HAPPY NEW MONTH!! Ushered in with torrents, it appears this will be a happy month indeed. Good morning earthling, a mass invasion is currently occurring. Oladimeji Ojo premiers his mini series today “MAYDAY”, you all are invited to follow the thread of the six part series all in one day.
Posted here is episode four, episode one begins HERE
Jump right in, enjoy the ride —
Unbelief is a tragedy. Not for the mortals whose faith has gone the way of the dung beetle, rolling excreta along barren wastelands, but for the deity. The immortal with memories of the eons when their praise willingly fell from mortal lips and sacrifices wet their waiting beaks. To them, unbelief is a drought, one they must endure, finding succor only in the occasional paltry offering often grudgingly offered with muttered supplication. Unbelief is death, but immortals cannot die.
For Yemoja, the story was different, the people knew better than to doubt her existence, to fish in her sacred waters. Too often she had showed them that she lived. When an Oba got too comfortable in his own skin and approved the building of a bridge across her back without supplication or offering at her altar, she took her sacrifice in human form, its meat was just as good as chicken, the life force more valuable.
All she missed was the reverence, the respect, when the faith was strong, the people did not venture into the water en masse, soiling it with their urine except where permitted. They did not sit at her bank and fornicate, they did not dare murder themselves with her rivers, the people of old knew better, they hung themselves.
Her presence still hung around its old haunting grounds, hovering, never settling, sometimes a dark cloud, a large fish or even an old woman, it was the only human form she truly possessed, youth she could have only through a human host.
Now, she was sitting beneath the 3rd Mainland Bridge off the coast of Lagos, wrinkled face pointed upwards towards the moon, she knew Osu was watching her, he always did. She didn’t like what she knew he would see but she wouldn’t change her appearance for his benefit, it was beneath her. Her bones were obvious through the skin, stretched over it like aged parchment, her hair was done up in the traditional shuku, interlaced with cowries, in her hand was a short staff, the length of her forearm, she kept turning it over as though absentmindedly as she lounged beneath the bridge.
She recalled the lives she had taken for the building of this monstrosity that snaked across her back. The longest in Africa they had said, the highest death toll in the world was her reply, and she intended to keep to her word, until she was appeased, the Oba of Lagos offering his virgin daughter to her. She had possessed the young lady, wreaked havoc upon the city in the adolescent’s body until the bridge was complete, then she drowned her and returned to the waters to rest.
That was 1990, almost a quarter of a decade ago, the last time she had walked in the world of man.
Now she was watching the University of Lagos, calling to memory her time in that world, in that school, there were many of her daughters in that institution now, sometimes they came to the lagoon front to show their respect often with small offerings, no more white fowls and cowries, instead it was money they had gotten from lovers, shoes, bags and sometimes semen, freshly obtained from their marks. How the times had changed.
When the young lady hit the water, Yemoja spat in disgust, another suicide. The moment the human tasted the salt, Yemoja knew her story as sure as she knew that there were 12 vessels heading across the Atlantic towards various ports in Africa and that only 10 of them would make it all the way (a goddess had to eat). It was a complete knowledge, the way you know the length of your arm or the position of your mouth even blindfolded, everything that touched the water became part of her and she knew it more intimately than it knew itself. She knew that the young woman trying to murder herself in the lagoon pined after a man, a man who had just died. For the man and for the children she gave up for him. Three of them, snuffed out like a candle’s flame by the breeze of abortion pills.
The goddess would have granted the human her wish and let her drown, but in her heart she felt a kindred sorrow, the sorrow borne of the deepest love there was, the sorrow of a mother. She knew that sorrow intimately, was she not the mother of all living things in the waters? Was she not hurt when mankind tossed spears, hooks, trawlers into her being and pulled up her children for food and for sport? If they would only take that which they needed to survive she would understand, it was the way of nature, but they were a wasteful race, fat greedy children suckling at the breast of Eledumare.
