Hunter’s Game comes to Screen!

Hey guys!

Some of you probably remember Hunter’s Game written by Ogechi Nwobia on her blog – here – in 2016.

Well, we’ve got exciting news. Oge is taking Hunter’s Game to screen! And you know this is exciting stuff for bloggers, readers and screenwriters. Hunter’s Game is being made into a series but for now, a pilot is set to be released and it will be available to everyone to view online for a token sum of N1,000. The pilot will be released on Friday the 31st of May 2019 and a link will be shared as soon as the film is uploaded.

HG Poster

Hunter’s Game will feature OC Ukeje as Uzo, Ade Laoye as Leela/Yemi, Tope Tedela as Waheed, Ibrahim Suleiman as Nathan, Asa’ah Samuel as Gbemiga and Gideon Oghenetega as Mr. Taiwo.

HG Cast

 

A couple of teasers have been released already. Follow these links to watch.

https://youtu.be/TMJSDJ8ry3Y

https://youtu.be/dD6lq2Il5tA

If you thought the story was great on the blog, wait till you see the magic these actors bring to your screens. I assure you, you will not be disappointed. So gather your friends, loved ones and even your enemies. Tell them #HuntersGameIsComing! #May31st

Follow @huntersgametheseries on Instagram and @Oge_writes on twitter for updates.

Don’t say I didn’t do anything nice for you this May.

 

 

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#12: OF GOOD DESTINY BY TAJMAO

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When they got back to Lagos, the tension was still evident. Anaborhi barely said a word on the trip back and Akunna kept glancing over at her daughter. As they turned into their street Anaborhi sat up and turned to her mother.

“Do we have to tell aunty everything?” she asked. Akunna nodded.

“It is only fair that we tell her and Ahunna as well. This is not something that should be hidden away, it’s a serious matter”

“What about Akin?” she asked. The look on her face tugged at Akunna’s heartstrings.

“You will have to tell him to dear. Consider the fact that the price that you have to pay is still unknown. If we are indeed free of the curse, it means that you and Akin can marry and it also means that whatever the price, it could affect your lives together”

Anaborhi nodded and sighed as they drove up to the gate.  As the gatekeeper opened up, Akpobome came running out of the house. She stood aside waiting for the car to come to a stop but the look on her face was one that got Akunna and Anaborhi worried. They quickly got down and, half expecting some awful news, rushed up to her.

“What is it? Are you ok? Has something happened?” Akunna asked her sister back to back. Akpobome broke into a smile quickly followed by tears streaming down her cheeks

“They are all coming home,” she said. “I got a call from the hospital Akunna, they said your husband woke up this morning and was fine, that he could be discharged very soon. Then I got a call from Ahunna who said some cousins also called her to say their husbands recovered. I called a few of our other cousins to ask about some of our male cousins, they are all fine Akunna. Whatever you did worked, the curse is gone”

She hugged Akunna and then hugged Anaborhi “We have a lot to tell you sis” Akunna said.

She led her sister inside and as they settled in the living room, Akunna started recounting their experiences. Anaborhi caught her aunty’s glances and looks of shock and dismay.

“OH MY GOD!” Akpobome finally said. She turned to Anaborhi and reached out for her hands. “No, no, no, nau. You would have just agreed with going forward. Your children and everyone unborn would have been ok. We could have lived with that. You didn’t have to do all this” she started crying and Anaborhi glanced over her shoulder to see if her mother too had started the waterworks.

Placing a hand over Akpobome’s as they held her other hand, Anaborhi shook her head.

“No” she said “We have suffered enough. What good would it have done for use for us to wait for a generation before we start to see if the curse is truly lifted or to see them live a curse-free life?”

Anaborhi paused and looked at her mother and aunty “I did not want either of you to continue like this, alone and unhappy”

“We would have been happy knowing that any child born from now one would be free. It was all the news we needed. You did not have to” Akunna said.

“Were you not happy when Aunty gave us the news that daddy was fine?” Anaborhi asked. The smile that filled her face warmed her heart. She had been looking forward to seeing the joy return to her mother’s face for years. The price was surely worth seeing it again. She turned to her aunt who was still holding her hands.

