The Magic Word of Seeker

The boy bumps into a secret; the 13th Element that can keep one young for eternity and deliver every wish desired; others call it the philosopher’s stone; a stone that can turn anything into gold. Many have gone that path looking for it, but none have come back alive to narrate their endeavour. The boy is endeared to go that path too, to find it, and let the cat out of the bag. Why him, chokes his throat with curiosity. What he steps on however opens the lid of his mind off: “… all that which exists is only another form of that which does not exist…” he is dumbfounded. What happens next are twists and turns of bolts from the blue falling on the peak of his head with deadly shock. Is the secret a mere hoax and does not deserve any suffering for, or its truly alive and worthy 

SAMPLE THE BOOK

1
THE boy left the director’s office, his face expressionless. He was neither happy nor sad. He got what he needed – a long break from work, to travel to the unknown to find that which has been the source of his bitter pill in his soul. To look for answers to the numerous questions that jumbled around his mind waiting for rational responses. As soon as he set foot in his office, he re-arranged his table, packing piles of papers, books and files in consequentially logical order. He was a neatly smart kind in almost everything he touched; let alone his speeches. He then sat on his seat relaxingly, darting his eyes round the room as if looking for something. The urge for the trip seemed fading away. He didn’t know whether he was scared of the search, or he had just lost interest in the whole matter. What he was sure of though, was that he didn’t know where to start from. And that was weakening his desire to go for it. But the thought of having had gotten permission already was stronger enough to lift him off the seat; took his jacket and threw it over his shoulder, picked the car keys, then the office ones from the table and vaguely walked out of the office; closed the door, then inserted the key in the lock hole; turned it slowly clock wise, and a mild sound blurted out, as the lock secured the door. He removed the key, held the door handle and pushed it down as his right knee slightly pushed the door, to make sure the key did its rightful job. Satisfied, he walked in the corridor to the car park. He pressed his auto lock on the car key, and the Mercedes Benz A160 flashed out lights as the doors gorged out a sound of the unlocking doors.
            He walked emotionlessly to the car, opened the door, threw the jacket on the passenger seat as he haggardly lumped himself on the driver’s seat and momentarily closed the door. The warmth of the car welcomed him to the inside leather interior of the cute piece of metal. He pulled the seat belt across his chest and pushed the flat metal in its locking hole; inserted the key in the starter hole and swerved it clock wise, and brought the light engine of the car to life. His left hand pushed the gear lever into reverse, and the car silently moved back from the shelter like an obedient servant. He swerved the steering wheel anti-clock wise as the front wheels of the Germany made piece of metal toy turned to the left, and accordingly swung in a forward movement as he pushed the gear lever into drive. The journey began to the south.
            The car whizzed in the hot October sun as it left the city of Lusaka in the Kafue road, like it would for once jet off the tarmac and fly. Music from Don Williams, ‘Lord I hope this day is Good’, was playing from the CD player. It was the only CD album he carried – “The Ties That Bind”.
            Lord I hope this day is good
            I am feeling empty and hope something is good
            I should be thankful, Lord I know I should
            But I hope Lord this day is good
            Lord have you forgotten me
            I have been praying to you faithfully
            I am not saying I am a righteous man
            But Lord I hope you will understand
The more Don Williams rumbled with his chocolate voice, the more the speedometer too raced to 200Km/h as the boy poured more gas in the engine cylinder of the car, the air cone bit by bit losing effect to the scotching heat of the southern summer.
            His mind excited; it suddenly drifted to the events of two weeks past. He had received a strange call.
            ‘This is Melinda from the Women’s Alchemy Movement’, a female voice from the other end of the line had announced.
            ‘Yes Melinda, what can I do for you?’ the boy had asked in a rather bored tone.
            ‘We have been waiting for the reply on the email we sent you last week. Did you see it?’ Melinda had inquired. And the boy immediately had recalled seeing the email with a ‘women alchemy’ address but had ignored it thinking it was one of those junk mails he often times received.
            ‘Oh…sure I received it but couldn’t really understand what it was all about because I was quite stuffy’, the boy had diplomatically lied.
            ‘Can you kindly go back to it and give us your response before end of day?’ the sweet resonate voice had tactfully persuaded.
            ‘No problems; I will surely do that’, the boy had agreed and quickly opened his G-mail account to check for it. He had just typed ‘women alchemy’ in the G-mail search engine and the email had popped up. Without second thoughts he had opened it and read:

Ref: Restricted invitation to Alchemy and Philosopher’s Stone Presentation

The above subject matter refers.

The Women’s Alchemy Movement proudly invites you to a restricted presentation on Alchemy and The Philosopher’s Stone to be held at Government Complex on Saturday April 20 at 20:00hrs.

The main speaker is Professor Johannes Mustafa from Mongolia. Kindly come with a copy of this email as only invited guests will be allowed entry.

Thank you, and looking forward to seeing you there.

Yours sincerely,
Agnes
Movement Secretary

            The boy had sat there in his office for close to ten minutes lost in thoughts. He could not understand any bit of the email’s contents. To begin with, he had not known the existence of the Movement and had complete, no knowledge of what the hell was that Alchemy and the Stone. He had wondered how he was chosen and why he was needed to attend. The email was so narrow that it had left a lot of gaps searching to be filled up. But no one was there to do it for him. It was so strange and had felt so awkward. A few minutes earlier, a young beautiful lady had visited him in the office without knocking and blasted him with all sorts of questions. After a prolonged argument, she had left without saying what she had come for. And then later came that call to remind him of the email.
            The boy drove, thinking and thinking about these issues. He wasn’t sure whether or not; his decision to embark on that expedition was a right one. He just followed what appeared to have been an inner voice. The night of the day of the email, had seen him at the entrance of the hall at Government Complex at the stated time. A young cosily beautiful lady had stood on the door way facing his coming. The boy had hurriedly walked to where she was a copy of the email in his right hand. When he had stretched his hand to give it to her she had declined, remarking that she knew him and that the email was just a mere entry code, in case someone had wanted to gate crush. This had puzzled the boy who had wanted to ask why, but the young lady had been so swift to usher him in commenting that he was late. The boy had followed the young lady into the hall and shown his seat. The boy had muttered a ‘thank you’ as he took his seat looking over his shoulder to see his gratitude to her, but she had already left. The hall was parked to capacity. It was in a dim light, but for the stage which had a brightly lit florescent tube. Shortly afterwards, a short Caucasian bald-headed man had walked to the stage.
            ‘I know every one of you is doing great’, the man had announced. The boy had not known why he was there. He had looked at the man with great interest trying to figure out what was to come next. Then the man had walked to the microphone in front of him, removed a piece of paper from the jacket and unfolded it. Then he had started reading to them.
            ‘Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold’, the boy had gotten confused. He didn’t know whether he was at an overnight prayer meeting or some spiritual sharing group.
            ‘These are words from the book of Proverbs of the Holy Bible’, the man had commented, disturbing the boy’s confused thoughts. Then immediately he had removed another piece of paper from the same pocket and read:
            ‘Let the studious reader have a care of the manifold significations of words, for by deceitful windings, and doubtful, yea contrary speeches, Philosophers wrote their mysteries with a desire of veiling and hiding, yet not of sophisticating or destroying the truth. These are words from The Hermetic Arcanum’, the man had remarked as if talking to himself. No one was talking in the hall. And there was no woman in sight. Then the stage lights had gone dim. Eventually an illuminating flash light from the projector had beamed on the wall in front of them. The man had moved from the microphone and had walked nearer to the wall. Suddenly on the wall had appeared a picture the boy had never seen before in his life. It was like a small wrist band entangled in itself.
