We Are Not Cursed #9


 Edited by: Darlene Jones


After a close look at the roasted gazelles drooping from the ends of the pole across Ibeabuchi’s shoulder, Okuoba said, “They’re big—very big. Our hunters hardly find such during this period. This should make you a proud man and your family will enjoy feasting for some time to come.”

Ibeabuchi shook his head in nervous excitement. “These are not for them. Neither are they for trade.”

He let the meat slide onto the nearby grass.

“You must be joking.”  Okuoba’s brow creased in disbelief. Another look at the roast and she asked, “What do you intend to do with them, then? They’re not rams, goats, or fowls and therefore are not sacrificially acceptable to the gods. Above all, they have already been killed.”

Ibeabuchi clasped his hands and then leaned in with an ear to ear grin. “They’re for you.”

Okuoba’s eyelids fluttered. Such magnanimity toward her was his first. Nevertheless, she placed his large family before herself. “Thank you. But … I think your family needs them more than I do.”

She blinked a sign to the servant girls beside her to continue with her toward her father’s farms.

“Look”—Ibeabuchi stepped in her way—“It’s true I’ve not yet dropped by to offer my condolences to your family. But presenting you with a gift first isn’t entirely a bad approach. Or is it?”

Okuoba heaved a sigh.

The recollection of her loss had just filled her mind with a nostalgic vibe; a yearning to spend time again—even if it was brief—with her protective brother. She let her vision travel in the direction of Dubem and the other servants clearing the field of her father’s largest farmland; dry grasses had been heaped here and there and firewood gradually gathered in bunches. She hoped that with her eyes still averted, this would hint to Ibeabuchi of her lack of interest in what he was offering. By the gods, there were many mouths to feed in his father’s house; it was hard to imagine that they would go from season to season without voicing their discontent at the little they had. Ibeabuchi’s family, unlike hers, didn’t have the luxury of slaughtering an animal for meat every fortnight. To top it all what would her father, a man of inflexible purpose, say to such a gesture especially now that she was full-grown? Her father hadn’t spoken well of Ibeabuchi since she was a child.

Ibeabuchi used his frame as an obstruction to Okuoba’s view again, causing her to look up at him.

“Please…” he said.

“No. I can’t.”

He wrinkled his nose. “You’re angry. I can see that.”

“Angry?” A chuckle escaped Okuoba’s lips. “With you? There is no reason why I should be.”

“Then why do you refuse the gift?”

“I’m…” Okuoba caught herself. She hadn’t expected Ibeabuchi to press further.

She scratched a side of her plait, pretending to sooth an itchy spot on her head while her mind searched quickly for a way to consolidate on the reason behind her refusal.

“Your siblings, half-brothers and sisters … they all need this. How do you think they would feel if I, a wealthy man’s daughter, am the sole beneficiary of such gift from you? Surely you don’t expect news of this kill to be hidden from them forever. You and I know that a hunter’s success—no matter how small—moves so fast around the village like a wind.”

Ibeabuchi tilted his head. A contentious smile spread across his lips as he asked: “And what if I tell you that my family is feasting already on another kill?”

Okuoba didn’t know what else to say; it was clear to her now that she was boxed in. She searched his face desperately for the slightest sign of falsehood, came up empty. His dishevelled look was just another story. The unkemptness of his beard and hair were rather the evidence of a man who had been away from home for sometime, a man who had been so engulfed hunting that he seemed to forget his looks.

“Can’t I still give you something—at least for old time sake?”

A couple of beats passed and her shoulders slumped in acquiescence. She asked the servant girls to take up the meat and head for the largest of her father’s farms. “Ibeabuchi, thank you once again for your immense generosity.”

“No problem.”

Okuoba offered a weak smile. “I’ve to go now. My mo—”

Ibeabuchi restrained her. His grip around her arm was strong, his fingers digging into her flesh. “I’ve something important to tell you. You’ll do well to hear it.”

Surprise soon turned into anxiety for Okuoba. She tried to stay composed on the outside, though. “What is it?”

Ibeabuchi released his grip and gestured with both hands. “Let’s walk.”

Pointing to one of the udala trees standing close to her father’s largest farm, she said, “We can sit over there.”

“No. Someone may be listening.”


Part Eight||Part Nine

37 thoughts on “We Are Not Cursed #9

    1. @Sandra; LOL. This is exactly what you did to me with your own serial, sis 🙂 😉 It was so entertaining and suspenseful I didn’t want it to end.

      Your ardent reading continues to be my reward 🙂

      1. Oh brother, you got me! Wished I know what the end of the story is! You know I used to read my novels backwards sometimes? I’ll start form the beginning, sneak some peek in the middle and travel to the end and come back and read the whole lot! I’m an impatient reader! Anyway I’ll wait dear brother….. 😦

        1. My o my. That’s not bad at all. Sometimes when the intrigue/suspense/mystery becomes so much that my mind is saturated and concerned for some characters, I tend to read the end–this could spoil the fun, but it keeps me settled somehow. I’ve read interviews of some authors who share this same attitude as we do.

