The Child of Thunder
By ifeoma Isabella okeke
“Ogbanje! Ogbanje!!!” Adaku shouted calling her step-daughter from the inside. Her two daughters were eating and she wants Ogbanje to get water for them.
Ogbanje, a girl fast approaching womanhood paid deaf ears to Adaku’s call. Ogbanje or Ada as she was fondly refer to by her father was a light skinned girl, taller for her age and down to earth, she was a very beautiful damsel that was greatly admired by the villagers. Her breast stand firm on the wrapper she tied around her, her hair were decorated with crownies. She continued doing what she was doing; breaking the hard shell of palm kernel with her stone, she was going to use it to drink garri and maybe use the remaining ones to give it to her friend Ebuka. She started whistling a tune.
“Ogbanje ooooo!!!” Adaku shouted again.
Ogbanje did not acknowledge her call.
Adaku went outside the hut towards the back of the hut. There she saw Ogbabje breaking the kernel she had wanted to use for her children. That girl was always daring her.
Ogbanje sense the presence of Adaku behind her but didn’t stop neither did she turn.
She walked briskly towards Ogbanje. “Bia Ogbanje, Ị nụ ntị ugbu a na ị nụghị oku m?- Eh Ogbanje, Are you now deaf that you didn’t hear my calls?” Adaku asked the girl who doesn’t seem scared of her outburst rather she continued breaking the kernel.
“Am I not talking to you eh Ogbanje?”
“What is it Adaku? If they want to drink water, the gods of this land gave them legs to do so. As you can see I am busy before you started calling my name” Ogbanje said
“Wonders will never cease to end. I knew it from the onset that you are a witch, no wonder you are called Ogbanje. How did you know it was water to give my children I was calling you for? I have said it and I will say it again, gị na ekwensu nwere njikọ- you and the devil are related. I will report it to my husband when he has come back from farm”. Adaku said leaving Ogbnaje to get water for her children.
Ogbanje hissed “As if he is not my father also”
“Nnayi, I don’t like the way Ogbanje use to talk to me in this house ooo. I don’t want to start my own before they will say Adaku has started, warn your daughter for me”. Adaku lay her complain to Okoro that evening after she had prepared his favorite meal.
“What has Ada done again? And please this should be the first and last time you will call Ada Ogbanje. She is the first daughter of this family. Her name is Ada not Ogbanje”.
Ignoring what Okoro said Adaku answered “I ask Ogbanje to get me two cups of water for Uzochi and Ugochi but she refused and rather started calling me all sorts of names”.
“Ada can not do such a thing, I have trained her well enough for her to be disobedient, so maybe you offended her prompting her to behave in such manners towards you”. Okoro said.
Adaku clapped her hands together “I said it, I knew you will support her fathers supporter. I told you what that thing you call your Ada did to me today and all you could say that she might had have a reason for doing so. Where has Ogbanje sold your sense too, you had better tell me ooo so that I will go there and bring it back before it gets out of hand”.
“Adaku, no one sold my sense. I am her father, and I always know what she can do. If you had told me it was Ugochi or Uzochi that did that to you, I would have believed you but this is Ada you are talking about and Ada cannot do such a thing. And now this matter has closed, let me retire to bed, my day at the farm was hectic and you are not helping one bit”. Okoro said as he stood up and went inside the hut leaving a fuming Adaku. Ogbanje having heard their discussion about her and the turn around for Adaku, she laughed to her heart content.
Adaku was in the midst of the village witches coven when she lay her complain to their Eze nwayi.
“Adaku, I have told you that that girl is no ordinary girl. A strong god is with her, she wont be defeated easily. Out of all the people in Udum is it only Ogbanje you saw?”
“But Eze Nwayi, we all in this coven are strong enough to take down this god that is with her”. Adaku protested.
“No, my powers are no match for him”, Eze Nwayi replied then continued “Let us start this meeting. Nnenna, you do know you will sacrifice your son to the goddess of Aku-wealth tonight?” Eze Nwayi asked one of the witches.
