She shrank back instinctively, unaware that she had drawn a number of eyes to herself by now. She could barely see Kelechi who was standing directly in front of her. She was looking right at the women and they were looking back at her. She had escaped them at the sheep market. How had they found her again? Perhaps they lived in this village, or they were just intent on hurting her for seeing them that night at the square.
‘Adaku, put yourself together now’ Kelechi was by her side admonishing her ‘Come, let us go and meet your mother, bia’
Adaku shook her off and swallowed ‘Mba, leave me. I am okay. I don’t need to go anywhere.’
‘Okay, come and drink some water then.’
‘Kele, I am fine’
The small stir that had been caused by Adaku’s incident had now dissolved.
‘But you are not fine. I can see you are not fine, people can see you are not fine’ her voice was now a whisper, furrows beginning to appear on her forehead. She was worried.
Adaku was silent, her lips held tightly together. Her eyes still seemed to be in a faraway place.
‘Adaku what did you see?’
‘Adaku, talk to me now’
‘I think I would take that water you suggested’
‘Ngwanu, let us go’ They began to walk towards the area of the village square that had small huts and cement rooms that were used for various purposes on different occasions ‘I saw some pots of water there the other time’
‘Kele, you know you have been my very good friend from childhood’
Kelechi only nodded, not wanting to say anything that will cut Adaku short now that she wanted to talk.
‘And I have always told you everything’
Adaku had a habit of talking in bits at times. Kelechi recalled her doing it after they had had their quarrels
‘Even the strange dreams and experiences I had when I was younger’
Adaku stopped walking. They were now a distance from the hubbub.
‘Even boys’ she gave a weak smile. Kelechi smiled back.
‘I still hear those voices I told you about. I heard them again last week’
‘I thought they had stopped’
‘I thought so too.’
‘Your mother said when you get older you wouldn’t hear them again’
‘My mother said so many things that weren’t true’
‘What were they saying this time, the voices?’
‘They are real, at least they proved that to me’ Adaku paused for a moment too long. Kelechi allowed her.
‘They saved my life. I think I have a purpose’
‘Everyone has a purpose in life, Ada, and besides we all know you are a special child’
‘I told you not to say that’ She shot a glance at Kelechi and looked away with the same swiftness. ‘We are all the same. There is nothing
different about me. I don’t want to think so and I don’t want anyone to’
‘Adaku, denying it won’t help anyone. You know things. In ways you yourself cannot explain’
Adaku was silent. Of course Kelechi was right
‘I think the voices are now becoming clearer. They’re starting to make some meaning?’
‘How do you mean?’
‘I think they want me to do something with them…or for them’
‘Hian, Adaku, how can you speak so freely like these of mysterious voices you have never even seen their owners?’
‘I really do not know Kelechi. I never asked for all these’
‘What did your father say? After last week’
Adaku knew she was referring to the incident that happened the morning after she came from the sheep market, how she had passed out…or even away.
‘I haven’t really spoken with him since then’
‘He is not pleased at your…gift, right?’
‘I wouldn’t be if I were my father’
Kelechi knew to quickly take the discussion away from Adaku’s father. Adaku spoke first.
‘I just wish I had a normal life’
‘Why don’t you ask your grandmother? She seems to know a lot.’
There was no response. Adaku started walking again. At times when
she experienced these things, she was usually a different person. Like the day she had heard the voices while they walked down to the stream. Adaku had not uttered a single word the entire journey back.
Kelechi was tempted to leave her and rejoin the festivities.
They got to the cement room in silence. Adaku greeted the women she saw there and entered. Kelechi stayed back outside. They were talking excitedly. The room had now formed a make-shift dressing room for the women and store for raw foodstuffs from here the food cooked for the celebration was taken. Adaku saw waterpots arranged to one end of the room. She picked a cup and moved towards one of them. As she bent to scoop the water, she heard her name.
She stopped and looked back. There was nobody.
‘Adaku!’ she could have sworn the voice came from inside that room, somewhere behind her. It was authoritative, yet calm.
‘Is it you again?’ Adaku dropped the cup and stood upright
‘Yes it is us?’
‘You are beginning to annoy me. Don’t you have a name?’
‘We are your guardian spirits?’
‘What do you want now? Water?’
‘It is a good thing you can now hear us again, and clearly too’
‘How many are you?’
‘We are many. Your time has come child. You are the one we have been waiting for’
Kelechi entered the room just then screaming Adaku’s name frantically. Adaku was collapsed on the floor, eyes closed and blood flowing from her nose.
NB: DEAR READERS I APPRECIATE YOUR COMMITMENT IN FOLLOWING THIS SERIES THUS FAR. I HOWEVER APOLOGISE THAT THIS WILL BE THE LAST EPISODE POSTED ON THIS FORUM. TIHIS IS DUE TO THE FACT THAT IT IS BEING CONSIDERED FOR PUBLICATION ON SOME OTHER PLATFORM. I AM SINCERELY SORRY. THANK YOU FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING.