Have you been drinking Babatunde?
Babatunde smiled, “If I have, I wouldn’t be so daft as to talk to you will I? Do you know what people mean about emere?”
Tope stared at him and he stared back knowing he needed to look serious. Tope for all his jokes could be temperamental. Babatunde did not want him upset. He was intrigued by the concept of emere as it seemed to fit a fairly scientific explanation. He had been reading somewhere about Bi-polar people and that had interested. What if the people we call emeres are actually people who need medical attention and there could be a perfectly rationale answer to the myth?
Tope scratched his head and Babatunde knew he was trying to make sense of what he had been asked, “Why do you want to know, okay don’t tell me, you suspect the lady you have fallen in love with is emere?”
“It is all over you that you are smitten, better tell me all the dirty little secrets so I can sift which one of the cleaner ones will bear repeating”
Babatunde gave him a considering look,” You will be the last male I will share love secrets with, you lecher, I am wondering if I should tell Papa about the escapades you got into with Dupe.”
“Mentioning names are we?” Tope demanded looking over his shoulder. Babatunde sensed his discomfort and patted him on the shoulder. He told Tope that he just wanted some information about the specie as he had heard quite a lot but wanted someone who could tell him something concrete.
“Okay, I can’t say I am in position to tell you facts but I can tell you the signs that helps people suspect if a girl is emere. First, they are usually extremely beautiful, you find yourself drawn to them instantly and may never be able to explain. Now depending on what mood brought them here to earth, they could have their sights on destroying a man or the family they incarnate into”. Tope paused and gave Babatunde a look, “You probably fell in love at first sight right?”
Babatunde smiled, “Go on Tope you are interesting me so let’s keep to the subject.”
Tope sighed, “I am the only one that can give you decent advice besides I can spot one mile away.”
Babatunde scoffed, “You don’t know an emere from an abiku if she was under your groin never mind a mile away, I asked you how do you identify, for I think you are hiding quite a lot of information as it is.”
Tope looked alarmed, “She has told you?”
Babatunde was puzzled, “who has told me what?”
Tope sighed, “All this is to find out what Dupe told you right?”
Babatunde gave his brother a long look, sighed and made for his room. “You know for a minute I used to think you were smart, my mistake.”
Tope spoke slowly as if he was thinking it out, “You know you could be right about them coming from two poles. One minute they are nice and laughing and suddenly they start crying and are completely miserable. That is the classic sign or when they start sharing their meals with their mates. You never see their mates but you see them offering their morsels of food to people you can’t see. The morsels are visible but those eating it are only visible to the emere. Or when they are fully grown and ready to wreak their final havoc, they pick a man and show him heaven as they prepare him for hell. He likes the idea because they have the ability to completely take over his mind. They can make a man very rich especially those of them who come from water. Those are the real twin poles, hot and cold, take you deep down to the depth and give you so much wealth that they can take away if you cross them. I think the major difference between them and abiku is that the emere lives long enough to effect her mission while the abiku just comes and goes”. Tope sighed pausing for breath. Babatunde sat back slowly, his heart beating fast as he listened and memories flooded back into his inner being.
He did not want to go home. He stared at the food in front of him as the shadows gathered, the bustle of the village slowing down as the night hawkers set up. He sat there as the sounds around him changed in tones and volumes. Why bother to go home he asked himself, should he maybe go to the priest?, and tell him what? He shuddered and slouched deeper into his chair. At least he should make some attempt to find a solution to his fears but he wondered if there was anyone willing to step into his shoes, or offer him a spiritual solution. He could always go see the new pastor, he told himself, or well one of these miracle churches where they would promise him release… from his wife?
He grimaced as he imagined the conversation, No pastor it is not about divorce. She is giving me everything I ask for. Good food every time I ask for it, she groans appropriately anytime I turn her wrapper or loosen it, she has the right figure I had dreamed of, you know the type of figure that seemed to have, he shook his head violently- no don’t even think about it.
His skin crawled and he knew he was afraid. Should he tell his mum? ‘I told you she was the wrong color, didn’t I?’ , his mother would scream at him and then suggest they go ask the ancient one, or she would suggest he take another wife as antidote. Of course that will just hasten his death he told himself glumly as he swatted at the mosquitoes.
What would he tell the priest? The priest had probably heard worse stories and would simply nod his head. He remembered all the coughing the priest did the day he brought the yams. So his story wouldn’t be anything new— except maybe raise a laugh, from the priest and the dreaded words.. I tried to warn you didn’t I?.
Was he really frightened of his wife? He really didn’t believe all that, did he?The first time she told him that she was actually married to her spiritual husband and wanted it to coincide with his own wedding to her. He had felt like someone just deflated him. He was horrified, shocked, stunned, oh well he could think of any number of words to describe his despair. But then, did he dare to say it to her. He also felt jealous. She had described the spiritual affair so well that he was not so sure he should not actually head for the divorce courts. He should maybe visit his friend and confess that he had married a powerful emere. He imagined his friend Ade’s smile and he cringed, for he also remembered that his friend had been skeptical when he had come in excited that he was going to marry Kike, his wife. He had hinted that Kike was not the right colour, that she had all the classic colour and mannerism of a spirit from the sea.He was too besotted or bewitched then to listen.
