AMARACHI THE BEAUTIFUL POOR CHILD (And Her Journey to Destiny-Discovery) By Erasmus Ugochukwu Okafor
Akunna remained in a coma because of the near-death experience she had as she was earmarked for sacrifice for the perpetuity of the Sisterhood of the Slay Queens.
Dave and Amarachi couldn’t get any information from her due to her state of health. With Amarachi’s plea, Dave took Akunna to Onitsha to his family hospital to ensure she was properly taken care of and to hide her away from the public to avoid the cartel locating the poor girl again to complete the sacrifice.
Amy and Dave still never discussed anything about Uremma because they were both reluctant to do so with their different personal reasons.
Amarachi missed some classes just to take care of Akunna at the clinic. Even though Ego Oyibo advised her to go back to school so that she’d take care of Akunna but Amy insisted. The worst of it all was that no one knew whom Akunna’s parents were and how to locate them because it was obvious that they would be dying of heartbreak or agony.
As the heartbeat monitor beeped; showing that Akunna was still somewhere inside her body, Amarachi remained glued to the couch as she monitored every bit of the vital signs. She was on the verge of sleeping off but she felt as if Akunna’s life depends on her being asleep or awake. She nodded severally but kept keeping her face awash just to remain awake but that never helped.
After a while of making some efforts to remain awake, she was surprised that her eyes suddenly became wide open as if the uninvited sleep checked the next door.
It was surprising to Amarachi to see Akunna’s eyes open gradually.
Amarachi was so surprised and rushed towards her but afraid to stress her with an embrace.
“Baby, welcome back to the land of the living,” she whsipered with great joy and gave her a peck on her forehead. “You’ve been in a coma for five days now,” Amy hinted and continued observing her haggard face and weak eyes.
Akunna was weak and full of surprises. She didn’t know what to say but remained thankful to God with a wave in the hair as she demonstrated her state of thankfulness to her creator.
Amarachi didn’t want to say anything but remained there and smiling. She didn’t know how to go and consult the doctor because she felt that leaving the room might make Akunna die.
After a while of gazing at Amarachi with a face full of gratefulness, she smiled and said wearily: “I’m sorry for all I’ve done…”
“Hey, stop that, please,” Amarachi said, “you won’t understand how happy I feel right now as if a part of me just returned to life. I’m happy that you’re alive,”
“Thank you,” Akunna replied wearily and exhaled a lump of air, “where are we?”
“You’re in the hospital now and you’re free from the cartel,” Amy assured her and looked at her with admiration, “you’re still that cute friend I missed, but you’d get better soon okay,”
Akunna smiled faintly and tried to get up but Amarachi didn’t allow her.
“I need you to be strong,” Akunna said as tears began to gather in her eyes and about to let its beads get her face blemished.
“Sure, I am strong,” Amy said assuredly, “do not talk much because you need to save some strength. I need to call the doctor to know if you could eat and what you need to eat first. You have stayed some days without food and that is the reason you look lean and starved,”
Akunna had lots on her lips to say but she was too weak to utter a word. She kept gazing absently and fighting to remain strong. “Come closer,” she mumbled and held Amy by the hand, “I need you to know that there is a mark like a single back dot on your head but you may not have noticed because it’s by the backside and the long hair of a woman must have covered them, and it’s not big enough for the eyes to see. That mark is also on Uremma’s head and that shows that…”
Amarachi was shocked at this point, “what did you just say?” she asked impromptu and suddenly had to add more pillows to help her raise her head a bit, “Is Uremma my sister?”
“Yes, she said and smiled effortfully, “you have a blood match with her, that’s why…”
Akunna didn’t complete her statement but suddenly began to cough repeatedly until it became scary for Amarachi to withstand.
In a bid to keep her alive, Amy rushed out of the clinic ward and straight to the doctor’s office but no doctor was found because they all went out for lunch. She rushed for the nurses but they were not there too. She suddenly took a bottle of water and rushed back to Akunna.
“Take! Drink some,” she urged and held her head up to force some water into her system, “Doctor! Doctor! Can somebody hear me?” she echoed and echoed until she started hearing some footsteps approaching with quickly, announcing the arrival of a third party.
