. Be it on behalf of Nigeria or the U.S. that needed me, I never really cared. They needed my surveillance and ‘wet-work’ skills, and I always delivered.

But then, you can only kill for so long.

After over five years of missions and such, I told my handler about my feelings for what I did, and requested a transfer to something less stressful, at least for a while. I needed to get my head straight, and you cannot do that when you are shadowing an unsuspecting Arms Dealer in Mogadishu or some unsuspecting Politician through the maze that is Lagos. At the same time, I couldn’t take a leave of absence; this wasn’t exactly a desk job, you know.

So when Uche told me about an opening for Head of Security of Delson Pharmaceuticals, I took it up gladly. At least something other than killing for a change. However, before I left, I was given my Mission Parameters, and with that and a few weeks before I had to go there-a month, to be exact-I did my homework.  The six Ps: Proper Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance. That mantra had been driven into my skull all through my years of training. I went to work on Delson Pharma, and this is what I found online.

Owned by Mr Richard Delson, Delson Pharma was one humongous conglomerate, with several research facilities in Europe and Africa. Over a year ago, Mr Delson had established one such facility in Rivers State, Nigeria. Just outside Port Harcourt, in between a small village and nowhere. They specialized in the research of Tropical Diseases, whatever the hell those were. They seemed to have done some good work as well, given the number of international awards Delson had won as a result of his company’s work. He’d presented before the UN, UNICEF and various alphabet-soup organizations with global reaches. A man with the Midas touch.

A major cash cow for the country as well. He rolled with the big boys, but that was expected.  He’d bankrolled the campaigns of quite a number of Governors, Legislators, and the President.  At least this much I knew from some previous work I’d done.  Back then, I’d investigated the Politicians, not Delson; he’d been a name that had popped up sometimes, but that was it. I’d not carried out follow-up investigations on him, because back then, he hadn’t been the objective. Now, he was. I was to protect his investment.  Apparently, some…’elements’ were unhappy with him for some reason and had decided to sabotage his facility on a number of occasions. I received aerial shots of the facility from Uche; she’d included everything she thought I would need.  The facility was situated in the middle of the forest, and accessible via only one road that led from the road to the facility. This main road fed a few paths, one of which led to a neighbouring village, and it had three gates; one about a hundred meters after the last path, the second and third further down. The facility sat on land the size of at least sixteen football fields. The main facility was a hexagon-shaped building that was three storeys tall and three levels underground. State-of-the-art surveillance, alarms and security systems. A private army stationed in the facility; at least a hundred men, drawn from various military forces, and of different nationalities, though they were mostly Nigerian. Mr Delson was that powerful; he apparently got whatever he wanted.

Maybe a bit too much security for a Pharmaceutical company.

I carried out a background check on Delson himself, and he came back clean; too clean.

Which was bad.

Nobody with this amount of money and power is ever clean. So I dug deeper, and discovered an anomaly; up until 2003, Mr Delson had been a ghost. He claimed to be American, but he had European features; high cheekbones, green, flat eyes and accent-less English. No one knew how he’d come about his money, and there was talk of protection from very powerful men.


I spent two weeks memorizing the maps I had been sent.  I learnt as much as I could about the Port Harcourt facility, finding out Potential Breaching Points. I would do something much more extensive when I got there, but with the maps I had, I could see at least five PBPs overall.

I smiled.

This was going to be a cake-walk…or so I thought.

It wasn’t until my last week before I was to begin work that my mission became something else.

I was walking slowly down the road beside Mile 1 Motor Park when I saw him. He was dressed in a black suit which bulged out on his left side, close to the chest. Left shoulder holster. A right-handed man then. He wasn’t that bad at surveillance; he’d gotten some of the things right. However, he’d worn shades, and the sun was not out. I’d spotted him over 25 minutes ago at Waterlines Bus stop. He’d been behind me then, just as he was now. I’d seen him before I hailed a taxi. Now, here he was too.

I smiled.

