AMAZING LOVE - Episode 2

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Children would often circle around her table asking her to give them some fruits. In spite of how hard poverty bit on their family, she ...

Children would often circle around her table asking her to give them some fruits. In spite of how hard poverty bit on their family, she would cut some oranges in bits and give the children. People saw that and loved her for it. However, that was the beginning of her problem. After some time, a few children in the street became sick. Their parents took them to hospitals, but hospitals could not help them; and they had to take them to spiritual houses where those children were diagnosed as having been bewitched. No one knew who bewitched the children, but all accusing fingers went in the direction of Eka. She was the one who gave the children fruits in the street and worrisomely her beauty made her look like a mermaid. Slowly many people began to believe the notion that Eka was a witch. Parents made sure that their children were not seen near her fruit table. Eka’s parents were confronted in the street by the parents of the sick children and warned to tell Ekaette to remove the witchcraft she put on their children. Eka’s parents did not believe one word of the claim that their daughter was a witch and so defended.  

While the accusations against Eka flew around, the sick children began to die one after another, and this made things worse for Eka and her parents. Many believed that Ekaette was supplying the children to her coven. The death of the children brought her fruit selling business in her street to a sudden end as even adults became afraid that Ekaette could also bewitch them. So not to be idle, she began to carry her fruits in a tray to some other streets to sell them; but not long after, the rumours followed her to those streets and people began to avoid buying fruits from her. When the pressure on her parents came to a head, they invited Eka to know if she was truly a witch. “Ekaette, I and your mother want the truth from you. We are your parents, don’t lie to us. Please Ekaette, are you a witch?” “Ah! Ah! Papa! How could you think such of me? I am not a witch!” “But Eka, the children who ate your oranges are dying off in the street?” “Why are the adults who bought and ate my oranges not dying? I am not a witch! I am shocked that you and mama have allowed the bad talk and rumours in the street to sway you.” “Eka we have not been swayed, we only want to be sure. Also they are saying that you are targeting little children for now.”

Ekaette could not say another word; she could tell that her parents were shifting amazingly to what people were saying about her. All she could do was cry. After some time her mother came to console her and told her to forget the matter. Some months after the first round of children who took ill had all died. New batch of children in the street became sick and began to die. As it was earlier, Ekaette was accused even though her fruit selling business had wound up. People claimed that she had already initiated them to her coven through the fruits she gave to them and was only taking them out one after another. The matter came to its climax when Ekaette’s brothers and sisters became sick as well. Her parents went berserk in their efforts to save their children. They took them from white garment churches to native doctors and to hospitals and nothing could be done to save the children. One after another, Ekaette’s four siblings succumbed to death. Tongues wagged in the street that because Ekaette could not find more children to supply to her coven, she turned on her brothers and sisters. Her parents were mocked in the street. When her parents could not bear the loss of their four children, they went to Oron to make enquiries about what actually killed their children. After days they returned to Calabar with the conviction that Ekaette ate her brothers and sisters and so threw her out of the house.

That night as Ekaette ran from what she perceived to be a snake in the uncompleted building, a car almost ran over her. The driver of the car was a woman. She pulled her car up by the road side and went to see the young girl she thought she had killed. Still afraid, Ekaette jumped to her feet and tried to continue her run, but she felt giddy and slumped back to the ground. The lady who had brushed her with her Hyundai Accent flipped out and began to shout, thinking that Eka had died. A few passers-by stopped and helped the lady take Ekaette to the hospital. It took Eka about two weeks to recover from the hospital. The lady who had knocked her down was faithful to pay the hospital bills. The lady, who went by the name Efe, was shocked by the wounds she saw on Ekaette’s body and so asked her about it, “What happened to you? You have ugly wounds all over your body.” “My parents and my street branded me a witch…” She paused as she got very emotional. Efe waited for her to continue, “…when my brothers and sisters died in much the same fashion as some children on my street, my parents travelled to Oron and came back with the conclusion that I was responsible for their deaths as much as the other children who died in my street. They beat me up and threw me out of the house,” she continued. “Excuse me, do you mean children, including your siblings, began do die unexplainably in your street and then your parents concluded you were behind it?”  “Yes, twelve children in all. Four out of the twelve are my siblings.”

Efe paused and didn’t press further for answers; she sat beside her and thought deeply. From the night she met her there was something that struck her about Ekaette. She could not get her hands on what it was; but she was certain about one thing, Ekaette’s beauty was surreal, almost creepy. She could see why she was easily branded a witch. Efe reached out and touched Ekaette’s hair and felt its smoothness. The feel shocked her and she asked, “What do you do to your hair to make it look this way?” “Nothing. It has always been this way.” “Are you telling me you were born this way?” “Yes, I was born this way.” “Wow! Perhaps for your beauty they branded you a witch. You are unbelievably beautiful. Do you know that?” “Thank you. People tell me I am beautiful, but it was not for it that I was branded a witch. I was selling fruits on my street when the children became sick, so people concluded that I bewitched them through the fruits I gave them, but I did not. God knows I did not.” She began to cry again. “But did you give the children fruits?” “Yes, very often they would come to me asking for fruits and I would give them the little I could afford to give out what I had to sell.”  “But did any of the children you often gave fruits die?” Ekaette could tell Efe was leaning more toward the idea that she was perhaps a witch and so did not answer her last question. She could see it in the way she looked at her. She remembered what she asked one of the doctors the night she was brought to the hospital, “Is the girl a human being? She looks like beauties from the water.” The doctor laughed and brushed aside her question.

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Written by:
Uzoma Ujor

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AMAZING LOVE - Episode 2 An African Literary Blog
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