            ‘This is a Dragon pendant’, the old man had shouted for everyone to hear for he had walked away from the microphone. ‘The Dragon pendant is a version of the Gordian knot with an ouroboros dragon that bites his own tail’, the boy was able to match the picture with the man’s description. He could see the head of the Dragon meeting with its tail, a thing he had not deciphered before. And gradually, he had become curious.
            ‘The ouroboros dragon is an ancient alchemy symbol that symbolises the equality of the internal and external in the alchemist soul’, the man had taught. The word alchemy had lightened up the boy. It had taken him to the email he had read earlier in the day, that had prompted him to have come there. Things had started to link up.
            ‘The Gordian knot is associated in legend with Alexander the Great. The knot was prophesied by an oracle that the one to untie the knot would become the King of Asia. In 333 BC, Alexander attempted to untie the knot. When he could find no end to the knot, he sliced it in half with a stroke of his sword and later they called it the Alexandrian solution’, the man had said with a proud smile on his face as people had giggled for the first time since the boy had entered the hall. To that end, he had not yet known what was going on. He had started feeling out of place and just wasting precious time he could have used for something else at home. Then he had stood up to leave, and the old man had shocked him.
            ‘Yes sir, do you have a question?’ the boy had looked over his shoulder thinking that the old man was pointing at some one behind him. But the old man had clarified that the question was for him and every eye in the hall had shot towards him. Feeling embarrassed and confused, the boy had to use his survival instincts to serve himself from the shameful spotlight.
            ‘What is this alchemy?’ the boy had asked and remained standing.
            ‘You can take your seat sir. I will get to that’, the old man had replied, but the boy had decided that he would wait for the answer while standing.
            ‘Alchemy sir is generally defined as an art which aims to change impure metals into silver or gold’, the old man had replied looking at the boy in a daring stare.
            ‘I am not following’, the boy had said; while standing his hands across his chest.
            ‘Perhaps if you retook your seat, you will be able to relax and eventually understand me better’, the man had persuaded. And the boy reluctantly had taken his seat again. Something had told him that there was something amiss about the man and his presentation.
            ‘The goal of the Great Work of alchemy, called also the Art, is the ‘Philosopher’s Stone’’, the boy’s heart had thudded twice against his chest. But the boy had ignored it, waiting to hear where the old man was headed to.
            ‘The Stone was viewed as a magical touchstone that could immediately perfect any substance or situation. It was associated with terms such as Salt of the World, Astral Body and Elixir. When applied to the human body, the Elixir cures diseases and restores youth’, the old man had lectured and the boy had sprang up defiantly.
            ‘You can ask while seated sir’, the old man had remarked but the boy had ignored him and had gone on to find out what was in his mind.
            ‘Professor, are you saying that this Stone exists?’ the boy had asked interestingly.
            ‘It’s a mystery. And the alchemists’ dream is to attain knowledge of this mysterious Stone’, the old man had replied.
            ‘But why are you here Professor? Coming all the way from Mongolia to tell us that the Stone is a mystery?’ the boy had challenged, making the old man prance to and from the stage like one caught stealing crystals of sugar.
            ‘The Stone young man is a blessing beyond all blessings upon earth given to but very few, and to those few rather by revelation of the good angels of God than the proper industry of man’, the Professor Mustafa had rudely remarked.
            ‘But you just mentioned that it is art, meaning any one can learn on how to make it as long as they find a Master who knows how to do it. Anything artistic can be learned’, the boy had defiantly told the professor as murmurs had swept through the hall in agreement.
            ‘That’s wise of you young man. But let me tell you that alchemical even if you found one Master, you would not be able to know how to make one’, the old man had challenged.
            ‘How do you know that professor? You have just met me’, the boy had asked.
            ‘I am good judge of character young man’.
            ‘Is that an insult?’ the boy had furiously asked, his hands searching his pockets.
            ‘The basis of all the alchemical transformations required to obtain the Stone, called the Great Work is seven-stepped formula’, the old man sounding frustrated had announced.
            ‘And what are these steps professor’, the boy had asked in matter of command.
            ‘I don’t know them’, the professor had replied.
            ‘But how do you know they are seven if you don’t know what they are?’ The professor had looked at the boy with burning eyes. The boy had peered at him, and strangely resembled his face to someone he knew.
            ‘As he is, so are we in this world’, the professor had said, almost whispering in resignation. The boy could see that he was hiding the truth from him and he had wanted to get it.
            ‘What is that supposed to mean professor?’ the boy had asked stubbornly.
            ‘I guess we have had a long night gentlemen. So long’, professor Mustafa had announced and wobbled down the stage and disappeared in the thin night of the backstage. The boy had driven back home feeling unsatisfied. The desire to know more about this Stone had suddenly grown. Two weeks down the line he made a decision to find the Stone. He successfully got paid leave from work. And there he was cruising down south looking for the unknown.
            He passed through the town of Mazabuka a few minutes after Noon and just stopped by to get himself a bottle of water from Shoprite Checkers and brought the car back into the road. At Kaleya he picked up one charming young lady who waved at his on-coming car more desperately. She was headed for Magoye to check on her ill grandmother, at least according to her introductory story. She said she was Twalumba, a student at Zambia Institute of Animal Health. What an irony; he thought to himself, beauty and animals especially warm blooded animals, didn’t go hand in hand. But there she was studying looking after animals; cats, maybe or more so puppies. As the car progressed on, she tried to strike a mutual conversation on the way; inquisitive as any student would be, but the boy was too busy with his mind trying to figure out how he would locate his destination. Then it dawned on him. ‘We don’t meet people by happenstance’.
            “So where in Magoye are you going to?” the boy finally gave in to her naggings.
            “Tandabale. That’s where I am dropping off from at, and then walk to Naleza”, she responded, rather happily as she looked at him with quizzical watery balls of eyes. But he was facing the windscreen rather seriously.
            “Do you know….oh, forget it. You definitely can’t know it,” he hesitated.
            “Try me. I have stayed in this part of the bush world quite disgustingly long,” she said smilingly at him.
            “Oh…really? You look…”
            “Cleaner or too smart to grow up in a village? Everyone tells me that. And I didn’t expect it to come from you as well”.
            “Why?” he asked, this time looking at her. She was a beauty of an angel; like a pruned Lilly in the middle of a spring.
            “You look well up there in your head. So you should be able to know that looks mostly deceive.” The boy felt blood run furiously in his veins. That wasn’t a mere talk. It was a sign of some sort.
            “But I am a stranger who has just helped you with transport, how do you expect me to know you when we have just met?” the boy responded dryly.
            “I don’t believe you. From the look of things, you have stayed in the village, may be even grew up there, but then fate lifted you up in town. So you should be able to know that the village too is fertile enough for people like me,” she said as she chewed her tongue as a matter of habit.
            “Oh…yes I grew up in the village and you are right lady, beauty knows no geography,” the boy eagerly replied. He drove on, forgetting that the speedometer was actually lazing down to 80km/h from the time he picked her up. He looked at the time on the dash board, and she noticed him.
            “So what is it that you wanted to find out from me?” she asked unexcitedly.
            “Mpasulula…Where is Mpasulula?” the boy asked sure of himself that she had never heard of such a name before.
            “I am dropping off just there” she said pointing to a layby a few meters ahead. The boy removed his right foot from the fuel peddle, bringing the toy car to a de-activated speed as the left car indicators twinkled for a stoppage and finally brought it to a halt on the pavement of Tandabale station. Twalumba fumbled into her small hand bag and fished out a Fifty kwacha note, but the boy declined to get it saying it was a free ride.
