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Ian Connel
Moderator
Posts: 18



Some friends and I created a fan-fiction as an audio drama about the origins of Progenitor and the horrible things Spencer and his ilk would have to do to keep the Arklay Facility quiet.


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I know this is a shameless plug. I haven't spent much time at Crimson Head Elder. I came up with the idea for a podcast last May, wrote it over the summer, and didn't stop to ask, "has anybody else done this before?" That's when I discovered Crimson Head Elder. I am so glad there are others who love the RE universe! 


I hope you'll give this a chance. I will post the transcript soon so you can avoid hearing a bunch of nasally midwesterners and create your own decent voices. 

October 4, 2016 at 3:36 PM Flag Quote & Reply

George Trevor
Site Owner
Posts: 1087

Really loved the presentation of this and the narration, but most importantly the narrative was interesting and kept me listening to know more. Thank you kindly (I've been monnlighting in Rapture) for posting this in our community Forum Ian Connel, I'm sure I'm not the only resident looking forward to reading/hearing more.

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Jessica... Lisa... Forgive me. May god justify my death in exchange for your safety.

October 13, 2016 at 2:45 PM Flag Quote & Reply

SarahLy
Member
Posts: 171

if only capcom were this dedicated to their own games :)

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October 14, 2016 at 12:36 PM Flag Quote & Reply

George Trevor
Site Owner
Posts: 1087

SarahLy at October 14, 2016 at 12:36 PM

if only capcom were this dedicated to their own games :)

Could not agree more SarahLy, and you may well be shouting this aloud when you hear the dedication Leila Johnson gave to her role in relation to Capcom's subsequent decision  to then not recast her for The Darkside Chronicles... stay tuned for that Halloween 'Villains' podcast, not long to go now ;)

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Jessica... Lisa... Forgive me. May god justify my death in exchange for your safety.

October 14, 2016 at 1:48 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Ian Connel
Moderator
Posts: 18

Thanks, lots of thanks, for your support, George Trevor and SarahLy. 

I'm exporting Chapter 2 right now, so hopefully I'll have it up this evening. In the meantime, a transcript of Chapter 1 for those who don't want to hear nasally midwesterners pretending to sound cool.

 


October 14, 2016 at 3:18 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Ian Connel
Moderator
Posts: 18

Chapter 01: The Stairway to the Sun

 

From the 2009 interview with Bariki Stevens, son of Lwazi Stevens

 

My father was with Ozwell Spencer’s expedition in 1966. Records say that this is when the virus was discovered. But that is not true. The virus was only rediscovered by Spencer and his party. The virus was known to people from generations ago, long before the Europeans arrived in Tanzania. They did not know it was a virus. To them, it was a bridge to the world of spirits. It was known as the kifula, which in English is the Stairway to the Sun.

 

I first heard the story from my grandmother, my koko. When I was a boy, koko liked to tell us stories while we ate. She was a good cook, but we liked to run off and play. Even my sister Trecia, who was the oldest and a typical rule follower, she liked to run off if the rest of us found a new adventure. But when Koko told the story of Ndesu the Sun King, we sat quietly and listened. It goes something like this.

 

Long before the Europeans came, the Sun King reigned for twenty generations of men. He hunted lions, cape buffalo, even hippos, with his bare hands. He never lost a battle, and soon he conquered much of Africa. Three thousand tribes gathered to his banner, and with them, tens of thousands of conquered slaves.Their drums shook the plains. The kingdom stretched from desert to jungle to ocean, farther than a man could walk in a year, though his best warriors could run its expanse in a month. His people traded with the Arabs, the Indians, even the Europeans.

 

After him reigned another Sun King, and after him, another one. Eached mighty Sun King united all the peoples of the land under their spears. To disobey him was to die.

 

Each successor to the throne was not chosen by blood, or by decree, or even by rebellion. Each successor was chosen by a trial, by chance. It happened liked this: any man who questioned the king’s rule had a choice. He could choose to face the law, which forbade speaking out against the king. If he faced the law and was found guilty, he might be tied to a tree and whipped five times for every year he lived. If he cried out, he would be burned in heap of dry brush. But, if the man chose, he could receive the kifula. And nobody chose the kifula. The kifula was agony worse than fire.

