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Martin Ade-Onojobi-Bennett

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Ngozi's Dilemna
By Martin Ade-Onojobi-Bennett
Monday, January 05, 2009

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Recent stories by Martin Ade-Onojobi-Bennett
· The Pact
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A pregnant village girl is jilted by her graduate lover from the city, resulting in tragic consequences.

Ngozi was a stunningly attractive girl, even without make-up. Everyone in her village said so. She was a head taller than most of her classmates and had a slim and well-proportioned figure. Her legs were long and straight and her hips swayed seductively when she walked. She was light-complexioned and her large bright eyes complemented her naturally long eyelashes. Her lips looked soft and succulent and there were very few men who would not have given their month's salaries just to kiss them. In her village, she was definitely the cynosure of all eyes; a paragon of beauty. Unfortunately, she was barely literate.

She had had to drop out of school after completing her primary education because her parents could only afford to send her two older brothers to secondary school. Needless to say, this had placed a serious drain on their meagre financial resources. Her older brothers usually went straight from school to their father's small farm - which the family depended greatly on – before returning home for their evening meal.  The youngest assisted his mother to sell fruits and vegetables in the marketplace after school hours.

To alleviate the family's problems, she had gained employment as a 'service girl' in one of the local beer parlours, It wasn't the best of jobs for a young girl to be engaged in, as it exposed her to the erotic and lewd fancies of the male customers, especially those inebriated with too much alcohol, but her family needed the extra money to help make ends meet. Every pay day she handed over her wages to her mother who extracted a small sum from them to give back to her daughter as an allowance. The rest went towards the upkeep of the family. Her father was only a poorly paid gardener and they could only afford to eat twice a day. Nevertheless, there were never any complaints. For as long as she could remember, it had always been so. Despite their penury, they were a happy family resigned to living a simple and frugal rural life. Now all of a sudden her whole world had come crashing down upon her.

Her beautiful face was now a mask of anguish and shame.  As the tears flowed copiously from her large brown eyes she fled blindly into the night leaving behind her the frenzied uproar of the whole household, including both the well-meaning and the inquisitive neighbours and friends.  Her soft skin was now a mass of pain, for even as she ran, the searing lashes from her father’s horsewhip were proving their effectiveness.  Long blistering welts had already begun to erupt all over her body, especially her back and arms and some gently oozed blood.  Disappearing into the thick bushes that flourished behind their compound, she ran in no particular direction and wishing that the ground would just open up and swallow her.  If only she could wake up and find that it had only been a terrible nightmare.  She wished she could die or just disappear from the face of the earth.  But her problems were only just beginning.

Wearing nothing for protection other than a thin cotton ‘wrapper’, her mind was in turmoil.  Even when from exhaustion she had to stop to catch her breathe and collapsed into the welcoming undergrowth, her thoughts were in kaleidoscopic turmoil.  What was really happening to her, she thought.  Could it be just a terrible nightmare from which she would soon awaken? But the searing pains she still felt were a bitter reminder that what had recently happened to her was very real indeed. 

She sat up abruptly and took in her surroundings.  She was alone.  She could see no more than a few feet in any direction.  The moon had disappeared behind a dense sheet of dark billowing clouds.  The weird sounds of myriads of nocturnal insects seemed magnified a thousand times in her ears.  Borne on the wings of her imagination she thought she perceived strange shapes in the hovering darkness.  She was afraid.  Only her numbing confusion and near exhaustion prevented her from getting up and bolting away again.  But where could she go and to who could she now turn to in her hour of need?

Her thoughts travelled back to the events that led to her present predicament.  If only she had listened to the advice of her friends, her older siblings, her parents and the elders of her family.  If only she had not stubbornly and foolishly refused to heed the warnings of those who really loved her and wished her well.  But who could have really understood her burning desire to rise above her station in life?  Who could really blame her for wanting to provide a more comfortable life and better chances of progress for her yet unborn children, her brothers and even her relatively poor, conservative parents? Well, now she had only herself to blame. 