The goddess slipped into the water and was no more, in that instant, the body that was once the exclusive preserve of Abisola Williams became home to something else, something ancient. When that body exited the water, it was completely dry and though Abisola could see and hear and think, her thoughts did not control her limbs, she had no voice, she could not turn her own head. She knew she shared her body with something strange, something stronger.
Standing in the dirt, that thing took off her shoes and patted her clothing, her dowdy clothes rippled, her body along with it, like the surface of a lake in the wake of pebble tossed from the banks. When she was still, the only thing recognizable was her face.
Abisola Williams had become taller, her previously chocolate skin paled out to a supple cream, soft to the eyes and the touch, glowing beneath the surface in a way that caught the eye, the kind of glow only the newly pregnant are familiar with, her breasts had become heavier, rounded, they sat high on her chest, flanked by a sloping body that settled in a small waist, the pause was temporary, that slope travelled outwards again to form wide hips, narrow enough that they did not appear contrived, wide enough that they set off her waist. Coral beads had appeared on them, resting on the outside of the aquamarine gown she now wore. The gown was simple, it would have been a wrapper but for the absence of any visible folds, a mere slip, fashioned out of sequins shaped like cowries. It hung above her knees and shimmied with every step. When Abisola Williams walked away from the water, she was Yemoja.
Finding a man to offer her a lift wasn’t a task, she was afterall the most beatiful deity there was no matter what Aphrodite and Osun chose to believe. The young man who screeched to a halt as she walked towards the University’s gate was planning to either seduce her or to rape her, he didn’t care which, he intended to have her, she intended to find her way to a nightclub, she missed those. She made the suggestion, the thought of her defenses weakened by inebriation was agreeable to him, he didn’t notice that she wore no shoes, not even when she got in, not even parked outside Club Quilox when he reached out to stroke her thigh, seeking simply a taste of what the night had to offer and not until he was bent double in his car, drowning in seawater, poisoned by a kiss, watching the mother of fish walk away.
Inside the club, she sat at the bar, waiting to be approached. Humans, some knew instinctively to fear her and they avoided her gaze and stayed as far away as possible even though they didn’t know why. Others, numb to the things of the spirit writhed around her, occasionally gossiping about her, ‘who wears waist beads on the outside of a gown? Ara oko’, the goddess had whispered her response ‘Yemoja’.
The young lady had instantly developed a migraine that would eventually end in dementia. They were ignorant, unaware that the lady at the bar, the one that glowed in the darkness of the club, could kill them all with a thought.
She could see some of her daughters in the club, they recognized her but they knew to keep away when she was human. She swept the club again with her human eyes, pleased to have returned, disgusted at the weakling she had to share this body with.
Once Abisola had come to terms with the idea of her possession, she resigned herself to it. Curling up as it were and accepting her fate, she did not even bother to look, to enjoy the death of the pervert earlier, to take satisfaction from the execution of a man, one who was just like the man who had driven her to suicide. She was not worthy but the goddess had chosen her. She would endure the weakling and take pleasure in drowning her when she tired of this plane.
She first noticed the thing when one of her daughters went unconscious. She felt the hurt she had become accustomed to, less severe than the pain of loss, but a mother’s pain is real when her child is injured. It was close by, she searched with her consciousness till she found that child, slumped in the arms of what appeared to be a man. She knew once she laid eyes on him that he wasn’t, no man was that perfect, unblemished, but he was not a deity, he did not exude divinity. She did not care, she would seek vengeance, perhaps he could offer some excitement before she killed him.
She waited for him to notice her, they always did in the end, the water sits where it is and only ventures beyond its banks in wrath, all things come to it of their own accord. Eventually he did, after feeding off 3 more scantily clad girls and leaving them unconscious. She had watched him. They were drawn to him, by his money and his perfection, they would clamber onto his laps after a few minutes of conversation, he would whisper something to them and they would fall unconscious only to wake up minutes later and stagger away.
He didn’t come to her, he beckoned, she briefly debated whether to oblige him but she was intent on this hunt and he was the game. She walked to his alcove, the people between them moved out of the way, her coral beads hopped silently about as her bare feet thumped against the floor. He watched her approach, making eye contact until she sat opposite him. When he spoke, she knew he was old. The conversation was fluid, he had traces of the white man’s accent and decades of knowledge, more than was natural for any man. She waited, she could tell he desired her, but she could not read the nature of his desire as she would have had he been human.
