She found herself in the midst of flowers, in a very beautiful garden. It was no longer night.
Orbs of brilliant light glistened from somewhere afar off, yet the illumination was blinding. In this place, she saw a stream, a clear, deep blue stream with water that seemed delicious just by the look of it. There were pretty little fairies that hovered all around the water, as though in some spiritual Flamenco dance.
To another end of the space, she saw a djinn, his body a combination of various primary colours. She looked around the whole space again and saw that she stood on sand. Sand that stretched for miles; sand so beautiful that she was drawn to kiss them for eternity.
Suddenly, a woman emerged from inside the water. She rose slowly and gracefully, with the poise of a creature that did not belong to mortal milieu. She rose to full length in the water and then stepped out.
Adaku had never seen such a beautiful woman in her life before. The beauty of this woman was striking, breathtaking even, alluring whoever was looking. Her hair was like the newborn flax of refined cotton; like neatly arranged flannelette, as it flowed artistically down her back to her rear side. It swished from side to side as she walked.
Her eyes were like two diamonds set in sapphire stones, boring into the eyes of Adaku as she stood here. Her nose was like finely polished lead, and her oval face was a lovely frame for the perfectly framed lips that sat at the bottom of her face; sensuous and lipstick red. She wore a dress that flowed from her chest down to around her legs. They added to the grace of her movements, each step minced, practiced and calculated, accentuated by spike-heeled shoes that caressed the waters she stood on.
The woman moved towards Adaku. To Adaku’s surprise, the woman was not soaked. Not even a part of her was wet.
The woman began to sing.
Her voice was like the smooth feel of wet mud on calloused palms, it was like water dropped down the throat of a thirsty man walking through the desert. Her voice seeped through the entire place, consuming Adaku’s every being. Adaku’s ears replayed the sounds, filtering every note, memorising every decibel.
The song had hands. Hands that held the listener captive and lifted them to heights they could not return from. The hole from which those notes protruded seemed like the gates of heaven with angels flying out of it. The gentle sounds of the song played on Adaku’s emotion, rendering her helpless, weakening her knees, and driving her to harmonic submission.
Adaku was charmed, not just by this woman’s beauty, but by her voice.
The song had words, controlling imperious words that impelled on Adaku’s mind. The words told her to drink from the stream, that the water was sweet and life-giving. The way she sang about the water made Adaku lunge at the small stream over which the fairies lingered. She wanted to taste of this water; of this intoxicating white juice that the intrepid belle spoke of, she was enchanted by the words that protruded from the woman’s mouth, and like one in a trance, she stooped to drink.
‘No, No, No’ squeaked the golden fairies all at once, their voices a tremulous whisper, like that of mice caught in a trap ‘No, do not drink. Don’t drink Adaku’
Adaku was stunned that the tiny creatures could talk, even more surprised that they knew her name. She found it exciting listening to them talk, so she edged closer to them
‘Why shouldn’t I drink, little ones?’
She couldn’t hear her reply, because just then the tune of the song intensified, bearing on her soul like the weight of an anvil on a slab of hot iron. She felt so weak, and her knees seemed to want to give way.
The song was requiring some purgation at her hand, telling her she could only get such cleansing if she drank from the water.
She felt shivers run up and down her spine, goose bumps began to form all over her skin and a sweet but painful sensation moved sluggishly inside her; from somewhere she could not fathom. She was now a baggage of emotions, emotions that had been heightened to their highest state and then mixed together in even proportions.
She felt the strong urge to drink from the stream.
Just as she gave in, and sprawled out on the floor, her tongue ready to lap the water, she saw the fairies dance in the air very rapidly and then the djinn disappear into a mist. The mist floated in the air, and everywhere became green. Then the singing stopped.
It was then she had woken up to see mothers of all sizes, and children of all ages gathering around her. There was even a Dibia, one of their native priests.
The fathers never came. She wondered why.
Her grandmother too was nowhere to be found. At that time, it seemed only normal. The poor woman must have gotten tired and gone to bed.
Four years later, though, Adaku discovered her grandmother on a couple of nights sitting outside, alone, with nothing but the dark night for a companion till as late as 3am in the morning. She wasn’t tired and in bed. This woman was supposed to be in her early nineties, yet she had the life of a teen, and she hardly slept.
And tonight, Adaku had dreamt she was at the sheep market with her grandmother’s clothes and that she smelt just like her.
How she had known the clothes and the smell, she could not understand, but she knew there was no mistake about it. She had this weird assurance that she wasn’t wrong.
Something was amiss.