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Innocent Cyril (@admin)
4 months ago


© Kikelomo Fadugbagbe

Uchemba began to worry because of Omowumi and the child she's carrying. He visited a midwife who gave Omowumi some herbs that will enhance her safe delivery.

Uchemba went hunting one afternoon leaving Omowumi alone at home. She was at the backyard when one of the village town criers announced a ritual rite that will take place urgently in the village. This ritual demands that everyone should be behind closed doors.

"If you're in the market or in the farm, wherever you are in the village, listening to the sound of my voice, this is the king's order; Ozu Masquerade will be moving round the village in the next few minutes. Anyone caught outside will be our sacrificial lamb to the gods. Tell everyone you meet on your way to return home. Stay indoor. I have spoken" the town crier announced.

Everybody began to run helter shelter to their various houses, closing their doors and windows.

Omowumi ran inside too because she saw people running, although she could not comprehend their reasons for running and she could not ask due to her dumbness.

Not quite long after that, the masquerade set out as announced, Omowumi began to wonder what the noise was about, she moved out, closer to where the noise was coming from...

"Hold her! she must not go" one of the masquerade's excort said as they ran towards Omowumi and seized her.

Uchemba came back later in the night, he couldn't find omowumi, he asked neighbours who ignored him because of their hatred towards Omowumi.

He ran to his friend's house; Kambili, who told him about the masquerade parade earlier that day while he was away in the farm.

"Are you saying she fell victim?" Uchemba asked in fear.

"Maybe." Kambili replied nonchalantly.

He left immediately to the palace where he found Omowumi tied like a goat about to be slaughtered.

"Long live the King! He said prostrating. the girl here is with me."

"Have been told she is your visitor whom you made a wife anyway, she won't be killed until she had given birth. It's a taboo to kill a pregnant woman. Nevertheless, she will be imprisoned till she is delivered of her child. You can have the baby but she will be sacrificed to the gods. You know the tradition Uchemba, don't beg me to go against it." The King; King Udo said, then he stood up and entered his chamber. Uchemba became saddened.

"Forget about this girl. if I remember vividly you told me you rescued her at the risk of death in a forest, a dangerous forest for that matter, invariably, she is destined to die". Kambili said while consoling Uchemba.

Months went by Omowumi has not put to bed.

"Uchemba has impeded her delivery with charms making it impossible to kill her". One of the chiefs said.

"If that is the case, let's wait no more. We should go ahead with the sacrificial rites."

"Oh! You know it will cost us some things." Another replied.

"I will give her an ultimatum of 3months", the King interrupted them.

"Long life the king" they chorused in recognition of his royal majesty.

The chief priest explained that an extra three months will make it a year that Omowumi had been imprisoned. "Besides, I was made to understand that she had carried her child for 7months before she was captured."

"We wait" king Udo concluded.

After her 3 months ultimatum was over, the council decided to proceed with the sacrificial rites although she has not delivered her baby. A day was fixed for the ritual. All the villagers gathered to witness except Uchemba who remained at home mourning her already. The chief priest began the incantations for the ritual.

Suddenly, Omowumi began to groan in pains.

"What's is wrong with her?" The Chief priest asked.

"Her baby is coming." A woman replied. She ran towards her, some other women joined her, they surrounded her and used their wrappers to cover her.

After some minutes of travailing, she put to bed.

"What is this?" they shouted at the arrival of the baby, some ran away while others looked from afar,

"This can't possibly be a child!" the King exclaimed.

To be continued...

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