Act Of Faith
Episode: Episode 1
Title: A spy is back
” I sat in the extreme back seat of the long slow and Steady bus,yeah, that was the name of the bus, slow and Steady. It has been six years now and am going back home. I have spent most of my years training as a spy and also a crime fighter, it had not been easy but nothing good ever comes easy. I rose from a family of five children, I am the second child and unlike other middle born, I happen to be choleric. I grew up in the small village of Atata in the eastern region. I am not naturally from the east but that was where I grew up. I attended the local primary school, I also finished my secondary school and then my uncle decided to take me to the city, it was there I got trained to be a spy, my uncle actually registered me in the institute. We were given tough trainings, I learned to climb trees like monkeys, squeeze myself through tiny holes like earthworms and Cats, fight against bigger boys in camp, eat stone like breads and fight for my right. Some of us died in camp, only the fittest survived. Some had to fight wild animals for their lives, some died during what we call test of faith, while others during trainings. One thing about us is that, no matter what happens, you are never to reveal your identity as a spy. Thank God for me, after everything, the ups and downs, I finally made it alive, but my face have a different story to tell. I was still handsome but not like I used to be. My name is Gabriel, I am a 24 year old spy, am going back home now after six years, not going home to be useless, I’m going to rest until the institute have a mission for me. The bus finally entered Atata village , the place had not changed a bit, it was still how it was six years back when I left the village. The ground was still filled with red sand, try trekking down a little bit and you will gladly have a beautifully decorated red trouser, you would be so lucky if the trouser happens to be a white one. Okay, back to reality, my name is Gabriel and after six years am coming back home. I nodded my head to the song being played from the small radio in the bus ♪ hello my friend have you been, yesterday are back again …♪
• Eze Ani the chief priest of Ani stood in front of the igwe and his cabinet members, he was holding his long iron rod with which he would hit on the ground at intervals, I had come to the palace with my dad, my dad had actually brought me to show me to the igwe, his long time son is back. ” igwe, the gods are angry” Eze Ani the chief priest of Ani shouted after a while as he hit his iron rod on the tile floor of the igwe palace, he is an old man probably in his eighties, he is a tall thin man that looks like he was going to fall any moment but no, the man stood strong, where he got his strength from, no one knows. Beside him is a young woman, probably in her thirties, she was weeping sorrowfully, in her hand lies a dead young man, a teenager to be precise, probably her son or brother. ” Eze Ani, please speak up, what have we done to deserve this, why is it during my reign that my people starts dying like chickens? What have we done to anger the gods?” The igwe spoke shaking his hands, the igwe is also an elderly man. ” Ani has refused to speak, there shall be more deaths, more more people are still going to die, blood will flow” Eze Ani the chief priest of Ani said. ” This boy should not be buried, let his body be thrown into the forest of Ani” the chief priest of Ani said again as he hit his iron rod on the floor and chanted out. I looked at the dead boy, he had a cut in his stomach region, by my level of experience I knew it would be a sword cut . That was a bit surprising, does that mean the gods go about killing people with sword? I asked myself. My mom has once told me that the gods are mysterious and can kill anyhow, but d–n it, I am a Christian, I dont believe in gods, I believe in God. ” Ah, my good friend the wine tapper” the igwe hailed my dad, all the elders had left, they left after Eze Ani, none of them seems to like the igwe, they believe he brought all this deaths upon their land, the body of the dead guy was also carried away by the king’s guards, it was wrapped in a white cloth, it was to be dumbed in the forest of Ani. ” Igwe eee,may you live longer than your ancestors” my father greeted as he prostrated in front of the igwe, I also prostrated but did not say anything. ” Get up omiyi my friend” the igwe said to my dad and my dad obeyed, the igwe then looked at me , he narrowed his eyes to help him have a clearer view of me. ” Omiyi, is this not that your son that went to the city some years back?” The igwe asked my father. ” yes igwe, so you still remember him?” My father replied him. ” Oyinbo, come here” the igwe called me , I went to him and knelt down. ” my son may you live long” the igwe said as he touched my head with a small rod. ” Amen” I said while the Igwe laughed. ” Oyinbo, you should say iseee” he corrected me. ” iseee” I said as I got up. Oyinbo, isn’t my name, it is actually a way of calling a white man. Me going to the city has automatically made me a white man. ” Oyinbo, I hope you are going to help your father in bringing his fresh palm wine to me everyday?” the king asked while I nodded, imagine a trained spy now turned a palm wine server. We stayed a little bit long in the king palace, the king even served us kola, I took it but did not eat, I simply dont like kolas. As a little child, I have heard so much about the forest of Ani, they say it happens to be filled with bodies of those who died mysteriously. Rumour has it that the spirits of those people normally roam round the land of Atata at night, that is why if you listen well in the midnight, you are sure to hear strange sounds. When I was much younger, I had actually believed all this rubbish but as the years went by, after all my exposure, I concluded that it was just trash, mere trash and those strange sounds you hear at night are either from crickets or owls. I and my father left the palace happily that day, it was a nice time with the igwe. I happen to be the most favourite child of my dad even as a little boy,my dad isn’t tgat a young man, he is in his forties. You know, this village men, they give birth to children anyhow. He gave birth to his first child, my elder sister at the age of 18, I happen to be his second child , I have two younger sisters and a brother, they are all in secondary school, the village secondary school to be precise. ” Oyinbo, from tomorrow, you will start helping me in my wine business” my dad said as we walked back home. ” Dad, why don’t you stop this wine business, I have made enough money to help you open..” I was interrupted. ” My son, my fathers did this wine business, from this wine business, I had been able to train you all in school, I can not stop it ” my dad said smiling and patting me, I just had to comply with him, does the fact that your fathers did the business make the business unchangeable? I asked myself again, anyways that was their belief.
• My immediate younger brother is John, if am not mistaken, he should be 18 years now. He is the most handsome of us, he is fair , tall and muscular as I am , he is in his final class in secondary school, his ambition is to be a lawyer. I had also wanted to be a medical doctor but condition changed it for me. Anyways I am more happy now as a spy , I get paid for doing nothing, of course I deserve to be paid after all those killer trainings we went through. The fourth child, Linda, she happens to be a talkative, she is 16 years and got no respect for anyone, she is the most stubborn of us all, she goes about the village fighting people, especially boys, she hates boys, I just dont know why. The last child is Charity, yeah her name is charity, she is very calm and behaves exactly like me, she is cool and fun to be with. She is 12 years and the most intelligent of us all.
My first sister is married, she stays with her husband in a neighbouring village, her name , faith, she should also be in her twenties like me, but in her late twenties
My mom use to be the most beautiful village maiden when she was much younger, she also happens to be the best dancer during her time, it was her dance steps that brought my dad to her.
” Dad , what is all this deaths about?” I asked my dad as we walked home that day.
” My son, I fail to believe that the gods are actually responsible for all this” my dad whispered to me as he turned his neck left and right like a gossiper.
What do you mean dad? ” I asked my old man . ” I just find it difficult to believe that the gods of our land are the one doing this, the gods can’t just decide to punish us for nothing. If we had truly offended the gods, they should have asked us for sacrifice like they had always asked” My dad said again ” Dad do you have any proof that the gods are not the one doing this?” I asked him smiling but he shook his head the negative. ” I am just thinking so, never in history has the gods decided to start killing its people most especially the youths” he said while I laughed. ” maybe the gods are angry and doesn’t want sacrifices ” I told my dad , ” Angry over what?” He asked me, ” Angry over something you guys might have done sometimes back” I said to myself but found it difficult to believe that the gods happen to be serial killers.
• As a spy, I have to always be secretive, no one is meant to know my true identity, not even my family members except of course my uncle, he was the one who registered me in the institution, he surprisingly happens to be part of the founder of the institute in the late eighties, not even my dad knows of it. They only knew I went to the city to acquire the white man’s knowledge. I had come back home the previous day with just my travelling bag and a briefcase, the travelling bag contained my clothes and the briefcase, contained my spying tools, like my small pistol and some small knives. The briefcase is locked in such a way that I alone can open it, a type of security lock.
