IN THE SHOES OF GOD 18

Boadu thought hard about his actions and inactions contributing to the tension in the palace. He started drinking heavily but could not vent on Nyamekye no matter how much he gulped down. It was as though even his reflexes were well aware of her stature now. In his stupor, he thought he had dreamt of telling Kumnipa everything; about the feelings of the princess for him, his stupid jealousy resulting in her falling out of love with his personality, his foolish act of telling the first couple of the big Apemso Kingdom about his private life and the fact that he felt like an out of use plate before telling the King and queen all that but had upgraded into rubbish. He opened his eyes with a bad headache only to see himself on the bench in the biggest hall of Daakyehene’s palace. Boadu rushed to his abode in the brink of the night.
Kumnipa thought long about all that he heard from Boadu and put two and two together. He had been a fool with Otwereduampong by his side, always winning his battles both on the field and in his personal life but for the first time, he felt afraid. The mere thought of Ama getting caught up in the royal mess cut through him like a poisonous sword. It was close to cockcrow and he had not slept a wink. Just when he decided to pick his sword from a pile behind a wooden partition in his big hall to practice to ward off time, he saw them, three assassins tip toeing to God knows where. He followed them barefooted only to know their intention, they were obviously looking for Ama. He quickly retreated to his hall, checked on Ama and realized she was still sleeping.
Seconds later, swords argued in front of his room and he knew the visitors had located their target, probably didn’t think they’d get any form of opposition. He rushed to the place and helped in fighting them. Two were killed, the other was arrested. There was no familiar face but Kumnipa was determined to find out their boss or bosses. He hid him in the hollow cave beneath his palace only to see him dead by morning, he bit his own tongue.
Daakyehene thought of openly confronting the rulers of the land but stopped out of courtesy and diplomacy. He thought of facing Nyamekye but stopped himself in respect of her pride and proceeded to think deeply about the matter. Who would want to kill Ama? No matter how he thought of it, only the queen could have tried the gimmick. The king knew Ama too well to send those weak boys to eliminate her. He decided to play with the gods of the land by telling Kissi the Drunkard about it.
If I get you correctly, you mean to tell me that the princess has a secret husband and you are just the ceremonial husband? Well, then it means three things: you either want to test the slipperiness of my tongue, or are indirectly sending me out there to plant rumours or just plainly and stupidly think I am drunk because of how unstable I look so might forget everything by morning. Either ways, I feel sorry for you. If it is the first, you surely might see me failing that test on a bad day, if it is the second, then you are just being chisel, who sends a drunk on a mission without a proper payment? Don’t you know drunkards are at par with royals and seers? There is no way you will visit their minds without a big gourd of nsa din or ka bi kyere w’ase. If it is the third then you are the stupidest person of the land to judge my mind based on my unstable body. Whatever you think you need, speak either clearly or in kind to choose.”,
Kumnipa gave him enough cowries to buy him more than a hundred palm trees and left. “It is a true story and he needs me to plant rumours on the minds of the people of Apemso. He definitely is caught between Nana Bonsam and Sasrabonsam. Such a treasonous act by the very buttocks on the biggest stools!” Kissi thought. “But how can a prince who has it all agree to such terms of marriage when he knows the children of a slave will inherit him? He must have a dark secret“. Kissi stopped drinking and started pondering. He thought about his life and the fact that even his wife who disrespects him every now and then could never cheat on him let alone make him act in that despicable manner. “True, cloth covereth rots”. Kissi, sober as the day he was born, walked straight to his house, shocked to the bone.
Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © September 2018

