Ours was a peaceful village and unlike the neighboring villages, we hardly went to war. It was always one festival or the other. Life was easy, everyone was everyone's eye, and no one would betray another. We were void of evil, in thoughts and in deeds.
On a fateful Eke day, as I strolled behind my mother and Nda Angelina with a basket of 'icheku' on my head heading to the Atta market, my eyes caught a beautiful snail on a fresh 'ede' (cocoyam) plant.....this was the day everything changed in Uzoagba. I had seen evil.
That night I barely slept, something had definitely gone wrong. We ate eju (snail) at home; it was in fact 'our' native food, why was seeing one causing me so much restlessness??. I shut my eyes to sleep and I saw the snail creep into my hut and unto my bamboo bed! Before I could wake up from this strangeness, a young girl my age was sitting on my bed, where the snail sat and the snail was gone! I made to scream but my tongue felt tied. It began to rain heavily, and the lightening struck across my hut, casting a glow on her face, her eyes were bright and her skin lighter than mine. When I heard Onyema's voice outside, I knew I was no longer asleep. This was real, I had a guest.
By now I was shaking, I could feel my bed creak under me, and for the first time, she spoke “you will be my friend and will never speak a word of me to anyone, call me Nnedi”. I nodded in fear as she moved closer to where I lay cuddled up and touched my face. Her hands were warm and tender, I was tempted to hold them there on my face but I shuddered and moved away. She was gone. The cry of Orieoma’s mother brought me back to consciousness. I raced out of my hut to see what was wrong. I stood glued in front of the thatch hut Orie shared with her mother as I watched my brothers Onyema and Ikem carry out the lifeless body of my half sister, my only sister. Someone tapped me, I knew that touch, I knew that warm hand, and there she was, wearing Orie’s clothes. “you wont be lonely Nwaka, I’ll be near, always”
TO BE CONTINUED…….