THE SECOND SIGHT EPISODE 24
THE BOSS PLAYERS
Location: THE CHAMBER
Yaw Boat is in pain.
From the tips of his toes right to the crown of his head he is in absolute pain.
His body throbs with the fiery agony. Even his eyeballs seem to be aching as if somebody is pushing little pins into them.
But the fulcrum of pain is situated at his shoulder and thigh joints. His shoulders seem stretched, housing a million pain points, and the points where his thighs join his body are throbbing with a fiery vengeance that causes his brain to scream with the sheer torture.
He becomes aware of his surroundings slowly.
The darkness he finds himself in recedes degree by little degree. He is first aware of dim light, and then it seems to brighten. Boat tries to move his head, but he has a terrible headache, and keeping still makes the pain settle down to a barely bearable rhythm.
His jaw feels as if it belongs to a giant; it is that swollen.
Finally he is aware that he is spread-eagled on some sort of structure. His wrists and ankles are tied securely. Summoning a great inner strength, Yaw Boat opens eyes.
He sees that he is completely naked, tied to an X-shaped golden structure fixed upon a sort of pedestal that is raised several inches off the floor.
He is lying on his back on the X-shaped contraption, staring at the ceiling.
The same ceiling with its horrible murals of profane biblical presentations.
He is back in the chamber of horrors.
Funky Grounds come to life!
The six shrivelled bodies forming the macabre cross hanging from the ceiling are now right above him; dry corpses that depicts the various stages of a man’s life; sunken eyes look at him out of the skull-like faces, grimacing teeth bared menacingly in an eternal snarl of hatred.
There are two golden beds on each side of Boat.
The one on his right is neatly laid, the white sheets silky and expensive. It is unoccupied.
The one on his left is also neatly laid, but on it is the terrible corpse of the housekeeper who has seduced him, Miss Naana.
Below him will be the golden throne and the golden crown – the crown that is resting on three human skulls – and way beyond that throne will be the gigantic black anaconda he has fled from.
The chamber is very bright.
He can see tens of candles – of different sizes, colours and shapes – lit and stuck into the walls all around.
Around the strange contraption he is tied to are majestic golden chairs, arranged in a perfect circle. They are close together, and Boat guesses they will number about twenty.
The room is smoky and hazy.
The pungent scent of burning incense assaults his nasal cavities, and he sneezes once.
Boat tries to jerk his wrists and ankles free of the handcuffs holding him, but they do not budge; it will take keys to free him.
Somewhere beyond his head he can hear a babble of voices crooning, moaning, and whispering unintelligible words in a talk-sing chanting that is more frightening than anything he has seen in the room.
Boat admits to himself that he is in deep hell, something far above his comprehension, and unless some divine intervention occurs, and soon, he will be a goner.
His world has come crumbling around him in a shower of elegant deceit and explosive betrayal.
His well-ordered life has turned out to be nothing more than a sham, a vanity of vanities, a useless transition that is engineered to end in death.
Everything has been stacked carefully, mapped out in such a way that he has had no inkling of what is happening. Everyone he has ever loved and trusted has turned out to be a major player in a game with stakes so high that it reaches to heaven… and hell.
Where will help come from now?
Here he is, helpless and absolutely abandoned. The most terrible thing is that he doesn’t know what is going to happen to him, or he has to do!
It is a confusing maze filled with dead-ends at every turn.
Boat is aware that he is becoming weaker and weaker.
He is drowsy, and very light-hearted, as if he has smoked ten joints of weed. Is it all a part of it, a weakening of his body and soul, a kind of savage preparation that will take him to the next level of some diabolical plan?
He has found Funky Grounds at last… and it has fangs, as he had suspected it would!
At long last the maddening chanting stops.
Yaw Boat feels totally deflated now, and it takes a real effort just to move his head. He wonders whether it is due to the smoke from the incense. Bob had once told him that there is a particular brand of incense from India that can floor a man for days; some folks actually got their kicks from getting stoned on the stuff.
And Boat feels stoned!
It tales a Herculean effort just to string his thoughts together now. Everything has become hazy, indistinct, more un-firm.