In an exceedingly short time, the doctor arrived and pushed her away.
“Hey, you shouldn’t have given her water but glucose,” the doctor wailed and rushed out again, and then came back with glucose and gave her but she didn’t respond to it. Suddenly, she became cold, numb and lifeless. Her eyes closed permanently. The doctor checked on her pulse and discovered that she was gone.
“Doctor, you aren’t talking,” Amarachi shouted, feeling that something bad had happened, “why not say it for once and stop keeping quiet like a statue,” she yelled and held the doctor and started beating his chest but the Doctor cuddled her until she calmed down.
“I’m sorry, but she died out of your mistake,” Doctor said and left.
Amy fell on the floor and began to cry, feeling so sad for killing a friend. As the cries lasted, she opened her eyes and discovered she’d gone a bit far into sleep. She suddenly rushed at Akunna and saw that the monitor showed that she was still alive but in a coma.
“Oh, God! Another frightening dream,” she murmured and took a handkerchief and cleaned the sweat on her face. That was so real,” she said as the door creaked open.
Amy looked and saw Ego Oyibo entering.
Ego was sympathetic as she saw how Akunna lay helplessly on the bed. She came closer to Amarachi and sat, and then held her for comfort: “She’d pull through, I know that” she assured Amy, “I have really missed you a lot, and here you are. Not that I’m happy for the misfortune of your friend but at least her state of health brought you back to me,”
Amarachi smiled. “But, Ego Oyibo,” she called and relaxed on her mom’s bosom, “The last time I checked, you asked me to go back to school for you to take care of Akunna. Now, you’re saying you were happy I’m here. Where do you stand?”
“I don’t know,” Ego said and smiled, “a mother’s love can’t be subdued, even though I’m not your biological mom but no love for you is lost in me. I even feel more attached to you than to my biological children. You’re one of a…”
“Mom,” Amy called, making her feel she’s still the woman she raised as her own, “I want to say that you’ve done so much for me but there are lots of questions that I’d want to ask you,”
Ego Oyibo took a deep breath and braced herself for some difficult questions. She knew that any question from Amarachi demands absolute carefulness for one to give a satisfactory answer to it.
“Bring it on,” Ego said in readiness, “but I hope I can answer all,”
Amarachi smiled while her attention was still centred on Akunna.
“Sure, you can, or let me make it snappy,”
“That would be good too, or do you need to take your time?” Ego asked and looked at Amy whose eyes were already heavy due to sleeplessness.
“If you’re really from Urhobo, how then is Uncle Onyedika your brother?” she asked, getting Ego Oyibo off balance because she never expected that Amy would be coming from that direction. “Or is it that his name is faked too? If that’s the case, what’s his native Urhobo name?”
It took Ego Oyibo a long time to find a way to answer the question. She was enveloped in surprise but still tried to abate the effect of the thunderbolt to her.
Amarachi knew that Onyedika may not be Ego’s brother based on how stunned the question made her be.
After drawing a deep breath, Ego cleared her husky throat: “It was against my tradition in Urhobo but not easy for a woman to stay for about twenty years without a man,” she began narratively, “I dated Onyedika because I had no one to take care of me when I found my way to Onitsha on my exilic adventure,” she paused to draw some psychologically comforting breath and continue.
Amarachi was impatiently listening for Ego to get to the bottom of the narration. “Go on, I’m listening,”
“Onyedika was my boyfriend who took care of you and me before you came of age,” Ego continued, “he was a good man, even now, he’s still a good man, but his fault is women. I endured a lot and tolerated that fault of his for long until he molested you. That was when I couldn’t take it anymore and called it all quits with him. Till date, he still comes around but I won’t have anything to do with him again, especially now that I’ve reunited with my family. I need to face my family other than have time for some touchy-feely kind of man whose lower head wouldn’t allow him to focus on one woman,”
Amy shook her head in disappointment against the so-called Mr. Onyedika. She was filled with rage and disgust even to the extent that she wished the man never had any financial role played in her life while she was growing up.
