While Melvin’s father and the household as well as the prayer groups in church prayed, Melvin and Eunice stepped into the ancient shrine, holding hands. They had no idea of what they were about to encounter but they knew that God was on their side.
The battle between Elijah and the prophets of Baal resonated within them.
‘How long will you not decide between two choices? If the Lord is the true God, follow him, but if Baal is the true God, follow him!’ Elijah’s words in first Kings chapter eighteen, verse twenty-one.
There was no sign of life in the shrine as it seemed so empty and devoid of life. Eunice stared around at the empty place and wondered where her mother was.
“There’s no one here…” Melvin said.
His mother looked at him and made her way further into the shrine. The pots were all put in place, as well as the moulded and carved woods adorning the place. There was also a large tree-like wood, resting against the wall. It had feathers of birds and also dried blood on it
“We are victorious!” Melvin said triumphantly. “She saw us coming and ran for cover.”
“The devil doesn’t run. It hides like a coward.” His mother said, her eyes darting about the shrine.
There was a movement at the entrance to the shrine and they turned around. Alicia stood there, staring at them strangely.
“Fancy seeing you here…” She purred like a cat. “May I ask what you’re doing here?”
“Kentura…” Melvin started.
“No! She’s not Kentura, she is the other one…” His mother corrected.
Alicia smiled and said.
“You know the difference don’t you? You’re so smart.”
“I can see things that human eyes cannot see.” Eunice said to her.
“Really? Then why did you send Kentura away when you could help her?” Alicia sneered.
“I am here now, and I have come to save her.” Eunice said.
Alice eyes widened as she stared at the woman who suddenly appeared behind Melvin and his mother.
“I guess you’re a little too late.” Alicia said with a wicked smile.
Melvin and his mother felt a strong pull from behind them and they struggled hard, trying not to fall to the ground. Eunice’s mother’s laughter echoed within the walls of the shrine.
“Even after forty long years, you can never defeat your mother. No matter the God you serve, I am greater than you are.” Melvin’s grandmother shouted. She spoke in the native dialect that Melvin and his mother understood and spoke too well.
Melvin felt the pull but try as he may, he couldn’t free himself. He realized that they’d fallen into a trap. His grandmother had disappeared from sight so that they’d think that she’d fled when in actual fact, she was hiding and waiting for them.
“You can’t defeat us…we come against you in the powerful name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” Eunice screamed.
The invisible binds which Eunice’s mother had chained them with from behind seemed to grow tighter.
Just then, a clap of thunder sounded from above and they were released.
Melvin and Eunice quickly turned around to face the priestess. Melvin opened his mouth to rebuke her but caught his mother shedding tears.
For the first time in over forty years, Eunice stared at the woman she’d loved all through her childhood. There was no doubt that her face had been weathered with age but right there, right in front of her, stood her mother.
“Mama…” Eunice called out, sounding like a child.
“I see that your God has deceived you once again with a temporary victory. I ask you now, to leave with your son and do not return.” Eunice’s mother said. “Leave now, while I am still merciful.”
Eunice looked at her mother and cried.
“Mother, please repent now before it is too late. Repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out.”
Melvin was shocked at his mother’s plea, he thought they’d come to destroy the woman who’d caused his mother so much grief and killed her sister.
“Are you not tired of wasting your time? Didn’t you hear what I said? I am letting you go with your son now that there’s still time. Leave now before I summon all the gods to fight you off and end your lives.” Eunice’s mother said.
“You come against us with the powers of powerless gods but we come against you in the Lord’s name.” Melvin shouted.
His grandmother shouted in laughter, her frail body shook and for a moment, it seemed like her body would fall apart from so much laughter.
“Little boy! Do you want to fight me? Come….fight the right hand of the gods, come and fight the keeper of the sacred and ancient shrines.” She spat as spittle rushed out of her mouth.
“He that is in me is greater than whatever is inside of you.” Melvin challenged.
“Eunice…hold your son or else…” Melvin’s grandmother warned.
“I am happy that I never knew you…you are nothing but darkness.” Melvin shouted.
“Melvin!” His mother said in warning, raising her hand to silence him. “Please…show some respect. She is still my mother.”
Melvin looked at his mother with mouth wide open.
“Mom, are you taking her side? She is the devil! She is not for us but against us.”
“She is my mother.” Eunice cried. “I can’t…I can’t just pray for her destruction…I am sure that there’s hope for her.”
Melvin looked at the old woman and saw nothing but wickedness in her eyes.
“She is not willing to repent. Our mission here is to destroy her once and for all and take Kentura with us. Don’t let your human nature take over you.” He warned.
“No one is taking Kentura…she is going to serve here at the shrine.” Melvin’s grandmother said.
