The Footpath



It was a footpath she knew so well. A route she had walked for at least forty of her fifty and one years of existence. She would arise every morning before the Cock crows, scoop cool water from the clay pot in her veranda and splash it on her face and legs. She would raise the pillow on her spring bed and pick her Bible and rosary. She would then close her door and begin the short walk to the village church.

She would hum as she walked and occasionally chew a stick. Her route was through the pathway that ran by the side of Torokinkin; one of the many rivers in the village but the only one that was clear and cool all year long, the one where everyone got their drinking water, the one no one must step into. A calabash whose back had cowry shells glued to it hung on a tree beside the river, this was the calabash that anyone who wants water from Torokinkin must use; every one knew the rule and kept it, everyone except her. She was too religious for that, she merely avoided touching, stepping into or using the water of Torokinkin.

She walked the footpath again that morning her Bible and rosary firmly clutched in her arms, she walked briskly determined to get to church before the service began. She was half way down the length of the river when she heard the loud noise. She would have screamed Jesus and say a prayer if only her mouth could still move. She never heard the end of the noise, she had fallen before it finished, her body nestling against the river bed.

The shooter walked to the dead woman holding the Dane gun gingerly and smiling in satisfaction. It was two days to the election of the church building committee leader and the major opponent was gone. The shooter’s only regret was to see her blood forming tributaries that washed into Torokinkin. Kneeling, the shooter sent a silent prayer of forgiveness to Oluweri the river goddess.

photo credit: google images

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