            “Is it because of how I look?” she asked unhappily looking into his eyes furiously. The boy smiled with a weak temperate of shock.
            “Come on young lady, you asked for a lift and I offered one,” he replied trying by all hard means to suppress the shame that was busy punching him on his face.
            “But why did you leave other people standing by the road on the way asking for help too?” the boy’s arm pits were sweating with guilt.
            “Well, I guess it was your lucky day. Aren’t you just supposed to say thank you, unlike having innuendos on me?” the boy said.
            “Oh…thanks. It’s not common from my experience to get a normal free ride,” she said.
            “And that makes you sad?” he asked.
            “Sometimes; I want to be treated like anyone else,” she explained as she got out of the car.
            “Use rightly what you have young lady. It’s a blessing. Don’t question it or it will be taken away from you,” the boy said. “If they give you free rides because of how you look, still count it a blessing and continue saying thank you,” he continued.
            “That’s convincing,” she said standing by the door. “Mpasulula is behind,” she directed.
            “Behind where?” he asked surprised.
            “About a kilometre from where we are along the same road to your right; you will see a poster written: ‘Research Institute’. Take that same gravel road and ask as you drive”
            “But why didn’t you tell me earlier?”
            “You wouldn’t have known Tandabale. At least now you will know both places. What’s there anyway with this beautiful piece on that awful road?” She inquisitively asked.
            “I am visiting a relative,” the boy hastily said and started the engine. Twalumba looked at him with unsatisfied eyes. The boy could see that she wasn’t convinced. She thanked him and wished him a safer drive and the boy rolled back the Benz, hooting farewell as he sped off seeing her from the view mirror crossing the road to the other side. When he reached the turn off, he slowed down and brought the car into the gravel road, as it jumped up and down struggling over the numerous pot-holes. He steadied his driving, criss-crossing the road avoiding the gullies spread all over it.
            After driving close to an hour, he parked the car, got out, opened the bonnet and walked to a nearby home and asked for water which they gladly offered in a gallon container. He brought it to the car, opened the bonnet, and poured the water in the radiator.
            “How far is it to Mpasulula?” the boy asked the young man who escorted him to the car as if he would have run away with the gallon.
            “Mmm…it’s near with a car. Just drive, and drive, and you will find a rail line. Cross it and drive and drive, then you will come to a small bridge. There are villages on your right. Ask there and they will show you the way.” The boy knew village directions. The drive and drive instructions significantly meant that he still had a long way to go.
            “But what are you going to do at Mpasulula?”The young man asked, sounding so concerned. And that startled the boy. The question wasn’t normal, especially coming from as small a young person as him.
            “Why are you asking?” the boy asked.
            “Nothing; it’s only that we just hear about it. No one from here has been there before”.
            “Why?” the boy asked looking at the young man standing before him.
            “We hear there are strange things that happen. Does Mpasulula himself really exist?” The boy felt a sharp sting run sharply in his head. He was getting confused. He too had very little information about this Mpasulula person. And if the people around that area had nothing to do with him, then something strange might have been really happening.
            “I don’t know. But I am told he exists,” the boy courageously replied, yet with so much doubt in his tone.
            “Every day we just see smoke on that hill. It puffs out every morning. Even during the hot season,” the young man added.
            “Is that where his home is? At that hill?” the boy asked.
            “So we are told. No one has dared to go there to find the truth. Maybe you will be able to tell us if you come back,” the young man explained, his hands crossed behind his back. The boy just nodded his head, handed the young man the gallon, got in the car and started off. He could see the young man waving at him, but his thoughts were stagnant. He sped his car, disregarding the bad state of the road as it left a cloud of thick dust behind. The sun was closing in to mid-afternoon. A few hours later, it would sink behind the horizons. Thirty minutes later, zigzagging on the road, he came to the rail crossing. He let the car go over the metal lines carelessly as the chassis bumped into the rails mercilessly causing an annoying thud of fighting metals. The boy minded less, and impatiently drove on.
            His thoughts suddenly went back to the young man. What if this Mpasulula never existed? What if he was harmful? What if it was just a bush full of nothing but unknown creatures? What if…? And a line of unanswered questions queued in his mind; but the more he coined the questions, the further the answers remained, and the faster the car sped. Had it not been for a dog that crossed dangerously a head of the speeding car, bringing his consciousness to a quick realisation of what was going on, and quickly instructed the foot to apply emergency brakes, that made the car skid before it stopped on the edge of the road, he would have plunged it into the stream a head, for the bridge was no longer there. He came out of the car as the whole place was filled with flying dust. Then as his eyes got familiar with the surrounding, at a place where he thought he saw a dog, appeared an old man with a walking stick in his left hand. The boy felt his hair saluting like it had seen a King. He out of reflex took a step back and leaned against the car. The old man walked slowly towards him and a few meters apart he stopped, his walking stick dropped and he staggered trying to avoid a fall. The boy unconsciously, quickly darted towards him and supported him up.
            “Your eyes,” the old man commented looking at the boy.
            “What do you mean?” the boy asked.
            “They have fire,” the old man replied.
            “I didn’t know that?”
            “Because you don’t listen to yourself”
            “How?” the boy inquired.
            “Give me my stick,” the old man said, and the boy picked the walking stick and gave it to him. “Patience is not just for waiting; it applies even to moving. That machine has a limit speed isn’t it?”
            “Yes. 220Km/h if you know what I mean,” the boy said.
            “But if you have Two hundred and twenty kwacha in your pocket when you go on a journey, can you use it all up on your first day even before you reach your destination?”
            “Well it depends. If I know that I will get what I want when I reach, why can’t I use it all?” the boy replied.
            “What if you don’t find what you went for or you are referred to another place?” the old man asked. The boy understood the message. “Everything is not what it seems to be young man. That road no longer exists. Mind your foot or that machine will kill you. Come follow me,” the old man said and started walking. The boy took a step behind him, but the old man told him to get in the car and drive behind him. The sun was settling behind the tall shaded Mopani trees. He drove his car following a small beaten path that passed through shrubs of Mang√≥ngo’. To his left were three small huts built three meters abreast each other, while on his right was a thick bush of dry trees. He drove on, his heart thumping hard against his chest. He didn’t know whether it was because of the escape from his near death, or it was for the strange old man staggering ahead of him leading the way.
            When they reached the far end of the opening on which the path went through, another broader path crossed from west to east. The old man ushered the boy to turn to the east, as he proceeded walking away, faster than before, until he walked upright without using a stick and disappeared in the thick bush. The boy got out of the car shocked. He looked behind where he came from; the path was completely covered by trees, only for the broader path that was leading him east. “Are miracles still happening in this day and age or I am just hallucinating?” the boy thought. He pinched his cheeks and felt the nauseating pain and realised he was alive and not dreaming. But he could not understand what was happening to him. Then the words of the young man earlier knocked in his mind. Just then a dog came to the path ahead of the car and trotted along the path. The boy got in the car and let the gear lever into drive and the car moved towards the dog. ‘It’s a sign’, he thought.
            He drove for an hour as darkness covered the whole area, but for the lights of his car signalling on the existence of human life. No bird was heard singing or croaking, neither any sound of animal life could be quoted nearby. The dog he was following suddenly vanished in the thin air of darkness. The path got smaller as he drove, with taller dry grasses appearing on both sides of the path. He was sweating, and unexpectedly he developed a running nose. He felt sickly and weak. Then the wind screen of the car caught moisture on the outside, blurring his vision. He switched the wipers on, and droplets of water were seen settling on the screen as the wipers continued clearing them. It was in the middle of the hot season, yet there it was drizzling. The further he drove on, the thicker the mist got, and abruptly he reached a dead end. Ahead of him stood a thick bush, on either side of the path, tall dry grass.
