The wristwatch on Governor Bazoki’s hand reads 2 a.m. He is wearing his agbada as he makes his way towards Baba Gida’s shrine. He looks at the bag he is carrying feeling the weight of the human head wrapped with a red cloth inside it. He was scared to death walking alone in this part of the forest. He was afraid of the mauling mosquitoes that threaten to suck him dry. What strange animals lurk behind those huge trees over there he wondered. Every now and then he looks back as if some marauder was after his life. Only the brave can see Baba Gida in this deep forest. It is all part of the process—a test of the heart. As he navigates his path with the help of a powerful torchlight he remembered the story of one senator that was supposed to see Baba Gida in the thick of the night. Baba Gida instructed him not to talk to anybody should he come across any. The senator met a young man who challenged him to a fight. The idiot took the bait forgetting Baba Gida’s instruction. One furious slap from the spirit was enough to put him into a deep sleep. He woke up fourteen days later in the state hospital after been found by his bodyguards. There is an eerie air that blows here too—something that speaks of cosmic powers at work.
Finally he got to his destination. With sweat and a shaking hand he knocks on the door of the shrine. He did this three times before the voice inside ordered him to enter.
“I have carried out your instructions.”
“I know. The spirits told me so the moment you stepped your feet on the forest’s ground. I also know that you have performed my first instruction. Do you have the head?”
The Governor nodded. He brought out the head of the young man from the black polythene bag still wrapped in the red cloth as instructed by Baba Gida.
But something is wrong. Baba Gida could feel it. His hand is shaking as he tries to take the head from the Governor. He withdraws his hand as if scorched by fire. He looks at the Governor as he makes some incantations. Again he stretches his hands to take the head but he still felt tied. Governor Bazoki merely looks at him with stark confusion. He made some more incantation. This one took some time.
He felt some power leave him as he finally with trepidation in his hands take the head from Governor Bazoki’s. He unwraps the sacrifice and stares at the head before him with an open mouth. He staggered back as the Governor with his pot belly like that of an overfed pig looks at him with perplexity in his eyes.
Yes. He knows those big shining eyes. He could not believe his eyes and… the bald head. Words fail him as he looks at tribal marks on its face. He knows those tribal marks. He couldn’t have missed them after all he was the one who carved them on him. This is Kabir’s head—his late brother’s son!
“What have you done” he thundered at the Governor. The beads round his neck break and scatter on the floor of the shrine. Something terrible is happening to him as he loses his last ounce of power.
What have you done he shrieks again at the Governor and goes into a trance. He sees his father and grandfather transfigured in a thick cloud of smoke. It was his father that spoke.
“This shrine with all of our ancestral powers has only one rule—never let the blood of a relative spills on this floor. You have broken this rule and therefore opened an eternal curse.” With that they vanished. Baba Gida looks at Kabir’s head and the blood on the floor of the shrine. He knew his end has arrived.
The Governor wanted to take to his heels when he felt the ground tremble violently. “It is too late now” Baba Gida said to him as a huge three headed python vomited itself from the inner room of the shrine. Baba Gida stood in fear as it slithered towards him. It looked at him as if it recognize him from somewhere in the past before swallowing him and all of his bottled screams.
Governor is transfixed in palpable fear. The huge beast slithered toward him. For a nanosecond he thought of his opponent reading his victory speech. He wanted to scream but his mouth or any other orifices in his body could carry out that instruction. The beast brings out its tongues and licks his face with it. The Governor could feel urine find space out of his body without his command. The beast turns and is about to leave before it stops and looks at him dead in the eyes. It spat on him and just has it had come it vanished into the ground of the inner chamber of the shrine with much noise. The whole forest vibrated as if threatened by a potential earthquake.
The Governor gave a haggard laugh after the beast had disappeared. He removes all his clothes and soon was naked. He gave another foolish laugh and with his phallus dangling between his legs he ran into the dark night howling and barking like a lost dog. He has not stopped running ever since.
Truth has it that he has been running around in towns and chances are that you will come across him someday. Just don’t let him spit on you when that fateful day arrives.
Written by Umukoro Isaac