Shading Black

Shading Black

By:  Chibuzor Victor Obih  Completed
Language: English
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Who would have thought that Echi, an average man in a village would ever have anything to do with the mistake of an ancestor?Isiewu, a diviner and Chief priest of Umuolu, a ruthless man who pretends to be a saviour lures the village into a war they were not meant to partake in. In the end, we find the torn heart of a young boy as he begins his search for the truth. Will he find the truth? Will more difficulties face him? This 19th century masterpiece is set in a small Igbo village in present day Nigeria and features love, mistakes, disaster and most of all, mysterious events.

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106 chapters
Prologue
The glint of a machete flashed through the head of a man. He rose and ran to a thick forest, pushing leaves along the way. He darted towards a tall tree that stood in the center of the forest and stopped. He looked behind him and saw an older man running speedily with a machete over his head. Soon he would have to face the old man and fight, for he knew it was the only way out from this unending chase. He clung to the tree, his feet slipping and sliding over the trunk, and bore in mind his fate depended on his ability to wave through difficult obstacles like this. He tried again to climb, but his feet failed and slipped back down, his heart pounded harder. He stopped and looked back. He saw a lurid glare of the palm oil lamp the old man was holding. Ought he to continue climbing the tree? No! It would be too dangerous, and the man would turn him into a pile of rubbish. History! He had to run and find a place so he could hide, think, and plan properly. He ran d
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ORIGIN - Chapter One
Echi was from Umuolu, a village filled with people whose ancestors were mainly immigrants from Afam. The first settlers in Umuolu probably gave the village its name because of their indulgence in productive activities, which has led many to become farmers, woodcarvers, and hunters.The people of Umuolu were known to have war with many of the neighboring villages, and they usually came back victoriously with the spoils gotten from the raided villages. They sometimes came with girls, which they captured to ease the sexual desire of the men who went for the war. This brutal display of power by Umuolu through war, made the fear of Umuolu spread through the villages which had not been raided. Those villages came together in a meeting and decided that five girls should be given to Umuolu every new yam festival so that the warriors of Umuolu would not attack their villages and destroy it. This idea was welcomed by the people of Umuolu, especially the men who saw it as a me
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ORIGIN - Chapter Two
Two long years passed, and there was no child. this posed a threat to Echi and Olanna as his mother would constantly visit them and gaze at Olanna’s stomach, saying, “Is there a child in there?” Many times she would say, and many times, he would reply, “Mama, a child would come, we believe a child would come.”“When will it come, Echi. I am no longer getting younger and I want to see my grandchildren before I die,” she would add and then look at Olanna in disgust. “Echi you are wasting your time with this woman. Go and marry another woman in this village that will bear you children since your cock has refused to bear you children.”His mother never came to his compound without asking for her grandchildren, and he knew this made Olanna feel unhappy. His mother’s words were always tormenting and laid emphasis on her inability to produce children. Once, she had called Olanna “an infertile woman who had refused to receive the seed
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ORIGIN - Chapter Three
On the path that led to Isiewu’s shrine, their ears were constantly disturbed by the sound of whistling insects that communicated to their folks as they joyfully whizzed through the air. “We will soon get there,” Echi assured her in a low voice. The morning breeze blew and was accompanied by a rumbling sound. Olanna pressed her wrapper tighter around her body to shield herself from the cold that was steadily gaining entrance into the soft body that Echi caressed every night. They kept on walking and passed two men. “Excuse me,” one of the men beckoned them with a lively tone. “Do you know the road to Umuolu?” “You are already in Umuolu,” Echi replied. The men chatted with Echi for a brief period. They asked him a lot of questions about Umuolu before bidding him goodbye. “Who are they looking for?&rdq
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ORIGIN - Chapter Four
Olanna felt lonely. She thought she was fighting for her life and a way to preserve it. All along, she had believed she would have a child because Echi had assured her that she would. But now that her fate had been declared by Isiewu, all her struggle seemed hopeless.Inside her, she discarded the sacrifice and made up her mind not to die. She also reasoned the benefit of three sons and the pride it would bring to her husband, who had constantly been facing insult from friends and relatives because of her childlessness. She did not believe in diviners, men who threw cowries and waited for it to land on the feathers of decayed birds, men who were thieves and used cunning ways to deprive and exploit people as they pleased. That was how she saw them, felt them, thought of them, but yet she had a sudden urge to cooperate with Isiewu, although she knew the sacrifice Isiewu would perform on her body would be too painful to bear. How could she cope with hot palm oil on her body? It w
