Very early the next day at the stream, a snake is seen resting on the waters undisturbed despite some group of villagers coming.
Bisi: I heard Bunmi’s traditional marriage is coming up next week.
Folake: I heard it too and screamed, but I told you didn’t I? Bunmi was pregnant but you didn’t believe me that’s why her wedding is being rushed.
Bisi: I didn’t want to believe because she was a well-behaved girl, but then it’s all good the guy agreed to marry her, though it will be a closed-door thing.
Folake: She’s lucky though, I wonder where she would have hidden her……….
They got interrupted by screams from those who already got to the stream as they ran past them.
Bisi: What is it?
Ibidun: Snake ooo very big. It was just lying down there looking at us.
Folake: Hey! This early? What are we going to do now and there’s no guy among us to help kill the snake.
Ifeya: I don’t think that’s an ordinary snake, I guess that should be the snake my brother saw last month when he went hunting. The description is just the same though people did not believe him.
Bisi: Believe it or not I don’t care, but what are we going to do now?
Ifeya: Thank God, my brother’s friends are here.
They ran to the guys who were coming and held their hands.
Ifeya: there’s a snake in the stream and no one can fetch water.
Yele: Snake? At this time? Come Let’s go.
They briefly went into the bush to get sticks and bravely walked up to the stream.
Tolulola: But nothing is here, where exactly was the snake?
They kept looking around and immediately a loud thud was heard in the water and the snake widely opened its mouth and the ladies screamed and stood at the back of the guys. Surprisingly one of the guys threw the stick and bowed to the snake.
Oson: we are sorry to disturb your rest great one.
Yele: What are you doing?
Oson: This is not a snake but a great goddess, let’s go.
Tolulola: What! What rubbish are you saying?
Oson: for once listen to me. I said let’s go!
He forcefully took them away from there.
Oson: listen everyone! You didn’t see anything, there was no snake and there’s no water in the stream for now okay?
He addressed the people present.
Bisi: But that’s a lie, what’s the goddess doing in our stream? We will report this to the elders!
Oson: And then what will happen? Go ahead and inform them that you found Arike in the stream today, good luck.
Yele: so the snake even has a name?
Oson looked at him for a while,
Oson: That’s more than a snake and nobody should go in there for any reason, let’s go.
They watched as Oson left alone while they stood confused wondering if they should go back there to confront the snake or not.
Ifeya: I’ve gone oo, I don’t want to die.
Bisi: what wait!
But she ran off to meet up with Oson.
Ifeya got home and ran to her brother who sat quietly at the backyard. Ever since he returned to hunting after seeing Arike, he has not been himself and can’t go out either.
Ifeya: Brother! Brother! I saw the snake that did this to you.
He turned and looked at her saying nothing but his eyes showed that he wants to hear more.
Ifeya: the snake was just at the stream. See I could not fetch any water, no one could fetch water today.
Mobo: She’s still there? Are you sure?
Ifeya: I am very sure it’s the snake, I mean she was so fearful and Oson said its name is Arike.
Mobo: Oson knows? But he didn’t believe me.
Ifeya: Brother, with my two eyes I saw how Oson bowed and worshiped the snake, he even said it’s a goddess, now I know why you’re not the same after you saw it alone in the forest.
Mobo tried to get up but she quickly held him down.
Ifeya: where are you going to?
Mobo: to the stream, I want to apologize to it so she can return my body. I tried killing it back there, I thought it will be a good catch for me.
Ifeya: no brother do you want it to kill you?
They heard noises and Ifeya went to the front yard.
Ifeya: What’s the problem?
Bisi: Do you know your brother’s friend reported the issue to the elders I heard they have banned everyone from going to the stream so that a kind of ritual can be done for the goddess.
Ifeya: is that so? Then she’s really a goddess but why our village?
Folake: I don’t know but she’s a very old one for that matter and very powerful. The elders shook when they heard it was Arike and only God knows what they will use to appease her because they fear she might bring problems to our land.
Ifeya: why should someone like that bear such a good name? It’s too much for her na.
They turned and saw Oson entering the compound and Ifeya quickly faced him.
Ifeya: you dare show your face here huh? So you know what was wrong with my brother who is your friend yet you kept quiet and pretended as if you don’t know.
Oson: Ife not know please, I just remembered that the snake Mobo saw might be Arike and I want to take him to the stream now and beg the goddess to let him go.
Ifeya: it’s a lie! You want to sacrifice my brother to her right?
Oson: If she wanted to kill him, she would have used him as a delicious meal back there in the forest, excuse me.
He pushed her aside and Bisi held her when she attempted to hold Oson back from meeting her brother.
Folake: maybe he’s saying the truth, but I never saw Oson as that kind of person. When did he turn out to be a goddess oracle?
Bisi: I am already scared of him, slow water runs deep indeed, for someone who knows such a deadly goddess then he must be dangerous himself.
Ifeya: I don’t trust him one bit when he mocked my brother and didn’t want to believe him when he tried explaining what happened to him.
Oson was seen helping Mobo out and Ifeya ran to help him.
Oson: forget it, I can take care of him, you don’t have to follow me.
Ifeya: Following you indeed. You better bring my brother home safely or else!
