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Promise closed
her eyes in pain when she received the news of Bernard’s death. His cousin had called her to tell her that he’d found his dead body in his room. She hung up the
call and quickly called for a meeting with the church workers. Everyone
assembled, including Alice who didn’t care that Gift was giving her side eyes
for being at the meeting.
“Something
bad has happened to us.” Promise said in an emotional voice.
Alice was
surprised to see Promise emotional, this must be something really serious. She
thought.
“Bernard…passed
away in his apartment. His cousin just found his body in his house.” Promise said.
Everyone
gasped. Alice stared at Promise, her eyes were instantly filled with tears and
when they fell, another batch readied itself.
“What?
Bernard? I spoke to him yesterday, what could have happened?” A worker asked.
“I have no
idea, I guess he was sick or something. All I know is what the neighbours told
me…” Promise said.
“This is too
sad…too sad.” Another worker said.
“May his soul
rest in peace.” Gift said with a short sniff.
“When he was
with you yesterday, did he complain of any problems? Maybe headaches, dizzy
spells or anything like that?” Alice surprised everyone by asking.
Promise
jolted, she looked at Alice and said in a snap.
“I wasn’t
with Bernard yesterday.”
“But he said
he had to accompany you to see the land.” Alice said.
Promise was
shocked, she remembered asking Bernard if he’d told anyone where they’ll be and
he said he had told no one anything. Where was this coming from?
“Gift
normally accompanies me on that kind of mission. I don’t know why Bernard would
say such a thing.” Promise said.
“Thank you so
much for informing us pastor, I’ll contact his family and see if there’s anyway
we could help with his funeral.” Gift said as she turned and gestured that the
workers follow her out.
Alice
followed them but Promise’s voice stopped her. 
“Alice, wait!”
Alice stopped and as soon as the
door was shut, Promise said.
“Bernard
brought so much to this church and you and I know him for who he
is. I suggest that you go to his house and send my condolence to his family.”
“On my way to
your office yesterday, Bernard saw me and he told me that he was going to get
his bag because he was going to see a property with you. What happened
to him, Promise? What happened to him?” Alice asked in tears.
“What are you
saying? Are you implying that I killed him?”
“Everything
in this church has changed. It doesn’t even resemble the house of God anymore!”
Alice cried.
“I’ll pardon
you because it’s not your words but grief that’s speaking through you.”
“I loved
Bernard, he was the only man I ever truly loved and suddenly, Gift came and he
turned his attention from me to her. I felt it was a stage and that it would
pass then all of a sudden, I hear that he’s dead? The Bernard I saw yesterday
was hale and hearty…there must be an explanation to how he died.” Alice said in
tears.
Promise
advanced towards her.
“Listen to me
Alice, people die. We could be here one day and the next day we’re gone! It’s
not a new thing! And if you feel that God has left this church, then why are
you here? I remembered I fired you and you came back begging to stay.”
“I came back
because…your mother…she came to me in the dream…and asked that I return.”
Promise looked
at Alice in shock.
“That’s not
my mother, my mother is gone and she’s stopped paying visits to me in the
dream, talk more you. That woman you see in the dream is someone else and not my mother!”
“I’ve seen
your new power in action, I’ve seen you pray for dead limbs and they come to
life. I’ve seen you raise a child from the dead. This is Bernard we are talking
about. He’s a devout member of this church and one of your most trusted
followers. Can’t you pray that he rises from the dead? Can’t you?” Alice cried.
Promise
breathed heavily, it was obvious she was trying to control her temper. She
raised her hand and gave Alice a sharp slap on her cheek.
“Wake up
Alice! Wake up and don’t get left behind! Bernard is dead and he’s never coming
back! Get that into that skull of yours.” Promise said.
Alice looked
at promise and at that moment she didn’t know what she saw; a woman of God or a
devil in human skin, she couldn’t tell. She placed her hand on the cheek that
Promise had slapped and turned away, heading to the door and leaving the
office.
As soon as
Alice left, a choked sob left Promise’s mouth and she placed her palm over her
mouth to avoid crying out. She hadn’t been able to sleep through the night as
