AMARACHI THE BEAUTIFUL POOR CHILD Episode 17 By Erasmus Ugochukwu Okafor

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AMARACHI THE BEAUTIFUL POOR CHILD By Erasmus Ugochukwu Okafor

AMARACHI THE BEAUTIFUL POOR CHILD (And Her Journey to Destiny-Discovery) By Erasmus Ugochukwu Okafor

EPISODE 17

Amarachi and Uremma began to work together to pull down Ozo Odenjinji, leaving Dave out of it because his presence could jeopardise the togetherness of the ladies since the past love he shared with Uremma and the current romance he still shared with Amy would affect their emotions, as such, could make them lose focus on the mission. After all, what a man can do, a woman can do better.


That weekend when Akunna was on the bed with her eyes in REM (Rapid eye movement) period showing that she was gradually waking up, Ujunwa who was so committed to making sure that Akunna was properly taken care of suddenly rushed to the doctor to announce the improvement. It was with utmost surprise that when they came back to the ward, Akunna’s eyes were opened but she was too weak to move or talk.


Without delay, the doctor summoned the other two doctors and two nurses and they all gathered to attend to Akunna. The gathering of medical practitioners gave Ujunwa much hope.


They all swung into action and made sure the girl who just left her coma state recuperated without difficulty.
It was surprising that Dave’s trip that was meant to last for two days lasted for about one week; with his cell phone remaining out of coverage. It was strange but the girls were all assured that Dave always knows how to keep himself alive or deal with any situation; no matter how difficult.


Ujunwa was happy as the doctors got busy with their medical procedures. She wished that either Dave or Amarachi was around when Akunna wakes but it was simply not the scenario, making her heart race faster because she didn’t know what to do, even though she wasn’t among the physicians. She was even asked to leave the ward so that the Doctors would perform their duties.

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After a few hours, as Ujunwa sat at the hallway waiting for the medical practitioners to be through, she slept off.
It was like a dream when she was awoken by a single touch from one of the doctors, so she leaped and cleaned her eyes quickly as if she didn’t want anyone to notice the redness and sleepiness of her eyes.
“Doctor, how is she?” she asked and stood up looking weak and confused.
“Congrats,” The Doctor said and left.


Without delay, Ujunwa rushed to the private ward and saw Akunna lying weak but stable.
Her eyes were open but she was still too weak to talk. The doctors certainly did a good job to the extent that she could even smile when she saw Ujunwa.


“I hope you’re good now,” Ujunwa asked and observed her, even though she was afraid to touch her because she was oblivious of the way to go about it, believing that she could make mistakes if she dares.
Akunna moved her head with a nod to let Ujunwa understand that her senses were intact.


Ujunwa was so happy at this point but couldn’t say anything other than being thankful to God.
She was glad and proud to be the first to break the news to Dave and Amarachi but she didn’t want to disturb the serenity required of the ward where Akunna lay, so she made no call in her presence.
**
As the news of Akunna’s revival filtered into Amarachi’s ears, she got Uremma informed since they were staying together at the moment to avoid the heavy hands of Ozo Odenjinji on the girl.


Meanwhile, Professor Nwoko already knew about Ozo Odenjinji and his domineering personality, including his nefarious activities in the polity, so he helped Uremma with an update on her schooling and lectures even without her coming to the university block. Thanks to the power of the information technology that got Uremma reading and writing her quizzes, assignments and term papers online.


The girls still wondered why Professor Nwoko was being helpful, but for the meantime, had to remain glued to the course of finding a way to bring down the powerful Ozo at all cost.
With the news of Akunna’s wake from a coma, Amy and Uremma suddenly rushed to Onitsha to see her and probably know the details of what happened in the land of the unknown where she came back from; just like someone that just returned from an abyss.