            He switched off the engine of the car and let the frost settle on his car. In a short while later, all the windows were completely covered in white by the mist. He was half scared and half relieved that he couldn’t see anything outside. It was like he was in the belly of an animal – safe and peaceful, yet not sure of what would happen next. Still in this quagmire of indecision, he dozed off on his seat and slept. And immediately went into a nightmare.
            “I Mpasulula Balozi, give my wisdom, my knowledge and my power freely to the children of men, so that them too might have wisdom to shine through the world from the veil of the night”, a voice echoed in his sleep. He was in the middle of a thick forest that was calm but peaceful. He was standing there looking at a brightly shining small light inside one of the thick thickets.
            “Wisdom is power and power is wisdom. One with each other, perfectly the whole”, the voice echoed the forest again. The boy looked in all directions trying to locate the source of the voice. The light above him in the thicket was becoming brighter and bigger in size. He tried to move backwards, but his legs would not allow him any slight step.
            “Listen my son. And listen smoothly. Don’t be proud in your wisdom. Mix with the ignorant as well as the wise. If one comes to you full of knowledge, listen and heed, for wisdom is all. Don’t keep silent when evil is spoken for Truth, like the sunlight shines above all”, the voice pervaded even louder, making the forest tremble with fusion. The light was broader and brighter, making the dark thick forest clearer as day time. Then from a short distance appeared an image he could not see clearly for it was silhouetted.
            “Welcome to the land of wisdom. Welcome to the forest of knowledge. Welcome to the light of power. Don’t be afraid because fear is bondage, a fetter that binds the darkness to men”. The boy could now follow the direction of the source of the voice. It came from the figure in front of him. Then from either side of the figure, appeared reddish broad flames of fire, making the whitish figure turn hotly reddish too. His heart was sprinting in his chest. He could feel the warmth of the heat from where he stood.
            “Be still and don’t be afraid. The only distance between you and your destiny is your courage”, the voice said. And the boy could feel the urge to move towards the fire, but his legs were transfixed to the ground. Then he heard himself ask, “But I can’t help it. I can’t move let alone see you properly. How can I gain this courage?”
            “Follow your heart during your lifetime. Do more than is commanded of you”.
            “I have heard that before, but I am here for something else”, the boy said.
            “Now that is courage”, the voice said, but the boy was shivering like a tree in a tornado.
            “No I am deadly scared. I can fall to the ground any time soon”, the boy replied.
            “The fact that you know why you are here, and you have dared all odds to say it now, despite your shaking, is a sign of courage”, the voice said.
            “How is it so?”
            “Shaking is a physical reaction of your matter. The word from your mouth is crystal clear and energetic; it’s not quavering and that’s a sign of courage because that which comes from within is more powerful than that which is from outside. Matter changes, mind is always the same”, the voice explained, and momentarily the boy stopped shivering. He stood majestically looking at the fire in front of him. The figure in the middle was radiating different beautiful colours that seemed to have been dancing at every glance he made.
            “I am here for an interpretation of the 13th element. What is it?” the boy asked.
            “When you have gained riches, follow your heart, for all these are of no avail if your heart is weary. Don’t stop following your heart because it harbours the soul”, the voice instructed, as if ignoring the boy’s question.
            “Has that got to do with my question? I don’t see any connection”, the boy asked again.
            “Don’t repeat an extravagant speech nor listen to it, for it is the utterance of one who is not in equilibrium. Don’t speak of it so that whoever listens to you may know wisdom. Silence is of great profit. An abundance of speech profits you nothing”, the voice said.
            “But should I keep quiet even when I have burning issues to ask? I have come a long way and all I get is that I should keep silent?” the boy breathlessly lamented.
            “If you should be great among men, be honoured for knowledge and gentleness. If you seek to know the nature of a friend, don’t ask his companion, but pass time alone with him. Debate with him, testing his heart by his words and his bearing”, the voice continued.
            “So all this is a test? How many tests am I going to have before I get the answer to my search?” the boy relentlessly asked.
            “That which goes into the store-house must come forth, and the things that are yours must be shared with a friend. Knowledge is regarded by the fool as ignorance, and the things that are profitable are to him hurtful. The wise man lets his heart overflow but keeps silent his mouth”, the voice countered. The boy kept mute for a while. He realised he was missing something from the conversation. He tried to decipher the message, but his mind was still on his mission. He wanted answers just there and then. 
            “That silence is one of a troubled heart”, the voice said and the boy was startled. “Listen to me. He who knows the fire that is within him shall ascend to the eternal fire and dwell in it eternally”.
            “Is that the fire I am seeing before me now? The one I feel the heat and warmth?” the boy asked.
            “That’s not your fire. The inner fire is the most potent of all force, for it overcomes all things and penetrates to all things of the Earth. All eyes do not see with the same vision, for to one an object appears of one form and colour and to a different eye of another. So also the infinite fire, changing colour to colour, is never same from day to day”, the voice advised. And the boy fixed his eyes on the fire before him again. He saw the changing dancing colours at every glance he did. They were so beautiful and harmoniously arranged. He was gradually getting connected to its beams of light that were percolating his eyes. His heart was getting calmer and peaceful. Something strange was cosmically transforming him into a newer being.
            “You are a star bound to a body until in the end you are freed through your strife. Only by struggle and toiling yourself, shall the star within you bloom out in new life. He who knows the commencement of all things, free is his star from the realm of night. Remember that all which exists is only another form of that which does not exist”, the voice expounded. The boy felt a pang of ignorance cut through his mind. His thoughts chaotically vibrated with anger and confusion.
            “But isn’t that ironical?” the boy asked.
            “Don’t seek that which is not of law, for such exists only in the illusions of the senses. Wisdom comes to all his children even as they come into wisdom”, the voice said. Suddenly, the flames of fire on the left vanished.
            “But my mission question. The philosopher’s stone? Where can I get it? Or how can I make it?” the boy desperately asked in panic.
            “Seek with wisdom. Turn your thoughts inward. Don’t close your mind to the flower of light. Place in your body, a thought formed picture and think of the numbers that lead you to life”, the voice instructed. And the flame of fire on the right vanished too. The figure again illuminated its earlier white bright light only that was gradually getting smaller.
            “What numbers?”
            “Find the key of Masalamusi. The master key to The Word that resounds among men and you will be one step ahead”.
            “Where do I find this key?”
            “At the foot of the road that leads to Maleele”, and the figure instantly sublimed.
            A bird croaked out loudly and a wild dog barked. The boy out of frenzied fear, jerked up out of sleep. He was in the car. The mist was gone. It was morning. A bright red ball of fire was a quarter up the horizon in the eastern dome. The car was parked beside the road a few meters from the collapsed bridge where he almost hit the dog the previous day. A place where he met the old man that led him to the right direction. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Just yesterday, he drove the car out of that place into a thick bush. He wasn’t hallucinating, or day dreaming. It happened in real time. But how come, the car was still at the same place and in the same position?
            He opened the door and got out; the hill across the stream was puffing the smoke out. So no-one had ever been there? He thought. But he drove there the previous night. But if he did, the car wouldn’t have been where he found it that morning. Maybe the land was on a shifting plate. He got back in the car, closed the door and as he was about to start the engine, he saw someone standing close to his car. He lowered the window and his eyes spotted the old man walking away supporting himself with a stick. His blood filled up his entire body. He raved the car, turned it west ward and as he sped off, he glanced quickly and saw him standing upright with a wide smile looking at the speeding car.
