WHOLE AGAIN

Where they went, whom or what they saw, how they got what they wanted was going to remain a secret between the hawk and the canary. They knew they had treaded dangerous ground, sailed in a company that would be outraged if they knew that they harbored good intentions. As things stood, it was not going to be long before they were ratted out if they persisted in their positive ways as witch and wizard.  Their next out of body experience could even spell the end of their existence on earth. Therefore, the best option left to them was to lead normal lives from then on.

If they would not try to harm anyone then they did not need to be out of their bodies at night anymore. The safest place on earth they knew was in their bodies. Going out would help them find ethereal solutions to problems, which always meant that in the physical it was already a foregone conclusion. But now they saw life differently, so they would not need that kind of advantage anymore. Except in one situation as the hawk explained:

“Self defense. Remember that. When under great threat, you must defend yourself and your loved ones with everything you have. It is not natural not to fight. Be circumspect where you need to be but be ever willing to strike back. Never be a martyr. It is stupidity. Nothing is worth dying for. We will never change from what we are or be delivered as the church people think they can do. We only change our ways if we wish to because of the new recognition we have. But knowing what you know and having what you have will come in handy at any time. Use it with courage. But do not look for trouble.”

“So we don’t go to the rooftop and enjoy the freedom of the non encumbrance of the physical body?”

“It is a risk not worth taking.”

“Is it possible to miss that life?”

“Yes. But ultimately we are better off as normal people.”

“So why did you decide to come out now?”

“It is what I just explained to you. When faced with threat, use everything you have. I am more experienced than you and your father. I stayed away for thirty years and was used to life as a normal person. But when your father’s threat came, I used what I had. But I have enough experience to be able to ignore the lures of this life and live normally. Your own thirty or even fifty or sixty years can start now.”

“But my father. He will try something, even though he will be wary of my presence. But if I don’t come out to try to counter his vibes, he might surprise us.”

“I don’t think so.”

The canary looked at the hawk and understood what it meant. The hawk was not going to retire despite the risk involved.

“In the day time, I will come and meet you and give you a hug.”

“Make sure my son is nowhere near.”

The canary chuckled and remained quiet. It was time to return it knew.

It did so without looking back.

The hawk stayed on the rooftop a little longer.

There were two other entities in that compound that needed to meet him.

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Mama Tobi remained indoors since Maya left. She had become accustomed to what was happening to her, could distinguish between the dead people and real people, and could now ignore the dead knowing that they could not harm her. They continued to stream in and out of her room, but she paid them no more attention. She had now learnt something. We are never alone on this earth. There were others at a different level also going about doing their things. It was a blessing that as human beings that we were oblivious of this. It had been a scary few days for her, but she was beginning to get used to it. In a day or two, she would go out and see how she could function in the world the way she was. All she needed to do was to ignore the dead people.

Things however changed that morning when a large group off dead people entered her room and refused to leave as they usually did. They were victims of famine from Somalia. How they made it to her room she did not understand. They were such ugly dead people that Mama Tobi having been quiet for a day resumed her shouting and admonishing of the unseen to leave her presence. Compound members gathered again. Mr Zubi again called for the hospital option.

“Now her daughter is not here.”

“Didn’t she say she was fine?”

“She could have been, but obviously the thing has returned.”

“I go help am” a familiar voice said from the gathering, and they cleared space to Evae to come through.

“Make all of una comot for here,” she said.

Mr Zubi immediately threw everyone out of the room, and went outside too.

Evae approached Mama Tobi and said “Mama, I go help you.”

“Please my daughter. Abeg.”

“Kneel down.”

Mama Tobi did as Evae told her. Then Evae produced from her waist a small bottle that fitted into the palm of her hand and spoke a few indeterminable words and then circled Mama Tobi’s head seven times and then put three drops of the liquid into each eye.

“You go dey okay now Mama,’” Evae said.

“Just like that?”

“Yes mama. I don do wetin I suppose do.”

Mama Tobi looked around the room. The Somali dead were no longer there. She came out to the corridor where neighbors were gathered and waiting.  She saw only familiar faces. Was this real? Would they return?

“You no go see them again,” Evae said from behind her.

She tuned and held Evae in a tight embrace.

“I will call Maya and tell her.”

“Do anything wey you want mummy,” Evae said, and turned and walked away from the gathering. Neighbors looked at her with awe. Achike tried to catch her eyes but Evae pretended not to notice.

