IF WITCHES WERE HORSES … Episode 23&24 – Kolade Segun Okeowo

IF WITCHES WERE HORSES… Episode 23

“Sister!” Morakinyo’s voice rang out from the opposite direction; he had sighted the visitor in front of his house. He had only left the house about ten minutes ago to see the King who sent for him. Normally, Morakinyo and his wife are not used to locking the door except when they‘ll be away for long. No one would dare enter the Pastor’s house to steal or play some pranks.

Akinlolu had jumped off the bench and ran towards Morakinyo even before his mother heard the voice. His sharp eyes had caught Morakinyo afar off.

“Ha ! Morakinyo, the village Pastor!” Mrs. Durotoye shouted as Morakinyo drew close and prostrated. Morakinyo does that always whenever he sees Mrs. Durotoye. A thirteen-year age gap existed between them. So, Morakinyo gives her sister the maximal cultural respect. She embraced him and held him close for almost thirty seconds. She had not seen her brother for a whole year.

Streams of tears flowed down her eyes as she remembered the sweet memories they had shared together when they were young and when Morakinyo stayed with her at Ibadan during his undergraduate and postgraduate days. A very emotional woman, she finds it easy to shed tears easily. She had cried like that, the day before Morakinyo departed for the village.

“Sister this is a pleasant surprise, we were not expecting you, and you did not send a message”

“Well I didn’t have the luxury of time to plan ahead” She said as Morakinyo led her and Akinlolu into the house.

“I had planned to come next month but had to change that arrangement as my Boss insisted I have to be with her on an official trip to Indonesia, so I decided to proceed on my annual leave this month” She explained. “Pele, is all well?” She said patting his back lovingly.

“Please have your seat, let me get you something to cool down; my wife has gone to the next village. One of our Churches there is having her Women’s Week. She’ll be there for two days. It’s unfortunate you came when she’s not around”

“Wife?” Mrs. Durotoye said pretending she has not heard about the marriage “Morakinyo! You‘re married? How, when, where and to whom…?” The questions came thundering one after the other.

Mrs. Durotoye was boiling with anger. That her only sibling got married without informing her was nothing but an abomination as far as she was concerned. The thirst had suddenly disappeared as the anger she had kept ever since the news of Morakinyo’s secret wedding filtered to the Church in Ibadan finally burst.

All the while she had hoped that the news was only a rumour or the figment of someone’s imagination, but now that Morakinyo had opened his mouth to say ‘my wife has gone to the next village’ then, certainly the news was not only true but officially confirmed.

“Sister, am very sorry…. the issue is a long story. I must confess, I did not deliberately refused to get you informed, it’s just that it came at a time when we could not afford the time to come for the marriage in Ibadan”

As Morakinyo spoke, Mrs Durotoye eyed him angrily. She felt like slapping him. ‘Very busy indeed’ She said to herself.

“Moreover, we did not want it to be a noisy affair, that was why we decided to do everything here in the village… I’m sorry Ma” He bent to prostrate.

“Sorry for what!” Mrs Durotoye’s voice thundered. She has an unusually loud voice, even when she thinks she is whispering, a third person about ten metres away would hear whatever she was saying without straining the ear.

“This is the most stupid decision you have ever taken in your life! How dare you do that? You have only insulted me, you got married and I your only Sister was not informed, yet I never traveled out of the country. Even if I traveled abroad, I would expect that you’ll wait for me to return before fixing a date. It shows how much importance you attach to me in your life…Thank you” She concluded with a rather emotional voice.

“I’m sorry Sister, I really did not mean to insult you, it was just unavoidable. We’ll still come home for a proper wedding ceremony. We’re planning that for the New Year….please don’t be annoyed with us” Morakinyo pleaded.

“Annoyance? Why should I or anyone be annoyed? The deed is done?” She said sarcastically. Morakinyo knew he was in for a show down from his Sister, he stood up and prostrated, stretching himself fully on the bare floor.

“Sister, please, I’m sorry I mean it” Morakinyo was sincerely apologetic now. For the first time since he married, it suddenly dawned on him that he had done a foolish thing by getting married without informing his closest relatives and the church that sent him on the missionary work.

