THE IGBO SORCERESS – Episode 5
Back at mama Daniel’s house, an ominous wind crashed against her building. Thank God, it was a strong brick building, had it not been, surely the house would have crashed upon the woman. As the house shook down to its foundation as though a giant being was trying to pull it up from the ground with both hands, mama Daniel began to pray. Mid-way her prayer, she raised ‘the chant of justice’. The chant of justice was a ballad composed by the forebears of the people of Lokpanta, and is even till this day known in Lokpaukwu. The chant eulogized opete and its awesome power, enjoining it to rise with its famed strength and save the oppressed. It would be hard to find someone else who could chant the song accurately in the manner mama Daniel did. Her knowledge of the old ways often left many stunned and wondering who she really was and how in spite of the years she spent in Lagos, happened to know more about her people and tradition than most. Done running and afraid of what the sorceress might do to her, she crept out from under her bed and took a stand, her eyes darting about. Quickly she dashed into her kitchen and returned with her pestle. She gyrated about still chanting – an obvious attempt to keep herself from yielding to fear. Raising the pestle, she spoke in riddles, “The sheep said though he does not know how to dance, but when the drummer boy comes to play his beats at his father’s house, he will dance to the beat in the way and manner he can! The crab which swam seven rivers and mighty oceans often end up in the old woman’s soup pot. Be warned, wicked one!” Done sounding warning to the sorceress, she began to sing the words of the chant of justice again. A round of turbulent windy waves hit the house once more making mama Daniel’s heart to leap in fear. Afraid the sorceress was going too far, she commanded by opete, “The power of the plant of justice resides in my mouth, by it I command you evil wind, lose your wings of violence and trouble me no more!” An immediate peace ensued at her command. Encouraged by the result she got, she ran around her house insanely speaking proverbs, “The stubborn locust which challenges a chicken to a fight ends up in the land of the spirits. If the snake does not show its venom, children will use it to tie firewood… don’t push me too far evil one, I have more from where that came!” Then the familiar voice of the sorceress spoke to her, “Who are you woman?! You hide behind your new religion and yet you are a follower of the old ways! Look, your little boy whom you sent to fetch the plant is running back into the village…!” At the words of the sorceress, an image appeared on the wall showing Daniel chasing after one of the beasts, heading back into the village. “No, Daniel, it is a trap! Turn back and go for opete!” Mama Daniel cried out in fear. “Hahahahaha! It was easy to deceive him! He is a Lagos fool indeed!” the sorceress gloated. “My son is no fool sorceress!” “If he was no fool, how would you then describe his current action?” “Daniel return! Return!” mama Daniel shouted desperately to no avail. “Lagos woman, I have cut off your voice from reaching him. I will kill him while you watch; and when am done with him, I will cut your body to pieces and feed them to the wild beasts!” “Don’t gloat too soon evil one, don’t forget the adage which says, ‘there is nothing lacking in a native doctor’s bag’. I have no intentions to reach deep into the old ways I have forsaken, but since you have asked for it, here it is sorceress!” mama Daniel shouted; spitting on her right palm a few times, she slapped it on the bare floor and yelled, “Daniel Ekwedike, turn around and make a run for the opete leaves!” At her words, Daniel stopped chasing after the beast who had taken multiple machete cuts from him. He looked around wondering where his mother’s voice had come from. Turning his back on the beast, he bolted off in the direction of the farmlands. “That is not possible woman!” the sorceress shouted in amazement. “Who did you say you are, Lagos woman?” she asked. “Hahahahaha!” Mama Daniel guffawed, strutting around her bedroom like a peacock. “Having asked who I am, I will be glad to tell you, sorceress. I am Agatha Ekwedike, a descendant of mazi Ekwedike! The old bloodline has not been broken!” “No! No!! No!!! This is not possible” the sorceress shouted. “It is not only possible, evil one; it is standing right in front of you! I and my son will finish what our ancestors began many years ago! Lokpanta has new beliefs and new ways now. Churches which brought us good news have replaced the old evil shrines which drank the blood of the innocent and kept power in the hands of the wicked! There is no more room for you and your kind in Lokpanta! I command you servant of the devil, leave Lokpanta before I get angry!” The sorceress appeared in her full body before mama Daniel, making her shrank back cautiously. Raising her hands, a violent ball of wind hit mama Daniel on the head, she crashed to the floor muttering some words. As blood pooled from her head, white, misty bubbles circled her. The sorceress turned around swiftly and vanished from the room. Having been made aware of what she was up against, the sorceress summoned the cow to join her as she headed for the farmlands. “Mommy the beast is gone,” Ifeoma whispered to her mother. “How do you know that…? Oh! You saw it, right?” Ngozika asked. Ifeoma nodded. “So what do you suggest we do now?” asked Ngozika. “Let us go back to the living room, brother Kenneth needs to know the beast is gone.” “Okay.” Ngozika took her children back to the living room. Kenneth didn’t like the manner in which they pushed open the door of the bedroom, it made a little noise and rattled him. “Don’t draw the beast in,” he whispered. “The beast is gone, but someone is in trouble,” Ifeoma said, sounding worried. “What are you talking about? Not just someone, the whole of Lokpanta is in trouble!” Kenneth barked. “The helpers we have right now are in trouble, we need to go assist them…” “Shut up Ifeoma! No one is going outside! I will never open this door! Only the Lord Jesus can make me open it! Now, listen to me, I am done letting you boss everyone around here with your visions. I am your mother, what I say is what we will do!” Ngozika yelled at her daughter. “If we don’t open the door and help, it will not be over, mommy,” Ifeoma pleaded. “Shut up Ifeoma! If you are going to suggest I go out and help, you better not do it. Something is out there eating people and I am not going to let myself get eaten!” Kenneth warned. “Okay, I have heard you. Can you please let me go out and help then?” “Tawam!!!” A slap from her mother almost bent her neck. “I can tell the sorceress has taken over your mind and is now speaking through you! If you speak one more word about going outside, I will kill you myself!” Much to her dismay, Ifeoma did not cry. She took the sting of the slap like an adult and asked, “Okay, if no one is going outside, can we at least pray?” “Yes we can, so long as it does not involve going outside,” said Kenneth. And so they began to pray. Ifeoma could see a woman lying on the floor of her room, bleeding to death. She could also see that the roles she would play in the current situation in Lokpanta would be very crucial in sacking the sorceress and destroying her cow. “Stop the bleeding and heal her oh God!” Ifeoma prayed with tears in her eyes. Seeing the manner in which she prayed, Kenneth and Ngozika began to repeat her words as they prayed. Against all odds, Uju and the little boy on her back made it to the edge of the farmlands before they were cornered by the two beasts. She had no machete to fight, and even if she did, from what she had seen when Daniel attacked one of the beast at the town hall, a machete would be useless to her. “What do we do now?” the little boy asked with trembling voice. “I don’t know… Maybe we should speak to it like Daniel did.” “Leave us alone!!!” the l
ittle boy shrilled. The two beasts stood still at his words, staring at them emptily like zombies. “It worked! It worked!!” Uju observed with excitement. Moving away from behind the palm tree where they crouched, she made a dash for the farmlands which lay ahead of her. From where they were, she could see fresh leaves of opete, swinging gently to the touch of the wind. From above them, that same violent wind swooped down, grabbed Uju by her feet and slammed both her and the boy on her back on the ground. Uju coughed twice, spewing out blood before she lay still. The boy did not move even a limb when they hit the ground.