THE GHOST VISITOR – Episode 7
“Bring her up out of hell and let her soul be returned to the land of the living!” demanded the mighty voice. Eleke turned around in palpable shock, finding it hard to believe the words he had heard. He knew what was coming next. To beat the court, he made for the exit door. Much to his surprise, a swarm of huge, black birds were guarding the door. He ran back into the court, pointing at the door and meaning to speak. He had to shut up when he read the look of the faces of the spirit lords. At that moment, the same shadows which took Nneoma away to hell, hurled her back into the court. Though she had stayed there only a short while, she had become mangled beyond recognition. Her entire body had been licked by re. She seemed like a pair of fresh eyes set in the midst of a craggy human skeleton. Her skeleton was barely covered with a shredded piece of black cloth. Out of the body of that thing called Nneoma, smoke emitted and as she opened her mouth to breathe, thick, black, fumes belched. Even the look of her own body horrified her. The flames of hell were way beyond anything tradition had said about it. It was far worse than the best native doctors had said. It was not an abode of spirits as she had learned, it was a chamber of torment.
Looking around and breathing heavily, she wondered what had made the spirit lords to release her from hell. She could see her husband, Olekanma, he was not looking like her in any manner. His appearance left her wondering if he had been to hell at all. Olekanma blinked at her, saying something to her. That was when she took notice of how Eleke was shaking. “We see no reason to keep this woman in hell. Let her flesh be returned to her,” commanded the mighty voice. At his words, Nneoma body was returned as it was before. Nneoma ran to her husband and hugged him. With a whisper she asked, “What changed?” “They have heard the full story. I told them everything. I narrated it all to them as they happened,” replied Olekanma. Nneoma knelt down and bowed. She was meant to step away from her husband after that, but she held unto him.
She knew exactly what she was doing. “Nneoma Uruaku, we have considered what happened between you and Eleke, and we find you to have done no wrong. You are free to return to your children,” said one of the spirit lords. “You must make haste and return before dawn. You are not one of the dead amongst us. You know as we do that if your soul is still with us till dawn, you shall be trapped here forever,” added the spirit lord. Nneoma could tell that the spirit lords were about to pass judgment on Eleke and she wanted to hang around and hear it, and even make some input, if possible. She leaned in on her husband and whispered, “What time is it in the land of the living?” “An hour before the first cockcrow and you must not be here after the first cockcrow.” “It means I have two hours before dawn.” “You cannot do that. It is risky,” Olekanma cautioned. Nneoma pretended she did not hear him and turned her attention back to what the spirit lords were about to say. “Eleke nti oba, we find you guilty, dishonourable, filthy and unworthy to be a god amongst us!” barked the mighty voice. Eleke shook and tried to plead, but felt his tongue glued to the roof of his mouth. “You saw what we did to Ofeke, who was once a god amongst us, and yet you ignored our laws, condescended so low as to do worse than those which earned Ofeke our curse. This court has decided to take all your powers from you…” the mighty voice paused.
Eleke dropped to the floor, moaning in searing pains. Across the court, Nneoma smiled and pinched her husband. “Eleke, this court has decided to lift the curse on Ofeke and his descendants…” “Heey!! Heeey!!! Ofeke nna m o!!!” Nneoma yelled at the top of her voice running around the court. Some spirit lords almost giggled, they had to hold their emotions. Nneoma threw herself on the floor and pretended to have fainted. No one went to check her out. Not even Olekanma her husband. “The same curse we placed on Ofeke, we place on you. You shall become a man, dwell amongst mortals and all the days of your life shall be filled with pains and sorrows. You and your descendants shall be considered impure to both men and gods. Sorrows and pains shall fill the days of descendants. They shall live like the once cursed seeds of Ofeke…” the mighty voice paused, he was about to deliver the final blow on Eleke. From the floor where he lay, Eleke looked on, his eyes filled with horror. “Ofeke shall be raised from his chamber of torment…” Nneoma sprang to her feet, her ears attentive. “Half his powers, as a god, shall be given back to him and he shall be the eyes over the curses we lay upon you this day.” This time, Nneoma fell back to the floor and fainted for real. Olekanma ran to her and whispered, “Mortal rise and leave. You no longer have much time amongst us.” Those words reached Nneoma’s ears as the words of a stranger. She sat up looking groggy.
“Olekanma, is that you? Why do you speak to me as a stranger?” she asked. “I know what you want. Your desire is for me to be released from here and return home with you. I have been here for more than a year. My passage back to the land of the living has been permanently shut. I am gone and I will forever be…” Nneoma placed her hands on his lips and said, “Don’t say that my love…” touching her heart, she continued, “You will forever live here. I will die with you in my heart. We took the greatest risk of our lives and married for love and now we have even conquered the gods. You heard them, the curses on my people have been lifted and broken. My ancestor has been released and restored to his position as a god. We won in the end…love prevailed…” She began to sob. They held each other for what seemed like eternity. When Nneoma opened her eyes, she found herself lying on the bank of Nwete. It was still dark and her lamp light was burning next to her. She picked it and began to run home.