Photo Credit: Google Pics

IN THE SHOES OF GOD 17

Fowls roamed freely in homes and outside sometimes daring to share meals with humans, always threatened and flew to throw revenge dust into people’s eyes. They defecated at odd places to give humans some work. As people prepared places for their roosting, water to quench their thirst, they killed some to prepare delicious soups or stews when need be. Goats fought their owners and their neighbours to pay them back for the fragrant soups they murder their mothers and fathers for, knowing they stand chances of falling into same fate, yet Apemso laid as it were. People died day in and out, were bathed and prepared for burial, placed on bamaso overnight and sent off into the ground. Others were born and welcomed to stay with the help of dawn, nsa din and water. Forget about the few children seers asked to be sent to the evil forest for either a possession or a fault unseen by ordinary eyes, life was playing itself in normalcy in Apemso. Ohene Asaa heard cases ranging from theft, abuse, gossips, curses, murder, to list but few. Ohemaa Abrampah went about her business normally, all royals and those associated with them doing their best to paint a perfect picture of the palace. Within, nothing seemed right. Nyamekye’s relationship with her parents was bad. She avoided them like plagues, avoided Kumnipa, Boadu and Ama and kept mostly to herself. She could vanish from the palace for days, getting the first couple worried.
Ohemaa Abrampah could not help it. She called Boadu in front of her husband. “If a precious gift is given to you, you surely must let it shine. How irresponsible are you to let your wife’s depression get to this level? Did we give our only daughter to you in privacy to make her avoid us in the plain sight of our people? What makes you so powerful as to put royals as powerful as us on our toes for all the bad reasons? Speak up or face our fury!
Boadu shivered as he knelt and burst out crying like a baby in front of them. “Ohemaa, forgive me, but her depression does not stem from the loss of our child. There is nothing I haven’t done to let the princess look at me as she used to but all have failed. Sadly, her heart left me even before our baby, our baby, our poor baby was born dead. I live under a roof with her but hardly see her. From what I know, she is avoiding everyone because of the love she has developed for Daakyehene Kumnipa.”
Mother and father screamed at once. They were so petrified at the thought that even Boadu was startled out of his misery.
I beg your royal pardon but after thinking about it very well, I realized I needed to let you know the truth to find ways of injecting happiness into the heart of the princess. That is how selfless my love for her is.”
He was immediately dismissed. Ohemaa and Ohene kept looking at each other’s faces not knowing what to do. “This may be a blessing Nana. Let’s immediately banish or eliminate Ama and get Kumnipa together with our precious daughter.”
Ohene Asaa for the first time raised his voice at her. “How can you suggest this cruel method of dealing with a situation like this? You are a mother too, how can you suggest we kill a child who has been nothing short of a daughter to us? A warrior who is the first female to brave the odds and lead men to war? How can you call yourself a mother?”
It is because I am a mother that I think the way I do. Motherhood is just like ownership. No matter how bad you feel towards another at her loss, you find ways of protecting yours under your wings no matter how cruel it would be. Why do you think some mothers give their lives for their children? Yours is yours. Do you want us to sit and watch our only daughter die?”
Ohene Asaa left her presence in anger.
Ama felt strange. She didn’t know how it felt like to be sick but she felt unwell. Kumnipa brought her to his chambers and cared for her all through the night. He called the royal doctors to have a look at her. The royal doctor became afraid after seeing Ama in his bed (a leak could kill him either ways. The king would have him killed if it was later revealed he knew and didn’t tell, Kumnipa could also have him silenced if word got out there about it) but took care of her without complaints praying to the gods of the land to keep him safe. She was far advanced in pregnancy. Only three moons to go. Kumnipa was happy and jumped up and down to the surprise of all, shouting “I am going to be a father! I am going to be a father!” By the time Ama could seal his mouth with her hands, almost all his guards had heard and had gathered, kneeling in congratulations. He ordered them to keep it a secret.
Ama dressed like the warrior she was, concealing her belly in an all round cloak. She went to greet the king and realized he had bloodshot eyes, wanted to console him but didn’t know how. She left only to bump into Ohemaa Abrampah at the hallway. Ohemaa refused to respond to her greetings and asked her to stay away from her husband, the king. Ama was so hurt that tears began to trickle down her face. Kumnipa, who was entering saw them, rushed to check if Ama felt sick only to hear Ohemaa Abrampah “The earlier you do away with her, the better for all of us. You are Daakyehene of this great land, play time should be over soon.” Kumnipa was so shocked and confused to speak. He just hugged Ama, and begged her not to listen. He took Ama to sleep in his bed, asked his strongest guards to be with her when she finally slept and took a stroll that evening.
Even the beautiful fireflies having a convention in the strong grass close to the market square, could do nothing to improve his mood. Seeing Ama sad felt like an arrow in his chest, watching her cry felt so unreal. And hearing what his mother in law said moulded goosebumps on his black skin. He sat on a log close to the market square as his guards followed from far. A drunkard sat beside him, he signaled his guards to let him be. “I have seen it all, from spirits walking in the night to royals acting like stray dogs. What ails the prince of this great land to have him sit here like a lost drunkard?”
Kissi, I watched my woman cry today and I feel very sad. I didn’t think she could cry, well I know women cry but I thought she was a different kind of woman.”
Kissi the drunk laughed out loud. “Daakyehene you are still young and foolish, no, inexperienced, hehe. Women cry for different reasons. A woman can cry even for the foolishness of her opponents, they can be rivals or husbands, in laws or friends. A woman’s tears has many interpretations. If you like take a closer look. She cries when happy, cries when sad, cries when anxious, and even cries seeing some others cry. No matter what, a woman’s strength is not measured by her tears. You do that at your own risk. Give me some cowries or gold coins to buy some drinks. I have impacted knowledge on you.” Kumnipa gave him what he requested for and he left. He then thought of what Ohemaa Abrampah said. On what basis did she say that? Was it connected to Boadu’s sadness on the day he lost his child? Boadu must definitely know something. Kumnipa stood and resolved to see Boadu to alleviate his fears.
Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia ©Sept. 2018

