“Brother why do you want me to follow you?” Nkechi had asked from behind me.
“I want to help you” I said.
“Help me, how?”
I asked how old she was and she replied that she was 18 Years.
“What are you doing in this bush?” I asked.
“Brother this is our village. Where else should i be?” She asked.
“School, you should be out there studying for your future. I saw how fast and accurate you wrote the items. You must be a brilliant girl” I said.
“We Don’t have money for Jamb. My father said i should wait for next year to register for Jamb” Nkechi said.
“Do you have a phone number?” I asked.
“Yes, but my phone is damaged. I took it to Enugu Ezike to repair it but they said i must pay 2000 Naira first” She said.
“So if i give you 2000 Naira, you will repair your phone” I asked.
She smiled and nodded.
“How?” much is Jamb registration fee?” I asked her.
She made a small run to meet up with me.
“Brother the Jamb form is 3,500 Naira” She said.
I looked at her face as we approached the car.
“You mean that your father cannot give you 3,500 Naira to register for Jamb?” I asked.
“That is not the only problem. I am also required to go for extra mural lessons at Enugu Ezike. That one is 5000 naira. I also have to pay for Okada twice everyday for the lessons” She said.
“I am going to help you. Call your phone numbers for me first” I said.
Without thinking twice, she started, “080603….”.
I wrote the numbers on my phone and saved it with ‘Nkechi Nsukka’.
“There is something i want you to be doing for me. Do you see that man who came here with me, anytime he comes here again, just call me. Here is money to repair your phone. When your phone is good, we will start talking, then i will give you money for your Jamb and the lessons” I said as i handed her 5000.
“Brother but the phone is only 2000” she said.
“I know Nkechi, Keep the rest. Make sure you go and repair your phone today. I will call you this evening” I said as i entered the car and started the engine.
“Brother wait wait. Are you going?” She asked.
“Yes sweetheart. I am going. My village is very far from here and i need to start going home on time” I said.
“What of the other man, i saw him coming with you” She said.
“Yes i know. He came with me but i am leaving alone now. He has a sacrifice to make by 12 midnight here today” I said as i turned the vehicle around and headed towards the road to Enugu Ezike.
Inside the car, i selected a Bob Marley CD and started playing it.
‘Until the basic human rights, are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race” this line of song boomed from the speakers as i sipped my whisky and headed back to Enugu.
After Opi Junction, the Army stopped me at a checkpoint. They searched the car trunk and inside.
When they found the whisky, they said they were taking it.
I gave it to them after sipping from it once more.
They adviced me not to drink while driving but eventually waved goodbye as i headed down to Enugu.
My Phone had been ringing ever since i left them.
I had ignored it without finding out who the caller or callers were.
I already knew that Okafor Ude would call. But i had made up my mind that he was going to have to use public transport back to the village.
Based on my own interpretations, i believed that it was time to begin to teach the villagers how to do things. And i must be doing that through practical actions.
I knew that what i did to the old man was extremely wrong but i was also sure that if i had told him that we were not making any sacrifice, he would have attempted to convince me.
He already knew i had money with me and i believed he knew the money came from my mother.
Somehow he felt that the money was between us because he knew how i got it.
It was the reason why he had practically fixed himself into the decision making body. But then he never knew that surprises were waiting for him out there.
Mr. Okafor Ude and his partner in fraud had already devised a plan on how to use my money.
First they were to tell me that the items they listed were not sold in the open market. Then they would demand for money to buy them on their own.
They would eventually return with some unknown items and tell me that it was the required items.
I didn’t know what Eagles Feather looked like.
The only time i had seen an Eagle was at a Zoo in Alicante Spain. That wasn’t enough for me to know every eagle feather out there.
They could have easily brought a Chicken feather and tell me it was eagle’s.
We were all in a race for survival and everyone targeted the other person’s money at all times.
Those diabolical old men could have done some nasty things to stop me from going home if they knew i was going. It was the reason why i didn’t tell them.
No matter how much i didn’t believe in evil powers, i was still convinced that human beings were capable of many things.
I had purposely left the 1000 Naira note i gave to the spirits at Nwogwugu’s place. That money was going to be enough to transport Okafor Ude back to the village.
I was already in Enugu before i decided to check out the phone numbers that called me while i was driving.
10 missed calls were registered on the screen.
The first was Okafor Ude.
I scrolled down to the second; my mother.
She called five minutes after Okafor had called twice. It was easy to believe that Okafor Ude had called her and told her what i did.
Then there were two unregistered phone numbers.
I called the first one, it belonged to the native doctor himself.
He had also called to find out what i did.
I deleted it and dialed the last one.
“Hello” The voice said.
“Who is this?” i asked.
“Its Me Monday Okafor from Onitsha, your brother’s apprentice. My father said you….” he was saying.
“Monday Okafor, are you aware that i returned to Nigeria?” I asked.
He said he was.
“So why is it now that you are contacting me?” I asked.
He kept quiet.
“I want you back to the Village tomorrow” I said and cut the call immediately.