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Ekwensu's Harvest

Episode 8

Ekwensu tip-toed through the bushy path and looked in every angle to
avoid being spotted. As he got to the end of the bush path, he heard a
rustle and turned around in fright but there was no one or anything in
sight. He proceeded to walk down the path.

"Hiyaaaaaa!", that was all he heard and felt strong arms grip him from behind.

"Ewo! Biko!", he yelled.

The strong arms lifted him and tossed him on the ground nearly
breaking his bones.

"Why have you been avoiding me, Ekwe?", the voice sounded as familiar
as his own.

"Amadi! Please, I am sorry", he pleaded.

"You will only be sorry when I am done with you", Amadi spat in
infuriation. "Why didn't you confirm it before you  told  me and made
a fool out of me.

He pulled his arm behind his back and Ekwe winced in pain. He managed
to slip from Amadioha's grip and took to his heels like a scared
rabbit. Amadi chased him with furious energy while panting like a
dehydrated horse then caught up with him and landed a huge punch on
his nose. Ekwensu took a sharp turn and retaliated as blood spewed
from Amadi' nose. The two men threw series of punches at each other
then locked their fist in a brawl with their legs firmly locked on the
red earth.

The pants were heavy and noise-provoking as they forcefully sought the
opportunity to throw each other on the ground. Amadi locked his feet
firmly to the ground, lifted one of Ekwensu's legs which made him to
loose balance and yanked him to the ground.

In a swift motion, Amadioha sat on Ekwensu's chest pinning his two
hands under his strong knees. He tried to wriggle free but it was
apparent that Amadi had over-powered him. His thick coarse fingers
packed red earth and stuffed it into Ekwensu's mouth.

"You must learn to  bridle your tongue", Amadi breathed like a furious
beast with every thrust of sand into his opponent's mouth.

"Chineke! Amadi has gone mad eeeeehhhh", Anyanwu yelled as he ran
towards his brother and shove him off Ekwensu.

Ekwensu seized the opportunity to roll over, supporting his knees and
hands as he coughed profusely.

"Allow me deal with this coward", Amadi yelled in fury as he was being
dragged away by Anyanwu.

"Do you know that you could have killed him?", Ayanwu tried to bring
him back to lucidity.

"Nonsense! Let him die nah!", Amadi said sarcastically.

"Me! Die? .... Amadi may your uncontrollable anger kill you", Ekwensu shot back.

Amadi tried to lose himself from his brother's grip. "Anyanwu!
Oooooooh! Did you hear him? He even has the guts to talk, let me show
him why I am the thunder god"

"Hiaaaaaaan, lekwa nu thunder god!", Ekwensu sniggered.

"Ekwe, I just saved a dastard situation and I expect you to go home",
Anyanwu thundered.

Amadioha refused to be calm rather he fuelled his anger like a buffalo
that had come in contact with the red colour even as Anyanwu made
attempts to calm him down and dragged him home. Ekwensu still stood
transfixed even when they had gone marvelling at what had
transpired. He coughed out more sand particles and spat it on the
ground then swept a measure of sand over the spittle with his foot.

He looked pensive for a while. 'The size of a child does not determine
the capacity of his brain.... Today was your day, tomorrow might be
mine",he muttered and let out an ominous laughter.

"Let's watch and see", he flipped his finger in the air and swerved to
the left hand side of the path that led to his compound.

It had been twenty-one market days  after the fight. Anyanwu arranged
the yams in his barn and whistled to a local melody as he wriggled his
stiff waist to it.

"Son of the sun!", Amadi hailed him

"Egbe igwe, e kene m gi", Anyanwu replied.

"I have been looking for you all over o, your yams are seriously
increasing", Amadioha observed.

"My chi is happy with me", his brother smiled.

"Ehen Nna! What was it that you wanted to talk to me about?", Amadi asked

Anyanwu took a deep breathe and exhaled. "Its about Ekwe"

"What is it about about him", Amadioha retorted

"I think you should drown your ego and make amends with ....."

"Never!", Amadi cut him short

"Please, my brother! Only women keep malice, don't give in to this.
Remember you nearly killed him that day", Anyanwu pleaded.

"That is his own business o", Amadioha still proved adamant.

"No! Its your business too, I may not like Ekwensu personally but he
is your friend", he said calmly and patted his shoulder.

Amadioha pondered on his brother's words for a while then walked away.

