HOUNDS OF JUSTICE
Market days passed like a short nightmare and seasons faded like a dark cloud but the memories of the day my love was sold out lingered strongly. A life without love; a home with Ikechwukwu and dream denied, that was my portion.
Five moons after my marriage to the prince, disaster struck Umuachi like the blast of a thunder. Crops withered, though it rained like the gods had lost the key to the lock of heaven. Strange insects believed to be messengers of destruction from an unknown evil god evaded our farms and gulped the surviving plants.
The stream and river became a nightmare as cries poured out of them like whirl wind; the goddess of the river has gone mad. Even as the king and Elders strived to find a solution to the terror that engulfed the community; the bodies of dead laid bare on the foot paths and village square.
All hell went, when the Igwe decided to visit Etiti, who by then had left the palace. His silent departure from the palace made the king unease. After two eke market days, the Igwe decided to visit Etiti in person, and then disaster struck again. The king was struck by lightning as he tried to walk out of the palace.
Mama and Papa sent for me to return home immediately, till the king recovers.
Two days later, the unexpected happened. The Igwe died. My father inlaw! and all the persons present in the palace died, including my husband – the prince.
Rumors had it that the elders found out that the king crept into ritualism, where he used ten virgins as sacrifice. The blood of those girls cried against the land and it angered the gods. The elders then secretly decided to wipe out anybody connected to the king so as to avert any further calamity.
“Ada! Adaobi!” Mama called from outside. “Pack your cloths by nightfall you are leaving for my mother’s place.”
“Mama! Why are you panting? Calm down.”
“Everyone in the palace is dead. Your father said you must leave the village immediately. If the elders should find out that there’s any survivor or anybody is sheltering such person, the penalty is death.”
After three nights of lonely walk in the woods and silent turns through five communities, I finally reached Okon-aku, mama’s hometown. Although it wasn’t my first time of visiting okon-aku, my memory of the place has been clouded by the wings of youth-hood. Mama’s relative welcomed me with joy, and for a moment my misadventure came to a halt.
My vision was blurry and distant voices filled the room.
…… what did you say? a voice asked.
I said she is pregnant. The gods have favored her.