An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth; for me it goes hand in hand, skin on skin, as I exact my vengeance. Nothing gets past me that I do not repay in equal measure. I am karma but quicker; your retribution before you’ve had the chance to gloat. Omnituent but invisible, the sound of my name is a clap of thunder, swift paralysis to those that err. I am Okemmuo, King of the Spirits; the all seeing. All the creatures of the earth bear witness to me, I see through a thousand eyes; recording, judging, repaying. I could do a quick survey of the whole village in one swoop; it was why they called me “The Eyes that watch”.
I see trees and streams, fauna and flora; the farmer sweating against the brunt of the noon sun. I see the tapper who clings to dear life on the palm tree, and with every occasional slip, praying it wasn’t his chi calling him home. I see the children as they run, squealing in delight, the dust covering their faces but baring their innocence. I see the rendezvous under the moonlight; the stolen moments that are enjoyed as the curtains fall, with darkness granting her silent permission.
I see the victim and the culprit; I see you, Nwazue. Behold! Your recompense is coming.
I was there, Nwazue, I was there when you were born. The gecko lent me her eyes to observe your moist red skin as you were pulled out of your mother; an only son, heir to your father’s legacy. Your cries were a beacon, commanding the women to jubilate in response; and soon the thumb in your mouth was replaced by a silver spoon. I knew how you grew; entitled, selfish and without remorse. I could tell that it was only a matter of time, before you were mine for the judging. I watched you in your adolescence, the stronger your limbs, all the more to bully your peers with; the deeper your voice, all the more to deceive with the energy of your words; the broader your shoulders, all the more to carry the young maidens who fawned over you and lead them into the liar that was your hut before discarding them like crisp palm-fronds that lost their green. They let you have your way with them; dozens of them but they still weren’t enough for you. You long for Nwakaego, the unsullied maiden whose purity guarded her from falling under your spell. You made it a habit to perch behind the palm fronds, ogling Nwakaego’s naked body as she has her bath at dusk. You swoon at the sight of her fair skin, the glory of her physique that bested even the setting sun in the distance. You kick back and watch her polish her supple skin with her roaming hands; while your hands roamed as well, pretending there were hers. Pretence prompted imagination, you slip into a day dream as your desire consumes you; eyes misty with pleasure and another emotion so intense, you thought it to be Love.
I saw you follow her from a distance every morning; for someone who had a reputation for wooing maidens, you refrained from initiating contact because you knew that she would never have anything to do with you no matter what you said. So you learnt her favorite routes by heart till you could foretell her every move. Soon your mischief got the better of you; it drove you to buy a hypnotized serpent from the snake charmer. You placed it on the grass path and then you hid, waiting for Nwakaego to appear with her water pot in hand. I saw the fear that gripped her through the adder’s piercing eyes, the terror that paralyzed her and rooted her feet to the ground. Leaping out of the bushes, you charged at the adder and severed its head. It was amusing; Nwazue the spoilt, who had never in his life held any instrument of work, coming to the rescue. So in your hypocrisy you were careless and you dropped the cutlass; you would have lost your toes if Nwakaego had not tended to your wounds. She fetched herbs and crushed them in a bid to show her gratitude. You pretended to limp and in her kindness, she supported you all the way to your hut. However to your dismay, she refused to enter, she began to walk away when you grabbed her; muffling her screams and throwing her into the dimly lit hut. You ravaged her, plundered her virtue to appease your greed. Oddly, it was not as satisfying as you imagined; with the force and the haste, there was no pleasure, only pain. The pain Nwakaego felt as she tasted her tears. But you were foolish, you could not get past the void that it failed to satisfy, it could only be her fault; disgusted, you spat in her face and threw her out then exhausted from your treachery; you stretched yourself into sleep, not minding the drops of blood that stained your mat.
Nwakaego slinked into the stalls that evening. The night owl showed me the fervency with which she scrubbed her inner thighs, desperate to rid herself of the blood that trailed down her slender spotless legs. My heart bled in empathy and I felt the anger rising up within me; wrath so fiery that it snuffed the life out of the night owl. How could I repay this evil in equal measure? I only had to wait for that opportunity. So slowly and surely, I watched her glory diminish. Her shadow seemed to outshine her. She had her baths at dawn and night; it was then, I knew she was ashamed to look at her own body. Her shame was fuelled by your taunts, Nwazue. The way you openly humiliated her, your words were sharper than a two edged-sword. Your mockery was the noose around her neck, the strain in her throat as she struggled to breathe her last, feet dangling from the pear tree. You caused her blood to flow yet again; a crime that would never go unpunished.
Oblivious of what you had caused, you led another maiden into your lair that night. She lay in your arms when the adder came. It sunk its fangs into your limp form, instantly paralyzing you before you even felt the sting of its bite. An adder for an adder, paralysis for paralysis, a life for a life. All night, you lay there with bulging eyes, tormented by the agonizing pain of the adder’s venom coursing through your veins. The adder was called Echi eteka for a reason; meaning tomorrow is too late. Morning came and your agony was over; your agony in this life, anyways. You were beyond mercy, for the wages of sin is death; a death you truly deserved.
Author’s note: Yay! The third story of ST’ART! Sorry if you were misled by the happy picture of the LOML; Lionel Messi. Shout out to all my fellow Barca fans: y’all are the real MVPs. I also want to thank another MVP: my friend Chinedu Okereke who blessed me with this awesome, poster color bitmapped on paper, potrayal of Lionel Messi. You’re an amazing artist and y’all should definitely check out his work on IG: @Chee_nae_dou. That being said July is coming to an end and sadly so is ST’ART. But the good news is, TIAR has something in the works for the month of August and I absolutely can’t wait to share it with you guys! Watch this space!
Love, Rosie (xoxo)