Story: Death Row

Story By Aaron Ansah Agyeman

    Episode 1

    There is merrymaking at the NYANTAKYI residence.
    It is the sixty-first birthday of Mr. KUSI NYANTAKYI, and a party has been organized for him. He is surrounded by family, friends and colleagues. His wife, SIKA NYANTAKYI, is looking resplendent in her all-white attire which matches her husband’s. She is sitting in a wheelchair by her husband’s side.
    She cannot walk. A massive stroke two years earlier has rendered her incapable of walking, and has paralysed half her body. Her right arm is bent, and she is not capable of coherent speech as part of her mouth is also cruelly twisted to the side.
    Their only daughter, twenty-six-year-old KESEWAA, is also fawning around her parents. Kesewaa is indeed a very beautiful girl. She is tall, extremely fair and as graceful as gazelle. She is as incredible-looking as a fairy, and all eyes follow her as she moves from one guest to the other.

    Her father has already blown the candles and cut the cake and tired from dancing and all the excitement, he is now sitting down with his wife by his side.
    Also on the high table with him are BISHOP OSUANYI AYEH, the General Overseer of GOLGOTHA HEIGHTS INTERNATIONAL CHURCH.
    The Bishop’s wife, KORKOR, is also present.
    So also is the new pastor of the church, REVEREND EBOW OBUOBI, who has recently returned to Ghana from his studies abroad, and who is already causing a great fire revival in the church with his display of the power of God.
    He is the nephew of Bishop Osuanyi.
    People are still dancing, eating and making merry.
    White tents, white cotton-covered chairs and tables fill the yard.
    Food is in abundance.
    The Gift Area is laden with wrapped parcels. Sitting to one side under the tent is a calm-looking man in his early thirties. His name is AKOTO NYAMEBOAME. He is wearing a designer agbada, and he is very handsome. By his side is his mother, MAAME AKUA, who looks quite elderly and a little out of place.
    On his other side is a dark-complexioned twenty-nine-year-old lady called AMINA MOHAMMED.
    She is Kesewaa’s best friend.
    Kesewaa extricates herself from a little group she is chatting with, and approaches Akoto with a lovely smile on her face.
    She walks with rhythm, and Amina sees the look of love and adoration on Akoto’s face as he looks at Kesewaa.
    Ei, Mr. Akoto! Look at the expression on your face! Love is going to kill you one of these days!
    (laughing softly)
    I love your friend, Amina. I love her so much!
    Kesewaa has reached them now.
    She kneels down by the chair Maame Akua is sitting on, and smiles sweetly.
    My dearest mother-in-law! Are you okay? Was the food sufficient for you?
    Maame Akua smiles with real joy and touches Kesewaa’s shoulder.
    I’m very full and happy, my dearest daughter. Thank you very much!
    Kesewaa now stands up and looks at the adoring face of Akoto.
    My darling! You’re devouring me with your eyes! Ei, I’m even scared of what you’ll do to me after our wedding!
    They all laugh, and Akoto shakes his head.
    I keep telling you, Kesewaa, that I’ve never seen the nakedness of any woman before. My mother brought me up as a Christian, and I’ve grown up a virgin. Yes, I can’t wait to hold you on our wedding night!
    Ei, doesn’t the Bible say that if you desire a woman in your mind you’ve fornicated? Be careful, my friends!
    They all laugh again.
    (holding out her hand)
    Come, my love. Father wants to introduce you to our Pastor. He will be officiating our wedding, you know.
    Akoto takes her hand and stands up.
    They begin to walk towards the high table, and the crowd looks at them.
    They look so good together, so suited to each other!
    People look at them and whisper, pointing fingers at them, telling those who do not yet know that very soon the beautiful Kesewaa will be married to the handsome and very wealthy Akoto.
    The two of them have now reached the high table.
    Mr. Kusi Nyantakyi stands up and hugs Akoto, and then he turns and introduces him to Bishop Osuanyi and Reverend Obuobi.
    (beaming with smiles)
    This is Akoto Nyameboame, the young man who is going to marry Kesewaa within the next few months. He has already come for the list. He brought me a brand new, registered Nissan for my birthday!
    Bishop Osuanyi is smiling broadly as he shakes Akoto’s hand vigorously.
    Aaaaah! A man after my own heart! So young, and yet so blessed! I hear you own IT-SENZ, young man! The biggest telecommunications company in West Africa!
    Akoto smiles modestly and nods.
    It is all by the grace of the God I serve, sir.
    Beautiful! Nice! Then you’re going to bring that blessing to Golgotha Church, my friend!
    Akoto and Kesewaa have known each other for four years, and now God has paved the way for their marriage. Akoto paid the total expense for this party, Bishop! He bought me my car and bought this house for us. He’s been taking care of my wife’s medical bills! He’s a good man, Bishop!
    That he is! That he is! May God bless you, Akoto, my man! Next week we’re holding a one-week Holy Spirit Convention. The proceeds would be used to complete another branch of the church for Reverend Obuobi to preside over! You should make the time and be there, my son!
    Wouldn’t miss it for all the riches in the world, Bishop.
    There is happiness and good feeling all around. The new pastor, Obuobi, now steps forward. He reaches out to take Akoto’s hand, but he pauses suddenly and drops his hand without touching Akoto. The pastor’s face is suddenly filled with a scowl.Akoto’s hand is still in the air, but when it becomes evident that Pastor Obuobi has no intention of shaking his hand, he puts his hand down with his eyebrows raised.There is a hint of mounting anger in Akoto’s eyes
    What could it be?

