A Novel Written By: Kolade Segun-Okeowo (KSO)
Bolaji was already shaking where he stood. Though a karate expert, he knew what was going on was beyond the best karate fighter in the world. He had never seen anything like that before.
“You… you are challenging me to battle?” The strange female voice started again. “You are stupid! You want to cast me out of this body? Impossible! What power do you have to challenge me? One of you fornicated yesterday! Now you all come here screaming at me … go away you fools… and you, did you not cheat in your exams, yet you call yourselves Christians… you’re no match for me!” The voice screamed hysterically.
Suddenly, Folake, the only female lady in the team fell violently and started rolling on the ground, shaking. Fear gripped all the rest including Lawon. Bolaji moved a few metres away. The whole affair appeared like an epic movie.
“Bro Bayo, please come with me” said Lawon calling aside another member of the team. “This is getting out of hand… please go and call the President of the fellowship… he knows how to handle cases like this… please go quickly…take a bike”. Bayo ran off immediately towards the central bus stop.
Folake continued rolling violently on the ground. She was now barking like Lanre. She had become possessed. Lawon spoke in tongues unsure of what to do. The demon was right; he had cheated during the last semester exams, though he was not caught.
Two weeks earlier he had given a testimony in the fellowship concerning the goodness of God over his academics. He had passed all his papers when the results came out. He alone knew he had no testimony to give! Now a demon had exposed him. The fear of what the demon said shook him so badly that he didn’t know what to say again.
Bayo jumped off the bike before it stopped almost crashing into another bike. He ran directly into the hall and made straight for the fellowship President’s room.
“Bro. Femi … Bro. Femi… please come! … Come to the prayer grounds… immediately!” He said panting and gasping as he ran into the room without knocking, interrupting Femi’s prayers.
Silently, Femi rose from his kneeling position and spoke to Bayo calmly.
“Bro. Bayo calm down… eh…calm down. Now what is going on at the prayer grounds?” Femi was not a man given to emotions and sentiments. Everyone in the fellowship knew him to be always calm and not easily disturbed by situations and circumstances. When he lost his mother, the previous semester and the news got to him he simply said “Praise God”.
“We went to conduct deliverance for Larry Bee the Student’s Union President. His roommate invited us to pray for him…” Bayo continued panting and gasping as he recounted the details to Femi. Sweat flowed down his face freely. Femi listened carefully to the details. Without altering a word, he simply went on his knees and prayed. Bayo stood there watching with disgust. He wondered why the whole incident seemed not to move Femi.
“Bro, Bayo please go, I’ll join you there in a matter of minutes” said Femi, apparently Bayo’s presence was disturbing; he needed some concentration.
“No o! Bro. Femi, we have to get there together. In fact I can’t return to that place without you…I’ve never seen such a violent demonic manifestation before” Bayo said emphatically refusing to move.
“Bro. Bayo, you speak as if I have some special powers to fight demons… that is the mistake you people made. You never sought for instructions from the Holy Spirit. Give me five minutes, I need to pray. You can stay outside” Bayo moved out of the room while Femi prayed.
“Lord Jesus… that which is hidden to man is known to you, give me wisdom concerning this case that we may achieve success in this deliverance…” He pleaded the blood of Jesus and asked for forgiveness on behalf of Folake and Lawon.
Bayo ran ahead of him as they alight from the bike that took them to the Sports’ Centre Bus Stop. “Bro. Femi, please be fast” shouted Bayo.
Femi unmoved; continued his normal pace towards the basketball pitch. As Femi approached the body of Lanre on the floor, the strange female voice came again this time more violent and husky. Folake stopped barking and started a rather fearful roar!
“Ah! He’s coming! Why did you bring him!” screamed the female voice “You people are bent on troubling me, I won’t give up, I will show you hell! I know you, I know you have authority to send me out but I won’t go, do whatever you like. I and Lanre are joined together; no one can separate us, never!”
“Shut your mouth in Jesus name” said Femi. Immediately the strange female voice ceased. Femi moved over to Folake and laid hands on her. She stopped roaring and became conscious. He helped her up and asked the fourth member of the team to take her away from the venue. He returned to Lanre.
“So you… I challenge you, who are you and where are you from?” Femi said standing over Lanre. The strange voice screamed again without saying anything. “You want to prove stubborn? I give you just one minute to speak after which I shall command the fire of The Lord to come and destroy you… Now speak!”
“My name is Princess Hagatha!” The voice spoke
“Now tell me, what is your mission?” Femi barked out the instructions. His former calmness had suddenly given way to a violent appearance, he now spoke tough. The strange voice refused to speak again.
“I see” said Femi “Now I command the sword of the Lord to come and I’m ready to destroy you if you don’t speak, what is your mission?”
