THE CHILDREN OF SERPENT - EPISODE 5

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Poster source : moofyme.com After the rituals were over, Ugonna left Ebinyo and retu...



Poster source: moofyme.com


After the rituals were over, Ugonna left Ebinyo and returned to the city. His return seemed as though it was perfectly timed. At that period Mobile Producing Nigeria Limited was looking to hire young Nigerians to work at Gulf Terminal at Escravos.  Ugonna was offered a job as a crane operator on a platter of gold. This was to him a proof that the serpent had been put in its place. Ugonna’s prosperity was like wild fire. Everything he touched turned to pure gold. Before long Ugonna began to acquire lands and build houses both in the village and in the city. Of course he kept the practice of going to Asarama to sacrifice a tortoise and to sleep with the serpent woman every three months. With time Ugonna began to look forward to his raunchy moments with the serpent woman; his fear of her waned and his taste for her carnal comfort heightened. Since the first time she came out of a tree in her monstrous nature, Ugonna never saw her in that form again. Before Ugonna would arrive Ebinyo’s shrine, would already be around prancing the shrine, busy with a few chores or helping Ebinyo with an errand. Ugonna’s extreme dalliance with the serpent woman came to a head when he asked her to follow him back to the city. The serpent woman starred him in the face with her eyes burning with rage, fangs shooting out in place of her teeth, her skin changing to scaly serpent skin and shouted, “No!” and vanished in that instance. Afraid of what might happen to him; Ugonna ran to Ebinyo and pleaded for her to help him appease the serpent woman. “Do not fear; no harm will come to you. She was angry because you have forgotten she is your protection against your guardian serpent spirit which made your life hell”. Ugonna was bothered by how the serpent woman reacted and so hurried back to the city without taking his concoctions.


Just shortly after Ugonna had left for the city, Iniye, the daughter of Ebinyo arrived home from the city for her usual rendezvous with her mother; a meeting whose intent was to help Iniye gain mastery in the art of divination - an art in which Ebinyo had become a specialist. To Ebinyo Iniye was heir to her gift and calling; at least she was told so by the spirits she served and communed with. To pass on her gift to Iniye, she had to drill her in all forms of divination and mystical practices. 

……………………………Interlude: The Incarnation of the serpent…………………………………
Iniye had begun her own journey on that path when she began to have incessant attacks and encounters with spirits who often tried to kill her. Initially Ebinyo had thought that her daughter’s encounter with spirits was mere reprisal attacks from evil forces she banished from tormenting her clients. Iniye’s case was taken seriously only after she had killed her father with a demonic gush of fire which came out of her mouth about 3:00 am in a certain morning, when she was only eight years old.  Ebinyo and her husband were startled out of sleep when they heard their children running frenziedly all over their apartment and shouting their sister’s name. Ezekiel, Ebinyo’s husband had thought Iniye was dead when he heard how her siblings were yelling her name. And so, out of a father’s devotion to his child dashed into the children’s room only to see Iniye dueling with a monster creature whose figure was like a black smoke and whose horns towered high above the roof. The creature’s talons were long as a machete; with it the monster lacerated eight year old Iniye. Ezekiel was petrified by the sight he beheld in his children’s room. For fear, he could not rush forward to save his daughter from the monster. All he could do was shout her name, “Iniye!” His presence must have unnerved the beast, so it turned, howled at him and vanished.

