Funbi curled up to Jide and began to draw a pattern on his bare chest. Jide knew that she was about the say something.
“Let’s pack out of here.”
“I don’t want to stay here anymore.”
“It’s too chaotic. And…”
“And what darling…”
“Don’t worry about him. He can’t harm us.”
“Yes he can.”
Jide guided Funbi up to a sitting position and also sat up and faced her.
“I told him off in no uncertain terms. I can make him lose his freedom.”
“He told me he wanted a threesome with us.”
“That is why I want us to leave.”
“We cannot leave because of what he wants! He can go fuck himself.”
“The problem is that I have been thinking about it since.”
“It’s been my fantasy since I first saw it in porn.”
“Do you know what you are saying Funbi?” Jide managed to say while he fought the urge to scream.
“Yes. MMF. Male male female.
“You know that puts me at risk right?
“He won’t only have me but he will have you too.”
“Then all my effort at changing my orientation will be wasted.”
“Is that what you want for me?”
“No. That is why I said we should pack out.”
“Should I worry about leaving you alone in this compound with him?”
“No. I only want him and you together. Alone he doesn’t stand a chance.”
Jide tittered bitterly. He always knew it was too good to be true. Of everything he thought could go wrong in their relationship. Why were women like that dear Lord? Why were they never far from an impossibility? He had been waiting for the good old ‘what are we?’ where is this relationship headed?’ I’m not getting any younger’ the classic drama he already had a ready-made answer to because he too was not getting any younger. Now this. The worst part was that he had been fighting a similar thought only it did not involve her. She was supposed to be his bulwark against Iniquity’s offensive. Now he had to worry about her as well.
“You don’t have to worry. I won’t do it.”
“But you said we should pack out. Meaning that you doubt your ability to resist.”
“I said I wanted both of you together. If you don’t agree, then we have nothing to worry about.”
She stood up and went over to the wall hanger and began to sort out clothes for washing. He watched her closely. She was careful not to make eye contact with him. When she removed the singlet she was wearing to add to the washing she slighted her body such that he would not see her breasts.
“Good Lord!” Jide Falomo gasped.
The new bird perched and tried to understand its surroundings and what was happening to it. When it opened its mouth, it found that its English was perfect.
“What am I doing here and what is happening?”
“You are where you chose to belong. You are now a wizard Chisco. You are flying as an owl today which is the default form we can all take, but you can choose another form later. I have flown as a canary for fifteen years.”
“Why the fuck am I flying? I don’t want to fly!”
“Well you are here now so get used to it quickly. Don’t worry you will like it.”
“I will not like it!”
“You now have the ability to live in two worlds. When you are out like this, you can read minds and influence dreams and fuck whoever you want. It is not quite the same as when you do it in the flesh I must say. Sex really is a thing of the flesh. But there is untold enjoyment in molesting people’s souls and leaving visible marks on them. They wake up and know they had been defiled and yet they cannot do anything about it. It makes people humble. The best feeling is seeing them in the morning pretending to be okay after blabbing a few words of fickle prayers. I like to return three nights in a row. You will love it.”
“So I am now a wizard.”
“You made me so?”
“You fucked a witch and ate her food. What did you think you would become? A Catechist?”
He wanted to swear in Igbo but it did not come out. Instead, the owl hooted and turned its head in 360⁰.
“I’ve been lonely up here and wanted company. I was never sure about you. Even now I am not, but we have successfully done the first part.”
“The first part?”
“We have to go for a proper initiation in a coven.”
“I won’t go.”
“You will just die! Because then you will be neither here nor there. They will trap you like a fowl. I only gave you a form, you will get the substance from the coven. Your lifespan is barely one month from today if you don’t visit the coven with me soon.”
“I don’t want to go. I am Ogbu Agu! I can’t be a wizard”
“You already are. It is irreversible. We will go to a coven and get you fully integrated then we can enjoy our new life.”
“I want to wake up from this dream.”
“Okay maybe you are not yet ready.”
“How do I wake up?”
“Just think about your body and your bed and you will return. But know that you are not yet the finished article. Even in darkness, you must be hot or cold. You cannot be lukewarm.”
The owl flapped its wings, thought about its body where it lay in Achike’s parlour and then Chisco stirred awake.
He looked over to where Eyonyam lay and stretched a hand and shook her. She too stirred awake.
“Nwanyi Togo. I dream bad dream.”
“No be dream. Which day we go go the coven?”
