As he tries to get up, another stronger and firm twisted tree patch hit him.
He fell to the ground and cried out in pain.
He suffered a keen darting pain on his arm. He remained still on the ground as he held onto his head.
Covering his face from whatever or whoever was behind the flog.
The young lady with him quickly held onto her cloth and she hurried away from him.
“What in gods name was that?
He said while looking around fearfully.
The lady was also scared as she looked from tree to tree
“Who are you or what are you…show your face. if you are a man..come out let’s fight man to man.
The man screamed into the silent bushes.
He managed to sit up, he felt serious pain on his arm.
The tree shock vehemently.
A strange figure appeared up on the branch of a tree, it stood still.
They couldn’t see the face of the person. The figure stood among branches that was crowded up making the top tree dark.
” Let’s leave here… I’m scared. I’m leaving…
The lady said as she tries to adjust her clothes.
“You can’t possibly leave me here, do you want to leave without me. Can’t you see that I’m in pain… help me up.
The Lady looked at him, she doesn’t know if she should help him or leave him there.
“I said help me up you fool. Do you have to think about it. You want whatever is in this wood to kill me. I’m your only means of survival remember that. I don’t want to repeat myself… help me up.
The lady stood for sometime, looking at him wreathing in pain.
She turned and started moving away slowly.
” Rigi…Rigi…are you leaving me here? Rigi…
The man was shouting. His harsh voice turned into a pitiful cry.
“…Rigi please don’t leave me here. I beg you in the name of the gods. Whatever attacked me will finish me up if you leave. Please give me a hand… please…
He cried out. The lady paused and turned to him.
” I’m surprised at you Uzan. I have never seen you beg ever since I know you. You do whatever pleases you without a thought or consideration of anyone. I never knew that you can actually say the word “please” you…
She was still talking when the tree began to shake again. The figure that stood among the crowded branches was gone.
The lady was about to run off when she saw the same figure swinging down with the help of a strong tree twine.
The figure kept spiralling around and later landed in front of them.
The man screamed out angrily.
“A girl…is nothing but a girl? By the gods…is even a girl…
Rigi looked disappointed as she saw the figure behind the whole scary evening.
As she moved closer, Rigi saw her face and the bead around her neck and wrist and knew she was a royalty.
“Uzan… she is the daughter of the Chief of Zukumo kingdom.
Rigi said to Uzan and he retorted more angry than before.
” I don’t care who she is, she is nothing but a woman…an ordinary untrained girl. Being a royalty does not change the fact that she is a woman… like you with little or no significant.
The man continued talking with anger.
“…What are you doing in the wood by this time of the evening. Aren’t you supposed to be helping your mother in the kitchen? What did you use in hitting me…? How dare you scare life out of me like that. An ordinary girl? oh may the gods strike you real hard. How old are you…how dare you? miscreants…
She picked up a dry stick from the ground and came right at the man.
” My name is Kaya, I’m 13years… I’m the “girl” that will flog you until you beg for mercy. Hope I have answered your question Mr pervert.
He was about to say something else and suddenly screamed in terror as a stroke of cane landed on his back.
Kaya began to flog him continuesly and each stroke comes hard and firm.
Rigi stood watching not knowing what to do.
She flogged him so hard, he was bleeding on his hand yet she didn’t stop. She continued until he started begging for mercy.
She stopped and said
“I didn’t flog you because you insulted me or women generally, I floged you because I saw the disgusting act you tried to do with that lady under that hidden tree. I saw it from up the tree and knew you deserve some beating….
Uzan quickly reply amidst tears and blood. his pride was broken.
“We… we’re lovers you idiot of a girl. She agreed for us to come here. I wasn’t trying to force myself on her it was a mutual agreement… you are in for a serious trouble for doing this to me.
Uzan said as he tried to get up from the ground but he fell back.
Kaya looked up at the lady, She was just standing looking so lost.
She returned her look to the man.