“Aunty, tell me when aunty Ahunna called you did not think if only it had come before her husband died. Tell me that it did not cross your mind that you could maybe now go back to Azubuike”

“How did you know?” Akpobome said in shock. Anaborhi smiled.

“I have come to know a lot now that what I knew before pales in comparison” She got to her feet and walked towards the stairs “I have to rest and find a way to break this to Akin”

“Do you need us to be there?” Akunna asked. She did not want to be far from her when she shared this information.

“Maybe not there but not too far either,” she said and started up the stairs. When she was out of sight Akpobome turned to her sister smiling broadly.

“Akunna, if she really did it, if the curse is actually and truly broken, then it means I can go back to Azubuike”

Akunna smiled and rolled her eyes. Her sister’s lasting infatuation for her university love had refused to die and had remained a running joke between them.

“Ehn, do you think he would be interested in that?”  She asked.

“I can tell him now, about everything. I can tell him about his daughter and well he is still single so there is a chance. A chance I can now finally take” Akpobome said still grinning ear to ear “And you? When are you going to pick your husband up?”

“First, I will have to call the hospital and then,” she paused and smiled “Then I will go see him in the afternoon”

Both sisters hugged each other and then sat back in silence before Akunna grabbed her phone and put a call through to the hospital. Calls were made back and forth between family and before long family members started to flock in and out of the house. The news of Anaborhi’s actions and potentially life-changing sacrifice spread like wildfire. It got to a stage where both Akunna and Akpobome started to turn back visitors.

When Akin got to the house during the visit of one of the extended family members, Akpobome took him straight to her room. They sat downstairs, after discharging the cousin that had come calling, waiting to either rush to her aid if they heard any ruckus, or barge in if it got too quiet.

“Why would be barge in if it is too quiet?”  Akpobome asked. She had laughed when her sister suggested that and Akunna had a hard time explaining. She was unable to answer though when Akin and Anaborhi descended the stairs and joined them in the living room area.

The look of shock on Akin’s face was evident but they were still uncertain of his calmness.

“Are you ok Akin?” Akunna asked. She watched as Akin looked at her and smiled. He nodded and then turned to Anaborhi, still smiling

“So,” he started to say “I am in love with a real-life wonder woman”

He could sense the relief that filled the room and everyone smiled broadly. Akin drew Anaborhi close and as her mother watched, tears filled her eyes.

“So what happens now?” he asked, “Is there a way to find out what the price to be paid is?”

“No. We have to wait till whenever she feels it is time to collect” Anaborhi said and Akin nodded. He then took his arm off Anaborhi’s shoulder, moved to the edge of his seat and leaned forward.

“So can I now have her hand in marriage?”

The laughter that filled the room was warm and long overdue. There were lots of hugs and drinks being shared as everyone talked and chatted freely for the first time in years.

In no time marriage plans were made and in all the excitement that ensued, especially with Anaborhi’s father returning home, Apunanwu’s price was put on the back burner. As the date of the ceremony arrived, family members from far and wide flew in to celebrate with the family.

As D-day arrived Anaborhi felt an extra presence that was familiar and slightly unsettling. She could not dwell on what it meant or whatever the implication was as she was whisked away and vows were shared but like the proverbial Sword of Damocles the day of reckoning was not far, only delayed.

Months after their wedding, Anaborhi went into labor on a rainy Wednesday morning just after dawn. She delivered a healthy boy whom she named Akpofure as life was now peaceful. Everyone’s joy knew no bounds and once again family from all over came to celebrate with the new parents. His naming ceremony was with all the pomp and pageantry that they could muster. Life was indeed peaceful and Apunanwu’s price was furthest from everyone’s mind so when, on the fortieth day, Apunanwu came into the house at the last strike of midnight, it was unexpected.

Anaborhi had been startled awake by what she would later describe as an unsettling feeling. She woke Akin up before both of them rushed into Akunna’s room and then all 3 and gone into the baby’s room. There, seated beside the cot was a woman in white humming a tune and cradling her baby in her arms.

“Oh” Anaborhi said as she dropped to her knees and tears welled up. Akin, not understanding the situation started to approach the seemingly strange woman in his son’s bedroom.

“I would advise that you tell your husband to calm down,” Apunanwu said softly. That stopped Akin in his tracks and he turned to look at his wife.

