The lovers are locked in a blissful embrace the next day. She is going to help him supervise his class test. Amidst eyes, and talks and sly greetings, they enter the jss2 class.
After the hassle with organizing them and getting them to be quiet, he takes down the names of the new girls, hands them sheets of papers and asks them to write down their names and class. After which the test began.
The weather is hot. The trees are blowing softly. The air is stiff. The bell rings immediately the tests are over. It is still morning but everyone is rushing to go home. Kingsley and Iruoma follows suit back to the corpers’ lodge. Iruoma realizes her head is throbbing. A lot of emotions are running through her. She feels she will explode. Her blood is boiling and she wants to get aggressive. It is probably the weather or the sourness in her heart from the night before. The two new students are running behind them. Kingsley turns and inquires where they are going to. They are waiting for themselves to talk. It is obvious that they do not like each other.
One of them, a very slim, fair girl, with an incision mark on her forehead, and a perfectly round face, peered into Iruoma’s eyes. “I like you ma. I want to be your friend.”
The other girl, a brown girl, skin the color of earth and with grey eyes, looks up at her. Her gaze is rather strong. Iruoma wonders what is going on.
“Well?” Kingsley thunders at them. “What is it?”
“Nothing, sir.” The black girl turns to face the fair girl. They glare at each other. The couple is surprised. The black girl takes the fair girl’s hands and squeezes. The fair girl’s eyes lit up and she hisses slightly. Kingsley jumps back, pulling Iruoma with him. But the black girl is already making her way out of their presence. The fair girl remains.
“Well, what is it? Do you want thrashing?” Kingsley again threatens.
“No sir. I want to speak with her.”
Iruoma looks at the small girl. She looks to be twelve or thirteen years old. She takes the girl’s hand and moves a little distance. “Yes, my dear?”
What she heard next stirred her deepest being. Is this girl communicating in a language she understands? Kingsley looks on in their direction. He does not understand what is going on. Iruoma looks lost; like in a trance. Their eyes are locked in and he could not hear a word they are saying. In few minutes, the young girl takes Iruoma’s hand and presses it. She leaves a crystal in Iruoma’s hand. Iruoma clasps her hand and turns towards Kingsley. Something strange is happening to her in this place.
All day she is restless. She is feeling so much energy. She is not a Christian, but that is by choice. Two years ago, before service, she had suddenly questioned her faith and found out she had nothing to hold on to. Before then, she had always been a strange child, a strange girl. Those were nothing she ever talked bout. But what is this? Kingsley could not get her to talk about what the problem is.
“I need to go out for a moment to the field. I can’t breathe well.”
Kingsley knows there is nothing he can do. The day has been strange and different. He is still getting to know the girl. Something is definitely wrong with her.
Out in the field Iruoma meets the second girl. She does not want to talk to a little girl, but when the girl turns and meets her eyes, Iruoma stops as the girl starts coming. What does this one want now?”
“Good afternoon, Niuwa. I…”
“What did you call me”?
Then again, Iruoma is in that trance. Something is happening to her again. Is this girl communicating with her? How is she understanding? She closes her eyes for few minutes and screams into the heavens. She is saying something. The black girl is no longer there. Iruoma slumps down in the field.
Kingsley runs out at the sound of Iruoma’s scream. Two corpers run out with him. He sees her crumpled on the ground and tell the other guys to go back.
“Iruoma, what is wrong with you? I heard you screaming. What is the problem, baby” He asks as he cradles her in his arms.
“Nothing. I am fine. I don’t feel so good.”
“Let’s go in.”
Iruoma sleeps all afternoon till nightfall. She is seeing different aspects of her. She knows she should do something, but she does not know what to do.
Kingsley is close to her. He is wondering why she is muttering in her dream, her hand is clenched tightly and her perfect legs are perfectly strapped together. Is she having a bad dream? He starts to shake her, calling her name. When she does not respond, he shakes her more vigorously.
“Iruoma, please wake up. Please. Iruoma. Wake up. I’m here, please wake up.”
In few minutes, she is still, opens her eyes and sees darkness all around. Kingsley is looking at her, terrified. She holds him back. “I’m fine. I’m fine.”
She sits up; leaving Kingsley wondering what is going on with her. It is few minutes to twelve am.
“I’m coming. I need to go out for a while.”
“No, Iruoma. It’s late.” He protested. “Please.”
“I’ll be fine, baby. I’ll be back soon.”
He tries again to dissuade her. She stands up and makes her way out to the field. He does not follow her. She takes steady steps, sure of what she is doing. It is time to decide.
The water is attentive. The forest is holding its breath. What would Niuwa do? Where will she go? They watch her walk towards the small path to the river. She keeps walking. Nature watches.
But she turns and walks back to the field. She gets to the direction of the tree, without waiting, without thinking, she walks into the king tree’s open embrace.
There is a mighty rustle in the air. The wind blows very hard. It seemed to blow down houses. The noise is deafening. The humans quickly close their windows and shut open doors. It is cold. What is happening outside? Most of them in the entire local government begin to pray fervently. It is a long night.
The water is angry. It shrieks eerily. The sound of the water with the wind is a howling witch looking for blood.
Kingsley sits up wondering where Iruoma is. Why is she still out? He could not go out to look for her. The wind is too strong. He starts to pray till he dozes off.
When he wakes in the morning, he sees Iruoma beside him. She is beautiful, he thinks. When did she return? Did he not lock the door? He holds her in his arms, quizzical. How and when did she return?
In the village is a spectacle. There is water on the ground, everywhere, like it rained. There had been no sound of rain that strange night, only noises. What happened?
The teachers, students, corpers in the field that morning meet their own sight. A wet ground and the dead tree is budding again. There is fresh, budding pines on the once equally dead branches. The tree looks down at them looking at her amazed at what happened. She looks at the other trees, they too look and they all smile.
Kingsley monitors Iruoma’s face. Why is she smiling now?