Isi-Akpu Nise village, 1903
Lakinfeev worked swiftly realizing how fast the sun was descending beyond the horizon. Pausing abruptly, he stared at the large portion of land that seemed endless before him and wondered how in the name of the gods, he was ever going to finish cultivating it before the long expected rainy season which by the way, was already announcing its arrival with its frequent drizzles. His neighbor’s land, Ejieofor’s cassava farm, the one that stood adjacent to the Isi-Akpu river was already tilled and ready for the season while his stood unbridled despite all his efforts since the start of the day.
Lakin wiped the sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand and then scrunched his waist as he dropped his cutlass. He would need more assistance his thoughts proffered as he drank from his calabash gouge and then sat on the huge stone beside the palm nut tree to finish off his left over meal of boiled yam and palm oil. The sudden sound of movement in the bush ahead alerted him of an intruder; quietly, he dropped his calabash bowl and then glared at the bush.
“Who goes there?” Lakin yelled out in Igbo as his gaze fell on a moving object. No response instead a timid giggle fell on his earshot, one he was all too familiar with. A huge grin parted his lips.
“Chiki, I know it’s you o, come out, I can see you” he teased as he chuckled. Soon the image waddled out of the bush and fell into his outstretched arms.
“Ha! Chi-Nwa, aren’t you a sight to treasure? “Lakin wooed as he wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her closer to himself.
“You were trying to deceive me eh, you this naughty girl” he brushed his nose against hers.
“No o, me? no na, you know I can never deceive you. You that can perceive my scent even from a mile away” Chikere answered colored from the teases. “You never stop teasing me”
‘Ha! Me! Tease you! God forbid! I have told you to believe every word I tell you especially when I say that you are the most beautiful maiden in the whole of the seven kingdoms and even those beyond the Niger river. Even sef, Alusi knows that I am the luckiest man to have you in my arms” he flattered as he rested a kiss on her forehead and looked dreamingly into her eyes.
Chikere was indeed one of the most beautiful maidens in Isi-Akpu Nise kingdom besides her sister Chidinma as far as Lakin was concerned. The birds cooed her name whenever she passed by; the young men couldn’t stop lusting after her; the other maidens couldn’t keep her name out of their mouths in ceaseless gossip. Even the older men wished their wives looked like her and only the gods could keep her away from their rotten thoughts and dreams. Chikere just like her name had indeed been created specially by the gods, gravely endowed with a robust backside that got the young men in the village drooling after her. Imagine Ikemefuna almost falling off his canoe the other day Chikere came to see him, Lakin while they were out fishing by the river. Obinna had been guffawing like a hyena, pretending he wasn’t seeing the same thing all of them were seeing: the swaying movement of her backside, up, down as she walked away. Lakin hadn’t found it funny at all, Ikemefuna had gotten a strike of his backhand right there on his face as a reminder and they had fought that day.
Lakin smirked as the memories began to come alive in his head. There were also her lips….Remarkable! Lakin had been fortunate enough to taste them once when they were still teenagers. They had gone to the stream together and sat at the banks, singing their favorite songs when Chikere found his lips. He had been petrified at the unexpected gesture and had pulled back in shock because it was a taboo in their community for young men to be intimate with the maidens absent marriage. He shambled up from the wet sands and stared blankly at Chikere, whose eyes danced around in mischief.
“Chiki, you know we shouldn’t do that na” Lakin lamented after finding his voice, frightened to the core.
“I know, I know, but I wanted to”, Chikere answered, standing up with a smirk on the corner of her lips.
“Ah! Chikere, you want your father to kill me when he finds out? Even your sister Chidinma will not find it funny o” Lakin nagged on.
“Isn’t that if they find out? We both know none of us would tell them, so why all these complaints Nkem? Didn’t you like it?” Chikere asked concerned. The laughter had gone out of her eyes; in its place were fear, doubt, and insecurity. None of which Lakin wanted the love of his life to feel, not when she was still his. With that, he drew her closer and sucked at her lips. Finally, he pulled her away panting for breath, then looked deep into her eyes and asked with laughing eyes “I hope that answered your question”
That was four years ago, Lakin acknowledged and things have changed since then. Not that he was no longer in love with Chikere, Mbanu! As a matter of fact his love for her has grown even bigger like the pawpaw tree at the back of his house but the problem was, his devils, they wouldn’t let him be. The evils he had done still haunted him. Even worse the one he was still doing….
“Nkem, are you alright?” Chikere asked pulling him back from his distraught thoughts.
“Yes, yes, my dear, sorry I was just thinking…” he answered quietly,releasing her and gesturing her towards the stone he had been sitting.
“Ehen? Hope there is no problem?” Chikere asked concerned as she took her seat and stared up at him.
“No, No! How can there be a problem when you are here?” Lakin teased as he flashed white set of teeth at her which sent her blushing again.
