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 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 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

IN THE SHOES OF GOD 8

Wherever plam nut falls, is considered its rotting place. Kumnipa was careful in the Apemso Palace. Everyone accorded him respect but he still felt like a stranger. Anytime he saw Boadu, a lump of hatred choked his neck veins. What was more annoying was the fact that he was everywhere the princess was. He tried avoiding her, but the cultural demands didn’t allow it. They were to greet the elders together each morning, eat together at least twice a day, go for occasions together almost every other day and pretend to be happy together always. He was dying from within and it told on his body.
Nyamekye called Ama for a game of draft. The latter, a complete draft ignoramus, started sharing her marbels around after the former gave her the guidelines. By the end of the first round, she had lost three of her holes to Nyamekye who used the opportunity to teach and advice her on the need to maintain stability and peace. “I could take over all your holes, imagine them as territories. It will mean you will have to serve me completely, but in this life, a woman must know how to play her cards, in order to win in the battle of peace. Where a side weighs more than the other, automatically, eyes turn to the side of activity. A beautiful woman like you lacks nothing I have. In fact, you have so many things I don’t have. Bravery, freedom to be you, instincts like no other, so let the sticks of thoughts drum your goodness in the ears that matter, so we can have a levelled field. Our destinies are yoked together and we must make the best of it my sister.”
Ama needed no interpreter to get the whole message. That night, it dawned on her she had contributed to the hushed hatred in the palace. She picked two swords and headed to the Prince’s palace. He was not there but the guard told her where he was. Under the huge tree in the raised bush getting to the evil forest. It is where he loved to be when he needed other air besides the palace’s.

His back was turned to her but he mentioned her name before she took her 10th step towards him.
What is the bravest of flowers doing here at night? You shouldn’t flatter yourself by being by yourself through the brink of the night, you are a woman after all.”
Ama threw a sword at him and asked for a battle but he shook his head and laughed. “They should have told me you were also a comedian, I would have solicited your services to free my burdened mind.”
Ama laughed. “Today, I am a lover in the clothes of an enemy. You either pick the sword and fight or die by my sword and the sky is my witness, I am not joking.” She threw the sword and he dodged, at first shocked by the power in the hand of a woman. Then she followed him with multiple aims which he dodged until he managed to pick his sword. Swords met in the air, beneath their knees, sideways, on top of their heads, on their necks, behind them and they fought until Kumnipa, who forgot his opponent was a woman and fought fiercely, lost his sword. Ama held hers to his neck and he, in utter shock, instinctively raised his hands. He put his hands down after a while.
“Upon a second thought, kill me. I never thought a woman could battle me into a loss. What will others think if this leaks? It would be worse than death. So do it. Kill me.”
Ama put her sword away. “Don’t call for death in your egoistic stupor my Prince. You men delude yourselves with strength, bottling everything within. You refuse to cry when your hearts fill up, causing your flooding within to drown you into doing horrible things. You put on a front of super humanity even when you gnash your teeth in pain. Man up and open your eyes, it is a new dawn. In the morning, put your best men to the task of battling me and see how many will fall. Strength needs no tail of qualification. It is borne out of hard work and will. But I did not come here to lecture you on strength. I came to offer my ears on the seat of your thoughts.”
Kumnipa just watched Ama for a while. He had never been emasculated in his whole life. Maybe he had looked down on women as people needed for procreation and pleasure, weaker vessels who needed protection at all times. He had never thought any woman would dare challenge him by voice let alone in battle. “Maybe she is a he” he thought but she looked like a she, pretty as a flower, with full breasts. Instinctively, he held her, kissed her, touched her beneath in verification. A frozen Ama who did not know what was happening gained composure and pushed him off. Ashamed of his behaviour, he stood in silence for a while before opening up.
“I was trained not to discuss important issues with women but I can see you are no ordinary woman. You know pretty well what is happening in the palace. I feel choked watching the princess in the arms of that slave each night. But what do I do? Even the gods are quiet, no silent on the matter. Normally, some ailment would break, some curse will take place, some horrific thing would befall the land and force the custodians to look for the problem. But it has been four full moons. I even suspect she has taken seed but nothing. The gods don’t care.”
Ama wondered why a man like him would be so petty as to wish evil on a land he would inherit because of a woman he won’t get but she didn’t voice it out. “You could wish for the best for her and look for ways to be happy too.” She finally managed to say.
“You will never understand a man’s ego. Once bruised, it needs a conquer to heal. I wish you were a man, you would have understood this feeling that is eating away my heart, my soul and spirit.” Ama decided to change the topic to trivial things and brought in comical Ananse tales to ease his mind. While he listened and smiled, they sensed an ambush and both picked their swords.

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2018

Photo Credit: Google Pics

IN THE SHOES OF GOD 7

Apemso palace sat in all its royalty. It was the only wooden structure in the whole Akan Kingdom. Made up of a cluster of storey buildings constructed by some foreigners Ohene Asaa’s father brought getting to the end of his ruling, Apemso Ahenfie was the heaven on the Akan earth. It had sixteen rooms to a storey, four in all. The King’s, Queen’s, Princes, Princesses and workers. Since there was only one heir to the throne, and a Princess at that, the Prince’s building was a white elephant, and now the princess’. The light in the palace was off. King and queen both felt bored at all times, one or the other called maidens to ask about the well-being of the princess in their confusion only to be respectfully told she had been taken away by her husband.
Ohene Asaa was lost in thought when his praise maker’s beautiful appellations woke him. He saw one of his spies kneeling in front of him. The leopard skin on which his knees tasted shook somewhat. He knew there was trouble in paradise. There was friction just three days in the marital camp of the princess. “It seems her husband is not happy about something and dislikes her guard like no man had ever shown.” The king’s heart leapt. He dismissed him and proceeded to his wife’s chambers.
The meeting was arranged in the Apemso palace. Ohene Abrokwah Gyan sat in one of the beautiful stools in the secret chamber sipping palm wine in a polished calabash, awaiting the King of Akan Kings. He was always glad to be in the presence of the great Ohene Asaa. One whose appellations could drug a hardened opponent.
“King of the royal gods of all lands, one with the mind of the blend of an ant and hare, face of a lion, claws of a tiger, bones of an elephant, eyes of an eagle, heart of a conqueror, and a body of a spirit! One whose footsteps bless the earth, spittle serves serenity on the heads of fertility, urine is the best drinking water even in rain, approaches.” Nana Abrokwah stood to welcome him and the pleasantries followed until they were sure they were alone.
“A house surely needs a spark. What is a house where fires are never lighted? Of what use are trees without fruits? Even strangers can try cutting them down with certainty of getting away with it. My good friend and in-law, the elders say we speak in proverbs to the wise and I know you have grasped what I am driving at. When nuts fall from your hands into mine, there is no loss because we are standing at the same place, at the same time, trying to feed the same mouth. Let’s try securing the biggest because you know the hosting lacks nothing in security even if its golden couple fly hither. My mouth has fallen.”
Nana Abrokwah was always intrigued after Ohene Asaa spoke and what came out of him did not surprise him. If anything, it made his respect for him soar.
“Who is a bird to battle a big and heavily rooted tree, when a small stone from a young hunter’s catapult can snuff the life out of it? You have spoken well King of the Royal Gods. From the day those birds were put in one nest, they had been even more of yours than mine. I know the gods blessed me with many birds but they did put many eagles in a perfect soul just for you. Every minute I spend with your treasure is a pleasure I can’t measure. But I know this is the better soil to plant those two seedlings, so they can get better care. For we are all farmers but aren’t you the best of the best and the highest? Thank you for considering my permission important. I know you did not need it. I will treasure this courtesy forever.”
With that, the conversation was over. Nyamekye and her husband were to stay in the Apemso palace until they officially gained the stool. Kumnipa was not enthused. The first thing that came to his mind was “they want to bring me closer in order to bully me”. But after carefully considering the words of his father, he saw the prospects in the idea.
“Why live beneath the anthill while your seat idles above? Consider that even little ants bite better if they taste a different skin. You are fortune’s best pick. One who fought the giants for a hand he was never to have and won. Do you know the nightmares I had when the battle was announced? A man is he who keeps his fears in his pillows. No matter what your fears are, you will have to sit and drown them in your determination. A word is enough if it is to the ears of the wise.”
He tossed and turned. Obviously he had no idea about his plight. No man could stand carrying a drum for someone else to beat and take the glory. Yet what his father had told him that day after his outburst at breakfast did make sense.
“A man is he who smiles even if his woman spits on him in public. Why? Because one who loses his grasp in chambers is sure to lose his face in the midst of friends while playing draft. A woman feels respected if issues of discomfort are discussed without a fifth eye. A man who gets a woman like the one you have, can never eat his food and expect a full plate there and then. Trust me, you can only have that in a vomit. If you need the love of your subjects, respect from your followers, dignity for yourself, treat your woman as you would treat yourself no matter the circumstances, at least in public. You did not buy her, you earned her with your life.”.
The night was cold; harmattan whistling through the dark and biting nostrils in delight. In the mind of Kumnipa, the battle continued and promised no end. He was to choose to stay close to his powerful blackmailer king of a man, with one he earned with his life. One whose beads would never willingly submit to his touch. What was worse? He could not open up to anybody, not at all. He regretted asking for Ama as a token. She was never a compensation. Not at all.
Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © August 2018

Photo Credit: Google Pics

IN THE SHOES OF GOD 6

The palace of Gyae Saa was the biggest mansion in the whole empire. With its vast compound, thick mud fence wall and over twenty bedrooms of magnified clay storey building, three open huts, it stood out from whichever part of the empire one stood. In the night, the thatch torches made it even more beautiful. Children gathered outside its park-like outage to play. Kumnipa clearly heard their adorable voices as noise and added to his irritation. He stopped himself from opening the door severally but the urge became stronger each time. He gave in, boldly opened, only to see Nyamekye wrapped in the arms of Boadu, who was looking adorably at his sleeping secret bride. He lifted his eyes to see Kumnipa and made to sit, waking Nyamekye in the process.
“Please is there something you want?” Nyamekye asked calmly. “I was just checking if you needed something.”
“That is sweet. Thank you. We are alright.” With that, she pulled her man to lie on his back and laid on his chest as Kumnipa and Boadu locked eyes. One could sense the silent battle brewing between the two. Nyamekye kindly asked him to get some rest as it was a long day. He reluctantly stepped back and closed the door behind.
Once in the hall, he realized a functioning mind is the most dramatic thing a body can have. His mind became a stage where so many stories of happenings in the chamber played. “Boadu aggressively tearing off her beautiful dress and taking her by force, no, there was no sign of torn clothes. She playfully biting his ears and whispering “I am yours my love, take me and do with me as you please”. Boadu greedily flipping her on the soft thatch bed with cotton covering specially made for him, and pounding her to his delight…” Kumnipa could not stand it. The part where his imagination portrayed him a laughing stock anytime his back was turned drove him ill. Going out would mean he left his bride on the first night and generate gossip, staying in that hall was also driving him crazy. After over three hours of pacing and making up stories in his head, he called his trusted body guard, asked for one of his clothes and left with him to the archery field in the palace. Kronom knew better to question the crown prince of Gyae Saa and the future king of Apemso. So he just competed with him and lost terribly. Still, he sensed his uneasiness. He even felt the prince was crying within, but if ordinary men were not to cry, who was he, a common body guard, to suggest a whole crown prince was?
They went back before daybreak. He just laid on a mat in the hall until he heard a knock. It was a little after cockcrow, around 5am. The maidens had come for the lady to help her get ready for breakfast. Kumnipa quickly got up, barged into the room and asked Boadu to go to the hall and dress appropriately. Boadu was angry but just looked at Nyamekye who signalled him to cooperate, picked up his clothes to cover his nakedness and went out. Nyamekye wanted to say something but a look at Kumnipa, and all that vanished. She decided to bring up the conversation of respect for privacy in his lightened mood. He refused to sit on the bed, and just rudely asked “Won’t you get up and dress? Your maidens are ready to give you a bath.” She picked a cloth from a table close by and wrapped herself beneath the bedsheets. Just then, there was a knock on the door, Kumnipa opened, clad in mmarintama, as the maidens happily accompanied the princess out. He did scatter the bed in his rage after, but there was none saw it as the servants put things together right after he left, giggling about the intensity of the first night. Judging by the blood stains and the scattering.
Boadu stood behind the princess during breakfast. “What are you doing there? Foolish guard! Who is going to kill the princess here? Know your place and wait outside!” Kumnipa barked when he entered. His beautiful kente with its matching beads made him look grand, his heavy ahenema, made him regal and his mean countenance made him seem in charge. Ohene Abrokwah Gyan was startled by his son’s outburst but was not one to call him out in the open. He just looked at Boadu, who stood quite scorned and at the same time petrified, and with a wave of his right hand, dismissed him. Nyamekye lost her appetite, as she watched Kumnipa. Everyone at the table saw her displeasure as Kumnipa, who could not be bothered, ate heartily.
Ohene Abrokwah called his son into the inner room. When he reached there, he watched him for a while. Kumnipa fidgeted having an idea of what was to ensue. “Sit, I have a story to tell you.” Uncomfortably he sat, all the while asking, which tactic is this?
Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © August 2018

Photo Credit: Google Pics

IN THE SHOES OF GOD 5

Many factors contributed to winning the battle of warriors where a princess’ hand was concerned. Favour from the gods, favour of the royal family, skills in wrestling, favour of the weather (some fought better in harsh conditions) and emotions involved. All the Men among the MEN fell one way or the other with bruises and fractures leaving three MEN. Warriors, MEN of MEN born by MEN with strength, skills and traits worthy of kingship. Barwuah, the Prince of Akonta, Barnieh, the son of the king of Amansan and Kumnipa Kwasi Gyan, heir to the throne of Gyae Saa were the men left. All strong with personalities that charmed one way or the other. The King and Queen wished with all their hearts that Barnieh would be defeated as he was known to be one of the proudest princes alive. He might have felt the hatred and acted a bit distracted, causing him to taste the sword of Barwuah, helping Kumnipa to also pierce Barwuah to end the fight. Kumnipa who fought in the wrap of a lion, raised both hands as he observed the hails of all except the princess of Apemso who looked like a goddess, clad in the most beautiful of Kente and beads to match. Her ahenemma was one made with class. Everyone noticed her unhappiness but dared not mention it. It wasn’t that she favoured either, her countenance was just unreadable all day.
The marriage ceremony begun that night with preparations and lasted for more than a fortnight. During that period, Nyamekye’s parents worked on the understanding of both men. Kumnipa disagreed at first, saying it was even a crime against the gods of their land for a royal to push a horse while a slave rode on it. Boadu who was shocked after getting to know the status of the love of his life asked to be allowed to think over. Many things played on his mind. He conceiving children that another would claim in the eyes of men, he owning a body that another would be known for all through, he being called a guard in metaphorisms. He was just confused. It was more like the case of the Santrofie bird and the dilemma of the hunter. Hit it and it is a taboo, let it go and you let go the best fat ever. What was he to do? When he saw Nyamekye, all the confusions cleared. He knew he could not live without her and agreed. Moreover, his whole family was brought from Apremire and made a family of repute with just a rumour of their relations to the royal house. Even the elders were fooled as the king told tales of the former king begetting Boadu’s mother in secrecy.

With Kumnipa, Ohene Asaa dug deeper into his escapades and realized he was involved in the attack of one of his brothers which resulted in his death. That brother was the crown prince before him. Kumnipa after being blackmailed, reluctantly agreed knowing the repercussions of his big secret coming out. In exchange, Ohene Asaa asked that he chooses any damsel he fancied in Apemso. He had heard of Ama and had wanted her from the moment he heard of her exploits as a warrior. He chose her and the Ohene Asaa had no problem getting her consent. Both men were sworn to secrecy. Boadu was to be one of the camouflaged guards of the queen during the day, and her bedmate at night, Kumnipa was to be the husband known throughout Apemso and the world at large. The meeting was intense as both men nervously looked at each other until the end.
On the last day of the ceremony, Ohene Asaa and his bride advised Nyamekye to be bold and smile in order not to raise any needless suspicions. She was more than glad to oblige. For she had gotten all her heart desires. Kumnipa’s family brought the last gifts as merrymaking went on the whole time until the bride was given out with her guards and servants to be sent to Gyae Saa. In order not to arouse suspicion, Kumnipa ushered Boadu and Nyamekye into the royal chamber while he slept in the hall. It was funny the way thoughts of Ama vanished from his mind. Hardly had they settled did he get the craving of peeping and getting to know what they were up to. He had not thought it would be that difficult. He did not anticipate the boiling of his blood, racing of his heart and taunts on his mind. He stood up, held the door knob as his heartbeats shook his very ground. He was jealous beyond measure and above all angry.

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © July 2018

Photo Credit: Google Pics

IN THE SHOES OF GOD 4

Tickles followed giggles, smiles followed even the dumbest of jokes. Beautiful flowers were murdered through forceful plucking to be gifted for swoons. Edible ripe fruits fed Nyamekye and Boadu until the sky begun to frown, telling them there was a house and people they needed to go back to. Ama was worried and had combed the area severally with Akoto, Boadu’s sister, in search of her princess. But they were not seen until they wanted to be seen. And when the land of the house finally tasted their feet, all eyes could not help but notice the change in both of them. Ama wondered if she had been placed under a spell. Auntie Mansa and Akoto were shocked to see Boadu smiling from ear to ear anytime his eyes met that of Nyamekye. It was clear Cupid’s arrows had pieced those hearts together.
That night, Boadu caught the biggest and most beautiful antelope ever. He did that flawlessly too, making him think even nature supported his new found treasure. He worked on it in the bush, looked for palm leaves and made bɛdɛ (a kind of bag made out of palm leaves) and used it to carry the meat home. Nyamekye heard him return and went to welcome him. Although he chastised her a bit for not checking before coming out, it was all smiles and happiness throughout the fire lighting, roasting until dawn when they were told by Auntie Mansa to go to bed as Boadu needed to catch some sleep.
The girls stayed in Apremire for over a month, helping the family in their farming activities as Boadu fed them with all the delicious game he was lucky to have hunted. Sometimes, he took Nyamekye hunting to the displeasure of Ama. She was always baffled at how he knew exactly where he had laid his traps, when to shoot arrows, when to act dead to lure his game, when to hide for dangerous animals to pass and how he heard and distinguished between the various sounds of animals no matter how faint.

Ama had made her promise to leave exactly a month and three days and her pride would not let her have the shame of postponing it. She told Boadu, who was so sad and begged to go with them but she lovingly turned him down. Auntie Mansa, who had grown to love Nyamekye as a daughter in law, and Ama as family and her daughter, Akoto, were heartbroken. Nyamekye promised to be back for Boadu. She described Ama’s family as hers and went on to part ways, breaking her own heart. She always looked at the wooden bracelet Boadu gifted her anytime she missed him, but it didn’t help much.
The rest of the journey was not as fun for her as it was in the beginning. They went to Opim, Adabre, Emuanna, Baamukye and passed through Asewase through to Amasan and finally to Apemso, their homeland.

They spent close to four months on the journey. The royal family was thrown into merriment. The king was particularly happy just as the queen was. All were invited to eat and drink in thanks to Odomankomah for his protection. Ama was asked what she wanted for her good job. She asked for a chance to be added to the warriors of the land. Although her mother was against it, the king granted her her request.
A week after they returned, the king and queen woke Nyamekye up at dawn and told her about her man hunt. The fact that warriors from fifty empires had been invited to battle for her hand in marriage. She got up and burst into tears, asking why they did not consult her before sending those invitations out. It was the first time she had raised her voice at her parents. She apologized when she saw how shocked they were and explained she had someone she wanted to marry. She told them to their horror that he came from Apremire and was a local hunter and not a warrior. The King was horrified and retorted “Apremire? Do you know they are accursed slaves of Apemso?” And what is worse, you are a princess who will be the queen and needs to marry a warrior who will show above all else that he is mighty, strong and will be able to take care of this land.” Her mother calmed the king and reminded him through a whisper, about the promise they made for her birth and the repercussions if breached.
“Maame, do you want to be the queen of this land?” Nyamekye emphatically affirmed her interest saying “It is my destiny. I have to be queen of Apemso, to help the land prosper through any means. I want to make my people happy”. They asked if she could choose between the two and she refused, saying she needed both. The King and Queen were at a loss. On one hand, she wanted to be the queen and on the other hand, she wanted to have a tabooed relationship. Nana explained to her the situation in which she was placing them but she would have nothing of it and made them promise to make her marry the love of her life and also be a part of the ruling of the land.
That night, the king cried and the queen helplessly looked on trying to think through a way. After days of thinking, they agreed on a solution. A solution the gods of the land would definitely see and punish them for, but a solution they would nevertheless use as their hands were tied. They will make her marry both men. Boadu in secrecy and the victorious warrior publicly. Whereas she would share a bed with Boadu who would act as her bodyguard during the day, the warrior would just be her ceremonial husband.

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © July 2018

Photo Credit: Google Pics

IN THE SHOES OF GOD 3

Hands seized both girls and swung them on a rope across trees. Ama wanted to fight it off but a sixth sense asked her to wait for an outcome. Three minutes later, they were on a vast grassland with a visible settlement. Ama held Nyamekye, lowered her into the sharp grasses and with a sliding curve, swung her underneath. Nyamekye had never known fear that intense and could barely catch her breath from the experience. She stayed in Ama’s arms until she let go to find out about the arms. But she was not to search for long. “Come out girls, we need to get out of here as soon as possible. My house is close by. You’ll be safe there. Here in these grasses, snakes…” He didn’t finish before Nyamekye sprung out shouting on top of her voice. The voice laughed so hard, followed her voice and caught up with them. “Your Majes… I mean Nyamekye, remember you were fortified against snake bites so you have nothing to fear”. She stopped talking when she realized that the voice hosted a slim and tall man and that man was standing very close to them.
“Before any introductions, let’s get out of here into safety.” He had barely finished talking when he led the way. After walking for what looked like forty minutes, they reluctantly entered a small settlement with three mud houses. He took them to an empty room which had straw mats and few cover clothes with a lantern. There, they saw how handsome and young he was. Ama started questioning him as Nyamekye just starred. When she came into consciousness, she heard him talking. “I am a hunter who fixed ropes on trees to serve as an escape root in case I needed it. My father, who is now late taught me to do that. You were lucky I heard those hooligans chasing after you. They are brutes who could have killed you you know. How can girls like you walk unprotected in these dangerous slopes? Apremire is one of the dangerous villages in these parts. Weren’t you told?”
Nyamekye explained that they were definitely not told. We are wanderers, trying to know these plains. We are from Apemso. “Apemso. Our bosses. You know they own these lands? The very richest bosses in the whole of Akatamanso. Don’t worry. You’re now safe. My name is Kwabena Boadu and I live here with my mother and younger sister. They sleep in the room to your left. On your right, that small structure is the bathroom. The other one after is a place of convenience. The room after my family’s is mine. Knock on that door if you need something. Meanwhile, there are big pots outside with water in case you need it. For wanderers, you have very few things.” Ama thought for a while and realized it was true. Nyamekye had insisted on taking nothing besides few gold coins and few clothes with a cover cloth each. With it two manageable gourds filled with water. They were to feed on fruits in the wild and buy food if they were lucky to meet civilization. She only sneaked in a small foldable knife. Both girls got their sponges and had a bath before sleeping. All the while, Ama was on a lookout and very alert. Nyamekye kept assuring her that there was no cause for alarm. She kept watch as her princess slept. There was no order that could make her blink. She didn’t want to disappoint the king.
At cockcrow, she heard the sound of a sweeping broom, then a humming. She knew the sister of Boadu was the one sweeping. Nyamekye woke about an hour later and they both went out only to see calabashes of white porridge served on a waiting table. An elderly woman sat with an empty calabash in her hands. A young girl who could pass for their age mate greeted them with happy and dancing eyes and offered them saawe (sponge made out of chewing sticks) and a calabash each of water to wash their faces. “Your hot water is ready sisters and I sent them to the bathroom for you.” Both of them went to kneel in front of the woman of the house, Auntie Mansa, and greeted. She was happy to have them stay over and asked them to hurry so they could eat. They bathed, ate and the familiarity made Ama comfortable to the delight of Nyamekye. She excused herself to sleep as Boadu took Nyamekye around. She couldn’t stop staring. His skin was as black as ebony and shone above the morning sun, his height was above the normal range of most men his age, he was soft spoken and very hairy. So much so that the bente he wore with the cloth tied on part of his shoulder showed very beautiful and shiny hair on his chest, hands and legs. His facial hair looked soft and when he smiled, Nyamekye nearly fell. He was however swift to catch her, swinging her to face him as their eyes met blocking some rays of the rising sun. Nyamekye’s heart raced but she heard a louder heartbeat from the chest whose eyes had pinned her down. “I think I am, I am, I am…” She couldn’t bring herself to say it. “…in love? If that is what you meant to say then I am too” Kwabena Boadu said, his breath and grin making it barely audible as she nodded smiled like one who had stumbled on a treasure.
Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © July 2018

Photo Credit: Google Pics

IN THE SHOES OF GOD 2


Ohene Asaa begged his daughter to at least take one guard with her and settled on the guard being female and not showing in any way that she was a guard. Ama Adjeibea Okore was the perfect female guard for the mission and Ohene Asaa made sure he put her under more training for a month before the real journey began. Ama had wielded a sword almost all her life. Her inspiration was her father who was the best warrior a decade past before the war with Anyaakrom took his life. He was leading his people home after they defeated their opponents only for a trap of fire to fall on him, killing his horse and himself before his followers were able to quench it. Ama was just six years old. Her elder brother continued teaching her until she was sent to the palace to serve as one of Nyamakye’s attendants. Females were not allowed to be warriors in Apemso and her worried mother who had the favour of the queen was allowed to bring her daughter into the palace to ward off rumours of her witchcraft. Ama was just few months older than Nyamekye.
Nyamekye supervised their shopping for the journey. She bought clothes meant for the average person in society and bought everything in pairs to put Ama on the same scale as her. She was not to fight until she ordered and was supposed to act as her sister and nothing else. Although Ohene Asaa felt unsettled, he and his queen saw them off after promising his daughter not to send spies to follow her. Things of the spirit have all seeing eyes and the custodian of the land knew going against her was as bad as she being harmed in a far off land. No one, besides the head of warriors, the king and queen, Ama and her mother, knew about this journey. So the royal head prayed for the safety of his only child.
The first village they passed through was Mina. It was a beautiful village with a fertile land. Rice, maize, groundnuts, cassava, plantain and many other needed vegetables flourished there. They went around the market and Ama could not help but notice how well Nyamekye blended in. She spoke to the market women as if she had known them all her life. She helped them call for customers, helped them sweep around and did everything they asked for. By evening, they had someone offer to house them in her home. Ama got very comfortable and happy she had such a great personality to travel with.
The house they got to was a beautiful mud house with well thatched roof. There was a fence around the house with six mud houses. The man of the house was a short and plump bald man with a cruel look but a very great personality. He welcomed them into his home and made sure they had all they needed. The next day was a Wednesday, and the household needed to go to the farm. Tuesdays were resting days instructed by the gods. Many stories were told about deities who showed themselves to deviants who ventured to cross River Asona to farm on Tuesdays. Some collapsed, others were maimed and in extreme cases, killed. So all others who wanted to work, worked on their gardens right around their houses.
Nyamekye and Ama went to the Okroso farm with the Kesse family. They experienced the sting of many insects, notable among them was a fly that was known to suck blood through a painful sting. The people called it “abenim”. Other ants and thorns did not spare them. Still, Nyamekye was enthusiastic and happy working like the rest. She weeded, helped dig out cocoyams and ate just like all the others. Even Ama felt exhausted but Nyamekye cheered her on. When they got back, Ama used hot water and Shea butter to massage her princess’ legs and feet. She was shocked that she also returned the favour. That night, Nyamekye told Ama about how blessed she was to be a part of the lives of the people. Seeing how they suffered to farm, she was appreciative of every food anyone could give and promised to cherish all meals. The next day, they left for Apremire. The Kesse family wanted them to stay for a while but Nyamekye thanked them and promised to visit some time in the future.
They walked for the whole day until sundown but saw no sign of a settlement. Having rained through the night, the frogs came out for a fearsome choral and crickets provided instrumentation that made scary images tip toe even in the sway of leaves. They held each other’s hand and quickened their steps but somehow felt they were being chased. The feet were many and heavy. They sounded like feet of men, strong men, men who were on a dangerous mission and they kept getting closer and closer.
Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © July 2018

Photo Credit: Google Pics

IN THE SHOES OF GOD 1

“You will have a baby. A baby who will wash your sorrows and polish the pride of the queen and the ego of the king. The only clause for bliss, is to be sure to grant all the wishes of the child no matter how difficult. The day you fail to grant a wish is the day you’ll lose the child”. Okomfo Akyaa stressed on the “lose” causing the last word to fall like a ripe mango harvested by wind from the chest of the sky. Ohemaa Abrampah and Ohene Asaa looked at each other in fear before reality dawned on the importance of a baby to the stool of Apemso. As if on a cue, they both responded “As the gods wish”.
Apemso continued to sell rumours like food on everyday basis about the custodian of the land. The people loved their king and would never harm him in any way but the matter of a child was of serious concern to him. Whereas some blamed the queen for her bad luck and suggested that the king takes on another wife, the king disagreed with all of them. It had been six months since they visited Okomfo Akyaa in the heart of the night, hoping no one saw them go through the rituals for a child but nothing seems to suggest that she has taken seed. Just when Ohene Asaa was about to voice his worry to his beloved queen, she collapsed in her stool.
The chief herbalist: Opanyin Kesse, checked and checked in shock and finally announced “The queen is with child”. The king sat through all the herb preparations and fed them to his queen. Everyone in the palace saw how the king doted on his queen throughout the pregnancy. Gossips of Apemso claimed the only thing their king did not do was remove the child into his own stomach to relief his queen. Ohene Asaa was a very happy king.
When the midwives announced the birth of the princess, the elders were unhappy but the king was so happy he could not wait for the child to be cleaned before badging into the delivery room. Immediately he laid eyes on her, he announced “You shall be called Princess Nyamekye Brakatu Asaa”, daughter who cleaned the shame of her father.
Merrymaking for her naming ceremony went on for a whole week. Having married the love of his life at the age of eighteen, becoming king at the age of twenty and having his first child at the age of twenty seven was no easy thing to go through as a king beloved of his people. Everyone in Apemso joined the celebration and wished the royal family well.
Princess Nyamekye grew like a miracle. Everyday saw her prettier, her every deed showed her goodness. Her attitude towards everyone, her love for all, made all forget about the fact that the royal house needed a male child to inherit the stool. It is not as if they wanted her to ascend the throne but they wouldn’t mind if her husband did in future.
Throughout her growing up, Princess Nyamekye never asked for anything, making her parents wonder if what the Okomfo told them was a mere threat to dissuade them from receiving their gift. While all her friends were always asking for many things during festivals and other celebrations, the Princess just worked hard on looking for gifts for her parents and friends. Even her mates who disliked her knew their dislike was borne out of their own insecurities and jealousies.
On her sixteenth birthday, Ohene Asaa threw a big party for his only child and invited all of Apemso to join in the celebration. Many people gifted her many things. Her father asked her to ask for anything she wanted. Nyamekye asked for a trip into the world without royalty. The King looked at his queen, then his princess and it was evident that he regretted ever asking her. The first thing that hit him was her safety outside the palace. He knew he could not handle it if anything should happen to her but because he had prompted the request, he had no choice but to grant it.

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © July 2018

Photo Credit: Google Pics

Ashawo Diaries (Tales of Adwoa Attaa) Chapter 30 (18+)

He gave him our price and he paid like a natural mutual understanding between them. Alejandro pushed me out and into the waiting vehicle. We headed off obviously to my house and I was baffled at his calm demeanour. I wanted the corpse to be properly buried in the least to lay the poor girl to rest somehow but he said it wasn’t necessary. I could not hold back my tears as I thought of her family back home. She was my responsibility and should not be dead, not through that horrible means. I thought of the pain she must have suffered before her untimely death seeing as a snake was forced into her vagina. It couldn’t have been funny in the least. I would have had a cardiac arrest too and probably felt the lowest point in the word “useless”. Alejandro couldn’t stop laughing. He believed the way I punched the Minister was funny to my chagrin. I saw a man who cared not about the death of another human being and queried him but he simply shrugged: “Death is now a normal thing to me, especially if it is a worker. They die everyday and sometimes you must kill them to stay safe. Death is for everybody so why bother?” His Spaniard tone had an air of truth that not only baffled but also annoyed me.
I felt a whirl of anger rise from the bottom of my stomach, take hold of my head, forcing me to attack him. We nearly landed in an accident. He forced the vehicle to a stop, blocked his face as I punched any part my fists fell until my mind showed me the video of the cruel murder of a white man. One who died by my hands, skin peeled, knife pierced uncountable times, words taunted and haunted for hours and eventually butchered. Ken; the brutish man who degraded me to a sex mate for a dog! I stopped abruptly and cried louder. A voice told me I had a good reason to kill that bastard and I was in no way as corny and ritualistic as that Mexican Minister. But another reminded me that death was death after all. Alejandro sensed my confusion and multiplied hurts and held my calmed and miserable self. It dawned on me that we as humans are quick to judge but conscience is sometimes slow to remind, and when it reminds, we feel the sweat of dirt, unwholesomeness, silliness pouring down the souls of our bodies thereby angering us into self blame. The pain did not subside for me, the fact that it happened made me wish for a place to bury the ordeal after all, many deeds of humans to fellow humans can be deemed murderous too. It just was a matter of relativity.
I sulked at home for three days, woke up and looked for my phone to check porn sites for humans who sleep with reptiles, something I had never done, and I was frighteningly surprised. Some women actually feel pleasure in sleeping with snakes. Your shock is as valid as mine was. I stared at my computer screen for hours and told myself “I truly have seen it all this time”. As I was still contemplating the doability of the act with fearsome goosebumps all over my skin, a call came through my emergency line.
I rushed to one of the girls’ dormitories only to find Nako, one of my girls, dumped naked with her breasts and vagina each partly chewed. I was terrified. I asked for a blanket, gathered her in it and rushed her to the hospital without thinking. She was rushed to the theatre as soon as we entered. Nako had tried to tell me something before collapsing on our way to the hospital but failed to make even a whisper audible. I wondered what could have happened to her; animal bites? Some canker? A curse? An infection? I run out of guesses.
I felt a tap on my shoulders as I impatiently waited after eleven hours to hear some news from the doctors, turned and saw six policemen breathing down at me. They told me I was under arrest but I didn’t know what it was for and before I could say anything, or ask anything, I was pinned to the ground like a destructive mad person or a hardened criminal. The dragging on the bare ground into their terribly hardened-prison-like vehicle was not as frustrating and painful as the Spanish they spoke which made no sense to me. I felt like a Mexican garbage left for days with spoilt slimy foods therein. I wanted to scream after asking them to tell me in English what my crime was to no avail but restrained myself and got shut into the van with no windows. It was a very roasting long drive to the station.

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © March, 2018.

Photo Credit: Google Pics

Ashawo Diaries (Tales of Adwoa Attaa)  Chapter 28 (18+)

“If you cut the head of a snake, all that is left is a rope.” I know that was the proverb playing on the minds of Tayo and his cronies. What he did not know was the fact that this snake’s venom was full in every part of its body. I arranged pillows to look like a human in a dimly lit room, hid in the closet in wait with a locally acquired gun given by Manki. Poncho was under the bed while Nacho hid in the bathroom. They had placed ten of their men around the hotel and ten on the way to my room.  The wait was boring and we even started to doubt the authenticity of the whistle blower. At fourteen minutes to two at dawn, we heard light footsteps with slight creaking of opening doors.

Three people entered my hotel room, then we heard gunshots in my hall. The team there were in a shoot out waking many in the hotel. Poncho fired from beneath, Nacho from the bathroom and I, from the closet. We each got them but Nacho’s missed and shot his shoulders. The assassin started shooting anyhow so I had to dock. Nacho, courageously jumped from beneath the bed, hit the wrist of his hand which was holding the gun and engaged in a man to man fight with him. The light was switched on only to see the assassin dressed in an all black tights, including a woollen facial mask. Poncho and Nacho handcuffed and unmasked him and saw a very unfamiliar face. They called out to those placed in the hall and realized we had lost one of our men but all the men in black tights were dead. They were eight in number. We quickly moved through our windows to another hotel which was booked the previous evening.

Manki came to visit early the next morning. He was shocked that we were alive making me think he was part of the conspiracy. We had kept the one alive in my new hotel room, gagged with Poncho as his torturer. He would still not open his mouth but we were not done with him. Tayo also interestingly called me. I received the call with all courtesy demanded of a business friend and gave no clue as to what we had gone through the night before. His voice was unmistakably shaking throughout the conversation but I feigned ignorance to perfection. After booking all the flights,  we went back to my room to help torture the intruder. I ordered a finger to be chopped off at every failure to answer my question. After losing two fingers, he spoke out, telling us about the man who contracted them. In fact, he was the boss who was contracted and was at his wits end because all his people had been killed. He pleaded to be killed too but I would have none of it. The man who paid for the contract happened to be Tayo’s friend. I called Manki after clearing my doubts and gave him my instructions about the assassin who said he was called Mpa. I proposed a recruit and followed through with it even though all my crew were against it. There was something about him I found loyal although he croaked under intense pressure. We fixed him up real well, his fingers and all, and let him go after he promised to follow us to Mexico. I had Tayo brought in for few slaps and wounds which promised to be deep scars and warned him to play with his equals next time. He left with his tail in between his thighs.

We took off five days after our clash with the assassins. Mpa and almost all the girls showed up but three, leaving us with four hundred and ten girls. I left the three for Manki to deal with but asked that he acted gently as some may have had genuine reasons for bailing out. As it turned out, one found out she was pregnant, another could not leave her ailing grandmother and the other died the night before in a street shoot out. It was a safe flight and the girls were comfortable in the dormitories Alejandro prepared for them. Our orientation was beautiful as the girls willingly dressed up for the theory and their first test jobs.

I was a bit beside myself with anxiety after I saw Consuelo. Thoughts of her difference, change of eye colour, body size and speech sounds made me feel like she was a different person but people around me felt she was one and the same person. Fearing they might think few of my screws were loose up there, I shut up and kept my many questions to myself. 

Alejandro visited a week after our orientation. The look in his eyes had changed. He looked at me with a softer touch. Funny, I did not mind at all. “Miss Davids, my surprise is your success. A book’s internal writing colour can be different from its exterior. Si.” After saying that, things became odd between us with neither of us speaking for a minute or two. 

“Miss, I came to check something around this place and decided to check on you. Be careful with everything and everyone and be sure to be alert at all times. Meanwhile, I will need  thirty girls to go and model shoes in Milan next week.” His fluency in the English Language always baffled me.

He fidgeted while talking, making me sense there was something fishy about the modelling bit. It would have been alright if he had said “to escort some high profiled people, but to model when they had not been trained to model bothered me. He might have realized so added “I will bring a trainer to help them get ready for the run way.” I knew something smart was being played on me but didn’t know what. Yet I took consolation in his words to be alert at all times. 

The week saw me seeing to it that selected girls were trained for modelling of shoes. The “ko ko ko” and “ka ka ka” were better than the sneakers which were almost like lullabies. The shoes that were presented were brand new and very catchy but the models who were chosen had long, beautiful and sexy legs, bodies and faces, talk less of smiles accentuated with perfect set of snow-like teeth. So in wearing the shoes, though catchy, the legs, bodies, in fact, their whole physiques caught more attention. They were given special clothes to wear with the excuse that they are models and should look as such, even their bags were sponsored, including hair accessories. I got the surprise of my life when my ticket was added. I was to be their supervisor. A part of me was glad of the Italy visit, a part was just restless, feeling there was something awfully wrong associated. 

We went through checks with no problems at the airport. The flight, including food on the plane was beautiful and cool. A beautiful blue black Limousine picked us up at the airport and sent us to our hotels. Although the girls were excited, they were nearly as tired as I was. I mean proper tiredness as they took on five to six men each night and six to seven during the day. On my part, I supervised all the CCTV cameras in their various dormitories to be sure I was privy to all that was happening to them, of course, without their knowledge. I also took charge in pairing men with them. I was grateful the payment plan of our customers had nothing to do with me but everything to do with Alejandro. Still, from petty thefts to sex based injuries, chaotic misunderstandings caused by language barriers to attitudinally sour men, there was never a dull day until the travel. I won’t even mention meetings upon meetings. Will you believe me when I say I completely forgot about sex? It was that intense so I slept like a log at our Hilton Hotel in Milan.

I woke to a scare, a very frightful scare. One of the girls was seizing and according to the other girls, had been seizing for over an hour. I made to call the reception for an ambulance but one of the girls restrained me. She took me to the bathroom and showed me something. A white powdery substance which she believed was the cause of Nthambi’s seizure. She believed they were in the shoes and the girl found them out and abused them. I asked her to get all the shoes of the girls for me without their knowledge. We searched through, even to a point of destroying some but nothing was found. I thought deeply about the whole trouble and decided on what to do next. Cunning were my thoughts, fierce were my emotions.

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © Feb. 16, 2018

Photo Credit: Google Pics

​THE LAW’S UNFAIR AXE

“Case number 566/7 The state vrs Akosua Twumasi.” The clerk called out.

Many people started hurling abuses at her until the clerk shouted “Order in Court!” as the gavel of the judge pounded loudly on his desk. I just looked at the weak and feeble woman in handcuffs who was being pushed into the witness stand to be interrogated. She swore by the Bible to tell the truth and nothing but the truth but was sneered at by most people who were there, like me, to witness proceedings. The court was filled to the brim. Her case was read out by the prosecuting counsel. According to him, Madam Akosua Twumasi poisoned her daughter and cruelly killed her. After, she walked straight to the police station to report herself. When the police got to the scene, the poor girl was lying in bed, in the pool of her vomitted blood, dead. She was an autistic girl with multiple seizures according to the attending doctor. He ended that, how a girl who knew nothing was cruelly murdered by her own mother is beyond thinking and asked the court to seek justice for the poor departed soul.

Madam Twumasi was asked about her counsel, she asked that she be allowed to speak for herself. In tears, she spoke.

“I did kill my daughter and I believe no one here has the right to judge me. I believe no one has the right to insult or sneer at me. I believe no one has the right to arrest me. That is my thought.” The judge asked her to explain before she was slapped with contempt of the court.

“Your Honour, this would be long but pardon me. I was born an orphan, with no one to help me through life. The state provided me with nothing because even the education that many thought was free, was expensive to me. I couldn’t feed myself so dropped out. I won’t bore you with that story of my life. I fell in love with my husband of three years when he was in secondary school. With my fried plantain, I took care of part of his expenses till he completed his schooling, became a teacher and married me. When we had our child, she was the most beautiful girl Nsakaw had seen and word went round that I had given birth to a mermaid or an angel. She grew up to six months and fell ill. She convulsed without stopping. We took her to many hospitals and tried everything but the sickness worsened and she became a completely dependent girl as she grew. She could neither talk nor walk. At two years old, we all realized there was no hope of a recovery but I trusted God to change that fate. 

I heard from a friend that my husband was getting married to another lady when my daughter was barely two and a half years old. Lo and behold, it was true. Whereas I was traditionally married to him, he legally wedded another woman. With my child strapped at my back, I looked on as they recited their vows but could not say anything. That was a man who slept in my bed the previous night. He never returned to our home, and never bothered to send me a pesewa. With my daughter strapped on my back, I sold iced water at the market but no one bothered to buy from me. I heard a rumour that I was a witch and my witchcraft caused the sickness of my daughter. Another rumour had it that I insulted an elderly woman when I was pregnant and so my daughter’s illness is as a result of that. My Lord, I never did any such things. Many people here in Nsakaw shunned my company so I relied on a piece of land my mother left me, to farm and feed. You should have seen the girl on my back as I cleared portions to plant. Sometimes, when the going got tough, I sat by the mosque in town to beg for alms. 

During all that time, the law was not seen. When my daughter was seizing and biting her tongue, when blood oozed from her bite, when her drooling bathed me to the disgust of all, the law was no where to be found. I carried on for seven years. Seven whole years hoping for a miracle, going hungry to see her fed, travelling miles to have her tended to by scamming herbalists and spiritualists, having to pay pastors who promised the fastest healing ever, none of that worked. And what was worse? The hospitals provided for by government collected such huge amounts for medications prescribed for the girl that I ended up not going there anymore. How could I have afforded that? How do you think a mother feels seeing her child suffer shame? How do you think a mother feels seeing her child suffer deprivation? How do you think a mother feels seeing herself and her child at the pointed ends of fingers whose sole aim is to make them objects of ridicule? How does it feel to feel so alone in a world whose hands are never there to help when need be but its mouth is ready to butcher at the slightest mistake? 

I am sorry to say that you have no right to harm a hair on my pride. Why must I be arrested? Because I reported myself for the crime? What about the millions of people you all know who kill their disabled children without reporting? It’s a hush hush affair but you know and I know that it happens. Even those with cleft palates are killed mercilessly. You hear and I hear but you protect them with “no evidence”. How many people in this court room did not tell me that my child is an evil spirit? Snake? Punishment from the gods? How many of you didn’t suggest that I take her to be turned into a python and join our ancestors because she could devour me at night? How many of you gave me one word of encouragement? How many of you bought me pure water when I was thirsty and carried her on my back under the scorching sun? How many of you even looked with sympathy? Yet you sit here sneering like perfect gods and goddesses.

I am a victim of circumstance! That victim whose conscience is clear because I killed my daughter not because of all the suggestions you gave but because I wanted to gift her peace. Peace to live free of illnesses, peace to sleep and rest, free of seizures, free from your scornful eyes, free from societal rumours that spread fast without a wiring. Free from poverty, from pain from a father who never for once turned back to look at her but sits in this court looking at me like some form of evil executioner. I gifted her that freedom. I know you will ask why I didn’t report her father. Will I have had peace in this community where only witches take their men to court? This community which only sees the little dust on a female while overlooking the stinking shit on males? Will I have survived in this ostriched community where the man is always right? 

Your Honour, do let the law whip me if you must, but think it through if the law has that right to bother me when it has not gained the fear of the people to live rightly. No, do not jail me my Lord, sentence me to death rather. That is the only thing that can give your mind rest and clear your conscience. And why not? Because you did protect me from malice, shame and fed me, yet still I took the life of an angel. I sacked my lawyer. Well, how can the state who battles me give me a lawyer? How can that lawyer ask me to plead guilty even before hearing my full statement? I need no one to defend me. You can sentence me now Your Honour! But I dare say I am not repentant. Given the chance, I will do it over and over again. Jail is a much better place than seeing the suffering of one you would sacrifice your life for. I would have killed myself afterwards but needed to be heard for those who are yet to experience this pain. I have nothing more to say your Honour. Thank you.”

The whole court was silent. No one moved for what seemed like eternity. Those who were busy insulting and casting aspersions and insinuations at her could no longer look at her. Two women seated by me suddenly started fighting. They accused each other of starting rumours and shunning her company. The judge’s head was bowed. He could no longer look at her and could not talk. I knew he would have the worst time sentencing her, but sentence he must. The clerk just blinked tears. The whole jury shed tears. The judge signalled the clerk and in a minute, he tearfully announced, “This case is adjourned to next month, October 9, 2018.” The prosecutor never for once, raised his head after that. How people vanished from the court was a mystery. I just sat there, my sweat drowning my clothes as she was led by the police to their van. He who created a woman to be strong, too strong in love, surely cursed us. We deserved everything but that burdensome gift.

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © Feb. 3, 2018.

Photo Credit: Pinterest on Google Pics.