Dial Episode 44 is running…
I was fast asleep when the door crashed open.
I was lying on the mat on the floor, and I saw the huge figures storming into the room. There was barely anytime to react. Instinctively my leg shot out, connecting with a shin, and there was a scream of pain. I lashed out angrily with a fist, connecting with somebody’s groin, and there was another scream.
But I was still woozy with interrupted sleep, and so I could not really get my reflexes at full tandem with my wits. Somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind I heard Maame Ntiriwaa screaming, and then something heavy and hard crashed into my head, and darkness engulfed me as I slid into unconsciousness.
When I came to I found myself once again in the forecourt of the palace, and cold water was dripping off me, making me feel absolutely cold.
I was naked, and they had tied me to that damn pole again in the middle of the palace, with my back showing. The ropes they had used to tie me were strong and cruel, and I could barely move my body.
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It was still in the night. I guessed they had come for me around midnight, and the morning was still some hours away. There were a lot of lit lanterns though, both on the floor and on the veranda.
I knew I was in deep trouble when I saw the dark faces of the men around me. The king was there, and so were his elders. They were all wearing long red shorts, with red cloths as headgear, a symbol that they were in the mood for war.
The king had red cloth tied around both arms, and he was holding a wicked knife in his hand that glinted evilly in the light of the lanterns.
Okomfo Basabasa was speaking animatedly when I opened my eyes. He was dressed in a red wide-hemmed skirt, and there appeared to be splotches of blood on his body. The blood came from about five sheep laying on the floor around my feet with cut throats, their blood forming a sticky mess around me.
There were huge royal guards around me, huge and muscular, holding swords and clubs, and I knew these were the ones that had come for me.
“Yao,” the weak voice came from my right side, and my heart skipped a beat when I recognized Maame Ntiriwaa’s voice.
I turned my head, and saw her for the very first time, and horror struck my heart!
She had been stripped naked too, and her hands were tied behind her back. She was kneeling in the blood of the slaughtered sheep, and there were bruises on her beautiful elderly face.
What tore my insides was the sight of her head!
She had been shaved bald, so cruelly that there were sheens of blood on her bald skull!
“You bastards!” I shouted furiously and struggled against the ropes. “You barbaric sons-of-bitches! You’re gonna pay for this big time, all of you!”
King Obiba groaned with fury, stepped forward, and slapped me hard across the face, and then he spat on me.
I cringed with disgust as the foulness of his spit slid slimily down the side of my face and down my shoulder. I glared at him without fear, my eyes hard as flints.
“I’ll tell you this, you’re going to regret ever doing that!” I hissed at him furiously.
“Shut up, frog!” Okomfo Basabasa said furiously, his hate-filled eyes boring into my eyes. “You have no permission to speak. One word out of you and I’ll poke out both of your eyes.”
I glared right back at him and hissed furiously.
“Go right ahead, you bastard! Just try it!”
“Yao, it’s okay, please, please,” Maame Ntiriwaa said fearfully, and I turned my eyes toward her again.
“What’s the meaning of this, Maame?” I enquired furiously. “Why are they doing this to us?”
“Because the princess reported that you put your filthy hands on her, you goat!” Okomfo Basabasa shouted angrily into my face. “A stranger putting his paws on no other than the future Queen Mother is an offence punishable by death in this town!”
It struck me hard!
Abena Adobea was responsible for this atrocity?
“Punishable by death?” I whispered angrily. “And who the hell do you think you are? Try it, and see how many policemen would descend on this hellhole! Do you know who I am?”
He smiled evilly at me.
“What would the police find, my friend?” he asked brutally. “You came here, lived with a witch, and both of you were bitten by snakes, and died. Tragic, yes, but it would need no proof.”
He walked to a tall basket-like container to my left and dragged it toward me. He pulled its lid open, and my stomach churned when I saw the snakes in the basket! Long, black deadly mambas striking and hissing angrily in there!
My iron heart suffered a heavy jolt then!
This was a most barbaric and cruel way to die indeed!
He turned away from me without covering the basket.
“Send the princess in!” he shouted.
A few minutes later Abena Adobea appeared.
She was dressed in a long, white gown belted through the middle. She might be from the village, but her sense of dressing was amazing. Looking like that, she could have passed for a high-class socialite any time.
She came forward slowly, looking around her with sudden apprehension as if she had not expected so many people. When she appeared before the king and saw me she came to a sudden stop, her eyes opening wide to show her surprise, and then she saw her mother too.
Abena Adobea gasped and looked at the king.
“What’s this, my Lord?” she asked, and I heard the genuine sound of fear in her voice, but it did nothing to stop the fury raging in my chest against her.
“Is this the man who put his hands on you, Princess?” Okomfo Basabasa asked in a gruff voice.
Abena Adobea glanced at me quickly, and then she looked earnestly at the king.
“My Lord, what is going on?” she asked tremulously. “Why is my mother tied up and shaved like this?”
“She’s not your mother!” King Obiba screamed angrily. “She’s a witch shielding the wicked stranger that molested you! She’s equally guilty!”
“No!” Abena Adobea cried, and she grabbed the king’s arm fiercely. “My Lord, please! You promised me the stranger would be banished from this village, and nothing would harm him! I told you I just wanted him gone! You promised me that was what would happen!”
“The king’s promises does not supersede our customs, princess!” Okomfo Basabasa said angrily. “If a stranger harms a royal, our customs demand that he dies, together with anybody who assisted him…and in this case this witch was his accomplice!”
“I put my paws on you?” I hissed angrily at the princess. “Is that what you told them? I raped you? Is that why your mother has to suffer this indignity of being naked in front of these bastards?”
“I said shut up, frog!” Okomfo Basabasa screamed, turned, and hit me in the face with his fist.
“You said nothing would happen to him, my Lord!” Abena Adobea cried, and her voice was not totally shaking as she suddenly dropped to her knees in front of the king. “Please, I beg of you, if I ever meant anything to you, just let them go! Let the stranger leave the village, and let my mother go! I can’t have this guilt on my shoulders, please!”
“I’m sorry, my dear,” King Obiba said softly with great rage. “That beast took what was mine! He ravaged you! He dipped his stupid flesh inside you! And he is going to pay dearly for it!”
“No, no, my Lord!” Abena cried, her face distressed. “I lied about that! He didn’t go that far! I just felt angry and humiliated, and wanted him banished! Please, don’t let me bear this cross, I beg of you!”
“It doesn’t matter whether he ravaged you fully, or he just put a hand on you, dear princess!” Okomfo Basabasa said. “He touched you, put you in a bed! No man except the king touches the body of the chosen Queen Mother, and that is why every man should lie down flat in your presence! He broke our custom, and he will pay for it! He dies! The stranger dies!”
Abena Adobea began to weep helplessly.
“Are you happy now, Adobea?” Maame Ntiriwaa asked hoarsely. “You should be happy! You got all your wishes, Abena! Let me die, I’m just tired of this pain! Yes, let the gods make me die with my pain, and with my woes! Let my spirit join that of my husband, so that I know peace a final time! And you will have the life you deserve, Adobea!”
And that dear woman bowed her head, and began to weep pathetically, and that sight just tore my heart to shreds.
I looked at Abena Adobea, and at that moment I hated her more than I had ever hated anyone or anything in my life!
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