In one swift movement I was out of my seat and had Jenny in
my arms. I hugged her fiercely and whispered in her ear “Don’t
you ever do that to me again!” I could feel her smile as she
whispered back. “Yes baby.”
A cough behind us brought us back to our surroundings and we
ended our embrace. I turned around to see Chioma smiling
awkwardly at us, although she was glaring at me through her
square-rimmed glasses.
“Men,” she said. “In one ear, out the other.”
“What?” Jenny said, perplexed.
“Nothing,” I replied hastily, “Chioma was giving me a talk on
some issues in the firm,” I fixed my gaze on Chioma, “A
discussion I would really love to have some other time, if you
don’t mind? I have some very urgent issues of my own to settle
with Jenny.”
“No problem.” Chioma said. “Whenever you are free you can
come right in. I’ll be in my office all day.”
I nodded and whisked Jenny out of the office and to hers. I
hadn’t really been given an office as I usually didn’t spend much
time in the firm, my job was mainly to attend meetings and give
my advice. As we walked through the corridor we passed by
Kelvin’s office whose door happened to be ajar. He glanced up
from his files and saw us.
“Okay, you’ve seen him.” he said matter of factly.
Jenny nodded, smiling and we passed by to the end of the
corridor where her office was. As soon as we entered I shut the
door behind us and grabbed her by the waist, pulling her to me
and locking her lips with mine. She offered no resistance and
instead arched into me, making my body reverberate with the
sheer electricity that emanated between us as our eyes closed
impulsively to better savour the moment. Her lips were soft and
sensuous, and her perfume the cool scent of Sunset Ocean. I
wanted to conquer this being, make her mine and rule over her
tidal waves forever.
For a moment it seemed neither of us would let the other breath
as our lips continued to find each other’s warmth and embrace.
But finally she pulled away with a gasp.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “I don’t know what came over me…”
“Sorry nothing.” She said, holding my hands. “I told you before.
With me you don’t have to explain anything. Do you know how
long I’ve been waiting for that kiss?”
“We kissed the first night I came…” I said
“That doesn’t count. You freaked out, remember?” she retorted
accusingly and smiled. “A lot must have happened between last
night and this morning for you to hug me in front of Chioma. I
thought she was going to burst into flames!”
We both laughed. I was so filled with relief to see that she was
alright, and that she apparently hadn’t had any nasty
experiences the night before. I asked the obvious question.
“Where were you? I called your line, you didn’t pick, I went to
your place and your care taker said you didn’t spend the night in
your apartment…”
“You went to my place?” Jenny said, “Why, what was the
“I think someone tried to get rid of me last night” I said, looking
her straight in the eyes. Jenny laughed, and then kept quiet as
she saw that I wasn’t joking.
“What? How? What happened?”
I recounted my last night’s experience to her plus what the hotel
manager had told me about someone calling from the company.
“Were you able to get the phone number of the person from the
manger?” she asked.
I shook my head. I honestly hadn’t thought of it at the time.
Jenny whisked out her phone and immediately put a call
through. After a while she the manager picked up and she had a
quick discussion with him, confirming what i had just told her. It
appeared he was apologizing profusely.
“It’s alright, it’s alright. Thanks. No, it’s okay. I’ll get back to
you.” she hung up. “He said the caller hid his ID but gave all the
appropriate information concerning you so he didn’t have any
need to be suspicious.”
“Well, I know what happened last night wasn’t mere
coincidence.” i said. “And besides, there is still the matter of the
man who raised the alarm. He is still unaccounted for.”
“This is serious. But do you think it is related to the man-
animal?” she asked.
“Why else would someone want to burn my room down with me
presumably still in it?” I said, and Jenny sat down by the desk.
“I’ve only been here a short while and as far as I know I don’t
have any quarrel with anyone here.” And then I paused.
“Daniel.” I said.
Jenny’s eyes widened. “He wouldn’t,”
“It’s possible. He has been quite spiteful towards me, saying
things like I want to take his job. And from the looks of things he
seems like the kind of person who would do anything to get
what he wants.”
“Have you seen him this morning?” she asked. I nodded.
“I told him about the incident at the hotel and he was non-
chalant about it.”
