Of The Muse In You: The Deadline

Welcome to the story which I will write with your help. This project is a simple speculative fiction communally inspired but in the course of its creation I have found other people’s very real stories being told within the lines of my words……
How it works: I tell part of the story and you can be a part of this journey by using the poll at the bottom and or in the comments to let me know how you feel the story should proceed.


Thank you all for your input last month from the story HERE: The Ogbanje Hacker
The story so far:

It all started when I got an email from a stranger, which turned out may or may not be from someone abducted by an extremist group. In my quest to get to the bottom of the story I joined a Facebook group for a religious group that advocated for the safe return of abducted people and held prayer vigils, and anonymous vigilante hacker from this group called my phone:

“Hello my friend, you know me as Mr OG. I believe its time we talked ….:”
I froze…..
The poll indicated a tie of three choices so I will incorporate all three:

poll
Hello” The voice on the other end of the phone squawked again, somewhat mechanically, he must have been using some sort of voice altering software.

“Hang up this phone” whispered a voice at the back of mind, I don’t know if its my guardian angel or just instinct but that’s the voice that keeps me grounded, its probably my conscience. I slid my thumb on the phone screen, to end the call, but as if it had a life of its on the thumb double tapped activating the speaker phone and call recording function.

call-record2
“Hello” I replied in a calm confident tone that was worlds apart from the me who could hear my heartbeat drumming loudly in my ears, as if they were drums being played by someone relaying a black smoke signal that the apocalypse is here abandon all hope.

I would have preferred to wait and gradually introduced you to our world but time is no longer on our side and October is almost over” The mechanic voice droned

I interrupted him as if we all we were having perfectly reasonable ordinary conversation
erm..Look, what, what do you mean about a deadline” my voice faltered a little at first but otherwise held steady.

“I take it you haven’t been watching the news. You need to watch the news more, you need to keep your eyes open and your ears on the ground” He sounded like a parent would lecturing a child indulging in the type of behaviour that is the equivalent of throwing away a bright future to roll in the gutter with pigs.
Never mind let me bring you up to speed, the people who abducted our possible mutual friend executed a medical worker and announced that in a month they would be more killings if their conditions were not met. A month has passed from then and they executed yet another and now here we are.” He delivered his chilling news in the monotone mechanic voice and it helped cushion the shock of the nightmare that was some people’s everyday existence.

So what do we do?” I asked like I was a part of all this craziness as if I could possibly make a difference from the other side of the world.

I need remote access to your email address so we can run an IP address trace and try to ping email servers used by the sender” OG explained it easily

Why don’t you just trace it like you did my phone number how did you even get it” This is what had scared me the most about these guys I had not told anyone my number and it was not listed on my Facebook, if I was to go to the police I needed to be able to explain myself.

That was easy one of your friends posted a screenshot of your whatsapp conversation your number was clearly visible, you ought to tell your friends to be careful of what they share online

Dammit Shingie” I cursed in my head I had told him to delete that post, I had hidden it from my timeline and forgot about it.

The password my guy” The voice squawaked.

Oh I.. I…I… my… my… phone is always logged in I… I don’t remember the password” I tried to stall for time

That’s ok, I have initiated a password reset can you tell me the verification code that was just to your phone ” OG coolly countered.

The phone beeped an SMS notification that I had new voicemail

But how did you do that? I hadnt told you my email address, ok let me hang up and retrieve the voicemail” I tried stalling again.

You don’t have to worry I have accessed your voicemail and retrieving it now…..” in the silence I could hear keyboard keys being pressed then shortly after he announced “and I am in…. dude your emails are so dry there’s no juicy stuff here, anyway that email….. lets see ok … I got it
The was nothing I could do I just stood there as he scrolled through my business I was rooted to the spot like that lady from the bible who was warned to not look back when God was destroying a sinful city but she did and was transformed into a pillar of salt, I should have listened to the voice that told me to hung up…

Excellent, we’ll know soon enough am running the IP trace. Hey listen I need you to go to The Cave to deliver a message” The way he said The Cave made it sound like a sinister place where no respectable individual had business delivering messages.