I peeled off sharply into the market, following the crowd towards the small pathway that fed into Mile 1 Market proper from behind. He followed. I turned right in-between two stalls, and then right again, and then a left.

And then I waited.

I knew he was going to come this way, as I had made sure he’d seen a little bit of me. When he crossed my line of vision, I stepped forth swiftly behind him and pressed the blade I’d palmed to his side, just above his kidneys.

“Walk slowly,” I said. “Don’t turn around.” I guided him through a series of turns until we got to a fence, and then I stopped. “Raise your hands. Start talking.”

“Colonel Ikechukwu Mojekwu,” he said, raising his hands and looking straight ahead. His accent was almost American, but his voice shook a little, despite the effort he put in trying not to let it show. He was stiff, trying not to move a muscle. Wrong. He was giving into fear. I smiled. Not much problem here. But then again, he knew my name and rank. “You need to listen to me. I represent both the Nigerian and the American Governments.”

Figures. He must’ve been recruited while he’d been in the Uni. Maybe three, four years ago tops. I kept quiet.

“You are supposed to start as the Head Of Security in Delson Pharmaceuticals a week from now.”

Now that was a surprise. I do not discuss my missions with anybody other than my handler, and I am sure she keeps her mouth shut; how else would we have been able to survive this long?

“Does my handler know you are here?” I asked, applying pressure on the blade.

He winced. “Sorry, but this is above her clearance. Listen, this is important. We don’t have much time. I have been ordered to at least give you a file for you to take a look at. It concerns your next assignment. It is in my right trouser pocket. I am going to reach in very slowly now and bring it out.” He brought out a black flash drive and handed it behind. I took it. “Instructions are contained within.”

I looked at the flash drive for a moment, and then put it in my pocket. “Don’t turn now. If you follow me again, that will be the last time you follow anybody. Wait for five minutes, and then find your way out of here.” And with that, I left. But I didn’t go straight home though. I hung around and then I followed him when he came out. He didn’t see me. C’mon, I invented this ish.

Back home, I ran a virus check on the flash on my diskless workstation, and when it came clean, I plugged it in my main system. It was encrypted, Simple cipher; ta least simple for me, and I cracked it in no time, wondering what was inside that was so important and sensitive that Uche did not know about it.

By the time I was through with the first page of the file, I realized that this was way, way bigger than I’d thought.

83 thoughts on “Blood Strain” by Raymond (@raymond)

  1. Ha! Raymond you are a master O! I am almost scared to comment.

    Wow. Wow. The way this story flowed was just too superb. You really did your homework on the military stuff and trust me I should know.

    Nice one bro. I enjoyed this very much.

    1. Thanks Boss… Maybe I’ll hit U up if I have any Military-related problem, fictional or otherwise, hehehe…

  2. Ray, you no go kill us! This kind one for Nigeria? Wahala dey!

    Really, this is WONDERMENT!

    Creativity….I like this. This is what I want to be seeing; Naija-inclined thrillers.

    You’ll surely get there. You will.

    You go gree be 3rd husband? Hehehe..

    1. Hehehe.. Thanks. Amen 3rd? Mba naa *_O!

  3. Can you imagine?!?! This shit is annoying.

    After typing an epistle…internet connection choose that time to ARGGGHH!!!!

    Anyways…here we go.

    “Simple cipher; ta least simple for me” Is that a new lingo? Kidding – you must have meant to write ‘at least’..

    It’s intense. Nice one. Well worth waiting for.

    1. Hehehe. Kpele.
      Thanks for the compliments as well…

  4. You know, you’ve actually spurred me to try to write on Supernatual.

    1. Even though this particular story is not Supernatural, pls do. It is a wonderful place to create in…

  5. I read the first few lines and felt the work looked like what Raymond would think up. So I scrolled back up to check the name.
    Musketeer, you are so good. I will actually buy this novel.

  6. Thanks a lot bro…

  7. Yes Raymond, you deserve a big hand for this….well done!!!
    I’m guessing there are other parts, cos the intro and the tiltle have not reflected yet in the work.
    Have you read Ayodele Arigbabu’s Collection of Shorts, “A Fistful of Tales”? You both share similar interests when it comes to themes for stories.

