Clang! Clang! Clang! Go figure like I’m cheering numbers.
“Bring me the boy”
They dragged him before the elder, a weak, wet doll. Broken. They tossed him forward and he fell on the raffia mat, a heap of humble human.
The boy was recent teenaged, it showed – arms and legs like broomsticks; an unkempt mop of hair that was neither black nor brown; innocent, mischievous eyes; the sweaty smell of peurile playfulness.
He was in tears.
“So he refused to talk, eh?” Said the Elder, as he searched the faces of the men that had just thrown the boy before him. “And ehhh, you showed him pepper?”
“Mazi! We have tried our best!” Said one of the men. He adjusted his wrapper and continued “This little boy is a devil child. Ehhh, we have showed him pepper, but yet he will not say anything. This is not a simple matter.”
“Okoli, I have heard you.” said the Mazi as he kicked the boy before him. “Anything fish cannot eat, it will abandon for crocodile.” He thoughtfully picked a piece of Kolanut from a decorated stool beside and took a loud bite. “This is a matter for the gods. Send one of your men to get the dibia”
In the dark hut, Okoli made out the faces of two of his swiftest men and sent them to summon the witch doctor. He stayed behind with three others. The messengers were barely out the door when the dibia came in.
He was a little man with a funny gait, in a scary getup. Every thing on his body had once belonged to a now dead plant or animal. He wore heavy chalk make-up and carried a leather satchel. The wild smell of dead things he brought with him quickly traveled around the room. Thrice. And kept on.
“You do not need to look for me, the gods already sent me here.” Said the dibia. “I have journeyed through hills and forests, across many rivers, three days and three nights making preparations to attend this moment.” He coughed a raspy cough and opened his satchel.
“The boy has refused to talk” the elder said.
“We have tried all we could” chorused Okoli and his men.
“Let Amanalu, the god of the wilderness handle this matter. The boy shall talk.”
The dibia walked onto the Raffia mat and picked the boy into a kneeling position. He took a yellow powder from his satchel and began a spiritual dance around the boy, singing mysteries and making a yellow mess.
In a few seconds, through the open door of the hut, the elder saw the clouds darken and lightning run across the sky. A heavy rain soon followed. And then there was thunder.
The boy let out a loud growl.
The dibia shrieked.
Mazi ran behind Okoli and his men as they all pressed into each other, trying to fit into a corner of the small space.
“Amanalu” shouted the dibia. “Tell us!”
“Tell us what the boy is hiding! Tell us who stole the meat from the cooking pot!”
P.S. After this Spooky Friday, the gong might be silent a while. Do not despair. Decades comes early August.