He turns on his bed, awaken by the sound of the cong sound at night. , his heart begins to beat rapidly. .
Whenever that sound comes , even the peace of the dead is disrupted. .

He knew the sound meant something  had happened in the village,  something bad had happened. 
But as always, it would be told in the break of dawn and so he goes back to sleep.
As morning comes, the news became a heavy weight as the elders of their village gathered around , a broken man in their midst. .He was in a sorrowful state as the people consoled him.
“What has happened ? why is a man reduced to the state of a child?” he had inquired. 
“The one who have left home and cleaved to him, she has been taken away to the land of our ancestors ,albeit cruelly, in the market.that is why”
“How come , who has done this ..who has dared to do this?”
“the village that we share boundaries with, they had dared to do this..”
“Then we must go to war , we must show them that they do not take our women and kill them and expect that we bow down and thank them..we too would send them..he that did this and their entire clan to go early to the land of their ancestors, blood for blood. .so that the well of the earth shall not go dry and the wound they have cause on the one she left behind to be healed.”
“Yes, we must go to war”
Okonkwo stares at the man wailing “Be strong..men do not cry. do not show your weakness man, she has gone. Nothing can be done, except exert revenge on him or them that has caused this. surely that would bring you peace?”
“Yes it would bring me peace ” he wailed
“Then I will go, I will go and bring revenge for you …” And with that Okonkwo leaves…
He must show them that they cannot kill a daughter from their land and go free without punishment. 
No..he must go and show them why they call him Okonkwo..why his name was feared amongst his people and people that had only heard of him tremble. 
“What is it?what is happening?” the elders of the  neighbouring village begin to shake
“He is coming, they are coming ..they will kill us all” The villages chanted

“Who is coming..who are they and from where ??”
“Umuofia.  the one who is most feared.  When he talks the heavens roars, when he clenched his fist he can break the skull of a child’s within his palm and when he fights…even the dead fear for the living.  he is coming,  to bring death to us all. Oh. .what thing have they caused us now…what sure death are we to face now…help us elders, save us from the calamity that is bound to save us..protect us. .do not let him walk into our village and leave us slain in our blood…elders, you are our fathers, protect us..protect you..we would surely be wiped out.” They cried.
“What must we do? ”
“we must pacify then..we must abate their anger. .or else. .we all shall die..even you..even you”
the elders are worried, Okonkwo is approaching. ..
“What would be a worthy payment for our sins..what?”
“We took a daughter from them…let us give them back another from our land, a virgin,  never being touched by a man..surely that would appease the wound of the one whose’s wife  was taken from him.. And then ..maybe we give him something else.., from the household of the one who have committed this grave sin…a son…”
“Okay, bring the virgin girl. . but the boy,  he is just fifteen ”
“Yes ..but he is a worthy payment..they have taken a lie,  it is only suitable to replace none wit another.. He shall be removed from his home and place of comfort, from the warm bosom of his mother and the love of his sister and the pride of his father, he shall be given up as payment for the sins committed by the people of our land against the strong people of Umuofai,  that is the only way we would be spared” They chanted. 
Okonkwo had entered the  village , his chest pumping and the matchet in his hand.
“Let them come out, those who have dared to touch the jewels of our land..let them come out so I can make their flesh kiss the earth and their blood the wetness the earth needs to continue to revive itelf.”
“My Lord. .great warrior. .we have sinned; we have done this  thing to you..but please. .please. ..spare us. spare us” they begged,  “spare us ”
“Why must I? An eye for an eye, surely  a little darkness in the world isn’t so bad.”
“my lord…please…we offer these people to you, a virgin ..and then a boy. take them..take them. so that she shall have peace”
“I want blood …blood is all that would give him peace, the one whos wife was taken” Okonkwo thunders 
“Then take her ..give her to him..she is a pure blood, a virgin,she is prefect. .she would be soft on his hard chiselled chest, warm on his bed and can bear him children ..she is healthy..she is indeed worthy ” They push her to him
‘And he…he is the son of the clan,  from our land…he can be put to good use in your village. .please..take thm..and spare our lives ” they begged “we not want a war, we know we don’t stand a chance,  we know that even to the last man would be buried under. so please. .them them..take them and spare our lives.”
Okonkwo looks at them..For a long time he does, then taking the boy and the girl,  he goes back home,. He is with the elders standing infront of them in the town hall .
“this is their offer of peace my brothers…this is their offer of peace so that their life would be soared.” Okonkwo says
they look at the girl and then the boy …and with  a lot deliberation, they too accepted
“we would give her to him who have lost his woman..” they tell him

“And the boy?” Okonkwo looks at him,the boy who is downcast..
“His fate is yet to be decided ” they tell him.
“very well..untill then”
“Come boy..”
Okonkwo takes him home with him  while he awaits the decision,  he hands thr boy to his  first wife  out of three to care for.
“What is your name?” Nwoye askes, he is the 12 years old son of Okonkwo. ..
“it is Ikemefuna” 
‘why have they brought you here?”