    Episode 2

    Everybody is looking from Pastor Obuobi to Akoto with a hint of unease on their faces.
    (in a serious voice)
    Young man, are you firm in the Lord?
    Akoto puts his head to one side and regards the pastor with a cynical look on his face.
    I’ve never strayed from the side of the Lord, Pastor.
    (shaking his head)
    Are you sure, my friend? Are you really sure? I see some things around you I don’t like.
    (striving to remain calm)
    You see things? Around me? What things? What are you trying to insinuate, Pastor?
    Don’t be angry, okay? I see things in the spiritual realm, and I can help you. I see evil demons following you, young man, seeking to do you and anybody around you harm, because you owe the devil, and he has come to take his payment.
    There is a shocked silence around them. The smile has vanished from Kesewaa’s face as she links her arm through Akoto’s.
    Please, Pastor, you’re scaring me! What’re you talking about?
    Pastor Obuobi looks at her and smiles sadly.
    This young man has made a deal with the devil, my dear! He got his riches from evil demons in the occult realm, and they’re following him now. I need to pray for him and break the curse otherwise you will die if you marry him!
    Akoto Nyameboame begins to laugh.
    His laughter isn’t loud; it is soft and deep and filled with real mirth.
    You’re a joke, Pastor, with all due respects. Just one of those fake pastors, aren’t you? I wanted to beat the crap out of you a few minutes ago, but you’re not really worth it, you funny little man.
    He turns away angrily and begins to walk away. Kesewaa is scared and greatly troubled. She turns and walks after Akoto.
    Akoto, love, please wait up! Wait for me, my love!

    The others look at Pastor Obuobi with real concern on their faces.
    Oh, Pastor. Did you see well? Akoto’s father was a pastor too, okay? He died just last year. Akoto is a very good Christian.
    Reverend Obuobi puts a gentle hand on Mr. Nyantakyi’s shoulder.
    You have ordinary eyes, Daddy, and so you see ordinary things. The good Lord we serve has chosen me as His two-edged sword, and I see things in the spiritual realm! Death is following that man, and his end is going to be very nasty! But, for Kesewaa’s sake, I’ll try to help that boy. I’ll clear all the demons from that man’s path! But, until I declare him clean and no more dangerous, you better warn your daughter to keep her distance from that dangerous boy!
    Kesewaa hears what the pastor has said, and she stops suddenly and turns, her face flushed with anger.
    She walks towards the pastor with her hands balled into fists at her sides.
    Her father, seeing how angry she is, moves forward to meet her.

