Sunday, 29 July 2018

Bring Him Back (Part 5)

Click here for Part 4

We found the homeless woman at the exact place and spot Folake had said we would.

“Wait in the car,” she said to me and picking up her handbag, went out to meet her while I watched.

The woman and her kids were hunched under a wooden contraption that rested against the incomplete fence surrounding the in-progress amusement park. They were obviously asleep. My heart in my throat, I watched Folake tap the largest of the sleeping forms, the woman herself, suddenly having an image of my wife being attacked by these street urchins who could well be lunatics despite what Folake had said. The scene I watched next was anything but that.

The woman woke up and a calm conversation ensued between Folake and her. As I watched, I saw Folake, thanks to the illumination from a close by streetlamp, dip her hand into her bag and bring out a thick roll of bills, which she handed to the woman. This resulted in the woman giving a small dance of joy and kneeling before Folake in gratitude. Then she woke up the sleeping kids to do the same. They were indeed four in number. After a short while, my wife walked back to the car, one of the children following her.

I was shocked. Had my wife bought that kid from his mother just like that?

Folake got into the driver seat and asked the boy to get into the back.

“Did you just a buy a kid from a homeless woman, Folake?”
Face hard, Folake gave me no response and in one fast, video-game-like move, she reversed the car and shot down the road. The boy in the back seat exclaimed in surprise and I looked down the road to see the destitute woman shouting and trying to run after our car.

“No, I didn’t buy the kid. It would take too much talk and cajoling to try and do that, and I don’t have the time for that. Just gave her some money and told her I had foodstuffs in the car, that the boy should come get them. That’s all. Simple as A-B-C.”

The boy was whimpering in the back seat, hitting at the door and window and looking very scared.

“This will definitely bring the police upon us,” I wearily told her. Would there ever be an end to this nightmare?

Folake was busy talking to the boy in Yoruba, trying to calm him down, “Don’t worry I am just taking you to where you can get the food. And plenty sweets. Don’t be scared.”

Amazingly, Folake finds her way back to the Priest’s quite easily and speedily. I looked at my watch as we got down from the car and Folake picked up the now sleeping boy from the back seat. It was 2.45am.

Even the Priest looked surprised to see us back so soon and with the human sacrifice too. He took one look at the tattered yet healthy looking boy and nodded in satisfaction. “Small boy. Good, good. I bring your son back.” And he began work.

He pulled back on his red robe, arranged the boys’ bodies close to each other on the wide altar and directed his assistant to get some things. I tried not to look at the kid we had brought, the human sacrifice, but I couldn’t help it.

He was just a little boy, couldn’t be more than six years old at most. That was almost the same age as Bosun who had been five before his death. He was also the same height as my son, but unlike Bosun, he was scrawny, malnourished and very unkempt with a tangled mass of hair on his head. I was awash with deep consternation at what we were about doing to this poor little boy, who laid there sleeping trustily, and whom was about to receive something utterly different from the sweets he had been promised.

It was too late to stop now.

I watched – even though I told myself not to, I couldn’t help but watch – as the Priest and his assistant worked. They sprinkled a powdery substance over the beggar boy as the priest informed us that “he not ever wake up now again”; they turned him face-down and tied his left hand to my son’s left with a black piece of string; then they blew off all the candles in the room and the place was shrouded in total darkness, much to my panic.

I was about losing it when a single blob of light came up. I saw that the Priest’s assistant had put on and was holding a very thick black candle in his hands, it was so thick that he had to hold it with two hands.

In the dull light of this single candle (how ironic that such a large candle gave such a dull glow), I saw the Priest pull out a knife and hold it to the homeless boy’s neck. I knew I should close my eyes, not witness the evil I was allowing get done, but I continued to watch as the Priest lifted the boy’s body partially over my son’s and sliced his throat in one sharp movement, letting the blood the knife drew run over my son’s face and into his closed eyes.

I saw also as the Priest set the beggar boy, with the blood still dripping from his cut neck,  aside, and took the candle from his assistant. While his mouth moved soundlessly and fervently in some incantation, he tipped the candle over my son’s face so that drops of its hot, black, liquid wax dripped onto his closed eyes to mix with the thick blobs of lifeblood that was already there.

I could take no more. I retched, feeling the remains of the lunch I had had at work trying to force its way back up my gastro-intestinal tract and I staggered blindly out of the room. I needed fresh air; I need fresh air badly.

I returned to the room to find all the lights back on, the red candles, that is. The beggar boy’s body was gone while my son’s remained where it had been, but nothing seemed to have happened to it. It was as inanimate and death-pale as it had been when we brought him. The Priest was behind the altar, busy doing something and his assistant out of sight. My wife was still in the same position she had been during the ritual, intently staring at her son’s corpse, as though willing it to come to life with every essence of her being.

The Priest finished what he was doing and turned to us. “It done,” he said. “I bring your son back.”

I looked at Bosun’s body again. He wasn’t looking ‘back’.

“Take him,” urged the Priest. “If he do somehow, no worry. After small hours, he do well. He come back fully.”

Gingerly, Folake moved to the corpse, touched it and hugged it to her. Tears streamed down her cheeks

“He's not back!” I shouted at the Priest.

“He back, he back,” he insisted. “And after one, two, three, small hours…” he counted his fingers dramatically “…he back complete.”

“He's warmer,” Folake whispered.

I went to her, took the body from her. Indeed it was warm now and the rigor mortis that had stiffened it into a stockfish-like state earlier was gone. I gasped. Folake’s sobs increased in tempo. “My son is back. We brought him back.”

The Story Continues>>>Click Here for Part 6

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