‘You have to let Kola know what is going on. You shouldn’t keep this to yourself. If he finds out on his own it may destroy your relationship.’
Shade regarded her friend for a moment. ‘You want me to tell my fiancé that I spent the night in the home of a cultist but nothing happened? Kola will never believe me. This is the end of my marriage plans,’ Shade sobbed.
Uche placed a hand on her shoulder. ‘I know this is hard for you but the best thing for you to do would be to come clean, be totally honest with him.’
Shade looked at her friend. ‘Honesty cannot work in this matter. If I tell Kola that I was in that man’s house, I cannot predict his reaction. He may drive down to his house and confront him.’
‘That wouldn’t be a bad idea,’ Uche said. ‘That short man should get his butt kicked for what he attempted last night. I can see him running away from Kola, totally scared out of his evil mind,’ Uche said.
Both women burst out laughing.
Shade wiped the tears from her eyes as she laughed. ‘Uche, you have such a dark sense of humour. I can imagine Kola using him as a punching bag.’
‘At least I made you laugh,’ Uche said.
‘I love Kola very much. I don’t want anything to come between us. He has not called me since he dropped me off at my place. I am afraid that this situation is irredeemable.’
Uche’s phone rang. She looked at the caller. It was pastor Cornelius Akanbi.
She covered the mouthpiece and whispered ‘pastor’ to Shade.
‘How are you doing?’ the pastor began.
‘I am fine sir. Thank God.’
‘All the group leaders in the church have been invited to a love feast at Deacon Soleye’s place tomorrow after the church service,’ her pastor said.
Uche had always suspected that her pastor was spiritually immature. Now he had succeeded in eliminating all remaining doubt from her mind. Inviting all the heads of department of the church to a luncheon at Soleye’s home was the height of spiritual irresponsibility. How could a man who called himself a pastor be so blind that he couldn’t see that the man organising the luncheon was the enemy of Christ? It bothered her deeply that a pastor who was supposed to watch over the sheep was sending them all to the slaughter in the house of their mortal enemy.
‘Uche, are you there?’ the pastor asked.
She chose her next words carefully. ‘Sir, is it wise to ask all the heads of department in the church to the house of a man who joined the church less than six months ago? We ought to be more cautious…’
‘Uche, you take things too seriously,’ Pastor Cornelius Akanbi interrupted her. ‘This is an opportunity for us all to relax after the last week’s three day revival program we held in church.’
‘But sir,’ Uche persisted, ‘Why can’t we hold the love feast at your home?’
The pastor was silent at the other end of the line. Uche pressed her opportunity to reverse his unwise decision to expose the whole leadership of the church to a wolf. ‘As the head of the church your home has the best spiritual atmosphere for such an important gathering of the leaders in the church,’ she said, appealing to his vanity.
Cornelius Akanbi was silent at the other end of the call. ‘I will think about this and see what I can do,’ the pastor promised.
‘Thank you sir,’ Uche said.
‘How is Shade?’ the pastor asked. ‘I haven’t heard from her this week. Is she okay?’ the pastor asked.
Uche looked at Shade who sat beside her on the sofa. ‘She is fine sir.’
‘Please pass this message across to her. God bless you,’ the pastor ended the call.
Uche turned to her friend. ‘Pastor says all group leaders are attending a love feast at Soleye’s place tomorrow after church.’
Shade frowned. ‘I am not going for any love feat at that man’s house,’ Shade said.
Uche rubbed her hands together in silent contemplation.
‘After the prayer session we had this evening and the things God revealed to me, I will be a fool to go near that man again. You will tell the pastor that I am indisposed and will be unable to attend the event.’
‘That is not true,’ Uche said.
‘I don’t care,’ Shade retorted. ‘I don’t want to be near that man, ever. I can still smell the incense in that horrible room.’
Uche stood before her friend. ‘We shall attend the love feast. But tonight we shall pray. ’
‘Uche, I don’t want to go for that love feast,’ Shade said.
