Death by juju by Kandie Scribbles


This disease is hereditary, I remember the doctor telling us about it. He told my mom he wanted to speak to her children.
We went over to my mum’s place against my father’s wish, he didn’t openly stop us but we could see it on his face. The slight frown around his lips, the croaking sound from his throat when we say are going over to her place “it’s okay but come back on time Hmm”
We arrived there in the evening having barely left home on time, the Doctor had not arrived yet. So we sat around her room waiting for the Doctor, breaking boiled groundnut to keep our mouths busy. She looked better than when last we saw her she was more lively teasing us in turns.
Imabong the caretaker, knocked on the door, we told her to come in but she stood by the door letting us know the doctor was around and she let him in.
The doctor came with a nurse, the nurse had a polite and serious face of someone here to work I remember unlike the doctor who always seemed amused. A thing I had seen in some doctors like they half expect their patients to say something stupid, I later realized it was an attempt to look friendly, a failed attempt I might add.
He greeted us and we stood up except my mum. It was a habit to stand when an adult greets you; something I don’t care about anymore. He asked my mum how she was doing and some health questions before he finally sat on a white chair by the door.
He said “are these your children? ”
“yes Doki, you wanted to talk to them ” I found Doki a poor substitute for ‘Doctor’ after a million years in medical school but he didn’t seem disturbed by the name like he was used to it.
“Yes, I’m glad you guys came. What I am about to do is counsel you on your mom’s condition, What do you know about it? ”
Several talks later, he said
“it is usually hereditary. We have to run some tests and catch it early if anyone has it and find ways to prevent it ”
He talked on for a bit with my mum crying on her bed saying “Not my children.”

It’s been 3 years since she passed but our families don’t talk again. If in the same gathering there is an exaggerated politeness as if to say. ‘I know you killed her but I am very matured and know God will fight my battle hopefully by killing you.’ Those who weren’t good at the charade and put their anger in to their words or fist never show up. Atleast not anymore. But they did today.

We gathered today for Efreke’s burial just after burying my mom 3 years back. I was tired of acting and wanted to sleep and never wake up. I wasn’t suicidal, I just didn’t want to wake up.
“He’s done it again killed his family for money. ”
A lady with blue top said
“How? Where is the money he killed for, no talk wetin you Neva see” someone responded.
Two more people joined the conversation but I blanked out not caring till I heard his voice my cousin, Nsima who I call uncle cause he is much older, he is known in the family for being blunt and saying things to people’s faces. I know him for being rude and aged in the head. He told the younger cousins last December I was heading into ashawo business because I dyed my hair red. Those were his exact words. I wish I was then I could at least die knowing what sex feels like.
My heart started beating I knew a fight was about to start, one our families might never recover from. If things could get worse it was about to.
“Our God will not allow him make money from my auntie and her daughter’s deaths. He cannot, when there is God the evil perish ”
There he said what was on half the rooms mind in loud bass voice. If anyone didn’t hear him they were deaf.
” Who killed who, Nsima!!!! Talk am again make I silence your tongue” Ody my mom’s last born who my dad raised shouted from where he was standing at least 5 pace from Nsima.

“You cannot silence me, my God is a God of truth and I will always speak the truth ” Nsima responds

” When your family was doing juju they did not know it will kill their daughter but you people did not stop and killed her daughter too” Ody says and is walking towards nsima brushing past me on my way out of the room.

I’m scared not for them but for my father, these people really believe what they are saying, Death could not be caused by disease but by juju. I am scared at the end of the fight my dad will have no family members, no one to be there for him. Half will leave because the suspect he killed his ex wife and daughter, the other half will leave cause he refused to fight the accusers with them, if he won’t help himself why should they.
I finally reach my room only hearing noise but no words, I pick up my sister’s wrapper and lay on the bed then my mom’s glasses and squeeze it; not too much to break it while lying on the bed with my legs touching the floor, a new habit since my sister’s diagnosis.
I think about how grieve uses your beliefs against you. How 4years ago Nsima thought my father was the next thing after Martin Luther King.
But here we are.

I close my eyes thinking of how I had to secretly go to the hospital when my symptoms appeared cause even my father didn’t trust doctors only prayers.
I know I’m slipping away, and it’ll be just him broken by death. I want to go back to the other room and shout it’s a disease it’s hereditary, there’s no juju at play no one is killied anyone but I know I can’t get up, I’m too weak and ready to let go. Even if I could I was just some child who knew nothing ‘Gen Z’.
All I do is wish they all heal and be there for him.
The last thing I feel are tears on my cheeks.
I finally slip away.


Kandiee scribbles is a Nigerian creative writer and a medical Doctor who writes poetry and flash stories.  She writes under the pen name Kandiee Scribbles.

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Pencilmarks and Scribbles Magazine was founded in 2017 by Clara Jack to be a home for African writers, asking them to come as they are and giving them room for growth. The publication aims to give back to the Nigerian Literary scene for the things it has given us.