The great panic has vanished, and in its place he feels only exhaustion and a great need to sleep and never wake up again. There is so much a man can do to stay afloat, and sometimes when all has been done, and helplessness still reigns supreme, the best solution – as horrible as it seems – is lethargy, passiveness, and surrender.
Suddenly he becomes aware that the golden chairs around him are shifting positions, and he stares at them in total incomprehension.
It takes him a moment longer to realize that they are indeed not moving, but that the strange thing he is handcuffed to is rather rotating slowly, turning towards the golden throne.
The beds on either side of are moving too, turning in tune with the one Boat is lying on.
Finally it turns round one hundred and eighty degrees, and Boat finds himself staring at them for the first time.
The man on the huge golden throne is his father. He is dressed in a majestic all-white costume, a kind of flowing gown that reaches to his ankles. His throne is a glittering mass of gold and diamonds.
On each side of him are about ten people, men and women, wearing simple, straight white gowns. The material is filmy, and it appears they are naked beneath the costumes.
Sitting at Joe Boat’s feet is Elaine.
She is totally nude, and she is holding the magnificent golden crown Boat has seen on his first visit to the chamber, the crown that had been supported by the three human skulls.
Her thighs are pressed together, and her eyes seem too huge and bright in the candlelight.
Has she been crying, or was it just that she is also stoned deep? Sitting cross-legged in front of her is the muscular body of Samson Basoah, totally nude too. Blood drips from fresh terrible grooves on his body, forming a thick pool around his thighs. He seems to have been poked or cut deeply all over his body, and the designs on his chest and down his stomach seemed to be the signs of the twelve zodiacal constellations.
Boat suppresses a sudden giggle; it seems to him that the huge giant Samson Basoah is the least on the scale of importance on the Devil’s ladder.
He is just a useless stooge whose body surface is the canvas for the Devil’s artists who use knives and staves as brushes. Serves the b****** right, Boat thinks, and would’ve giggled had the effort not brought unbearable pain to his lips and gums.
Beyond the throne is the undulating mass of the terrible anaconda.
Boat’s wearied gaze traces it, and he realizes with shock that its body seems to have gone round the whole terrible dome, circling it completely now. Its flat head is now barely discernible in the shadows not reached by the candlelight. Its head is raised, no doubt, and its ugly black eyes roves the temple, missing nothing.
Suddenly, as if by some hidden command all of them begin to chant and sway again, their faces became vacant, taking on the vacuous expressions of morons, and then their foreheads begin to blaze the mark of the beast, and their eyes changed colours instantly.
Uncle Samson is now on his feet.
He reaches out blindly, tottering like one of the zombies in Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and he picks up Elaine in his powerful arms.
There is a break – a falter – in the chanting voices for a moment, and Boat looks up to realize that they are all staring rather sternly at him with their demonic eyes.
Still in a trance, Uncle Samson puts Elaine down on the empty bed on Boat’s right side. He takes the golden crown from her and puts it on Boat’s head.
Boat shakes his head in a gesture he thinks is strong, but in reality it is a very feeble effort; the crown stays on my head.
Now the men and women in the white gowns approach, and Yaw Boat’s shock as he recognizes some of them is so profound that for a moment the fog almost clears completely, and his mind becomes more lucid than the dawn of day.
Individually they are awesome – kings and queens in their own rights.
They are all there.
From famous Prime Ministers and economists to inventors, from all over the world. Men and women of influence, of money, of power!
This is a collection of some of the core powerhouses of the world!
They look totally moronic now with their ugly eyes and blazing foreheads. Their bodies move irregularly, erratically, like mannequins being manipulated by a master hand.
Deep in them, lurking like thieves, are inhuman beings – vicious demons that are capable of the most heinous deeds.
They sit down on the golden chairs all around Boat in a straight stiff manner, arms outstretched and palms outward, facing downwards.
They still chant in their strange talk-sing voices.
Samson Basoah is holding a little key now and he proceeds to unlock Boat’s left wrist which he ties to the shrivelled bony wrist of the corpse with a long piece of white nylon cord.
