THE CHILDREN OF SERPENT - EPISODE 4

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Poster source : moofyme.com A sacrifice which involved the slaughter of seven cobras was of...


Poster source: moofyme.com


A sacrifice which involved the slaughter of seven cobras was offered by the medicine man from Ogoni; the sacrifice was meant to shut out the snake and keep it from entering Ude’s house. The morning after the sacrifice, Ude was found on his bed half swallowed by a giant cobra. Both the snake and Ude were dead. After Ude was laid to rest, Ugonna took off to the city. From the day Ugonna left for the city, the serpent stopped visiting Ude’s compound and Ngbechi miraculously began to recover. However no one made the connection between Ugonna’s travel and the sudden end to the serpent’s frequent visit. Most people thought it was the sacrifice Ude offered which banished the serpent from his house at the cost of his life.
Flashback Continues – July 1975. Event: Dominion of the Serpent

In spite of the horror show which took place in Ude’s house, the serpent did not for once show itself to Ugonna. He only saw it incidentally one early morning, about the time his mother had her second encounter with the serpent. However as soon as he got settled in the city, the serpent’s visit to him became frequent. Ugonna would often wake up in the morning only to see a giant snake sleeping next to him. He would shout and the snake would vanish from sight. There were times when his friends thought they saw a serpent in the figure of a woman next him.  To put an end to the frequent manifestations of the serpent around him, Ugonna journeyed to Asarama amongst the Andoni people to see a woman who was said to be very successful at helping people with his kind of problem. The woman known as Ebinyo, did not offer Ugonna the sort of help he had hoped, “The one whom you have made your guardian is stronger than I am. I can’t break you free from his power. There is however a way you can keep him from disturbing you”, said Ebinyo. Ugonna was eager to hear it, “Tell me prophetess, what way is that?” “I will bathe you in one of our rivers here with the blood of a tortoise and after that you shall not hear from the serpent again. Though it may be around you, you shall not see it again and neither shall it hinder your success the way it has so far. However to make sure the serpent continues to stay away from you, you must come here every three months to sacrifice a tortoise at the same river where I will bathe you and to have sex with a serpent woman…” 

“What! How do you expect me to have sex with a serpent! God Forbid! Is there no other way to stop the serpent without sex with a serpent? I am sure I won’t do it!” “I didn’t say just ‘serpent’. I said a ‘serpent woman’. You are protesting because you have not seen her. Wait till she comes out of any of these trees here. She is the most beautiful woman your eyes will be granted the privilege to look upon in your entire life”. “Prophetess, do you really expect me to go along with all these? I have been deceived once and I am not going to let myself be deceived again. I will go along with only bathing and offering a tortoise as sacrifice in the river. But when it comes to sleeping with a serpent woman, I will gladly have someone do that on my behalf. In fact I will pay for someone to do that on my behalf”. “Okay Ugonna, we will go along with the bathing and sacrifice ends of the ritual, but when the serpent woman comes out, I would like to watch you resist her. If you can, then I will have another sleep with her on your behalf”. “That is fine with me! I won’t sleep with the snake woman!” “But there are concoctions which I will often prepare for you. If you won’t always be disposed to come here for them, I will send them to you through one of my children in the city”.  “Are you sure all this will work prophetess?” “I am certain they will work young man”. “Let’s start!” “Okay. This will be your sign that the ritual has worked, as soon as you return to the city, a big company shall offer you a good job”.  “I can’t wait for that”. 

Without much delay, Ebinyo went into one of her several pens and dragged out a giant tortoise and headed toward the river nearby. The size of the tortoise made Ugonna cringe with fear; he had not seen one as big as that ever before. When they reached the river Ugonna stripped off his clothes as he was told and stood in the river. Ebinyo slapped the back of the giant tortoise and began to speak gibberish over it. When she was done she yelled, “Tortoise! Give your life that this man might live and see good!” With that, the tortoise sort of peeled itself away from its shell and entered the water. Slowy it swam toward Ugonna. For a moment Ugonna wanted to run away from the giant ugly creature. Ebinyo had to shout, “Be still and lift it to your chest when it comes to you!” Ugonna tried as much as he could to look brave. When the tortoise reached him he lifted it to his chest. As swift as light, Ebinyo stabbed a knife into the heart of the creature and blood began to fountain into Ugonna’s face. “Lift the tortoise on your head!” Ebinyo barked.

Ugonna lifted the tortoise to his head until the blood in the animal drained out on him. Following Ebinyo’s instruction, Ugonna dropped the dead tortoise on the river and the tortoise floated and remained motionless on the river in spite of the river flowing. Ugonna saw all that and thought he was in dream land. With unnatural excitement Ebinyo went about the task of bathing Ugonna in the river with varieties of concoctions.  While she was bathing him, all sorts and sizes of snakes began to come out of the river and tried to swing toward Ugonna, but could not. The snakes looked angry and bore ominous looks on their evil faces. Ugonna was certain that if just one of them could get close enough to him, he would be dead. Surprising to Ugonna, Ebinyo did not bother about the snakes. She carried on with her task as though they were not there, even though some of them were fat enough to swallow her whole like a grain of sand.

When Ebinyo was done, Ugonna stepped out of the river and tried to hurry back into his clothes, but Ebinyo shouted, “No! You must wait till the serpent woman comes out first. If you can resist her, then you can wear your clothes. Go stand in front of those three trees; she will come out of one of them”. Ugonna made his way toward the trees and stood in front of them. From the look on his face he was scared stiff. After standing for a few minutes, he began to wonder if his wait was going to be long. Just then wind began to blow and the three trees began to shake. Out of fear Ugonna looked back and saw Ebinyo’s eyes transforming to flames of light and her skin altering to those of a serpent and yet she stood on two legs. Dark clouds began to settle over the shrine in which Ebinyo did her business. The river close by began to tumble and a deep hole opened in it and the dead tortoise sunk into it. At this point, one of the trees, the one in the center began to open wide.

Smokes and mist began to belch out of it. Ugonna was certain that whatever would crawl out of that tree would be a monster and that he would be able to resist it knowing what it was. First, two horns emerged from the tree, and behind it followed an enormous, reptilian creature; the type humans have not known of or even speak of in folktales. Ugonna inched backward to bolt away from the shrine, but something held his feet rooted to the ground. He turned back to look at Ebinyo for help, but she had fully transformed into a snake-like creature and bowed herself on the ground in complete submission to the infernal creature which came out of the tree. When Ugonna saw the serpent which haunted their house back in the village, he thought that nothing would ever surpass the size of it. But when he saw the size of the serpent which came out of the tree, his heart froze in fear and he prayed for death.

Right before his eyes, the reptilian creature began to crack like glass and morph into different forms. Out of the forms, a shape began to emerge. When it had fully taken form, Ugonna stepped closer to behold its beauty. He was ravished, entranced, captivated and smitten by the aesthetic feminine figure which stood before him bereft of clothes. When she spoke to Ugonna, her words were like the song of birds. They broke over him like cold showers in a hot afternoon. In spite of his earlier avowed resistance, Ugonna felt a surge of blood down his groin. The serpent woman did not move nor tried to lure Ugonna to herself. By the time Ugonna’s hands were wrapped around her and his lips on hers; a loud sigh was heard from behind, “Mtcheeew! Children who make empty boasts and know absolutely nothing about the spiritual; I can’t stop being amazed by their weakness”. The words were those of Ebino.

STORY CONTINUES…

This story was written by:

UZOMA UJOR

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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog: THE CHILDREN OF SERPENT - EPISODE 4
THE CHILDREN OF SERPENT - EPISODE 4
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