Kentura opened the door to Melvin’s parents’ house and walked in. She came unaccompanied, with no luggage or bags, the only thing she had in her hand was her purse which contained some money and pictures. She was upset.

The house was silent as though no one was at home, she looked around at the large sitting room and made her way towards the staircase when she saw the maid, Agnes.

“Auntie Kentura…thank God you are back, everybody has been looking for you.” She said.

Kentura gave her an icy stare but didn’t say anything, she was shaking with rage.

“Oga Melvin left the house early this morning with his dad.” Agnes continued.

Kentura nodded and made her way upstairs, and then spinning around, she addressed the maid.

“Where is Madam Eunice?”

The maid looked at her with eyes wide, no one ever referred to Melvin’s mother as Madam Eunice as everyone called her Mummy or Madam GO, the only person that addressed her by her first name was the GO himself.

“She…she’s upstairs in her bedroom, it’s the first room to the left.”

Kentura hurried upstairs and walking up to the door, she didn’t even bother to knock but opened the door and walked in.

Melvin’s mother was lying on her back and staring at the ceiling, the room smelt of medicine and sickness. Kentura slammed the door behind her, placed her hands on her waist and stared at her in open hostility.

Melvin’s mother sat up on the bed and stared at Kentura.

“I have…been looking for you…” Melvin’s mother said.

The door opened and the nurse walked in, she looked at Kentura, surprised to see her.

“This is Kentura, the lady I was looking for.” Melvin’s mother said.

“Can you please excuse us?” Kentura said to the nurse without turning to look at her.

The nurse nodded and left the room. Melvin’s mother started to speak.

“I know that I should never have…”

“I am not here to receive more insults from you, Eunice.”

Melvin’s mother’s eyes widened as soon as her name was called.

“Are you wondering how I know your name? Should I give you your full name as well?” Kentura asked as tears threatened to spill.

She shakily opened her purse and bringing out the pictures, she made her way to the bed and tossed it at Melvin’s mother. Melvin’s mother picked up the pictures and blood drained from her face.

***********

Bianca sat on the sofa and wept uncontrollably, she kept staring at her hands and shaking her head from side to side. Melvin refused to establish eye contact with her, he looked away and stared at the walls instead.

“This must be done before my daughter begins to show. Do you know what the church members would think? Melvin is the new GO and Bianca is the Choir mistress.” Bianca’s mother spat.

“Yes, I know that but we must not throw more fuel into an already growing fire.” Melvin’s father said. “What are the examples we wish to set for our children? They are not children anymore and we have to let them make decisions for themselves or we might end up worse than we started.”

“With all due respect GO, we understand your point but what other solution is there to this other than marriage? Bianca is single and so is Melvin. If they are already married to different people, we can take other measures but the only thing that can solve this problem is marriage.” Bianca’s mother stressed.

“I cannot have this child outside marriage…I’d rather abort the pregnancy.” Bianca wailed.

“Abort?” Melvin’s father looked at her in disbelief. “Are you going to add murder to your sins against God? That child is a life and it deserves to live whether the parents are ready to accept it or not.”

“Then there’s no use stressing the point…” Bianca’s father said. “Melvin has to take Bianca into his house today as his wife. We will set the date for the introduction for the day after tomorrow.”

“What’s the use of pushing the introduction date? Let’s start the introduction now, besides, we are complete.” Bianca’s mother said.

“No, we are not complete and I am not going to give away my daughter like she has no worth. Melvin’s family must be complete and tradition must be duly observed for the introduction day.” Bianca’s father said.

“Suit yourself but as far as I am concerned, Melvin has to get Bianca a ring today…because she is his fiancée already.”

Melvin sat and listened to Bianca’s family make decisions on his life and regretted ever falling to the temptations of the flesh. His carelessness was about to cost him everything. He couldn’t imagine a life with Bianca. He stood up to leave.

“Where are you going?” Bianca’s mother asked.

“We are done here, right? I have work to do.” Melvin said.

Bianca stood up and walked up to him.

“I need to tell everyone at the church about…” She started.

“I will decide when we tell them.” He said stiffly.

“I know that this isn’t how you’d have wanted to propose to me, Melvin but maybe this baby wants us to solidify our future together.” She said.

“I never wanted to propose to you or marry you, Bianca.” Melvin gritted out.

Bianca smiled at him and said.

“I’ll be the best wife you’ve ever dreamed of.”

Melvin walked away, he felt so sick.

************

“Where…where…” Eunice started.

“Where did I get the pictures from?” Kentura said.

Melvin’s mother stared at the pictures she’d taken as a teenager, one with her sister and the other with her mother and the last one, a personal photo of herself.

“Where did you get these pictures? Who gave them to you?” Melvin’s mother cried out.

“I found them in my house.” Kentura said.

“Your house? That’s ridiculous!”

“Yes, that’s what I also said to myself because I couldn’t believe that the woman who’s hated me from the moment she set her eyes on me is actually my flesh and blood.”

Melvin’s mother shakily tried to get off the bed, she wasn’t sure she understood what Kentura was talking about.

“What are you saying? What do you mean by I am your flesh and blood?”

“Abigail is my mother…” Kentura said with tears in her eyes. “And I just realised that she had an elder sister I know nothing about.”

Melvin’s mother let out a loud wail and fell to the ground in tears.

“No…nooo….this can’t be true…Abigail…Aby…” She cried.

