BESIEGED : EPISODES 51 – TO THE END

BESIEGED : EPISODES 51 – TO THE END

BY CHIKA NDUKA

“People of Akpo-otupeikumo kingdom, the vultures are gathering and I command you to go back to your various huts.

Nneyi f0rbids you to associate with these strangers whose mission to this hamlet is yet unknown.

To your huts right away.” She screeched.

I saw the budding excitements in their faces slowly growing cold and I wouldn’t let it happen for this is an opportunity to win the people over to my side.

The first person was about to take the step which will see them scurrying back to their huts when I suddenly scre@med on top of my voice.

BESIEGED : EPISODES 51 - TO THE END

“My name is Ebipere Gideon Adawari. I’m a true son of the soil and not a stranger.

My father’s compound is over there and you all know the tragedies which rocked my family, splitting us apart several years ago.”

BESIEGED : EPISODES 51 – TO THE END

I spoke passionately, reminding them of the past even though the priestess tried severally to interrupt me.

When the people began to recall the past and shook their heads unbelievably at my transformation, the priestess suddenly wailed desperately and ran.

“Nneyi will destr0y anyone who partake in this ab0minable reunion. She will pluck out your lives and none of you will live to see tomorrow.” She thre@tened as she sprints farther.

Just then, the cry of a child who’s afraid of her w!ld display rippled through the portentous silence and momma quickly brought out a fruit juice and some cookies which she handed over to the child.

The frail child squealed delightfully over her fortunes and soon enough, the children circled round momma and clamored persistently for their own share.

BESIEGED : EPISODES 51 – TO THE END

The adults queued behind them in a frantic efforts to partake from the charity and my heart welled up in happiness when we began to unload the three jeeps filled to the brim with foods and other gift items.

Momma was all smiles and her p@ins were temporarily forgotten as she stooped before each malnourished child, wiping out the phlegm from their running nose with Kleenex tissues and cooing to the tender ones strapped at the back of their mother’s.

By the time we’ve distributed the entire gifts, the sun was gradually going down and there was no time to preach Christ to the indigenes who were already jubilating, singing and dancing while displaying the gifts they received to each other.

I knew that my mission to my fatherland has just began for what we did was merely to water the ground.

As we made to return back to the city before nightfall, I begged my team to permit me to quickly take a look at my father’s compound.

BESIEGED : EPISODES 51 – TO THE END

My heart constricted in p@ins when the hut which was in the verge of dilapidation loomed, bringing back unpleasant memories.

The compound was well swept and the door was slightly ajar.

The shrine where mama offered monthly sacrifice to nneyi on my behalf still stood erect and someone was obviously maintaining it.

The others waited in the vehicle as I got down and dragged my feet back to my past, when Mama would dole out the entire food and sat wearily in a corner licking the ladle as I gobbled with my brothers.

I remembered her face shinning with pride when I brought back the huge snail which brought strings of tr0ubles that tore us apart.

I remembered Datubo cry!ng profusely when our kinsman who br!bed us with a loaf of bread and few cups of beans dragged him away and Alali followed shortly when the medicine man came for his pay.

BESIEGED : EPISODES 51 – TO THE END

My gave in to my emotions and s0bbed silently as I dragged my feet towards the hut where p0verty st0le away my childhood and gave me indescribable s0rrow.

From the corners of my eyes, I saw momma alight from the vehicle probably to comfort me but I turned around and bade her not to come any closer.

I wanted to savor this moment alone, to deal with the gh0st of the past which still managed to ste@l into my dreams, h√ľnting me.

When I pushed the door open and carefully let myself in, everywhere was dim as usual and our few possessions still sat at their normal position.

When my sight has adjusted to the dimness and I took a step farther inside, my heart flew into my mouth when I saw a figure ly!ng carelessly at my mother’s mound bed.

BESIEGED : EPISODES 51 – TO THE END

I wanted to bolt but the figure suddenly stirred and turned towards me.

When his eyes flew open, I saw papa who d!ed many years ago starring unblinkingly at me.

I started to back out from the room and he began to get up from the bed with his eyes still trained on me.

I shrieked loudly but the sound only d!ed in my head for it does not make any sense that the de@d could return to be with the living.

I shuddered involuntarily when he dragged his scrawny frame up and began to pick his steps towards me with a f!ery eyes obviously emitting m!siles.

BESIEGED : EPISODES 51 – TO THE END

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