People love a good ghost story, no matter how creepy or ridiculous. They want to be regaled with tales of things that go bump in the night, unholy monsters that can slip into your home at any time and slit your throat…
Speaking of slitting throats…
A rumour recently started after the battle of Akatamanso, of the mysterious deaths of the government soldiers there. Some of the bodies had the usual bullet or stab wounds you would expect, but then, there were the exceptions.
Bodies that were in perfect condition at first glance, or ones that had suffered minor wounds that wouldn’t kill them, but were still counted among the losses. It was only upon a full autopsy that revealed that their throats had been slit, but only on the inside: there wasn’t a single mark to be found on the sides or front of the necks, but their jugular veins had been cut cleanly through.
Reports of a ghostly monster with glowing yellow eyes helped fuel the myth. A monster that had fought on the side of Afrifa’s army in all the battles. A monster that was as swift as a leopard and as strong as an elephant.
Bullets passed uselessly through it, and it could disappear and reappear as it wished. The only warning you had before it got you was a bone-chilling cold right behind you, then a sharp pain as your throat rapidly filled with blood from no visible wound; then darkness.
Obetsebi-Lamptey inhaled deeply and sighed with exhaustion as he squinted to read the rest of the article. The harsh light from the tablet cast his features in a grim light in the darkened room he was in.
When the article continued only to spout more ghost stories, he switched the tablet’s screen off and reclined in his chair.
As annoying as it was to read about himself like this, he couldn’t argue with the results. Nationwide support for Acheampong’s regime was vanishing fast, like the number of recruits willing to join his army; and ghost stories like these seemed to be a major factor behind it.
Nkrumah had been right, as always, about the effect of psychological warfare on the enemy, and J.B had the skills and know-how to make it happen. It was his idea to tune his mask lenses to that particular shade of yellow, and it was also his idea for him to carry around the canisters of pressurized gas to give the chilling effect.
Heck, he practically designed every single aspect of the gear for the six, from Ako-Adjei’s speed suit mechanism to his very own stealth suit, which worked with his powers. The room he was sitting in was another of his inventions, a portable, sturdy tent which he could shrink down to fit into his pocket when he had to move out quickly. And speaking of which, his unit would be moving from this position very soon.
He got up and stretched his arms until the joints popped and looked around the darkened room. He could make out the faint outline of his armor, mask and all, standing upright by itself in the corner; another design by J.B he found immensely creepy, even for him.
The unit would be moving to restore some semblance of order in one of the towns in the eastern region, one that was hit by the disasters that turned the country on its head. He tried not to think too much about his life before it happened or even some of the things he had been through since then.
There was too much work to be done in the present to mope and whine about it. Even so, every now and then, his mind would involuntarily summon a memory from his imprisonment, alongside the people who would eventually become the six, in that camp in the north.
Shaking his head to dispel the memory, he reached for the mask and donned it. In a few seconds, the lenses came on and illuminated the room in yellow light. He reached out his arm to the rest of the armour and it leapt on him like a second skin, assembling itself on his body.
Checking to make sure it fit, he flipped a switch on the wall, causing the tent to collapse on itself, folding and shrinking till it was small enough for him to fit it into its container, which was about the size of a ring box and slipping it into a pouch on the suit.
All around him, troops were packing equipment for the journey ahead. As they passed him, they showed the usual respect mixed with a healthy amount of fear.
He took a deep breath of the cold night air and looked over the horizon. He wouldn’t admit it, but maybe the internet legends were getting to his head and he was starting to enjoy them. Maybe not. Either way, he had a job to do.
Time to be a legend.