Behind Mud Walls S01 E09: “Ultimatum”
Dear reader, as I said in the first post, this season has 10 episodes, so it ends tomorrow.
“Hmm…” Fakorede sighed, “The one who does not have must protect the little he has from the one who has more than enough.”
Ibironke and her husband pursed their lips in agreement with the priest’s surmise.
Fakorede tossed his beads on the white cloth which lay between his outstretched legs. “Hmm… things will get worse before they get better.”
Agbeniyi looked at the priest dubiously, wondering what he was going on about. “Baba what are you saying?”
“I am being told that before things get better, they will get worse. But you must never give in to evil.”
“Things will get worse?” Agbeniyi said, feeling frustrated.
“That’s what they say.”
“What about our daughter, will she bear children for Adegbola?”
The old man sighed and tossed his beads again. “They’re silent on the matter, this means that her destiny lies in her hands.”
Husband and wife looked at each other, they were both thinking the same thing.
“We must go and get Mowunmi from that house tomorrow.” Ibironke said.
“What about the bride price? We must return it all before we think of doing such a thing.”
Ibironke sighed. “This will be unheard of.”
“I know, but Adegoke has threatened to make her life miserable and I know that he will do it. I can’t leave my child at the hands of such a man whether the tradition permits it or not.”
“Thank you my husband, you’re a true father.”
“Let’s go to sleep. We will sort it all out in the morning.” Agbeniyi replied feeling suddenly weak.
“What’s the matter?”
“I just suddenly feel weak.”
“See, I’ve told you several times to slow down on this farm expansion. You are not as young as you used to be!”
“I have to leave my sons with a better heritage, we need to get out poverty.”
“What is the use of wealth when we don’t have you?”
“I just need to rest, I’ll be better when I wake up.”
Ibironke watched her husband lie on his side and said a quick prayer on his behalf.
“My brother is impotent.” Adeyimika was still stunned by the revelation his father had just shared with him. “But how? My brother, the ladies’ man!”
“That’s the same question I asked, but that is not the issue now. Will you do it? You have to continue your brother’s bloodline.”
Adeyimika pursed his lips. “Have you told Mowunmi?”
“She’s not important, she will do what we tell her. She’s a woman.”
“Alright, I will do it. My brother’s reputation must not go to the dust.”
“Your children will honor you too.”
“Amen.” Adeyimika bowed his head. “When will this happen?”
“Very soon. I will tell your brother that you have agreed and then we need to go to my friend Fadare’s place. He will perform the oath ritual.”
“I will not tell anyone father, don’t you trust me?”
“I know you will not, but it is necessary to keep everyone in check.”
“Alright, if you say so.” The son shrugged and bade his father farewell.
On his way out, Adeyimika smiled, his brother was impotent! He had always envied his brother his position and wife and now fate had placed his birthright in his palm and he intended to take full advantage of it.
When Agbeniyi woke up the next day he was breathless. Work however needed to be done so he dragged himself out of the house and sat on a large stone, slowly sharpening his cutlass.
“Good morning.” Ibironke greeted, setting two calabashes before him.
“Good morning.” he replied weakly, looking disinterestedly at the food.
“Hope there’s no problem? You look dull.”
“I feel strange, my chest hurts and I’m finding it hard to breathe.”
“Ah! Since when? You were fine yesterday!”
“I’ll be fine.” he set aside his cutlass. “Let me eat and go to the farm.”
“Go to the farm? Don’t you think you need to rest for a while? You don’t look strong enough to me,”
Agbeniyi didn’t like his wife’s fussing even though he knew she was genuinely concerned about him. He didn’t need anyone to discourage him from his goal. The land had to be ready for the upcoming planting season without any further delay. Now that he had the resources to change his fortune, how could he allow his body to defeat him?
“I’m going to the farm. If we want to save our daughter, we must have a good harvest. Bring me some water to drink.”
Oni and Adegbola were at the former’s farm inspecting the cocoa seeds they intended to sell.
“Do you think this is enough?” Oni asked.
“I think it is. If we take too much we will be tempted to sell it all at a lower price.”
Oni sighed. “I hope we don’t encounter any trouble on the way.”
“We shouldn’t. The roads are safe and our negotiations shouldn’t take too long. I have to be back home as soon as possible.”
“is there something you are rushing back home for?” Oni teased.
Adegbola shook his head. “You need to get married my friend.”
Oni had no idea why his friend had to be back home on time. Since Adeyimika had agreed to the plan, all that was left was for them to take the oath and actualize the plan. He hadn’t told Mowunmi and he wondered how he would. They barely spoke to each other anymore and she seemed different. He wondered what her reaction would be to the plan.
His plan was for the intercourse between his brother and hs wife to take place while he was away on this trip to sell cocoa seeds, but he also wanted to be back in time. He didn’t trust his brother with Mowunmi, yet he couldn’t be anywhere close to Mowunmi while she was being seduced by his brother.
