ODILI MY FIRST Series 2 – Moonlight Escape
Hi readers. Welcome to the 9jainformed.com Story Series page. Here, we have today, a continuation of Odili, my First story series. We bring you series #2: ODILI MY FIRST Series 2 – Moonlight Escape.
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“Kpukpukpo ogele… Ogele ogelege
Kpukpokpo ogele… Ogele ogelege
Kwe na o gana-aga… O gana-aga Ngwo.
I could hear the muffled voices from the Ama. By this time of the night, the egwu onwa (moonlight game) must have been at its peak. There would be wrestling by the boys, ‘ikpo oga‘ by the girls, ‘itu swelu’ and most importantly, ‘kpukpukpo ogele‘ that I don’t like missing.
It was my favorite game that involved almost all the children. In the game, everyone has an object with which he or she hits on the ground, and when the song leader says ‘kwe na o gana-aga‘ everyone choruses ‘o gana-aga Ngwo‘. Passing the object to the next person.
My ‘Akwete’ was no longer firm on my waist as I hurried back to the Ama. The disappointment I felt made my legs seem heavier. The footsteps I heard stopped me dead in my track. Could it be Odili? How I wished it was him. I would still enjoy the serendipitous moment, not minding how long I’ve waited. Immediately I paused my steps, the footsteps stopped.
That was not the kind of prank Odili would play. He was an adroit lad, not one that would make me jump out of my skin in fear. Thoughts of ‘Nwanyi mmuo’ in Kasie’s folktale filled my head and it swelled a thousand times, my countenance a queer strange. My eyes burned with tears simultaneously with sweat that filled my palms. By impulse, my feet carried me to the Ama with my heels touching my head.
I heaved a sigh of relief as I got to the Ama egwuregwu but sadly, the relief was short-lived. My brothers were nowhere to be found. Udoka and Chikelu had been playing ‘kolosa’ with other boys before I sneaked out to the Ukwu udara. My plans had been to follow them home after egwu onwa so Mama would not smell a rat.
Apprehensive, I scanned the playground once more to see if by some miracle I would see my confounding piece of work of a brother, Udoka or Chikelu, who was a great storyteller.
While my immediate elder brother, Udoka would engage in all sorts of rough play like wrestling, Chikelu would rather gather other children and fill them with folklores. He was so skilled at it. Making you have a clear picture of what he talked about. He had been the one staying with Papa in Onicha and whenever they came back, Chikelu wouldn’t fail to fill us with stories about Main Market, Ochanja, and Head Bridge.
Udoka and I were the ones that normally waited for him to finish his stories so we could all go home. But to my utter dismay, he had gone home instead. Most of the children present were the ones their mothers used a cane to drag home. My brothers and I were never in that category.
Fresh tears ran down my cheeks. It had really been a rough night for me. With my head bent like a rain-drenched bird, I took the ‘apian way’ home to face my storm.
I sneaked into the house and was about to bolt the door meticulously, careful not to wake anyone when Mama’s words staggered me.
ODILI, MY FIRST Series 2 – Moonlight Escape
“Ebee k’i si, Obianuju?”. She called my name in full. It was pitch dark. The ‘mpana aka’ had been turned off and though I couldn’t make out her form, I knew she was sitting on the cane chair. A position she takes when she wants to make good use of her cane. It gave her the advantage of dragging back the victim when he or she wants to run out for help.
Even though the bush lamp was off, I could sense her eyes blazing with fury. I stammered.
“Eee?”, she questioned. “A si m ebee k’ i si?”
Just when I was about to allow the sound to escape from my lips, the door creaked and Udoka came in. I blinked my eyes in bewilderment. I have not been any happier in my life. I didn’t realize I was holding my breath until I heaved a sigh.
Mama lighted the ‘mpana aka’, which gave us a full view of Mama’s piercing stare. She had tied her ‘akwa obi’ and covered her shoulders with another because of the cold. Thankfully, no cane at sight.
“Udoka”, she called. My brother answered. She called me two times but my voice croaked in reply. Mama stood up and went straight to the bedroom. I understood Mama’s silence. For she would say, “oburo mbosi nwata wufuru mmanu ka eji eti ya ihe. O bu mbosi o wufuru oguru”.
I would be careful not to pour the ‘oguru’. For this night, I’m grateful to my brother, Udoka. I didn’t know if I should hug him or carry him up in excitement if I could. I resolved in my mind to give him my ‘isi azu’ the next time Mama gives me during cooking. With a sign of the cross, I followed Mama to the room I share with her and slept with my eyes half-closed.
ODILI MY FIRST Series 2 – Moonlight Escape
To be Continued…….