I felt like I was being raped, and yes, by a woman and by my fear. Nyenwa was irresistible, simply irresistible. It was difficult to withsit or gainstay her. I was trying to loosen myself from her touch, but I was pinned. I was supposed to enjoy this, but no! My feelings were swinging from fear to regret. From horror to terror.
What if this is a ritual? I heard myself ask. How can I be in a strange land frolicking with a strange woman? What if she is possessed by many spirits? What if… There was no end to my ‘what ifs.’
I was not so much of a church boy, but I had been in services where a nicely dressed woman would violently spin and throw herself to the ground as the pastor prayed. We were always told that such a woman, though faultlessly dressed, was demon possessed. Nyenwa didn’t wear any clothes, and , my God!, why did it not occur to me that I, probably, was not the first person she was sleeping with,
Jesus! I didn’t even remember HIV. ‘What have I gotten myself into?’ I let out a whisper.
She noticed my fear and stopped. Put her finger on my lips and asked me not to fear anything, that the gods were happy with me. I only had to enjoy the night. I couldn’t speak her dialect, although it was a variant of igbo. I asked her to please let me go.
She stood up, naked, took my hand and asked me to follow her. I swallowed spittle hard, and few drops of hot, burning urine escaped ‘my pipe.’ With great trepidation I followed her out of the hut, her hand still holding mine. The sky was full of stars. Each star seemed to me like an eye- like there were billions of eyes watching me, and I was stark naked. Cold chills ran though my spine and spread all over my back, and my feet felt numb. Still I followed her.
She led me without looking back towards another hut which looked strange and different from ours, both in shape and size. I died. I died again. Tears began to flow out of my eyes as I was thinking this to be my end.
“Chinedu, e don be for you. Dem send you com service, you come find woman. Your own don finish,” was the line that kept on playing in my head. I tried to run, but I had no impulse. It was like I was pinned to this girl. Plus, the scary sounds of birds, crickets and all manner of creatures that I could hear in the distance did not inspire any impulse for escape. Moreover, I just couldn’t bear the thought of encountering any wild beast or crawling creature that night. I hated snakes.
As we got closer to the hut, she squeezed my hand and started to tiptoe. I took a cue and did same. When we got close enough to the entrance of the hut, she stopped, stretched the left side of her face like she wanted to eavesdrop on a conversation going on in the hut. She motioned to me to do same. Me? Why?
I came closer, stretched the left side of my face, like she did, and I heard the least sound I expected to hear. It was Rex. Was he being killed? Was he being skinned? Was he being sacrificed to their god?
No! Rex was moaning in sexual pleasure. I could also hear Nguzi too. It sounded like war had broken out in the hut- sexual war!
I was stupefied.
Nyenwa had brought me out to try to allay my fears and prove to me that I had nothing to worry about. That I was missing something big and fun. I swallowed spittle hard. I knew Rex. He always threw caution to the wind when it came to women. We usually joked that he’d someday take a ‘mammy-water’ to bed with his careless indulgence.
Strange enough, my fears began to wane and the tension that had gripped my heart started to ease. Questions filled my mind. What is really happening? Am I being cautious, or am I just being a child, a coward , a chicken? I threw my head backwards with my face looking straight into the sky as if my answers were hiding somewhere behind the stars. Nyenwa came and rubbed my back. Then I found my answer – or so I thought. I was being a coward. I was being childish. I wasn’t being a man. I had to prove my bravery, and that, tonight.
I carried Nyenwa with both hands back to our hut to have our fill of the night. And that was my worst mistake still. That was the key that opened the portal for the incursion of the screams.