Thursday, 18 January 2018


It was like the blinking of an eye, only that in this case it was delayed by a few fractions of seconds. When her eyelids flicked open from death, Nneoma found herself in a large assembly of spirits. The scene was a grandiose, aquatic palace, decorated with gold. Before her were thrones on which were terrifying spirits. The visage of their faces spoke of death, hell and horror. In contrast to the monsters on those thrones, the drops of water to the gold floor looked like gold themselves. For reasons beyond her Nneoma wanted to stick out her tongue and taste the droplets of water cascading from the gold roof of the palatial abode. Within her a loud voice barked, “Don’t do that Nneoma!” She shook and looked around in dismay.
The voice was that of her dead husband, Olekanma. She peered hard and long at the assembly of evil spirits in the palace, searching for a glimpse of her husband, but there was no sign of him amongst them. Nneoma was struck with dread when she saw a tall spirit clad in a filthy, torn, black garment dragging itself into the palace. The pungent stench from his garment almost choked breath out of her longs. Nneoma inched a few steps backward when she recognized who the spirit was. It was Eleke, the spirit which took her husband’s heart and had been hunting her children. “Who disturbs meeee?!” Eleke yawned. From his wide and monstrous mouth, tiny creatures of inconceivable nature flew out, dropping oily, black, smudge with smelt like the creature from whose mouth they crept out.
Then the reality of where was hit home. “I am in a court. A court of the spirits. My case against Eleke will be judged here. The spirits in Nwete heard me; they heard my plea. I am not dead. Am not dead. It is a court session,” Nneoma though to herself. “Why have I been summoned from the depts. of hell?!” Eleke bellowed. When he spoke, it was as if the palace shook from the ground to the roof top. One of the spirits sitting on a throne leaned forward, pointed its fetid fingers at Nneoma and said, “She!” Eleke turned toward her with the swiftness achievable only by spirits, and beamed his demonic eyes at her. His eyes lit up with red flames and he shot forward reaching for Nneoma’s neck. When Eleke got angry, his shadow cast over the entire palace and made it look like one of his cells in hell. “Don’t Eleke nti oba!” demanded a mighty voice. Eleke almost immediately pulled back his hands and his shadow over the palace vanished. “She is mine!” Eleke roared. “She has accusations against you! Speak up human!” the mighty voice thundered. Nneoma felt an invisible force pull her to her feet. Her feet, hands and lips shook violently.
“I…I… am Nneoma Uruaku, a descendant of Ofeke…” Like an explosion, the gold light in the palace went out and the whole palace shook terribly. All Nneoma could see in the darkness were big bulging eyes, blinking in ways that made her heart seem like it would shut down. In her ears demonic voices whispered, “Ofeke! Ofeke! Ofeke the c-u-r-s-e-d! She is a seed of the c-u-r-s-e-d!” All around her, every lip seemed to drag the word ‘cursed’. “Yes!!! I am a descendant of Ofeke, but you have to hear my case!” Nneoma yelled. The gold light came back on. Eleke was looking very angry by now. Nneoma made effort to avoid his gaze and continued her story, “My only sin is the curse placed on my ancestor, Ofeke. I am a woman of good heart and pure love. Look into my life and you shall see no greed or wickedness!” “Shut up human! You married from amongst the pure blood. You refused the clay pot when it was your turn to embrace it and bolted away from amongst your people!” Eleke shot at her. “How much blood Eleke! How much blood will it take before the sin of my ancestor is wiped away?!! Was I not born free like every other girl child? Should I not live free of the sin of my ancestor? Why must my life be placed under the curse of the clay pot and tormented all the days of my fleeting life? Let it be known to this court this day that Eleke has embraced my b---m part in the form of a man…” A surreal wave of silence swept through the court. For once Nneoma saw Eleke show signs of fear. He looked about in fear and retreated toward the exit door. All demonic eyes in the court were fixed on him. Nneoma could see her chance to finish off the enemy of her people, so she took it. “If devouring, with insatiable lust, my body for the pleasure it offered him was all he had done, I might have kept my lips sealed…” The spirits turned their gaze back on Nneoma in expectation for more revelations.
“…he broke the sixth yam of our secret with him to keep I and my husband indebted to him! He accepted the blood of the cow we gave him and after all these, he still executed the judgement of the curse of Ofeke against my husband, Olekanma…” she began to sob. “…by night, exactly a year and seven weeks ago, Eleke came and took my husband’s heart while he slept…” “Fool! A fool! That is what you are! I fooled you and your husband to get what I wanted. On the day that curse was placed on Ofeke, did not the spirit lords decree that the sin of Ofeke shall never be atoned for or ever forgiven? Take this filth to hell. I Eleke has done no wrong!” At his words, shadows emerged from the thin air and grabbed Nneoma, pulling her away from the court. “No! No!! You cannot let this happen spirits who rule over men! Eleke has committed the same sins as Ofeke, he must be punished! No! No!!! Don’t let my soul go into the pit like this! Please! Please spirit lords! Please!!!” Nneoma continued to plead as the shadows dragged her deeper into the chambers of hell. There was no word heard in the court except the pleas from the fading voice of the only human amongst them – Nneoma Uruaku.


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