    My sweet pumpkin, take it easy, take it easy! He’s a man of God, you know! Let’s tread cautiously!
    Man of God? Is that how a man of God speaks, Pastor? Just like that? Without a little decorum? I love that man, Pastor, and I’ll appreciate it if you don’t speak so ill about him! He’s a man of God too, you know! He has always been! He’s very wealthy, but he’s still a virgin! Can you believe that?
    A virgin? Is that what he told you? And you believe him? I saw a lot of women souls following him, wanting to do you harm! He has slept with many women and used them for his money rituals! All the women he has slept with are either mad or paralyzed!
    (hissing furiously)
    You lie!
    Watch your mouth, girl!
    My good grief, Kesewaa! What has come over you? He’s a man of God!
    A man of God who claims to see all these evil things? With what power are you telling me all these things, Pastor?
    The same power that enables me to speak with God, that enables me to do healing, that makes God walk with me and gives me the anointing to do this!
    And then Pastor Obuobi walks to Kesewaa’s mother and reaches out and takes her hand.
    What are you doing, Pastor?
    (face tight)
    You people doubt what I said? Well, witness the power immersed in me and believe everything I tell you! Woman, stand up and walk!!
    And Pastor Ebow Obuobi pulls Sika Nyantakyi’s hand, and the woman who has been crippled for two years comes out of the wheelchair with a scream, and then she begins to jump around!
    Her crooked limbs are gone!
    Her paralysed limbs are whole!
    She is healed, instantly!
    And she is jumping around and screaming with joy!
    Mr. Nyantakyi screams and runs to his wife! It is incredible, and it is absolutely stunning and amazing!

