Wednesday, February 8, 2012


"We can see a thousand Miracles around us everyday. What is more supernatural than egg yolk turning into a chicken?"

I woke up naked and covered in sand. My body hurt all over like i had run to the next village which was  three hours away. Marks marred my skin like i had battled a wild animal. The early morning sun was just teasing the sky with its appearance. I looked around me, feeling disoriented. My head hurt in a million places. How did i get there? Where were my clothes? I tried to stand and fell flat on my butt. I yelped in pain, gave it another minute and tried again. It took some effort but i was on my feet, eyes scanning around for any signs of trouble. I felt nauseous and bent over to puke out my dinner from the night before.

My body felt strange. I could still smell the river from my position. The sound of insects was like music to my hears. I understood the language of the squirrel calling its mate to join him in the hunt for nuts. I looked around once more. Somehow a part of me knew i was the only person around, so i started walking. Wait! I knew this place like the back of my hand. How many times had i come to this forest to escape the abuse and nsogbu of my chauvinistic step father? Chauvinistic, a word we learned at the missionary school. I cradled it to my thoughts like a new born child. I loved to learn new words.

I found my clothes by the pathway. The wind must have carried them there. It was a mess, so i tied my wrapper and picked up some speed. Sunrise was a beautiful thing to behold and one of my favourite times of the day but i had no time for that now. I had to get home before anyone noticed my absence. I inhaled the morning air, and my body relaxed a bit. The soil under my feet felt alive, almost as if it was moving with me. My body was lighter and before i knew it i was running. A cock crowed to my left in greeting. I felt free and laughed at the sound of the breeze in my ears. I slowed as i neared home. Ochoniro the palm wine tapper was already on his way to tap. He greeted me with a smile as i passed. He was a quiet one, that one. The villagers said he was possessed, yet they rushed to buy out his palm wine day after day. I snorted as i entered our compound, slowing creeping into the room i shared with my step sister and lay on my mat. She was asleep, snoring like one of Mama Ekwi's pigs. I stifled a chuckle as the memories of the night before came rushing back.

The Day Before

I felt rage like no other when he hit me a second time. How many times did he have to tell me that my biological father was a no-good-drunk who left my mother and I when we needed him the most. Tweh, I spat at his feet. Gini ka-ima? What do you know about my father? He would have eaten you for lunch for laying a hand on me. He sneered and laughed. Really? Where is he now then? Why can't he come and save you he said as he backhanded me. I fell to the floor and tasted copper. My lips were bleeding. I heard someone come into the room and when i looked up i saw my mother. She looked furious. Ebitu, what has she done this time? And how many times have i warned you never to lay a hand on my daughter? He looked at me incredulous and smiled. It was scary, evil even and i shivered. He walked away and my mom helped me to my feet. He loved her, which was why i never did anything. Orieji, she began, you must try not to let him upset you so much. There's great power in you my child, and i fear for those you mark as enemies. I wanted to look her in the eyes and tell her that i saw my father everyday. But my promise of secrecy to him wouldn't let me betray that. Instead i hugged her and went in search of my calabash. I needed the river to clear my head. The smell of cassava being washed and soaked to infiltrate my nostrils.

How long i stayed there i don't remember, but it was past sunset when i got up to leave for home. As i walked the pathway, i heard the rustle of leaves and tasted fear. I wasn't alone, which became evident as  a whistle began and something hit me from the back causing me to stumble. A hand covered my scream and my body was lifted from the ground. I began to fight but it was no use. They gripped me tighter and something hit my head hard. They walked some distance. Then just like that they let me go and i fell with a thud. I opened my eyes and saw five men, strangers, probably from out of town. One of them was already stripping and the others moved to pin me down. I screamed and a slap split my lip, Two of them held my feet and the other two held unto my hands.

I begged for mercy but the naked one just licked his lips as he approached and ripped off my clothes. Then he bit into my breasts and i cried out in pain, his fingers sticking into my private parts. I began to whimper and move only to have him stuff pieces of my clothes in my mouth. He bent to lick my breasts again and i closed my eyes. Out of my heart began a rhythm and in my head, voices began to speak in tongues i couldn't understand, yet sounded familiar. Me na mimo kaleshi, Adastra rebo mistu. Kobana ewolu, bia, bia,bia. Nuo olum, bia, bia, nyem ike, nyem oku, nyem aka. The voices in my head rose to a fevered pitch and i snapped my eyes open, focused on the leader. I stopped jerking and when he looked at me, the blood left his face and he began to choke. The forest grew loud with the sound of insects and animals. The trees looked like they were dancing. The whole forest was a riot. The others let go of me in confusion. I stood and continued to murmur. Instincts made me clap thrice and bright lights surrounded me. The naked one fell down dead. The others tried to move, but roots quickly wrapped around their legs and pinned them down. I knew the moment my Father burst out in his animal form and tore into one of them. Yet i continued singing and chanting. I walked slowly to where the one who slapped me was held. I spat on my hand and rubbed them in his eyes, causing him blindness as sores spread over his body and burst. Even as he fell, the soil opened up and covered him. The night became cold and i felt death. Their death.

I tasted the fear of the other two, and saw shock in their eyes. My body radiated light like no other and the sand kicked up a storm. There was movement behind me and when my senses spread that way, i discovered more beings like my Father. It seemed as if they awaited some sort of signal from me. So, I raised my hands to the heaven and they descended on the remaining two. The heavens rumbled with thunder and the sound was like music to me. These mortals dared to defile the daughter of Onweala, the god of the forest. There was magic in the air. It was beautiful but all too much for me to take in. I wanted to close my eyes, but my body was no longer mine to control. The others being eaten alive screamed and begged for mercy but my father had never been a forgiving one, and as the last of them went to their death, i fainted.