Episode 5: A hatchet continues
Its been three days now since Ik returned to the village. Three days since he found out his father has died. His life has never been the same since that revelation was made known to him, and he’s been wrapped in his own thoughts and pains lately. The compound has become quiet as visitors coming in to pay their respects had reduced significantly.
The hopes of going to the city had also been tarnished. He learnt from his brother that Uncle Nnamdi left the next morning after he went missing claiming he felt a bad chill that signalled the advent of evil. Asides from been a business man, Uncle Nnamdi had another profession that was not common for their time, he was an evangelist. His talk of evil been responsible for IK’s disappearance didn’t go down well with the rest of the family which made him leave in haste before he’s held responsible for the disappearance of his nephew.
Now that his dear father was dead those same wagging tongues that tell lies have began peddling again. The rumour is that Uncle Nnamdi was responsible for Danda’s death.
But Ik knew better. The old man in the hut in the forest was the source of his misfortune and he needed to find him as soon as possible. The old man was the reason he wasn’t around to prevent his father from going into the forest that day. He had to find the old man and make him to answer to all he had done.
He had to find him now. And with a new sense of urgency he ran.
He ran to the forest and without much difficulty he arrived at where he was sure used to be the site of the hut. The problem now was that the hut was missing from its position. It was as though no building had ever stood on that location as it was overgrown with thick bushes. For a moment Ik thought he was mistaken with the location until he saw his bunch of firewood, the one he left hurriedly after he arrived from his time travel.
He’s confused and leaves hurriedly in fear of the unknown. He doesn’t know the kind of witchcraft at work here.
He walked briskly until he arrives at the main road. He sat under the coconut tree and watched as the young moved about without any care in the world, the girls going in their groups to the stream with their pots, the elderly coming back with their farm produce. This was how his life was three weeks ago, before all the series of misfortunes.
All the many sightings eased his tensions and took his mind away from the many thoughts plaguing him.
Suddenly someone creeps up from behind him and this scares the hell out of him. He leaps up from his initially position with a stance showing readiness to fight but calms down the moment he recognizes his intruder to be Akunne.
He didn’t know what to make of her been here as this was the same girl who disgraced him in their lifetime, denied him in another and tried to fight him in a third, so he decides to talk less and observe more this time around.
“I saw you sitting all by yourself on my way to the stream. My walking round to your position unnoticed means there’s a whole lot going on in your head”, she said, trying desperately to sound friendly.
She tendered her condolences on the death of his father and apologized earnestly for her behaviour the other day at the stream blaming it on naeivity. He forgives her and they get talking for hours. Today he’s seen a different side to the Akunne, the one everyone doesn’t knows, a different side to the Akunne everyone feels is arrogant and pompous. He appreciated her and felt sad when it was time for them both to go home.
Two weeks later…
Today was like every other morning now. Since papa died everyone in the family has found a coping mechanism to get pass the pain, his mother would go to the farm with his sister to weed and harvest matured crops and on eke days go to the market to sell the produce set for sale; his brother would go round the village seeking menial jobs to do; he, while he continued going into the forest looking to see if the hut, the old man or the evil the old man spoke about would make an appearance.
On this day after the usual disappointment of not finding what he sought after, he went to the village square to take akara and akamu as he had always done for sometime now since Ibana stopped selling.
A new akara seller occupied the position where Ibana had plied her trade for the part 15 years until she stopped this year on the request of her children who had made it big in the city.
The new seller, Mama Arinze, was from the neighbouring town of Amanze. She heard of the opportunity to fit into the shoes of Ibana, the most popular akara seller in all of the surrounding communities. She was younger, friendlier than Ibana and that was enough reason for Ik to keep coming everyday to her stall for breakfast. He and her son Arinze who similar in age and attitude and were becoming better acquainted with each passing day.
On a certain day as Arinze and Ik played round the community they ran into Chikwado. He was visibly jealous and voices his displeasure on been replaced by Arinze in Ik’s life. He and Ik get into a heated argument that results into blows.
Arinze separates them.
Chikwado leaves angrily stating clearly before he goes that he doesn’t want to ever see Ik again and that Arinze was a goner if he should ever see him alone.