Nadia was unable to sleep, she felt uncomfortable in the midst of Kaylah’s family. She also was unhappy with the way things were going. She had done all she could to get the spotlight on herself, but it just followed Kaylah wherever she went. The press was not interested in anything she had to say, they were interested more in capturing Kaylah as she giggled and played with the children. She had gotten a gig to wear Lavini clothing Label, and they were already complaining that she was not getting enough camera time, and they would drop her, if it continued.
Nadia: “That Kaylah, she is such a witch” she grunted. She was eclipsing all she did, and the only way to save her career was to get Kaylah out of the way.
Nadia: “First, you stole my crown, now you steal my spotlight, and because of you, my career is going down the drain. I am sure Lavini cannot wait to drop me, so they can bring you onboard. I won’t let that happen” she murmured, with her fist clenched. She heard the sound of footsteps and turned abruptly…
Abasiama stretched as she got up from her bed, she felt the weight of the pain she carried these twenty years, but the idea she just had carried her when she wanted to give up. She was weak, both in body and spirit. She had her bath in the shed beside her hut, and dons her best clothes.
Abasiama: “Where do I start from?” she thought to herself as she walked the long distance into the village. People starred at her as she walked past, it was not often they saw her, sometimes she was believed dead. She walked to the market square and began to ask questions.
Abasiama: “Where does the Kwa river lead?” she asked.
Market woman: “And why are you interested in knowing?” the woman asked, looking at her with disdain. Once a queen, was now the scum of the earth, Abasiama smiled bitterly as she thought of how her fortune had changed.
Abasiama: “I want to know because my twins are still alive, and I want to look for them” she replied in a low tone. The market woman burst into a fit of laughter, as she called the other women to come hear what Abasiama was saying.
Market woman: “Your queen before the war is looking for the abomination she unleashed on us, down the river.” She said between bursts of laughter.
Another market woman: “Mbok, carry your curse down the river, I wonder why you are still alive, you should go with your husband and your cursed twins” she said and pushed Abasiama away from her table of wares. Abasiama wouldn’t give up, she kept asking as she went through the market, but the reaction was same. People concluded that Awasi had struck her with madness. She was walking back, the way she had come, dejected. The burst she had felt when the idea of looking for her twins came to her was finally fizzling away.
She walked with her head down, as tears trickled down her eyes. She heard a voice calling out to her, it was a woman, but she was dressed in an English wear.
Woman: “Madam, the Lord sent me to you. He has a word for you”
Abasiama: “Can he tell me where my twins are, if they are dead or alive? If he cannot, then I have no business with that Lord” she replied in annoyance and turned to leave, but the woman held her hand.
Woman: “What are you talking about, perhaps I could help anyway I can?”
Abasiama: “Where does the Kwa river lead to?”
Woman: “I do not know… but, hold on, I can take you to someone who can help” she replied with a smile.
Abasiama followed the woman as they walked through the village to the church. Abasiama felt a sense of nostalgia as she stood before the church building. The building was more modernized now, it has stucco walls and stained glass windows, whereas before, it had been a construction of woods. She had come here twenty years when she was looking for a child, and now she was back, looking for her long lost children.
Abasiama: “Hey Whiteman God, I hope you are not angry that I only seek you out when I need your help” she said aloud. This brought a smile to the woman’s lips; she had meant to share the gospel with her, because there had been a quickening in her spirit to talk to the woman, but if the woman needed help because she accepted the gospel, then the church would help her.
She pulled her gently as they stepped on the threshold of the church. The Presbyterian Church was the first and only church that came to Essien town after opening a church and school in Creek town. But Essien town had refused them in every way, where they had been received by Calabar chiefs in Creek town and Duke town, Essien town fought to preserve their culture and tradition. The resultant effect was that, they were left behind. While other communities embraced education and technology, Essien town was still stuck in the Stone Age.
Mary Slessor had come and abolished the killing of twins in the whole of Calabar, but here, the villagers still threw away their twins, but this time, they did it discreetly, without the knowledge of other villagers. What had happened to Abasiama and her husband was still fresh in their minds like it was yesterday, and they did not want to be called “cursed” or stigmatized.
As they entered the church, they were welcomed by the ministers in the church hall, who gave Abasiama water to drink, as a sign of welcome.
Woman: “This woman needs help. Madam please tell them what you told me, perhaps they can help you”
Abasiama: “I am looking for where the Kwa river leads, my twins were thrown in there twenty years ago. I want to find my children”
Minister: “Alright” the middle aged man, with his big spectacles said, with a shake in his voice that showed his doubts. He turned to the woman who had brought Abasiama for help, but the latter shook her head. They didn’t know how new born babies thrown into a big river like the Kwa river would survive. Even if they did, how would she find them, they would be grown and unrecognizable. They wondered about the sanity of her mind.
Abasiama: “Are you all going to stand and stare at me, or answer my question. Here is another question; can your God tell me if my twins are still alive?”
Minister: “All secret things belongs to God, He will reveal it to you if He is willing”
Abasiama: “What kind of a reply is this?” she sighed and turned to go. She had hoped for answers at the church, but once again, her hopes have been dashed.
Minister: “If I cannot tell you about your twins, I could tell you where the Kwa river goes”
Abasiama: “Alright, tell me now” she said impatiently.
Minister: “Come into my office, I will consult the map of Nigeria” They all walked into an office, where the minister spread the map on the table.
Minister: “The River runs through Calabar and drains into the Kwa ibo river that runs through Abia and Akwaibom. If your twins were alive, they would have been found in either Abia or Akwa Ibom” he explained, running his large hands across the map.
Abasiama: “Thank You” she said and rushed out of the church.
She was walking back to her hut by the river bank when she saw a group of men chanting and carrying leaves. They were walking towards her hut, and her instinct told her they were coming for her. She ran and hid herself in the bush. She stayed still, not moving a muscle as they passed by.
Abasiama: “Why won’t they leave me alone? What have I done and what do they want from me?” she fidgeted as she hid in the bush, the leaves wet with evening dew grazing her face.
Nadia turned abruptly and saw Malcom, Kaylah’s brother. He was a handsome hunk of a man.
Malcom: “What are you doing out here, are you not cold?” he asked as he approached her.
Nadia: “Just needed fresh, natural breeze helps clear my head”
Malcom: “I can relate to that, I do that too” he guided her to the garden seat.
Nadia: “How was your stay in America?”
Malcom: “Was all good, bagged another masters degree. It has been three years, but it feels like it has been decades. My little pup of a sister is all grown”
Nadia: “What’s with all the degrees, are you going to be an academician like your parents?” she said, the look in Malcolm’s eyes as he talked about his sister was not lost on her, and she wondered what was up with that. Malcolm laughed in reply, as he stood up and dusted his butt.
Malcom: “Alright Nadia, I will go in now, do come in soon. Ibeno is not really safe” he said and trotted inside.
Nadia paced up and down the garden, her head was filled with thoughts of Kaylah. She found herself being obsessed with her. She was looking for a chink in her armor; she needed to bring her down for her to be seen by the public. She decided she would become so close to Kaylah, like a second skin, so that she could watch her. Suddenly, a hand covered her mouth, and she felt a cold metal on the small of her back.
Question: Who was behind Nadia covering her mouth? Do you think Nadia was in safe hand? What do the men intend for Abasiama.