THE ELEPHANT WOMAN
“I am a hunter.” I said. “I am here to help you.”
“Are you sure? Please don’t kill me.”
“God forbid that I should kill you. Who are you?” I asked.
“You don’t want to know who I am.” She was cagey.
“Ok, tell me how you got yourself here, all alone.”
She looked at me suspiciously for a while. She didn’t seem to bother about the fact that she was naked. She sat on the fallen tree stump, put her hands over her plump chest and spoke.
“I was kidnapped by some people and brought here.” She lied.
“Oh my gosh!” I exclaimed. “They must really be wicked, these people.”
I knew she was lying but decided to go with her narrative. If I told her that I knew she was an elephant woman, she would become wary of me and start suspecting me.
“Don’t worry, you are safe now with me.” I told her. “You need to wear something. Please let me get you something to cover yourself.
“Thank you.” She said.
We went to my bush hut. She was in front while I brought up the rear. I could not help looking at her round and shapely behind and she walked. She walked with a sensual swagger, almost godly. I couldn’t wait to finally make her mine. When we arrived my bush hut, I got some old hunting clothes I had kept there and gave her to wear. She happily did. We now started the return journey to the village.
We got to the village some four hours later. For a woman who looked so fragile and beautiful, I was expecting her to be very exhausted by the time we arrived. However, I was not surprised by the fact that she still looked strong and energetic. Of course, she wasn’t an ordinary woman.
I had been told by my grandfather that before the white men came, we Africans used witchcraft to travel long distances, since there were no cars in those days. We also used witchcraft to do our farm work. For example, someone with an elephant as a totem could own about seven large farms. The strength of the elephant helped him to work the farms all alone. Someone with an eagle totem would use it to travel long distances. For example, if he was supposed to travel from Mamfe to Douala. He would simply transform into a bird and fly to the last village before Douala. Then, he would transform into a human a walk the remaining short distance.
My grandfather told me many stories about witchcraft before the colonial area. He told me that he himself had once gone to an old man to request for witchcraft. After several minutes of interrogation, the old man had agreed to have him initiated. He was to be given a crocodile totem. The old man gave him a cup of water to drink. In this cup, were tiny crocodiles, swimming. At the last minute, he got scared poured the water on the ground and escaped. Those happenings were before the white man came to Africa. I never knew I would actually meet a real-life witch.
My neighbours were surprised that I came home with a beautiful woman dressed in a man’s hunting dress. However, no one asked any questions. Everyone welcomed her and made her feel at home. The next day, I went to the village market and got her new clothes. She was excited when she put the clothes on. She looked so beautiful in all her clothes. I wanted to make her my wife immediately and soon, I arranged for us to be married.
My family was worried by the fact that she had no relatives. On our marriage day, there was no one to represent her own family. It was rather strange and some of my family members raised their concerns. Some even objected. However, I wouldn’t allow anyone interrupt my marriage to her. So, I forged ahead and they had no option than to oblige. One day, I had a conversation with her.
“I am sorry wife; you have never told me what you are called. Don’t you have a name?” I asked.
“My name is Iris.” She said.
“How about where you come from? You have never told me.” I pressed.
“I come from a distant land. Don’t worry, someday, when the time is right, you will meet my people.” She said.
I didn’t want to bother her much. I already knew she was a witch and had no family. However, I couldn’t let her know that I know who she was. It could be dangerous for me and for her. The villagers would most definitely hunt her down if they should least suspect that she was a witch.
We had been together for almost a year now. She become more beautiful and younger as the days go buy. The village women had started suspecting that she practiced some sort of magic. This was because while the other women were wearing out because of farm work and time, Iris didn’t age. She always looked young and happy.
One day, she told me she was pregnant. I was both happy and scared when she told me. I had been told that pregnancy was always complicated with ladies who have totems. When a woman with a totem gets pregnant, her totem also gets pregnant. Since the gestation period for her totem would of course be shorter, her totem would most definitely give birth before the human. Hence, she will lose the baby as a human. I was really scared. Sometimes, her fellow animals might attack her in the bush and force her to lose her baby. Her human form will then have a miscarriage at home.
However, in her own case, I had dissociated her from her totem by stealing her elephant skin. I wondered how that was going to turn out. She was a different kind of witch. She didn’t have a totem in the bush. She was both the totem and the human. Very strange. I prayed that she had no pregnancy complications and delivers the child safely.
One day, she went into labour.
To be continued…