The sun drifted lower in the sky. The hazy light of dusk stretched cool across the village. Emeka rolled the car to a stop. We got down and moved carefully over the sloping grass into the shrine of the juju priest.
“Mama” Emeka hurried towards his mother, who was laid flat on a mat with her eyes closed. “Mama”
I stared at my mother-in-law silently. I tuned my gaze away and drew in a deep breath.
The chief priest walked in from the inner room of the shrine. He wore a red garment down to his foot. “You are all welcome.” He said and settled down on a wooden chair.
“I have brought Emeka here as you demanded.” His uncle said.
The priest stared at Emeka. “My son, you are welcome.”
“Thank you baba.” Emeka said in a low tone.
“I have consulted the oracle.” The priest cleared his throat. “I found out that your mother sickness was caused by her evil deed.”
Emeka stared at the priest with disbelief. “How?.”
“He that sows evil, will reap evil. She has offended the gods of the land, she must pay for her deed.” The priest said. “There is nothing we can do, She will die.”
Emeka pulled himself up. “I won’t let her die.” He said. “Uncle please let us take her to the hospital.”
His uncle pulled in a deep breath. “There must something we can do, please, do not let my sister die.”
“There is nothing we can do.” The priest stared at my mother-in-law. “She will die before the sun set.”
“Uncle we don’t have much time please, let us take her to the hospital.” Emeka said. “Please.”
His uncle stared at him silently and shook his head.
“My son.” The priest said. “Do not waist your time, she will die.”
Emeka stared at is mother for a moment and pulled himself up “No, i won’t let her die”
“Sit down and listen to me.” The priest said.
“No, i can not watch her die.”
The priest pulled himself up. “I say sit down.”
Emeka blew out a long breath and sat down beside his mother.
“For long have you been married?” The priest asked and sat back on his chair.
“Seven years.” Emeka said.
“Do you have any child.”
Emeka sighed. “No.” Impatience edged his voice.
“Your mother is behind it.” The priest said.
“I won’t believe you.” Emeka snapped. ” My mother will never do such.”
His uncle stared at the priest with disbelief. “Are you sure of what you are saying?”
The juju priest stared at me straight in the eyes. “My daughter.” He said. “The oracle says you will have a child, but you must stop using the soap, if not, you will die.” He shot the words at me like arrow unerring and straight for the target.
Emeka stared at me with confusion. “What soap?”
The ribbon in my stomach tied itself into solid, heavy knot, and fear clutched at my heart. I stared towards the floor silently and sucked in a hard breath.
“Do not be scared my daughter.” The priest said. “Tell your husband the truth.”
I stared at Emeka for a long moment. With tears in my eyes. i told him the whole truth about the black soap. “I am sorry.” I added in a whisper.
“How dare you Nkechi.” Emeka voice was cold. “How dare you do such a thing without telling me.” He pulled himself up. “I trusted you, why do you do this to me Nkechi, why?”
Emeka pulled himself up and stared at his mother for a long silent moment. He sighed, and walked out of the shrine.
“Emeka.” His uncle hurried after him. “Emeka you can’t leave your mother like this.”
Emeka turned to face him. “I don’t ever want to see any of you in my house.” His voice rang hard and cold.
I quickly joined him as he entered the car.
“Emeka listen to me.” His uncle ran after the car. “Emeka wait, Emaka.”
Emeka ignored him, and kept driving till he drove out of the village. Minutes flowed into hours. Emeka kept driving silently with his eyes fixed on the road ahead .
“I am sorry.. Forgive me.” I said with a low tone.
“Just shot up.” He slammed his foot on the break. The whine of the screaming tires filled the air. “Just keep you mouth shot.”
His eyes were dark…
TO BE CONTINUED.