Olu’s arrival in the village had created a storm of excitement among the local beauties.  He was the first ‘Youth Corper’ to have ever been sent there as part of the one year national service programme.  He had been well-received by everyone and his khaki paramilitary uniform had made a great impression on them.  The general consensus was that they had been privileged for the ‘big men’ hundreds of miles away in the big capital city to have deemed it fit to send such an ‘eminent personality’ to their only community secondary school.  He was the centre of attraction and had a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry.  Most of them didn’t know what that really meant, but it sounded big and they shook their heads in admiration, that one small head could carry all he knew.

He was immediately appointed vice-principal.  His accommodation was the best the school could provide for him and food was never a problem, as various well-wishing parents and admirers regularly brought him an assortment of local foodstuffs such as ‘gari’ (a granular flour made from dried and grated cassava), yams, ‘bush-meat’ (which could be any wild animal such as a deer, an armadillo, a rabbit, hare or even a large rat), snails, plantains and even ‘palm wine’.  Being an extrovert and a social drinker, he quickly adapted himself to the new environment and very soon had an admiring circle of friends from within not only his own age-group, but also from other older age-groups, who glorified in being seen in his company.  He lived like a king in a land of milk and honey and almost wished he could stay there forever.  It seemed as if life had relieved him of all his major problems.  In fact, he didn’t believe he had any.  Then he met Ngozi.

Though the school boasted of having many good-looking, mature and sexually active girls, Olu had vowed to never lay a finger on any of them – a professional taboo generally ignored by many of the other male teachers in the school.  For this show of moral responsibility he had quickly won the respect of other members of staff, despite the fact that they all expected him to try it on with some of the female students.  It was an open secret that many of the other male members of staff – even some of the married ones - had girlfriends in the school. He did not condone this impropriety, but kept his opinions to himself since it was obviously a practice that had been going on long before he was posted to the school.  In general it was discreet, so he conveniently turned a blind eye to it.  However, he had other reasons for not getting involved because he had plans of his own. If anyone had an inkling of what they were, they would have been shocked to the marrow.  But they didn’t.

While on one of his social outings with some fellow corpers, he had come across Ngozi.  Both of them had been immediately aware of their mutual attraction towards each other.  He had never seen her before, but despite what he considered her lowly station in life, he agreed within himself that she was by far the best looking girl he had yet come across in the village. She had long straight legs, a voluptuous figure and she was drop-dead gorgeous.  As for Ngozi, she had not only heard of the new arrival, but had actually seen him a few times when he passed by the beer parlour.  He was almost six feet tall and had an athletic build, with no extraneous fat to be seen anywhere.  He was also rather handsome and sported a short, well-trimmed ‘afro’ haircut.  She had already been made aware of his academic achievements by her older brothers who were students in the same school he worked in.  They had also informed her that even the principal didn’t possess a degree, despite over two decades of teaching experience.

Looking back, Ngozi could still hardly believe that an affaire de coeur had actually developed between them.  It had been too good to be true .  In her wildest dreams she could never have even dared hope for it., for it bordered too much on the impossible.  Nevertheless, she had actually dreamed of him on many occasions and on many of such excursions into the rivers of Lethe had awakened feeling slightly embarrassed at the strength of the emotions that she had experienced within her towards Olu.  She had even tried to avoid catching his eye for fear would discern her feelings towards him.  Many of the eligible young men in the village had attempted courting her, but she had snubbed them all.  Despite her youth, she was already well aware of her beauty and the strange effect it had on the opposite sex. There had even been a few tentative match-making moves made by the families of certain would-be suitors, but because of her recalcitrant rejection of all of them, these attempts had proved abortive.  Her parents loved her and were themselves not yet eager to see the back of her.  They had firmly but respect advised each delegation to wait a little longer.  After all, she was still only eighteen and would in due course come to her senses.  Even though her father had the final say - for such was the cultural climate - he did not wish to force the apple of his eye to do anything that would make her feel unhappy later on in life.

