Being single has its advantages; a hastily prepared and eaten meal without cause to cater to the needs of a nagging wife or demanding kids could be strangely comforting. I am not the best cook in the world and it showed in the taste of the bean pottage, but that I could readily live with. For a moment my stomach rumbled, affirming my culinary skills or the lack of it but the discomfort passed, and I prepared for the day’s tasks.
Ekparakwa might not be prominent in the Nigerian landscape, but it is a sprawling village in Orukanem Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. Like all thriving small towns commerce, buying and selling is prevalent large due to a robust population that indulge in a variety of productive ventures.
I set out for my farm, a parcel of land my father had bequeathed me just before he passed on and on which I cultivate cassava and yams. The rains would come soon and haste is expedient if I desire a productive season. I passed other farmers engaged in the same chores but I didn’t stop for chatter. My farm was particularly far and I want to accomplish as much as is possible before the rising sun makes it too uncomfortable.
At last I arrived and set about my task assiduously but the rhythm was truncated in about an hour later when my stomach started to heave, the turbulence refusing to be placated even when I remained still. Grudgingly I stopped working and selected a concealed spot away from the plot where I could relieve myself. Looking out for snakes and the likes, I had just started when nature suddenly stood still. Birds stopped their chirping, insects scampered into the undergrowth and the air seemed to be electrified and for a moment, there was no motion of any kind. No reptile in the underbrush, no birds flying, only my breath coming in laboured gasps.
Suddenly a gust of wind began and grew in intensity, flattening grasses and snapping twigs and boughs from trees. The air was suddenly chilly and I was frozen to the spot while the wind upgraded to a whirlwind. I was expecting rain at any moment but as lightning flashed and thunder roared, a beautiful maiden descended from the rapidly spinning column of air, clutching a handbag on her head!
The wind stopped abruptly as she took two steps in my direction and stopped. She looked furtively and listened for any sound or movement but I was still on my hunches and the thick foliage provided good cover. Satisfied she wasn’t watched, the lady from the clouds put her handbag on her stomach and spun her body and immediately the handbag was transformed into a large tray containing exotic fruits like bananas, avocado pear and apples. Again she listened for any intrusion and satisfied there was none, made her way towards town.
I remained transfixed for some moments before hastily cleaning myself and beating a hasty retreat to civilization. I had just seen what mortals are not permitted to witness and could not remain still. Utibe Bokeime was a senior friend and also one of the senior pastors in the church I attended. He is gifted with a peculiar anointing for such cases and to him I went instead of going home. I have been described courageous and brave, but this was far from being normal and only adepts in the metaphysical could handle this.
He listened to my incredible story with rapt attention and asked that some parts be repeated without any expression of surprise. At the end he demanded I take him back to the spot the fiendish event had occurred and with trepidation, I retraced my steps to the location with the bag carrying pastor beside me.
We arrived at the spot and my companion could see for himself the ravaged vegetation I had just recently recounted. He burst out into songs of praise and worship and after a while burst into tongues. This session lasted almost an eternity before he started making decrees and demands. Finally, just as the heat from the sun was becoming almost unbearable, he indicated he is done and we headed back to his home. The event borders on the macabre and I couldn’t trust myself to be alone at the time.
After about four hours there was a gentle knock on the door and since my friend was still a bachelor, I went to open the door to his living room and stood transfixed at what assailed my eyes. Standing in the doorway with fury in her eyes was the beautiful lady from the clouds, robed in a frill dress that just missed being immodest. She brushed past me as if I didn’t exist and entered the room as if it has been part of her life all along. Like a demon out of hell she made straight for the pastor but stopped abruptly when he ordered her to stop in the name of Jesus Christ.
“Why did you want to get involved in a matter that does not concern you? And who gave you the authority to block my return?” she screamed, her eyes transmitting she felt for this intruder.
The pastor was silent, not bothering to reply her questions and invectives when she resorted to foul language to plead her case. I was surprised such language could emanate from someone so beautiful but fascinated by all this; it is not every day one witnesses the clash between light and darkness.
When she saw her antics was not profitable she begged to be released as it was way past the time she ought to have returned but still the pastor remained silent. She begged, oh how she begged, the beautiful demon rolled on the floor and wept but my friend only shook his head in the negative.