I don’t know where The Cave is” I declared with a touch of triumph.

Of course you don’t someone will be in touch and guide you, just follow the white rabbit and down the rabbit hole you go… Also one other thing don’t go to the police
The call ended.

What should I do
1. Call the police
2. Pretend none of this happened
3. Follow the white rabbit
4. Move, Change phone numbers and get a new identity
5. consult a cyber terrorist unit


~B

this entry story is also a blog battle entry themed Cave

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Of The Muse In You: Hero

Welcome to the story which I will write with your help.

How it works: I tell part of the story and you can be a part of this journey by using the poll at the bottom and or in the comments to let me know how you feel the story should proceed….

Thank you all for your input last week  from the story HERE  ABDUCTED

becoming

The story so far:

A stranger who emailed me may or may not be a missing person, abducted by an extremist group. I was invited to join a Facebook support group of people who pray for the safe return of those taken.

The popular poll result was that I should find an IT expert to trace the original email and those who wrote in comments said Join The Facebook Group see what happens that seemed like a good idea …. So I will fuse those two ideas and see where the story goes.

I clicked the link to join the Facebook group and a pop up screen asked me a few questions to help the admin decide if I would fit in the group. I scrolled through the question then answering them as I went along.

Do you think all people were created equal?

Yes *I clicked*

Do you think everyone has a right to their opinion whether you agree with it or not?

Yes *I clicked*

What quality makes a hero and are you one?

I paused, thinking of a response. Being a serial binge watcher of superhero movies I wanted to write that, “a hero was someone with extra-ordinary powers doing extra-ordinary things with the powers vested in him whether by being bitten by radioactive spiders or marvels of modern science  or mythological connections and even by virtue of being an alien with godlike powers.”

Then I remembered something printed on a t/shirt worn by the conductor in the taxi I had taken on my evening commute home.

Not all heroes wore capes, some simply hold the door

He smiled as he slid the door open and so passengers could get on. “I want only two serious passengers we are about to go” he would periodically shout even though the taxi needed way more than two people before it could leave, and he was quite theatric in convincing people to get into his taxi than pick any of the other that were also trying to get passengers.

A hero is someone who perseveres against the odds *I finally typed*

Congratulations you are in the group, a notification flashed

#freeLeah

I was surprised to find the group full of people from all over the world, strangers bound together with a common need to fight for injustice and to pray and to lobby governments for the safe return of all abducted people.

There was a pinned message on the group wall:

This group is as a safe place new members introduce yourself and tell us your ideas on how we can achieve our objectives. Faith Without Works Is Dead

I felt nervous and more than a little scared but the word hero echoed somewhere in the back of my mind. What was I getting myself into I thought as I typed:

Hi I am looking for friend who may have been abducted. They contacted me via email is there a computer expert in the group who can help with a trace.

*Ping* A new Facebook message notification. A message from someone called Og Banje, his name, I assume he was a guy because the profile picture was of a guy with a handkerchief around his face like a western outlaw; his name reminded me of something I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

Ogbanje

Og Banje

The message was short and to the point.

“If you give me remote access to your email I might be able to run an IP address tracer and ping the servers of the email you received to track location and find service provider.”

I reread the message as I decided.

What do I do next

  1. Allow Remote Access to email
  2. First run a background check on OG Banje
  3. Ignore the message
  4. verify with group admin
  5. Go to the police

~B

day 12 of my blog everyday chllenge themed Africa: stories from home.

Of The Muse In You: Abducted

Welcome to the story which I will write with your help.

How it works: I tell part of the story and you can be a part of this journey by using the poll at the bottom and or in the comments to let me know how you feel the story should proceed….

Thank you all for your input last week  from the story HERE :DEAD END

becoming

The story so far:

I received an email from a stranger called Nya who simply wanted a friend and a sympathetic ear to listen. Wary of internet scams I had google searched the email address before replying. Just I discovered the email belonged to someone from an area where nightmarish abductions occurred thats when I got a delivery notification that the email failed.