Getting to the house, Harry a.k.a Oji isi ebu mgbo, received them and took them into the house.
Amarachi was still surprised that Dave wasn’t back yet and there was no way she could get him on the phone. It was just difficult for her to be this lonely without him. At first, she was confident, believing and trusting in Dave’s survival instincts but being up to a week without his return, she was unnerved and greatly perturbed.
“Is Dave back?” Amarachi whispered to Harry.


“No, he isn’t yet,” he responded feeling so relaxed as if there was no big deal about his absence, “but he’d surely be back, I know,” He said to Amy. “Uremma you’re welcome, dear,” he added and exchanged a warm hug with Uremma.
“Seems you know some things I know not,” Amy said and clawed Harry’s head as usual, “Isi aki (palm kernel’s head). I will surely find out what you know, but let me see Akunna first,” she said gleefully.


“Dave’s number isn’t available so I wouldn’t know anything,” Harry said defensively as they went to the clinic section, “so if you like, dear chocolate factory, go and dig into my soul. You’d find nothing,”
Amarachi wanted to chase after him but couldn’t run on her high-heeled shoes. “Be thankful to God that I’m not on flat shoes,” she said and smiled.

“I love the spirit here,” Uremma said, still feeling uneasy for visiting the same compound she was used to. “I can’t forget the way we laughed at you the day you came to drop some goods with your truck. This life is funny,”
Amarachi remembered that there were a group of girls that laughed at her the first day she delivered goods to the house for Mr. Okoyeocha. She was so surprised that Uremma was among the girls.

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“I must say that I’m surprised,” Amy said and smiled, and then held her by the hand as they went to the clinic.
“I have some many reasons to keep saying that I’m sorry, but…”
“Kill it,” Amy said abruptly and stroked her golden long wig, “you look cute always,”
“All thanks to you for lending me the hair,” she said and they started laughing thinking that Harry heard what she said about putting on Amy’s wig but he didn’t.
Harry looked serious and thinking as they walked down to the clinic, even though the contagious laugher got his chin moving smilingly.


It was surprising to Uremma and Amarachi how they suddenly became best friends, just like sisters, and not the arch enemies they used to be a couple of months back. Let’s say that hardship gets one humble while the meek always remains the winner.
Getting to the ward, Akunna was seen being fed by Ego Oyibo, not because she couldn’t use her hands but Ego Oyibo felt for her so much that she started treating her like her biological daughter. Ego Oyibo is the kind of woman that is easily seduced by sympathy, and that reflects on her character unwittingly.


“Hmm, who’s being fed, bikonu?” Uremma said and rushed to Akunna and embraced her while Amarachi watched, with her hand still resting on the entrance door.
Amy was elated and happy as she watched the scene, feeling so happy that Akunna later came back to life and didn’t die as the dream made it seem.


“How you, dear?” Akunna said indistinctly but audible enough. She was still convalescing; hence, the need to take speeches slowly to avoid the stress of the mind and body.


Amarachi walked towards them, collected the food from Ego Oyibo, “Mom, I can help out from here. You’ve tried a lot already,” she tapped Akunna on the cheek and said, “small baby, omomo, open your mouth and eat, oya,”
Akunna smiled and felt so happy. She opened her mouth, so Amy began to feed her. The more she looked directly into Amy’s eyes, the more she regretted her past betrayal against her.
Her tears couldn’t be stifled because she just imagined the scenario when she drugged her and gave her the strange tattoo.


Amarachi needed no words to know the message of the tears, so she stopped feeding her and waited for her to dry her tears, but she was surprised that the emotion overtook her and she became teary too.


Uremma wasn’t left out in this because she got the imagery of the entire plans with Akunna rumbling in her mind’s eye. So she left the bedside and went to the couch, sat quietly and hunched over her lap and began to cry.
Ego Oyibo was confused, not knowing who to console among the three girls. She quickly went to the drawer, brought out a tissue and shared amongst them. “I think these can help, my children,” she said and gave her tissues. She forced herself to remain strong because she’d have joined but that would make the tearful mood more ignited.

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The ladies collected the tissues but Uremma didn’t. She was heartbroken as she remained arched and weeping. After a while, as she couldn’t control herself, she raised her eyes to the roof as the tears travelled from her cheek to her lips and said: “I wish I could just take back my words and actions in the past, right my wrongs and keep my record straight,”


Grave silence deafened at this point as Ego Oyibo watched them speechlessly and unable to utter a word.
Confusion loomed in her mind. She wanted to talk but her words were lost in solitude and crippled by silence.
“Few words that are spoken in anger or actions taken imprudently can destroy a long-lasting relationship,” Akunna muttered with tears of sorrow, “even though we may be sorry and take back our words, but can an action be taken back.

The scars would remain even when forgiveness is evident,”
Ego wasn’t privy to the wrong done to Amarachi in the past but she’d been hinted, so she wasn’t really in the dark but still not thoroughly furnished with the details.


“If I knew my daughter well,” Ego said, creating attentiveness among them, “Amarachi isn’t a girl that keeps grudges,” she opined and went to Amy’s side as she got stuck to the bedside still carrying the food flask with her, and the spoon still resting casually between her fingers, “Amarachi forgives unconditionally. She’s a girl of peace, and will never allow her friends turn to enemies. She’s a girl with heart of gold,” Ego added and patted Amy on the back, with her eyes fixed to her daughter’s teary eyes,

“she’s pained when her friends suffer. She wouldn’t mind suffering just for her friends to be happy. No wonder she left her truck and Akara business just to help her friends in school,”
Amarachi’s tears possessed her eyes and made them blurry but she still went to her mom and shushed her because the tribute was elating, emotional, and nostalgic.


“Ego Oyibo, Nnem,” Amy called with tenderness, “I thank you for the speech, I’m flattered too but I don’t like being praised so that it wouldn’t affect me. Uremma and Akunna are sisters to me and nothing would ever make me remember their sordid past. We’re moving forward now, with a common goal that has united us,”
Amy’s speech was a solace to her friends, making their tears to dry up. Their faces metamorphosed into angelic smiles and friendly chuckles.

They were so proud of her to an extent that Uremma went to her and embraced her. The two girls went to Akunna, pulled her up and they all encircled each other in their friendly arms.
At this point, Ego Oyibo’s tears became pronounced. She had to use the tissue too to get her eyes cleaned and dried.


After the emotional moment, Akunna cleared her throat and said: “Amy, keep the food. I think I’m okay now,”
Amarachi kept the food and still stood beside the bed with Uremma.


“Seems you have information to pass,” Amy said as she looked pitifully at Akunna, “go on, please,” Amy dropped the food flask and covered it. The spoon fell and clanked as she tried to position it well on the drawer. She picked it and kept it back in position.


Ego started leaving because she knew that there could be a secret that the three girls wouldn’t want her to be abreast of.
“Mommy, you don’t need to go,” Akunna said, making Ego to stop, and then closed the door so that the information would remain a secret if Akunna didn’t want it to be heard by any other person outside those in the ward.
“You can now talk, my daughter,” Ego said and came closer too.


After taking a deep breath, Akunna said: “When someone is initiated into the brotherhood or sisterhood, you’d think that there are benefits just as we were made to believe when we were newbie,” Uremma nodded in agreement with her speech because she had the experience too. “I was promised the position of the queen by professor Nwoko who happens…”
“What!” Amarachi snarled with surprise.
The entire women in the room were surprised, even Uremma who never knew that the professor was among the cartel.


“Are you sure of this?” Uremma asked looking surprised because through her dad, she knew many of the cartel members but not Professor. “How was I not in the know?”
“I think it’s because of a personality clash between your dad and the professor,” Akunna said looking so bothered still.


Amarachi was so surprised that professor Nwoko was among the men that overheat the polity.
“My daughter, are you sure your strengths can lead you on with the revelation?” Ego asked as a caring mom to be sure the young girl was fit.


