Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - black seer, village, ritual killers, colleague, river bank, bank, river, death, relationship, found love, English.
Our long wait paid off. Slowly the black seer and her colleague began to breathe better and moved their limbs. Some distance away from us and all over the village, gunshots and cries rang out. Major Adebanjo had ordered his men to slaughter all the able bodied young men and women found in the village. He was horrified by the extreme barbaric nature of the villagers. Already a few soldiers had been mortally wounded. By midday, some of the villagers who could escape took what they could and ran with their relatives. All their shrines, most of their houses and all the camps used by the ritual killers were burnt down. Children ran around crying and looking for their parents. Some parents on the other hand dared soldiers, dug their heels in and searched for their children who had ran into bushes at the deafening sound of weapons used by soldiers. We were glad when the black seer and her colleague sat up on the ground. I offered them water which they gulped down. “You came back for us with your wife. You are a faithful man,” the black seer said with tears in her eyes. “You saved us from this people. It was not possible for us to abandon you here,” Maya said, happy to see the black seer wake from unconsciousness. “Thank you. You help us,” the black seer’s colleague said in smattering English. She was still in tears.
Had we delayed a bit, the both of them would have choked to death in the grave. By afternoon, Major Adebanjo and his team reconvened at the shrine where we were. They had subdued the village. It was time to move their wounded colleagues out of the village to give them adequate medical care. I and Maya helped the black seer and her colleague to their feet and led them toward the river bank. On our way out of the village, we met Paloni on the road side dead. His throat had been slit and his stomach cut wide open. His people had killed him for leading us to their camp. Major Adebanjo was very angry. His plan was to take him back to Egberi and have him questioned about the ritual killings in his village and to use him track down those who patronized the ritual killing business.
In place of the dead Paloni, a few other young men were picked up and we left with them. Though they could not speak good English, the Major hoped that he would find those to interpret their speech in Gatha. When we reached Gatha, the bank of the river there was littered with many dead people. The soldiers whom we left behind in Gatha, had slaughtered those who ran from Ode’s village to Gatha for refuge. We found out later that they had been radioed by Major Adebanjo to spare no one who tried to escape into Gatha. Imoh, Goro and his son, James, were on the river bank to receive us. “We feared for your lives. I am happy you made it out alive,” Imoh said as he, his brother Goro and James welcomed us. “God saved us both. We came close to death but he spared our lives. That village across the river is evil. We are glad it has been destroyed,’ I said, embracing them.
“Will you spend the night here?” James asked. “No, we need to get these women to a hospital. They were buried alive. We had to dig them up with bare hands,” replied Maya. “However, many of the soldiers will spend the night in Gatha. Their mission here is not yet over. From what we have heard, they will set up a base in Gatha to make sure the ritual killings are permanently brought to an end,” she added. When Major Adebanjo was done giving instructions to his men, he sent some of them along with us and the wounded back to the city. He had plans to launch one more attack on the village by early morning. He expected those who escaped to return by night.
When we reached Egberi, the police took the black seer and her colleague from us and took them to the hospital. They commenced immediate plans to reconnect them to their families. I and Maya hung around the hospital for as long as we could and left in the evening. With the village having been destroyed, the police felt we were no longer in danger and removed the orderlies assigned to us. For security reasons, I and Maya moved to another hotel which I paid for. I did my best to be as much a gentleman as I could. I offered to pay for two separate rooms, but Maya refused. “I cannot sleep alone in a room after what I have seen in that village. Please let’s use the same room,” she pleaded. I was happy to share the same bed with her and to hold her while she slept. I still had not asked her out. I was searching my heart for the right moment to tell her how I felt about her.
By night while we lay on the bed, watching television, I asked Maya if she was going to see a psychologist when we get back to the big city. “I don’t know what I am going to do. I will give anything to have my mind purged of the images I saw in that village. I don’t know if I will ever be normal again,” she said. “Is there a chance you can let me be part of your life to help in any way I can? I really like your person a lot. I think it comes from having been through hell together with you,” I said with my heart pounding. Actually I did not know when those words escaped from my mouth. I held my breath as I waited for her answer. “I certainly need you now. However, I don’t know if I am ready for anything serious and intimate. I broke up with my fiancé a month ago,” she volunteered. It wasn’t a straight no, so there was hope. “What happened between you two?” I asked “Nothing. We simply grew apart. One morning I woke up and realized I had become a different person. He felt the same as well. After talking things over we decided to give each some space. The end result of giving each other space was the end of our relationship. At first I thought it was not going to hurt. Sadly, it did.”
“Is there a chance you two could come back together?” “Never! Not in a million years.” “Why don’t you give me a chance then?” “My heart wants me to, but my head is giving me lots of reasons not to,” “Let me hear some of the reasons.” “I am in need right now to have you around me. Emotionally I am in a mess. I need support and you are the best person to give it to me because we were in the same situations together. I feel a strong pull toward you. However, when I recover from my present condition, would I still need you in my life? You have a good heart though and I find that very attractive.” “You have a point, I must say. It would be wrong to build our relationship based on what we have been through together. It will soon be all in the past. What matters most is who we are and our values. However, we are not going to find out who we really are if we don’t give each other a chance. I want you to give me a chance to be the best friend I can be to you.”
The look of her face showed she was thoughtful. “This should be easy for me. I like you. I do. Maybe I am hedging because I don’t want to make another wrong choice with my next relationship.” “You know what, Maya? I am not asking you out anymore…” I said. Fear crept up her face the moment I said that. “We are friends already. What I am asking you is the permission to get intimate much more than a friend would. From now on we are officially in love! If you don’t like me throw me out the window. I will dust myself and find love somewhere else,” I added. She was pleasantly surprised by my machismo. I sat up on the bed, picked her up and gave her a peck on the forehead and she smiled. That smile left my heart palpitating for long. “Any objections to what I said?” I asked. She smiles again, held me firmly and said, “No, sir. I am your baby. You have my permission to love me.” We remained in each other’s embrace till morning. I woke up and saw Maya and I holding each other. I looked into her face and saw traces of tears. It may have been she cried herself to sleep.
Later that day, we visited Maya’s pieces of property in Egberi. We also went to see the lands I had in Egberi. Without much to do afterwards we went to the police station and asked for police escort back home. Our request was granted without our paying a dime. We hired a taxi and left Egberi for good. When I returned to my people, I was not like a man who had escaped death by the whiskers. The fact that I had found love in all of that helped me stabilize fast. There were moments when the gory images from the bush would flash across my mind and leave me gasping for breath. Besides that experience, I was fine. For Maya, things were tough. She found it hard to sleep if I was not around or if someone was not around her. She would often scream in fear if someone stood behind her in the dark, especially if she did not know who the person was. I had to schedule appointments for her with a psychologist which God used a lot to help her. Prayer sessions in her house with me and a few other people also helped her to heal a great deal.
I am thankful to God I found someone like her. What I went through in that bush was hell, however, I am glad I found her in the midst of it. We have been to Gatha a few times since then to see Imoh, his brothers and their families. Major Adebanjo had since wiped out the last of the ritual killers across the river. Today Gatha has begun to see development. The abandoned government projects in it are being given attention while some have already been completed. Because of the military base in Gatha, two GSM companies have moved in to cover Gatha, Ode’s village and even the express road on which Maya and I got lost. Two months ago I proposed to Maya and she accepted. I can’t wait to marry her. I love her like crazy. I am glad I did not let her talk me out of falling in love with her.
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