“Who is this woman?” He asked. Anaborhi sat on her haunches and sighed deeply. Wiping away a tear, she finally spoke up.

“She is Apunanwu and I believe she is here to collect”

As realization dawned on Akin, he took two steps back and came to stand beside his wife.

“And the price is our firstborn son?” he asked in dismay. Apunanwu smiled and got to her feet with the still sleeping baby in her arms.

“He is the reincarnate of my son. The one who was taken from me, the one who became lost to me”

“The one who you gave birth to in the forest?” Anaborhi asked amid freely flowing tears. Apunanwu shook her head.

“He was found by a hunter and lived to be a fulfilled old man with many children and other descendants one of whom stood guard at the gate when you came to find me,” Apunanwu said. Watching Anaborhi nod, she felt whatever was left of her humanity feel for the child before her.

“I am not lost to how you are feeling right now but a promise was made and a price must be paid. I have come for my price” she continued.

“Are you going to kill him?” Akin asked as he too sank to his knees and drew his wife near. Akunna watched in silence at the events unfolding in her presence and the gravity of the situation.

“No. Why would I take an innocent life,” Apunanwu said “What will happen to the child is left to me to know but I will assure you that no harm will come to him”

Apunanwu walked to the window and there she stood for a few seconds. Suddenly, before their very eyes, she and the baby started to fade. Anaborhi and Akin started to weep aloud. In time, they were gone and when the disembodied voice of Apunanwu filled the room, Akin almost jumped out of his skin

Your sacrifice is respected and you are a woman of honour Anaborhi. Your child will be cared for and he will grow up to know of you. Live long and prosper Anaborhi. Your sacrifice will never be forgotten.

The silence that followed was heart-wrenching and Akunna had to leave the weeping couple. She retreated to her room to cry her own tears at what had just happened in their home. She knew the price would be a heavy one but this was far from what they had expected.

When the news broke, the standard story was that the child had died one night. They had gotten a doctor to give a cause of death and a death certificate before an empty coffin was lowered into the ground. But time, as they say, heals all wounds, or at least most.

Akin and Anaborhi, never to forget their first born child, went on to have many more. For known reasons they subconsciously waited for the other shoe to drop as years passed but as they celebrated their 10th year wedding anniversary, it became clear that there was no need for any more fear. At the passing of Tsohuwa Dada, Anaborhi became vested with the responsibility of that position, one that she would however not fill for years to come. Despite this, and for good reason, she remained highly respected in the family.

In time, the truth of her sacrifice would be made known to every family member as it was important that the story and the reason for such a hefty sacrifice were never to be forgotten. Never knowing her child’s fate, Anaborhi would never live down that longing to see his face again. But as if as a consolation when a young man called her mother in a crowded park where her other children were playing and seeing white beads around his wrist, she was relieved that he was indeed alive.

Whenever she remembered the night he was taken and whenever she doubted her role or regretted her actions, she would remember that day and remember that he hugged her. She would remember him walking away to meet a woman on the other side of the road who was Apunanwu but not really her. She would smile when she remembered the woman who was not really Apunanwu looking over at her and nodding before both of them got lost in the crowd. Even though she could never tell anyone of that encounter, it brought her joy and lightened the burden in her heart.

Anaborhi outlived her husband and most of her children. In time she relocated to Barwi and having taken over her position of Tsohuwa Dada guided generation after generation of the family. She became the historian of family lore and tradition, never to be forgotten when it became her time to join her ancestors.

The End

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Temitope Omamegbe is a banker, blogger, and author of Twice A Bride: The Journey. Also a screenwriter, she is a lover of everything fantasy, horror, lore, pasta, and seafood. More of her stories can be found on her blog https://www.tajmaosworld.wordpress.com while her novel, which is an e-book, can be found on https://www.Bambooks.io; https://www.Okadabooks.com; https://www.kobo.com and https://www.amazon.com.

Follow her on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/tajmao and https://www.twitter.com/tajmao

#11: OF GOOD DESTINY BY TAJMAO

 

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Her walk back down the path was harder than when she had been heading the other way a few hours before. It was odd that they had spent hours in each other’s company and it felt like mere minutes. Not much had been said but Anaborhi felt Apunanwu’s sadness without the need for words. Soon she was back at the clearing and standing over the white cloth that she and Akuada had sat earlier.

