Thelma felt bleak, it
was the day of the swearing and she wished that she didn’t have to go through
with it. Obinna’s case  hadn’t changed as he was was deteriorating and making slower movements as though he was ill and she felt so helpless about
his situation as Uncle Ekweme had refused her suggestion of taking him to a
medical facility.

“Ta! Mechionu! Shut up
dat ya mouth! This is something bigger than science and we will treat it the
traditional way.” He had told her when she had suggested that they take him to
a psychiatric hospital.
Her pregnancy symptoms
were worsening and her feet was already swelling, she wondered how she had just
found out that she was pregnant only to experience very sharp symptoms and
signs almost immediately. Uncle Ekweme’s wife walked up to her and said;
“Listen to me…starving
will do you no good. You haven’t eaten in days…”
“I am not hungry
auntie…” Thelma said as tears welled up in her eyes.
“You have to eat
something…” Uncle Ekweme’s wife urged.
Obiageli chose that moment
to walk in on them and said.
“Why are you disturbing
her to eat? If she doesn’t want to eat, let her starve.”
“Don’t talk like that,
she’s his wife and she’s devastated!”
“I am his sister and I
am equally devastated. Thank God for uncle Ekweme if not, I don’t know what we
are going to do because he’s been a big help.” Obiageli said.
“I am not happy that
Obinna is not receiving any medical care…he’s been locked up for two days
now…and…” Thelma said angrily.
“Keep quiet! What are
you trying to imply? That my brother is a mad man?” Obiageli fired.
“How can I say that?
Obinna is not a mad man but he’s not in a good mental condition…”
“I said it! I have known
all along that you never loved my brother, I have known that you can’t wait to
see him dead so that you can take all that belongs to him. Or wait…maybe you’re
a witch and want to offer him as a sacrifice to your fellow witches.”
Thelma stood up in
anger.
“I won’t have you speak
to me in such manner….I love my husband and woe betide me if I ever want
anything evil to happen to him.”
“Thank God that we are
going to swear today….we’ll see who woes would betide!” Obiageli flung at her and
stormed out of the sitting room.
Thelma began to cry
while Uncle Ekweme’s wife watched her silently and pitifully, soon there was a
short rap at the door.
“Good morning ooo…I
come in peace…” A female voice said.
Thelma didn’t stop
crying  but Ekweme’s wife walked over to
the door. She saw a young lady standing at the doorstep with a bible in her
hand and a bag slung over her shoulders.
“Good morning ma…” The
lady greeted.
“Nne kedu? Who are you looking
for?”
“Thelma…” The lady
said. “I am Evangeline…”
“Come in…does she know
that you are coming?”
“No ma…I just came to
pay her an unannounced visit.” Evangeline said as she walked into the house.
As soon as Evangeline
stepped into Uncle Ekweme’s sitting room, something buzzed in her head. She
heard the loud noise as though from the pits of hell and the loud wails coming
from the whole sides of the house. It was a spiritual noise signalling darkness
and she knew that she was the only one who could hear it. She saw Thelma
hunched on the small chair in tears, she looked much worse than she looked two
days ago when she and her husband had dropped her off.
Thelma looked up to see
the visitor and was confused at who she was at first then, quickly recognizing her, she greeted but didn’t offer her a smile.
“Welcome…Evangeline
right?”
“Yes, sister Thelma…I
came to see you…” Evangeline said sitting down beside her.
“Can we offer you
anything? We have coke in the fridge…” Uncle Ekweme’s wife offered.
“Thank you ma…I humbly
decline…” Evangeline said with a smile.
Uncle Ekweme’s wife left
the sitting room for the both of them.
“You don’t look well…”
Evangeline said.
Thelma nodded as tears
fell from her eyes.
“Why did you come?”
Thelma asked.
“Something moved in my
spirit and directed me to you…” Evangeline answered.
Thelma sighed loudly and
looked at her. “I am greatly distressed, I am so depressed….I am in so much
sorrow…”
“Tell me, what is the
problem?” Evangeline asked.