Alicia was there chewing a piece of gum and staring disinterestedly at what was happening around her.
“I think it’s time you went home.” Alicia said to Melvin and his mother. “As you heard granny say, she wants me and not you guys. So, I guess I’m quite special to her.”
Melvin turned to face Alicia and in a loud voice he said.
“In the name of Jesus Christ, I rebuke whatever spirit it is that is speaking through you right now. I cast it out and send it away. Come out now, in the mighty name of Jesus Christ.”
Alicia’s mouth stood open and she suddenly began to shake and fell to the ground in a heap.
“What have you done?” Melvin’s grandmother shouted in a very strange voice. “I gave you the chance to leave but you are intent on spoiling my plans.” She said taking slow steps towards him.
Eunice rushed to stand before her mother, holding out her arms to prevent her from touching her son. Her mother shoved her away from her presence and it felt as though a strong wind her pushed her. Eunice found herself on the ground.
“How dare you walk into my territory and act like you’re king. I will show you today, whose god is greater, yours or mine.” Melvin’s grandmother screamed in her native language.
Melvin wasn’t afraid in the least, he was actually finding his grandmother’s antics quite amusing.
“You can’t scare me granny. I am not my mother. I am not attached to you in any way because I really don’t know you and I don’t care if you die. You have killed, stolen and destroyed and anyone that’s not for God, is against Him.” Melvin said.
His mother struggled to rise from the ground but his grandmother was quick, she held up her hands and began to squeeze. Melvin watched with horror as his mother gasped for breath.
“Mel…Mel…” She spoke as she struggled to breathe.
Melvin couldn’t take it anymore. He knew he couldn’t run to his mother’s side as his physical strength was useless. He looked at the woman he would have loved and called grandmother, if only she’d been good and not been the devil’s advocate and opening his mouth, he prayed in a loud voice.
Bianca’s mother didn’t know how she’d driven the car home. She felt so lost and empty as she drove into the garage. Bianca sat at the backseat of the car, still acting like a crazy. She parked the car and just then, her husband drove into the compound and parked his car beside hers. Bianca’s mother felt so ashamed, she sat on the driver’s seat of the car, placed her head on the steering wheel and let the tears flow.
There was a rap at her window, she knew that it was her husband.
Bianca’s father had alighted from his car and was about going into the house when he saw that his wife was still inside her car. He peered in to see her head on her steering wheel and he got worried. He had just tapped at her window when his eyes went to the back seat of the car. His daughter sat there looking quite strange.
“Bianca!” He called out.
Bianca looked out through the other window then suddenly began to pound hard at the door and yell. He panicked, he rapped at his wife’s window again and this time, she raised her head from the steering and looked at him. Her eyes were red.
“What is going on? What is happening?” He asked in fear.
His wife opened the door and got out of the car, her clothes looked dirty and she looked miserable.
“What happened? Answer me. Why is Bianca yelling?” He asked.
His wife fell on her knees before him and clutched his legs.
“Why are you kneeling? What is wrong?” He asked, his voice was slowly disappearing to a whisper.
“Bia…nca…” His wife cried. “I’m sorry…”
“What is wrong with Bianca?”
“Our…daughter…has run…mad…” His wife cried.
The world stood at a standstill, he pried his wife’s arms away from his legs and rushed to open the back door of the car.
“I placed it on child lock…that’s why she couldn’t open it…” His wife cried.
He wasn’t listening, he helped his daughter out of the car. Bianca stepped out quietly at first then began to pull hard at her braids.
“Bianca! Bianca…my darling, what is happening? Who did this to you? Bianca…” He said.
“It’s my fault…I took her to consult a prophetess and before I knew it, they had worked up a dangerous concoction…now, Bianca is mad.” His wife cried. “It was all a ploy to get Melvin to marry her…I ….I brought this upon myself…please forgive me.”
Bianca’s father stared at his daughter who was already making her way about the compound and tugging at her hair. He felt the burning sensation in his chest and clutching it painfully, he fell to the ground.
The priestess could feel the heat of God’s anger on her but she refused to be daunted. She had to prove a point. She had to show that her gods were more powerful than God. She made loud incantations as her grandson prayed. She asked her gods to destroy the shrine and let it fall on their heads so that they all could perish instead of Melvin’s God, emerging victorious but all her incantations were useless.
Soon, she felt her legs weaken and she sunk to the ground gasping for breath. She tried to open her eyes but she couldn’t see.
Melvin stopped his prayers as soon as he saw his grandmother on the ground fighting for her life. He didn’t want to stop but something told him to. There was no way she was going to live through to the next hour. His mother struggled to her feet, she hurried over to her mother’s side and began to cry.
