“What happened?” The priestess
asked, her eyes flashed in anger.

“I don’t know…honestly I can’t
say this is what happened or not…all I know is, Amaka called me today to tell
me the bad news. Soluzo has left her house!” Amaka’s mother said.

They were both at the shrine,
it was late in the evening and the air was chilly and scary. Amaka’s mother
looked around the shrine and shivered, all of a sudden it seemed as though the moulded
idols were alive and active as they stared at her.

“What…what do we do?” Amaka’s
mother said worriedly.

“Hmmm…this marriage should not be allowed to take place…if Soluzo gets married to Odili and that marriage is signed and sealed
by God, Amaka is as good as dead.” The priestess said.

“Gini? My Amaka! Dead? How?
This was not what we were told at the beginning…” Amaka’s mother protested.

“You can’t invoke evil spirits
and not have them work their evil! The spirits have already been invoked and
they must perpetuate evil whether we like it or not. The only difference is,
once they are not able to work against the person you called them for, they
begin to work against the one who summoned them.”

“Please explain again! I don’t
understand you….” Amaka’s mother said in a shaky voice.

“Your daughter invoked the
spirits of the dead and that singular act means that the spirit will not rest
till at least one person is dead. While Soluzo was with Amaka, our quest was to
eventually end her life or the life of her husband or any of her family members
who posed a threat. Our plots failed as they all seem to be cats with nine
lives. Odili was involved in an accident which we caused but he came out
unscathed, his mother was bitten by a snake because her prayers stalled our progress
and even after all that, she is alive and well. Soluzo was our only hope to succeeding
in this quest and now, she’s escaped. This means that the spirit which had been
summoned will need a replacement and if it doesn’t find anyone soon, it’ll take
Amaka’s life instead.”

“No! Not my daughter…no!”
Amaka’s mother said vehemently.

“Well…we have to re-summon the
spirit and ask for an alternative…we need to act fast or else…”

“Tell me…what do I have to
do?” Amaka’s mother said.

“You will do the cleansing
rites which means that you will cut a piece of your hair and place into a pot of
fire which you will take to the biggest tree, south of this shrine. At the bush clearing, there are three trees, the one at the centre is the one you are to offer your gift to, while the ones at the sides are to be ignored. Do not offer the pot to the ones at the sides! I repeat, do not offer your gift to the ones at the sides but the tree at the centre. There you
will ask for backup from the spirits of the land and tell them your intention. You must
wait till the sacrifice is accepted from your hands before leaving the tree.” The priestess said.

“When…when do I do that?”
Amaka’s mother asked ina  shaky voice.

“There is no time to waste
so…we start tonight…this battle is tougher than we expected and we need to
unleash the spirits and ask them to assist us.” The priestess said.

*********
Odili opened his eyes and
looked up, he was stunned to see that it was Soluzo who was standing beside him
with her hand on his shoulder.

“Odi…” She cried out and
hugged him tight.

“My God! My
darling….what…where…how…?” Odili asked, overwhelmed and in short of
words.

“I don’t know what came over
me….please forgive me…please…”Soluzo cried.

“Forgive you? No! I’m the one
who should ask for your forgiveness…I should have searched harder for you…I
should have…oh my God…” Odili burst into tears.

“Thank you thank you Lord,
thank you Lord…..thank you Lord for everything you have done…” Odili’s
mother sang aloud as she walked into the room and embraced the couple kneeling
beside the bed.

“Mom…I should have listened
to you…your dreams…” Odili said, his voice heavy with tears.

“Shhh…there’s no need crying
over spilt milk…” Odili’s mother said.

“Soluzo where were you all
these while? I searched everywhere for you…” Odili said.

“When I left this house…I
went to Amaka’s place and I’ve been there for days…” Soluzo started.

“Amaka! That woman is evil!”
Odili spat.

“I believe she’s the cause of
all the troubles we’ve been going through…” Odili’s mother said vehemently.

“Well…she’s my best friend
and…I believe that she was trying to
protect me…”Soluzo said innocently.

“Wake up and smell the coffee
Soluzo! That woman is mental, I can’t believe she was your friend for more than
ten years and you couldn’t see her true colours.” Odili started.

“Stop accusing her! What of you
who…who have been flirting around and sleeping with different women…don’t
you dare defend yourself because I have proof!” Soluzo shouted.

“What? I’ve been doing what?
What are you talking about?” Odili asked, baffled.

“Amaka told me that you have
been the Casanova man and that you’ve dallied with almost all the girls in
town.” Soluzo said with tears in her eyes.

“What? Well the same Amaka told me that you
have a boyfriend who you eloped with. Do you know that all these while I have been
in contact with her and she never told me that you were with her. She said that
you eloped with the love of your life!”

