Dial Episode 58 is running…
They gave me the hottest water to bath that night.
There was an excited buzz all around, and a great amount of relief and happiness, although many of the women in the family continued to cry throughout the night. Somehow, by the sprouting of the mysterious olive branch, I had passed from being the hated villain to attain a sort of hero status.
I knew better, though; that olive branch didn’t have anything to do with me. That mysterious Holy Man had appeared on the scene and used my tears as and arduous show of emotion at the grave to cause a branch sprout, and thus serving as enough reason that had paved the way for the exhumation and reburial of Akos’ body.
My clothes, dirtied and stinky, had been taken away for washing, but I told them to discard them. There were about five sets of clothes in the duffel bag Abena Adobea had packed for me. After my bath I slipped into fresh jeans and T-shirt, and joined Nana Bosomba for a meal they insisted I had.
I found out I was quite famished, and even though it was late I ate the banku and palm soup they served me with gusto. They had made the banku very soft, because I virtually had no teeth, and I ate it with a spoon. The fish was also very soft and tasted great.
It was whilst I was carefully enjoying the fish on my palate that it finally struck me: I was eating on my own, and had taken a bath on my own!
I paused suddenly as the realization hit me!
It was the first time that I had been able to do anything for myself!
The pains of old age had suddenly disappeared. I still looked quite old, but I wasn’t feeling so weak and the terrible pains that racked my frail body seemed to have disappeared quite suddenly since my little emotional display on the grave of Akos.
I sighed deeply; it felt really good.
I had a short discussion with Nana Bosomba before retiring to bed. He told me that the exhumation would be in a week, after some rituals had been performed, and then a reburial on the ancestral grounds. I told him I wanted the best of coffins and funeral for Akos, because I wanted to be a part.
I gave him a lot of money for anything he might need, and he took it with thanks.
That night, I went to bed a little relieved.
Nana Bosomba and four young men came for me at dawn, and we left the shrine of Nana Bosomba.
They took me through the dark paths after we left the village.
We went through some forests. They offered to carry me, but I told them I was feeling fine, which indeed I was.
Eventually, just as the daylight was streaming through the trees, we came to a little stream running through the forest floor.
“This is where we part ways, Mr. Biko,” Nana Bosomba said and pointed to a path running parallel to the stream. “No one enters the Holy Man’s abode uninvited. Please, follow that path, and it will take you to his place in the mountains.”
“Thank you very much, Nana Bosomba!” I said gratefully. “Once again, do forgive me.”
He smiled sadly.
“Death is eventual, Mr. Biko,” he said quietly. “I am also grateful, for the honour you’ve brought my daughter. Farewell, till we meet again.”
I nodded, crossed the stream, and took the path.
It was an uphill walk, and I walked slowly. My heart didn’t give out, though. It seemed, surprisingly, that the higher I went the stronger I got. At a point I almost felt like running, but I resisted it.
Presently, after about an hour of following the winding path through the forest, I eventually came out of the forest and found myself in a wide expanse of lush green grass and beautiful vegetation, like an exotic garden.
The path went through this garden.
I was quite tired now, but I was absolutely enthralled by this beautiful spectacle spread out before me. I walked through that exotic garden, a young man trapped in the body of an old man, and I thought of Abena Adobea, and it hit me suddenly that I could not live without her, and even if I died here, there was peace in my heart, and I just wanted to spend the rest of my life with that angel of a girl.
Taking a deep breath, I stopped to watch a peacock displaying her pride with bated breath! I had never seen anything so wonderful, so beautiful.
Suddenly, I turned a corner of the garden, and found myself confronted by three lions with their huge heads and golden manes. My heart skipped a beat and I looked around me with terror.
“Awurade mawu!” I whispered hoarsely and remained absolutely still. I was too tired to move, and too scared to react because this was nothing I had expected to see.
They stared at me with cold eyes, and then a young antelope suddenly trotted toward them and butted one playfully on his side, and the lion raised a lazy paw at the antelope. One of the lions moved toward me, and then it nuzzled my right hand, licked it, and moved away with disinterest.
I let out my breath slowly and giggled with great relief. I walked on weakly, and soon came to a pool filled with crocodiles. One reared out of the pool and sped toward me. I screamed and took frantic steps back, lost my balance and sat down heavily on my butt. I watched, horrified, as it moved at me, dwarfing me with its bulk, and I kept screaming, but when it got to me it simply shot past me, and when I turned my head I saw that there was a man standing there, and the crocodile was licking some seeds from the man’s outstretched hand.
