Melinda loved Sunday mornings, not because it was a sacred day or because it was God’s command to keep it holy. She loved Sundays because that was the day she got to see Pastor Dave. She was in love with him even though he was married both to God and to the woman he had taken vows with fifteen years ago. But that wasn’t going to stop Melinda; she always got her man one way or the other. Today she knew would be the day. She was dressed in the sluttiest dress she owned. It left nothing to the imagination. Her boobs and bum could be seen by anyone who caught the slightest glance of her. It was a beautiful day outside as she drove to church. The sun blazed with such glory and happiness spreading its joy on the people that lived in Abuja after a long and severe harmattan. Considering Melinda was already late she got to the church in record time. She knew she had exactly ten minutes to make the impression she wanted on Pastor Dave. So when the woman in the blue battered 504 dressed in black buba cut in front of her and parked in the space she was reversing into, she swore with the venom of fire.
As luck would have it she found another by the entrance of the church. She touched up her make up and took a shot from the whiskey flask homed in her car. Full with Dutch courage she walked into the church at exactly the moment she wanted. The congregation were about to sit down after a praise and worship session. Pastor Dave was standing at the pulpit about to deliver his sermon. The tall albino man that fainted every week was just getting up. She smiled as she made her way to the front of church; she knew everyone was staring at her. The single men praying God would reveal her as their wife, the married men cursing their luck at not seeing her while single, while the women burnt with envy. She walked as if floating, her eyes locked with her love’s eyes. She knew today would be the day she finally got him.
That was when she heard him shout out something she couldn’t make out but she was sure she heard HIS LIGHT.
Nkem had been crying every day for the past eight years. She wanted a son. No, forget that, she wanted a child. She had tried everything she could ever since Bayo and her decided to have babies. Why wouldn’t God bless her with a child; didn’t He think she was worthy? Was she an evil mum in her past life? Whatever it was please she needed God to bless her today. At first she thought it was nothing, maybe they weren’t having enough sex but after a year of non-stop copulation she started to worry. Bayo’s mum and sisters were not helping matters either; her mother-in-law kept turning up every month with a new distant cousin to help out as the domestic. Each one Nkem made sure she got rid off as quickly as they came. She knew what her mother-in-law was doing. She pretended that she didn’t understand them but heard when she told Bayo that the distant cousins all had good child bearing hips and were at his disposal.
She made him take the test after it was confirmed she wasn’t the problem. He wouldn’t agree at first but she insisted and after months of refusing him her body, he agreed. She could see the fear in his eyes as the doctor explained the procedure to him. He turned down the use of movies to help him produce his sperm. They were in the room together, her busy working on him, him pretending to enjoy it. It took longer than normal but finally he came into the specimen cup. There was nothing wrong with him either. She saw the joy on his face and that night they did an extra round almost like an announcement of his manhood to the world.
Her friends told her to try a spiritualist. That God worked in various ways and had messengers everywhere. To her shame she did but after another year of sacrifice after sacrifice she gave up. That was when Tony her driver told her about Pastor Dave of the Holy House Redeemed Church. He told her of the special event held for barren women and the testimonies every week of women taking in. After two weeks of going she became an usher and she started to know things about Tony she didn’t know before. Like he was the father of seven children, that his wife used the pill but still his sperm found a way through. That Bayo was actually a distant cousin and in their tradition if a man could not get his wife pregnant his brothers will volunteer to help. So when she laid there, Tony on top of her having sex with her she prayed that God would forgive her betrayal but still bless their union with a baby.
That was four weeks ago and she was pregnant but she didn’t know yet. She had sung more than anyone during the Praise and Worship session, praying God would finally bless her. She felt a pain in her tummy and bent over holding it. The harlot woman walked past her on her way to the front of the church dressed in the most revealing dress she had ever seen. Behind her was another woman, one she had never seen before in the church. She was dressed in a black buba her hands hidden, on her face the look of determination and joy. Maybe she should have noticed something strange about her but the cramps in her tummy was getting worse. However the other ushers noticed, they were all running towards the woman in the black buba screaming and causing a commotion.
The tall Albino man was glad. Today he really felt the Spirit enter him; he felt the burning of Its flame take over him during the Praise and Worship. Maybe finally his prayers will be answered and God would finally forgive him his sins.
He had been tired, tired of being poor, tired of being the one from his towns people that always begged for money during their village Abuja branch meeting. His wife pretended to understand in the beginning but when each new Johnny just come from their village turned up in the latest Benz to their meeting she finally showed her true colours. First was the constant fighting, next came the disrespect. She would curse him in public, refuse to sleep with him at night and would go out partying instead of cooking his dinner. Then one day he came home and saw her riding Paul the neighbour on their living room couch as if her life depended on it, that day he knew something must change.
