Oby was about getting to her compound when she sighted Nneka, a maiden who used to be Olamma’s friend before they quarried.
Nneka who was already married usually comes to visit her mother back in the village.
Oby waited when she saw her coming and greeted her immediately she got closer.
“Nneka, kedu maka di gi na umu gi. (Nneka how is your husband and children) I biara ileta Nne gi? (Did you come to see your mother?)
Oby asked with a nice tune.
Nneka knew that Oby has never being her friend. She supports Olamma in everything and even join Olamma to insult her. She was not deceived with Oby’s cheerfulness.
“mba, a biaram I hu gi. Kedu ajuju eberibe bu ihe nka. (No, I did not come to see my mother I came to see you. what kind of stupid question is this) Oby, you know quite well that I usually visitmother ever since I got married and yet you are asking me stupid question.
“Nneka, Why are you replying me as if we are fighting? I was only trying to be friendly and nothing more. I was just coming from mama Olamma’s house….just to check if they have gotten any message from Mma over her arrival to Ozulu kingdom but I regret going. All of them in that their house are always full of themselves. She end up singing Olamma’s praise to me as if I asked her. I’m happy that Mma is finally out of this village, the rest of us can breathe in peace. Did you know I volunteer to go with Mma to Ozulu and she refused? She wanted to enjoy alone and do not want anybody joining her. Mma is very wicked, I would have also be in Ozulu kingdom by now, maybe a fine suitor will locate me but Mm….
Nneka was disgusted with Oby’s jealousy. Olamma and Oby used to call her the jealous and bitter one after she told Olamma that her pride was too much. Oby pretend to be a good friend but here she was talking down on Olamma.
She quickly interrupted Oby
“ozugo biko (is okay, please) onye oke amami ihe (sarcasm. “I too know” insult to Oby) first of all you are not my friend, you are a friend to Mma or so I thought but is obvious that you are very bitter and jealous of her. You are never her friend. You just enjoy the fact that she was famous because of her beauty. By the way, when are you getting married biko? Or do you want to become picky like Mma too? Or are you waiting for one prince charming to come and sweep you off to Ozulu kingdom just like Mma. Listen to me, if you are looking for a gossip partner go and look at somewhere else. I have a husband and children now that keeps me busy, go and get a life and stop running your wide mouth at everything and everyone. You better humble yourself so that the gods will bless you will a good man…jealousy and bitterness will not help you. Nonsense!!
Nneka walked passed her, she left Oby standing at the same spot.
Oby was not going to let the insult to pass. Even as Nneka walked down, Oby fires back at her with her owninsult.
NNeka did not bother looking back.
Olamma lost count of how long she has being in the horrifying cave. Onrah warns other animal off from her. He told them she was not yet food for all.
Onrah cut deep into her hand and took her blood in a leaf during the first few days of her arrival. The wound remain open and never heals.
All they do is to feed her with a fruit and a strange drink and ask her to remain at a spot.
Anytime she eats it, she will grows bigger than her former size.
She kept growing bigger with the fruit and drink they fed her with as each day comes.
Olamma already knew when they planned to feast on her. Which will be in four days time.
She has grown so fat and huge and her meat can go round in cycle to the animals who can’t wait to have a taste of her flesh and blood.
As the day of her death draws near Olamma’s fear increase. She was going to be killed and they will merry and feast on her.
All through her time in the cave all she does was to wish that the gods will save her but she knew that she can’t be save in that cave which has no way out for her.
She obeys every instruction and does whatever task she was given. She wished for a natural death instead of a death under the animals claws tearing her apart.
It would have been better to die in a natural way but she doesn’t even know how to kill herself. Even after she begged for death to come and take her away before the time of her slaughter. Death did not come.
Two days to go for her to die she sat in a large log that was secluded for her. She has already given up hope on life and was prepared for whatever fates await her.
After it was just remaining a day, the animals were already jubilating, they were happy and was looking forward to the following day so that they will all feed on her.
Olamma heard the scary giant vulture called Onrah announcing to all.
“…I promise few friends their share. I will take Zakiza share to him and few other of my friend will join us here to merry. Is just a small share because they were part of the journey to the other world. The human has grown big enough and her meat should go round for all to feast on but i will keep my word to Zakiza and the others who will be looking out for their share….
He kept talking Olamma try to shut her ears from his horrifying voice but no matter how she try she can still hear him.
She was too big that one of her hand was fat as an iroko tree. Her head was big in size and was too heavy for her to even carry. Her legs were like a dry log. Strong yet filled with fat flesh.
