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[av_heading heading=’IF WITCHES WERE HORSES … Episode 7&8 – Kolade Segun Okeowo’ tag=’h1′ style=’blockquote modern-quote modern-centered’ subheading_active=” show_icon=” icon=’ue800′ font=’entypo-fontello’ size=” av-desktop-font-size-title=” av-medium-font-size-title=” av-small-font-size-title=” av-mini-font-size-title=” subheading_size=” av-desktop-font-size=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” icon_size=” av-desktop-font-size-1=” av-medium-font-size-1=” av-small-font-size-1=” av-mini-font-size-1=” color=” custom_font=” subheading_color=” seperator_color=” icon_color=” margin=” margin_sync=’true’ av-desktop-margin=” av-desktop-margin_sync=’true’ av-medium-margin=” av-medium-margin_sync=’true’ av-small-margin=” av-small-margin_sync=’true’ av-mini-margin=” av-mini-margin_sync=’true’ headline_padding=” headline_padding_sync=’true’ av-desktop-headline_padding=” av-desktop-headline_padding_sync=’true’ av-medium-headline_padding=” av-medium-headline_padding_sync=’true’ av-small-headline_padding=” av-small-headline_padding_sync=’true’ av-mini-headline_padding=” av-mini-headline_padding_sync=’true’ padding=’10’ av-desktop-padding=” av-medium-padding=” av-small-padding=” av-mini-padding=” icon_padding=’10’ av-desktop-icon_padding=” av-medium-icon_padding=” av-small-icon_padding=” av-mini-icon_padding=” link=” link_target=” id=” custom_class=” template_class=” av_uid=’av-liipsodw’ sc_version=’1.0′ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]
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IF WITCHES WERE HORSES… Episode 7
Gbayike cut in “No problem, I understand.” She really did ‘understand’. Morakinyo was not the kind of man she will resist his visit. After praying for about two years hoping to get a brother to propose marriage to her, it was only right for her to welcome a man like Morakinyo; only God knows what he came for.
“I hope you won’t mind a cup of tea?”
“Ah please, don’t bother giving me anything. I’m okay, thanks so much.”
“I’ve come to discuss something very important with you. I wish we’ll round it up fast so that I can leave on time. I have a lecture with my students at ten and this is nine-fifteen besides, I can see you’re preparing to go out.”
“I’m not really in a hurry” She said it before realizing the implications.
‘Am I offering myself?’
“I mean to finish up my ironing before going out” She quickly said trying to prove she is not too free. “Just a minute” She stood to disconnect the pressing iron from the power source.
Morakinyo quickly used that opportunity to study the sitting-room. He was looking for signs of any form of a relationship with any man. He looked at the pictures on the wall and the shelf, there was none ‘incriminating’. She returned.
“Yes Bro. Morakinyo I’m all ears.” She was indeed all ears. She was almost sure he came to propose; what else could he have come to say? They were no longer in the same sub-group. No prior discussion, no former arrangement or talks. She prayed silently, her heart beating fast; that Morakinyo would make a proposal.
“I don’t want to mince words,” he started, damning all consequences. He had said to himself before leaving the house ‘if she will say no, let her say no! That’s the worst.”
“For some days now, the Lord has been ministering to me concerning you”
‘I said it, thank you Jesus’… “Concerning me?” She said putting on an almost too serious look while trying to suppress her joy. She wished he would go straight to the point. ‘I hope this is real’
“The Lord is making me to understand that He wants to assign me and you to a particular mission work”
‘Oh no, not again, mission work?’
“What kind of mission work? In the church?”
‘I’m not interested in any mission work, I’m doing enough already all I want now is my own partner’. Gbayike had prayed long for a partner. Fear was beginning to creep into her. Though she was just twenty-six, she had become skeptical. She had two older sisters who married quite late. That was the genesis of her fears; she hoped her case would be a difference.
“Not in the church” Morakinyo continued “The way the Lord has being ministering to me, the mission looks like a village outreach”
‘Village outreach?’ Gbayike’s countenance changed. ‘So that is why he came to waste my time, village outreach? No way!’
“But why is it that the Lord wants to use you and myself for this assignment, why not another person or some brothers in the church?”