“Yes, I am her daughter…I am your sister’s daughter and you treated me like scum…you hated me on sight and wanted me out of your house even though I did nothing wrong to you. You didn’t want me around your son because you thought that I am a bad influence.”

“No…no…this can’t be…my sister’s child? Noooooo….” Melvin’s mother continued to cry.

“I just came to tell you. Thank you for being so cruel to me…because that’s what you are…a cruel woman.” Kentura said and turned to go.

“No…please, don’t go…please…I need to know…about my sister…where is she? How is she? Is she here with you?” Melvin’s mother cried.

“No, she’s dead.” Kentura said stonily. “She died years ago…when I was still little…”

Melvin’s mother let out a loud wail. Kentura turned to face her but stood close to the door. She watched Melvin’s mother weep for over ten minutes and she made no move to console her.

“I also have some questions.” Kentura said still staring at Melvin’s mother.

Melvin’s mother looked at her with red-rimmed eyes.

“I know…” She said.

“Why didn’t I know that you exist? Why did my mother keep you a secret?” Kentura asked.

“Please have a seat…it’s a long story…” Melvin’s mother said in tears. “You need to know everything…”

“No, I’m fine…standing.” Kentura said refusing to take a seat.

Melvin’s mother struggled to her feet and sat on the bed, she looked at Kentura and said.

“My mother was a priestess, in fact, our family lineage followed the old tradition and that was the way it was to be. It was set in stone. Every first daughter of the family took the reins of leadership once her mother had passed away and so, I was my mother’s first daughter just the way she was her mother’s first daughter. I was the next in line. I was fine with it for many years until one day.” She said and sobbed.

Kentura walked up to the sofa and took a seat, something told her that the story wasn’t a short one.

“I met a young boy who had moved to the village on missionary assignment with his parents. He was enrolled in my school but he was about four classes ahead of me. His name is Zechariah, and he was a Christian. Due to the way my mother and our family was feared by our fellow villagers, I tended to act so disrespectfully at school, I insulted the teachers, made a mockery of my fellow school mates, broke the rules and did a lot of things. One day, a few of us were picked to tidy up the school compound and the young boy was involved. I, as usual, sat under a tree shade and ate mangoes, while waiting for everyone to finish the work so that we could go to the principal and tell him that we were done with our work. The boy saw me seated under the mango tree and walked up to me. He asked that I join the other students but I ignored him, some of the other students warned him to stay away from me because I had powers and that my mother was powerful priestess but he didn’t budge. I laughed while he spoke to me and pretended as though he wasn’t making any sense until he raised his voice at me and demanded that I work like the rest. I stood up and faced him with rage and as I stared at him, fear stirred in my heart and I knew that there was a greater power, something strong and undefeatable stirring within him. I joined the workforce and when the day was over, I went home. On getting home, I was bothered and I kept asking myself, ‘what power does that boy wield?’ I knew some incantations so, I decided to use magic on him. The next day, I was convinced that he would be so sick that he couldn’t make it to school or infested with some kind of dreadful disease but surprisingly, I got to school and found him hale and hearty. I convinced myself that he might slump and die in the classroom later in the day but he was still hale and hearty by the end of school that day. I watched him for one week and then, for two weeks but he didn’t fall sick or die as I’d predicted so I went to my mother for help. I told her about him and asked her to help teach him a lesson. My mother asked me to give her his name and I noticed that when she started making incantations, she stopped midway and told me to go and busy myself with something else in the house. That was when I realised that there was a problem. You see…I grew up thinking that we were the most powerful beings on earth, in fact, I was raised to think that we were gods of some sort and that no one was greater than we were but I was wrong.” She said and began to cry.

Kentura watched her cry and deep down in her heart, she wanted to console her but she remembered how much she detested the woman for rejecting her.

“Slowly, I started tailing Zechariah, hoping to find out the source of his powers and strength. I had heard that his family had set up a church at the village and that a lot of people were already being baptised and born again so, I went to see what the church could offer me. That was where I experienced Christ, I felt His power first hand even as a little girl. I felt so protected, loved and cherished by God, something that I’d never felt before. Zechariah and I became very close friends. My mother didn’t know about this but my sister knew because I told her everything. She too was mesmerised by my tales and wanted to join me but she wasn’t brave enough. My mother soon found out that I had been attending church and she punished me severely, she even went to the extent of warning Zechariah’s family to leave the village or she’ll curse the land that their church was built upon. After years of battle between my mother and the church, the village head supported my family and asked Zechariah’s family to leave. By that time, Zechariah and I had become so close and his family loved me dearly. On the day that they were to leave the village, I picked up an empty bucket and pretended to go to the stream but dropped the bucket at the roadside and ran to join them. That was the day I left my family and I have never returned since then.” She cried.

“So, my mother stayed back right?” Kentura said. “She indicated in her letters that she wanted to go with you but she wasn’t brave enough.”

“She wrote me letters?” Melvin’s mother asked.

“Yes…a lot of letters but she never posted them…” Kentura said.

“I don’t regret leaving…I found God and there’s no greater peace than to be in His presence. My mother didn’t understand, perhaps it’s because she doesn’t know any other god but the one she served. I am glad because Zechariah and I didn’t quench the fire of God which burned in our hearts and today, we have a ministry far bigger than we had ever imagined possible.”

“Zechariah is Melvin’s father?” Kentura asked in surprise.

Melvin’s mother nodded.

To be continued….

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