Next he unlocks Boat’s right wrist and ties it to the left wrist of Elaine, who is sobbing silently now, her face radiant with an inner joy only she feels, overcome by an emotional bliss so profound it makes her look like an angel, and if Boat could have moved he would’ve kicked her so hard that her expression would’ve slink out of her like a second skeleton.
Boat hates her that fiercely.
He is aware that the final stages what Paul Anderson had warned him is in progress, but he is too woozy in the head to do anything about it except cry.
Hissoul is in anguish within him, struggling for freedom, wailing to be set free.
The deep pain comes out in the form of choked tears that rolls down his face in torrents.
He doesn’t wail, or moan, or even make any sound. As his mind searches frantically for ways out of the demonic abyss he is in, the tears just dam up behind his eyes, nostrils and throat, causing painful pressures that burst out finally in great tears exploding out of his eyes like waterfalls.
The chanting stops abruptly, and Joe Boat gets to his feet slowly. His ugly rainbow eyes bear into his son, and his mouth opens gloatingly in a sinister snarl.
Boat sees that he is losing his colour, his skin darkening rapidly, becoming darker and rougher.
Boat watches, and even in his agonized stupor what happens next is so frightening that the scream rises in his throat and he would have screamed his way into the Guinness book of records has it not been the fact that his voice, currently, is not in any state to make sounds.
Even so, what sees kills something inside him.
With his eyes popping out, his mouth open and his breath suspended, he knows without a shred of a doubt that he is witnessing something that will give him nightmares forever.
He also knows, again without a shred of doubt, that nothing will ever scare him again like the sight of Joe Boat at that particular moment!
His father is losing all semblance of a human being!
It is like the horror he has experienced with Ralph Stebbins, but this is more horrible!
Joe Boat’s mouth explodes out into a long snout, teeth yellow and dripping goo, and then the top of his head falls open, and the long curved horn emerges.
His upper body thickens inside the white gown, and his arms elongates, becoming bigger and hairier until the bones in there crackles, fitting, grating, banging and suddenly his fingers are only three on each hand.
His body bounces up, and Boat sees him sprouting three thick legs, hairy and sturdy, and beast-like.
The Shadow-Thing personified!
This is the Shadow-Thing in reality!
The chanting around me had risen to a crescendo.
The boss players around him, the movers and shakers of the world, have also changed!
They are shaking violently as if they are at the epicentre of the world’s most violent earthquake.
They have changed into various forms of the uglies, their mouths foaming as their heads shake in an impossible fashion.
In his horrified stupor Boat sees that Uncle Samson is holding a long-bladed ugly knife in his right hand, and a huge earthenware pot in the other.
Only him and Elaine are wearing the mark of the beasts but have not physically transformed into any nightmarish monsters.
Samson stands at the head of the beds, and then the knife in his hand moves down, and Boat feels a sharp pain on his left wrist where it is joined to the corpse of Miss Naana.
(in a booming voice)
From Death to Ashes to Initiation!
He brings the pot low to catch the blood dripping from the cut.
After a moment he moves to Boat’s right and again he feels the pain again, this time on the point where Boat is joined to Elaine.
To Life and Fulfilment!
Again their mingled blood drips into the pot.
Instantly the corpse of the housekeeper bursts into flames.
Boat feels the heat, but he does not feel pain as his left arm dangled uselessly, free from his bond with the woman who has broken his virginity.
Uncle Samson is now moving around the people – no, monsters – around Boat, slashing each across the top of the right wrist and bringing the pot low to receive droplets of blood.
They are wailing uncontrollably now, and the noise finds its way into Boat’s confusion… unnerving, sickening, brutal, pure and latent evil!
Uncle Samson drops the knife after he has cut each one present except Elaine and walks quickly up to the thing that had been Joe Boat.
The horned beast takes the pot, shakes it gently for a moment, and then brings it to his lips, lapping hungrily and with evident relish.
Boat’s stomach roils with disgust, and he dry-retches weakly, feeling his intestines knotting and bunching up with great disgust.
