It was 7 o’clock in the morning and Wasiu had already cleaned Chisco’s room and cooked a pot of beans porridge to go with the large loaf of bread he had bought the previous night. He greeted Chisco effusively on his return from Achike’s, hurriedly ate some of the food he prepared and slunk out of the room with his famous knapsack across his back. Chisco saw that he had left him a large portion of the bread and had even cooked the beans with mackerel, something he knew Chisco would die for.

“He has restarted his drugs business. Now he sells the one they call loud,” His spirit guide said to him. That is why he is so friendly and has made breakfast without asking you to contribute anything.”

“No wonder,” Chisco said. “So I should be expecting trouble soon. They are always after him when he starts selling.”

“He will get into trouble for sure. But this time he will not come out of it. He might even get killed.”

“How do you know?”

“I am a spirit. I can hear his thoughts and I can see his own guide. Though the poor guide has been grieving since being assigned to Wasiu. Wasiu only listened to it when he was in prison.”

“Should I warn him?’


“Why not?”

“Because it is meant to be.”

“So his guide told you he is going to get killed?”

“Not exactly. I figured it. But through his guide.”

“How is that so?”

“When you are dead and have to do this you will know. We have our ways.”

“When I die I don’t want this kind of a job.”

“Then you will have to do as I say always. It’s your only guarantee.”

“So you guides know Wasiu will expire this time around.”


“And now I know but I cannot say anything?”

“Tell him and he will tell someone and when it happens they will come for you. I will be waiting to hear your explanation.”

“Why would any spirit want to guide Wasiu in the first place?”

“Because they had the same problems as Wasiu and helping Wasiu change would also be redeeming themselves so that they too can ascend. That is what you do as a guide; or rather, that is why you are a guide. That is what I am doing with you. Like you, I refused to be a witch doctor and chose to live a normal life. But I broke the rule to save someone. Now I have to redeem myself by helping you to succeed.”

“But unlike me, Wasiu does not listen to his guide.”

“Wasiu like ninety per cent of humanity.”

“I listen to you.”

“Because you are more conscious of the spiritual having succumbed to witchcraft. This actually makes your burden heavier because you know I am speaking to you and know I am here to help you. Disobedience carries a bigger burden. In his case, he thinks it is his conscience and like most people, he mainly ignores it and does what he wants to do anyway. He will only prolong his suffering.”

“Why wouldn’t the guide just abandon him?”

“No one said it was going to be easy. It’s your lot as a spirit guide. You don’t give up because it is difficult. You grieve a lot as Paul said in Ephesians. You do know that the grieving spirit referred to there is the Spirit guide.”

“Why are you telling me all this?”

“Because you are about to do something I have to stop you from doing and you have to listen to me. I need you to listen to me.”

“I am not about to do anything. I only want to go and see Eyonyam.”

“That is it. Do not go.”

“Why not?’

“You have no business there. And your brother was right.”

“What was he right about?”

“You did not have to do what you did there. I told you not to. I told you to go to your own place.”

“She is the babysitter. There was no way she was going to spend the night away from that house. I had to take my chance.”

“It was a stupid chance you took. Your brother was angrier than he showed.”

“He is jealous. And it is such a shame because he is married to the woman’s daughter.”

“You are not his moral compass.”

“Neither is he mine.”

“He was right to reprimand you. The woman is his responsibility. Sex is not a pastime. Who you do it with and where you do it are not things you trifle with. Going back there this morning is an action you may live to regret.”

“Something is not right. I feel I must go there.”

“As one who sees where you cannot, I tell you that everything is as it should be. You do not need to go back there now.”

“I feel I must.”

“I thought you said you wanted to be a normal man? Live a normal life? Become a successful businessman? But in the time you left the coven and returned here you have been everything but that. You have only had your attention on the bottom of women. You have flown in the night to go after a woman who was with another man. You have disrespected your brother by sleeping with his mother-in-law in his house while the woman’s daughter was there sleeping. You have only been preoccupied with everything but the things that should move you closer to your goal. Rather than go to your brother’s this morning, redeem yourself for what you have done instead. Go to his place of business, set up and start selling before he comes. You are not barred from where he keeps his wares so you have everything for the needed head start. Remember you were to meet with a man who is to give you your own space at Oshodi. You could talk to the fellow this morning and go and inspect the place if you do not want to work for your brother today. Today, take one step towards being the man you want to be. Decide now and avoid another mistake.”

“There is election on Saturday. We are voting Labour Party. The Yoruba people know this. They have threatened to maim us all before then so we do not go out to vote. The motor park is not the place I want to be at today.”

“You are only making excuses. You are safe, and I should know.”

“I thought what you do is only to advise and I decide whether or not I want to heed your advice?”

Chisco was right. Man had free will. His spirit guide fell silent.