Naturally, a lot of eyebrows were raised as to how the new vice-principal could have stooped so low as to have an affair with a beer parlour waitress. After all, there were several other more eligible, young, single women among the female members of staff, who would only too readily have jumped into his arms at the slightest encouragement.  Olu was aware of this, but felt it would be treading on dangerous ground to have an affair with any of them, especially since he had other plans of his own back home.  Ngozi was just the kind of girl he had been looking for and the sneering looks and snide remarks that came his way were ignored with a cocky brashness and stubborn determination of purpose.

Ngozi was overjoyed when it was obvious that Olu has chosen her above all of the other available women in the village.  He had been there two months before he made his move and tongues had already started wagging with speculation that he was celibate.  Naturally, her parents were not too happy at the new turn of events.  Everyone had warned them that a man of his calibre would only use their daughter as a temporary plaything.  But Ngozi had appeared confident of her grip on Olu and they had gradually started to share her enthusiasm and the warnings had fallen on deaf ears. 

Naturally, there was a lot of petty jealousy between Ngozi and many of the other young women in the community who felt that they had better claims to the flashy, fast-talking and smartly dressed eligible young bachelor.  He seemed so full of self-confidence, even though he was obviously only in his early twenties.  What did he see in a simple, semi-literate and obviously gullible and immature young girl like Ngozi, was the thought that ran through the minds of many of them.  After all, despite her beauty she was only a barmaid.  Many of them had their own petty businesses and had even been to the big cities like Lagos, Benin, Port-Harcourt and Ibadan.

Ngozi herself began to change perceptively.  She now held her head high aware of her own amour-propre.  She strutted around the village like a peacock, especially when he accompanied her to the market place.  She had even taken to wearing jeans and flashy blouses, which she was able to buy with some of the pocket money Olu had given her.  She wore makeup and had even had her hair permed.  She had intended giving up her job, but Olu had advised her against it, even though the money he gave her was more than the meagre salary she earned.  It was fairly obvious that he came from a wealthy and influential background, for he most certainly didn’t depend fully on his Youth Corper’s allowance.

He had assured her in no uncertain terms that he really loved her.  Hadn’t he bought her mother a new native outfit and given her small gifts of money from time to time?  Hadn’t he also sent large kegs of palm wine to her father at least once a fortnight?  He had even allowed one of her older brothers to stay in his flat.  The boy assisted in certain domestic chores after school hours, ran small errands and was usually available to take any messages in the event that Olu had any visitors while was out.

Despite their initial discriminatory convictions that bordered on tribalism, Olu had successfully won over Ngozi’s parents.  They had reluctantly begun to accept his regular and continual presence around their humble home.  They were even mildly proud that such a ‘big man’ in the village – ‘Oga VeePee’ – paid them regular visits and brought them small gifts.  Ngozi’s mother was especially grateful for the small amounts of money he gave her from time to time.  It wasn’t much but it all added up and came in very handy. It also took some of the financial pressure off her husband. In spite of herself, she had begun to really like this potential son-in-law of hers and had even begun to look forward to his visits.  Who would have believed then that they were harbouring a snake to their bosoms?  Who would have believed that he would be the harbinger of shame, ridicule and disaster on the family?  Who alone, but Olu himself.

He had known beyond any doubt that Ngozi had fallen for him, hook, line and sinker.  It had been a challenge to him to be the first one to sheer through the Gorgon’s Knot of her hymen.  That she was a virgin had never really been in doubt.  He had found out after their first meeting that she was hard to get despite the demands her job made of her moral character.  At least, none of the local suitors had ever succeeded in winning her love. Her countenance still bore the look of innocence.  Olu believed that there’s a certain look in a woman’s eyes when she looks at a man, that tells him whether she has tasted of the forbidden fruit or not.  Olu was sure of his past experience and was almost certain that he was right. But would she be willing enough relinquish her chastity to him.  He was sure she would if he played his cards right. And that’s exactly what he had been doing all along.