“Ehn? What love? Elope? Me?”
Soluzo asked shocked.

“Yes…she told me all that
when we met at a hotel not too far from her office. There, after telling me
rubbish about you…I don’t know what happened, I slept and woke up naked and I
saw her…clutching the bed sheets and claiming I took advantage of her…”
Odili started.

“What?” Soluzo said in shock. “What
colour was the bed sheet? Can you describe the room?” Soluzo asked.

“Yes…the bed-sheet was checked
blue and white and the err…the drapes of the room was either brown or pale
gold…I always pay attention to detail…why are you asking?” Odili asked.

Soluzo quickly left the room
and hurried downstairs, emerging later with a camera which she handed to Odili.
Odili took one look at the picture and shouted.

“What? Was this the proof she
was talking about? My God!”

“Amaka told me that
she planted this camera in a hotel room…where you slept with your girlfriends
and that she got the pictures from the hotel staff.” Soluzo said in tears.

Odili peered at the picture
again and said.

“That’s on the day I went to
meet Amaka at the hotel, look at the blue-checked sheets and the gold
drapes…wait…who’s the woman lying next to me?” Odili said as he zoomed the
photo and peered at the woman in the photo. “This is Amaka…am I not right?”

Soluzo took the camera and
looked at the zoomed photograph, she kept staring till she saw the small
bleached mark on Amaka’s right leg.

“Yes! This is Amaka! I know
that birthmark on her leg! Why would she do that? Does this mean
that…that she’s never been happy about Odili and I?” Soluzo started.

“You know…when Odili’s father’s
former driver told me that he saw Amaka at Umuahia on the night before the
traditional wedding, I didn’t believe him…now my question is, what was she
doing at Umuahia late that night and why didn’t she attend the traditional wedding?” Odili’s
mother said.

“Her family resides at
Umuahia…” Soluzo supplied.

“Well…why was she there when
she could as well as be with you on one of the most important days of your
life. Oga Felix said that when she was saw him, she was jittery and pretended as though she didn’t know him. My instincts tell me that Amaka has been up to no
good, it won’t be surprising to find that she has a hand in all our misfortunes.” Odili’s mother said.

“I can’t believe this…I can’t…”
Soluzo sobbed.

“You better believe it my
dear…” Odili’s mother replied.

“How can she have a hand in our misfortunes? Does it mean that Amaka is diabolical?” Soluzo asked.

“If indeed she is, she’s messing with fire.” Odili’s mother said.

“Really? How?” Soluzo asked.

Odili held out his hand to her and when she took his palms in hers, he said,

“We’ve become warriors in Christ Jesus and we will conquer whatever evil that stands in our way!”

******
It was a scary night and Amaka’s
mother walked further into the bushes, she was stark naked save for the black
scarf tied firmly on her head. She heard the loud rustle of leaves and the
small sound of the wind. She hurried ahead, moving forward and mentally following
the directions of the priestess.

Soon she found herself at the foot of biggest tree she had ever seen, then, she stretched forth her arms holding out the calabash
of fire to the tree. The fire burned brightly within the pot, which had in its depth,
her hair and some concoctions. Amaka’s mother stood there before the tree
humming the song the priestess had taught her under her breath, it was an
ancient song, which invoked the unusual spirits.

“Hmmmmm…..bia…bia…bia….nara
aririyo anyi bia….bia…bia…bia…nara aririyo anyi bia….”(come come come accept our offering, come, come come, accept our offering come…)
 The
song went on and on.

“Spirits of the land, nestled within the great tree, I greet you…I salute you. I am here on behalf of my daughter Nneamaka! She is a young woman who seeks to destroy the marriage plans of her bosom friend. She invoked the powers of the water spirits but it seems that the task ahead is too difficult hence, we seek your help. Come! Join forces with the spirits of the water and triumph!” Amaka’s mother said.

Suddenly a bolt of lightning
flashed and thunder clapped from the heavens as before her eyes, the tree
opened wide and the calabash was taken from her hands by force and tossed in.
Amaka’s mother felt fear grip her and screaming loudly, she turned and fled,
scared out of her mind!

To be continued on Sunday….

9 COMMENTS

  1. Blessings…
    hmmmm, such poor self-image, low self-esteem and worth that one would go to such lengths of depravity to steal another's happiness. What goes around comes around, sadly they are locking their selves in to a everlasting cycle of upkeep and maintenance for if Amaka and her mother succeeds they will have continue indefinitely serving in order to keep the hold, the minute they fail to do so what they sent will claim them. Such foolish people.

    "Friends" though we cannot live our lives suspiciously embedded in paranoia we must be mindful and pay attention to the signs of duplicity of those among us that calls their self, friends and loved ones.

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