The Choice (chapter 30)

Sarah wasted no time packing her things into her bag. She lifted Joseph up from the nearby mat, where he was playing, cackling.

The improvement in Joseph's health status was glaring. The boy was playing like never before. Sarah strapped Joseph on her back. She wanted to spend no more time in Baba Fagbami's place. Thank goodness her mother-in-law was around. Sarah walked out of the hut and approached her mother-in-law, who was seated under the tree behind the hut. "Mama, please let's be on our way," Sarah said as soon as she was close enough to Mama Faronbi. Mama Faronbi stared at Sarah in surprise. "Why the rush? I need to see Baba. I can't just leave with you without speaking with him first," she said.

"Please bring my grandson; let me greet him." Sarah frowned, anger flashing in her eyes. "You don't have to wait for Baba. Let's go now or else. I'll leave without you," she said. Mama Faronbi hit her palms against each other. "What is wrong with you, Sarah? Why are you behaving like this? What will it cost you to wait until Baba Fagbami is ready to see me and bid us farewell? What is the problem?" she said and searched Sarah's eyes. Tears glazed Sarah's vision. She wanted to scream and tell her mother-in-law how many times Baba Fagbami had carnal knowledge of her before daybreak.

She wanted to tell Mama Faronbi how much of a disgusting, despicable, and wicked man Baba Fagbami was. Sarah wished she could narrate her ordeal through the night in the Godforsaken hut of Baba Fagbami. But she dared not. Baba Fagbami had warned her that she would lose her sanity if she tried to tell anyone what had transpired between them. Sarah swallowed the pressing urge to talk and broke into fresh sobs instead. Mama Faronbi stared surprisingly at her. She pulled Sarah onto the chair beside her. "Why are you crying? What happened? Talk to me. Is it Joseph? Or did Baba fight you?" Mama Faronbi patted Sarah's shoulder, urging her to disclose what was on her mind. Sarah wept on. "Mama, I can't stay here any longer. Let's leave now," she said. Mama Faronbi peeped at the boy strapped on Sarah's back. Joseph was pulling at his mother's hair and laughing.

Baba Fagbami stepped out of the building in front of the hut. He walked to the backyard. "My daughter, how are you?" Baba Fagbami said as he approached Mama Faronbi. Sarah instantly wiped off the tears on her face with the back of her hand and sniffled. She swallowed, her lips puckered. Mama Faronbi knelt on the floor. "Baba, good morning, sir. I hope you slept well." "Good morning, my daughter. Please have your seat. The gods will honor you," Baba Fagbami said. "Amen. I've been waiting here for a while. I was told you were busy in the main house," Mama Faronbi said. "Sorry about that. After obeying and working for the gods all through the night, I decided to take a nap in the other house," Baba Fagbami said.

He shook the totem in his hands and took his seat on the bench. Mama Faronbi nodded. "That's necessary. The body needs rest." "Thank you, my daughter. I didn't know you would come this early. I was expecting to see you in the evening. How're you?" "I'm fine, thank you, Baba. I mentioned yesterday that I'd come in the morning. You probably didn't hear me, or it skipped your mind." Baba Fagbami raised a shoulder. "Alright. There's something I must tell you anyway." "Okay, Baba. I was about to ask how the rituals went yesterday." "Er, it went well. The gods were pleased. Fatele is on his way to complete establishment on earth with us." Mama Faronbi stood and danced briefly. "Thanks to the gods. They have answered my prayers. I'm delighted!" Sarah eyed Baba Fagbami, distaste in her throat. She itched to leave the premises.

Enough with the useless talk, she thought. Mama Faronbi resumed her seat, smiling. Baba Fagbami cleared his throat before speaking. "The gods want Fatele and his mother to continue with them for seven more days. After the—" "What?" Sarah shot up from her seat. "Seven what? I won't stay here for one more day, let alone seven. Over my dead body." "Will you shut up and sit down? How dare you talk back at Baba! Keep quiet," Mama Faronbi said. She turned to Baba Fagbami.

"Baba, please don't be angry. Don't mind her childishness. She knows nothing about the power of the gods. Please continue," she said. Sarah placed her hands on her hips, consciously shaking her legs. Baba Fagbami spoke. "Thank you, my daughter. As I was saying, all necessary rituals will be completed in the seven days after which she and her son can return home to their normal lives.

There won't be any cause for alarm thereafter. But—" "Don't add any but because I'm not going to stay here another day. I won't allow you to perpetuate your evil agenda," Sarah snapped. Baba Fagbami ignored Sarah and continued. "But if she refuses to complete the rituals, Fatele will die, and she will lose her sanity." "God forbid," Mama Faronbi said and snapped her fingers over her head. Baba Fagbami hit the metallic staff in his hand against the floor and rose to his feet. "The gods have spoken," he said and walked away without a second glance at the two women. Mama Faronbi turned to Sarah."What is wrong with you? What do you think you are doing? Did you hear what Baba said?" Sarah hissed.

She wanted to say she didn't care, but a memory flashed in her mind. Baba Fagbami had made the door disappear the previous night. Who knew what he was capable of? She exhaled instead and took her seat. Mama Faronbi clapped her hands. "Do you want to lose your child and your sanity?" Sarah shook her head. Tears began to form in her eyes again. Mama Faronbi drew Sarah close and patted her hair. "You are a mother now. You must consider your son first. He's the reason you are here, to begin with."

Sarah drew a long breath and sighed. "Network here is very bad. I can't reach Femi. Can we go home first so that I can talk to my husband, then I can return here?" she said. "Don't worry about that. I will tell Femi what Baba has said. I'm sure he won't object either," Mama Faronbi said. Sarah slouched, weighing the available options in her head. If she stayed, Baba Fagbami could repeat what he had done to her the previous night. Was she supposed to suffer in silence for the next seven days in the hands of Baba Fagbami just because she wanted to preserve her son's life and her own sanity? Or was she supposed to go ahead and dare Baba Fagbami? Sarah sighed. She wished she had listened to her own mother. She should have sought the Lord's face more seriously, as her mother had said repeatedly.

Probably she wouldn't have been in this mess. Or perhaps, she should have just insisted on Joseph having the surgery. Now it was difficult to escape the torment she experienced. "I'll go home now and get you a few wrappers and a few blouses to use while you are here. Er. I will talk to Baba about your feeding." "I don't want his food," Sarah snapped. "Alright. I'll be bringing you something to eat. That reminds me, Toke is around now. I'll be sending her to bring your meals. And I'll also be checking on you from time to time," Mama Faronbi said. Sarah could only nod, tears dripping from her eyes.

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