Akuada was nowhere around. Anaborhi looked around and sighed. She didn’t have the will to start looking for any one.

“Akuada, I am back. You can come out now” she called out and waited. The only answer she got was from the birds in the trees and sky above. She looked around and sighed deeply again. Then something caught her eye. She walked back to the sheet and bent down to pick up the white dress she had not observed before. It was the same one that Akuada had been wearing. Her absence and the presence of the dress made things clear to her.

The curse was broken. Akuada was free. She was gone. Finally free of her curse. Anaborhi sat down and smiled. Despite her anger towards her ancestor, she was glad she was free. Looking up, she shut her eves and let out a long breath. Then she heard it, on the wind around her. First it was a warm, Akuada’s presence which made her look around. Then it was her voice carried on the same wind.

Thank you, Anaborhi.

Her eyes brimmed with tears, filling her with joy and sadness at the same time. Getting to her feet, she thought of what to do with the dress and then, having decided, wrapped it up in the white cloth. She turned and started walking down the path back up to the main entrance. There she met the old man who, seeing her with the cloth, nodded slowly.

“It is all done now.” He said as he got to his feet and started walking away slowly with the aid of his cane.

“Are you some ancestor as well?” Anaborhi asked. “An uncle, Akuada’s son? One of Apunanwu’s other children?”

The man laughed but did not stop walking. “I am nothing of the sort child. I am however happy that all this is over and my watch is done”

Anaborhi did not understand his words but had no strength to ask any further questions. She continued up the slope, getting further and further away from the gates she had just passed and as she turned a corner Aruegodore came into her line of sight. He sat in the car and was busy fiddling with his phone. Anaborhi smiled, happy that at least she was certain that her uncle would finally be able to live a good life. She stopped and thought of her brother as well and of her aunts before finally thinking of her parents.

“Anaborhi, are you ok?” Aruegodore asked. He had looked up from his phone to see his niece standing there as though in shock. “Did something happen?”  He got down from the car and walked towards her concerned.

“A lot happened” Anaborhi said as she finally started walking towards him. Meeting him half way she fell into his embrace. After a few seconds, he pulled her away from him and held her there, staring into her eyes.

“What happened? Are you ok? Were you hurt?” he asked in quick succession “Who did you see?”

“I will tell you everything before we get back to the house. But in summary uncle, the curse is gone, free” she said. Her voice seemed to betray the joy she was trying to portray because Aruegodore did not seem to believe her in entirety.

“At what price?” he asked. She shook her head and freed herself from his grip. The question caused a shiver down her spine and when she got to the car she looked down at the bundle she was holding and started to shake her head.

“I don’t know” she said.

Aruegodore shook his head. He leaned on the car and sighed deeply

“So how do you know for sure that the curse is broken?” he asked in anticipation.

“I met our ancestor, uncle. Akuada, the source of all of this trouble”

“No way. Are you serious?!”

“Yes uncle and I also met Apunanwu, she who laid the curse in the first place”

“Well, you do have a lot to share.”Aruegodore said smiling “Get in, let’s get back to Barwi before it gets too dark”

The drive back was a quiet one. Aruegodore glanced repeatedly at his niece either smiling or frowning. He had more than a dozen questions for her but he did his best to not say anything. In 45 minutes they were back at Barwi and driving into the compound.

“Maybe I should just head to my room and sleep.” Anaborhi said. A few seconds passed and neither of them moved from the car.

“I do not know what the price you will have to pay is but I am grateful. Your singular action has saved us all.” Aruegodore said and when Anaborhi turned to look at him she found him crying. Anaborhi nodded and at the same time both of them stepped out of the car and into the house.

Upstairs they met Akunna and Adankwo having dinner in the old woman’s room. Adankwo  had requested that a part of the room be cleared so both of them could sit and wait for Anaborhi together. Adankwo did not want Akunna to wait alone and so they had eaten together till Aruegodore and Anaborhi walked through the door.

“Welcome back” Adankwo said. She had seen them first because Akunna’s back was turned to the door and as she greeted, Akunna turned quickly, almost toppling off the chair where she sat. Rushing to her feet, she embraced her daughter tightly allowing the fear she had been holding in to seep away, grateful for her safe return.

