Ek’abo Ebi! (Welcome Family!)
The entity with no name swiftly returned to the Ina and awọn dudu village. The forest was eerily silent. Creatures of the night were without voice. Kekere Kan and Aparo, Folami’s little messengers, huddled deep within the hollow trunk of a tree. Whatever moved through the gloom felt like a predator and they had no intention of becoming its next meal.
The tribe had settled down for the night and the shadow slid soundlessly across the dry land. It slithered up the side of a hut and listened to the conversation inside.
“Sisters I have a bad feeling about this. This Kukoyi, this stranger, could not possibly mean us any good. We’ve lived peacefully without connection with the outside world for hundreds of years. Why should we welcome him in? Who knows what danger he brings!” said Folami weakly. Lying down on her cot, she was not completely well and the day’s activities had taken their toll on her body.
“I understand Folami, I do.” responded Temitope. “But besides the fear I felt from our people, I also felt curiosity especially from our youth. If we deny them even this smallest pleasure, this glimpse of the outside world, they may one day leave and never return.”
“What do you think Ayotunde?” asked Temitope.
“I too have some misgivings about this.” she answered. “When he arrives, let us be welcoming but cautious. Perhaps our people can learn something from him.”
“I’m sorry sisters but I do not agree.” mumbled Folami.
Temitope and Ayotunde looked at Folami with sad eyes. “Don’t look at me that way! Don’t look at me as if you pity me or think me paranoid. The loss of my abilities has not made me any less insightful!” bellowed Folami. “I know what I feel!”
“Peace sister, peace.” whispered Temitope as she rested her hand upon Folami shoulder. Folami sighed as the tension that was building within her dispersed. “He is not here yet. Let us discuss this more in the morn. Get some rest.” she whispered once again.
Kissing Folami on her forehead, the sisters left. Allowing Folami time with her thoughts. Modupe was on the other side of the village and Folami was glad. She needed a few moments alone. Turning over on her side, her back faced the window. She did not see the shadow as it slipped into her room. A small wooden bench directly behind her, held a goblet of water. Within the goblet, the still water changed from clear to black and clear again. The only indication of movement was the tiny bubbles that rose up and escaped their liquid home.
Just as the entity slid out of the window once more, Modupe returned. “Are you alright?” he asked. “I’m not sure.” answered Folami. “You blame me don’t you?” he queried. “I blame you for nothing.” She responded knowing full well what he was referring to. “You only forced me to face my feelings for you. You did not force me to make my choice. That was my own.” Looking up at him, she smiled and squeezed his hand.
Reaching out for the goblet, and raising it to her mouth, Folami took a deep swallow of the poisonous water. Within moments, Folami clutched her stomach and yelled out in pain. “Modupe something is wrong! Fetch…” Before she finished the rest of her thought, she passed out. Modupe had not taken two steps towards the door before Folami’s sisters burst in.
“By the goddess what has happened?” yelled Ayotunde. The very instant that Folami drank the water, the sisters could feel her pain. Modupe rehashed the last few moments before the incident. Moving swiftly towards the goblet, Temitope grabbed it and knew automatically what it was. “Oleander.” she whispered fearfully.
“What!” That plant has not been seen in hundreds of years. I wouldn’t know where to begin to find a cure. Even the plants needed to combat this poison no longer exist!” yelled Ayotunde.
“Who would do such a thing? Folami has no enemies.” asked Modupe in a voice that was heavy with concern.
“We will explore that later. Right now we do not have much time. The longer it takes for us to find a cure, the deeper her sleep becomes. Soon we might not be able to awake her at all.” cried Temitope.
“It has been done.” whispered the entity to Kukoyi. “Good. Good. I will make my presence known in the morn.” responded Kukoyi with a sinister smile.
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Mari e laipe!
See you soon!