I was very worried. I was afraid she was going to lose the baby. However, as God would have it, the delivery was safe. It was a baby girl and she bore a striking resemblance to her mum. She was very beautiful and I felt so happy and lucky to have her. The midwives who attended to her delivery were surprised at the strength Iris portrayed. They said they had never met a woman with so much strength before. If only they really knew who she was.

We named the child Praise. She brough new happiness to the home. However, there were times that I had noticed a distant look in Iris’ eyes. Sometimes she would become moody for days on end. I pretended not to know the reason. However, deep inside me, I knew I had forced her into a life she wasn’t prepared for. That was why I was so happy that we now have a child who would serve as a distraction to her.

Praise was growing up to be a great little girl. However, I was afraid that she must have inherited some of her mother’s qualities. This was because she expressed rare development and intelligence for her age. She was a witch’s daughter, no doubt about that. This could explain some of the strange things I was observing about her. For example, before she was a year old, she could already walk and talk perfectly. She was very strong and always wanted me to be around her. She was also so much in love with nature. 

There was a day I was having a little conversation with her and I was really dumfounded by her replies. I was singing a song to her, using her name. A Christian song.

“Praise, Praise, Praise, Praise the Lord
Praise His Holy name, Hallelujah” I sang. 
I was just singing a song but she quickly noticed her name which was Praise, was in the song. So, she sang her own version, using my name. Her own sounded like this:

“Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy the Lord
Daddy’s Holy name…” She sang. 

I burst out laughing. She laughed too. Her intelligence and smartness gave me joy and gave me hope too that she won’t be a witch like her mum. She was just a child though but I have heard of child witches. I know of a story of a child that was initiated into a cult where you were given the powers to resurrect after you die. When you die, about a day or two later, you leave your grave and come back home. You are kept in a secret room and after a while, you are given money and sent away to another country to go live a fresh live as a human again. 
You can either be initiated into this cult while you are a child or when you are already much older. The downside of this initiation was that it got complicated when you die as a baby. This is because you will resurrect but won’t be able to take care of yourself because of your age. 

This particular child was initiated as soon as she was born and died a week later. Since the charm was already in her, she resurrected and became frustrated. There was no one to take care of her and she herself didn’t even know what was happening to her. She just found herself somewhere in the forest, crying. A woman that was coming from her farm, saw her and thinking it was a normal baby, felt pity for her and took her home. She carried the baby on her back. When they got home, she tried to remove the baby from her back but she couldn’t. The baby had gotten stuck. 

The whole village gathered and tried to free her from the baby to no avail. Then and only then did they realize it was an evil baby. They had no choice but to cut free the baby. Since the baby was stuck to the woman’s skin, part of her flesh too had to be cut off to free the baby. You can imagine the pains she went through. The poor baby cried and cried as she was being cut off. Finally, she stopped crying because she died, again. The woman took many months to recover. I shuddered when I thought of that story and prayed my baby would grow up normally and our lives would continue to be normal. However, that was not to be. Fate had decreed otherwise. 

Iris and I had had five children now. Two boys and three beautiful girls. Life was going well for us. The children were growing strong and healthy and they all displayed extraordinary intelligence in school and at home. Iris, up until now still had no idea that I was the one who stole her skin. Every now and then, I would go to my bush hut and look at the skin. Sometimes I would clean, oil and sun it before hiding it again. I was hoping she never found out. I was also sure she would never find out. Many times, I had thought of destroying the skin once and for all. However, I was afraid. I was afraid that some harm might come to her if the skin was destroyed, so, I kept the skin. A mistake I would later regret. 

I had resumed my elephant hunting. I had never met the elephant women again, but I did kill lots of other elephants and sold the tusks to ivory buyers. This was an illegal business and I was sure to run into trouble with the law someday. Each time I brought elephant meat home, Iris would refuse to eat or cook it. I had to cook it for myself and the kids. When the kids ate it, they developed serious allergic reactions so I decided to stop bringing it home. 

My small family of me, Iris and our kids were doing great. We were also happy, but little did we know that our happiness had evoked the jealousy of the village people. The decided to set me up.



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