For the rest of that day, Achike roamed the corridor hoping to run into her. Now that she knew that he had had a change of heart towards her, Evae decided to be the girl again. It never hurt a girl to have a man chase her, and so she stayed indoors and waited.

Achike thought about going to knock on her door. But what was he going to say he was looking for? Then an idea struck him. He went back to his room and found Chisco.

“Bia, Agu. That gal has not come out since after she cured Mama Tobi.”

“Small thing brother, I will go and call her for you.”

“No o!” You can’t do that. Go and knock and tell her that the cloth that she dried has fallen inside the well. I will be waiting on the corridor for her.”

So Chisco went and did as he was told.

Evae knew what was happening. She thought of telling him that she did not dry any clothes outside, but what was the use? She missed Achike too and had waited too long for him to want her again. So she added her most colourful waist bead to the one she wore already,   selected one of her gauzy white tshirts and tied a shawl around her waist in place of a wrapper and stepped out. Chisco smiled when he saw her. He did not want to miss the reconciliation so he followed her at a safe distance. He watched her reach the backyard and look around for clothes that did not exist, and then on her return Achike had stationed himself on the corridor, pretending to be looking for his slippers.

“Good afternoon bro Achike,” Evae said.

He looked up at her. She was as beautiful as he could remember.

“Err, good afternoon nwa Togo,” he said and watched her retreat.

“Erm, come,” he said. Evae stopped and turned.

“Come inside.”

Evae followed him into the room. and sat in a chair facing Achike who chose to sit on the bed.  

She sat there in a wrapper that barely covered her hips and a blouse that showed all her body. Achike swallowed hard but tried to remain serious. It was difficult to look at her. Her eyes were misty as ice fish, her hips and thighs as smooth as marble. Achike kept wondering what he was waiting for. But there was something important he needed to clear.

“What did you tell the elders was the reason for your coming back?”

Evae went on her knees before him and said, “To come be with you my love.”

“Then how come you were coming out of Ndifreke’s room the morning I arrived?”

It was the automatic response that convinced Achike. No one could act that well.

“When I come the elders don change the padlock for our room. I no get anywhere to go. I come beg am to let me sleep for him room.”

“You asked him? He did not invite you?”

“Na me need help. So I ask am.”

“And em..what happened while you slept?”

“Nothing. I no fit allow another man touch me.”

She said it looking him in the eyes. He had no doubt in his mind that she had told the truth.

“Your father hurt me.”

“I know. I know say I no deserve to match the ground wey you waka because of that. I come here make you take me as your slave. I go pay for the bad thing wey my papa do. If one day God touch your heart to forgive us, I go love you till the day we die.”

There were tears welled up in her eyes. It did not feel real. He, who had been mocked and shamed by women not half as beautiful as that, had one on her knees begging him for love.  Achike stood and held her hand and she stood with him. Then they embraced. “I’m sorry,” Evae said. If Achike recognized that she had just spoken in a different voice, he did not show it. His hunger for her had now consumed him and he found that he hooked the supposed wrapper that she wore and sent it flying towards the door. She touched the tip of her tshirt and lifted an arm and the tshirt went flying in a different direction. She stood before him naked. And then he said words she did not expect to hear.

“I missed you Evae. I did not think I was ever going to be with you again.”

“I am yours now. Now and forever. Do to me anything you please, my lord.”

From outside, Chisco had heard enough. He knew that Achike would not remember to lock the door. So he turned the door handle and pressed down the toggle of the jam lock and closed the door again. He then went upstairs to look for Josephine.

************************************************************************

The council of Elders gathered outside. Everyone was there apart from the Alfa.

“I told you he would be a problem. Today is Saturday when no one failed to come out. Didn’t you tell him so Zubi?”

“I did.”

“Do we have to go and call him?”

“No need. Let’s watch him. He may come and join us later and have a good reason to be late. Or he may not at all. Whatever it is, we have to wait and see how he behaves.”

Then as they sat there they saw his young wife come out on the corridor and arranger five plastic chamber pots in the frontage and before the men could react, five little children came out and sat and began to defecate.

“What is this? What am I seeing? Akunna shouted?”

“They are shitting of course. What did you think was going to happen when he brought his ten children?”

“Why in the frontage? Why can’t they go to the backyard?”

“Only the Alfa can answer that question.”

