By Yourself || 𝑏𝑦 πΆβ„Žπ‘’π‘˜π‘€π‘’π‘’π‘π‘’π‘˜π‘Ž 𝐴𝑛𝑖𝑛𝑧𝑒

FS Review

THE WOODEN DOOR FLUNG OPEN, causing a chained Ola to cower while the other prisoners melted into the shadows of the dungeon. Her heartbeat quickened as a bulky silhouette filtered into the doorway. The man advanced towards her and she reeled away, but not fast enough. He grabbed the chain fastened to her iron collar and pulled.

“Gotcha!” The other prisoners gasped. He paused, eyes searching the room. “Does any of you other vermins wish to volunteer?” he sneered.

In the ensuing silence, broken only by ragged breaths, he jerked Ola’s chain, pulling her to himself. “Come on then.” He dragged her from the room and down a murky hallway.

Ola's people, the Ogbanjes, were considered cursed. They had the power to defend themselves by creating a shocking pain that could stun their attacker or even kill them with a single touch. Fearing their power, they were hunted almost to extinction, though many were captured and sold for a high price as slaves. Iron was the only known counter to this power so they were kept in iron shackles at all times.

Captured after her parents were killed in a raid she was sold to a Sultan who thought to make a pleasure slave of her. Though her powers were suppressed by the iron, they were not extinguished, and she was a powerful woman. The Sultan grew to fear her and turned her over to the court physician for experimentation.

Ola had yearned for freedom, ever burning to avenge her mother's death. She wanted the blood of those who had battered and raped her, leaving her to die while they dragged her away and set fire to their house. She still held hope for the day she would set free all Ogbanjes and avenge the dead with blood.

The guard took her to the room where Sheitan, the sultan’s physician was waiting to conduct his demonic experiments. The braziers in the room threw his angular face with his wispy beard into sharp relief. The room held implements of iron and a table stained with the blood of his victims. He smiled on seeing her and clasped his hands, probably in excited anticipation. Ola knitted her brows on seeing the Sheitan. A burning sensation encircled her temples. She bit her lip at the pain but her eyes blazed with defiance.

The guard leered at her. “When he finishes with you, what’s left is mine.”

Sheitan chuckled, leering too. “Put her on the table and step outside. I’ll call you when it’s your turn."

She sagged in defeat, giving no resistance as the guard pulled her forward. But just as he grabbed her around the waist to lift her, she channeled all the energy in her mind through her body, sending a shockwave through him. It was weak because of the iron but enough to stun him, forcing his hands off her at once. She lunged for the dagger at his belt and spun, shoving it into his belly so swiftly that he barely had time to groan before her next strike gashed his neck.

Sheitans’s eyes grew wide and he bolted from the room, shouting an alarm. Ola retrieved the key from the dying guard’s belt and unlocked her collar, the dull clank of the metal hitting the floor seemed like some sweet music. The guard gurgled through his blood and Ola shot him a look. His body stiffened as though he had stuck his hand in a light socket, then itwent limp.

Ola gave him a satisfied smile and slinkered out. By now a whole company of guards were running down the hall. No way to go, she thought. Just face them. And she did. Facing them down, sending out a pulse that cut them down like ripe grain. 

She bolted down the hall, into the prison room where the other Ogbanjes were chained. She had no time to respond to their weepings and appreciations as she freed them all, watching them all scamper about towards life or death.

At this moment, melancholy washed over her. They would return to their people while hers were still waiting for freedom, but she would give it to them, every single survivor.

She turned to leave.

But Sheitan was standing a few feets away in iron armor, a sword strapped to his waist. He hadn’t always been a physician. He had once been a prince and a warrior. 

Ola hesitated, but only for a moment. "We meet again," she said.

The man guffawed. His face was chalk-white in the torchlight, his black eyes deep and abyssal. “It’s time you learned your place girl.” He wielded two swords and clanged them together.

Ola laughed, careless and wild. “Do you know what a good conductor of electricity a piece of iron is?" She laughed again. "It only protects you if I’m wearing it.”

A flurry of arrows wrapped her in as she dashed ahead, springing over the palace wall. “Better now,“ she said, sending a pulse behind her. The arrows abruptly stopped. “But not good enough.“


CHUKWUEBUKA HARRISON ANINZE is a Medical Laboratory Scientist who likes to think himself a writing freak. He writes from Enugu, Nigeria. He has written a whole lot of well meaning short stories and flash fictions. He is the first winner of the Writer's Academy fiction contest. Romance and Thriller are the two genres he readily finds home with. He counts it an honor helping young writers carve a niche for themselves.

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Fiery Scribe Review