On leaving Omoefe, Temisan returned back to the barracks and asked to see the Army Officer that had interrogated her earlier on. She was taken to her office and showed in. she entered and sat down in front of the woman. The army officer looked at her for some minutes then she sighed
Army Officer: “I was only doing my job. That bomb killed good men and women. I as desperate.” She said. Temisan looked at her quietly and nodded.
Temisan: “I can understand that – doing your job. Can you help me? Consider it a reward for being a diligent citizen.” She replied.
Army Officer: “what do you want me to do for you?” she asked, sighing.
Temisan: “I need to talk to the lady that came to help me get out of your cell?”
Army Officer: “why?” she asked.
Temisan: “I need to find my husband.” She said softly.
The army officer chuckled. She picked her intercom and called a soldier to her office. The soldier came and she was directed to take Temisan to Efuru.
Efuru was staring out of the window when the door opened. She turned around and looked at Temisan sadly.
Efuru: “you no fit find am?” she asked.
Temisan shook her head and walked around to stand by the window.
Temisan: “longest weeks of my life – living in this cell. Why did you join the revolution?” she asked.
Efuru: “I no know again o. at first, I tink say dem go bring change and make the country better but now I just wish say I dey with my husband and my pikin. I join because, I wan try forget say na me cause my pikin death. I no wan accept the blame. So I come dey accuse federal government as if say na dem cause my pain.” She replied.
Temisan: “I lose my fiancée for the war. I wish he was here. If he was, I wouldn’t have gotten entangled with Okiemute.” she replied.
Efuru: “one thing wey I know am for na say e like easy life. If e get any money with am, e go dey one hotel now dey chill.” She replied. Temisan nodded and turned to leave.
Temisan: “war is a sad thing o.” she said.
Efuru: “Na just pain. When you don dey use to pain, you no go notice again.” She replied, still staring at the window.
Temisan nodded and stepped out of the cell. She went back to the army officer, who was busy with another officer. The woman beckoned her into the office.
Army Officer: “we just got word that Mrs Akalaba is not at her residence. We have sent a state wide alert. Where ever he had taken her to, we will find her and the children. Did you get what you wanted?” she asked.
Temisan: “what will happen to her?” she asked, nodding back to the cell she had just left.
Army Officer: “that is for the courts to decide but I don’t see her getting anything other than a death sentence or a life sentence.” She replied.
Temisan: “it is just pain.” She muttered then she sighed and got up and left.
Mrs Akalaba watched her daughter, who laid on the mattress tossing and crying in pain. She had wanted to go to the hospital but Okereke had insisted that they lay low for fear that they would be arrested with Temisan. But she was tired of lying low. Her daughter was dying, she needed medical help.
He had finally agreed to go look for the Temisan’s doctor friend to come and help. He had been gone for hours now. She suddenly stopped pacing and turned to Mamus –
Mrs Akalaba: “gather your things we are going to the military hospital.” She said.
She got up quickly and carried the little girl on her back. Mamus soon joined her and they set out for the hospital.
Okereke had gone to look for Efuru but he found her shack empty. He hung around waiting for her to come – worried that Mrs Akalaba would begin to worry, he decided to return back to where they were holed up. When he got there, he was surprised to find her and the children gone. He had thought that he had her under his power and influence based on the way Mamus respected and believed in him. He turned around angrily in the room then he decided to go to the only place they would have gone to, which was the military hospital.
That night Don Papi and Omonigho planned on how to storm Mama Africa’s hideout, which was hidden deep inside the bush, far away from prying eyes. Omonigho refused to take a gun despite Don Papi’s insistence. Don Papi selected six men to go with him and Omonigho. They immediately left using one of Don Papi’s trucks.
They drove through dense jungle until they got to a small stream and stopped. All the men got down. Don Papi turned to Omonigho
Don Papi: “from here on we go by foot.” He explained.
They waded across the cold stream which reached up to their knees in its deepest part, then they entered the jungle again. After several minutes of walking, Don Papi stopped them and sent one of his men to scout ahead. The man walked forward and entered the forest. He returned back after about twenty-five minutes
Man: “five hut na dey there. Na just three men dey guard the place. I no see Mama Africa for there.” He said.
Omonigho: “how did you know of this place?” he asked, turning to Don Papi.
Don Papi: “Major Okirika used to use here for his staging area during the war. From here, he launched attacks on the towns and villages around.” He replied.
Omonigho: “so he is aware that Mama Africa is using it?” he asked.
Don Papi: “of course. Mama Africa is his mother.” He replied, smiling then he gave a signal and all the men arose as one and they stormed the place.
The fight did not take long. The three guards had not expected anyone to attack them so they were surprised and they died quickly. When the huts were opened, children – boys as well as girls came rushing out. Don Papi’s men managed to calm them down. Omonigho looked among them but he could not find Wale. He started asking the children if they had seen him. He tried to describe him but no one had seen him until one of the bigger girls told them that some of the children had been carried off some time ago.
Girl: “I heard them say something about a river goddess or something.” She said, staring from Omonigho to Don Papi with wide eyes.
Don Papi: “I know where they have gone. We need to hurry.” He said.
Two of his men stayed back to lead the children back to where the truck was packed then the rest of them rushed into the forest again. Omonigho ran with them, his heart beating fast. He prayed that he found the boy alive. He prayed hard.
They soon arrived at the big river and saw three people standing in a circle at the edge of the river. Five small bodies were on the ground – their hands and legs tied together and their mouth covered with black cloth. Omonigho could not see whether the persons on the ground were alive or dead. He turned to Don Papi. Don P:api was looking at the scene with worry
Don Papi: “Mama Africa is not there.” He said.
Omonigho looked but he could not identify the three figures standing over the children. He turned and ducked his head as a sharp cutlass flashed over his head. The river was suddenly alive with machetes clashing. Omonigho rolled and ran towards the three figures. Shots rang out into the night. He did not turn back to see. He dove after one of the figures and they fell to the ground together. He saw to his shock that the figure was a girl who was already dying. Her wrists had been cut like the other two girls and their blood had been pouring on the five bodies on the ground for some time.
Omonigho rushed towards the bodies and started turning them around one by one, removing the ropes tying them and the black cloth covering their mouth. Wale was the third one. All the five boys were high and could barely stand. Omonigho raised his head to watch the fighting. He could see that Don Papi had been injured but he was still holding his gun, which he now used as a club. As Omonigho turned to leave, a strong hand grabbed his left leg and out of the water came Mama Africa.
Mama Africa: “you dare to attack me in the middle of a cleansing ritual? You dare?” she screamed, her eyes red with anger.
She started incantations and Omonigho felt a terrible cold crawl from his leg upwards. He fell to his knees as his legs became numb. He turned to look at Wale who stood like a zombie staring at nothing. He tried to scream, but nothing came out of his mouth. Mama Africa screamed in mad frenzy, excitement coursing through her. Omonigho turned to look at the sky as he passed out and fell into the river.
Question: “Will Omonigho be able to survive Mama Africa’s juju? Will Okereke be able to find Mrs Akalaba and the children?
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