Rich River Books
#BEAUTY_IS_A_BURDEN (a novel) (32)
… After long hours of incantation and pouring of libation, it finally broke and other items like a live bald chicken with shaggy feathers and seven seeds of alligator pepper were applied before the boy from the curse finally could be released.
They were still helping themselves to their mean snacks when an ageing wiry hunter with a shotgun across his shoulders and a teenage assistant carrying a bulging smoke-browned sack, approached them from the same direction they had come from. It was Itakwa, the legendary hunter, the man who shot a baboon and it fell from a tree and landed and clung death-tight to a wild pig which squealed for dear life. Hearing the commotion and running to complete his unfinished business with his smoking gun, he stepped on a tortoise and slipped and to steady himself, the creeper he held to as support turned out to be his most cherished vegetable, the afang. Looking up at the young tree the afang climbed, it turned out to be the popular ukako used as chewing stick and as he was about felling the tree, he had to swiftly duck from the rain of snails falling about him. Itakwa returned home that day with assistance he begged from a handful of youths in a nearby tent with a dead baboon, a wild pig, a live tortoise and seven giant snails, a good bundle of ukako logs and a sack full of afang. The story was told in all the palm-wine bars in Awi and it went round the village and beyond. But those who knew Itakwa and knew him well, would readily swear: Itakwa killed more with his lips than gun.
On seeing the hunter, weak smiles for a time chased away the sadness on some faces.
‘Ete Ita,’ Okon greeted the elderly man. ‘We shot the baboon today but it flew across the ocean. Who would find it for us?’ he said playfully.
‘You of course,’ Itakwa answered and laughed out loud. ‘It’s your baboon. You must swim across and get it, son.’
Laughter broke out.
TO BE CONTINUED.
© Godwin Inyang