At a young age, I always wanted to become a singer. I was gifted with a voice that could capture the hearts of many people. I wrote lyrics effortlessly about issues that existed in our lives. In high school, I was named “most likely to become famous” but unfortunately my mother fell ill on my senior year. I was the only child of a single mother, who was struggling with cancer.
My father passed away during the civil war in Somalia, so I never grew up knowing him. I acquainted his face with the perfect picture my mother painted in the stories she would tell me about him. In those stories, I could hear the love and admiration she carried heavily over the years for him. She would say I remind her of him.
After high school, I had to get two jobs to help my mother pay the medical bills. One of those jobs was driving for a company on the weekends to pick up clientele on God-forsaken hours.
It was Sunday morning, around 3 am. I received a request to pick up a passenger. They usually never give much information about the passenger, other than the time, the pickup and drop off location.
It was a tall man, dressed in a black fancy suit. He mumbled something as he got comfortable in the backseat. I said “excuse me? Did you say something?” He looked me in the eyes through the rear view mirror and spoke with a calm voice. “Drive slow, please. We’re not in a hurry” He spat. ‘We!?’ I thought to myself. I can tell he wasn’t drunk because usually drunk people wreak of booze and the stench of drunkards always disgusted me. He was clean and had an addictive scent that floated in the air pleasantly. He seemed well put together from afar.
“Warsame!” He spat slowly as he looked down on his phone.
I got goosebumps from hearing him say my name so perfectly without an accent. It scared me. “How did you know how to say my name like that?” I asked him in fear. “Your name means the bearer of good news. For someone who carries such name, you have carried heavy burdens,” he spat. “How I pronounce your name should not fear you; my tongue is proficient in all the languages your kind speaks. It is my presence that your curiosity must strike.”
It was at that point my intuition grew strong. I was six feet tall and had an athletic body but this man implanted sudden fear in my heart. It was the way he spoke confidently that raised my heartbeat. “You have nothing to fear, your life will change soon,” he cautioned me as he gave me weird smirk.
The ride came to an end. I brought him to his destination which wasn’t far. He opened the door, and whispered: “I will see you soon, Warsame.” I dropped him off near a corner store and watched him disappear into a dark alley. The company always had fancy clienteles who all played an important role in big companies, but this man sounded different.
When I dropped him off, I went straight home that night. My mind was restless. I knew something was odd about my encounter with this strange man.
Three days later, my mother was hospitalized. Doctors were hopeless and announced that she will spend her final days in the hospital. I felt like my world came crashing down. I knew that this day would come, but I never imagined living life without my mother. How was I supposed to live happy without the woman who gave me happiness? I cried by her bedside, while she laid there heavily sedated. I prayed to God every night but nothing I said to Him made her better. I felt powerless. All I did was weep while she lays there helpless waiting for a miracle to appear.
I slept at the hospital with her, but it was always hard to sleep with the thought that my mother might not wake up with me in the morning. One night, as I tried to shut my eyes, I heard footsteps approaching. I waited for someone to enter the room, but instead, the footsteps faded away into the distance. Maybe it was the nurses, I thought to myself.
Finally, I rested my head on the cheap pillow the nurses gave me. I dozed off until minutes later, I felt somebody’s presence hovering above me, so I quickly opened my eyes and my heart sunk. It was the same strange man I met on Sunday morning, standing there piercing his eyes through my mother. “Don’t be scared, it’s just me,” he spat chillingly. “How is she doing?” he pointed at my mother.
He was wearing a fancy suit again. It looked like he just stepped out of a Photoshoot with GQ. No one looks this fancy unless they’re important, I thought to myself.
“How do you know my mother?” I stuttered in dismay. “I know enough to recognize desperation. Listen Warsame, I am here to fill in that empty hole inside you with gifts, a purpose as heavy as your burdens. Are you ready to carry it responsibly?” he questioned me as he stood above my mothers’ bed. I didn’t understand him but he kept staring at my mother as he spoke to me, which was odd to me. He looked at her as if he knew her.
“I’m confused man, ready for what? What is it that you want from me?”
“I’m inviting you for a chance to become the greatest singer of all time. We will polish your talent and aid your spirit in becoming a great entertainer,” he said.
“Why would you offer me this? Why me?”
“You have a sensible background, a humble story to be told. You are relatable to your kind, which will attract patrons and fanatics who will idolize you. We will give you fame and fortune. Isn’t that what you always wanted?”
“And what is it that you want from me? Obviously, you’re not here to give me something and not expect anything in return?” I retorted.
“Numbers! We’re interested in those who idolize you, the higher the number of those who follow you and your music, the richer and more glamorous we will make you. You will become part of an elite that will protect and provide for you and your mother. We will help your mother become better again.”
“My mother? How will you make my mother better, she has stage-four cancer?”
“It would be moronic of us to create a disease that didn’t have a cure,” he chuckled.
“If you help my mother, I will do anything you want,” I spat emotionally. “Anything man, I swear.”
He invited me to attend a meeting at his house the next day. He told me not to be late, and not to arrive early but to be on time.
He left me that night feeling hopeful but scared at the same time. I had a lot of questions left unanswered. Did this man really have a cure for cancer, and did he have the capabilities to heal my mother? Why was I so important to him? How does he know where to find me? I didn’t sleep that night; all I did was evaluate his words which only confused me more.
I leaned towards my mother’s bed, as I took a last glance at her beautiful face and told her that I was going to do anything in my powers to help her get back on her feet again.
On the day of the meeting, I dressed up and waited at the gate until the clock hit 6 pm.
The gate opened cautiously and I proceeded towards a huge manor house with a water fountain in the middle. Fancy cars were parked around the front of the house, and men with fancy looks were standing there mingling with each other before they made their way inside the house. I didn’t know what the plan was, but I knew I would take chances if it meant for my mother to get better.
As we entered the house, the inside looked something like from the 1800’s. Antique ornate chandeliers were hanging from the ceiling, fireplace was lit with artificial fire, the walls were gilded, and the dark wood furniture’s were carved intricately. You can sense the rich comfort as soon as you walk inside.
The strange man glided confidently through the hallway as he greeted the men before me. He had a persuasive walk, which I couldn’t help but admire –he was filled with confidence. “Warsame, I’m glad you made it,” he spat as he shook my hand gently.
He grabbed everyone’s attention by tapping his wine glass with a metal object. “Your new world will begin, where you shall hold your own fate. Tonight, we will initiate the true purpose of your existence.” Another man came and instructed us to take off our clothes and to change into a silver robe he handed us. We were not to ask questions or even speak as we lined up to walk down the stairs and into a big room colored in claret-colored wallpapers.
In the middle of the room, stood a man in a silver robe with a red cape. The lights were too dim, so we couldn’t see his face clearly. “Tonight, the old you will die as we give birth to a new you,” the man spat dramatically. “You will sign an oath by drinking my blood,” he revealed.
He then dramatically unsheathes a knife from his waistline, and slit open his right palm. Blood streamed down from his hand into a metal cup, which was then passed around as we stood in a circle, surrounding him.
“Welcome to your new world,” he asserted as we took turns in sipping his blood.
It was just six of us who stood in a circle, all scared to ask questions. We followed instructions mindlessly, hoping it will be over soon. All I could think about was my mother, as I sipped his blood. I miss seeing her healthy, and independent.
It wasn’t until what happened to me in the next few days, I realized the old me was slowly fading into the past.
Part Two Coming Soon