"Does your friend remain a friend even when he is a trouble maker?",
he  soliloquied. It was noon, the sun blazed as his shadow trailed him.

He shrugged,  "Let me fulfill my part"

He watched two he-goats in a locked-horn fight and smiled, he took the
left path and walked down to Ekwensu's compound. A red-headed lizard
relaxed on the palm front fence and nodded at intervals. He pushed the
bamboo gate, it creaked open and he entered the compound.

The compound was as still as a body of water.

"Is anybody here?", he questioned but he got no response and decided
to go to the backyard. There he was splitting palm kernels from the
shells with a heavy stone.

"Ekwe, Nwoke m!" He hailed Ekwensu.

He raised his head to look at him then cast his gaze back to the palm kernel.

"Ekwe! Its me o, Amadi", he said touching his chest.

"And so what?" He retorted in irritation.

"I know that you are angry but our people say the anger kindled
against a brother does not get to the marrow", Amadi pacified him.

"Hmmmm! You know that and you intended to kill me, Please leave my
compound", Ekwensu lashed out.

"We are like brothers, I over-reacted and I am very sorry", Amadi
intensified his pleading.

Ekwensu moved his head in a steady nod, glanced at the palm tree then
back to Amadi.

"I forgive you and I hope you forgive me too"

A smile brightened Amadioha's countenance. "Ezigbo enyi ka nwanne! Why
not?", Amadi replied as they hit the back of their palms against each
other's thrice..

"Sit down and join me in my palm kernel feat till Onwa returns", Ekwe chuckled.

Where did she go to?", Amadi asked as he cracked a kernel open.

"Farm o!", Ekwensu replied as he struggledo to pull the nut out of its
shell with his teeth

"Since morning!", Amadi exclaimed

Ekwensu looked at him with a smirk on his sweaty face, "Seems someone
now cares about someone", he teased.

Amadi chuckled, "I am just concerned that she has spent much time.....
I hope she is safe, that's all"

"Ok oooo!", Ekwe shrugged

The two men chewed the nuts in silence till Ekwe let out a choking
cough. "Drink water", Amadi advised him

"Mmmmmm", he tried to clear his throat as he hit his palm against his chest

He dashed to the small hut that served as the kitchen and scooped
water from the earthen pot with a cow horn. After he had drank ,  he
scooped another one for his friend. He walked back to the palm tree to
resume his task. He bent to sit on the large stone as he handed the
cow horn to Amadioha.

"I was about to say something but the cough just proved that it will
be unwise because I don't intend stirring any storm between us again",
Ekwensu said calmly.

"Why now?", Amadi asked rhetorically in concern. "Our disagreement is
in the past, you can tell me anything as long as you are sure about
it", he assured him.

Ekwensu drew a deep breathe and exhaled. "You remember that Ikuku's
daughter you told me about?"

"Ani?", Amadi questioned

"Yes!", Ekwe affirmed. "I have information that she has a serious
lover", he spilled.

"Are you serious?", Amadi's eyes nearly popping out of their socket.
Ekwensu nodded.

Amadioha's face narrowed into a sobriety. "Hmmmm! The thing is I have
not personally approached her, I just admire her from afar", he
confessed.

Ekwensu struck his beard gently. "Does it really matter? The fact is
that you want her and someone else is somewhere planning to take her
away from you", Ekwensu pointed out.

Amadioha looked pensive for a while. "I always wanted to be the
richest but presently Anyanwu, my younger brother is the richest, I
wanted to be the most powerful but it seems my anger makes my powers
destructive and now I desire a woman and someone else wants her too",
he crossed his arms.

"Was anything truly ever meant for me?", Amadi lamented

Ekwensu heaved a sigh, stood up from his sitting position and tapped
him gently on his shoulder, "A man does not claim ownership of a
maiden without a dowry...... What began in the bush ends in the bush"

"But I thought you wanted me to marry Onwa, your sister?", Amadioha cut in

"And as you don't deem her fit as a partner, I can't force you .....
All I can do is do support you, the time to act is now", Ekwensu
hinted him.

Amadi looked perplexed, "So what do you suggest that I do?"

Ekwe looked intently at his friend and cleared his throat. "You have
to go and pay Ani's dowry in three market days .......  You just can't
lose her since she gladdens your heart", Ekwe advised him.


©Andrew Ifeatu Jennifer, 2016
Twitter: @jennieifeatu
www.andrewifeatu.blogspot.com


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