AMAZING LOVE - Episode 22

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Their prayer continued till 5 am in the morning.  At some point when Dr. Gerry had cooled off, he joined Eka and Simbi in the prayer; a...

Their prayer continued till 5 am in the morning.  At some point when Dr. Gerry had cooled off, he joined Eka and Simbi in the prayer; and that was when he really prayed out his heart. Eka and Simbi were surprised by the way he prayed. Dr. Gerry had thought he could not pray the way he did, but the attitude of the two men who knocked on his door, made him very angry. His prayer was for the witch who had chosen to attack them to die. While they prayed, they had no clue what was happening outside their gate. The two men had gathered the people on the street to come plead with Dr. Gerry and the two girls who prayed with him. A boy had to climb the fence into their compound to open the gate for the crowd which had assembled in from of the gate to come in. Simbi had hardly rounded off their prayer when they heard the increasing voice of a crowd of people and a gentle knock on the door. At the sound of the knock, Dr. Gerry looked for his machete; Eka knew what he was looking for and pretended she didn’t take notice. She had pushed the machete under her bed while they prayed. Dr. Gerry had to go open the door to know who was knocking, and when he did, he saw a swarm of street dwellers snaking from the front of his apartment to the gate of the compound. He asked the man who seemed to lead them, “Good morning sir. What do you want from my apartment?”

“Good morning sir. I am Mr. Paul Eze, two men came to us this morning, one had a gash on his back, he has been taken to a drug store to be patched up. They told us that one of their wives did something very wrong to you and you and your sisters were determined to kill her. Please we beg of you, do not shed blood. Allow the street people to settle you people. We don’t even want the matter to get to a police station; we have all left our personal businesses this early morning to come mediate between the two of you.” The street people joined the man and began to plead with Dr. Gerry. Dr. Gerry turned and looked at Simbi and Eka, who were as much as he was, surprised at what the man said. Dr. Gerry wondered aloud, “What is this man saying? Sir I do not have any misunderstanding with anyone. All I can tell you is that very early this morning; two men were determined to bang down my door, shouting that we should stop praying. We were not even praying loud and we prayed in our own flat. I did not like that, clearly they were trespassing, and so I came out and chased the two of them away with a machete. I think one of them took a blow from my machete. That is all I can tell you. I don’t know a thing about one of their wives having done anything wrong to me or about my trying to kill anyone.” The street people who had heard Dr. Gerry explain what he knew, called one of the men, “Hey, oga (sir) come here. You need to hear what this man has said; it is different from what you told us.”

A man whom neither Dr. Gerry nor Eka had seen before came forward cautiously, obviously wary of Dr. Gerry. “You said this man and his sisters were going to kill your wife for what she did to them, but this man has denied that. Tell us what is going on here!” A man barked from the crowd. Before the man could say a word, Dr. Gerry said as loud as he could, “I don’t even know this man nor have I seen him before. Oga who are you?” The crowd was shocked at Dr. Gerry’s words and looked at the man with distrust on their faces. “I am… I am your… I am Mr. Ekhiosu… I… I live…” “Be bold and speak up! Were you not the one shouting on the street that some people were about to kill your wife?! Look I don’t have the time! This is early morning,” barked Mr. Paul. Mr. Ekhiosu spoke up, “I am his neighbour! I live here,” he pointed at his flat. “Where is your wife whom they were going to kill?” Mr. Paul asked angrily. “She is inside the house, I don’t even know if she is still alive. I begged them to stop praying but they wouldn’t stop.” “Wait! Wait! Mr. Ekhi… what… Do you mean to tell us that prayer is harmful to your wife? What sort of woman is she?” a man asked from the crowd. “Na witch! Na witch she be! We go kill am today with prayer! She never see anything. When I begin pray well well, she go burn like food wey dem forget for fire! (A witch! She is a witch! We will kill her today with prayer! She has seen nothing yet! When I really begin to pray, we will burn like food forgotten on the cooking stove!) Eka! Let’s go back and pray! Simbi shouted and stormed back into the flat. Behind her Eka followed. Mr. Ekhiosu went on his knees and began to beg them, “Please don’t pray anymore! She is ready to confess. Please I am begging you!

A hot slap crashed into Mr. Ehkiosu’s face from behind him. A young man was standing above him looking menacing. The young man kicked and threw a few punches at him, and then barked, “So na you and your wife they chop us witch for this area? (“So you and your wife are the witch and wizard terrorizing us in this neighbouhood?”) The young men in the crowd went berserk and surged forward. Mr. Paul was certain that they were going to kill Mr. Ekhiosu and his wife before anyone got the chance to hear them out. So he used his body to shield him and begged the young men to calm down. Other elderly men in the crowd surrounded Mr. Ekhiosu and led him into his flat. Outside the young men chanted angrily and stumped the ground. Fortunately for Mr. Ekhiosu, Mr. Paul rang his friends at the nearby police station. Inside Dr. Gerry’s flat, Simbi hit the floor and prayed crazily. Eka could not pray, her heart was broken; the whole scene outside reminded her when she was branded a witch, beaten up by her parents and driven out of their house. She went to Dr. Gerry, who was making several calls to some people he knew in the police force and to his sisters; and said, “Take me into Faustina’s flat, I want to hear what she wants to confess to.” Dr. Gerry had to drop his call and said, “You don’t need to hear anything she has to say. Has husband has confessed to her crimes. That woman almost killed me yesterday and brought me to the point where I would have walked away from you. I have called the landlord, he will be here today. That woman and her husband must leave this compound!”

“Fine! I also want her to leave, but I want to hear what she has to confess to. Please take me there.” Reluctantly Dr. Gerry led her outside and they made their way through the crowd and stood by Faustina’s window and made signs to Mr. Paul. He drew closer to the window and Dr. Gerry made signs to him to open the door for them. The man was afraid to do so fearing that the young men would push their way into the flat. Fortunately, a police van arrived outside and the policemen pushed their way into the compound. The young men refused to leave and stood their ground chanting war songs. The police knocked on the flat, when Mr. Paul saw them; he opened the door to them. Dr. Gerry and Eka went in along with the police. Inside the flat, Mr. Ekhiosu was on the floor wailing heartily. While Mr. Paul explained to the police what was going on, one of the men inside the flat led Dr. Gerry and Eka into the Ekhiosu’s bedroom where they met Faustina lying on the bare floor, swinging her head from left to right with her eyes shut. Intermittently she would yell as though someone or something was squeezing the life out of her.

 The man who led Eka and Dr. Gerry into the bedroom narrated to them, “This woman is evil, she confessed to have eaten all her children in Cameroon; that is the reason her husband is crying.” At that Dr. Gerry stepped a bit away from her. “Did she really say that or is it just hear say sir?” asked Eka. “What do you take me for young girl? I’m too old for petty lies! Just wait a while; you will hear her confess again. Or you can go check their other room; she has turned it into a shrine,” said the man as he rebuked Eka. Eka and Dr. Gerry went to see what the other room looked like; when they peeped in their heads to have a look at the room, Eka was stunned to see her picture hanging on a mirror in the room. “Jesus! Dr. Gerry! That is my picture! How did she get it? I took that picture when I was with my parents! Oh no! Oh no! I am going to get Simbi in here!” Eka shouted and bolted off.

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Written by:
Uzoma Ujor

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AMAZING LOVE - Episode 22 An African Literary Blog
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