He wondered what led him into that decision. He tried to remember his convictions then but none seen to come back to memory. It was as if a scale of blindness was removed from his eyes and he felt guilty. Mrs. Durotoye sat there staring at him unsure of what to say…. all of a sudden, she burst into tears.

The following day, Mrs. Durotoye was ready to return to Ibadan. The early morning lorry would depart Onigba-Iwofa at six-thirty in the morning. Whoever misses the first trip would have to wait for the second and final trip around 12noon. It was most uncomfortable for her to leave by six in the morning, but she was not willing to stay any longer with Morakinyo. She was still battling to find a place in her heart to forgive her only brother.

“So Morakinyo we will be expecting you in Ibadan”

“No problem Ma, please tell the Pastor that I will come before the end of the month…Ah lest I forget” Mrs Durotoye said as she bent to pick her hand bag from the cane chair in the sitting room.

“My husband asked me to give you this envelope, he said he would love to be used of God to support your mission work” She pulled out a cream envelope from her bag and handed it over to Morakinyo.

“Ah Sister, thank you very much…that was thoughtful of your husband” He said, opening the envelope. He pulled out the first bundle of fifty naira notes; apparently the second bundle contained the same amount. “Jesus Christ! This is much! God bless your husband. Definitely, the money here can’t be less than one thousand naira, God bless him”
“Amen, we give God all the glory” She adjusted her bag and prayed for Morakinyo his wife and the Church.

‘’O ya Akinlolu, let’s go. This is quarter past six, we must get to the park in ten minutes’’

What happened next was beyond Mrs. Durotoye’s expectation and explanation. Akinlolu sat there on the chair and refused to stand.

“Mummy please I want to stay with uncle in this village. I love to stay here” Akinlolu insisted. Morakinyo was amused, only moments ago Akinlolu was rushing to get ready for the early morning trip. No one could see him them and imagine that minutes later, he would refuse to go again “Children!” Morakinyo said amusingly.

“What’s wrong this boy? Was that part of our arrangement before we left Ibadan, ehhn?” Mrs. Durotoye was getting angry now.

“I want to spend my holiday here, at least we are not going to school” He held on to Morakinyo. “Uncle please let me stay with you. I don’t want to go home now” He complained almost crying.

“Sister, why don’t you allow him to stay some days with me? I’ll bring him myself” Morakinyo came in.

“But he attends a summer school” Mrs. Durotoye said in defence.

“That shouldn’t be a problem. I’ll return him on Tuesday; he’ll only miss two days”

“Alright, he can stay with you since you promised to bring him by Tuesday, thank God his father has traveled, if not….”

“I understand” Morakinyo said smiling “What of Lanre?” He asked.

“Ah it is well; he’s also coming home this weekend. The campus closed for the semester day before yesterday, we expect him today or tomorrow…ah fine, maybe he should even come over to pick Akinlolu, you may not need to come in that case” She offered.

“That would be fine; I’ll come to Ibadan next month in that case as earlier planned”

“Akinlolu, you can stay with your uncle but make sure you don’t bed wet here!”

“Haba! Stop giving him bad names now….” he said as he escorted her to the park.

The following day Oyinkansola arrived from the next village where she had represented her husband effectively. Her usual display of love and care for the women at Aponbiede Village Church stole their hearts. They wondered why the women in the Onigba-Iwofa Church had been so ungrateful to have deserted their Church.

The news of desertion going of there had reached the other entire villages where churches had been planted by Morakinyo. The other churches were thriving! Accusing fingers were pointed at Eebudola, the most recent deserter of the Church; they called her names and concluded she probably was a witch!

As soon as she returned from Aponbiede, she noticed a change in the atmosphere of the house, the temperature was unusually high. She tried to fish out the source but could not. Morakinyo noticed her restlessness.
“You’ve been restless since you returned from Aponbiede this morning… anything?”

“Oh nothing really” She said quickly adjusting herself “I must have been worn out by the activities of the past two days” She smiled, trying to cover her discomfort.

“I guess you need to rest” Morakinyo said putting a loving arm across her neck and gave her a peck. He noticed her body temperature had risen “Oh my God!” He said still holding her.

“What’s that? …My temperature…? I’ll soon get over it” She said and gave a reassuring smile.

“Maybe you should take a cold shower before going to sleep” Morakinyo advised.

