THE GHOST VISITOR – Episode 4
“Nnanyi Nwaraka, I have been dreaming about five big tubers of yam and one big broken tuber of yam of late. I have been wondering why they are being shown to me in my dreams. I know what a broken yam means, but I do not know what or who we are owing,” Nneoma lied. “The spirit after your family is a powerful spirit and it is very angry.
If we do not pacify it quickly, it might wipe out your family. Since you do not know much about why this spirit is attacking your family, I will then send elders to Okwohia to find out why this evil spirit has chosen to attack your family,” Nwaraka said. Nneoma turned white in the face with fear. The native doctors in Okwohia were much more powerful than the ones in her village. She was certain they would be able to see whatever Nwaraka could not see. “Nnanyi (our father), that is a good thing to do. I will be glad to have this riddle solved,” Nneoma said, pretending. “Good. To forestall further attacks on your children, they will sleep in my shrine this night. I want you to sleep in your husband’s brother’s house.” “Nnanyi, I am a widow under attack. My husband is in the land of the spirits as we speak, I will like to spend the night by his grave, to call on him to help me and his children. He can reach this evil spirit in ways no dibia (native doctor) can.”
“Are you sure you can stay alone by your husband’s grave in the dark? A spirit like the one after your family might strike you dead. What you intend to do is a serious matter, Nneoma.” “I know nnanyi. As it is, if I do not do my part, this evil spirit will kill me and my children.” Seeing Nneoma would not be dissuaded from spending the night by husband’s grave, Nwaraka gave her some protective charms and sent her home. After conferring with some elders that night, Nwaraka instructed them to leave before the first gleam of dawn for Okwohia to find out what the evil spirit attacking Nneoma’s family wanted. Some hours later, when the entire village had gone to bed, Nneoma rose from her husband’s grave where she had been pleading and crying to persuade her husband’s spirit to help her and her children. She had the intention to end the matter that night or at least buy some time for her husband to end it in the spirit world. She was going to do what no one had ever done before. Blowing out her lamp light and clutching unto it firmly, she sneaked away from her husband’s grave. Under the cover of darkness, she made her way out of her husband’s family compound. She was going to Nwete, the river of spirits. Tied at the edge of her wrapper was a match box. She knew what to do when she drew near the river.
The things she had seen over the years had made her a fearful woman, but on this night, she was going to dare death, spirits of the night, tradition and her fear of the night to save herself, her children and to keep the secrets she shared with her husband from coming out. The night was pitch dark and only dimly illuminated by a swarm of nwa mmu oku (fireflies). The abundant presence of nwa mmu oku at certain nights was held in their tradition to mean the presence of spirits going about their businesses at night; hurrying and doing their best to finish their business before the crack of dawn. It was said of those spirits that on numerous occasions they struck dead and sometimes with paralysis humans who impeded their businesses at night. Nneoma’s mind was filled with fear as she made her way to Nwete. Every noise in the bush, the rustling of trees and plants by breeze, made her heart to leap with dread. When a gush of fresh, moist breeze blew into her face, she knew she had come close enough to Nwete. She untied the knot at the edge of her wrapper, removed the match box in it, struck it expertly and lit her lamp. The glow of light from her lamp caused no small stir in the river. The growling of angry spirits and the sound of scampering spirits running for cover left Nneoma frozen to her spot with dread. She felt her head swoon several times and seemed to increase to three times its size. Raising her lamp above her head, she managed a step toward the bank of the river. On the river were flaming eyes and creatures she could not dene. From behind her, a cloud of darkness thicker than that of the night morphed in a broken circle around her. Nneoma had walked into the den of vicious, wicked, dreaded spirits of the marine world. She could feel their breath on her face and on her ears. Decibels of sounds such as no human ears had heard began to register in her ears. Raising her voice, she yelled “I am Nneoma Uruaku.
A year and seven weeks ago, Eleke came by night and took my husband’s heart away! I am a widow of many curses! A woman of many sorrows! I plead with this gathering of spirits; spirits of great names and powers, to summon Eleke that I may plead my case!” that I may plead my case! Silence. A wave of silence swept through the river and its surroundings. Such was the silence that Nneoma could hear her own breathing, like the sound of a gong. Her eyes darted about in the dark as she waited for a reply.
Suddenly her lamp light was blown out and hands such as no man could count grabbed her and dragged her into the river. Much to her shock, the little Nwete turned into a mighty ocean of water. Those hands held her firm, dragging her to the bottom of the great water. She fought, kicked and bit as many hands as she could until her body grew cold with death.
THE GHOST VISITOR – Episode 5
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.