THE DARKEST HOUR
(Cry of an angel)
“I know is because of David coz i have never seen you like this before. That’s why is not good to love. ‘Love’ they said is wicked and can put someone in a sad mood”
Udoka looked at Monica from the chair and smiled at her words. “How i wish u will fall in love one day” she averted her eyes from her.
“But is true. Do u miss him?”
“Yes, we never saw each other to say goodbye, and i feel as if we are separated forever. What if i don’t get to see him again?” asked Udoka.
Monica kept quiet thinking of an iconoclasm of her sister’s last statement in order to encourage her. But before she spoke up, they heard a female voice in front of their compound.
“Adaku!” both exclaimed and rushed out.
In front of the compound was Adaku standing before Mrs Williams who had a plate of rice in her hands. She sat on a plastic chair. On her body was a wrapper tied across her chest.
“Nne, you are welcome”
“Thank you ma” Adaku smiled unabashedly. She wore a milky gown and had ‘Isiowu’ hairstyle of young igbo girls.
“Who did you say u are looking for?” Mrs Williams asked.
“Monica and Udoka”
“Hmm… my children have started making friends already” Mrs Williams smiled. “It seems like you girls planned to go somewhere”
“Yes, ma” Adaku replied still smiling and flinging her hands in a way it made a gentle clap.
“Where do you girls plan to go today?”
“Is not today, ma”
“In the next three market days”
“Where could that be?”
“The stream..” Udoka rushed out.
“The farm..” Monica added standing besides Udoka.
The expression of confusion triggered in the faces of their mother and Adaku.
“Stream?” the mother asked looking at her children.
“No, farm” Udoka replied.
“Yes, you can call it a bush” Monica retorted.
“To do what there?”
The twins went dumb. They glanced at each other to formulate another lies but they couldn’t. Due to Adaku understood they were covering their plan to Ndiogoro, she spoke up, “We planned to go to the bush in search of mushrooms and okazi leaves. Though that’s not why I’m here. I came to ask them if they would go to the stream with me”
“Oh..” Mrs Williams turned to the plate of rice. “I’m happy about your plans”
“Yes, we shall follow u to the stream” Udoka rushed inside. She brought out two buckets and they headed to the stream.
On their way to the stream, Adaku, being so dramatic, she kept her bucket and touched the two girls thereby making them to stop too.
“Come oh, i don’t understand. What was the drama all about?”
“What drama?” Udoka retorted.
“The one that happened in your compound with your mother”
“So, you were trying to tell our mother about our plan to Ndiogoro” Monica interfered.
“Why not?” Adaku spread her hands.
The twins looked at each other.
“Please, keep our plans to Ndiogoro a secret especially from our mother” said Udoka.
“She won’t let us go if she knows” added Monica.
“But why?” Adaku asked.
“Coz we’re still new here”
“Hmm… Okay then” Adaku picked up her bucket. She dropped it again as they wanted to leave and looked at the twins. “Between both of you, who is Udoka?”
The twins smiled.
“I’m Udoka” Monica replied.
“Don’t mind her, I’m Udoka” Udoka continued walking followed by her sister.
“You girls are confusing me the more!” Adaku followed them briskly..
THE NEXT THREE MARKET DAYS
Faith, Adaku, Monica and Udoka began the journey to Ndiogoro on foot. Meaning they had to cross several rivers. The road was narrow with grasses at a very close range in a way they flung on the legs of the girls. They were in their best attire. Any little time, Adaku would stop and practiced dance steps she will exhibit at the festival. She would shake her butt vigorously and tell stories on how she will win the heart of all the men at the festival. Other girls laughed. Sometimes, Faith would join her in dance while the twins watched them hilariously. However, they had crossed few rivers and got to a particular one. It has a bridge were Adaku and Faith began to dance again.
“Wait oh” Udoka looked into the river from the bridge. “How many rivers have we crossed?”
“Just few” Faith stopped dancing.
“Do we still have another one to cross?” asked Monica.
“No, this is the last” Adaku also stopped dancing. “Please, let’s hurry up” they began to walk.
The girls approached closer to Ndiogoro land. They could hear the sound of drums and flutes from a distant. As they hurried up, Monica saw a narrow road. She stopped and stared at it thereby making the other girls to stop.
“Monica, what’s it?” Udoka asked.
“Monica, Ongini?” Faith added.
“This road leads to where?” Monica asked still staring at the road.
“It leads to the Dark Forest of Ndiogoro. Strangers don’t enter there.
“I’m no stranger” Monica said then the girls looked at each other.