What she eventually took that night was not a shower but several showers, the more she poured water on her body the more her temperature increased. She knew something was wrong but she could not identify it. She would investigate further in the night when Sapientia and Scorpio arrive to invite her for the meeting at the palace of the Queen under the Katangua Sea.

At exactly eleven fifty at night, Oyinkansola opened her eyes and got ready to enter the spirit realm as usual through astral travel. Her first and second attempts failed. She looked at Morakinyo and thought maybe he was not sleeping. She wrong, Morakinyo was fast asleep. She lied back on the bed and tried for the third time to ease out of her physical body but a strange force was hindering!

Scorpio and Sapientia had arrived and were sending her signals but strangely, she could not leave her body; yet she has to come out of her body before she can attend the meeting.

She lied there on the bed thinking of what to do. Her mind raced quickly to what would befall her if she failed to attend or come late to the meeting. Several rounds of hurting sex and inhuman beatings from the huge male agents who double as the Queen’s body guards.

She tried again and again but failed! She wondered why Scorpio and Sapientia stayed outside in first place. In recent times, they’ve had free access into the Parsonage since Greatone had become weakened, but today was different! She walked round the room and searched for any sign of Greatone or other angels. None of them was around. Angrily she stood up and stormed to the backyard where the duo of Scorpio and Sapientia stood beckoning to her.

“Scorpio! Sapientia! What the hell is going on here why did you refuse to come, inside can’t you see I’m finding it difficult to get out of my body” She charged at them, her eyes sparkling with anger.

It was her first time of speaking to them that way since they commenced the operations.

“Why do you talk like a child” It was Scorpio’s turn to charge back.

“What do you mean?” Oyinkansola was infuriated! Scorpio was not the one to speak to her in that manner. Not only was she below her in ranks, she was meant to assist in the operation and not command.

“Princess Hagatha, Scorpio is right….Look and see” Sapientia said pointing to the right corner of the house. Greatone was standing there at alert with renewed vigour, his sword stretched out shining in the dark. Two junior angels stood beside him with their swords also drawn.

Fear came over Oyinkansola. If there was any one she dreaded, it was Greatone. The last encounter Scorpio and Sapientia had with him was devastating. For a whole week, they could not operate in the village. They both sustained serious injuries. Only Pepperine who quickly surrendered before Greatone struck escaped unhurt.

“No wonder!” Oyinkansola said. Memories of the day now streamed back; she understood why her temperature had risen without cause.
“I never knew these terrible creatures have returned; but how come they’re guarding here again? I thought as far as Morakinyo is concerned they have been weakened…. I know Morakinyo can’t command them again.” Oyinkansola said, still confused over the entire scenario.

“That boy your Sister-in-law brought here yesterday is the cause of all these!” Scorpio offered explanation. “His presence brought those junior angels, he is a firebrand just like his mother. The anointing of the Son of The Owner is upon him as young as he is” Sapientia explained further.

“I see, but who strengthened Greatone again? Definitely not Morakinyo, he has not been praying in recent times, so who did?” Oyinkansola said with deep concern, her mission was at stake.

“That, we cannot explain, it’s a secret we cannot see, we too got here now and found him revived” Scorpio said carefully.

“It’s alright but how do I get to the meeting tonight… I have tried all tricks that I know, it won’t just work, what can I do now?” She said pitifully, she was almost crying.

“I don’t know Princess Hagatha” Sapientia said with most pity.
“Scorpio, do you have any idea?”

“Not at all, I have never experienced this before” Scorpio said sympathetically. “Maybe…” Sapientia stopped suddenly and screamed… “The alarm!”

It was five minutes to midnight; they must get to the palace within two minutes. “Princess Hagatha we have to go, the alarm is ringing, we shall explain the new developments to Her Majesty!”

Seconds later; Oyinkansola was standing there alone in the dark, tears swelled up in her eyes… She was in for trouble with the Queen, she silently wished that Sapientia and Scorpio would be able to put up a strong defence for her or else… trouble!

She opened the door and tip-toed inside; she closed the door and slowly turned around… She stiffened and almost jumped out of her skin as she saw what she least expect! Morakinyo was standing at the door to the room, a cover cloth loosely tied around his loins.

“Oh! You scared me!” said Oyinkansola; breaking the silence that followed.

“Where are you coming from?” Morakinyo asked.

“I went to ease myself” She lied.