Chisco got dressed and bolted out of the room. He wanted to be alone to think. What had he gotten himself into? Eyonyam said he would live for only one month if he did not go for the full initiation. He, Ogbu Agu to become a full wizard! Chukwu, lee ihe ukwu mere m! no he won’t! he would get out of it. He had one month to save himself.
As he walked through the corridor he noticed that he perceived his environment differently. He could sense the thoughts of people in their rooms as he walked past. He was not quite sure what it was at first until he passed Mr Kingsley’s room and could sense him thinking about Eyonyam. Images of them together flashed through his mind. Chisco stopped in his stride. He heard the unbolting of the door. He hurried past and hid behind the door of the corridor entrance and watched.
Mr Kingsley came out of the room and paced the corridor. He whipped out his phone and dialled a number and pressed the receiver to his ear.
It was 4:30 in the morning.
Chisco watched as his eyes lit up before he ran back inside after a few more minutes of tapping the phone’s keyboard and listening.
Eyonyam stole out of the room, looked left and right and then paused in front of Kingsley’s door and watched the entrance where Chisco was hiding. She scowled and turned the doorknob and entered the room.
How could she?
Chisco wanted to storm the room and stop them. He found that the more he thought about it, the closer to the action he felt. He could even hear Eyonyam’s obscenities even though he was a considerable distance away.
“Oya suck am. Suck my toto. Mmmmm, Kingsley boy! Give me one quote. Say something I want to hear.”
She was even speaking English!
“Some of the best moments in life are the ones you can’t tell anyone about,” Mr Kingsley said.
“Ooh Ahh! Say something hotter naughty boy!”
“I want to forget my name when I’m moaning yours!”
“Say something dirty!”
“My tongue can do a better job of teasing you than my words can!”
“I like that one. Then do it. Push your tongue inside me. Lick everything boy!”
Chisco’s chest tightened. As he contemplated his next move he saw a shadow enter the corridor followed by a person. The person tiptoed to Mr Kingsley’s door and stopped and placed an ear on the door.
She was carrying a pestle.
She knew he did not contract the coronavirus. He wanted to be with the whore. She had caught them redhanded.
Sister Esther did not move to Ilasa. As soon as he said it, she knew he was lying. Kingsley was never sick. Whenever there was an outbreak of anything, heat rash, conjunctivitis, anything that came and affected most in the compound he was always unscathed. He always said, “A hard life makes your immune system very strong – Ashutosh Srivastava”. So how then did he now get the coronavirus? And why did he accept it as if he had ordered it from Jumia and could not wait to unbox it? He had stopped making love to her and said it was because of the baby. One thing Sister Esther knew was that when one’s lover suddenly stopped having sex with one, they were having it somewhere else.
She had gone to her church, took permission from the pastor to stay on the alter to cry to the Almighty overnight, had gone back to the compound and enlisted the help of mama Cowbell to keep her pestle where she could access it and waited till the early hours of the morning when she knew Mr Kingsley’s hormones raged and he would seek a release.
She could hear them moaning like hyenas.
Chisco could tell that hell was about to break loose. His natural response would have been to try to prevent a scuffle even though he did not like Eyonyam. He would have thought of the scandal, the noise, the shame to his brother and sister in law. His vigilante instinct would have made him move in to quell the coming impasse. But instead of that, he found that it gave him a strange thrill thinking about it – Esther breaking down the door and bringing them out naked was something his heart desired that morning. Is that what it was like to be a wizard? To want to see bad things? To want people to be hurt?
He watched Sister Esther begin to pound the door. He could sense the lovers’ desperation. He watched the corridor fill up with sleepy neighbours. He watched Evae against the wall cuddling her baby and fighting tears. Sister Esther turned the door handle and to her and everyone’s surprise, the door swung open. Eyonyam who entered last did not lock the door. Mr Kingskey was too excited to double-check. Chisco went near enough to Sister Esther to see the angry swing of her pestle connect with Eyonyam’s jaw before someone prised it from her.
Eyonyam went out cold on the floor. Sister Esther was like a raging wolf. Mr Cosmas managed to pin his friend to a corner and asked: “What is this old boy?”
“Sex: the thing that takes up the least amount of time and causes the most amount of trouble. – John Barrymore” Mr Kingsley said.
“She’s in a coma and fighting for her life at LASUTH,” Achike said with worry etched on his face.
“Which kind wahala be this?” Josiah said.
