Its four years now: after, and I think that serves as “a couple of years” according to her directive.
Or should I say “her”
It happened I was returning from what we call night class, university days.
In reality, many go to the class to sleep (it becomes night crash), many go to hang out with others (I admit I do that sometimes)
The day had been dreary, the night before a heavy rain had poured: a massive intermix of wind and water that attempted to rip the earth into shreds, there was rumour of an iroko tree being cut down around some area in alumona community, some forest there,
How does that concern me?
“e no concyn life”
As I was fond of saying, at times
I needed an escape from my off-campus lodge at odenigwe.
Mariam, painfully was not free to come for night class that day, she called-in not feeling too well and fine, Mariam is very enthusiastic when talking about Nigeria and the prospects our nation has, of world greatness, and, and she gives good hugs.
My most turbulent year in university was level 2; I was robbed, twice, a friends laptop was stolen from my keep (paid back, having had to borrow to pay back, almost lost my sanity), feels refreshing now to remember that the most peaceful thing of my life then was Mariam’s hugs
But she’d soon be getting married tho
I walked on.
It was not yet dawn. It were better to return home from class while dawn’s light hadn’t yet come so the day is begun with all freshness.
I had learnt and mastered dark adaptation, I could now control it,
“they dino born you well”, in my school with its notoriety for occultist activity in past years, you don’t, you dared not put on a light as you walk in the dark, you give yourself and position away.
I don’t know how my eyes caught sight of the object on the grassy side some few feet from me, you cannot escape destiny, I suppose
All of my hairs stood on end. I practically felt my goosebumps. Like weight on my skin
I could feel air entering my bloodstream, for it seemed my skin pores became wider.
My heart made one huge beat.
I was getting ready to pick it from the ground (thinking it must jump out, the heavier this beat, the level of intensity shown; how frightened the person was)
I wanted to break into a run.
For dear life, for dearer life and sanity.
I wanted to just run. Very fast and for a long time. Joke is told of someone who ran so fast he ran into his future, so maybe we can run so fast and run away from our troubles, and forget our troubles
I don’t fully know why I didn’t run.
I don’t know
Sometimes we don’t run away, not because we are bold,
What is boldness? Is it not even one-sided stupidity, to some onlookers?
We all have our weaknesses and what we run away from, I had realized in my life on earth as I wrote in a short story some time ago, “the braver the human the quicker he or she realizes that it is not every time you back-off that is cowardice.
Some times, we don’t run simply because we are too afraid to run, our fear: the mechanical “lockjaw,” ice-cone freezing automated incapacitation of the sensory system, the relay system of information temporarily damaged, the leg cannot hear the message from the brain to run away from object of fright as a result of the overwhelm of same object
I saw her.
Or it was part . . . of her.
A human female.
But not completely human.
She was bird and human combined in a way I cannot now readily describe.
It was not that she was human waist up and bird waist down, that was too simple, she was bird and human head to down, at one point more, at some point less. It is like she was a combination of two dimensions in one.
A being can be half fish half human, in human terms, but how can a being be half fish as fish is in water, and half human as human is in land in just one view?
The human physical ability of visual perception has not gotten sophisticated enough to comprehend such sight and relay the message to the brain.
She was naked
Her eyes were closed.
I have heard stories about this.
I have heard.
How they get stranded when returning from their meetings. I remember the “dancing yam and other stories” of early school years, in particular “The iroko at inyang edem”. How a child witch, unable to fly against a heavy rain while returning from an iroko tree late night meeting was stranded and lynched upon being seen the next day by irate humans. The same iroko tree she had had her first cohort meeting and seen witch members dance, dances to which the narrator described that the dances she saw, the present breakdance were a poor imitation of.
My mind processed information in timing only possible by two supercomputers working in sync.
I have heard stories,
Now, I was in the story.
She looked ethereal, somehow beautiful, I was enthralled to think that I can still admire such a female, I am somewhat of a womanizer, aren’t we all men?
And somehow, I tripped for her.
We all are in stories everyday of our lives. We are actors and actresses on the stage play called life.
Our choices and actions determines the plot structure and end of the story.
I didn’t even know the choice I was to make here. I was electrified at the spot, looking at this overwhelming site.
I felt she was not unconscious or asleep. She turned her head and opened her eyes.
I knew I was right
She looked at me.
A cock crowed in the distance.
It was as if the cock’s crow brought a dismal frown on her face, she tried to hide it.
She muttered a word.
Apparently she had heard stories too.
When they get stranded in the mundane world, there is only one fate they face.
The horrors of lynching.
The mob, as if to say whenever they lynched, that it were nothing compared to the horrors they perpetuated in their craft.
I still hear it.
Till now. As I write.
Very clear voice.
There is an inter psychic connection that binds all humans, a facial expression is enough to convey meaning implied and intended, and somehow, somehow, just that one word, made me make a choice.
Where the boldness came from I do not know.
I am easily a very bold person.
My mother calls me her bold lion. I have given a talk once where I used the phrase I invented, “face your fears, they are cowards”, my younger brother is easily the bravest person on earth and the boldest person I know, and he taught me a thing or two about boldness, for just as helplessness is learned and fear can be contagious, so also, courage
But this one.
