Chikaodili carried the bucket out of his compound to fetch water for his wife. He stood still in the doorway illuminated by the moonlight. His attention was directed to the hill to his right. On top of the hill stood a large structure with smoke from its chimney into the night sky. Chikaodili dropped the bucket where he stood and quickly walked back into his compound. He walked down the hallway not having time to see their occupants. He turned left into one of the rooms. He was startled when he saw his wife Chidinma sitting on a stool looking out the window.
“They haven’t called for you in months” Chidinma said looking up at the hill. “Why do they call now?”
“You seem to forget that you are not question me about what goes on up there” retorted Chikaodili picking up a bag. Chidinma looked in Chikaodili`s direction.
“Please forgive me” she said seamlessly. Chikaodili walked out of the room without another word. He walked further down the hall and turned this time into a room on the right. In the room among the numerous vases and bowls stood a cabinet about the same height of Chikaodili. He approached the cabinet and opened it. Hanging in it was a mask and a stick. The mask was long black and grey. The mask did not have a mouth, but had wide open eyes. The stick reached his shoulders and had many designs carved into it. He put the mask on, and picked up the stick, and made his way back down the hall. He did not stop to say bye to Chidinma.
He exited his compound into the dark muggy night. Throughout the village there were other men wearing mask coming out of their compounds walking toward the structure on the hill, some of them running. Chikaodili looked across the dirt path. Exiting the mud compound across from him was a man dressed similarly to him. He wore a mask identical to Chikaodili`s, with the same stick. All that covered him was a black cloth that left his chest exposed. The moonlight reflected of his black skin. The man and Chikaodili began to walk toward each other. They met in the middle of the dirt path.
“The village has been at peace for months” said the man. “Why do they call for us now?”
Chikaodili chuckled. “I am not sure what they want” said Chiakaodili beginning to walk towards the hill. “But you’re starting to sound a lot like my wife.”
“Nri has been in harmony for a time now” said the man sounding worried. “Them calling us for a meeting can only mean something bad has happened, and I hate to see the harmony end.”
“Perhaps it’s nothing much” said Chikaodili optimistically. “I need you to make me a new spear” he said attempting to change the subject. “I want one stronger than my old one.”
“Sure” the man said. “I’ll forge one from bronze tomorrow. I heard you had quite the yam crop this year.”
“It was better than usual this year” said Chikaodili watching more men began to run up the hill. “I think we should hurry or we will be late.” The two men began to run toward the smoking structure on top of the hill. They structure began to come into view. It was a shelter with huge stone pillars supporting it. Chikaodili and the man walked under it. There were many men dressed like them all around a fire in the middle. The men mumbled among themselves wondering what was the purpose of the gathering. A few more men came.
A man stood in the middle of the circle next to the fire. “Welcome brothers of Okonko, sworn to protect Nri kingdom, and the Igbo way of life. Tonight we are hear to warn you of a threat to our way of life. The threat has been prophesized by one of our brothers. He says that he saw in his dreams men white as ghost conquering us and enslaving our wives and children. The ghost men will take our peace ,and harmony, and replace it with greed, and love of power. The ghost men will be driven by greed. They will stop at nothing until they have conquered our people and taken our wealth.”
All the men began to mumble. “Quiet” the man in the middle shouted. “In light of the serious nature of this prophecy, we have called upon the Eze to join us in this meeting.” mumbles once again erupted in the meeting room. “Quiet” the man said once again. “We will keep with Nri tradition and not identify who among us is Eze Nri Omalo.” The men looked around, attempting to see if they could identify the Eze, but they were not successful. “The floor is know open for debate” the man said.
“Can’t we just fight of the ghost men” said a younger man in the far corner. “I will not sit idly by as they take my family.”
“The ghost men will be strong” said the man in the middle. “The dream said they will have great weapons, and they will not be the only ones against us. Our enemies will also be involved. Our people will be sold like cattle, and domesticated like them.”
“So there is no hope for us” said a voice from the crowd.
“We must take the dream serious” said the man solemnly. “There isn’t must hope.” The room was quiet. All that could be heard was the crackling of the fire.
“All is not lost” said a voice coming from a corner. All the men looked to the corner to see a man coming out of the shadows into the light of the fire. “There is still hope” he continued.
“How so” said the man in the circle.
“The ghost men will take us throughout the world” said the new speaker. “We will be able to spread our empire, our way of life to all the world. We will be able to spread peace and harmony throughout the world. To the Eze, you will be able to rule the world. Our people will be dispersed to lands unknown. Eze Nri Omalo you will be able to rule it all. The Igbo people will rule it all.”
“Who are you” interrupted the man in the middle.
“Forgive me” the new speaker began again. “All you need to know is that I am a man with knowledge of spells”
“Our people will be slaves” said another voice from the crowd. “They will forget the Igbo way, they will not spread our way.”
“That’s where my knowledge comes into use” said the speaker again optimistically. “You see” he said smugly. “ I have developed a spell that we will put over all our children. The spell will spread to our children’s children, and so on. As long as there is at least on drop of Igbo blood the spell will work. The spell will take effect two thousand and ten years after the birth of the Jewish messiah. The spell will take affect and all those with at least one drop of Igbo blood will rise up and conquer their captors for the kingdom of Nri!” The men began to mumble once again.
“The Igbo shall rule the world!” exclaimed one man in the congregation.
“We shall” said the speaker. “We will bring peace to a world of greed and hate which will no doubt be the world of the ghost men. The ghost men think they can conquer us they have another thing coming.” The room erupted in cheers. “After tonight every child born after tonight shall have the spell placed upon them, and their children’s children shall conquer their oppressors. The Eze of two thousand and ten years after the death of the messiah of the Jews shall rule the world!” The room erupted in cheers again. The men jumped in celebration for the victory they would win in 2010.
Chikaodili tapped his friend on the shoulder, and motioned for him to follow him. His friend followed. They began to walk down the hill away from the shelter. The noise of celebration was echoing from the shelter throughout the village.
“The future does not sound to bright” said Chikaodili`s friend. “But it will lead to Nri ruling the world.”
“That is a long time down the road though” Chikaodili said. “The prophecy says the Igbo will suffer much before then.”
“But it will all be worth it” said Chikaodili`s friend. “The world will live by the way of the Igbo people”
“ It was probably just a bad dream” said Chikaodili. “It is really hard to believe. Our people as slaves, men white as ghost, it is all just so hard to believe” Chikaodili said walking toward his compound. “Goodnight friend.”