Ælfgifu and the Charm of Sango

El – fgifu:- (El – ghi – foo)

“… Latini\nized form of Ælfgifu, an Old English name derived from ælf “elf” + giefu “gift”, or/and Æðelgifu, from æðel “noble” + giefu “gift”. This was the name of the first wife of the English king Æðelræd (Ethelred) II… ”

#Nameberry.com

“… The Ikogosi Warm Springs is a tourist attraction located at Ikogosi, a town in Ekiti State, southwestern Nigeria.[1] Flowing abreast the warm spring is another cold spring which meets the warm spring at a confluence, each maintaining its thermal properties.[2] These attributes make the spring a tourist attraction in Nigeria.[3] Research suggested that the warm spring has a temperature of about 70oC at the source and 37oC at the confluence.[4]The Ikogosi Warm Springs is a tourist attraction located at Ikogosi, a town in Ekiti State, southwestern Nigeria.[1] Flowing abreast the warm spring is another cold spring which meets the warm spring at a confluence, each maintaining its thermal properties.[2] These attributes make the spring a tourist attraction in Nigeria.[3] Research suggested that the warm spring has a temperature of about 70oC at the source and 37oC at the confluence.[4… “

Wikipedia.

We had no business going all the way to Osun state!

Well, there was that waterfall and the village on top of the hill, but that is a conundrum for another day. That state is where Becky is from… So yeah… I wanted to go see her roots.

I mean where she is from you evil-minded ogre! Nothing else. You are spoiled rotten. We will not last long as friends…

So we ended up in Ekiti State of Nigeria. We were headed to the exotic Ikogosi warm springs. We had a few other stops at waterfalls and shrines.

I have grown accustomed to paranormal issues in my life. I will be just fine.

And so you can imagine how underwhelmed I was when we arrived at the springs and checked in. There was nothing spectacular for me!

We were about seventeen on the team, three Germans, an Indian, an elf (yes you read that right), a bunch of amazing Nigerians and a lesbian. (uhmmm… I’m being mean I know. But she should have said, “yes” to me. I do not like rejection).

Consequently, I speak for myself. But one or two of my fellow #Backpackers agreed with me.

We hit the pool at about nine pm. The pool had just been drained and so we were reduced to splashing in about a foot of lukewarm water…

Tufiakwa!

(expletive, meaning ‘God forbid’). Don’t quote me though, that is what Muchee told me. She should know I think. After all she is an Ibo girl. Not sure which of the Ibo – speaking states she is from. I should dig into her core values.

I mean where she is from you evil-minded ogre! Nothing else. You are spoiled rotten. We will not last as friends…

A ‘tour guide’ had given us what was supposed to be her version of the origin of the Ikogosi warm springs. By the time she was done, I was bashing my head into random Iroko trees just to stay awake.

Darling Jesus, Maranatha!?

By the time our late dinner swung by, I was successfully plucking out my eyelashes. One strand at a time.

It was drizzling outside. It was pitch black too. It was about eleven pm when my team finally fell asleep.

I crept out of my shared room armed with my trusty machete, walking boots, night vision goggles and a small cup (yes you read that right).

I was home free (well not quite) when a voice stopped me dead in my tracks.

“Hey Sexy…”

It was El-fgifu. Suffice it to say that she is many things to different people. As of tonight, to me, she was misplaced.

I squinted at her beautiful features trying to read her mind.

“Hey baby” I finally replied. “Whatchu doing up?”

“Where are you sneaking off to Sexy?” I hear that she works with her voice in a radio station. I can only imagine the sanctions from the national broadcasting corporation. That woman’s voice is an aphrodisiac!

“If I tell you, I would have to marry you… Or kill you…” I quoted to her.

“Who are you in this body?! Loose him and let him go!!” She recited back at me.

‘If you know, you know.

We both burst out laughing.

We knew.

As I turned away, I heard her voice call out. I turned to see her standing and lifting a locket from around her neck with two hands. She held it up hands slightly apart. The shape of the leather strap to the locket was a perfect triangle.

She said that she wanted to lend me her locket but that I was too tall. She asked me to please take a knee. I am a tall fella, she is all of five feet flat. Her request made a modicum of sense.

She did not allow me touch her or the locket throughout the time . I am not stupid, I knew that that locket was actually a charm she carried around for protection and good luck. And so I gratefully complied. I used to be a prolific womanizer, I have learned to acknowledge a lover’s intuition. As long as she truly loves you.

I walked past the heated waters of the pool and got to the meeting point of the hot and cold streams of water that never mixed. It was pitch black and raining and so I was sure that I was largely unseen by human eyes.

