Favour went home, entered into her room, flung the carton of Gala on the floor and sat on the edge of her local bed which cracked with a rusty sound and slightly making harmonic motion. She wore a short skirt and a white loose top that she occasionally pulled the collar up to prevent the exposure of her bra. Her weaved hair scattered but didn’t mind because all she could think of was the way about of Nath. “Where could he be?” she thought.
Favour stayed indoors until the sun set thereby giving way for darkness to take over the atmosphere. Suddenly, Denis, the father, walked in. He had a staff in his hand and a hat on his head. On his body was Isi Agu clothing.
“Favour, what have you been doing indoors?”
“I’m afraid, father”
“No, not that” Favour stood up taken a step towards her father. “I’m afraid that something must have happened to Nath.
The mother woke up this morning but to see him gone and nobody knows his way about”
Denis thought for a while. “No, i think i have to go and know what’s happening by myself” he walked out followed by Favour. They went straight to the residence of Mrs Ola to see people already gathered around.
Ohaji was also there. Favour could see how her father whispered to him in the crowd. Seeing how Mrs Ola cried, she began to shed tears too. Suddenly, a traditionalist whom they had summoned to explain the strange phenomenon came in. He wore a red robe with a staff in his hand. His eyes were painted white and on his feet were no footwears. He stood before all the people in the compound, looked up in the sky and said, “It is the woman whose child has been eaten by a witch who best knows the evil of witchcraft”
“You speak in parables” Ohaji began. “Tell us the cause of this strange thing of a child disappearing from sleep”
Before the traditionalist began to explain, Jesse entered standing alone. She never expected to see the crowd there thus making her calm.
“Woman,” the traditionalist pointed at Mrs Ola. “Your son was attacked by a witch who wanted to kill him but due to how strong his spirit was, instead of to die, he disappeared”
“Heeyy” people shouted.
“Chim oh!” Mrs Ola cried.
Already, Jesse’s heart had skipped because she knew the witch the man talked about was her grandmother.
“Please, wise one, where can we find the boy and how can we bring him back?” Denis asked.
“Only the gods knows where he is but i can tell you that wherever he is, he’s alive. Only the witch can bring her back” he looked at Jesse pointing his staff at her. “Young girl, your grandmother is the witch. Where is she?”
Everywhere became silent. They all directed their eyes to Jesse to see her quivering in fear.
“She’s dead” Jesse replied shedding tears immediately. A thunderous noise commenced at once until the traditionalist continued still pointing at Jesse.
“Your grandmother wanted to kill the boy by separating him from this young girl” he pointed at Favour. “She was the one tormenting and scaring her because of the issue she had with her late mother who was also a witch, but since the day the boy came into her life, the grandmother never had access to do that again due to how strong the boy’s spirit influenced her which is the one of the reasons she wanted him dead” he looked at Mrs Ola. “Woman, only pray to see your son again” he turned and worked out instantly.
Hearing that, Favour fell on the floor and began to cry aloud. Men caught Jesse and dragged her out of the compound to go show them their house. They treated her like a common thief.
“Please, don’t harm me, i know nothing about my grandmother’s deeds” Jesse cried as they pushed her. When they got to their residence, the granny’s body had been carried out and Jesse watched them set the house on fire.
THE NEXT DAY
Favour couldn’t sleep the previous night. She kept weeping in her room without coming out. It was as if her hope, strength and joy were taken away from her. As she wept on the floor, the father entered.
“Favour, do you want to kill yourself because of that boy?”
“Father, you won’t understand” Favour sat up looking at him with eyes full of tears. “Nath changed my life, he brought joy to my heart and restored strength to my bornes. I will forever live in fear if i don’t see him again”
Denis felt her daughter’s pains and remained quiet.
Nath found himself lying in a forest. He stood up, looked around to see tall trees. He listened very well to hear nothing but singing birds and wave of ocean. He looked at himself to see boxers and a singlet. “Where am i?” he asked. “Somebody help me!” he shouted running out without hearing or seeing any sign of a human being. When he ran out of the bush to an open area, he saw a mighty ocean before him without a trace of any residence. “Oh, my God!” he murmured..
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