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Nairaland Forum / Entertainment / Literature / Odẹ́́gbèmí: A Tale Of Love, Hatred And Betrayal (one)--by Abiodun Adebayo (1012 Views)
The Enemy Within - A Tale Of Love, Lust And Betrayal / United In Betrayal / Blood For Blood:a Tale Of Treachery (2) (3) (4)
|Odẹ́́gbèmí: A Tale Of Love, Hatred And Betrayal (one)--by Abiodun Adebayo by oneafricanwriter(m): 10:07pm On Jan 22, 2016|
Hi. I am ABIODUN ADEBAYO, a writer of fiction. I hope you'd enjoy my first short story here on Nairaland. Please sit back, grab a cup of fruit juice and relax 'cause you're about to get your mind blown by a short tale spiced with love, and eventually got intertwined with betrayal and humiliation in a sort of village context...
You can't afford to skip a line.
Enjoy... And don't forget to drop your COMMENT--it's all a writer needs. Thanks.
Odẹ́́gbèmí; The Village Hunter.
He had never felt completely empty before. Not for once, not even when he had lost his enviable title as the chief hunter of Akinde village to Odesola—a young and progressive hunter—who overtook his well-regarded record. Odesola, in his own skillful ways had brought the head of Amotekun—the fiercest leopard that had crunched bones of countless hunters in Igbo Oyela forest—to the village square at dusk. He was summoned by the king—Oba Adepegba of Akinde Land that same evening, and he was rewarded with one of the most beautiful ladies… One of? No… the most beautiful lady in Akinde kingdom, Adesuwa; the daughter of Chief Adewole. He was also rewarded with plots of cocoa and cassava farms. Wealth, they say, had listened to Odesola’s cry at a tender age.
Odegbemi had lost respect and recognition since the very day Odesola brought Amotekun’s head into the village. Unlike Odesola, Odegbemi had only skinned Ojola--the largest python—three full moons ago. He had modestly presented the skinned python before the village elders, and the king had pronounced him ‘Ode Aperin of Akinde land.’ For many reasons, this title commanded utmost reverence within and beyond the village. It was a title of dignity, of intelligence, of bravery. But Odegbemi had lost it all… Not to an older hunter, not to his mate…but appallingly, to twenty-three year old agile Odesola. He was six years older than Odesola, and it soon dawned on him that age has no commensuration with accomplishments. Village elders and notable farmers greeted Odegbemi with droll smiles, and they pace away quickly, avoiding the soreness of being remorseful.
All but one person didn’t quit believing in him; the love of his life. His truest love that’d remained the focal point of attraction in the entire community. She had the kind of eyes that would sentence a man to an incessant disorder at the flash of her glance. Her teeth glowed white even in darkness with soothing smiles. Soft and fair skin, as if it’d never been seared by the village’s blazing sun. When she speaks, her soft voice echoes the whisper of nature, of the floras and faunas. Her well carved structure had sent village men—whether married or not—to reveries of infidelity. Skeptics around the village thought she’d evolved from the imaginary sea creature that has a woman’s head and body and a fish’s tail, mermaid. To them, only mermaids could be as beautiful as she was. Some even rumored that Odegbemi had casted a spell on her, a spell that won’t make her resist him. But their rumors and thoughts intrigued not even a bit of sway on their ever-green bond, neither did it affect what they felt about each other. All that was evident to them was love…true love. She loved Odegbemi, and for whatever reason, she couldn’t stomach an entire day without him. He was all she had longed since teen, the man of her dream.
One evening, they both sat beneath the Almond tree, making out for lost times as usual. The evening was beautiful. Sunlight tilted into the Almond tree, projecting patterns of dancing glows on the ground. And the air smelled nice… Of smoked fish. Maybe. A hen clucked loudly at the sight of a surveying hawk, and chicks ran into her feathers. And the chirpy songs of weavers eclipsed the sound of waving trees.
“Everything would be fine… just that you have to kill something bigger, extremely fat, for me. I believe in you,” she whispered, reassuring her dejected Odegbemi.
