The Surge of Power
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Chapter 6 The Surge of Power
His mind was consumed with terror. The tempest of self-betrayal had consumed him, stripping him of his dignity and leaving him vulnerable to the malevolent forces that lurked in the darkness. He had faced grief that could topple mountains, but this was something entirely different.
As he watched the transformation of the woman before him, he felt a jolt of fear. Her once flawless skin now had scales that gleamed in the darkness, and her teeth were like rows of barbed wire. Her slitted pupils danced with some unknown pleasure as she savored a taste that was both tantalizing and terrifying.
“Are you alright?” Her voice shook him out of his trance, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that she knew a secret he didn’t.
“I’m fine,” he lied, trying to hide his fear. But he knew that he was being lured by a being from beyond, one that was not of this world, one that exuded malevolence and darkness.
He tried to remember how he had gotten himself into this mess, but the memories were fragmented like shards of glass.
But the darkness was closing in, suffocating him, and he could feel his soul slipping away. He closed his eyes and covered his face with his hands, hoping to block out the world, but the darkness only grew thicker, more oppressive.
He was a pawn, a piece on a chessboard being moved by a more sinister player. The realization sent shivers down his spine as he contemplated the depths of his predicament.
He opened his eyes and looked at the woman before him, her slitted pupils dilated and flickering. It was as if she was staring into his soul, and he could feel the abyss staring back.
“I know what you want,” he said, his voice shaking. “But I won’t give it to you.”
She hissed, revealing her barbed wire teeth. “You have no choice,” she said, advancing towards him.
He stumbled back, but he knew that he couldn’t let her win. He wasn’t going to let this creature defeat him.
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a silver knife. “You want my soul? Come and get it,” he said, brandishing the knife.
The woman hissed and lunged at him, but he was ready. He dodged her attack and plunged the knife into her chest, feeling it slide through her scales and into her heart.
She let out a guttural scream, and he could feel her energy flowing into him. He felt a surge of power as her essence merged with his, and he knew that he had defeated her.
He looked at the knife in his hand, stained with her blood, and he knew that he had faced his fears and triumphed. He had defeated the darkness that had threatened to consume him, and he knew that he could face anything that the world threw at him.
But then— he snapped out of his fantasy, into the real world, his house dilapidated now neglected as his mind was consumed with his thoughts. The feelings of being made a fool and being stabbed in the back were too fresh, with no sign of healing. It had nearly been three months, no answers, no higher calling, the better part of him said to forgive and forget. Move on.
But the natural state in him was fight or flight. A voice in his head says to him in a wise sagacious tone” you let that get away with it, it will always walk all over you, you need to be an elephant and crush the ants beneath your feet”
But he knew deep down inside, with an inability to do anything, karma would eventually find its way. Oh please let me have a front row seat. Let all those who cast my name in dirt, fall into my pits and languish in my world. There was only one other time in his life that he felt such a betrayal, and stemmed from the emeralds.
He drifted back into memories of his youth, back to the days when he first met the Bishop. The image of the brown paper bag, bursting with five thousand dollars, gripped tightly in his hand, came back to him with startling clarity. The building that lay ahead of him was old and abandoned, its dark, foreboding presence sending shivers down his spine. The Bishop was nowhere to be found, leaving the young men feeling exposed and vulnerable. They walked around the block several times, keeping their eyes peeled for any sign of trouble. Every creak and whisper seemed to be amplified, making them jump at every sound.
The Bishop hobbled out of the motel, his injuries from the mugging still throbbing with pain. He clutched his rosary tightly, his knuckles strained from the pressure as he muttered prayers under his breath. His mind was consumed with thoughts of the young man he had given the pouch of emeralds to on Friday night.
But as he walked, a mocking voice taunted him from the depths of his mind, replaying the events of that fateful evening. Despite the chaos and pain, he had managed to tell the boy that they would meet on Monday. But in his haste, he had spoken in French and failed to give a location or time. He cursed himself for his foolishness and roamed the area for an hour, hoping the young man would appear at the crack of dawn to claim his reward. But his search was in vain, and he was left defeated and disbelieving of his predicament.
As he approached the building where he was going to rent an office space, the Bishop hoped to buy some more time from the landlord. Perhaps he could convince him to hold the space until he found the young man. But as he crossed the street, his eyes fell upon a group of young men standing outside the building. One of them looked familiar, and the Bishop’s heart quickened with anticipation.
The young man glanced in his direction, his eyes sharp and focused as if his brain was sifting through a mental Rolodex trying to place the Bishop’s face. And then, recognition dawned on him, and the Bishop felt a surge of relief wash over him.
It was the same man he had handed the pouch of emeralds to. The Bishop’s eyes met with the young man’s, and there was a spark of knowing between them. But as they approached each other, the Bishop couldn’t help but wonder what kind of trouble he had unwittingly stumbled into.
As the Bishop extended his hand, there was a glint in his eye that hinted at his true intentions. He was a man on a mission, desperate to reclaim the pouch of emeralds he had entrusted to the young man.
“Greetings,” he said with a smile. “You must be the one sent to cross my path. Do you have it?”
The young man shook the Bishop’s hand but seemed cautious as he revealed a brown paper bag containing $5000. “Yes,” he replied. “As instructed from the note in the pouch.”
“$5000?” the Bishop asked, confused.
