He was digging the ridges as sweat dripped from his body effortlessly, suddenly he winced, he felt his right thumb then with the aid of his left thumb and index finger, he pulled out a tiny piece of wood from his right thumb, letting out a grunt. He felt the thumb again and nodded in satisfaction, "Ndi ojoo!", he breathed with a sigh.
The sun was scorching, Anyanwu hated working when the sun was hot but he didn't leave the house on time because he had to cover the roof with new palm fronds, he had always preferred to leave home when his shadow would be behind him.
He was determined to finish the work on that land but suddenly he heard some rustling among the leaves on the adjacent land.
"Who is there?", he asked but he got no response. The leaves continued to rustle, perhaps it might be one naughty squirrel or rabbit, he thought.
Soon, the sound continued and he became afraid, wielding his cutlass, he crouched to deal with whatever thing it was before it attacked him then his eyes locked with a feminine pair of eyes and she let out a scream.
"Please don't kill me", she yelled.
Anyanwu was too dazed to talk, "Am not a murderer, I won't hurt you but what are you doing here?", he stuttered.
"I came to fetch firewood", she replied.
"I had asked who was there but no one answered, so I decided to defend myself", he told her.
"Against a maiden?", she asked in surprise
"Not at all..... I thought it was an animal", Anyanwu explained.
"You really startled me", she confessed clutching her heart.
"Am so sorry, whose daughter are you and what is your name?", he asked.
"I am the daughter of Ikuku and my name is Ani", she replied.
"I never knew Ikuku had a priceless jewel, well, I am Anyanwu" , he said beating his chest.
"I should be on my way home", she tried to excuse herself
"No! We will be on our way home", he said to her as he tied the firewood and lifted it on his shoulder.
"I won't like to bother you, let me go alone,please", she pleaded.
"You are not bothering me, I have finished for the day, please bring my cutlass and hoe along", he reminded her as they walked down the bushy path that led to the village square.
©Andrew Ifeatu Jennifer, 2016
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