The Village Girl… by Daniel Nkado

The_Village_Girl

EIGHT

 

“Richard, did you just slap me? Over some smelling bush girl?” Cynthia looked more disappointed than upset.

She threw her items to the couch and stormed off into their room.

Richard dropped on the couch and sank deep into it. His heart was racing and he felt dizzy. He leaned out of the chair and buried his face in his hands.

Stella crept away.

The sound of rolling plastic wheels on tiled floor jerked Richard alert.

Cynthia’s eyes scanned the space. “Stella!”

“Stella!”

“Ma!”

“Take this downstairs.”

Stella’s eyes grew wider. “Ma?”

“I said take the box downstairs!”

Stella began to roll the tall box away.

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The Village Girl… by Daniel Nkado

The_Village_Girl

SEVEN

 

Everywhere looked strange.

She couldn’t quite describe it. The closest definition of it was hell.

The deep pit filled with aggressive yellow flames.

The scorched features around.

The thick cloud of dark smoke enveloping the air.

It sure was hell.

But she wasn’t in it yet. She was sure. She couldn’t feel the burning yet.

Inside the round fiery pit, red hot flames soared and roared, sending out hot crumbs of fire.

She dodged the scalding crumbs and finally saw clearly where she was: on top of the narrow fence that surrounded the pit of fire.Just one careless step and she is crashing down into the sea of flames.

She was terrified. She spread her hands wide apart to maintain balance. The fence seemed to get thinner with each passing second.

Then finally she saw them. The two women that were her nightmare. One on her right and the other on her left.

She couldn’t quite place their faces but she was aware of the marked difference in body size: one was shorter and fatter and the other slimmer and taller.

They were close now, their faces darkened with evil determination.

She cried out, begging them to spare her as they inched closer and closer.

But she knew they wouldn’t listen even if she cried out blood.

They grabbed her, each by one hand.With masterly control they swung her back and sent her flying down the pit.

She rose with a start, huffing and puffing.

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The Village Girl… by Daniel Nkado

The_Village_Girl

SIX

  

As if to be sure her online message hadn’t been discarded as fluff, Vanessa was around on Sunday.

Richard was away at a meeting in Ikoyi.

Mma was with Stella in the kitchen making ofe-akwu. She’d convinced Madam earlier that morning that ofe-akwu was very good for pregnant women, better than red stew that could “turn one’s baby into an albino.”

Cynthia told her it might be difficult to find where to buy the palm nuts in Gbagada.

“Hia, I seeing one woman having akwu when we passing that small market yesterday na.”

Finally Cynthia agreed and asked Stella to escort her to the market.

Stella, on her face, was clearly unhappy with the decision, but she said nothing. Since her failed attempt to join the list of Richard’s aspiring baby mothers, she’d been keeping more to herself. There was a popular adage that said a witch does not tell well of the story of her own defeat.

Now inside the kitchen, Mma said to her, “No touching anything o. Just standing there and I telling you what to do.”

She stood aside watching, her empty eyes almost suggesting obedience.

Mma would not take any chances though. When she looked at her and found the straight look on her face quite unreadable, she quietly picked the sharp knife on the nearby surface and threw it into the drawer.

Cynthia was with her visitor in the sitting room. At first they talked and laughed loud about common things; a pair of ugly shoes that costs 250k, a male stalker on Twitter, a new employee who came to work with clog-looking sandals.

Then Vanessa sipped her wine and asked about the girl who was pregnant for Richard.

Their voices went low.

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The Village Girl… by Daniel Nkado

The_Village_Girl

FIVE

 

“Are you okay?” Cynthia turned the car CD player on.

Mma nodded. “I okay, ma.”

But she still appeared not to be, the way she folded her arms on the strap of seat belt crossing her.

At Maryland Junction, the lights blinked yellow and then turned red. Cynthia slowed the car. She looked at Mma. “Do you like the song?”

Mma moved her head ever so slightly in something that looked like a nod.

She felt nothing about the song. A female voice was singing in a happy tone, telling someone, her man obviously, not ever to think that he was irreplaceable, that she could have another him by the next day.

Finally Mma concluded the woman was a good singer only her English was too complicated. She wished she would render, with the same smooth, joy-filled voice, Chioma Jesus by Sister Amaka Okwuoha.

She thought about her mother now, how she always sang along to the song while sweeping in the morning, her voice sometimes towering above the original singer’s. Sometimes she held the long broom still in one hand and danced around.

She thought about her younger brother, the way he would run to call her to come and see the way their mother was dancing. They would stand aside, watching, smiling and cackling. Onyiudo Ekemma would look at her children and wink at them, her waist still moving to the song.

A fluffy lump formed in Mma”s throat and she struggled to push it down.

Cynthia looked at her. “You don’t look ok. What’s the matter?”

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The Village Girl… by Daniel Nkado

The_Village_Girl

FOUR

 

Mma had slept when he came to her door. He knocked gently.

Nothing.

He knocked again.

He’d turned to leave when the door groaned and opened.

“Hey, I sorrying o. I sleeping and not knowing you knocking.”

“It’s ok.” He walked in and sat on the bed.

Mma sat on the chair by the wall.

“How are you?”

“I fine.”

“Have you eaten?”

“Eh. I didn’t even finish the yam Stellar gave me.”

“Yam?”

“Yes. She giving me with ofe okwuru.”

“You ate yam and okro?”

“Yes. I wanting to asking you sef how you people eating in this house.”

He stood and left the room. From her room, Mma could hear his voice, stern and loud, as he questioned Stella.

“What did you make for dinner?”

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