           



2
THE Benz came to an instant halt at the ‘Research Institute’ poster junction where the gravel road was entering the tarmac road. Behind it, a trail of thick clouds of dust rose up in the innocent sky that seemed to have been used to the abuse of the air with all sorts of pollutants. The left indicator light of the car was busy blinking simultaneously in and out as the tarmac road kept allowing traffic flow from the north. The boy grew extremely impatient for time was easily running battles with his schedule. He needed to be where he was going before the sun begged for a calf as his tribes men would call sunset. His car clock, read half past 12p.m. And eventually a space was created. He rammed the small posh car into the sharp corner drive as it skidded, leaving tyre marks on the ground after the tyres whistled with friction as he peddled it south wards, forgetting the manners of the road. Four minutes later he approached Magoye turn-off and abruptly the engine went off while on drive gear. He judgementally brought it to a stop on the lay by that timely worked to the favour of the car’s motion.
            He got out feeling dazed with fury and hunger. The previous day he barely chewed anything let alone having a bottle of water. He opened the bonnet and the top of the engine was all filled up with dust. He went back to the car and brought a mutton cloth that he used to wipe out the dirty. He checked the oil, it was fine; brake fluid was enough; transmission fluid too was alright. He switched on the engine and checked the temperature reading; it was below the red bar. He went back to the open bonnet and checked the coolant box, the fluid was above half; the water in the radiator was on the brim. He was confused. He couldn’t understand why the engine ceased. He couldn’t fathom the idea of arriving at night again where he was going. The facts of the previous night were head buzzing enough for a repeat. He closed the bonnet and walked to the other side of the road where women were selling fried village chicken. He bought two pieces and a bottle of water at a make shift grocer and walked back to the car. He sat and munched his meat. He threw the bones, drank his water and started the engine. The car obeyed. He raved it once and he could feel the power coming from the exhaust pipe. He was ready to rock and roll. He closed the door and engaged the drive gear. Just then a young beautiful lady shouted at him from the other side of the road. He recognised her. It was his previous day’s guest Twalumba. He couldn’t believe it.
            “Hey fast rider! Where to now?” she asked out of breath as she came closer to the car.
            “What are you doing here?” the boy asked.
            “Well this is my grazing land too”, she joked.
            “Grazing?”
            “It’s only about 2Km from where you left me yesterday. This whole area is full of my relatives”, she explained. “So where to?”
            “This side”, the boy pointed south.
            “Mmm…no name? I am going to Monze. Can you give me a ride again? A free ride this time”, she asked with a deceitful smile.
            “Did you pay yesterday if I may ask?” he said.
            “Logically yes, because I was ready to pay. Today, I have no aorta in my heart to do so. Deal?”
            “But first tell me where Masalamuzi is?”
            “Man on a mission?” she looked at him with a puzzled face. “Yesterday it was Mpasulula, today its Masalamuzi, what’s up man?”
            “Are you going to tell me or not?” he asked sounding more business-like than social. Twalumba walked round the rear of the car, opened the passenger seat door and comfortably rested her bottom on the seat looking at him with inquisitive eyes.
            “Seat belt please”, the boy reminded as the car befriended the road again, gaining momentum at every lapse of a second, the boy’s mind quizzical ruminating over these coincidental meetings with Twalumba. Was she his guide or just one of those lucky opportunists who found themselves at the right place at the right time for all the right reasons? He didn’t even know where to start from. He had visited Monze before, several times for that matter, but this place called Masalamuzi, was so knew to his vocabulary and geographically, he had no idea where it was located – before or after Monze. And this was so cardinal to him because he didn’t want to lose any slight tick of time to be a Good Samaritan at the expense of his destiny. What he had forgotten was that, every little thing one did for others, came back in abundance a thousand fold’.
            “Is this the way you were cruising even yesterday on that road?” she asked, re-arranging her hair as she looked in the mirror.
            “Pretty the same”, the boy replied.
            “Do you even like this car?”
            “No, I love it”, the boy commented. “So where is Masalamuzi? Is it before or after Monze?”
            “Does it even matter?”
            “Yes it does”, he remarked.
            “How?”
            “How? Because if it’s before Monze, I am dropping you off at my turn”, he said looking at her to see her facial expression. But she was not daunted.
            “Don’t ever expose yourself like that”, she commented looking at him. “How is my make-up?”
            “Which one should I answer first?” he asked.
            “There is only one question I asked man. The other one is just a comment that you choose whether or not to react to it”, she said putting her make up utensils back in the hand bag.
            “The makeup looks great on you”. She laughed.
            “Meaning it’s the makeup that is beautiful and not me; Right?” she asked.
            “What’s the difference anyway?”
            “Never mind; about a kilometre away, kindly drop me off”.
            “What? In the middle of the bush?”
            “I thought that’s your wish? That’s where the road to Masalamuzi starts from”. The boy was quiet for a while as the car whizzed on.
            “And how long will it still be to Monze?”
            “Don’t worry about me. I am a big girl. I asked for a ride thinking you were headed that far”. The boy’s heart was boiling inside. He couldn’t understand why his mission was being botched by a young beautiful ‘devil’ he didn’t even know in the first place.
            “Just here. You can park anywhere there. That dust road to your right is headed to Masalamuzi. Don’t ask me how far it is because I have never been there before and I don’t dream of knowing it either”.
            Before she could open the door, the boy rode the car back in the road and pumped more fuel. The car engine sang a buzzing chorus for the next two minutes before it went to another stanza with a breathless tinkle.
            “Are you kidnapping me?”Twalumba asked looking at the boy with expressionless eyes.
            “I need to refuel in Monze”, the boy murmured.
            “Listen man, you don’t give favours to people against their will. No matter how genuine the kindness may be, it will be of no avail to your destiny if it’s given against the receiver’s wish”.
            “Didn’t you say you were going to Monze? And how am I a kidnapper now? Who are you young lady?” the boy furiously but calmly asked.
            “That’s the question I have for you too”, she calmly replied. “Everything is a test. Don’t do things to impress others. Do things to impress yourself; things that take you to your life”.
            For the next ten minutes, both of them kept quiet. The boy’s mind went back to his previous night’s horrendously bizarre dream. ‘Everything is not as it seems to be’, he thought as he drove. What was he missing? Twalumba was not just a mere rider; she might be his messenger; but how? The boy could not put one and one together.
            “Silence is of great profit”, she mumbled, putting sunglasses on her pretty face. The boy heard the remark and remembered a similar statement from the dream.
            “Yesterday I had a nightmare”, the boy spoke.
            “Oh…really? About what?” she asked nonchalantly.
            “It’s difficult to recall everything. But it was quite an insightful one”.
            “You need to pay attention to every word that comes from the mouth of a dream”.
            “Why is it so? Dreams are just dreams”.
            “No dream is just a dream. If one comes to you full of knowledge, listen and heed for wisdom is all. That’s what my grandmother always says”, she responded.
            “Did I hear that from somewhere too?” he asked.
            “Well maybe; what I know is that nothing spoken by anyone is new. Sometimes we think things we want are there in faraway places, yet often times, they are just within us”.
            “Do you think so? But then we need someone to tell us, so that we don’t waste time looking in places that don’t matter”, the boy commented.
            “We just need to know who we are and what we want from what we are. You can only know a friend by talking to him; same with knowing yourself”, she advised.
            “You talk to yourself?” he asked, getting more interested in the conversation, realising that she was not a mere pretty stranded hitch hiker.
            “He who knows the fire that is within himself shall ascend unto the eternal fire and dwell in it eternally”, she replied.
            “Am I in a dream again?” he remarked looking at her with quizzed mind.
