We Are Not Cursed #3

(Part Three)

Edited by: Darlene Jones

 

 

 

Umeh leaned by the wooden window of his hut that looked out to the hill in the distance. Although his eyes could see the tall Afara trees with their leafy branches and the verdure that stretched all the way to the top of the hill, he was not aware of the untamed beauty that lay before him for he was lost in thought.

In his dreams, he’d seen himself play several times with his late son, Nnanna. But strangely enough, his son had appeared as a little child in servant clothes. This bothered him. If the gods could fill his nights with dreams about Nnanna, why would they present him as a servant boy instead of the child of a nobleman?

A day after Nnanna’s funeral, he had taken a white ram with him to Okofia, the juju priest on the outskirts of the village. There, a special sacrifice was offered to the gods. If the gods were indeed just, wouldn’t they have revealed the identities of his son’s killers soon afterwards? A growing realization that he no longer had a natural heir to his lands and livestock made him sigh deeply. Now that his son was no more, who then, would bear his name? For sure, age was neither on his side nor his wife’s. Even if he should pick a young woman as his second wife, he wasn’t even certain he could bed her for procreation.

A familiar female voice startled him from behind.

“What is it?” he asked in a cold tone.

“It’s about your brother and your friends from the village council…they’ve come to see you.”

Umeh faced his wife. “Oluchi, didn’t I tell you that am not in the mood to see anyone today?”

Bending a knee slightly as a sign of admission, she said, “You did, Nnaanyi.”

“Good. Now tell them that I’m in no good shape to see them.”

“Please don’t turn them back again. I’m sure they want to find our son’s killers as much as we do. But we can’t achieve this quickly if we don’t work together as—”

“Hold your tongue, woman!” Umeh exploded; the solid black of his eyes very prominent. “What right have you to tell me the steps to take? Perhaps you are indirectly telling me that I’m weak and incapable of finding our enemy. Isn’t that right?”

Oluchi shook her head; her lips pressed hard against themselves.

“Answer me!”

She cowered back, trembling.

Umeh soon realized what his internal tumult was leading him to. His loving wife deserved none of his aggressiveness. Feeling remorseful and at the same time hateful of his situation, he took a few steps away from where he had been standing.

“Where are they now?” he asked, his tone several decibels lower now.

“Inside our compound.”

He regarded his wife, who tactfully avoided eye contact with him. She had been as mournful as any concerned mother could be. Between both of them, he thought she had handled the pain and grief better. Despite their loss, she’d ensured that work still continued on their cassava and cocoyam farms as the planting season was fast approaching.

“Invite them into my obi. I’ll be with them, shortly.”

“Yes, Nnaanyi.” Oluchi nodded and backed out of his hut.

Walking over to the wooden stool beside his bamboo bed, Umeh picked his special tread which his then wore on his ankles. Next, he picked up his hand fan. He was about leave his hut, when he was plagued by the words of the juju priest: “Perhaps the boy who appeared in your dream is not really your son. Perhaps he is your enemy.”

The smiling face of the child from Umeh’s dreams flashed in his mind. The facial features of the child were not different from his son’s. But there was something about his laugh…

It was not Nnanna’s laugh.

Part Two||Part Three

_________________

Translations:

Obi–a small place for relaxation

Nnaanyi–title meant for a married man or master of slaves.

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55 thoughts on “We Are Not Cursed #3

    1. I appreciate your kind comment, Lena, and for following the story. I also look forward to next week…perhaps something positive may come up by then.

  1. Excellent! To me, the writing and the story just keep getting more compelling. Again, I am impressed that you are so convincing with dialogue in addition to description. Hanging on till next week :). Kudos to you.

    1. Oh my! Thank you so much, Sirena. Dialogues mean a lot to me. So to read what you have said about them only brings me relief and joy, knowing my effort wasn’t at all in vain.

  2. I agree with all here that the suspense is building as the tale progresses. A very emotional segment, here. Great work! 🙂

  3. It’s silly to keep offering praise because it sounds like obligatory encouragement from one writer to another or like an exaggeration, but there’s nothing else to do. It’s that good. Can I say that I am envious of your storytelling ability?

    1. You’re a very talented writer, Eric, and I have learnt a lot from visiting to your site. I think I should be the one to ask the question, and so much more. Thanks for all the support and the friendship.

  4. You draw us in and we want more of this cultural perspective, Uzoma. The father’s grief is well explored. Loss and passion rattle around aimlessly in his pocket.

  5. I took time off my treatment to read this and Khaula’s poem. And I guess she already told you everything. I told her not to, because I knew you’d worry. Don’t, Uzoma, you have a bright future ahead of you. Believe me, this was super-splendid. I wish that you find a spot above William Shakespeare in the English Literature.
    I wish, and I will wish till God sucks the last breath out of me.
    🙂

    1. OMG! I’m so happy you made the special effort to drop by. I understand the situation you are going through, thanks to Khaula. She’s been SO wonderful and supportive. It’s my strongest desire to see you healthy and blogging again.

  6. You dig the best out of words….Really, really beautiful. It is, yeah….,touching.
    And Alethea commented…I think she is pretty much recovering now.
    Thanks for all the support, you are really, wonderful.

    1. Thanks, Khaula. I was just about replying her comment when I saw yours. I’m also excited she is able to write today at least. You both are wonderful. Hope you are having a great time! 🙂

  7. Good progression with the story, Uzoma… It is an unusual feeling one gets when meeting someone for the first time whom is similar another person one knows well, almost as if you expect them to have a similar presence and traits. It will be interesting to see where you take this aspect, if any further. Awesome write!

  8. You are an extraordinary writer…my brother, you have genuine and natural gift that will always keep our attention! May God’s love continue to shower you in a wondrous way with his blessings and love!

  9. This is truly brilliant, Uzoma. I can really feel for Umeh, you put me by his side, seeing what he saw and thinking what he thought. I wished part three was longer! 🙂

    I hope everything goes as you plan it to while you are away. Take care.

    Cheers. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Allyson 🙂 I’m happy you–as a reader–could feel his emotional low. The subsequent parts are a bit longer. I just hope it comes with the suspenseful air.

      I’ve missed your blog. Now that I’m back, I can’t wait to check it out.

      1. Welcome back, Uzoma, I was wondering how you were doing. I trust all is well.

        I look forward to seeing you in my blog – I’ve made some gorgeous changes to my book covers and now released a blurb for the back of book two, due out late July.

        Cheers to you. 🙂

  10. I love this story. How quickly I am enveloped inside the narration, content to go where it takes me, and then, too quickly, the chapter ends and I must wait for more. It is a delicious kind of waiting.

    1. OMG! Thanks a million for the good will message, Clarissa. I’ve missed the foody and delicious bits and tips on your blog. Will be dropping by soon! 🙂

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