“Ah…Oh! … Why must you continue to torment me? Why don’t you ask Lanre if I ever invited him… he took me to bed and now my blood flows through him, he’s under my bondage… don’t trouble me again, or else I’ll cause fire to rain on you!”
“You lie!” Femi said. “Even Lucifer your god tried and failed woefully… the word of God says “How are you fallen from heaven o Lucifer son of morning, how are you cast down to the ground, you who laid the nations low… look, all your efforts are nullified today, I command you, come out in Jesus name”. Femi ordered. The strange voice screamed again while Lanre rolled around very violently.
“Now you’ve done it… I know I will leave this body, but I will deal with you before I go… Yeye Orogojigo! Queen of the Coast of the Katangua Kingdom, bring rain, rain, rain, rain!”
What happened in the following moments was simply like events in an epic movie. A loud thunder storm struck across the sky. The downpour of rain that followed immediately was too sudden. Bolaji took to his heels and sought cover in the nearby squash court. The rain was limited only to the Sport Centre and concentrated heavily on the basketball pitch.
The Queen of the Coast became restless as the events began to turn around. From her telescopic projector screen, she had monitored the events of the deliverance at the Sports’ Centre. She had sent an emergency message to Hagatha to withdraw herself temporarily from the Onigba-Iwofa and other assignments to resume at the palace so as to pull her resources together and fight the Christian intruders.
The coming of Femi had turned round the table against Hagatha. His first prayer had knocked her off balance right in the palace. She held her head in pains as she watched Femi stand in the heavy rains speaking in tongues and refusing to run for cover.
“Hagatha, if you don’t move fast, that boy will be delivered from your bondage, invoke his spirit here” said the Queen as she paced around the palace restlessly. Since Femi arrived at the pitch. She had vacated her throne chair having fallen twice following the prayer missiles sent by Femi. Hagatha stood still holding her head in pains. She managed to throw her right hand around. An egg appeared after the third throw. She smashed the egg on the ground and from the mess appeared Lanre’s spirit shivering and trembling.
“Princess Sapientia, bring the sword of destruction” ordered the Queen. Sapientia approached the Queen with the sword and handed it over to her.
At the prayer grounds, Femi and the other prayer warriors stayed in the rain singing “Arise O Lord let your enemies be scattered”
At the same time, the Queen handed over the sword to Hagatha and commanded her to strike him. Hagatha lifted the sword to strike, suddenly an heavy terror shook the palace violently, Powerone, appeared with a long shinning sword in his hand. He struck all the agents of darkness thrice causing all of them to fall face down as a blinding lighting shone through the palace. Powerone bent down and picked Lanre’s spirit and took him away.
Femi stopped the song, stood firmly and pointed towards the sky
“You rain! … You are only a servant, I am a son, and servants don’t hinder their master’s children. I have been given the power, that whatever I bind on earth shall be bound, therefore, you rain, I command you to stop in Jesus name”.
As if the rain was listening, it gradually ceased; leaving the whole team drenched and soaked. Bolaji stepped down from the squash court and moved closer. He still thought he was watching an epic movie. Lanre continued the howling and barking though not as before. Femi walked to the extreme end of the pitch and knelt down to pray. He spoke silently.
“Father, what are we expected to do that we have not done?” He knelt down there for about five minutes that seemed like ages. Suddenly, he heard a still small voice said “I have given you victory, but you do not know”
“I see” Femi said lifting up his head. He knew had just heard the Holy Spirit. The voice was so gentle and soft like the seaside breeze. He rose and walked back to the rest who were busy speaking in tongues.
“Brethren” he said “The Lord has given us victory. This is not time to speak in tongues but to praise Him… leave him alone, let’s sing praises to our God”. Lawon started a praise song and they all picked it and danced away from Lanre. They clapped vigorously not minding the drenched clothes of the gripping cold.
“Jesus is a mighty God…He’s a mighty God…etc
As they sing, the strange female voice started again screaming very wildly and loud.
“Yeehh! Yeehh! Insult, insult! They left me to praise their God … insult, insult! Yeehh! Disgrace!”
Suddenly the body of Lanre broke into violent fits shaking and rolling around, the rope finally gave way. He stood, staggered around a few metres and finally fell and stopped shaking. Lawon noticed the fits and came closer, he lifted Lanre’s hand, it dropped lifelessly, he tried the other hand, the same happened. Bolaji who was now close-by moved near and tested the body. He placed his ear on his chest to feel his heart, it was still.
“Oh my God! He’s dead!” said Bolaji.
“President!” Lawon stopped the singing “Please come…Lanre is dead!” He said, with a shaking voice. Femi came around and touched the body, it was truly still. He touched his hand, it was cold, and then he spoke.