Photo Credit: Google Pics

IN THE SHOES OF GOD 16

Nyamekye felt strange looking at the lively Kumnipa and happy Ama by her bedside. Boadu sadly looked on not knowing what to do. Nyamekye intentionally closed her eyes and feigned sleep, they had no option, they had to leave. Boadu could not hold it any longer.
Nyamekye, I know you’re not sleeping. Tell me what is going on. Are you now in love with Daakyehene Kumnipa?” She opened her eyes and looked at him surprised she had been caught. “I am your husband, secretly, but still your husband. I am the one who knows you even from within. You think I wouldn’t notice? From lighting up to sadness when he comes and leaves to acting funny when Ama comes with him. Listen, I know your parents do everything you ask of them but this is not right. You set the parameters. You chose me and forced Ama on Kumnipa. Imagine tearing into pieces three hearts to fix back the tantrums of one. Are you more human than us? If it is royalty, know Kumnipa too is a royal, if it is talent, know Ama is more talented than you. If you see me as no human being, I respect that, because I gave you grounds to shift your love from me but my half is breathing in you right now. Please don’t do this. Try, try looking at me. Haven’t I changed? Please give me another chance and let us fix this.”
Nyamekye broke down and cried.
Boadu, do you think I love feeling this way? Can’t you see the effort I am making in not being caught with my true feelings on the seams of my clothes? Can’t you see I hate myself for the feelings that drive my being? Can’t you see I am tearing apart? I am not a spoilt brat to let it out and destroy another couple. I am not an unfilial daughter to disappoint my parents who went to lengths to fix what my heart desired. Believe me, I will never tell them anything but do not push me in feelings I have no control over, do not taunt me and leave me be. Don’t push yourself on me. Can’t you see your presence repulses me?
Boadu, with eyes full of tears, for the first time knelt and bowed to Nyamekye in chambers. He cried out loud and left her presence. He asked her best maiden to always be by her side and resolved to sleep in the hall. He too had his ego to protect, for what has a pauper if you take away his ego?
The Ekom Festival was underway. For a week, the people of Apemso rejoiced in their ability to beat hunger since days their ancestors suffered near death at the hands of famine. They pounded lots of fufu with cassava and plantain, prepared soup with bush meat, different fishes and goat meat with chicken or duck meat. It was always a marvellous week. The palace overflowed with food during the Ekom Festival. Volunteers went there to help in the preparation of food and every person from Apemso was entitled to their privilege to go and eat there. The herbal doctors rushed to Nyamekye’s chambers. She was in labour and it wasn’t an ordinary labour as she was bleeding profusely. The king got the message at the main durbar, spoke quickly about the need for togetherness, communal labour and abstaining from taboos. He felt sad mentioning the last one and refrained from throwing more light on it. He asked permission from his elders and together with his queen, left to wait with Boadu, Nyamekye and Ama at Nyamekye’s hall. Boadu was more anxious than everyone there. Ohemaa Abrampah showed signs of dislike for Ama, and everyone there noticed. She refused to bless her after greetings, refused to join in when her husband made conversations with her and refused to look at her. Kumnipa felt sad but just looked at Ama, pleading with his eyes for her peace of mind.
The doctors finally finished their work, came out, knelt before the king and announced the death of the baby boy even before it landed on earth. Luckily, Nyamekye was fine and responding to 1treatment. Boadu sunk to the ground wailing. Everyone tried to make him stop. “Don’t you know it is a taboo to cry when you lose your first born? People without proper upbringing will never know this.” Ohemaa Abrampah wailed. Everyone turned to look at her. “I am not in tears because of the death but because of how the princess will suffer at the loss”. Everyone bowed and took their eyes off her. Ohene Asaa just simply consoled her, they went to look at the sleeping princess and left. Ohene Asaa watched as people worked hard at cooking. “No fufu will be pounded today. Who eats their delicacies when death visits their home?” That said, he left the people in sadness as he led his wife, following his entourage to their chambers. The people didn’t know whether to cry or not, they didn’t know if Nyamekye was dead or her child. Many sent messages out that the princess was dead until the announcers announced the death of the first child of the royal successors.
Boadu could not be consoled. He knew the death of his child would definitely shake his stay in the palace. Since he had lost the love of Nyamekye, it would mean he’d have to live on needles until the end. He was full of fear in tears. “Daakyehene, who patronizes the grounds on which a potable river once stood for water? Who recognizes the importance of a huge stump of a once shading big tree in the hot sun? What does a broken bowl do after serving royals and thrown on the rubbish heap? God must be a royal! God must definitely favour royals.
Ama left them as she tried to think through her fault with the queen, the meaning of Boadu’s similar proverbs in succession. She felt odd too because she remembered the distance in Nyamekye’s relation to her. Something was not right, something, was definitely not right.
Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © September 2018

Photo Credit: Google Pics

IN THE SHOES OF GOD 15

The Apemso warriors settled close to the Ahanta Kingdom. The seer poured libation, fortified them from harm, appeased the gods and gave them his blessings to pass through the evil forest. Many of the warriors were afraid. There were sounds of different birds but that of hooting owls compounded their fear because of the superstitious belief that they are connected to doom. Some were afraid of fearful carnivorous animals coming from no where to pounce on them. As for snakes, they were fortified against their venom so feared not. Ama just walked as though she was walking in the palace. All the warriors, except Kwabena Okore, looked at her to see if there was any sign of fear whenever there was a strange sound, but she showed none. In the second week of their journey, deep into the evil forest where trees could look like monstrous animals and thorns showed themselves in different shades, she knelt abruptly and held something. It was a cobra. She held its neck and tail and suffocated it to death, even her brother was shocked. After that, it looked like all the warriors became her disciples.

Nyamekye was asked to rest after the six hour collapsed scare. She was not to get out of bed talk less of doing something. She was to even be cleaned in her bed. Kumnipa touched her hands to wish her strength. Surprisingly, she had goosebumps all over her body. He told Boadu to let the doctors know she was feeling cold and left. Nyamekye closed her eyes when Kumnipa left. No matter what her man did, she refused to open them. A thought dawned on Boadu.

Once they settled in Ahanta, in their evil forest, they planned their attack. Direct attack could mean innocent people would die. Drawing out the warriors in a fair warning could be disastrous. They thought around the situation for days with no ready answer. Then one of the warriors, Osai, looked at Ama. “Let’s dress Ama as a maiden to lure the prince here. Then we’d seize him, call the bluff of the king and attack the palace when he least expects.” Opoo who was second in command disagreed saying Ama was too much of a tomboy to pull that off. Instead, they should attack the palace in the brink of the night. They sent spies to check the security power of the palace. They sent ears to know where the crown prince loved to be in the evening and when the king enjoyed his palm wine most. They sent hands to dig the ground into the palace, burying gun powder without being noticed. The latter proved difficult and extended their stay. Nonetheless it was done.
They attacked the palace exactly two moons after they had settled. They were able to kill half of their opposing guarding warriors before their presence was noticed. Many warriors came to the scene and it turned into a battlefield. Opoo whistled to let the ear on wait know they were in danger as the few warriors of Apemso who went on the mission fought. Ama was part. They fought with their swords and were overpowered by the many Ahanta warriors. Surrounded, Ama signalled her people to close their eyes. She wore a body tight leather with a long cotton cloth behind like a cloak. Some of her colleagues wanted to know why but the few got to know why on that spot. She jumped, pulled out the cloak and used it to sweep the dust off the ground. It was a lot of dust as it had not rained since they settled in. Before the opposing warriors could work on the dust in their eyes, she had killed more than seventy of them and wounded more than fifty. Opoo and the others also cleared more than hundred of them. They lost a warrior in the confusion but were not deterred. At that point, the few left retreated into the palace. Ama told them not to enter as it would give them the advantage because they knew better all the corners in their palace. She asked for a retreat outside the building, made fire with stones after locating the gun powder they had buried into the palace and lighted it. It travelled straight into the palace and blasted, scaring all within to rush out. All the warriors who came out were killed because all the warriors of Apemso had joined them. Those who had dignity fought to their death. The king, crown prince, queen and all the princesses were captured alive, tied and sent to Apemso, by the smooth road.
The warriors composed a chanting poem for Ama:
There are warriors and there are warriors
Ama is the king of all the warriors
A woman with the heart of a lioness
In her hands we are all safe
Apemso!!! We have the best so we can always rest
Ama wanted them to stop but her brother told her to allow as that was their way of life. Kwabena Boadu pleaded with Opoo to chant in honour of the King when they got to the palace. He didn’t want his sister to be misunderstood by the king. They chanted and chanted until they reached Apemso. Many of the people of Apemso came out wearing white clothing in celebration of the victory.
Kumnipa was in his wooden bathing bowl when he heard they had come. He picked his cloth and went out without as much as towelling himself. Seeing as Ama was on the shoulders of many warriors being hailed, his first reaction was jealousy. Boadu noticed the tears in Nyamekye’s eyes after hearing Ama and the warriors were in. She felt all sorts of emotions. On one hand, she didn’t wish for the death of her bosom friend and sister from another mother, on another, she wished she had cleared any impediment between Kumnipa and herself including Boadu. She felt inhuman. Boadu rushed and stood by the warriors. He saw the anger in Kumnipa’s eyes and rushed to restrain him from embarrassing himself further as the water dripping from his body was enough. The warriors went to the King’s palace and called on him with their conquests. The king was happy, called the head seer to come and bless them, told them of the feast he’d put together in their honour and dispatched them after imprisoning the fresh slaves.
Kumnipa went to his chambers and waited. He waited and waited but there was no sign of Ama. He went to her chambers only to be told the king sent for her. He sat on her bed and waited. When she entered and saw him, he was furious. “Who is the most important person to you Ama?” He fumed. Ama just went past him, heard the near croak in his throat and his stiffness and hugged him from behind.

