By Olu Olutosin
As soon as she realised it was the chief priest, she wanted to run out of the room but the priest held her back with God knows what. She couldn’t move or talk, the chief priest brought out a small bottle which was coated in silver. She started screaming as the priest opened the bottle, liquid substance like water started rushing out of her body into the bottle, immediately the last drop got into the bottle, the priest sealed the bottle back and the she fainted.
Gradually Isaac started receiving his strength, he could feel his body again and in the blink of an eye, he was whole again. He was back to his normal self.
“How did you know I was in trouble sir” he asked after getting up and examining his body.
“I was summoned” the priest replied softly.
“By who” he asked.
“By Babatunji” he replied.
“Ohh that strange voice but wait who is Babatunji” he inquired again
The chief just smiled, dragged a chair closer and sat down. He instructed Isaac to do the same which he obliged.
“Over a thousand years ago” the priest started. “There lived 2 great warriors in our village who were also best of friends, there names were Ajadi and Adisa, they were brave warriors and was loved by both the old, the young, the boys, the girls, the poor and the rich but suddenly they stopped loving Ajadi because of his decision to marry a girl that was believed to be an Emere, I believe you know who an Emere is” he paused to get an answer, Isaac nodded in confirmation and he continued.
“Her name was Omolabake, despite all odds, Ajadi still insisted on marrying Omolabake, during the course of their living together, he got Omolabake pregnant which left him with no choice than to marry her, he pleaded with the whole to support his decision and after a lot of considerations, they did. On the day of their marriage rites, the spiritual mates of Omolabake came to demand her soul, Ajadi who didn’t want to watch his beloved Omolabake and his seed that was growing inside of her die proposed to the chief priest to do something about it” he paused and coughed for a short period of time.
“The chief priest told him the only solution which was a sacrifice of life, Ajadi volunteered to lay down his life for the love of his life, to cut the long epistle, Ajadi laid his life down for love after pleading with his friend Adisa to take good care of his wife and kid” he coughed again.
“Many years after all those events, Ajadi’s son had grown into a man, his name was Babatunji, he was raised by his mother and Adisa his father’s friend” he paused to study Isaac’s expression after he mentioned the name Ajadi.
“Adisa died soon after leaving his only daughter Ashake in Babatunji’s care, shortly after that, Omolabake too died. Babatunji took care of Ashake like she was indeed his blood sister. He also had a lover whose name was Abeni” the chief priest stopped and demanded for a cup of water.
“Are you sure you are comprehending all these story” he asked Isaac after he drank the water.
“Yes sir, I understand all of it perfectly” Isaac answered quickly because he was anxious to know where the story was going.
The chief priest cleared his throat and continued.
“Babatunji, Ashake and Abeni lived happily like one family until one day when the chief priest told Ajadi that both his sister and his lover are going to die but that he had a chance to save one of them” the chief paused and brought a kola out from his bag.
He offered one to Isaac which he politely rejected.
“If you were in Ajadi’s shoes, who would you have saved” he asked after biting the kola.
“I will definitely save my sister because the bloodline of the man who raised me will be in extinction if I choose to watch her die” he replied.
The chief priest nodded his head slowly and smiled.
“That was the same decision Babatunji took, he chose to save his sister over his lover” he said while he was still smiling.
“Babatunji later married Ashake whom he had known all his life and they lived happily ever after” he said with smiles over his face, seems like that was his favourite part of the story.
“Shortly before the chief priest died” he spoke with all seriousness now.
“He received a prophecy from the gods, the prophecy was that Ajadi, Omolabake, Babatunji and Abeni will all come back to life once again after a lot of years. Omolabake and Ajadi will come back to life to fulfil the love story that the spiritual forces cut short, Babatunji will want to come and reunite with them to fulfil the love of a family and Abeni will come back to take revenge for Babatunji saving Ashake over her” the chief paused to look at Isaac who was keenly looking into his eyes.