• We finally got home after the long trekking with my dad, my once green trouser had gotten a new red decoration, all thanks to the dust from Atata road. My mom was roasting yam in a small hut which serves as our kitchen, my younger ones were with her. ” Mama, good evening” I greeted trying to prevent the smokes from the firewood with which the yam was being roasted from getting into my eyes. ” My son,you and your father just left us alone since morning, you know it has been six years now of not seeing you, you should always be by my side ” she said turning the yam over, my dad must have entered into his quarters, he didn’t branch to greet, he knew his wife wont let him rest with complains of him not coming back early. ” Were you not hungry?” my mom asked me again, ” Of course mom, we were hungry and that was why we came back now, we should have stayed a bit longer” I said smiling while she looked at me and hissed. ” What took you people so long in the palace?” She asked me again, this time my siblings had all gone in. ” Mom, whats up with all this death stuff here and there?” I asked her as she turned the yam again. Unlike my dad, my mom happens to be an indigene of Atata, my dad had met her when he had came to witness their new yam festival, that was a long time ago. The singular fact that my mom is an indigene of Atata land explains why she so much believe all this their ancient stuff. ” my son, the gods are angry, no young girl or boy is safe in this land again, they die day by day, even the elderly ones are not safe again in this village, there had been some few cases of the old ones also being killed mysteriously” my mom told me without looking up at me. ” Does it mean that the gods kill people with swords?” I asked her smiling. ” my son, the gods can kill anyhow they want, they can make one’s death look real or mysterious” my mom said again while I nodded and also went inside to rest, leaving my Mom alone in the small hut . Sooner or later, I plan to renovate this whole house.
• I sat in my room that evening, the room was a small tight one. I wonder why my family does not want to follow me to the city, I have a well furnished bungalow there. As I sat that evening, I remembered the mark of the sword made on that dead guy, with that mark, I was convinced that the gods must be good at sword fight, we can’t tell if they are part of those Chinese gods, they might be well trained, skillful sword fighters. I tried picturing the scene of how the whole incidence must have happened,the young man must have been coming out from his hut that morning, probably going to the farm and then as he came out he was met by a sword circling the air, just as he was about to run away, the sword came down and cut him. How else could it have happened if not that way, very typical of African belief, and thanks to Nigerian movies, they made us believed all these. ” But let’s come to think of it, does these so called gods really exist?” I asked myself but got no answer. ” I dont know what to believe anymore” I said to myself after a while . ” Come of it gabi, you are a well trained spy, you shouldn’t believe in all those superstitions” I said to myself again but I remembered I slept off that night still contemplating if anything like “the gods” really existed.
• Droplet of spherically shaped water could be seen hanging at the tip of a leaf of the avocado tree in the middle of our compound, at intervals, the drop would fall and another one would take its place. I stood outside tying a wrapper like the way most Young men of Atata normally tied theirs, I was carrying a wine keg and a cutlass. I had never for once ever tapped palm wine but today, I have decided to give it a try. I adjusted the wrapper which I tied across my arms, I wore a black singlet beneath it which made me look different from other young men of Atata who would only tie the wrapper beneath their bare chest. I whistled a song at I left my father big compound, I was heading to the Atata village stream. The Atata stream isn’t a very big one as one would imagine, but the unique thing about it was that it happened to be surrounded with palm trees,not only palm trees but other trees although the palm trees dominated. That’s where men tap their wine from. I didn’t go with the climbing rope, you dont really expect a trained crime fighter like me to climb a common palm tree with a rope. I got to the stream after some minutes of trekking, there was no one there, even the village maidens had not come to fetch water or have their bath yet. I remembered as a little boy then, I would sneak away from home at the exact time the maidens of Atata are to have their bath and head to the stream to have a clear view of something beyond me, I usually take cover among the small trees near the stream then, I dont miss such things. I looked around for a matured palm tree and climb up it like a cat, the keg was at my back while the cutlass was by my side, it was in its s—t. I did the normal thing, and then tied the keg on the tree to receive the fresh wine till the next day. I came back to the ground after I was done . I turned around to go back home, and then I saw Joy approaching,she was coming to fetch water. Joy happen to be that girl who I had been trying so hard to get since my childhood days but couldn’t, she also happen to be my neighbour, she lives with her parent opposite my father’s house. I sure is not the only one trying to get her, virtually all the village young men . Who wouldn’t want to have the village most beautiful maiden as his girl? Call her Joy or Adanna, she is the village most beautiful maiden.