          One thing I can guarantee you is that this story will end well. Again, I’m honoured by your unwavering support.

  1. Uzo, which kain tin be dis na? 😦 Why did you stop here? I hoped to read more and seriously I’m afraid for what might happen to Okuoba. I wish I can tell her to say “no” because I don’t trust Ibeabuchi.

    Well, I always have these kind of hunches while reading suspense. And sometimes they turn out to be false. I hope it’s so with this. 🙂

    Great instalment! I look forward to the next.

    1. Hehe. I don’t trust Ibeabuchi either. I can’t help but write the story as the characters come in contact with each other at one point or the other.

      As for the next, it is a juicy yet tricky part, which I intend to give my best. And it’s true, sometimes the suspense ends up in something not as significant as it was estimated to be.

      Thanks a lot, KayKay. Till next weeek 🙂

  2. Gaahhhh!! Agree with all the others–my face has been drawn by your words to within inches of the screen, and now left hanging :). Terrific job, Uzoma, once again–with wonderful support from Darlene. Write on (please)! Cheers to you, my friend.

    1. Thank you so much, my good friend. Your presence and delightful comment continues to a big boost to my writing. And I echo your words about Darlene — she’s been terrific so far!

  3. Okuoba trying to be nice instead of saying no directly… this is a place where I’ve been several times, it usually backfires in the end. I haven’t read the earlier posts, so I may be missing something. But since Ibeabuchi won’t take a hint, Okuoba should stop beating about the bush!

    I bet you’ll serve another part of the story where a different character takes centre-stage. Then we’ll have to wait, just as we are waiting to know what happened when Ibeabuchi’s father (Amaefuna) hurriedly left his workshop… two weeks ago?

    Loving it though, well done

    1. Well put, Timi 🙂 Being too nice can be detrimental; I, too, have learnt my lesson. You’ve not missed much in the way of the narration — say three characters and a scene of the unidentified killer. But I love your comment about the upcoming installment. There will certainly be a new dimension to the story and Amaefuna will be welcomed to the stage once again.

      Thanks for weighing in with your handsome comment.

  4. I’m enjoying this so much! The supense has trapped me, can’t wait to find out what he has to say. Another wonderful job!

  5. You got me… this line was classic “You and I know that a hunter’s success—no matter how small—moves so fast around the village like a wind.” Its like something I often hear back inthe village, natural

    1. Hello Mo. It’s good to see you around. Hope everything is great with you.

      Glad you found that part especially natural. It’s all as a result of a close observation from reading and listening to other African stories.

  6. Proceeding nicely along. The couple seem to draw closer, despite family. It’s a great thing you are doing Uzoma, pulling and keeping together the plot and characters.

    May I suggest a little amendment perhaps: ‘A couple of beats passed and her shoulders slumped in accession’… maybe the last word here could be ‘acquiescence’. I do hope you don’t mind my taking this liberty.

    1. Yes, I was hoping to create some sort friendly atmosphere between the two in order to validate what has already been said about them (childhood friends), then build a twist which I hope will take everyone by surprise — in the next installment.

      Oh, MJ, you are too kind and very supportive! The sentence you highlighted is actually one of the spots that gave me some bit of trouble before posting. Acquiescence fits better, so I will make the edit right away. Thanks for weighing in on this with your suggestion.

  7. I can see that the gift of the gazelles would be hard to accept knowing the one who was giving them, at home was going hungry. It is a tough situation, not wanting to hurt the giver and being a good receiver. Thanks for this thought provoking chapter of We Are Not Cursed.

    1. Yes, Robin. Having a good heart means making a lot of sacrifices. Sometimes they don’t yield positive results, but then that’s what life’s about.

      I’ve been in the same situation (narrated in this passage) a couple of times. Sometimes it backfires.

  8. You keep us dangling over the cliff, Uzo, my friend 🙂

    I marvel some of the phrases you employ –

    “a man of inflexible purpose”
    “consolidate on the reason behind her refusal”
    “her shoulders slumped in acquiescence”

    This enormously helps me to enjoy the story at several levels – just as I like it 🙂

  9. This is so good.

    I was catching up with so many parts (and pleased that I had a good amount to read), and suddenly I ran out! Now I have to wait.

    I do like – very much – the way you add small detail that so brings alive the characters. Like Okuoba scratching the side of her plait as she is trying to think fast. Things like that so put the reader into the scene, as though they are there too.

    I look forward to reading more. Best thoughts to you. 🙂

    1. I am rewarded by your kind remarks and time taken to read the installments so far. It’s a good thing to imagine and be able flesh out the needful.

      Blessing, my good friend.

  10. I am back on your blog, seeing that this is a post I wrote on already but reread it, still cherish his good and kind generosity! I think I would accept the gift and yet, somehow, I usually like to repay a gift. I enjoyed your visit today and will look forward to new chapters. Take care! hugs, Robin

    1. Hehe. You’ve been an avid reader, whose kind words always makes me smile and gives me strength to continue even when I feel like stopping the whole story-telling.

      Big hug 🙂 🙂

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