Idomo surveyed the list of humans he was assigned to destroy with a malevolent gleam in his eyes. It was a long list, six thousand, six hundred and sixty-six beings long. He had all kinds of deliciously wicked things planned for them: accidents, chronic sicknesses, retrenchment, heartbreak, disappointments, and massive crop failures; even a suicide or two. He enjoyed bringing doom on the human race, but nothing gave him as much pleasure as getting a saint to stumble. And no saint on his list had been harder to tackle that the one listed as number seven – Edima Usoro.
He snarled as he asterisked her name and his ugly face turned grotesque.
How he hated that woman. Sometimes the sheer force of his loathing would shrivel his toe-claws and make his insides froth with frustration. It was useless; he could do little to harm her. Her hedge of protection was impenetrable; there were no Bitterness holes or Hatred gutters to climb in through. Her company of angels were vigilant and alert; each morning she galvanized them with her prayers and confessions. He had been monitoring her for nineteen years and so far nothing he tried had worked. He had to discover a way to trip her before the grand assembly at the Bermuda Pyramid on Friday the 13th. If he didn’t, he would be demoted, made a mere messenger demon and sent to the Sahara desert, a homeless placeless nothingness. He cringed at the thought.
“No” he muttered under his breath.
With a sweep of his arm he summoned a translucent screen and typed in her name and number. Instantly, her entire dossier appeared. He lowered himself to sit on one of the giant branches of the Udara tree he was perched on and studied the dossier with a frown.
Edima Usoro was a thirty four year old spinster who taught Literature in Graceland Secondary school, Abak, Akwa Ibom State. She had lost both parents in an auto crash when she was nine and spent most of her teen years in domestic servitude. At fourteen she caught tuberculosis and was scheduled for termination in three days. A travelling evangelist sensed the hit and spent a week prayerfully looking for her. He found her huddled on a mat coughing up globules of blood. He had shared the good news with her and healed her of the disease. Things were never the same after that. He had estimated that she would be excited for a month or two before returning to lap up her vomit as many did. He was wrong. Nineteen years later she was still burning with love for The Maker and his people… Unforgivable.
Like every of these earthen treasure carriers, she had her struggles, weaknesses and mistakes. The problem was she never built a tent there. She was prompt to repent when she did or said anything incriminatory. She bore no grudges and even dared to forgive people in advance. Even when he got those hard to come by permits to throw a rough spot her way it did nothing. She merely prayed more, gave more and sang praises while she was at it.
He HATED this girl!
She made being a demon hard, hapless, harrowing work.
He had to find a way, he needed a break through. Time was running out faster than a flickering candle. He needed to devise a plan that would work. These were the most desperate of times and they called for the most devilish measures. There was just one thing he could think of. The one thing she still felt shame, guilt, confusion and fear about. The thing she had not soaked in prayers or saturated in daily confessions. The thing she scarcely understood, yet garbled with daily: her sexuality.
Technically she was a virgin but he knew she fantasized about sexual pleasure. She wanted a man. Not just any man though, but one that was strong, honest, intelligent, well to do, sexy and fun to be with. A godly man that would slay her dragons, father her children and treat her like a queen. Someone that would change diapers, take her to see the Obudu Cattle Ranch, give her foot rubs when she got home from the market , teach her a few things about love making and romance. She wanted a cultured man from around those parts who knew his way in the world but wasn’t trapped in it. She wanted a lover, brother, father and friend.
Idomo toggled over to her wants and a faint smile lit up his face. There was a chance after all. She wasn’t an angel, she was a woman. She had a crazy wish list but at least she wanted something. All he had to do was fan that desire and provide a suitable object for its expression. Luciferiously, Biology and Physiology were on his side, they had awakened parts of her she hadn’t even known existed. Her nesting instincts, her sexual impulses, and her desire to feel loved…. all of this was creating the perfect environment for his plan. All he had to do was find the man, one that was a good imitation of her outrageously impossible imagined man. He needed a man good enough to arouse her attention, but bad enough to do his bidding. The trouble was, there were few men like that in the entire South-south region. Most of such men were either working themselves to the bone in the major cities like Warri Uyo and Port Harcourt too busy to take up the demands of courtship, or serving un-noticed in some out of the way locations. They were caught up in the daily grind, slaving for the elusive naira, catering for aged parents, loving the wrong women, ending up jaded, bitter, broken….
Luckily, he had not left his fate to demographics. He had expected this sort of challenge with Edima and prepared accordingly. He knew just the man for the job: Marcus Ekanem Ekpe.
Marcus Ekpe was a forty year old Electrical engineer with a 200 mega watt smile and a natural way with words. The third born and only son in a family of five children he knew more about women than many knew about themselves. He worked for Vodacotel an international Telecommunications company with major operations in the Niger Delta as a Site Engineer. He was 5 ft 10 inches, coconut-shell brown, well built, good-looking in an under stated way and great company. He was a ladies’ man, serial monogamist and one time church boy. He loved the thrill of conquering women that played hard to get. He knew the routine and relished it. Marcus was a hunter who loved every part of the chase. His friends called him the Bullet, he scarcely missed his mark. They even liked to joke that an easy girl was like an antelope that willingly collapsed at a hunters feet; probably old and riddled with incurable disease.
Idomo clapped and his work screen vanished. He knew what had to be done. He had to get Marcus sent to set up the new Vodacotel Telecommunications mast at Abak. It had to be at the start of the long holidays around July 27th. Edima had to be in the middle of her cycle when her hormones were most volatile. Marcus had to have enough cash to fund his seductions so his arrears and upfront allowances had to be paid in full by August 1st. Eno his current babe had to be out of sight and out of touch, aha! NYSC posting to Birrin Kebbi would be just the thing.
One thing still bothered him though.
What if The Maker revealed his plans to her beforehand? How in creation was he going to stop that?