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Enjoy.

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“I ga eme ihe m gwara gi?” the old woman said, looking at the woman who sat before her.
Would you do what i told you to?

“Nne ukwu biko! A ga m eme ya!”
Great  Mother please. I’ll do it.

The old woman said nothing, staring eerily at the woman who sat in her coven, twiddling her thumbs nervously.
The old woman laughed.
“I ga emekwa ya nwanyi!” her voice rose an octave.
Woman would you do it!

The woman shuddered at the commanding voice. Her bowels rioted within her. Sweat beaded at her brows.
“E..eye. Nne.” she stammered.
Yes. Mother.

The old woman brought out a pot filled with murky liquid.
“Ngwa tinye aka gi niime!”
Put your hands inside!
Her hands shook as she hesitantly put her hands in.
The liquid turned blood-red.
The covenant was sealed.

——————————————-

“Don’t come in. Don’t come in” Emmanuella muttered to herself as she locked the doors quickly,placing strings of dry herbs underneath.
“Don’t. Don’t…”
She went up, taking the stairs two at a time, chest heaving from exertion and fear and she began shutting every window. She walked quickly, making sure she had not left any entrance open for them to come in. Satisfied, she went down, giving the ground floor the same treatment.
Perspiring profusely, her flimsy night-dress stuck to her body.
“Never. Never” she muttered, maniacal, as she got a wad of paper and tore them into little strips. Her hands shook as she methodically stuffed the keyholes of the entrance door.
“Not now. Not ever. You will not come in.”
She paused and stood, fighting the subtle weariness trying to creep into her.
“…forgetting something…” she rubbed her head as her vision began to dim. She blinked fast, banishing invading sleep.
Suddenly her head whipped up as she remembered.
“The light!”
She went round, switching all lights off, plunging the house into partial darkness.
“…must not attract it…” she whispered.

She lit a small candle for illumination and went back upstairs to check on her daughter, Ocheze. Sleeping peacefully, her pyjamas clad chest rose and fell. With a whispered prayer for their protection, she left her and took up her vigil in the sitting room. Carefully, she placed the candle on  holder.
She could feel it gathering.
“I shall outwit you! Waiting for me to sleep aren’t you? Ha!”
She said these furiously as she paced about.
She pushed the centre table aside and sat cross-legged on the rug. She blew air out of her mouth to her chest, trying to cool off. Slowly she calmed herself with deep steady breaths. Her eyes drooped to a close. She let her mind wander and predictably, it
made its way into the past…

“…….WHAT!”
“I’m sorry Ela! I’m so sorry! Please forgive and understand me…”
“Forgive you?? Understand what mummy! How am I supposed to understand that I’m a child of..of the ‘Moon goddess’? That you promised to put me in her service when I became a real woman? How am I supposed to understand that my life is forfeit because of a stupid oath you broke?? How! After all these years? You’re telling me this now? Before my wedding?? Mama!”
“Ela listen biko…I was desperate! You did not know the kind of abuse I received die to my childless! You don’t..”
“And so you bought me on credit and couldn’t pay back? ? In fact! I would not believe such nonsense!”
“Emmanuella! For your sake please do this! Even if you do not believe please just take this precaution. Nwa m biko! Every full moon, after the birth of your first female child, lock the doors! I’d give you some things to use after your honeymo..”
“Mama! O zugo. Please just leave. This is just too much to handle…”

The scene dissolved into a mist of memories, another forming and rising in its place.

Emmanuella was running through a dense forest, carrying a bundle in the crook of her arm. Hanging branches of the trees lashed at her as she ran past them.
‘The baby would be mine!’ The disembodied voice of an aged woman said harshly surrounding her.
‘Never! Leave my child alone! Go and meet my mother! You made an oath with her not me!’ Emmauella’s voice screamed back, running for cover.
‘You will die and the child would be mine! I would not be cheated twice!’
Emmanuella heard footsteps behind her and she continued running, panting.

A baby’s cry emerged from the bundle.

“Push!! She’s losing blood fast! She would need a tranfusion. Push!”
“Nnnnnngggghhh….”

Emmanuella continued running, until she found shelter.
She held the bundle close to her chest muffling its cries.
They were safe…temporarily

“It’s a baby girl! Congratulations Madam.
No need to cry Madam! It’s over! You are lucky to be alive o! Here, carry her….”

On the heels of that memory, followed another…

“….it’s not about me being superstitious Phillip! Mummy told me two weeks before her death and I didn’t believe her! Do you know what it tried to do when I was in labour? The spirit was going to claim our baby! Please! Just help me lock the doors and windows and let’s stay in. Just tonight…”
“I’m sorry Ela but I must leave the house now! It’s important I get to Dapo’s place and back before its midnight! This is utter rubbish! Your mother is rural and archaic! Moon goddess? Why would you, an educated woman, believe something bad would happen after Ocheze’s birth?…”
“….No! Phillip!..

