Yinka drove down in Aro’s 2010 Toyota Camry, feeling like a king when he had just 200 Naira in his wallet. Anyway, it was 2:00Am in the morning and he may not need the money after all. He met a full tank when he took the car for this assignment and he had not driven it to any other place aside his house.
When he parked the car at Bar beach, it was easy for him to spot a white Toyota Hilux. The driver stepped out upon seeing him and walked towards him.
The place was deserted, save for some street miscreants who slept on the paved floor. A few cars passed on the road; most of whom may be heading to a club or coming back from it. People don’t seem to have a sleeping time in Lagos.
“You arrived early enough,” The masked man said as he came closer. Everything about him was black. Yinka wondered why he didn’t bring a black truck instead of a white one. “You must have been desperate for this assignment.”
“I don’t know what the mission is about yet.” Yinka confessed but the masked man didn’t reply. He wondered, “Is it robbery? Are we going to kill someone? Or it’s just a small task of moving some secret weapons?”
The man stretched his hand. Yinka knew it was not for handshake; he gave him the key.
“Okay,” He said taking a deep breath. “This is what the deal is all about. Aro’ was a powerful priest in Ondo town around 1984. He got so powerful that he signed a deal with the devil that he would not die.”
Yinka’s brain felt like it stomped into the sea and came back to him again! “Which Aro are you talking about?”
The masked man continued. “Even other powerful priest in western part of Nigeria feared Aro because of his prowess. He got so powerful that he began tormenting anybody who crossed his path, killing them even unto their great grand children.”
“I... I don’t understand…” Yinka said as he began to draw back.
“Where are you going?” The man asked.
“I’m not interested in this anymore; which Aro’ are you talking about? This doesn’t make sense. If he was a powerful priest in 1984, how come he looks so young?”
“I am not even through with your orientation yet and you are asking such a technical question...”
“I am lost! I don’t understand what is going on here!”
It may likely be a voodoo effect, the man continued talking and Yinka stopped drawing back. “There was a time Aro’ chased the son of someone who offended him to Lagos. His plan was to kill that son. But unfortunately, the son had become a very strong man of God. He was praying at this same beach around this time when Aro’s spirit arrived… He usually sleeps and travels in his spirit to anywhere. But God helped the son. He prayed so hard that Aro fell to his superior power. He collected all of Aro’s charms, locked them in a box, and buried them on this beach... Though the people rejoiced that Aro was dead in Ondo and buried him, his spirit lives and he wants to regain his powers.”
“Is the Aro’ you are talking about the same Aro’ I know?”
“Yes!” The man finally answered. Yinka felt like jumping into the sea.
“The body Aro presently occupies was the body of a man he killed when he began to regain his powers. He regained few powers when the pastor who conquered him died naturally. Now he wants his full powers back”
“So what am I supposed to do?”
“Your work is simpler” He said while walking towards the water. “Mine is the harder part.”
Yinka walked closely behind him; looking in all direction every now and then. Not sure of what he was looking for. Maybe the police or someone to rescue him from this mess. “I will unlock the box that contains Aro’s charms.” He continued. “But I cannot touch the charms because my powers forbid me to.”
“What would be the effect of the charm when I touch it?”
“No effect.” Something in Yinka told him that was a lie. “Once the charm is in your hands, you will get into your car and drive to Epe creek as fast as you can. The man who will do the ritual to revive Aro’s power is already there waiting for you. The charm must not be far from a water area for a long time.”
“Okay.” Yinka nodded. If that was just all he would do, he guessed it wasn’t too much of a sacrifice for him to break free from poverty.
The masked man concentrated on a particular spot in the sand for a while. Then he bent down. He began to dig with his bare hands, making some incantations Yinka could not understand. Within a short while, a rusty wooden box appeared in the sand.
Yinka marvelled. But he became frightened the minute afterwards: a creature that looked like a man appeared behind them. He looked like a skeleton, but he wasn’t really skeletal. He looked transparent, and that made them realize it was a spirit. His body was rusty, but it showed he must have had cloths on before it became rusty.
“Let sleeping dogs lie... Let sleeping dogs lie.” He kept saying while he walked towards the masked man, stretching his hands like he would grab either Yinka or the masked man.
“Quick! Grab the charms and run!” The masked man said with an undertone that brought Yinka back to the knowledge that they were in danger. He obeyed. But before he could run, he began to see so many other spirits around the beach.
He was about running when he saw his late mother. “Is that my mummy?” He muttered as he waited to examine her closely. He could remember how she looked very well, although this woman looked like a rusty skeletal figure.
“Ignore them and run!” The man shouted.
Yinka fled, dodging the spirits who tried to touch him.