Chisco suddenly felt the urge to hurry. He set the plate of beans and bread before him aside and stepped out of the room he inherited from Achike and hurried down Katakata Street. He did not know why his heart rate quickened as he approached number 225. He ignored the jeers from Irikefe and his band as he entered the corridor. Predictably, it was already common knowledge that he had slept with Eyonyam to the dismay of his brother. No doubt, someone had had their ears tuned in as Achike chastised him earlier that morning. His brother had let out his motor park vendor voice such that you had to be hard of hearing to have been anywhere near that corridor at the time to not have garnered every knowledge of everything that had gone down on the floor of Achike’s parlour the previous night. The jeers turned to cheers as he approached his brother’s door. Without bothering to knock, Chisco turned the door handle and came face-to-face with Achike copulating with his mother-in-law while their infant splurged water around the parlour from inside a bath.

“My daughter go soon come” Eyonyam had said when Achike urged her to turn and bend over.

“You know that is not true. She has possibly only washed one leg since she entered the bathroom. Turn. Now!

He was stroking himself hard as he urged her. Eyonyam could have stood her ground but she made the mistake of uttering another excuse. It also did not help that she could not stop looking at his large member.

“Your pikin. Your pikin dey look us!”

“Holy Malachi! Woman! I know you are not that stupid!” Achike reached out, peeled the baby from her side, and dipped it into the bath where he knew it would be happy to remain. With the urgency of a drowning man, he grabbed her by the waist, spun her around, pushed his pelvis into her soft bottom, and ground himself against her. He then placed a sustained nudge on her back until she bent over. Achike fumbled for the soap, kicked her ankles apart and lifted her wrapper.

“Oh Nne! You even get sense no wear pant! Oh! Ah! Hm!”

As he made love to her the previous night, Chisco had entertained thoughts of a future with Eyonyam. Yes, she made him a wizard albeit a half-baked one; she had successfully lived normally for so many years being a witch herself! Whom best could he have chosen to traverse the rest of his skewed life with? The woman had the sweetest vagina he had ever tasted. At the time, he had thought he would gain clarity over the preposterous scheme post-orgasm, but even as his brother threw him out that morning, he knew he was going to return for the woman. He had found his soul mate! Not even his spirit guide could convince him otherwise! Therefore, as he happened upon his brother taking his turn with Eyonyam, all Chisco saw was a thief making away with his destiny.

Chisco picked up an old Coke bottle that Achike used as a candle stand from a corner of the room and delivered a rabbit punch to the base of his brother’s skull. He had no idea that he had just delivered a fatal blow. Therefore, when Achike fell and jerked three times and became still, he only hissed and took Eyonyam by the wrist.

She snatched her hand and glared at him. “You have killed him!” she said, with eyes ever widening.

“Him go get up. Make we dey go.” Chisco said.

“If you know what is good for you, disappear. Now!”

“I no dey leave you. I love you.”

She did not like the look in his eyes. Imbecility ran in the family.

As calmly as she could, she said, “This is not a movie. You have killed a man. And you will be dead too if you are discovered.”

Chisco stood transfixed. Achike did not bleed. His eyes were still open. His erection did not even diminish. It was as if he was waiting for his lover to straddle him.

Time stood still for Chisco. He tuned in and realized that his spirit guide had left him. He felt that emptiness you feel when caught red-handed and there is nowhere to hide. You want to blame the devil and know you will sound stupid but you go ahead and blame the devil anyway. Eyonyam was right. He needed to flee. Outside in the corridor, the busybodies were not sure what had happened. He blessed Eyonyam for her extraordinary calm and strode purposefully out of the compound as he had strode in. Once outside, he ran to his place, found his travel bag and threw in the much of his personal belongings as he could take and headed out for Ojota Motor Park. He could still find a bus to the East at that time. He knew the police would go to his village to look for him. He would have to see if they would hunt him down to the ebe onwu forest where he was going to go and live with Dibia Okereke and accept a full initiation and become the witch doctor he was destined to be.


The soul of Papa Efe who died and returned as Chisco’s spirit guide was now suddenly a roaming spirit. Chisco had become a murderer. They were no longer compatible. The universe has the law of spiritual homogeneity woven into it. Like only attracts like. Chisco would have to find another spirit guide, or more correctly, another spirit guide, one with characteristics more similar to Chisco’s would have to find him. Papa Efe grieved. He could see his son but he could not go near him. He could see everyone but he could hardly stay still to commune with them even if he wanted to. The souls of good persons could not linger on the earth because of their lighter core. They quickly ascended to the more luminous planes. Darker earthbound souls were more comfortable in the earth’s environment. Their ethereal bodies were so dense people could even see them. Papa Efe though lighter remained on this plane because he had to atone for his final days on Earth. He died in witchcraft. He was not yet ready for the luminous heights.

