She took out the ropes and they began to tie them up.
“So you rascals have been the ones giving Erimma hard times? The poor woman has been crying and begging you to stop. Having ruined her for so long the least you could have done was to stop but no you decided to stress my team and I. Now you’re going to pay for all you’ve stolen and all you’d have stolen,” She said as they finished tying them up.
“Do you have other accomplices or is it just the two of you?” Uche asked.
The boys were too scared to respond.
“If they won’t talk then let’s lock them up. The Chief will decide what happens to them,” she stated.
“Get up,” Udodirim thundered.
They dragged them and led them through the grasses.
“Adaolisa, you didn’t tell us there was anything between the both of you,” Udodirim stated.
Acting surprised, “Both of who?” She asked.
“Ugonna and you of course or are you trying to deny you were blushing when he was looking at you on our way here?” Udodirim explained.
“Please oh, he could have been looking at any of us,” Adaolisa denied.
Laughing, “At any of us. I saw them. Ada and Ugonna are in love,” Uche said.
“Shhhhhh,” Adaolisa said covering Uche’s mouth.
“Fine. But we’re in the middle of the road. Do you want another ear to hear,” she told them and they smiled.
In a low voice, “You do not want Ugo or I to be punished,” she added.
“You’re right my friend. Do you know most times i wish we could be with the men we liked whenever we wanted,” Uche said with a frown and then a smile, “then I’d be with Zube.”
Adaolisa looked at her friend in astonishment as she blushed and raved on about how much she’d want to be with her heartthrob.
“My dear you’re not the only one who has such dreams. I wish everyday to be with Nnochiri,” Udodirm said sadly.
“Keep your dreams to yourselves if you do not want to be banished. Don’t let these dreams of yours blind you from the truth. Men and women are meant to be apart until marriage,” Adaolisa warned them.
Udodirim rolled her eyes, “You’re saying that because you’re 23 and soon you’ll be 25 and you’ll be able to get married,” Uche said.
Adaolisa laughed out, “You’re talking as if I’m a million years older than you girls.”
“Two months is a big deal,” Udodirim stated.
“See who’s talking. Five months is a bigger deal,” Uche verbalised and they all laughed.
“Whatever. Let’s go and report theses thieves to the Chief before it gets late,” She told them and they left.
“Knock, knock, who’s here?” Adaolisa shouted from the front door.
“Who’s there?” A male voice asked from inside the hut.
She didn’t respond but waited for the hut owner to come out and when he did she started smiling.
“It’s ‘oge nkiti’ and I’m here to see my father,” she said.
He laughed, “Come in Asam. You’re welcome.”
“Thank you,” she replied going in with him.
“You sit down here and wait. I’m preparing ‘ofe onugbu’ for you,” he told her.
“Okay nnam. I can’t wait to lick my fingers,” she responded and he laughed hard.
He left through the back to continue with his cooking.
“Nnam, I’m hot. I’ll go and take my bath,” she shouted from inside and didn’t wait to hear his reply because she knew he heard her. She grabbed a wrapper and headed to the local bathroom.
Obisike heard his daughter’s screams from the bathroom and he runs to check out what had happened.
“Asam, what’s wrong?” He asked when he got there. The occupants of the huts close to his had begun to gather.
Still trying to tie her wrapper she answered her father.
“Dike was here?” Obisike asked Adaolisa.
“What is Dike was here? What happened?” And elderly man asked from behind.
Adaolisa shook with fear.
“Dike came into the bathroom and tried to………,” she said and shouts of abomination filled the air. Her father grabbed her arm and dragged her to the centre of the huts shouting for people to gather. He explained everything and Dike was locked up at the village square.
Obisike and his wife who had rushed do the scene earlier on tried to calm Adaolisa down.
“Ugonna you have to calm down and cheer up,” Udeh told his friend.
“How do you expect me to calm down after what just happened? Do you know how I held myself from knocking out all his teeth?” Ugonna fumed.
“Well, we should be grateful you didn’t. If not, you’d have been in prison with him and suspicions would arise about you and Ada. So we thank your ‘chi’ for helping you keep calm.”
Without replying, Ugonna got up from the bare floor, dusts his skirt and adjusted himself to his guarding position.
Loud cries and wailing woke the village up the next morning. Everyone gathered around the village square in no time. Immediately she sighted Adaolisa, she ran towards her and grabbed her like a mad woman.
