The council of elders convened. Women and children were allowed to join in too.
“Una dey see harmattan this February? I told you Buhari is the antichrist!” Josiah said.
“It’s the effect of climate change. The weather has been erratic since the turn of the century,” Ndifreke said.
“By why is it happening now?”
“Different things are happening now.”
“You see your people that went to the Lekki tollgate to protest again? Abeg wetin dem smoke? That Macaroni abi na spaghetti be him name. E no believe him eye when dem remove hin shirt expose him round belle for black maria. Yen-yen-yen you can’t open tollgate! When dem break people shop for Surulere the last time where dem dey?”
“The youth have the right to protest! It is just unfortunate that the government did not do the right thing. The police should protect protesters and watch out for hoodlums!”
“We cannot afford the kind of carnage that followed the last protest. Right-thinking Nigerians know this. This democracy and freedom of expression rhetoric is a bone in the neck. The powers that be kuku know that we don’t have a democracy so why pretend and let a few trouble makers ruin the common good? So they did what they had to do. Now there is quiet. Everyone is about their normal businesses. If they had done that in October there wouldn’t have been any tollgate shooting to talk about today. Get the rabble-rousers. Nip them in the bud. We move.”
“So how will this country be better if we cannot go and exercise our fundamental human rights to protest when things are not going well?”
“What if this country was never meant to be better? What if as Mr Cosmas said, we are born here so that we live through this? What if this was a place prepared for us to come and mature?”
“Bros Freke Mr Cosmas don brainwash you aswear!”
“I have learnt from him. How can I be listening to his wisdom for more than three years now and remain the same? I have decided to be more observant and I see that what he says is the truth. We may have been put here to live through this. Granted, the government is useless and we should ask for more but does it really work? Look at the Arab Spring. Even when they succeeded in removing the president in Egypt how better off are they now? How about the recent Black Lives Matter protests across the US! While protests were going on a black man was shot multiple times in the back in a parking lot in another city. Every week we see footballers in Europe ‘take the knee’ before every game but a team loses and right after the game black players are called monkey online. Shouldn’t it tell us something?”
“So we were born here to be hardened. No need to complain.”
“That’s not what he means,” Mr Cosmas took over. “State your grievance and then let it be. Once you start ‘we no go gree’, you are on a dangerous slope. Learn from the past.”
“If ever there is another life and we are lucky to be born elsewhere, after experiencing all this, We ho hard like nail,” Irikefe said.
“Another life too far. See when dem take light for Texas the other day and oyinbo people come dey die. You hear say any Nigerian die? Guys quickly arrange jerrican come dey go fetch water outside. Some go find generator dey charge people phone dey make money. Dem even dey dance and shout ‘up NEPA’ when dem bring light. Naija no dey dull!”
“I bet you that one or two would have gone on their knees to thank God for having been in a preparation ground like Nigeria. No experience is a waste,” Mr Cosmas added.
“But de suffer too much Mr Cosmas. Bad economy, corruption, banditry, poverty, terrorism. We really offend God walahi!”
“The Almighty is not offended. As you lay your bed, so you lie on it. No one is saying you should become a weakling or live in surrender. When you are treated badly speak up. When you are attacked defend yourself. Continue to strive for betterment both physically and spiritually. Once you have paid your debt you will be removed to an environment more suited to you. And it can happen in this lifetime. Remember the law of similar species. What you must not do is to become a martyre for any cause. It is stupidity. They tell you don’t come out because if you do there will be consequences and you go out. If you die out there, you will go to hell.”
Chisco was in the gathering. He had returned from Arochukwu and was still coming to terms with his new life. Back in the coven, as soon as the chief wizard bade him farewell he turned to his helper.
“That’s not who I am now.”
“This is the only time you will see me like this.”
He raised his hands and lept into the night as a green hawk.
Chisco took the form of an owl and they left the coven.
Minutes later, he stirred awake in his room in the village. Everything that had happened remained lucid in his consciousness.
He stepped out of the house that night and stood in the darkness of the night. The chirping crickets and hooting owls were unlike anything he knew in the city. He noticed that he could see most of the birds perched on the surrounding trees for what they really were. He listened and could even hear their conversations.
“Your senses are heightened now,” a voice said to him.
Chisco started and said, “Who be dat?”
“It’s me. Your helper.”
“Where you dey?”
“I’m right beside you.”
“Why I no dey see you?”
“Because I am a spirit.”
“So how you go come take dey help me?”
“I will only talk to you. I will advise you always and you will be best served to take my advice.”
“What if I no gree do as you talk?”
“That is up to you. You are responsible for your actions.”
“So na like dis you go dey talk for my ear every day?”
“No. Only when I think you need my advice. Or when you ask for it. Just speak, even in your mind and I will hear.”
So it had been until they arrived back in Lagos. The voice was always there. The voice of Papa Efe. Since Mr Cosmas knew everything, Chisco decided to pose the question.
