IF WITCHES WERE HORSES … Episode 13&14 – Kolade Segun Okeowo

IF WITCHES WERE HORSES… Episode 13

Morakinyo knew he had to do that to get their attention and let them know it is not right to be jubilant over an enemy’s death. He spoke for about ten minutes and convinced them to simply give praise to God and not jubilate. They listened to him. One after the other, the women dispersed dropping their leaves and emergency musical instruments.

“Why are they rejoicing?”  Oyinkansola asked

“The village Chief Priest died this morning. Only God knows what killed him. Though many people believed he committed suicide’’

“He must have been very wicked?’’

“Very wicked and notorious. He lived on sacrifices prescribed by him in the name of the gods!’’ They laughed and continued walking towards the palace.

The news of Ajamolaya-Bi-Eru’s death got to Ibadan during the week. Pastor Kalejaye received a phone call from another Pastor in Shaki who had heard the reports at Onigba-Iwofa. The smiles turned into a song as Pastor Kalejaye dropped the phone.

“Who was that speaking with you?’’ His wife asked wondering the news was all about.

 “Pastor Layode from Shaki’’

“Oh, the pastor who brought a message from Bro. Morakinyo in Onigba-Iwofa’’

 “Exactly, he called to tell us about the latest developments in the mission of Bro. Morakinyo’’

“What developments?’’ The woman dropped the napkin in her hand and drew closer.

“A notoriously wicked Chief Priest in the village died a day after he threatened to deal ruthlessness with Bro. Morakinyo and the village Head King!’’

“God have mercy!’’ The woman drew her hands to her bosom.  “The Lord is good!’’

“The Lord is really blessing the work of Bro. Morakinyo in that village. Within four months, he has started a flourishing church there’’

“Oh yes!’’ said the woman with great emphasis. “I believe these are the manifestations of the prayers of the Saints for Bro. Morakinyo. We must intensify our prayers for him’’

“I agree with you, I know Satan is not happy with his exploits in the village… remember the dream he said he had before he left?’’

“Oh yes, I remember’’

“The dream is full of meanings. Only recently the Lord gave me interpretations of the dream’’

“May be you should sent message to him to come over and see you?’’

“That might be burdensome, I’ll simply write to him. I’m sure he’ll understand’’

“Can we pray for him now?’’ Asked the wife.

“Sure!’’ Pastor Badejo and his wife knelt and began to pray for Morakinyo.

Sister Oyinkansola Oyero proved very useful. Only a trained missionary could understand easily the intricacies of a mission-field like her. Within the first month of her arrival in the village, a choir was already being groomed. She started the Women’s Fellowship and organised them into units for cooperative efforts in the village.

Morakinyo was not only grateful to God; he appreciated every efforts of Oyinkansola towards the growth of the village church. He handed over to her all his allowances from the Ibadan church and allowed her to take possession of all his foodstuffs.

Morakinyo merely strolled down to her house about two hundred metres from his own to have his breakfast and dinner. In a short time they were behaving like a couple, engaged to be married, though none of them ever mentioned anything like that to the other. To the villagers, it was good that the pastor’s wife had come to join him, but wondered why they live separately! They loved and respected her especially with all the activities she has been introducing to them in the church. Within the period of her arrival, food provisions for the missionaries tripled!

The number of counselees handled by Morakinyo dwindled. Many of the villagers especially the women preferred to speak to Oyinkansola concerning their problems. They said she was caring, loving and knew how to put herself in others’ shoes. Morakinyo was equally praised, but Oyinkansola was closer to the people.

Two months passed rapidly and the church increased. Plans were already on the way to start another church in the closest village to cater for the needs of the large number of people who come from the adjoining villages. Morakinyo had already trained one of the men in preparation to take over the proposed church as missionary-pastor.

Things were working beautifully according to plans. The testimonies increased. Oyinkansola was such a valuable co-labourer!

One Friday evening after the normal prayer-meeting, Morakinyo as usual, strolled to Oyinkansola’s place to have his dinner. He had almost finished the food when he noticed the sadness expressed clearly on her face. If there was anyone Morakinyo wanted to be happy always, it was Oyinkansola. To him, making a decision to serve God as a full-time missionary was enough sacrifice for a woman to make. Thius, nothing else should cause her any form of sorrow.