His father was a wealthy industrialist in Lagos and his mother traded in textiles such as lace, damask, voile, aso-oke (a thick traditional hand-woven material) and other expensive materials.  She had a large store in Lagos. Furthermore, being the baby of the family Olu was ‘mummy’s pet’ and thus had been pampered right from birth with a silver spoon in his mouth. His father had always given him ample funds for pocket money and his mum had been equally lavish.  He also had many well-to-do uncles and aunties who were free with their cash whenever he periodically paid them brief visits.  One of his sisters was an accountant with a reputable multinational organisation and married to a successful doctor.  The other was a solicitor with a practice of her own.  His two older brothers were in business and banking respectively. In a nutshell, he had no real financial problems.

To him, the national service allowance was mere ‘chicken cash’, for incidental expenses, such as those required to keep a girlfriend happy with regular gifts.  Also, the expensive material he had given to Ngozi’s mother had been acquired from his mother’s store, under the pretext that it was a birthday gift for a close friend. All these small gifts he gave to Ngozi’s parents, as insignificant as they were to him, were actually quite extravagant and valuable to them.  For example, a large keg of palm wine was not more than a mere five naira in the village.  This he could easily afford, but to Ngozi’s father it meant a great deal and he looked forward to it as he was always sure to have a few friends gathered around to assist him. In fact, once Olu had assured himself that he had Ngozi’s immediate family on his side, the rest was plain sailing and the ‘fruit’ was ripe for the plucking.

Olu didn’t think much of the village though he was happy enough to be there.  He was far away from the people, friends and acquaintances who had actually known him during his previous year of service in that State, having served in another village almost a hundred miles away.  What Ngozi didn’t know was that he wouldn’t be staying very long.  Neither did any one else in the village. Even the principal of his school had assumed that he was an ‘overlapping corper’, one that had not been assigned to any state the previous year.  The State Directorate, without giving any specific details, had only informed him in writing that Olu was being transferred to his school.  In fact, no one in the village knew that Olu would be around for only a few more months.  They did not know that he was actually serving a four month extension period for continual absence from duty during the previous session.  He had earned this as a punitive measure since he had regularly travelled out of his State of posting without permission.  When it had gotten out of hand, despite the several warnings by his former principal, the Chief Inspector had been informed.

Olu had taken his decision calmly and had even been secretly pleased at being sent to such a remote and obscure village school.  This of course he had been careful to conceal from the Chief Inspector.  Now with only two months left to serve and the long vacation only a few weeks away, Olu wasn’t particularly worried about the consequences of his present actions. His final discharge would be coming when most of the members of staff would be on leave and by the time the principal was made aware of the situation, it would be too late to hold a send-off party in his honour, thus saving him from any unwanted attention to the fact.  Whatever anyone thought of him later was of no concern to him.  He would be well away by then and it was unlikely that anyone in the village would ever be seeing him again.  Who would ever have known that Ngozi was to be the instrument of his revenge on the people of that State?

Actually, it had been very easy for him.  Though he had found Ngozi quite attractive he really didn’t think that much of her. The fact that she was beautiful and attractive was not in any doubt.  That he was repaying the kindness of the villagers towards him in such a distasteful manner made the challenge even more attractive to him.  He was less concerned that they might regard coldly any future corper sent to their community school.  This he felt was a problem worth his bother.  The scene had been set and as far as he was concerned, he was to be the star of the show.  Of the village itself, he didn’t think much it, for he wasn’t intending to stay there a minute longer than necessary.  To him, it was nothing more than a local government outpost, lacking adequate electricity and water supply, tarred roads, as well as various other social amenities. The school itself resembled an elongated cattle shed.  The student population was not adequate enough to keep trim the grass and thick bushes that surrounded the single building comprising the whole school.  Snakes of all kinds were killed regularly.  The total population of the school was only about a hundred and fifty students, with about ten members of staff.  Not a single science laboratory existed and every member of staff lived outside the school compound.  It had thus not come as a surprise to him when he was appointed vice-principal.  Neither did he think it that much of a feat.  After all, was he not the first and only graduate member of staff?  It was only natural that such a post be given to him.