“Oga Cosmas. Na true say somebody fit get spirit wey dey talk to am? Spirit wey dem dey call him helper?”
No one knew where the question came from. But they had all noticed that Chisco was more subdued on this return from the village. Now he was interested in spiritual things!
“Yes Chisco. There are such spirits called spirit guides and we all have them.”
“Yes everybody but most people are unaware of them. Some are gifted with clairaudience where with no effort at all they can hear their spirit guides as if they are in a room together having a conversation. But for most, it requires stillness before they can hear. It is there speaking to you as part of your conscience.”
“I thought it is the Holy Spirit that talks to us. The still small voice,” Ndifreke said.
“I have repeatedly said that the spirit of God is not in any man. No human body can carry such power. Just look around you. Look at the humanity of today. See the things they do. The killers, the robbers, the sexually immoral. Do you honestly think that the spirit of God can dwell in such bodies? Man has a spirit created by God which connects man to paradise and is at the core of man but that spirit is not the Spirit of God.
“The spirit guide on the other hand is usually a departed human spirit who has come to a realization of its faults and seeks redemption so as to be able to ascend. Such spirits are assigned a soul on earth passing through the same temptations it passed through so that it would guide this human spirit aright. Sometimes when you pray and cry for help, what you get is an appropriate guide who would help you if you will heed its voice.”
“So you mean as I am sitting down here there is a spirit following me?” Achike said.
“More than likely yes.”
“And it cannot tell me where there is money so that I can go and carry it?”
“You will go to prison,” Mr Cosmas said and they all laughed.
“Seriously though, that is not its job. But if you are a thief and desirous of making a change, you will always hear that voice that tells you not to do it when you are about to steal. Listen to it and heed it. You will free yourself from guilt and also help free a departed soul who needs you to do the right thing for its own redemption as well.”
“But Oga Cosmas. The spirit guide fit force us to do something?”
“No. The spirit guide will only talk to you. You may not obey because you have free will. Your physical body offers you protection on the earth plane. Spirits, ghosts or even witches and wizards cannot physically harm you because you are firmly anchored on the earth unlike them. For those negative sprits, they depend on your fear to drive you to problems. Fear makes you lose guard but where you recognize your strength and hold firm, one word of authority and they will disappear. But for most of you, if a leaf should just fall when there is no wind you will run faster than Usain Bolt. See what happened when you thought Mama Akunna’s spirit was in this compound.”
“Mr Cosmas we heard her cooking in the kitchen,” Castro said.
“Guy abeg no talk that thing again. Piss don dey catch me,” Irikefe said.
“You see? Anyway, as per the spirit guide, it will only talk to you. Whether you do what it says or not is entirely up to you.”
Chisco moved back into number 225 with his brother. Achike, still traumatized over Eyonyam’s condition had no objection to that. In fact, he blamed himself for throwing Chisco out in the first place. Chisco would have prevented Eyonyam from sneaking around with Mr Kingsley and almost getting killed. His brother sleeping with his mother-in-law would have been a better outcome than having her lying in a hospital bed half dead.
The first thing Chisco noticed was the man everyone thought was Maya’s husband following the nurse everywhere. On valentine’s day, Chisco watched as they both dressed in red and white and left the compound in an Uber in the evening.
“I’ve never experienced a thing like this in my life before Hermosa.”
“You have never experienced a woman like me in your life before you mean.”
“Yes Hermosa. I was only a teenager when I left Nigeria for Europe. I used to think girls here were normal.”
“If I had opened my legs for you the first day we met I would be normal abi?”
“Not quite like that Hermosa. I never expected this sort of intruigue. You waking up this morning and telling me we are going to fuck today. I didn’t expect that.”
“I told you I was celibate until valentine’s day.”
“You said so.”
“So what did you think was going to happen?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I didn’t take it for granted that it would be with me.”
“I’ve wanted you from day one.” To buttress it, Josephine leaned towards him and kissed him deeply.
“Mi querida” he gasped when he caught his breath.
“Oh that language. Speak it again!”
“Mi bella querida”
The words loosened the fountains of her loin and she unwittingly pushed her legs apart and pressed herself harder against him. They were in open traffic. Joseph caught the frowning face of the Uber driver in the rearview mirror. He gently guided her back into a sitting position facing forward but continued to hold her hands. Josephine chuckled.
“So tell me, what was the normal behavior you expected from me?” Josephine said, winking at the driver through the rearview mirror.
“Oh well. I thought African girls were more, you know, traditional.”
Josephine smiles and shook her head and said “I don’t know what you mean. I was once married and I have publicly refused a man’s ring. I can’t always be with one man. I don’t want children. I work to earn my living. I like freedom too much but I’m not a feminist. Pamper me o. I love that. Now that I know I can successfully close my legs too I’m over the moon. But today I want you to ravish me. Please don’t disappoint. Take something that will help you perform if you have to.”