In precise movements, I filled the small cup with equal amounts of the cold and hot waters and quaffed it in one swallow. I knelt in the waters and braced myself… Meditating…

A minute later I rose out of the shallow streams and started up the gangway that held a caution. “DO NOT GO BEYOND THIS POINT”. I broke into a measured jog and vaulted over the wall onto the rocky and uneven forest floor at the other side.

I pulled out my machete and hurried upwards towards the real source of the heated waters of Ikogosi. Sure enough, I saw what I wanted to see. I spent about a minute on my knees doing what I had to do. Maybe one day I will be able to tell you about these things that I saw and did. But right now, I cannot.

I was back over the wall as quickly as I could manage. I was covered in smelly sweat by this time. I had adrenaline coursing through my veins. I was giddy and felt a surge of invincibility.

I got to the pool and decided to take a swim. After all, the warm springs were said to have healing powers.

There were two ladies already enjoying the pool. From a distance, it looked like Becky and Amaka, fellow Backpackers. I dove nude into the pool and began swimming laps. I swam vigorously for about fifteen minutes and then I had to take a break.

I heard Becky call my name and so I waded through the pool to meet them where they were seated under the torrent of steaming water that was filling up the swimming pool.

Though my instincts already knew that they were neither Becky nor Amaka, my legs pulled me toward them on their own volition.

“What did you do?” The first woman asked me. Mild. Gentle. A flirt.

“Do you know what you have done?” The second older (and angrier) woman snapped at me.

I had no idea what to say. Primarily because they were both speaking to me in Yoruba language which I have never spoken, read or understood.

Secondarily because I realized in those seconds that I now somehow understood the said language.

Tertiarily (shut up editor!) because I was now fully aware of who these women were.

My silence seemed to infuriate the second woman because she stood up suddenly and made to touch me.

A small bolt of lightning or was it a livid cackle of static electricity scattered the air in a thunderous boom. They both flinched, screaming in terror.

I placated Oduduwa’s grandchilds’ wives as best as I could. I commended them for working together for the first time in centuries to fight a trespassing sage such as myself. I requested that they go about their fancies and allow me do the same.

By the time I got back to the guest chalets, it was as quiet as a graveyard in the dead of winter.

But El-fgifu was still sitting out drinking out of a cup. An alcoholic beverage I wager.

Why am I not sure about the contents of her cup? After all we were very close as individuals. After all we genuinely knew, liked and respected each other…

You see as I made to remove her locket from around my neck, I noticed that it was no longer on me.

No it did not fall off, it was inexplicably back around El-fgifu’s neck. The charm itself nestled comfortably between her deep cleavage.

It was all too much for me to handle in one night.

I walked past her thoroughly flabbergasted and weary to my bone marrow.

“Goodnight Sexy!” She called after me.

“Good morning Baby… It is two am. See you in a bit” I replied as I walked.

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How I Met Your Wife

Hey man…

I greet you.

My efforts at surveillance show me that you have developed an affinity for my blog. So I have decided to ‘talk’ to you here.

I am not sure what you hope to achieve by stalking me in person. Yes I have seen you at least five times this week. I had to beg my friends not to break your leg.

Literally beg.

I begged on your behalf. I do not beg. Yet I begged for you because I know that you are a fool.

Let me address the tiger in the kitchen. Let me confront your problem headon…

Yes I slept with your wife.

Severally.

Are you happy now? I have given you evidence in writing. If you require pictures, please ask me nicely. I will consider your request thoughtfully.

I am not sure what you think you will achieve by following me about. I see you at my book readings. You even bought a copy of all my books. Yes we saw you. You featured prominently via CCTV footage playback. I own that hotel by the way. Your body language piqued the interest of my security outfit.

I saved your life that day too.

Since I suspect that you will soon be murdered, let me help you. Allow me attempt to dilute your foolishness with understanding as concerns your wife.

She is not worth the effort. Your wife is fundamentally disturbed from deep within. You are bereft of the competence her issues require. It is not your fault.

Your woman has the sex drive and morals of an alley cat. She will copulate with anyone. She is open to any sexual deviance, as long as she has Tramadol in her system. She is a junkie. Trust me, the revelation of her list of lovers will hasten your impending death.

Unjustifiably, your affair with her friend upset her beyond belief. She is getting back at you. I suspect that you bedded the said friend in retaliation for adultery. You both need copious amounts of Jesus. Just bask in His presence or something. You both require spiritual help.

I am prominent. I am popular. I am a celebrity. I am your preferred ‘scapegoat’. I understand your myopic reasoning.