    Episode 3

    There is pandemonium everywhere!
    People cannot believe what has happened, and they are screaming and prancing and absolutely uncontrollable!
    Tears well up in Kesewaa’s eyes as she looks at the man of God who has, in seconds, healed her mother who years of medication and the best surgeons paid by Akoto hadn’t been able to help.
    She looks at Pastor Obuobi in awe.
    Oh, Lord!
    He’s evil, my dear! All these years Akoto has been using your mother to make more money and pretending to send her to hospitals to see big doctors! Please stay away from him until I have cleansed him spiritually, otherwise you’ll be dead on your wedding night!
    Wordlessly, as tears stream down her face, Kesewaa nods numbly, and walks on rubbery legs towards her mother. Sika Nyantakyi is weeping with joy as she flings herself into her daughter’s arms.
    He did it, Kes, Our mighty God did it!!
    Yes, Mama! Oh, yes, Mama! God is great!!
    It is Sunday.
    It is a most wonderful day inside Golgotha Heights International Church. For the first time in two years Mrs. Sika Nyantakyi gives a most soul-shaking solo as she sings Mr. Steve Crown’s song: YOU ARE GREAT.
    Many people cry in the church as the once paralysed lady renders this soul-wrenching thanks to God.
    The offertory flows, and people shout and scream in adoration to God.
    Afterwards the new pastor, Ebow Obuobi, gives a great talk on RECEIVING PROSPERITY.
    The congregation gape at him as he tells them there are riches in God’s hands, and how God is going to bless everyone in the church with gold and honey only if they are prepared to test God by giving great offerings.
    So, that’s it! Everybody here can be great and rich if he or she will listen to the voice of God and cultivate the habit of giving to God, of testing God with the money in your hands. There is nothing impossible for God. Nothing! Look at Elder Ampofo here. He’s been blind from infancy, but he owns his own chain of gas stations because he listened to God’s voice, and he’s rich. He has a beautiful wife, and three great children! That’s what God can do! Elder Ampofo, tell me, what do you wish for now? I can do anything for you, because I’m filled with power!
    All eyes turn to Elder Kumbour Ampofo. He is sitting on the raised podium with some of the elders.
    Elder Ampofo is one of the richest men in the church, but he is blind, been that way from birth.
    Pastor Obuobi approaches the elderly man.
    Elder Ampofo is in a white suit with blue shirt, and he is thin and tall with a shock of grey hair.
    He is wearing dark glasses.
    There is a buzz within the church room as Pastor Obuobi puts a hand on the Elder’s shoulder and laughs.
    Be of good cheer, Elder, because the Lord has been good to you and your family.
    Elder Ampofo smiles.
    I’ve been blessed indeed, and I lack nothing. The Lord has been great!
    So there’s nothing you want, Elder? Nothing at all?
    Oh, I’m content and happy now, and there’s nothing I want. I just want to worship the Lord, and I want everybody here to be blessed by the Lord!
    Amen! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!!
    I’m happy you don’t lack anything, Elder. But, answer me, wouldn’t you like to see your lovely wife and children, to really see them and look at them?
    There is a sudden silence in the church hall.
    The smile vanishes from Elder Ampofo’s face, and for a brief moment he almost looks angry.
    Please, Pastor, do not mock me!
    Oh, look at this man! He professes to be a great man of faith, but he can’t see the mighty hand of God in his life! This is what I’m talking about! He doesn’t believe I can heal him! This man, although rich, is limited because he refuses to see the great hand of God on me, and reach out for higher blessings and prosperity!
    Stop it this instance, Pastor! I was born blind, and I’ll go to my grave blind! But I’m not blaming God for that! I have a good life even though I can’t see!
    And I’m telling you my power is greater than your little mind!
    I’ve gone to miracle crusades, and I’ve consulted every powerful man of God! I’ve consulted the best doctors in the world! Nothing could be done about my eyes, Pastor! I keep telling you, the grace of God is sufficient for me!
    Lie, lie, lie! You have not seen the full grace, I tell you! If only you will open your heart and see the glory that awaits you, then I, Reverend Ebow Obuobi, will open your eyes today!
    There are tears in Elder Ampofo’s eyes.
    The crowd is uneasy and disturbed because Elder Ampofo is well-liked and respected in the church.
    One of his sons stands up now, evidently to stop the pastor from torturing his father further.
    Bishop Osuanyi Ayeh is also on his feet, evidently wanting to say something to Obuobi or to stop him.
    Reverend Obuobi suddenly rips the dark glasses off the elder’s face, and the congregation gasps.
    The Bishop holds out his right hand, appalled.
    Pastor! That’s too much! You’re going too far!
    I remove the scales from your eyes, Elder! Your family members from your village took your eyes! They use your eyes as charcoal to fry human flesh! Your day of redemption has come! By the powers in me I cure you now! Receive your eyesight!
    He brushes his hand down the Elder’s eyes.
    Elder Ampofo screams suddenly, and gets to his feet!
    The congregation gasps with awe.
    Even Bishop Osuanyi takes a step back with sudden shock!
    From birth, Elder Ampofo’s eyes had always been pure foggy white!
    His sclera completely took over his whole eyes!
    He had no iris and no pupil, only the white foggy sclera!
    But, quite suddenly, he has irises now… and pupils!
    For a moment Elder Ampofo is shocked into immobility as he sees the world for the very first time!
    His mouth is gaping open so widely that his jaw would’ve dropped to the floor if it has been elastic enough!
    His eyes dart from side to side with incredulous wonder!
    Great tears well up in his eyes and spill down his cheeks as he brings up his hands and stares at them with absolute wonder.
    He begins to tremble quite visibly as he cries.
    My God! I can see… Sweet Lord, I CAN SEEEEE!

