The Ghost, the family, and the child
The Ghost, the family, and the child: In a village in Umuahia, Abia State of Nigeria lived a small family of six. The Ebube family was their name. Mr Chibuzo Ebube was a farmer and his wife was a stay-at-home mum who had recently given birth to their fourth child, a girl named Chinyere.
Mr Chibuzo was fond of all his children and he loved his wife with all his heart. But his firstborn son, Ikemuefula, held a special place in his heart and mind. In Igbo culture, the firstborn child held a place of pride and prominence in society. Ikemuefula was five years old and was fond of his younger siblings. He.
took care of them when Mrs Ada Ebube was not around and had to cook or do some other chores around the mud hut in which they lived.
The land around the village of Umudike in Umuahia, Abia State, was and has always been fertile for years. But there was a season in which it lost its fertility. This season was a sign that the ghost of the hills was coming for one child in the villages surrounding Umuahia. They believe this ghost to be the spirit of dead ancestors who lived very far away from anywhere. They believed the ghost require yearly sacrifices in reparation for the crimes and injustices done ages ago to it by the ancestors of the land and their children. The seasons of bountiful harvest slowly ended, and the rains stopped falling. Mr Chibuzo didn’t know what to do. His farm dried up, and there was no food to feed his family.
One day, while sleeping, a loud crackling sound that sounded like a forest burning awakened the entire village of Umudike. The children didn’t know what this sound meant, but the elders of the village knew from experience that this was Kilikuli, the ghost that requires a yearly sacrifice from the village. It was around 1 am when the noise of screams from fearful children and mothers started. Everyone in Umudike village locked their doors and told their children to pray.
As all this transpired, Mr Chibuzo and Mrs Ada exchanged glances of worry and concern. Ikemuefula and his siblings were quiet as a mouse. Kilikuli, the ghost, came down the hill from the East heading West. Everyone was quiet as he entered the village. He first looked around and waited silently for about 30 minutes for his presence to be felt and for fear gripping the residents of Umudike village.
Afterwards, he raised his voice as loud as a trumpet and shouted,
“Today I have come for a firstborn son!! The house that I knock on will have to give me their firstborn son, otherwise, I will kill all their children!!”
“You all have until 5am this morning to give me a firstborn son”, he said.
Then he walked forward. Looking around, he slowed his pace as though searching for something. He walked back and forth in zigzags and circular motion, and then he came to a house. It was Mr Ebubes’s
house. Kilikuli knocked on the door three times and stopped, waiting patiently for a response.
Mr Chibuzo Ebube shook as he knew what this meant. Mrs Ada Ebube let out a gasp and a sigh as tears rolled down her face. Mr Ebube and Mrs Ebube both looked at each other and started shaking their heads violently and whispering no, no, no, go somewhere else, please go.
The ghost of Kilikuli said,
“You have until 5am to give me your firstborn son; otherwise, I will kill all your children.”
Mr Chibuzo, with tears in his eyes, looked at his wife and then at his children and screamed like a
Ikemuefula, five years old, could not understand what was going on. Mr Chibuzo went to him,
held him with all his strength in such a tight grip that Ikemuefula was suffocating and pushing him away
just to get some air.
Finally, Mr Ebube let go.
By 5 am, Kilikuli knocked on the door three times again.
Mr Ebube held Ikemuefula in his arms and pushed him out of the door, closing it behind him with tears.