 

When each last Sun King ascended, it was because he chose the kifula and did not die. The last was a man named Ndesu. He was to be fed to the hyenas for stealing a cow. When offered the kifula, he accepted. He was brought hundreds of miles to the throne of the king, where he was tied to the ground, cut open from sternum to waist, and given the kifula. The princess crushed the kifula and pressed it into his rib, next to his heart. He thrashed beneath his bounds, and died.

 

But an hour later, Ndesu opened his eyes. The kifula chose him and made him mighty. He snapped the ropes that held him and rose to his feet. He fought the old king. They threw each other through royal urns and stone pillars until Ndesu seized a sword from a faraway land. Ndesu cleft the old king from the shoulder to the hip, tore him apart, and ate his heart. The court chanted the song of reigning as he ate. To them he was the strongest, and so should rule.

 

Over time, Ndesu changed. His eyes became dark like those of a fish. His muscles rippled like those of a buffalo. His teeth grew long and sharp. His voice echoed like the birds in the sky. His legs could chase down the gazelle. He would live forever. But like the Sun Kings before him, he could sire no children, nor would any woman marry him, he was so savage.

 

Now, my grandmother was a Christian, and except for the crucifixion she did not enjoy bloody stories. But she told us the tale of the Sun King with reverence, and without leaving out any details. She expected that we learn the story as readily as the Our Father.

 

One day, my sister Trecia asked a question. She said, koko, what happened to the sun king? Where did he go? We were all wondering it. Koko was quiet. Was the Sun King like Jesus? Did he ascend into heaven? My grandmother, she got very angry. No, no, no, no, she said, and she shook her head and stamped her foot. Nobody is like Jesus, she said. Least of all Ndesu the Sun King, whom God himself came to devour, to save the people from evil.

.

 

From the journal of hunting outfitter Winston Bell, August 6, 1966. Donated by Bariki Stevens, 2009.

 

Today we set out for an unusual and lucrative hunt! A man named Ozwell Spencer and three of his friends hired me for a journey north, seeking a lion with an “impressive mane.” Ozwell also wishes to contact a local tribe about a legend. Two weeks, guided, both trucks, and with a minimal staff, for just over $4,000. I usually do not bring parties north. My competitor, Ramsey, knows the area and its animals. But I wasn’t about to hand over a deal this good.

 

The offer was wonderful. I owe a good thousand on the little truck and a few hundred to that shark named Ahmed Al Fed. I haven’t had much since I sent it off for mom’s cancer treatment. I didn’t even have enough to go to her funeral.

 

But now, with this kind of money I can offer the locals about anything I want and not feel lighter in the wallet. After paying Lwazi, I should be able to pick and choose who I want for the remainder of the dry season, drink a lot of Scotch or whatever I can find, maybe work on the hunting book, and decide whether or not to return to the states. It’s a lot of cash, and it belongs in a better bank than that tiny brick shack in Kijuju.

 

Spencer is an affluent gentleman out for a trophy of his own, probably to mount in a great house somewhere and tell his friends about it over cocktails. During our first meeting he insisted I call him Lord Spencer. How archaic. Nobody else follows those conventions since before the war. He talks down to everyone, even a little to me, although he smiles at me in a “no harm done” way. That won’t fly in the field.

 

Other than that, Spencer seems very particular. He handed me a long list of requirements for his hunt, most of which have to do with who and what comes with, and not with its outcome. But he has grown more affable since we’ve been on the move.

 

Spencer also has an old elephant gun, the kind that could shoot through a tank but the recoil would kill you for your effort. It must be five and a half feet long. He calls it Gerda. He seems amused by its absurdity. His assistant Mr. Price gets to carry it, and he doesn’t seem as amused. I’ve never shot one, but I intend to ask before we part.

 

Also joining us is a biology professor named Dr. James Marcus. He’s not the first professor of biology I have met as an outfitter. Marcus is a quiet and serious fellow with a floppy handshake. He has a doctoral student, Brandon Bailey, who is the most eager of the bunch. I like that about him too. He even brought his own binoculars, and he was an Eagle Scout.

 

For my company, it’s only me and Lwazi. If given the choice, I would have brought seven, eight, maybe nine good men. I may have to hire village hunters as we go. Spencer has no idea what he is walking into, and though the price is great, I’m having doubts about our numbers. Let’s hope the trucks hold up. I just had the carburetor fixed on Big Blue, so it should be ok.