Gbayike could not hide her anger. She had given up the thought of a proposal coming from Morakinyo. She knew he was the Director of Evangelism and Outreach; he had on a couple of occasions gone with the evangelism team to some villages for a weekend or more. Morakinyo was known to have called upon some sisters on different occasions to go into harlot joints and brothels to preach the gospel.
‘So he thinks am his next evangelism Aide de Camp! No way, I’m not interested’
“Sister Gbayike, don’t you understand? What I mean is that the mission God has placed in my hands is so big and it is my desire that you should be of assistance to me”
‘I see, he’s trying to raise funds’
“Be of assistance? Please explain better. Are you referring to financial support and contributions?”
Financial contribution for a mission work was not going to be a problem for Gbayike. She earns a good salary as a teacher in a high profile private international school where she works. Her monthly income would make a good offering to any of the sub-groups in the church.
“I am not referring to financial support of any kind.” Her heart missed a beat. “What I mean is simply that I sincerely love you, I have prayed about it and wish that you’ll become my wife”
Morakinyo could not believe the words could flow out so freely like that. He had spent hours trying to construct that single sentence. He memorized it while driving to Gbayike’s place that morning.
Gbayike stared blankly at him; the anger gave way to confusion. At last the Lord has answered her prayers but…not this way!
“Thank you very much” She said her voice shaking. “This is a serious issue I must confess, my vision does not tally with yours, so I really don’t know what to say. You’ll need to give me some time to pray seriously about it”
“Oh, no problem… but when should I see you for a reply?”
“Ah no! I can’t fix a time. Whenever I’m ready, I’ll simply call you and let you know.”
The tears started flowing immediately Morakinyo left. Gbayike knew she had got more than what she asked for.
“But, why God! Why? Why? Why a missionary! Why village outreach. I never bargained for that, Lord……. No o! I’m not interested! No way!”
“Congratulations Sister Gbayike” a voice from behind interrupted. She turned around to see where the voice came from. She knew it was her flat mate’s but she never knew Wonuola was still in the house. She had told Gbayike earlier in the morning that she will be going out to see some people.
“What Congratulations?” She said quickly using her palm to carefully wipe the stains of tears away.
“Ah! You think I’ve not heard all what he came to discuss with you? I see, you want to play hide and seek with me, you’re not serious.” Wonuola said jokingly sitting beside Gbayike.
Wonuola was always interested in gists. Just a few days ago, she had opened a gossip on couples in courtship in the church with Gbayike. Gbayike remembered Wonuola had said, “What if that brother leading the Evangelism Unit comes to propose to you, what will you say?”
“I’ll fall down flat for him!” Gbayike said as the two of them burst into laughter. But she was no longer sure if she could ‘fall down flat’ for him again.
“Don’t tell me you’ve been eavesdropping” said Gbayike “I thought you said you were going out to see some people? …… Sister Wo-nu-ola…You!” Gbayike pointed a finger at Wonuola in funny accusation.
“I decided not to go again. I never knew I was going to be a witness to this great doing of the Lord” Wonuola said smiling mischievously. “Sister Gbayike, this calls for celebration. Just last week, I prophesied that he would come, and here he comes today! Oh hallelujah!” She spinned her head around, enjoying the joke. “Someone should recommend me as a Prophetess in the church”
“With specialty in courtships and marriages!” Gbayike added jokingly, the two of them burst into a loud laughter.
Gbayike was not really happy but she was grateful for the company of Wonuola. The tears had suddenly given way to smiles and laughter not because she liked the jokes but at least they provided her a temporary comfort. She loved Wonuola so much. You can never have a dull moment with her. Gbayike had invited Wonuola to stay with her in the flat when Wonuola was looking for a job.
Even when Wonuola got one, Gbayike had continued bearing the cost of renting the flat without asking Wonuola for any amount. They both buy the food stuffs but Gbayike spends more. They were really like twin sisters. Most people find it difficult to believe they were not related in any way.
“So what’s all these tears supposed to mean, tears of joy ehn? Or are you saying you don’t want that brother again?” Wonuola asked still in the mood of fun.
