The Regents Centre,
As she prayed tiny beads of sweat broke out on her forehead, her face a reflection of the anguish within her soul. Her prayer became more urgent, asking God to save Gbenga Philips from all who sought to destroy him. She prayed against every conspiracy to cut short his life. There was an inexplicable heaviness in her heart which she expressed in a language only she and The Lord understood. She prayed with such intensity that she began to gasp for breath, hitting at the air with her hands balled into fists, with a look of total helplessness on her face.
A picture flashed in her mind. She saw the emissary of death standing by Gbenga’s bed, seeking to terminate his life. She saw its dark fingers curl around his neck like a venomous snake and slowly squeeze the life out of him. She saw Gbenga beginning to weaken, his struggles becoming feeble and futile, powerless against the entity that stood over him, watching as his life sipped out of him like air out of a burst tire.
She prayed against the evil apparition that swayed before her eyes refusing to disappear. Gbenga couldn’t die, not now, not when he had found help at her hospital, not when he had some of the best doctors in the city caring for him. She reached for the bible on her table, turned the pages quickly until she found what she was searching for in the book of Isaiah 54. She read the scripture aloud, using it as a weapon in prayer.
“In righteousness shall you be established:
you shall be far from oppression; for you shall not fear:
and from terror; for it shall not come near you.
They shall surely gather together, but not by me:
whosoever shall gather together against you shall fall for your sake.
No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper;
and every tongue that rises against you in judgment you shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
and their righteousness is of me, says the Lord.”
Something was wrong in Gbenga’s life. He was in a deplorable condition. He had been shot but the bullet narrowly missed a vital portion of his organs. If the bullet had gone two inches to the left, it would have killed him. Apparently God wanted him alive and had saved him from that bullet. She believed that God had a plan for Gbenga that was why He had rescued him from that bullet. But it seemed as if a spirit of death was after him and wouldn’t let go until it finished its assignment against him.
She rose to her feet with a resolve in her heart that nothing evil would happen to Gbenga Philips, not when she could do something to help him. She prayed that every plan against Gbenga would fail. She asked that every plot by the enemy to destroy his life would fail. She began praying very fervently, asking The Lord to scatter every evil gathering against Gbenga. “Lord, forgive him for his sins, his failures and weaknesses. Show him your mercy. Lord, fight against those who fight against him,” she cried out to The Lord in tears. “Lord, send helpers to Gbenga Philips. Deliver him from this evil I see planned against him.” She prayed some more prayers then slowly calmed down and knelt down by the sofa.
She waited for a few minutes, searching her heart, pondering the turn and direction her morning prayer had taken. Was she doing this for selfish reasons or was this God directing her to prayer this way? If this was a selfish prayer it was a waste of her time. But if this was The Lord directing her to pray for Gbenga Philips then she was doing the right thing.
“Lord, if this is you leading me to pray this way, please confirm it. But if it is just my emotions and love for Gbenga misdirecting me, forgive me.” She paused. “And Lord, if Gbenga is your Will for me, work it out for me or else take him far away from me and remove these feelings from my heart.”
She ended her morning devotion and sat on the sofa in a slight daze. Her intercession felt strange. It had been a long time since she prayed this way and it scared her. “What is happening to me? Am I losing my mind?” she wondered.
Outside the door, Furo stood listening to the prayers of her friend. She doubted the possibility that Gbenga Phillips could be an answer to Omolara’s prayer for a husband. How could he be the answer when he was married? Furo felt sorry for her friend. Omolara’s loneliness may have compromised her emotionally and now she believed fate had sent Gbenga to her. She shook her head with sadness and walked away from the door.
Nurse Rita Ikedia entered room 306 carrying a tray with drugs. Out of habit she turned left, set the tray down on a small table by the wall, entered the bathroom and washed her hands. She couldn’t wait for the morning shift to resume so she could take her day off to visit her grandmother. She caught her face in the mirror and noticed the bags under her eyes. She washed her face and wiped it with a hand towel and came out of the bathroom. Distracted by her thoughts she didn’t notice the figure bent over Gbenga’s bed, stuffing out his life with a pillow. She reached for the light switch, turned it on and froze. A man wearing a lab coat was bent over the patient, holding a pillow to his face.
“What are you doing?” she asked in disbelief.
The bearded man turned towards her with a desperate look on his face.
Their eyes met.
Rita stared but there was no iota of recognition in her eyes. This man was a total stranger. Rita’s brain stalled like a car with a broken engine. She stood there but her mind refused to give her instructions. She watched with horror as the patient stopped struggling and slowly succumbed to the waiting arms of death.
“What are you doing?” Rita asked in spite of the fear which gripped her heart.