It was not long before Ngozi realised that she was pregnant.  There was no doubt that the child growing within her belonged to Olu. That it would later hang like a sword of Damocles over her aspirations for the future and become the apple of discord between her and her family, was wholly unforeseen.  When she first had the inkling that she was pregnant, her period had already been three weeks overdue.  She was when not long after she started losing her appetite, feeling dizzy and nauseated in the mornings and sometimes, even throwing up.  She was afraid to tell her mother and hoped that her condition wouldn’t be noticed.

In great distress she informed Olu, wondering what his reaction would be. It stunned her.  He was livid and outrightly denied that he was responsible.  He called a whore, a semi-literate bush girl.  How could she even think of trying to saddle him with the illegitimate bastard she carried within her?  He would have nothing to do with her or it again.  She should get rid of the bastard any way she knew how.  Did she really think she could use that leverage to get him, a whole graduate, to marry someone like her?  What would his family and friends think of him?  She must have been mad to have even come to him with that kind of story.  He had told her to get out of his house and never set foot in it again.  He had ranted and raved.  She had begged and pleaded in desperation.  She had wept till tears no longer agreed to flow.  She had thrown herself upon him, banged her head repeatedly on the fall, rolled on the floor in anguish and had even threatened suicide, all to no avail.

Luckily for her, the cat had not yet been let out of the bag, as far as anyone else was concerned.  She and Olu had been alone in the house at the time.  Her older brother usually spent Sundays at home with the rest of the family. That day she almost committed suicide.  She had refused to leave the house and had locked herself in the bedroom.  Olu had threatened to break the door down and she had been afraid he would carry out his threat. But he didn’t.  Later on she heard him leaving the house after having warned her to leave before he returned.  She had instead decided to wait.  He returned many hours later.  Luckily for her it was a Sunday and she didn’t have to go to work.   

Olu had cooled down by the time he got back home.  Actually, he had only wanted to hurt her, to give her a taste of what was to come later and see how she would react.  He had not really been as angry as he had led her to believe.  He had been acting out a part and prided himself for doing so well. He knew she would still be there, as she usually stayed with him till late in the evening, when he would walk her home. He only hoped that she had not hurt herself.

 Ngozi was clearly surprised at the change in Olu when he returned.  She had cried herself to sleep and it was his soft and insistent knocking that had woken her up.  She had initially been afraid to open the door to him, but his calm pleading insistence had finally persuaded her to do so.  He had been very gentle and apologetic and had begged her forgiveness and reassured her of his unconditional love and sincerity.  He even said that he hoped their child would be a boy and have his mother’s beautiful eyes.  He had kissed her and petted her and before she knew it they were making love with such wild abandon and insistence that it erased any further doubts she had in her mind concerning his earlier strange behaviour. 

Later, lying in bed together, he told her of his plans for the future; their future.  He said he wished to travel abroad after he had completed the marriage arrangements with her parents.  He told her to let no one know yet of her condition, as he would be travelling soon to see one of his uncles and a few friends, whom he would be informing of his marital intensions.  A date would then be set for when they could travel down from Lagos to intimate her father and the rest of her family concerning his wish to marry their daughter.  Ngozi was overjoyed and talked enthusiastically about all the arrangements she would have to make and all the friends and relations that would have to be informed.  Olu assured her that he would take her abroad with him.  He even said he would sponsor her training to acquire a skill like hairdressing, catering, secretarial studies, or any other profession of her choice, so that when she returned she could establish a business of her own. She had been so excited.  At long last she would have the chance of achieving her desire – to have her own business – ‘Ngozi Beauty Institute’, or ‘Ngozi School of Beauty’.  She would add, ‘London trained’, or ‘Trained in the United Kingdom’ in bold lettering at the bottom of her signboard. This would show all who had spurned her that she too could climb up the social ladder.  Who wanted to be tied down to the dreary boredom of village life?  She could even establish herself in the big city. She would purchase all sorts of beautiful and fashionable clothes before returning to Nigeria.