“Lovers indeed… don’t you have a house why come to the wood and defy the virgin soil? If she was your lover why didn’t she try to save you from my hands…
“He’s lying… I’m not his lover. I’m a mother of two…all girls. My husband abandoned me and my kids and got married to another woman. I couldn’t take care of my children, I sometimes go around looking for help whenever it becomes difficult. Uzan is a friend of my husband. He used to come to the house back then when I was newly married and I will serve him food and give him a take home meal. When things turned hard for me, I went to him and he said he will only help me on one condition… which is to…to lay with me, I rejected and left. I went back again few weeks later to ask him for help hoping he will help without asking for anything in return but he still demanded to lay with me. He said without laying with me he won’t render any help. Uzan said since I have only daughters no one will want to help me and he’s right. After a long thought, I have to accept his offer. I don’t want my girls to dye of hunger. He said he can’t take me to his place because people may see us together and will start speculating. He then suggested the wood… where nobody will think of coming by this time…
Rigi started sobbing.
Kaya looked at Uzan without a word, he was looking all angry and swollen.
She then looked back at Rigi and asked.
“Does he have a wife or child?
“His wife left him. He was abusing her after her first child which is a girl…so, she left him and now she is married to another man and have a son for her new husband.
Rigi said as she wiped a tear off her face.
“I don’t know how much he promised to pay you before but let me assure you one thing… Uzan will pay you double of whatever your agreement was. I will make sure of that. If he doesn’t, I will flog him for the rest of his miserable life. I’m the daughter of a chief… even as a woman, he dares not touch me. Don’t cry my lady, Uzan will give you everything you need to take care of yourself and your daughters and he dares not do otherwise or he will be in a serious trouble. After that I will like to pay a visit to your husband for abandoning you and his daughters. That will be later though… right now let’s focus on Uzan…
Uzan turned angrily and said.
“But I didn’t touch her. I was supposed to untill you spoilt it all. How can i pay for what I did not eat… even double?
“You will pay it either through your teeth or through your manhood. I don’t care. Lady Rigi and her girls must not complain and you dares not threaten them because I’m not done flogging you for insulting me. I’m not your everyday kind of woman Uzan. I don’t threaten what I won’t do. If Lady Rigi complains over your failure to do what I ask of you… oh! I will flog your skin off, you will wish our part never crossed… you deserved to be called miscreants.
Kaya asked Rigi to go.
Uzan was surprised as Kaya bent down and pulled him up.
“I don’t have the heart to leave you here… I know this wood and know that by morning you may become food for the animals. Let me help you get to the village… you have an obligation, which I wouldn’t want to hear an excuse…
Uzan was speechless. He wondered where Kaya got her strength from.
She was strong and every of her words echos deep and scares him.
She is not an ordinary girl and he won’t want to go against her orders.
He will give Rigi whatever she ask in other not to get into further trouble.
Kaya helped him to the village and left him.
Kaya goes about resolving some issues in the village.
There was a period that some boys ganged up against her and she beat three of the boys up, injuring them in the process.
Little by little villagers started talking about her.
Some say she fights like a lioness, some say she is stronger than five men.
They wondered how she get to have so much strength.
Dre moved up and down the passage as Zain, his second wife was about to give birth.
He was restless while waiting for the news of his son that was about to be born.
Zain’s cry was heard as she was urged to push.
Opa was with her daughter, Maya and Ivan waiting for the news of the son that was about to be born when Kaya came inside.
Opa started scolding her.
“Where have you been to again Kaya? Your father said everybody should stay home because of the arrival of his son. Your stepmother is in the delivery house. The midwives are attending to her. Kaya… stay put. Don’t step out of the house untill your brother, the next chief of Zukumo is born. Since I can’t give him a son…I can only pray to the gods to favor him through lady Zain. Let the gods favor her so that she can become the Queen mother…
Kaya sighed heavily and said.
“I have told you before Mama, I also said the same thing to grandmother Bambi. I saw the new baby in my dreams several times Mama. Lady Zain gave birth to a girl… and father was really sad…
Opa and Maya said in chorused.
“May the gods forbids it.
Kaya responded immediately.
“Why will the gods forbid it? When do giving birth to a baby girl becomes an abomination? The reason why I didn’t tell father is because he may say I was the one that brought bad luck to his new wife but is just a matter of a little time and a cry of a baby girl will be heard. I’m going over to stay with grandmother Bambi…if anybody needs me I will be there.
She walks away before her mother and elder sister will say something harsh to her.
She was still on her way when the cry of a baby was heard.