PRAYER WARRIOR – BEN IN THE BUILDING

“Maya!”

She turned and came face to face with Ben Carson or Ben Bruce, whatever. A soft smile tilted her lip slightly as the man hurried to her. He looked different from yesterday when he needed change. Then he wore jeans and snickers like a student. Today, he had on the regalia of one who was coming from or going to a ceremony. A red cap on his head lay skewed like the style of a man learning how to wear the head gear.

“I said I will see you today.” He took her hand as soon as he could. “I always keep my word.”

Maya tugged at her hand and he released it. “What are you doing here?” It crossed her mind she didn’t give him her name yesterday, so how did he know it, but she let it pass.

He snickered. “On a university campus? That’s a funny question.”

As though to buttress her point, she hugged her file folder closer to her chest. “You don’t look like a student.”

He looked at himself. “Perhaps, dressed like this.” Then chuckled. “But there is no other way to know a student. Definitely not by age.”

Maya shrugged. She didn’t care if he was a student or not. She had a prayer meeting to attend and didn’t want to be late.

“I need to run. Bye.”

She didn’t wait for him to respond. Her mother always warned her about stupid old men.

 

****

 

Ben turned and watched her go until he couldn’t see her anymore. What in the earth just happened? He touched his cap, tilted to the right angle. She saw it, so why wasn’t she immediately inclined to him? He touched her and felt the current, but she didn’t yield. By now, he expected to be having a drink with her. By night, she would be in his bed, and then she would never be free until he was done with her. He’d be happy to discard her living carcass.

He rubbed the face of his watch as should, and his image appeared where the face of the watch had been.

“What happened?”

The image shook its head. “You need to do more. She’s a strong one.”

Ben gasped. “Then why didn’t you tell me? Are you trying to make me a fool? Or do you not know you will live longer if this works?”

“Get angry if you like, it doesn’t change anything. Go and do the needful.” The image disappeared.

Ben exclaimed. He caught himself when he realized he was standing in the middle of a faculty. People moved around him. He leaned against the wall. Anyone seeing him would think he had a smartwatch and was probably checking his email or something. Instead, Ben was trying to reconjure the image.

“Come back, what’s wrong with you?”

After several attempts, he picked himself and returned to his house where his shrine was. He would do the extra rituals and hopefully, Maya would be conquered.

She had to be conquered.

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PRAYER WARRIOR – PHILOSOPHY OF FRIENDSHIP

Maya giggled until she couldn’t breathe normally and gasped. “You’ll kill me today, Ope. What kind of human being are you?”

Ope smirked. “The kind that gets you throwing up your food because of my librarian.”

This statement stopped Maya. She grimaced. “What do you mean?”

“Precisely, I make no sense.” The boy sighed. “Do you think I will be a good comedian?”

Maya clasped her hand over her mouth. “Are you serious? You will drop out of med school for comedy?”

“Do you have a clue how much Basket Mouth makes at a gig?”

She rolled her eyes. “Basket Mouth is funny. You’re not.”

Ope threw up his hands in the air. “But you laugh at everything I say.”

“Because I’m your friend.”

A man walked to the table where the two sat with drinks, in the library cafeteria. He had a smile on his face and directed his gaze at Ope. “Do you have change, please? I had a bottle of drink and they didn’t tell me I should be prepared to pay in cash. I have just one-thousand naira bills.”

Ope shook his head. “I’m sorry, we don’t have.”

“Can I pay for you then, it makes more sense. The salesgirl wasn’t ready to pack all her change for just a hundred naira drink.”

Maya arched an eyebrow. Hmm, how generous!

“Well, our bill is three hundred. I would give you back but–”

Maya reached out for her purse. “I have the three hundred.”

The man looked at her as though he just noticed she was there. “Thank you, my dear.”

She removed the money and gave him. “Here.”

“Can you go and pay, please?” He gave one thousand naira to Ope. “Thank you.”

Ope smirked, hesitated, then took the money and stood. The man took his seat and he strolled off to pay for the drinks.

