A Novel Written By: Kolade Segun-Okeowo (KSO)
By the time he arrived at the parsonage, Lanre and Akinlolu were already waiting for him outside. They stood on the balcony looking askance. Morakinyo’s heart missed a beat as he saw Lanre and Akinlolu. He wondered what could have gone wrong. He was expecting Lanre. His sister, Mrs. Durotoye had already told him Lanre will come to pick Akinlolu his brother. What could warrant the stay on the balcony in that sober mood is what he could not understand. He increased his pace towards the parsonage.
For Oyinkan, the Onigba-Iwofa mission was a failed mission and was over for her. The recent seven day prayer and fasting of some brethren in Ibadan led by Pastor Kalejaye had caused some major disasters in the operations. Frustration was already setting in for Hagatha. However, she had the problem of determining how to escape from the fury of The Queen. The last time she had a meeting with the Queen under the tree outside the parsonage, she had told the Queen about her frustrations. The Queen merely boasted and made promises; but none was accomplished.
The Kingdom was known for lies and deceptions. Human marine agents were subjected to all kinds of lies and half truths, so that they can continue their operations on earth and continuously be available for satanic usage. When a female agent gets tired and wishes to quit operations, she would be enticed with several goodies of promotions and may even be promised marriage to Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness. Such female agent becomes happy and feels highly honoured to be so priviledged to be Lucifer’s ONLY wife. Unknown to such female agent, several of her mates are going about boasting with the same honour, title and priviledge.
Hagatha knew all these and has become frustrated. But who will she tell? Who will she confess to? Confession meant sabotage and sudden death. She dares not think of it in her heart at all, let alone discuss it with anyone. Morakinyo had been very good to her and she was beginning to have human feelings for him, but a huge danger lies ahead of her. The demons given her to operate with were not just to assist her, they were also meant to police her actions. Any slight action of betrayal on her part will be instantly reported by one of the demons.
Her escape that afternoon before the coming of Lanre was necessary. Apart from the secret that his coming will reveal; she could no longer withstand the volume of power carried by Lanre. Having just gone through a successful deliverance ministration on the campus, where her sprit was forcefully ejected from his body, she was no longer a spiritual match for Lanre. Waiting to meet him would mean disaster! So, for her it was goodbye to Onigba-Iwofa!!!
Lanre explained everything to his uncle. Sweat covered Morakinyo as Lanre told the entire story. He became restless and troubled. Suddenly, his worries gave room to fear as Oyinkan did not show up. Akinlolu had delivered her message. She had gone to Awofolaju to see some brethren in the other village. Awofolaju was only thirty minutes walking distance from Onigba-Iwofa. The time was eight O’ clock already. Nothing could keep her in Awofolaju beyond six O’ clock.
Suddenly, several thoughts began to flood his mind.
‘How did I come about marrying Oyinkan in the first place?’
‘Why didn’t I seek to know her people?’
‘Now, what if anything goes wrong with her and her people show up to ask for the whereabouts of her daughter?
‘Why didn’t I carry my Church along in all of these? Who will help me now?
“Why did I not pray about this before the marriage?”
‘Why didn’t I bother to know the Missionary agency that sent her to join me here?’
‘Wasn’t I stupid? … Was I crazy…Was I under a spell?’
‘What if Lanre is right? Could it be true that I married an agent of darkness?’
‘Oh my God am I dreaming? Jesus save me!!!’
‘Morakinyo wake up from this bad dream?’
It was as if some scales fell from his eyes as he began to ask himself a thousand and one questions.
“Sir, what are we going to do?” Lanre asked from Morakinyo who was completely lost in thoughts. Lanre asked again.
“Uncle, I said what do we do?” Morakinyo sighed heavily. His thoughts were not coordinated as his brain raced through his mind thinking of what to do.
“We have to report to the Police Post first and then inform the Kabiyesi that my wife is missing. We have to start from there” He stood and quickly entered a pair of slippers. “Let’s go!!!”
“Uncle, lets pray before we go” Lanre said.
“Oh, you are right. That’s true. We should do that. I am just confused”
They knelt and prayed. Lanre said the prayers. It was a simple prayer of a young convert. He simply said “Lord Jesus, we are confused, we don’t know the right thing to do. We ask that you teach us what to do. Please shed light on our ways and give us victory. In Jesus name we pray”
Greatone shook his head as he did the day Morakinyo started his misplaced prayer on marriage at the village church.
The only Police post in Onigba-Iwofa was a few meters from the palace. A few minutes trek took Morakinyo and his nephews there. The only police officer on duty was fast asleep when they got there. It took some efforts to wake the middle aged police constable who appeared clearly older than his age. He wore a loose shirt over his police trousers while the official uniform hung on the wall across his head where he slept.
