Cries and wailings have become popular in Akuje. Many homes have been hit by the ravaging tragedy in town. The most popular question has become “who is next in line?” The recent toll of dead firstborns puts the number at twenty-seven. The most recent tragedy is the death of the king to be, Prince Adetuba. The Olori could not be consoled. She rolled on the floor continually in the open.
Even the king could not go near his wife. In the frustration the king found himself, he called the ifa priest into his inner chamber and had a lengthy discussion.
Tanwa could not hide her pain. She had burst into tears since the ifa priest left her home. She had no one to relate the news to except her friend, Arike. Tanwa went to Arike’s house and told her all that the priest had come to say. They said that Bade, my second son will be used as sacrifice to appease the gods. Arike cut in sharply. Sacrifice ke? Yes. That is what Ifa asked for after consultations on the deaths of the village firstborns. The priest told me that Bade is the most qualified because he is a mix-blood and he is a second son. She couldn’t keep the tears inside her eyes, they were pouring like a fountain of warm water. I should have left this village after my husband’s death. I should have gone… I have only my children as family and they want to take one from me. Sobs…sobs…sobs
Arike was so compassionate towards her. She contemplated suggesting her only solution and finally decided to share. Erm…. Tanwa, I have a solution for you. If you are bold enough to join me and my secret friends. We are the witches of this village and can deliver anyone out of trouble. We will deliver you and Bade will not have to die. Tanwa was dumbfounded and could not utter a word. Arike understood the feeling and simply added. I’d give you time to think about it. This might be your only chance to get out of this… and we are not evil people, we only protect ourselves. This is how I felt too when I was introduced to the society.
At midnight of the following Wednesday, Tanwa was on her way to the village square. That was the venue of the witchcraft meeting.
As much as Arike warned her to be punctual for the meeting, she was too scared to arrive early. She changed her mind ten times about attending. Finally when she made up her mind, it was midnight and half an hour past meeting starting time. As she stepped her feet into the meeting place, the chief, as the leader was fondly called was furious. After lots of several verbal abuses and some pleadings, the meeting continued. Then it got to the final agenda. It was time to discuss the annual convention but what followed wasn’t pleasant in Tanwa’s ears. We need a volunteer as usual; someone to volunteer the blood of his first son. The atmosphere turned into disarray as the witches argued who should donate her firstborn. After all the argument and disorderliness, the chief pointed at Tanwa. This is going to be your first assignment in this group and I don’t want to hear any complaint.
Check back for Part 2 in a few days