    1. So I keep hearing. Thanks all the same. I’ll see about getting his book next year.

  8. gooseberry (@gooseberry)

    You know what i enjoyed most about this????

    It’s so simple, even the dorkest of all dorks will understand *you know what i mean* yet, in its simplicity, it’s very powerFULL. You are an amazing writer. I enjoyed the intro, you give suspence and keep it going, you……… Hehehehe.

    Ride on… Ride on….. Ride on.

    1. Thank you very much @gooseberry… I’ll keep riding this baby into the sunset…

    1. @banky,
      As always…

  9. This is really intriguing, Raymond. Well written.

  10. Oga Raymond! Hmm… U try oh. Small sha, but u try. Lol!
    Ok, seriously, what I like most about this is also what bothers me d most. A Naija 007/Jason Bourne..powerful stuff and definitely original and riveting. But could this really, like REALLY happen in Naija? Would it happen like this?
    However, the story was a fun ride. Great Great Work oga!!

    1. Gboyega, @guywriterer, thanks a lot. But this question U asked can be asked of the U.S. as well. Why is it only the U.S. that the aliens are always invading? Why e be say na only for Europe wey Espionage dey happen? I am just trying to find answers to these questions in my own way.

      Thanks for Ur thoughts though, :D

  11. True, Raymond.

    Just to reemphasise, I really like the fact that it’s a spy/hightech/action story. U’re pushing d boundaries of Naijalit man, and that’s commendable..

    1. Thanks a lot @guywriterer. That’s what we should be doing actually…

  12. midas (@midas)

    This is really good, and dare I say fever-pitch suspenseful with loads of those subtle elements in serendipitious dose. I am particularly thrilled by your style. Reminds me of Scot Turow’s “Presumed Innocent”. Well done!

    1. @midas, Thanks a lot… :D

  13. @Raymond; I honestly hope this is foreplay o. We gotta get more or this or else…

    I thoroughly enjoyed it, just like I enjoyed following Jack Bauer on 24. lol

    1. Hehehe. Thanks @tosinosha. No worry. U’ll get Ur wish.

  14. Hey Raymond, to me, this is one of your best works if not the best. I totally relished this!
    You took your time to write this and not just is it intriguing, its also quite captivating….keep writing.
    Good job!

    1. @chetachi, thanks a lot. Longest time. Funny enough, I did not plan this story at all. The thing sef dey laff me sometimes.

  15. For some reason, this reminded me of the writer Kalu Okpi and his series on John Malu which was awesome. Great work. Would be nice to see where you take this.

    1. Thanks @eyitemiegwuenu. Will sure do.

  16. Hey @ Ray and the mond as in a diamond!
    Is there a word called, ‘fantabulous?’ guess
    have heard it somewhere, but if the if is contestable,
    this work is both the ontology and etymology! Forgive me o lol

    1. @ostar, Professor of English, hehehe… Thanks a lot.

  17. “I looked at the flash drive for a moment, and then put it in my pocket. “Don’t turn now. If you follow me again, that will be the last time you follow anybody. Wait for five minutes, and then find your way out of here.” And with that, I left. But I didn’t go straight home though. I hung around and then I followed him when he came out. He didn’t see me. C’mon, I invented this ish.” This is my hit line.

    @Electrika said it all. You are superb broda!

    1. I am glad U found a hit line, @ostar. Thanks a lot… Ur words are making my head to be bigging bigging.

      1. gooseberry (@gooseberry)

        Make your head no fall comot from your bodi o, if not, no part two for us. Just use rope, tie am for tree for ‘supportation’, make we for see part two o…..

        1. Hehehe… Ok oh!

  18. Good story. Very, very inspiring.

    1. @strongself, thanks bro, hehehe. I hope say I never inspire U to enter Army oh!

      1. @Raymond. Se e no bi good achievement on your part if I run go join the army because of this your piece?

