Uche Okpara drifted in and out of consciousness. Her mind went back to her former life, the life she lived before the Lord saved her. Was this punishment for her past sins, she wondered. It made her laugh when her team members called her a general of intercession. If only they knew to what depths of depravity she had descended before the Lord saved her they wouldn’t call her a general. She was more like a corporal or a recruit in the army of God. She never discussed her past because she wanted to forget it. But it seemed like it kept coming back to her. Everywhere she turned she saw a reminder of what she used to be, she saw the life the Lord saved her from. And she was eternally grateful to God for His mercies.
Uche worked at a fashion house as a designer during the day but at night she transformed herself into a woman of the night called Trinity. She got the name from watching the movie ‘Matrix’ and she liked it. Her favourite spot to pick up customers was at the bar beach in Lagos island. Selling her body was not the only thing she did. Uche organised criminals to raid the houses of her clients. When she was not selling sex or robbing her rich clients, Trinity sold drugs.
She had no remorse. Everything she did was a business transaction. A powerful politician asked her over to his home to render her services. When she was done, the man refused to pay her and told her to leave his house. The next day she dressed in the most revealing clothes she could find and waited for him at the lobby of his office. The staff walked past her casting curious glances at her. She ignored them all. When her client of the previous night arrived, he saw her and his face fell. He entered his office and asked his secretary to usher her into his office. As soon as the door was shut behind his secretary he jumped out of his swivel chair. ‘Trinity, have you gone crazy? What are you doing here dressed like this? This is my office. I have very important friends who come here to do business with me.’
‘I will come here every day until you pay me for my services. And if you don’t, I will visit your golf club. I am sure your friends would like to know who I am and what I do,’ she said.
The man wiped a drop of sweat from his forehead. ‘Are you threatening me?’ he asked.
‘What does it sound like?’ Trinity asked.
He pointed a finger at her. ‘Listen you worthless piece of…’
She slapped down his finger. ‘Shut up and pay me my money or I will go to the front of your office and start shouting,’ Trinity said.
The man rushed to a desk, brought out a wad of dollar notes and threw them at her. ‘Please, don’t come back here again,’ he pleaded.
Trinity counted the notes. ‘Thank you for the tip,’ she turned and walked out of his office.
She was a lost soul. Wickedness held her in its claws. The night she encountered Christ, a man walked up to her and gave her a tract. She wanted to throw it away but something made her stuff it in her bag. That night as her client slept beside her, she reached to take a pack of cigarettes from her bag and her fingers touched the tract. She brought it out and read it. As soon as she got to the end of the four page tract, the man lying beside her woke up, got out of bed and went out of the room.
He returned with two men and they wanted to rape her. One line in the tract came to her mind, ‘Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ As she struggled with the men she had a conversation with God.
‘Lord, if you deliver me from these men, I will serve you for the rest of my life. I will stop selling my body for money and I will like a holy life.’ She had no idea what she meant by those words but she wanted God to help her in that situation.
Suddenly a phone rang. The man left Uche alone and answered the call. Uche crawled to one side of the bed and awaited her fate.
‘The boss wants to see us now,’ the man with the phone said.
‘Right now? It is 3am,’ another man said.
‘Yes. He said we should come to his house right now.’
One man took her clothes and threw them at her. ‘Get dressed and get out of my house.’ He regarded her with anger as she struggled into her clothes. ‘You must serve a powerful God because He just saved you tonight,’ he said with disgust.
The man didn’t know how right he was. God delivered Uche from their hands. As soon as she got back to her apartment she prayed and asked God to save her soul.
Seven years later she woke up from a trance like state to see deacon Soleye reaching for her with trembling hands like a child about to steal a piece of chicken from his mommy’s pot of soup. She shook her head to clear it but it seemed like she was drugged.
‘Please, don’t do this…please,’ she begged.
Soleye stepped back to savour his moment of victory over her. ‘Where is your God now? Where is he?’ he regarded her with disdain.
In her delirium, Uche wondered the same thing. Why did God allow her to fall into this trap? She should have known better than handle occult objects carelessly. She underestimated Soleye and his ability to hurt her. She should have called for assistance from her team members in the prayer group but her pride brought her to this horrible place. She prayed in her mind and asked the Lord for strength.
Soleye’s hands touched her body.
The scream pierced Shade’s clouded mind and something broke loose in her consciousness. She looked around, saw the front door and moved towards it. She heard Uche’s voice pleading for help from the room upstairs..
She stood before the door. She hesitated and turned around. ‘I have to help her,’ she said to herself.
She brought out her phone from her bag and called a number.
‘Kola…I am so sorry,’ she began.
‘Shade, are you okay? Where are you?’
‘I am sorry for letting you down like this…’
‘Shade what is going on? You haven’t let me down. You can never let me down,’ Kola said.
‘I am in a situation right now and I don’t know what is going to happen to me.’ She paused and wiped a falling tear from her eye. ‘I want you to know that I love you very much…’
Kola’s voice became agitated. ‘Where are you at this hour of the night?’
She ignored his question. ‘My friend tried to save me from something stupid that I did and now she is in trouble…probably about to be murdered.’ She heard a struggle going on in the room upstairs. ‘I have to help her.’
‘Are you talking about Uche?’ Kola asked.
‘Yes, it is Uche. She wanted to help me but now she is in deep trouble and I helped to make it happen.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Baby, you ask too many questions. I have to go now.’
‘Where are you?’Kola screamed in her ears?