    Episode 4

    Reverend Obuobi is strutting around with a pompous and haughty pride.
    Hallelujah! Amen! Hallelujah!! Amen! Hallelujah!!
    Bring him his wife and his children now!!
    Mrs. Ampofo and her children, all crying, run toward their husband and father.
    She and her husband hold each other, and Elder Ampofo sees his wife of thirty years for the very first time.
    Oh, Mansa! Is that you, Mansa! Oh, you’re more beautiful than I imagined! Oh, is this Fiifi? And you’re Akwasi? Come to me children!!
    I healed you! Didn’t I? I healed you!! Now you will know real power!!
    The interior of the church is suddenly filled with great merry-making as the stunned congregation screams and dances and shouts at this most incredible and amazing miracle!
    The praises session that day after the miracle is astounding.
    Elder Ampofo, overwhelmed, empties his wallet into the offertory.
    And, when the church closes, and the members crowd around an elated Elder Ampofo who wants to meet the faces behind the voices he has heard for so many years, Pastor Ebow Obuobi sits down with a contented and smug look on his face, and surveys them with pride.
    Finally, they begin to leave, still shaken up by the miracle.
    The members now approach Reverend Obuobi with reverence.
    Some of the women even bow to him when they speak, and the men are barely able to look him in the eye.
    And, before he and his family leave, Elder Ampofo shakes the hand of Reverend Obuobi, and as they are speaking he surreptitiously slips a cheque inside the side-pocket of Reverend Obuobi’s coat.
    I can’t thank you enough, Reverend. I will come and thank God later. The cheque is a personal appreciation. I hear you don’t have a place to stay yet. I was going to rent out one of my buildings, but I’ve informed the Bishop that you can go and stay in there for as long as you want, rent free.
    Be blessed, Elder. This shows you love me. Blessings will be multiplied unto your life because you have shown appreciation for what I’ve done for you!
    Reverend Obuobi leaves the church auditorium and quickly enters the chambers of the Assistant Pastor.
    He closes the door, locks it, and quickly slips the cheque out of his pocket and looks at the amount.
    His eyes open wide and a huge smile crosses his face.
    The amount is Ghc 100,000.
    Suddenly the man of God strikes a series of crazy poses and finally jumps and punches the air.
    Next he takes a slim cheque book from his drawer and begins to write a post-dated cheque.
    After that he takes a clean A4 sheet and writes his bank details on it.
    Finally, he leaves the office.

    When he goes outside he sees Bishop Osuanyi and the Nyantakyis standing near the brand new Nissan Xterra Akoto Nyameboame has bought for Kusi Nyantakyi as his birthday gift.
    Reverend Obuobi approaches them with his arms wide and a divine smile on his face.
    Sika Nyantakyi runs to him and embraces him.
    Oh, Reverend! We’re so glad to have you in our church! You’re such a wonderful man!
    May God continue to fill you with more anointing, Reverend.
    Amen, amen! Ebow, you told me you have something to discuss with them. They’re waiting.
    Reverend Obuobi looks worried and a bit scared immediately as his kind eyes seek out Kesewaa.
    It really hurts me to say this, my brothers and sisters. For three days I’ve been having continuous visitations from God. Unfortunately, it is about the man Kesewaa wants to marry.
    Kesewaa shoots a fierce look at the man of God.
    It is evident that she still does not trust him fully, but there is grudging respect and a little fear deep down her lovely eyes.
    What are you doing to me, Pastor? Please, please! I love Akoto! I love him with all my heart! If you’ve seen something bad about him why don’t you pray to God and correct it, like these great miracles you’ve been doing?
    Obuobi looks at Kesewaa sadly.
    I wish it were as easy as that, my dear but, sadly, it is not. See, the visitations I am having all point to the fact that Akoto has lied to you. He claims to be a virgin but it’s a lie. He’s used many girls like that. He promises them marriage, but uses them for rituals instead, turning them into paralysed humans or making them go into a coma so that he will make more money. He has lined up blindness and paralysis for you, dear, but I’ve prayed, and God has diverted it to his mother. Soon his evil will catch up with him and he will break down completely because God is going to strike him and his mother.
    (stunned, shocked, dying)
    Please! No, no, no! Akoto is real! Stop saying these evil things!
    Kes, my dear! Listen to the man of God! Our Lord wants to take this great evil from your path! Akoto is evil, and we can’t accept our only daughter marrying a man like that.