The popular opinion was: Go to tagged Facebook post and contact 

I felt goosebumps as I read again the message from the email server:

Message not delivered

I closed the notification and opened the Facebook Post Nya had been tagged in. It was a post from a page formed by a group of people who had come together to pray for the safe return of victims of the terror abductions. According to the page over 1000 girls have been kidnapped by the Boko Haram since 2013 in Nigeria. This includes the 200+ Chibok girls in April 2014 of whom 100 were released and more than a 100 taken in February beginning of the year though most of those were returned a month later countless others remain “missing”.

I was in shock, I thought those abductions had ended ages back had I not read somewhere that they had some form of uneasy ceasefire going. I thought all the kidnapped people had been returned, so many thoughts flashed through my mind. What if they never really stopped, what of the stories that never made the news and what if the person who had reached out to me was a victim. I clicked the message page tab and typed up short message:

Hi I am trying to contact Nya. She sent me an email but I am failing to contact her.

I pressed send and waited for a reply because the page was marked as “typically responds within mintues”. Minutes grew into hours and longer still, then into days until I even I almost forgot what I was waiting for, almost. The one day months later *Ping* Facebook messenger notification

It was a message from the page admin.

Good day Sir. 

Thank you for getting in touch

It’s highly unlikely that Nya could contact you, as it would be next to impossible for her to get email access. She is one of the girls who were not released when the others kidnapped with them were returned, the ones we fear either are still in captivity or might have died. Those who would not renounce their Christian faith. Today marks 200 days of their captivity if you will join us in a prayer vigil for their safe return RSVP and join the FB Group in the link below……..

I read the message again as I tried to understand……. so who had sent me the email I wondered.

What should I do next

  1. Nothing: The End
  2. Join The Facebook Group see what happens
  3. Find a computer guy to trace the original email
  4. Contact the police
  5. Contact one of those who returned

~B

Day 6 of My Blog Every Day Challenge themed Africa: Stories From Home

#MyAfricaMyWords

 

Of The Mistress Chronicles

Sometimes people scroll past my Twitter timeline and get *mused* by the barely formed story plot ideas I have just floating around on the twitterverse, most times they hardly tell me about it, a rare few do though and an even rarer number still, not only do but also allow me to feature the resultant product on my blog.

Melody read this tweet and was inspired to start writing a guest feature series:

 The Mistress Chronicles by Melody Chingwaru

Prologue

As the bible says man that is born of  a woman is of few days, beloved let us remember that our days are numbered and we should cherish the memories we had with our loved one” the pastor’s voice echoed in my ears. Was he gone for real?

Tears glisten in my eyes as I watch his casket lay on the lowering rails and I feel my heart sink. I will never see his smile, the warmth of his arms and how his voice creaked whenever he called me. My baby, my love, my…. ! I hope Mazvita will allow me to throw some flowers into his grave when the casket is lowered.

The pastor’s voice interrupts my thoughts_

It is now time to say your final goodbyes, may all family members collect some soil from the shovels and as soon as the casket is lowered into the ground please feel free to come over” he says

I watch as his casket is lowered into the ground and his daughters form a line to bid their dad farewell. I glance around in search of Mazvita; I need to know where she is first before I can attempt to do the unthinkable. I dart my eyes to the chairs and our eyes meet, her eyes convey that  pity look. I hold my gaze as a way to seek her approval to advance towards the grave.  Her eyes convey nothing as response but that does not deter me as I soon find my way to the grave to throw my roses.

I hurriedly move through the crowd to the grave and I throw my roses. I mutter a few words silently, “Till we meet again, rest in peace Mhofu”. I did it, I know it sounds so little of a gesture but you will soon understand why! You see life does not prepare you for days like this and in as much as I have read many self help books, I was not ready for this.

 

 

…………………….

This is a series so do stay tuned.

Melody can be found on twitter melching91

Melody Chingwaru Book review Gold Diggers

 

 

 

 

 

Of The Muse In You: Dead End

Welcome to the story which I will write with your help.