Silence descended upon us as we pondered this information. I,
on my part was beginning to feel the whole thing was way too
much for us to be handling alone. I wasn’t one for going to the
police with supernatural stories but now that things were
beginning to look too dangerous and with the scare I had gotten
concerning Jenny, meeting the police wasn’t looking so far-
fetched anymore.
Speaking of Jenny, she still hadn’t told me where she went.
“You haven’t answered my question, Jenny.” I said, breaking the
“Hmn? What question?”
“Where were you last night?”
“I had to go home.” She said. “Urgent business.”
“And by urgent you mean…?”
She looked at me. I knew she was considering whether to tell
me the truth or not.
“I’ll find out the truth anyway” I said to her, sighing in a very
tired fashion and interrupting her thoughts.
“It’s not that I actively want to. It will just happen. It usually
happens like that around me.”
She thought about it for a moment longer then raised her hand
and I saw the ring on her finger.
“So?” I said.
“Look again” she said and I looked. It wasn’t the same ring she
used to protect herself around me. This one looked ordinary in
every sense of the word, just like the other one did, but whereas
the other one had been plain, this one had a small insignia on it.
“It will reveal the leopard or his helper if we should come across
them.” She said.
“How?” I asked.

She hesitated again. I felt she was trying to make a calculation
of sorts. Like she wanted something to happen but not quite
“I’m not sure I should let you in on how it works yet.” She said.
“Now you just piqued my curiosity.” I said, coming closer.
“Come on, how does it work?”
In response she took the ring to her lips, muttered some words
and touched me with it. And for a moment I was me, but not me.
I saw the world through my eyes like I always did but from a
different angle. Jenny’s office was the same, a large square
cubicle, with a lead brown door, a wooden mahogany-finished
desk and a swivel chair to go with it. A potted green plant,
plastic of course but very realistic, was displayed in a very large
oriental vase at the left hand corner. At the right hand corner
were cabinets filled with files. At the centre, blocking the desk
partially from my view was Jenny. And she was looking at me
with interest. And then I heard Chukwudi the stronger:
“She can see me.”
“And hear you too.” Jenny said and bowed graciously, her hand
still on my chest.
“Greetings to you, sir.”
My hand moved faster than it had ever moved before. It grabbed
Jenny by her wrist and squeezed none too gently. Jenny winced
in pain but kept her hand where it was.
“I see why Chukwudi likes you.” Chukwudi the stronger said. “You
hardly back down, you appear fearless. Or could it be stubbornness
perhaps? Or maybe a death wish?”
“Just curious, i guess.” Jenny said.
“The very same thing that killed the cat,” Chuks the stronger said.
“I am no cat…”
“No, you’re a fish. Cats eat fish. Like the cat you are hunting now.”
“I am not afraid.” Jenny said
“Well you should be,” Chukwudi the stronger said and i felt him
glow with belligerent fire.
“You should fear the cat and you should fear me.You know what I
can do to you.”
“Hey, wait a minute!” I said but I sounded distant even to
myself. It was as if I was an observer like in my dreams. “Don’t
hurt her!”
“You’re not a killer,” Jenny was saying to Chukwudi the
stronger, “You just like to make mouth. Come now sir, can’t we
be friends? I haven’t hurt you in any way have I?”
I felt his emotions rise even more but then whatever he wanted
to do, he changed his mind. Then he pushed Jenny away and as
soon as her hand left my chest things zapped back to normal. I
shook my head to clear the dizziness.
“What the hell was that?” I said, still trying to catch my breath.
“A revealer ring.” She said, rubbing her wrist as she spoke.
“Whoever the man-animal is, if we touch him with this ring, he’s
true nature will come out.”
“Not true, hidden.” Chukwudi the stronger said. He rumbled
within me and I knew he was angry. His privacy had been
invaded and he didn’t like it one bit.
“You should have warned me,” I said, beginning to get angry as
well. “You should have told me what it does.”
Jenny smiled. “I thought it would be better if I showed you,” she
said. “Plus, I’m not going to lie, I wanted to see Chukwudi the
Stronger’s reaction. He’s a bit hot tempered, isn’t he? Kind of
like the hulk in the movies.”
