“A man was killed,” Ujanga Maa intoned solemnly, “in the village of Ikiji. Horrified and haunted by his evil deed, the murderer fled, under the cover of darkness, wanting to be far away from his crime-”
“Who was killed? ” Efie interrupted.
“Now, now Keep quiet and let me finish, ” He scolded. “On he ran, scorched by the terrible sun, and beaten by the merciless rains, till he arrived at another village. He did his best not to draw attention to himself, and seeing as the villagers welcomed him with open arms, married a beautiful girl, and bore a son and a daughter – his pride and joy – and all went well with them. So well, that he began to forget his terrible deed. He eventually died at a ripe old age, taking his secret to his grave.
However, the relatives of the man he killed, had travelled in pursuit and entered the village just as he did, biding their time, nursing the hurt, waiting for the right moment to strike, passing the truth of the crime down to their children. When they saw the time was right, they struck.”
Ujanga Maa paused for a moment, head bowed in sorrow.
“The killer’s handsome son, about to take a bride, was found dead, his entrails pulled out of his body, and pushed into his mouth. His married sister was left unharmed, but she could not contain her grief and anguish, so she slowly grew mad. She bore a son and a daughter, and took her own life, tearing her stomach with a knife.”
Efie felt cold. She rubbed her arms, and wondered at this tale of horror.
“Perhaps you have had enough for now, my dear. “Ujanga Maa said, worry lines etched on his brow.
“No! You must continue!” Efie stubbornly said, shaking her head violently, reaching out to grab his cloak.
“My brother does not have time. I must know all of it!” She insisted.
“Very well. The babies of the woman who killed herself were taken by her grieving husband, and hidden away until they were old enough to bear the weight of the tragedy that had befallen their mother, and nkraa, their mother’s brother. But they could not stay hidden for very long. They were hunted, and had to run for the rest of their lives. Eventually, the children realized they would die without getting married and bearing children to live and carry on what was left of their family. So, they lay with each other-”
“Njigannom! Mdano kye! No! ” Efie shouted in horror.
“You must understand, dear. They felt they had no other choice. They had to bear children.”
“And did they? Tell me! ”
“They had a girl first. Very strong, and very stubborn about which breast she ate from. She would cry until she was put to the left one. She was named Efie. Warrior.”
“No.” Efie stood slowly, shaking her head.
“Three years later, a boy came. This one was weak from the very beginning. He hardly cried, and almost died in their hands. He was named M’idawe. Weak.
“No! ” Efie screamed, holding her head, shaking violently.
Ujanga Maa however, was unperturbed, and continued his story.
“Their father was bitten by a snake, and their mother lay dying, also poisoned while trying to suck the venom out from his leg.They were found by a young man,who fled his home and the wrath of his father, and came to dwell in a cave in the mountains. He found the bodies of the siblings and the little baby who was getting weaker, held tight by a little girl. She was singing a sweet song to him, rocking back and forth atop a large rock. Seeing that their mother was still fighting to breathe, he moved swiftly to her. There, she told him everything, and made him swear never to tell any other soul. Not long after, she gave up the ghost. Moved with pity, the young man took the children and nursed them till they were strong. Then he took them back to his village, and gave them to his mother, Ngaye Goo.”
“Nooooooooo! “Efie screamed again, eyes blinded by her tears.
Ujanga Maa raised his head and looked directly into her eyes. “Ngaye Goo raised you and your brother, M’idawe. She is dead now.”
© SonsHub Media | Written By Toyin Uzoma
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Toyin Uzoma is a vocalist, writer, motivational speaker, editor, content writer and TV presenter. A student of Imo State University, studying English Education and Chinese Language..