As the voices continued, he hustled out of his sleep and quickly grabbed a torch light carefully placed not too far away from him and pointed it at the “intruders”
“Yes, what do you want” He said, yawning as he spoke.
“We have a case of a missing person!” Morakinyoo said, almost barking. He stared at the officer angrily.
“Ah, missing person!!! In this Onigba-Iwofa!!! It has never happened before!!!” The Police Sergeant said pointing the torchlight at Morakinyo. Suddenly, he stood as he recognized the face.
“Ah Pastor! It’s you. Good evening. Who is missing? A member of your church?”
“No…It’s my wife” Morakinyo said slowly. For the first time it dawned on him that the news of a pastor’s wife missing is not too palatable. He wished he hadn’t come to the police post.
“She went to Awofolaju village around twelve in the afternoon and has not returned since then” Morakinyo managed to explain.
“Ahhh!!! That is serious” The Policeman stood quickly, grabbed his uniform and wore it speedily. “I need to take your report and we shall immediately swing into action” He gave Morakinyo a log-like book and asked him to write a report of the missing person.
“Please write, while I inform my boss” The Constable said and disappeared into the station leaving the torchlight with Morakinyo who continued with the statement.
Soon, the constable emerged from the room with another officer; a Sergeant. Although fully kitted, the Sergeant too had sleepy eyes. He yawned and greeted Morakinyo familiarly.
“Pastor, don’t worry, we shall find her. First we must get to Awofolaju right away. Have you informed the Kabiyesi?” The Sergeant asked.
“No, not yet, we came here first”
“We shall inform him at once. He will order the local Town Crier to go round and beat the gong that the Pastor’s wife is missing so that anyone who knows her whereabouts can come forward with useful information”
Lanre squeezed his face in the darkness. That was not going to be a good one for the reputation of his Uncle. Fortunately, Morakinyo had the same mind.
“Ah …no Sir. That might not be necessary, so that we don’t create panic in the town especially amongst our members” Morakinyo explained.
“That’s true, you are correct” The Senior Police Officer agreed with him as he finished writing the report. “Let’s go to see His Royal Highness”
Their stay at the palace was very short. Oba Folagbade was shocked to hear the news. He immediately sent a message to the Head Hunter who quickly sent word to seven of his men to join in the search. Within thirty minutes, they had assembled to join the two police officers in the search.
Morakinyo excused Lanre and Akinlolu to return to the parsonage while he followed the search team. Initially, Lanre refused, but Morakinyo insisted, on the grounds that the journey from Ibadan to Onigba-Iwofa earlier in the day must have taken a toll on him and the fact that young Akinlolu cannot stand the stress of the search party, neither can he be allowed to stay alone at the parsonage at such a time of the day. Lanre agreed and returned to the parsonage with Akinlolu.
The search team first went to Awofolaju and questioned Madam Mobiyiina Ajanaku; the Head of the women group Oyinkan was said to have visited. The woman was aghast. She explained that the wife of the Pastor did not come to Awofolaju that day. She spoke with authority.
“Mummy did not come here today at all. If she comes, I am the first person she would see, since I am the one that will gather all the women in Awofolaju together for her to speak to all of us. The last time she came here was a day before our last market day. That was four days ago. She promised to come again two days after the next market day. She was not in Awofolaju today at all! That I am sure of” She explained as she moved her heavy frame each time she spoke, describing her point with constant gesticulations.
The search team; not satisfied with her report insisted that she take them to the house of some other women in the village.
“You see, Mobiyiina, when a very valuable object is missing, one searches for it crazily…crazily my sister” Dendoga, the Head of the Hunters explained to her.
Reluctantly, Mobiyiina followed them to the houses of two other women in the village. Her husband, Gesingunwa followed them. The visit to the house of the two women produced no better result as they echoed Mobiyiina. According to them, they have no direct relationship with the Pastor’s wife except through Mobiyiina and there was no way the woman will see them except through Mobiyiina.
“I told you, Mummy Pastor is a very good woman, she believes in me and will not do anything without me. God will not allow her to fall into the hands of evil people” Mobiyiina explained to the search team.
“Thank you Mobiyiina…Gunwa, thank you for releasing your wife” Dendoga said as the search team left Awofolaju for Onigba-Iwofa.
The journey back to Onigba-Iwofa was a big burden for Morakinyo. The stress of the whole day was already affecting him. He had only taken breakfast. He had been optimistic that dinner would be ready by the time he returned to the parsonage. That was what gave him the boldness to reject the food prepared by the Olori. If he had known, he would have eaten at the palace.