“Okay, If you say so my love. You were able to finish tilling today?” She asked as she glanced around the farmland but couldn’t see much because the sun had rolled down the hill and night time was speedily descending upon them.
“I tried my dear, I will have to get some people to assist me” he answered exhaustively as he began to gather up his tools.
“I told you na. I told you that you cannot do all the work alone. This land is too big” Chikere complained as she glanced again at the unbridled land Lakin had inherited from his late parents. “Maybe you should call Ike and ehemm..Obinna to help you” she suggested,“ instead of paying those riff-raffs in the market square. Those boys are thieves in women’s wrapper o”
“Ike and Obinna?” Lakin asked baffled at the suggestion.
“Do you know how many times they have promised to come and help me till? Only Amadioha knows. Nne, those boys were supposed to be here today…they didn’t come. Instead, they prefer to be following all the maidens around like he-goats, going from their houses to the stream and from the stream to their houses, even their farms sef. Was it not two days ago, I caught Obinna doing boy-boy for fat Ijeoma, helping her carry her water pot from the stream?…just yesterday, it was Ike I saw tilling Papa Chinelo’s farm but come and help me till my own, for where!” Lakin complained as he put his empty bowls and gouge into a sack bag while Chikere burst into laughter.
“Ok, don’t worry you hear, I would get my brothers to get their friends to come and help you. Because those boys you are planning to call are not good o. My mother called them one time to help Chinedu weed our cassava farm last harvest. You know what they did?
“They stole some of our seeds from the barn and even fled with our cutlasses and holes. Since then, mother does not want to hear anything about getting them to help in the farm” Chikere explained standing from the huge stone.
“Ha! Thank you very much, my love. You see why I must marry you?” he asked grinning sheepishly as he took her by the arm and led the way out of the farmland.
“Chi Chi! Chi Chi!” they stopped abruptly as the sound of a familiar voice trailed them to where they stood waiting. Chidinma came out from a nearby farmland with a huge frown on her face. She always had that look anytime she saw him with Chikere and Lakinfeev had no doubt in his mind that she hated him and was simply tolerating his presence because of her younger sister’s love for him. Lakinfeev hoped that was the case anyway.
“Chi Chi” Chidinma called out sarcastically as she pulled closer to them, “Waka-waka, where in Amadioha’s name have you been? Mama has been worried sick” Chidinma yelled at her sister, ignoring Lakinfeev’s presence.
“She has been with me” Lakinfeev retorted coldly as he pulled Chikere behind him.
“Yes I can see that” she answered turning her gaze at Lakinfeev battering her eyelashes like an Ekwesu. “Did I tell you that I don’t have eyes to see? Look here, Lakinfeev, I have warned you times without number to leave my sister alone. Is she the only maiden in this kingdom?” Chidinma spattered at him. “Go and find other maidens that you can be using as your bedding mate. Leave my sister alone for me, I use Amadioha to beg you. She is not your type. ”
“Ha! Sister!” Chikere cried out in panic.
“No, it’s okay Chiki, let her be talking. Isn’t that all she is known to do. To talk and talk?” Lakinfeev asked sighing as he crested Chikere’s fingers into his.
Chidinma roared in laughter “Me talkative? See Lakinfeev, we all know that you are not good enough for my sister, so stop wasting your time. You don’t have shinshin..one shilling you don’t even have….the worst part is that you are an orphan. No mother, no father. Even though mama pitied you enough to let you come around Chi Chi, our ichies will not allow it. She is not your type. Go and find another maiden to deflower. Leave my sister for me!” Chidinma mocked clapping at his face.
“Oya! Chi chi, come out from there before I descend on you this evening” Chidinma yelled at her sister who was still locked behind Lakin.
Chikere pulled out from Lakinfeev’s back obviously afraid of her sister who was three years older than her and two times bigger than her. Chidinma was plump with a bigger backside and hips that were big enough to hide a kid. Her face wasn’t as pretty as Chikere’s and her skin were as dark as coal. Despite their physical differences, they were as close as a man and his shadow and Chikere had often boasted to Lakin that her sister should have been her twin because they did everything together and even wore the same clothes but when it came to matters of the heart, they were completely abstract. Chidinma wanted a rich and wealthy man as a husband while Chikere wouldn’t mind a wretched poor man like himself. Even though Chidinma never stopped saying cruel things to him, she did have a point and he intended to prove to everyone including the gods that he did deserve her. With that in mind, he watched Chidinma walk off with his wife to be. Just as he was about to glance away from the alluring sight of their behinds swinging seductively, he caught a wink from Chidinma, one he was all too familiar with…
Excerpt from “Tales of Lakin”
Written by Quincy Iwediokpulu; 14th July 2012
“Hi guys, i wrote this story three years ago and for some reason, i haven’t been able to finish it. I honestly don’t know why. Do you think its worth saving ? or should i discard it?