Location: THE CHAMBER
When the pot is empty the horned monster drops it, and it shattered to smithereens around his feet.
He laughs, a terrible booming sound that reverberates around the chamber, causing Boat’s ears to hurt.
JOE BOAT MONSTER
(in a thunderous evil voice)
COME YE UNTO ME, MINIONS!
He screams, and his voice isn’t Joe Boat’s voice at all but a great thumping devilish sound that could’ve frozen the blood of the Lucifer himself.
The things which had once been people of incredible standing in society, the Boss Players, obeys him!
A lot of scary, smoky, white howling things shoots out from the other monsters and dash into the Joe Boat Monster.
These are indistinct, smoky, frightening, screaming and hissing things!
They emerge in hundreds, screeching horribly, flying into the horned beast, hitting him from all sides and entering, never to come out again, forming a part of it.. for eternity!
That is why his eyes have had rainbow colours!
It is not just one demon, but a host of them!
What Yaw Boat is witnessing now is a sight that could’ve made any human go mad instantly.
He can see glimpses of those infernally nasty faces of the things, and he shuts his eyes tightly, unable to take it anymore.
They are many, in thousands, and it seems as if it will never end. They float all around Boat, leaving their hosts and becoming a part of the demon in Joe Boat.
Their frantic screeches and wailing alone is enough to drive a man crazy.
The Thing that had been Joe Boat shakes from all sides as the demons disappear into him as if buffeted by a strong wind.
And then, mercifully, the terrible noise finally stops, and silence reigns.
Suddenly a soft cloth is pressed against Boat’s mouth and nostrils. It is Basoah.
Yaw Boat struggles briefly, weakly… but to no avail.
He slips into absolute darkness.
Yaw Boat comes out of the restricting confines of the drug slowly.
He doesn’t move, but allows awareness to seep slowly through him.
Boat realizes that he is sitting upright now, but his hands and legs are strapped. His head is down, his chin cradling the top of his chest.
He can see through the slits of his eyes that he is now dressed in the same bulbous filmy white gowns they had been wearing.
He is now sitting on a throne, his arms and legs strapped firmly but not too tightly. He can make out the legs of another throne opposite him, and as he lifts his head slowly he sees that his father is occupying it.
At first Joe Boat does not that his son is looking at him.
He is dressed in an expensive white suit, and his legs are crossed. His body is turned half-way on the throne, his forehead resting on the V of forefinger and thumb of his left hand.
His face, in fairness, looks absolutely pained and distressed, and there is the sheen of tears on his cheeks.
They are still in the underground chamber – Funky Grounds – but it is clean now. All the hideous corpses, skeletons and other artefacts have been removed. The snake is gone.
Even the grotesque drawings have been hurriedly painted over.
The chamber is virtually empty except for the two of them, father and son.
Cold floor, cold walls… two Boats.
With a sick heart Boat wonders what it all means.
His heart is a hollow pain in his chest.
What has happened now? Is it all over? Is he now a Devil’s apprentice? Is his body now inhabited by one of those disgusting things? Is everything too late for him?
Is he now going to have the mark of the beast on his forehead?
It seems so, on the evidence of what he is seeing.
Time has run out for you! Even as you read this, a demon of old is ready to take over your body and your soul…
Has his fate – by some process he still knows nothing about – been sealed? Has he become an unwilling disciple of whatever dark forces this man deals in?
And yet, as Boat looks at that stressed face opposite him, he realizes that he still can’t hate his father.
He feels anger and bitterness, and he feels absolutely betrayed. Things might probably never be the same again between them, but he is still his father, a man who has given him love, even if for a dark purpose, and who has spared the rod as a result of that love.
A man who has been by his side, and been a great father, to all intents and purposes, and has been there, available for him whenever he needed him.
Boat loves his father, and if Joe Boat has drawn him into whatever hell he is dabbling in, Boat will never forgive him, and he will never go near him again.
Let Joe Boat live with that on his conscience.
That will be punishment enough.
But Boat can never hate him.
JoeBoat lifts his head, and their eyes meet.