“I do not know..I miss home,  my mother and sister. .but they say I have to stay here..I have to live here feom now own”
Nwoye looks at him, “Do not worry, I am here too. we shall be friends. you would like that?’
“Yes ” Ikemefuna smiles. .”Yes I would like that”

it’s been three score years…A lot of things had changed in the land…

Ikemefuna had not only being the boy that was brought into their land to live with Okonkwo and his family years ago…
he had suddenly become a part of his family,  loved by people in the clan as well. .
And Nwoye..he loved him most of all.

And ikemefuna had grown , calling him, Okonkwo father..
Okonkwo had always wanted a son who was everything his own father wasnt..soft and gentle,  he wasn’t a man by Okonkwo’s standard  and he feared , he feared ever considered as being weak himself. 
so he ruled his household with the iron fist, the fact that his wives feared him gave him joy..
But whenever his son Nwoye came into his presence. .he was angered..
“You are too weak,you rather sit in the midst of women and listen to the stories told at bed time than to sit in the council of men and hear the gory details of blood and war and the fights of god’s.  you are too weak Nwoye and weak men die..they die.  come here and sit down..let me show you how to be a man” 
“No father, I do not like to see blood,  nor do i want to  have  a heart  nor how to kill, how do you take someone’s life without remorse. . No father..Ikemefuna do not mind that..but me..I rather be left alone to my idle mind tham frolick with old men and stone drinks and desires to play gods” He says. 
Okonkwo in his anger strikes him…”A man do not run away from being a man..I must  show you how to become a man and I would show you that only the weak would be put to the ground ” He grabs him and beats him
“my husband,  my head, my strong one…let my son be..let him be please ”
“It is because of you that makes him tie wrapper around his chest like a woman and not his waste like a man. it is because of you he is as soft as a woman and cannot even kill the cock like a man. he is a man..he is a man..he should act like one ” he strike the boy again but his mother rushes to defend him
“woman, get out of my way” he pushes her aside ,hitting the boy to the ground. ..”I refuse to allow you become weak..not under my roof..I refuse. .I hope when you remember this beating you would drop your gentleness and become strong or I will make sure you never have to be amongst those you love again” he spat, walking away and leaving the boy crying.
“it’s okay my son, it’s okay” his mother console him
Ikemefuna comes home from the farm, and sees Nwoye downcast ,he knows that Okonkwo had been at it again…trying to make the boy strong.


“Don’t worry Nwoye, I am here..and I would make you better , so that father will be pleased.  you would like that won’t you?”
the boy looks up to him..”Yes I will, very much”
Ikemefuna and Nwoye , become inseparable. .. Ikemefuna treats him with respect despite being older than him, Nwoye had grown to love him like an a older brother .
And soon, Nwoye becomes confident , stronger..and pleasing his father. .

And because he knows what  he does pleases his father wanted. ..he began to act like the way he wanted, did things the way he wanted and spoke against women even the way he  Okonkwo wanted. ..
but this never pleased him , Nwoye..but it pleased his father and Okonkwo was greatly pleased..

Okonkwo knew that Ikemefuna was a good influence on his son. ..And he should be grateful for the boy’s presence in his family. .
Yes in a way he was grateful. .He had succeed where he could not , in Nwoye’s life and he knew that it would be hard to separate them…
it’s being a while the locust came, the locust that brings nothing but joy their staple crops , making farmers rejoice …Making barns filled ..
Yes the lucust came. ..and so did  bad news, form one Okonkwo considered his friend..
“Ezuedu,  what has brought you here my friend. ? please come and enjoy the locus gifts with me” Okonkwo drags a chair for him to sit down.
he sits but his look is sad “I have come with news, a sad news , or rather a message , a message that action must be taken”
‘speak my fiend. , what to troubles you..?”
he looks at Okonkwo ” It is time..time to give up Ikemefuna, the gods of the lands have ordered it,his sacrifice of blood is what is reguired.”
Okonkwo is quiet. 
why has the gods decided to do this to him….Why did he let him hold on to the boy for this long only to take him away. .why??”
this would surely bring a sad gloom over his family. .especially Nwoye. .
“This is what is ordered? ” Okonkwo asks again
“Yes. but let me give you an advice.. the gods have ordered it, but do not be amongst the people who would bring him to his ruins. do not be amongst the men who would cut him down and make him bleed to the earth. Stay away from it if possible..do not go. the boy calls you father, do not let him remember you ..even in the land of the spirits,   as he says..Father did this to me. I have come to deliver my message , I am going . but prepare the boy..he would be taken by the men who would commit this sacrifice ” he says getting up..
Okonkwo watches his friend leaves, 

The next day, the elders of the land,  they come in their numbers..they come to speak with Okonkwo concerning what have been told them.

it was settled. .. Ikemefuna’ must be killed.
it is in the evening as Ikemefuna sat down with him that he tells him.

