The pace by the A team after horribly digging a grave and communicating with an invisible baby continued until Fred fell down like an elephant because he couldn’t run due to his fatness. He fell on his stomach, brushing his face on the ground in a way some fresh leaves entered into his mouth like a herbivorous animal, chewing delicious shrubs. He sustained an injury around his elbow and his shoes pulled off. Seeing the brutal and painful fall, Jade and Ken stopped, turned to go help him up, while Esther stood at a distance to catch her breathe. She placed her two hands on her knees for quick recovery of lost energy.
Ken and Jade pulled fat Fred up, each, holding a hand, but he barely placed one of his feet on the ground, for he sustained a dislocation too. “Holy, shit! I can’t move my legs” he limped with an expression of pains on his face. Already, his eyes had begun to generate tears thereby changing its colour to red. “Pull me down, please” he suggested, breathing hastily. Then they gradually seated him down.
“Esther, hurry, get a neem leaf. It will help in healing the wounds” Jade ordered, taking Fred’s arm up to see the injury clearly. She also grabbed the dislocated leg, applied a pressure on the joint: crack! she straightened it, while Fred shouted in a loud voice. To his amazement, Jade began to undress him by pulling off his shirt first. After which she also began to pull his singlet.
“Woh woh woh” Fred glared. “What a hell are you trying to do? Romance me?”
“Shut up, I only need your singlet as a Torniquete on the joint” she continued.
Fred smiled a bit. “You know what? I suggest you use my pant for that. Just put your hands right there” he glanced at the position of his dick. Jade said nothing but let out a smile too. However, Ken had seated at a spot, looking at the sky. Though he heard their hilarious conversation but his mind wasn’t there. All he could think of was what was going on in the forest. Is it still the state competition or something else? What could it be? He thought. Just then, Esther arrived with the neem leaf which she handed to Jade and sat beside Ken. She watched on how she squeezed the leaf and applied its liquid on Fred’s wound.
Jade stood up. “Now what?”
“We should find a way out of this damn place!” Fred shouted from the ground.
“Please, stop saying that” Esther stood up too. “The first time I suggested a thing like that, we would have been devoured by lions”
“So are we then stock in here?” Jade threw the question in the air. Nobody answered, rather all kept calmed to have a rethink, one more time, feeding their ears with terrestrial sounds from both trees and animals. Jade looked at Ken. “You aren’t saying anything, Ken” she broke the silence.
Ken stood up too, dusted his butt and said, “We do not know where we are, only the state government knows coz they build this place and called it the land of zero” he looked at Jade. “What is the value of zero?” he asked.
“Zero has no value. I mean, it means nothing” she replied then listened again.
Ken looked around, “We are in no land. We are on nothing, and everything that is happening here is well known by the state government. This competition is a set up by the governor and his calibre” Immediately his voice went dried, another voice came from a distance, shouting Fred’s name.
“Can you hear that?” Esther asked. Then all listened again to the voice that came loud and clear for the second time.
“It’s Wisdom” Fred hurriedly shouted. “Wisdom, over here!!”
Hearing the name Wisdom, Jade’s mood changed, remembering their previous encounter, both with him and his family. Though how would she know that her father was evil? Nevertheless, she waited just like others for the owner of the voice to show his face. Suddenly, grasses began to rattle from a distance until Wisdom, Sandra and Paul drew closer, standing few meters away. They looked tired and horrible.
“Fred, what happened to you?” Wisdom rushed him after passing Jade as if there was no human being standing there. He bent down to have a close look at his friend.
“I fell down, dude” Fred was pleased to see him, likewise others except Jade.
“Wait” Ken began, while Wisdom turned to him. “We set out to this doom four in number each. Where is the last person in your group?”
