It was a nightmare,
she’d known it from the time she’d begun dreaming; her mother ran after her,
chasing her around the compound with a broom, she was a little girl in the
dream and she ran around crying to the neighbours for help. Suddenly there was
nowhere else to run to and right before her was a mighty well with depths so deep,
she turned to run back but her mother was there still with the broom raised
high above her head, her eyes filled with so much anger, pain and hatred, she
had never seen her mother that way before. She turned back towards the well and
jumped in, the pools of pitch darkness covering her and all she could hear were
deafening screams and yells of pain, she kept falling deeper and deeper till
she thought she wouldn’t reach level ground, till she hit the ground below, it
was rough and a small light seeped in from a corner. She turned towards the
light and saw her mother holding a bible in her hands and standing before a
scattering of children of different ages, who sat listening raptly to what she
taught. Then her mother’s voice sang out to her.

“Once there was a man who went out to sow corn, as he
scattered the seed in the field, some of it fell along the path, and the birds
came and ate it up. Some of it fell on rocky ground, where there was little
soil. The seeds soon sprouted because the soil wasn’t deep but when the sun
came up, it burnt the young plants and because the roots had not grown deep
enough, the plants soon dried up. Some of the seed fell among thorn bushes,
which grew up and choked the plants but some seeds fell in good soil and the
plants produced corn, some produced a hundred grains, others sixty and others
thirty.”

Her mother said and turning to glare at Promise who was still lying on the
ground and watching her mother teach the children, she said. “And Jesus concluded, ‘Listen, then, if you
have ears!’”


Promise opened her eyes
and sat up on her bed, the night was cold and for some strange reason, an owl
hooted at her window. She curled up in bed and looked around at her small room,
her eyes caught the bible which was lying on the table beside her and she
stretched out her hand to pick it up, at that instant, her phone rang. She
picked up her phone instead.

“Awake?” Sir Gideon
asked over the phone.

“Yes, I…had a
nightmare and I…woke up.” She said.

“What did you dream
about?”

“I saw my mother and…”

“And?”

“It was as though she
was warning me…she looked so furious…” Promise said.

“There are many more
nightmares to come, this is just the birth pangs.” He said.

“I stretched out my hand
on a girl and healed her….yesterday.” Promise said, quickly changing the
topic about the dreams.

“Good…do you see that
there is indeed power if you leave old traditions behind and go after the new?”
He asked. “The world is changing and in the next few years, you’d see the
changes. Stay with the old ways and be left behind, step up to the new and join
the winning team.”

“Yes…” She said.

“You haven’t started
anything yet, by the time we’re done, you’ll be so powerful the world will know
your name.”

Promise sighed deeply.

“Are you happy?”

“Yes…yes I am…” She
said.

“Good! I’ll send for you
in three days, when you’re coming, come prepared because you’re going to see
the world you never believed existed.” He said.

Promise hung up the call
and stared at the phone for a while then tossed it aside. She stood up from her
bed and walked up to the fridge to get some water, she opened the fridge and
brought out the sachet water and ripping off the edge with her teeth, she drank
and when she was done, she tossed the empty sachet into the basket.  She stared at the time, it was still two am
in the morning and she couldn’t go back to sleep, she pulled open her drawer
and searched for a book to read, there was nothing inside her drawer that didn’t
have a hint of godliness in it. The books ranged from different versions of the
bible to books on Prayer, Faith, Hope and many others, she made a mental note
to give the books to Alice to dispose. Just then, she saw a book inside the
drawer and picked it up, it was the first prayer book her mother had ever given
her, its title ‘Prayer that changes life’.
She recalled the day as
though it was yesterday, her mother had been in their small house going through
books in her shelf and she had just come home from school. Promise had walked
in through the door, with a solemn expression on her face.

“Promise what is it?” Her mother asked her.

“It’s nothing…” She had said.

“You look glum…talk to me.” Her mother had coaxed.

“I don’t want you to worry.” Her twelve year old
self had said.

“Now that you have said this, I am worrying. What is it?” Her mother had pressed.