“Why did we go out then. We should have just stayed home.”
“We went out because I want you to fuck me at the beach.”
The sun was setting when they got to Elegushi. Josephine from past escapades had the contact of one of the boys that ran the lodges at the beach. He stepped away from Joseph and made a phone call. Ten minutes later a man came to meet them where they stood behind a pickup truck kissing.
“Aunty make we go” he said and led them to one of the upstairs chalets overlooking the sea. It was dimply lit with mercury bulbs so the bed and only chair had an effervescent quality to them. The smell of freshly sprayed air freshener hung in the air. Josephine pushed a wad of notes into the man’s hand and he disappeared.
“Not so fast,” she said as Joseph scooped her off her feet as soon as the man left. “Let’s go and watch the sea. I have not done anything romantic in a long time. We have all night.”
“We are spending the night here?”
“Of course. I’m off duty tomorrow.”
“Is it safe?”
“I paid him well. Don’t worry about that.”
At Katakata street Chisco could not contain himself. The nurse had not as much as glanced in his direction since his return. He went to bed early and stayed with the thought of what those two could be doing until he found that he could pick up their auras a far distance from Katakata Street. The more he thought about them the more he lost touch with himself. Then at about midnight, he leapt out of his body and took the form of a canary, and headed for Elegushi beach. The bird followed the traces of their aura until it perched on the roof of a wooden chalet in the still boisterous beach. No sooner had he perched on the roof was he joined by the green hawk.
“Where have you been all day?” The canary said.
“I’ve been watching you. It wasn’t necessary to say anything.”
“I’m glad you didn’t.”
“I know when to talk and when not to.”
“I am in pains.”
“You are jealous. It’s a dangerous emotion.”
“I love her. I just didn’t know.”
“No, you don’t. You only can’t bear that she is with another man.”
“I failed the last time I was with her. She dumped me because of it.”
“I thought you said you did not want to be a night bird?’
“Someone took my woman.”
“Away with the emotions! It will be your ruin. I did not take the bird form for thirty years. It was love for my son that made me do it again. Before then, I cared for nothing. The less you care, the happier you are, whether you are a wizard or a normal human.”
“I am both.”
“Let’s go back. You have no business here.”
“I want to see.”
“Then suit yourself.”
Josephine pulled out a Bluetooth speaker from her handbag and paired her phone with it and searched ‘R&B’ in her music library. The canary watched as Joseph peeled off her clothes to the rhythm in play. It watched as he equally took off his. Josephine like in the bed stark naked and allowed him to have a good view of her.
“Please speak only Spanish. Manhandle me. Fuck me like a whore!”
“Haré lo que digas mujer hermosa” he said.
They had had three hours of foreplay at the open beach. Josephine wanted a night to remember and had with her the ideal man. She never knew a man so patient. Almost every other man she knew would have found a way to penétrate her all that time. But she reckoned that he was trained in Europe. They knew how to respect a woman’s wish over there.
He picked her up from the bed and spun her around and pushed her against the wall.
“Deflower me again. Don’t be gentle.”
Joseph bent her over and spread the cheeks of her buttocks to expose her dripping pudenda and took aim. She felt him drive straight into her womb. She shrieked and attempted to straighten up but he bent her over again and began to pound her.”
“Mi dulce chica. Quiero darte una noche que nunca olvidarás”
“Oh baby. Oh my baby. Please what did you say?”
“My sweet girl, I want to give you a night you will never forget.”
“Please do it. Fuck me and don’t interpret again. My body understands.”
She began to quiver and speak in an indecipherable language.
“It’s time to go,” The hawk said to the canary.
“She is cumming already. With me it was never so fast!” The canary cried.
“You are making a fool of yourself. Tomorrow you will be out pressing people at this rate. You will fail in this quest to live a normal life if you allow yourself to be affected by things like this.”
“What do I do?”
“Get back to your body and control your thoughts. You let your thoughts run wild which was why you even took the bird form and started coming here before you realized yourself. Know when to stop thinking.”
“But that is impossible.”
“It is not. For you, it is a must. Your thoughts can easily become action. It is how you will lose your life because you are not equipped for what people will throw at you once they sense you are a wizard. Stop overthinking. Humanity as a whole must stop this bad habit which is bound to lead to its destruction. Tackle problems head-on.”
“Go to Josephine in the morning and have a closure. If she says she doesn’t want you anymore, accept and move on. If you want a woman, find one and be forthright with her. If you want to marry her say so. If you just want sex say so. Always resolve interpersonal issues quickly and move on. The best thing is to stop caring as I said. Live simply and tame your mind.
“Tonight I let you experience this so you know what you are up against. Now go back to your body and stay there. Kill your emotions before they kill you.”
TO BE CONTINUED.