“I’m nothing like the hulk and this isn’t a movie!” I was definitely
angry now. “Please don’t do that again.”
Jenny shrugged and muttered something to the ring. “It’s okay,
I’ve turned it off.” She said and went and sat down at her desk.
She looked and saw I was still angry and gestured for me to
come to her. I did, and she held my hand.
“I’m sorry babe. Sometimes I’m too inquisitive for my own
good. I promise not to use you to test anything again without
your consent. Now give me a smile!”
I sat down at the desk and made a face and she laughed. She
got up from the table and leaned into me, her lips a few inches
from mine. My head swam as I tried to blank out the pleasant
feeling our two bodies made as they touched.
“So…about that kiss we just had…”
I shifted uncomfortably. “I really thought something bad had
happened to you…”
“So you were worried?”
“Yes I was.” I said.
She looked into my eyes and, through them, into my soul.
“Your heart still belongs to her.” She said, her smile never
leaving her lips. “I haven’t won you yet.”
“I’m sorry.” I said simply.
She sighed and let me go. “I have been given a deadline.” She
said, “We are to find if the beast is among us before the day
runs out.”
I raised my eyebrows. “Deadline? By who?”
“It doesn’t matter.” She said. “What matters is that we make
sure the beast is not one of the board members by this time
tomorrow morning or else, they will send in someone to…help.
And that usually doesn’t end well.”
“Who will send in someone to help?” I asked again, perplexed.
Jenny looked away. “My Queen.” She said.
“You mean, the Queen of…”
“It doesn’t concern you, so don’t worry about it.” Jenny said
again, still looking out the window.
“When I told them the countenance of the beast the last time we
saw it, they said it had fully transformed, that it was now more
dangerous than ever. Somehow, by feeding on the old man, the
beast has gained its full powers and will be more difficult to
control. We need to put an end to the man-animal’s misery now
before he causes more harm.” She paused.
“This ring should help bring this mystery to a conclusion fast. It
was given to me by my superiors for this purpose.”
How do I know when you are lying? I can’t explain it very well.
Discordant notes, irregular waves of energy, a heightened tone
of voice. It has nothing to do with the Sight, more to do with the
Sound, the feel of the person at the time. A disconnect, no
matter how subtle. It will always be there. And now Jenny was
as discordant as a church bell rung by a monkey infested with
genital lice. The scary thing was, I didn’t know why she was
lying, or what part of it, if any, was truth.
“I see,” I said. “I was thinking we should report the matter,
regardless of how bizarre it is, to the police. At least give them a
“That wouldn’t be necessary Chuks,” Jenny said, still not
meeting my eyes. “We have to take care of this by ourselves.”
“We? How? If we meet the man-animal, isn’t there likely to be a
fight? Isn’t it likely we’ll be in a ‘kill-or- be- killed’ dilemma? I
don’t think I’m ready to kill anyone, regardless of what he’s
“You won’t have to.” Jenny said and finally looked at me. “This
ring will also paralyze him, making him easy to capture. Then all
we’ll have to do is make him tell us who his accomplice is, and
hand them over to the police after getting confessions from
them. See, it will be easy!”
“Easy? What was easy about what you just said?” I asked,
amazed. Jenny was beginning to sound a little off to me. Get
confessions out of them, were we going to torture them?
Jenny grinned. “Don’t worry, I have everything under control.
We’ll discuss more after work today, ok?
I’ll put my plan into action by the end of the day. When the beast
manifests we’ll know for sure who he is and then we’ll be able to
plan how to get him and his accomplice.
“I dunno…” I said. Jenny raised her hands up in exasperation
and came to me. She gave me another kiss and all doubt and
worry left my head. She smiled and turned me around and
playfully pushed me out the door.
“We’ve got office work! By 2pm today we’ll see again and I’ll let
you in on what I intend to do ok?”
I said “Okay,” and she smiled and watched me leave. As I went
out through the door I caught her reflection in a small mirror she
had hung on the wall near the door. She was looking at my
retreating back and staring at the ring on her finger and back at
me again. She looked… frightened.
“She’s lying.” Chukwudi the stronger whispered.
“I know,” I said sadly.


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