He tried to remember if she had indicated anything to him about her nature and he shrugged knowing that was too late. She had chosen him and annoyed her real husband from the sea. How was he to know that her beauty was unnatural? She had acted like a normal lady. You know quiet, respectable, a demur Miss and he had been lost. As always, she had not said much, just kept to her corner and stayed close to him. She rarely spoke and she would only smile and lower her eyes. He had not believed he could be that lucky. Everything seemed to be going well for them until the visit of.. what was the name of the spiritual husband again?..yes Jide and he had been instantly jealous by the way Kike seemed to have come alive and excited just talking about him. That night she was really a fire ball to his desires demanding over and over again. He was too excited to remember that she had acted reluctant each time he had made love overture before.
Sated and relaxed he had turned on the mat and gave her a smile and that was when he screamed for she looked unearthly. She had such a look that he got up and his manhood ran right almost into his anus. He sweated and his scream died in his throat as she turned and looked beyond him. He had followed the direction of her gaze and that was when he saw Jide hovering over him, a murderous rage in his eyes. He had been stupefied and terrified but Kike had simply said nothing, turned over, and with her arms reached for the devilish husband. That was revelation time, when she told him what would happen from then on. He closed his eyes and clenched his fist.
The nightmares started after that, each terrifying night his manhood would be taken from him and dropped in a roaring flame, while Kike made love to her spiritual husband. Each morning he felt exhausted and weak and too ashamed to say what was going on in his room. His mother asked him what the problem was and he simply shook his head in silent misery.
He wondered and searched desperately in his mind for a solution. He fasted and took himself to churches but each time he knelt he became afraid to say amen to his longing and his heart stay frozen, so he stood up and walked away. What if these prophets saw what his problem was and told others? He would be a laughing stock. He went to the priest to ask for the red lizard oil hoping it will make his manhood return. Each night he washed himself and rubbed the oil but nothing ever happened on those nights for she will simply ignore him, laugh and close her eyes while his heart burned.
Those nights when Kike’s dream lover came, he would be in agony. Who was going to accept his story? I’m going crazy. But what the hell was he to tell friends that each night a man came in ghostly form and made love to his wife who groaned and moaned while they dropped his manhood, or he felt it being roasted and as he screamed silently in agony they made all types of contortions to torment him? He could not even perform with other females as each time he tried he could not get it up. Kike didn’t starve him since in a sick way, he was asked to start and then the dream husband will take over and he would be left with the heat of his own interrupted coitus.
That is right, he mocked himself. Was he to report to the priest that his wife was having an affair with a man in her dreams, or a ghost lover in his presence? Yes they did that now and he squirmed in shame and helplessness unable to say anything or do anything and he never could complain. Most morning after such nights of terrible passion they would head for the farm and Kike would have a happy smile on her lips and even sometimes sing.
He was not going to give any sane reason to Ade, that he wanted to divorce his wife because she had a lover and he was being tortured each night by the pair. In the last horror three days ago, the lovers had made him an offer that would bring his freedom even bring him wealth Kike said with a wicked smile, lots of gold, beads, wealth beyond his dreams, she had requested they use him to make children as their children from the sea needed to join them and that way Jide could become solid human, but it would look to everyone she had gotten pregnant for him. She will use her evil craft to make him rich if he agreed. He had shuddered at the thought of those types of creatures being called his children and that had angered her. He was so miserable that he had cried uncontrollably. Kike and her husband had laughed at him making sport with him.
During the day he would undress in the shed and stare for long seconds at his manhood. It looked normal, even almost healthy, but his confidence was as dead as the thing that was dropped every night in flames.
He shifted in the chair, knowing he was afraid to admit to what had frightened him was not the explicit love making Kike always made him watch with Jide but that he was jealous. That for him was the final indignity. The need to please her and he felt he was losing his mind for he acted like an automaton each morning from those dreams. He was being a witness to his own murder. Kike would describe in minute details her next line of action.
He was afraid to go home because his wife was planning a final seal for him tonight. It was getting late and he was the only one left sitting in the palm wine shed, it was time to head home, to his death. There was despair in his soul and a prayer from him to no one in particular and suddenly a bright flash, the sound of rushing water and he stood up startled to behold a figure swathed in bright colours. A lady moved out of the lights surrounding her and carried a white calabash full of water which she gave him to drink. He felt refreshed and as if in a dream, the lady walked up to him and spoke softly, “water refreshes and heals; Mother says I should give you this to drink and tonight you will be free of your bondage to dark love, this is your release. Go home and you will no longer have any trouble. You will remember me as Imole Ife or Ife”. He thanked her still holding the now empty calabash, “My name is Babatunde I will always remember”.
That night his wife packed her belongings, swearing and crying left his home and he felt a return of his vitality. He went to the farm next morning and heaped more than two hundred heaps for his yams and found himself whistling only one name.. Ife
Babatunde jerked into the present gasping and shaking, Tope was alarmed, “You went stiff suddenly. I have been shaking you for more than ten minutes.”
Babatunde shook his head as he remembered he had just shared his inner being with Ife a few hours ago and that was what had set him wondering about emere. Oh dear Lord, he was in despair. He did not want to learn that Ife was also an emere. He paused in his thoughts as more understanding flowed through him, if she was emere she would not have helped and the girl I met today has no idea we had met before or did she?