The Brand of Cain

By Larry Sun
 Episode 8
The night was not the warmest one. A few stars peeked down on the world and a quarter moon played hide and seek behind the scattering clouds. Cain Martins was stricken by a hunger so extreme he feared he might faint if he didn’t soon quiet the growls in his stomach; he hadn’t eaten anything for the day, not like he always had much to eat before—so, he was always hungry.
Even before his starvations, Cain had always had a big appetite. Often he was ravenous; at times his hunger seemed almost insatiable. He was so hungry this night that he felt he could eat an entire cow all alone; with hooves and tail intact, of course. He’d just been released from the hospital and he was a hungry man without any job. Cain Martins was a nobody—he had no one, no family; the mother he’d grown to know and not love had died eight years earlier. He didn’t even know his own father. In actual fact, neither of his parents was a résumé enhancer if he happened to possess one. Cain Martins was virtually homeless; he was desperately trying to earn something: not even a living, just eating-money.
The heavy rain that had come and gone earlier had left the night’s temperature almost freezing. Cain dipped his hands in his trousers pockets, knowing fully well that there was no coin on him, but there occurred to him that impossible feeling of sorcery where a couple of coins might miraculously fill his pockets. But it was a time and world where the magical conjuring skills of Aladdin refuse to operate. The hunger persisted.
He continued walking down the dark street; he stopped for a short moment to urinate in the gutter nearby. Even though he was quite famished, he still felt as if Lake Chad filled his distended bladder, and Kainji Dam had been erected in his urethra. The street was already becoming quieter; many of the businesses were closed for the night; youths and adults were already vacating the bars and brothels to their various homes. Two men walked out of one of the buildings, struggling with the zippers of their trousers; on the second floor of another building, a fat woman opened a window and shouted down, berating her husband about the projected hour of his return. Other night owls could be seen drinking from gin bottles; an elderly drunken couple argued, their dispute emphasized by two shaking heads of grey hair. In the last house, a lone lady of the night leaned forward from a first floor window, saw Cain and opened her blouse, displaying a large sagging bosom that looked like a funnel. She squeezed it several times and pointed the nippleat him. Cain shook his head and turned away from the view; he knew she was not for him. The street was the end of a particular section of the cities of Lagos.
Cain Martins was a twenty-sevenyearold man of average height with bushy black hair, dressed casually in a white shirt and black trousers, with a pair of brown sandals on his legs—everything he’d stolen, except of course, his wristwatch which his mother had bought for him about a decade ago when he was in the high school, the watch itself had stopped about a century earlier. He was quite ugly, his lean hard face and hooked nose with thin lips gave him the look of a hawk. His face in particular was distended and carried a scowl that would make his face to a child look like a boogeyman’s. When he was a kid, he’d contacted a skin disease that stripped off his hair. He’d been as bald as an egg ever since. He had no girlfriend—not even when he was in the high school. No girl wanted to date the ugliest boy in the school. Coupled with his bad looks, Cain Martins was arrogant and cruel. During his final year in the school, he’d brutally abused a fourteen-year-old girl sexually. He’d walked straight to the young girl and asked her to kiss him. The girl had felt so surprised and embarrassed that she saw the confrontation as a bad joke and walked out on him. Cain became infuriated by the girl’s action.
It was about a week later when the girl was returning home from school that Cain attacked her. He crept behind her and hit her with a stick on the back of the head, the girl collapsed face-down, he dragged her to the bush at the side of the quiet road where nobody could hear her plea for help, he had turned her on her back, pinned her to the ground, hitched her skirt around her waist. He gave her some few blows on the side of her face to render her weak before he roughly entered her. The shame and another unknown circumstance made the poor girl withdraw from the school. But Cain Martins was never convicted of the crime thanks to his mother.
