Iheoma episode 4 – 6

IHEOMA💐

EP4

I woke up the next morning before the sunrise to join Nne in the morning prayers, but found that there was no one in the hut that Housed our Chi. It crossed my mind as unusual, as Mama was always awake long before I did. I brushed the thought aside, saying it was probably old age making the poor woman too weak to wake up as early as she normally did.
I hurried to Nne’s room to wake her, as I knew she would feel bad if she missed throwing libations to Olisa even for one day. I stood at the door and stared around, but the sight that met me when I looked at Nne’s bed was one that registered shock into my mind.
There, lying raggedly on the mud floor, with her wrapper barely concealing her torso was Nne. Her eyes were wide open, as though she was drying to look through me, but the pained expression on her face, and the strained nerves in her neck told me something was wrong. I walked over slowly while hoping against all hopes that I was wrong. A touch of her ice cold skin told the entire story. The only mother I had ever known was gone.

I didn’t know when the screams left my mouth, but soon our entire compound was filled with Men and women. The men gathered in small groups to discuss how the body would be buried, while most of the women stood in small groups, shedding tears and stamping their feets on the ground. Emeka sat under an umbrella tree, gently poking at an anthill. He hadn’t said a word to me that morning. He had simply sat there all day watching the men and women.

A group of 3 women , “Osa Ozu” (Corpse washers) soon arrived. The hub in the compound died as they hurried into the hut with a keg of water to wash Nne’s corpse. I simply sat at a corner, watching the entire scenario. After half an hour, the women walked out, with a bucket of white water. They all walked towards me, each staring straight into my eyes. The crowd was silent.

” Did you Kill Ezinne?,” the oldest asked me.
My mouth dropped open in surprise…

IHEOMA💐

🌿EP 5🌿

“Did you kill Nne?”

Surprise and shock ran through my mind, and my mouth involuntarily dropped open. I shook my head in the negative.

“Answer with your words Iheoma. Did you kill Ezinne?,” she asked again in a louder voice.
“No, I loved her as I would’ve loved my mother if I knew her,” I answered with tears streaming down my face.
The woman came closer to me and said in a whisper.
“I believe you. I was a friend of Ezinne, and I know you are not the evil child our people believe you to be. The entire village believes you know something about this death. They are afraid of you and the ill-luck that seems to trail you. Iheoma. Iheoma, some people will try to kill you if you stay in this village. Run from here.”
As the women left the compound, the murmurings from the crowd rose again. I turned and found Emeka staring at me now. A little smile made the corner of his dark lips rise slightly. He was sitting under a palm tree in the compound, surrounded by young men of his age, each patting his back and muttering words of consolation to him. He continued staring at me, and after a while excused himself from the group of young men and began to make his way towards me.
As he got to where I stood, he bent towards me, and whispered into my ear,
“They’ll kill you.”

I stared at him, surprised at what he had just said.
“What?” I managed to ask.
A sinister smile spread across his face
“This people don’t like you. They believe you are a bad omen for them, and trust me they’ll find a way to use my Grandma’s death to kill you.”
Before I could say anything, he turned and began to walk away. He stopped halfway, stretched his hand toward me, and staring into my eyes he said,
“I can save you. Leave this village and come to the city with me.”

Nne’s last words to me ringed loud in my ear.
“Whatever you do, you can’t trust Emeka…”

As I stared at his outstretched hand, a question rang in my mind,

“Should I go with him?..”

💐IHEOMA💐

EP 6🌿

I sat in Nne’s room, staring at her body where it lay. According to the traditions of our land, she would be buried the next day. The peaceful look on her face made her seem asleep, and as though she could wake up any moment to ask me why I was sitting alone in the room with tears flowing down my face, but I knew it would never happen.
I remembered Emeka’s offer to take me out of the village, and save me from possible death that could befall me if I stayed. Nne’s words still rang strong in my ears though,
“…No matter what you do, don’t trust Emeka.”
A noise came from the backyard, as some of Mama’s chickens began to cluck loudly. I say quiet for a while, listening to see if I would understand what the noise was about. After a while, the birds began to cluck even louder now. I heard the sound of the Obi where Emeka had been sleeping open. I rushed out, and found him standing at the door to the Obi, staring at the small road that led to the backyard.
“What made that noise?” He queried as soon as he saw me.
Something told me to tell him a lie, and before I knew it I did it.
“It’s probably the Wildcat that disturbs them sometimes. You can go back inside, and rest.”
He shrugged, and went back into the Obi. I watched for a while, hoping he had gone to bed, before I went to the backyard to see what had been there.
A strong male hand grabbed me into the dark, covering my mouth with his palms. As I tried to scream louder, he clamped down harder on my mouth, forcing me to wonder,

“Is this the man the villagers sent to kill me?Is this the day I die?…”

TBC

#justicenike

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