“I was so worried about you” Akunna said when they finally drew apart and stood staring at each other. She had a smile on her face as she looked Anaborhi over and by the time her eyes drifted over to Aruegodore the fear returned. His bloodshot eyes brought the worry right back.

“What happened?” Akunna asked “Are you ok?” she said turning to her daughter and then back to her brother “Aruegodore why are your eyes red?” She was starting to shake now and Anaborhi held on to her mother.

“Nothing is wrong mum. Everything is fine I promise” she started to say in a bid to calm her down.

“Then why is he crying?”

“Because the curse has been broken” Aruegodore said where he stood still in shock at the reality of what he was saying. He turned from his sister to Adankwo. He ran up to her and knelt beside her chair. Taking her hands in his, he repeated the words louder “She did it; she lifted the curse Tsohuwa Dada. We are free”

Akunna shook her head and turned back to face her daughter “Is this true?” she asked as tears threatened to fall. Anaborhi nodded and guided her mother over to a couch where they sat.

“I first met Akuada and she told me most of what Tsohuwa Dada said and more. She mentioned her own curse. She had been alive since that time, cursed to watch the fate of her descendants play out back to back.”

“By the gods! She has been alive for so long. How awful that must have been” Akunna said.

“She gave me three items to present to Apunanwu by the river where she had her baby.” Anaborhi continued.

“Wait” Adankwo said “Are you saying that you met Apunanwu as well?”

“Yes. I took the items,” Anaborhi said, and started counting off her fingers “A gourd of palm wine, white beads signifying marriage and a white baby shawl” she looked up at Adankwo, “I placed them in a clearing by the river, said a prayer and waited. She came to me”

Aruegodore, now seated on the ground beside the woman and still holding her hand, looked up at her “What was she like?”

“Beautiful and sad. She listened to me and then said it was ok but only for me and those that would come after. Nothing for anyone that the curse already took effect on”

“And you could not let it be? You asked for more didn’t you?” her mother asked grasping her hands tighter. Anaborhi nodded.

“You, my father, aunty Akpobome and Ahunna, uncle Aruegodore” Anaborhi said pointing at him where he sat “I couldn’t let you all just continue like this. If it was a clean slate that it should be out rightly clean”

“Child, curses lifted for generations unborn is the easiest. For those past affected, it will come at a cost. A sacrifice to be taken and not given” Adankwo said leaning forward “Did you accept this?”

“Yes I did. If it must be lifted then it should be lifted for all” Anaborhi said. “Everyone should have the chance to pick up the pieces of their lives from where the curse left off”

“So I am free to marry and have children?” Aruegodore asked. More tears streamed down his cheeks when he saw Anaborhi nod.

“Everyone is free to live now” Anaborhi said.

“But at what expense Anaborhi?” Akunna asked “What price have you paid for the freedom of everyone else?”

To be continued….

#10: OF GOOD DESTINY BY TAJMAO

 

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The walk down the path to the river seemed like a long one. She thought of all Akuada had said word for word, over and over again in her head alongside the thought of an actual living ancestor continued to marvel her, talk more of her being the very reason behind the curse that plagued her family.

She paused when she got to the river, reveling in the beauty of her surroundings yet realizing how lonely and isolated the place was as well as how much more it would have been in the era when Apunanwu would have been banished there. Sighing deeply, she shut her eyes before taking a deep breath and walked to the bank of the river.

Standing there, she looked around remembering Akuada’s words about letting her heart tell her where to place her offerings. She walked down the riverbank a little and when she came to a clearing she felt her heart skip.

“It’s here,” she said to herself. She looked around, used her foot to gather up some dry leaves and then placed the items out separately taking a little extra care on the shawl. Then, she sat down on a rock to the side and then shut her eyes.

“Ok, so I have to appeal to you with a genuine heart” she muttered. Taking deep breaths, she opened her eyes and looked skyward.

“I am not exactly your descendant and I know that my ancestor was a very horrible person to you but we have suffered for something that is long forgotten in our history. I had to travel far to find out that a great, erm, injustice was done to you so I am here to beg. I met a really lovely man who I now know is going to suffer greatly for something even he doesn’t know about.” She paused as tears welled up in her eyes and she put a hand on her belly.