“Sister Wonu, on a more serious note, I think the issue has become complicated” Gbayike said, her countenance changed very fast. “I must confess, I like him and wish to have him as my husband. Sincerely, I’ve prayed about him before”
“So what then are you waiting for?” Wonuola asked wearing a puzzled expression. To her, Gbayike was trying to play hard as the habit of most ladies in the church.
“Sister Wonu, the brother said something that scared me” Wonuola drew closer appearing more serious now.
“He said God has called him into a particular assignment which appears to be village outreach” Wonuola’s countenance changed, squeezed her face in disdain. “Sometimes last week, I stumbled on a discussion Pastor was having with Professor Adarabioyo. They were talking about a brother wanting to resign his job on campus to go into the ministry; it just occurred to me today that it’s Bro. Morakinyo”
“Oh my God! Full time!” the words rolled out from Wonuola’s mouth unconsciously, her lips hanged open as she stared wildly at Gbayike.
“You see what I mean, do you think I can ever marry such a man. Suffering and hunger will kill us. I’m sorry; I’m not ready for that at all”
“That’s true! A full time ministry in the village, God forbid! I reject it in Jesus name!”
“Amen!” Shouted Gbayike
“But what are you going to tell him?”
“I’ll simply say I’m not ready”
“Suppose he asks you why?”
“Then I’ll say the Lord has not convinced me”
“But that’s a lie, why not tell him you’re still praying about it”
“That will give him some hope and assurance”
“Then you’ll continue praying until he gets tired and looks elsewhere” said Wonuola gesticulating with her head as if in prayer. They burst out into another round of laughter with tears rolling down their eyes.
Three days later, Morakinyo was ready with his resignation letter. He had taken pains to type out the letter himself. He sat there staring at the letter again and again. He had directed it to the Deputy-Vice Chancellor (Academics) through the Dean Faculty of Technology.
Several thoughts flashed into his mind as he sat there reading the letter again. He looked around and saw his PhD research works and several other papers and research reports he had written over the years.
“So what are you going to do with this collection of books, it took you about ten years to gather all these together, will they become useless?” The thoughts rang out clearly. Morakinyo closed his eyes, pulled the letter out of the printer, signed it and enveloped it. He stood and went straight to the bedroom.
‘I must do whatever I want to do tomorrow’ He thought. ‘I must submit this letter tomorrow unfailingly’
He turned around on the bed again and again trying to get some sleep, but the sleep simply refused to come. He remembered Gbayike again and smiled. He hoped Gbayike would give a positive response.
‘But what if …..’ He stopped. ‘No what ifs tonight, the Lord is in control’
He knelt, prayed and turned off the lights…then, he started gathering firewood on a farm. He sings as he gathers a big bundle. He looked around for a rope to tie the bundle of firewood. He saw a good one and pulled at it but the rope would not give way, he tried again and a sharp thorn pricked his hand, he screamed and turned away from the rope.
He looked around for another one; he saw a thin rope not strong but was easy to pull, he pulled it out and tied the bundle all around. He pulled off his shirt and made it into head-rest. He carried the bundle to his head just then, the rope broke and the bundle scattered….
Then he woke from the dream!
“My goodness, so I’ve been dreaming and it appeared so real” He sat up and looked around for the table clock; he drew it closer and saw it was just five minutes beyond two. “But what kind of dream is this?” He asked himself “Firewood and rope?” He stood up and picked his Bible and read some chapters and slept again.
He had gone to pick his mail from the pigeon-hole when the Secretary to the Head of Department saw him.
“Good morning Sir”
“Ah Madam, good morning how are you today? Morakinyo greeted in his characteristics manner.
“I’m fine Sir and you?”
“Always enjoying the Lord” He said firmly!!!
Everyone in the Department of Engineering Physics knew Morakinyo with that statement. The junior workers always want to greet him to hear him say “Always enjoying the Lord!”
He picked the mails, two white envelopes with one marked ‘Ford Foundation’. He tucked the two into his pocket and headed towards the door, just then the woman called “Ah! Just a minute Sir” He turned back. “I need to share this funny dream I had over the night today with you.” The woman stood and came closer, smiling childishly.