‘We are not scared of the enemy. The bible says that we have victory over the devil by the finished work of Christ. If we don’t attend, the enemy will see it as weakness and launch more attacks on the church.’
Shade would not relent in her refusal. ‘But now that we know that he is the enemy, should we wander carelessly into his territory? For all you know this could be a trap of some kind.’
Uche had a strange look on her face. ‘I sense that this is a trap for someone in the church. But our people say that a trap set for a rabbit can never catch a lion.’
Shade had a quizzical expression on her face. ‘Now you resort to proverbs about rabbits and lions? How can that help us in this situation?’
What are you talking about? This man hypnotized me last night and directed me to his home. Shouldn’t you be cautious with such a man?’
Uche laughed. ‘He is a rabbit but we serve the Lion of the tribe of Judah, Jesus Christ our Lord,’ she raised her right hand and pointed above her head. ‘He will destroy that trap and whoever set it will be trapped in it,’ the prayer warrior declared.
‘You failed,’ the head of the sagan cult stared at deacon Soleye who stood with a group of men all clad in red wrappers. Each man carried a ram’s horn in his left hand.
‘How was I to know that the girl I chose was a virgin?’ Soleye asked.
There was silence.
‘The charms you gave me couldn’t work on her. You should have given me a stronger charm,’ Soleye said.
The head of the cult gave him a sinister look. ‘Are you accusing me of being complicit in your failure?’ he asked.
Soleye regarded all the men standing in the circle before he turned his attention back to the leader of the cult. ‘None of these men standing here have gone as far as I have in penetrating a popular church to destroy it from within. Instead of congratulating me on my achievement you want to chastise me on a minor set- back?’
The cult head was silent for a moment. ‘How do you intend to fix this problem?’
Soleye tried to smile but the atmosphere was too evil to allow a cheer of any kind. ‘My plan is already in motion as we speak. The girl who escaped me yesterday will carry out part of my plan. I implanted a hypnotic command in her and I will activate it at the right time.’
There were murmurs of approval and knowing nods around the circle.
‘This time I will not fail you,’ Soleye promised.
The head of the cult turned away from the group. His eyes had turned into angry slits. Soleye was too busy enjoying the attention he was receiving from his fellows in evil for him to notice how close he was to his destruction.
Shade got up suddenly from the bed as if someone stabbed her with a hot needle. The the digital clock by her bedside read 1:20am. She sat there for a moment and nodded as if she was receiving instructions from someone. She opened her eyes and looked around the room until her eyes settled on a bag lying on the dressing table across the room. She got out of bed, bumped into a stool, stumbled but managed to keep herself from falling. She opened the bag and brought out a sachet of white powder, then she walked out of the room in the direction of the room in which Uche was sleeping. She stood before the door for a moment muttering strange words under her breath before she opened the door and entered the room. She stood before the bed and raised the sachet of white powder before her face. There was a look of insanity in her eyes as she began to mutter and make some incantations over the powder. Suddenly a knife appeared in her right hand. In one swift motion she plunged the knife into the sachet of white powder and began to sprinkle its content on the bed and its occupant.
She began to speak with an unnatural voice. ‘Uche Okpara, when I call your name you will hear me. When I call your name you will answer me. No matter what you are doing you will abandon it and come to me. Whatever I tell you to do, you will obey me,’ she said. ‘You will not resist me. You will be too weak to resist my power and you will do exactly as I say,’ Shade said. She emptied the entire content of the sachet on the bed. As the powder touched the bed it disappeared. When the sachet was empty she turned around and left the room. She returned to her bedroom, got back on her bed and fell asleep.
Uche Okpara stirred. She must have been having a dream because she smiled in her sleep. There was peace on her face as if she was watching a scene which pleasured her senses deeply. She raised her head, adjusted her pillow and went back to sleep. If she knew what had transpired in her room, how Shade had made incantations over her in her sleep, she would have jumped out of her bed in a hurry. But she didn’t. Uche Okpara slept like a child.
To be continued…