The Cleansing Rites – A Short Story

The circle of cleansing was about to begin again. Now there are three spirits that must rest in peace. I look up to the ceiling where dark cobwebs hanged. A fly was caught in the web and a big spider circled around to feast on its prey. Obinna and I were now as a trapped as the fly. I turned to look at his tear-stained face and then my eyes monitored the rising and falling of his chest as he slept. It was necessary to assure myself that he was still breathing. We were both lying down on the wooden bed with the flat dirty mattress. My eyes went back to the ceiling where the spider had now reached its prey. The voices of the elders mixed with grandma’s plea to the gods to have mercy on our entire clan were now even louder.

I felt a choke in my throat and then fresh tears began to flow down my face. Their voices became distant as my mind traveled to that night I was stirred from my sleep by the whispering voice of my mother. “I won’t do it Ebuka”, said mother. “I’m only trying to fulfill the cleansing rites”, replied Uncle Ebuka. “Please leave now”, mother said in a harsh tone. I heard Uncle Ebuka’s short clipped laughter as he said, “Chinwe, you know the elders have spoken” and I heard his footsteps leaving. Mother started to sob quietly. I laid down not saying anything and my mind went back to the time father was still alive.

– An excerpt from one of my short stories collection.

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

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