“Outside! At this hour of the night! You should have used the toilet inside”

IF WITCHES WERE HORSES… Episode 24

She opened the door and tip-toed inside; she closed the door and slowly turned around… She stiffened and almost jumped out of her skin as she saw what she least expect! Morakinyo was standing at the door to the room, a cover cloth loosely tied around his loins.

“Oh! You scared me!” said Oyinkansola; breaking the silence that followed.

“Where are you coming from?” Morakinyo asked.

“I went to ease myself” She lied.

“Outside! At this hour of the night! You should have used the toilet inside”

“Actually, I also went to take fresh air, you know I complained about the heat yesternight before we slept … it continued so I went outside to ease and take some fresh air” She explained, the words were flowing with ease.

“I see, maybe you should visit the General Hospital at Sepeteri in the morning” Morakinyo said placing a hand on her forehand, he placed the other hand on her chest “See…your heart is beating too fast, you should visit the hospital”

“I’m sure I’ll get better very soon. There’s no need going to the hospital”

“It’s okay if you insist” Morakinyo resigned.

They returned to bed, soon Morakinyo was snoring away, Oyinkansola stayed awake, her eyes wide open. She tried to imagine what would happen to her at the next meeting with the Queen in a forthnight’s time. She recalled the last time one of the female agents was punished for absenteeism. She had complained of being hindered by the prayers of a pastor who came to visit the couple she stays with as an housemaid.

The Queen had ordered four male agents to subject her to a wild orgy of combined rape and man-handling. At the end of the exercise, she bled till she fainted. No one helped her when the meeting ended in the morning. She dragged herself up and returned home; such was the treatment that awaits her if…

She closed her eyes and forced herself to sleep.

That night, Pastor Kalejaye, two of his deacons, and Gbayike entered the second day of a seven-day fasting and prayers on behalf of Morakinyo’s mission in Onigba-Iwofa!

Within two days, Akinlolu had made friends quickly in the town. The base of the baobab tree near the market soon became his play centre.

The local children first saw him as a stranger; but within twenty four hours, Akinlolu had become friend to all the children who gathered around him as he told them stories about Ibadan and Bible heroes.

Most of the children had heard tales about the city and Bible heroes before but not from a kid like them.

Two days after Akinlolu arrived, the children had gathered under the tree since morning immediately after their breakfast.

Some of the children actually ran away from home to avoid going to farm with their parents in order to hear him. Akinlolu’s stories about Ibadan and the Bible heroes had thrilled them, nothing could stand between them.

As usual Akinlolu stood in the midst of the other children, a circle formed around him. He was just rounding up the story of David and Goliath…

“Goliath fell down and David cut off his head with a big sword, he carried the head and ran away!” The children shouted and jubilated! David to them, was indeed a hero.

“Give us another story!” Shouted one of the children, soon others chorused “Yes, tell us another story!” Akinlolu was willing to, though hunger was biting him hard!

That morning, Oyinkansola had refused to give him food. Morakinyo had left the house around six to Shaki. Akinlolu had waited till around ten before walking up to ask her for food.

“So your mother did not teach you how to fast ehn?… We fast here every other day okay?” Akinlolu could not believe his ears. A few moments ago, he heard the clanging sound of spoon and plates from inside her room. He was sure the woman was eating.

Akinlolu did not say a word, he simply walked out of the house towards the baobab tree where some of the children were already gathering. He bought some groundnuts on the way and ate as he strolled towards the tree.

His mother had given him the newly introduced twenty naira note, though she never believed he would need it for any reason.

“The story I want to tell you now is that of Samson and Delilah … One day there was a man named Samson …”

He had just started the story when a loud voice intruded from the opposite direction; it was the voice of a middle aged woman. Apparently, her children had run away from the house to the baobab tree. She carried a long cane.

“These stubborn children! Truants! You these wicked children of the angry gods!” She cursed loudly. The two boys tried to run but stopped, they were sure their mother will catch up with them even if they try to run.

One after the other, the woman grabbed them using their ears and led them away.

That sent shivers down the spine of the other children… soon their mothers will be coming to pick them with canes, moreover the sun was already up, it was time for lunch.

One after another, the children started leaving the baobab tree as if by a joint consensus until Akinlolu was left with only two children.