she had kept tossing from one corner of the bed to the other. Bernard’s eyes as
he died kept haunting her and she knew it’ll hunt her forever.
*******
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Alice stood
and watched as the box with Bernard’s body was being lowered to the ground.
Every worker in the church was there except Gift and Promise. They had an
important meeting with a Christian organization, they said.
Alice had
dreamt of Bernard during the past few days after his death and in her dreams,
he didn’t look happy, he looked as one who was betrayed. Alice knew something
was wrong, there was something fishy about his death and she hated to think
that it had anything to do with Promise. As the dust fell on the hard casket,
she made a vow to herself and to God, that she’ll create a space for God
outside the church and groom herself prayerfully because the way she saw it,
she was a sheep in a den of wolves.
She felt pain in her cheek and touched the slightly swollen face, it’s been almost a week since Promise slapped her and the side of her face that suffered the slap hasn’t been the same. It hurt and it was very tender and looked as though she was suffering from some kind of toothache.
As they left
the cemetery, her phone rang, it was Japheth.
“Hello Japh…”
She greeted.
“Alice…how
was the burial?” He asked.
“It was fine,
Bernard is resting with the Lord now. Promise couldn’t be here so one of the junior pastors did the funeral service.” She said.
“I am really
sorry for your loss. I wish I knew him and I wish I could be there.”
“You are in
town, you traveled for your business, there’s no way you could be here.” She
said.
“I’ll be back
tomorrow and I wanted to ask if you could come over to teach me more on the
bible.” He said.
Alice paused
then she said.
“I have a
better idea Bernard. Why don’t you come over to my place instead? It’s small
and not as luxurious as Promise’s house but I feel …” She said not knowing how
to say she felt God’s presence more in her house than at Promise’s house.
“Sure…of course…”
He said.
“We’ll also
be praying as well. Let’s make it a bible study and a prayer group kinda thing.”
She said.
“Sounds like
a plan. Thank you so much for your help Alice…I am so grateful.” He said.
“You’re
welcome.” She said and hung up.
********
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Promise sat
in a hotel room and stared at the television. She had been warned by the queen and
Sir Gideon not to attend Bernard’s funeral. According to them, she killed him
and there was no telling what could happen there at the burial site. Her heart
broke as she thought of Bernard’s body in the earth, she knew she’ll miss his
voice, his singing and his personality. She was still deep in thought when
there was a knock at the door. She walked over to open it and Gift walked in.
“The burial
is over, we can go back to the church now.” Gift said.
Promise nodded.
“Just for
clarity, if we are asked the Christian convention we went for, it is the ‘Christian
Convention for West Africa and it held at one of the churches in town’.” Gift
said.
They both had made up excuses to attend a non-existent conference all in a bid to stay far away from Bernard’s funeral.
Promise
looked at her and said.
“Do you think
I made the right decision?”
“Right
decision in what? Killing Bernard or not attending his funeral?” Gift asked.
“Both…”
“You have no
choice in this. This is what you signed up for and you can never run away from
it till your dying day.” Gift said.
“I feel
terrible…” Promise said.
“Don’t…you’ll
still offer up more, this is just the beginning.” Gift said and when she saw
the look of shock on Promise’s face, she continued. “I heard you tried offering
me up and found out that I am one of the queen’s daughters.”
Promise
looked at her and looked away.
“It gets easy
with time, this is your first kill and in order to grow more powerful, you need to sacrifice more. So, if I were you, I won’t
dwell on Bernard but start thinking of the next on the list for sacrifice and
if you know what’s good for you, the next on your list should be Alice. She’s a nuisance and it would do you a world of good to get rid of her once and for all.”

To be continued….

2 COMMENTS

  1. I just knew Gift would suggest Alice, Alice had better beef up spiritually, its really a den of wolves. Promise feels like Judas to me, here she has betrayed her Christianity but she doesn't know how to turn back, its just to get deeper in it till death, unless mercy speaks for her.

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