MY PEN SPEAKS

FRIDAYS 10AM


Episode 3
          Being a shaman was considered the greatest honor in their society. Not for Emeka. It was all beginning to weigh down on him and he wasn't sure how much longer he could take it. True, he owed them his life. If they hadn't found him beyond the farms during one of their rituals, he'd be dead. He wasn't sure what drove him to leave his home city, or why he'd felt the need to travel towards Benin, but it hadn't been easy. He'd nearly lost his life, which was why he had been less apprehensive about giving it over to the Shamans. Anyhow, this had all happened three years ago, and now, he wished he could live for something else, something more than this.
          He hurried down the hallway, for even with his distaste for this life, he'd rather not lose it by being late to his ceremony. His sense of loyalty was a gift and a curse, for while he wished for something more, he couldn't fight his allegiance to what he had now, or to the oath he swore. This made him a favorite to the elders, and he was on his way to being made a priest. He wished they'd spend less time on ceremonies and more time investigating the imbalance he'd felt. Something he knew they all felt too. For a few weeks now, since the first disappearance, a certain dread had come upon the elders. They tried to mask it, but he could not mistake the grimness in their aura. They were hiding something and he hoped—
          His train of thought was broken when she bumped into him. For a lady, she was reckless, although, half the fault was his. He'd been to engrossed in his thoughts. As he helped her up, he noticed surprisingly, she was a member of the High Council, "Rose" her badge read. He always wondered why the people of Benin only ever wore their first names. Like they dreaded remembering who they were descendent from.
          "I'm quite sorry, that was really clumsy of me" she said hurriedly. "I'm in a bit of a hurry"
          "Me too Miss, I apologize" and he regretted the words, he sounded all too much like a buffoon, and why was he staring at her so much?
          She chuckled when he spoke and in response to his puzzled gaze asked "You're not from around here are you? "
          "I actually am, ma'am, I'm a shaman" First Miss, now Ma'am, what is wrong with you Emeka?, he wished his mind would stop racing
          "No, I noticed that. I meant, well, your accent is different"
          It was only glancing at his watch that saved him from this moment, his fear of the elders was far greater than whatever daze he was in and he managed to scramble towards the ceremonial chamber without so much as a reply to her questioning gaze. By the time he looked back, she too had remembered her haste and was scuttling towards the High Council's quarters.
          He slid in as quietly as he could, while banishing all thoughts of her from his mind. He was late, but that wasn't the only thing that was off. As he got in line behind two others, the air became charged. He saw pieces of a broken calabash on the floor begin to rise in the air, along with some of the lighter objects and that was when he began to hear the chants and incantations. Unlike what he expected, the elders were not dressed for a ceremony. They all had red garb which he could very well recognize along with the words they spewed so rapidly. He and the two others were in the middle of a ritual, and they were the sacrifice.

Victory Okoyomoh, pen name - Victory Wrights is an Optometry Student at the University of Benin. A writer,  both prose and poetry, his works have been published in some anthologies and other websites.  He also run an instagram poetry account - @victory_wrights
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