Ken had to look at Ikuku after hearing the riddle from the god of cleverness. He saw him totally confused too. Jade and Mercy just moped, wondering how one could answer the riddle. The liquid fire began to make a boiling sound as tranquillity overtook the den, while the god of cleverness crossed his legs from his seat like the king of the forest, gently touching his beards and looking at the young boy. Ken met his eyes after swallowing hard. His voice came dryly. “Can you repeat the riddle, please?”
The god of cleverness smiled. “I will repeat it as many times as you want, and you have indefinite time to answer it” He kept on smiling then repeated the riddle saying, “I am known and remembered at my end, but totally forgotten in the middle. What am I?”
“Gush!” Jade exclaimed. “The more you try to think of the answer, the more confuse you’ll be”
“The riddle is not meant for you. Why wrecking your brain?” the god stood up, walked behind a black fabric that demarcated two trees and came out with a cup from which he gently drank at an interval. He went back to his seat with his legs crossed again.
“Why are you so kind unlike your messengers?” Mercy asked him.
“gods are meant to be kind”
“Please, enough!” Ikuku shouted. “We aren’t here for irrelevant talks. We are joking with the life of thousands in the city” he drew closer to Ken, while the god drank a quantity of whatever he was drinking with his eyeballs at Ikuku who said with a calmed voice, “Lad? Have you come up with anything?”
Ken looked back at him. “I have two answers in mind but I’m not sure if they are the answer”
“Try them first”
“Okay” Ken’s voice came like a broken whistle as he looked at the god of cleverness. “I think the answer is a human being or death”
“Wrong” the god replied.
“I thought as much” he whispered again and bent his head. Ikuku exhaled in disappointment.
Back to the city, as the police and security men waited with their guns, the Graths came from no where, attacking them with swards and guns. The police also opened fire on them.
Mr Dennis and Wisdom looked at each other when they heard gunshot from outside the hospital. The sound came like the civil war between Nigeria and Biafra.
“Just stay here” Mr Dennis instructed as he wanted to go out.
“Dad!” Wisdom called him back. “Don’t go out. Stay with me”
Just as they interacted, a Grath pushed down the door thereby hitting Mr Dennis on the floor. Nevertheless, he aimed his gun at him from there and shot him dead before he drew closer to his son. Wisdom hurried up, took the Grath’s sward then stretched his hand for his father to grab which he did happily, looking into the son’s eyes.
“Be strong, son” he patted his shoulder, while Wisdom smiled. They stood inside the room, ready to kill any Graths that would miss road. However, many people had been killed at their homes. They just didn’t have an idea how the Graths entered into their homes, yet, they weren’t invisible. This made so many people to device a domestic weapon such as pestle and a knife, even a martchet.
For over thirty minutes, the chamber of the god of cleverness remained quiet. Ken bent his head down, while the god remained on his seat. The girls became tired and sat on rocks, but Ikuku stood still with the help of his staff. Suddenly, blood started dripping from Ken’s nose again, so he raised his head up to clean it but got scared of what he saw behind the god of cleverness: his mother, Mercy’s mother and Mr Raymond displaying on the black fabric like a projector. They looked scared and fragile as Graths invaded into their home, but securities withstood them from entering into the house.
“Oh my God!” Mercy and Jade exclaimed at once and stood up when they saw it. “The killings have started” Jade added. To their very eyes, the black fabric also displayed dead citizens who died by the Graths’ bullets and swards.
The god stood up. “Very soon, your love ones will be among the dead ones. You can only save them by just being clever. Think, young man” he told Ken.
“Okay, okay, but please, don’t let them kill our mothers” Ken pleaded.
“I should be telling you that: don’t let them kill your mothers”
“Okay, repeat the riddle”
“I am known and remembered at my end but totally forgotten in the middle. What am I?”
Ken sniffed in tears, whipping out blood from his nose at the same time. “..end and middle..” he began to think. “..end… that means there must be a beginning” he turned to Ikuku sharply. “You told Mercy something on our way just before I vomited” he hurried to Mercy. “What was the question you asked him?”
“Uhm.. I..” Mercy began to stammer.
“Please, remember!” Ken shook her shoulders.