Nnenna stood up from her sitting place and bowed before her queen.
“I know that Eze Nwayi”. Nnenna replied.
Eze Nwayi nodded her head and gave Nnenna a knife decorated with blood. She motion to Nnenna to move closer and stand in front of a biggest mirror almost as half of where they are “Now call your son name four times, and when he appeared strike him in the place that would slowly kill him”.
Nnenna called her son’s name four times and he appeared, she drove the knife towards the groin of her child.
“Ebuka what is wrong with you since morning, you are not yourself?” Ogbanje asked her best friend when they meet in their usual place.
“I don’t know ooo Ada, since this morning I have been experiencing pains down here”, Ebuka pointed down towards his groin.
“You don’t mean it and you did not even bothered to tell me, me your friend”.
“I am sorry Ada, I was embarrassed you know…”
“Okay, wait here and don’t go anywhere o”. Ogbanje said holding one of her ears showing she was serious.
Ebuka nodded his head as Ogbanje left his presence going towards the bush.
Ogbanje went inside the bush and bend down to look at some leaf’s closely. When she was sure Ebuka wasn’t watching, she opened her palm and a leaf appeared she quickly stood to her height and dash to meet Ebuka.
“Here is the leaf I went to search for you. Take it and eat it now in front of me”. Ogbanje said as she gave the leaf to Ebuka who ate it, Ebuka was surprised when the leaf tasted like Udara.
“This leaf is sweet. Where did you get it from?” Ebuka asked.
“I cannot tell you where I got it from even if you roll yourself on the floor”. Ogbanje said as if she knew his thoughts.
“Papa, I want to follow you to the farm tomorrow”, Ogbanje told her father as she sat beside him on the floor to massage his feet.
“Ada mu nwayi- My first daughter, you can follow me to farm tomorrow at least I need some helping hands”, Okoro told Ogbanje whose face radiant with smile.
“Thank you papa”. Ogbanje thanked.
“Papa, me too, I want to follow you to the farm tomorrow”, Uzochi chip in coming out of the hut to sit beside him, taking his hands to massage, she was an ebony black who took after her mother complexion.
“Three too papa, I am tagging along”. Ugochi said smiling, she too was an ebony black, she also took Okoro’s other hand to massage it, mere looking at both girls you would know that they were twins. The girls took after their mother’s color. The only color you would see in the faint of the Moon rays were Ogbanje’s fairness. Her light skin were as light as her late mother, but her mother’s light skin was no where near hers. Udum inhabitants had always wondered where she had gotten her so much light skin color from, after all Okoro was as black as charcoal.
“Papa, tell us a story”, Ugochi said.
“Yes papa we love your stories so much, tell us one so that we can sleep dreamfully tonight”, Ogbanje said also in support of what Ugochi said.
“Tell us another story of the creation again”. Uzochi said.
“Okay my dear beautiful daughters, well this story was told by my great great grand mother in her last days on earth and now I am going to tell my beautiful daughters”. Okoro said as he felt himself relaxed the more.
“Okay papa we are all ears”. Uzochi said for her sisters.
Okoro cleared his throat to begin his story.
“Well long, long time ago many Bushmen are very frightened of the rainbow. When they see its beautiful arch in the rain-washed air, they will beat two sticks together loudly and shout, ‘Go away! Go away and do not burn us!’ This is because of the story of Rain and her son.
It is told that Rain was once a beautiful woman who lived long ago in the sky. For a girdle she wore a rainbow around her waist.
Rain married the man who created the earth, he was called Flame. Together they had three beautiful daughters.
“Just like us papa”, Uzochi said interrupting her father.
“Ooooh, Uzochi who told you to interrupt papa?” Her twin Ugochi asked.
Okoro cleared his throat his, silencing any further argument. “I will retire to bed if you don’t keep quite”, Okoro warned.
“Sorry papa”, the twins said in unison.
