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The head hunters

It seemed like the breeze had gone on recess, the atmosphere was hot. As hot as the coals one would use to roast corn and the sun shone as bright as if it was the last day it was supposed to appear. Chants, chatters and loud voices beckoning to the customers filled the air as men; women and children bought and sold their wares. The smell of smoked fish and probably grinded pepper tickled a customer’s nostril and she let out a loud monstrous sneeze, the little girls hawking sachet water for sale in basins glanced at her and giggled.

  A tall plump woman walked past mama Ekene’s stall and she beckoned on her “madam, come make I sell ugu for you”, the intending customer came close to mama Ekene’s stall, looked opposite and sighted a bunch of ugu that looked more fresh than the one she was about to buy.

“Customer! I go sell well, my own fresh pass that one”, the tiny looking woman opposite mama Ekene’s stall beckoned on the woman and within a blink of an eye, the woman swerved and headed there to make her purchase.

“Madam! Shey na me call you first?” mama Ekene cried out in disbelieve.

“You wey collect my customer from me, God go punish you, bongafish”, she continued to rain insult on her tiny rival.

The tiny woman didn’t let out a word; she sold her last bunch, made a mound with her wrapper, placed it on her head and positioned her basin on it.

She looked at mama Ekene sternly for a while and walked away.

“Ritualist, you cannot do anything to me”, mama Ekene lashed at her.

The tiny lady turned back, looked at her, smiled and continued walking. She belonged to the late Igwe’s kindred and ever since he died, it was rumoured that members of the Igwe’s kindred had been mandated to help get human heads so as to give him a befitting burial as culture demanded.

The tiny woman looked unable to hurt anyone but mama Ekene would put in her life savings to vow that there was something omnious about her. The rumour about the human heads was always made in whispers around the village but mama Ekene voiced it out so the tiny woman will never think of harming her or her children since she knew about it.

Just as she was thinking about the event that had occurred, she was jolted back to the noise of the boisterous market and sound of pastor Emeka’s megaphone. He adjusted the megaphone till he could talk with less wave interference.

He prayed with the market women and preached the gospel then he passed a bag around, speaking into the megaphone, he said, “These are perilious times, my sisters”.

“Secure your life and that of your family by sowing an honourable seed unto the lord, he loves a cheerful giver” he continued.

The women dropped different denominations both clean and dirty naira notes, in the bag as pastor Emeka’s eyes practically calculated the notes in the bag.

The next day, the tiny woman came as usual to sell her wares, she glanced at mama Ekene’s stall but she had not come, maybe she would have some rest today, she thought to herself.

She began to display her bunch of vegetables on the rickety table, all of a sudden; there was a rush of people running out of the market, women picking up their containers and bags of money as customers dashed out too.

The tiny woman quickly picked her purse and joined the race, the market was thrown into a frenzy like there had been a stampede.

The whole crowd that had left the market desolated ended up at the main road leading to the market. The policemen had a figure beaten to pulp sprawled on the ground with a sackbag. It was mama Ekene and two human heads in the bag.

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