Iniye was on her feet facing the wall and drenched in fresh blood. From the helm of her night clothe, blood dropped to the floor and slowly formed a pool. Ezekiel could hear his daughter howling faintly like a wolf. Slowly he inched closer to her. His hunch told him to flee, but it was his daughter who stood drenched in her own blood, so he banished the thought and moved closer to her and tenderly called her name, “Iniye! Iniye! Iniye!” A few yards away, Ebinyo’s feet could be heard pounding the floor as she ran toward the children’s room. Iniye’s howling grew a tad louder and so left Ezekiel frozen in his stride. When the eight year old girl turned, there were flames in her eyes. Ezekiel took a step backward to flee, and then Iniye opened her mouth to call, “Papa!” only for flames to surge out from her mouth and overwhelm her father. The more the little girl tried to call for help the more flames surged out of her mouth until she fell down and collapsed. At the door to the children’s room Ebinyo stood, watching in shock as her husband wallowed in the flames from her daughter’s mouth. It took Ebinyo a little while to recover from the horror she met in her children’s room. When she did, she summoned spirits which were at her service and the fire which consumed her husband died off. Sadly what was left of Ezekiel after the fire had been quenched was a gory image which haunted Ebinyo for years. The fire in the brief moment it lasted had burnt holes into Ezekiel’s eyes and chest. In the months that followed his burial, Ebinyo would often see her husband standing by the door to their room naked and with deep dark holes in his eyes and in his chest. Determined to find out what attacked her family and how to stop it, Ebinyo took her daughter on a lengthy search. At the end of her consultations with diviners, Ebinyo was told that her daughter was a servant of the serpent kingdom and would inherit her gift and shall later give birth to descendants of serpent.

When Iniye’s rendezvous with her mother was over, she made ready to return to the city to attend to her business, but her mother told her that she had a little errand which she would be glad if she did for her. Ebinyo persuaded her to take Ugonna’s medicine to his house in the city. The serpent woman’s reaction when Ugonna had asked her to move over to the city with him had spooked him out and so he hurried back to the city. The night before Iniye would leave for the city, she had a visit. While she slept, a serpent slithered into her room hissing ominously. On its head sat three crowns and two horns. When the serpent had pulled in its unusually long body into Iniye’s room, it began to raise itself toward the ceiling of her room and slowly began to mutate from bottom to the top. Out of the serpent form emerged the serpent woman, glowing in her full elegance and surreal beauty. She moved over and sat beside Iniye’s bed. Twice she tapped Iniye on the shoulder; her spirit woke up out of her body and sat up on the bed while her body slept on. “You will need me from now on to fulfill your destiny”, said the serpent woman. “Come in”, responded Iniye as she bowed reverently and slipped back into her body. The serpent woman stretched herself on the bed and lay behind Iniye until the bodies of both women morphed into one. 

………………….End of the Interlude………………………………….

By morning Iniye did not remember what happened in the night. She made haste to pack her personal effects and returned to the city.

Flashback Continues – Year: 1977, Event:  Love of the Serpent

To help Ugonna, Ebinyo sent her daughter, Iniye, to go give him his concoction. It was weekend and Ugonna was still troubled by how the serpent woman reacted. He could not explain it, but there was something which broke in him when the serpent woman reacted angrily to his request. He was certain he would not be able to face her in the next time he was to perform his usual rituals. Bit by bit he was beginning to reconsider his choice of performing the sacrifice which saw him journey down to Asarama every three months to have sex with a serpent woman and to offer a tortoise as sacrifice to the spirit which protected him from the attacks of the serpent. “I ended my affairs with one serpent, only to start another with a more dangerous serpent. Can’t I have a life without these serpents?” Ugonna  thought. He was lost in thought when a knock on his door startled him out of his cogitations. In anger he shouted, “Who be that?” “Oga na me!” Then the door swung open and his gateman peeped his head into the living room. “Etuk na wetin you want?” “Oga one madam dey for gate, she say she dey look for you”. “I have told you Etuk, I don’t want to see women in my house! Tell her that I don’t want to see her”. “Oga this one dey different. She no be any kain woman. She fine like a spirit”. “Wetin she say be her name?” “She say na… Iniye. She come from Asarama. As she tell me, na her mama send am come”. “Okay! Na Ebinyo daughter! Tell am make she come in”. “Oga you wan make I go open gate for her?” “Yes of course! Wait Etuk, a moment ago you wanted me not to send her away, and now you look worried because I want her to come in. What are you up to Etuk?” “Oga nothing. I just wan warn you”. “About what?” “You see that woman wey stand for gate so, she no pass mama iwater or the devil pickin. I swear!” “Why you talk so?” “Because when I look into her eyes I see things. God no go create woman wey fine like her because em know say she go cause trouble for men”. “Abeg go open gate for am, your yarns no make sense”.

STORY CONTINUES…

This story was written by:

UZOMA UJOR

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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog: THE CHILDREN OF SERPENT - EPISODE 5
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