Behind Mud Walls S02 E06: “The Antidote.”
Agbeniyi’s life was in danger and he knew it. The dead rat had died in his stead and it was only a matter of time before Adegoke found out that he was still alive. Whether he drank or ate, the prison was no longer safe and he realized that soon another plan would be devised to assassinate him. He knew that if he talked to the guards, they wouldn’t agree to carry a message to the king on his behalf. There was only one way to get out of the prison, and that was to carry on as if the initial plan had succeeded.
Agbeniyi pushed the rat to the end of the cell, smeared his hands with the oil in the bowl and lay still.
Mowunmi was on her way back from the farm, with a basket full of yams on her head when she heard someone calling her name. She turned to see Ajadi running to catch up with her.
She fixed him with a stern look. “Hope there is no problem?”
“Sorry! I didn’t mean to hold you up.”
“What is it?”
“I wanted to walk you home…”
“Let me help you to carry your basket.”
Mowunmi looked at him for a while and decided that she could tolerate his presence if he was willing to carry her heavy burden.
“This basket is too heavy for your beautiful neck.”
Mowunmi eyed him and said nothing.
“If you were my wife, I would never allow you to carry such a burden.”
“That’s how you all are. Promising heaven on earth before you trap one into marriage. You’re all the same thing! Wicked!” she stopped walking and faced him. “Please give me my basket!”
“Ah ah Mowunmi, what have I said? I paid you a compliment…”
“Please give me the basket!” she grabbed the basket, placed it on her head and walked away.
Ajadi was confused, he didn’t understand what he had done wrong.
Agbeniyi was weak, famished and exhausted. So when the guard came to his cell later in the day and called out to him, it was easy to keep up his pretense. In a short while he felt rough hands grab and drag him out of the cell.
“Let us call our leader.” One of them said.
“What would we tell him? Let us see if we can wake him.” Another said.
“He’s dead.” Yet another voice said. “If you want to revive a dead man then you must be crazy.”
“Ah ah what have I said to warrant that insult?”
“This bickering is not helping matters.” The first person said. “Our leader is at the palace. I will go with another person to let him know that the man is dead.”
Agbeniyi listened to them argue some more before it was quiet. He opened his eyes slowly and saw that he had been left with a guard who was dozing off by a tree. Agbeniyi thought hard about his options. If he decided to wait for the guards to return he was sure that he would be buried alive. But if he escaped, how long could he run for?
Agbeniyi decided to take his chances, he was dead in spite of what happened.
“Is there anything wrong in giving my brother’s wife some meat? If I had given her meat from the family house would you be here shouting?” Adeyimika said to his brother.
“You say I am shouting? I don’t blame you, it is Father I blame for all these.”
“You should calm down and stop seeing things that aren’t there.”
Adegoke heard his sons shouting and came out of the house. “What’s all the noise about?” he looked around and saw people string at them. “Come inside here!”
When they were alone in his bedchamber he spoke.
“What are you two arguing about? Didn’t I tell you that you’re to live in harmony? Have you forgotten the bond between you two?”
“Father, ask Adeyimika why he came to my house to give my wife meat.”
Adegoke frowned. “And what is wrong with that? Is she not a family member?”
“So you came all the way here to make noise over the fact that he gave your wife meat?”
“Father don’t you see what he’s doing…?”
“You’re the one who should stop seeing what isn’t there! Now stop being childish and go home.”
Adegbola couldn’t believe that his father had taken his younger brother’s side. “If you think that you can degrade me because of our agreement I will surprise you. I am not a fool, I know what you’re doing.”
When Adegbola had left, Adegoke faced his younger son. “What are you doing?”
“Nothing father, I only thought I should give her…”
“You thought what?! Are you out of your mind? Adeyimika, don’t cross your boundaries. Do you hear me?”
“Get out of my sight.”
As he walked out of the room, Adegoke realized that he hadn’t considered the fact that Adeyimika was ambitious and greedy. He sensed trouble ahead because he knew that Adeyimika had set his eyes on Folasade and Adegbola would not take it lightly.
The sound of the king’s voice caused Agbeniyi to float back into consciousness.
“How did he die?” the king asked.
“We don’t know, we just found him lying still.”
“Did you check if he was still breathing?” the head of the guards asked.
“No, but he didn’t respond when we called him.”
“So you just assumed that he was dead because he didn’t answer you…?” he replied incredulously.
“Kabiyesi I am not dead.” Agbeniyi said weakly, sending the guards flying into the bush.
“He’s not dead! He’s not dead!”
The king moved closer to the prisoner. He had been inspecting the security checks at the border when the guard had come to announce the death of Agbeniyi. Knowing the circumstances of his imprisonment, the king had insisted on following the head of the guards to the prison. Hearing him speak now gave him relief, but he also recognized that for him to have faked his death was an indication of danger.
“They tried to poison me. The food… the rat ate it… it died…”
The king could see that Agbeniyi was exhausted. “Take him to the palace.” He ordered the guards.
“But my Lord, this man is a prisoner, he committed an offence…” the head of the guards said.
“Are you the one who put him in prison? Did you judge his case?”
“No my Lord….”
“So why are you arguing with me?”
“Do not be offended my Lord.”
Reluctantly, he ordered two of his guards to carry Agbeniyi and hoped that Adegoke would not be too angry about the failed assassination.
Folasade was determined to find out what was going on. The priest said that Mowunmi had cast a sleeping spell on her but he hadn’t given her an antidote for it and because she didn’t want to come across as being stubborn she decided not to ask her mother about it.
“Baba, that is why I have come.” She had said to Fakorede earlier in the day after she had explained her situation.
Fakorede had smiled inwardly and given her a potion to drink. “Take this just before you have intercourse with your husband.”
“But how do I do this without him asking questions?”
“You will figure it out. Make sure you drink it all.”
As she got up to leave he had issued her a warning. “Don’t use that potion unless you are ready to bear the consequence.”
“What consequence? Will it kill me or him?”
“Not at all. It will kill no one but reveal the bitter truth that has been hidden for so long.”
As she wrapped the pounded yam into leaves she decided that whatever it was that her husband was hiding, she wanted to know. When Adegbola returned, she served his meal and did her best to be as warm as possible. However, Adegbola was not interested in touching her, he was still unhappy about his confrontation with his brother. Still, after she put away the dinner plates, she drank the potion.
Later that night, Agbeniyi opened the window for his brother and let himself out. Adeyimika had been looking forward to being with Folasade that night, intending to spite his brother with his moans and grunts. He began to caress Folasade’s body and proceeded to take off her wrapper but she stirred. Startled he stilled, then tried again. This time around she opened her eyes.
“Ehn? Adeyimika? What are you doing? What is this?” she sat up straight and pulled her wrapper to herself.
Adeyimika was dumbfounded. “F… why are you not…?”
“Why am I not sleeping? Is this what you’ve been doing? Hey!” she placed her hand on her head and began to cry.
“I’ve been humiliated! I’ve been humiliated!”
“Calm down, let me explain everything. Adegbola started it…”
“I’ve been humiliated…!” she continued to cry.
“Let me explain, I care about you. Much more than that husband of yours who sacrificed you for his pride.”
But Folasade would not be pacified, she continued to cry tears of bitterness and pain.
“Stop crying before he finds out that you know! Why do you think that Mowunmi disappeared?”
At that Folasade stopped crying.
“Calm down, he must not know. I love you and that’s why I am not going to tell him. I’m trying to save your life! Calm down, let me explain everything.”