 

August 7, 1966

 

Spencer made a weird remark today.

 

We were making camp on the savannah, atop a small hill with some rocks. It was a nice evening. The temp was cooler, a little breeze came through, and the sun slid down the horizon like a raw egg. I was teaching the group to build a fire and to set a perimeter of noisemakers for lions. I built some of those things just for hunts like this, and I really ought to go into manufacturing them. Spencer asked me about my rifle, the Lee Enfield Mark 4. I told him a friend of mine in the SAS used one in the war. He asked if I ever made it to Germany during the war. I told him I spent most of it in an Italian prison camp, but I did visit Berlin before being sent home.

 

Spencer grinned at me and said, “I knew Hermann Göring.” He waited and watched my face fill with disbelief, then added, “And I once met Josef Mengele. Dr. Marcus wanted to meet him, so my father arranged a meeting. Göring used to visit my father’s summer house.”

 

I asked him how a man with a Massachusetts accent knew two of the war’s greatest devils. Did they come to the states before the war?

 

“No, I met them in Austria,” Spencer said.

 

I nodded, but I wondered where he was going with this. “What did you think?” I asked.

 

“Very loyal. The kind of men who can get anything done.”

 

 

“Anything,” I said.

 

“Yes,” Spencer said. “But real bastards of course. You would never guess they could be so terrible when they visited. Göring loved to talk planes. And strategy. He tried to teach it to me over card games. And Dr. Mengele loved to ski and could not wait for the next snow.”

 

He smirked at my stare.

 

“But in the end, terrible men, terrible,” he said.

 

He had to be backtracking. But he didn’t seem ashamed. Now, I was a ranger. I don’t let BS take my eyes off the sights. We’re going hunting, for animals, and the pay is good. I don’t like the idea of entertaining a kraut sympathizer, but maybe I just misunderstand him.

 

Then he asked, “How are we doing? Are we going to arrive tomorrow or the next day?”

 

He is eager to reach the Ndipaya village. He wants to meet them before he begins hunting. He and Marcus want to ask about an old legend that he heard from a friend. It so fascinated him that he chose to hunt here and not Kenya. He expected me to provide a translator, but the Ndipaya are a private sort, so I had to hire Lwazi. Lwazi is not Ndipayan, but he can speak a language the Ndipaya understand.

 

I told him we might make it tomorrow. But when the men of the tribe hunt, the village guardians don’t allow visitors in. You have to wait until the hunting party is back. So we may have to wait even if we get there.

 

Spencer nodded and looked off into the sunset. He asked if they trade. I asked Lwazi. He shook his head. They are very private, Lwazi said.

 

I told them about Dr. Brunei, an Italian researcher who stays with them sometimes. But other than her, I know nobody who deals with them. On hunts, we don’t typically go near their land.

 

Marcus asked if Dr. Brunei is a physician. I told him she’s an archeologist. He looked surprised and glanced at Spencer.

 

Spencer slowly repeated the words “an archeologist.” Then he asked me if she’s with the Ndipaya now. I told him I have no idea. This is a huge country. You can wander into the brush and stay alive with a gun and some trade bait, but you might not come back for months. And anyway, Dr. Brunei is an Italian. She is educated and polite, I will give her that. But me and Italians stopped being friends in 1943, even the pretty ones. When Spencer just peered at me, I told him that being a POW under a bunch of hot-headed dagos will do that to a guy.

 

Spencer smiled. “Well I hope you’ll introduce me all the same. I want to find out what an archeologist is doing out here. You wouldn’t expect to find much in the way of ruins and artifacts.” I said I would, but only because Dr. Brunei is nice. Some of the nicest people in Italy are Italians, the saying goes, and apparently that’s true of Tanzania too.

 

That night we ate the best parts of a gazelle that Lwazi shot and cooked over the fire. It was a great shot, too, 145 meters, his 405 Winchester, iron sights, straight through the lungs. Spencer’s assistant Price produced a small bottle of wine from his pack and offered Spencer the first sip. Spencer waved it away.

 

“Gentlemen, I have a story about a local legend, straight from the mouth of Charles Ashford, father to the current Lord Edward Ashford. Some of you have heard it. But it has some bearing on our adventure. Would you like to hear it?”

 

“I would,” Price said. I agreed too. Spencer pulled a folded piece of magazine paper out of his shirt pocket, unfolded it, and read us the story of the African Ghost.