“I know you have missed your family and they have missed you too. we have decided that you  would be sent home.  so prepare yourself.”
“But father ?” Ikemefuna is broken…he had come to accept them as family…that meant he wouldn’t see them anymore. .even Nwoye..

he felt bad..
“You will be sent home Ikemefuna. .”

then he heard it.. the crying..

he turns to find his son Nwoye crying. .
“I heard it father I did, please…do not let this happened. .please. .” he wails. 
“I have told you..men do not show weakness, men do not cry ” he gets up and beats his son , sending him away.

“Father,  where are we going ?”

 Ikemefuna asks his father , Okonkwo as they make their journey into the forests. with other men,who held matchets . 
when the men went into the forests, each carries his own matchet…Sometimes as a means of protection or means to farm..

So it didn’t seem uncomfortable for ikemefuna,  but he was curious because his father hadn’t said anything to him since they began the journey and Nwoye   , he had been sad..too sad…
“You will see ikemefuna,  you will see. .” akonkwo says
Okonkwo is working behind him , he is deep in thoughts  
“Do not partake in the death of the boy,he calls you father, even if the gods had asked for my own child, I would not refuse but I will not be the one who would end him..listen to my as a friend…he calls your father ” he remembers his friend’s words. …

Ikemefuna is working ahead with the men…
He is thinking of how strange it would be like to see his family again. .and then he is worried   and excited and the he is sad…
he was leaving his new family too..a family he had gown to love and accept like his own too..
it’s a long journey and they keep walking and walking. ..

Then they stop., facing him
“We would do it here. ..here is fine” the first man says 
The other rmen nods ‘Yes, we would do it here, his blood shall be the sacrifice. . let us do it here ” they

 reply..looking at Ikemefuna who had stopped,  he was curious.
“Why have we stopped ?”

“this is as far as your journey is Ikemefuna. .this is where it ends”
“I do not understabd ?” he says staring at all of them who stood about him, their  matchets tightly held..
“You don’t need to,” the man says, raising his hands his strikes him with it,
the tear causing Ikemefuna to scream,  as the pain tore through his body  ..the other one raises his hands and strikes  him as Ikemefuna turns his back..
And soon they are striking him…but he doesn’t fall and stay on the ground..he false down,hitting them he runs to his father..he runs to Okonkwo. .
Okonkwo had been deep in thoughts , suddenly raises up his head and he hears his scream.. he saw them strike  Ikemefuna ,once ,twice,  thrice and then again..
Okonkwo  heard his shouts and he knew he was in pain.. but something more than pain propels Ikemefuna  to run and run toward him.
it was as if he needed to be protected by the one whom he had called father. ..because fathers ..fathers protected their own and keeps them out to harms way…”
Okonkwo saw him coming …running to him..getting up and running as they continue to strike him behind. .
“Do not partake in his death. .” His friend says ” he calls your father ” the words come back into his head. 

Ikemefuna is nearing him..
And then another thought cones in.. ..what if I don’t partake ?  what if I look  away. ..what if  I let the matchet falls to the ground. .
they would call me weak,They would consider me not having the mind and strength to do what is required. ..
I ..I curse my son for his weakness,  do I become that thing I hate the most. ..Weak?
“I am Okonkwo, and I refuse to be weak….” he says and then  as Ikemefuna comes close..
“Father father..help me..they have killed me”  Ikemefuna reaches him…
Okonkwo would protect him…Okonkwo was his father for three years…
he would protect him..

Father would protect him to he runs to him….
“I refuse to be weak!!” Okonkwo  raises his hands and strikes  him down with the matchet

Ikemefuna falls to the ground. ..

his eyes looking upwards.  .staring at Okonkwo. .
“Father ” he breathed  before he chokes to his death. 

Miles away. .Nwoye becomes sad…

Just like the time years ago when he and his mother where close to the forest and they had heard a cry..cry of infants. .
they had said there were the two faced children. ..the twins left to die  in the evil forests. 
He had felt sad that day …

And today he had felt that same sadness.
When Okonkwo came back…
He knew that Ikemefuna wasn’t ever coming back. not because he went home to his family. ..but because. ..He had been killed.
Killed by the man he called father. 


*******ANTICIPATE STORY 23 ***#MAY 23rd # (MAY23RD)******
#StephanieEgberike #Writes #31MAY

Goodnight Folks.!!!


One thought on “#31MAY #STORY 22 #MAY22ND ●IKEMEFUNA 

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