A Quarter of Mind: The Night Niko Turned (Part IV)


Previously on The Night Niko Turned, Namde had sent 5 of his men to capture Niko while he waited to be enskinned the next morning. But before they could reach the house, they had been attacked by Bonsasa. Hiding away in the shadows, Niko watched the massacre from the window, crippled with fear.

The story continues…

The quietness of the night had carried the noise of gunfire into the ears of the villagers. Namde called for his men and sent them off to bring back word from the others. About 10 of them set off to what would be their doom.

Within minutes, they had arrived on the scene to see their friends torn from limb to limb by a giant of a beast, too fearful to describe. Aiming their rifles as high as they could, they fired shots at Bonsasa, managing only to further antagonise it and set in motion a counterattack beyond their defense. Bonsasa swung its tail high in the air and drove 2 spikes on it into the bald pate of one of them, impaling and killing him instantly.

Lifting him up, Bonsasa smashed him against a heap of sand that stood near, liberating his head from the rest of the body. The others continued firing as best as they could — more out of fear than in defense — but none of their bullets penetrated Bonsasa’s thick fur. With its giant paws, it swept the remaining four out of its way and crashed two under one giant paw. The other two turned to flee, leaving behind their guns and machetes. Bonsasa leapt ahead of them and seized them. Applying its fangs to one’s neck, it snapped it off like a twig. The other, he knocked down from behind with its muzzle, picked him up its muzzle and crushed him between its canines.

The four-footed animal then turned its sights toward Zito at the door of the old house. Badly injured, out of ammunition, and under the spell of the creature, Zito was utterly helpless as Bonsasa made its approach. By this time, Niko’s fear had mounted immeasurable peaks.

According to the hunters’ tales, Bonsasa appeared once every hundred years to ravage villages and towns and left without a trace after killing every single person in those villages. It was the dread of everyone in that forest. Even the bravest men dared not call out its name, fearful it would summon it. Many said that it could hear whispers from miles away, trace smells from 1000 miles, and cage the souls of its victims with just one look. Looking at it, none of those stories Niko had heard did Bonsasa any justice because it was inconceivably scarier and far more threatening.

For starters, it stood tall. Almost as tall as the heap of sand (the height of a hut) next to it. The talons on its paws could easily rake the bark of a tree and probably saw it in half. The fur on its long mane had been replaced with a long trail of protruding spikes from its spine down to his tail. Its amber eyes fired up like a furnace. When it bared its fangs, they glistened in the moonlight. Utterly terrifying, Niko thought, yet oddly familiar. He couldn’t help but stare — held hostage by its frightening features — until the dust on the window sill got the better of Niko. “Achoo!” A sneeze escaped. With a swift turn of the neck, Bonsasa looked in Niko’s direction and snarled, baring its ivory canines daubed with blood. Rather than charging toward Niko immediately, it mounted the heap of sand in one leap, and let out another blood-curdling howl as though summoning the rest of its pack.

Knees weakened with fear, Niko started to crawl back to Kono and Sosi as quickly as he could. Intuitively, he knew Bonsasa was after him. As he crawled away hurriedly, a shard of glass cut through his left palm and he let out a cry. He turned to see if the creature had heard it. It had; cutting short its howl. Looking in Niko’s direction, it dismounted the mound and started toward the boy. Niko stood up, turned to look at the creature again only to find himself sucked into its gaze and under its spell. Humidity aside, a sharp iciness crept down Niko’s spine. The stare from its flaming amber eyes pierced through Niko’s soul and paralysed him. He wriggled and writhed but he was riveted to the spot.

Dismounted, Bonsasa loped steadily and loftily toward Niko, maintaining its locked gaze. There was a knowing in its eyes, a burning lust to devour everything in its path. The closer it got, the weaker Niko felt. “Mm…mmm…” Niko struggled to call out to his younger siblings, succeeding in only making incoherent sounds. Bonsasa marched forward, focused on its prey. With each stride, it displaced the stones underneath its feet, filing pieces off each pebble that resisted its movement. It whipped the wind with its spiked tail, scattering more pebbles in its wake as it gathered pace. The closer it came, the faster it got, never once shifting its eyes off Niko. The smoke was clearing and each glimmer of the moonlight seemed to accentuate every single dreadful detail. Its image was clear, as vivid as it was in his dreams, down to the unsightly clumps and silver patch under its throat.

With no more than 50 yards from him, Niko was powerless even to raise his eyebrows. Bonsasa continued to penetrate Niko’s soul with its stare. It drained every ounce of strength left in his body. Niko had only seconds before the creature was upon him. With only the power of his mind available to him, he shut his eyes and immediately fell to his knees. The thought of his father swam into memory and he recalled the incantations from that morning. He forced his lips to move and recited the little he remembered of it, “Ma hun tey koon, bo hoon, ko foo, so tey, ma hun tey”. After a few repetitions, a sudden wave of courage came over him. With that, he stood up, turned himself towards his younger siblings, aiming to take a step forward but toppling over instead. Flat on his stomach, he turned to look at Kono and Sosi but all he could do was blink.

With great gust, the 8-foot-tall flesh-eating monster crashed through the door, tearing right through Zito, and scattering his body in parts across the room. It strutted towards Niko who lay helplessly on the concrete floor. Circling its prey, Bonsasa inspected its kill and took in the boy’s smell. With its giant paw almost twice the size of Niko’s chest, it flipped him over as though he weighed nothing and pinned him down, just as Niko had seen in his dream. Niko stared into its nostrils, its blood-soaked muzzle dripping with a mixture of saliva and blood onto his face. Its eyes bore into the boy. Niko shut his eyes once more and tried to wriggle out of its control, only managing to rip his shirt wide open against its claws, revealing the scar on his chest that suddenly illuminated under the moonlight.

Bonsasa paused and stared curiously at Niko. Still, under its paw, Niko stared back at it, confused at Bonsasa’s sudden hesitation. Taking advantage of the lull he muttered the incantations under his breath, “Ma hun tey koon, bo hoon, ko foo, so tey, ma hun tey”. The effect of Bonsasa’s spell began to wane. Its paw lifted. Niko sat up, breaking the deadlock. His entire body still trembling vigorously with fear. Bonsasa stepped back. Niko kept at it, his voice steadily amplifying, boldness filled him. Seated, he felt his chest start to expand, the glow of his scar beamed through him and something moved within the cavity. Bonsasa drew further back repelled by the words and the luminescence from the child. Kono and Sosi watched from their hiding place as the shine from within their brother consumed him, lit up the entire building and the night sky for miles! An orb of vibrant white light formed around Niko, shielding him from Bonsasa. Inside that orb, he surrendered to the light, and weightlessness came over him. First, his legs lifted above him, and soon, his entire body was suspended in the air. Afloat. He gathered himself and placed his feet firmly on the ground.

(to be continued)

>>>The author is a writer, poet, and pocket philosopher. She can be reached on [email protected] and or 0244691124

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