THE ELEPHANT WOMAN
I ran back into the house and told my wife what had happened. She was devastated. She understood the gravity of the situation immediately and knew that was the end of the road for us. I went into my children’s room and they were all still sleeping peacefully. I wanted to take one last look at them before going out to face whatever was going to befall me. I tried to activate my disappearing magic and it worked. I would have escaped unseen. However, they had already seen me and knew I was home. If I didn’t surrender myself, they would take my wife. I would rather die than see Iris in the hands of any policemen.
I said goodbye to my wife, kissed her tenderly and handed over myself to the police. I was handcuffed and dragged away. My wife was inconsolable. She wept desperately as I was being taken away. I was roughly dumped in the police van. I went to the window of the van to take a last look of Iris. She was still crying and some neighbours who had been woken by the commotion were consoling her.
The police driver started the car and we left. I was deeply sad all through our journey to the neighbouring town where I was going to be locked up. I thought of my children and wondered if I was ever going to see them again. For sure, I knew my wife would visit me, but how about my children. I was very worried and depressed. My first daughter was already a teenager. She needed all my care and guidance. Here I was being taken to prison. Just yesterday, I was with my family, in my home and now all was lost.
We arrived our destination some four hours later. Though the police didn’t bother me all through the journey, every bit of it was still a great torture to me. I was dragged out of the van as soon as the car stopped and taken to a large cell where I had to await trial. The room was really big and was designed to hold about forty inmates. However, a quick count revealed that there were about two hundred inmates in there.
I was shown a little corner to sit and asked to be a good boy. I sat in the corner and tried to get myself accustomed to the new environment. I could still hardly believe the sudden turn of events. I could not believe I was in jail. I could not believe I was going to spend many months and who knows, many years away from my wife and children. I closed my eyes and for the first time in a long while, I wept bitterly.
A thought came to me to escape. But my family would be in trouble. I hoped and hoped that there would be a way my spirit could leave me and join my wife and children, even if my body remained here. I badly, very badly wanted to be with them. I had heard of stories where people are able to separate their bodies from the souls and make contact in the spiritual realm. I wish I had those powers.
I had spent two weeks now in jail. My case hadn’t been called up yet. I was miserably waiting to be judged and sentenced so I could begin serving my time. I had not been able to make contact with Iris or any other member of my family all this while. I had however, made a new friend in jail. A fellow inmate. He was the boss of the cell and our friendship actually started on a bad footing. He had sent for me and intended to impose his will on me. I had resisted. He had sent his boys to make inquiries about me. He had later been told that I was an elephant hunter. He had gotten scared and had decided to become my friend.
“Why are you looking so downcast?” He asked me one hot afternoon.
“I am miserable man, I miss my family, especially my beautiful wife.”
“Oh, it’s because of a woman you are in this mood?” He asked, smiling.
“Not just any woman bro. She’s, my wife. You need to see her. She’s an angel. If you were me, you would feel same.”
“I understand. I felt the same way when I was newly incarcerated. I have been here for ten years and I have another ten years to stay here.” He said.
“What?!” I almost screamed. “That long?”
“Yes, that long. I killed someone who attempted to steal my land. I let my anger get the better part of me. Now I am paying.” He lamented.
“How about your family?” I asked.
“I heard my wife remarried long ago. My children, I hear, are doing well. None of them visit me. I have been abandoned.” He said, sadly.
I felt sad and I was afraid too. I was thinking to myself. What if my wife remarries too? God forbid. I will look for every means to escape and deal with both of them. But killing them will land me back to jail, maybe forever. I prayed it didn’t come to that. The boss of our cell asked me how I met my wife and I narrated the whole thing to him. He was shocked beyond words. He told me he had heard stories of spiritual wives and husband before but had not expected to meet someone who had actually married one.
He told me a story of a man who loved his wife so much that they agreed that they would be together for better and for worst. However, the man died not long after that. He was terribly sick and passed away. Before he died, he instructed his wife to put her used pant in his coffin before he was buried. The foolish wife obeyed and did as the man had instructed. That pant now served as a link between him and his wife. There should be no connection between the living and the dead. A month later, the man was removed from the mortuary and taken to his village for burial. That same evening, after he had been buried, the mourners were in his living room with his wife when the man appeared. Only his wife could see him. She screamed and took to her heels but people thought she was mad because they could see nothing. The man ran after her in his invisible form and touched her, then vanished. She fell sick and died a week later.
I was frightened but I assured him that my wife was normal and up until now hasn’t given me any reason to be afraid of her.
I was very pleased the next day when a prison guard told me there was someone from the village to see me. I actually jumped with excitement. I was handcuffed and led out to meet him. He was my uncle. I hugged him intimately and asked about my wife and kids. He said they were all good in health but they were miserable because of my absence. He brought me some raw food and some money to take care of myself. He said my wife had sent the money. When I asked him where my wife got money to send to me, he said my wife told him she visited my bush hut and discovered some money I had stashed away.
“My bush hut!!!” I exclaimed, loudly. That was where her elephant skin was hidden.
TO BE CONTINUED…