“This is the end of the road mama…please…I beg you in the name of the God that I serve. The Ancient of Days, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the I am that I am. The God who made a way for the Israelites in the wilderness and the God that makes all impossibilities possible. Please repent, I want you to get a chance to be in heaven…please…”
Her mother forced her eyes open and looked at her with weak eyes, as she stared, Eunice could see nothing but pure hatred and darkness in her gaze.
“I do not regret destroying your sister and I do not regret serving my gods….” She said with difficulty.
Melvin went to his mother and pulled her up to her feet.
“She has refused to be saved. Let her be.” He said quietly.
They stood there, watching the priestess gasp for breath and suddenly breathe her last. As soon as the priestess died, Eunice felt something leave her body but she couldn’t explain it.
“Let’s go mom….her followers have all run away but maybe one will return and bury her but if no one does, then, let her gods bury her.” Melvin said.
Eunice nodded, patted her son on the arm and said.
“Thank you for being strong. I was awash with emotion and I kept thinking that she is my mother but you made me realize that she’s nothing but the tool of the devil.”
They stood there and stared at the lifeless body of the priestess and just as they were about to turn around, they heard a voice.
“What is going on here? What am I doing here?” Kentura asked.
Melvin turned around and rushed to her to give her a hug.
“Welcome back.” He said.
Kentura looked at him, everything seemed so foggy, she had no idea of where she was and what Melvin and his mother were doing there with her.
It was a joyous day for the church as the General Overseer appointed the new prayer ministers of the church. Melvin watched with pride as Kentura walked up the podium of the church with a smile on her face. She was officially a prayer minister and it was all thanks to God. It was one year after their ordeal at the shrine and everyone had emerged victorious.
Miraculously, Melvin’s mother’s terminal illness was non-existent after the whole ordeal as the doctors wondered how the illness had suddenly disappeared. The former GO’s wife was back to the church, serving once again and heading the counselling department.
Melvin felt like a new creature, his experience, dealing first-hand with his grandmother, and the ordeals leading to Kentura’s freedom had opened his eyes to the wonders of God and the miraculous ways He works.
As Kentura knelt before the altar of God to be prayed for, her brother stood within the congregation with a proud smile on his face. He’d received his healing within the hour of his maternal grandmother’s death. He was discharged from the mental institution where he’d spent more than seven years and over the past year, he has been working on rebuilding his father’s business. He had arrived Lagos just in time to celebrate with his sister and his new found family. Aunt Eunice was a mother to them and her husband was a father and despite the fact that they’d lost their parents and sibling due to the cruelty of their grandmother, they’d never felt more complete.
Ijeoma, was in the church too but she was holding up her camera and trying to take pictures of her friend at the altar. She was giddy with excitement. She watched Melvin begin the prayers and she smiled, he was indeed, a good man.
At the end of church service, Melvin, his parents, Kentura and her brother threw a thanksgiving and celebration party at their residence. All their friends and the members of the church were in attendance.
Bianca was locked up in a mental institution and her mother relocated from Lagos with her remaining children immediately after her father’s burial. Bianca’s father never woke up after the heart attack he’d suffered upon learning of his daughter’s state of mind. Melvin learnt of the truth of Bianca and her mother’s plans after her mother confessed it all to him. He forgave them for what they’d tried to do and decided to pay for Bianca’s treatment and stay at the mental institution.
Bianca never regained herself, after eight long years of madness, she died in the mental institution.
Note: Multiple personality disorders also known as MPD are rare and even though a lot of doctors are yet to accept it, it exists. MPD is a mental disorder characterized by at least two distinct and relatively enduring identities or dissociated personality states. These states show in a person’s behaviour, alternately and are accompanied by memory lapses not explained by ordinary forgetfulness. Two identities can thrive in a person for years and the common form of treatment is hypnosis. It is believed to affect between 1% and 3% of the general population and is diagnosed three to nine times more often in females than in males.
I won’t go further in explaining what MPD means and even though I am aware that a lot of readers thought that my storyline for Kentura would go through the MPD route, I must say that in the context of this story which is labelled under ‘Faith Series’ I’m afraid I can’t use scientific means to solve the problem story-wise. However, I do believe that multiple personality disorders do exist especially after reading about it for the very first time in Sidney Sheldon’s ‘Tell me your dreams’. I have done a bit of research and I know it does exist but where Faith and God is concerned, there’s nothing…absolutely nothing that can’t be solved with prayer. Hence, my prayer approach and also the infusion of the grandmother’s voodoo and magic to make it all worth the read.
I hope we all enjoyed the series and my explanations.
God bless you all.
Expect a new Series soon….