Deidre backed away from Deinde as the words tumbled out of his mouth. Hands clutching her head, she started to whimper as he spoke of how Ijawunmi’s hair had cut his hand, and then began crying in earnest as he described how the cut had only started healing when his wife Shade, had rubbed it with her anointing oil. ‘You have to get that oil’ she demanded. ‘Go home, and go and bring that oil.’ ‘What about the party?’ Deinde stuttered. ‘What party?’ she screamed. ‘You and your Ijawunmi have just finished ripping her juju hair straight from my scalp and you are talking about a party. What party?’ Her words reminded Deinde about his hand, and he glanced down at it as he tried to pull her hair away from his palm. A piercing pain pulsed through his hand as he did so, and even though he looked closely, he could not see where the hair growing from his palm ended and where the weft from Deidre’s head started. He looked around wildly and seeing a pair of scissors on her dressing table, he grabbed them and cut the hair off from just above where it sprouted out of his palm. He glared at Deidre, wondering if she truly thought he was going to go all the way back to his house just to get the blasted oil. ‘If you want us to attend that party, you will go home right now, and get me that oil’ she screamed again, and tossing the hair on to the bed, he scrambled into his clothes and headed for the door. Part of his attraction to Deidre had been the fact that she had a strong, domineering personality, and didn’t take nonsense from anyone, himself included. He admitted to himself that the attraction was fast wearing off now, and wondered what his wife would say if she saw him scurrying about at the behest of a girl who was more than 15 years his junior. His palm started itching again, and without looking, he could tell that the hair was beginning to grow again. It was almost as though his proximity to Deidre acted as a growth stimulant, and he swore aloud as he got into his car. His mind went to Shade, and his heart skipped a beat as he remembered she had mentioned something about about going for a weekend retreat with members of her church department. She had tried to explain to him the joy she felt about being a member of the intercessory team, but he had been too irritated to pay her any attention. Prayer, prayer, prayer! Who needed it? He swerved to avoid a pothole, and continued in his frantic quest to get home and back in time for the party.
Deidre tossed another wad of cotton wool into the bin as she determined that the patches in her scalp had stopped bleeding. Even though she was still terrified by everything she had experienced and heard in the past couple of hours, she couldn’t help glancing at herself in the mirror. The hair framed her face perfectly, and was full enough to conceal the fact that some wefts had been tugged out. Parting the hair carefully, she looked at the patches on her scalp. They looked raw and angry, and she carefully applied some spray plaster as precisely as she could. Her mind worked feverishly as she wondered what she should do. She thought of calling Eniola, her former room mate, to pray with her over the phone, but then she remembered Ijawunmi’s mocking expression as she had recited Psalm 23, and she suddenly doubted the efficacy of prayer against the fiend. Her mind darted to Baba Apata. She had gone to him a few weeks ago with Deinde’s fingernail clippings and in return, had been given a padlock which Baba had instructed her to throw into the water at Bar Beach. A self-preservation instinct she had not understood had kept her from doing so at the time, and she now dug her hand underneath her mattress to retrieve the padlock. Looking at it, she realised it probably wasn’t in her best interests to be bound to Deinde seeing as he was now accompanied by a spiritual stalker, so she picked her phone and made an appointment to see Baba the very next day.
Deinde screeched to a halt, flung open the car door, and dashed into his house without bothering to shut the door. ‘Shade’ he thundered. ‘Shade!’. ’Madam no dey house, she go return on Monday morning, sah’ replied his housekeeper as she emerged from the guest bathroom, wiping her wet hands. He muttered a curse as he went into the bedroom and began to rummage through Shade’s things. Like he had thought, he found a bottle of anointing oil, and sighing with relief, he opened the bottle and dribbled some of it unto the cut on his palm. This time, nothing happened. He sniffed the air, but there was nothing. The oil spilled into the cut, making the hair swirl, and began to trickle unto the floor. Deinde was transfixed as he continued to pour the oil. He wasn’t sure what he had expected, but he knew this wasn’t it. He recovered himself long enough to put the lid back on the bottle, then he turned, and left the room.
To be continued………