It was like a dream when I came back from the market and saw Uncle Sam, his wife, and a man cladding a blue garment all staring at me. I knew something was going on but I couldn’t figure out what it was.
“Is she the one you spoke of?” Asked the blue garment man, pointing at me.
“Yes sir, she is the witch I told you about.” Aunty Ifeoma replied.
The word “Witch” sent a chill down my spine, my foot trembled as if they would give up any minute. I looked into my Uncle’s face searching for a clue on what was happening but his face was devoid of any expression.
“Come closer child, am here to help you.” The man beckoned and I took a few steps closer to him.
As she noticed that I had stepped away from the door, Aunty Ifeoma suddenly went and slammed it shut.
“Kneel down girl, let me cleanse your soul from impurity.” The man ordered.
My eyes darted back to my Uncle demanding his approval and when he nodded in agreement, I slowly went on my knees. If I hadn’t been so engrossed with fear, maybe I would have noticed the bucket of water and the big broom lying beside it on the center table but I didn’t.
The man brought out a bottle of olive oil, sprinkled some of its content on me before laying his big head upon my head speaking in a language none of us understood.
I wasn’t bothered until he started pulling my head vigorously. Realizing the man was keen on plucking out my head like the chicken offered as a sacrifice to the gods in my village, I rebelled.
The attempt to free my small head from his grip earned me a mighty slap which sent me reeling on the floor. I was about to get on my feet and flee for my dear life when I felt the painful hit from a wet broom on my back.
I screamed in horror, trying to scratch the pain off my back when another hit dropped on my laps.
As I was rolling on the floor in misery, I caught a glimpse of Adaobi; my Uncle’s six years old daughter smiling.
“You foul spirit, I command you. Get out !!! Get out !!!” The blue garment man kept yelling, punctuating the word ‘Get out’ by smashing the wet broom on all of my body.
When my twelve years old body could take it no longer, I slipped into the dark world of unconsciousness.
The first thing I set my eyes on when I woke was the brown ceiling fan of Uncle Sam’s family hospital. My head was pounding as I turned around and saw Uncle Sam sitting beside my bed.
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“Nkem thank God you are awake. How are you feeling now?” He asked with deep concern.
Pain shot through all parts of my body as I tried to sit up.
“Uncle, am not a witch.” I managed to say and I saw guilt washing over his face.
“Nkem I will never hurt you, it was Ifeoma who insisted. You know a lot has been happening in the house for the past year now.” He spoke almost in tears.
Of course, I knew Aunty Ifeoma lost four Pregnancies and I was also there the day Uncle got the call that his eight million naira consignment has been seized by the customs but how do I tell him that I had heard Adaobi talking in her sleep that she wouldn’t allow her parents to have any other child and that she would punish her father for not buying her the pink doll she wanted.
“Please, take me to my mother.” Going home was all that made sense to me.