The Bronze man’s Secret
Published by N.K. Aning, 2017.
This is a work of fiction. Similarities to real people, places, or events are entirely coincidental.
THE BRONZE MAN’S SECRET
First edition. March 19, 2017.
Copyright © 2017 N.K. Aning.
Written by N.K. Aning.
The Bronze man’s Secret
To my family, for your unwavering support.
It was dark. I was trying to learn for my impending exams. Algebra and trigonometry were my headache. Then I heard that sound again. My parents had travelled the week before and had left me in charge. Well, not really, since the nanny came round daily to check up on me. Yeah, I know, you are wondering what fourteen year old needs a nanny. That’s my parent’s idea of punishing me for getting into a fight at school. Not that the boy didn’t have it coming. Calling me Dick just because my surname is Dickson isn’t right. That’s my parents for you. Welcome to my world.
I am getting off track here. As I was saying, I heard that noise again. I was in the living room. I glanced backwards and saw him standing on the dining table. For a moment, we stared at each other. Outside, the wind howled as crickets chirped under the cloudless sky. The house was eerily quiet. Courtesy of my parent’s retreat at a business meeting in the mountains of Akropong. My brown eyes bore into the black eyes of his. Bile rose in my throat as the bitterness crept into me.
I had gotten into a lot of trouble because of him. Somehow he never seemed to be around when my parents were in the house. My parents had gotten the idea that I was only trying to stop them from their retreat. That’s was crap. Yeah, I know kids aren’t supposed to talk like that, but you get the hang of it after watching a lot of TV. Thinking back at the humiliation I had gone through for this… I felt the rage boil in me. I flung the algebra book at him and yelled my battle cry as I scampered towards him.
A game of hide and seek began. I tried to hit him with whatever I felt my hands on. He dodged, twisting his body like a contortionist. I grabbed the coffee table and hurled across the room.
I realized my mistake as I misjudged the throw and it flew across the room and smashed into my dad’s favorite art, a reprinted Mona Lisa. I watched in horror as the picture tilted on the wall like a pendulum and crashed to the floor.
“No!” I heard myself saying as I gazed at the broken pieces on the linoleum carpet. Suffice to say what happened next was, what’s the word ‘horrible’
Seeing my dad’s prized art, albeit a forgery, sent me into Berserker mode. Now the fight was on for real. We danced around each other as I tried to hit him. I chased him to the kitchen. The smell of left over fried yam wafted across my nostrils. My stomach growled but I paid no attention. What a little sacrifice to catch my enemy? He jumped over a chair, causing me to pause, and gape at such gymnastics. I pushed the chair away and flung myself at him. I missed him by inches.
My words got caught in my throat as I slipped on oil I had spilled in the afternoon and hit my head on the floor. I saw red. I gripped the kitchen table and steadied myself. Now I was angry, intent on ending this once and for all. I grabbed a pestle and made my way out of the kitchen.
“Where are you, friend?” I shouted out, as I padded my way towards the storeroom. That was the only place he could hide. I entered the room, and saw him huddled in a corner.
“I got you at last,” I said with glee as my eyes rested on him. My headache had risen to a fever pitch. The room was stuffy. No one had stepped in there for a long time. A moldy stench filled the room. Discarded computers, old stuffs and antiques were strewn about, some arranged in a mountainous pile. Being rich like my parents meant you could afford to throw stuff away when you got bored with it. My parents, both connoisseurs of art had impeccable taste in medieval arts albeit reprinted ones. Our home was an epitome of reprinted arts. Located on the eastern shore of Elmina, it had a gothic style to its rendering. I bet you are wondering how I knew that word. Watch some TV, pal. The Legend was that it held a cache of gold smuggled by the slaves during the colonial period. A fruitless search of the house had yielded nothing, much to my disappointment.
I dispelled the memory and gazed at my enemy. A wide grin split my face as I raised the pestle, and prepared to pound him to a pulp.
“So long pal”
I dashed towards him like a samurai warrior welding a pestle instead of a sword. In hindsight, I should have guessed that the law would work. Yeah, Murphy’s Law. I hated that man for being right.