“I promise you… for you, I’ll kill Ekunsetan, the biggest cat in Igbo Oyela. And I will bring its bloodcurdling head before you, before the king; Oba Adepegba,” He replied convincingly.
“But you have to prove that on time Ololufemi. I’d rather drink from the witch’s pot than getting married to Odesola.”
“No…not when I’m still alive,” his face tightening into an ugly look, sprinkled with utmost desperation.
It was Adesuwa, the same daughter of chief Adewole. The love of Odegbemi.
Odesola was commended throughout Akinde village. His grandfather—Oderinde—had congratulated him times without number, patting Odesola’s back with his crumpled fingers. He was proud of his grandson; proud that he had brought the glory that seemed isolated from their family long before Odewale—Odesola’s father--was killed by Amotekun in a jungle combat. Despite he was twice as tough as Odesola, he couldn’t survive it. Palace guards were ordered to find Odewale whether dead or alive. After long period of relentless search, only his torn khaki and hunting pouch were retrieved from Igbo Oyela, beneath a giant Iroko tree. No other traces of him, except for the deep footprints of Amotekun that had patterned the surrounding forest floor where Odewale’s belongings were found. Odesola wept bitterly. He knew the cause of his father’s death already. Now, his only parent' gone; killed by a monster that he had eventually terminated its life with a well-targeted spear at the skull. Maybe this was why his victory had necessitated a huge celebration. He killed what killed his father…
Farmers had brought to Odesola’s house their harvest: fruits, cereals, tubers and vegetables. It was their way of congratulating him, and in a way, he was pleased with all of it. Akinolu had brought the best of his palm wines before Odesola, settling the keg beside the heaps of fruits. Asake—his second daughter—had assisted her father with the palm wine from his farm, about two kilometers away. She idled for few minutes as Odesola and her father spoke, hoping that the famous Odesola would pass a comment about her. But he didn’t. Though she was beautiful and attractive, and Odesola noticed that. ‘Adesuwa would double her beauty and still have left overs,’ he thought to himself as he reckoned Asake’s wary smile. Akinolu threw a dirty look at Asake from the corner of his eyes, wishing he had asked Aderonke—his third daughter—to come along instead.
Like the unswerving glow of fueled atupa, Adesuwa’s love for Odegbemi never stopped glimmering; neither did Odegbemi’s affection wan. Their love tautened with every passing second, minute, hours, days. On several occasion, they would sit under the Almond tree, in Odegbemi’s compound, making out for little lost time. He would follow her to the stream in the morning, and in the evening, she would shadow behind him to his father’s farm. She’d tell him about her dreams—to travel beyond the four walls of the village—and he’d hold her hands beneath the almond tree, look into her stunning eyes and assure her: “Orente mi, I promise you… even if it would cost my head.” Their unique kind of love had aroused jealousy, envy and abhorrence among villagers. And with time, the brains among the villagers intuited war between Odegbemi and Odesola—the two valiant hunters of Akinde Land.
Despite Odesola’s assent about Odegbemi and Adesuwa’s relationship, he still wasn’t going to cast-off the offer. He wasn’t going to ignore Adewole’s proposal just like that. He craved Adesuwa more than what Odegbemi could imagine. But he knew it wasn’t going to be a tranquil conflict, too. He’d have to fight for it. And it almost seemed like he was fully prepared for whatever cost. For a man who had murdered Amotekun the leopard in cold blood would face any human when the worst of situation unveils.
Adesuwa had had tough times at home with her father in the past couple of days. Regardless of whatever odds, he wanted Odesola for her, not Odegbemi. And his wish must abide. Not when he’s still the head of the family will he allow Adesuwa take decisions for him.
“My father brought your mother from Ayangalu… and I didn’t object,” Adewole said, softening his raised brows and fixing his gaze at his daughter. “Odesola is your spouse.”
“Baami… but I love Odegbemi. Baami… not Odesola,” she replied, sniffing beneath brimmed eyes.