‘But who could imagine this will happen’
The search team encouraged Morakinyo to return home and sleep soundly as they were sure nothing could go wrong with the woman. They promised to continue the search in the morning.
“Nothing of this sort has ever happened in this town…Never” Said the Sergeant. “Missing person? No way!!! Not in Onigba-Iwofa” He said with assurance and finality.
“The only problem we had was the Orogojigo epidemic and it was you Pastor that God used to stop it…Haaa!!! It will never happen” Dendoga, the Head of the hunters prayed
“First thing tomorrow morning, Pastor; go to the NITEL office in Sepeteri and make calls to your people and her people in the city. You never can tell; something urgent might have taken her to the city that she didn’t have time to explain to you” The Police Sergeant offered further advice.
Morakinyo thanked all of them and wished them well. As they all dispersed back to their various homes around eleven O’ clock in the night, Morakinyo heart was heavy and pounding as he recalled the words of the Police Sergeant.
“Pastor, go to the NITEL office in Shaki and make calls to your people and her people in the city.”
‘Her people? Which people? How do I tell the world that I don’t know my wife’s relations? Haaa!!! I’m in serious trouble!!! How could I have been this stupid?’
He kept asking himself another round of questions till he got to the parsonage. Fortunately, NEPA restored light that night as he strolled back to the parsonage. It was already late in the night, so shouts of “Up NEPA” did not rent the air as usual. Morakinyo entered the house carefully and went to his room quietly. He had asked them to leave the door open for him. Lanre and Akinlolu had slept.
Sleeping was a taboo for Morakinyo that night! More thoughts raced through his mind as he considered the foolishness of his actions as touching the marriage to Oyinkan. Suddenly, his mind flashed back to the report Odesola, the husband of Eebudola came to give him weeks ago about his wife. He sat up from the bed in a jiffy, his heart panting heavily.
Odesola had claimed he saw his wife transform from an eerie-looking creature into a normal human being at the banks of River Ahobiose. He remembered how he had dismissed the report with a wave of the hand and counseled the man to bind the devil anytime he sees such scenes again. Odesola’s wife, Eebudola and her only child had stopped coming to the church afterwards. His eyes shone in the brightness of the NEPA-illuminated room, even as more thoughts flooded his mind preventing any possibility of sleep.
The testimony of Lanre was equally scary. Morakinyo had been a born-again Christian for years but he never heard of dual personality. The only time he had the opportunity to learn about demonic operations was when a deliverance minister came to the church in Ibadan to handle a seminar on demonology and operations of the world of darkness. The Guest Minister said some scary things that made Morakinyo lose interest in demonology and deliverance studies. However, the man never spoke about dual personality.
‘My God…so I married a witch!!!…Oh my God, let someone tell me I am dreaming!!!’
He shuddered as he remembered the dream and almost screamed!!!
He was gathering firewood on a farm. He sang as he gathered big bundle. He looked around for a rope to tie the bundle of firewood. He saw a good one and pulled at it but the rope would not give way. He tried again and a sharp thorn pricked his hand, he screamed and turned away from the rope. He looked around for another one; he saw a thin rope which was not strong but easy to pull. He pulled it out and tied the bundle all around. He pulled off his shirt and made it into a head-rest. He carried the bundle to his head just then, the rope broke and the bundle scattered….
He remembered everything now!!! Even Mrs. Aarinola Paseda; the Secretary to the Head of the Department, confirmed the dream as she had a similar one. He remembered clearly how the woman had accosted him that morning when he went o pick the two envelopes with one marked ‘Ford Foundation’ from his pigeon hole. He had tucked the two into his pocket and headed towards the door, when the woman called out to him. He remembered the exact words of the woman.
“I saw you in our village, you wore a native dress and you were gathering firewood. You got a large bundle and looked around for a rope to bind it. You tried dragging one rope but it hurt you badly, so you left it and got another. After binding the bundle, you removed your dress and made a head-rest with it. As you carried the bundle, the rope broke and the firewood scattered. When I woke from the dream, I laughed and laughed. It was such a funny dream. I asked myself; what would a Senior Lecturer have to do with gathering firewood in the farm, my village for that matter. So I told myself, I must share the joke with you”
Those were the exact words of the woman. The whole scenario began to play out to him like a movie!!! The rope!!! Gbayike was the first rope that was difficult to get while the second, barely manageable rope; referred to Oyinkan!!!
‘This is getting clearer now!!! But why didn’t I pay attention…A sister walks up to tell me she is a missionary and…Pronto! I accepted her and we started working together…This is crazy!!! Morakinyo…what went wrong with you?’
To be continued in Episode 30