“Confess, you must confess…Confess, you must confess” the people chorused agitatedly.
Obianuju: “There is nothing I have to say anymore. Do whatever you want” she snapped.
1st Elder: “Okay then. I guess you have declared yourself guilty. People what should we do to her now?”
“Stone her to death” a woman said.
“Bury her alive” a boy said.
“Banish her to the evil forest” some people said at the same time.
A young girl had run as fast as her legs could carry her to the pastor’s place which was a little far from the village square. She was lucky enough to meet him at home since he was always going from one meeting to another. She told him everything that was happening and the two of them ran back there. When they got there, the people were already chanting the punishments they think would suite her in the air.
Pastor: “My people please wait!” he said breathlessly holding up his hand and the bible under his armpit.
1st Elder: “What are you doing here? Who invited you here? Don’t you know where the church is? He asked in one breath.
Some of his church members started sneaking away from the crowd not wanting to be identified with the unbelievers.
Obianuju: “How many people here were invited?” she asked with a pint of sarcasm in her voice.
2nd Elder: “Its like you think your pastor here can save you? If he talks too much, we will bury the two of you alive together” he threatened and the Pastor’s knees wobbled.
Pastor: “I will suggest we leave judgment to God. Don’t forget he forgives all our sins on daily bases. Now how much sin has this woman committed that cannot be forgiven?” he said despite himself.
1ST Elder: “We are humans and humans deal out judgments instantly. We are only being human”
Pastor: “Jesus said ‘Let he who is without a sin cast the first stone’ when the woman caught in adultery was taken to him by the mob. Guess what they all did? They all began to leave one after the other; why? Because none of them was without a sin, not even the children among them. So tell me, what sin did this woman commit that many of you are not committing or has not committed before?”
“It seems this pastor has committed the same sin with her before. He looks bewitched too” a lady whispered from the crowd but loud enough for five other people next to her to hear. What she said soon circulated in the air and into the ears of the elders.
Obumneke: “And why are you trying to save her? are you her lover?” he asked gazing treacherously at the Pastor.
Pastor: “I am merely a messenger of God who has come to teach you forgiveness since our God is a God of second chances. Please I implore you to give her a second chance” he pleaded.
Obumneke: “What impetus do you have to ask us to forgive her? You mean we should give her another chance to harass another old man?”
“Nooooooooo” the people went berserk with excitement.
Obumneke: “Do you mean we should give her a chance to poison another noble man’s mind against his people and himself?” he felt encouraged by their outbursts.
“Nooooooo” they chorused again with each response growing louder.
Obumneke: “Would you want us to give her a second chance to destroy the innocence of our boys when she turns to them for her abominable acts?”
“Noooooooooooooo” they could hold it no more and surged forward into the circle, holding their hands up and singing “Kill her” in unison.
1st Elder: “Youths, please have them move out of the circle now” he commanded the young guys and they did as they were bid.
They stared each other in the eyes for some time and looked away. He stepped away from him and into the corridor while Sukanmi stepped into the sitting room with Suzan still hanging on his arms.
Suzan: “Do you know that man?” she had to ask.
Sukanmi: “Let’s eat for now dear. Why do you ask though?”
Suzan: “I noticed the look on your faces. You both looked like you knew each other and it also seemed like he didn’t like you much. I hate him already” she said and pouted her lips childishly.
Suzan Snr: “We have been waiting for you guys since. Come now, let’s eat. What of Jerry?”
Jerry: “Right behind you ma’am” he said and jumped into her face.
Suzan Snr: “You will never stop being naughty Junior” she said as she sat at the head of the table. Abodunrin soon joined them; he had gone to the washroom. He looked a little more composed when he stepped out.
Suzan: “Mr uhn…”
Suzan Snr: “Abodunrin” she finished for her not wanting to make him feel uncomfortable or unwelcomed in any way.
Suzan: “Oh yeah! Abodunrin. Why do you always come here if I may ask?”
Suzan Snr: “Suzie” she gave her a warning look.
Suzan: “Why? Can’t I know? it is my house remember?” she said saucily. She could still remember the look he had given her fiancé and she was not going to have him sabotage her happiness.
Abodunrin: “I am sorry if I make you uncomfortable in anyway but I am just a friend of your mum’s” he replied without looking up from the food he was eating.
Jerry and Sukanmi exchanged looks which were beyond casual and that was when he looked up at him and the looks he saw told him more than he wanted to know. The other one was gay too.
Suzan: “That is by the way. Meet my fiancé Sukanmi. Do you guys know each other before?” she asked yet again.
Abodunrin: “No!” he cut in sharply. “I don’t know him at all” he emphasized with a shake of his head.
Bastard, so you wanted to say yes? I will kill you before you destroy what I have worked for with your abominable self. I will make sure I remain in this house to ensure you are disgraced in a very mean way. He cursed in his heart.
Suzan Snr: “That reminds me, I have something I need to say” she announced looking from one face to the other.
Suzan: “What?” she asked excitedly. “Must be my wedding plans” she thought to herself and smiled inwardly.
Tolu: “Grandpa abeg wake up o jare. Time don reach for work” he tapped him roughly on the shoulder.
Mazi Nnamdi: “Oh! What is the time?” he asked rubbing his eyes sleepily.
Aina: “Na 3:30 for morning o. hurry abeg we don late already. We suppose don dey there since”
Mazi Nnamdi: “You suppose don dey there since?” he asked perplexed.
What kind of work do people do by this time of the day? He mused inwardly as he dressed up and followed them out without another word.
They walked on in silence as the cold dewy air brushed against their eyebrows and made their teeth rattle noisily. He was expecting that they would reach there soon but all they did was walk. When he thought he should say something to indicate he could go no further, they suddenly stopped in front of a cemetery and started walking in.
He looked at the place the guys were walking into and shook his head frightfully, “What on earth are we doing inside a cemetery? Oh my Chi!” he lamented without making any attempt to follow them.
Tolu: “Baba you dey craze? Wetin you dey wait there dey do? abeg start dey waka come before I change am for you o” he said hushedly but not without making sure he drove his point home with the tone of his voice and the iron look on his face.
Question: Is Mazi Nnamdi in some kind of danger? What announcement does Suzan’s mum have?
To be continued…
Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story. If you know anyone that was raped, molested before in respective of his gender please encourage them to share their stories with us.
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