“Ayangalu didn’t mind your mother’s choice. He wanted her for me.”
“Maybe Maami never had someone she truly loved then. Maybe she…”
“Adesuwa!” he screeched with a terrifying voice. He smashed his chest with the hand he had wrestled out of his agbada. “I am still your father.”
It was no news again in the village that Adesuwa would be married to Odesola, not Odegbemi, since Adewole had boastfully declared in the elder council’s meeting. And Oba Adepegba had displayed much delight as he announced the marriage at his palace while he addressed his chiefs and local farmers. The news spread like harmattan fire, and it had become the hit song of the village. Wherever two or more persons were gathered in Akinde, they were either talking about Adesuwa and Odesola or Adesuwa and Odegbemi. Whatever, Adesuwa was always in the picture. Gossips and rumors were tainted with self-conceived fictions. Some said Odegbemi’s spell had faltered. Others said they have seen Adesuwa couple of times in Odesola’s house. A terrible newsmonger once said Adewole had threatened to kill Odegbemi if he ceases to let his daughter be.
Owing to his nature, Odegbemi barely conveyed his disdain. He wasn’t that sort of person. He was calm and easy. As calm as still rivers shaded with bamboo trees. Not only was he calm, he was humble too. Unlike Odesola, he had never crowed about his title. And most times, his puny stature even denied his ousted title. But he was strong, and adorned with bravery.
It was seven days to Adesuwa’s matrimony. Seven days that would be the longest sort of days in Odegbemi’s life. The cain chair creaked under his rump as he sat heavily. He had quietly plodded his way to the Almond tree from his hut, after quaffing litres of palm wine he had gotten from Akinolu—his friend—who had come around for a brief talk. Akinolu was known for that. He was a loquacious being. Somehow, they were good friends. Akinolu had told him how prepared Odesola was the last time he visited. “Oba Adepegba is involved,” he added quietly. And he genuinely shared Odegbemi’s pain. “I wish I had some power that would cease Odesola’s breath for a moment,” Odegbemi said. And they both stared at each other for few seconds.
Odegbemi watched as twilight descended and the woods became still. Then, the moon lit the evening, and hung low behind the Almond tree. His neighbor’s dog growled stridently for no apparent reason. Goats bleated with their ears pointed, frightened by the dog’s growl. Tension and grief seemed to have stiffened the Almond-whiffed air around him. Thinking of Adesuwa now had suddenly become a headache. Something that had soothed his emotion now haunts his feelings. Though, he still couldn’t caution his racing thoughts. That Adesuwa hasn’t come to see him for days even worsened his condition. ‘But what could have happened to Adesuwa?’ he murmured.
He took the weight off the front limbs of the cain chair, resting its back against the Almond’s trunk. He quietly hummed a traditional song beneath his breath, hoping that he would wake up from his dream soon. His legs shook automatically, compelling his entire body into a steady motion. Squinting toward the moon, he felt something hot saturating his retina, and within a split second, it drifted toward his cornea and dripped down his bearded cheeks. Tears. It was the first time he cried for himself. A whole Odegbemi, former Ode Aperin of Akinde Land. No… impossible, it cannot be happening… He wiped the tears off.
Adesuwa’s eyeballs had suffered a severe drainage. They had swollen into somewhat watery balloon that would explode at the slightest puncture. She had lost her charming look in the process, and because it was only Odegbemi that mattered, she cared less about her beauty. She knew he wasn’t in love with her beauty, far beyond it. He was in love with all of her; the whole exceeding the sum of the parts. She had stayed out of sight for days now, infuriated by the disgust that spilled her father’s face. She thought of Odegbemi, his smiles, his curly dark beards, his soothing voice, she had missed all of that, and it all sucked another trickle of tears from her scorching eyes.
He was still humming Ijala Ode, with quivering legs that had consistently disrupted the competence of his voice, when he discovered something bizarre from a distance. First, it was a gentle waft of smoke directly above a hut sited uphill, roughly two hundred metres away. Then, within couple of minutes, the smoke thickened into an opaque figure that soared heavily into the sky. And suddenly, a horrible conflagration blazed carelessly into the air.
