Saturday, 3 September 2016

The Stone by Akperi Omasan

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Episode one


Gring!!!!!! Gring!!!!!! Gring!!!!!! Gring!!!!! Gring!!!!! Gring!!!!!
“Oh my goodness, what!” I exclaimed as I looked at my clock. It was just 4:00am and it felt so cool under the duvet with the air condition on. I was just hitting a new gear in dream world and then my phone started ringing…

Gring!!!!!! Gring!!!!!! It kept on ringing.
“Hello,” I said in a rather hoarse voice; as I picked up the call.
The call was from my boss at Centrino Oils. I was needed in the office ASAP. Still trying to fight the urge to go back to bed, I slothfully went to the bathroom, took a quick shower and brushed my teeth. I came out and then put on a black police T-shirt and denim jeans.
It was 4:35am by my swatch watch, by the time I got out of the house and obviously I wasn’t used to waking up this early.
I am sorry if I didn’t introduce myself. I am Adolf Edinburgh, a Nigerian. My parents were both medical doctors till they died in a car crash when I was just eight years old; I was taken in by an Uncle. I studied geology at the University of Ibadan in the south-western part of the country. After my schooling, I worked for a while with the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA), which is responsible for studying the geology of the country and production of geological maps. Sometimes we partnered with geological agencies of other countries. That was before I got employed by Centrino Oils which is the leading oil company in the country . . . and speaking of Centrino Oils, I am on my way to an important meeting which I wasn’t aware of until I got the call just thirty five minutes earlier, and all my boss said was that I should come as soon as possible (I can’t refuse the guy that pays my salary, can I?).
“Welcome Adolf, and please close the door behind you”, my boss said as I walked into his office. “Sorry for bringing you out so early”, he continued. There were two other men in the room and a lady I just couldn’t get my eyes off. When I realised I was staring, I immediately replied him, “No problem sir”.
The lady had on pair of blues jeans and a red top, she had the most beautiful eyes, with such free flowing black hair and the most perfect figure 8 I had ever seen, she had these lovely. . . “Adolf! Adolf!! Adolf!!!”
I realised I was daydreaming, and my boss was calling my name. I then turned and made the excuse that I was tired and didn’t sleep early enough the day before (and obviously didn’t expect to wake up this early). I made it more convincing by feigning a yawn. He then apologized for the impromptu meeting and told me to clear my head and be at my smartest because there were delicate issues at hand (in my mind—“I don’t see anything more delicate that my night sleep at the moment”)
These gentlemen here, “He said, are from the Archaeological Society of Nigeria (ASN) and the same applies to the lady”, He continued.
“What are they here for?” I asked. One of the men was stout and wore a black smart suit and a red tie, while the other was slimmer and didn’t have a tie on although he also wore a black suit. It was the stout man that replied in a rather croaky voice; we are from ASN (Archaeological Society of Nigeria) and we require your expertise in our search for a long lost relic (in my mind—“you don’t say? That was why I had to wake up by 4:00am! Long lost relic! Can’t we look for it during the day when it is bright?).
“What do you require my expertise for?” I asked, looking at the stout man. His slimmer colleague replied, “we are not the ones that need your expertise but your country. Here with me is one of our leading archaeologists Miss Charon Stone; she stumbled across a very important archaeological artefact”.
“Miss Charon, please show him”, He said. “So Charon is her name”, I thought to myself; She had barely said anything since I came in. She opened a duffel bag and brought out what seemed to me like a phyllite plate (phyllite is shale that has been metamorphosed; it is usually recognised by its glossy sheen).
She gave the plate to me and our hands got in contact with each other, it felt nice . . . . Finally she spoke “This is a phyllite plate”,
“Just as I thought”, I replied.
She gave a faint smile and then continued; “Take a closer look at the plate, what do you observe?”
At first I saw nothing out of the ordinary but on a closer inspection, things that resembled characters in the form of dots and lines began to appear. It was like a language of some sort, I tried to make out what sort of language it was; it didn’t seem to fit in with any language pattern I was familiar with. I saw myself as a connoisseur of sorts of languages, been able to speak five Nigerian languages, in addition French, German and Spanish; with an understanding of cuneiform and hieroglyphics. You would understand my surprise. I still had that bewildered look on my face when Charon giggled, sensing the confusion on my face and said.