“Una too dey fuck for this compound. Shey una don see wetin una dey find?” It was Mama Cowbell’s husband. He did not always speak. You sensed that that was something he always wanted to say.
“Baba keep quiet! Na because nobody dey look ya side,” Irikefe said.
“Esther has been detained with her pregnancy. Kingsley offered to stay with her at the station,” Mr Zubi said.
“Do you know that the DPO asked why it took so long for us to come to the station this year? It’s the first time they hadn’t gotten a visit from 225 Katakata Street in almost a year. For everything that has happened in the world in 2020, that we did not go to the station, in addition, surprised them.”
“For that reason, they are treating Esther and Mr. Kingsley very well. They bought ewa agoyin and bread for them this morning. We are royalty.”
“The Togo woman better not die. If that happened, then it’s Kirikiri for Esther.”
“Murder is a capital crime in Nigeria,” Jide offered.
“Make that woman no waste o!” Josiah said and held his crotch and squeezed his thighs together.”
“This one too dey hope! Make your wife catch you!”
“When will you lot realize that this is a serious matter?” We are the council of elders. We are here to find a solution,” Mr Zubi said.
“Mr. Zubi there is no solution. It is out of our hands now. The doctors and the police will do their jobs. Lawyer Jide, we may finally need you if water pass garri. As unfortunate as it is, there is nothing we can do but wait. There are lessons in it all around for all of us. Papa Cowbell may be right that we need to tame our private parts in this compound.”
“The caretaker is right. Achike, sorry ehn. How is your wife? I hope she is taking it well.”
“She is devastated. She always knew her mother would put us in trouble.”
“Now the trouble is the least of our problems. We are talking about her life now. We can only pray for her.”
“Speaking of prayers. The Pastors found their voices again with Daddy Freeze. Ibiyeoma and Enenche destroyed the man because of an insult to Bishop Oyedepo.”
“He gave them the opportunity they had been looking for since he demystified tithing and their incomes and clout took a hit. He is public enemy number one of the Pentecostal pastors.”
“Daddy Freeze finally met his match with the pastors. He can abuse! We were expecting more gbas gbos in his response to Ibeyeome but he came out meek as a mouse. He started posting pictures of his parents to prove he wasn’t a bastard. Man was rattled. Him own been don too much.”
“Do not let Daddy Freeze’s imprudence distract you from the fact that you still do not need to part with one-tenth of your earnings to the church. Give from the kindness of your heart and pay your vows. Anything else is not of Christ.
“Do not also let the righteous indignation of the pastors distract you from the fact that they are not Christ but men who will also face the Judgment. Their counter-attack on Daddy Freeze was too carnal to be edifying. It did not matter whether you performed miracles in his name or built edifices that employed a million people. What shall it profit a man….? Love was lacking in their language. Established orders have been criticized from the time of Herod. They should make love their torch.”
“Mr Cosmas Pastor Chris also gave the date of the rapture. He said if it did not happen in three to six years it would happen in ten.”
“Abeg leave that one. Even me I know enough of the scriptures to remember the words of Jesus that not even he knew the day but only the Father. E be like say the relaxer wey dem dey use fry him hair don fry him brain join. Some of his utterances since the outbreak of the pandemic has been shocking.” Irikefe said.
“Guys, Obaseki is doing it in Edo. He promised to retire Oshiomole from politics. The man did not lie. Someone should please show the script to Ambode and Jonathan.”
“You people should leave Ambode alone. The man did what was best for himself and his family. No one governs forever. Jonathan also in accepting defeat wrote his name in the annals of history. There will always be people like Obaseki to give you the drama you crave. Let’s hope there will no longer be poverty in Edo come the end of his tenure.”
Chisco who had attended the meeting pulled away from the gathering consumed in his thoughts. He had been fighting strange inclinations since his first outing as a wizard. Eyonyam told him he had not even finished becoming one. Now she was at the gate of hell leaving him all to himself with one month to live!
What happened to her may have been the respite he needed to save himself. From the way he felt, he could have gone back to sleep with her and inevitably flown with her again at night and then ended up in the coven. He even felt like hurting someone as he stood in that gathering! When he saw the sadness on his brother’s face he wanted to see him shed tears! Eyonyam told him the danger was that until his full initiation, he would easily get caught if he did anything and he knew that no one was kind to witches and wizards.
Chisco did not want that for himself. So he got to his place and packed a bag and headed for the motor park. He was going to find a solution to his problem.
Arochukwu beckoned for its polluted lion killer.
TO BE CONTINUED.