How it works: I tell part of the story and you can be a part of this journey by using the poll at the bottom and or in the comments to let me know how you feel the story should proceed….

Thank you all for your input last week  from the story HERE: Online Strangers

becoming

The story so far:

I received an email  from a stranger I decided to reply it, after a google search check to verify if email address was implicated in any scams. Now I decided how I should proceed.

The popular opinion “investigate cautiously” as you wait to hear from her

 

Once upon a time I got an email from a princess, her father, a warlord had been executed by rebel forces, leaving her sole heiress to a vast fortune in blood diamonds and prime real estate, worth several hundred six figure digits. All she needed was someone to marry her, then to transfer ownership of the late warlord’s estate to husband, so that the government would be unable to forfeit the assets and fortune. If I married her, she would grant me a quarter of the wealth, which would still be in the six figure region too. The catch though was that I had to wire transfer her plane ticket money and my bank details so she could begin part of the transactions……

Sounds too good to be true right? Yeah, that’s what a typical email scam looks like, you get lured in with a promise for wealth, lottery or a lucrative business investment and then asked to advance cash for something or other suddenly bang all the money in your bank is gone…….

Constant Vigilance” I thought to myself, in the words of Mad Eye Moody teaching a class for Defence Against Dark Arts in the Harry Potter Books. “Well if I knew what to look out for I wouldn’t get scammed, right?”

I opened my Google to do a bit of internet research. It’s strange, how little we know of what happens to world around us, even though the information is right there, if you know where to look. Nya Chiuta’s hometown state was in the area were the nightmarish abductions where being done by the Boko Haram, I had seen it on the news, I might have even tweeted a solidarity message hashtagged #bringbackthegirls. But could a hashtag ever really bring back anyone?

Who or what was the Boko Haram anyway and why did they kidnap people? Well according to Google, they are The Islamic State in West Africa and have gone by various names most popular being Boko Haram, which loosely translates to “western education is forbidden”  or “western influence is a sin” or “Westernization is sacrilege”…..

As I was doing my research, I happened to stalk Nya’s Facebook profile again to check when she was last active and noticed a tagged post. She was tagged in a post where people we people were praying for her safe return………..

A ping indicating new email interrupted my research.

It was an email from the mailer daemon indicating that the email to Nya Chiuta had failed reason unavailable mail server.

Message not delivered

What happens Next?

  1. Dead End: The End
  2. Check Email address and try again
  3. Send Facebook message
  4. Check if Facebook profile has alternative contact number
  5. Go to Tagged Facebook post contact person who tagged her

Of Coffee With A Musing Stranger

Africa

If you were having coffee with me, I would smile and say hi thank you for joining me, would you prefer tea, coffee or plain boiled water. I would ask you if you had a favourite mug; its not weird at all right having a favourite mug?

What did you get up to this past week?

Lets see, some local celebrity couple had a bit of a meltdown, some say it was a publicity stunt, some say it was real. I wont even go into it because I think they got way too media attention maybe I should blog my own melt-down. Just that the internet never forgets nor sleep or eat or have coffee for that matter, and when a private moment goes viral… it goes so epic that everyone has their two cents to say about it.

Speaking about the internet our dear old Postal and Telecommunications Regulation Authority company; POTRAZ decided to set a floor price of making the internet 2 cents a megabyte to protect the telecoms industry. A move which would see our data prices going up and we already have expensive internet. Econet Wireless went and increased their data charges significantly and people took to the internet and social media to protest the high data costs.  Econet passed the buck to POTRAZ, in a loaded press statement hinting to the effect that the Regulator, the Ministry of IT and the government in general creating an uneven playing field and also trying to restrict low data use  of  the internet as it contributes to abuse of social media (but people have read in between the lines as The Government trying to limit freedom of speech on the internet, elections coming up next year…)and they have since reverted back to the old tariffs and POTRAZ has suspended its internet floor price (for now) and The Ministry has in return warned Econet not to dabble in politics and to stick to its core business mandate…