        1. Teeehehehe… Oya, begin go na.

  19. I liked the premise, and the coming story promises to be gory.

    However, however. I would’ve preferred more showing, and more painting in of the character and the setting. Colonel says he cracked the cipher easily, and I’m just supposed to believe him? :)

    1. @Myne, I see Ur point. Thanks. I’ll look into it.

      1. @Myne and @raymond I actually thought you might have overdone the part with the colonel cracking the cypher…… decryption tools should be as standard as his side arm or sniper rifle given that he is working in the Information age, you think?

        anyways keep writing.1

        1. @codrojac, God bless U. I had this same thought. Thanks once again.

  20. Dear Raymond, there is a way you write that always marvel me. Most times I read and read again, just to learn how you do it. But the secret always eludes me. Perhaps, it is in the way you take the reader step by step into the mind of your character.

    “This is how the world ends.
    Not with a boom, or with a gunshot.
    The world ends with a bite.
    Just one bite; that’s all it takes…”

    This prose-poetry is so different and beautiful.

    I am convinced you will make us proud. I am so touch with this. It reminds me of “Rising Knight”.

    1. @ukamaka, U honour me with Ur words. As for ‘The Secret’, I don’t know if I have one. I just see the world through each character’s eyes at any given point in time. This reminds U of Rising Night? Wow…thanks. I am just trying something new with this story. The writing styles of both stories are different…

      Thanks all the same. As for that prose-poetry (which I had no idea it was), it was the first thing I thought of, cos I was angry and had to write something. Thus in my anger was the story born…

      1. Now dear, I now know the secret to your prose-poetries: Anger! hehehehehe… A good emotion too, one that let out the subconscious…

        1. Hehehe…Not just anger oh! Just connect to whatever emotion U r feeling at the time, @ukamaka. Thanks once again.

          1. What were you mad about, bro? Just curious.

            You don drop am!

            Best thing since Checkpoint.Loved the introspective feel and rhythm of it. Regardless of the genre, this is storytelling! Feel like I can hang with is Ike guy for a while. Eagerly wait for the next installment.

            1. @howyoudey, Thanks bro… U asked for it.

  21. austin (@austin)

    This is awesome. You more or less engendered this story out of the dust, like there was no story in the first instance. Nobody, I think, can successfully discredit this so I should skip the part where I reitirate what has already been rightfully acclaimed and move on to the part that gives me a little concern.

    Is your story typical of the background?

    Getting America and Europe actively in the equation, isn’t that going to offset the general perception of the story?

    Would Isreal not have been a better training background? As Nigeria’s elite squad is mostly trained in Isreal. For instance, the red berets, as they are popularly known. It isn’t exactly absurd to train in one place and serve in another location. But hey, there’s no bridge between the US Navy Seals training background and your present active duty back in Nigeria.

    As I said earlier, your story is awesome. So, you can be rest assured that my questions do not seek to discredit here, but simply a means to seek clarity or help redirect.

    1. @austin, Thanks a lot. truthfully I never knew anything about training with Isrealis. I just sought to create my own stuff. Hmm…U’ve given me a thought…

  22. Nice story. Let’s see how the characters and plot pan out. Sometime it’s difficult imagining ‘hehehehehe’ writing this good. Waiting for the next part.

    1. @jaywriter, thank U, and U dey madt! Hehehehe…

  23. ‘I can’t help but wonder at the murky miasma that is the human soul.’ Just started reading and you killed me with this line.So poetic!

    This is going good. Except for a single typo, can’t find anything wrong with this and I especially loved the way you did the flashback.

    Well done!!!

    1. @easylife2, thank U my Oga. U r far too kind.

