Vanessa
was clearly unnerved, she couldn’t believe what had happened to her at the
church and once she was able to regain her strength, she thanked the pastors
and headed out, promising to come back frequently for church programmes. She
was headed to her car when she realised that she hadn’t called her husband to
tell him what happened to her, so she brought out her phone and dialled his
number. It rang several times but he didn’t answer, she tried over and over
again but he still didn’t answer her calls so she placed the phone in her bag and
walked towards her car. As soon as she got into her sleek vehicle, she placed
her head on the steering and closed her eyes.
“Thank
you Jesus.” She said in relief as she recalled all that had happened at the
church.
Suddenly,
it had seemed as though the knots in her body had been set loose and she was as
free as a bird. She felt a smile tug at the corners of her mouth and she let it
flow, she was so happy.
She
pushed in the key into the ignition and started her car. She had no idea of
where Jennifer was, she had run off as soon as pastor Edmund told her something
pertaining to her daughters. She’d just met Jennifer for the first time through
the most unlikely circumstances but she knew she liked the woman. She wasn’t
pretentious, she was kind, vulnerable in a very cute way and so in love with
her family. Vanessa knew that their friendship had just begun and for the first
time in a long time she felt happy after making a new friend. Perhaps they
could study the bible together and become bible and prayer buddies, she
thought.
As
she drove out of the church premises, she wondered where on earth her husband
was.
************
Jennifer
ended her race at the gate of her daughters’ school. Thankfully, the school had
both primary and secondary together in a large compound so, it was easy to
reach all her children at once. Pastor Edmund had told her to stop her daughter
from returning home and she was determined to do so. She also remembered that
he had told her to wait to pray her children days ago and when she hadn’t done
as he’d bid, Emmanuel had almost died. She wasn’t ready for a reoccurrence of
such so she made her way fast to her children’s school.
Now
that she was there she didn’t know what to do. Didn’t pastor Edmund tell her
that her daughter shouldn’t leave the school premises? Which of her daughters?
She thought. Did he mean Isabella or Mercy? Which one? She thought as she
walked up to the school gate and greeted the security.
“Good
day, I am here to see my daughters.” She said sounding strange.
“School
hours is not yet over madam.” The gateman said to her as though trying to make
her see how impossible her request was.
“I…want
to see the principal…I mean the admin officer.” She stammered.
“Madam,
who exactly are you here to see? Your daughters, the principal or the admin
officer?” The security asked, wondering if she was alright.
“All
of them…I would like to see all of them.” Jennifer stammered.
The
security man looked at her and wordlessly opened the gate for her to go in.
Soon, she was at the principal’s office, giving a cock and bull story of how
her daughters can’t return home till the next day.
“Madam,
it is true that we have boarding facilities but your daughters aren’t enrolled
as boarders besides, we only offer boarding for secondary school students and
not primary school pupils.”
“I
understand that sir, but I’m desperate. I really need them to stay at school
today…please look for vacant beds to…”
“Madam,
that’s not how the school operates. You haven’t stated a reason as to why you
want your daughters to stay in school and…”
“I
wish I could give you a valid reason but it’s personal and I honestly can’t
tell you why but trust me…I beg you to trust me. I don’t mind the expenses
they’ll incur…I promise to pay.”
The
principal pushed his glasses to the tip of his nose and stared down at her.
“Madam,
your children just completed their school fees and it’s already the end of the
term. Your daughter was the last to enrol for junior WAEC, how are we sure that
we won’t have to wait till the end of the year before you settle the bills for
your children’s boarding for today.”
“Look
sir, I promise to pay for their expenses for today…please take my word for
it.”
The
principal sighed and picked up the telephone and made a phone call, after
speaking for a while over the phone, he hung up and looked at her.
“I
will speak with the house mistress to avail two beds for your children. I will
ask the secretary to write down the bills which includes, feeding and boarding,
hoping that you’d keep your promise and pay the fees.”
Jennifer’s
sigh of relief was almost audible.
“Yes,
I promise…thank you so much…thank you.”
*********
Damien
and Mike knelt down beside the tree as naked as newborn babies, they had been
kneeling for over an hour and Mike was already beginning to tire.
“I
have so many business meetings today…I was hoping to finish off quickly and return.”
Damien lamented.
“Well,
the sacrifices only happen at night time so, you shouldn’t have expected to be
able to go back today.” Mike said.
“I
initially thought I was dropping you off here and returning. I didn’t know that