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ORIGIN - Chapter Five
The sun rose as morning pulled its way through the darkness. Echi got up as soon as the first ray of light hit his eyes. He turned to check if Olanna was still on the bamboo bed. He grinned. She was still there with her eyes closed tightly, like a memorial corpse.“We will be late for the sacrifice if you don’t get up from this bed,” Echi said.Olanna got up with a wry smile. She greeted Echi with the sweetest voice he had ever heard. When he spoke about the sacrifice, she did not refuse or complain. Instead, she prepared a cold bath for him to his astonishment. After he finished taking his bath, he rubbed his body with palm kernel oil and watched as the liquid rose and fell on his body. His happiness increased when Olanna prepared his favorite food, bitter leaf soup, and fufu.After the meal, he washed his hands and stuck a chewing stick in his mouth. He took a short walk to the backyard to observe the yams he had planted some mont
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ORIGIN - Chapter Six
It took a long time for Echi to go inside his hut, and when he finally did, Olanna was sitting on a low stool with her hands folded. Her legs were stretched forwards, pointing in the direction of the earthen wall of their hut. “Echi, how are you?” she asked, lovely, exuberant, and full of hope.  She watched as he mumbled some words, raise his eyes to the ceiling, and shake his head. He stood for a while before he dashed to their room, shutting the door behind him. “Echi!” she called again, louder.  He did not respond. Only a faint snore came back. She got up from the stool, and for a moment, her mind began to take a silent lucid ride to the past three months when Echi had high expectations when he had pampered her, cared for her and even restricted her from partaking in any chores, but everything changed the day before. The day he held his palm-wine drink in his left
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ORIGIN - Chapter Seven
The news of Echi’s short display of insanity spread through the village, and Olanna was the first to admit it after a bitter argument with a neighbour that ended with her calling him a fool. Neighbours came in groups, so did relatives. One after the other, they asked about his mental state, they asked whether he was chasing a naked spirit with palm fronds or he had been visited by a lover who he had broken her heart with his treachery before his marriage. Olanna declared all of them false. She called them lies that were formed by her husband’s enemies to desecrate the name he had made for himself in the village. What annoyed her the most was the way the people she called his friends twisted words to fit their hate for her husband. A hate she had just discovered now. She also had her share of the hate too. There were rumours flying everywhere in clusters. Rumours that his short-lived madness was caused by her witchcraft, and this false rumor transpired among those she called her frie
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ORIGIN - Chapter Eight
Echi woke up in the middle of a busy afternoon in his compound, looking like a sacrificial goat. He demanded a seat, and it was given to him immediately. Visitors, whose doubts were cleared after they had seen Echi behave like a normal man, started leaving slowly in small groups when they could not see any sign of insanity that his neighbour claimed he had. The men, especially the older ones, remained for a while, still searching him closely to see if they could notice a change of attitude or an awkward display that was not normal. They didn’t see it. They admitted that his neighbour was lying just like the rest of the visitors that had left did when he greeted them in the traditional manner, and they responded, but unlike the rest of them, they made sure they laid individual curses on her before bidding him goodbye.In the night, after Echi proved beyond any doubt, to be calm, his mother visited him. It was one of those unusual visits that would make him hit his head hard wit
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ORIGIN - Chapter Nine
Isiewu came in at midnight when Echi and Olanna were already fast asleep. His eyes were wide like a night cat, and his lips were tightly pressed together as he studied the moon through the small window in Echi’s hut and smiled. It was the right time for the sacrifice.“Which sacrifice?” Echi had asked when Isiewu told them that they should prepare themselves for an atonement sacrifice.“We need to do an atonement sacrifice to the spirits hovering around you,” Isiewu replied.“Can’t the sacrifice wait for tomorrow or the day after tomorrow? Must it be done this night?”Echi and Olanna awakened after Isiewu entered their hut.“There is a strange feeling I had that made me return back after I had left. The gods told me that your life will be in danger if we don’t do the sacrifice this night. We have to do this sacrifice right now,” Isiewu said.Outside the hut, Isiewu grabbed a female
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