“Now this is my suggestion,” Mr. Cosmas said. “Let us give them up to a week and study them. We see all their quirks and behaviors so that when we confront the Alfa we know we are exhaustive. I have a feeling that there is even more surprises to come. So let us watch them and see.”

“Chai Chineke! And if they go to the backyard now, Mama Tobi stays there to do the fufu we all eat.”

They were even more alarmed when their mother emptied the chamber pots into the gutter, not far from where Mama Cowbell cooked her rice.

“Alfa came to feed us shit. It will not be well with Josiah and Alhaji Sirika.”

“Leave Josiah out of it. None of us will live here forever.”

“You say we should wait till next week? We should keep seeing this for another week?”

“That soak away there…Did we not burst it so that it will be entering the gutter so that it never gets full and we don’t have to pay for it to be emptied? Stop pretending you don’t know we have always had shit running through that gutter.”

Every one then fell silent. Then someone said “Did you see Kadaria Ahmed and other Buhari supporters crying on TV over the killings in Zamfara? I should say it serves them right. They voted in a failure. What did they expect?”

“I beg you, whatever we do, we cannot politicize the killings and banditry in Zamfara. It is human lives we are talking about. It is terrible.”

“But we have a government that is insensitive.”

“That may not be entirely correct. The President released a statement and said he cared.”

“It is not to care by mouth. They sent thirty thousand policemen to Ekiti for elections to ensure PDP did not win. They should deploy an equal number and even troops and whatever to Zamfara where they are needed. We don’t want to hear any statements. That is how he told them at the World Economic forum in Jordan that he had finished Boko Haram and was now rebuilding the North East. We don’t want lies. We want action!”

“They say it is illegal mining cartels that are the cause of the killings there. Over gold and diamond. Same way oil has been a curse in the South-South, gold and diamond are threatening to outdo it in the north. Blessing turning into a curse.”

“And we have countries like Britain and South Korea without a natural resource doing so well. They say we were better off before the discovery of oil. Zamfara was peaceful before the mining activities. Lord, please come and take away these resources.”

“So Justice Onnoghen finally resigned or retired. Why didn’t he do so since? He waited for them to drag him through the mud.”

“He knew the whole thing was politically motivated and wanted to wait and see if his PDP friends would win the presidential elections. Now that that did not happen, he has done the inevitable.”

“Poor man.”

“He had more money in his account than he could accout for. It may have been politics but he gave them the ammunition to fight him. Say no to corruption.”

“Did you see some of the results that came out of some local governments in Rivers for Wike’s victory? Man rewrote the history books.”

“Taking Rivers from PDP was a long shot. We have to give thanks to the Almighty that APC did not field a candidate. It would have been carnage.”

“Meanwhile, the wheels are falling off for Ole at United. Beginners luck has deserted him. They are playing like a Mourinho team again and Pogba has gone missing again.”

“Wait till they play Barcelona in the Champions league. I hope they still have Antonio Conte’e number.”

Upstairs, Mama Tobi had taken her bath and changed her clothes and sat down to take stock of her life. She was now where she wanted to be before she went to Agbonyibo for answers. It was unfortunate that she had had to suffer for some days following his abscondment. But at least, it was not in vain. She had achieved her aim. She now knew that Mama Akunna and her lover in the form of a toddler used witchcraft to steal her money. It was a few months since the event and they would have spent much if not all of it. But just as she had decided from the beginning, she was going to get justice whichever way she could. Maya’s new man had paid one hundred thousand naira into her account as promised. That was enough money for her to use and make her next move. So she packed a small bag and called someone at the wharf who helped her to get a bus ticket to Okitipupa for the following morning. If they could be old people but turned to children and birds and snakes and stole money from innocent people, she was going to show them that she was also a Nigerian and that they did not have the monopoly of evil.

**********************************************************************

Mama Akunna and Dozie were jittery. Mama Tobi now knew. She did not just know, she was also now whole again. She was free of the debilitation that they could have pointed to as a reason for her absurd utterances were she to say anything about what she knew about them. Her quiet worried them, and so they decided to go to meet t the rooftop and strategise, and if necessary, pay her a visit that night to work on her mind so that they knew what she was up to and also know hw to defend themselves were it to become necessary that they did.

So they landed on the roof as kites, where a green hawk was already perched and waiting for them.    

TO BE CONTINUED.

ROOFTOP SURPRISE

April 7, 2019

EARLY MORNING FUMES

April 7, 2019