Like others before you, mention my name and you will enjoy undivided attention. So I guess it is easy for you to latch unto my legacy and try to get some succor. You will not get an ounce of flesh off me. I am essentially a spirit. You are playing with hurt, a lot of pain, grief and eternal damnation. Your demise will physically hurt you because I will not be there to beg for your life.

My posse have no tender mercies.

Consider this your last warning.

In my world if you “do anyhow; you will see anyhow…”

Your wife was with me for two days and three nights. We met Friday night at my lounge. She left my suite on Monday morning.

She was dressed like a call girl. I hear that she lives in the same house as you. I learned that you were at home when she left to go ‘hang out’ without you or the kids that Friday. I learned all these after that weekend.

You sir, who is incapable of calling your woman to order has the temerity to stalk me?

Me?!

You could not even get junkies to sell you a gun. That aberration you call a sawed – off shotgun will kill you if you ever get to pull its trigger. It is a faulty contraption. Every dude worth his turf on our streets know that gun.

There… I just saved your life again.

Dude… Chill.

Die for a cause more worthy than that succubus you call your wife.

She hates herself.

She hates you.

She even hates the pope. And she is catholic!

She wants you dead, for no tangible reason. She told me so.

You know that I am right.

Her issues were not immediately obvious. She was high and drunk. And I was uncharacteristically immoral that weekend.

As of thirty minutes ago, she is still maintaining her lie of not being married. If you ask nicely, I may ‘munch’ that chat and send to you.

Charity begins at home. Sort it out with her.

If you are seen stalking me again…

Well…

Let’s Call Her ‘Vitiligo’

Many years ago, I was a struggling young man. I had no money. I did not have a car. I was at the mercy of public transportation.

One day I had to fix all three of my wristwatches. So I went to the main market to have them sorted out.

I was sitting in front of the artisan that day, and there was a mosque behind me. I was smack in the middle of the market.

Ever hear the folklore about looking between your legs in a marketplace? They say you will see spirits or dead entities. Another version says you will see them upside down. Well… I’m the kind of person who likes to check up on stuff like this.

And so at some point I stood up and pretended to stretch. I finished my deception by bending to touch my toes and looked between my shoulder – wide feet. Despite the throng in the marketplace that day, I saw ‘someone’ immediately.

And she froze midstride.

I stood up ramrod like a statue. I knew that I was in trouble.

I sat back slowly and through my peripheral saw her still looking at me. Same position. Same person.
She was tall. Shapely. Nothing too much. But she had vitiligo. Patches around her mouth and neck.
I soon left in a hurry. Ran out of the market to the car park and got into public transportation. I moved suddenly. There was no way she could have caught up with me.
I was seated in front with the driver. Passengers quickly filled up the cab and (to my great relief) we were soon on our way.
I felt eyes locked to the back of my head at some point. Like lasers boring into my medulla. I turned slowly and locked eyes with Vitiligo. Yeah, let us call her that.
I panicked! A street before my stop I disembarked and bolted through an alley.

I arrived home panting and shaking.

About fifteen minutes later I walked outside for some reason I cannot recall and saw her standing outside my fence. Staring at me. I bolted bank inside.
She hounded me over the next few days.

It got so bad that my neighbors moved out citing spiritual harassment. They told me that a lady with patches on her face kept tormenting at night.

I had a girlfriend in that year. She broke up with me and ran. She said a spirit was harassing her at my place. Especially when she closed her eyes to sleep in my room. Day or night, she would suffer bad dreams. He’s the culprit was a woman with vitiligo.
My brother and I shared my humble abode. He began to suffer severe sleep apnea. In all his nightmares, a woman with vivid patches on her face and neck would sit on his chest and smother him until he woke up screaming in terror.
I would be at church and feel eyes staring at me. Sure enough, I would turn around and see her standing not too far behind me.
She was just outside my door at work. Staring at me.
Now, it was obvious to me after the first week that ;

I was the only one who could see her without fear.

I was the only one who she was not tormenting. At least not in a life threatening manner.
She could not, or would not harm me.
And so I did the only thing reasonable…
I set my alarm for twelve midnight and woke up by said time.

I walked outside and sat on a wooden bench that was more of a death trap than bench.

Sure enough she was outside by the fence.
I beckoned her over and she acquiesced.

I invited her to sit down by my side, and she complied wordlessly.

I turned to face her, looking straight into her eyes and apologized for my stupidity and immaturity.
I requested that she forgive me and go about her previous endeavors going forward.

I promised her that I would not be doing anything as stupid going forward.