I didn’t understand.
This boldness, scared even me.
I reached down to carry her.
She noticed my intent, and willingly decided to be carried.
Those times you risk and make a choice, and in splits seconds afterwards, realize you were in order, following the instincts that informed your decision.
I carried her.
Her body touching mine.
She felt weightier than you would have thought, that could be judged from her appearance, perhaps the part of her body locked in her metaphysical dimension but seeking expression in this world was adding to the weight
It was still some minutes to daylight, I was in luck.
Or else I would have found it hard to explain to anyone who saw me what I was doing.
” who dey mad?”
Who would even listen to me?
Carrying this caricature as an accomplice? We’d both be beaten and burnt and burnt again.
The animal savagery of humanity recesses.
And then I said a silent prayer.
When I arrived home, I was grateful my compound was silent, I had only two yard mates, they were still sound asleep.
I dropped her on my bed.
I covered her with a clothe.
Somehow, Somehow she was no longer a witch lost in transit, in-between two worlds. . . she was my guest. And I had to be, to the best of my training, a gentleman
As the first ray of light from sun begun to hit, she fell asleep, more like into a trance.
Breathing slowly and stirring systematically, from time to time
She would sleep like that for the whole of the day
* * *
Classes that day for me was following the motions. I was intent and eager to return home as fast.
The computer applications lecture did not hold. COS 304.
Community Psychology PSY 352 was what we waited for way into midday.
Mariam got me lunch. Abacha and fish (Abacha is a superb eastern delicacy of cassava and some select leaves (garden egg leaves and onions and enough pepper)
And she gave me a hug.
Said she might not be coming around my place as before, as she’d not want me to come to evolve some kind of dependence on her presence and hugs; seeing she was soon to be another man’s wife.
I laughed and agreed with her, “and good timing too”, I said to myself.
I appreciated her intelligence and logic. Who says women were not logical?
The day finally came to an end. With assignments to be done and a test in the Sensory Processes course to surprise us anytime in the week.
I went home.
It was 6:33pm.
The sun was receding on the Western horizon.
I hesitated a second or two before I opened my door.
What if? What if? What if?
I opened the door.
I would not let “what if” disturb my decision in all my life
She was there.
She had managed to sit up.
From her left knee, upwards to waist was human, downwards, her bird legs was smooth and well scaled, the talons were murderously sharp.
She looked at me.
Did I see a smile?
Just like the famed Monalisa painting of Leonardo Davinci, categorized as one of the most complex pictures in the world, her facial expression can pass for smile and indifferent face.
So was this.
Hi. I said.
She was no longer timid.
As at some hours ago, when it seemed she was at my mercy, when the only words she said was “please”.
It would make sense to reason, she now had some power.
Much of our communication we did it in our heads.
And logical assumptions.
” you saved me, thank you”
“I did what I judged to be right”
“What about you?”
“Well you can guess”
“You’re a witch”
“A witch in training, if you like”
“Explains the inability to fly against the huge rain of the night”
She said out.
I must leave now.
Wait!! I said, speaking before thinking.
In the instant she spoke she transformed to full human figure and then into a bird, almost as big as an eagle, but not an eagle.
Somewhat of a mix, I would later learn they assume forms of animals in combination, to have qualities of both. The sharp wicked vision of an eagle and the strength of an ostrich.
My speech, and she transformed to full human figure again.
I stepped backwards. Awed.
Almost like I staggered, dazed
Mind bending CGI had just happened in real life. Before my glare. I blinked. Hard to take in
I cannot stay here.
I’m not of your kind.
But I saved your life, as you say, I deserve the honour of your presence some few time more.
I did not know what I was saying.
The imaginative fictive me, activated.
Go back, to where exactly? “I do not know, but if a colleague of mine falls in the rain, I’d not abandon her.” I said to myself. Then said out, “don’t you think its not by chance you fell, and were left to fall, so you could be in these parts, for a while?”
At my remark, “left to fall”, she winced, or it would seem she did.
Communication begun again, in our heads.
Of how, though not welcome she might be on this side by inhabitants, but not missed she might be by her kinds who didn’t save her.
She sat. On my bed
I took a step closer.
You’d be safe, with me. I can guarantee.
With me always looking forward to returning to my witch-friend.
She was always excited to see me come back.
Would always tell her about my day.
And school work, with some to share with her.
She could not eat any known food we had. She choked on bananas, vomited fried rice. It was almost humorously sacrilegious to me. . . fried rice that I don’t use to joke.
I am again thankful the three block quarters in the compound were detached, so every occupant can man his her her own earshot space.
So she could be nourished, it had to become a regular for me, buying meat whenever I went to the market, I had to ask for some blood.
It was completely normal, there was even no need to explain to the meat sellers. A student buying cow blood wants to use it for agricultural homework and bloodmeal for livestock
She drinks the blood with a sense of guilt. As if she thought it’d make me hate her.
I called her Eva.