She doubled up the two wrapper her mother gave her which couldn’t go round her. She has to use leave to cover the rest of her body.
She was awaiting her death because she looks disgusted and like an ugly giant with her hefty body.
She can’t even live among the humans, they will cast her off because she was already looking like a strange beast with all that they have being feeding her just for her to quickly grow big in size.
As they jubilate, Olamma sat watching. She couldn’t even cry because she was tired of life and there was no more tears coming from her eyes.
For the past weeks and months that she has being in the cave tears was her daily food until she accepted her fate and embraced death anytime it comes even though she wished it will come sooner.
She lay on her big log that night, she can’t differentiate day from night in the cave.
some animals do not sleep.
The night was like their day. She couldn’t sleep either, because she knows the following day was the day of her death.
She thought of her village, her father mother, she thought of Adugo. Her only sister who loved her more but she took it all for granted. She thought of her friends. Those who were close like Oby and those who she offended like Nneka.
She breathed deeply and knew by tomorrow she will be only bones after the animals’ feeds on her.
When she came she has seen human skull and bones and knew that was one of their victim that they feed to a perfect size and then feast on the person.
Olamma was afraid but there was nothing she can do. She cannot even run with her heavy body or walk well. She was too big like one of thosehouses in her village. The cave was like underground, there was no obvious entrance or exit.
She lay thinking over her life.
suddenly, something or someone tapped her. She gradually turned to see who could be that. There was always a little ray of light coming in from somewhere she can’t figure out.
But saw no one. She tried to sit up and the tap came again but she couldn’t see the hand or the thing tapping her.
A hand waved three times on her face, covered her mouth and eyes and released her.
When she opened her eyes she could see that it was a man, a human being like her. He looks like a hunter or a farmer but he was a man.
The man put a finger across his mouth, telling her not to make any sound.
She was shocked and wondered how the invisible man got into the dangerous cave.
If he is seen, they will kill him. Which means the animals will have double human meat to feed on.
The man brought out a content like a powder and blew it into the air.
Suddenly the animals who has never slept before began to fall asleep one after the other.
He blew another content and the cave began to open up by itself. It opened so wide so that it will enable her pass
The man asked her to start going out gradually but her legs were too heavy to carry her. It was taking forever to lift a leg.
Onrah made a grunting noise and opened his eyes. he saw Olamma trying to move towards the opened cave.
Onrah quickly made a terrifying noise alerting other animal but as they try to get up the invisible man who they cannot see blew something else into the air and they fell back to the ground except Onrah.
Onrah, slap the eat twice and the animals woke up again.
Olamma was still struggling to lift one leg at a time but it was a big struggle because of her size.
The man saw her trouble and knew that it will be difficult for her to escape so he quickly came to her and gave a content to swallow.
After she swallowed it, he gave her a leaf to hold in both hands. Before she could complete her task which she was finding hard. Onrah and the rest of the animals pounced on her.
Even as they bite into her skin she managed to cover her two palms with the leaves in it and she suddely disappeared. The animals fell off from her.
Olamma found herself in a big field with no sign of live around.
Where the animals bite her were gushing out with blood. She fell to the ground looking all lost.
She opened her palm and found out that she was still holding onto the leaf.
She try to stand but couldn’t.
She can see smoke of fire from a distance and wondered where the thick smoke was coming from.
She lay there helplessly, the day was very clear as she stare into the sky and wondered what next await her.
After a long while the invisible man appeared to where she was.
“My name is Atika. I am both a hunter and a dibia (a native doctor) I manage to set the cave on fire and the wild animals including the giant ugly vulture are being burnt down. Look far ahead you will see the smoke…
You are safe now but this place is dangerous. Is a land of no return and I have to take you to a safer place but you have to vomit the venom that you were fed with so that you can befree.
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The man brought out a bottled liquid and gave her to drink. She drank deeply into it and in no time she began to vomit.
She vomited and all the land was filled with it. it was like a wide river of vomit with green and black drooling particles all over.
She began to grow to her normal size again.
Her body was shrinking as she grew into her normal size.
She was transformed, her beauty was gone. Her body was covered with white fleas, which the man said after a bath at a nearby river the fleas will be gone.
Olamma had only one question on her lips.
“How did you find me?
She finally found her voice to ask Atika.
“No time for question, let’s get going. I will relate it all to you after your bath at the river and there is dangerous wound which may never get healed on your hand. I will look into it later. We have to leave here now.
Olamma who felt light and free followed the man obediently.