She got up and without saying a word, vanished.

I have not heard of, or seen her since.

The Day She Died…

We had been quarreling for a while now.

Every little thing seemed to set us off. We were fighting ninety percent of the time these days.

Deola was starting to look like a good replacement..

Deola… Ah… ‘Dee’ as I loved to call her. Buxom. Nubian beauty. Bold and forthright. She had been hitting on me with a vengeance for months. She was promising me ‘heaven on earth’. She told me that she was game ‘whatever, wherever, whenever’, that all I had to do was ask.

Chaaaiiii!

Chika was nagging again. Her gratey voice snapped me out of my reverie.

Chikadibia… Sigh… So beautiful that it was not fair. As smart as starched military khakis too. Her mind is astronomical! It also helped that she was the only woman I knew via recent experiences that could handle me sexually.

That day we were arguing about a wedding she wanted to attend. I had told her that she could not go. She was livid. She was trying to make my life a living hell.

Throughout her tirade I was ‘sexting’ with Deola. Mild stuff.

But,

Deola was starting to look like a good replacement.

Long story short, Chika defied my instructions and went for the wedding. (I am that sort of boyfriend, get over yourself. Thankfully, I am not dating you).

I was seated in my opulent den when she returned. She sashayed toward me, smiling like nothing was wrong. She bent over and leaned in and kissed my cheek and then sat down beside me.

Something inside my head snapped. Audibly I am sure.

I let loose a vile litany of invectives. I was well into giving her a piece of my mind when the corner of her mouth started twitching.

Little tics at first. Then sight tremors and finally that side of her mouth began to twitch.

But I was on a roll.

I had just begun cursing her out, (yes it is that sort of relationship, get over yourself. Thankfully, I am not dating you) when I perceived that all was not well.

My sick, twisted, wicked and premeditated words dried up instantly.

The second I saw the corner of her mouth droop just a fraction of an inch. I bolted out of the room.

By the time I returned with my car keys, she was slumped on the floor face down.

I had her in the hospital about thirteen minutes later. The nurses had her on oxygen and hooked up to a few machines. They were starting to check her blood pressure. They were also trying to get blood from her arm to run some tests.

Chika suddenly stiffened, and then started to stretch unnaturally. Then she seemed to crumple… Then stiffen… Then crumple. It was clearly a bizarre death dance.

Pandemonium broke out. It was grotesque sight. Her previously beautiful face was scrunched up in a series of revolting rictuses.

I was standing by the door. I am a big and tall man, the nurses needed all the space they could get. I had just closed my eyes to pray for her when I heard her start to convulse.

The seizures were so violent that the hospital bed was bouncing off the white tiles of the floor.

I forced the deepest calm I could muster and from within began to pray for her. Inaudibly I think. I did not want her to die. Not because I would have to explain what happened, but because I loved Chika.

I am not sure how long I prayed, but it can’t have been for more than a few seconds… When someone, something prompted me to open my eyes.

I saw a vertical plume of light slowly rise from Chika and slowly start to ascend. I darted forward and held the light.

Yes, you read that right. Until I did it I did not know it to be possible. But it felt like the only move I had. And it worked because I was now somehow holding Chika by the wrist.

On the bed, she had flatlined and the nurses were still struggling to resuscitate her.

Here, about a meter away I was holding on to her spirit.

“Baby-m… (term of endearment, ‘my baby’) please don’t go… Please baby don’t leave me” I begged her celestial version.

“It is time Igwe. My time has come.” She objectively reported.

“Chika, I am sorry!” I remember crying out audibly.

The nurses were practicing CPR on her earth suit at this point. One of the nurses had her hands on her head and was weeping quite loudly.

“Igwe I forgive you… Don’t worry… I am tired… Bye – bye…” She told me in a sad voice. Her guileless eyes held proof of forgiveness. Her entire visage was devoid of malice or ill will.

Chaaaiiii!

Never! Not on my watch!! So I employed the only strategy that I could. I uttered words that I knew would touch Chika’s spirit. A suggestion that was sincere. It would be tendered from my spirit to hers.

“Chikadibia, I want you to be my wife. I want you to give birth to children for us… I will go and see your parents tomorrow.”

Time froze for an instant.

She looked into my eyes for a while. Then she turned around and returned into her earth suit.

Then all of her as I knew it slowly sat up on the bed.

The nurses fled in terror when she sat up slowly. Hospital sheet sliding off to reveal her impossibly beautiful face. They ran because she had just been pronounced, ‘dead’.

We have been married for thirteen years now.

We have three children.

Two girls and a boy.