She promised to keep everything a secret until the time was ripe.  She was so happy.  She and Olu made love once again and then had a shower together before he took her home.  It was already well past the usual time and she knew her parents would not be too happy about it.  They had been understanding enough to give her so much freedom in her relationship, but only because they too were convinced that his intentions were genuine and the new look of extreme happiness they saw on her face assured them that everything would be okay for her.  Her father was expectantly waiting for Olu to make the next move.  He was a nice young man, respectful and dutiful.  He would make a good son-in-law. If only he had known the truth.

Well, that had all been many months ago.  Now as she sat all alone in the forest a great sadness overcame her.  It was because of Olu’s child within her that she had been shamed, beaten and disgraced.  Olu would now most likely be in the midst of friends, gleefully reminiscing on his exploits and conquests. 

It was the newspaper publication that had let the cat out of the bag.  In one of the centre pages there was Olu smiling happily.  She collapsed when she first saw it. On his left arm was his new bride.  They were surrounded by friends and well wishers. The publication had carried the news that the bride was the daughter of a retired chief judge.  She had recently been called to the Bar and the newlyweds were to leave almost immediately after the reception for London, where they were both aiming to engage in postgraduate studies.  The bride was a stunning beauty and there was evidence that she was already pregnant, although it didn’t show so much under the magnificent and obviously very expensive bridal gown she was wearing. There was no doubt it had been a society wedding on a large scale. With all the dignitaries and other VIPs in attendance they must have received many expensive and lavish wedding gifts to kick start them for marital life.   Ngozi cursed the happy looks on their faces.  That was her Olu grinning back at her.  He belonged to her.  What had gone wrong?  She should have been the woman beside him in the picture.  She should have been the one flying abroad with him. 

A family friend had shown the picture to her father.  He couldn’t believe his eyes, but other family members had agreed on the likeness of the man in the picture to the Olu they had known for almost six months. The name in the caption, ‘Olu Weds Funke’ had left no room for any further doubt in their minds.  Ngozi was immediately summoned from the shop where she was still working.  She was not informed of the reason her father had sent for her, but she knew it had to be serious, as she had never been called home from work before.  At first she thought that her mother was sick. Then she thought that possibly her father had wanted to send her somewhere important, or possibly a relative had died suddenly. The various thoughts running through her mind could in no way have prepared her for the shock she was about to receive when she finally arrived home.

Solemn faces had greeted her. The tense non-smiling face of her father and the fact that her mother had only recently been crying, warned her that something was seriously amiss. Her sixth sense told her that whatever it was, it concerned her. Her father had set the ball rolling by asking her when she was expecting Olu back in the village, since the school had already vacated. Her heart had given a lurch.  What was wrong?  Had something happened to him?  She tried to remain calm and told her father that she was expecting him back within the next two days.  He nodded, his countenance stern.  He then went on to question her about her relationship with Olu and what she thought his plans were for their future. With her heart trembling in trepidation she had asked as respectively as she could why he was asking such a question.  Furious at what he thought was insolence and impertinence; he had demanded an immediate answer. Now fully aware that there was something drastically wrong, she informed her father that Olu intended marrying her and went on to tell him of Olu’s main reason for travelling the three hundred miles back to Lagos. 

