As Mama Chinedu and her family
slept that night, something strange happened, the house that they had lived in
for fifteen years of their lives caught fire. It was during the night that a Muslim
neighbour who had come out for prayers, thinking that his clock had read four am when
it actually was two am, screamed aloud when he saw the flames inside Mama Chinedu’s house.
help and desperately try to get water from the tap. She frowned, ‘Why did he
wake up?’ She thought as she watched him furtively fetch water and pour at the door of the burning apartment.
Other neighbours soon awoke and joined in, making sure that
they doused the fire before it reached their apartments.
Mama Chinedu and her family and they sleep fitfully through it all.
una nor dey smell?” A neighbour asked when they came out of their house in surprise at
the level of damage the fire had caused. Their small parlour curtains was in ashes and the windows, broken as well as the front door. Thankfully, the fire didn’t burn anyone as most of their children had moved to their new house while just two stayed back with them. None of them had even slept in the small sitting room as they had all fitted into one room.
In no time, their landlord ran out of his mini apartment and hurried towards them.
people? Shebi una wan park comot for my compound and instead of make una park
comot jeje, una decide say if una nor burn dis house, una nor go rest.” The
landlord who had woken up to the commotion shouted.
ask if all of us come out without scratch, you nor know say dis thing na
miracle?” Sharon’s mother asked.
church mind rework de house but since una nor die and since una get new house wey una
dey plan to park go, abeg give me my money for damages.”
wanted to speak when she noticed that Sharon’s parents didn’t come out of their
oppressors, all the evil people wey dey dis compound. Papa and Mama Sharon, my
God is not asleep lai lai…shebi una don burn my house abi? Na God go send thunder
fire una!” She shouted.
at the fact that neither Layla nor her husband had come out of their rooms to help out, they had to ask Mama Chinedu what had transpired between them and she filled them in.
“You sure say nor be dem set this fire? That couple get as them be ooo…I nor even like that dia daughter sef, she too dey form like say she better pass everybodi. That geh wey we know say her papa nor fit boast of keke.” One of the neighbours said.
“Na deir bad belle cause dis fire ooo…kukuma to come out sef, dem nor come. Mama and papa Sharon, na bad thing I do una? Na bad thing? When I carry una go my church to see my pastor, na bad thing? ” Mama Chinedu cried and fell to the ground in tears.
As the neighbours consoled her, Sharon’s invisible form quietly disappeared from the scene.
Amanda was shocked to hear of Olabisi’s death when she arrived at camp that evening. What could have happend? She thought. She recalled seeing him yesterday and had even exchanged pleasantries with him, what a life! She thought, we are here today and gone the next day.
As soon as had Ben left the church early that morning, Amanda had made her way to her house to stay with her sister in law for a while. She had no classes for today as it was her day off but she had a bit of tutorial for the quiz students later in the evening.
She recalled the conversation she had had with her sister in law at the house.
“What? Do you mean he stormed off?” Her sister in law exclaimed with mouth agape.
“Yes…he did…I almost followed him out but pastor Shola said that I should let him be, so I did.”
“That man must be mule headed…”
“Yes I bet he is…well…I left him alone, I’m sure he’ll find solution for himself somewhere else…”
“Do you think it’s that easy? My dear, that guy is in real trouble and he needs to calm down to figure things out….wow…” Her sister in law had said.
Amanda had quickly changed the topic at that point, she was not interested in dragging Ben’s case any further. If he wanted to be stubborn, he could go ahead, anyway it was his cup of tea and not hers, she thought.
Now as she listened to the initiators of the French camp address them about Olabisi’s sudden death, she shook her head in pity. What was happening? She thouht as she listened to the story of how someone had come to inform them that a young man had died in a bus en-route to Ijaniki and the only valid ID that they found on him was that of the French camp. It was a sad day for the tutors.
Ben was worried, infact he was almost running out of his mind, he had called one of the men on his team to cover up for him as he had needed to leave the camp for a while and drive around Lagos.
He was just driving down the road when he saw the banner ‘Salvation Ministries Of War & Holy Ghost Fire’ he stopped the car and alighted, walking towards the sign and reading the banner to see what more the church had to offer. It read;
‘Deliverance Sessions, Counselling, Breaking of Yokes, Destroying Blood covenants, Scattering demonic holds, De-stressing children of God.’
“This is it! This is exactly what I need!” Ben exclaimed and walked into the prayer house.
They were holding prayer meetings and as soon as Ben walked in, they stopped to stare. One of the men standing with the group, broke away and walked up to meet him.