“She killed him. She killed my Dike,” was all Dike’s mother kept repeating as she pulled Ada’s hands and clothes.
Some women succeeded in tearing them apart.
“Calm down, woman. You can’t wake the village up this morning and still keep us in the dark. What happened?” The Chief asked.
Dike’s mum dried her tears with her wrapper.
Still sobbing, “I came to check up on my son in the night and I saw him standing up with his face to Adaolisa so I decided to let them be. I thought maybe they were trying to settle things. That was why I didn’t report seeing them together so I left. This morning,” her sobs grew louder. “I came to bring my son some food and I met him lifeless in the cage,” she stammered amidst tears.
Loud gasps and murmurs followed. Eyes were fixed on Adaolisa while her mother drew her close.
“Adaolisa, I’ll ask this once. Did you kill Dike?” The Chief asked.
Immediately Adaolisa went on her knees.
“Nnam, I did not go close to him. I didn’t even touch him. I only asked him why he did it and I found out he wasn’t even remorseful,” Adaolisa explained to them.
“And that was why you killed him,” Dike’s mother vocalised cutting in.
“My father I didn’t do it,” Ada said in tears.
Adaolisa’s mother glanced at her husband and saw the utter confusion written all over him and her worry grew.
The priestess was sent for to make consultations and tell them what had happened.
“Udoka,” the priestess callee out and Adaolisa’s mother looked at her.
“My Chief, I warned you about consulting the gods before we accept Adaolisa into this community but you refused instead you decided to make the childless couple happy,” the Priestess said.
“What are you trying to say, Priestess? This issue has been long buried,” The Chief told her.
“Obisike and his wife have brought in a cursed child into this village,” she declared.
The villagers gasped.
The Chief looked at Obisike and then at Udoka.
“But Adaolisa has been a source of peace to this village. How can you say she’s cursed?” The Chief demanded.
“A child found outside this village, a non virgin of twelve with nothing about her background.”
The shock on Adaolisa’s face and the surprise on the villagers were inexplicable. The Priestess had succeeded in revealing a secret the Chief and Ada’s parents had kept for eleven years.
“Or how would you explain what I see in the spirit. No dagger or finger scratches but he’s dead and you say she’s not cursed,” the Priestess continued.
Adaolisa looked at her mother and then at her father. She was hurt.
“She must be killed,” the Priestess stated.
“No, you won’t touch my child,” Obisike roared from the other side and everyone turned to him.
Ignoring him, the Priestess turned back to the Chief signalling she awaited his response.
“She dies,” the Chief voiced.
Adaolisa exhaled, her mother fell faintly to the ground.
“Pull yourself together Ugonna. We can’t risk losing two good people in this village. Don’t do anything stupid,” Udeh said as he held Ugonna with all the strength he could muster.
“You’re all ungrateful. After everything she’s done for all of you. You will kill me with her,” Udoka ranted as she followed the guards leading her daughter to be killed.
With her hands tied backwards, they bent her head forward. Udoka screamed.
As the guard lifted up the ax and made to bring it down on her neck, fire started falling from the sky, burning everything it touched.
The villagers ran and some hid under trees as they burned slowly. The guards left Adaolisa and ran away. Adaolisa opened her eyes due to the sounds she was hearing. She raised her head up and saw a flame of fire falling directly on her.
“Ada,” Udoka called out from underneath a tree. But instead the fire fell directly on the ropes holding her hands together.
Adaolisa closed her eyes and opened them, her eyeballs became transparent like water. Slowly water erupted from every part of her body as it raised her up above the ground.
Ugonna had broken free from his friend and ran to where Adaolisa was being held. He and everyone marvelled at what they saw.
“No wonder Dike was wet. She really killed him,” Dike’s mum said.
Adaolisa controlled the water until it quenched every fire. The water slowly stopped as it put her down. She tardily walked to her parents and hugged them. They held her as they walked out of the scene. She stopped in front of the astonished Priestess and Chief.
“I remember now. I killed the men who raped me when I was 12 and I killed Dike because he wanted to try the same thing,” she told them.
She walked away from them still holding her parents hands.
She stopped again as she approached Ugonna, they stared into each other’s eyes as everyone watched. She smiled and walked away with her parents while the Priestess’s gaze followed them.