Ajaeze had come the next day with nothing but a wrapper tied under her waist and coral beads gracing her chest, ankle and hair tied in knots. Covering the upper region of the body was a choice in Amachara.
The nzu was used in drawing tiny shapes of strings on her back, cheeks and forehead. Her lips and eyelids were shining black. She walked the steps and indeed had the looks of one dedicated to the gods – bold, fair and beautiful.
Ubakala had stood, waiting, with a piece of cloth tied across his loins as would a baby’s napkin. For someone considered as inferior and separated from the Nwadiala, he too possessed a beauty that made other men jealous.
A few seconds after they had kissed, Ubakala laid Ajaeze on the floor and began unknotting her wrapper.
“What are you doing?” she held his hand. “Don’t tell me this is your solution.”
“Yes, Ugo m. You will be useless to them if they find out you are no longer a virgin. Please let me do this.” His eyes plead with him.
“You will die Uba, I don’t want that burden on me,” she sat up, tying a stronger knot.
“Then, I choose to die like this. Only if I die on you will I believe you were truly meant for the gods. The gods can be mistaken. They can lie. I can’t watch another man claim you, Obi m. Please, let me have what truly belongs to me.”
She kept mute and let him have his way. He was gentle. He didn’t want to hurt her a lot. They had made love on the floor with the brown leaves as their bed. In the heat of the moment Ajaeze had left fingernails marks on his neck and back.
They rested on their backs, naked and catching their breaths, surprised nothing strange had happened. It went fine. The gods were wrong after all. They were happy for what they had shared. She rested her lips on Ubakala’s once again, happy she won’t have to be a priestess anymore.
The next day, news spread that Ubakala had died. Worms crawled from the marks Ajaeze had made on his body and everyone who went to see his corpse went stiff and blackened. Fifty corpse were already lying in his hut alongside his.
The land has been cursed. It needed to be cleansed. The priestess was needed to cleanse Amachara community. Upon mourning Ubakala, words came to Ajaeze that her initiation will be done that night and no longer the next market day.
She dreaded the whole community finding out she had defiled herself. She knew she was the curse. She would be buried to the neck. Stones will be used to bash her head and vultures and ants will feast on her remnants. Her only option was to run away. She did, carrying the curse alongside her.
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