    Episode 5

    Please, Kesewaa, I know it hurts! But, please, give me just a month, okay? If nothing happens in a month, you’ll know that I’m a liar! But remember, the blindness and paralysis he has put on you will be reversed on his mother! That will be the beginning and the first sign God will give you, so let’s just wait and see, okay?
    My dear Kesewaa, God loves you, okay? Just use what happened today to know that the Reverend will not lie to you! It is hard, I know, but you have to be strong!
    My darling daughter, surely a month is not that long to wait, right? Let’s just wait, okay?
    Kesewaa is deeply troubled.
    Tears glisten on her eyelashes as she looks at the man of God with wounded eyes.
    Akoto is not like that. He loves me, and I love him. It is a genuine love, please, I beg of you all. Don’t do this to us!
    She turns and enters the car.
    Her parents speak to the pastors for a while, and they also entered the car.
    Kesewaa is sitting alone in the back, and Obuobi approaches her.
    He opens the door and hands her a white envelope so that no one sees it, and he speaks softly.
    It is for you, my dear. I hope it can keep you for a month as we wait to see whether I’m a liar or not. God wants to change your life, my dear.
    When the car moves off Kesewaa opens the envelope.
    It contains a cheque of Ghc 20,000 made out in her name.
    Kesewaa is stunned as she stares at the cheque, and then a warm glow fills her cheeks.
    She smiles and puts the cheque in her bag.
    Her expression is no longer worried.
    It is now uncertain.
    Amina looks at her friend with incredulity, and then she begins to laugh and shake her head.
    They are sitting on park benches inside the LEGON BOTANICAL GARDENS.
    Kesewaa has finished telling Amina all that has been going on.
    Jesus, Kes! So you want me to go to A.N’s place and tell him you travelled? Does it mean you haven’t spoken to him since your Dad’s birthday?
    I’m scared, Amina! Can’t you see that? I’m very scared! Every day that Pastor performs astounding miracles in the church! He just wants me to wait for one month! That’s all. Please, do this for me!
    You’re so stupid, my friend! How long have you known A.N? He has been there for you all these years! He’s never looked at another woman! He’s cared for you and your family, Kes! And now this supposed man of God gives you twenty thousand G.H. and he’s suddenly a God to you and Akoto has become a demon? Are you kidding me, Kes?
    she is breathing hard with contempt for her friend.
    Can you quantify what Akoto has done for you? He bought a house for your parents! He bought a car for your father and for you! He’s footed your Mom’s bills! He gives you anything you ask for! And, most important of all, he loves you enough to wait four years without trying to make love to you, waiting patiently to take you to the altar and make you his wife! He’s a millionaire, young and handsome!
    She glares at here friend with fury.
    He can’t have all girls, that’s for sure, but believe me, he can have many, many, many girls if he chooses to, myself included! But he has been faithful to you only, and now you’re ready to jilt him because of what some hungry pastor is saying?
    Stop it, Amina! I’m not asking for the world! I’ve not even broken up with Akoto! All I’m saying is that I have to keep away from him for a month, okay? Just a month, and I want you to help me! He needn’t know the reason why I’m keeping away from him!
    Needn’t know? Akoto seems like a fool to you? He has been so devastated since the day that man called him a devil worshipper right in front of your eyes and you did nothing about it! You can’t do this to Akoto, Kes! You’re coming with me, and we’re going to tell him all that is happening! I won’t let you lie that you travelled and there’s no network at the place you are and bullshit like that! You’re coming with me now!
    No, no, Amina! Please! The Reverend says if I go to Akoto’s place it’ll be bad! He says God has reversed the blindness and paralysis Akoto planned for me on to his mother!
    Don’t be silly! God can’t be that bias, can He? He’ll put Akoto’s sins on his mother? Good heavens, girlfriend! You’ve always been telling me that God is love! Even a human being like me wouldn’t punish an innocent person for somebody’s wrong, how much more God! You’re coming with me, Kes! Please don’t treat Akoto like this, please! He deserves better!
    Amina stands up and drags her friend by the arm.
    Akoto stays at the Westlands in Haatso, so it doesn’t take them long to get there.
    Kesewaa, obviously in great distress, drives into the spacious compound when the gates are opened by the security guard.
    Akoto, a man who loves gardens, has converted the driveway from the main gates to the building into a gigantic expanse of green beauty.
    The ground is a lush green, as smooth and as huge as a golf course.
    There are clusters of flowers and exotic plants at specific points of this incredible green expanse.
    A gym and swimming pool areas can be seen in the distance, but Kesewaa barely sees them.
    She drives up to the great, sprawling white house.
    Akoto’s house is a thing of beauty!
    Huge, white and designed with great architectural finesse, it looks like a huge hawk when viewed aerially from a helicopter.