“Let’s go home” Will you come tomorrow?” One of the two remaining children asked. “l don’t know, my brother is coming to take me back to Ibadan. I don’t know when he will come” Akinlolu explained soberly. He was trying hard to suppress tears.

“Please try and come O” The other child pleaded.

Several thoughts raced through Akinlolu mind as he strolled back towards the house… what if his uncle has not arrived? Then no food will be served…Though he had fasted before, but he breaks at midday, moreover he was not prepared to fast.

He strolled slowly towards the house praying that Lanre, his brother would arrive latest the next day to return him to Ibadan. He was enjoying the stay at the village except for the hostility of his uncle’s wife.

“Where are you coming from?” Oyinkansola was already waiting at the door, her eyes sparkling with anger and hatred. Over the night, she had tried to harm the boy but one of Greatone’s assistants was standing there; his shining sword drawn across the boy’s head. She had quickly retreated to her room.

“I went to play under the baobab tree” Akinlolu replied almost stammering. Oyinkansola had planted fear in his heart, her eyes were scaring.

“Go inside and eat your food” She said “Tell your Uncle I‘ve gone to the other village”

The words came like a miracle; at last God had answered his prayer. The woman had finally decided to have mercy on him and give him food. He quickly ran towards the kitchen to pick the food. He silently prayed hoping the woman was not deceiving. He got to the kitchen and looked around. He did not see anything; he looked under the standing stove. It was not there!

He bent and looked under the table; there was no food there. He turned around and left dejectedly. Why did she raise his hope? He had already accepted his fate that food will not come until his uncle return from Shaki.

Tears rolled down his cheeks; he felt like cursing the woman, but his mother had taught him never to curse no matter the circumstances.

He walked slowly towards his room. He would simply lie down sleep and wait for his uncle to return. Dejectedly, he entered the room and went straight to the bed…then he saw it!

Carefully placed beside his bed was a stool and on top of it was the food! Akinlolu sighed heavily and smiled. At last!
“But why did she put my food here?” He asked himself. He couldn’t wait to find an answer. Whatever be the reason why she had put the food inside his room, the hunger was biting him too hard now. He quickly opened the food, it was cold rice. Akinlolu stopped to imagine how wicked the woman had been.

The rice was cold and she could not even help him to make it warm, a fat piece meat was on the mountain of rice. He wondered why the mixture of generosity and wickedness.

Oyinkansola had never served him that much before and it was the biggest meat she had given him. Akinlolu picked the spoon and got ready to start eating. Just then, he remembered he had not prayed.

He closed his eyes and prayed. His mother would not hear of anyone eating without praying, she would bless anything before eating or drinking; even water!

What happened next was more like a dream or fairy tale to Akinlolu. It happened in quick succession; too fast for the young brain to comprehend. The food suddenly became warm, then hot and steaming. The steam soon gave way to smoke bellowing angrily out of the food.

He quickly dropped the spoon and pushed back with the chair violently, falling with it in the process. He quickly stood up and dashed out of the house, too scared to even shout, the hunger quickly disappeared.

Several times, he tried to imagine if what happened was a dream or not. Smoke inside food! He could not understand what it meant. He simply knew something was wrong and he should not eat a smoke-infested food! He still had seventeen naira remaining with him.

He strolled across the road to buy groundnut cakes; he sat near a shed across the road and ate silently; glancing carefully towards the house to see when his uncle arrives. A big orange tree sat majestically a few meters from the house. Morakinyo had warned him not to go near the orange tree again. He strolled carefully toward the tree and picked a stick. His first two attempts yielded no return. He tried again and plucked one orange. Encouraged, he picked the stick again and made to pluck another. He stiffened with fear suddenly as he heard his Uncle’s voice.

Morakinyo had spotted him from afar!!!

He had returned through another route. He had stopped over at the palace on his way from Shaki. He took a shortcut route and came out directly behind the orange tree!

“Akinlolu ! …I said what you are you doing here?” Morakinyo barked at him again. “Did I not tell you never to get near this orange tree again?” He pulled his ear and dragged him towards the house; he picked a cane near the tree and lifted it.

“Stretch out your hand, I’ll give you six strokes of the cane today” Akinlolu was already crying.

“Uncle please…. Uncle…” He pleaded. Morakinyo was moved with compassion for the young lad. He dropped the cane and led him into the house. Oyinkansola was just arriving at the same time.