“I think it’s okay here and I’m happy that you told me the truth,” she said and gave her a peck, “you’re a woman of virtue and I admire you a lot,”
Ego Oyibo suddenly began to feel like a child around Amy. She was happy and smiling as she heard the compliment.
“You’re one of a kind, my daughter,” she said and took a deep breath.
“Second question, and the most important,” Amy said, making Ego develop a sudden stomach upset out of anxiety.
Ego didn’t know if she was ready for the second and most important question because it would end up making her have a need to poo (an attitude of hers whenever she’s highly tensed)
“Shoot,” she said and remained poised and prepared to take it and reply to her.
“You mentioned knowing the real story about a secret around my mom’s death, right?” she said and hummed but Ego kept waiting for her to conclude with the question, “If that’s the case, tell me about it and also tell about the missing or dead sister of mine,”
Ego knew it was the exact question she expected, but asking about the dead sister, she had nothing to talk about that except that she was dead.
“One thing I will say is that Mkpulumma was killed by the same man that comes around to sleep with her, even against her will,” Ego revealed while Amy remained shocked but listening.
“But why didn’t you stop him or report?” Amy said with tears as she imagined the agony of rape that the mom underwent in the hands of those she considered monsters.
“I never met anyone but I knew, based on what she shared with me then,” Ego said with deep thoughts getting her mind busy, “she was always the happy woman but that part of getting some visitors at night or strange times was what got her more concerned,”
Amy was disturbed by that reply because she thought it was just one person but seemed they were many. “What did you mean by some visitors?”She asked looking perturbed, “how many were they?”
“I don’t have a clue but the madwoman suffered,” Ego said with sorrow. A drop of tear announced its presence in her eyes but she cleaned it with her wrapper, “your mom suffered in the hands of men because of her beauty and I kept wondering if she was the only woman in town,”
Amarachi felt like begging her to stop because the more she listened to the story, the tearier she became. Her heart wasn’t just broken but shattered to shreds as the revelation lasted.
“Go on,” she said, with her tongue clung to the roof of her mouth in anticipation of more unpleasant disclosures,”
“Are you sure you want to keep listening to this mind-troubling story?”
Ego Oyibo asked with tears in her eyes.
“Go on,” Amy said as her face turned reddish and dejected.
“To cut the story short,” Ego said, trying to cut the chase, “I think your mom was used for a money ritual,”
“What!” Amy hollered and then remembered that she was in a clinic’s ward, then controlled her emotion. She fell on the floor and began to weep without ceasing.
Ego held her and tried to pull her up but being that she wasn’t that strong anymore and also fighting with arthritis, she couldn’t get her up. She simply went on all fours and began to cry with her.
The tearful moment lasted between them until they realised that they could be affecting the mental and dream state of Akunna was still in a coma.
Amy helped Ego Oyibo up and made her sit back on the couch. “I can withstand the shock. I’m just being human,” she said with a nostalgic smile, “shed more lights on that ritual thing,”
Ego Oyibo wiped her tears, sat on the couch and continued: “There was a rumour then that Mkpulumma came from a lineage of luck and prosperity. This made men come around and seek a fortune from her, not minding her mental state. That old truck she used to stay as her abode belonged to someone we knew nothing about. We’ve searched to know how Mkpulumma came to Onitsha but no one could trace her origin. It was even more surprising that she came with her kids to the truck.
Everything was just so strange. Mkpulumma was always with money with her, so I started collecting it for keeps so that hoodlums won’t collect it from them. I remained so…”
“Sorry for interrupting,” Amy said as she tried making more meaning out of the entire story.
“You said you never saw any man coming to visit her but you already knew that she came from a lineage of luck and fortunes…”
“I know where you’re heading to with the question,” Ego cut in, “Onyedika told me everything,” she let out.