“I saw you in our village, you wore a native dress and you were gathering firewood. You got a large bundle and looked around for a rope to bind it. You tried dragging one rope but it hurt you badly, so you left it and got another”
Morakinyo sighed heavily, his heart was beating faster. ‘This can’t be true!’
“After binding the bundle, you removed your dress and made an head-rest with it.”
‘I must be having another dream’
“As you carried the bundle, the rope broke and the firewood scattered”
‘Oh my God, can this be true?’
“When I woke from the dream, I laughed and laughed, it was such a funny dream”
‘You laughed, you don’t know anything’
“I asked myself what would a Senior Lecturer have to do with gathering firewood in the farm, our village for that matter. So I told myself, I must share the joke with you”
The woman laughed childishly, completely unaware of the impacts of what she was saying on Morakinyo. He was too shocked to know what to say. He simply managed to gather himself together, with an uneasy smile and said “Madam, that was really a funny one… Well you know dreams could be very funny?”
“And foolish sometimes” added the woman.
‘Not this one woman’
“Madam, by the way, what is the name of your village?” Morakinyo was already calculating.
“Onigba-Iwofa Sir… anything?” The woman asked curiously.
“No, nothing serious. I simply want to know the name of your village. You’re fond of talking much about the village. How far is it from here and how do you get there? Who knows I may find myself on a research mission there one of these days” Morakinyo said. He knew the Lord had used the woman to give him vital information he needed urgently; the similarities of the dreams are too real to be simple coincidence. It must be divine!
“Ah! It’s a very far place Sir” The woman said, smiling and holding her palms together childishly. “It’s one of the villages in the extreme part of Oyo State. It’s very close to Kwara State. It’s just about one hour drive from Shaki. From Ibadan, one can get a vehicle to Oyo town and from there……”
She gave all the details. Morakinyo returned to his office beaming all over with smiles, he closed the door and clenched his fist. “That’s it! I’ve got it right…. Onigba-Iwofa village, one hour from Shaki, very close to Kwara State in Oyo State of Nigeria! Beautiful!” He clenched his fist again.“That is exactly where the Lord wants to use me. That is the final confirmation I’ve been waiting for!” He started parking his files into the briefcase on the table.
Just then he remembered the letters in his pocket. He brought them out and opened the one marked ‘Ford Foundation’ and read the contents. His countenance changed, he squeezed his face and bit his lips.
“The Ford Foundation is glad to approve the sum off 16,000 dollars as take off grants for the proposals you submitted. You are to immediately….” He stopped reading, dropped the letter and sat on the table.
‘Sixteen thousand dollars as research grants for the proposal I sent over three years ago. O God! Why is the approval coming at a time like this?”
Then the thoughts rolled in again!!!
‘That’s some big money you know! If you convert that into local currency, it will run into several thousands’
The naira had crashed further in the last month to fifteen naira to a dollar!
‘Sixteen thousand dollars…That’s approximately 240,000 naira. If you collect the money, you can use part of it to do what God has called you to do, that will make the work easier you know….or won’t you use money?’
‘Should I tear this resignation letter now?” He asked himself. His thoughts were ready with the answer ‘Yees! Go on, tear it. Think of this money and other allowances coming your way soon. Do you know that Gbayike may refuse to marry you because of this? Think again.’
IF WITCHES WERE HORSES… Episode 8
‘Sixteen thousand dollars…That’s approximately 240,000 naira. If you collect the money, you can use part of it to do what God has called you to do, that will make the work easier you know….or won’t you use money?’
“Should I tear this resignation letter now?” He asked himself. His thoughts were ready with the answer ‘Yees! Go on, tear it. Think of this money and other allowances coming your way soon. Do you know that Gbayike may refuse to marry you because of this? Think again.’
He sat there thinking about the new development, suddenly, he stood up, picked the letter with ‘Ford Foundation’ and tore it into shreds. He packed the rest of his files and documents into the briefcase. The office was empty now; he had been packing his books gradually in the last one week. He picked the briefcase and made for the door with the resignation letter on the right hand.
At the door, he stopped, turned back and cast a last painful glance at the office he had used for seven years. He opened the door quickly and dashed out.