“My shoes are old and my uniform is almost worn, the kids at
school laugh at me. They say that my mom invests in my books than my looks.”
She had told her
mother.

“I am sorry, I didn’t notice your clothes were already worn
out…I’ll get you a new one.”
Her mother had said.

“No! I don’t want you to. You’ve been doing everything and
….and you hardly take care of yourself. I can’t remember the last time you
bought yourself a good dress or new shoes or even fancy perfume. Everything you’ve
done, you’ve done for me and all I do is whine and complain. Do you know what?
I don’t care what my classmates say, I don’t care if they laugh at me or tell
me that I stink of poverty, all I care about is, that you love me.”
Promise had said teary
eyed.

“Look at me Promise, you don’t have to think like an adult
when you are a child. Children need their parents to look after them and not
the other way round. Do not worry about me, I am fine and I am happy when you
are happy. Our ministry is young but one day it’ll grow and it will be so big
that lots of people will lean on you for support both emotionally and
physically and I want you to have had a sound life inorder to juggle the needs
of the people. Do you understand? I do this because I know that tomorrow, our
ministry will rest on your shoulders and you’ll have a lot to sacrifice just as
I am sacrificing and I want you to be able to say, ‘I can make sacrifices
because my mother made sacrifices for me’ am I making sense?”


Promise nodded. Her
mother had gone ahead to bring out the book and handed it over to her.
“You have joined me in prayers, and I have been bringing you
up in the ways of the Lord. Now, you must understand that everything you want
in life doesn’t appear magically, or just like that. Most times, you have to
pray for them, so here’s this book titled, ‘Prayer that changes life’ take it
and read it and be ready to always pray when you need something even if that
thing you need can be bought with money.”


Promise had smiled and
hugged her mother.

Now, as she held the
book in her hands, she trembled as what she had done some nights ago came
flashing before her eyes.

As instructed by Sir
Gideon, she had cut some of her hair, slashed her finger and drew blood and
lastly she had taken three of her mother’s pictures to him at his hotel. Sir
Gideon was lodged in one of the most executive hotels in the town and she had
been so enamoured of the suite where he lodged.

“Are the items complete?”
He had asked.

“Yes…I…have them
all…” She had said as she shakily brought out the items from her bag and
handed them to him.

“You understand that
this is for your own good and the good of your congregation?”

She nodded.

“I need a reply.” He
said.

“Yes, I understand.”

“Any questions?” He had asked
as he stuffed the items she had given him into his bag.

“Yes…I want ask if we
can…perhaps leave my mother out of this.” She had asked.

“Leave your mother out
of what?”

“The whole thing, I want
her to rest in peace…she doesn’t need to be dragged into our world and all
the happenings.”

“Do you know how
powerful spirits are especially those of loved ones or family?”

Promise looked at him.

“We can stop dragging
her into this if you change the name of your church but you refused to. You
claim that it was her dream and yours too. That church has her name ‘Hope’ and
whether you believe it or not, the church is hers as well as yours and the only
way you’d do yourself a favour is if you cut her spirit away from it for good.”

 “But she’s dead…she’s gone…” Promise had
said passionately.

“Spirits never die!” He
said.

“After death is
judgement, that’s what the bible says.” Promise had said.

Sir Gideon’s eyes
flashed in anger and he stood up from his chair and pointed at her.

“Don’t you dare tell me
what any bible says. We have our own book and it’s not the bible, yes, the
words are almost the same as the bible, and the book bears close resemblance to
the bible but it is not the bible! And I would not let you put to me the words
of that book…you call the bible.” He said breathing heavily. “So what’s your
stance? Take your mother’s pictures back with you and change the name of your
church or leave them here and continue your church with the name it was registered
with. The choice is yours!” He had said in a thundering voice.

To be
continued on Sunday….

5 COMMENTS

    • Hello Amaka,
      Thank you so much for your comment. I am glad you love my stories and I am really grateful. However, this season of Black Mail is not a ploy to belittle any church hence the fictitious church name written above. It's just a work of fiction to enlighten and entertain and not to condemn. The bible says 'we shall serve God in spirit and in truth' so, it's all about our hearts and not where we worship.
      God bless you dear.

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