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Nigeria's leading story blog. Epic story, Epic Love, Incarnation, Spirits, Rivers, African Culture/Beliefs, African gods, Death, Mystery, African Village, Epic War

Later that night an old woman paid Iyanga a visit. “Some amongst the gods have decided that one of the boys will die. And for this I have come,” said the old woman. “Which of the boys will die?” Iyanga asked.  “Obum,” replied the old woman. Continuing she said, “You must know princess Nkelu demands it.” “What would you have me do old woman?” “There are some in our kingdom who want the light burning brightly to burn and in his place, let the damned fade. That light which burns brightly shall yet bear the staff of Iyi Afor.” With that said she vanished. That same night, when all had gone to sleep, Iyanga crept out of his hut and headed for Iyi Abadaba, the sacred river; there he offered a sacrifice which no man in Alaoma was to know about. This was not Iyanga’s first sacrifice at Iyi Abadaba, and won’t be his last, many more would follow and Alaoma would not be the same afterwards.

Meanwhile, as the old woman was visiting with Iyanga, Ulari was watching Dike in his dream. She was intent on finding out whom he really was and the power protecting him. So far no elder spirit had volunteered any information about her previous life. She could not explain the sudden change of feeling for a man she was willing to kill a few hours ago. She thought, “If my present life was my first life and I have had no previous one, why then do I feel this strong pull towards a mortal man? Could I have lived a mortal life once and knew this man in that life? I hate to admit it, I find him very attractive.” She was unwilling to show herself to Dike; she thought he might get scared and wake up. However, she desperately wanted to talk with him, at least to assure him no harm would come upon him. Having figured that letting him see her would unsettle him much; she decided to project her thoughts into his mind. She called out in a soothing voice, “Dike!” Dike heard the voice but could not tell whose voice it was, so he waited to be called again; then came the voice, “Dike!” This time he asked, “Who are you?” “It doesn’t matter who I am. I want you to know you will live.” “Who are you?” “I see Ikonne has done his job well. You are fine now. Be assured, no harm shall come upon you.” Recalling the event at the river, Dike, sounding very jittery said, “I and my friend were attacked at the river. I remember now, Ikonne came to help me. Do you know anything about the attack? How is my friend? Will he live? You said I will be fine how about him?” The voice went silent. Dike asked, this time extremely nervy, “Will Obum live?” Suddenly he awoke from his sleep and saw his parents stooping over him. His mother asked, “Are you ok?” She continued, “We had to wake you up. You were talking in your sleep. We heard you asking if Obum will live.” His father, Korie, asked, “Who were you talking to?” “I didn’t see the person, but the voice I heard was a female voice. She said no harm will come upon me.” Korie and Odinakachi lifted their hands and said in unison, “Thank God! Our ancestors have sent help to protect our son!”

Dike interjected, “I do not think it is our ancestors. The voice sounded remorseful to me. The voice… there was something about the voice. It was oddly familiar.” Just then there was a deafening knock on the door. At the sound of the knock, Korie and his family members ran for cover. The knock was heard again and a husky male voice asked, “Korie, how is Dike?” Korie mustered courage and responded, “Who are you?” “It is I Ikonne! Open up! How is Dike?” Korie opened the door and let Ikonne in. “Where is your son, how is he?” Just as he was asking, Dike came out of hiding and said, “I am fine.” “What brings you to my house at this wee hour of the night?” Korie asked. “Obum is dead.” As soon as Dike heard that, he went to the ground in a heap. Korie and Ikonne rushed toward him to make sure he was fine. Dike let out a heart wrenching cry, “Obumnaeke o!  Why did you choose to leave by night? I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye!” His cry woke neighbours who came running to Korie’s house. In a few minutes Korie’s house was swarming with villagers who thought someone had died in Korie’s house. On arrival they were told it was Obum who had passed on. As soon as they heard that, they left for Anadu’s house.

There had been no night like that one in many years in Alaoma. No one could remember the last time men died in the hands of the gods. That night the gods took a young man in his prime and not even Ikonne, the eye of the gods, could stop it. Not satisfied that her son might live till day break, Odinakachi, asked Ikonne to give some of his potent portions to him. Ikonne gave in to her request not because he believed it would save him, but just to give the poor woman some hope. All the hope she had that her some would live had vanished the moment she heard that Obum was dead. Her son’s dream had brought them a flicker of hope, but now she was afraid for his life. She sat next to him and held him so firmly as though that would keep him from the gods. Korie pulled Ikonne aside and narrated to him the dream his son had before he came knocking on the door. On hearing that Ikonne said, “If your son truly had this dream, then there is hope.”

By day break, the air in Alaoma was thick; the sorrow in the village was felt even among the animals. The goats and sheep sat in corners of the village refusing to neither bleat nor graze. Even the cocks refused crow. But little did the village know that the surprise the gods had in stock for them had only just begun. Onyenachi, the third wife of Kafor, had gone into her husband’s hut that morning to wake him up for his early morning hot bath, when she found him stiff as a log of wood with a blood tainted foam in his mouth. She ran out screaming in a shrill voice. While the villagers were wondering what to make of Kafor’s death, word reached them that Amaechi had been found dead in the same manner as Kafor.

At this point the Ikoro (village gong) sounded. The sound of Ikoro summoned the villagers to the village square. By the time, the villagers arrived, Ikonne, the elders and Udele were already waiting for them. The only elder of prominent status absent was Iyanga. Ikonne took the responsibility to address the village as its spiritual head, “I have lived all my life in this village, and that is quite a long time, yet, not once have I seen such rage and punishment from the gods. We are all aware of the calamities that have befallen us since early this morning. I need not narrate the events that preceded the death of Obum, a young promising man. And this morning, two elders from Ogbede clan, Kafor and Amaechi were found dead in their beds. The two of them were around in the early hours of this morning to console Anudu when his son, Obum, died. They looked hale and hearty to me; their sudden passage to the land of the dead beats me.”

As Ikonne spoke, some women in the meeting sobbed bitterly. It was clear from the look of their faces that they had been crying since early morning when Obum was pronounced dead. Ikonne continued, “This meeting has been called to inform the whole village that there shall be seven days of mourning during which the markets shall be closed. No man or woman shall go to the farms. People are allowed to go to the streams only during day time, when the sun is in its full strength. No one should go alone. All animals should be grazed very close to our residential settlements. After these seven days of mourning, our dead ones shall be buried as the gods deem fit. Also sacrifices shall be offered to appease the gods. Enquiries shall also be made to find out the reasons the gods have visited their anger on us without any warning. As far as am concerned, we as a community have done nothing to offend the gods yet. I have sought the face of the gods but they won’t speak to me. I fear that their silence is ominous and forebodes evil.”

While Ikonne was speaking, Iyanga joined the meeting and immediately whispered something to Udele. Whatever he told Udele was so shocking that it seemed Udele’s eyes were going to come loose from their sockets. Udele stood up and motioned to Ikonne to stop and hear what he had to say. While Udele spoke into Ikonne’s ear, shouts were heard coming from the village. As the shouts grew louder, the crowd at the village square became tensed up. The shouts were neither shout of joy nor of sorrow. The shouts seemed like those of a people confused and afraid. Ikonne then told the crowd what had happened, which no one in their midst was expecting to hear, “Alaoma my people! Obum is back to life!” On hearing that, the crowd broke up. Men and women ran into the village to see for themselves if indeed Obum had returned from the dead.     STORY CONTINUES...

Written by:
Uzoma Ujor

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