“Sister Oyinkansola, I hope all is well, you look sad today… any problem?’’ Morakinyo said as he stopped the food he was eating.

“Nothing serious’’ She said with a wave of the hand.”Its concerning my accomodation’’

 “What about it? You don’t like this place or what! I thought it’s even better than mine. I have always wondered why His Highness kept this away from me’’ Morakinyo meant what he said. When Folagbade gave Oyinkansola the house she now occupies, he couldn’t help thinking the King should have given it to him rather than Oyinkansola.

“That is not it Sir’’ Oyinkansola had not stopped using ‘Sir’ to address Morakinyo despite the closeness between them.

‘She’s disciplined’ Morakinyo thought.

“I feel my staying alone here has not been helping my spiritual life’’ She continued, looking down sheepishly and avoiding his eyes.

“Many times, I’ll want to pray but I’ll just become tired… I believe if we can be praying together, it will help me a lot’’

‘This is a true child of God’

“Apart from that, I’m always scared in the night. Last night, I heard some strange birds hooting behind my window, I wanted to pray but I could not, I was shivering’’

‘What a poor sister!’

“Not only that, I know if I stay close to you I will tap from the anointing of God in you’’ She said smiling sheepishly. Morakinyo laughed.

“Anointing?… We all have the anointing from God!’’

“But some have more than others’’ She snapped.

“It’s well. I accept… I must confess, I have been sensitive to the points you raised… there is nothing wrong if you decide to come in and stay with me. There are two vacant rooms there…’’ Morakinyo meant what he said. He had taken Oyinkansola to be like his younger sister.

There’s an age gap of almost seven years between them. Morakinyo had always seen himself as a ‘Big Brother’ to her. He saw nothing harmful in her coming to stay with him.

“When do you hope to move?’’

“Tomorrow!’’ She said with excitement.

“To-mo-row… Okay. Some brothers in the church will assist you to do that, I’ll arrange that’’ Oyinkansola smiled and for the umpteenth time went on her knees to thank him. Morakinyo smiled as he held her hands to lift her up. He wished he was seeing Gbayike!

Oyinkansola’s belongings were moved the following day. The movement took less than fifteen minutes as she had not brought many of her belongings to the village. A mattress, stove, cassette player and a wardrobe was all she had except the kitchen utensils and foodstuffs.

Not many people in the town knew about the change until about a fortnight later. Then rumours began to fly about.

“Do you think the pastor is a wood….ehn?’’ Amusan told his friend as they enjoyed a keg of palm-wine.

“You think the two of them will not be enjoying themselves…a man is a man any day! You wait; very soon, the woman will carry a mysterious pregnancy?”

“How?’’

“You don’t understand?….  From the Holy Spirit!’’

The two of men burst into a loud laughter throwing their legs carelessly.

Truly, Morakinyo and Oyinkansola were not involved in any immoral affair despite their closeness. But very few believed that. Some people said the two of them were lovers while they were in the city. They simply came down to the village to continue their immoralities away from the prying eyes of their church members in the city.

Despite all these, the church continued growing. At least, it was better than the deadly epidemic!

Pastor Kalejaye and his wife were praying, in preparation for bedtime when the door bell rang. He stopped briefly and listened for another ringing of the door bell to be sure he heard right. Recently, the doorbell has been mis-behaving, sometimes giving sounds as if someone is at the door only for Pastor Kalejaye or his wife get to there to discover no one actually pressed it.

The doorbell rang again, this time a bit louder than the first time. Pastor Kalejaye became assured now that someone was at the door. He quickly rounded up the prayers and stood up. He looked at the wall clock and wondered who the guest could be. It was already five minutes past nine.

He was sure it must be Deacon Balogun who lived on the next street. He is about the only church member who could come to his house around that time. Pastor Kalejaye’s house is the outskirts of the town. Taxis don’t go there as soon as its seven o’clock in the evening.

As he strolled towards the living room to open the door for the guest, he remembered his children. If only they were around, he would not have needed to break his prayers so quickly or carry his already tired body to come and open the door. All his three children, a set of identical female twins and a boy are all students of the university in Ile Ife.