His face broke instantly into painful lines, and tears fall down his cheeks slowly. Several times he tries to speak, but his lips only tremble, and nothing comes out.
After a while he takes out a huge handkerchief and wipes his face. He takes a shuddering breath, and then he tries to look at his young son squarely in the eyes.
Please, Yaw! Please don’t look at me like that, son.
Boat says nothing. He just stares at him, and yes, his gaze is bitter because it reflects the seething poison in his heart.
I’m sorry, my boy. I owe you an explanation.
How did my mother die? Did you kill her? Like Miss Naana?
It floors Joe Boat.
He looks absolutely devastated.
His face is haunted as his eyes take on a faraway look, seeing things that plagues only him.
What happened next is something Boat has never seen before. His whole face suddenly crumbles, ravaged by a savage self-loathing and nightmarish remorse, and Boat’s heart sinks with a fearful agony, acutely aware that there is indeed a mystery surrounding his mother’s death, and she hasn’t died after delivery, like his father has told him.
When Joe Boat speaks, his words are those of a broken man, laying himself open, barring his soul to find a little peace for years of living with the guilt.
I loved your mother, son. She was my life, the air I breathed. But I won’t begin there. Let me begin from the beginning, son. You’ve always known that my parents – your grandparents – died in a motor accident when I was a boy. Well, that’s not the truth, son. I never knew my parents. I grew up in an orphanage.
Here it is at last… the truth!
And Boat is scared.
It doesn’t sound a big deal, really. You grew up knowing your grand folks bought it in some freak motor crash, and then you are told that was not the case after all. No big deal, right?
Wrong. It scares the living bejesus out of Yaw Boat.
A group of prisoners cleaning a sewage system, I was told, found me in the gutter crying, my umbilical cord still uncut, and traces of amniotic fluid and blood still on me. Evidently, the parents who gave birth to me hated me enough to dump me in a sewer immediately I was born.
He pauses and takes a shuddering breath. Boat can see the pain on his face as he dredges up ghosts long buried and memories that have festered in his soul for decades.
I have always wondered who they were. Was my mother a mistress? Was she a whore who didn’t want a baby? Was she a young girl scared to keep a baby? Were my parents married? Did my father reject me? Did she, perchance, die during childbirth and an irresponsible parent or husband or boyfriend, even mother, dumped me in a gutter? You could ask a million questions and, believe me, it wasn’t easy growing up in an orphanage with things like that plaguing your mind. The orphanage itself was hell. The Manager was… was a very sick man. A very, very sick man.
His face is covered with a trace of sweat now.
His pain is almost tangible, something you could almost feel caressing your skin. He has always been a resolute man, stoic sometimes, not easily given to emotions.
He is only passionate when he is on the pulpit, extolling the Christian virtue, or when driving a hard bargain and going in for the kill on a business deal. Always reliable, always clean, and now Boat can feel his pain and know what is coming, and quite suddenly he doesn’t want to be a part of that history and to know that part he his father has hidden from him for so long.
That manager did a lot of bad things to the young boys in the orphanage. He had other terrible friends too… homosexuals and paedophiles. They not only used us for their sinful pleasures, but the manager gained from it by taking huge sums of money from his clientele and allowing them to abuse the children.
Yaw Boat is not only chagrined, but terribly horrified.
He can just imagine him then.
Joe Boat must have been a very pretty young boy then, and he might have suffered harder than any in the hands of a homosexual manager and his pervert clientele.
Yaw Boat feels equal parts of shame and compassion for his father for what he must have gone through, and somehow Boat finds it hard sustaining his earlier level of disappointment in his father.
That man was a big man. The biggest man I’ve ever seen, and he hurt me a great deal. One night, however, he was quite drunk, and he took me to his quarters. That night he wanted something… really, really filthy. I could not do it. He was incensed with fury and began to beat me. He would’ve killed me that night. He was a baseball freak, and had lots of paraphernalia on the game in a glass case, some autographed by some baseball greats. It was his most prized possessions. During the agony of his assault that night he tossed me, quite by accident, into this glass case, and the baseball bats spilled out. He was alarmed and stopped his assault to save his idols. It made me mad, I guess, to see him doing that whilst I was lying on the floor half-dead, bleeding from multiple cuts I had sustained from his assault and from being cut by shards of broken glass.