“My name is Ben. Ben Carson.” He winked. “Not the famous one, of course.”

“Oh, I don’t know the famous Ben Carson, sir.”

“Ben Bruce, then. At least, you know him.”

Maya laughed. “Ah, I know him.”

“You’re very pretty. The boy,” Ben gestured toward where Ope left for. “Your boyfriend?”

“My friend. We grew up together. He’s helping me to get my registration done. I’m a year one student, B.Phil.” Maya stopped. Why was she talking to a complete stranger about her life? She smiled. “His name is Ope.”

“Opeodun, opeayo, opeire?”

Maya chuckled. “Opeoluwa.”

“Oh!” Ben smiled. “How could I have missed that.”

Ope returned with six-hundred-naira change. “There was no queue, which is strange.” He gave the money to Ben.

“Thank you.” Ben stood. “I’ll get your number the next time we meet.” He winked again and walked off in the direction he came.

“Who on earth?” Ope took his seat. “Feeling like a goat. So sure he will meet you again. And you will give him your number.”

Maya laughed. “He’s not your mate!”

“Now now? You better beware of all these campus predators looking for fresh meat.”

Maya sneered. “I’d say that man is old enough to be my father. He looks more like a lecturer than a student.”

“And who says only students are predators?” He took a drink. “He makes my skin crawl.”

“Tah!” Maya laughed. “Stop sounding like my mother!”

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PRAYER WARRIOR – DREAMING AGAIN!

The waiter placed the food in front of the young woman. Aduke reached for the plate but the man’s hand shot out in front of hers.

“No, eat your own, and she eats her own,” he snarled.

Aduke retained her hold on the plate. “No, I want it!”

An effigy moaned. “Everyone eats from their own plate.”

The man slapped her hand, hard.

Aduke woke with a start. “Aha?”

She blinked several times, her breath squeezed out via her mouth. She stared at her right hand, which was slapped in the dream. It was as normal as ever, and there was no pain or discomfort from it. She picked her phone. Though the time showed a quarter after three, she speed-dialled Aunty Ranti’s number.

“Aduke!”

“Aunty Ranti. It’s me. Eh!”

“Come to my room,” Aunty Ranti said.

 

The doors along the corridor opened to two- and three-bed apartments in the three-story building. The landlord knew how to maximize space and at least achieve an average of ten tenants per floor. Aunty Ranti lived on the first floor in a three-bedroom house with her two sons, aged mother and invalid husband. She was at the door when Aduke knocked.

“It’s the dream again.” Aduke panted though she had climbed just a flight of stairs. “The same one.”

“Come in,” Aunty Ranti retied her wrapper about her chest. “Mami and I just turned in to sleep.”

“Aunty Ranti, what does it mean? We need to pray, aunty mi.”

“Did you see the faces this time?”

Aduke shook her head. “No. The voice is the same. And this time, he slapped my hand.”

“Something changes in each dream. He never hit you before.” Ranti sighed. “Did the young woman say anything this time?”

“No.” Aduke heaved. “But the effigy.”

Ranti leaned forward. “What did it say?”

“That everyone eats their own plate of food.” Aduke moaned. “The fear…the way my body shakes when I wake up. This is a lot of evil, and I don’t know what it means.”

“I remember when my Ola was going to have that accident that left him an invalid till tomorrow…this is how I was having these dreams I could not understand but I would be so afraid. The devil wanted to kill him!”

“Ah!” Aduke clasped her hands over her head. “This is the fourth time in how many weeks. What does it mean, my God?”

“We just have to pray. That is the only thing we know how to do. Hmm.” Ranti paused. “Let me get my olive oil and tell Mami. Then we go to your house and anoint it.”

“Maya was asleep, hope we will not disturb her.”

Ranti scoffed. “It is part of the disadvantage of a mother who is a prayer warrior. She either joins us or stays awake until we finish.”

Aduke shrugged half-heartedly. “This dream should just go away.”