The drip stand fell down noisily and broke the spell that held her paralysed to the spot. The bearded man let go of the pillow and the patient rolled to one side of the bed, his hand hanging to the floor with blood dripping from the spot where the needle for the drip had pierced his skin.
Somehow Rita found her voice and let out the terror in her heart in a desperate scream. The shrill sound shattered the stillness of the morning.
The bearded man ran towards her, pushed her out of the way. She fell heavily against the table, knocked the tray to the floor, scattering pills on the floor like confetti at a wedding.
The man opened the door and fled.
Furo was almost at her office when she heard the scream. She entered her office, reached for the phone on her table and called security.
Yemi woke up suddenly from a fitful sleep. She heard a scream coming from the direction of Gbenga’s room. She was still dazed by the cloud of sleep that hung over her mind and sat there trying to wake up. She blinked several times and rubbed her right hand over her face. A tall figure ran from the direction of Gbenga’s room, got to where she was and grabbed her hand. Yemi looked up. It was Sadique wearing a lab coat.
“Come with me now!” he ordered.
Yemi yanked her hand from his grip. “Why are you wearing a lab coat?”
Sadique looked around with trepidation. The elevator was coming up. It was three floors below them. In a few seconds the doors would open and security personnel will make his escape impossible. He grabbed Yemi and pulled her to a corner by the back stairs.
“Come with me!” he insisted.
“I am not going anywhere with you.”
“You belong to me, not the dead man in that room,” Sadique pointed in the direction of Gbenga’s room.
“What dead man? What have you done?” Yemi asked.
“Gbenga cannot help you now. He is useless to you. Come with me now,” Sadique pleaded with the maid who looked confused.
“I can’t,” she whispered with uncertainty.
“Yemi, I have enough money to take care of us for a very long time. You don’t have to bother about money again. Come with me let’s get out of this city now.”
Yemi was silent, her mind in turmoil.
They heard the elevator doors open. Sadique peeped from the corner and saw four men dressed in black security uniforms run in the direction of room 306.
Suddenly a nurse walked in on them. “He is here!” she shouted. “The man you are searching for is here!”
“I will be back for you,” Sadique let go of the maid and ran down the stairs which led to the back of the building.
Yemi crumbled to the floor, crying.
Shade tossed around on the bed. As a jackpot eludes a gambler playing a slot machine in a Las Vegas casino, so sleep eluded her. She got out of bed and went downstairs to the kitchen. She searched the fridge, found some chicken and put it in the microwave oven. Moments later she carried a plate of chicken and a glass of juice upstairs to her room.
The phone rang. It was Roberto.
“Are you back home?” He asked. “What did the police say?”
Shade set the plate aside.”The police are still searching for Gbenga and the maid. They think I…”
“They can never link their kidnapping to me in any way,” Roberto said with fear in his voice.
“Don’t worry about that. By dawn they will both be a thing of the past,” Shade assured her lover.
Roberto was silent for a few seconds. “Is everything okay?” Shade asked.
“I never bargained for this. I don’t want to get involved in a police case in your country. I…I…can’t do this anymore.”
“What do you mean” Shade asked with trepidation.
“I can’t do this anymore!” Roberto shouted over the phone. “Your husband is missing! You said everything would be easy but since I entered your country it has been one problem after another. Things just keep getting worse. And how on earth did you have a gun? That woman almost killed me tonight because you had a gun in your home.”
Shade got out of bed. What was Roberto trying to do, back out after all she had sacrificed for him? “Baby, you need to calm down,” Shade said.
“How can I be calm at such a time? Everything has gone wrong! This is not what I…we planned.”
“Where are you?”
“I am at the hotel.”
“Stay there and wait for me. Everything will be fine. As soon as I settle some business at my office and pick up my daughter later in the day, I will come to your hotel. By tomorrow evening we shall be on a flight to Italy,” Shade said.
“Are you sure about this?” the Italian asked with uncertainty in his voice.
“I’ve got everything under control. The police have backed off. While they are distracted by the investigation, we will fly out of the country undetected.”
“Okay,” Roberto said. “I will be expecting you.”
“This will soon be a bad memory in our past and we will be together as husband and wife,” the adulteress promised her Italian lover.
There was a knock on her door. Omolara stood up and opened the door. Furo stood there looking worried. “What’s wrong?” Omolara asked.
“While you were praying, a man entered Gbenga’s room and tried to kill him.”
Omolara’s face dropped.”What? How could that happen in this hospital? Where was security?”
“I called security when I heard a scream.”
Omolara stood by the door to her office and turned to her friend. “How is Gbenga?”
Furo looked at the floor. She lifted her head and took a breath. “I don’t know how to say this but…I am not sure he will survive….”
“No!” Omolara pushed past her friend and ran for the stairs in total panic.
To be continued.