THE CHILDREN OF SERPENT - EPISODE 7

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Poster source:  moofyme.com Changing the subject Ugonna asked her, “What do you do for a li...



Poster source: moofyme.com

Changing the subject Ugonna asked her, “What do you do for a living?” “I am a seamstress. When I said I would have postponed my coming here till next weekend, it was because at the moment I am inundated with demands from my customers to make dresses for them. It took a lot of persuasion from my mother for me to leave my customers in the hands of my apprentices to come give you your medicine”. “I am very grateful you made that choice. Thanks a lot”. “I am glad I did”. There was a momentary awkward silence between the two of them. Their thoughts were racing as to how to the break the silence. Though Iniye would have liked to return to her business, she was inexplicably drawn to Ugonna. The more they spent time together the more she felt at peace with him.


She was certain the strong attraction wasn’t about his well-toned biceps, athletic physique, his deep dark skin, his affecting handsome look or his obvious affluence. There was something about him which made her feel like they had known each other way before they met. She was going to ask him about his love life, even though she knew quite well that would have sent the wrong message about her, when Etuk banged on the door and called out, “Oga! I don dey go o!” “Ah aah! Etuk, I send you message? Where you dey go? Abeg enter house make I know wetin you dey talk”. “Oga I no dey come inside, if you wan see me come outside”. Ugonna was surprised by his gateman’s attitude and so excused himself and went outside to talk with him. Outside Etuk had a bag on his head and looked very set to leave. “Oga I fit get my salary? I no dey work for you again”. “Etuk wetin be your problem? Where you carry your bag dey go?” “I dey go back to Ikot Ekpene. I no wan die throw way here.” “Who wan kill you?” “Why I no go die here when you don dey vomit snake and the woman wey dey your house don dey perform witchcraft on you. Wetin I see today pass me, I wan go back to my village…oga no marry that woman o! If you marry am, na there your wahala don start!” “Shut up! I think you are right. It’s about time you left my house! You do not know your boundaries any more. Now get out of my house!” “Oga my salary!” Ugonna was peeved. He hadn’t been that angry before, even when Etuk had done stupider things. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out his wallet and handed him four hundred Naira. It was not the end of the month, but Ugonna would rather pay him in full and not see his back again. Gladly Etuk received the money and with half a run he made his way out of Ugonna’s compound. Angrily Ugonna paced behind him and slammed the gate shut.

When Ugonna returned to his living room, Iniye had for a reason Ugonna could not fathom removed her top shirt and was clad in a see-through inner blouse which did well to give Ugonna a good view of her mammary organs. She may have done that with no hidden agenda, the living room was hot and Ugonna had long forgotten his good manners - he was so taken into Iniye’s beauty that he failed to see she was almost baking in the heat in his living room. Had he noticed that, he would have go to turn on his power generating set to power the ceiling fan in his living room. He quickly figured, “Women don’t expose their vital parts on the first day they meet a man no matter how much they love him. This must be an invitation”. He moved fast and pressed himself into her face seductively. In spite of herself, she held him amorously and firmly as if he would bolt away from her any moment…

Etuk got to Ikot Ekpene about 7:00 pm in the evening. He was happy he had made it alive out of Ugonna’s house of horror. Animatedly he told his parents and siblings the things which he saw in Ugonna’s house. After they had their dinner, their tale lasted late into the night until they retired to their beds to sleep. Just a little before dawn, Etuk startled out of sleep inexplicably, breathing heavily. His eyes darted about the room for any evil being. He strongly felt there was one around, but he saw nothing. In the same room with him were his two brothers sleeping on small pieces of flat mattresses. He could not sleep; it was as if he was sinking into a deep pool of fear. Unknown to him a big black python was hanging on the ceiling of his room, baring its mouth wide open and aiming for his head. In a sudden move the snake let itself loose from the ceiling and dropped on Etuk. Etuk felt the weight and cold body of the beast on his body and yelled in fear. Just like in Ugonna’s house no one heard him. Left with no help he tried to fight off the serpent with bare hands. The snake did not try to asphyxiate him; it simply bared its huge mouth and began to swallow Etuk whole from the head down. As its mouth covered Etuk’s head, he began to choke for breath and his body went limp. When the python had swallowed him mid-way, it stopped as if something had struck its head from above. By morning Etuk’s two brothers woke up with a horrifying wail at the sight of the beast which had swallowed their brother half way by night before losing its life mysteriously.

Fast-forward - Year:  December 1977. Event: The Purpose of the Covenant

“Ebinyo I love your daughter and I want to marry her. Would my flirtation with the serpent woman be a clog in the wheel?” “Certainly not Ugonna; but you must work had to balance the two. A woman’s love can sometimes have the same effect as strong wine; the more you take in, the tipsier you get. You must never let my daughter’s love take the place of the serpent woman. She is a necessary evil, and neither should you because of the serpent woman relegate my daughter to the place of a mistress”. “I am glad the serpent woman won’t be a hindrance. I have to make haste and bring Iniye home. You are right; a woman’s love can be like a strong wine. The only difference in this case is that your daughter’s love is vintage wine”. Wedding arrangements were made at lightning speed; by February 17th 1978 Ugonna Chibueze and Iniye Ejituwu were married. Ugonna was right; Iniye’s love for him was rich vintage wine, six years into his marriage he began to loath going down to Asarama to bed the serpent woman and to offer a tortoise for a sacrifice.

Ebinyo didn’t like the path Ugonna had chosen for himself, and so invited him on several occasions to warn him against his decision to abandon the ritual which protected him from the serpent, an emissary of he who dwells in the sun. Patiently Ebinyo waited for Ugonna to come round, but he wouldn’t. Twelve years slipped by and he would not return to his quarterly ritual in Asarama. As children were born for him, he drifted farther away from Ebinyo and the serpent woman. He adored his wife and four children. They meant the world to him. He was so much in love that he failed to notice that Iniye, even after she had given birth to four children, had not aged a bit from the day he set his eyes upon her. During a hangout with his friends, one of them poked fun at him, “Ugonna lives with the devil and yet does not know it. Hahahaha! You are a fool my Ugonna. Do you think that God hears you when you pray? I bet he doesn’t, because the devil hangs over your household like a cloud and makes sure your prayers don’t go past your roof. Look at how fast you have drifted from your old self, and your wife, she seems to be remolded into a younger and finer version of herself with each new year. I have heard she is a direct heir to the queen of the coast. Hahahaha!”

Ugonna’s friends expected him to fire his own jibe at their friend Charles as was in their manner, however he became thoughtful. His attitude left his friends wondering if he was going to start a fight with Charles, but instead he stood up and left them with a feigned smile on his face. The taunts of Charles had brought to life, some long suppressed images and visions in his mind. Like flashes of light, visions and images he had seen in the past began to flash through his mind. He tried to shut them out but could not. A few steps away from his friend he staggered and hit the ground with a heavy thud. His friends rushed to help him, but when they reached him, they were forced to retrace their steps. Ugonna’s face for a moment seemed to be disfiguring and appeared to have patches of snake skin all over it. The thoughts and visions on his mind were moving very fast, and were vivid life he was watching them on a Samsung HD television. Dragging himself up from the ground, he staggered toward home…

STORY CONTINUES…

This story was written by:

UZOMA UJOR

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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog: THE CHILDREN OF SERPENT - EPISODE 7
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