October 14, 2016 at 3:18 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Ian Connel
Moderator
Posts: 18

An article from Hunters Digest, April 1934

 

The African Ghost

 

By Sir Iain Wilkes

 

My friend and serial hunting companion, Lord Charles Ashford, died in 1929. It is with some trepidation that I retell his queerest story. Some may think, upon hearing the tale, that he was mad. I assure you he was not. I believe that he told the account of the African Ghost in complete sincerity. If he did not, it was not for self delusion, but to impress and entertain a dodder like myself.

 

In 1908, two hunters went to Tanganyika for an annual constitutional, as they called it, to exercise the primal urge to hunt. They were men not unlike yourselves. You can picture them, two chaps wearing khaki, carrying the first nitro rifles, safari hats on their heads, mouths hidden behind stern and noble mustaches. Rhinoceros was the first order of business.

 

Charles brought along his younger friend, Milton Sherwin. Sherwin was the son of the oil baron, Josiah Sherwin, in the states. Milton was a recent Yale graduate. He was also a fraternity man, a Psi Upsilon man. Charles was friends with Milton’s father. The friendship began with investments in Toad and Sherwin Oil, later acquired by Standard Oil. Charles took Milton to Africa with him as a graduation present.

 

Milton was ten years younger than Charles. He was a generous lad who treated the guides with more deference than Charles. Charles knew his place in the world and did not dilute it with any American sentimentality. But Milton was also rash, and he was prone to spooking game before he and Charles could agree to a plan. Charles scolded Milton, but he was a friend and not an employee, and so Charles could do no more to impress on him the right tactics. And when Milton cost them the shot, repeatedly, their native guides alone kept them fed.

 

One morning the guides informed Charles that a rhinoceros stalked the brush ahead, a great male with two mighty horns. Charles told Milton to gear up and bring his aim with him. The rhinoceros was a prize, and Charles would let Milton shoot first and claim the glory, provided he was patient and alert. Charles would only fire if Milton was in trouble. But, as ever before, Milton was overeager. He followed the guides, and when the got close enough to hear the animal snorting, Milton nearly sprinted to it. He spooked the rhino and it charged. Milton sought to escape to the right, but a tree blocked him. He was very nearly impaled. His rifle sling caught on the beast’s horn, and suddenly the animal carried him wildly, shaking him madly. The beast dragged him into a thicket of brush and flung him off.

 

Charles could not find Milton. The natives found the rhino, and Charles fired in the air to scare it away. It was unfazed, and it charged, so Charles killed the beast, first breaking down its legs with repeated shots, then, once immobilized, finishing it with a shot through the eye. But Charles hurried away from his kill. He had to find Milton before the lions came snooping. One of the guides soon reported he found the rhino’s trail.

 

Milton had crashed through some underbrush. A guide told Charles to go on foot, but he would not explain what lay ahead. Nor would any of them follow Charles, and all they could say were two words. Catoom Ndipaya. Charles knew neither of those words. But he soon discovered why they spoke them. They stood away from a fallen tribal idol made from sun-blanched wood and colorful stones. They looked at it like a snake, but all he wanted to do was kick it.

 

Charles reloaded his rifle as he walked on. Through the trampled brush he found a rocky cavern in the earth. The hole led straight down, and was some 25 meters across, more than large enough to swallow any beast. As he peered down into the darkness, the sun peeked from behind a cloud, and it shone like a torch into the space below. A long way down, Milton lay crushed. His body was heaped on a flower garden built on a stone altar. He must have tumbled into the hole after being thrown. Charles knelt and called to Milton. He called for a long time, but Milton did not stir.

 

Charles ran back to his guides. They stood in a line, waiting for him, unmoving. He asked them for rope, but scanning their simple supplies, he found that none of the locals carried rope, and he did not know the word for it to ask. And still, although they must have known Milton’s fate, none of them would move.

 

“Will none of you help me?” Charles shouted at his insolent guides. But they merely stared at him. He backpedalled in anger and tripped over the idol, knocking it over. As he picked himself up, he noticed the guides looking at each other in wonder.