Shade regarded the phone in her hand, trying to make a decision, ‘I am in deacon Soleye’s house. Please come and get me.’
‘Deacon Soleye? What are you doing in his…’
Shade cut the call. She placed the phone in her bag, entered the kitchen and looked around. She found what she was searching for on the knife rack. She dropped her bag on the floor and chose a small knife. She regarded the knife for a moment, then looked upstairs. She changed her mind, threw the knife on the floor, chose a bigger knife. She held it up and regarded it for a moment. It had a good grip. Shade had no idea what she would do with the knife but she had to have a weapon to protect herself. ‘God, please protect me,’ she muttered. Seconds later she started climbing up the stairs.
She heard a struggle going and hurried up the stairs. The door to the room was ajar. She looked inside the room. Deacon Soleye was trying to force himself on Uche.
‘Get off me,’ Uche threw punches at him but he seemed impervious to her blows. Shade entered the room and stood by the bed. ‘Leave her alone,’ she said.
Soleye turned around with a scowl on his face. ‘Get out of here,’ he said.
Shade pointed the knife at him. ‘Leave her alone,’ she repeated.
Soleye got off the bed and faced Shade. Uche rolled off the bed, pulled the sheets, covered herself and sat in a corner. Soleye regarded Uche trembling in a corner and turned to Shade who had a knife pointed at him.
‘Go down stairs and drop that knife on the table in the kitchen. When I am done here I will meet you in the sitting room.’
Shade shook her head in refusal. ‘No. I will not leave this room unless Uche comes with me. I brought her here and I am leaving with her,’ she said.
Anger creased Soleye’s face. ‘You want to leave my house without my permission?’ he sneered. Shade stepped back unsure of what she would do next. She looked down for a moment, then raised her head. ‘Uche is coming with me,’ she pointed the knife at Soleye.
Suddenly Soleye leaped forward and hit the knife away from her hand. Shade watched as the knife flew off her hand, hit the wall and fell to the floor. She made a move towards the knife but the demonised deacon was too fast for her. He slapped her with the back of his right hand, her head hit the wall, then she fell to the floor.
Shade tasted fresh blood in her mouth. She got on her knees and groped like Saul of Tarsus when he tried the patience of God and was struck by a light from heaven which blinded him. She placed a hand on her head in an attempt to mitigate the pain which felt like a hundred Zulu warriors doing a war dance in her head. She heard Soleye’s words float to her as if she was listening from under water. ‘Now I will take what I want from you and nobody can stop me.’ Soleye said. She heard Uche screaming and struggling, but Soleye kept on coming.
‘You are a wild cat,’ the demonised deacon laughed. ‘But I will break you.’
Shade’s hand touched an object on the floor and she picked it up. She opened her eyes to see the object which she held. The pain made her shut her eyes. She tried again and saw that it was the ritual horn which Soleye used for his incantations and demonic pronouncements. She wanted to drop it but something made her hold on to it. She lifted her eyes and looked in the direction where Soleye and Uche fought. She could see the deacon’s back turned to her. She could see the intercessor lying on the floor, looking helpless.
She heard Uche call out for divine help. ‘Lord, help me.’
Suddenly power came from within her and she struggled to her feet, holding the ritual horn firmly in both hands. She took weak steps towards Soleye who was unaware of what was happening behind him.
‘After this you will be mine,’ Soleye said. ‘No, you will be my slave,’ the diminutive deacon boasted.
‘No, she won’t,’ Shade said.
Soleye turned his head. Shade held the horn with both hands, poised above his head like a scimitar. ‘What do you think you…’ Shade interrupted him. With a shout she brought down the horn with all her strength and impaled it in the delicate spot between his neck and his shoulder. Soleye screamed, fell forward and hit his head on the floor. Blood splattered on Uche who lay on the floor. Shade dropped the horn and stepped back in horror. She put blood stained hands on her head like a grieving mother.
‘What have I done?’ she asked. ‘Oh my God, what have I done?’
Both women watched as Soleye bled before them.
‘We have to get a doctor,’ Shade said. She turned to run out of the room but Uche grabbed her by the hand.
‘You will do no such thing,’ Uche said in a cold voice.
Shade tried to break out of her grip. ‘You are hurting me,’ she couldn’t break free. Uche released her hand.
‘Are you suggesting that we should let him die?’ Shade asked.
Uche did not answer. Her eyes were dark slits. She used the bed sheet tied around her body to wipe some blood off her face.
‘He is dying, we have to do something,’ Shade said with alarm.
‘He tried to rape me. He will pay for it with his life,’ Uche said with finality.
Shade regarded her friend with suspicion. This wasn’t the intercessor speaking. She suspected that something terrible must have happened to Uche when she was under Soleye’s spell. Whatever it was, it brought out this personality standing before her. This was a stranger, someone she was unfamiliar with, someone she had only heard stories about, someone she was scared of because of her reputation, this was Trinity, the girl from Uche’s past. She had to stop Uche, if she didn’t stop her, Soleye would bleed to death and she would be held responsible for his death. She made a mistake accepting the gift from Soleye. She made another mistake by refusing to tell her fiancé about it. She made yet another mistake when she failed to tell him that Soleye tried to use her for a ritual but somehow God saved her. But tonight she would put an end to this madness.
Shade locked eyes with Uche. ‘I am going to find a doctor to save this man’s life and you will not stand in my way. I don’t know what your plan is, but whatever it is I don’t want to be a part of it. I will not go to jail for murder,’ she said.
To be continued…