By Patrick Ngugi
Then 666 years later, I woke up.
Six centuries, six decades and six years.
Yet, I still remembered what the Princess of Sheda had done to me those many centuries ago on planet Earth.
Souls never forget. I would still have come back for my revenge, even if I had spent more than 250,000 days in the dark abyss of the grave.
Obviously Princess Maneti was no more. She wasn’t in the same mortal body she was six centuries ago. She must have died and reincarnated several times through the centuries. But I still had to look for her.
But was she still here? It did not matter – If I missed her here, I would rummage through the realms of the cosmos until I found her, him or it.
My bleeding soul was aching, thirsting for one more transcendental ecstasy with her before I destroyed her for eternity.
I cared not whether she would return to haunt me, six centuries hence – all I needed was to avenge my restless wandering soul.
How could she forsake me, take another lover and organize my execution after we agreed to elope and run away from her father – the Emperor of Sheda?
How could she betray me, after confessing her adoration for me; then have me beaten into semi-consciousness and order that I be buried alive? Now was payback time.
I still remember the pitch darkness in the casket as the emperor’s guards drove the last nail into place. I can still hear the muffled noises of the cheering and jeering Shedans as the coffin was lowered into the grave, and I can still hear the dull thuds of the spadesful of dirt as they buried me.
No one could hear my terrified cries for mercy, and even if they did, I they did not care.
Time stood still in that dark tomb eight feet under, so I wouldn’t know how long I remained conscious in that coffin, with my aching body.
To say that I was exhausted from having to lie on one position for centuries would be an understatement. To say that it was cold to the bones would not depict the icy chill that I died through in that tiny dark chamber.
Mercifully, two centuries and a half later, I realized that I was dead. My body’s vital organs had completely stopped functioning and that was why I felt no physical pain. However the mental and spiritual anguish remained within that decayed crust in that tomb, with my troubled consciousness trapped within the body.
After my soul had been trapped in that earthen tomb for 264 years, spiritual guide Shantima, was sent to teach me how to unshackle my Self from the yoke of self-imprisonment in my physical shell which by now was just a withered skeleton, since the rest of the body had turned into dust. Dust had gone back to dust.
Shantima led me out of the grave and into the spiritual realm where I was free to roam the universe. It was exhilarating to visit different galaxies. I could even cross the boundaries of time, visiting the past and the future; mingling with gone civilizations – on earth and other planets in the galaxies.
But the agony caused by Maneti was too painful, and each time I remembered, I felt a sharp pain in the heart of my soul, that sucked me back to the grave, where I would be captive again for several decades, before I could detach myself and wander through the endless cosmos.
I always remember Maneti’s betrayal like six centuries had never passed.
Some 666 years ago back in the Kingdom of Sheda, I was the leader of a gang of highway robbers. The Scavenger’s mission – as we were called – was to rob the wealthy snobs then distribute the bulk of the loot to the downtrodden poor.
The popular support we had made it difficult for the authorities to arrest us.
My fatal error was to fall in love with Princess Masheti. I would see her whenever I wished because no one suspected me as the leader of The Scavengers. Our love blossomed and before long I had confided with the Princess my real identify. She promised not to tell.
Then she wanted marriage. As the Emperor’s only child, she couldn’t ascend to the throne and take over from her ailing father if she was single.
But I couldn’t marry and remain a scavenger. When I became a Scavenger, I had vowed to be one for life, in order to protect the poor. I could not forsake them now.
Instead, I asked her to elope with me if she truly loved me.
She agreed. At least I thought so. We set a date and time when we would meet outside the castle and ride off to the underworld.
But when I rode into Queen Vashti at appointed time with Philipa my trusted bodyguard we could not find Floyd, my second in command.
Princess Masheti was there alright, but she seemed different. Her smile, her hug was cold and unconvincing.
Just before I spoke, the emperor’s guards drew their swords. Philipa was overpowered and I surrendered.
“Arrest him… he is a scavenger.’ Masheti ordered, to my utter disbelief.
As I was taken away, I saw Floyd appear from behind the bushes and stand next to Masheti. Then they rode away together.
Floyd was among the people who flogged me as the emperor and Masheti watched without a tinge of emotion.
So, for six hundred years I have been all over the galaxies, but mostly in that casket that is no longer wood but part of the earth with what remained of my body.
And now, the Great Spirit has ordained that it is time return.
Time to reincarnate. Time to return and complete my unfinished business.
First thing I need to do is find Princess Masheti and kill her. Floyd too will not escape.