by Precious Oli

“I cannot believe you are too stupid to get pregnant”

“You want me to give you money for abortion?”

Simon dropped the phone with a speed of light like he just touched a porcupine. His head hurt as if a thousand demons played a game of catch and throw in his head. Each player catches the ball, bounces it on the floor and running around in circles trying to avoid other players as he searches for any open team player to catch the ball to and then score a pass

 He dashed into the bathroom and came back with a bucket of water and piece of rag. Water dripped into the bucket as he wriggled the rag, squeezing it to release water but still damp enough before placing it on his forehead to calm the throbbing bang he felt.  When it did not seem to yield much fruit he dunked his head into the water, held his breath for few minutes. The thought of suicide flashed his mind.

The moment little droplets of water went through his nostrils and awakened his sinuses, he raised his head coughing up water and trying to catch his breath

“Death was not so easy afterall” he had seen and heard suicide stories as a result of depression and thought it must have been easy for the victims to take their own life. He had always been fast to condemn suicide victims without any sympathy

“They are going straight to hell” he always preached

More than the burn he felt in his organs, the bang in his head continued

“What is going on lord?” he sank to the floor, his face was up to the ceiling with his back on the floor

“I have served you well all these years; I have never even looked at any woman lustfully” he lamented

His life was not built entirely on a clean slate but an abortion was the last discussion he could not remember having with anyone except ………

He stood up and paced for a short while before playing the voice record over and over as if to prove to his conscious and perhaps subconscious mind that the voice he heard was his. Confusion was written all over his face, his eye brow furrowed like a lost puppy, the deep crease along his forehead folded in three forming long thick lines

If only many knew that the secretariat housing privileges and the bottle water and special chair including the titles and praises of men were mere physical vanity attached to the pressure from the position he occupied as a campus pastor. If they knew perhaps they would not campaign so much for it

He was so lost in thought that he did not take notice of his phone ringing.  He regained consciousness on the second ring and placed the phone to his ear.

“You think you can go scot free after all you did? I will ruin your life”

He put the call on hold immediately to steal a glance at his screen. It was a private number

He gathered the little courage he had and blurted out in anger, there was so much tension in his bones

“If you are man enough, stop hiding your number and show yourself”

The crackly hearty laughter sent shivers down his spine. He cut the call immediately and went down to weep on his knees.

He slept off in the process and woke up minutes later with a shout. It was a dream

An old man had approached him with a white board which had “PAST” boldly written on it. The old man gave him a duster and asked him to erase it, he stood for some minutes staring at the man, and he was about erasing everything when another person appeared pointing accusing fingers at him

“You have no right to erase anything on that board”

He sat still for some minutes trying to analyze the meaning of the dream to no avail.

He was still in the middle of his assessment when a text from the national director came in jolting him to mother earth: “your meeting with the council starts by 10 am tomorrow”.

Simon paced round the house sitting, standing and assuming different positions in deep thought at every corner of the house. His stomach grumbled to remind him that he had not fed the worms in his stomach for the day. Food was the last thing on his mind

“I gotta eat to survive first” he thought dragging his feet to the kitchen; his shoulders were slouched like a man with a cement bag of worries. More than a cement bag, Simon was in deep waters, a fight that would determine his fate and faith

A foul odour greeted him the moment he entered the kitchen, he was so sunk in his life deep seas that he forgot to warm the fine oha soup he made the previous night

“Oh Jesus! I thought I warmed this soup nahh he complained to nobody in particular stirring the foamy soup to reveal the huge chunks of meat and fish bits as well as the stockfish he had packed the soup with. He searched the corner for one of his black waste bag to pour the soup away and dispose of it.

He might have to sleep hungry or just buy few snacks downstairs

Reuben had just walked a distant towards the main dustbin downstairs when he heard someone call his name. He hates to leave the refuse upstairs especially the stale soups that could produce liquid stain and stench, it was better to throw them out immediately.

He did not want extra odours hanging around; his life was messed up enough.

Simon was in outer space and kept walking towards the dustbin, his mind was fully rested on the decision of the council, so many questions plodded his thoughts

Would they hear him out?

Would anyone believe him?

His title and position as the campus pastor was not even a bother to him more than his integrity and dignity.  He was sure his fate as the campus pastor was already decided. He would surely be relieved even if he was cleared

 The fellowship bye-law fully states that in the case of any committed offence on campus or in fellowship even allegations that would cause harm to the body of Christ. Until further proven innocent, such person would be relieved of their position. He had recited those lines over and over on the day of their dedication

He only realized his name was being called when a hand tapped him from behind.

“ Simonnnnn” the caller called out hugging him excitedly

“Piro” he screamed with the little strength left in him when he took a good look at the face hugging him tightly. For a while, his sadness floated into thin air

“What are you doing here? I thought you were out for your master’s program in Canada; you are looking good Piro he said without taking a breath

“My guy, you are looking pastorly as usual” he said hugging him again

“piroooo, he laughed heartly “What brought you around this environment nahh”

“Well, the church council sent for me” he said still smiling

“I heard you are now the campus pastor, congratulations my brother” he said extending a handshake which frenzied Simon took absentmindedly as thoughts raided him

Could it be that the council wants to replace him with peter? That would be highly impossible because peter was no longer a student. God blessed Reuben with a friend like peter. He was the campus pastor for two years upon graduation. Most secrets of the secret place he heard were from peter that took his hand then and helped debunk the lies of the enemy in his life

Most times, they spent all night at the back of the student union government complex praying often till day break and still excelled in their academics.

“I was summoned for my theological interview”

“Serious? With your first class?” Simon teased him

“Ibiakwa, you know my certificate matters less to me, the kingdom business is a weightier matter”

“The zeal of my father’s house consumes me” they both said together laughing aloud

“The council mentioned that you were at the secretariat”

“They said I could pass the night here” he said as if pleading for Simon to allow him sleep over “Lagos is quite far”

A familiar stench and repeated stomach grumble reminded him they were standing by the dustbin and he had no food at home to neither eat nor offer peter

“Of course” he nodded “but first we need to buy food from that fast food across the road”

Simon quickly poured the content of garri and egusi soup into a bigger plate to fit their hands before they pounced on the food like two ravenously hungry lions

“It has been a long day” peter heaves like one who descended a mountain

Simon stuffed his face with a forced smile. He did not want to give himself away and endear questions from his age long friend. The long meal ended and they both retired for the night

Peter snored loudly as soon as his back touched the bed. The incidents of the day and Simon’s fate tomorrow took sleep away from his eyes; for once he envied peter’s eyes for being able to clasp tightly to his face. His meal barely digested

“He gives sleep to his beloved” he meditated wondering if he would be able to sleep a wink. The night has never seemed so long.

Read episode 1 here THE PREACHER-EPISODE 1

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