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They were doing it. They were finally doing it!.
She didn’t look at her husband all through the journey. He didn’t look at her either and none of them turned to look at the backseat where she lay knocked out.
She cracked her knuckles, she was nervous, not scared, not anxious, nervous. They couldn’t be seen doing it.
It could be a bad idea, but never a bad decision. When she remembered the hell they had to put up for four years, she was sure they had to get rid of …it / she whatever it was.
Oh but she was a pure angel during birth. Her daughter, Afwa, was a serene one. People never got tired of commenting on her peacefulness.
‘What a peaceful baby’ they’d say ‘she sleeps all through the night and wakes up only a few times for some refreshment. She never fusses. Not at all’.
And she will beam in pride and tell them another tale to corroborate Afwas peacefulness.
Second year, Afwa learnt to walk then talk, she was a pretty fast learner, super smart kid. They used to banter, she and her husband on who she got her smartness from. That was before she started becoming something else.
First it was complains from the neighbours kids and her sisters kids about Afwa hurting them, even the older ones. She used to discoutenance it as play-gone-wrong.
Then the girl started hurting her and her husband. A prick with a blade, paper blazing with fire dubbed from the gas cooker on her hand, a stab to the leg. Each time she will stand before them and laugh. She never ran, they never beat her. They couldn’t. She started getting really worried.
She got the Mallam, her daughter had to be possessed. It was the only explanation. But after the Mallam was chased away from the room where the exorcism was taking place like a wild man and without a proper explanation, they decided it was really beyond minor ‘possession’.
A string of Mallams came and where sent away never to return through year three, four and five. In those years, Afwa had burnt down the house, cost her father his job, and smothered her baby sister to death. She always laughed in a monotonous high pitched voice while at it. It was too much for them, she was the devils incarnate in the form of a 5 year old.
The last straw. Her mother dreamt of them- she and her husband- tied by Afwa by the fireside with other children as sacrifice to whichever thing they served, she prayed so hard until she felt herself zoom back to the land of consciousness. She found Afwa straddling her, her face right in front of her, a wicked smile playing on her lips. Then she jumped off laughing and walked out to cause some more grief.
Her husband had the same dream too. The next Mallam told them that she was ‘Yar ruwa. She belonged to the river. They had to take her to riverside at the break of dawn so her people could fetch her, else, she will sacrifice them both.
‘Hold her arms, I’ll hold her legs’ she suggested to her husband. She didn’t want to touch the girls hands even though she was heavily sedated. The hands looked like something extremely sinister.
They carried her out of the car. She was so much heavier than a five year old child. They dropped her by the riverside as per the instructions and her husband threw in three stones into the river.
‘Good Morning People of the river. We are here with one of you. We have brought her back in peace. Please let us be’.
They turned and walked back. Afwa’s father wiped the tears pooling in his eyes before they fell . Afwa’s mom felt nothing.
They could feel something different the moment they stepped back into the house. It felt light, airy and brighter. Like the demonic presence has been lifted. No regrets.
‘Mama’. She heard the voice say before she felt a tap on her knees. ‘Mama I’m hungry’.
Her heart skipped a beat. It couldn’t be. But it was her voice. But she was gone. She slowly opened her eyes.
Afwa stood before her looking all innocent, every inch a five year old.
‘Mama I’m hungry’ Afwa repeated.
‘How did you get here?’ She asked. Her voice was shaking badly. She tried to get off the sofa where she was enjoying her post-Afwa rest but couldn’t.
‘How did you?’.
‘Mama I’m hungry too’.
Afwas mother knew, as sure as she knew herself, that she had given birth to only one child when she gave birth to Afwa. But there standing by the kitchen door, holding a knife, was a girl exactly like Afwa, she could be her clone.
‘Mama I’m hungry’ they said in unison. Then burst out laughing