Zac 29: Episode 5

Zac 29 Episode 5

Kweku was still wearing a smirk when he entered the bamboo trees again.

He was alone as he headed toward the edge of the Wailing River.

He liked to be alone – especially on a Saturday afternoon after a hard day’s work – with some hot spicy smoked salmon in his hands.

Oh, yes, he surely loved to be alone.

He was drooling as he found a good spot between two bamboo trees to lean his back against. He sat and put the hot mesh of salmon down in front of him.

He licked his lips as he picked up a particularly tasty-looking bit of salmon and popped it into his mouth, enjoying the soft, tender, oiled taste of the salmon.

He closed his eyes and bit down on it….


Kweku almost screamed with shock and a little fear as he found himself biting into a chunk of stone that crumpled in his mouth, abusing his tongue with the unpleasant taste of mud and foul-tasting stone.


He spat out a mouthful of tiny muddy stones, and his teeth still grated on the sand in his mouth. He looked around him with wild eyes, sure that a trick had been played on him, but no one else was in sight.

He looked at the tasty salmon pieces still lying on the wire mesh. He stood up and walked to the river where he scooped up handfuls of water and rinsed the sand and mud from his mouth.

He returned to the fish and sat down gingerly. He picked up another piece and this time, he broke it up into several pieces to make sure there was no stone in it.

He smiled sheepishly reasoning that the salmon might have swallowed a piece of stone, and the children had not bothered to clean it thoroughly and ended up grilling the fish with the stone.

He bunched up the fish pieces in his hand and stuck them into his mouth, and immediately he felt something wriggling violently in his mouth.

There were a lot of them.

Kweku opened his mouth wide, retching, and then he groaned with horror when giant earthworms fell out of his mouth, wriggling distastefully.

Kweku screamed, and worms kept crawling out of his mouth. Still sitting on the ground, he back-pedalled away from the fish, retching wildly to rid his mouth of the terrible worms.

A great fear suddenly filled him, and just then he heard the deep-throated chuckle behind him. He turned his head, a great fury rising in his chest, expecting to find one of the children standing there, Zac maybe, watching the effects of the cruel trick they had played on him.

Someone was standing behind him alright, but he was not a child.

He was a man.

A very strange man.

He was wearing a long, white flowing gown made from shimmering material. It had a long neck, and long arms, and reached right down to the toes of the man such that apart from his head Kweku could not see any other uncovered part of him.

He was a little man, not more than five feet, and was lean.

The sight of him filled Kweku with such terror that he momentarily forgot about one last worm wriggling rather slowly out of his gaping mouth, dangling precariously on his lower lip before toppling down his chest and joining the others on the leaf-strewn floor.

Kweku noticed three things about the man almost instantly that were odd.

First, his eyes were not lying horizontally like everyone else…this man’s eyes were standing up vertically, and he had no colours in his eyes.

His eyes were completely black!

The second thing Kweku noticed was that the man’s face had no hair. He was completely bald and had no moustache or beard, which was not so strange in themselves, but he also did not have eyebrows and eyelashes too.

The third thing which Kweku noticed, and which scared him the most, was the shadow of the man.

The sun was going down, and it was behind the man. The man’s shadow that was thrown across the ground was not the shadow of a smallish little man, but it was the shadow of a strange three-legged thing which had a horn protruding from the top of its head and had two thick arms with hands that had many fingers on them, fingers that wiggled angrily like vipers.

Kweku’s horrified eyes moved to the man’s hands, but they were under the long folds of the gown he was wearing.

The shadow of the man on the ground just could not be the man standing there so calmly looking at him.

“Say, my paddy, how do you like being bullied for a change?” the man asked Kweku.

His voice sounded double, like a man and woman speaking at the same time.

Kweku got to his feet slowly.

He was trembling with raw panic, and his lips trembled. He tried to stay strong but tears slowly fell down his cheeks as he realized that he was in very grave danger.

His afternoon of salmon fun had suddenly turned into something very horrible. He did not understand the man’s presence, but he knew that the thing looking at him calmly was not a human being at all.

He knew too, that it was this thing which had turned the salmon first to stone and sand, and then to worms in his mouth.

“Please!” Kweku said in a voice that shook terribly. “Please don’t hurt me!”