“How then did…”
“Please allow me, sweetie, for me to conclude so that I wouldn’t forget a thing,” Ego broke in again, “I know your next question is how Mr. Onyedika knew all these,” she said and got Amy cooled down for answers, “Onyedika got his riches through you mom too but…”
“That wench,” Amy growled with rage, growling and gnashing her teeth with an unquenchable taste for revenge, “after making wealth and riches with my mom’s blood, he still wanted to use me to refresh it when my mom wasn’t available. Thank God he didn’t succeed,”
“Didn’t he?” Ego Oyibo asked and turned sharply at Amarachi, looking confused and surprised, “but you told me that…”
“I lied to you so that you could use legal actions against him but you did nothing because he was powerful and rich,”
Ego had wanted to defend herself but since Amy already knew the reason for her incompetence in the case, she relaxed with a deep sigh of relief.
“I’m so glad right now because what kept me in an everlasting regret in the past later turned to be false,” Ego said and raised her hand in thanksgiving to God.
“But that doesn’t make him free from being gnawed in my wrathful bite,” Amy said and snorted, “It’s now that he’s fully blacklisted because I must take my revenge on all of them. None would escape. With that man called Mr. Onyedika, I could produce his cohorts and accomplices and they’d all vomit the wealth that made them murder my mom in cold blood,”
Ego nodded in support because, at the moment, there was no love lost between her and the so-called Onyedika.
“Anything you need, my daughter, I’m in,” she said with rage because she needs revenge on that same man that made her go against the exilic rule in her native village just to survive.
Amarachi was surprised to the point that she didn’t know when her mind went off her friend in a coma because of the ongoing discussion.
When she remembered that she was meant to be checking on Akunna periodically, she suddenly sprang up from her sitting position and went to meet check on her; especially after the dreadful trance she woke up from.
The monitor was still beeping normal showing that she was still alive but Amy’s mind never went off the dream she had that seemed like a reality. She was troubled and worked up but she couldn’t share with her mom still.
“Glad, she’s still stable,” Amy said and heaved a deep sigh, “That dream was so real,” she thought aloud without knowing that Ego Oyibo was listening.
“Did you have a bad dream?” Ego asked and came to the bedside and held Amarachi as they both focused on Akunna who looked calm as the coma lasted, “she’d be okay, I’m sure of this,”
“I hope so,” Amy responded with a faint smile and pulsating heart, not feeling as if Ego was right about that, “I just don’t know what to say, but in that dream…” she paused the statement because saying it out was like making it come through; her belief though.
“I’m sure she died in the dream,” Ego said, showing some maturity and boldness, “As I said, nothing will happen to this girl,”
Amarachi was so afraid and kept thinking about the mark on her head that was hidden. She was so paranoid and uncertain about everything. She felt like asking Ego who was supposed to know about the mark but kept the words swallowed up out of fright until she meets Uremma to know if she had the same marked as the dream revealed.
“Okay, mom,” she said and smiled, “Akunna would be fine and I’m sure of it,” added smilingly, with positivity smiling down on her.
Ego Oyibo was happy when Amy addressed her as ‘mom’. Her happiness knew no bounds and that was so sweet of her.
“Do you still have a question?” Ego asked and turned to leave if she had none.
“I’m okay for the moment,” she said and smiled faintly.
“Let me go and get the lunch fixed,” Ego said and began to leave the ward, “but we’ll go on shift duties this time,” she suggested as she left, “either you are here or I am,”
Amy didn’t have a reply to do that but she still felt that Ego made some sense there. She just smiled and nodded in agreement.
Ego Oyibo got to the door and held it as if she forgot something. She wanted to go but was busy observing Amarachi’s deplorable looks and took a deep breath.
“Ego Nnem, it seems you want to say something,” Amy voiced in a low tone, expecting more revealing information.
Ego Oyibo waited for a while, after battling with her emotions, then said: “There is additional information you need to know about,”
Amarachi was broody with surprise and went closer to her. “You may wish to come back and tell me more,” she suggested but Ego shook her head; indicating a ‘No’
“There was a man that used to watch over Mkpulumma from afar whenever I come around,” she hinted, “if I see him, I may know him, but not sure if I could still remember because it’s been ages and he must have aged by now. He was already an adult then, even older than me, but always comes around to watch over your mom from a distance. He never allowed anyone to see him but I saw his face just once. After the death of Mkpulumma, no one saw the man anymore,”
This revelation got Amarachi emotionally affected, though her curiosity outweighed the emotional imbalance. She’d just discovered that lots of secrets were yet to unfold. She was eager to know and determined to find out.
