On our way to the park, I asked Mrs Cole whether she knew the true identity of her maid. She applied brake and turned to me to be sure of what I asked her.
“Claire? Did you see a lady wearing a mask in your dream? Did you drink concortion too?” She asked with trembling voice.
Immediately I finished answering her, like a thunderbolt she began to convulse with foam in her mouth. We were fortunate we weren’t on the main road. The first thing I did was to switch off the engine. I remembered my father taught me that whenever we travelled. He was fond of giving me valuable information about car while my mother focused on the cooking aspect. My teachers too weren’t left out as I was ready to learn good values from anyone around me.
Mrs Cole’s condition began to deteriorate and just like in the movies, a man who was passing by with a young boy saw how I was trying to revive her ran to us. Immediately he saw her, he began to rebuke the spirit in her and calling the name of Jesus. I wondered at first why he didn’t find a way of taking her to hospital instead of praying for her. In a moment, she became normal again and asked why we had to park by the side of the road.
“Madam, I’m sorry to tell you that your spirit is bound by a strange power.” the stranger politely told her.
I perceived the man was a prophet or a servant of God just the way Mama Bolanle used to call the spiritual leaders. He began to ask her questions to which she responded without restriction. It dawned on me that Mrs Cole had been waiting for a day to be set free.
“Would you mind following me to my house to see the lady?” Mrs Cole asked the preacher.
I was determined to follow them regardless of my trip back to my town. I had my answer ready should she ask for my opinion. The preacher expressed his willingness to follow her but needed to take his wife along. She put a call across to his wife who later joined us. What he did brought to my memory what Thonia told me about a man in her town who received a call from one of his neighbours’ daughter to rescue her only for him to put her in a family way. It was later revealed the lady deliberately set the man up. This was a wise decision. However, Mrs Cole didn’t bother to ask me.
On our way to her house, I began to think of how the drama would unfold with Claire. The man and his wife were praying while I was thinking of the downfall of a maid who was hell-bent on destroying families. We were at the last junction before turning to our street by the left when a motorcyclist rammed into our car. The shock on our faces revealed this wasn’t ordinary.
The motorcyclist crossed from the other lane to hit our car but Mrs Cole was determined to get home on time. Mr Patrick, the preacher came down to attend to the motorcyclist still praying silently. Before he got to him, he stood up and fled the scene. Only the headlamp got broken with minor scratch on the side of the car.
Mrs Cole didn’t wait for Claire to open the gate. Her promptness showed she meant business as she opened it and drove in. Mrs Cole opened the door and stood back to allow the couple to enter in first. I allowed them to file in before joining the queue.
“Claire! Claire!! Where are you?” Mrs Cole called her authoritatively.
Mr Patrick and his wife didn’t stop praying and they were busy moving around the sitting room like Mama Bolanle used to do in our house. Mrs Cole started moving from one room to the other looking for her until we didn’t hear her footsteps again. Mr Patrick’s wife was the first person to notice it. They ran into the guest room while I stayed back in the sitting room watching the drama.
Suddenly, I felt the presence of someone behind me and I froze like a stranded hunter in the snowy place with a polar bear staring at him. I couldn’t move because I knew who was behind me. I couldn’t talk and she came in front of me looking at me strangely,
“And I warned you. I warned you! Here is your punishment.” She touched my mouth and that was it.
I felt a fire burning in my mouth with serious pain all over my body. She stood there waiting for me to pass out. If not for Mr Patrick who came out on time, it would have been the end. Almost in coma on the floor, I could hear their war of words with Mr Patrick shouting “Jesus” and Claire calling some strange names to rescue her. The hot exchange of words continued while I was in serious pain and the heavy load on me was as if the planet Jupiter was placed on my head to carry it.
I didn’t hear Claire again but only “Hallelujah” and I felt the hands of Mr Patrick’s wife on my body as they prayed fervently for me until a Man in bright glory appeared and rolled away the load from my head and quenched the burning sensation in my mouth. I felt a great relief and peace in my heart. Mr Patrick’s wife lifted me up and gently led me to the sofa to rest my head. They began to sing their religious songs including Mrs Cole. I was told Claire had tied Mrs Cole down on a chair in the guest room while tormenting her with her mouth closed.
In addition, they said Claire had determined to eliminate her the following week. My short stay in their house turned out to be a divine arrangement. Mrs Cole allowed the couple to take Claire along to their church to complete the deliverance process and rehabilitation. The couple stayed for a while teaching us from the Bible what we needed to do. Despite my deliverance, I still didn’t want to surrender to the God who saved me. However, Mrs Cole surrendered her life to Jesus and cried for her losses but Mr Patrick’s wife encouraged her to be of good cheer.
Then her phone began to ring and she picked it.
“I’m coming home. I’m sorry for abandoning you and my sons. The strange lady almost killed me today…” We heard her conversation with her husband because she deliberately put it on speaker.
Mrs Cole was full of gratitude and testified how her husband left for Italy for a week conference and later hooked up with a strange woman in Italy. The couple left with Claire who looked sober after revealing more shocking revelations. Later that day, Mrs Cole took me to the park. On our way, her sons also called to apologise for their bad attitude but she told them God had taken control.
Mrs Cole thanked me again before leaving the park and promised to host me before leaving for Germany if I got the visa. My journey back to my town was smooth except for the women gossiping openly about their husbands and their bedroom escapades. I thought women should be discreet about their personal lives but these women proved otherwise.
At exactly 6:15, I alighted from the bus, took my luggage and left the park. By the time I got home, my mother had prepared yam flour with my favourite ewedu soup garnished with cow meat and chicken. I narrated my near-to-death experience and how total strangers came to our rescue. She praised God and called Mama Bolanle to rejoice with her.
Days rolled into weeks and I got my visa to study in Germany. My mother was full of thanks to her sister and I was already dreaming of my time in Germany. My mother warned me not to tell anyone about my travelling. It remained a top secret until the day…
To be continued in Episode 14.