Loko (Part VI)
Two years later, Loko’s mother passed away and once in the two seasons he had a real reason to go under his father’s roof. His hoary father stood at the door and swore his son would never step within the house. It took the elders many hours to persuade and prevail upon Ajala before he would let his son in. Loko threw a grand funeral such as had become a byword with him in Dagbolu. At sunset, the corpse was lowered into a grave at the back of the house.
Three days later, the compound awoke to discover a disturbance at the grave. It was as if some person had come to re-dig the place. Ajala insisted he wanted the rotting remains of his wife dug up to ascertain the status. Who had heard of such a thing? But the stubborn man got himself help from kinsmen and carried out his wish. A horror consumed the people when the grave was opened and the corpse’s head had been chopped off and taken away.
Ajala fainted. Loko was sought but he had gone out of town that morning before cockcrow on his usual business trip.
Ajala was revived and for two days he was numb with shock. He hardly said a word, only he shook his head to this and to that. On the third day, he pattered out to the back of the house and there he invoked esu – the bringer of evil. He offered kola on its shrine; something forbidden, instigating esu to go after the evil genius. People standing by watched him and shook their heads affirming that whoever had done this great evil was well deserving of all that Ajala had wished on the shrine of esu.
Ajala knew something he would never be able to tell anyone. The pattern of this odd incident fell in sync with that which surrounded that of Amope, Loko’s hunchbacked sibling. Ajala had woken up in the middle of the night to pass water outside when he discovered his son loitering around his sister’s grave. He had asked him what the matter was but Loko burst out crying, saying he was anguished by Amope’s death. Father consoled him and led him back indoors.
Upon daybreak, Ajala walking by his son’s door realized it was locked and he remembered him saying he would be traveling out of town and he knew he had gone but he was surprised he had left without allowing them bid him farewell. But by the time Ajala got the backyard, the picture of what had happened formed. Loko had dug the grave. In his hurry he had forgotten to take away the hoe he used. The grave had been covered in a hurry and pieces of flesh and bones that came off from the aggressive butchering of the hunchback he also found. Ajala was horrified.
He headed for Loko’s room where he found a cloth smeared with mud. Loko had cleaned up with it after the business. Ajala pulled himself together and went back to the grave to put things in order so that no one would know. The people would say “trade not your own beloved for a token; because once you have done so, you could never ever repurchase them, even with all the money in the world”. Ajala lived with the private horror, tugging daily at his soul.
So when Loko returned in glory, Ajala backed him up against the wall of his room and charged him to own up. He told him to go back, undo what he had done and purge himself, lest he received the wrath of the gods. Loko denied but when asked about his sudden wealth, he had no real story to tell. That was the bone of contention which made Loko pack out of the house.
Last Posts in the Series – Loko:
- Loko (Intro): Life on the Street of Dagbolu
- Loko (Part II): The Day Loko Chased Abraham
- Loko (Part III): Loko’s Blessed Night in Iya-Osu’s Shop
- Loko (Part IV): Loko’s Sudden Rise From Grass to Grace
- Loko (Part V): Suspicion About Loko’s Business Travels
Next Post in the Series – Loko:
- Loko (Part VII): The Truth About Loko’s Business Travels