“He is destined for something awful if he marries me and even for the fact that I am pregnant with his child.” Letting the tears fall, she shut her eyes “It has gone on for so long, too long. They said you were kind and good to people. What was done to you was wrong but we have suffered enough. Please. Please, please rescind your curse. Allow My child to grow with his or her father. Allow my father to regain his senses, I miss him so much”

“Take this away from us, please. Please” she points down the path she had come through “She is there, the one who caused all this. You cursed her too and it is fair” she paused and shook her head “But then again, after so many years, so many generations, she too has suffered enough”. She looked around, listening to the birds in the trees above her and for a second, she allowed herself to get lost in their song.

“You should forgive us all,” she said softly. “You just have to. Please”. Anaborhi said, burying her face in her hands and allowing her sorrow to overcome her and giving in to her tears. As the tension of the past two days eased off her, she became aware that the birds had falling silent and that the river had quietened as well. She opened her eyes and looked up to see that someone was seated on a rock behind where she had laid out her offerings. She also noticed that they were not there any longer.

“A person’s name does indeed reflect the person’s personality,” The woman in white said smiling. The beads were around her neck and the shawl was laid out on her lap. The gourd was on the ground beside her.

Anaborhi started getting to her feet when the woman gestured that she stay seated.

“Are you..?” she started to ask when the smiling woman straightened her back and leaned on the tree behind her.

“I am the one you seek. My name is Apunanwu and you are Anaborhi, the descendant of Akuada, my once renowned foe”

Anaborhi shivered as she spoke and hung her head in a bid to avoid her gaze.

“It is not you who is my foe and it is sad that you are of her line but I am glad that you are the one that is here today.  It had to be you” Apunanwu said in a soft voice. She watched as the young girl in front of her raised her head slowly. Her brown eyes made Apunanwu smile.

“How so?” she asked.

“Do you know what your name means?” Apunanwu asked. Anaborhi shook her head.

“One born with a good destiny,” Apunanwu said as she stroked the shawl on her lap. “You are one with the destiny to break the curse and here you are. I have been expecting you”

“You have?” Anaborhi said with a broad smile. Apunanwu nodded. “So does it mean that it’s broken?” she asked eagerly.

“It is not that easy. The past is already set in stone.” Anaborhi’s shoulders fell as the reality of her words hit her hard.

“So my father will never recover?”

“For all those in your family already affected by the curse, it may be too late;” Apunanwu said “Except a price is paid”

“A price?”

“Are you willing to sacrifice something that is dear to you?”

“What would I be required to sacrifice?”

“What will be taken is not what you will offer.” Apunanwu said “What will be required of you is something that is extremely valuable to you and you will not know it till it is time”

“No matter what it is? I will not be given prior knowledge?”

“No,” Apunanwu said shaking her head. “You only need to agree. So decide. You can choose to accept that you and those born after you will no longer be affected by the curse. Free of everything” she paused to sip from the contents of the gourd “Or, in a bid to rid it from all your family entirely, you accept to sacrifice what you love the most”

Anaborhi sighed deeply. Apunanwu watched her sister in law’s descendant ponder on the choice to be made. She wondered if the present day generation was capable of such a high level of selflessness. She knew what she had felt when Anaborhi reached out to her and she knew she only needed to be patient.

“If I agree, everyone including my parents, uncle Aruegodore and my aunties, everyone will be free? They will have another chance at living?” Anaborhi asked with a shaky voice.

“Yes,” Apunanwu said. She watched as Anaborhi nodded and tears streamed down her cheeks.

“I accept.”

“Then so shall it be,” Apunanwu said smiling softly. “You are special Anaborhi, strong-willed and selfless. The curse is no more, child. You all are free”

To be continued….

#9: OF GOOD DESTINY BY TAJMAO

 

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Akuada watched Anaborhi for a while as she sat still staring at her. She tried to maintain a smile as much as she could even though her heart was thumping hard and fast. She had waited so long for this and was terrified that the girl’s hatred would cloud her mind and hinder her from doing what was needed to break the curse and set them all free.

“How did you come to be here?” Anaborhi finally asked. It was obvious she was holding herself back from what she really wanted to say.