She cherished her daughter. Praying the way they did, Maya would not be happy but what can a prayer warrior do in such a time as this?

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TUESDAY ROSE BUSHES – THE THIRD CAPTAIN

Captain Raziel, a captain of fifty, walked into the inner chambers of his home and looked around at the beautiful silk draperies and gold pillars. He lived well. As a young man serving in the king’s army, his family was proud of his achievement in battle. He clutched his sword and felt the slipperiness of his sweat on the metal. He should be headed out, but his heart thudded in his chest. Would this be the last time in his home? What manner of assignment was this? He could face off the meanest Philistine, but a prophet seated on top of a hill.

Shira walked up behind him and he stiffened. She was the last person he wanted to see, not when he was covered in trepidation and sweat.

“I heard the news in the vineyard.” She pressed herself to his back. “Two captains with their fifties already gone without returning.”

He groaned. “Yes.”

“A young shepherd boy–”

He turned into her arms, her warmth. He would die with a sword in his hand, fighting for his king and his kingdom, not burned up like a sacrificial lamb!

“Saw everything. The burned bodies of mighty men, strewn across the valley with the evil birds feasting already.” He heaved a heavy sigh. “I know, Shira my love.”

“No one knows what the prophet has done to them.”

“I have been asked on the king’s errand, Shira, wife. To bring the prophet on the hill to the king.” He cupped her face. “I am the third captain to be sent.”

Shira screeched. “No, you must refuse. You cannot…the king cannot risk you like that!”

He stepped away from her. “You know that is not possible. If I refuse, I will be beheaded immediately!”

She ran to him, her face wet with tears. “I cannot lose you. Our son cannot lose you!”

“I am a soldier and my life is pledged to the cause of the king.” He pressed a kiss on her forehead. “I must leave now.”

Raziel did not want to look into her eyes, but he did. “Be strong, my love. Take care and the Lord be with you.”

He tore away from her and marched on, her voice in tears and prayers trailing him.

“The Lord bless you! And keep you! And make His face shine upon you. And be gracious on to you, Raziel, son of Asher! The Lord lift up His countenance upon you. And give you peace…”

He said the “Amen” to her every prayer until he heard no more. His men waited, and he saw the fear on their faces and prayed they drew strength from him. He did not have any comfort for them however, they were all obeying the command of the king.

They marched on to the foot of the hill, fresh scent of burned flesh, with some of the smoke arose. Raziel motioned to his men to stop and be quiet. Then he climbed on to the side of the hill, his arms raised above his head. It made him look weak, but he knew he heard the word of wisdom in his spirit on how to proceed. He was not about to let ego or disobedience to the voice destroy him and his fifty.

Elijah sat with his face turned to the ground, a hairy man who wore a leather belt around his waist. Raziel had no idea what to expect, but not this bundle of vulnerability.

He fell on his knees though, the prophet did not acknowledge his presence. “O man of God, please spare my life and the lives of these, your fifty servants.”  When the prophet still did not respond, he continued. “See how the fire from heaven came down and destroyed the first two groups. But now please spare my life!”

No movement, no words. The prophet continued to stare at the ground, and he remained on his knees, his head bowed. Then, he felt rather than heard or saw movement. Prophet Elijah stood. He took a few steps forward and Raziel raised his head. The look on the prophet’s face drained energy from his bones but also sent a silent message, “I will go with you.”

Under his breath, Raziel moaned. “Jehovah be praised.”

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PRAYER WARRIOR – INTRO

He prowls around young beautiful women with a bright future. He knows the ones to latch on because of his diabolic means. His name is Ben, and you don’t want him around your daughter. When he gets the girl, he swaps her star…she starts to go down while he goes up.

Seventeen-year-old Maya doesn’t know this. But her mother, Aduke, is a prayer warrior…

The drama starts now…come with me every Sunday and Thursday until we get to the bottom of this!

 

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MONDAY CHOCOLATE MELTDOWN – TWINSTER 5

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Daz ran to the door and blocked it with her body, crying so hard she couldn’t breathe. She gripped his face and blinded by her tears felt his soak her hands.