 

Charles ran back to the hole. He walked around it in its entirety, finding more of the wooden idols hung from spears. Past the hole and down a slope, he spied a small village of thatched huts jutting from the mud. Charles ran down to the village. He shouted hello in Bantu. But the only person to respond was a lone boy of about six years. The boy followed him to the hole and peered down with him. Then the boy turned and ran back toward the village. Charles sighted his rifle on the boy. He never explained why, though perhaps he expected interference, or his rage at Milton’s death finally took over. He tightened his stock to his chest and his finger on his trigger and exhaled. At the last instant, he paused. Then one of his guides pushed his barrel toward the earth, and another one gently tugged him by the arm.

 

“Can somebody tell me what is going on?” Charles shouted. The guides took him back to the truck. They had picked the idol back up, he noticed, and they had readied his supplies for departure.

 

“I am not leaving!” Charles exclaimed. He became distraught. One of his guides drove, to his surprise. He thought of shooting this insolent African. There should be no place on earth where the English cannot care for their wounded, or hold reign for benevolent reasons. But until he returned to Trunduzu, and likely to the train station, he knew of nobody who shared his reasoning. They just drove, wordlessly.


From the windows of the truck, Charles began to hear shouts. High and low, shrill, repeating cries. War cries, he thought. From the direction of the little village, one group whooped, and another responded. His guides sped up, all eyes wide.

 

They returned to Trunduzu and sought help from the local police. The police told him his friend was dead. The manager of the outfitting company cancelled the contract for the hunt with apologies. The original guides dispersed. Not one of them stayed in Trunduzu.

 

Charles insisted on bringing Milton’s body home. He had failed as protector. But to go home without the body would be complete disgrace. He bought rope and hired six strong young men to accompany him back to the cave. He bought a new truck and drove out with his companions. When they arrived it was late afternoon of the next day. The sun was now nearly setting in the west. So when Charles peered down into the cave, he saw a different part of the garden. Milton’s body hid in darkness.

 

Charles sent a man down into the cave immediately. The preparation and descent lasted until the sun was nearly gone. The man shone his torch around, and Charles watched from above. When the climber returned, he said he found no body, but there was a lot of blood. The man reported carved tunnels leading away at opposite ends of the cave, and the blood trail led into one of the tunnels.

 

Though darkness already closed on them, Charles insisted that the men load their rifles and walk to the village. A great fire could be seen rising from the center of the mud between huts. Charles expected to hear chanting, even to see a multitude of natives roasting the remains of his friend. But when they walked into the village and poked their rifles into the mud huts, nobody was around.

 

One of Charles’ men shouted to him. Hung from a spear near the fire was a shield, and pinned to the shield was the hand of a white man. The bones were crushed and in places stuck out of the skin. A golden pin, neatly polished, stuck out from a fingertip. Charles recognized Milton’s Psi Upsilon pin. On the war shield, somebody made a crude picture of the sun, drawn in blood. Charles took the pin. They were goading him. He swore an oath that come daylight he would shoot them all.

 

His men followed track leading into the jungle to the east. Charles decided not to traverse it in darkness. He and his men made camp on the other side of the cave. He set watch. Two men with a shotgun and a rifle waited in the dark just paces away from the sleeping group. Far away, the roaring of lions kept them alert, but it was whispering arrows that they truly feared.

 

In the morning Charles rolled over and was stabbed in the side. He rolled back in alarm and found a great rhinoceros horn beside him, at least the length of his arm. Charles quickly concluded it must be the horn of the rhino he took down not long ago, but from where did it come?

 

The remaining men told him that two from the night watch had disappeared, those two being the second shift of the night. Tracks led all around them, though not a shot was fired. Nor could they find arrows, or blood, or any sign of conflict. They were alarmed, but not unwilling to press on.

 

Charles led his men back to the village. Again it was empty. But this time another post was erected, a directional arrow made of brush and twine. Its presence confused him. He had never seen the local tribes use it on a sign. Close to where the arrow led, Charles found a path leading into the jungle. Surely it led to an ambush, but how could the natives know these signs?

 

Charles took the path. For a whole day, he and his men walked quietly, cautiously, buzzed by insects and shadowed by monkeys and snakes. At some point another man went missing, but Charles insisted they press on. One of the remaining men went back to look for the missing man, and so Charles was left with two of his original six helpers.

 

When evening arrived, they came to the coast of the Indian Ocean. The sky was red and deepening into night. The path led down the steep cliff face. The men believed this was the end, and they would go no further. They wanted to make camp and return home the next day. Charles offered them money, but only one of them agreed to stay.