She had tried to stop him.
She knew what would happen.
She knew…

“…what do you mean! He slumped? How! Where! Dead! No! Please God! No! I cannot come out of the house! No! Dapo please! Take him to the morgue! I’d go in the morning! Please! YOU WON’T UNDERSTAND! The full moon is trying to draw me out! I’M NOT MAD FOR GOD’S SAKE!…”

Violent  rattling on the windows and door panes broke the connection and she was back to the present. She leaned and blew off the wispy flames with a shaky breath. The glow of the full moon didn’t penetrate through the thick curtains but she could feel it. She could feel the red mists gathering around the house enveloping it into its chilly embrace.
Her teeth began chattering.
Goosebumps.
She shivered and rubbed her exposed arms to ward off the cold.
Suddenly, she was glad Ocheze was a deep sleeper. The last thing she wanted was for her daughter to go through these terrors. She would bear it alone.
“So far the entrances are closed, you will NOT come in! Stay out! Stay where you belong! Go back! Take your spirits with you! My wards would protect me and my child! HA!”
Her skin crawled and she was tempted to get up and run.
She resisted.
It was trying to wear her down mentally.
“Never!”
She ground her chattering teeth as she listened to the wind howl. She peered through the curtains and faintly saw the shadows of the trees bend and sway, dancing to the rhythm of the music only nature could play.
She shuddered and silently cursed her mother who put her through this.

Time crawled.
She never really knew how long the attacks lasted for.
It felt longer every time. Time crawled even slower this time.
Slowly, she felt the house being released from its choke hold.
She could feel the terror leave her body.
Was it over?
She checked the time.
Twenty minutes.
It had lasted for twenty minutes this time.
Shorter than the last time.
Suddenly, she grinned.
“You are getting tired aren’t you! Fighting a losing battle!” she yelled.
She laughed, throwing her head back.

***************

Unheard, the old woman laughed along with her.

***************

Ocheze woke up in the darkness and and was frightened. She jumped off the bed and gingerly made her way to the window where the faint gleam of the moon shone. She drew the curtains.
“Wow. So big and bright.”
She stared at the lady of the night in all her splendour, alone and unaccompanied by her starry minions.
Majestic.
She saw something move in the shadows.
Suddenly a man appeared at the window and she jumped back in fright, heart pounding.
“Musa! You made me afraid! You should be at the gate not here”
The man Musa banged at the window urgently, looking back often as if trying to escape something.
With her shaky eight year old hands, she prised the window open and watched as he tumbled
into her room.

************************

The old woman laughed louder.

**************************

Ocheze suddenly shivered, wondering if she should have let Musa in.
“Ah Ochese! Taink you! Where your mama? Persin dey gate but I no wan open. I dey fear!”
“She’s in her room.” Ocheze said, unsure and
afraid.
“Stay for here make i go find am. No follow me you hear!”
She nodded quickly and closed her door as soon as he left.
The last thing Ocheze heard from her mother’s mouth was a shrill scream;
primal fear reverberated from her vocal chords.
“Mummy!”

**************************

The old woman climbed the stairs, red eyes gleaming in the darkness.
“Okpochi nti ijiji ga esoro ozu lakpu niime ili” she hissed.
A stubborn fly would follow a corpse to its grave.
She heard the loud whimpers of the child and smiled.

************************

Ocheze heard the footsteps on the stairs.
She heard the jiggling of bells.
Her heart pounded.
Her legs felt rubbery.
Her bladder gave away and she shook, turning her pyjamas bottom dark with urine.
She heard the faint laughter she knew it was coming for her.
She wanted to go make sure the door was locked but her legs betrayed her.
She fell.
She watched as the door handle twisted, turned and opened.
She watched as the feet entered into her room.
Bare, black, ringed with tiny bells
She wanted to scream but she couldn’t.

The old woman walked in.

Ocheze stared at the bald, ancient woman who stood in her presence.
Her red eyes glowed; her face, patterned with white chalk.
A red wrapper was tied to her chest.
She smiled, showing her gum devoid of teeth, and walked towards her
Ocheze whimpered and crawled back.
With surprising speed, the old woman got close and held her face in the palm of one hand.
Tears obscured her vision and she closed her eyes, lips quivering.
The old woman laughed.
“Nwa m. My child.”

Ocheze felt the fetid breath of the woman on her skin.
She smelt rotten.
Suddenly, her voice came back.
Ocheze screamed and she sank into oblivion.

Visiting the iniquities of the
fathers, upon the children, unto the third and
fourth generation…

The End.

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Thanks for reading and hoping you enjoyed that, do comment!
Have a lovely weekend 🙂

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