I’d be asked to strip for renewal…” Damien said.
They
were still speaking when the woman walked up to them.
“Come
with me.” She said gesturing to Mike.
Mike
looked at his naked state and glanced around for his clothing.
“My
clothes…I would like to wear them.” He said.
“Come
with me.” The woman said stiffly and walked away.
Mike
quickly grabbed his clothes and folded them into a ball which he used to cover
his groin. He followed the woman behind and they walked into the shrine,
walking past about a dozen people who were seated and awaiting their turn. The
woman stopped at the door to the shrine and turned to look at him.
“Are
you serious or is this a joke to you?” She asked angrily.
“I
am serious about this ma…” He stammered.
“Then
drop those clothes on the ground now!” She spat.
Mike
stared at the clothes he’d clutched so desperately to his body and almost protested
but when he remembered what he’d come to the shrine for, he dropped his clothes
on the ground.
“Now,
you can go in.”
Mike
walked into the shrine and the woman shut the door but she didn’t get in. The
agent was kneeling before the strange mystic drawing on the wall and was making
incantations while he knelt down beside the door and stared at the agent’s back.
“Where
is her picture?” The agent asked holding out his hands.
Mike
stood up on his feet and walked over to the agent, handing over to him the photo
of his smiling daughter. He didn’t look at the picture for fear of withdrawing
from the mission.
“Here
it is sir…” He said.
“She
should be on her way back from school.” The agent said to him.
Mike
nodded silently.
The
agent pushed the picture into a pot and struck a match which he threw into the
pot. The picture began to burn slowly.
“Come
here.” The agent said to him. “Speak to the picture in the pot and tell it what
you want. You are to tell her image that her life has been snuffed out and that
on her way home from school, she shall meet with an accident which will end her
life.”
Mike
shook slightly as he walked up to stand before the pot. He stared at the fire
which seemed to be slowly licking at the picture.
“What
are you waiting for? Speak!” The agent said.
“Yes…yes
sir…” He stammered. “Mercy, your life has been snuffed out and on your way
home from school, you will meet with an accident and you shall die!” He said.
Mike
and the agent stared at the picture for minutes and even though the fire licked
at the photograph, it didn’t touch the image of Mercy.
“What
is going on? Does anyone aside from you and Damien, know of this sacrifice today?”
The agent asked, looking at the photo in confusion.
“No…not
at all.”
“Look
at the picture. Can you see that her image in the picture is not burning?”
“It…it
is burning sir…” Mike said with a stutter.
“Are
you blind? Does this look like a burnt picture to you? It’s taking too long to
burn which means that someone is working against this mission of yours. Speak
now or face the wrath of matamamatama!”
“I
swear I have no knowledge of anything of that sort…I never told anyone
anything. I swear!” Mike said in fear.
The
prophet looked at the flames and shook his head.
“Your
daughter is being protected by a great force and she’s not left the school so
she can’t have an accident.”
Mike
looked at the flames again and shuddered.
“Something
is wrong! Someone is working behind the scenes!” The agent said in anger.
“I
have no idea who’s working! Please…I beg of you…” Mike said in panic.
“Go
out of the shrine…call your wife and make sure you tell her to make sure your
daughter is home before you get back. Do that quick!”
“Yes
sir…” Mike said and scampered away.
*************
Jennifer
was so relieved as she made her way back to the church to see if she could catch
up with Edmund before he left. She was still on her way when her phone rang.
“Hello
honey..”
“Jennifer,
how are you? Where are the kids?” Mike asked.
“Are
you alright? Why are you whispering?”
“I
want to know where my kids are.” He spat.
“Well,
they are still in school. Emmanuel is waiting for Micah so that they can come
home together because Micah is playing football with the school team. You know
how much he loves football and I don’t like him coming home on his own. Mercy
and Isabel are still in school.”
“What?
Why are they still in school? I want them at home now!”
“Honey,
you sound very strange, is anything the matter?”
“Why
is Mercy still in school? Can’t she come home herself?”
“Well…it’s
a long story but I promise to tell you when you come home. That reminds me,
where are you?”
“What
sort of question is that?” He spat at her.
“Why
are you picking offense at my question?”
“I
asked you a question and you’re asking me other questions. I am searching for
money and since you’re doing nothing to bring income for the family, I suggest
you answer my questions.” Mike gritted out.
Jennifer
suddenly felt anger fill her heart, she ended the call and switched off her
phone.
“When
you’re ready to speak like a human being, we’ll talk.” She muttered to herself
as she pushed her phone into her pocket and walked the long way to the church.

 

To
be continued on Sunday…. 

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