“Who could that person be?” Amy asked looking so concerned about details.
“Keep your curiosity in check for now,” Ego advised, “the last piece of information is that no one knew how the corpse of Mkpulumma disappeared. It was very strange. Till this day, I cannot decipher that mystery,”
Amarachi was affected by this but she concealed her feelings with a smile of excruciation.
“Maybe Mr. Onyedika would have the information we seek,” Amy clued, “You may meet him if you still can find him,”
“I don’t know anything about that man anymore,” Ego said and shook her head in dismay, “the fingers are crossed,” she said at last and left immediately, and then quietly closed the door behind her to avoid disturbing the already existing serenity in the private ward.
It took some moments of meditation for Amarachi but she knew that wallowing in those troubling thoughts would yield no positive result.
At the moment, she had to unravel the mystery of the dream about the mark she was meant to have on her head.
Amarachi was restless but didn’t know how to check the rear part of her head to see the mark. She was even determined to have her entire hairs cut if that’d be needed, but how was she to believe a dream.
As she kept having the doubts in her head, she was revelation-stricken by an instinct that seemed so real.
To satisfy her curiosity and inquisitiveness, Amy went to the door, locked it and listened; placing her ear on the door to ensure that no one was coming. She slowly went to the bed where Akunna lay, pulled up her head a little bit but carefully done, and checked at the back of her head. It wasn’t easy because of her clustered hair. She was determined to follow her instinct even though she was so afraid of snuffing life out of the already-distressed girl.
She dug into the hair and got to the fleshy part and checked for the mark. When she saw the dotted mark, she dropped Akunna’s head like it was hot. This was out of fear in believing that her dream was real.
She suddenly became giddy; feeling as if her eyes were spinning and her head breaking. She kept shifting backward until she fell into the couch and remained there; panting and imagining how the dream became real. The most confusing part of it was that Uremma was the person that was meant to have the mark but she saw it on Akunna’s head. This got Amarachi drowned in emotional upheaval and mental torture trying to figure out what could have been her fate and connection with Akunna if she finds out that she has the same mark on her head. Could it be that Akunna was her presumed dead sister?
A migraine set it immediately as she remained restless on the couch. She felt as if the world was crashing on her head and the entire room spinning fast and rapidly.
To help herself out, she quickly opened the fridge, pulled out the ice crate in the freezer and began to massage her temple with it; to cool her nerves down and get the headache subsided.
As she was cooling her head in that self-help therapy, a knock at the door made her remember that she locked it. She suddenly got up, rushed towards the door and opened it.
“Oh, Nurse Chiamaka,” she said with a staged smile to confuse her but the nurse raised her eyebrow, feeling a bit suspicious.
“Hope she’s okay,” Chiamaka said and went to Akunna, then discovered that her pillow shifted and her head not well-positioned for someone in a coma, “what happened here, ma’am,” she asked and smiled with confusion written all over her.
“Oh, that?” Amarachi said and smiled again, “I wanted to position the pillow, and then suddenly began to fret out of dizziness, so I fell. You can see the ice with me,” she said and sat back on the couch.
“I’ve told you not to worry or stress yourself a lot,” Nurse Chiamaka said and came closer to observe her eyes, “Oga Dave would be so mad at me if anything happens to you. He warned me sternly and I don’t have time for his troubles,”
Amarachi heaved a sigh of relief that she just succeeded outsmarting the nurse. “Oh, thanks,” she said and pushed her hand away gently, “don’t worry, I’m fine…I’ll be fine,”
“Good,” the nurse said and left.
Amarachi looked at Akunna one more time and imagined if she could be her sister. It was possible that the dream was about her but wasn’t direct in pointing out who the real sister was, hence presenting Uremma as the one.
‘But what of if Uremma has the same mark, and I have it too, then what connections would it make the three of us to have? Sisters or what?’ Amy thought as she kept massaging her aching head.
Amarachi remained in that state of confusion until her mom came back in the evening to take over the evening shift.
To be continued…
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