A Novel Written By: Kolade Segun-Okeowo (KSO)
The journey to Shaki was no stress for Lanre. Not because the road was good or smooth but because of the excitement ahead of him. Moreover, he compared the stress with the pains of the initiation rites of the Pythons confraternity on the campus.
His mind raced back to the initiation night a few months ago on the campus. He shuddered as he remembered the young man who attempted to leap over the bon fire ahead of him but landed in the flames. He also recalled the one shot at close range by the Capone for daring to escape and the one shot for missing his first attempt at leaping. In all, three young souls were wasted that might.
The three boys were declared missing the following day. The Dean of Students Affairs, Prof. Omatshola was in the forefront of the search for the three young men declared missing. As the Union President, Lanre had also joined in the search. He and the other Union officials led search teams to comb the whole forsts surrounding the campus to no avail. For a whole week, different search parties combed everywhere and eventually gave up the search when they could not find the boys or their corpses.
Only Lanre and other members of the Pythons Confraternity knew that the bodies of the young men had been burnt to ashes in the bon fire that initiation night. He knew no one would find the boys again. None of the members of the confraternity would make the mistake of confessing the incident.
As he travelled to Shaki that morning, his mind raced to the events of that night and a sudden sense of guilt came over him. He thought of making a confession about the incident. At least, that would douse the suspense of the mystery surrounding the disappearance of the three boys. It will also put to rest the anxiety of their parents and relatives who still have the hope that one day, their sons will return back home. Lanre knew that hope was hopeless.
He began to weigh the options of confession and the consequences. He remembered how Prof. Omatshola insisted that all the repentant cultists who responded to the altar call be moved to the back of the hall to protect their identity. There are many tales on campus of people who renounced their membership of the cults and were mercilessly dealt with by their members.
However, he had not heard of anyone of them renouncing membership due to salvation experience. He wished someone could give him an example of someone like that and what eventually happened to such a person.
‘What if Benson Osarode confesses to Prof. Omatshola? Won’t that be a betrayal of trust on my part? The Dean of Students Affairs will expect such confession to come from me’
He remembered all that Prof. Omatshola had done to keep him safe throughout and after his ordeal in the hands of Betty Campbell. Apart form the medical bills the Office of Students’ Affairs picked and other sundry expense, Omatshola arranged adequate security to ensure his safety. He also provided some cash to cater for his welfare even after leaving the campus for home.
That night before he left Lanre at the Vice Chancellors Guest House, Prof. Omatshola had squeezed an envelope into his hands. Lanre was pleasantly shocked to find a bundle of crispy ten naira notes in the envelope. Omatshola had given him one thousand naira.
He almost screamed in the room when he opened the envelope and counted the money. He knew the money couldn’t have come from Omatshola’s purse. It was definitely a gift from the Students’ Affairs Office to him. Nonetheless, he was grateful that Omatshola had made the money available to him.
As he considered all these, his mind was completely away from the journey. Only his body was in the rickety bus conveying them to Shaki.
He didn’t see it coming…He only heard loud screams from the other passengers. By the time he looked up, it had happened. The vehicle had lost its break and was screeching its way to the bushy side of the road.
The screams increased as the bus moved rapidly towards a mighty tree along the road. The loud noise from the banging of the vehicle against the tree was deafening. Lanre and a few other passengers were thrown out of the window on the right side by the impact of the accident. Lanre simply passed out!
The accident scene was a few kilometers from Shaki. It was just about 10am. A farmer on his way from the farm saw the accident happened. He rode on a motorbike; he simply increased speed and raced towards the General Hospital in the town.
The accident was fatal! The driver and the two passengers sitting in the front with him had died instantly. A woman was cut into two by the impact of the iron seat in her front. Two men were groaning on the ground; their legs mangled beyond remedy!
When the ambulance for The Shaki General Hospital came, the rescue team was overwhelmed by the sight they saw. Mangled bodies and blood scattered around the ground forming a scary scene. A crowd of sympathizers had already gathered at the scene, wailing and crying at the misfortune.
A few vehicles on their way from Ibadan and Shaki had packed on the two sides of the road to assist in evacuating the accident victims. The Hospital officials chose the critical cases to attend to first.
“This one is dead, don’t bother about him” One of the officials who appeared to be the team head said as they attempted to carry Lanre. As if he heard the conclusion of the team head and wanting to prove him wrong; one of Lanre’s hands moved and he gave a grunt.
“Oga, he is not dead oh!!!!”
They rushed the first set of victims to the General hospital and returned to the scene to rescue the others. Two private vehicles volunteered to assist the hospital to evacuate the victims while the ambulance carried the dead on the second trip. Lanre was among the first set of victims to be evacuated.
