“I greet you!” An elderly man said coming suddenly from behind her.
Nicole’s mum turned fearfully and stare at the old man.
Inside the shrine was more frightening. Carved images, animal skulls, Calabashes, pots of different sizes and shapes littered the shrine.
She was offered a plastic chair to sit while the man sat on the bare floor and spoke to her.
“You are here because of your daughter”
“Let me go straight to the point. Tell your daughter to release Nosa”
“My daughter do something?” She asked confused.
“I talk am. That day the man dey do like mumu”
“She should allow him go to his wife”
“But baba, na my daughter that man be wan marry before, then the other woman come snatch am. My daughter come still get belle, suffer carry the belle for 9 months oo, the same woman come kill my grandchildren. Two children oo. Baba if na you, you go like am?. I come here because I want make Nosa wife suffer well well. I want make the children she born die. I want make she be like woman wey never born before “She said frowning.
Baba sighed deeply and shook his head sorrowfully.
“I get money for here. Plenty money. My daughter rich and she know sey I dey come here. Na two weeks ago, I be wan come, but my friend wey be wan carry me come con fall sick. She never recover sef”
She opened her bag and showed baba the bundles of money. Baba smiled. He knew what such money would do for him.
“Let me try!”
Baba spread a black cloth on the floor and placed a small pot on it. He threw his cowries on the cloth and started making incantations. Nicole’s mother watched in awe as fire comes out of the pot occasionally
“What are the names of the children?”
“Efosa and Osadebamwen. My daughter no know the last born name”
The fire from the pot increased as he continued with the incantations.
“Do you know the name of Nosa’s wife?”
The baba repeated the name and continued with the incantations.
Suddenly he fell back.
“The woman is strong. She would not allow me touch her children”
Nicole’s mum laughed.
“Wetin make Itohan strong. She dey use juju?
“She has her own power oo. Nobody can touch her and her children. Come and see the mighty beings watching over them”
Very much annoyed now, she picked her bag and stood up.
“I think sey you get power sef. My friend tell me sey you dey powerful, but now I see sey Itohan get power pass you”
In a bid to redeem his image, the old man told her to calm down and sit.
“Powers get level. Put money for here” He said.
Nicole’s mum brought out bundles of money and placed them on the black cloth beside the pot. Baba smiled.
He had not even started another round of incantation when the pot rose up and started rotating. The old man shrink in fear when the pot broke into pieces.
Baba started shouting.
“Fire, fire!, Where is the fire from?”
Nicole watched as baba tried to remove his clothes. She could not see fire anywhere but he kept shouting. Fear gripped her. She was confused. She wanted to run, but decided to collect the money she dropped on the clothe.
“Get out of this place. Oh my body. What’s happening to me?”
She hurriedly put the money in her bag and ran. She got to where the log of wood is, then increased her speed.
When she thought she was almost in an open place. She met a mad woman who pursued her. She ran screaming for help until she fell into a ditch.
It was passerby who rescued her. She broke her left leg. By the time she was brought out of the ditch her bag was missing.
Osas had spent three weeks in school before she discovered that the girl living with her mother in Lagos was a student in the same university.
She was waiting for the next lecture, when she saw a poster on the wall. She moved closer and looked at the picture very well. People who had seen the poster clustered around too.
“I know this girl” A student said “she is an Estate management student. The news is all over. She was last seen in her rented apartment”
Osas looked at the poster again but said nothing. She went in for lecture, but her attention was divided.
Immediately the lecture was over, she went outside and copied the three phone numbers on the poster. As soon as she got home. She called one of the numbers. It was a woman that picked the call. She greeted.
“I just saw the poster of Cindy Igiebor. Is she your daughter?”
“Yes, yes!” The voice on the other side said.
“I know where she is, she…”
The woman screamed and started crying.
“Oh God, where?”
“Ah, Lagos. Please tell me where my daughter is”
Osas told the woman to come to the university. The woman promised to travel from Port – Harcourt to Delta.
Nicole took a flight to Benin after she received the call about her mother’s broken leg. The news shook her.
“How come?” She asked her father.
“A mad woman was pursuing her. She fell into a ditch, because she did not look well”
Nicole got to the place she was being treated. It was a traditional home. She was grateful that her mum was at least alive.
“Thank God you are alive” She told her mum after she exchanged pleasantries with her.
“No be small thing oo. I for die if no be God” She told Nicole.
When the woman taking care of her had left the room. She told Nicole how she broke her leg. Nicole was badly shaken.
“You no even tell me sey you use juju hold Nosa”
“I am sorry. I thought you will scold me”
“Who for shout for you? I even happy as you hold am well well”
“Who I dey fear now na Itohan. She get power pass that native doctor wey I go see. That man no get power at all, at all” She said.
“Don’t worry Iye. There is nothing Itohan can do. She would have done something when I snatched Nosa. I know powerful places if I want her to be silenced permanently”
Nicole’s mother laughed and coughed.
“The bag wey loss pain me. Money full inside. Maybe na one of the people wey help me thief the bag”
Nicole spent two days with her before returning to Lagos.
Itohan was worried. Things were not working well for her. If not that God was on her side, she would have lost Efosa who fell seriously ill.
The business was not easy for her for it overwhelmed her. Since Osas left for school, she had dropped the sales of jollof rice and salad. She focused on akara, buns and beans.
The girl living with her had been crying. She complains of headache all the time. Few days ago, she told Itohan, her full name is Cindy Igiebor. She still could not remember who her parents are or have any idea on how to locate them. It was posing a big challenge for her. Itohan had told her to pray more rather than cry. “Who cry help?” She would ask.
Apart from the girl, other things bothers her too. She also thought of how to get money for a sewing machine. She was carried away by her thought when her phone rang. It was Osadebamwen.
“That girl you call Grace, her real name is Cindy Igiebor. She is a student in my school. She was kidnapped. Her mother will be coming to see me tomorrow” She told Itohan.
“Osas, you for tell me before you call the girl mama na. You fit put yourself for trouble oo”
“I am sorry, I was just excited”
“Next time, inform me before you do that kain thing”
They talked about other things, before she hung up the phone.
“God abeg make wetin Osas tell me be true oo. I dey pity the girl especially as she no fit remember anything. Baba abeg no allow Osas fall for trouble oo” She prayed.
To Be Continued… . . . .
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