Obiajulum found himself on the river bank, with the old man who he had seen before, quietly sitting beside him. He had his head in the same position he had seen him earlier, and looked like one who was lost in thoughts.
“Old man,” he called, confounded with fear. Wondering what he was doing there, and how was it that he had followed him, he asked, putting himself in an erect position. “How did you know I was to end up here? Did you know I was going to take the other road?” he asked not like the child he was.
The old man smiling, getting his face lowered for the first time, to Obiajulum’s surprise, turned his head and made to speak; “The path that you chose, was a wise choice indeed.”
The inquisitive child marvelled at his words. “Wise… you say?”
The old man nodded, and spoke further. “There are two paths,” he began. “One narrow, one wide.”
Obiajulum clasped his legs and raised it partly up with his elbows resting perfectly on his laps. “Is this some sort of riddle?”
The old man looked at him, nodding his head on.
A riddle, Obiajulum thought to himself, beaming with smiles. “Riddles are my favouite.” he made known. “I hardly fail any.” he said to the old man’s hearing; the man asking that he listened.
“Oh.” was all that his lips could give, as the old man made to continue.
“Two paths. One representing the moon, and the other the sun.”
Obiajulum looked at him. “I thought you said both were narrow and wide?” he asked in a bid to correct.
“Just listen.” the old man said to him, as he listened quietly.
“These paths are to be brought together…”
“As in marriage?” Obiajulum cut in, and the old man sighed. “Yes, marriage.” he affirmed, though not entirely meaning it.
“So if these two are merged—” the word the old man wanted to hear was made alive.
“And they are brought together—” Obiajulum gestured. “Will something good happen?”
The old man’s response got him even more confused.
“But h-how? How can this be?” Obiajulum filled with curiosity, was wanting to know.
“Though it cannot be,” he continued. “Now the great evil dwells in our midst and has poisoned the people’s mind.” his countenance fell. “Mankind now lives in fear, and until the great evil is brought to an utter end—” he raised his voice. “Mankind would cease to flourish.”
Obiajulum exclaimed. “The Great Evil!”
The old man replied in a wistful tone. “He dwells among us. The one who wishes no mankind good.”
Obiajulum tightened his fists, as though he understood the old man’s words.
“The time for you to know,” the old man read well his mind, “Has not yet come.” he completed, as Obiajulum marvelled. How possible was it for him to have read his mind not missing a thought? “You knew I wasn’t understanding?” the anxious lad sought, as a chuckle left the old man’s lips. “It is time for me to go.”
A sad expression found the little boy’s face. “But I do not wish for you to go. How will I find my way back?”
The old man replied, “You shall soon.” he disappeared, leaving only a cloud of dust.
Obiajulum wandered aimlessly, not sure if he would get home. He encountered no one but flowers and trees, lining the lonely grounds like nothing he had ever seen. He was able to find another route, walking tiredly until he came to a place where a single tree stood, with nothing around it. “I wonder if these mangoes will do,” he reached to pluck one, as a voice came like a hideous roar. “What are you doing here?” an angry snort emerged.
“I-I’m sorry,” the shaken boy withdrew.
“Do you not know that these mangoes you crave are forbidden?” the voice came again, Obiajulum replying in a shaken tone. “B-but I-I’m hun-gry.”
The tree swayed with no breeze aiding it, signalling there was a spirit that didn’t want him there.
“Oh, I must be dreaming—” Obiajulum said to himself, as he remeed the stories his mom used to tell. Oh, how nne would tell him about the great tales of Ngagi, the spirit that dwelled in trees. Was it Ngagi speaking now? The boy couldn’t tell. He was sent off by a loud thunder, sobbing heavily as he ran, wishing he had never stopped. If only I could get home right now, the hungry, weary child staggered on. He wished to be home again, back in his mother’s arms—his prayer was soon to be answered—if only the dark forces would let him be.
Obiajulum looked up to see a hunchback, witchy woman, pointing at him.
“Who are you?”
The odd looking woman cackled and brought her crooked, chapped finger down. “You are really wise and a true son of the soil.” she smiled, asking him where he was headed.
“What thou seeketh concerneth not.” the voice inside of him took control, and the woman, furious at his answer, growled and wore a sinister face. “Do you not know who I am?” she asked.
“What thou beeth matters not.”
The hunched woman laughed at his silly reply. “Do you not know you stand on dangerous grounds?”
The brave little boy, scared not a bit, snarled at her remarks. “Dangerous grounds… you say?”
The evil witch cackled again. “You are one step to falling, o thou who thinketh not like mortals.”
A smirk eluded tender lips, as the ground cracked open at the earth’s trembling call.
“It is time.” a soft whisper urged the boy on as out came a striking image.
“You have not seen the last of me—” a thunderous noise, followed by a forceful shove, sent Obiajulum back into his body.
TO BE CONTINUED¶