Each time Pastor Kalejaye remembers his three children, he always gives thanks to God for his mercies upon him concerning them. The twins, both girls have entered the University at the age of fifteen. Their brother who is two years younger joined them a year later to study medicine.

The thoughts of God’s blessings over his children filled his heart as he laid hands on the door knob to usher in Deacon Balogun… He opened the door and stood staring unbelievably at the guest. It was not Deacon Balogun!

He least expected to see Gbayike at that hour of the day. What could she have come to discuss with him or his wife. He saw her eyes were tear-stained.

Mrs. Kalejaye who had been expecting to hear the normal pleasantries of Deacon Balogun strolled to the living room when she did not hear the voice of any guest.

“What’s going on Gbayike? Please come in’’ said Pastor Kalejaye as he ushered her in, his surprise giving way to shock and concern “Am sure you are passing the night here” She nodded.

“Sister Gbayike! You’ve been crying, your eyes are red, what’s wrong?’’ Mrs. Kalejaye said and moved close to her holding her and led her to a seat.

“Good evening Sir’’ Gbayike managed to greet, her voice shaking.

“So what’s it all about’’ said Pastor.

“Sir, its concerning the discussion you’ve had with me before”   She said amidst sobs.

Mrs. Kalejaye excused her, knowing Gbayike wanted some confidentiality

“Go on, I’m listening, what discussion?’’

“Sir, its concerning Bro. Morakinyo…’’ She started her voice still shaking. “You remember you spoke to me concerning Bro Morakinyo that I should pray to know if he is the will of God for me in marriage. I told you then that ‘I ll be praying about it.” She continued, avoiding the pastor’s eyes as she spoke.

“I must confess, I did not pray at all. I only made some calculations and permutations. I knew that Bro. Morakinyo was planning to go on a full-time ministerial work in the village… that scared me and…and, that made me to reject his proposal’’ She stole a glance at Pastor Kalejaye, she wanted to see his reaction to what she had just said.

Pastor Kalejaye’s face was simply without any expression. He merely stared at her blankly as if she was not saying anything. Fear gripped Gbayike the more.

“Ever since Bro. Morakinyo left for the village, I have not been having peace. Each time I try to pray, my conscience pricks and condemns me.’’ She stole another glance at the pastor. “Truly I know God wants me to marry him, in fact, I knew it before he proposed, but I rejected because of his calling as a missionary’’

She waited, expecting the pastor to speak. The silence that followed was so thick that one could almost touch it. Then, she burst into tears

Pastor Kalejaye was not a man who easily gives into sentiments and emotions. He stared blankly at Gbayike, allowing her to cry for about two minutes, and then he spoke.

“Gbayike! If I were to do the dictates of my flesh, I will simply refuse to speak to you.’’ Pastor Kalejaye said relaxing comfortably on the sofa. “May be you don’t know, there is no where you can hide from the will of God. It must surely come to pass. I told you to pray on the issue but instead you chose to use your own wisdom… go ahead make more calculations and permutations or are you now tired of them? Ehn?… You had better wipe away your tears; this is no time to weep”

Gbayike could not stop the tears. “You have to take a step of boldness and go to Morakinyo yourself. Confess to him. He’s been away for months now. I don’t know when he’s going to come home. Letters takes weeks to reach him. There is no telephone line in the town, so…. Gird your loins, go meet him and discuss with him. I will direct two members of the evangelism team to go with you. That will be an opportunity for the to pay him a visit’’

Gbayike stopped sobbing, and for the first time lifted her head and looked straight at the pastor. Does the old man know what he was asking her to do? Travel all the way to Shaki or whatever and say ‘Morakinyo here I come! I’m all yours…what a shame on me!’

Gbayike thought of the insult in having to go and tell Morakinyo that she’s now ready to marry him. What if Morakinyo looks down on her and tries to prove difficult? What if he becomes vengeful? In case he says he’s no longer interested? ‘Will he not think I’m forcing myself on him?’

She was lost in thoughts forgetting that pastor Kalejaye was sitting there.

