Dembe was talking with Brami by the fountain two days to the main day.
“I need your help, please don’t deny me this great favor”
Dembe said, pleading Brami. The woman had a worried face because she doesn’t know what Dembe was about to ask of her.
“Brami, I’m not allowed to go out of the compound until the sacrifice and my coronation is over. I need a harmless sleeping medicine. I don’t even have an idea where it can be gotten. Please a mild and harmless medicine… can you get it for me before the day runs to an end?
“I can Dembe, is sold in the physician market. But what do you need it for?
“Don’t ask any questions please Brami and don’t let anyone to know about it. I trust you and that was why I came to you. Is between us and you are not getting into any trouble…. I will make sure of that. Let all trouble come to me instead. I will be expecting it before night fall.
Brami nodded. As Dembe turned to leave the woman called him back.
“Dembe, I have not gotten the opportunity to tell you how worried I am concerning you. You are mostly sitting all by yourself by that fountain and sometimes I notice you mutter words that nobody can hear. I also heard lady Sheila and Lord Bash taunting you but you never reacted. Freedom must be hard to live with in this place because Lord Bash and Lady Sheila still treats you like a slave. It must also be very painful that you will be sacrificing your own child to the gods. It would have been better if Lady Aprin never conceived at all than to watch your own split for the gods pleasure. Alot is required of you and I hope whatever God you secretly serve helps you through…
Dembe nodded to Brami’s words before walking away.
That same evening Brami got what Dembe requested and showed him how it can be used.
The following day, preparation was ongoing.
That night while Aprin was out worshiping with her mother at the temple.
Dembe was left with the baby who woke up immediately Aprin left.
Dembe carried her in his arms. The baby was shaking as if she knew what was before her.
She cling to Dembe’s cloth.
“Hey… little one. You are so fragile and cold. Don’t be afraid beautiful one. Despite the circumstances behind your conception you still belong to God. And God loves little children, he alone will protect you because my strength is limited. Whatever his plans is for you it will come to past. Don’t be afraid…
The baby whimpers, she made some strange noise as if she was trying to communicate to Dembe.
Dembe cuddled her up in his arm, the baby held tightly to him and relaxed on Dembe’s body.
After sometime she slept off and he laid her back to the bed.
The day came and Sheila and Bash were the first to gather at the temple. They looked forward to watching Dembe and Aprin present their infant as a sacrifice to the gods.
Aprin appears weak, she has not fully recovered from the birth of her daughter and also loosing her so soon.
Her eagerness was to witness the final day that the gods will accept the great offering.
Before Aprin took the baby that morning, Dembe carried the baby in his arms.
He quickly put two drop of the sleeping medicine into the baby’s mouth when nobody was watching.
The child fell into a deep sleep.
“It will be better for you not to hear or see whatever that will go on today. You won’t feel any pain or see faces of those who want to take your life. I’m sorry I have to do this beautiful one. But is for the best… for me, for you and for the womb that bore you…
Dembe returned her back to the bed as he heard Aprin’s footsteps.
Aprin had changed into her priestess wears.
She went to the bed and carried her daughter, wrapped her up with a shaw.
“You look so cold and quiet. Are you alright?
Dembe asked Aprin.
“Hmmm…I don’t know anymore. I have looked forward to this day, it has felt so good carrying a seed for the gods. I almost gave up the ghost during her birth but whatever you did within those frightening period of my life…it revived me and I was able to bring her fort but right now Dembe, I wish I can keep her. She is too precious and so innocent…take a look at her. She sleeps so peacefully. She was not given a name or enough time to nurse in my arms. Hmmm! May the gods forgive me for my selfish thought. Our little one is the daughter of the gods… she doesn’t belong with us and I have no right to question her fate. Today… you will be given the previledge of sacrificing her. Please be bold and strong in doing that. I know it will be hard but is her destiny and your right as her father to her. The gods will bless us with another child and we won’t worry or remember this one anymore”…
There was a knock on the door.
Phatsy came to inform them that the priestess and every other person was waiting for them to bring the child.
Everything was set and everyone is ready.
Aprin carried her daughter and rose, Dembe matched out beside her.
His heart was calm, he was not troubled. He felt a warm presence enveloping him.
As they arrived, Sheila was seen standing beside her mother in her priestess attire, Bash too was there. They were smiling as they looked from Dembe who was surprisingly calm and do not look worried, to Aprin who wore a straight face.
The drum was beating at one corner, incense was burning and it’s smell filled the hall.
Incantation was very loud, as the priestess kept shouting different strange words with her hands spread wide.
Different sizes of knife can be seen on a table. feathers and local pots which holds blood of some strange animals were close to the shrine.
Different images and sizes of hand made idols was placed on every corner. Different terrifying drawing was seen on the walls of the temple.
The priestess came over to the baby, she waved a strange broom over her head many times while chanting strange song.
She did many other things over the baby who remain still.
While she was doing that, Dembe went into prayer in his mind. This time his mouth did not move and no word was hard but deep within him he kept besieging God to intervene.
