I took another route toward the big cathedral and began to run until I saw a woman carrying a calabash on her hand from a distance and behind me were Moyo and his men. I didn’t know what to do or how to escape. In a twinkling of an eye, there appeared a police patrol coming in my direction and I wanted to jump at this opportunity but something held me back.
I hid behind an electric pole and looked behind me to be sure if the men were still after me. I saw them running into the bush to hide and probably waited to continue their chase. I remembered Olorire had already warned them to keep me safe but here was I running into safe hands. I perceived the charm lost its effect on me through the prayers of my mother and Mama Bolanle.
Immediately the police van passed where I had hidden, it stopped some meters beside the road from where Moyo and his men were hiding. I felt an unusual surge from within to keep running in the direction of the central market. As soon as I reached Mr Babajide’s motor mechanic shop, I heaved a sigh of relief because Mama Bolanle’s house was behind it. I began to knock the door but no one answered me. The more I knocked the door, the more the dog in the neighbourhood barked.
“Mama Bolanle! Bolanle! Mama Bolanle! Bolanle!” I kept calling their names until I heard a gunshot.
I froze immediately not knowing what to do. In a moment, the lights went off and total darkness enveloped the area. I took cover beside her shop just in front of her house. I kept hope alive knowing fully well my mother would be praying for me. Through the moonlight, I saw a figure coming in my direction hopping like a kangaroo. Later, it changed to a baboon, then to a lion and finally to a goat. Watching a lot of yoruba movies has a way of making one’s mind to conceive a thing and transform it into anything real or imaginary. Fear in me created those imaginary things.
I hid there for almost 30 minutes before the light was restored. As soon as I look in the direction of their sitting room, I saw Mama Bolanle drawing the curtains. I ran and began to knock the door again shouting, “It’s me, Rebecca!”
She quickly opened the door for me and embraced me with joy. Bolanle stood by the door leading to the kitchen smiling at me.
“Don’t mind Bolanle. She actually heard your voice when you first knocked but I didn’t believe her just like the way the early believers didn’t believe Rhoda who told them Peter was the one knocking at the door.” She said joyfully thanking God for my deliverance.
She narrated how my mother and neighbours had searched everywhere for me and how she had informed the police. Though, it was already midnight, I pleaded with her to take me home. My mother’s joy knew no bounds when she saw me. She thanked God and Mama Bolanle for standing with her in the place of prayer and encouragement. My mother was full of tears of joy when I narrated my miraculous escape from those men. She promised to take action but I told her to forget about it.
I slept like a baby until the day break and was refreshed. It was the good news of Moyo’s arrest that woke me up. Mama Bolanle called my mother to inform her about the latest news.
“Why was only Moyo that was arrested?” I asked myself.
Then the story of how the Egyptians were drowned in the red sea came to mind. I heard my mother sharing it with me before the incident. Though, I didn’t pay attention to her, I discovered my mind used to recall them whenever I had a challenge. A part of me still struggled against surrendering to the God who delivered me and another part wanted freedom with only gains.
Later that day, I began to miss my father. No one knew where he was in particular and we felt his absence in our home. I hadn’t disclosed to my mother about the photo of him and a young boy who resembled him. I was thinking aloud whether he had eloped or not. It seemed my mother was getting along without him until I asked her. She cried a bit to prove her love for him but she said something that touched me,
“I finally gave my life to Jesus as a result of the overwhelming troubles in our relationship. I have forgiven him and pray he will come back”
As I sat before her, I thought of how she would feel realising her husband has a son somewhere. I promised myself to find out the truth but the news from Aunt Sharon in the evening changed my position.
“I have sent the documents. Go and apply for visa on time..” This was the only part of our conversation that interested me.
A day was fixed and my mother accompanied me to the motor park. She had already arranged with one of her friends in Lagos to help me with the process and accommodation. I entered the contact of Mrs Cole in my phone, hugged my mother and left for Lagos. A lot of interesting things happened on our journey but one thing that pissed me off was the guy who sat behind me. He was busy calling different people telling them different stories of his whereabouts.
“Babe, I’m on my way to the airport”
“Jane, I’m sorry. My driver is yet to arrive. I will be there in the next 1 hour”
“Bro Kelvin, l’m in Owerri for the retreat. God will revive his church”
“Guess what, Kemi? I’m ready to marry you. I love you!”
“Keep quiet! Do you want to kill me? Tell the landlord to wait for me. I haven’t paid Emmanuel’s school fees. I’m on my way to Lagos. Bye.”
I had thought Mr Tony was the greatest liar in our community but this passenger ought to have been awarded the “Cetificate of flawless liar”. Mr Tony lied to us that he travelled to the US when he newly got married. The truth came out when his wife told us they did their honeymoon in Lagos. The way he described the taking off and landing of their plane at John F. Kennedy International airport in New York would make one believed he was an air traffic controller at the airport. His interest in watching Hollywood movies might have contributed to his lying skills.
True to Mrs Cole’s promise, she was already at the motor park and she drove me to their beautiful house. She wore her recommended glasses like a strong bond between a lover boy and a girl. She introduced herself as a registered nurse who worked in a general hospital, married with two sons. She took me to my room which was beautifully decorated and well lit. Her husband was out of the country and her sons were at the University. She introduced me to her maid, Claire and told her to prepare my dinner immediately. Claire looked at me for some seconds and blinked her eyes.
I went back to my room to call my mother. She expressed her satisfaction and prayed for my visa application scheduled for the next day. Claire came to my room to inform me the dinner was ready. One thing I noticed about Claire was the way she kept blinking her eyes whenever our eyes met. When I finished eating, I took my plates to the kitchen. Claire asked about the food and I gave a satisfactory remark. She smiled and promised to see me later.
I went to bed after a long journey. At midnight, someone tapped my feet and I woke up. It was exactly 12 am and I didn’t see anyone. As I was about to sleep again, I heard a voice saying,
“Come, follow me to the meeting!”
A lady held my hand and we landed among young ladies drinking and singing in a closed room.
“Leader, here is a new member!” she introduced me.
I was helpless and worried. I tried to recognise them but couldn’t. Only one of them used a mask. They all welcomed me with handshake and bowed their heads.
“Acampona! Acampona!!” The lady in mask called me when she came before me.
“They bowed before me and shouted, “Acampona!” and I woke up at exactly 3 am. I was scared and began to think about the meaning of the dream I had. Early in the morning, I called my mother to inform her about the dream.
“Mum, who is Acampona?” I asked.
“Ha! Acampona?” My mother shouted and was silent.
“Mum! Mum!! Are you still there?”
Immediately I said that, the call was ended. I called again and my mother didn’t pick it. I later called after one hour and she picked it. When I was about to ask about the meaning of “Acampona”, someone opened the door and folded the arms. I froze immediately when I saw…
To be continued in Episode 11.