He had heard his townspeople talk about the prophet before, but he knew he couldn’t do what the others had done. He wasn’t built that way, but he wasn’t sure any more. You see poverty did strange things to a man’s morals. When the prophet told him it had to be his wife, that was the only offering his god understood, he knew he had no choice but to do it.
After her death the money poured in from all corners. He was finally rich. People respected him wherever he went, he had his abundance of women and no one asked where his sudden wealth came from. But he still wasn’t happy, what he did troubled his soul. At night he couldn’t sleep he would cry and pray and pray that God would forgive him. When he finally started sleeping the dreams started. It was the same one every night. He saw her covered in blood, wielding a knife and just as she is about to plunge it into his heart a bright light would blind her and he would wake up.
He saw Pastor Dave for the first time on TV. His preaching captivated him. He shouted big Amens when Pastor Dave prayed and that night for the first time he didn’t have the dream. He started attending his church and became known for throwing himself to the floor during the Praise and worship. Today on his way into church he drove past a woman dressed in black buba in a broken down blue 504, she was trying frantically to fix it. Something told him to stop and help her but he was already running late for Praise and Worship.
When he finally made it to church, he greeted Sister Nkem at the door and thought something looked different about her she had a glow about her. The service soon started and soon it was Praise and Worship time. After his latest encounter with the Holy Spirit, he saw the sister that all men in church complained about her dressing but secretly they all wanted a bit of her. It looked like she was walking towards the altar half naked. Then he heard Pastor Dave shout something, he couldn’t quite make it out but he was sure he heard PROTECTS US.
The woman in the black buba was fed up, fed up of what she perceived to be man’s inhumanity to man. Her father had five wives and because she was the only child of her mother she watched as he maltreated her. She was the only one of his kids not to go to school instead she worked in the farm from a young age. When she was six she watched the other wives gang up and beat up her mother, why she couldn’t tell. Then a few months later while her father was away, her mother was raped in the middle of the night. She was sure the other wives heard her screams but no one came to help her.
When she was ten she started hearing the voice. The voices consoled her made her feel safe. It was the voices that led her to Musa. Musa the cattle seller with the swagger of a hip hop artist. They fell in love hard and fast; and the voice left her. She gave herself to him before wedlock only for him to leave her for a sixteen year old. That’s when the voices came back and like in the Bible the voices came back seventy-seven times stronger. More evil.
It was the voice that told her to poison his cattle. She sat in the field and watched them die. As each dropped dead the voice rejoiced loudly in her. It was the voice that led her to the extremist group. The ones that told her that it was the Christians that were defiling her community. It was the Christians and their half naked women that enticed good men into committing sins of the flesh. The Christians had to leave, go back to the south and stop defiling her community. So when they asked her to wear the bomb the voice made her say YES.
It seemed like it wouldn’t happen, like something didn’t want her to do it. First her car broke down on the road. Then she saw an albino man in a car coming towards her. She smiled at him hoping he would stop and help her, but he drove past. The sticker on the back of his car read, “Holy House, come and be blessed.” That made her more determined. She managed to fix the car; the voice guiding her on what to do.
When she got to the church there was no parking and she wondered would this really happen today. But then she found one and parked just in time before the half naked woman; who swore at her. She walked into the church determined that nothing would stop her. Her buba hid the bomb strapped across her chest. She walked past the woman at the door bent over holding her tummy. She stopped half way down the aisle; the half naked woman was ahead of her at the front of the church. She was scared; scared of dying but then the voice told her she had to. She had to make them pay for all the injustice the world had given her. That by doing this she was helping cleanse the world so others wouldn’t go through what she did. She pulled her hand out of her buba; raised it up to reveal the trigger. That was when the ushers in the church finally noticed her, because they all started to run towards her. She saw the Pastor of the church stand with his Bible raised and say something she couldn’t hear as she pushed hard on the trigger.
NTA News Reporter: There has been a suspected suicide bombing in a church in the centre of Abuja. The blast has killed over 400 people including the suspected suicide bomber. But our sources can confirm that 3 people survived the blast, claiming divine protection by a light.
The last thing Melinda saw when the blast went off was the look in Pastor Dave’s eyes. Then everything became blurred and she saw the light. The light seemed to radiate from Pastor Dave and covered the whole congregation. Bringing with it a sense of warmth and safety. That was when she felt it, not fear that she might die from the blood oozing out of where the ceiling had cut her thigh, but instead she felt shame, shame for trying to seduce a man so revered.
Nkem saw the light then collapsed after the bomb exploded. She couldn’t feel the splinter lodged in her tummy narrowly missing the baby that she didn’t know she had. But she felt safe, safe like a baby being protected by the love of a mother.
Even though the Albino man was buried underneath the pile of rubble that was slowly crushing him. He felt a big weight being lifted off his shoulders. He kept hearing repeatedly, ‘Give me your yoke and I’ll gladly carry them and make you clean again’ and at that moment he knew God had finally forgiven him.