POSTED 03/01/2018 17:22:48
Before the white-man came to tell us of Heaven – a place of complete bliss, delight and peace; where all who lived a righteous life according to their holy book would reside for eternity or Hell – a complete opposite of heaven, an abode of Satan and forces of evil; where those who didn’t live according to the bible, otherwise known as sinners will spend eternity suffering an immeasurable pain and anguish with no redemption and of course Purgatory – the one in-between, we Igbos had our own belief of what happens in the afterlife. We believed that after death to this physical world, the spirit of the individual lives on and cross the river of death to a different realm concealed from our physical eyes waiting to be reborn to earth to face judgment.
If the individual was considered good or having a good-soul; that is, he lived according to our belief and customs, he would reincarnate into a man or woman of good fortune, favored by the gods. This was regarded as his or her reward for living a good previous life. But if this individual was considered evil or having an evil-soul, he would reincarnate as a plant, an animal, a cripple, blind, deaf or dumb; depending on the punishment that he or she deserved. In extreme cases the soul can reincarnate as a twin or a child who grows an upper tooth before the lower; which in both cases would be thrown into the evil forest and left for death.
The compound was graveyard quiet as the people watched Ndubisi struggle for his last breath and failed to get it. Okemmiri went closer, touched some vital parts of his body and confirmed him as dead as a door nail. The people shouted in joy and celebrated; the evil one is gone to be with his ancestors.
Amidst the jubilating crowd was Obinwa. He wasn’t sharing in the exultation; he had a different opinion of the man. He saw him in a different light, from another angle unlike the rest. He turned to Akidi who was standing next to him shouting in joy and asked “Why are you jubilating?”
Akidi turned, looked at him in unbelief “Really? Is it not obvious why everyone is happy?”
“I know why everyone is celebrating. But I’m particular about you, why are you happy?”
After a deep breath, now stroking his goatee rakishly, reluctantly he responded “Well, it seems you have been slumbering; let me bring you up to speed” he paused, then adjusted his wrapper in style before continuing “The special one who appeared from nowhere and was made king has turned out to be the rat eating the yams from the other side of the barn. Today, that cunning rat has been fished out, publicly disgraced, made to confess and then put to death”
“You sycophant, so this is how you saw Ndubisi?” Obinwa interrupted.
“How did you think I saw him before?” he asked looking confused.
“Oh! Because he is no more, he is no longer your best friend, mentor, teacher and all the rest you used to call him. That young-man loved you more than any other worker in this farm. I remember how well you spoke of him and him of you in return. I can still recall countless time he rewarded you both verbally and with gifts for your hard work. He was good to everyone, never for once scolded or lambasted anyone even when offended. He helped me on innumerable occasions with money for my wife and children. He brought joy to the lives of many here, especially that of Ego. How quickly they have turned against him because of his past” he said nodding in sympathy.
“Wait oh, please don’t tell me you still see him in good light? I know he was my best friend, mentor and all the rest but that was before all these played out. How can you murder a woman’s husband in cold blood, then save her life, only to rape her like that wasn’t enough; you returned to be her prince charming, gave her what she needed most, bringing her so much joy and once again reap out her source of happiness and wealth. How can you call such a person good?”
“People change Akidi; they do!” Obinwa assured him.
“No, they don’t. Stop thinking and acting like your name implies. A one time a killer will remain one” Akidi fired back.
“Remember we all have darkness and monsters inside but our ability to tend and control it is what distinguishes us from the so called killers. It is not like life presented the young man with lots of option; and what makes you think you would have acted differently if you were in his place?”
“Well, thanks to the gods, I’m not in that evil place and will never be. Please if you don’t mind I have a celebration to return back to”
Bit by bit, people began leaving the compound; the show had ended with the death of the villain. Not far from where the both farmers were arguing sat Ego; she had stopped crying but was heartsick and grief-stricken. Only she and Obinwa seem to be sharing a cloudy mood. The new reality has hit her harder than she thought; Ndubisi is gone and is never returning. There is no way she is seeing him alive again. The walls of anger over her heart were all melting away. Deep down, she now wishes somehow he would cheat death and return. Why are the gods treating her this way? She thought it was time for her to enjoy all that she had acquired; why do they keep putting people destined to die on her path? What is she going to tell her children when they ask of their father? Why does she feel cursed more than blessed? Now that Ndubisi is gone, who is going to help her with all that he was doing? Who is going to make her feel like a woman once more?
Ego was pulled out of her thought by a panic cry from one of her maids; who shouted “He is alive oh! Ndubisi is alive! He came back from the land of the dead!” Shocked, surprise and excited; Ego hurried to where he previously lay dead to meet Ndubisi sitting upright, looking around like someone new to the environment. She couldn’t believe her eyes, he is really back, Ndu is alive once more. How is that even possible? She was about to touch just to be certain she wasn’t seeing things when she heard from behind…