“Something strange is happening which I don’t understand. It feels like there is a strange powerful presence in our means. But not withstanding, the sacrifice must go on. Let the father of the child carry the baby to the altar, pick one of those knives lying on the table and struck her twice. I will tell you what next to do after that.
Everywhere fell silent. Aprin turned and looked at Dembe, urging him to take the baby.
All eyes was on Dembe who stood less concerned.
The priestess repeated herself to Dembe’s hearing. Asking him to carry the child from Aprin’s arm and do what he was asked to do.
Dembe cleared his voice and said.
“I’m not the father of the baby. So…let the real father follow up with the instructions.
There was confusion immediately Dembe said that.
Even Sheila and Bash thought he was crazy by rejecting his own child.
They scoffed at him. Mocking him in their hearts.
The priestess asked Dembe to be mindful of what he says because he was in the presence of the gods.
“I don’t mean to be rude or stubborn in carrying out the task but if the gods can see clearly they should be able to know who the biological father of the child is. I tried to tell my wife, and also the priestess about it all but no one wants to listen to me or even believe me. How can the gods even accept a sacrifice of such a child? Bash is the real father and he should go ahead and do as you asked.
There was murmuring everywhere. Sheila opened her eyes in shock and Bash’s legs shakes in fear. He was confused.
Dembe was not done talking. He told everyone of what Sheila and Bash did to Aprin on the
wedding night and he never laid with Aprin before the child was conceived.
It was a shocking realization that left many speechless.
Sheila tried to deny but her mother shut her up.
Aprin was shock. She broke down crying and quickly dropped the sleeping child on the ground before running out of the temple.
She didn’t want to have anything to do with the baby. She felt sad and betrayed as she rush out of the temple.
Bash bent his head in shame, Sheila bit her lips repeatedly at how their forgotten secret deed was exposed.
The priestess asked Bash to pick up the child from the ground since he is the father and present her to the gods.
Bash refused, Sheila supported him.
“I’m sorry priestess but I don’t want to have anything to do with that baby. I’m not married to Aprin, Sheila is my wife. We are neither the next priest or priestess of Kebra. I reject having anything to do with such a child. The gods may strike me dead if I dares it.
Sheila nodded in agreement to what Bash said.
As everyone rejected the baby, Dembe bent and carried the child into his arms.
In other to scare them further, he shakes the child gently but repeatedly in their presence but the baby did not move.
“I think the gods has finally stroke the baby dead. The baby is not moving again.
Dembe said with a mocking tone but pretending to be scared.
Fear gripped everyone the moment he said the gods has killed the baby.
Dembe shakes the baby again in their presence to confirm what he was saying and they were all convinced that the baby was dead.
“Take her away from here, go and throw her off into the river by the hill or dig a hole and bury her quickly because she is an abomination to the gods. I don’t care if she is dead or alive… get her far away from here… right now.
The priestess screamed angrily.
Dembe took a step closer to Bash to hand the child to him but he flee from the temple and Sheila followed.
Nobody wanted to get close to the baby again.
Dembe smile within himself.
His plans were working perfectly well.
The priestess shouted at him to go and throw the dead baby away since nobody wants to do it.
He took a shaw and wrapped the baby up.
He ran as his legs could carry him, he dodged passing through the main road where he could easily be identify. Instead he followed the apian way and kept running.
The baby’s temperature was still warm in his arms, he held the innocent child to his body and kept running until he came out to the lone road.
He has a place in mind and was very sure that is the only safe place for the child.
He got the door of the house and knocked.
The woman opened the door and was shocked to see him breathing so hard and carrying a bundle.
Dembe heard a familiar voice reading the book of proverbs out loud.
It was Lydia, he did not expect to see her but felt so relieved hearing her voice again.
Lydia was shock to see him, she couldn’t hide her Joy to know that he was alright.
Dembe handed the child over to the tent makers wife.
“I don’t know where else to take her to. She was meant to be sacrificed to the pagan gods but it turned out that she wasn’t the right sacrifice. Everyone rejected her, I was asked to go and bury her because to them she is an abomination but to God she is a precious seed. She is not dead…only asleep. Deep sleep due to what I gave her. I know she will wake up soon. I Just needed to do whatever I have to do Just to save her Life. Please can you keep her and nurse her like your own. Nobody will come looking for her. give her a name because she has none. Treat her like a child from your womb….please!
The tent maker’s wife had tears running down from her eyes as she held onto the baby. She didn’t want let go of her again.
Emotions welled up at her husband’s heart as he watch his wife looking down on the sleeping baby.
He was speechless and could only asked God’s will to be done in their lives including that of the baby.
As they were together, the baby began to move, she sneezed twice before waking up.
She suckles the shaw that she was wrapped in which shows that she was hungry.
She began to fuss and whimpers.
the tent maker ran off to buy some milk for the child and he returned so fast.
Lydia helped in mixing the milk into a cup with warm water before handing it over to the tent maker’s wife who gently fed the baby.
she couldn’t stop admiring the precious little one as she feeds.
Everyone had tears, looking down on the beautiful baby girl that could have been sacrificed.
Dembe was filled with smile as he stood watching in silent.
He doesn’t care much about whatever comes next after now.
His heart was filled with gratitude to God who uses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise and He chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
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