Prediction, Oath, Harmattan
by Nwanne Agwu
You were not ready to turn back your prediction. You were so sure of it, that your sister would become the priestess of the planet Aro. Aro people did not believe you, and there would be only a few who will ever love you. You smiled in pain seeing your sister’s dada locks (dread locks) all the while in your mind’s eye.
The eyes of the Achi tree had shown you what would become a reality in a little while to come, about the thunderclaps in the Harmattan season and the crow of a hen. About the egg-laying of a rooster and the barking of a cat. You told them those will confirm that you had seen and heard Nnedi when she took hold of the Sacred Sceptre and the Keys of the Temple.
“How did you know the message was true?” the oldest citizen asked you. His nose was involuntarily twitching like a dog’s own. You could perceive the smell of liquor and women on him. He slept with married women and no one ever confronted him for that because he was considered the most powerful; he was feared by all.
“I have received a countless number of messages from my Agwu—personal god—he has never lied to me, neither has any message gone unfulfilled.” Your Agwu was the god-owner of the shrine at your backyard. Here in Aro every citizen owned a shrine. Your shrine was under the giant Achi tree at the backyard and each Harmattan season, you received messages and a gift each from the god of the trees and your personal god: a bronze ring and a perfumed green-glassy stone.
No animal ever entered you shrine and came out alive. You had learned the craft of communicating with the gods two decades ago, in the land of fire and water, of air and dust, of shadows and dreams, of light and dark hues, of the living-dead. Your ghostly father, Okorafo, taught you.
“We shall not take this nonsense anymore.” You heard the eldest citizen shout, while the citizens shouted “yes” in affirmation.
“Give her the oath,” the people shouted. “She must take the oath. She must swear.”
You watched as a young boy placed a calabash before you. You knew that its blue liquid content had been poisoned. The elders did not want a female to rule, not even your sister. And your death would also be the death of your message. But you had to take the oath of truth, you had to drink of the content.
You lifted the calabash to your mouth and remembered your name: Chinze Okorafo, for the last time. You remembered Agwu and Achi and Nnedi, your sister. The thunder clapped and the hen began crowing even though it was still the Harmattan Season.
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Nwanne Agwu is an Igbo-Nigerian writer and poet. Born in 2000. His poem: Chinua Achebe; A Man, was among the best ten entries for the Chinua Achebe Memorial Ceremony, Awka, 2016. A humanist. He lives in Abakaliki and blogs at: nwanneagwu.wordpress.com