Oson: Else what? Keep your childish empty threats to yourself, use them to fan your woods for cooking.
Mobo: don’t worry I’ll be fine okay, just stay away from the stream, please don’t follow us it’s dangerous.
Ifeya: Brother be careful, if anything goes wrong please run away.
The appease ritual was done in the stream and Mobo was laid at the side of the stream and asked to be carried the next day.
Oson: You mean he will spend the night here alone?
Mobo: no please don’t leave me, I don’t want to die.
Arike: But you wanted to kill me? Don’t worry you won’t die yet at least not with my hands.
Oson: I apologize on behalf of my friend great one. Please pardon his ignorance.
Arike: your friend was pardoned because he looks handsome, he was only punished and he will have to spend the night with me, this will be part of my appeasing.
Mobo’s eyes bulged out as the snake showed its tongue with its body swinging happily and his friend looked at him.
Arike: now you may go.
Mobo: no no! Please don’t go, help me!
Oson bowed his head and left with the chief priest present and Oson was surprised to see Ifeya waiting on the path that leads to the stream.
Oson: I thought I asked you not to follow us?
Ifeya: where’s my brother? The sacrifice is over why is he not with you?
Oson: your brother is safe, trust me.
Ifeya: trust you? My brother is with a snake and I should trust you? Where is he? I’ll go meet him.
Oson held her back immediately as she attempted to run away.
Oson: go there and you will die with your brother do you hear me?
She gasped breathing hard as she saw the seriousness in Oson’s voice.
Ifeya: you’re lying right?
Oson: no I’m not. The reason why Arike came here was because of your brother. He attempted to kill the goddess and she would have killed him back there but she only got him punished. The poison will be removed from your brother but he has to stay in the stream till the next morning. You’ll see your brother tomorrow healthy I promise you.
Ifeya: Tomorrow? That’s too much.
Oson: your brother got himself into it anyway, now let’s go. Don’t be scared nothing will happen to him.
He crossed his hands on her shoulders leading her away while she kept looking back.
Ifeya: why have I not heard this Arike before?
Oson: not everyone knows her and the thought of her is dreadful. She’s just in a good mood.
Ifeya: the face I saw back there was not in a good mood, I lost my intestines, that snake can swallow a full human without blinking its eyes.
Oson: I know.
Ifeya: how did you know her and why is the name Arike? Was she a human being or something?
Oson looked at her and smiled.
Oson: oh Ifeya, you’re so talented to get words out of people’s mouths but I don’t know much about her, and I knew her through my late grandmother. She worshipped beings like that and in my short time with her, I got to know Many years ago, Arike was the prettiest girl that has ever lived but her father was fetish. She was the only child and of course, she was to take over from her father, but she grew even stronger than him. She swallowed up the powers of great men by seducing them because of her beauty. So many men died with the thought of having her as a wife, in fact when you think of proposing to Arike, get your coffin prepared in advance. She was the most fearful then but then she left and got isolated for year’s but people still traced her out whenever they have problems they needed her help.
Ifeya: is that so? Then she must be very old.
Oson: indeed, she’s more than 100years.
Ifeya: 100? Then I guess she’s going to die soon.
Oson: you’re funny, will you go kill her? For someone that powerful I doubt, now stop talking about her before she’s going to visit you soon probably this night since you’re now her biggest fan.
Ifeya: God forbid!
Oson laughed loudly.
Ifeya: cant she take her human form again? Or is she scared of seeing her beautiful skin covered with wrinkles as a result of old age?
Oson: Well that I can’t say, but rumors have it that she does take up different forms to chase after handsome men. If you get unlucky, she has you.
Ifeya stopped immediately hearing that.
Ifeya: excuse me, is that why she has my brother?
Oson: is Mobo handsome?
Ifeya: we all know he is and no guy in the village has beaten that fact yet. She better not have her eyes on him, what a shameless goddess!
Ifeya hurried off while Oson shook his head looking at her and smiling.
At Mr. and Mrs. Folarin’s house. Mr. Folarin tiredly walked in as Enitan opened up the door for him.
Enitan: Welcome dear, how did the meeting go? I never knew it will make you sleep out.
Mr. Folarin: I’m so sorry that it took me unawares, no-one expected that.
Enitan: It’s okay, I made breakfast. Will you take your bath first? I can hurriedly heat the water for you.
Mr. Folarin: the warm bath will do first thank you.
Enitan left and he threw his head on the sofa weakly. Minutes later Enitan returned and tapped him and he sat up cleaning his eyes.
Mr. Folarin: Have you heard from Tosin?
Enitan: Yes I called him yesterday evening and he’s fine. Though he made mentioned of a field trip tomorrow.
Mr. Folarin: Feild trip? And I’m not aware?
Enitan: Sorry about that, he was told yesterday and they were asked to pay 2,000 naira for the trip. I wanted to tell you but you couldn’t return home yesterday, what’s wrong?
Mr. Folarin: I’m not sure, something is….. It’s alright I’ll go take my bath now.
Enitan: Are you sure? I can tell him to cancel the trip if you want.
Mr. Folarin: Dear you know your son, that will never happen but it’s fine, let’s hope so.
To Be Continued… . . .
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