Thunder rolled out in a
distance, it was pitch dark, the kind of night reserved for owls because they
alone can adjust their sights to the darkness.
Margaret made her way to
the circle of trees, she was alone and her facial expression was grim, she made her way to the middle area
where the trees had created a space and called out.

“Witches of Berte!
Mothers and fathers of the rare ones, show yourself!” She shouted.
There was silence as all
the was heard were the rustle of trees.
“Kindred of the spirits!
Custodians of the witches coven. It is time!” She proclaimed.
Suddenly, there was a
rustle of wind and the tree branches swayed from side to side and then, like
silhouette, they all began to appear, one after the other, they came from
different directions, north, south, east and west. Some came in the form of
animals, both winged creatures, all gathered in the circle of trees.
As soon as they were
complete, they sat down cross-legged at the centre, in circles.
“Good evening…” One of
the members echoed.
“Good evening.” They all
replied.
“Margaret, I was
expecting that you’d call the meeting sooner…why the delay?” A female member
asked.
“My husband tied me
up…and I couldn’t leave when I wanted.” Margaret responded.
“Hmmmm…when is that
man going to die? You have left him alive for so long…I was thinking that
after fifteen years of being married to him, you’ll offer him as a sacrifice to
us.” A male member said.
“I wanted to kill him
years ago but I thought of being a widow at such young age, besides there were
no men on my case back then. Don’t worry, very soon, I’ll offer him up.” Margaret said.
“Where is our secretary? Isn’t she here yet?” A female member asked.
Everyone looked around.
“She’s not here yet but
why the delay? She knows that we have little time for the big sacrifice….she
should be here soon.” A male member said.
As though on cue, a black
bird swooped down at their center and quickly took a human form.
“What took you so long,
Secretary?” A member demanded.
“I was…at the scene of
an accident…I am sorry….” She replied getting up from the ground and
joining the circle.
“Any good news? Do we
have any free blood to drink?” A member asked, referring to the accident.
“No…Unfortunately, no
one died.” The secretary announced.
There was a strong
murmur of disapproval from the crowd of witches, they would have loved a taste
of blood to kick off the meeting.
“In preparation for our
feast which comes up once in five years, we have to table to the house, those
we can offer for sacrifice.” The president said, he had been silent all along. “Margaret,
you are the head of the females, what are you offering? And please note that
your sacrifices have to be big enough. I am tired of your offers of unborn
children….we are banning all miscarriages from our offerings today.”
“I am offering my
husband’s wife.” Margaret said standing up.
“Only that?” The
president asked.
“Yes…” Margaret answered.
“You can’t offer only
her besides she’s not your blood…”
“But we share the same
husband.” Margaret said. “She can be offered.”
“What of your children?
Each of us here has offered at least one of our children as sacrifices, you have three children, Alvin, Maro and….” One female spat.
“Will you shut up? How
dare you question my judgement?” Margaret
“It’s not fair on all of
us, we have presented many of our children to be used for feasts but our leader
has not provided any of her offspring. We are beginning to feel cheated
already.” Another female said.
“They are right…you
have to offer one of your offspring.” The president said to Margaret.
“All my children are
important to me…” Margaret started
The others scoffed.
“I have just three of
them….I can’t possibly offer up any of them. I have offered my husband’s wife
and…” She started but stopped short. “Wait a minute, can I offer my
step-daughter? Her name is Stephanie and she’s the one we’ve been bewitching
these past years…” She started.
A young girl stood up in
the crowd.
“I have been bewitching
Stephanie for the past three years, I make sure that all men who approach her
for a relationship ends up not marrying her. I make sure that she never has
savings and I make her depressed all the time. You can’t offer up Stephanie
because we have marked her for failure…besides, she is not your blood.” The
young girl said and as she sat down on the ground, she turned into a cat.
“I gave you the
instructions to bewitch her…and I have been pleased by your results. She
returned home yesterday looking worse than she left…she also has no man
interested in her and I am glad about that.” Margaret said.
“You are deviating from
the topic at hand…you need to give us one of your spawns or else…” A female
stood up.
“Or else what?” Margaret
shouted.
“You lose your position
and we elect another!” Another female shouted.
“Yes!” The crowd of
witches echoed.
Margaret looked at
everyone, it was obvious that she might loose her position as the leader of the
female witches of her wing if she doesn’t do their bidding. She took a deep breath and said with great
difficulty.
“I offer up my second
child….my son, Maro….”
There was a roar of
jubilation as the crowd of witches cheered.
*********
It hadn’t been up to a
week since Thelma had followed Agozie to Baba’s place but she was beginning to
see signs. She had woken up that morning feeling so sick and had thrown up for
the best part of the night. She was still lying in bed when her husband walked
into the room that Saturday morning.
“Are you well? You didn’t
sleep a wink last night.” He asked.
“I don’t know…I’ve
been so sick…” She said.
“You look pale too…”
He said.
Thelma sat up and looked
at her palms and touched her breasts, they felt tender.
“I am not sure but
maybe…maybe…I’m pregnant?” She said with emotion.
“Don’t kid me…” Obinna
said.
“I don’t know…I’ll
have to take a test to prove…maybe…” She said, recalling that her menstrual cycle had seized completely once she’d started using the stone.
“Why don’t we take a
test?” Obinna said excitedly.
Thelma nodded quickly
and jumped off the bed, she had dozens of pregnancy test knits in her drawer so
she picked one of them up and dashed into the bathroom.
Three minutes later,
Thelma rushed out of the bathroom screaming with excitement.
“What did it say?”
Obinna asked expectantly.
“Yes! I am pregnant!”
She screamed as she rushed to hug her husband.
*********
Ekweme was with the
greatest Dibia of Umuduru, they both chewed kola nut and spoke in hushed tones.
“Here is the effigy you
asked for.” The dibia said, handing over a small wooden stature of a woman.
“Hmhum! Now you are
talking!” Ekweme said in delight as he took the effigy and looked at it. The
effigy bore a close resemblance to someone, his nephew’s wife Thelma.
“I made a hole in her
stomach.” The Dibia said. “Can you see it? In the place of her stomach is a big
hole….which signifies that no child can ever inhabit there and that even if a
child does which is not likely, the child will be miscarried as soon as
possible. You will have to return the other effigy I gave to you three years ago.” The dibia said chewing kola.
“Well done my
friend….well done! I will give you the other effigy the next time I visit. Otu Okpukpu zuru oha! Dike Gburu gburu!” Ekweme praised.
The dibia smiled and
nodded in appreciation of the praises.
“How about Obinna? When
are you giving a go-ahead for the charm I prepared for him?” The dibia asked.
“You know he has to come
to the village first in order for the charm to begin its work. I have buried the fowls alive at the doorstep of his father’s old house. As soon as he comes
home, he goes there first so…that’s where he’s going to step upon and the
madness will begin! Ara gap u ya!” Ekweme said laughing heartily.
“Hehehehehe….it will
finally be all yours…his lands, his properties…everything…..hahahahaha…”
The dibia laughed louder.
“Yes… it will be all
mine. Tomorrow I will call him to come home for an important meeting…then,
let the dance begin!” Ekweme said with a firm determination in his eyes.
Image Sources:
3. Bellanaija.com 
Bible Quotation: 
Matthew 10: 36 -Your worst enemies will be the members of your own family!

To be
continued on Sunday….

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