“I asked, “Will this journey ever come to an end””
“Yes!” Ken exclaimed, while Mercy continued.
“..and he answered me, “the end always reminds you of the beginning””
Ken swiftly turned to the god of cleverness who had sat down, crossed his legs, watching him exhibit his madness. “You have a beginning” he continued as he stared at the god. “The riddle can be translated as, ‘The end reminds me of my beginning, but I’m forgotten along the way’” Ken swallowed hard still bleeding from the nose. “The riddle is trying to reminds one where he comes from. Where do we come from?” he asked.
Hearing the question, the god of cleverness opened his eyes widely because he knew the young boy was getting close to the answer.
“Where do we come from?” Ken repeated, looking around haphazardly. “What is our life made of? No, our body. What is it made of?” he paused then began to shed tears, still bleeding. It seemed to him as if his brain had gone blank again. Confusion everywhere.
“I am known and remembered at my end but totally forgotten in the middle. What am I?” The god repeated even before he was told to do so.
“From dust we were made and into dust we shall return” Ken said, looking up at the god. “The answer is dust. Judging from the time of creation, God Almighty created man out of dust, but along the line which is the middle, man forgets that he is made of dust, but when he dies, he remembered the beginning which is where he comes from which is also the dust. Therefore, you are dust”
Ikuku widened his eyes at Ken’s answer coz he never thought deep as he did. But was that really the answer? They were yet to hear from the god of cleverness as silence became the next atmosphere. Meanwhile, Ken had been bleeding and shedding tears for a reason he didn’t know. Suddenly, he staggered and fell down due to imbalance of the eyeballs caused by mental fatigue. Mercy and Jade never hesitated to caught him on the ground.
Ikuku looked at the god of cleverness who never made a statement or moved from his seat. His eyes never departed from the young boy. Ikuku asked him, “My god, the most clever, did the young boy get the riddle?”
He stood up without answering, walked to Ken and made him drink from his cup after he told the girls to let him be. Ken stood up sound and healthy after drinking from the cup. The bleeding stopped too, then he stared at the god. “I’m confident of my answer” he said.
“Yes, you got it right” the god left him to his seat. “You are in deed clever. Go back to your city. You’re free from the Graths. The magical eyeglasses will forever be in the possession of your generation”
Ikuku smiled while the girls hugged Ken happily.
Cleverness, love and unity is the key for defeat and conquerer of the enemies. This was shown in the life of four families; Mr Raymond, Dennis, Late Mr Uba and Nnanna. Therefore, none hesitated to attend the very wedding between Mr Raymond and Ukachi, hence, making Ken a stepbrother to Jade as she had always desired. It was one of the happiest moment for the families. Of course, Wisdom was there, admiring Mercy till the end of the wedding. Likewise Mercy to Ken.
Wisdom met his father smoking and drinking at the bar of their house, just a mino room after their sitting room. He stood behind one of the cushions, staring at the father.
“I know you’ll still judge me as a criminal” the father broke the silence.
“Why should I?” Wisdom asked.
Mr Dennis stepped out of the bar with a drink and a stick of cigarette in between his fingers. “Because I drink and smoke. Also because you found a gun in my drawer” he replied before his son.
Wisdom smiled. “Well, it’s true but I know now that you are innocent regardless the bad attitude of smoking and drinking which I will never do. I guess I didn’t inherit that from your gene” both chuckled and embraced each other.
“I love you, son”
“I love you too, Dad” Wisdom disengaged from him. “But call a spade a spade, dad. Smoking is bad. Stop it” he began to walk into his room.
“I saw her kissing you twice before she left” the father said which made Wisdom turned, staring at him. “She’s good, son” he added then went back into the bar. Wisdom said nothing but smiled broadly before entering into his room.
Ikuku and Ken were walking towards the gate of Mr Raymond’s house, while Jade watched them from a window.
“So, you’re going back to Ututu”
“Yes, because I must always remember my beginning which is where I come from”
“You know, lad, you’ve proven to be more clever than I do. I respect you for that” Ikuku stood at the gate. “I love you, lad” he said.
Ken didn’t reply rather hugged him tightly, while Jade smiled from the window.
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