Chief Priest Ajamolaya-Bi-Eru led the procession of the nine village elders to the feet of the Iroko Oluwere tree at midnight. Folagbade the King followed Ajamolaya-Bi-Eru closely bearing a white calabash in his hands. He was doing it for the first time in seven years. The Chief Priest said the gods asked for the sacrifices to be performed on weekly basis with a special ritual involving human sacrifice to be held annually.
Folagbade hated the idea of human sacrifice but what could he do at a time like this? If it meant that a single person would have to die to save the lives of hundreds, then why not. He had paid some men to kidnap a v!rgin girl from the city. They brought three girls on the instruction of Ajamolaya-Bi-Eru to ensure that at least, one of them would be a true v!rgin.
The first two girls were not v!rgins, only the third was fit for the sacrifice, so they tied and prepared her for the sacrifice. The first two were released after three days of torture, rαpe and maltreatment in the hands of Ajamolaya-Bi-Eru’s men.
When the King saw the young girl caught for the rituals, tears swelled in his eyes. He pitied the parents of the girl. They would be all over the city searching for her, not knowing that their daughter was over a hundred kilometers away from home. He shook his head and turned away from the now-dumb maiden.
That night, as they led the maiden to the feet of the tree where she would be beheaded, Folagbade felt the guilt conscience pricking him continuously. Another man’s child, to save his own people! The voice of the Chief Priest invocations reminded him they were now at the feet of the demon-infested tree, a huge and imposing Iroko with a circumference of about forty feet at the base.
“Oh gods and goddesses of our land” Ajamolaya-Bi-Eru started his strange invocations
“You mighty powers behind our ancestors
We invoke your immortal spirits
No woman defies the cry of her child
We plead in prostration, hearken to our plea
A sick bird is never found in its nest
No one discovers the secret of the ocean
None uncovers the secret of the sea weed
Let our secret remain a mystery to the world
When the dead is called along the pathway,
The living responds
You gods of Onigba-Iwofa, we beseech you
Come and accept our offerings”
He paused after the invocations, looked around to be sure all was well. Satisfied, he continued. “We have brought what you require, a young v!rgin girl, your delight!”
Ajamolaya-Bi-Eru drew out the sword from the sheath attached to his dress and held the young girl now blindfolded. He led her to a stump about ten metres away from the huge tree, assisted by two elders. The girl was tied, hands and foot and forced to kneel with her neck across the stump. The elders stepped back. Folagbade’s heart was beating faster now. He wished he could stop the rituals; but he knew the implications of even suggesting such a thing.
He closed his eyes as Ajamolaya-Bi-Eru raised the sword and brought it down heavily severing the head from the body. Folagbade gnashed his teeth and groaned. It was dark, no one saw him.
‘An innocent girl!’ he thought. He remembered his daughter studying Medicine at the University of Ibadan and shuddered. ‘This could have been my daughter’
The body fell away from the stump while the head rolled violently to another side. Ajamolaya-Bi-Eru picked the head and placed it inside the calabash in Folagbade’s hands. Folagbade closed his eyes. He cursed his luck for being the King of the village. The whole thing was disgusting, the head of a v!rgin in his hands!
The Priest tapped the tree thrice with an object in his hand and stepped back. Then it happened like a dream. Folagbade saw it but could not believe it was happening… but it happened!!!
From inside the tree came out a fearful looking demon. The lower part of its body was the image of a gorilla while the upper part seemed to be half human, half vampire. The monster was completely black. Folagbade stepped back. All the elders bowed in worship, he quickly joined them. Folagbade felt like jumping up and running away but he had heard tales of people who ran from such strange creatures, they kept running till they died! He stole a glance at the creature; there were blood stains all over its mouth.
The demon roared fearfully, its voice reverberating through the night. The King shivered.
Ajamolaya-Bi-Eru rose and took the calabash with the v!rgin’s head and stretched it towards the demon who took the calabash and disappeared back into the tree with another roar. All the elders hailed the demon as they rise with jubilation. Only Folagbade was sad; he wondered what they had to rejoice for after killing another man’s child. He looked at Ajamolaya-Bi-Eru and cursed him under his breath “Bloody Murderer!”
