Dial Episode 46 is on…
“Lift him up and tie him to the pole!” Okomfo Basabasa ordered stridently as he glared down at me.
The four of the muscular men reached down and lifted me up, and then they pushed my body up against that hateful pole again. It occurred to me, in a funny kind of way, that I was really buddying up a lot to that pole. I was feeling dizzy and very nauseous mainly because of the sight of the sheep and all that blood. They tied my hands around the pole first, and then they cut away the cords binding my body, so that my back was exposed.
Okomfo Basabasa was dancing in a weird sort of way, making incantations and throwing his horsetail whisk, with glazed eyes shining in the flickering lights of the lanterns.
He moved around the covered basket of snakes, his bare feet squishing in the blood as he danced, occasionally striking the basket with the whisk, causing the snakes to shake violently in the basket.
Finally, he came to a halt, turned and pointed the whisk at the royal princess.
“It is time, Princess!” he said in a strangely multi-voiced sound. “Come and take the whip of the gods!”
He brought his right hand down suddenly, and I saw that a huge brown can had appeared in his hand. He walked toward the princess, who was still kneeling in the blood in front of her mother, weeping pitifully, and thrust the cane at her.
“Why her?” King Obiba demanded angrily. “I should be the one to whip the boy! He touched my treasure!”
“No, my Lord!” Komfo Basabasa said. “It is the girl’s duty to whip him!”
“But she wouldn’t hit him hard enough, can’t you see?” the king roared with uncontrollable fury.
Okomfo Basabasa turned and fixed him with evil black eyes.
“She would hit him hard enough, my Lord,” he said in a menacing voice. “Don’t worry about that!”
He looked down at the princess, and a savage look came across his face.
“Stand up, Princess, and take the whip of the gods!” he bellowed.
Miserably, painfully, Abena Adobea got to her feet and took the whip.
Okomfo Basabasa smiled at her evilly.
“The punishment for this stranger who has so grossly broken a sacred custom will either be this whipping that you chose, or death by the snakes!” he said tightly to her, and then he leaned forward so that his face was very close to hers. “The choice is yours, Princess. Whether this stranger lives or dies is in your hands now!”
“He lives, I chose that already!” she screamed fiercely into his face, and I admired her fiery spirit even in the face of such daunting stressful times. “I shall deliver the lashes myself!”
“Like I said, my dear royal princess, it is all in your hands!”
As Okomfo Basabasa turned and returned to stand beside the king. They all looked at Adobea as she walked on dead legs toward me, her face streaked with tears, her lisp swollen, and yet she remained the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.
She moved behind me, slightly to the side, and then she looked at me fully.
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“I’m so sorry,’ she murmured. “I just wanted you gone…I didn’t mean any of this to happen. Please, forgive me. Twenty lashes, and I’m not going to hit you hard!”
I just glowered at her and made no comment.
She drew her hand back and the lash came forward and landed on my back, playfully, almost as if she were just pressing it to my back!
“Adobea, Abena Adobea, are you crazy?” the king screamed, incensed with fury, almost dashing forward but the fetish priest held him back.
“It’s okay, Nana, my Lord, it’s definitely better this way!”
“No, it isn’t!” the King roared. “Don’t you see what she’s doing? She’s just toying with him!”
“And I say it is better that way, my Lord!” the fetish priest said with bright eyes. “Just trust me on this!”
And so Abena Adobea continued hitting me slowly and softly, so that I barely felt the lashes, but soon I began to notice something really scary!
With each soft strike on my back the basket containing the snakes shook, and by the time Adobea had counted up to ten lashes the lid suddenly flew off the basket, and four deadly snakes poked their evil heads out of the basket, their evil eyes fixed on me, their forked tongues flashing out disturbingly!
Abobea saw it too, and she paused suddenly, her scared eyes staring at the snakes with terror. The four snakes were absolutely still, their eyes fixed on me with evil intent!
Adobea raised the cane, and brought it down softly on my back, and the snakes immediately slithered violently out of the basket and plodded on the floor with a horrible sound as they splattered in the blood. They remained still again, lying flat on the floor, their dark eyes fixed on my feet, their tongues flickering with evil intent.
The princess lifted the cane, and brought it lightly down on my back…
The four black mambas slithered forward suddenly toward my legs, and then they waited, their tongues flickering with anticipation!
My heart was beating with trepidation, and it dawned on all of us almost at the same time…
The princess couldn’t go on beating me lightly. With each soft strike the snakes crept closer! I now understood the dance of the fetish priest, and his reassurance that Abena’s soft beating was indeed something good!
If she continued like that the snakes would soon be on me, and would strike me with their venom…and kill me instantly!
“Oh, no, oh no!” Abena Adobea moaned with horror and looked at the fetish priest frantically. “What have you done, you evil man?”
Okomfo Basabasa smiled mirthlessly.
“Not me, dear Princess, not me,” he said softly. “It is all in your hands!”
Abena Adobea was on the fourteenth strike, and she brought it lightly down on my back, and the snakes now hissed and slithered forward alarmingly, now only a few inches from my legs.
“You’re going to kill him, damn you!” Maame Ntiriwaa screamed with terror. “Lash him! Lash him hard now or the snakes would kill him!”
Abena Adobea looked on with horrified eyes, and then she looked at me, and shook her head numbly as tears bubbled down her cheeks once more, her nightmare taking another turn.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t hit him, I can’t hit you, please!” she said in a tortured voice, and then she lowered the cane.
Immediately the huge snakes slithered toward me at top speed…
Sriiish-sriish-sriiiish…came their horrible sounds as they cut through the blood, and then they all reared up their heads to strike me with their deadly venom!
