Monday, October 12, 2015
Tutvuu and the Missing Farmland
Ifedayo Adigwe Akintomide
Copyright 2015 – Smashwords Edition
Copyright © Akintomide Ifedayo Adigwe 2015
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To God obviously, who else is worthy of praise?
Tutvuu sat in a large field staring at half a dozen goats grazing. She looked up at the dimming sun and sighed. Eyin Elekun was beautiful at this time of the year. She loved sitting in the field watching the sun set.
The sound of running feet rang out behind her. But she didn’t turn to see who it was. There was no reason to. A small smile widened her lips.
So much had changed since her adventure with the magic oranges. Her mother was walking again. She went to the market every morning to sell vegetables. She also did most of the chores around the house. That gave Tutvuu time to do some of the things she loved, such as play with her friends and spend time on this field.
The field was close to farmer Taiye’s farm. It belonged to another farmer. His name was Tokunbo Olabisi. Farmer Tokunbo didn’t mind her spending time on his farm. In fact, he encouraged it.
The footsteps halted. Still smiling Tutvuu turned, coming face to face with Kike and Salewa; her two best friends in the whole world.
“Hello guys__” Tutvuu said with a broad grin.
“Why do you come here every evening?” Salewa asked frowning, standing arms akimbo.
“Not sure really__” Tutvuu began with a shrug turning to face the field behind.
“__ It’s just so beautiful.”
“What’s beautiful about it?” Salewa’s frown hadn’t softened.
“Maybe it’s the way the light shines on it when the sun is about to set__” she paused.
Salewa’s mouth opened preparing to speak but Kike stepped in front of her with loud hushes bursting from her full lips.
“Leave her be Salewa__ why she comes here every evening is no concern of yours.”
“Of course it is__ You and I have to walk down here to meet her everyday.”
“I never asked you to did I?” Tutvuu shot back with a hard frown on her face.
Kike sensing an argument interrupted.
“You dream about the old warriors Mr. Akinwumi tells us about in class don’t you?”
Tutvuu smiled her quarrel with Salewa momentarily forgotten.
“Yes I do__ I like the way Mr. Akinwumi describes them. They are strong and powerful.” Her eyes grew sad.
Noticing, Kike stepped forward holding her arm.
“What is wrong Tutvuu?”
“Father used to tell me stories about them all the time. Mummy made him stop.”
“Why did she make him stop?”
“She said the stories and the heroes were bad and__” She frowned looking puzzled.
“It’s a word I can’t pronounce.”
“Tell me__ maybe I can__”
Tutvuu could believe that. Kike was one of the smartest girls in their class.
“De__ demo__ I just can’t say it.”
“Oh! Do you mean demonic?”
“Yes! That’s it__”
Salewa started to speak when the faint sound of a bell ringing stopped her.
“What is that?” Tutvuu asked.
“I think it’s the bell__ the bell in the town hall.”
“But they only ring it when there is trouble.”
“That means there is trouble in town.” Tutvuu said in a grim voice as she started to run.
Salewa and Kike exchanged long looks and raced after her.
The town hall sat in the center of town beside a large tree. Tutvuu and her friends eyes widened when they saw the crowd gathered in front of it.
Even Shadrack the town’s drunkard was there. Salewa looked at him with disgust as they raced past. He looked unsteady on his feet. As if he might fall any moment.
Tutvuu pushed past the crowd gathered in front of the doors. Most of the town’s people were already seated. Her eyes swept over the crowd as she searched for her parents.
She eventually spotted them in front. Close to the raised platform where the speaker stood to address the people whenever they met.
Her eyes narrowed resting on the speaker. His name was Ikoh. Her mother and father did not like to speak of him when she was present. She didn’t know why.
She heard them talk about him more than once. They called him a divi__ she paused trying to remember the word. Her eyes grew angry. Some words were just so difficult.
There was a simpler word for what he was. That she could easily remember. He was a seer. He sometimes knew what was going to happen before it happened. At least that was what everyone said.
“Everyone__” He said in a loud voice silencing the low murmur in the hall.
“__ It is happening again. He is back__”
“Back?” Salewa asked with a frown as she and Kike pushed their way to Tutvuu’s side.
“What does he mean by back?”
Tutvuu rolled her eyes turning on Salewa in fury. “How do you expect me to know that? We just came in.”
“Must you always sound so angry? I was just asking.”
Tutvuu sighed tempted to yell again but changed her mind when Ikoh continued speaking.
“When the disappearances happen, it means he is back.”
“It could just be a mistake__” A familiar voice rang out.
Tutvuu’s eyes narrowed. This was the first time she had heard Shehu Shagari speak at any of these meetings. He was the town’s most popular palm wine tapper and the man she used to drop her sales money with when she had been helping her mother sell vegetables. That was before her legs got better.
“It is no mistake!!” Ikoh barked out. Tutvuu’s eyes widened at the way the veins in his neck bulged out. Looking at them made her fearful that they would burst.
“He is back I tell you__ if you won’t trust me as a person, trust my position as a diviner. I come from a long line of diviners. We have always served as spiritual guides to the people of Eyin Ilekun.”
“You guys!!!” A loud familiar voice intruded on Ikoh’s voice.
They turned, coming face to face with Tunde.
“And where have you been all this time?” Salewa asked. Her voice sounded as angry as her face looked.
“No time__ come and see for yourself.”
Tutvuu turned, reluctant to leave the hall, she almost told them to go without her. But it was the wild way Tunde’s eyes shone that made her follow.
They ran for several minutes, Tunde led them to the outskirts of Eyin Ilekun; where the farms were. They ran past farmer Taiye’s place, passing farmer Tokunbo and half a dozen others. They even passed the school.
Tutvuu was about to yell at him when he stopped in front of a thick cloud of mist that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. He stopped so suddenly they were barely able to avoid bumping into him.
Kike swallowed taking two steps back, looking at the mist with fear in her eyes.
“Are you sure we should go on? I don’t like this mist.”
“You are always afraid__,” Salewa said with a disgusted snort, though she couldn’t stop a slight shiver from running down her spine.
“As if you aren’t afraid too__” Kike shot back.
“No I am not__” Salewa began, pausing when she saw Tutvuu take a step towards the mist.
“Tutvuu don’t__” Kike gasped.
Tutvuu paused turning to face Tunde, giving him a questioning look. He sighed and nodded slowly. He spoke as she turned to face the mist.
“Be careful__ it’s not too far in.”
Puzzled she walked slower and more carefully. One step brought her foot to the edge of the mist. The second took her into it.
She paused for a bit looking left and right to see what lay around her. The mist started to clear as she tried to get her bearing.
Frowning she took another step forward gasping when she saw it. The others rushed into the mist as soon as they heard her gasp. They stopped beside her looking down at it with horror in their eyes.
“You see what I was trying to tell you?” Tunde asked quietly. He looked as shocked as they did. As if he was seeing it for the first time.
Tutvuu knew this area very well. They had explored these farmlands many times. She knew whom each one belonged to.
The one they were looking at belonged to a quiet, strange farmer called Femisola. Everyone in the town called him Baba Femisola. Some had even taken to adding the ‘strange one’ to his name.
Baba Femisola’s farm that had once been covered by long healthy looking maize crops was gone. All that remained was a deep hole. The children stood a foot away from the edge looking down into it. They couldn’t see the bottom. The farm had completely disappeared.