“Good afternoon brother…you are welcome to Salvation Ministries of War and Holy Ghost Fire…”
“Good afternoon, my name is Benjamin….I need help.”
“You are at the right place brother.” The man said beaming with smiles. “My name is Reverend Dr. Prophet Elijah of the most high, I was sent by God to help mankind. Please come and have a seat.”
Ben nodded in relief, ‘now this man would rid me of everything I’d gotten from that evil marine woman’ he thought.
They both sat down on the small plastic chairs and Ben began to tell his story, while he told him everything that happened, the prophet kept shouting ‘Glory Glory’ and by the time he was through, the prophet screamed a loud ‘Halleluya’
“My brother Ben, you are once again welcome….to our church. After all you have told me, it’s obvious that this woman has chained you for higher purposes but by the name of God, and through His son, which is me, Prophet Elijah of the most high, all chains shall be broken.”
“Amen…please could we start the deliverance fast? I have somewhere to rush to…” Ben said, already tired of the long talk.
“Sure, we’ll begin as soon as you fill our membership form and pay for the building of the church…it’s just a token…” The prophet smiled, revealing white teeth.
“Phew! How much is it going to cost?” Ben asked.
“Anything above ten thousand naira is fine, please know that this money doesn’t go into my pocket but into the most high’s.” The prophet said.
“Sure…” Ben said and dipping his hand into his pocket, he handed over to the pastor a bundle of notes.
“Glory! Glory! You are in the right place brother Ben…” The pastor said as he took the money.
“Can we begin the deliverance?”
“Yes we can but deliverance…infact spiritual deliverance and counselling fees is one hundred thousand naira.”
“What? Why? Do you receive money to do the work of God?” Ben demanded.
“No…we don’t but our counselling fee is twenty thousand and our deliverance fee is eighty thousand.”
“Why are you saying counselling fees? You didn’t counsel me…”
“Ofcourse I did. This discussion we just had is counselling.”
“I told you a story and you listened, where’s the counselling in that?”
“Listen brother Ben, you do not complain about giving to God….He gave you all you own remember?”
“It’s okay…I hope that there are no more hidden charges, I am already tired….” Ben said in disgust. “Besides I have no more cash.”
“Don’t worry Brother Ben, we run a cashless policy in the church, sister Gift will bring a POS machine.” The pastor said as he signalled to a young lady who stood not too far from them, when she came close, he said to her, “Sister Gift, please bring the POS, our brother wants to sew a seed.”
“Oh…glory brother, glory!” Sister Gift said in appreciation.
In no time, the money had been withdrawn from Ben’s account. The prophet received the alert on his phone and quickly called the other members of the church who gathered around Ben and asked him to kneel.
The prayer lasted for three hours and after it was over, Ben felt woozy with relief, his knees ached and he was already tired of closing his eyes for so long.
“So, this is it?” Ben asked.
“Yes brother Ben…you have been set free…” The prophet said in triumph.
The prayer warriors surrounded Ben with hands outstretched, congratulating him over his victory and indeed, as Ben left the place, he felt victorious.
The drive back to the camp was long and Ben had turned on his speaker and was listening to a song from Adele. His mind flashed to Amanda and how she and her sister in law had created a mountain out of a mole hill and almost laughed.
“Look at that! Claiming that I was in soup and even going as far as saying that the deliverance team were far away in Ibadan…mtcheww….” Ben said and all of a sudden, he stepped on his brake.
The car screeched to a halt. He turned off the car ignition and took in deep breaths, he had seen something run past his car and in shock, he pressed the brakes of the car quickly.
“Hello Ben!” A voice said.
Ben screamed and looked at his front passenger seat and screamed the more.
“Shhhh…..how are you doing? Tell me you miss me Ben…I miss you too…” She said.
“No! Leave me alone! No! Get out! I must be dreaming…” Ben shouted as he faced his door and tried opening it to no avail.
“I love you Ben…you belong to me….didn’t I tell you that before? Hahahahahahahahahaha…” Princess laughed aloud.
“No! Oh my God! I was delivered! You have no powers over me! Go away!” Ben screamed.
“You? Delivered? Set free? Listen to me Ben. choose the better option. Surrender your life to me and let me take care of you…”
“You? Take care of me? You are not a human being…you are a spirit…a marine one…”
“Shhh…yes, ofcourse, that’s what I am but my kingdom is far greater than that of this world. Come with me! I’ll get you the most luxurious cars, the most exotic houses, the most beautiful clothes. You will not regret it!” She said.