    Three of Akoto’s cars are parked in the carport when they arrive.
    Kesewaa sits in the car for a long time even though Amina has gotten out.
    For one wild moment she thinks of reversing and getting out of the place, but she knows Amina is right.
    She loves Akoto too much to treat him like this.
    She sighs miserably and gets out of the car, and then she joins Amina, and they walk to the front door and press the doorbell.
    Kesewaa knows that the security man has already called ahead, as usual, to inform Akoto and his mother that Kesewaa is on her way up.
    The door is opened by Maame Akua.
    She is wearing a kaba and slit attire, the official dress of the Women’s Movement of the church she attends.
    Around her head is a lovely white and gold scarf.
    Her handbag is draped across her shoulder and she is holding her Bible.
    She smiles happily at them, obviously relieved.
    Oh, Kesewaa, my beautiful golden daughter-in-law! Why have you left us for so long? You’ve made my son lose a lot of weight, my dear! I’m glad you’re here. Unfortunately, I’m on my way to a church programme. Hope I’ll come back and meet you here. Welcome too, Amina!
    Amina smiles and hugs the woman briefly.
    Thank you, Ma. Yes, we’ll be here waiting for you!
    Meanwhile, inside his office in the church, Reverend Obuobi is standing looking out of the window.
    He is slowly unwrapping a strange candy.
    He puts the wrapper into his pocket and twirls the candy three times.
    Here we go… here we go now!
    He puts the candy into his mouth slowly…
    And, in Akoto’s house, Kesewaa smiles tightly, but she makes no attempt to speak or touch the Maame Akua.
    This causes Maame Akua to look at her with some sort of concern.
    When they enter the luxurious living-room they see Akoto emerging from an inner room.
    He is in black jeans and an open white shirt and he comes towards Kesewaa with his heart on his face.
    He is so much in love with her.
    Oh, Kes, my love, my darling! Why are you doing this to me and causing me this great pain? Why are you allowing that fool to separate us?
    Kesewaa’s face crumbles with the pain of the love she feels for him.
    She sees his agony, and it tears her heart apart to know she is the cause of all that pain in Akoto’s heart!

    Episode 6

    Kesewaa blinks the tears out of her eyes as she looks at Akoto.
    This man has loved her, has respected her, and has taken care of all her needs for almost four years.
    He has never touched her in any sexual way, but has waited patiently for the day they will be married.
    Oh, A. N! My love!
    She is walking towards him with arms stretched, when it happens!
    Up in his office, still facing the window, Reverend Obuobi moves the toffee in his mouth to his molars.
    Aaaand… it happens!
    He chomps down hard on the candy between his teeth, breaking it to pieces in his mouth!
    In Akoto’s house Maame Akua suddenly makes a guttural noise deep down in her throat, and all eyes turn to her.
    She is trembling, and the Bible drops from her hands.
    She sways, and as she looks at them, sweat covers her face, and her eyes begin to roll!
    Her irises roll upward, and suddenly her whole face becomes slack, her mouth opening and saliva drooling out.
    Kesewaa looks on with sudden fear!
    It is happening!
    Just as Reverend Obuobi has warned!
    This is it!
    Akoto has planned blindness and paralysis for her, and the pastor has said God will reverse it and put it on Akoto’s mother!
    Only the white sclera of Maame Akua’s eyes are showing.
    (slurring, drooling)
    I can’t… oh, Lord! Akoto, my son, I can’t see anything… I can’t feel my body!

