Ikenga- Episode 11

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IKENGA
Ikenga- Episode 11

Theme: (The Demon I Saw)

By Praise Chidera Obiora 


I stood up when I saw a woman who was bent towards the floor, limping in my direction with a long
brown stick held in her hands. From the distance, I could see that she was clad in a blue wrapper
which was wrapped around her chest. Her long white hair was uncovered. I could see the gray
hairs on her head which looked like that of the white rabbit.
She limped towards me just the way grandmother limped. Her left hand was folded behind her,
just the same way grand mother folds her hands when ever she walked.
"Ikenga. Do not give her the bitter kola. That is not me." She spoke with a shaking voice.
I turned towards the naked old woman who was laying on the floor in a pull of blood. The same
woman I had also thought to be my grandmother. She was staring at me with so much concern on her face. I was confused. I was standing in between two grandmothers that looked very much
alike. They looked exactly like twin sisters.
"What is happening here? Who are you? Tell me." I shouted at the old woman clad in cloths.
"Ikenga who did this to you? What trouble have you gotten yourself into. Who has wounded you
this way? Why do you hold a shield and a sword Ikenga?"
The old woman who looked rather concerned about my wounds, approached with her hands wide
opened.
"Halt. Stop. Do not come any further. Who are you?" I thundered loudly.
"Ikenga, are you so blind that you cannot recognize your own grand mother? When you left the
house this morning, I was worried. I saw you sneak out of the house like a thief. I had to follow you
behind. But you walked faster than me and I could not keep up."
"I returned back home and waited for you to return. But I did not see you. I asked the little children
to go in search of you but everyone of them returned carrying a tired face and the same news."
"When it was noon, I cooked us Yam and oil and waited for you to return. When I did not see you,
I became worried and came out in search of my grandson."
"Ikenga, I have searched so many houses. I have visited so many farmlands. I have searched so
many bushes and called out your name a thousand times.
"While I walked pass this bush, thick darkness fell upon the village suddenly. I heard the thunder
strike. and then I heard a strange voice that spoke. The gods must be angry, Ikenga.
"I was still standing at the bush when the gods made me to hear and recognize your voice from
this bush. You were shouting like an angry man. Ikenga what are you doing here? Who is that
woman that lay wounded beside you? Who has wounded you this way?" She asked in confusion.
"Kill her Ikenga. Kill her. She is not your grand mother, I am your grandmother." The old woman on
the floor spoke and coughed. She lifted her hands to nurse the wounds on her neck, and coughed
again.
I turned angrily towards the old woman clad in cloths and spoke authoritatively.
"Prove to me you are my grand mother. Show me or I shall slay your throat. Or are you another
demon sent to me?" I screamed with my sword pointed directly at her face.
"Ikenga. When everyone abandoned you in the rain that fell at noon, I picked you up. When
everyone thought of killing you, I saved your life. I have fed with my own breast milk to keep you
alive. I have raised you like my own child. I sacrificed everything to see you happy."
"Ikenga, when the cold came at night I was there to cover you with my cloth. When danger struck
at night and you screamed and cried out, I was there to shield you from it. When your belly
groaned in hunger, I sacrificed my food for you, and ate bitter kola instead."
"On your behalf Ikenga, I fought the wolf that chased you at night. I wounded my right leg in the
process, and now I limp for the rest of my life. I fought a fight that you got yourself into as a result
of your own stubbornness."
"Ikenga, I have given you everything that a mother will give a child. I have made you the man that
you are now. You are no longer a child. You are now eighteen years old. You are now strong,
wise, and bold. But today you lift your sword and shield upon my face?" She pointed her left hands
in my direction.
She stopped and shook her head. This was definitely grand mother. Her words had touched my
heart and pierced my soul. I knelt down on my knees and called out in a soft whisper.
"Grandmother….."
Grand mother limped towards me and held me by my shoulders. She pulled me close to her - the
exact way she had always done when I cried. She touched the blood on my face and felt the
wounds on my neck with her hands.
"Grand mother I have disobeyed your instructions and eaten from the Igbuala mangoes. Now I see
demons - the same demons Ijeoma had seen. I Have fought six demons and the seventh one
stands behind you with seven whips of fire."
"Where is the seventh demon Ikenga?"
"Grand mother, you have not eaten the Igbuala mangoes, so you cannot see it. I only can see
them. It stands behind you."
Grandmother dropped her walking stick and knelt down in front of me. She bent my head towards
her shoulders and robbed my back.
"Grandmother, I killed a demon and it changed into you. That is the demon over there." I pointed.
I turned with my eyes but could no longer see the wounded naked old woman that had taken the
face of grandmother. I let go of grandmother and crawled towards the spot she had laid down. I was stunned when I discovered that the blood on the floor where she had laid on, had
disappeared along with her.
When I turned back to look at grandmother, I saw the sixth demon with ten giant eyes, and legs
like the tail of a fish, and hands like the fins of a shark. It was the same demon that had
disappeared when I had killed the fifth demon. It was definitely the same demon that had turned
into grandmother to deceive me.
"Grandmother, run!" I screamed in terror.
To be continued...

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