“This is an old Ge’ez code from Ethiopia, It was written at about 1539AD, it most probably was written in the ancient town of Axum; the then capital of Ancient Ethiopia”.  Now I know why she kept quiet all this while; it was probably because spoke geek instead of English. Cutting her short, I asked “If I got what you said right, you are telling me that this phyllite plate was gotten from Kenya?”
“No!” She replied, “We actually found it in Kano and it’s Ethiopian not Kenyan”.
“Either way”, I thought to myself, “it’s not from Nigeria”.
So I asked, “How come it was found in Nigeria when as you stated earlier, it’s from Ethiopia and now a relic of the archaeological society of Nigeria and not the archaeological society of Ethiopia?”  
“Well”, she replied; “what you have here is like a manual on how to use the philosopher’s stone”.
“What!” I exclaimed, “She must be joking” I thought to myself “the philosopher’s stone, does she even know what she’s talking about?”
She continued, “You must have heard about the philosopher’s stone”.
Of course I had heard about the philosopher’s stone. Even without J.K Rowling’s popular book “Harry potter and the philosopher’s stone” and it’s blockbuster movie, there have been several movies done and books written in relation to the stone.
I just nodded to signify that I had heard about it.
She continued, “You see the philosopher’s stone is a legendary alchemical substance”.
I know, I said; interrupting her ‘‘it is said to be capable of turning base metals such as lead or silver into gold”.
“I see you have done your home work well”, she complimented. “Well that’s not all”, She continued. ‘‘It was also believed to be an elixir of life useful for rejuvenation and possibly for archiving immortality”.
Cutting her short I stated: ‘‘you told me earlier that the phyllite plate I am holding in my hand is a guide on how to use the philosopher’s stone”.
 I scoffed openly and said, “This is a fool’s errand, if you intend to find the philosopher’s stone, you can’t because it doesn’t exist. I’d reckon if the archaeological society of Nigeria had nothing else to do, they should find the bones of the dogs of our ancestors instead of wasting time with Ethiopian or Kenya phyllite plates”.
At that that the stout man with the red tie retorted ‘‘I have had enough of it. Miss Charon is our leading archaeologist and she made this very important discovery that could end up putting the ASN on the world map. I don’t care what you believe or not, you and Charon are going to Ethiopia today. This matter is very important because we fear for the worst if this artefact gets into the wrong hands. Adolf I know you may feel it is an impossible task but you don’t know Miss Charon like we do and we believe she is on the trail of a very remarkable discovery, if not for anything do it to prove that the stone doesn’t exist”.
I knew why they wanted me on their team; a few years ago I was contracted by the Ethiopian Geological Survey Agency to lead a team of geologists to revise their geological map, and I got to have extensive knowledge of the geography and geology of Ethiopia. As I suspect, a research with such political implication would require a small succinct team and who better to have on such a team than an elite geologist and the archaeologist that made the find. As much as I was sure that we were going on a wild goose chase, I felt like it wouldn’t be a bad thing to visit Ethiopia once more, plus I get to hang out with Charon. On the second thought it didn’t sound like a bad idea anymore.
I then informed everyone that, “I was in; and would go with Miss Charon to Ethiopia and help in whatever way I could”.
“Fantastic”, Replied the stout man; “We booked flights for both of you to Lagos, which would leave by 9:00am. From there is a flight to Addis Ababa. Charon is familiar with the logistics. A location was inscribed on the plate and you are to find that location and report your find”.
At that the men from ASN shook hands with my boss and thanked him for his time. It was 6am by the time we got out of the complex; the men got into a Government Issue black ford jeep and we waved at them; as this was happening Charon led me to her car and that my friends was the beginning of the end.  

<<To be continued...>>

Edited by Osoata Vanessa

About Writer


Akperi Omasan is an aspiring Nigerian Writer from Delta state.

You can follow him on instagram @omasangeomas

Have a lovely day ahead!

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