“Fire… fire… fire!!!” voices echoed from a distance.
Odegbemi sprung from his seat, dashed into his hut, wore his half-rumpled khaki, and because he couldn’t find any of his buckskinned sandals, he tore out of his compound barefooted. He ran up north toward the hill, scuffling through scrubs and grasses along his route. He hurdled past collapsed mud walls and domestic objects loitering the footpath, then past stacks of bamboo. A lucky puppy almost got crushed under his foot as he jumped another stack of bamboo, but he had slid his foot quickly before he landed, leaving the innocent puppy with a soft howl.
Abruptly, he sensed something piercing deep into his left underfoot as he repeatedly shoved his weight into it. He felt something creamy beneath his foot, too. He slowed down, and began to hop, his left foot slightly hung just above his right ankle. Then he stumbled into a rock, just few metres to the burning hut. Gasping loudly for breath, he warped the underfoot a little upward with his brawny hands. And…Oh God…so awful and…And…
The piercing object was a jagged spike and that creamy thing was his blood…
He scrunched up his shoulder, teeth clenched and fingers trembled. ‘But why now?’ he thought. He tried to pull the spike out but it hurts more than pain itself. He wondered why he hadn’t remained on his cain chair, humming and rocking, and paying no attention to whatever it is that was burning. But he wasn’t that sort of person. He was always prepared to help. He would even lend helping hands to his foe, if he had the chance. In less than few minutes, two well-known palace guards—Ewuola and Ogunyemi—approached with loathsome gaits. Their faces broadened like starved raptors that had caught the fleeting view of a prey. Odegbemi gawked at them as they hurried toward him. “They should be helping with the fire… not wandering about,” he murmured.
“You coward!” Ewuola barked.
Coward? Odegbemi thought he didn’t hear him clearly, he thought Ewuola had lost his mind, he thought he didn’t mean what he said. And maybe… just maybe, the coward was the invisible person behind him. He peered over his shoulder but nothing was behind him, except rocks and some stunted shrubs. He must be stupid to have said that, he thought again.
“Are you out of your mind?” Odegbemi asked, raising his eyebrows quizzically.
“What have you done to Odesola?”
“To Odesola? What do you mean?”
“If only Oba Adepegba hadn’t asked us to fetch you alive…” Ogunyemi said. “You’d be dead by now.”
What might have happened to Odesola? And why would anyone think he was the cause? Odegbemi thought to himself. The guards didn’t squander time; each of them clutched him by his limbs, his hands flung around their shoulders, and palace… they must!
“Please easy easy… my legs hurts. We should help with the fire first…” Odegbemi said sadly, his blood flecking the rock as he struggled to grasp some air.
Ewuola had reflexively smeared his foot with the blood, a bit slippery. He’s bleeding hard, he thought. But he didn’t let go of Odegbemi, neither did Ogunyemi.
But this is shameful. Odegbemi of then? That was respected by all of these guards? Noo… it isn’t happening…
With a forceful back and forth sway; he seized himself from the stupid palace guards. It would cost serious effort for a dozen of guards to bundle me up, he imagined. And that was true. Though, he somehow has a puny physique, but you dare not take his strength too lightly. He was simply as strong as seven men of his stature. No doubts.
“Just move Odegbemi… we’re running out of time. Move!” Ewuola snarled.
Odegbemi’s leg stung badly as they marched toward the palace. The spike stood between his metatarsal, and pierced even deeper into his flesh with every careless step he took. An expression of pain and shame sprinkled his guiltless face, and he cursed that evening and the guards mutely. It is foolish of them to ever think he did something bad to Odesola, he thought. And besides, what has really happened to Odesola the contender?
To be continued...
Please stay tuned.
