The next day, I waited when I was sure her mum must have gone out again and I went to visit again. She was cautiously happy to see me again. She looked like she was a lonely child. Her mum seemed to be doing her very best to keep her away from every type of human contact. That was quite understandable though. She had a deep distrust for anybody. She feared someone could harm her child.
“Where is your mum?” I asked.
“To the forest, as usual.”’
“Have you eaten?”
“You are beautiful.” I said.
“Thank you. You are handsome too.”
“I want to take you to leave in my house.” I proposed.
She laughed so hard that I felt stupid.
“My mum will kill you.” She said. “Please, cancel that idea from your mind. You simply don’t know how dangerous my mum is.”
“On the contrary, I do and that is the reason I want to take you away from here.” I said.
“Forget about it and stop joking. You are just a child. We both are. You can’t take care of me.”
“I will talk to my father about it.” I was wishfully thinking.
“Hahahahahaha!!” She laughed again. “You are a fool. Your father will be very angry with you for deliberately daring a witch’s daughter.”
I realized there was no way I could convince her. I was just a child by the way. What was I even thinking? I was just five years old, though I reasoned like an eighteen years old. I knew my dad would have my head for bringing another person’s child to the house to live with us, not to talk of the child being a witch’s daughter. The problem was that, I was falling in love with her and wanted to save her. I was too young to fall in love. But how can you control something that originates from the heart?
I was afraid that her mum was going to meet me there. I had to hurry and go back to our own house. Their black cat had already returned. That meant she was around the corner. I had even started suspecting that the black cat was her totem. But before, I left, I had one last conversation with her. A conversation I would wish for the rest of my life that I never made.
“I want to marry you.” I said without even knowing the implications.
“Are you sure?” She asked.
“Yes, I am sure. You are beautiful. I think I love you.”
“You are the only friend I have ever had and you are the only person on this earth besides my mum who cares about me. I love you too and I will marry you. However, we are still children and cannot marry now. So, we will keep our vows and marry when we come of age.” She said.
“Yes, that is true. We can only marry when we grow old. I will wait for you, no matter what. Now that I have found you, I will marry no other person and I will love no other person.” I said, innocently.
“Are you serious about that? Are you serious about what you are saying?” She asked, seriously.
“Yes, I am sure.” I said, innocently but with all seriousness.
“I wish I could move away with you now. The only obstacle however, is my mum. I wish she could just pass so that I can be together with you.” She lamented.
“Calm down, we will soon grow big and marry. That is for sure. Seems you are having doubts about me. How can I prove to you that I will never disappoint you?” I asked.
“Let’s seal it with a bond. A very strong bond that no one can break.” She proposed.
I accepted. Up until now, I had taken her to be an innocent little child. I had completely ignored or disregarded the fact that she was a witch’s daughter and her mum might have taught her a thing or two about her craft. I was now getting myself in something that would hunt me for the rest of my life.
She took me to the bark of their house and pulled out a black egg from a mysterious looking bag. She also brought out and old needle tied with a black and red cloth. She asked me to spit on the ground. I did. She did too. She then mixed our saliva on the black soil with the needle, rubbed the soil on the egg, held my hand and asked me to look at the sun. With both of us looking at the sun, she made this pronouncement.
“Invisible forces that can only be seen by the trained eye, bare witness to my eternal bond to this handsome boy. We are children now, but we will grow. When we do, we will marry and live happily ever after. We will have children who will bear children in return. I shall never love another man and he, too, is not allowed to love another woman. You are our witness.”
She broke the egg and I saw a dark shadow left the shell of the egg. It was like a translucent little human. It stooped for a while, seemed to look at us for one brief moment then evaporated. It then occurred to me that I had just signed a pact with a witch. I was terribly afraid. I was sweating and shaking.
“How did you learn all this?” I asked.
“My mum taught me.”
“I thought you hated her?” I asked
“She is my mum. I can never hate her. I just want her out of the way so that I can have my freedom. Now that I have met you, my priorities have changed. You now mean more to me than a sack full of gold. Please leave now. My mum will be here any moment. Go now, my love.”
I left her house with a run. I made up my mind never to go there again. But what good will it do? I was already part of her. We had made and oath and I was bound to it. I could not tell anybody without facing serious consequences. With no one to confide in and no one to comfort me, I felt alone in the world and kept my fears locked in my heart.
To Be Continued… . . .
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