For his plan to be successful, a cold night and a quiet street was what Cain Martins wanted. He stood under the shadow of an electric pole waiting for someone he could attack and rob. In his left hand was a thick iron rod. The hunger birthing anger in his stomach. He had thought about how he was going to attack his prey. Like the girl he’d raped, he was going to attack the unfortunate person from behind by striking him with the iron rod on the back of the head; the poor fellow would fall down flat on his face. Cain would turn him over; deposit some battering blows to his face which would leave the victim defenseless before Cain would rob him and then bolt. All these shouldn’t take him more than two minutes before he fled.
He began getting impatient, he’d been standing for over half an hour and there was nobody coming down the street. His stomach rumbled like thunder, reminding him that the worms were getting impatient, they would decide to take little chunks of his stomach wall if he did not find something else to feed them with. Then he found a pie on the ground and without hesitating a second he picked it up, he took it to his mouth and blew off the earth on the snack but he wasn’t able to blow away the green algae stuck on it. To him, the food was a manna from the sky, he took a mammoth bite. It was made with onions, pepper and beef, and it tasted heavenly in his mouth. It would naturally have made a sane man vomit his intestines if he had had nothing else in his bowel to puke.
He looked up the road and saw a car approaching.
Cain was not impressed; he wanted to rob a walking man, not a driving one. The last thing he wanted to do right now was to carjack. He needed some money, not a vehicle. And robbing a man behind the wheel wasn’t the easiest task; the driver would never be foolish enough to stop for you in this silent night. The car was driven stealthily past Cain and he looked at it as a drowning man would look at a life raft he knew he could not reach. Cain caught the silhouette of the driver—a woman! How sweet, he thought, how sweet it would have been if the woman was walking past? He would rob her easily, and maybe—even have a little fun. Then he watched in amazement as the car decelerated until it finally stopped. Cain could almost not believe what he was seeing, his mind began racing. He held tightly onto his rod as he watched, sweat oozing from the pores of his palms. The woman got out of the vehicle and opened its bonnet, she looked at its mechanism for some time and banged the bonnet close in anger. Evidently, she knew nothing about simple motor mechanism. She stood by her car looking down the road. For a couple of seconds she looked at Cain’s direction and looked away. Cain knew that he could not be seen as he himself was standing in the darkness like the wraith of a deity, but he could clearly see the woman. She was pretty and he guessed she was not more than twenty-five years old. Looking at her, Cain knew that she was from a welltodo background. She would have something worth robbing. And definitely, he thought, she’s got everything worth having fun about. Time up. Cain Martins came out of the shadows.
He walked slowly towards the lady; her back was turned to him. Something kept telling him that the blow he was going to deliver on the woman would literally kill her, and he would have murder on his hands. But Cain didn’t care; he was too desperate to back off now. He continued walking towards her. He could feel the perspiration rolling down his forehead and over his neck. He was four feet away from her. Then the lady turned. Seeing that the lady had seen him the strength slipped out of Cain, and he suspected he might not be able to rob her easily anymore. The lady saw him; he could see fear in her eyes for a moment before her mouth curved into a smile; revealing a mouthful of teeth as white as the keys on a new piano.
“Oh great, thank heavens!” she breathed, “I thought I’m the only one in this world right now.”Cain relaxed the hold on the weapon in his hand.
“What are you doing here, young lady?” he asked as politely as his arrogant ego would allow him.
“My car broke down and I can’t fix it.”
“Okay, let’s see the problem of the four-wheeler,” He opened the bonnet of the car, meddled with a few parts of the vehicle‘s anatomy and slammed the bonnet shut.
“Is it done?” The lady asked eagerly.
“Not that fast.” He bent down and crawled underneath the car, he spent about another five minute under the vehicle before he ordered the lady to mount it and turn on the ignition. The car took a short time before acquiescing to the command of the key. After some asthmatic engine coughs, it finally came alive.
Cain crawled out from under the car and found that the lady had also come out of it, she was performing those clappy-jumpy things spoilt little girls do whenever they were excited.
“What can I do to thank you enough?” she asked happily.
Give me some money, you stupid, spoilt brat. He almost screamed it out.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode. Make it a date with us next week.

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