Comments are highly appreciated.
|Re: Odẹ́́gbèmí: A Tale Of Love, Hatred And Betrayal (one)--by Abiodun Adebayo by oneafricanwriter(m): 5:14pm On Jan 23, 2016|
Odẹ́́gbèmí: A Tale Of Love, Hatred And Betrayal (Two)--by Abiodun Adebayo
The sky had grown a bit darker, but the moon had graciously lightened the night. Odegbemi felt the sudden dwindle in the air temperature, the coldness, the softness as it pelted his parched skin. He was almost sandwiched between Ewuola and Oguyemi, their shoulders regularly striking his as they moved. They cornered few huts and scrambled over several rocks. Groans, murmurs, cries and clatters sliced through the air just some footsteps away. It had all hid behind the walls of the palace. They cornered again just behind a fence of withered palm fronds. And…
The palace was stuffed with half of Akinde.
Full of faces Odegbemi recognized and those he didn’t. Truth be told, Odegbemi has never seen this large sort of crowd in his entire life. It was the largest crowd he ever witnessed, and in a way, he was half-perplexed and completely frightened at the same time. Something twitched inside of him sporadically, more or less similar to the jerk of a curly spring. And he could barely feel a tinge of pain from his bleeding foot.
The crowds flogged Odegbemi with disgusting gazes from every corner, and they paved way as the guards rammed him forward, toward Oba Adepegba—the sovereign ruler of Akinde Land—who sat elegantly on his throne. He was dressed in a cotton robe, and fanned with woven feathers from different sides.
Odegbemi leveled himself to the ground before the king. “Kabiyesi,” he said, exhausted.
Adepegba rose from his throne, his scepter gracefully held in his right hand. And everyone bowed before him. And when he motioned them up, they all rose quietly.
“Odegbemi, son of Oderinde…” he said.
“Your Highness, My Lord.”
“Where is your integrity?”
“Why have you done this? Why have you put this huge shame on yourself and your generation?” Adepegba roared.
“His spirit will haunt you even in your grave”
Then Adepegba continued: “You have roasted our Odesola to ashes in the name of love… you shall suffer the dire consequences.”
A collective groan diluted the silence.
“My-Lo-rd… I k-now no-thing of these a-lle-ga-tions.” Odegbemi stammered.
“You bloody liar… even a retard knows you did this.”
“Your highness… like I said, I am completely innocent,” Odegbemi said, heart pounding in his throat, face still buried in the ground.
Odegbemi’s mind flashed back to his cain chair, the smoke, the fire, the echoes of “Fire” uphill, his urge to help extinguish the fire, the spike, his blood, two palace guards… Oh God! It was Odesola’s hut. The spike was still piercing his flesh, but he didn’t feel anything now. Not when everyone thinks he’s a murderer. Adepegba’s nerves had tightened. He felt blood wiggling carelessly in his heart. If he had a gun at this point, he would have shot Odegbemi dead already. After few seconds, he looked amidst the crowd, and motioned a young man toward him.
“Omo Akin,” Adepegba said.
“Your Highness,” the young man said, firmly.
“Of the truth, what did he tell you?”
“Your Highness, he once told me he wished that he had some power that would cease Odesola’s breath.”
Odegbemi thought he didn’t hear the voice clearly. He thought his ears were playing pranks on him. No… it can’t be him. Not his friend… Never! Not his friend that had told him earlier to be careful because Oba Adepegba is involved… Impossible…
But it was Akinolu.
The palm wine tapper and his good friend.
“And he has done it. He has robbed our Odesola of his breath by burning him to soil. A hard way to die…” Adepegba spoke to the crowd.
“My Lord… I didn’t kill Odesola. He…”
“Shut your mouth!”
Adepegba motioned another person forward. This time, it almost took forever before the person finally drew closer to him. Though, the footsteps didn’t sound masculine to Odegbemi. He heard the person sniffing and crying silently. A lady’s voice, he thought. He felt Adepegba’s eyes on him and wondered what was going on. A bird growled loudly from behind, softening the tension in the air. Then the shrill noise of crickets interrupted the stillness.
“When was the last time you saw him?” Adepegba asked.