“Okay what do you want me to do?” the lady asked, putting down the tray and groveling, desperate to exit this plane before it was too late.
“Tell me what you have done?” the pastor asked. “Why did you carry the fruits to?”
He seemed to be caught off guard by his question and for a moment I thought she wouldn’t oblige him but the odds are stacked heavily against her and she finally spoke.
“I took the fruits o the market to sell, she revealed.”
“And the purpose…” he prompted.
“I sell only to women,” she explained. “Any one that eats of any of the fruits will suffer great misfortune.”
“Like miscarriages, accidents, near success syndrome, marriage problems, fornication, bad luck. You know, what you people generally call misfortune!”
Petrified I watched not daring to breathe and remaining desperately anonymous as possible as the grisly conversation continued.
“How many ladies did you sell to?”
“The fruits are attractive, especially the bananas, and I lost count. But I know the process was repeated thrice!”
Hey are you there? Three times the demon had said. Three times in a day, wreaking havoc on unsuspecting female population. No wonder there is so much ill in this community.
“I want you to reverse what you did today.” Utibe command, his voice resonating as only a son of God could muster.” “I want you to set these people free from your bewitchment or you will remain here forever.”
“Ah, but how does this concern you? They are not even members of your flock so why advocate for their release. What you ask for is very difficult. What is done is done!”
My friend will not be deceived. He is aware of the guiles of the evil one and his cohorts and would not budge for the condition he had given.
“Alright, I will do as you asked but not in the presence of this man,” she croaked, pointing at me. I want him to leave.”
“And why should he leave?”
“The incantation and effect would kill him. Unlike you, he is a spiritual weakling!”
I looked at my friend who indicated I go into his bedroom. Grateful to be excused this ghoulish scene but with my tail between my legs for being a spiritual dwarf, I sneaked into my friend’s room and locked the door.
For five minutes there was silence, like the calm before a storm, and just as expected the storm was unleashed moments later. From my place of confinement I could hear sounds of a mighty wind like a hurricane mingled with what sounded like growls of a million demons. Female voices could be heard cursing and weeping in anguish and when this is laced with the other sounds, it created a cacophony only demons could describe. It remained like that for another five minutes before subsiding and a little later all was still.
I waited another minute and was about opening the door when I heard sounds again. This time it was pleasant; gay laughter carried on wings of music that could only have been made by the celestial choir.
At last my friend called that I come out and I did with caution. Both were drenched in sweat but there were signs of discomfort on the pretty lady’s face which I attributed to the passage of time. Having complied with his demands, she was desperate he fulfill his. Finally, after what seemed an eternity in which he seemed to be meditating, Utibe mentioned that we be on our way.
Boarding a taxi cab, we made a beeline for the unholy location. There were no farmers tending to their crops as dusk was already in the horizon. As the cloudy visitor stood apprehensive, the pastor quickly went into action, reversing his decrees and sentences, beseeching the Almighty to show mercy. At a point he re-anointed the spot and asked her to stand beside him and she complied immediately. In the contest between good and evil, good seemed to be triumphant.
As the sun was being covered with dark clouds, there was a whooish sound and the wind picked up again, swaying the vegetation and silencing crickets and cicadas that were heralding the coming night. Though afraid, I caught a glimpse of the lady and watched as she placed the handbag on her head and defied gravity as she ascended for some seconds and then disappeared into thin air!
Are you still there? Is this earthly? I had to pinch myself to make sure it was not a nightmare. I have seen, read and heard many strange things in the three decades the Lord had so far granted me in the land of the living but none, I repeat none compares to this. This was my last thought before the spectacle became too much for me and I slumped, unconscious to the floor of the bush.
I felt gentle hands on my face and I looked up to a pair of concerned eyes. It was my friend trying to clear the grogginess I felt. I had no idea of the time that had elapsed but with the approaching darkness, I knew it was about time we left.
Naturally I did not return to work on that piece of land again but sold it to a cousin since it must remain within the family at a giveaway price. I have not recounted my strange experience to anyone except the pastor but I assume it is now time to tell the story so people could know the many unsolicited battles the Lord fights for them and to appreciate genuine men of God whose essence of the whole is to tend to the sheep in their flock and any other business the Lord would have them do.
source: Timsy Magazine
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