“He’s not dead! The Bible says you shall not die but live” He declared facing the body. “Jesus said, I am the resurrection and life, whoever believes in me, though he dies shall live again. Olanrewaju Durotoye … you shall not die… I command life to return into you now and come alive in Jesus name”. Silence reigned everywhere… everybody waited…!!!
Odesola had hunted in the Alupayida forest for close to four decades. His grandfather had introduced him to the hunting job right from the age of twelve. He had been trained in all sorts of strange medicines incantations and concoctions. Only few hunters in the village could thread where Odesola hunts. Odesola was said to possess some strange powers through which he could see and communicate with spirits, gnomes, elves and demons.
Night hunting was his favourite. He was the first hunter in Onigba-Iwofa to slay a python and the only to have killed a tiger. Following that feat, Folagbade had given him a Chieftaincy title of “Apekunjaye” of Onigba-Iwofa. No hunter has ever come near that mark since.
As soon as Powerone scattered the Daughters of the River in the Katangua region Palace, they returned to their bases, swimming through the Katangua Sea to the various rivers and streams in their bases. As she swam out of the only river in Onigba-Iwofa, she stood on the rock to dry herself up and change her garment.
Her skin was scaly and rough. Her hair had grown to reach her waist. That has always been her usual appearance when she goes to attend meetings under the sea! She had stay at the riverside for five minutes to transform back to a normal being.
Gradually, her long hair came back to place. Soon the scales dropped back into the water, her glowing eyes became normal. She stood up and tilted herself on her toes, and then her garments soon gave way. She was sure no one would come to the river at that hour of the morning.
In any case, no one could see her. She stroked her chest three times and laid her left hand on her hips. Within two seconds, another cloth appeared on her; apparently that was what she had slept with. A nightie and a wrapper tied across her chest. She stood on her toes again and spinned, then she disappeared.
Odesola winked again where he perched, with his mouth wide opened. He had seen everything. He could not believe his eyes. The village Pastor’s wife is a witch? No; it can’t be, he said to himself. But he was sure he saw her do all the rituals! He was seeing such a thing for the first time in all his hunting life.
His grandfather had told him that witches who operate under the water do live amongst men. He had explained to Odesola the process of transformation of such marine witches into normal beings. What Odesola saw was in no way different from what his grandfather had told him.
He quickly jumped down from the tree where he perched. He had slept on that tree over the night. He had woken up to return home when he suddenly saw the strange spectacle. He waded through the river to the spot where Hagatha had changed; he saw some of the scales. He knew ordinary eyes cannot see them.
He picked two of them and quickly dropped them in his pocket. His grandfather had told him such scales are useful in preparing concoctions for long life. He had told Odesola that marine witches would always respect anyone who had possession of such scales. He stood on the spot thinking of what to do. Suddenly, he hung his gun across his shoulder, picked his hunting bag and paced quickly towards the village.
Morakinyo had just finished conducting the early morning prayers for members of the church. Unlike before, very few people attended the service. Since events took a rather negative downturn, attendance in Sunday services had nosedived let alone the weekly services. Morakinyo had struggled to hold back his tears that morning as he ministered to two adults and four children! It was that bad.
As he strolled away from the church building towards the parsonage, strange thoughts filled his head. His wife had changed in recent times. She hardly come to the church during weekly services. That morning, he had called her to remind her of the morning prayers. He left her alone when she did not respond at all.
“Pastor! Pastor!” Morakinyo heard someone calling. He quickly broke his thoughts and turned back. Odesola was running from afar, his clothes was wet. Morakinyo wondered where he was coming from. He knew Odesola very well. He had been one of the very few men in the village who had refused to follow their wives to the church.
Morakinyo remembered he had spoken to him many times about Christ but had refused; saying his wife Eebudola and their only remaining child could go to church. He lost four children to the Orogojigo epidemic in quick succession. Odesola’s excuse was that if he starts going to church, he would loose all the powers given to him by his grandfather. Morakinyo’s plea that all powers in heaven and on earth belongs to Jesus, fell on deaf ears.
He stopped and waited for Odesola to meet up with him. He tried to imagine what Odesola had come to see him for that early morning. His expression was not sad neither was he happy. Silently, Morakinyo prayed that all was well with Eebudola. She had been the most zealous woman since the church started. She did not attend the prayers that morning. Morakinyo’s heart missed a bit!
“Pastor, wonders shall never end!” Odesola started, as he got to where, Morakinyo stood.
“I went hunting overnight… as I was coming back home this morning what I saw is beyond my understanding, so I said I should warn you”
To be continued in Episode 22