When the invitation came, she did not hesitate. She sat in his lap, one hand around his neck, his skin was hard, unnatural, she wondered briefly if he could tell she was not human as well, then the whisper came except it wasn’t a whisper, he leaned in, his lips parted, she leaned towards him, eager to hear the secret he was to impart, then he sunk his teeth into her neck and started to drink.
Yemoja was startled at the sensation, then she started to laugh, as her chest heaved with the reverberation of the laughter making its way out of her chest and past her lips, Abisola’s blood, tainted by the salt of Yemoja’s essence flowed into the vampire’s mouth, lighting a trail of fire down his throat, to every part of his being, when the goddess pulled away, it was he who was weak and gasping.
She knew what he was, but he was a far cry from his African counterparts, they were little more than animals, hunting people and killing them, no subtlety, no discretion, certainly no culture.
“Blood drinker? Taa! Emi yeye omi. Kosi bi adiye se ma soriburuku to ki o yeyin dudu. Kosi bo se le baje fun inoki to ko pe obo loga. Omo ade kii foribale fomo eru. Emi Iya Olokun. Yemoja.”
The vampire fell to his knees, forced in that position by the words she spoke. He knew who she was now but it didn’t make sense to him how he could have drank of the mother of the ocean. Recovering from the damage her essence had done to him he knew with a certainty that if he had continued drinking he would not have survived and with that realization came a new thirst, a new desire, one that dwarfed his thirst for blood, that quenched it completely, extinguished it, a thirst for death.
He went on his knees before the Queen of the Coast in the crowded club, ignoring the stares and begged for death. Begged to drink of her again, to drink till he could drink no more. Yemoja hesitated, shocked by his request and afraid of the consequences, he hadn’t drunk enough to weaken her but she knew the loss of her essence had affected her. This was a first for her. What he was asking could weaken her till she was nothing more than a consciousness sharing a skull with the weakling whose body she inhabited.
She went with him, in part because she was curious, in part because she admired him, mostly because she was bored. He led her on foot, both of them running faster than human eyes were accustomed to seeing, to a close somewhere in Ikoyi, she remembered this place from her last sojourn, she had murdered a number of rich old playboys in one of the colonial style mansions of what had then been new money.
They jumped over the gate with the ease of a mountain goat leaping along a trail, simply pausing to leap, going in she smelled three humans lurking outside the gate, she knew he sensed them too but he was too eager for his death, too thirsty for it to care. Within the compound he slowed till they walked at a normal pace, up to the front door he pushed it open with a flourish and a mock bow, the goddess played along and curtsied. As soon as she stepped over the threshold she sensed the other being. She looked to the one who brought her, he was confused at first, then relieved. “Wait” he said and walked into the living room.
The oceans wait but they are not told to wait. Man, dead or alive cannot command the waters. Yemoja ignored the vampire and strode past him into the living room. When her eyes fell upon the other young human, frozen in his prime, the rough edges of his physique smoothened out by immortality, she felt a deep conflict. Abisola had seen the one thing her heart truly desired and for it she would battle the goddess for control.
The would be suicide struggled to move her own hands, her own lips, to hold her beloved, to speak his name. The vampire watched the goddess, frozen mid stride staring at the youngling he had recently created, then she begun to ripple, her skin like the surface of a river, coming to a slow bubble. He could almost hear the sound of rushing water, he wanted to touch her, but he knew better, the youngling looked on, still covered in the dirt from his grave, comically afraid.
When the rippling stopped, she crumpled to the floor, the goddess was gone, waist beads and all, the only remnant of her was the whiff of ocean breeze that hit him full in the face as the body fell. The young woman stood up, looked at the youngling, there was recognition in her eyes and in his.
She sprinted the short distance into his arms. The vampire wanted to warn her but it was too quick, the youngling wrapped his hands around her and sunk his teeth into her neck.
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