The information sparingly filtered through the community that a king witch hunter was going to pay a grand visit that will change her fortunes. The nugget of information was a bit vague to most of us, I particularly had no idea of what it was all about. It became more confusing getting to know that a huge sum of money was put together to host this master witch hunter to take care of him throughout his stay in the community. As days of his visit drew closer a great deal of his intents were explained by persons who had some fair knowledge of what we were anticipating.
Nyam or (meat man) was his name. The name was obviously adopted by him to suit his vocation. An arena was specially prepared for him, it was a vast expanse of land ceremoniously cleared to host the expected spectators and the master's victims to be. The build-up to the hunter's coming brought with it diverse reactions. A great number of people were excited about his coming, according to them he was going to cleanse their land that was riddled with witches and wizards. Just a few people and myself expressed indifference at the whole idea.
The year was 1999, it was about the first quarter of the year and a time all farming activities are usually on the low. The place was 'Alien' in the out sketch of the head quarters of the local council of Ushongo, Benue state Nigeria. It was a huge crowd my eyes saw on the first day I showed up at the event. The crowd beat my imagination, the event also attracted economic activities. People displayed various wares for sale while others hawked theirs. I and my friends moved closer to the main arena to scamper for a standing space to catch a glimpse of what was going on. We finally got ourselves some space to stand and observe events unfold. It was a bit weird to me what my eyes saw.
A good number of elderly men in their sixties and seventies were made to sit in the middle of the arena. They were the supposed wizards that were hunted on day one of the event. Some traditionally designed objects were placed right in front of each of them. The objects were the supposed portions they used in attacking and destroying their perceived enemies. I became curious, my eyes wondered round the arena. I was looking for the man of the event as though I was acquainted with him.
Having no clue of him I finally asked a man beside me. He told me the master and his crew had gone on a break. He assured me that they will be back soon. Fifteen minutes later, a mad rush towards the arena by people around the place made me scared to the bone. It was almost a stampede scenario. A tall and dark complexioned man made it straight into the middle of the arena were the elderly men sat. It dawned on me he was the reason for the mad rush. The crowd around the arena swelled. I felt a bit lucky I was just on time to be where I was.
He began the second phase of the business of the day. He called out his assistant who went by the name principal to come out. A short but slightly stout man came out. He ordered him to complete the story of how he himself was captured.
To be Continued...................
The principal had a bad eye; I can't recall whether it was the right or left side. He was always turning to the side of the good eye. He began to narrate the much anticipated story of his capture.
"Once upon a time I was a perilous wizard, I killed and destroyed lives and everything thing that was meaningful to anyone in the my community. Farms yielded far less than they would naturally do, women went barren and children fiercely rebelled against their parents, all because of my demonic spells. I went as far as interfering with the weather. I determined when the community had rains.
One faithful day I heard Nyam or was in my community to carry out his first ever task of purging the land of its evil doers, so I decided to make it to his event. It was really a tough encounter." The principal paused and took a deep breath.
I kept turning in to different things, yet it was difficult to escape from the master witch hunter. I turned into a spider, synthesized cub webs that was as long as I was able to run up to the clouds, yet I was followed up there.
Finally I changed into a crab and while trying to make it into a narrow hole he grabbed me by the eye. I tried to move but the master would not let me go. He grabbed me firmly; when it became obvious I had met my waterloo, I "surrendered." The crowd broke into an exclamation typical of the land in a coincidental unison.......................................To be Continued...........