 

The crash of waves roared against the rock face below. The path was little more than a foot wide, made of loose rock and dark with the sun behind the cliff face. But Charles and his last brave companion toed their way along it, until Charles discovered a great cave mouth. It faced south and was nearly hidden by a shrub. A torch burned outside. Charles took the torch and went into the cave. He entered a great room made of brick and orange and brown stone, lit with torches and mirrors. He stood on a balcony, and nearby staircases descended into the brick-floored room below. The room was at least a hundred feet across and another hundred wide, and he marveled at its construction. Perhaps only the Roman Pantheon could compare to its old and sturdy quality.

 

Suddenly Charles heard a whooping from behind him. Hundreds of natives poured into the room from several entrances. His last man was nowhere to be seen, and dozens of hands pushed his rifle down and shoved him to the staircase. He descended slowly, unable to hear above the shouts and cries. As he neared the bottom of the curving staircase, he beheld more natives carrying bodies into the room on wooden stretchers.

 

Charles realized they were the bodies of his lost volunteers. Each had a large incision in his chest. Each face revealed final moments of agony, eyes wide and bloodshot, tongues gaping, blood seeping from the nose. Charles felt his heart pound and his breath become shallow. He had killed these men, asking them to come here so unprepared! Then his nightmare reached a new plane of awe.

 

“Charles,” a man’s voice said, rich and deep.

 

He turned and beheld a white man, shirtless, with a ceremonial headdress on his head. Blood caked one side of his head, and into the flesh of his chest was burned a branding in the shape of a tribal sun.

 

“Oh Charles, you look exhausted,” the man said.

 

“Milton?” Charles said.

 

“Yes, Charles, good old Milton, old sport,” he said, in typical American fashion. “Do you see this? I am king. My old dad will be tickled. I am more than king. I am deathless!”

 

“Did you kill these gentlemen, Milton?” Charles said. “Are you going to kill me?”

 

“Oh no, Charles, I would never! I felt compelled to offer each one of them the same chance as me. They cannot be here, you see, and their coming is forbidden. But instead of banishment into death, they chose the kifula. How I shook with anticipation! If any man were to also be selected, we would fight to the death, for he, too, might be king!”

 

“Milton, it’s been three days. What happened to you? How have you become so savage?” Charles asked.

 

“It is really the opposite. I fell down a man. But I woke up something much more. I feel different, Charles. I feel superior. Like there is nothing at all like me. You could not possibly understand. It’s like being top man in the Yale boxing club, I suppose. Today I would be top man, I assure you.”

 

Milton held up a fist and uncurled it, a new hand, bright white in the flesh and wrinkled, as though an albino pulled his arm from a long bath.

 

Charles gasped. “I saw your dismembered hand in the village!” he cried.

 

“Yes, but time heals all wounds, doesn’t it? Well, it is time. Like the others, you choose. Will you take the kifula, and know that you are at least my equal? We could live as kings, though I don’t know if I could stand it. What tribe could have two chiefs? What army could have two generals? Your other choice is death. Oh, I would save you from it Charles, but I don’t know if my followers could stand it. Their custom is the choice,” Milton said, and he smiled a cruel smile.

 

“This is madness!” Charles cried. “What choice have I? What choice did you have?”

 

“Destiny is fortune, Charles. It chose me. It was written into my blood, all along, perhaps. Perhaps it only ever chooses us. What a grand experiment of the flesh! At Yale I studied Chesterton, and he believed we are more than the flesh. But what if he was wrong, Charles? What if the flesh is more than we are, and there need be nothing else on earth or in heaven?”

 

“I don’t understand your riddles,” Charles said. “Let me go. I am your friend. I was always your friend.”

 

“You don’t know what it is I am offering,” Milton said. “You might live forever.”

 

Milton pointed to a woman. She presented a vase of red flowers. Milton took a flower from the vase, smelled it, and tucked it into Charles’ shirt. The many members of the tribe closed around him. They seized his arms, his legs, his throat, his hands. They covered his eyes, his mouth and his nose. He struggled. Surely they would kill him. The stench of old blood on his captors’ hands made him swoon. Milton took a great knife with a curved iron blade and a thick golden handle and pressed it into Charles’ heart. He began to saw the blade between Charles’ ribs. Charles felt his heart speed into a drumroll, and blackness overtook him.