“No! How dare you propose that to me? I can never follow you…just get out!”
“Our babies are waiting for their daddy…” She said.
Ben’s head snapped when he heard that.
“Our what? Babies?”
“We’ve been having sexual intercourse dear….what did you expect? You are going to be a daddy soon…don’t worry, if I can’t drag you to come with me, our babies will drag you in…” She said.
“Do not fight it! Soon, things would stop working well for you… you’ll lose your job, your source of income and you’ll resort to drinks and drunken nights and we will come to get you, our babies and I.”
“Me? Loose my job? I am very important to my company, infact, I am next to indispensable!’ Ben shouted at her.
“Hahahahahahahahahahahaha…” She laughed and disappeared.
It was when she left that Ben realized that someone was rapping at his window and flashing a torch to see inside the car, he wound it down.
“Sir…are you alright? You stopped so quickly…you could have been killed.” The man said.
“Oh…I err…I thought that there was some kind of wood in my path…” Ben said with a croaky voice.
“A wood? Sir, this is a free express road…are you sure you don’t need help?” The man asked, staring strangely at Ben.
“I am fine…I am fine…”
The man peered into the car, pointing his torchlight at the corners.
“What are you looking for?” Ben demanded.
“I saw you talk…it was like you were holding a conversation…who were you talking to?” The man asked.
“That’s none of your business…” Ben said and wound up the glass.
He looked into his review mirror and saw the man get into his car and drive off. Ben recalled the deliverance session he had just gone through and hit his steering in anger. What was going on? He asked himself. Does it mean that he had given out his money to charlatans? He thought.
He was about starting his car when his phone rang, it was one of his colleagues at the office.
“Good evening..” Ben greeted, trying to sound enthusiastic.
“You are enjoying your vacay, I hope?” The man asked sounding very queer.
“Yes…I am trying to…”
“Ben, I’m not sure you’re going to like what I am about to tell you. The board of directors had a meeting today and it was about you…you know…word goes around…” He said.
“What are you talking about?”
“I hear the company is outsourcing for someone to take your position. Due to the economy and with our clients, seeking the services of our rival companies, I heard that they’ve decided to work with expatriates. These expatriates, they say, are not alien to economy changes and can bring up a better approach to dealing with clients and investors.” His colleagues said.
“Wait a minute…are you guys, are you sure of this?” Ben asked incredulously.
“I am so baffled over this changes, you have been such a hard worker Ben, it’ll be a pity to see you go.”
“What? No…they can’t do that…I have spent four years in that company…I have…”
“Well I just thought to tell you…you need to do something about it.”
“That’s ridiculous…” Ben started.
“Please do not quote me…I was just giving you a heads up!” His colleague said and hung up.
Ben felt crushed, at that moment, princess’s words re-echoed in his head.
“Soon, things would stop working well for you…soon you’ll lose your job, your source of income and you’ll resort to drinks and drunken stupor and we will come to get you, our babies and I”
He buried his head in his palms and cried hard.
Sharon’s parents woke up the next morning to a hostile compound. No one answered their greetings and when they asked what had happened to Mama Chinedu’s apartment, no one replied them.
Sharon’s mother was puzzled, was there a fire? How come Mama Chinedu’s mini apartment was burnt. She hoped that they survived it as obviously, no one was in the house. She walked over to peep into the burnt house when one of her neighbours clapped in her ear.
“Witch! You don burn Mama Chinedu house abi? You don burn am abi? Na God go arrest you.” Sisi Eko said to her spitefully.
“What are you saying? What have I done? Where is this coming from?” Mrs Ekanem asked in surprise.
“So you wan tell me say, last night when everybody dey shout say fire dey burn Mama Chinedu house, you nor hear…”
“See dis one ooo…God go expose you…witch…abiku…”
“Wait…what are yoy saying? I didn’t hear any noise….I am shocked to see the apartment like this…”
“Dey dia dey wonder na….na God go take thunder punish you! Wicked soul! See as una be for dis compound. Poverty don finish una…una nor dey even progress….mtcheww…” Sisi Eko said and walked away.
As she was leaving Sharon’s mother, a female neighbour ask.
“Wetin dat one dey yarn?”
“She talk say she nor know when fire burn de house….”
“Heeeeeeehhhhh see lai oooo….ahhhh…Mama Sharon, na God go punish you ooo…na God go pursue you and dat ya nonsense family comot from this compound o. Enemy of progress, spirit of seduation, winches and winzards!” The woman concluded.
Layla Ekanem stood there and stared at them, ‘where are these insults coming from?’ She thought.