Ijawunmi paced back and forth like a caged tiger. She was proud of her name. Handed down through the years to all the first-born daughters of her mother’s lineage,its meaning was a pale reflection of how she felt now. She had been initiated into the office of a priestess on the eve of her thirteenth birthday, and she neither knew nor desired any other life. She had invited Shango into her spirit some hours before, and had subsequently fallen into a trance. In it, she had seen her quarry ahead of her, but had not been able to catch up with her despite her best efforts. As she desperately strained towards her, she had heard Shango’s husky whisper in her ears ‘Soon my daughter, soon’ and then had snapped out of the trance. It wasn’t enough, she had wanted more, she had wanted him, the thief who had stolen from her, so she chanted Shango’s name over and over again till she fell into another trance. In it, she had seen the man. He had tried to hide behind a woman, but she had seen him. She had longed to leap at him and rip out his thieving heart, but she had been unable to reach him. The woman in front of him had radiated a bright light that made it impossible for her to get to him. She had screamed out her frustration, snapping out of the trance again. This time, she knew it was enough. Returning into a trance so quickly had expended some of her life force, and she knew she had to proceed carefully in order to exact her revenge without losing her own life in the process. Taking a squawking chicken from the dusty yard and she had severed its head with one quick stroke of her sharp knife. Putting her lips to its neck she had thirstily gulped down the warm blood from its still quivering body until it grew still and had then used the knife to open up its breast. Reaching inside, she had thrown its heart unto the fire that burned in the shrine. She then lay down and fell into a deep sleep.
The images not been clear the last time she checked. She had glanced into the bowl of water from time to time since she’d awoken, but had not seen enough to enable her set out. She continued to pace in frustration. Her mind wandered to the woman in the bright light, and knew she had no chance of getting to her prey as long as the woman was around. She ceased her pacing to kneel before the large bowl of water that was in front of the shrine. All she saw was her reflection, and she remained motionless as she continued to stare at its surface. Suddenly, the water rippled, and she found herself looking at the the thief as he embraced a woman. She waited to see the bright light, and then realised it was a different woman. A woman wearing Ijawunmi’s hair! She let out a piercing scream, and scrambling to her feet, she grabbed a razor and drew it sharply across her left palm. She held her bleeding hand upside down over the flames, and remained unflinching as one of the flames reached up to lick across the surface of the cut. ‘Shango ooo!’ she screamed ‘Ijawunmi ooooo!’. Thunder rumbled overhead, and it started to rain.
To be continued….