“When the eldest daughter grown up, she wished to leave home and visit the earth below.
Her parents let her go, and once there, she fell in love and married a handsome hunter. While she was away, her mother Rain bore another child, a son, whom she named Ebubedike.
When Ebubedike was old enough, his sisters begged their parents, to let them also travel to see the world, but their mother, Rain, was afraid she would lose them all, and refused.
However, an acquaintance, Hyena, had looked upon the two daughters and found them fair. Disguising his wicked heart, he said to the father: ‘Pray let them go, it will be good for their education, and I myself, will go with them to look after them.’ So the father gave them permission in spite of his wife’s grief: and off they went, full of happiness.
Soon after they had come down to earth, they came to a village where both good and bad people lived. A woman passing by stared hard at Ebubedike and said: ‘How can this be? This boy has my mother’s eyebrows.’
She offered them food, but Hyena did not give any to Ebubedike, saying, ‘He is not a person, he is just a thing” Ebubedike turned away angrily, but the daughters ate
While sitting by himself in the long grass, the boy caught a beautiful red bird which fluttered past him, and concealed it under his cloak.
That night the woman offered them the shelter of her house. ‘For you cannot lie in the dark, beautiful girls, and boy with my mother’s eyebrows.’
However, Hyena would not let the boy into the house, but made him sleep by himself in a tiny little hut. Hyena wanted to steal the two fair sisters, while the boy was not there.
After dark, Hyena went and fetched some of the bad people from the village and they set fire to the hut and burned it down with the boy inside, but as the roof fell in, a lovely red bird flew up into the night. Up, up it flew, straight to the boy’s mother, Rain.
‘Ebubedike is dead! He perished in the fire, and his sisters could not help him,’ sang the bird
‘Do you hear what the bird sings?’ asked Rain of her husband. ‘You, whose name is Flame, what will you do now that they have killed our son?
A little while later, the good and bad people in the village observed a great black storm cloud approaching fast, and around its middle was a rainbow.
Suddenly lightning flashed wildly from the cloud, striking here and there. It singled out Hyena and all the bad people, and struck them dead.
A mighty voice roared out of the cloud: ‘Do not ever again kill the Children of the Sky.’
And ever since then, the Bushman has feared the rainbow, and throw stones at hyenas”.
“Wow papa, what a beautiful story am sure to remember every details when I tell Ebuka this story”, Ogbanje said already thinking of the story.
“Me too papa, I will tell my friends”. Uzochi said.
“Three too papa”.
“Well, let us go to sleep, the night has eaten his supper and has gone to sleep, now it is now left of us to follow suit”. Okoro said as he stood up from his wooden stool and went inside to join a sleeping Adaku in their bamboo bed. He made sure his daughters were safely in their room and the outer door of the hut were securely locked.
“Nnenna, how come your son, Ebuka isn’t dead yet?” Eze Nwayi Bellowed in anger.
“Eze Nwayi and my fellow witches, you all saw that I struck his scrotum with the knife of death, which is deadly. How can I heal my son when I don’t even have the powers to stop the deadly sword of death”. Nnenna spoke out.
Eze Nwayi saw meaning to her words. “Then who had the audacity, the powers to heal him? By now I should have heard sorrows in your household but the boy look unhurt”.
“I am as confused as you are Eze Nwayi”. Nnenna said.
“Well, I am sending the shadow of death to him tonight to end him in his sleep”. Eze Nwayi said as she started conjuring incarnation.
Back in Ogbanje room her eyes fluttered open. Something is wrong, she felt no she sense a shadow sent to destroy Ebuka. She quickly stood up from her bed, opened her room window and leapt out quietly. She then proceeded towards the direction of Ebuka’s hut. She wasn’t scared of the dark, she saw perfectly the way towards the hut of Ebuka.
When she got there, she was breathless. She finally stood at the front of the hut awaiting the presence of the shadow which she sense close by.
To Be Continued
Get episode 3 here