As painful as it was to admit it, Adegbola knew that he would no longer love his wife the moment his brother touched her.
Agbeniyi was making a heap of soil when he gripped his chest in pain and slumped to the ground. His farmhands saw him go down and promptly ran to his side.
“Baba! Baba!” they called, shaking him vigorously.
“He’s dead!” someone said as they started to mourn.
“He’s still breathing! Look at his chest!” Another said.
“Take him to Osanyin.” the eldest among them said. “I will go and tell his wife.”
“Why are we going to your father’s house at this time of the day? it is almost nightfall.” Mowunmi said to her husband as they walked towards Adegoke’s house from the farm.
“He said he wants to talk to us. Should I have said that we can’t come? Besides, what harm can come to us at night? This village is safe.”
“I just don’t know why we couldn’t have come here earlier in the day.”
“My sister!” Olumuyiwa called out to his sister in greeting with a basket on his head.
“Ah, Olumuyiwa!” she replied happily.
“Good day.” the boy greeted Adegbola.
“Hmm.” Adegbola replied tonelessly.
“What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be with mother?” she asked.
“Father sent me to the next village to deliver some yams to his friend in exchange for meat.”
“Oh! You must be tired, I would have fed you and given you something drink but I’m on my way to my in-law’s house.”
“I can see that.” the boy answered.
“Greet mother for me.” she said hurriedly and waved him goodbye, Adegbola had left her and walked on.
“I have called you here for a reason.” Adegoke said seriously.
Mowunmi and her husband were seated on one side, Adeyimika and Adebisi were seated on the other side and he was seated between the two sides. Mowunmi had eaten dinner reluctantly, wanting nothing more than to go to her house and sleep off the stress of the day.
“It is no longer news that the both of you have a problem with childbearing and that is why I have called this meeting. We have found a solution and I want to let everyone know it so that we can all come to a decision and take the necessary steps.”
Mowunmi frowned, why was Adeyimika present in a meeting of such a sensitive nature? She felt insulted that he would be privy to the details of her marriage. she also wondered who her father-in-law had referred to as “we”.
“The truth of the matter is that Adegbola here is having some problems… he is impotent.”
“Ehn?” Adebisi said stunned. “That’s impossible! My son cannot be impotent! He has slept with a lot of the slave girls in this compound. He can’t be impotent!” Adebisi said with certainty.
“She’s still a virgin.” Adegoke pointed at Mowunmi.
Adebisi looked at her son and saw that it was true. How could this be? How did her son go from being a virile man to being impotent? Had he been cursed? She remembered all the times that she had harassed Mowunmi for her childlessness and felt foolish, the girl must have been laughing at her ignorance.
“Why didn’t you tell me this before?” she demanded. “You made me look like a fool in front of this woman!”
Mowunmi was embarrassed, her father-in-law had just talked about something very private about her in front of Adeyimika who didn’t look embarrassed or surprised. He had known. Mowunmi looked at her husband and saw a plastered look of unconcern on his face, he knew something she didn’t. She suddenly began to feel tense, something was not right.
“Your anger is not the solution to the problem so calm down.” He barked at her. “Since this is the case we have come to an agreement. Adeyimika here will stand in his brother’s place and produce children for him so that Adegbola’s bloodline will continue.”
Mowunmi almost passed out from the shock of what she’d just heard. “Ehn?” she said weakly.
Adegoke smiled tightly. “I know you might be surprised but there’s nothing new under the sun. you will only sleep with Adeyimika on your fertile days, when it is time to make babies. Prepare yourself, you will sleep with him during your next fertile period.”
Adebisi had initially been surprised but as she thought on the idea she saw that it was the only way that her son and family would maintain their reputation. It was unpleasant but it had to be done.
Mowunmi looked at her husband, he wasn’t surprised. He was aware of the plan and so was Adeyimika who didn’t look the least bit remorseful about the situation.
“I will never do it.” she said firmly.
“You will.” Adegoke retorted. “You are married to this family, and you will do what we tell you otherwise you will suffer miserably.
“You want Adeyimika, my husband’s younger brother to sleep with me? To deflower me? My spirit rejects it! Is it my fault that he is impotent? Did I curse him? Have I not tried in covering up his secret? How can you ask me to sleep with this… this boy?”
Adegbola suddenly slapped her face. “You don’t speak to my father in such a manner.”
Mowunmi stared at her husband in shock, he had never slapped her before.
“Say one more word and I will deal with you mercilessly.”
“Thank you Adegbola, your children will honor you too.” Adegoke was pleased. “You think that you can come into our family, eat, wear nice clothes and beads without doing the work that we require? You think you can just continue to get fat and give us no heir? We took you from the mud and exchanged your ragged clothes for fine cotton and you dare to open your mouth against me? You’re lucky that you married Adegbola, he’s gentle. If you had married Adeyimika he would have beaten you to a pulp.”
Mowunmi began to weep.
“Go home,” he said to his son. “Tomorrow we will reconvene and swear an oath. In nine months we should have an heir.”
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