“I’m stronger than you think, ma,” Akunna said and smiled, “believe me when I say that I couldn’t wait to get out from the coma just to reveal these,” she added with a deep sense of achievement, “the entire things happened in this ward were like dreams to me. There was even a time I talked with Amarachi but couldn’t remember what we discussed about,”


That last sentence got Amarachi afraid and surprised because it was the exact trance she passed through that Akunna dreamt about too, but she didn’t talk but kept listening.
“Go on,” Uremma urged.


“Professor Nwoko and Ozo Odenjinji are arch enemies right now,”
Akunna went on, “even though the professor is much younger, he’s stronger than we all could imagine; both in mind and spirit. But generally, he’s a good man,”
Amarachi picked the bottle of water from the fridge and gave Akunna to drink. “You may need it for your strength,” she said and gave Akunna to drink.


Akunna was so happy the way Amy treated her. She took a sip of the water and gave her back to keep.
“Professor Nwoko was the one that got the juggernaut involved in my case that led to my release,” Akunna continued, getting Amy so interested to know who the Juggernaut was.


“Please, who’s this juggernaut that I’ve heard severally?” Amarachi asked listening with rapt attention and interest.
“Igwe Akajiaku 1 of Okporo is the juggernaut,” Akunna revealed, getting everyone bewildered and wowed.
“Dave’s father?” Uremma asked absently as she got more confused because the last time she checked, Dave’s dad had nothing with the cartel and wasn’t even a member of any fraternity.
Amarachi sat on the bed because she suddenly developed trembling feet when she had that Dave’s dad who disowned his son was involved with the deadly group.


“Let her continue,” Ego Oyibo urged, so that the revelations wouldn’t last long to avoid being hindered by intrusion of a visitor to the private ward.
Quietude returned again and stole the moment while everybody became attentive for more.
“Do not be too quick to judge,” Akunna said and smiled, “The king of Okporo is a man respected and even feared by all and sundry because of his influence, connections and high spirit. The cartel was afraid of him, but he wasn’t a member,”


Amarachi heaved a deep sigh of relief because she knew that if fate allows it, she’d end up with Dave, and she wouldn’t want a dubious father-in-law or someone drowned in fetishism.
She was happy hearing that the King of Okporo was a man of honour and not ignoble like Ozo Odenjinji.
“So how did you get released,” Amarachi asked and placed her hands on the bed to support her aching back.
“I wasn’t released but rescued,” Akunna said, making them surprised and curious.
“This is getting interesting,” Ego Oyibo said and adjusted her wrapper as the gossip became friendlier to her hearing.


“Dave wasn’t tortured because the cartel was afraid of his dad meddling in their ritualistic business,” Akunna replied in continuation of the story, “I was tortured, molested, assaulted and maimed,” she said and pulled up the bedsheet and showed them that one of her toes were already mutilated during the ritual of terminating her tenure as the queen mother.
“This is inhuman,” Uremma blurted with anger, “my dad must pay for this,”
“He’s not your dad,” Akunna added, getting everybody more shocked.


Uremma began to faint as the information landed with a hefty blow on her that got her ear tingled. As she was about to collapse, Ego and Amarachi rushed at her and held her while Akunna tried to help too but she couldn’t get up from the bed to do the strenuous job.
“You may need to stop now,” Ego Oyibo said as they slowly made Uremma sit.
After a while of rest as Uremma tried to understand what Akunna just said, she smiled angrily and said: “Continue,”


Amarachi held Uremma closely to find solace in her companionship and then held her by the nape. “Are you okay with the decision?” she asked.
“I wished he wasn’t my dad and now it seems to be a dream coming through,” she said as she felt consoled, “I’m eager to hear it and I’m more eager to meet my real dad,”
Akunna observed Uremma and felt that it was better she knew the truth than being kept in the darkness of vagueness.