Existence as a spirit guide was tough. Hard as they worked, it was still up to wretched humanity whether or not they saw any gains. Their free will and earthly dominion meant everything was invariably in their hands. But he knew better than to question the Almighty and His laws. He got Chisco because he deserved Chisco. Now he hoped he would be assigned another more amenable.

Papa Efe began to feel a strong pull. Was he getting his next assignment already? Was he going to be that lucky? The pull became overpowering such that he found himself penetrating walls until he was standing next to Evae in the bathroom. He was allowed little time to process what was about to happen. He understood, smiled in gratitude and lost consciousness.

Evae felt the first kick of the baby inside her womb as she expanded her sponge and washed her back. Her pregnancy was at the midpoint of gestation – the point where a soul incarnated in the foetus. She stopped and paid attention. No one knew the kind of soul a pregnant woman would attract. But going by the laws, it would always be a soul that had things in common with the mother or things in common with the people around the mother at that midway point. That was why in the olden days they kept pregnant women away from certain places, gatherings or companions when pregnancy was at that midway stage. There was always the danger of attracting an unpleasant soul. What she felt now was peace. It only meant one thing. She had attracted an agreeable soul.

Evae had a lot in common with Papa Efe. They were a witch and a wizard who were good people inherently. Evae had become a born-again Christian, married a normal man, and stayed in her body always. Papa Efe had given up the lifestyle, chose a normal life albeit in poverty, and had not succumbed to the lures of witchcraft for thirty years before events surrounding his son that started with Evae and her father brought back that part of him. The threads of fate between them were strengthened by Papa Efe taking to witchcraft to find a solution to the bondage her dead father had put her, which was effectively exchanging his life for Evae’s. Now the woman he died to save would in turn offer him another chance at life on earth as his mother. Incarnating in Evae’s foetus seemed the fairest outcome. Even though he would have no memory of his past life when he was born, he would grow up to detest witchcraft. He would become a man that dedicated his life to freeing people from witchcraft and discouraging its practice and through him his mother would also gain complete liberation. They would both right their wrongs by their presence in each other’s lives. Surely, that would be more agreeable than living in a recalcitrant body like Chisco’s and hoping they would listen to you and live well for both your sakes.

Evae knew of mothers who felt sadness on feeling that first kick. Always the babies they birthed gave them trouble from birth. With many black sheep, their mothers would remember that it all began with the gloom they felt on experiencing that first sign of a new life in their wombs. Evae was glad that that was not the case with hers. She hoped she would be having a girl. She would grow her hair long and plait it a new style every week. She would teach it to cook special Togolese dishes like akume and pate that she loved. Though she had come to like Nigerian dishes, she would make sure that her child also knew and enjoyed the equally sumptuous menus of her motherland. Now she had to hurry and go back inside and tell her mother about this experience. Evae believed that she was going to have a good child.

Eyonyam needed to give her daughter the right impression. What was done was done. A tragedy of some sort was always lurking the moment Achike began to have designs on her. He was not the first and he would not be the last man to lose his life by the bottom of a woman. Only this time, it was in the best interest of everyone that the facts of his demise were not immediately apparent. Anyone could work it out easily. By the time Chisco was discovered to be at large and she too was gone and compound members remembered the altercation between the brothers earlier that day, the truth would be out there even before the police arrived. Achike was bleeding through an ear now. She pulled his shorts up, dragged his body to the doorway between the bedroom and the parlour, and shoved a pillow under his head to hide and also collect the blood from the leaking ear.

She began to pack their bags. This was the premonition she had been having. A dead Nigerian man! The people would skin her and her daughter alive the moment they found out. Even though Achike was murdered by his own brother; that she had been the cause of their fight would attract the most interest. They would all pretend they had not at some point or the other propositioned her and were willing to kill their wives to have her.

She could not bear their police, much less an inquisition by the compound’s silly council of elders. Her only option was to take her daughter and grandchild and disappear. She knew how she was going to do that. She was not the wife of Agbonyibo for nothing.

She gestured to Evae to shut her mouth when Evae returned from the bathroom. Then she spoke English from her deeper consciousness.

“I think he had a heart attack or a stroke. This generation is not the healthiest.”

Evae covered her mouth with the palm of her hand and gawked at the dead Achike. Her mother would not let her speak.

“Now listen. We are foreigners. You know these Nigerians are mad people and their police are worse than demons. I will make a few calls and we will be at Aflao border before nightfall. We only need to get out of this compound without raising any suspicion and we are clear.”

“Ma. My husband,” Evae managed to voice, fighting tears.

“I know. We will mourn when we get home. But believe me, these people will say we killed him and they will throw us in their prison. Do you want to find out how life will be in there?”

Evae shook her head.

“Good. So we have to run,” her mother said.

Evae nodded and tightened her grip over her mouth. She could not take her eyes off the lifeless Achike.