“That lady that know as Clarieta is Abeni’s spirit who has come to take your life in revenge for what you did to her because you are Babatunji’s reincarnation. The guy you know as your best friend was your father Ajadi and the lady lying on that sick bed is Omolabake” he coughed again but this time the coughing lasted for a short while.
“I have locked up Abeni’s soul in this bottle, as long as this bottle stays locked, she will never be able to take on another person’s body or even be able to hurt you again” he brought out the bottle and handed it over to Isaac.
“When the sun comes up, make sure you throw this bottle into the river where no one will be able to open it ever again” he instructed.
Isaac held the bottle with trembling hands and kept it in his side bag that was hanging on the wall. He raised his head to check the wall clock and realised it was almost dawn.
“You need to call your friend to come here very soon, I have to tell him somethings before I go” the chief priest said.
Isaac obliged and called Anne first, she picked up at the first ring and Isaac begged her to go and pick Ben at the hospital and bring him home as a matter of urgency. Anne unlike other girls didn’t probe further, she just rushed to brush her teeth, wash her face and headed to the hospital to pick up Ben as Isaac instructed.
Isaac called Ben but he didn’t pick up at first, he picked up the second time.
“Guy, Anne go kan carry you now now, you people should come to my place as soon as she gets there” Isaac said
“Olboi wetin happen, any problem don burst for that side” he asked.
He was scared because of the serious tone Isaac used in speaking with him.
“Guy if you get here, everything go clear ” he said and hung up.
“Wise one, If I may ask, how is it that you know of a story that happened over a thousand years ago and how is it that you knew the prophecy was coming to pass already” he asked after sitting down infront of the priest.
“The story has been passed down through the generations of the priests and it was also prophesied that it will happen during my own time as the chief priest, I have been waiting for all of you for all of my life, I have lived for this day” the priest was still trying to explain further when Beatrice sneezed.
They had almost forgotten that she was still lying down right in the room with them.
“What happened to me” she asked as she tried to get up from where she was lying.
“What’s the last thing you remember” the chief priest asked her.
That was when she noticed the old man dressed in an all white attire, she was scared and wanted to run away but Isaac held her back and calmed her down.
“The last thing I remember was that when we got home on Saturday night, I was lying on my bed when a strange wind started blowing and then I blacked out, how long have I been out” she asked
“3 days” Isaac replied.
“What really happened” she asked again.
Isaac was about to start explaining when Ben and Anne rushed in.
It was not up to five minutes after Ben left that Ejiro woke up from Coma, she studied the environment and realised she was in the hospital, she was still wondering how she got there when a nurse came in and explained how her friends brought her in yesterday and that one guy stayed with her all through the night but rushed out some minutes ago. She was sure from the description the nurse gave that it was Isaac and Ben that brought her in and that it was Ben that stayed with her all night.
Not quite long after she woke up, the doctor came in to examine her and also told her the state of her health and how badly she needs someone to donate his/her heart.
At that moment, everything started making sense to her, she remembered vividly al the things she saw when she was in coma. She requested for her bag which was given to her, she brought out her phone and started typing a text with the recipient’s name saved with Ben my love.
The priest explained everything he said to Isaac earlier to them again. From the story to the prophecy et all, Isaac could bet that he didn’t add or subtract a word from the story and prophecy, It was the exact words he used when explaining for him that he repeated, he was pretty impressed with the priest’s memory, if only he knew the priest has been memorising that story all his life.
“You mean I am Ajadi’s reincarnation and Ejiro is Omolabake’s reincarnation” Ben asked.
The priest nodded.
“What I am yet to tell all of you is that the spiritual forces that took Ajadi’s life didn’t just stop there, they laid a curse that as long as Ajadi and Omolabake keep coming back to life, one of them will always have to die” the chief priest paused and starred around.
“I don’t understand” Ben said.
“In the prophecy, either you or that girl lying on the sick bed will have to die” he explained.
Ben was about to inquire more but was distracted by his phone beeping. It was a message from Ejiro. He was so excited that she must be out of coma. He reads the message out loudly.