“Are you there?’’ Pastor Kalejaye said breaking into her thoughts. She stammered and managed to say a “Yes Sir’’

IF WITCHES WERE HORSES… Episode 14

Gbayike thought of the insult in having to go and tell Morakinyo that she’s now ready to marry him. What if Morakinyo looks down on her and tries to prove difficult? What if he becomes vengeful? In case he says he’s no longer interested? ‘Will he not think I’m forcing myself on him?’

She was lost in thoughts forgetting that pastor Kalejaye was sitting there.

“Are you there?’’ Pastor Kalejaye said breaking into her thoughts. She stammered and managed to say a “Yes Sir’’

“Don’t waste time at all… go and meet him’’ said the pastor as if he knew what was going on in Gbayike’s heart.

“It’s better you don’t delay. Nobody knows what tomorrow holds… do you understand….Let me know as soon as you decide, so I can make arrangements for the escorts.’’

“Yes Sir, I understand’’ Gbayike said merely responding, though she did not hear what the pastor said, her thoughts were too far away.

Oyinkansola Oyero who is also known in the Kingdom of the Queen of the Coast as Princess Hagatha and Princess Sapienta, her emissary to the palace of the Queen of the Coast held regular meetings at the back of the parsonage. Twelve midnight was always the time for the meetings. Sapienta receives full report of Hagatha’s assignment and delivers to the Queen.

That night, as Sapientia approached the house; she stopped briefly to survey the interior of the parsonage carefully. From the outside she could see the inside perfectly through the special demonic telescopic powers granted her as a Daughter of Lucifer operating on level 777 of spiritual wickedness.

She beckoned to Hagatha who was already sleeping with her left leg thrown across the mud wall. An eerie silence pervaded the whole environment. No goat bleated; the usual chattering of insects was completely absent.

Hagatha received the signal and rose to join Sapientia outside. She moved first towards Morakinyo’s room and cast a spell over the room. The spell was meant to keep him sleeping as long as their meeting would last. She had learnt to do that since the causality of the first meeting she had with Sapientia.

Sapientia had beckoned to her according to their pre-arranged agreement. She rose to join her comrade outside and they began the discussion. They had not spoken for five minutes when the ground started vibrating violently. Unknown to them, twelve midnight was Morakinyo’s usual hour of prayer in the night.

The prayer was directly against all forces of darkness operating in the village. A sudden surge of power hit Hagatha violently crushing her against the mud wall, she rose quickly trying to gather herself together to rush inside but another force threw her violently against the door. That was repeated two more times before she could find her way back inside the house. Sapientia had quickly disappeared as soon as the violent force started the attack on them but not without some minor injuries.

The following morning, Oyinkansola’s eyes were swollen heavily. When Morakinyo sought to know what happened to her, she simply said a strange insect bite her during the night. They concluded it was an attack from the enemy.

Ever since that encounter, Oyinkansola would not risk another meeting with Sapientia without first casting a spell on Morakinyo. The spell would prevent Morakinyo from praying as his prayers would mean doom for the two Daughters of the River. Once the spell was cast, Oyinkansola moved to join her comrade outside in the dark.

Under normal circumstances, the meeting should have been held in Oyinkansola room, but the presence of Greatone in the house has rendered that virtually impossible. However, Greatone had lost much strength since Hagatha stepped into the house with Morakinyo.

“Hagatha! Her Majesty, the Queen is vexed with you’’ Sapientia started as soon as Hagatha joined her. “The report I gave her last night concerning your mission here was not pleasing to her’’ Sapientia continued her eyes sparkling with anger and deep concern. “Her Majesty believes three months is sufficient to achieve a breakthrough in this case”

“Sapientia, it’s not my fault!’’ Hagatha started, her countenance was sad. She was completely discouraged by the message of the Queen. She had expected her to understand that this special assignment is not only sensitive but also dangerous. On her part, she had expected the assignment to be completed within three months and here we are, she has not even achieved any major breakthrough within the first three months. She felt like weeping.

“Tell the Queen that this man is not an ordinary Christian. He’s stronger than we imagined. His prayers and holy life has scattered most of my plans. In fact, I had taken great care so that he would not discover who I am’’ Hagatha said pleadingly, her eyes begging Sapientia to understand her plight.

