Continued from When The Dead Return

“This is my sister’s place”, she said, her sultry voice wafting over him, as she continued to circle him. “I think it’s hideous but she refuses to let me improve it”. She chuckled from behind him, then stroked his back causing Waridi to turn and grab her wrist. She smiled, “Do you not like to be touched?”

“Who are you?” he asked, his voice dipping as his anger rose to the surface, “why am I here?”

She wriggled her captive hand. He held on tighter.

“I do not like to be bound. I will not warn you again”, she said, her voice flattened, and what appeared to be a spark of flame burned in her eyes. Waridi’s grip tightened as he pulled her closer to look at her eyes, and then she was on fire.

“Mother save me!” he yelled, as he let go and scrambled backwards away from this strange woman who was burning but not burning up. She stepped forward, matching Waridi’s frantic withdrawal with her steady advance.

“Now do you know who I am?” her voice was husky now, like smoke but Waridi gave this no thought as he turned and ran for the waves. He had decided to take his chances with the open sea. He could swim non stop for a full day and he was certain that if he left now he would be able to outswim this fiery demon, but when he stepped into the water, pain slammed into him. It started from his chest, choking him, cutting off his breath, and he sunk to his knees at the shore, gasping, clawing at his neck with tears running down his face.

Art by Ozor Nnaemeka Emmanuel, @o.n.e_art

“Oh my son”, the fiery woman approached, with her arms stretched out and Waridi leaned back from the heat, then fell onto his side, gasping and choking. The woman knelt by his head, and ignoring his weakened attempts to move away from her, leaned forward, held his head in her burning hands and kissed him on the mouth. Waridi cried out but then inhaled sharply as the pain within eased. Tears continued to flow but now they were from relief, especially since the flames did him no harm.

“My son”, she said, kissing his forehead, “You cannot leave till we complete the ritual.”

Waridi’s only response was his wheezing breath, as he lay his head more comfortably on her thighs and welcomed the darkness.


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