“P–lease. P–lease. Let me tell you the truth.” She placed her head on his chest, sure she would suffocate if she couldn’t stop the tears. She breathed hard with her mouth.

Victor stood still. She knew he was giving her a last chance. If he walked out that door, she would never see him again.

“You remember how–that day you were so mad at me. I thought you’d leave me. But you stayed.” She searched out his face, but he stared above her head, his jaws twitching. “You chose to forgive me, darling,” she whispered. “And I am forever grateful to you. You gave me a second chance.”

 

***

 

Victor’s heart beat harder when Daz placed her head on it. He couldn’t look at her now. What else did she have to say? What more could she have done that she hadn’t already? Destiny died of a drug overdose in Daz’s house, and instead of telling the truth, she came to her house and swapped identity before she announced to the family what happened. He never knew she could be so bold. For two weeks she feigned mourning until that night when he wanted to make love to her.

“I was tired. I loved you more than my life, and I wanted you to love me the same.”

“You know I loved you the same, Daz,” he muttered.

He was tired too. The secrets would never end. There was no use fighting. For ten horrible years he hung on, hoping a day would come when he could walk out of his shadow and see sunlight again, with her in his arms. That day would never come because the shadows would never go away.

Daz cried. “I didn’t tell Mom I was Daz because I wanted to hurt us. I was dying!”

His head dropped to his chest, but her face was in his shirt. “Dying?”

“Inside,” she whispered. “I couldn’t take anymore, the fact that no one knew what happened. I wanted to confide in someone. I made her swear she’d tell no one.”

He groaned. “You had me.”

“But you had your theory and I didn’t want to make you believe something else. You had taken more than was fair!

“What are you talking about?” He raised her chin and stared into her beautiful brown eyes, now red, and dry, and puffy. “What theory?”

“I never told you what happened. You drew your conclusions.” She blinked but he held her chin in place, which made her unable to look away. “You said Destiny died of drug overdose and I put her in my clothes, and drove her out to crash in my car, then returned to your house and switched.”

He held her gaze. He was mad at the time. It was a theory that would fit a sociopath. Daz wasn’t it. “I know I stretched it a bit too far.”

“I was just–I just wanted someone to hear the truth. I didn’t want to defend myself to you. I was guilty already.” She closed her eyes. “But I am the victim here. Destiny didn’t plan to die, but to run away with a boy.” Her eyes popped open. “She wanted it to look like it was me who eloped.”

Victor swore. “She told you?” He could begin to see why she must have been so frustrated.

“She told me she just wanted one night with him. He’d pick her up at my house and drop her at hers, so I took her car and went to her house.” She shuddered. “You were going to be back late. She assured me she’d be home before I knew it.”

“Instead she wore your clothes, took your car and would have disappeared if there wasn’t a crash.” Destiny could do that, he knew. How wrong he had been about Daz.

Daz nodded. “They both died in the car. Burnt beyond recognition.” She exhaled. “She apparently left a note asking my forgiveness for taking my car. I found it in my closet later.”

“She was only sorry for taking your car?”

“You know, Destiny. Said she’d send me the gas refund.” Daz pressed her lips. “It was a joke to her. That she escaped, and I’d be stuck in her life without even consulting me first.”

“You poor soul.” Victor cupped her face with both hands. “I’m sorry I accused you.”

“You had no idea.”

He smoothed back her hair. “Forgive me, Daz. I have wronged you.”

She started to speak but a sniff behind him jolted them both. He turned and found Suzie Bariet standing in the middle of her office behind them, a little handkerchief in her hand, dabbing at her wet lids.

Victor gasped. “We asked you to excuse us!”

Suzie bit her lips. “I thought I could.”

 

THE END.

Wait! This was just season 1. Watch out for season 2. Can Victor and Daz get past their differences and reconcile? Will Suzie be able to keep their secret? 

Photo: The Aneke Twins Source: Bellanaija.com, 2017

 

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