            “No. you are delightedly talking to me as you drive. Why?”
            “Nothing; maybe I am just tired”.
            The boy drove on and reached Monze a few minutes before sun set. Twalumba got out of the car, thanked him and commented something about ‘never put off for tomorrow what you have to do today or the fire in you may go off when you wake up in the morning’. The boy was so exhausted. He drove to Freedom Lodge, but he was told that it was fully booked. He went to Monze hotel, the premises was under renovations. Comfort lodge was hosting a conference for NGOs and had no bed spaces left. His only hope was Nchete, but to his utter disappointment, the place was put under lease advertisement. He drove to Golden Pillow lodge; from afar he could see the car park filled up with executive vehicles with no registration plates. The president was in the neighbourhood and the place was not accessible to the public. Then it dawned on him; if he had to spend a night then it meant doing what he was supposed to do that day, the following day; the words that Twalumba used. He instantly got in his car and raved it back north. Twenty minutes later, he was in the gravel road leading to Masalamuzi. It was pitch-dark again.
            The road was very clear and neat. The landscape was of fine stones and flat ground. It took him close to forty minutes before he approached the village wrapped in a grass thatched fence. It was fifteen minutes after the hour of 8p.m. He switched off the lights, and two men in their mid-thirties, came to the car. The boy unconsciously stopped it and lowered the window.
            “Good evening”, the boy hurriedly greeted.
            “He is waiting for you. Park the car there”, one of them instructed. The boy’s mind went dead flat like a set of carbon batteries in a two-meter band wireless radio. How did he know that he was coming to that place when he never made an appointment with him? Urban manners seemed to have been wired in his mystery-ignorant mind of his brain. He drove the car to the prescribed place, closed the windows and came out, locking it in the process.
            “No need”, the man remarked in a subtle tone.
            “What?” the boy asked, as a matter of being sure he heard him right.
            “No need of locking it. No one can tamper with it. Even when someone wanted to steal it, they could still do that even when it is locked, even with my presence. But worry with yourself instead; the car is safer”. The man said and walked to the car, held the door handle and opened it easily and effortlessly as if it wasn’t locked.
            “How did you do that?” the boy asked shocked, looking at the car keys in his hands.
            “This is Masalamuzi’s Dome. Please follow him inside; your car is safe with me”, the man equivocally bellowed. The boy followed the other man who stood majestically watching them. He turned momentarily looking over his shoulder as he walked, with the boy unsurely following behind.
            The place was in the middle of a thick bush, encircled with a grass thatched fence. Inside were three big round huts, positioned in a triangle. In the middle was a born-fire that seemed to have been beaming since eternity; at each entrance to the huts, sat middle aged ladies in beads covering every nook of their bodies. The place was ominously silent and in forlorn. The ushering man walked to the burning fire and squat before it as the boy stood next to the usher waiting for instructions. Then he heard a voice from the other side of the fire, whose flames were so high that the boy had to lift his jaw to see its peak. The fire place was so huge that five huge men could sit on the other side without seeing them.
            “Welcome to the wisdom of Masalamuzi. The knowledge of powers forgotten”, the voice said. The boy felt a chill run down his spine. The memories of yesterday were still as fresh as the morning dew in his mind. At least there he wasn’t dreaming; but of the voice? He couldn’t see the one speaking.
            “Long ago in the days of the first man, warfare began between darkness and light. Men then as now, were filled with both darkness and light; and while in some darkness lived, in others light filled their souls”, the voice continued as the boy listened attentively, not wanting to miss anything this time around.
            “Take your seat”, and the boy still wondering as to where the seat would come from, the usher who brought him in nodded, and the boy realised the seat was just behind him.
            “What you are looking for you already have it. But ignorance is always the worst enemy of man”, the voice went ahead. “But it’s not my duty to open up your eyes to that elixir by which such wonders are performed”.
            “But I am here for your help”, the boy encountered.
            “That’s to my knowledge my son. The stone is a blessing beyond all blessings upon earth given to but very few and to those few rather by revelation of the good angels of the Most High than the proper industry of man”, the voice behind the curtain of a ball of fire spoke.
            “Am I not those chosen ones then?” the boy inquired.
            “Intelligence is a rare commodity in men of your age; what you ask I can’t tell you. But you will find out on your own. Everything you know and hear about the philosopher’s stone is not what it seems to be”.
            “Everyone tells me that. But what is the reality then?” the boy frustrated asked, and the voice on the other side of the fire started to rumble about the struggle between darkness and light. It said that in the old age, the eternal struggle between darkness and light was fiercely fought all through the ages using strange powers hidden to man. That when the Suns of the morning descended, found the world filled with night, and there began the struggle. During that time, the voice narrated, many people were so filled with darkness and that only the feeble flamed the light from the night. Those masters of darkness sought to fill everyone with their darkness, but the masters of brightness fiercely fought the darkness of night and tightened the fetters of chains that bound men to the darkness of night used by dark magic that enshrined man’s soul with darkness.
            The voice told the boy that the Brothers of Darkness walked and worked in darkness, hiding from the light in the darkness of night, as they silently and secretly used their power to enslave and bind the soul of men. They would come incognito and leave unseen. And in his ignorance, Man called them from Below, yet the word Dark was the way of the Dark Brothers’ travel – dark of the darkness and not of the night. They walked through man’s dreams.
            “But how were they discovered that they had dark ways?” the boy cut in. The voice responded that it was easy to follow their way because light only came to those who strove. It said that the pathway to wisdom and light was hard because many found stones in their way and mountains to climb, but that Brothers of Light, who were antagonists of Brothers of Darkness, were seeking to free men from the night. They had potent and mighty powers; because they knew the low planets could obey. They worked in harmony and order freeing the man-soul from its bandage of night. However, they too walked in secret and hidden ways.
            The Brothers of Light were in eternal Oneness throughout the beginning of time. They were given secrets that guarded and protected man from harm; and that whoever knows them will gain all the secrets. The voice told the boy that the Sun was a symbol of the Light that shone at the end of his road.
            “What are these secrets? Am I not eligible to know them?” the boy asked trying to slow down the voice’s pace of speech.
            “It’s an open secret. You don’t have to be special to know these secrets. They are for everyone who wants to walk in the light. When you meet the dark power, conquer the fear from the night. Only by knowing can you conquer and only by knowing can you have light”, the voice said.
            “But what is this knowledge that I need to have for me to gain this power?” the boy curiously inquired.
            “When a feeling comes in you that draw you nearer to the darker gate examine your heart and find if the feeling you have comes from within. If you find darkness in your thoughts banish them from a place in your mind. Send through your body a wave of vibration; at first irregular and second regular, repeating time after time until you are free. Start the wave force in your Brain Centre. Direct it in waves from your head to your foot”, the voice instructed. The boy sat quietly and attentively trying to stock all the information in his brain so that he did not forget. The voice interrupted his thoughts, instructing him that if he found that his heart was not darkened, he had to direct that force to himself.
            “Only by knowing can you overcome it. Only by having wisdom can you hope to be free. Knowledge brings wisdom and wisdom is power. Attain all and you shall have power over all”, the voice commanded.
            “Even transmuting the philosopher’s stone into any metal I desired?” the boy foolishly asked.
            “First seek a place bound by darkness and place a circle around that place. Then stand erect in the midst of the circle. Use this formula and you shall be free. Raise your hands to the dark space above you. Close your eyes and draw in the light”
            “Just like that? And all the powers I need I will have?” the boy excitedly asked; his visit to Masalamuzi getting sensible to his understanding. It was greatly resonating with his desire to find the secret behind the 13th element.