 

When Charles came to, he was in a hospital bed in a crude shack somewhere. On his chest was a big, bloody bandage. The doctor told him he was in Kijuju. Charles, alarmed, asked how he got there. The doctor said he was found washed up on the coast, and was believed to be the sole survivor of the now-sunk MS Cloudspine. He would have been buried with the other bodies, but he started raving as he was dragged to the mass grave on the coast.

 

Impossible, Charles said. I have been back and forth across the plain, hunting. He lay dumbfounded for a moment, then looked around. Beside his bed was the red flower in a clay vase. He asked who left the flower. A young American hunter, the doctor said. He left a note, and the doctor retrieved it from beside the flower.

 

“That was the best hunting trip a man could ask for. Get some rest and head home. I have already written my father with my plans to stay awhile. Yours, Milton.”

 

Charles asked the doctor where the American hunter was. The doctor smiled.

 

“He left town with a band of tall warriors in ceremonial dress,” the doctor said. “And it was the strangest thing. The locals hid away in their homes. My nurse ran home to gather her children without so much as asking. I watched them leave on foot. On foot! Can you believe it? Not so much as a truck or a rifle.”

 

When a nurse later changed Charles’ bandages, she found no wound at all.

October 14, 2016 at 3:19 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Ian Connel
Moderator
Posts: 18

Account of Bariki Stevens, son of Lwazi Stevens


My father was quiet. He spoke more with his doings than with his words. When I was seven and was crying because a wasp stung me, he took my hand and we walked. He took me to the third village away, where I had never been. They had a well, and papa asked if we could drink from it. I was so bewildered by the new place that I stopped crying. Papa, I asked, why did we come here? So you would stop crying, he said. I knew he was not mad at me because he smiled. He even carried me part of the way home.

 

One day Papa told us he would be joining Mr. Bell on another expedition. Mama fought with him many times about it, telling him never to work for the foreign hunters again. They treated the help like animals, and papa did not disagree, but he said Winston was honest, like he was honest. Mama mocked him, repeating what he said about honesty. She knew that my father was more ambitious than anything. Then she scolded him more, and later she threatened to throw his dinner into the grass. So my father finally told us why he was going. He said Winston was offering him five times the daily rate, for two weeks. We could move, if we wanted, closer to Trunduzu, and he could get a job at the hospital or even with the power company. I could go to school at the mission, and if the money kept coming, my sisters could go too.

 

The next day, Papa let us play kujipikirisha while Mama went to see her sisters. When you play that game, you start a fire and put pretend food items into a pretend pot, so they can cook. We started a fire in the fire pit and papa even handed me some spent bullet cartridges. I remember they were longer than my fingers, maybe twice as long. Papa said they were for Winston’s biggest rifle. Do you ever get to shoot on the hunts? I asked. Papa said he did, but don’t ever tell your mama or anyone. He gave my sisters some throwing bones and a broken compass, but they kept the compass and did not put it in the fire. We pretended to cook the cartridges. When they were burning I asked if they would explode again and shoot bullets, and I hoped they would. But papa said they would not.

 

The day before the trip, papa spoke with mama in quiet whispers while we slept. I was still awake with cramps. We ate a lot of old food back then. It was cheap or free, and we could afford cheap or free. As I waited for the cramps to subside, papa said a word I knew, one too large to hush from across our hut. Ndipaya. The sun people. In those days there were more of them, but they were avoided by everybody. Sometimes the biggest boys in the village would claim they had Ndipaya blood, and that it would make them strong and everlasting. Papa would not tell me anything specific when I asked him. He said to stay away from them like you would a snake. Stay away, and if you don’t, I will give you a whipping you will never forget.

 

Mama said something in an angry voice, and papa talked over her. He said he had met the Ndipaya many times before, and they never hurt him or anybody else. Then mama asked, Have you met him, the Sun king, too?

 

Then neither of them said anything else. I could hear her stroking his hair.

