When daddy brought Aunty Nneka into the house as our house-maid, I felt sad because my friends in school had always told me that house maids were witches, and family killjoys. I cried so much begging daddy to send Aunty Nneka away, but daddy would not listen.
“Why can’t you trust me this once? She is not bad, she is very good. You’ll like her, I assure you” he smiled rubbing the hairs on my little ten year old head. But I was not satisfied; I wanted Aunty Nneka out of the house.
But daddy was right. Aunty Nneka was such an angel. I had never seen a person with so many good qualities and skills, I still haven’t. Aunty Nneka taught me so many things. I learnt to be humble and calm, I learnt how to talk with maturity and reason intelligently even at my tender age, my dress sense also improved, and I became so conscious about many aspects of my life, little as I was. The influence of Aunty Nneka in my life became so obvious. My teachers and my friends saw that my life had taken a new dimension. They saw that I had become a better person, I was so proud of Aunty Nneka. She made me feel like mummy was still alive.
But as I have watched daddy passing a knife through her throat from the window of a small secret room which I had not long discovered, a few weeks back, I can’t help but wonder what a world we live in. Was it not daddy who brought in Aunty Nneka about five years ago? Why would daddy kill her? What had she done to deserve such cruelty? How could daddy even pass a knife through a human’s throat with so much ease? What kind of person was daddy in truth? Endless questions ran through my head, and I was almost running crazy. He had told me she had gone back to her house as she wanted to get married; I had nodded my head in like I knew nothing, with balls of tears running down my cheeks as he patted my back in consolation. I turned into a mute for almost the whole of the term. Everyone kept asking why and my daddy kept telling them that my sweet Aunty Nneka had gone. He was right, but to where? He would always say to get married in the east, and I would look at him with so much fright as he would be so confident with his lies, and then I would bow my head with hot tears welling up in my eyes. I had only seen such gruesome acts in African movies, and daddy told me that the people who did those things belonged to an occult society. It meant then that daddy was like them; he was an occult man. I wanted to tell, but I was afraid. I was scared of what horror would greet me if I opened my mouth. And I also didn’t want my daddy to be taken away from me, and so I kept quiet.
Aunty Flora, daddy’s sister, told me my mummy had died a mysterious death when I was three. It was daddy who had taken care of me until Aunty Nneka’s arrival. Daddy took me to church, and taught me how to pray and solely believe and depend on God. Did it mean that daddy never truly meant his words and actions? I racked my thirteen year old brain so hard and the answers finally came when I had turned fifteen.
I had seen daddy phoning our pastor. He was shivering as he answered the call. It was audible enough to my hearing.
“The Brotherhood wants more blood from you, Charles” that was my pastor.
“But it is not seven years yet, why now?” my father was depressed.
“The question is not for you to ask, Charles”
“I know but-”
“Do you still love your son?”
Daddy fell quiet. He had become powerless. Pastor Mark had hit his weak point. His broad shoulders dropped, and the ‘yes’ he spoke into the mouthpiece was quite weak.
“You better do what you must”
And the line went off. I was lying by my father’s side. He must have thought I was fast asleep. I closed my eyes as he turned to look at me, and I could hear him sniff hard. Daddy was weeping.
As I closed my eyes. I couldn’t help wonder how daddy had gotten himself into such a mess. Mummy’s death was not a mystery to me anymore. And my pastor, our pastor, was an occult man? His filthy hands would never be placed on my head again, may God forbid!
Today I am sitting at the foot of his mighty grave monument; he gave his life for his son when he could no longer find a substitute human sacrifice. I am proud of my daddy, a daddy who so loved his only son. But I am disappointed too; daddy was never totally dependent on God as he taught me to be, and I hate that I was still a kid at the time when these things happened. Right now, the lyrics of the music of a soap opera which I used to watch in those days is all that is playing on my head:
It’s an odd world, and a strange land. Unbelievable and strange things are happening….