            “Then call to the Spirit of Light through the Space-time saying: ‘Fill my body O Spirit of Life; fill my body with Spirit of Light. Come from the Flower that shines through the darkness. Come from the Halls where Seven Lords Rule. By their names I call them to aid me, free me and save me from the darkness of night. By their names I implore them, free men from darkness and fill me with Light’. With these words you shall be free”, the voice said, as sparks tooted out of the flames into the dark night sky. The boy was feeble and tired. His eyelids were heavy, so was his head. Though he got a lot of valuable information, his question was still hanging.
            “I am still lagging behind”, he remarked with a signed voice.
            “I know what you are thinking about. Find Maleele he has your answer. Use these words when you want to free your brother so that he too may come forth from the night. Now I have given you my magic. Take it and dwell on the pathway of light. Light be on you, Life be on you. May the Sun be on the cycle above”, the voice said, and immediately the flames of fire let out bullets of cracking sparks in the air. The usher stood up, and nodded to the boy who reluctantly stood up too and followed him to his car.
            The time was closing in to 3 a.m. when the boy set the engine on and put his car in motion. His body was restless, but he had to drive on and find somewhere to sleep. Monze was the only option, but he couldn’t find accommodation a few hours ago; so where was he to spend the night? In the car? The thought of parking the car somewhere in the bush and sleep got stronger when he realised that actually he was just approaching the tarmac, but to his shock from a totally different direction. He went in the bush he headed west, but he was now coming from east and the place he was about to join in wasn’t familiar to his eyes. His body froze with stress. That wasn’t what he looked forward to when he decided to embark on the search. As he was about to drive back in an effort to find the right route, he heard people singing in drunken tones coming his way. He switched off his car so were the head lamps.
            “I see a cow ahead”, one of them shouted.
            “Hahaha…a cow on a path? Whose animal is it that is so stubborn as to block our way?” commented another one as he whistled. The boy sat quietly in the car and locked the doors. When the three men approached the car they all laughed out mockingly.
            “Oh…look at this tortoise of a car. Who brings beauty on wheels in the middle of the night and abandons it like this”, one of the men remarked. The boy’s heart thudded with fear missing beats successively. Then he remembered what he was told about fear; that it was the devil at the door step ready to pounce at one’s chance to live. He suddenly courageously drew the window down and the three men immediately kept silent looking at the open window.
            “Are you men of flesh and blood?” the boy asked as a cold breeze of fresh air swept across his forehead as it found peace with the warmth of the inside of the car. The men giggled like little nursery school going boys.
            “Do we look like men of metal and fuel?” one of them joked and they all laughed.
            “You look like men of Spirits in form of body”, the boy commented, and they all went mute staring at each other like saw an apparition.
            “Follow us”, the other one said and they immediately started walking in a single file in silence heading east. The boy started the engine of the car and drove behind them. The time the usher was escorting him to the car at Masalamuzi’s home, he had whispered to him, “Travel well men of spirits in form of body”. He didn’t know what it meant, and how all of a sudden he remembered the words; something at the back of his mind told him it was a code to something or somewhere he needed to be. The three men led him to a barbed-wired fence into a place that looked like a farmland. The moon was smiling brightly in the sky, but all he could see was a vast piece of land that seemed to have had no end. After driving for about an hour, the three men ahead of him stopped and one of them beckoned to him. Without second thoughts, the boy switched off the car engine and lights and came out of it and locking it in the process. He walked towards them trying to catch up with them, but the more he quickened up his steps, the further the men walked away from him. Thirty minutes later, in front of him appeared a big rectangular grass thatched house that looked like a church building. There it was standing in the middle of the vast empty land. The three men entered the house and the boy too followed in.
           
           


3
THERE he was in the building; so brightly alighted with candles stuck all over the walls. From outside, he couldn’t see any light coming out of the building, yet it had windows but he could see the night from inside, brightened by the shinning moon outside. The contradictions were mysteriously confusing. The tiredness and weakness that were almost crawling over his tissues a few hours ago faded as his curiosity got hold of his soul, so much that even the little bit of strength in his body was enough to keep him awake once more.
            Apart from the candles stuck to the walls, giving a brightly beautiful light inside; the building on the other hand was basically empty, let alone a mat that was spread at the far end of the room. The floor was sparkling clean and polished. The three men were nowhere in sight. He stood there alone in the middle of the room reminiscent of a Lizard trapped in a bedroom. The thought of retreating to where he came from, crept in his mind. But what would have been the reason of coming that far, and ending up empty-handed back to his base? Would that have been wise enough? But what started choking his brain too was the fact that he wasn’t sure he was in the right place. His decision to follow the three men was totally a reflex action. Suddenly as if a voice was entering his mind, he muttered to himself, ‘intuition is a reflex action. This gut feeling is always right. It knocks once, and if you ignore it, it keeps away’. But the boy listened to it and followed the three men without hesitation. It was an intuitive reaction.
            Still bathing in his deep personal mental arguments, a light breeze blew into the room, making the flames of the candles dance in all directions, trying to refuse to be shut out. But the breeze got stronger and stronger, this time whistling as it flowed itself into the room through the open windows and doors. The boy could feel it as it slapped through him. It was strong and energetic. But shockingly, the flames of the candles too grew huger and huger as the breeze got heavier. The roof of the building eventually started to shake and suddenly the flames of the candles formed a pattern. They bent and connected to each other forming one trail of a broad line of a huge flame from one candle to the other cycling the room as if protecting the boy from being blown away by the wind. From a once broad band of flame ultimately became a broad blanket of a flame sealing the whole room from floor to roof, shutting out the hurricane from entering into the room.
Precipitously the mat at the far end of the room rose and flew mid-air filled with the torch less flames of fire. Mystery was being revealed to the boy’s own naked eyes in the wee hours of the new day. His heart was racing top gear in his chest. The only thought that was rightly the best to follow – was to quit that whole endeavour and be done with it. ‘Let the answers I am looking for go to the wind’, he resignedly silently told himself. All he was waiting for was for the battle between the wind and the fire to call for a truce, and he would then dash out of the building with peaceful relief and get back to Lusaka sooner than later.
“I am not a man. I have freely become of dimensions and planes”, a voice sounded out. He was completely alert and aware of its source. It was coming from the floating mat in the broad blanket of flames of fire in front of him.
“In each I take a new body and I change my form. I now know that the formless is all there is of form”, the voice continued speaking. The boy was getting used to these voices. His heart was gradually settling. His mind started to concentrate. Immediately the thought of Twalumba’s words the previous day echoed in his mind, ‘pay attention to dreams because dreams are not just dreams’. But he wasn’t dreaming. He was physically there alive and kicking seeing and experiencing whatever it was he was going through.
            “Hear these words of wisdom and make them your own”
            “Wisdom again?” the boy thought.
            “Yes wisdom and forever more”, the voice shouted.
            “Gosh…! He heard me”, the boy muttered to himself.
            “Yes, I hear your thoughts. I am formless. I see anything that a naked eye can’t see, and hear everything that a naked ear can’t hear. I am Maleele”, the voice announced, this time calmly and steadily. The boy fought his mind hard from saying anything.
            “Hear these words of wisdom and make them your won. Find in them the formless. Mystery my son is but just hidden knowledge”, the voice taught as the boy struggled to contain his frustrations.
            “Know and you shall unveil. Find the deep buried wisdom and be master of darkness and light. The mysteries around you are deep in which the secrets of old are hidden. Search through the keys of my wisdom and you surely shall find the way”, the voice went ahead. The flames of fire were gradually getting warmer. It was like the building was slowly smouldering. The sound of the hurricane outside was heard fiercely wrestling in, but the flames formed a broad stream of flowing fire round the room, covering even the roof.