Her father had laughed sarcastically.  An uncle only shook his head in dismay.  Her mother clapped her hands and looked up to the heavens sighing loudly. Ngozi looked dumbly perplexed. They all stared at her as if she were some creature from outer space.  Her father strode to the table in the corner of the room and picked up a newspaper lying there.  He opened the pages carefully till he came to the one of his choice and then handed her the paper, pointing to the picture. They all watched her closely for a reaction. They were unprepared for her response. 

Ngozi’s jaw dropped as she stared at the photograph in utter disbelief and amazement.  She read the script under the picture. She felt the blood rushing to her brain.  Everything around her began to spin.  Suddenly, she found herself in a black void before collapsing into a heap on the floor.

When she finally came round she wished the ground would open up and swallow her.  Her mother was visibly distressed.  Her father was furious.  During efforts to revive her it had been observed that the slight swelling of her abdomen, which she had hitherto managed to successfully conceal, was unnatural to the normal contours of her previously flat stomach.  Her mother rightly diagnosed that she was pregnant.  When the question was put to Ngozi her reply was to burst into tears.  That was enough of an answer for father. He was apoplectic and went ballistic, raining abuse on both her and Olu.  Despite efforts to restrain him he lashed out at her in an uncontrollable rage. Like magic a thick cowhide whip appeared in his hand out of nowhere and as a result of his subsequent fury, Ngozi found herself in the predicament she was now faced with.

The hoot of an owl brought her back to reality once more.  She stood up and looked around her.  The night was black.  She decided to go back to Olu’s house for the night.  She knew where the spare key was kept.  At least there she would be able to be alone and gather her thoughts together.  No one would know she was there.  She started walking back in the direction she had come from.  She had only a vague idea of the way back, but knew that if she kept on walking she would sooner or later come to some well-trodden path.  She had to move carefully as she was without shoes.  She didn’t want to trod on a snake, or scorpion.  That would be disastrous.

She decided that the next day she would go and see her aunt who lived with her husband in the next village about ten miles away.  Whatever advice she could give her would be welcome. At least she could act as an intermediary between herself and her family, especially her father.  She knew he could take a long time to calm down, but her mother she knew would be more sympathetic towards the dilemma she now faced.  Whatever the case, she was sure that something agreeable to her family could be worked out.  To panic right now would be the worst thing she could do. 

She came upon a footpath which she knew led back into the village. Suddenly she felt safer. Olu’s former house was less than half a mile away.  She started walking faster.  In her haste she failed to notice the dark silent shadow that loomed up behind her. Before she knew what was happening a strong arm had snaked around her neck gripping it in a vice that cut off any cry of distress she could attempt to make.  The sharp blade that sliced through her neck from ear to ear performed its grizzly task with ease.  As a great darkness began to envelope her consciousness, she discerned a short dark stocky man holding a sack.  He approached her smiling.  That was the last thing she ever saw as she slipped into oblivion. 

When Ngozi had not returned home after two days the whole village was organised into a search party.  They remembered that the night she had run off had been a special one. There had actually been a three night curfew from midnight till dawn imposed due to the annual festival of a secret cult.  People had been known to disappear during this period as human sacrifice and the drinking of blood formed part of their ghastly ceremonies.  It was not until the third day after her disappearance that her partly decomposed body was found concealed under some well-arranged bushes.  The immediate verdict was murder. Her remains were identified by the green cotton wrapper she was wearing on the night she disappeared.  Her head, breasts and genitalia were missing.  Everyone agreed it was a great tragedy.

Many years later her now more enlightened parents, especially her father, blame themselves for the way in which they handled the whole affair; particularly at a time she needed them the most.  As for Olu, the curse of the whole village went with him. Everyone had been shocked at his behaviour.  It would only be a matter of time before their curses caught up with him.  There was very little doubt in anyone’s mind that eventually the death of Ngozi would be avenged.

Only time would tell.


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Reviewed by mary tsehaye 1/8/2009
a great but a sad piece.why do some people never seem to taste any delicacies in life? It hurts.poor Ngozi,she deserved better than that!

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