The sudden swoosh of current beneath them made their canoe to tilt which awoke Ikedi from his slumber, he quietly got hold of his paddle and started paddling once more pretending not to see the expression on Nyone’s face. when he realised that they have left the familiar part of the river and were now heading down a narrower stream that broke out of the main river, Ikedi wanted to panic but the calm on the faces of Nyone and his sister Temidi suggested that they were still safe. but as they continued to go farther from the already dissappearing daylight, Ikedi was forced to query his companions,”please how can we see the periwinkles in this dark place that we’re entering?” “Dont worry Ikedi, am the fisherman here not you!” Nyone responded without raising his bent head. “But we are talking about periwinkles here, not fishes. and as far as I know those are smaller animals” “seems like our brave unbeliever is now getting scared of the waters”, Temidi quipped in. Ikedi turned to the girl that is speaking up for the firs time, “Nyone! I thought we came here with your sister?” Ikedi asked in bewilderment as he realised that the girl with them was a total stranger. But as he turned to look at Nyone for an answer, he saw that his face have changed too. “Wait! Is this one of the tricks your river-spirits play on outsiders ?” Ikenna asked, finding the whole thing funny. None of them answered him. He had earlier told his friends that he neither believes in Spirits nor the effects they can have on people which made them to allow him join in the fishing trip after they warned him that outsiders does not enter the river during that period of time. And now that he’s caught in one of the forces of the River spirits, there was nothing he could do than to watch the scary drama with hope that it will come to an end. Ikedi tried to keep calm as he watched the new form of his friend Nyone as he paddled the boat still farther away from the open river. When they finally stopped, Ikedi was terrified to see that they were stepping out of a big crack instead of their canoe and his feet was on solid ground not water. He looked for signs of the canoe but there was none, except for the river. He joined them as they gathered the things that they will use to build a raft, obviously their canoe must have capsized and left them stranded in middle of nowhere. But when did all that happen ? Ikedi couldn’t say.
After tying the logs together, they used the broad leaves to make the raft a little bit watertight and then made a sail. Ikedi helped to lift the raft into the water as Temidi quickly slipped onto it. When Ikedi tried to jump in as well, Nyone held him back. “What are you trying to do?”
Ikedi did not understand why such question is been thrown at him so he drew a blank.
“Cant you see that this thing cannot carry all of us at a time!?”
“And what do you suggest that we do now?”
“You have to stay here while I take my sister out then come back for you with a proper boat.”said Nyone with a note of finality. Ikedi knew that arguing with them will only keep them there further and it will be foolish to challenge this unfamiliar form of Nyone. He acquiesce to their scheme and watched helplessly as they paddled the raft away slowly disappearing into the fog.
When he was all alone, those tales of the River spirits started to materialise in his head and that was when he heard it!!
The sound was coming from his back, as if two people were discussing in hushed tones, but when he turned around, he saw nothing. As he heard the noise again, this time it was clear that they were calling his name so he looked up and there they were hanging on the tree. They looked like baboons but had the face of men and as their eyes met, they started climbing down very quickly. Ikedi couldn’t bear the shock so he fainted.
When he regained consciousness, the fresh air that rushed into his lungs told him that he was no longer in the rancid-smelling island. As his vision adjusted to the bright day light, he saw those two creatures standing over him only that this time they were smiling.
“Oh! Nyone, you people are back”
“Yes I told you we will back early, getting periwinkles is no big deal for me” boasted Nyone.
“Get up let’s play, before you flatten that bed of yours with sleep”said Temidi and she began to tug at his feet.
“Am in my bed?”
“No o! You are in the sky” said Nyone teasingly.