I heard Maame Ntiriwaa screaming, and then Abena Adobea raised the cane and brought it crashing into my back with fury…
I screamed as the pain seared through my back! It was as if an invisible hand had taken that cane and smashed it through me! The excruciating pain passed through my whole body!
I had never felt such physical pain!
The snakes stayed still, but they did not put their heads down, and I knew that another slackening from Adobea would make them strike me!
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” Adobea screamed, lowering the cane.
“Don’t drop your hand!” Maame Ntiriwaa screamed.
I pushed my head into the pole, knowing I could not scream again. If I screamed a second time Abena Adobea might not hit me again, and the snakes would kill me. She whipped my back with abandon, and I gritted my teeth and pushed my face into the pole as pain after pain seared through me.
The tears fell down my face like a river. I opened my mouth wide and felt the saliva and phlegm of pain tearing me apart as the cane crashed again and again. It was excruciating, and it was unbearable…and I wept bitterly!
I felt my back cracking, and the warm blood sliding down my back. Maame Ntiriwaa was weeping bitterly, and Abena Adobea was wailing as the cane dropped on my back again and again.
And all the while the Elders sat there, and the King was smiling and nodding with pleasure, and Okomfo Basabasa was almost snarling with joy…and at that moment I told myself that if I lived through this hell, all of them would know the real meaning of pay-back!
The cane fell again and again, and the snakes remained reared-up in front of my legs, and my back flayed to the skin.
And, in that horrible moment, it suddenly struck me that somehow it was fitting! I had played with girls, unmindful of their feelings, the ultimate just to possess their bodies and put their details on my list!
Some had died, some had lost their wombs, and many had been emotionally-destroyed forever! Yes, in a macabre sort of way, being whipped by a virgin in a remote village standing in a pool of sheep blood seemed like a good atonement, and a purging of a soul made black by sexual decadence!
Finally, the snakes put their heads down, and slithered away from me, and I knew the twenty lashes were over. It felt as if I had been pushed into raw flames of fire! My whole body burned!
Abena Adobea dropped the cane, and then she dropped slowly to her knees, her arms hugging herself as she wept from the very core of her soul!
And then, she held out her left hand, and took off the huge golden ring from her finger!
“Abena, no, no, no, no!!” the king screamed and rushed into the pool of blood, his face savage, tortured and horrified.
Abena Adobea threw the ring away from her with disgust!
“Abena!” the king screamed, reaching out for her, but she got to her feet and pushed him back with a fierce look of hatred on her face.
“Do not touch me!” she screamed into his frenzied face. “I hate you! I hate you! And I won’t spend a second longer in your presence!”
“Then you will be banished from here forever!” Okomfo Basabasa shouted with venom.
“I’ll rather sleep in a bed of mud than spend another second in this vile village!” she shouted right back.
“Oh, no, Abena, oh, no, no, please, no!” the old king said, reaching for her, but she slapped his hands away, and then she fled from the courtyard.
The sleazy king screamed and raced after her.
The ground shook suddenly, fiercely, like an earth tremor, and the cords binding me fell off my body, and so did the cords binding Maame Ntiriwaa. She got to her feet, whimpering, and uncaring about her nakedness. She came to me, and held me as I almost collapsed.
“Yao, let’s get out of here,” she whispered.
I was shivering, my body burning up, the pain in my ravaged back a fiery, savage conundrum of pain that simply threatened to shut my brain down.
And then an amazing thing happened…
Two huge guards came toward me, and I saw on their faces looks of utter shock and consternation, and one had tears in his eyes.
“Please, sir, let us help you!” one of them said.
“Leave him be!” Okomfo Basabasa screamed. “Touch him and be banished!”
The guards didn’t mind him. One took my legs, and the other took my hands, and then lifted me to the veranda where there was a wooden bench. They put me on the bench, face downward, and then they lifted the bench like a stretcher.
It was the most painful journey I had ever taken!
I moaned and wept with each little jar, each little shudder! Tears streamed down my face, and I cried like a baby! My mind was bursting open with raw pain, and I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut.
Eventually we came to the river.
The early dawn light was streaming across the sky.
There was a man standing at the edge of the river, and as they put the bench down the man turned slowly and came toward me. He was holding a gourd-like object in his hand, and I raised my head painfully to look at him.
It was Nana Bosomba.
He stood by the side of the bench without speaking, and then he upturned the gourd, and I felt a cool liquid splashing across my back, and slowly the incredible agony subsided.
He kept pouring until the gourd was empty, and then he lowered his hand. Suddenly, he snapped his free hand and pulled out a huge, white cloth from the air, and then he threw it at Maame Ntiriwaa.
“Cover yourself, woman!” he said, and I was shocked to hear the deep pain in his voice, and for once Nana Bosomba’s voice was not steady. It shook with pain.
Maame Ntiriwaa drabbed herself with the white cloth and tucked the edge in, and then Nana Bosomba handed her the gourd.
“Take this, woman,” he said softly. “Use it to treat his back. Nothing else. Pour it on his back every morning and evening.”
“But it is empty!” Maame Ntiriwaa said as she sniffed. “You used it all!”
“Take it, woman!” Nana Bosomba shouted, and sudden flames came out of his mouth, and Maame Ntiriwaa took a step back with fear. She took the gourd fearfully, and when she shook it, it was filled with the liquid the man had poured on my back.
Nana Bosomba waited until I was lifted off the bend and placed into Maame Ntiriwaa’s canoe, and then he turned away and began to walk down the riverside. Suddenly a heavy flame of fire appeared from all around him.
The two guards screamed and took to their heels, running away furiously.
I would have laughed if I could, but I couldn’t.
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