Suddenly, she woke from the trance.
She had decided to take a nap after Lanre left for Shaki following the stress of yesterday and the ones she did to prepare Lanre’s food before he departed for Shaki that morning. Besides, she had to wake around 2am to receive a call from her husband. It was the best time he could call her. Wole Durotoye had been part of the Nigerian delegation who in conjunction with other ECOMOG Officials were brokering peace between the forces of Yommie Johnson and Charles Taylor in the capital; Monrovia.
She had fallen into a deep sleep and veered off into that terrible dream. She stood and immediately began to pray in tongues. ‘Lanre?…Involved in an accident…Ah never’ She prayed the more and quickly dressed up. She needed to see Pastor Kalejaye. There was no way he could reach out to know if Lanre had reached Onigba-Iwofa or not. Morakinyo will have to travel to nearby Sepeteri to receive or make phone calls at the NITEL sub-station in the town.
The rickety vehicle gently made its way to Shaki at exactly 15 minutes to eleven. Everyone in the vehicle agreed it was a gruesome journey. This was not because of the bad road but the narrow escapes from death that they had encountered on the journey. Three near-accident situations had been cleverly avoided by the driver, so everyone praised him and spoke well of him.
Only Lanre returned all the glory to God. Although, he also joined them in thanking the driver for a job well done, but he knew beyond the façade of the driver driving well was the real fact that God had delivered him particularly from death. Anyone who was present at The Amphitheater when he gave the testimony would not be surprised that the devil was after his life a few days later.
As soon as Mrs. Durotoye got to the Pastor houses, she heard voices of the Pastor, his wife and a few others praying. ‘Praise God’ She muttered ‘As if they know why I am here’ She entered silently and joined the prayers. The head of Evangelism Team and Sister Gbayike were part of the prayers. To her pleasant surprise, they were praying for Morakinyo her brother. She wondered what Gbayike was doing there? She remembered what Morakinyo had told her about Gbayike before he travelled.
‘Oh, she is joining them to pray for my brother now, when things seems to be taking shape on the mission field. Unfortunately, he has married another woman…proud thing! See what he led my brother into now’
She sat quietly on the sofa nearest to the door not wanting to disturb the prayers. Pastor Kalejaye had called the last prayer point, so he requested the Evangelism Team head to round off the prayers.
“Haha Mama Lanre, good to see you here. We just rounded off a session of prayers for brother Morakinyo and here you are”
“That’s evidence showing the Lord has answered our payers” The Evangelism Coordinator said jokingly and they all burst into laughter.
“Good afternoon Mummy…” Mrs. Durotoye greeted Mrs. Kalejaye and everyone except Gbayike.
“Mummy Lanre, what brings you here? I hope all is well? I hope you’re getting good reports from Liberia?” She smiled happily as she responded to the Pastor’s courtesies.
It took Mrs. Durotoye another thirty minutes to finish recounting all the details of Lanre’s ordeals on campus, his journey to Onigba-Iwofa and the dream she had to Pastor Kalejaye. Patiently, Pastor Kalejaye listened attentively. Pastor Mrs. Kalejaye had taken an excuse to move into the kitchen when she saw that Mrs. Durotoye’s “sermon” was not going to end soon. The evangelism head and Sister Gbayike had taken their leave once Mrs. Durotoye started the dialogue Pastor.
“To God be the glory” Pastor Kalejaiye started. It is well. Don’t be afraid. God had shown you in that dream is what the enemy planned to do. He simply wanted you to pray because the victory is already guaranteed. Don’t worry, am expecting a call from a Pastor friend in Sepeteri by five o clock today.
Pastor Kalejaye paused to see if the words were making sense to Mrs. Durotoye. From her reactions, she appeared completely enraptured by the words of the Pastor as she listed with rapt attention.
“I will ask him to help me reach out to Bro Morakinyo first time tomorrow morning and check the situations of things over there”
Mrs. Durotoye sighed deeply.
“However, you don’t have to panic. I sense in the my spirit that all is well, although I am convinced that the enemy meant to cause us to grieve, but that is not our portion in Jesus name!”
Pastor Kalejaye was right; the plan to kill Lanre before he reached Onigba-Iwofa was a grand one and well designed. From the taxi that took Lanre to the Ojoo motor park; to the vehicle he took to Shaki and Onigba-Iwofa, the arrangement was fool proof.
The Queen of the Coast got the necessary briefings from the new human agents she released to monitor the activities of Lanre. Natas and Scorpia; the two agents who monitored events at the amphitheater were badly wounded. So great was the wounds inflicted on them in the spiritual realm that they suffered great damage right to the physical plane. Natas had died on that Sunday immediately after the incident while Scorpia made it to the hospital before passing out the following day.
