LOST - Episode 9

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - village, bush, pray, prayers, river, ritual killer, boat, God, heads, bowed their heads in prayers, the women who helped us, the police, the police station, army officers, military, two police officers.


“That man who gave me money to buy him stuff in the city, he is Muso’s elder brother. Their family is the head of all our masquerade cults in our village. They practice ritual killings in the name of tradition. You must be thankful to God they did not find you first,” Imoh explained to us. “When he came to give you money to buy stuffs for him, I saw he was not a good man. There was something repulsive about him…what if they find the man we killed in the bush and come to ask you questions?” I asked. “We made sure they won’t find his body. From the way Kasa acted when he came to give me money, he did not think you are strangers in our village. Sometimes those I buy things from in the city send helps to aid me carry my goods back to the village. He may have mistaken you and your wife for such. They do not attack my business partners and aids,” explained Imoh. “Thanks a lot, Imoh. We owe you our lives,” Maya said. “One thing we always ask of those we save from our village is to pray and speak words of blessings over our lives. Once we get to Egberi, you will pray for us, will you?” Goro asked.

“We are willing to start praying for you right now, if you don’t mind,” said Maya. “We take such prayers seriously. We would prefer to get to the city and bow our heads while you pray. Since we began to receive such prayers our lives have not been the same,” said Imoh. I and Maya were happy that God sent such nice people our way. I could not help but bow my head and thank God in prayers. Maya saw that I was praying and joined me. We prayed silently but fervently. Tears flowed from our eyes freely as we prayed. When we were done, we cuddled up in each other’s arms and feasted our eyes on the pastoral scenic views along the river banks. We brought out our phones and took a few shots. Our experience may have horrified us, but it had brought us closer to God and made us appreciate being alive. “How did you end up across the river?” James, Imoh’s son asked. “We were going to Egberi to do some business and ended up in the middle of nowhere on a certain highway. Our driver was a ritual killer and we didn’t know. One of us who boarded his taxi was caught and killed in our front,” I explained. “God loves you in deed. The village across the river is a haven for ritual killers. We have not seen strangers go in there and come out alive. There are rumours, which we believe of course, that they eat human flesh,” James said.

“Thank God we came out alive,” I and Maya whispered simultaneously. About two hours twenty minutes later, our boat arrived at Egberi. I was so overcome with emotion that I bowed prostrated on the floor of the boat and gave God thanks. Maya lifted her hands high and gave God loud praises. People in other boats looked at her and wondered why she was that emotional. They just didn’t know what we had survived. James stirred the boat to a corner of the jetty and they all bowed their heads in prayers, I poured out my heart to God and asked him to bless the men who saved us. I emptied every blessing I could speak over them. When I was done, Maya began to pray for them. Her prayer made all of us to cry. Her words were very descriptive and spoke of some of our ordeal in the bush. She placed her hand on the three men and blessed them, their children, wives and even unborn children. She pronounced all forms of blessing on them and asked God to make them the head of their village, that good may come to the village. I had to add that God destroy the evil men in Gatha and enthrone the righteous.

Though we had done what they wanted us to do, I still was not satisfied. I had to take a bike to an ATM machine to get some money. By the time I returned, Imoh had bought Maya some food and soft drink. The man had a good heart. I gave him, his brother and son, One hundred and twenty thousand Naira. They bluntly refused it. I and Maya had to persuade them to take the money. We did not tell them of our plans to go rescue the two women who helped us. We felt it was better kept secret. Maya simply told them that we would visit them soon. She had given them nothing and was minded to surprise them with gifts when we come back to rescue the women who helped us. As soon as we were done saying goodbyes, we took a bike to a police station and narrated our ordeal to the divisional police officer in charge of the station. He was an honest man, zealously dedicated to his duty.

The police officer immediately placed a call to his superiors. To our surprised they worked unlike the Nigeria police force. Within minutes of our reporting the case, the commissioner of police had heard it and informed the Inspector General of police about the matter. The inspector general of police spoke with Maya and I for a long time and we told him all we had seen in the bush. He assured us they would take action within two days and asked us to stay back in Egberi. Already Maya had called a major she knew in the army, and the major gave her a contact to a naval officer in the naval base in Egberi. The naval officer actually drove down to the police station to see Maya and I. When he arrived, we learnt that both the police and the army had lost officers in that area over a period of time.

Two police officers were assigned to keep watch over Maya and I. From the station we went to a shopping mall where we bought some clothes, cosmetics and a few other things we needed. The two policers took us to a hotel room which was surprisingly paid for by the divisional policer officer. All this while, I was still wearing a boxer shot and the worn out Adidas t-shirt James gave me. Maya was so dirty that you would have thought she had spent a day in a pig pen. We had to spent the rest of that day to inform our family members about what we had gone through. Already our family members were in panic thinking we had gone missing. From the moment we arrived at Egberi till 11:00 pm in the night, I received about ninety calls. Many people were afraid they would not see us again. The fact that we had gone missing in Egberi was enough to give them heart attack. I had been warned about how rough that area could be, which was the reason I did not make the journey with my car. A decision I later regretted.

By the next day, when we arrived at the police station, we were greeted with the photos of both police and army officers who had gone missing in the area we escaped from. “We have assembled a combined squad of military and mobile police men. By tomorrow morning, we will storm the village! Our gun boats are ready! By tomorrow, we will find out just how good their juju is!” a mean-looking naval officer said. “You two are the couple God saved from that evil land, are you?” he asked. “Yes, we are,” I replied. “Do not worry, that will never happen again. We have been instructed to destroy the camps of those ritual killers and set up a base there. You will go with us. You will be our eyes since you have been there and came back.” “We will be glad to do that sir. There is a village there called Gatha; it has lots of abandoned government projects; I think it will be a good place to operate from in that area,” said Maya. She hoped that setting up a makeshift naval base in Gatha would change the village for good.

After we had been properly briefed by both the police and the military, we returned to our hotel room in the company of the two police officers assigned to us. With nothing much to do, we just lay on the bed and watched television. I had slept like a log of wood the previous night and did not know that Maya could not sleep a wink. She told me that afternoon that each time she closed her eyes to sleep, she saw images of the horror we had witnessed in the bush. I had to pray for her and cuddled her to sleep. Even that did not keep her from waking up intermittently and looking around the room in fear. I mumbled more prayers to God and asked him to heal her. I had become so attached to her that I could not imagine what would happen when the mission was over. I was seriously thinking about asking her out. Maybe I would do it.
 
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Uzoma Ujor

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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog: LOST - Episode 9
LOST - Episode 9
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - village, bush, pray, prayers, river, ritual killer, boat, God, heads, bowed their heads in prayers, the women who helped us, the police, the police station, army officers, military, two police officers.
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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog
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