Rhythm of the Wild Drum

Okpararebisi used the maid as shield as he made his way to the portal.
Ómalichanwa quickly tossed the pieces of leaves. Okpararebisi hit a wall; only one of his legs made it through the portal before it closed. She held her breath as she thought of what to do. She had no right to inflict harm on him, especially since the gods touched him. It was their decision to send the crows and the ravens, so he wouldn’t have an afterlife.
She was transfixed; her eagerness to see the end of the destruction overshadowed her repulsion. Each bird pecking at him was the size of a well-fed chicken. They tugged his leg out of the portal and the spot remained open. One of the crows, all black, unlike the other ones with white chests and necks, was pecking at the opening of the portal, filling it up. She looked up at Okpararebisi, but she couldn’t see him through the birds fluttering around. Then the portal disappeared.
Ómalichanwa crumbled to her knees with exhaustion. She jumped when she felt something touch her bottom. She turned round to see Jeoma in a pool of her blood. She leaned over her but couldn’t find a heartbeat. Tears streamed down the side of her face and she opened her mouth. The bubbles broke and Jeoma’s mother ran towards them, her baby bouncing in front of her.
Eriri touched the spear and it turned to the dust it was made from; her aunt set the baby aside to put pressure on the wound. Ómalichanwa pressed Jeoma’s hand to the injury and urged Jeoma to heal herself. She took her father’s hand and pressed it on Jeoma’s hand to hold it in place while she rummaged through Jeoma’s bag in search of an herb. Tears streamed down her face but she brushed them off. She had seen this future and she knew what to do. She exhaled deeply and moved to stand next to her father, as her aunt was already crumbled over her daughter’s body.
“Father,” she turned her father’s face to hers, “it is time.”
“For?” he mumbled, then his face registered shock as it dawned on him. He frowned. “Why am I not shaken?”
“Because you’re better prepared now.”
“You’re all I have.”
“No, you have her.” Ómalichanwa tilted to her aunt.
“Them. You mean them.” He glanced at his wife’s sister, then the baby, and crumbled.
Ómalichanwa trudged slowly towards Jeoma. She held both Jeoma’s hands over her chest and chanted. Where their hands merged, the skin began to glow until it was as bright as the sun. Ómalichanwa pressed their hands to Jeoma’s chest. Jeoma heaved and her body jerked a few times as her life force left her body.
A few minutes later, Ene’e appeared. Ómalichanwa went limp, and Ene’e caught her.
The ground began to tremble. Ene’e sniffed the air and shook his head.
“What was that?” Eriri asked as he looked around in search of the King’s guards.
“A generational curse has been set in motion.”
Soon after, the ground split open, separating Ene’e, Jeoma, Ómalichanwa and Akwu from their parents. Jeoma awoke up and sat up. Her brother was at the edge of the split, which were a few paces wide. She stretched her hand to catch him, and his skin burned from her touch, scarring him.
The ground shook again and the gap widened. She quickly opened her hands like she was cradling something fragile. A bubble enveloped him. She guided it over the gap until it landed on her mother’s outstretched arms, then she cupped her palm and whispered, opening her hand. She did it twice and waved her hand. Two invisible bubbles sailed across to her uncle and her mother simultaneously, then she collapsed.
Ene’e turned to see the grieving parents. He bowed slightly, still carrying Ómalichanwa’s lifeless body, he moved closer to Jeoma, shimmered and disappeared.



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