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you I have a dream that one day the internet will be as basic as the air we breathe, free. I would tell you I have new muse, a stranger and Guest Blogger  I met thanks to the internet. Hailing from Nigeria; Raquel 

Mused by a stranger ~ Words by Raquel
I have been mused, mused by a stranger.
Didn’t your mama tell you not to talk to strangers?
But the stranger talked to me first, and it would be rude to ignore.
I am being mused, mused by a stranger.
I did talk to the stranger, a stranger from a land strange to me.
Strange enough I did like talking to the stranger.
Me being mused by a stranger.
What will it be?
Will it be good, fantastic or interesting?
Or will it be bad, ugly sad and regretful
I got to take the chance, for this stranger has tickled my fancy
AM MUSED BY A STRANGER

Thank you Raquel in musing you I muse myself, you can catch more of Raquel in my next post

Thanks for visiting and have an awesome week ahead

~B

PS how much does your internet cost you?

Of The Muse In You: message in a bottle

Welcome to this interesting journey where you muse me:

muse
The story so far…..

I sat at my laptop, about to press the delete button on an email from an unknown number but the universe spoke…. Take a chance

So the decision was unanimous Take A Chance (thank you all who voted now we proceed)

Just as I was about to press the delete button, I realised that I had been humming along to a song playing on the radio, a golden oldie classic by ABBA, Take A Chance On Me. What further sign did I need from the universe?
Here goes nothing, I thought as  I clicked open the email. I paused a little bit, half expecting my antivirus to pop up a notification with a red alert sound warning announcing threat detected. I really should mute that option, it had gotten me into several awkward situations, but again it was another one of those things I meant to do but never did quite get round to, anyway all was quiet on my antivirus front so I guess it was safe enough.
I quickly scanned through the email, then read it again slowly.

Hi Stranger
I randomly entered your email address and hit the send button. Think of this as a message in a bottle.
I will understand if you don’t reply I am not asking for much all I want is simply a friend to talk to. I hope you reply
Regards
Nya Chiuta

I stared at the screen wondering what I should do…..
1 ignore the email
2 delete the email mark sender as spam
3 forward it to my know-it-all friend
4. Google the sender and email address to check if they not listed under any scam artists
5. Reply to the email
6. Other…. comment your suggestion

Of The Muse In You: The Beginning

Becoming The Museum

My auto-correct does this cute little thing, every time I type the word museum it sneaks in the word museum with hilarious consequences. It’s  interesting how it tries to finish my sentences with its next word prediction but on the upside it inspired me to start a new story.

But I need your help, yes you its simple, muse me, be my museum of muses.

muse.jpg

I will write a lil short story, and at the end of it there will be a choice of how the story should proceed, you tell me; and at the end of the week I will pick the most popular choice and continue the story from there to the next set of choices, where the story leads nobody knows, making it up as I go along.

The Muse in you……..The beginning.

take a chance.jpg

Take a chance” that was the message I found in the fortune cookie I ate for breakfast. The piece of paper was lay there on table not going away.  I am not overly superstitious but sometimes, you know how you get that funny feeling, that the universe is trying to tell you something, I had that feeling.

I powered on my laptop and a notification for two new emails popped up.

The first message was some spam email from Daily Horoscopes, I kept meaning to unsubscribe but never got round to it, sometimes the messages were little inspirational gems. Today’s message read:

A wonderful opportunity awaits you today….

I know the messages were some generic computer generated messages but sometimes they brought a smile to my face. Maybe thats why I never got round to unsubscribing to them, that and sometimes those were the only new emails I got and those that started “Dear Sir we regret to inform you……”

The second message, was some email, I did not recognize the sender and the subject line read Dear Reader. That’s how you got a virus on your machine by clicking on emails from unknown people.

I was about to click on the [Delete ALL]  button without even reading when I happened to glance at the little piece of paper beside the laptop “Take A Chance….”

What happens next; you tell me:

  1. Mark as spam then Delete Delete Delete
  2. Take A Chance

~B