“Last week… My Lord,” she replied faintly…
Odegbemi wished someone would tap him on his bamboo bed and whisper: “Wake up” to him. And it would all be a dream, just dream, or an illusion. But it wasn’t. It is really happening, very real. No dreams. No illusions. Was that Adesuwa his dream woman?
He tilted his face sideways against the stony floor, eyes locked with Adesuwa’s. He winced, and his stomach twitched badly. Is she a suspect, too? Or is she going to betray him like Akinolu? What exactly does she have to say? Questions raced haphazardly inside his head.
“Louder!” Adepegba screeched.
“Last week… last week… My Lord” Adesuwa repeated.
“Did he tell you anything? Why he hasn’t come to see you?”
“No… My Lord”
“Why would he? He was too busy planning Odesola’s death.”
Adesuwa’s eyes nearly exploded with tears when she heard what Adepegba said. For whatever reason, she knew Odegbemi wasn’t a murderer. She knew he hadn’t barbecued Odesola inside that hut uphill. She trusted him. To her, he is the most guiltless, reliable and thoughtful specimen of a man. And as she stared at him now, those attributes beamed around him, even brighter as the moonlight silhouetted his figure against a sludgy wall. At that moment, she doubted if any other person sees him the same way, too. Not her father who had buried his jaws inside his palms for a while, watching. If it were to be a competition, Adewole would be the last to smell virtue around Odegbemi.
Shortly, Adepegba raised his scepter to maintain the silence. It was a taboo to speak a word when the king raises his scepter in Akinde land.
And silence overwhelmed the ambiance again…
“And what did he tell you?” Adepegba asked, his forehead tightly wrinkled.
“He said… He said…” Adesuwa cried.
Odegbemi melted like ice, tossed inside hot charcoal. She won’t mention it, he thought fretfully. Mention what? What precisely? What…? Then he remembered… He remembered telling her: “Not when I am still alive” after she had said something about drinking from the witch’s pot. The tone of his voice was cruel when he said it, he admitted. He remembered them sitting under the Almond tree that day… He remembered every bit of it now. Panic…
“He said… nothing…” she finished.
“Bloody pair of liars!” he growled, throwing a dirty look at Adewole. A look that read: Imagine if you aren’t a chief… lucky daughter of yours…”
That was the kind of look.
Then he continued: “Akinolu heard all of your plans… you and this heartless fellow”
He paced warily back to his throne. And he sat. People peered with bated breath, waiting for the king’s verdict.
“And this is my Judgment…” he paused. “For a man who robs another man of his life shall be sentenced to death!”
Noises roared in the yard like thunderstorms. People yelled raucously. Some even began to sing to their gods in alien languages. Grief swirled haphazardly inside the congested air. Someone, still breathing, would die soon.
The currents that struck Adesuwa from her spines were uncontrollable. She breathed heavily through her mouth now, like though her nostrils had suddenly become too narrow to inhale the grief-whirled air. Odegbemi looked completely exhausted, already dead to the world. He just remained mute, his body entirely stiff.
“Hang him before sunrise!” Adepegba finally pronounced, and he turned away immediately.
And just before he crossed the entrance of the palace, just before the guard could jerk Odegbemi to the palace cell, just before Adesuwa could burst into an uncontrollable cry, and just before the crowd could disrupt the orderliness, someone screamed from the distance...
The living dead...
“I am alive… I am alive… I’m not dead” Odesola cried.
And Odegbemi felt completely empty again…
|Re: Odẹ́́gbèmí: A Tale Of Love, Hatred And Betrayal (one)--by Abiodun Adebayo by Hardethaewoh(m): 7:38pm On Jan 23, 2016|
awesome post! I love this...
buh pls don't tell me that is the end! at least tell us who plotted Odesola's death and why?! pleeaaaassee!
BTW, I really gbadun ur writing style!
|Re: Odẹ́́gbèmí: A Tale Of Love, Hatred And Betrayal (one)--by Abiodun Adebayo by Nobody: 2:07pm On Jan 24, 2016|
Watin be d end...abeg finish the story
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