The man looked at him calmly, and when he spoke again his voice was croaky, like that of a very old man.

“Oh, I love hurting people. I would love to really hurt you! You also like hurting people, don’t you, my paddy? You like hurting those weak, spineless children, don’t you? Isn’t it just fun to hurt people?”

There was no smile on the thing’s face. Only that dark look and the changing voices, and it only made Kweku cry harder.

“Please, let me go, please!” Kweku whimpered, aware that suddenly he was all alone deep inside the bamboo trees with this thing that just loved to hurt people.

The sun was going down quickly, and soon it would be dark.

Kweku could not bear to be with this thing alone in the dark.

He simply could not bear to be deep inside the bamboo trees alone with this evil thing. It terrified him, and he was deeply agitated.

“I’ll let you go in a while, my paddy!” the thing said, and this time its voice sounded like a baby, and its black eyes looked deeply into Kweku. “Just answer a question for me, and then you can be on your way. That boy you took the fish from…is his name Zachariah?”

Kweku could not speak. He was too petrified.

He only nodded.

“Thought as much,” said the thing, now in the voice of many women. “When was he born?”

“He was born on February twenty-ninth,” Kweku said in a rush, snivelling. “His birthday only comes around once every four years!”

The thing nodded slightly.

“A Leaper!” he whispered, and the moment he spoke many birds took off from the bamboo trees with shrill cries of agitation, because the thing’s voice had sounded like a gunshot. “My paddy, I want you to do something for me. Here, take this!”

The man extended his right hand.

Kweku expected to see many snakes on the man’s hand, but instead, he saw that they were very long fingers. There were more than five fingers on the man’s hand, but Kweku was too terrified to count them. He noticed, however, that there were no nails on the man’s long black fingers. Instead, each finger had a round black stubby end like black grapes.

The man was holding out a little green bottle.

“Go on, take it, my paddy!” the thing said.

Trembling, Kweku Obi took the little green bottle.

“Keep that bottle very well, my Paddy,” the thing said. “Something is going to happen to our little friend Zachariah. There are going to be some changes in him, I believe, on his twelfth birthday. Now listen carefully. Five days after his birthday, at the stroke of midnight, open that bottle and pour its contents around Zachariah’s bed. You do it just right, my paddy, otherwise, I’ll come back and hurt you goooooooood!”

The ‘good’ was stretched, and uttered in so many voices at the same time that tears of great fear fell unheeded down his cheeks.

Kweku nodded again.

The man put his head to one side and regarded Kweku for a moment.

Suddenly he held up his right hand with its several stub-ended fingers, and Kweku’s eyes bulged with a mixture of fear and fascination when flames suddenly appeared in the man’s upheld palm, blazing gently.

Next, the man brought his other hand up above the flames, and a big salmon appeared in his hand, above the flames.

Soon, the most delicious scent of smoked salmon filled the air, and much against his will, Kweku’s stomach grumbled, and his mouth watered. He licked his lips expectantly, thinking to himself that this could be some sort of reward for him.

The man flicked his right hand, and the fire went out, and then a wad of tissue appeared in his hand, and he laid the smoked salmon on it and offered it to Kweku.

Kweku pushed the little green bottle into his pocket and stepped forward eagerly, his whole body trembling in anticipation as his hunger took over, and he could already feel the taste of the salmon in his mouth.

It was still hot, and he broke off a piece and blew on it hurriedly, disregarding the sharp burning sensation on his fingers. He pushed it into his mouth, chewed excitedly, and then a moment later the most terrible look of disgust filled his face as his mouth opened wide and his tongue pushed out the half-chewed salmon.

It was the bitterest thing he had ever tasted.

It was even bitter than the taste of the chicken gall he had bit into some years ago. It was the most horrible thing he had ever tasted, and he dropped the rest of the salmon and stared at the man with his mouth open, and a look of pure disgust on his face.


He was so furious at the man’s bad trick on him that for a moment, he forgot his fear.

The man looked at him, and for a moment Kweku thought he saw a faint smile around his lips.


“Wasn’t that fun, my paddy?” he said in a voice that boomed and echoed so loudly that it hurt Kweku’s ears. “I just love hurting people.”


Zac 29: Episode 6
Zac 29: Episode 4

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *