Previously On 88,000 Acres Of Bad Shit,..…Flashbacks-and-Comebacks
Francesca could not remember when they took a turn and left the highway. It was still visibly dark. Marylin had some difficulty in seeing the road ahead. It was foggy. The darkest hour in the night always came before dawn. Francesca had told her to use the fog lights and low beams to ensure that they’d have better visibility. Marylin on the other hand preferred the usage of high beams. Francesca sunk back into her sit as she watched the trees zoom by fast. She was not sure of the time. She had lots of thoughts in her mind. She was sceptical if the person she was to meet would make her problems go away. Was he/she a medium? A witchdoctor? What was his/her caliber?
In her head she had covered thousands of miles. But this one today was strange to her. It was unusual for her to just accept things without thinking things thorough. She was desperate to find a solution. She needed it. Francesca never knew the world beyond the city where her son resided and the village. She never liked going to her in-laws. It was a taboo for a married woman to visit her married daughters at her in-laws home. She hugely frowned upon such customs and practices. She found them backward and primitive. Occasionally Marylin swerved to avoid hitting a deer or some random huge crater like hole. Marylin wore that reserved look. She was fearful if they would get in time. She had her own battles that often threatened to turn into a storm that would ravage her inner world beyond recognition.
They were both running away. Away from the harsh realities that life had hit them with. The sole hope they had was pegged on reaching that place early. First streaks of light could be seen racing through the sky. Grey clouds with a tinge of orange and yellow could be seen. The heavy fog had began to lighten up a bit. Francesca knew that they were some where deep in the jungle even though she could not get her bearings right.
She checked her phone for any cellular network coverage but none was around. A howl and a laughter could be heard from a distance. A few kilometers away perhaps from where it came from. “Hyenas,” she must have thought. They drove for another half an hour when the road branched and they took a right turn. The right turn led them to a clearance in the jungle.
Marylin stopped the car and told her they’d have to walk the remaining part of the journey since the roads were impassable. Francesca found it appalling. Why did they have to walk. They stepped out of the car and a morning chilly breeze hit their temples. It was going to be a long walk as she had initially thought. Marylin signaled her to stay quiet. She told her it was essential so that they wouldn’t disturb the peace of the spirits who dwelled in the forest. They walked at a relatively fast pace. The crack of dawn had to find them there. The buzz of mosquitoes constantly annoyed Francesca. Dew had covered all the vegetation. Each time a leaf or along blade of grass touched her, it sent shivers to her spine. She did not like a single bit of the ordeal. They followed a narrow part that led them away from the clearing deeper into the forest. The trees were tall and huge. They formed a canopy above. With every rustling of the leaves and twicking of branches Francesca thought that they were being followed or watched. Marylin seemed unfazed. It was like as if she was used to it.
They came to another clearing. The clearing had a tent pitched at the middle surrounded by all manner of paraphernalia. There were skulls on tree poles. Red knots tied in haphazard ways. There was a stool in the tent, a calabash of water on the ground and a huge mirror that stood at the far end of the tent. There was no one in sight. Marylin beckoned her to remove their shoes for it was a holy place. A laughter could be heard echoing through. It was loud and emanated a spooky feeling. Then a voice spoke telling them that they were expecting them and the gods were happy to see them.
An old woman appeared from the woods, she walked slowly. She was of old age. Her back was slightly bent. She used a walking stick to support her stature. She motioned them to approach her. Francesca and Marylin did approach her. Francesca followed Marylin’s footsteps and doing everything her friend did.
They both bowed down and the old woman spat on their heads as she placed her hands on them.
“Come now, you’re at the right place. All your burdens would be lifted from you. Do not be afraid for the gods have been waiting for you.” She said in a gentle soothing voice.
“I’m Ezukwo the high priestess of this shrine.” She said.