“Yes, we sold the emeralds,” the young man replied nonchalantly.
The Bishop’s stomach turned as he struggled to accept what had just happened. He had never imagined the young man would find a buyer so quickly. And he grimaced at the thought of putting the note from the landlord in the pouch, evidently causing confusion. He reached for the bag of money, but the weight of his loss weighed heavy on his heart.
Sensing the Bishop’s distress, the young men glanced at each other, knowing they had made a mistake. “Is everything okay?” one of them asked.
The Bishop hung his head and spoke with defeat in his voice. “The emeralds were my life,” he explained. He went on to share his story of fleeing from the chaos of genocide in Rwanda and his journey to this new place. He had hoped to find redemption, but now his dreams were shattered. “It’s all in God’s hands now,” he concluded.
Feeling guilty, the young men huddled together to come up with a solution to offer the Bishop.
The young men had teamed up with the Bishop, whose age and connections made him a valuable ally. With the money they had earned from selling the emeralds, they saw an opportunity to invest in something worthwhile.
As months passed, their newfound wealth made life interesting but also challenging. They had to hide their wealth, creating believable alternate lives to avoid attracting the wrong kind of attention. Though they were young and inexperienced in the world of crime, they were wise beyond their years. But in this murky world, anything could go wrong.
At first, the thrill of their newfound power was exhilarating. The ability to buy anything they wanted gave them a sense of invincibility. But it was the secrecy that added to the excitement. By day, they were just farm boys, but after sunset, they became underworld dons.
They purchased a small condo on the city’s outskirts and two flashy cars, which they dubbed “The Twins.” They only drove these cars at night, when they could blend in with the shadows. Though discreet, The Greek’s cohorts knew who they were and approached them with jovial welcomes to the world of dealing. They were almost like celebrities in the clubs they frequented, but with that fame came the danger of enemies lurking in the shadows.
The young men had been making plans to establish a legitimate business and escape the criminal underworld, but it was proving difficult. Meanwhile, the Bishop had been assembling a crew of trusted associates and receiving visitors from all walks of life. One day, he pulled the young men aside to reveal an opportunity too good to pass up.
Angola had recently established peace and begun its disarmament process, which meant that weapons were flooding the market. The Bishop had a connection looking to sell a container of UZs – compact automatic weapons used by police and special forces around the world. The Uzi was named after its Israeli army officer designer, Uziel Gal, who created it after the Arab-Israeli war of 1948.
The young men were taken aback by the opportunity, but the Bishop assured them it was a low-risk investment with high potential profits. They would need to act quickly, however, as the market was becoming saturated with UZs. The Bishop offered his expertise and connections to help the young men navigate the deal to make a substantial profit.
The predicament was not an easy one to navigate, for the young men had already invested heavily in their criminal pursuits. But they were not without principles, and the thought of dealing in arms did not sit well with them. They knew that in their line of work, opportunities were not to be taken lightly, but they also knew that some things were simply not worth the risk.
It was a hard decision, but they made it nonetheless. They would not be party to the sale of weapons. It was a blessing in disguise, really. They could focus on their other deals, their legitimate business ventures, and build something that they could be proud of. Something that they could one day walk away from, leaving the dark world of crime behind.
It was a risk, of course, for they knew that the criminal underworld was not one that took kindly to those who turned their backs on it. But they were determined, and they had each other. They were young and foolish, perhaps, but they were also wise beyond their years. And with that wisdom came the knowledge that there were some things more important than money and power.
The lure of dirty money always attracts the scavengers, no matter how carefully you try to conceal it. That was a lesson he learned the hard way, living in a surreal world that seemed to exist between a dream and a nightmare. People he had once seen as ordinary, wholesome folks now revealed their true faces, as if a veil had been lifted to show the dark underbelly of humanity.
It was unsettling, to say the least. The rules of social engagement were vastly different in this world, and the people in it were just as varied. Once you delved too deep, there was no turning back. The truth of human nature, of our insatiable cruelty, was laid bare before him. We devour everything, from the tiniest creatures to our fellow man, with little hesitation and even less remorse. We shift our masks with ease, like chameleons, striking out like vipers or ensnaring our prey like spiders. In this world, there was no such thing as ignorance or bliss. Only the harsh reality of the human condition remained.
The thrill of spending money was losing its luster as he peered deeper into the depravity of those around him, people he never thought capable of sinking so low for a few bucks or a fleeting moment of fame.
Sitting in a luxurious resort’s five-star hotel, he found himself invited to a meeting by the son of the country’s most prominent politician. The agenda was surreal. The newly-democratized country was auctioning off all state-owned entities to legitimate corporations at fair prices, which would ostensibly create jobs and open international markets. But that was the narrative. The truth was far more ominous and intricate, offering a glimpse into why good men and women, educated and dedicated to their fellow citizens, were abandoned to the clutches of poverty.
They were scavengers, clawing their way through a backdoor deal for a share of one of the world’s largest copper mines. Rothschild’s consultancy firm had facilitated the deal on paper, but under the table, the vultures were feasting. It’s one thing to read or hear about the horror of genocide, how humans can suddenly snap and hack at each other, or read and listen to tales of corruption of epic proportions, but nothing prepares you for the front-row seat.
He felt as though he was being drawn closer to the devil himself, properly initiated into a new world of brutishness, power, lust, and blood.