The moment Ndubuisi left to help Ogechi, Okwuchi immediately called Nkechi, telling her what was happening.
“What is wrong with that your son? We are saving him from fire and he is fighting to jump into it.”
“Nkechi my friend, I just don’t know what his problem is. Are you sure he won’t suspect foul play if Ogechi is caught with the stolen items?”
“That is why she needs to be caught and stripped before he gets there. I don’t think he will stand it if she gets naked in front of the entire villagers. No man would stand the shame”
“Can you call that your friend to know if she has been caught?” Okwuchi pleaded
And Nkechi did as was she was asked
After the first dial, the woman told told her that they have not seen the women who went after her.
“Don’t worry, I will inform you as soon as they return. I fear for that girl’s life because those women won’t spare her.”
“I don’t know why she chose to disgrace her family like that. And my friend is regretting for choosing her for her son.”
“Oh poor woman, I wonder how she will be feeling now.”
“I am telling you, you know her son never wanted to marry that girl in the first place. She was the one who forced her on him, hoping that the girl will make him happy and be a great wife to him. Now see what is happening. I am even here with her. I came to console her so that she won’t have a heart attack after hearing what is happening.”
“Eh ya! You are a good friend. Let me attend to a customer, I will call you as soon as I hear something”
“OK, I will be expecting” Nkechi said as they ended the call. So she immediately called Okwuchi and told her what the friend said.
“They haven’t seen her yet? What’s taking them so long? I don’t want Ndubuisi to get to her before them. Nkechi, I’m getting nervous already. I don’t want to miss this chance”
“But that your son, he is always getting in the way of our plans” Nkechi hissed
“I wonder oo”
“OK oo, like I said before, let’s continue keeping our faith high, that’s all we need now” Nkechi said.
“I hope so”
So while Ogechi was rushing home, she heard some huge angry voices coming towards her direction.
So on turning back to know what was happening, those women sighted her.
“Look at her over there, just look at that shameless thief. Let’s run fast so we can catch and collect our items she has stolen” one of the women said as they began running to catch her.
“Oh my God! They look like those market women. Are they coming for me?” Ogechi feared and began running.
“Hey! She is trying to run away, let’s run fast and catch her.” Another woman shouted.
“Oh Lord, I’m dead today. So they somehow figured out that I stole their goods. Can you save me Lord? I just need your saving grace at this hour. Save me Lord. Help me my Lord.” Ogechi prayed in her heart, continued running.
But as she was running, a thought came to her and asked her to stop running. That the women knew her family.
“Maybe, if I explain to them what happened, they will understand my situation and forgive me. Running will make them feel that I intentionally did what I did”
She then stopped running, and waited for them to close up on her.
But little did she know that the women will care less about her predicament.
Immediately they caught her, they began beating her without first searching her bag to know if she was the one who had stolen their items.
“Please, don’t beat me. I will explain” she cried out in pain
But the angry women did not care to listen.
“No need beating her. Let’s remove her cloths, get her completely naked and place the goods on her head. That’s the way to treat thieves in this village” one of the women suggested
“Yes, that is the exact way to treat people like her” one of the women supported
And they began beating, tearing up her clothes, but luckily for her, Ndubuisi intervened on time.
“What is going on here?” He angrily asked, dragging the women away from Ogechi, who was already bleeding from different parts of her body.
And on sighting blood, gushing out from her head and mouth, Ndubuisi felt pained and bitter.
“What is wrong with all of you? Have you all gone crazy? What has she done that you are treating her like this?”
“That’s the shameless woman’s husband” one of the women who knew him said.
“Ow, so she has come to defend her. Birds of the same feathers. Are you sure he was not the one who sent her to steal our goods? Because no sane man will defend a thief like her” the stockfish woman said.
“If she has stolen your goods, the best thing to do is to hand her over to the police. What if she had died from your beatings?”
“Mr Man, we are only following the customs and traditions of our land, that’s the way people like her gets treated. So you better step aside and allow us do our thing. She won’t be given any preferential treatment, otherwise others will follow in her footsteps.”
“If any of you lay hands on her again, I will get you arrested”
“Look here Mr Man, we can’t fear you. Your wife is a thief, it’s so unfortunate that things has to go this way. We are only doing what is right as our custom demands, so you better go home and bury your head in shame, because your wife has chosen to disgrace you”
As one of the women was still speaking, Ndubuisi took a glance at Ogechi and got heartbroken at her present state.
She was shedding tears, with blood running down her face.
“She needs to be treated, I better take her away from here.” He said and then requested for her bag.
“Let me see the things you said she has stolen. Where is her bag.” And one of the women who snatched her bag from her brought it forward.
While the fuse was still playing, Nkechi’s friend called her neighbour who left with the women to catch Ogechi
“Nne please tell me, what is happening over there?”
“My dear, we are still on the matter. That girl is a disgrace. She wanted to evade us,
but we managed to nab her. Even her husband is here to defend her. Can you imagine that? That man is so shameless, just like his wife. Instead of looking for a way to send her packing, he is here to defend her. See, I will call you back later, we are about to open her bag and see the things she has stolen”
“OK, just keep me posted” the woman said
“Alright” the woman said, ending the call.
“Some people has no shame, seriously. He came to defend her. I have never seen such a disgusting attitude” Nkechi’s friend said, and then called her on phone, informing her what was happening.
And Nkechi pretended to be sounding shocked.
So after they ended the call, she called Okwuchi and informed her what was happening.
“What is wrong with that my son? Once again, he has managed to ruin my plans.”
“I don’t think so, those women won’t allow him succeed, because they are just following the customs of our land. Any body who is found stealing in the market will be made to face the consequences of his or her actions by getting stripped and carrying the stolen goods on his or her head. So they are doing the right thing. And your son trying to defend her is only attracting the wrath of the gods on himself. And our king will also fine him for it. So in a nutshell, Ndubuisi is busy creating problems for himself. You should have found a way to stop him when he was about leaving to save Ogechi, you should have reminded him of all these things, the repercussions of getting involved in matters like this”
And Okwuchi’s heart flipped on hearing that.
“How could I have stopped him? He left immediately he heard what was happening. He no longer think when it comes to Ogechi. And now, my son’s life will be in jeopardy because of that hopeless girl. I thought that before he gets to them, the women must have gotten to Ogechi and dealth with her. And once again, things are not going according to the way I planned.” Okwuchi said, fearing for her son’s life.
To be continued