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3 Days to Death’s visit
The sun rays hurt his eyes and he uses his hand to shield his eyes. His other hand clutches a hand stitched bag that had a black book sticking out of it.
His hut should be somewhere here he says to himself as he scans the environment with his eyes dark from the shadow cast on them by his hand. He then sees it in the distance and hurries towards it. The thatch roof wasn’t properly constructed and he saw the palm fronds losing at the edges already.
Anybody home? He says. Hello?
Who’s there? a voice answers, its origin somewhere around the hut. Ayomide walks around and is a little bit shocked when he sees an old man walking towards him. The man is almost bent over and he supported himself with a walking stick, the effect giving him a look reminiscent of Quasimodo. His legs couldn’t spread apart that much making his walking pace worryingly slow, that befitting a snail.
Good day Baba. Ayomide says and prostrates
Good day my son. The old man replies acknowledging him by gently tapping his bowed head with the tip of his walking stick.
As Ayomide rises up, he asks, I’m looking for Baba Ifajire.
I am he who you seek. Why do you search for me? The old man replies
I need your help Baba. My life is in danger.
What do you mean my son?
Sir, I met a grim reaper and he said….
A grim what?! Baba asks, his voice registering shock as well as disbelief.
A grim reaper sir.
You lie, my son. Nobody sees a reaper and lives to talk about it.
Baba, it’s true o! He said I have seven days to live, that Death himself is coming to kill me and this is the third day already.
Haa! Baba exclaims …Ojo ti fe lo tan! (Your days have almost ended)
Meet me inside now, and he turns towards the rear of the compound.
Ayomide rushes back to the entrance, and crouches to go through the door as it was too low to accommodate his six feet one frame adequately. Entering the room, he meets the old man already dressed in a revolting traditional herbalist outfit. The black and red costume looked repulsive as well as scary.
How did he get here so fast? He wonders but the herbalist’s tense mood made him keep quiet and just watch on.
Incantations accompanied with the sound of the gong rent the air as Baba complemented the noise with matching footsteps. He occasionally uses the ” ….” in his hand to stroke the statues and idol images in the altar. Some were small, others quite large but all carried a similar frown, obviously the work of the same artist. Probably the Baba himself Ayomide presumes.
About half an hour later, the herbalist stops and sits on the mat gesturing to sit as well.
Show me your palm. Ayomide stretches out his left hand towards him.
Right one! Baba barks and Ayomide tenders his right palm. He puts a cowry in the outstretched palm of the troubled youth and continues chanting the incantations. Sweat was beginning to build up on his body and long streaks ran down along his chest and stomach making his body appear more grotesque.
After a while, the old man opens his eyes and looks towards Ayomide, his pupils were teary as he feared the worst for the toddler who hadn’t even tasted life.
Getting past the threat of a reaper is an unlikelihood, getting past that of Death is impossible, He says
Ayomide sulks in his seat and clasps his head.
I’m finished. He manages to say. This is the….
However… The Herbalist interrupts, …there is yet another way. Nobody has quite accomplished this feat in ages but it is said King Hezekiah of old escaped the threat of death.
Ayomide’s eyes light up with hope at this revelation. They later dim out when he recalls the words of the reaper “You won’t be the first to try…. neither would you be the first to fail”
He recounts this to the herbalist and the old man takes time to explains the faults in the statement.
He said you won’t be the first to fail meaning many have failed, not all. If nobody had succeeded, he would have said something else. Maybe, “you would fail like everyone else or you won’t be the first to survive”
That’s true sef… Ayomide says agreeing with the herbalist’s theory.
However, that’s the threat of a reaper not death himself. Some reapers have been killed but I really don’t know if the spell that’s would work on one would have the same effect on death himself.
Baba wait… Ayomide asks confused. ..am lost here. How are we supposed to make death suffer death?
My son. there are many things of the outside world we humans can never understand. Even if it doesn’t kill him, it should have an effect.
Okay, well said.
There is a clause though. Baba interjects
You need to find a warrior who has seen a reaper before or else this spell wouldn’t be potent.
Baba, now you contradict yourself. How would a warrior who has seen a reaper be alive if nobody of recent has survived his threat?
The herbalist lets out a sly laugh. This chap still has a lot to learn, he thinks.
My son, reapers are everywhere, in battles, burials even in forests but the battles and wars have the highest attendance because of the number of people that would die as a result of the fight but some soldiers do survive, that’s if they are saved early and their wounds aren’t fatal.
Oh… okay. Where am I going to find such a warrior then? It could be anybody. Ayomide says
Baba Ifajire sinks deep in thought and after a few seconds, he looks up and enters a trance. Ayomide stares in amazement as he watches the old man’s body remain stiff, even his eyes were not blinking.
After a while, he says, Ogunjimi Babatunde in the Kosoko village. He has seen a reaper once. in a battle he fought some years back.
He then snaps out of the trance and looks at Ayomide, did you get it?
Yes, Baba. He then repeats the name a couple more times so it would stick to his memory.
Baba Ifajire the hands him an amulet; a small object wrapped in a red cloth with a small rope attached to it.
See to it that you have this around your neck anywhere you go.
Yes Baba. Thank you Baba. He stands to leave, dusts his hands and pants and bumps his head on the lintel as he passed the doorway cursing silently because of it.
When he got out of the hut, the sun is scorching hot but he ventures into it anyways following the path through which he came. The herbalist pokes his head out of the doorway and blesses him as he disappeared on the horizon.
May the gods of our land come to your aid. He whispers when all he saw was the head of Ayomide and retires into his hut.____________________________________________________________ To be continued. Watch out for Episode 5! Thanks for Reading.
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