Morakinyo left his house in the University Staff Quarters as early as five-thirty in the morning. He chose not to travel with his car; he was going to Onigba-Iwofa for the first time. The distance and the bad roads do not encourage private transportation. He was just going to have first hand information of what the village looked like before returning to pack his things down.
The church had already promised to take responsibility for his movement and upkeep for the first twelve months in the mission field. The church has always been doing that for her missionaries and others; using the Mission Funds.
As he stepped out of his house that morning; a small traveling bag across his shoulder, he knew he was taking a giant step that would change the course of his life entirely. He closed his eyes and prayed as he stood at the door
“Lord Jesus, I have obeyed your call to go out into the world and evangelize. You called me to be a missionary and here I am ready for you. It’s a painful sacrifice you know Lord, but I consider your sacrifice on the cross more painful. I don’t know where am going but I know you are there. Lord Jesus, I surrender my life into your hands, lead me as it pleases you”
The tears flowed… they flowed freely….. He cried.
By the time he arrived Shaki via Oyo town, it was already one O’clock. The vehicle he took from Ibadan broke down on the road twice. As soon as he alighted from the vehicle, two garage boys approached him seeking to know his destination.
“Oga…… where una dey go?”
“I’m going to Onigba-Iwofa village” Morakinyo replied hoping he was talking to the right people. Garage touts could be mean.
“Onigba-Iwofa village for this time?……. ah oga, you don late o! Na only one vehicle dey go that village efry day. E just commot now, e no reach thirty-minutes.” The first tout, a bulky light skinned boy of about twenty said.
“Na only market day na im motor dey travel that side well well” The second tout explained.
“When is the market day?” Morakinyo asked.
“Yesterday na one, the other one, e go reach four days now” The first tout said.
“Four days!” Morakinyo stood there thinking of what to do; the boys left him and continued their own business. He knew it was not the best thing to return back home. He thought of all the hindrances and temptations he had left at home. He tried to remember if he knew anyone in Shaki, none came to his mind.
“Oga abi you go enter Sepeteri motor?” one of the touts came back.
“Which one is Sepeteri?”
“Na the next big town to Onigba-Iwofa dey answer Sepeteri, you fit get motor there go Onigba-Iwofa.”
“Are you sure?” Morakinyo asked; excited that at least he is getting closer to the target.
“Haba! Oga, I swear, you go get motor there. From Sepeteri to Onigba-Iwofa no reach thirty minutes.”
Morakinyo joined the vehicle going to Sepeteri, an old wooden wagon. He was the last passenger, so he only managed to perch near the door. It was the most uncomfortable journey of his life. He sat beside an old woman with a baby-goat on her laps. The odour from inside the vehicle was great. Morakinyo was grateful to God that he sat close to the door; he poked his head out occasionally to receive fresh air.
That stopped as soon as they left Shaki environs. The rest of the road was un-tarred and heavily dusty; the harmattan was just setting in. The dust entered directly into the vehicle. Morakinyo had to bring out his handkerchief. He appeared clearly the odd man out. The rest of the passengers seemed used to the uncomfortable journey. No one complained about the dust or bad roads; in fact, most of them slept!
They only wake occasionally when the vehicle negotiated a sharp bend causing those on the right row to bump into the passengers on the left or vice-versa, then they shouted on the driver not to break their backs. The journey took three gruesome hours. Three hours that seemed like three days to Morakinyo. By the time the vehicle arrived Sepeteri, it was twenty five minutes after four.
Morakinyo was completely soaked in the dust. His hair had turned brown. He got down from the vehicle and met the greatest surprise of the journey; there was no single vehicle in the garage apart from the one from Shaki. He asked his co-passenger if there was another motor park in the town.
“We have only this one!” She explained.
“Where are you going?” another villager offered to help.
“Ah! Onigba-Iwofa!” The man bit his lips as if in regret “You can only get vehicle to Onigba-Iwofa before seven in the morning……”
“Where are you coming from?” The woman asked.
“Haa!” The two chorused in pity.