His pause is longer this time, and his breathing is laboured, his face tortured. He leans forward, props his elbows on his thighs, laces his fingers into an inverted V, and put his forehead on it.
Boat says nothing; it isn’t the kind of story that you hurried. Secondly he is too shocked to force his father to continue.
I went mad, son, yes I did. I picked up one of the bats and by the time other staff smashed down the door and came in, his drunken screams have turned to silent pleas, whimpers and shudders. He died as they were taking him to hospital. His head was too bashed in, you see. I was traumatized by that incident, especially after the cops came for me, and the court hearings that followed. One evening, before real court case began in the juvenile court, a man came to me whilst I was I was in police cells. He told me he read my story in the newspapers, and he had been very touched by it. He wanted to help me, and so he had appointed his team of lawyers to defend me. That man was rich and powerful. His name was Simon Boat.
Yaw Boat nods slowly with understanding.
Yeah. Simon Boat. My supposed grandfather.
Yes, the man I said was your grandfather. His lawyers were able to convince other victims whose terrible tales led to the beginning of a great scandal because most of the men mentioned by the kids were powerful men in society. The arrests were sweeping. When I was found innocent Simon adopted me and changed my name from Joshua 27 – you know, the name I was given at the orphanage; I was the twenty-seventh boy to be named Joshua in the orphanage – to Joe Boat.
Yaw Boat looks at his father sadly.
Let me guess, he introduced you to this… this evil world, didn’t he, Dad?
Joe Boat nods and sighs miserably, his face haunted and distraught.
He fulfilled my inner craving to be accepted and loved. He had lots of money, and he sent me to the best schools. He had no family, and he showered all his love on me. He was my father, and for the first time in my life I was very happy. I felt alive and wanted, and my life was bliss. Fifteen years later, on his deathbed, he told me a most terrible thing.
Simon Boat had told his young adopted son that he was a vessel, and that for more than thirty years his body had been possessed by a demon of old that had been living on earth for generations.
That demon had lived in fathers and sons for thousands of years. Simon Boat’s father had been a vessel for the demon, and on his death Simon had been the chosen one whose body was needed for the demon to live through another lifetime. It was now the turn of the young man from the orphanage to let his body become a vessel so that the whole awful cycle could go on.
Joe Boat had of course been really scared and he had refused to be a part of it, but the old man assured him that the he would never feel the presence of the demon in him. He would never even remember that he was possessed after a little time, but he would be rich and powerful, and would have the world at his feet.
Joe Boat had had no choice simply because he dreaded going back to the life of poverty, loneliness and degradation. He had reluctantly accepted the conditions attached. After all, he erroneously thought, he would rarely feel the presence of the demon, and he could enjoy life for eternity.
Power and wealth at a comparatively zero cost.
But there was a price, wasn’t it, Dad? I am the cost – the only real cost – aren’t I? Me, your own flesh, your son. A form of rotating evil, handed down the family, a freaky father-to-son inheritance, all other issues incidental, isn’t it?
As he speaks tears well up in Boat’s eyes and slowly spills down his cheeks.
Joe Boat’s face is frantic, destroyed. He only wants to be accepted and loved by his only son, and not to be hated.
In that instant Yaw Boat feels the bond between them, a bond that is as invisible as it is strong: the bond between parent and child.
And in the madness that Boat finds himself in, that bond represents everything good; sanity, hope, faith and life.
Yaw Boat would have touched his father then if he could, and he could have gladly wept on his shoulder. Now things are becoming a little clearer, and his dislike of his father is ebbing away a little at a time.
Boat wants so much to speak, to assure him that he is still his son, but somehow, without the powerful magic of physical contact, his tongue remains glued to the roof of his mouth, and his eyes, expresses none of the emotional flood he is being inundated with.
Joe Boat looks away at last, breaking the power of that moment. The breath he exhales is shuddering, rocking his huge frame.
To be continued…
© – Agyeman
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