            “How many keys must I find to get to know the secret behind the 13th Element?” the boy unhappily asked.
            “The gateway to power is secret, but he who attains it shall receive it. Look for the Light O my Sun!” the voice pronounced. The boy realised he was standing before the uncompromising mysteries of life. This one was of its own kind. He was tough and commandeering.
            “Open and you shall receive. Press on through the valley of darkness. Overcome the dweller of night. Keep your eyes ever on the Light Plane and you shall be One with the Light”, the voice instructed. The boy’s heart was so calm and faint as if any moment sooner, it would stop kicking. The words were getting effect on him. He could feel the strength of the flames of fire.
            “Know that a seed must first rot before it germinates into a beautiful flower. You too must become formless before you are with the Light”. The message filtered into the boy’s mind. He was in a mysteriously divine land. His stubbornness was weaning. Both his spirit and body were giving in. The stream of flame started producing distributaries of shooting flames of fire to the sky and the mat tersely turned into a hotly-red three cornered and shiny metal. Its peak was pointing up, while the other two points looked to the floor. It was rotating anti-clock wise in the middle of the broad-band stream of flowing flames of fire. In the middle of the three cornered metal, was a beautiful circle with shimmering colours as it rotated.
            “Search the mysteries of Earth’s heart. Learn the law that exists. The law that holds the stars in their balance by the force of the primordial mist”, the voice spoke, and the boy immediately recalled of the journey to Mpasulula. The mist he experienced and he realised there was a lot at stake.
            “Seek the flame of the Earth’s Life; Bath in the glare of its flame”. The boy thought of his visit to Masalamuzi a few hours ago. He sat before a huge flame of fire.
            “Follow the three-cornered pathway until you too are a flame”, the voice preached. And the boy peered at the three cornered metal in the flame in front of him. From what he thought, he saw at first; in the middle of the metal, was now seeing something that looked like a face of a man; eyes, nose and mouth. The story was getting too much for him.
            “What is this three-cornered pathway?” the boy eventually asked. And the metal stopped rotating and stood still as if looking at him. He was right. The centre was a face of an old man. The eyes were blinking. It looked happy, content and calm.
            “Speak in words without a voice to those who dwell down below. Enter the blue-latten temple and bath in the fire of all life”, the voice said. His question unanswered. He continued looking at the still metal and the more he did the calmer and breathless he became. His mind started walking ahead of his thoughts. It was like he was able to see the future of his life.
            “Know that man is complex. He is a being of earth and of fire. Let your fire shine out brightly. Be only the fire”. And immediately the three-cornered metal started to rotate. The boy jerked out, and realised he was still in the middle of the broad-band blanket of flowing flames of fire. He almost got out of it without his body leaving the place. ‘How was that possible?’ he questioned himself.
            “Wisdom is hidden in darkness my son. When lit by the flame of the soul, find the wisdom and be light-born. Find it in the heart of the flame”.
            “But how do I do that?” the boy put it to the voice, feeling so confident and composed after going through an experience of almost leaving his body and seeing his future.
            “Know that, only by striving and pouring light into your brain”, the voice said.
            “How do I pour light into my brain?” the boy interestedly inquired. And immediately the three cornered metal stopped. The boy grasped that, that could have been the answer, but he didn’t know what the three-cornered metal meant. The voice called it the three cornered pathway.
            “Far in the past ages, there were men who delved into darkness, using dark magic, but they were conquered by masters and driven below to the place where they came from. But there were some who remained, hidden in spaces and planes unknown to man, lived as shadows but at times they appeared among men”, the voice narrated. The boy knew it was a lecture never to be questioned. So he listened in silence attentively.
            “In the form of man they lived amongst men but in the eyes of men, they appeared just like men, yet they were Serpent-headed if one looked at them through the eyes of the soul. They crept into Government and Councils, taking forms that were like men. They killed the Chiefs of the Kingdoms and took their forms and ruled over men. Only by magic could they be discovered. Only by sound could their faces be seen. From the Kingdom of Shadows they came to destroy man and rule in his place”, the voice revealed, getting sombre in intonation as the broad-band blanket of a flame of fire slightly losing its mighty. The boy felt that something was wrong somehow.
            “But the Masters were mighty in magic, able to lift the veil from the face of the Serpent and send him back to his place. They came to man and taught him the magic – the WORD that only a man seeking the truth can pronounce. And swiftly they lifted the veil from the Serpent and cast him from the place among men”. Suddenly the flames of fire gained power as the breeze were heard blasting forcibly against the walls of the building from outside.
            “But beware; the Serpent is still alive in a place that is open at times to the world. Unseen it walks among men in places where the rites have been said. Again as time passes on ward it will take the resemblance of men”, the voice exposed and the boy felt a pang of worry and fear run down his spine. The message seemed to have been touching on something that mattered most to his life and the life of his clansmen and women. Was the message symbolic or a clear cut reality of what transpired and will come to pass in future? How was he to prevent the future catastrophe from happening having that message uncovered to him?
            “Know my brother”, the voice interrupted his thoughts and the boy instantly asked himself ‘me brother to the voice?’
            “Yes Brother”, the voice repeated. And the boy came to senses once more. He had forgotten the voice could read his mind.
            “My brother, fear is a great obstacle; Be Master of all in the brightness the shadow will soon disappear”. And immediately the broad-band blanket of a flame of fire thinned. The three-cornered metal transformed back into a mat suspended in the air. The wind outside was heard from a distance like it changed the course of direction.
            “Strange and terrible are the hounds of the barrier”, the voice continued; and the boy knew it was referring to the distant wind outside. “Follow your consciousness to the limits of space. Think not to escape by entering your body, but follow fast your soul through angles. Only the circle will give you protection”. Hastily the stream of flame vanished, leaving the candles alight peacefully on the walls, as the mat rested undisturbed back on the floor. Outside, it was pitch-dark. The moon had sunk on the western dome. The boy knew soon it would be sunrise. He looked at the candles and felt a sense of belonging. His mind was junk less. It was like a computer hard drive straight from the maker, yet to have soft wares installed in it. He felt lighter and full of space in his head. ‘That was a damn initiation’, he silently told himself, expecting a reply from the invisible voice. But nothing came out. He turned and walked to the outlet door. When he reached the open entrance his right leg hit into something and he jerked up. ‘Grrrhh…!’ he shouted, and woke up. He was in his car, parked in the tall grass beside the road. His leg had hit the door of his car waking him up in the process. Outside birds were singing, welcoming the new day.
            He sat up on the passenger seat. His body was restless. He needed water to quench his hot thirsty, so was food to quieten the grumbling stomach. The nightmare was still so vivid in his mind. He opened the car pocket below the dash board to get a pen and paper to write some of the things he still remembered. He had started to love his adventures, scarily as they were. Something had started filling up his soul and eventually had started refreshing it. He pulled a piece of paper he found there and unfolded it. Shockingly, in his own handwriting, he saw a word written in bold letters – MULEENGA-LEENGA. He read the word three times as was his habit on things he could not understand at an instance. He tried to recall when he could have written the word, and why he could have written it for; but his memory was such a disappointment. ‘If I can’t recall, then it’s not installed in my subconscious mind. Then I never wrote it. Someone did. Whoever it is; is talking to me’, the boy said to himself and put the paper back where he found it and started the engine of the car. The sun was just letting out its first streaks of rays in the east. ‘Thank you for another day’, he murmured to himself as he drove the car into the tarmac heading south. He needed a bath, water to drink, food and some decent sleep.


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