The Queen must be made to understand, or else she not only stand the risk of being demoted and dealt with, she also stands the risk of being subject to violent sessions of torture in the hands of specially trained demons.

“Please explain to Her Majesty to remember that I’m also handling the campus operation. She should please be patient with me. I have just started some subtle tricks and devices in order to get him trapped. Once that is done; I’ll afflict him and return to the palace simple!’’

“It’s okay I’ll deliver your message to the Honourable Queen of the Coast’’ Sapientia responded. “However, remember that Her majesty is really concerned about this operation. Ever since that man entered this village, we have not been able to get a single soul out again because of his disastrous prayers’’

“Thanks for your understanding, Sapientia…and lest I forget, there’s an assignment I’ll like you to carry out on my behalf’’

“Go on tell me, you know I’ll always be willing as long as her Majesty approves of it.’’

“She will, the assignment could speed up my operation in this village’’

“So what’s the assignment all about?’’

“There’s this girl called Gbayike in Ibadan, she’s a member of Morakinyo’s church at Ibadan, I’ll like you to…’’

Seven days after her discussion with Pastor Kalejaye, Gbayike finally made up her mind to go and confess to Morakinyo and accept to marry him. It was a hard decision to make. She wept for three days thinking about the implications of her decision. She knew she loved Morakinyo, and he’s the kind of man she wanted, but…the ministry and now the confession!

“Crying would not solve the problem, Gbayike I think the pastor’s counsel is the best. Swallow your pride and go to him in the village, at least he won’t kill you’’ Wonuola couselled her.

“Sister Wonu, what if he says he’s not interested in me again, what would I do?’’ Gbayike asked amidst sobs.

Wonuola sighed heavily, she had never thought of that. It’s true, Morakinyo might have found another lady and get engaged to her.

“That would be serious o… but I don’t think he can do that, he can’t find a woman of his standard in that place, at least, he can’t marry a village-girl’’ Wonuola said trying to assure her friend that all is well.

” Sister Wonu, you can’t be too sure’’

“Look Sister Gbayike, I agree with you that nobody can be sure of that, but I’m sure sitting down here and crying is not a better alternative’’

Encouraged by Wonuola’s counsel, Gbayike set for the village. She had stylishly got the direction from Ibadan to Shaki and Onigba-Iwofa from the head of the evangelism team but did not let him know her intentions.

She also kept the decision from The Senior Pastor. The thoughts of two members of the team following her to go and “beg” Morakinyo was nauseating to her. ‘I rather go alone and face the shame myself’. The previous day, she had gone shopping. She bought some provisions for Morakinyo.

The school was already in session, so it was not possible for her to go during the week. She chose a Saturday. The Team Leader had told her that the only vehicle from Shaki to Onigba-Iwofa leaves by ten in the morning, so she had spent Friday night to make all necessary preparations for the trip to Onigba-Iwofa the following morning. All things being equal she must get to Shaki by nine-thirty in the morning.

“This is serious!’’ Wonuola screamed as she entered the kitchen and smelled the aroma of the soup Gbayike was cooking.

“You mean all these for Bro. Morakinyo alone?’’

“Who else can they be for?’’

“Hey! Love in Tokyo! I go do o!” Wonuola said playfully. She could not help wishing she was in Gbayike’s shoes. At twenty-seven, no brother has ever proposed to her. She imagined what great soup she would cook for any brother that wins her heart.

“Gbayike, you’re lucky O’’

“You can say that again’’ She was now enjoying the teasing.

“Leaving Spinster hood for a married life is no joke!’’ She spinned her head as she said that.

“Hey! Iyawo O!’’

Just then, they heard a knock on the door. They stopped the giggling and listened. The knock came again

“Who could that be? It’s already 8 o’clock’’

“Are you expecting anyone?’’ asked Wonuola.

“Not at all’’ replied Gbayike.

“Continue your cooking, I’ll see who’s at the door’’ Wonuola said and strolled out of the kitchen into the living room and called out to be sure the visitor is familiar or not.

“Who is there?’’

“Good evening, I’m asking after Miss Adegbenro’’ A lady’s voice answered. Wonuola breathed a sigh of relief and opened the door.