“She’s dead” Paul stepped forward, taking up a question that wasn’t meant for him as if to say he was the leader of them all. He told them their encounter since the beginning of their journey to the death of Gina. He went further to say, “There is nothing we can do but to continue moving to know the end of this mysterious adventure. You must abid by whatever I say. We must…”
“Shut up!” Fred shouted then struggled up with a leg. “Who the fuck are you to tell us what to do?”
Silence creep in because Paul couldn’t answer the question, seeing the angry faces of his colleagues especially Ken who stared at him as if he was an empty bottle making a lot of noise.
“Listen all” Wisdom began by breaking the tranquility. “Obviously, there is no pot of diamond and we cannot go back. I guess the only thing to do to stay alive here is to answer riddles. So I suggest we tell ourselves all the riddles we know for everybody to know the answers” Just then, a tree fell down and created another pathway for them to follow. They began to move, yet Jade and Wisdom had not, at least, shared an eye contact.
They journeyed blindedly for hours, passed through difficulties and adsorbed the direct sunlight that radiated throughout the land. Sandra collapsed on the ground out of dehydration, while others kept going except Wisdom who met her.
“What’s it, Sandra?”
“I’m thirsty and tired. I’ve never walked this far for my whole life. I’m not use to this kind of life” she held her breathe then released it.
“You have to try. I believe we shall soon get to a river”
“I can’t, Wisdom”
He thought for a while. “Let me back you” he suggested.
Sandra stared at him for that particular suggestion. She couldn’t believe he said that. Therefore she reluctantly climbed on his back, feeling her breast compressing behind him. Of course Wisdom felt it too but showed no concern. All he was interested in was to meet up with others. Unfortunately, he saw them standing and staring at a spot. When he arrived, he pulled Sandra down in the sight of all. Definitely, someone like Fred couldn’t keep his mouth shut, so he said to Sandra amusingly. “Hope you enjoyed the ride, young girl”
“Why did you stop?” Wisdom passed Jade once again, moving to the front to know the cause of their gaze.
“We have another riddle” Paul answered, stepping away from them.
Wisdom approached to the front to see a cliff and a mountain after it. Below it was flowing water. There was flexible wooden bridge from the edge of the cliff to the mountain. On the stem of a tree beside the cliff hung a notice that says, “Jade, step into the bridge. Ken, answer me, if you fail, the bridge will cut and Jade will fall and die: Born in an instant. I tell all stories. I can be lost. But I never die. What am I?”
“Jade, your life is now in Ken’s hand now” Fred broke the silence.
“Please, the people involve should start now!” Paul’s voice came from where he segregated himself from them. Since it involved Jade, Wisdom didn’t say anything, rather stepped aside as Jade walked to the bridge and Ken moving closer to the tree. All this while, he had been thinking about the answer but couldn’t get it. After they all set, a time started reading from ten, nine, eight…
“C’mon, Ken!” Fred shouted.
Already, Jade’s legs had started vibrating on the bridge thereby quivering it all over. Wisdom could see tears coming out from her eyes. So, just at the number three, Ken shouted, “I don’t know the answer!” Hearing that, Wisdom ran towards the bridge with all his strength. Before, he could get to Jade, it cut into two and she began to fall. Luckily, Wisdom caught her by the hand while one of his hands held a wood from the bridge which flung them on the cliff and eventually hit them hardly on it.
“Hold on to me, tight!” he shouted and looked up. “Somebody help us!” he shouted again, hopping to see the head of his friends looking down on them to actually help them, but he didn’t, for all of them had been pinned in one place without moving.
Sandra’s voice came from above the cliff. “Wisdom, we are pinned in one place! We can’t move!”
Paul’s voice also came saying, “Why did you go to save her? You should have let her die!”
Just then, Jade’s hand got weak and wanted to slip off but Wisdom tightened his own on hers. She began to cry, “Wisdom, I’m so scared to die” she looked down to see several rocks she would hit before finally falling into the water.
“Look at me” Wisdom told her. “You won’t die. Just trust me” he concluded and began to look for a way out….
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