Natas, whose real name in the physical real was Oyenike Modandola; was a student of the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro in Ogun State from where she joined the marine forces. A fellow student had introduced her to the marine world when she approached the latter for financial assistance.
That Sunday, she slept in the room on campus and went into the realm of astral travel to monitor events as instructed by The Queen. The fatal wound inflicted on her by one of the angels at the Amphitheater of The University of Ife caused her to scream out of her sleep. Her roommate, who was just returning from the fellowship, was perplexed to meet Oyenike groaning on the floor and vomiting blood. She ran to call for assistance from other rooms in the hostel. She died before her roommate returned with help.
Scorpia was at home on that Sunday. Her father, a banker was at home as usual relaxing when she screamed from her sleep. Her mother, a nominal Christian had gone for shopping having choose the day to tidy up the house and do major shopping for the week. She had given instructions to Motunde concerning the tidying up of the house and other assignments. The urgency of the assignment on campus had forced Motunde to return to bed in order to catch up with her mates on the all important mission.
Her scream woke Mr. Ogedemgbe from his sleep and he rushed to Motunde’s, room. The sight of her daughter sprawled on the ground vomiting blood was rather too scary for him. He shouted her name and called the security man to come upstairs. With the assistance of the security man, Motunde was moved into the car and driven to the nearby private hospital.
The doctor on duty was not only confused but equally perplexed. He could not fathom what could cause a hitherto healthy girl who was having a Sunday afternoon nap to suddenly go into fits of abdominal pains and vomiting. He ordered for a few tests to determine what went wrong. Motunde died just as the tests were being carried out.
The new agents detailed to monitor Lanre were skeptical and reserved. The events of the last few days had sent some shivers running down the spines of most of the human agents working for the Queen of the Coast. The many lies The Queen told them had started crumbling like a pack of cards. She had told them that none of her human agents can die except she decides to kill them by herself. Now that Natas and Scorpia are dead, other agents on monitoring assignments took great caution.
Even, Hagatha, wife of Morakinyo in Onigba-Iwofa had started getting ready to take her leave. She had become bored with the assignment. She was not achieving any more success in the mission. She had got to the climax of the mission. She could not kill Morakinyo nor afflict him with any disease. Greatone was always standing by.
That morning, as Lanre stepped out of the house, the two new human agents reported to The Queen. She immediately gave instructions to Hagatha to release her accident-causing demons to snuff life out Lanre before he gets to Onigba-Iwofa. The accident, which was to occur, a few kilometers to Shaki was meant to claim the lives of all the occupants in the bus.
Unknown to Hagatha, the Queen and other agents Mrs. Durotoye saw their plans. She saw the plans in a dream and prayed against it. Pastor Kalejaye, at the same time had led a session of prayers cancelling all the arrangements of the forces of darkness concerning Morakinyo both directly and indirectly.
The Queen was infuriated as lanrestepped down from the wagon that took him from Sepeteri to Onigba-Iwofa. She shouted in her palace and screamed at the top of her voice. The ground shook violently and a terrible storm ensued on the surface of the ocean, causing a large ship to lose its bearing. Soon after running aground and being refloated, the 190-foot fishing vessel sank in heavy seas. Her crew of eighteen men perished with her, completely unaware of the tension going on in the palace of the angry Queen.
“Why couldn’t Hagatha stop them? Why…and what was the mission of all the agents on duty with Hagatha!!! Summon Hagatha here for me!“ The Queen screamed in anger!!!
“Your Highness, have you forgotten that the last time you summoned her, she could not come, you had to go and meet her personally at her place of assignment”
The Queen looked around to see who had the effrontery to declare and remind her of her failures. She stared at the Manchuria, her most trusted palace aide. Amongst all the agents, only Manchuria had the access and privileged of going with her on all trips. She had followed her to meetings of The Grand council of Spiritual Wickedness in High Places with Lucifer.
The Queen of the Coast stared at Manchuria with so much hatred that the poor agent shivered with great fear. Fumes emerged from the nostrils of the Queen as she let out a deafening scream that measured over a hundred and eighty decibels as she stared menacingly at Manchuria. She signaled to the four demonic male agents standing at alert behind her, waiting for the next instruction. They could guess, but were not sure if the Queen would instruct them to manhandle Manchuria; her Chief of Staff! They could not imagine it, but woe betide them if the Queen orders and they hesitate a second!
Then she roared the instructions that sounded like a death sentence!!!
“Take her away!!! Molest her!!! Rape her to death!!!”
TO BE CONTINUED IN EPISODE 28