“It’s my husband…”
Thelma started and launched into the story while Evangeline listened.
*********
It was a dark time for
Stephanie’s family, Ochuko had been buried in the wee hours of the morning and
her family had mourned him all through the night. Auntie Maggie was a sorry
case, she had cried loudly, beating her chest all through the night in sorrow.
Stephanie had never seen her father so devastated, he had cried like a child
and now, that his son had been buried, he sat, glaring at the wall in silence
while his food sat untouched before him.
“You have to eat…”
Stephanie said, trying to hold tears from falling.
Her father looked at her
with red rimmed eyes and said.
“Call Alvin for me…”
He said.
Stephanie left her
father’s sitting room and walked to Aunt Maggie’s section of the house where
Aunt Maggie and her children were to call Alvin.
Alvin followed her to
her father’s sitting room.
“Alvin, sit down…” His
father said.
Alvin sat down and
looked at his father in silence.
“I don’t want you to go
for your masters programme…” Stephanie’s father said.
“But daddy, we’ve have paid
half the tuition…”
“I don’t want you to
go….I once had two sons and now I have one, I won’t let you away from my
sight. It would be so stupid of me…”
Stephanie watched her
father speak through his emotions and cried in silence. She recalled the cause
of Ochuko’s death. After he had delivered the message to his mother’s friend,
he had left her house and on crossing the road, he was hit by an speeding
vehicle, his death had been such a painful one.
Aunt Maggie appeared at
the doorway, her face was bathed in tears.
“What are you saying?
Alvin is going for his masters!” She told her husband.
“No…I won’t let him
go….he’s the only one I have left…” Her husband stubbornly said.
“No! My son has to
further his education abroad, that’s our dream for him.” Auntie Maggie said in
a surprisingly strong voice.
“My decision is final!
Alvin goes nowhere, if he wants to bag a masters degree, there are good
University options, close to us. We have DELSU, UNIBEN, AAU, Benson Idahosa, Niger
Delta University….he’s not travelling overseas anymore.” Stephanie’s father
said in finality.
Alvin was disappointed,
he nodded and left his father’s sitting room while his mother raved in their
native language at their father and soon left.
********
Maggie rushed into her room
and shut the door behind her. She looked at the clock and
quickly started breathing heavily, soon she lay down on the bed to sleep and
her spirit lifted off her like smoke and quickly passed out through the walls
of the house, on getting outside, she turned to a black bird and flew off.
She arrived her meeting
place just in time as some of the other witches had started to arrive. As soon
as they saw her, they began singing and chanting praises, she was highly loved
because she had just sacrificed her own blood.
The meeting started and
for matters arising, she quickly stood up and said.
“I offered my second son
and my husband has barred my first son from going abroad for his masters. I
know my husband’s wife would be so happy to hear this and I hate the feeling.”
“Well…what are his
reasons?” A witch asked.
“He doesn’t want to lose
Alvin because Alvin is his only son…and if you remember, that’s the reason he married me, to have sons because his first wife couldn’t bear him sons.”
“Hmmmm….you should
have sacrificed your girl child…” Another witch said.
“And who would take
after me when I leave this world? Elohor is my successor and I am already preparing
her to join us fully…I can’t sacrifice her…”
“Well…you made a good
decision in offering your second son, do not worry, let’s drink and be merry,
as long as your first son is alive, you shouldn’t bother if he’s schooling in
Nigeria or outside the country….you should be happy that he is alive and that
you are free of sacrifices till the next ten years…” A fellow witch said.
Maggie nodded firmly as
she waked to the center of the trees and taking a small black cup, she scooped
Ochuko’s blood and drank.
Bible Verse: Proverbs 24: 15-16
Don’t be like the wicked who scheme to rob honest people or to take away their homes. No matter how often honest people fall, they always get up again but disaster destroys the wicked.
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To be
continued on Thursday…..
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