“Why did you go there to pluck oranges? Were you not given food to eat?” Morakinyo barked again.

“I…. I….was given… but, but… but I saw smoke inside the food” Akinlolu stammered with fear written all over him.

“Smoke? Inside your food!” Morakinyo was both alarmed and amused. He was sure the boy was saying some stupid things; he wondered what prank he was up to.

“What is going on here?” Oyinkansola spoke. “Where did he say he saw smoke?” She moved closer and climbed the pavement.

“I met him plucking oranges and asked if he was not given food” Morakinyo explained.

“Hen, hen….were you not given food?” Oyinkansola asked, anger written all over her face.

“I saw smoke there!” said Akinlolu.

“Will you shut your dirty mouth … How did smoke get into your food?” Oyinkansola shouted. “Wait, let me show you the food with smoke!”

She dashed inside quickly and hurriedly packed the remnants of the burnt rice and the plate through the window. She dashed through the adjoining door to the kitchen and brought a substitute plate containing food and came out.

Morakinyo was still outside with Akinlolu, threatening to beat him now if the allegation was not true.

“See, Dear this is the food he said he saw smoke inside… This liar of a boy” Oyinkansola said “So where’s the smoke now?”

Akinlolu looked closely for traces of the smoke … He looked again and saw the plate had changed “Uncle this is not the same… “

“Shut your dirty mouth!” Oyinkansola barked.
“Now Akinlolu, stop playing pranks, take the food, go inside and eat … Okay!” Morakinyo ordered. Reluctantly, the boy took the food from Oyinkansola and went inside.

“Dear, I’m getting tired of this your nephew” Oyinkansola started as soon as Akinlolu entered. “His troubles are getting out of hand. He spent the whole of today under the baobab tree; moreover, he bed-wets. There is a terrible odour all over the house now…I wish he’ll return to his parents on time”

“I’m sorry for the inconveniences. He’ll soon return to Ibadan. The arrangement I made with my Sister is to have his brother; Lanre come to pick him as soon as he returns from the campus” Morakinyo tried to placate his already angered wife. Morakinyo had never seen her angry like that.

“Whose brother?” asked Oyinkansola. Morakinyo’s explanation sent a cold shiver through her spine.

“Akinlolu’s brother; Lanre. He’s a 400 level student at the University of Ife” Morakinyo was completely ignorant of the confusion and fear his explanation was setting in his wife.

“Lanre?….in the University of Ife?” Oyinkansola asked. For the first time, it dawned on her that Lanre Durotoye was Morakinyo’s nephew. She knows Morakinyo’s Sister bears Mrs. Durotoye, she never struck a relationship between her and the Lanre she had met on the campus.

“Yes, or do you know him?” Morakinyo asked, completely ignorant of the thoughts going through his wife’s heart.

Oyinkansola’s heartbeat’s increased rapidly. “Em…What did you say?” She asked.
Morakinyo’s question had caught her by surprise. Did he know what she was thinking about? Her fears increased. The tables were turning! She wondered why none of Sapientia and Scorpia had been able to find out that Lanre was Morakinyo’s nephew, her fear mixed with anger.

“Oh…not…really…em…I was just wondering that your sister has got a son that old….God has really blessed her” She stammered and managed to force a smile.

“Oh yes… she’s blessed, Lanre is currently the President of the University’s Student Union. He might even come here with the SUG’s vehicle, who knows”

Oyinkansola’s mind quickly raced back to the night Lanre took her to Hotel de Pleasure with the Students’ Union car! The tables were really turning. Ever since Powerone intruded and attacked the marine agents’ right inside the Palace of the Queen, Hagatha had not ventured going near the campus again.

She knew Lanre would open up and tell the whole campus what transpired between them. Mysteriously, Betty Campbell had disappeared from the campus. Lanre visited her room but all her belongings were gone!

Several enquiries were made from her friends and not one person seemed to have any idea about where she lived off campus. Lanre tried checking through the list of students’ names and addresses at the Department of International Relations where Betty had mentioned as her course of study; the name Betty Campbell did not appear!

That night, the Queen of the Coast herself visited Princess Hagatha. Ever since the return of Greatone and his two assistants, Oyinkansola could not leave her body for the normal astral travel to the palace.