 

He didn’t say goodbye. He never liked goodbyes. He got up before the sun. He spent a long time filling his pack. The sky was pink when he walked out. I remember seeing papa’s silhouette in the doorway before he left. He touched his hands to the edges of the door at the height of his hips, then curled his hands inward. It was a pose unlike anything we did. It was an American pose. The way he fidgeted with his hands at that height made me wonder for years. Now that I have been in the army and seen movies, I know. He was practicing to draw a revolver from its holster. Winston must have taught him. My father was a dangerous man. And I loved him more when I knew that, and I thought that nothing could stop him. But mama cried. She said we may never see papa again. I knew it was because of where he was going.

 

From the journal of Winston Bell, the morning of August 8, 1966

 

It’s a nice morning. But I missed a lot of sleep. Not because of that ghost story. That’s the kind of stuff that Boy Scout troop leaders tell the boys. Sometimes guys would bring stories to bivouac campfires when the front lines were far away, and I would hear the same stories. Always the little twist at the end. I think I would be more disturbed if they forgot the little twist.

 

No, my problems were here, of real concerns, not phantoms out of magazine pulp. One of us stays up to watch for animals. That’s the rule. It’s mostly lions, but sometimes a wandering elephant or a snake will visit. With a group this small it is doubly important. When I thought about Dr. Marcus pulling a shift, I realized it was a bad idea. He would probably kill himself with a BB gun. The first time I saw him take his rifle, he grabbed it by the barrel. We went over some safety training and he followed it like a machine, but his lack of confidence still unnerves me.

 

If I brought more men this would not be a problem. But Spencer insisted on keeping our party as small as possible. I had to insist on Lwazi because only he speaks all the necessary languages. When we negotiated, Spencer nearly called off the whole trip because he didn’t want any locals. It is apparent that Spencer does not like Africans the way old spinsters resent noisy children. So why even come to Africa? I finally got an answer to that question last night.

 

At 2 A.M. Dr. Marcus was supposed to relieve me. He was AWOL and probably forgot. But he was not asleep when I went and got him. He had a flashlight out and was looking over a notebook. Beside that, he had a picture frame with a plant pressing inside it. It was a large flower, red, almost blood colored.

 

“What the hell is that?” I asked him.

 

“Der Sonnentreppe,” he said. His German was perfect. Spencer’s probably is too, when he decides to be Austrian and not American. Marcus continued, “In English, the Stairway to the Sun. A flower discovered by a Dr. Hans Sommerfelter in 1922. It could never be grown far from the equator, even in a greenhouse.”

 

I asked if it was the same flower from the ghost story. He said it is possible. Maybe unlikely. But they won’t know until they get a better sample.

 

I was feeling surly. It was late. I asked, “are you looking to be the next king of the Ndipaya?” Marcus looked up at me with wide, unblinking eyes, which was as close to anger as I guess he ever gets. Solidly serious.

 

“I am not,” he said. I half expected an enthusiastic “jawohl” or “nein.”

 

“You don’t think it can stop death,” I asked. “That sounds like a lot of smoke and mirrors the Ndipaya spread around to scare their enemies.”

 

Marcus said, “It is possible. Phenomenally unlikely. But I am never a man to rule out possible.”

 

I have known outfitters who take clients out looking for rare plants and insects. It will cure cancer, they say. Or regrow a lost tooth. Or, when you’re an old man and you can’t talk about it for shame, help you get your end up. Bogus stuff. At least with Spencer we got a decent ghost story. But a scientist receiving it with anything other than contempt surprised me.

 

“So did you tag along with Spencer just to get this flower?” I asked.

 

“I want to see the flower in its native habitat. I want a sample and seed too. But I came primarily to hunt.”

 

Sure he did. Marcus is one of those fancies who live in academic la-la-land. His head is full of flowers and books and experiments and abstract ideas. Hunting to him is like knitting to me.

 

I asked him, “So if the legend is true, then the king of the Ndipaya is a white man, and he’s out here still, beating his chest and spearing giraffes?”

 

Dr. Marcus smiled a wan smile. He picked up his rifle, nearly dropped the barrel in the dirt, and walked over to the rock where I had sat on my watch.

October 14, 2016 at 3:19 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Ian Connel
Moderator
Posts: 18

Chapter 2 is now out on YouTube.

https://youtu.be/2jWG9PMFDPw

October 17, 2016 at 12:31 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Ian Connel
Moderator
Posts: 18

Resident Evil: Germination chapter 3!


https://youtu.be/XKVfFGDiIEk



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If the suspense doesn't kill you, something else will.

October 31, 2016 at 3:16 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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