One of those days we stayed up at night, chatting.
We are what we are, I chose nothing, I came into existence, just like you were born, you didn’t chose the situation of your birth, so as I, and I became what I am.
I nodded. Figures
I don’t know. Why must you? Can’t you just stay in one realm, put?
Not all witches are human in daytime and what they are at night, some are just what they are. You don’t know what you do in your sleep, you would never really know if there is a literal dreamland
There are dimensions no one will know about till this world will end.
She was speaking,
I closed my eyes that day preparing for what I felt was imminent.
Dawn’s first light would’ve soon approached. I could not run. I could not move.
I was prepared for the worst
Its what you humans do
When you do it even to yourselves, what chances did I have?
90 of a hundred supposed thieves lynched are innocent.
I’m not claiming innocent, I have been instrumental to the hurt of some humans.
What else was I to do?
Blame me totally I’d understand your prejudice.
But don’t forget.
“Hurt them before they hurt you.”
Is all we learn about when we knew existence.
I closed my eyes that day so I’d not see it coming, they’d beat and burn me, (she was emotional), that’s what they do.
But then you came along.
I saw in you a kind heart.
And I said, “please”
You’re my Angel. For all eternity, I’d be grateful. . . to you.
She was near tears.
Even witches cry. I thought to myself
I looked at her.
So you’re saying?
There are realms. There are dimensions. Perhaps till this world will end, we will never really understand some phenomena
At this time, I had gotten more than I bargained for.
A witch for a friend, who was both intelligent and philosophical
It was enough
She sleeps at day and is awake at night. I sleep with one eye open and not until I had said my prayers.
She overhears me once and chuckles.
We all are in existence, for as long as matters.
No one really dies.
You can hardly, completely kill a witch.
Its one of the Architect’s arrangement. We didn’t create ourselves you know?
A witch is a being.
Every being, like all animals, are connected in a chain in the animal kingdom.
Everything is important.
Everything has its business.
Some times, businesses intercept.
I had definitely not heard it that way before.
But it seemed to make crazy sense.
That’s what you call Him. The Architect? I asked.
From that day I could sleep with her awake, in peace.
I hugged her for the first time today.
It was like Mariam’s hugs
I’d not stay with you for ever, I know you know, the sun cannot mate with the dark sky, like hot knife piercing a wound to heal it, some loves could hurt at the first . . . when I go, I’d miss you
I looked at her.
It was clear she meant that. I nodded.
Just great. The witch has poetic rhymes too.
I love you.
I said without thinking.
Well, didn’t some poets argue that we are not to think love?
The purest of romantic loves are the ones without reason and justification
She smiled at me
I sensed in her thoughts that she says she loved me too.
I thought also I heard in her heart, “you’re my angel I’m your demon”
It was in my embrace that she told me
Do not tell this our love story till after a few years.
I know you like writing and talking, anything, you will want to write
I chuckled. I was tempted to pinch her stomach by the waist side a little
She held on to me tight. Enjoying my embrace. When she kissed me, it didn’t disappoint. She could see into my soul, that it was pure. The very reason I carried her that day. It was like a mother would kiss her child. It carried a solemnity with it
She stayed with me for a year.
Which was five years in their own time.
Ironically it was the most peaceful times of my life. Having a witch in my life
Until a day came.
It was night.
I had slept. But not for long.
I was awakened by shrieking and cries of birds high up above the roof.
I looked at her.
Her eyes were shining.
She was on alert.
It was clear she knew there were some beings around, high up of the house.
Then it subsided.
The next day.
The same shrieking and howlings above the roof.
It was with a solemn voice she spoke
It would continue for 7 days.
And then they’d launch an attack on this house. They know I’m here.
I have to let you go?
We agreed she’d go on the 6th day.
For every time in subsequent days the “announcements” continued, we embraced.
We slow danced.
We embraced deeply. Her hug was so pure
The things we don’t have forever, we value the most.
For the next few days we got used to the noise. We even joked about it.
I teased, that her uncles were looking for her.
The sixth day came.
To where I met her.
She located the spot and stood there.
It was 7:37pm.
She looked at me. Stretched out her two hands for a hug. I gave it.
It was a splendid sight to see her transform into a red breasted falcon and gracefully fly upwards and then out of sight
One of the most peaceful times of my life, was when I had a witch “in my life.”
Perhaps one of our times’ biggest irony.
What do we really know in this life?
What complexes have we come to get so comfortable believing that we hate to entertain a possible other, even if it were logical?
The same shrieking noise that is a superstition in countrysides of Sapele in Delta state, said to precede the death of an occupant of the house over which it was heard. . .
Well, no one died in my yard, no one’s family member. And no one will.
Some times our mind is too negatively creative.
There are no familiar spirits,
There are no witches in our father’s side.
There are just beings on different realms of existence. Doing their businesses. Sometimes their businesses intercept.
Do not tell this story until after a few years, my love
Was what she said to me
Its four years since I left the land of My university, four years since I left that land of dreams where greatness is made,
Where I met, the lady, for she is in every sense, I’d love as long as I can, my witch girlfriend
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