It’s been two market days since Orie died and her mother would not stop crying. An unusual silence lay in my father’s compound, it had been like this since the last group of women came to clear the outer yard following the funeral. I tried in my little ways to console Nne Orieoma, I cooked and cleaned just like Orie did for her. “Nne o ga adicha mma” (it would be alright) I would say to her each time our eyes met. Even though I wasn’t sure.
Who was Nnedi and why had she killed my sister? Who would be next? I needed answers as I thought aloud sitting by myself under the ‘ube’ (pear) tree. As if she heard my silent questions, she crawled to my side and took her place beside me. She looked harmless, carried with her the air of an angel, her voice ever soothing each time she spoke. “Nwaka nne, did you not feel neglected when ‘nna gi’ (your father) refused Dimkpa your hand in marriage but instead proposed to give him Orieoma? Will you not be with Dimkpa now that Orie is gone? Had your father not praised her when it was you who prepared the ofe onugbu? (bitter leaf soup) Seeing how much hurt you endured, I fought your fight Nwaka, to give you a place in your father’s heart” With those words she vanished. As always. It was true, my father loved Orie more than he loved me, I had tried everything to make him happy and fill Orie’s place after her death but he didn’t seem to notice. I was hurting, and it was deep.
This was too much for me, I desperately wanted to tell someone. Was I wrong to have admired an eju I saw on my way? Was it wrong to look upon the beauty of Chukwu’s (God) works? Who would believe that I shared my bed with an evil snail night after night? Nnedi said I was to tell no one. Would she kill me if I did? I only had to tell to know.
The entire village gathered in our compound, an evil thing had happened. I sat beside my father’s corpse, his blood still fresh on my palms. How long would I alone bear the truths to the deaths in my father’s house? Why was she fighting for me? I had suffered rejection, yes, but I endured. I glanced at Nne as she lay lifeless beside Nna m. She too had neglected me many times but I never complained. Now I must tell, I must tell of Nnedi the snail before anyone found out the truth.
I fought back tears as I came to the end of narrating the last few months to Nda Angelina, my mother’s best friend. I only hope she believes. Oh she better does. No one must know that it was I who killed Orie and now my parents.