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Ujanga Maa (The Saviour) – Episode 2
She raced through the forest, ignoring the sting of tree branches slapping her face, terrified by the sound of the stomping feet of her pursuer who-she realized in dismay-was gaining on her.
He lunged with his left hand. She dodged, darting towards the right. He lunged again with his right hand, his left also outstretched. She crouched, about to flee in the opposite direction between his legs. He reached down and grabbed her by her hair, pulling her up from her crouched position, his left hand moving to encircle her throat.
Her hands clawed at his, trying to free herself from his chokehold. He squeezed harder, cutting off her breathing.
He sat on the floor of his cave in the mountains, watching the girl twitch and jerk in her sleep, as if fighting an invisible enemy.
She cried out suddenly, her arms reaching up of their own accord to feel her throat. She looked around wildly, and he sat still, waiting for her eyes to land on him. Efie backed up in fright as she saw an unnaturally huge man sitting a distance not to far from where she sat. His arms rested on his raised knees, palms dangling off, a knife in one of his hands which glinted.
What she could make of his hair in the dimly lit cave, was the great length and the tangled nature. His hair reached his feet. He had on a coat of boar hair, and his eyes were trained on her without wavering.
Efie had never felt such fear before. She gulped hard, struggling to summon up courage, when the smell of roasting meat drifted past her nostrils. She turned her head in the direction where the smell was the strongest, and gasped. There was a large boar being cooked over a low fire. Her stomach growled, warm spit filled her mouth. She swallowed, remembering that she gave the boy the last of her eki to eat. His young, pretty face flashed before her eyes, and she became sober instantly, her eyes filling with tears.
He stood slowly, watching in amusement as she followed his slow ascent with her eyes until her head bent completely backwards mouth opening in awe. He was very tall.
He took a cautious step forward, and she shrank back instinctively. He kept moving, however, swerving only at the last minute to walk towards the fire. He knelt, reached for a pot and brought out two leaves. Holding one in each hand, he began to rub them on the slightly blackened skin of the boar, his hands moving in sensual circles.
Efie watched, transfixed, as the smell of the meat took on a different, exotic aroma, invading her senses, increasing the sharp pain of hunger in her gut. He put the leaves away, and picked up the knife.
“You are hungry.”
With dexterity, he cut off a fairly large slice of the meat. Standing again, he moved towards her and crouched down, facing her. Offering her the piece of meat, he said,
She stared dubiously at the meat, and then at his face, very hungry, but very uncertain. He pushed the meat into her hands.
“Eat, and then brace yourself, Efie, for your brother is to die a horrible death at the celebration of the next full moon, and we must save him.”
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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.