“Can’t I trek to the village; I thought it’s not far from here? I haerd its only 30 minutes by road”
“Ha! Onigba-Iwofa? It’s far”
“I can’t advise my enemy to trek to Onigba-Iwofa” The woman said picking her bags, she adjusted one on the head, pulled her little son and left.
“To walk from here to Onigba-Iwofa will take about four hours!”
“Four hours? No problem I’ll go. This is just four thirty, before nine I’ll get there.” Morakinyo said, happy that at least there was a way out. Having spent years in the Evangelism Sub-Group both on the campus and the church, four hours trekking seemed like a child’s play; he wondered why the woman was making hell out of a four hour trek.
‘I thought they said villagers can trek a lot?’ The man smiled and took Morakinyo aside.
“My friend, it is not that the distance is so much, but…The road that leads to the village passes through Alupayida forest!”
“Alupayida forest!” Morakinyo grew goose pimples.
“The forest is terrible and evil. It is full of evil spirits, demons and strange creatures. That is why we don’t dare trek to Onigba-Iwofa village.” The man explained wearing a fearful look. Morakinyo listened attentively.
“Only brave hunters and powerful medicine men can enter the forest. In fact, many of them used to die there or immediately after returning”
“I see” said Morakinyo, he knew the man was sincere, but he was not going to allow fear overcome his plan of getting to Onigba-Iwofa that day. He remembered the prayer he said before leaving his quarters in the morning and wondered if God would allow him to die in the hands of demons and strange spirits.
“If I have to trek to that village today, I’m ready to go; one thing is that I cannot return back home. Can you please give me the description of the route to the village?” The man looked at Morakinyo and pitied him. He shook his head and wondered why anyone would place a curse on a fine young man like Morakinyo. Was he walking under a spell? He quickly gave him the description before anyone would see him discussing with Morakinyo and say he was the one who laid a spell on him. As Morakinyo picked his bag and walked towards the direction, the man turned and shook his head in pity. “His mother must have offended some powerful ones” he thought.
Fadiora carried the goat across his shoulders towards the imposing tree. His first son had been attacked by the epidemic. He had started shivering right in the sun while playing with his mates. Fadiora was not going to risk it again. Two of his children had been claimed by the mysterious epidemic. He quickly rushed to the market, bought a goat and other sacrificial items and made straight for the Iroko Oluwere tree.
The silence around the vicinity was scaring. He stopped, surveyed the surrounding, no one was in sight. He had seen the tree afar off. He moved closer until he got to the base of the tree.
A red-tailed parrot flew low across his head, he jumped, frightened. He looked to and fro quickly and dropped the goat.
“Oganranganjan!” the goat bleated as if responding. He called the name again “You mighty demon in Iroko Oluwere, I, Fadiora the son of Gbonjubo have come with the usual sacrifice of appeasement to save my son; Ilelaboye from dying” He stopped and looked around again; satisfied that no one was watching, he continued “Save my son!” He looked again. “I have brought your black goat, let my sacrifice be accepted!”
With that, he dashed fiercely out from the tree, his cap falling in the process “My cap fell, yet I must not look back” he thought. The Chief Priest had given a warning that no one must look back after offering the sacrifices , and it must be done a jiffy, lest they incur the wrath of Oganranganjan.
A few seconds after Fadiora left, Bombata, one of the most trusted aides of Ajamolaya-Bi-Eru stepped out…He had been hiding behind the imposing tree listening with amusement to Fadiora. That was the twenty-fourth goat he would carry away from the base of the tree. His boss, Ajamolaya-Bi-Eru had specially created a big traditional oven to accommodate the meat from the sacrificial goats. He kept a few others for rearing within his large compound. Bombata smiled again as he untied the goat and lifted it to his shoulder, he saw the fallen cap and kicked it off ‘Fool!’ he thought.
The man who directed Morakinyo was wrong; he said four hours instead of seven hours! The journey to Onigba-Iwofa on foot will take seven hours! Morakinyo trekked for four hours and saw no traces of a village, five hours flew past then seven! He looked at his wrist watch, it was eleven forty-five. He became alarmed! He must have missed his way. Fear gripped him. He blamed himself.
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