Let me just break it down it for you. Things went wrong for me in a very bad way. I tripped on a banana peel and lurched towards the mountainous pile of junk.
“Oh hell no!”
I stared in horror as the pile of junk swayed and tottered towards the wall in front of me.
“This is bad”
A booming sound was heard as the junk crashed into the wall. I heard the crumbling of bricks and dust filled up the room.
I let it out as the dust entered my nostrils. A gaping hole had been created where the junk hit the wall. I knew I was dead. I scampered to the spot, and leaned in, trying to see the damage. It was too dark. I searched around for a torch and found one, although a rusted one. I dashed upstairs to my room and snatched a couple of batteries on my dressing mirror. Due to the erratic power supply, one could never be too careful these days. I got two, and after much fisting, I made it work. I aimed the beam at the gaping hole and ventured in.
A cloud of dust still filtered through the hole. I tied a handkerchief around my nose. I had yet to sight my enemy around. I hoped he wasn’t dead. I wanted the pleasure of doing it myself.
“Here goes nothing”
I squeezed myself through the hole taking care not to bruise my hands. My feet crunched on something and I shone the light on it.
Hold on. Of course I wasn’t going to say that. The discovery had just got me exited. That’s all. What I was seeing only happened in the movies. I felt my heart jackhammering inside me as I stared at the objects before me.
“No way, this wasn’t possible.” I scooped up a handful of them and stared at the glittering coins. I was mesmerized by the yellowish gleam. Having watched reruns of Pirates of the Caribbean, I knew I had landed solid gold. I let the flash travel around the confined space, and spied an old chest not too far from me. Each step I took, I felt coins crunching under me. I wiped my brow with my left hand. The heat in the room was stifling. My shirt clung to my back and every breath I took through the handkerchief was getting harder. I shone my light on the chest and gazed at the crossbones on it.
For a moment, I stood there, trying to recall an episode where pirates had been cursed because of gold. Was it Pirates of the Caribbean? I shrugged, dispelling the paranoia and squatted beside the chest. The lock was old and rusted. A few tugs, and the lock broke. I flipped the chest open, and gaped at my discovery. I was going to be rich.
Having heard of stories of gold dust being used by the then kings as a pomade. I knew I had a catch. I had watched enough movies to know that gold dust was worth a lot of money. I spied an object buried in the middle and pried it out. I held the bronze figure to my eyes and studied it. I had read a story about this in one of my classes. I twirled the figure in my hand. I spied a small paper clenched in it fingers and I pried it from its tiny hands. There were some writings on it. After much squinting and recalling of my primary social studies, I deciphered what was on it.
“BENEATH THE RIVER OF CROSSING WHERE THE SUN FELL LIES THE STOOL”
I felt goosebumps on my skin as I realized the enormity of what I had found. I felt the puzzles click into place. And the cryptic message made sense. Legend had it that the stool, a relic of the past had been lost. But by this message, I knew its exact location. Well, not exactly, but it was close. I could hear my heart pounding.
Then I heard the squeak.
“Jesus!” I jumped out of fright. I shone the torch in that direction and saw my enemy. He stood by an old picture of my grandfather, an archeologist in his time. In the frame, he wore an old cowboy hat. His penetrating brown eyes gazed back at me. It felt so spooky. I stared at my harbinger and for an unspoken moment believed it was my grandpa back from the dead.
Yet, as I held the cryptic message in my hands, I felt my mind going over the possibility that this creature might have led me here. I didn’t believe in ghosts. Yet, this mouse had led me here, to this discovery. I stared at the cocked head of the mouse perched on the frame of my grandpa. I shrugged off that idea and stepped out of the hole. I took a deep breath and examined the bronze figure closely.
“What secrets do you hold?” I said out loud as I gazed at the stony face of my grandpa. The mouse was still perched on its edge twitching its whiskers at me.
“Ok, we have an adventure before us , friend.”
For a moment I thought I glimpsed a tiny smile on the mouse’s face, but of course we both knew ghosts don’t exist or do they?
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The Bronze man’s Secret