It was that man, the apple-grabbing, cloth riding, curse-inducing, horrible man with the grey hair who had introduced himself as Nana Bosomba to me.
He was in a black local wear that covered him from top to his ankles, and he was smiling broadly.
The Holy Man of Wowo.
“Hello, Yao,” he said gently. “I knew you would make it. Welcome to my home.”
I got slowly to my feet as the man patted the crocodile on the back of its head and moved past me.
“Let’s go, Yao,” he said. “Time for breakfast.”
“You’re not Nana Bosomba,” I said in a soft voice.
“Obviously not,” he said with another giggle. “I just borrowed his identity for a while.”
“And you’re not a fetish priest!” I said again as I followed him.
“God forbid!” he said, shaking his head. “No, I’m not a fetish priest, Yao. No fetish priest can do what I do, and no fetish priest can add one hair to the hair on your head, let alone cause you to grow prematurely old. My powers come from the only source of pure power, the God almighty.”
“So why? I stopped and asked the question. “Why the deception, please? Why did you make me believe you were a fetish priest?”
He stopped and turned.
“Because people are scared of fetish priests, can you imagine?” he said with a chuckle. “When you tell someone you’re a powerful man of God, they scorn you. Tell them you’ve placed an evil curse on them, and they believe you! Isn’t that absolutely stupid? Meanwhile, all power comes from God. I needed to work on you, so I approached it from an angle I would have the most success!”
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“I’m not marrying your sister, Dede or Mansa, whoever she is!” I said suddenly, my voice soft. “I love Maa Abena, and even if I have one day to live, I’m going to spend it with her. Yes, I came to tell you that!”
He smiled again, and it transformed his face, making him so distinguished.
“I know that, Yao Biko, and I would not have it any other way,” he said, and resumed walking.
“So why did you do this to me?” I asked in a voice choked with pain. “Why do you want to kill me?”
“I don’t kill people, Yao, my son,” he said without turning.
“You killed Okomfo Basabasa!” I screamed.
“Nope,” he said with a giggle. “I just made him disappear, to appear here, by the power given me by my God, so that I could change his evil mind!”
I saw that we had come to a most beautiful house with a wonderful gate. A man dressed in a colourful T-shirt and dark shorts opened the gates for us.
I stopped with shock and gaped.
The man who had opened the gates was Okomfo Basabasa, and he was smiling at me kindly and with gentle welcome.
The Holy Man turned, saw my expression, and chuckled.
“Ah, Yao, I see your shock,” he said. “Do come in. I’m hungry. Let’s have some breakfast!”
“Welcome, Mr. Biko,” Okomfo Basabasa said.
“Okomfo?” I whispered, aghast, and he shook his head and smiled.
“No, please,” he answered. “I’m Brother Atta Panyin now.”
“I don’t understand any of this!” I cried in anguish. “Would you stop and explain things to me, please? How did this Okomofo Basabasa or Atta Panyin or whatever the fuck his name is knew your name and recognized you as Bosomba Nana when he saw you at Etwe-Pe-Kote, if you were just imitating Nana Bosomba?”
“Because, by the power of the Holy Spirit in me, I let him see the face of Nana Bosomba, whilst you were seeing this face,” the Holy Man said, and when he turned his face round to me, I didn’t see the handsome bearded face, but the bald-headed moustached face of the real Nana Bosomba, and I gasped with profound shock.
He smiled, and then the face disappeared, and was replaced by that of the Holy Man!
The Holy Man hugged the man I once knew as Okomfo Basabasa, and both of them moved toward the beautiful house.
“Come, Yao,” the Holy Man said. “I never meant you any harm. Yao, I was just playing with you.”
I stopped dead and looked at his retreating back with a gaping mouth.
Playing with me?
Did he just say he was playing with me?
At that particular moment, if I had had a rock, I would have easily smashed him on the head with it!
Playing with me…Jesus H. Christ!
“You can’t rock my head, Yao Biko,” the Holy Man said as he reached out and pulled two green apples from the air. “Just try it and see.”
He handed one apple to Okomfo…no, Atta Panyin, and they walked into the cool interior of the house.
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