Nori couldn’t believe he just heard that, he cast suspicious looks on his parents who looked disturbed. His mother was almost starting to tear up. How could she have forgotten so soon. They wished they had been there before the person – whoever it was took her child.
“That’s okay, but do you remember anything? How did you get here? Can you remember that? Nori asked her, his voice almost inaudible. She shook her head. He raised his hands in exasperation, this was not happening for real.
All he had wished for was an uneventful vacation in this island where few ventured in. How in the heaven’s did she find the place in the first instance? She must have walked for days from the city non-stop which was unheard. And if that was the case, why would she do that, what was she looking for in the forbidden island? His eyes met her bust, and then the rage in him took him in.
Her top, he knew that it must be one of his mother’s was smeared with her breast milk, how could she not remember, feel it?
He brought out his phone and dialed a number, Dr. Kegel showed up, it continued to ring but there was no response from the other end. He tried it a couple of times, still no one picked. Handing up, he ran his long hands into his hair, they were spiky and rough, the last cut he had was just before he left his station for home.
He had the option to travel to any country for his vacation but his heart longed for this island and all the memory it held. Those were stories he hoped to tell his children someday. His mother was right, he needed to shave or at least get a treat. But he also knew that wasn’t to happen few months away, not while he was here on this forbidden island. He kept back his phone and walked away.
His father looked at his wife and went into the house. She sat there silently till she was sure they were alone. Then she took Nimi’s hands, turning her to look square at her.
“My dear, it’s okay. Are you worried?” Nimi nodded. She gulped in a whimper, raised her eyes up in prayer. This was not what she had bargained for but here she was with a girl from nowhere with her memory wiped like a clean slate.
“Can you tell me about it?”
Nimi started but her voice trailed off. When she stopped tearing, she gently pulled her hands away.
“Did I really have a child?” her eyes begged for the truth.
Marachi was never used to lies but she wished her son had held the facts till the poor little girl was stable. She tried to get Nimi distracted, it didn’t work.
“Will you please not lie to me or try to cover up. You heard what that man said, he looked too honest to lie.”
The way she talked about her son, Nori, caused a break of smile on Marachi’s face. The girl had taken notice of him so quick.
“Yes you did but…”
“Someone took her.” Nimi replied, Marachi blinked, “how did you know?”
“I just remembered someone hit me with a stick. It must be because of the child.” She said casually.
Masinachi sighed, “And you don’t feel like you had a child?”
Nimisola shook her head, “What else do you remember?”
“Who are they?” Marachi asked alarmed. Nimi’s eyes popped, they held fear in them. Marachi could sense her vulnerability in the moment.
“Do you see them?”
Yes, she replied, “Just like yesterday, at the beach, at the cover of twilight, she took me to them. They were on red robes and capes but there was one of them, a man.”
“Yes, continue.” Marachi urged her but Nimi’s eyes held no more fear. She turned to Marachi, “Do you know why she took me there?”
“Who?” Marachi asked lost, “My father’s wife. She said I was possessed and needed to be cleansed.” Marachi nodded, albeit curious to hear more, she didn’t utter a word for fear that Nimisola will stop her story half-circuit again.
“The man, they called him Prophet Jehu, he said I had ten thousand demons. She paid him to chase them out.”
Marachi opened her mouth but nothing came out, everything she wanted to scream about hung to her throat. She wanted to ask her why her step mother would do such but held back to allow Nimisola continue.
“Then she left me there with him for seven days. Every night, every other night…” her voice became moisty. Marachi patted her back, “It’s okay if you can’t continue. Let’s go for a walk.”
“No, I must tell you what he did to me. No one ever let me speak,” Nimisola help her down as she made to stand. Marachi waived her head in sympathy, Nimisola continued.
“Every night, he and his six assistants would assemble a cleansing session near the beach, they would strip me bare of all clothes and take turns to wash my body – my demon infested body.”
Nimisola sobbed and continued, “After that, the prophet, they called him Prophet Jehu, Most Holy, he would call me into his secret chamber for special anointing. When I get there, he will start speaking in languages that I don’t know then he will tell me that angel Michael, the most holy angel was about to visit me. He will then tell me to lie down.”
She broke down uncontrollably, her body vibrated as hot tears trickled down her sunken cheeks. Marachi could not hold her emotions either, she started to tear, wiping beads of tears with her left index finger. She had heard of such dementing stories but she never knew how soon in her forty-five years of life she would meet a victim.
When Nimi made to continue, she hushed her gently, “That’s enough for now, we need to take a stroll.”
Nimi nodded still sobbing, her chest felt light, like a stone was lifted off it but she had more to say. She wished to lay it all bare, the heavyweight her heart had borne in the two years that her mother passed away.
She stood up and it was then they both noticed that her breast milk had drenched her dress. Like flash, everything she forgot fought their way back to her mind.