“Ozo Odenjinji used Uremma as a money-making machine,” Akunna said and looked at Uremma whose heart was broken, “he has a maximum number of years he was meant to make use of Uremma before discarding her to die. Initiating her to the slay queens was a way of making her more powerful. I overheard them talk about one madwoman whose lineage brings fortune and wealth. According to him, Uremma’s mom and the madwoman were twin sisters. Or was it that Uremma was a daughter to the madwoman? I can’t really be sure, but there is a connection she has with the mad woman,”


“Wait, what are you trying to say?” Amarachi cut in, “did he mention the name of the madwoman?” she asked with utmost curiosity, “did he mention any name like Mkpulumma?”
Akunna remained mute thoughtfully as she went down memory lane to know if she could remember vividly or in parts what she heard but she couldn’t.


“I really can’t tell,” Akunna replied, making Amarachi more intense.
“Does it mean that Uremma is my sister?” Amarachi asked looking both confused and bewildered.
Uremma didn’t understand that part but was so keen to, so she got up from her sitting position and went to the bedside to understand it well.


“Don’t be too quick to conclude because this is just hearsay and we’re yet to get the real truth from the Ozo,” Ego Oyibo advised, making Amarachi calm down but that never stopped Uremma from that quest to dig for answers.
“Amy, can you explain please,” Uremma said and held her by the shoulder observing her closely to know if she could spot a resemblance with her, “are you a sister of mine?”
Thinking about Ego Oyibo’s caution, Amarachi didn’t want to go on with that conclusion until the truth is revealed from the horse’s mouth.


“I don’t know again,” Amarachi said in a foggy tone, “My mom died a madwoman, though she wasn’t twin,” she added to weather the storm until when the chips are down.
“As I said, let’s have more evidence or be hopeful that one comes up to get all these mysteries solved,” Ego informed, making everyone calm.
As lots of questions and curiosity thrived among them, calmness set it; each person thinking about her part and how to get the mystery solved.


“But how did you get to know all these?” Amarachi asked. Others nodded in support of the intelligent question.
“They cut my toes,” Akunna proceeded, “according to the ritual, my toe would be cooked for the incoming queen mother to eat it, signifying that she’s finally going into the shoes of the outgoing Queen who would be murdered. They make us believe that the outgoing or retiring slay queen ends her life in the UK or any country of her choice but we never knew they murder them in cold blood.”


Uremma couldn’t bear this because she just realised why her dad kept forcing her to go into ‘Akunna’s shoes’ without knowing that what he actually meant was for her to eat her maimed toe. She shrugged with disgust as her hatred for her dad escalated.


“Aku, does it mean that you ate someone’s toe before becoming the leader?” Uremma asked, sounding uninformed.
“Yes, I did,” she replied regrettably and hissed, “Yuck! I was outwitted to believe that it was the toe of a gorilla but never knew the real truth behind the ritual. I don’t want to remember other things that happened then during my initiation,”


“It was unheard of that such people still existed in the society,” Amarachi said out of anger, “I think it’s time we took the bull by the horn,”
“I’m with you, Amy baby” Uremma said with anger, “let’s deal with this man and end his reign for once,”


“Dave was rescued because the juggernaut ordered his immediate release, though he didn’t want his son to know about his involvement in getting him freed,” Akunna informed, “but in my case, even though professor Nwoko intervened by alerting the king of Okporo, I still wasn’t granted freedom until his men came for a rescue mission. There was a shootout because I couldn’t be freed without a fight. In the fight, the two parties lost some men but I was still rescued,”


They were all so surprised to hear this. They never knew that Akunna went through such.
“What’s the location of this ritual, or do I say animalistic gesture?” Uremma asked while others listened.
“Ogbunike Cave,” she replied, “many people come for tourist visits but never knew that there was a part hidden away from the public where such treacherous and inhuman activities take place,”


Ego snapped her finger severally because she’d always heard Mkpulumma talking about Ogbunike without even knowing what she meant by that. A madwoman could reveal lots of things according to her dementedness but couldn’t express it in a way that a listener could make meaning out of it.

AMARACHI THE BEAUTIFUL POOR CHILD
#OpraDre


To be continued….

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