The two young souls huddled in a pile. Scared, wet, confused and shivering from the unforgiving winds of whistling through the reeds. The little young boy began to whimper, he wanted his mother, he wanted to go home. The older sister just pulled him tighter, trying to put on a brave face for the both of them, her heart pounding so hard it could’ve ripped open her chest.
“I want to go home to mother…” the little one whimpered. His face ashen white from the scenes that were playing out before his eyes. He couldn’t understand anything that was happening.
“hush, they said we should keep quiet!” the sister retorted, the tone in her voice rebuking the young one. She tried her best to conceal the fear in her voice, chocking her own words as she shivered uncontrollably at the cold and out of fear to the ritual that was laying out before her very eyes.
The old grey bearded man slowly emerged from the waist deep waters, his off white garments wet and clinging to his frail structure. He appeared as though in a trance grunting to himself in expletives that only he could decipher. His trusted disciple hobbled on closely by his side, shaking in spiritual hysteria and shouting for salvation at every hiccup and step. Both men, clad in white apostolic sect garments made their way to the river bank. The elderly man clutched a small clay pot adorned with red and black beads, smoking slowly steaming from it. The to grown men slowly made their way to the grief-stricken children, who for just stood there almost in tears at this unfolding ritual, looking very scared and distraught.
“God of Eria! Erisha ngirozi heyi!” shrieked the sidekick in animated squeals, half hobbling half leaping out of the filthy murky waters clutching the shepherd’s staff and pointing it fervently towards the shaken children.
The elder prophet, slowly rolled his eyes, whispering nonchalant prophecies and staring down at the children. Then in a voice of command he spoke,
“I see death around the girl. It hangs over her like a dark cloud, waiting to consume her if she does not receive the salvation!”
“The Holy Ghost says the young one has evil spirits that needs cleansing!” translated the disciple, perhaps in an attempt to interpret the prophet’s message to the vile heathens who had stepped foot on their holy shrine seeking mere answers.
For the first time the adults looked up and whispered amongst themselves with a look of shock and grave concern. First the evil avenging spirits had just claimed their beloved brother, leaving his wife with whom they now believed was cause of all this misfortune. The eldest of the siblings seems more than eager to get to the bottom of this. After all, death especially of this nature was unheard of. A grown man, a healthy brother they grew up with and shared so many memories, could not have suddenly just died! No, they were determined to point the fingers, the witch had to be found, and had to pay for all this. They knew their witch, but they needed the spiritual affirmation beyond any doubt; today was the she had to be outed.
“Baba, help us. This dark cloud has befallen us all. We are not safe. We have always known that there was a witch brought into the family, now she wants to kill her own children…..”
“Silence!” shouted the prophet, towering above the children and seething with rage. “How dare you seek to reveal the prophecy of the Holy Ghost when He has not revealed that which ought to be revealed!”
The old man in a fit of rage suddenly put the clay pot over the children’s heads and poured the oozing liquids all over them! In an instant he brought the clay pot crashing down, shattering it into a thousand tiny pieces. As soon as the clay pot shattered on the ground, the old man fell in a hysteric fit, collapsing to the ground and convulsing uncontrollably.
“Johanne! God of Abraham!” screamed the sidekick disciple, jumping up and down in a holy frenzy. The old man convulsed for a couple of minutes, rolled on the river banks and finally came to a stop, gathering himself to a kneeling position and eerily speaking as though possessed by the spirit of the deceased.
“Heaven is frowning upon you. You seek to nail an innocent grieving soul for what the heaven has taken back. The dark cloud that hangs over your family has nothing to do with an outsider. Amongst you is the angel of death, there is a merchant of destruction who unwittingly will cause the demise of you all…”
The prophetic words cut through the silence and obviously shocked faces of the elderly. It was dawning upon them that they had obviously not anticipated the outcome of this. What was a sure lynching was suddenly turning to be a family bloodbath. They were so sure that the “witch” had killed her own husband, but none had anticipated the greater devil in their midst. The oldest sibling’s face was ashen white, her two brothers both trembling slightly at the revelation, the remaining family members looked as though they had seen a ghost. No one said a word, only the rumblings of the prophet and his sidekick revelling in the glory of their works. After all they had delivered.
The two young children sat on the river banks, terrified more than ever at the unfolding scenes. Tired, wet, cold and hungry they sad huddled, scared to move an inch from where they had been instructed to sit. The little one kept glancing around, hoping to see the familiar face of his mother emerge from the reeds and sweep him away. It had been a particularly exhausting couple of days. He could not comprehend the events that had started off in last couple of days. People coming to their home crying, women in black throwing themselves down and men coming to camp out in their yard. The sudden absence of his father in the midst of it all. He simply did not understand what was going on.
The older child only knew that her father had died, well, at least that is what everyone was trying to tell her and get her to understand – she couldn’t care less. She was just troubled at the sight of her mother crying uncontrollably, relegated to a corner in the lounge, isolated and whispers of her aunts and neighbours saying she was the cause. The cause of what? Why was her mother being talked about behind the closed doors and in hushed whispers.
Finally the prophet spoke, “ I do not wish to cleanse the evil one of their works today, I will give them three days to return, alone with the brown bag.” Cryptic as it was the message was loud and clear to the clients. A thin veiled threat of sorts, or perhaps an invitation for further business and clients. (after all he was desperate for clients and his following to grow). As if that was the cue, the disciple walked over to the kids, gestured them up and led them by hand to their kith and kin.
“Do not wash off any of this, for it is the covenant that will keep you safe. Let it dry off and bath after two days, do you understand!” The adults nodded at this word of caution, bundled up and scrambled to where they had left their shoes. The elderly aunt in a harsh tone turned to the two children and rebuked, “you shall speak nothing of what you have seen and experienced here today, because if you do, you will die in the same manner as your dad!”
The other adults noted and murmured in agreement. Each casting a chilling glance at the children as if to hammer in the threat. They finished their dressing and walked away from the holy grounds in a single file, navigating through the prickly reeds, towards the footpath that would lead them back into the suburb and back to the funeral where the people where mourning the dearly departed man. Mourning through dance and song as if to reincarnate the dead man. The human train trekked out from the reeds, the two children carried on the backs of the adults.
The young widow upon laying eyes on her wet children scrambled up from the corner she had been cast away, alone and neglected, and bolted to the approaching party, snatching them both from the backs upon which they were riding and hugging them closely. She shrieked in anguish at the site of her babies all drenched and wet, hugged them closely. She led them to her sin corner tears falling freely for her children who had been taken from her earlier in the morning and returned almost at dusk. Had the eaten? Why were they wet? Where had they been taken? What had happened? All these questions just seeped out as she huddled her children closer, trying to keep them warm. But the two young children just sat there, crying silently, the threat of death still fresh in their minds. They just sat there, a widow and her children, abandoned by the family, abandoned by the society. The young widow felt helpless, and it is at that moment she vowed, she would always do everything to protect her kids.
My name is Percy Jnr. I am a serial procrastinator. Been passionate about writing from the tender age of writing compositions back in Primary school. I draw my inspiration from personal experiences and boy oh boy my life has been a whirlwind of exciting experiences. I barely made it through formal education but i do enjoy a good read. So here’s to procrastination and more good experiences to write about! Check out The Judas Passion a little sequel that I wrote when I was feeling inspired.