“In the years after the initial incident things were not clear. We were at a loss as to what exactly was happening and not one dibia seemed to know what to tell us” Akuada said.

“Tsohuwa Dada told us that your husband traveled in order to get to the root of the problem.”

“Yes, he was the one that found out what was happening but even he was unaware of mine. It was not until much after, in my old age that I came to fully understand. You see I died one night, while it was raining heavily and by morning I was in flesh again, but I awoke in the forest. When I returned to the village I found out that my grandchildren had dumped me there, unworthy of a proper burial”

“I am guessing that they did not take your rebirth lightly?” Anaborhi said

“No one knew and I did not tell them. I acted as a newcomer, a traveler, and blended into the village eventually marrying but unable to bear children. I was to just watch then as our paths would always cross and I thought I was never going to live it down, till now”

“I am here to break the curse on my family and not the one on you. You can continue to live in it for all I care” Anaborhi said

“I do not doubt your words or intentions and yes I want that. I, however, do not doubt that you would also not be helping me with my predicament when you meet with her”

“Do you know how to summon her?”Anaborhi said eager to divert attention from the woman in front of her at that moment “Is there a rite or sacrifice or something I am to chant?”

Akuada turned to her side and lifted the edge of the cloth that they were sitting on. She retrieved what was there and placed it in the space between them.

“After years of being alone and watching my children’s children run mad and die, I withdrew here.” She said gesturing at the surrounding forest. “I sought her face and cried many nights for her mercy. She did not respond. I met her father one night though, by the river down the way and he laughed at me.” Anaborhi watched her wipe a stray tear that had escaped down her cheek.

“What was he like?” she asked as she looked down and wondered what was wrapped in the bag in front of her.

“For a minor god, he was only of average height. Eyes some sort of grey, very even teeth and bald. His black skin glistened in the moonlight as though something was rubbed on. And he laughed at me while he drank from a container.”

She unwrapped the bag and revealed its contents as she continued to speak

“He said she was angry and her anger was just like his, fiery and vengeful. He said she was even merciful because he would have done worse to me” she paused to lay out the contents of the bag. “He said he would tell me one thing, that she must be appeased by what she liked” she placed a gourd down “What she lost” she placed a white baby shawl beside the gourd, “and what she longed for” she placed white beads down beside the other items.

“What’s in the gourd? Anaborhi asked.

“Palm wine” Akuada smiled when the expected expression of surprise filled Anaborhi’s face. “Her father was the minor god of alcohol and his particular drink was palm wine. She took after him in that regard.”

Anaborhi nodded and pointed at the lace “What are the beads for?” she asked. Akuada’s face fell.

“In our tradition, a married woman is recognized in the community by her white beads. Recognized and respected.  These are her beads, ripped off her by my brother when she was carried away into banishment.” She paused, picking up the beads and shaking her head.

“I gathered up the beads because I wanted to keep them as my victory trophies but after I met him that night I realized that they were of more significance”

“Is the shawl from her child? The one that died?” Anaborhi frowned “The one you killed?”

“I did not kill any child. I swapped the baby with one from the slaves. She had come to tell me that her baby had died from a fever and that was when the idea came to me. So I had her take Apunanwu’s baby and drop her dead baby in its place.” She said, closing her eyes as regret flooded her body once again. The same regret she had been living with for centuries.

“So what happened to the baby?” Anaborhi asked.

“I wish I knew. After the whole thing, I had asked my brother to send the slaves away as they were her slaves and did not want my friend, his new wife, to be stuck with anyone loyal to Apunanwu” she stopped and returned the beads, placing them on the shawl. She ran her hand over the shawl slowly.

“The slaves were let go. I don’t know if sold off or freed but I searched for him with my brother, and he died a sorrowful man. I continued to search after he was dead. I searched to no avail although I did not and have not stopped”

Anaborhi shook her head “So what do I do now?”

Akuada pointed down the path behind her. One that Anaborhi WAS sure was not there a few minutes before

“The path will take you straight to the groove, beside the river. There you are to lay them out where your heart says you should. Then you call on her. You must appeal to her with a genuine heart”

“And then?”

“And then, Anaborhi, you wait. You must wait”

To be continued….