Gbayike heard her name from the kitchen and quickly strolled out to see who was looking for her. Her heart missed a beat as she heard her name. Who would be looking for her at this time of the day?

‘What if Bro. Morakinyo decided to send a message to me?’ She thought.

Gbayike strolled to the living room smiling expectantly. The smiles soon gave way to blank-staring and surprise as she sees the lady looking for her. She tried to re-collect where she knew the lady, but her picture did not register anywhere in her memory.

“Good evening Ma’’ Gbayike said carefully..

“Good evening…’’ said the visitor smiling “I am from Mrs. Folake Ojuroye, the wife of Navy Captain Lanre Ojuroye of the National Ports Authority in Lagos’’

“My elder sister?’’ Gbayike was surprised. Her elder sister had actually promised to send someone to her recently, but why in the night.

“Is she the one who sent you to me?” Gbayike asked praying in her heart that the lady would say no.

“Yes ma! She’s the one.’’ The lady said. Gbayike almost cried ‘Oh no’. She simply restrained herself. She knew why her sister had sent her. They both discussed a business plan together, Mrs. Ojuroye had promised to send her secretary so that Gbayike might take her to some places as discussed in the business plan.

“I left Lagos around four o’clock, but our vehicle developed a technical fault that kept us along the expressway for about three hours.”

“Ah… what s pity… anyway you’re welcome.’’

“Your sister said she had discussed some business plans with her. She said you should take me to see those places you mentioned’’ Gbayike sighed heavily, the bombshell had been released.

“Why for God sake did my sister chose today to send her secretary. Can’t she see I have an important journey to make?  It’s true I asked her to send someone to me …but em I hope you’re not returning to Lagos tomorrow?

“Ah! I have to, I just have to. Actually I ought to have returned today, but because of the incident I told you about.’’ The lady said with strong emphasis.

“I have a very important journey to make very early tomorrow morning. Please do you mind staying till I return from the journey?’’ Gbayike said pleadingly.

The lady smiled, shook her head regrettably “I wish I could do that but you see I must return to the office tomorrow before the closing time. Your sister will be angry if I don’t return by that time tomorrow”

Gbayike looked up and down; she would have to postpone the journey to some other time. The rest of the weekend was not possible for the journey. The church, programme on Sunday involved her as much as anyone. She would have to go at some other time.

“Well, my sister since you said you have to return to Lagos tomorrow, I will suspend my travelling to some other time. Please come inside and change your clothes, you need to take a shower and rest’’

Gbayike spent the whole of Saturday taking the lady from Lagos round all those places she had initially discussed with her sister. They had plans to supply second hand clothes from Cotonou to certain dealers in Ibadan. From Ibadan, they hope to buy foodstuffs which Mrs. Ojuroye will in turn supply to the Maximum Security Prison and the Ports Authority in Lagos.

Gbayike first took the lady to the food dealers at Oje market and Dugbe in Ibadan. From there they met some Ibo clothes sellers who agreed to buy from them if the prices will be the same as what obtains in Lagos. By the time they had finished going round the markets, it was two o’ clock in the afternoon. Gbayike cursed her luck. If her sister had not sent the lady, by now she would be in Onigba-Iwofa having straight-to-heart discussions with Morakinyo.

However, she remembered the contributions of Mrs. Ojuroye in her life. She single handedly sponsored her education throughout her stay in the University of Ilorin. She equally provided her domestic succour during the two years she went in search of a job after her Youth Service. Navy Captain Ojuroye, her brother-in-law was practically paying her monthly stipends in all those two years. She owed her sister a lot. The sacrifice of that one day was not out of place for a benefactor like Mrs. Ojuroye.

“So thank you Sister” the lady interrupted her thoughts “I‘ll tell your sister how everything went” She said smiling flashing her gap tooth. Gbayike would have appreciated her beauty but the fact that she came at the wrong time.

“Oh I should thank you” Gbayike quickly snapped not knowing what to say. “Please tell her to expect my phone call on Monday”   

“It’s alright!” they parted at the bus stop. The lady crossed the road towards the buses en route Lagos at Challenge. Gbayike saw her entering one of the buses, she waved, the lady waved back. Gbayike turned around and let out a loud hiss.

The trip to Onigba-Iwofa had been sacrificed !