Truth

Walking down the only path that led to the Asabike river, my legs hurt from the long distance of trek.

I had no pot in my hands, so I was not going to fetch water. But I was holding a white egg in my hand.

No reason whatsoever came to mind as to why I plodded down the hill, grazing my barefoot against the rocks and the chirping of birds singing sorrowful melodies into my ears.

People would say that I was cursed, some would say I was possessed, while others would say I was living under a spell.

People don’t just label you evil except when they are given the reasons to. I was sure I had given them every reason to think me evil or cursed. I was not a normal child. Not that I was deformed in any way, but I knew everything about me was weird.

I began to notice this the night I sat with papa on a mat, the cold breeze caressing my skin as we waited on mama to serve the dinner. Papa was telling me a tale of a girl child who was haunted by an evil spirit and how neighbors avoided her like she was a pile of shit.

Soon, mama appeared with the food, a speck of golden light from the moon highlighted the twirling movement of the heat rising from the food.

What happened next after mother stumbled took my breath away. I could not possibly have caught the food in midair because I was nowhere near. But as I held out my hands, I levitated the food.

All through that night mama fought the tears while papa shuddered. An all-knowing look on their faces. They seemed to know what was going on but mama only said that the great dibia (witch doctor) would handle it.

A few nights after the incident, he began to appear in my dreams—a chubby man with a big moustache and a sagging stomach. He told me it was time to leave. He said I was a gift he gave to mama fifteen years ago and he had come to take me home.

“Why are you taking back your gift?” I had asked once and he answered that mama was not keeping to her own end of their bargain, the bargain he never told me.

I spent night after night with the great dibia, making animal blood sacrifices so as to free me from the spirit man. Fear stung when I remembered papa’s tale. I prayed to the gods not to have the same fate as the girl child in his tale.

“You must make a choice between your mother or the spiritual being,” the great dibia had told me the last night I spent with him. “Smash the white egg when you get to the river if you wish to break free from the spirit man, but save the egg if you want to live with him on the other side of the world.”

Now, as I near the river, the rush of water hit my ears and the man in my dreams was standing right inside the water, beckoning to me.

I was going to smash the egg so I would live on, but then mama had hidden the truth all along. On the other hand, the spirit man had always been truthful.

My name is Eziokwu (Truth). I will always stand by the truth. I held the egg tightly in one hand, clasping hands with the spirit man with the other, as we walked into the water, sinking into the depths until we were lost from the earth.

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