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © September 2018

Photo Credit: Google Pics

IN THE SHOES OF GOD 14

Rains made sure to visit at least twice in a week. The weather was fair, with the sun having a great understanding with rains, causing the air to be what the people of Apemso loved. In a world where war and conquering gave more power than anything else; the conquered bringing food stuffs to the winning palace every season, paying in gold, sharing their game, providing soldiers and slaves when need be, the Ahantas made it clear they’d fight tooth and nails to maintain their freedom. With a vast and fertile land, strong warriors and an ambitious king, their war with Apemso was a must and both kings knew it. The Ahantas had tried ambushing Apemso but failed miserably due to a tip off from Ohene Asaa’s spies planted in their kingdom. It was becoming dangerous, so the king told Kumnipa to help train the warriors to prepare for war.
Kumnipa arranged the training with Kwabena Okore and Ama. At first, some of the warriors protested. “How can we be trained by a mere woman? Why degrade us so?” Kumnipa told them to fight to justify their sentiments. The first warrior could not last thirty seconds before falling under Ama’s sword, the second just lifted his sword and fell out of fear when he felt the tip of her sword by his throat, the rest just agreed to be trained by her. Her brother was super proud of her. Kwabena Okore, who was the head of the warriors, watched as his sister, Ama Adjeibea Okore trained other warriors. She was named “Goddess of the Sword” by all the warriors. Kumnipa could not take his eyes off her, as he sat supervising the training and all the warriors noticed. Over three thousand warriors were trained.
Nyamekye could barely see Kumnipa and Ama. All she heard was, they were spotted here laughing or playing heartily, or they adorably competed on the field of training. She felt sad thinking they were more suited for each other but broke her own heart knowing the feelings growing for the one person she rejected even before he fought for her hand. The secret feelings ate away the fabrics of her peace and made her unhealthy.
Ohemaa Abrampah looked at the fine clothes woven for the birth of her grandchild in happiness. Suddenly, a thought came to her. What if Ama conceived the children of the crown prince? Won’t he find ways of making them compete with Nyamekye’s children for the throne? She rushed to her husband’s chambers and voiced her opinion. Ohene Asaa listened as she suggested medicine to destroy the womb of the Goddess of the Sword. He got angry and forbade her from harming a hair on her head. According to Ohene Asaa, even if she did conceive, everyone would know she was the illegitimate wife of Kumnipa, why will they ever consider children like that? But Ohemaa felt uneasy because Ama had become one revered even more than the king.
Kwabena Okore led the warriors to war and took Ama with him. Kumnipa protested but Ohemaa Abrampah convinced Ohene Asaa to allow it. They were gone for over one moon and Kumnipa missed her so much. He had attempted to sneak to their settlement but was stopped by his special guard given by the queen. Nyamekye lighted up anytime Kumnipa went to visit her but felt sad seeing the far look in his eyes. It did not take long to make her see that only a body visited her without a soul and spirit. She sunk into depression.

Ohene Asaa thought about the report of the royal doctors an concluded it was because she missed her man. He called Boadu’s mother for a confidential meeting.
Madam, I called you here to tell you it is dangerous for a child to play with fire. It is also dangerous for the King’s eyes to notice one’s flaws. It is bad for the earth to compare itself to the sky when its eyes always look up to it for the retention of its living things. One who keeps well the treasure of a superior, stands to gain, vice versa is a death trap. Your son has mistakenly pinched my heart and caused me to see blood in my loving mirror. The only reason he still breathes, is my daughter who loves him endlessly. I will let somebody take you to where he is. Be sure to speak to his senses before I give him that second chance with her. Know that the scrotum of the wise will never suffer, sɛbi sɛbi, a foolish man’s mischievous feet twice. You may leave.”
Auntie Mansa whose head was bowed in shame all through thanked him and apologized for the behaviour of her wayward son and left. She cried till she reached her son’s destination. She refused food. Her bloodshot eyes made Boadu worried.
It is a bad son who will do deeds that would wipe his family off the face of the earth. Who at all bites the fingers that feed him? If one is lucky like you are, he needs to always worship the feet of the gods, be righteous and stay loyal and faithful to the very object of his blessings. Kwabena Boadu, you have disgraced me! As I knelt in front of the king, all I could do was apologize to your dead father in the land of the dead. Of what use is an ego when it can buy no bread? Of what use is a man’s honour, when all it can do is produce slaving children? Haven’t you heard about forefathers sacrificing to make their future generations live comfortably? Isn’t it even an honour for someone like you to be Her Majesty’s guard talk less of her man?”
Mother and son cried, the former in admonishment, the latter in remorse. The spy’s account of the encounter between mother and son satisfied the king. He brought a changed Boadu to the palace.
Nyamekye merely smiled upon seeing him. A tired and weary smile. There was no enthusiasm, no happiness. Kwabena Boadu woke up at dawn, knelt to apologize to her. She did accept the apology but was still distant. Boadu felt it could be because of the discomfort with the pregnancy. He resolved to treat her better in order to gain her love once more. When both men met, Boadu apologized to Kumnipa, who surprisingly held no grudge against him. He rather felt happy that he made him discover his true love. He couldn’t wait for the estimated moon to end to get to meet his heartbeat. Fantasies drove on fantasies as to how he’d welcome her. And the thought of her presence brought him warmth. He went to the shrine each dawn to pray for her safety. On one of such visits, he heard “Odiahenkan! Odiahenkan! Her Majesty has collapsed again!”
Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © September 2018

Photo Credit: Google Pics

IN THE SHOES OF GOD 13

Ohene Asaa sat by his daughter all through the night with the three top herbal doctors praying to the over seventy seven thousand gods and goddesses of the land to save his lifeline. At exactly thirteen minutes after four at dawn, Nyamekye opened her eyes. Everyone heaved a sigh of relief. The doctors checked and confirmed she was stable and left her with her father.
How is my beautiful princess?” She told him she was fine and apologized for causing him to worry. Ohene Asaa took her right hand in his and looked at her face.
Maame, I am sorry for any stress you are going through because of the actions and or inactions of anyone. Only Odomankomah the creator knows what you mean to me. Why didn’t you tell me you were having a hard time with Boadu? They say painful bottled emotions burst brains. Do you want to harm yourself and cause your father to lose his everything?”
“Paapa, I am fine. Boadu and I have no serious problems”.
Don’t I know the seed which comes from the most loving part of my body? If all is well then why didn’t you ask of him when you woke up? Certainly the fear of he causing you more grief is what you dread. Any way, I have sent him to a safe house two villages away. You know Amankrom? If you wan’t me to dispose of him…”
“No paapa, we are talking about my husband here. What kind of disposal are you talking about? We might have our differences but it hasn’t gotten to that yet. Let’s do it this way, let him stay in the safe house for sometime to keep our distance to see if the spark we had from the beginning will be rekindled. I believe a little time apart is all we need.
Ohene Asaa looked at his daughter and sighed in exasperation. Her wishes were his command anyway. He asked her to have some rest. Immediately Ohene Asaa left, Nyamekye asked one of her maidens to go and inform Kumnipa that she was awake and well. For some queer reason, she felt or hoped he’d be worried about her. The maiden came back few minutes later and knelt to tell her he did not sleep in his chambers at all. A worker there claimed that was the very first time it was happening. Nyamekye felt strange and asked her trusted maiden, Efua, to go to Ama’s chambers to inform her and ask if she had seen Kumnipa.
Ama opened her eyes to see she was face to face with Kumnipa whose eyelids were shut but shaking. She mockingly touched his face until he opened his eyes, caught her hands and passionately kissed her. “You know this is the first time you have submitted to me? Allowing me to seize your hand. You’re most beautiful when you let me win.” Ama giggled and mimicked him, feigning anger, he asked her why.
An honourable man is he who seeks fair skills to compete on levelled ground. Not one who needs to climb on another to feel superior”. Kumnipa made to speak, she put her forefinger on his lips. “Dignity comes not by having a woman who kneels and worships at your feet at all times, but having a woman who completes you, runs with you when need be, combats to stabilize and tickle your emotions, a woman whose deeds and talents can honour you. A woman who shakes the very foundations of your care and sacrifices. It is amazing how society makes us building mud, stepped on, watered and used to build easily breakable structures for men to inhabit. Look at how many mock me for daring to be a warrior. I can’t even begin to tell you about the ridiculous things that happened and how my father stood to keep my head on my neck”.
Kumnipa was shocked that a woman could think the way she does. She felt like she had uncovered something society did not know or was failing to acknowledge. Or could it be that Ama is just different from the helping hands he had grown to know? He suddenly felt sad that she had to go through all that. He thought of it seriously. Women too have talents. Talents men’s need for submission sweeps under the dark. He kissed her forehead and started foreplay to continue the loving passions lighted last night. A knock on the door interfered. Ama waited until one of the guards announced Efua’s presence. Ama made to leave the bed but Kumnipa asked that she be brought to the hall to speak by the door. Efua told Ama that the princess was awake and asked if the crown prince was with her. Ama was completely at sea as to what she was talking about but answered okay and sent her back.
Why is Nyamekye sending me a message that she is awake?”
Oh! Should have told you yesterday, she collapsed. Something about exhaustion.” Ama immediately left the bed pushing off Kumnipa in anger. She asked him why he didn’t remember that important matter. She felt guilty at the happiness she felt as her best friend and sister from other parents laid comatosed. She wore her warrior attire and threw his clothes at him to get dressed. They both left for the princess’ chambers.
Nyamekye felt strange seeing them together. Their body language told of happiness blooming between the two. They touched each other while talking, smiled at each other often and completed the sentences of eachother. Kumnipa played with the warrior clothes Ama was wearing. The warrior clothes made out of the skin of animals. He was very attentive to Ama.
Ama realized her discomfort and asked where Boadu was. She told them he had been sent on an errand by the king and intentionally complained of tiredness. Ama and Kumnipa left her to rest as they happily chatted and giggled.
Nyamekye felt oddly sad. She didn’t understand her emotions. She was the one who pestered Ama to make it work with Kumnipa so didn’t know what was happening to her emotions. She knew the close relationship the two had bothered her, as to why, she was yet to ascertain. Cold fear crept into her heart, making her heart beat as though chased by some recklessness on her part.

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © Sept. 2018

Photo Credit: Google Pics

IN THE SHOES OF GOD 12

Even the gods are discriminatory. One needs wealth, a good family, extreme talent or fame to be well treated by them. Poverty is definitely the worse plaque a human can have” Boadu stood looking through the window pouring his melancholic words as Nyamekye sat listening. She was broken hearted hearing his words and knowing his stance on the matter. How her own beloved husband wanted the downfall of her father, one who had given him everything he had, his only child, bullied her mind. Boadu had been distant, uncaring, cheeky and annoying with his many sarcastic replies to her attempts at making meaningful conversations with him. She had stopped trying to and had resorted to pleasing his every request. Her maids were beginning to notice and she felt very afraid in her heart. “Was she supposed to try to marry Kumnipa? Was she supposed to renounce her royalty to be with Boadu? Would he have behaved the way he is doing if she had done that?” These and many more questions run through her mind. The scariest thing that slowly crept into her mind was “He started the rumours”. Her heart was shivering and suddenly, she fell, unconscious.
Ohemaa Abrampah was alarmed as she looked at her daughter. She looked pale, stressed and thin. She asked all of them to leave and stripped her down to her nakedness. What greeted her eyes baffled her to no end. She was far advanced in pregnancy. If she was not wrong, she could be in her seventh month already. She put some clothes on her and called on the chief herbalist; a short wrinkled old man with white beard and a humility that disarmed even the most angry. Opanyin Akora went on his knees when he saw how furious the queen was. He neither tried to retort or look at her. He just knelt there as she rained her disappointments, threats and anger on him. He was to appear before the king to answer to the deceit. Meanwhile, no hair on her head was supposed to be harmed. Boadu sat in the hall as the queen left, she didn’t as much as try to look at him.
Kumnipa rushed to Nyamekye’s room, saw Boadu seated in the hall but rushed up only to be told she had not regained consciousness. He just looked at her lying on the bed and realized she was pale and thin. He made to leave but Boadu asked for an audience. At first, he was furious. A mere slave impudently asking for an audience with him? But he thought of Ama and her behaviour if she heard he had fought someone like Boadu and just agreed. He asked his guards to leave them to talk to their shock. Boadu took him to the warrior field and stood watching the palace, his back to the crown Prince. “I want to ask you how you feel? I mean, you are a crown prince and degraded to fathering the children of another man. Doesn’t it hurt your ego? Is there no stone in your catapult?” Kumnipa thought of ways of punishing Boadu for the insult but was afraid to try anything. In the first place, he felt like a stranger in a palace he was to take over, secondly, he didn’t want to deepen the rift between Ama and himself. He thought hard and also noted his father’s shame if he misbehaved with a common slave. He remembered the adage; when there is an opening on an anthill, any animal whose size fits enters. “Was that all you wanted to say or ask? If that is all, then I ask that we end it here because I have a lot on my hands.” He left as Boadu taunted: “Coward! Tuesday Weeder! A maimed human like you! Shameless man!” His tears were flooding in himself. He was suffocating. He headed straight to Ama’s room.
Ohene Asaa was furious! He summoned the chief herbalist and threatened to behead him. All the heads of the herbal section were called and interviewed one after the other. Only three people knew about it. The woman in charge of taking care of the princess, Akoto, Akora himself and the head of the pregnancy unit, Oman. “Otumfuor, in respect and the greatest fear, I dare to say her majesty swore us to secrecy. We tried our best in order not to incur her wrath. You know a woman with child needs to be obeyed for her internal peace. We are only guilty because we are weak in defiance.
Shut up you disrespectful woman! Are you saying we are blaming you on no basis because you are powerless? Do you want me to call the executioners?” Ohemaa Abrampah fumed. Ohene Asaa went to hug his queen right before the three. They all bowed their heads. They needed not be told to leave the hall.
What Akoto said is true but she needs to be punished for being too blunt in front of a queen of your stature. We can’t in any way blame them if Nyamekye actually did order them not to say anything. Why do you think she did it?”
Ohemaa Abrampah thought hard as she fought her tears. “Could it be the stress that useless slave is putting her through?
Ohene Asaa nearly had a heart attack hearing what his queen said. He had thought he’d be the one to worship the ground on which she walked, not one to make her miserable. After all, one who reaches fruits on a tree on the shoulders of others needs to always take care of the shoulders on which he stands, to avoid a deadly fall. Was it worth it? Was that slave worth the heartaches in the palace? He summoned Boadu.
I hear a fly is buzzing at a bee and I am saddened. Places in life are there for a reason. A fortunate tree should always look down its roots before shaking its branches. Boadu, why have you been making my daughter miserable?
Boadu knelt before him shivering. He couldn’t as much as look at him. “So it is true? You are a complete human without a brain. I will be merciful in beheading you and all your family members. For now, you are to leave this palace to a location I will choose until my daughter is well. Woe will fall onto you and your entire family if anything happens to her. Just pray that nothing happens to her. Leave my presence you ingrate!
Boadu scuffled out.
Ama stood and welcomed him. Kumnipa just looked at her. The silence was loud. In their bid to break it, both spoke at once. “I am sorry”. It was too awkward that they both broke out laughing. Ama, wearing a beautiful dress, her hair beautifully plaited could not look at Kumnipa. He found himself wondering if that was his tomboy. She looked feminine, charming and beautifully attractive. “I was going to look for you. I am actually surprised you’re here. Sorry for…” He took her chin with his right hand and forced her eyes to meet his. Ama knew then that he had completely fallen for her. He needed not say anything. The tears that stood in his eyes that looked at her in love, the veins that showed on his skin, the goosebumps that paraded on his skin, melted all her defenses. He put his lips on hers first, then stopped to look at her again. As if by magic, their mouths met, passionate kisses, shedding clothes, exploring bodies, merging as one. Finally, the warrior’s warrior had lost her innocence. She neither regretted nor sulked. She felt complete just as he did and they slept in each other’s arms.
Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © August 2018

Photo Credit: Google Pics

IN THE SHOES OF GOD 11

Apemso laid like the regal kingdom it was, beautiful to outsiders, haunting to weak kingdoms, served by kingdoms it had conquered. Many village folks outside Apemso thronged to the capital city in search of greener pastures, leaving their hometowns to the aged, few drunkards and children. It was only during festivals that travellers went back home to fill their villages with joy. The dust in Apemso had become odd. Most people with weak breaths were severely coughing and or dying. Farmers were worried because their farms were not doing well. It had been three moons without rain, the first drought over a century in the golden kingdom. Ohene Asaa couldn’t help but worry. His bed stood hungry for his touch as his queen sat on a stool, watching him pace up and down.
What is happening? I hope it is not due to the lies told to the gods about Nyamekye’s marriage? Ohemaa, I am worried this might bring catastrophe.”
Ohemaa Abrampah thought for a while. “We surely shouldn’t be punished by the gods if you think clearly about this. I mean, what did we do wrong? The gods gave us a gift and added a clause to keep her. We merely followed their instructions. Should we have allowed our only child to die?”
Ohene Asaa followed the thoughts of his queen. “If you think about it that way, we have done no wrong. But human minds will think we are playing God when the truth outs. Minds are but dramatic actors when new news strikes. I am very worried about the rumours. Do you know the elders have been asking for a meeting on that matter since last moon? In fact, today is a day I can’t escape that meeting. What do I tell them? Lies on additional lies is deadly as eyes of the gods are everywhere.”
Silence fell on both heads.
The rumour had been that there was a sacrilege committed by His Majesty. Due to that sacrilege, the gods of the land were angry and acting up by holding the rains. They aimed to starve them until they were pacified. Nyamekye was worried, even through her pregnancy but Boadu could not be bothered. She vomited excessively and lost weight. Her mother had tried to let the royal herbalists take care of her but she had ordered them to keep her situation a secret until she was ready.
Ama went to the Archers field and sent for Kumnipa. She pierced the bull’s eye slitting three arrows at once to his horror as he thought her a male spirit in a female body. He had tested her by setting her up with ten men. She nearly slaughtered them but for his intervention. Many of them sustained wounds but she didn’t get even a scratch on her body. Ama asked him to shoot his arrow but he had suddenly lost interest in battling her knowing he’d lose. His guards were watching and he didn’t want to give them the pleasure of turning him into a laughing stock. He thought hard. He had not done anything that demanded him being punished by her. He slept in the same room as Nyamekye on nights arranged by the elderly women and watched her in the arms of Boadu. Though Ama tried to restrict him, he romanced her in his bid to annoy him but he tried his best not to react. He hated him but had never acted up since she caught him.
Kumnipa signalled his guards to leave them alone and they complied. “You seem angry. Did I err in anyway?”
“I don’t know. You tell me, did you err in anyway?”
“To the best of my knowledge, I have been at my best behaviour. So I am at sea. Tell me to my face if you think I have done something wrong. After all, the path maker knows not when his path gets crooked.”
Ama turned, looked at him but he didn’t blink. Obviously he had a clean conscience but she still felt unsettled. She held his neck with one hand, lifted him with the other and flipped him on the ground. His guards who watched from a secret location giggled as he shouted in pain. “Ajeiiii Ama. You need to stop being physical with me. A man surely fears a woman who intimidates him in every way. The reason it is difficult to get close to you. Just tell me what you think I did and I will apologize if I am wrong.”
Ama held his hand and helped him up. Then pulled him into her embrace. Just when his hands were about to hold her, she whispered. “It was you. You were the one who started the rumour about the sacrilege in the palace.”
Kumnipa pulled away, looked at her in disappointment, threw his bow and arrows away, shook his head, raised his eyes to the sky before looking at her as tears begun to well in his eyes.
“I guess I will always be the monster in this haunting palace. Every wrong deed will have to come from me. I am the cock who can never dance to please any eagle here. Go and tell it to the King that I am the cause. Tell him to behead me for I am a continuous offender. Tell him I am not worthy of his throne. Who can chain a man with royalty on the stakes of his burning ego and continuously starve him of his little peace of mind through his trusted aide, the one person he lo…” He stopped himself, looked at her, blinked his tears, wiped his face with the back of his left palm and left.
Ama had not expected his reaction. It was the first time she had seen him that way. She heard that rumour from him the night he was nearly murdered but it had been long before it surfaced. She sensed somewhat that he was not the one. Then who was? The elders were meeting that morning to deliberate on the matter and she felt sorry for the king who had discussed his worry with her. He had become the father she lost and although men and women alike called her names for her prowesses, names like “man-woman”, “woman with a tail”, she could never be bothered because the king really loved and cared for her.
Almost all the elders were in brisi; mourning clothes. Even sub chiefs were invited to the big meeting. They numbered eighty two. They addressed the Okyeame in sweet anger. Words that did not sound insulting but sounded severe.
“Okyeame, let it reach the ears of the eagle on our golden stool that rumours are rife of a sacrilege. Who are we to mention that we believe such rumours? But the gods are reacting and confusing us. There is a saying that if nothing touches the bamboo stick, it will never emit sound. Elders can never sit to watch the ruins of a household, what would that make us? We have come to our sky for answers. We need our loving king to search himself with the love of his people and give us clues so we can act and rectify the situation”.
“Errr Okyeame, let it reach our king that drought is an enemy no land wants. It is that enemy which can displace any land, the potent punishment of the gods. We the elders of the land love our king and are worried about his welfare as he is worried about ours. There is no sacrilege which a sacrifice can’t dissolve. Our heads are ready to roll even if, sɛbi sɛbi, his just ways have been misinterpreted by the gods”
The elders went on and on as Ohene Asaa listened. Kumnipa sat on his right hand side, Ohemaa Abrampah on his left. Kumnipa saw how serious the matter was and understood Ama’s behavior but was still disappointed that she blamed him. Then it dawned on him that he’d told her about it moons back. Suddenly, he felt unwell. As Ohene Asaa was about to open his mouth, the roof sounded like rocks were falling on it, cold air filled the hall, rains started falling amidst thunder and lightning from the very clear sky. A cloudless rain! All the elders came out to see as people in the township and in the palace shouted “A cloudless rain! This is a miracle”. Rain harvesters waited for the first few minutes of rain to clean the roofs before harvesting their needed nyankontɔn. For over an hour, the elders stood waiting but the rains gave no sign of stopping. It was a wonder to behold. Even Ohene Asaa was surprised, pleasantly.

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © August 2018

Photo Credit: Google Pics

IN THE SHOES OF GOD 9

New leaf had been planted in the Apemso Kingship. Foes of the King were fast gathering and looking for ways to oust him out. Their sole line of changing minds of elders was “Do you want another man to take over our land?” For over a decade, they had always operated in secrecy, planning on how to overthrow the present power. They had studied to know where Kumnipa spent most of his solitary nights and had prepared the ambush to silently eliminate him and force the king to choose their representative as the crown prince. They sent four people with the sharpest swords and skills. They were paid in lands and were told to be on their own or kill themselves if anything went wrong. They wore straw sandals with black bente so as not to attract attention. Ohene Asaa had heard of their affairs and had few informants there but no concrete evidence to pin them down. Of course this operation was very important so only key people knew. Ohene Asaa’s people had no clue.
Ama and Kumnipa watched as the four men looked for him in the Adukrom. “But this is where he sits always. Our person told us he was here.” “Then where is he now? See how you’ve wasted our time? We are supposed to eliminate him today.” “Look at the foolish boy, what if someone is listening, how can you say that?” The assassins fought among themselves. Ama allowed them to be deep into their argument before attacking. Kumnipa who could not feel his legs still watched from the bush as she took on four men, slayed two and battled with the rest of the two. Then he joined her with his sword. It must not have been his night, for he tripped and fell flat by the feet of his opponent who took the opportunity to aim a heart dig from his back. Ama fetched sand with her feet and splashed it in the air, cut the hand of her opponent holding the sword and used it to block the aim on Kumnipa. She quickly killed her opponent and proceeded to cut both hands of Kumnipa’s opponent.
A frozen Kumnipa stood watching her as she cut both legs of the only person left to completely cripple him. “Let’s get out of here.” She said after lifting the bleeding and screaming man.
Nyamekye had had her first argument with Boadu. She had told him of the blessing of being with child. He had been happy before suddenly going cold and complaining about some other man taking over his children and making him feel like a chicken. She did not know what to do. She had married for two things: love and queenship but she lived like one who had sold poison to two men. She could understand the anger of Kumnipa because he was forced to accept her with her love but could not understand Boadu who also loved her entirely. She saw the hatred oozing from both men whenever they met. Almost as if to kill each other. In fact, Kumnipa does not speak to her at all if it is not in front of the elders. Now Boadu acting up, his mood swings getting more than hers compounds her problems as a young pregnant woman. She thought of confiding in her mother to tell her the truth but was hesitant. She wanted to postpone the news to the farthest future possible to decrease the tension in the palace. It is for that reason she wore her clothes to cover her neck, used lots of sheabutter to battle the frail and shadowy look and tried to be active at all times. She was beginning to feel uncomfortable in her skin.
After listening for a while, Ohene Asaa spoke. “Listen young man, I know your family and your entire lineage. You can decide not to talk, can also decide to bite your tongue and die. Know one thing, I will personally make sure that all your houses in Apemso, under Apemso and elsewhere are cleared of all things from humans to animals. I will kill every living thing in your family…” He did not finish before the sobbing assassin who had been identified as Obeng, pleaded to talk. He mentioned the names of all the elders who contracted them, mentioned the name of the royal around whom they were building their hope and some of the key members of the group. Ohene Asaa was shocked that his own cousin was part of it. He sent few of his trusted soldiers to clear the Adukrom and started plotting on how to eliminate his enemies one after the other.
The Fotosanfohene was the first to taste the wrath of Ohene Asaa. He always knew he inflated cost of things to enrich himself. He was in charge of all the financial dealings in the palace. Ohene Asaa took particular attention and started his investigations for specific evidence which he got within two weeks. He then called for a council of elders meeting and brought him to book. His followers tried everything they could but he ended up banished. Ohene Asaa sent few assassins to eliminate him on his new land which he pretended not to have known because he asked his own people to choose the place. According to Ohene Asaa, if you cut the head of a snake, what remains is just a rope. Kumnipa marveled at how the king found ways to eliminate the people one after the other. He even poisoned his own cousin. “A king is a king not because of sentiments but because he needs to drink the most bitter of medicine in order to heal the land. You are the crown prince and need no rival. Imagine what would happen if you battle for the crown. Many will lose their lives, so we needed to do this.” Shaken, he decided to take a stroll.

Ama withdrew for a while after her encounter with Kumnipa. She was sleeping when she felt a shadow creeping on her. She held her sword, which was in her cover cloth, and waited until the intruder made to peep at her closely, then held his neck, threw him on the floor and aimed her sword at him. She looked and realized it was Kumnipa. She withdrew and in shock, shouted “My prince!”

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © August 2018

Photo Credit: Google Pics

LIFE’S JAIL

OLD MAN

He’s frail

And death’s quail

But deserves a hail

For standing on three legs after a fail

Of life’s success jail

II

None knows his fears

None can count his tears

None thinks of his years

None knows how he all bears

It seems none cares

III

He may have been treated fair

Or not based on his white hair

All the lost teeth are not rare

So none knows the battles they lost fair

Now he and his walking stick are a bonded pair

IV

Man of steel!

Please grant me an audience and I a meal

And tell me how you all these challenges killed

To be  here where you see beyond the stilled

For I know it couldn’t have been easy

V

Some are hooting

Others impatient and stone shooting

Others angry and your name shouting

But I do squat in hailing

For all your tests which lie in the gutters after failing

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2014