  24. Hey Ray, this is the reason I take your corrections and opinions seriously. This was superb for me. I thought you write horrors, nevertheless I’m obsessed with thrillers and this one will be among my collections. It took us, the readers along and that is one thing I find difficult to achieve but it comes easy to you. *I remove my titled cap for you.*

    However I ditto @austin completely, US Navy Seals is the most covert millitary arm of the US. I don’t think they would have such a pact with any country, let alone Nigeria. Isreal would be better considering the fact their millitary is well known for their surveillance and assasination proficiency and they have closer ties with the Nigerian millitary. With that your character can still maintain his qualities.

    Waiting for the next part. Kudos!

    1. @francis, Thank U bro. I’ll take this under advisement for the editing part.

  25. femtrols (@femtrols)

    Well written brother. Of-course you’ve seen the series 24! And I think have an idea of the sequel! Perhaps this would provoke your Muse to plotting something that would beat my thoughts? I enjoyed reading. {Smiles}

    1. @femtrols, thanks a lot. As for Ur idea, hehehe…let’s see.

  26. @raymond Good story…..looking forward to the rest of it.

  27. Dear uncle Raymond, I think this is cool and still have a long way to go, quite interesting characters too

    1. Thanks a lot, @anderson.

      1. You are welcome bro,keep the good work coming

  28. Aahhh…sometimes I just hate the internet here!!!!! Don’t mind me. Nice story, I enjoyed it and could picture the whole scene in my head. Will I like the Ikechukwu character in the coming series? Yes, I would. The only problem I have with spies is their ability to spot their tail. I don’t think anyone trained as a tail would necessarily come from the guys who aren’t perfect in surveillance techniques. I mean it’s dumb to send a tail that could be easily spotted by a professional, why not try to contact him for a meeting instead? Sunglasses shouldn’t have been what would give the tail away but perhaps the other fact of having spotted him twice….Good job as always though

  29. This is good stuff. Sharp, smooth and cool. Loved every minute of it. Keep the stories rolling, and you will do us all proud.

    1. @duleno, Thanks a lot. Will do.

  30. A work that makes you feel like a red laser beam is going across your nape, again. The beam from a sniper’s gun. A feeling that is twin to that of a mine sweeper. You have a unique way of writing your sentences. They taper off sometimes, leaving readers to brilliant conjectures, making them sense they are in a new world. A world of detectives, of espionage, of the mafia, of the fools, and of the cons. Maintain this panache. And, do spirit away the few chippings left on the floor beneath the beautiful carving during the moments of sculpturing. Ah well, des gustibus non est disputandum. There is no disputing about tastes. For somehow, I have seen beauty in them too, on and of course!

    1. Mind. Blown. Poof!

  31. This is beautiful. Seal or Mossad or KGB, doesn’t matter. I love the storyline. Cannot wait to read what next.

    1. Thanks @Lade…

  32. @Raymond, I nearly didn’t want to read this, because I don’t like reading ‘Novel Excerpts’ that I may never read in full. But I did… and now, I command you to finish this work!

    Seriously, this was a great start to what promises to be an engaging thriller. I think it’s OK that you haven’t provided that much detail to begin with… you have already foreshadowed that the MC will be sucked into something way beyond what he imagined, and I can see you filling us in with more detail. I also like the fast paced, semi-formal style of narrative you use.

    I’ll keep on reading…

    1. @TolaO, I snot-laughed at Ur comment. I’ve been waiting for U since!!! Thanks. Don’t worry. I will finish it.

  33. Honeslty? I personally do not like reading espionage novels or peices and tend to avoid them the minute i realise i’m reading one but your story got me hooked in a whole new was like wwatching movie on write with a grace that is obviously inherent and a skill that is enviable.I hope you are nothing like me; i tend to start something and not finish it..this is one story that should be finished! Please don’t deprieve us of the pleasure of reading something so phenomenal. you’re the new face of african thriller bro!

    1. @estrella….I am humbled by Ur words…Thanks a lot. I will finish it in Jesus’ Name…Amen.

  34. Na wa oo. Y i no even read dis since. Mehn guy u killed it.

  35. … well-thought of… beautifully written… excellently rendered…

  36. Sunshine (@nicolebassey)

    Another breathtaking thriller from the stable of @Raymond!

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