“Hey Ben, am sure by now you must have known everything that I know too, during the time when I was in coma, I was taken through everything that happened a thousand years ago and also the prophecy. Now I know who Clarieta really was and I know Isaac is Babatunji’s reincarnation, it would be the sweetest feeling if we all could have lived together as one big happy family but am sure you saw the part of the prophecy which stated that one of us has to die. I know how much Anne loves you and it seems like you love her too, for me I can never love anyone again. For this reason, I have decided to take my own life. By the time you are done reading this message, I would have gladly laid down my life for yo…..” he didn’t finish the sentence before barging out of the room
He ran outside the house and stopped a bike immediately. They all ran after him but before they could catch up with him, his bike was already out of sight. They all ran in the car and when they realised the chief priest was still inside, Isaac ran back to check inside the room but he was no where to be found. He must have disappeared back’ he said to himself. He rushed back to the car and they drove to the hospital.
They got to the hospital almost the same time with Ben, they all ran inside leaving the car doors opened. They ran into the ward where Ejiro is admitted. Ben got there first only to find Ejiro lying down lifelessly, she had slit her wrist with a razor blade that is lying next to her body.
She had laid down her life for Ben, she reciprocated what He did for her in their previous life. What a selfless and generational sacrifice.
Ben couldn’t process all that just happened, he started speaking gibberish. They thought it was just a little issue but when they saw him run outside the hospital and tore his clothes. They realised he had gone mad.
“Honeeey, do you want to sleep till midday again when you know we are expecting visitors” a lady who was heavily pregnant shouted from the kitchen.
“And who told you I was sleeping ma’am” a man standing at the kitchen door replied her softly.
They both smiled, hugged and kissed each other.
“I hope you brushed this mouth you are using to kiss me” she teased.
“Ohh I forgot” he teased back.
“Naughty man like you, I hope you realise Isaac and Beatrice are coming straight to our place from the airport, have you prepared the guest room for them” she asked with a serious look this time.
“I will go and do that right away, God knows I have missed those two very much, we haven’t even seen each other since we went for their wedding ceremony in the United Kingdom” he replied and smiled sheepishly.
“I hope the two of you won’t start chasing each other again, when will you guys realise you are no longer boys but men” she asked.
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stopped playing, speaking of Isaac and Beatrice, I had a very strange dream today, I dreamt about you, Isaac, Beatrice and I in the University of Abuja. It was quite a strange dream knowing that none of us ever attended that university, you and I schooled in the United States of America while Isaac and Beatrice schooled in England and moreover we looked younger in the dream” he explained.
She was so shocked at the dream he just narrated to him.
“It’s not just a dream honey” she replied softly.
“Anne what do you mean” he asked with a serious and strange look.
“That was what happened five years ago”
“Excuse me! What do you mean it happened, I hope you do realise that I ran mad in that dream”
“Yes Ben and that was why the doctors suggested to your parents and I that you go through a memory erasure process, there was no way you could have overcome the memories of Ejiro that laid down her life for you, and they said as long as you remember the incident, you will remain mad” said Anne.
“So my memory was erased” he asked
“Yes my love, it was” she replied.
“How come I saw everything in my dream then” he probed again.
“That’s what I don’t understand now, maybe it’s because of the divine love that existed between the two of you” she said…………..
**** Somewhere in Lokoja ****
A group of young kids were swimming in the shallow part of a very big river. Many of them definitely went against the orders of there parents by coming to swim there because the river is known to be a very dangerous one. One of them saw a small bottle coated in silver, it was so attractive that the small boy couldn’t resist picking it up and opening it to see what the bottle contains.
Immediately he opened it, he saw something like a liquid evaporate into the atmosphere, he was the only one that saw it, since he knew the rest won’t believe what he just saw, he kept it to himself. Little did he know that he had freed a spirit that was locked in the bottle for years. He had freed Abeni’s spirit again.