“The cockroach knows how to sing and dance; it is the hen that prevents it from performing its art during the day”
Though she would never admit it to anyone else, Ofure knew she was a fool. As she watched the trail it left travelling down his back, she was possessed by an overpowering urge to reach out and touch it, halt it in its tracks before it disappeared into the folds of his wrappa. She wondered how a single drop of sweat could hold her attention so entirely. Suddenly something stirred in the corner of the hut, breaking her concentration, and causing the object of her fascination to start and reach for the broom under his table.
He attacked the invader with his broom, but it scuttled away before he could do any harm to it, disappearing into a crack in the wall. Ahigbe chuckled, secretly glad that the cockroach had escaped certain death. He turned around to go back to his work, but first directed a meaningful look at the crack in the wall from which she was peeping. Ofure quickly stepped to the side, wondering again if he knew she was there. The thought that he knew she was standing there, spying on him as he worked excited her, it also made her feel a bit foolish. She should know better Ofure thought to herself, she should be at Kepeti where the scent leaves grew, where her mates went every evening to flirt with boys their own age. Yet here she was.
Of course Ahigbe knew she was there. He’d known for a while that she was spying on him, he even knew her identity, but it was alright. He smiled to himself; Let her enjoy her little show, as long as it didn’t do him any harm.
His mind was focused on other things.
If there was one thing Ahigbe would gladly sell his soul for, it would be to go back and be reborn into the world as a member of the Igun eromwon. But the sacred clan of Igun, the ones with the magic fingers was closed to him, and had been since he had the misfortune to be born into the wrong family.
The clan had a bond that went back more than a hundred years; membership had always been passed from one generation to the next, from father to son. It was said that the gift of Sayeoma had never been given by Ogun to someone not of this special ancestry. Igun Eron was permanently closed to Ahigbe. They told him there was nothing he could do about it, everyone urged him to concentrate on something else, to become a great fisherman like his father Eigero or join the Ematon , those who’s duty it was to make weapons and armour for the army. They didn’t understand, Ahigbe thought to himself, and they never would. They would never know what it was to be wildly passionate about something that was forbidden to you, to practice it in the shadows like it was something shameful, when you were dying to show the entire kingdom what you were capable of doing. To know you could be better than all the others whose praises were sung around town day and night.
He had been sneaking into ijuwiki, home of the Igun Eromwon, since he was a little boy. Spying upon them as they worked, day and night, that was the way he had learnt what he knew of this craft, the rest he had gleaned from working in the weapons forge, pretending to be interested in doing Ematon work. He had even gone through the initiation of the Ematon, and the different grades. The burns and scabs that covered his arms were testament to the arduous process he went through, working in a corner of the forge under near darkness every night, long after the others had gone to their different homes; the fear of being caught ever-present. That was no honourable way to learn a craft; his mother told him time and time again, stealing the knowledge of it like a common thief. But after trying to stop him a few times, she gave in to the hunger in his eyes and his burning need to learn. Perhaps she thought, like any young boy with an obsession, he would lose interest as he grew older. He didn’t. The hunger grew as he grew, and with it came bitterness and anger.