    Suddenly her fingers begin to coil into claw-like appendages!
    Her legs, and her arms, and her neck twist round at awkward angles, and her jaw slacks further, emitting thick foamy saliva, and then she begins to fall!
    Akoto and Amina are running towards her.
    The distraught man catches his mother before she falls down, and he begins to shout in anguish!
    Mother! Mother! Oh, Mother!! Kes, please, call an ambulance! Quickly, please!
    Tears are flooding Kesewaa’s face as she looks down at them.
    She is weeping and shaking her head.
    She points an accusing finger at Akoto.
    Thank you, Akoto! Thank you very much! So this is what you planned for me! If it hadn’t been for the prayers of Reverend Obuobi, I’ll be the one lying down like this!
    Akoto looks at her with total incomprehension.
    Goodness me! What did you say? What are you talking about, my love…what is the meaning of this?
    I never realized you could be so wicked, Akoto! How could you? How could you do this to me? May God forgive you!
    Kes! What’s wrong with you? Can’t you see what’s happening?
    (in great emotional pain)
    What? What’s the meaning of this? What’s going on?
    Kesewaa runs past them.
    She goes outside, jumps into her car, starts up, and speeds out of the house, leaving Akoto holding his mother, shocked and staring after her with sadness, incomprehension and mounting horror!

    Episode 7

    It is a Friday night at Golgotha Heights International Church.
    The Church auditorium is filled, with all terraces taken.
    This is an unprecedented phenomenon.
    It is a huge church, and can take a great number of people, but it has never been filled like this before.
    Reverend Ebow Obuobi’s fame has spread, and many people have come to experience the awesome powers of the man of God.
    Bishop Osuanyi had given a spirit-filled talk earlier, but the congregation had been dull, barely receptive of him, and this now bothers him very much.
    He had quickly ended his talk and invited Reverend Ebow Obuobi to begin the revival, and the grounds had been shaken with the roar of appreciation, adoration and worship for Ebow Obuobi.
    Ebow, wearing an all-white flowing gown, takes the microphone and struts on the podium, relishing the deep awe he brings on the people.
    They scream and applaud and get into a frenzy.
    Cameras click and camcorders roll as many in the congregation try to capture an image of him, or to record his session.
    Before I begin my sermon this night, I’ll like to call on Sister Kesewaa to give us a song ministration. I really love that Liberian song of worship you sang two days ago, my dear Kesewaa. Please, give me a rendition of that song!
    Kesewaa, sitting with her parents in the front row, stands up.
    Wearing a stunning blue-black evening dress that Akoto has bought for her several months ago, she looks like an angel as she mounts the podium and receives the microphone from the pastor.
    She turns, faces the crowd, and smiles.
    The bandsmen begin the slow, melodious rhythm that goes with the song, and Kesewaa raises the microphone to begin singing.
    That is when she sees Akoto walking down the aisle towards her.
    Kesewaa gasps, her breath catching with trepidation.
    She has not seen him in a week since that incident in his house.
    She had not picked his calls.
    He had used other numbers to call her, and she had picked, but the moment she heard his voice she had cut the call.
    Akoto had come around the house, and although she had been around her parents had told him she was not in.
    He had come to her workplace, but she had instructed the security men not to allow him inside.
    As he walks towards her now she looks around desperately but there is no escape.
    She can see from the angle of his head and from his gait that he is very angry indeed.
    Her terrified eyes watch him approaching, and she seems lost, but just then the Reverend Obuobi comes to stand by her side.
    All eyes are on Akoto now as he pushes his way to the front.
    Mr. Nyantakyi stands up to stop him, but Akoto shoves him aside and climbs the podium.
    Kesewaa looks down, and then she switches off the microphone so that her words will not carry to the other members of the congregation.
    Akoto is wearing black trousers and a beautiful batakari.
    He stands glaring down at them.
    Akoto, please, don’t make a scene. I’m sorry, but it is over between us. You have to accept that and move on.
    Akoto points a finger at her, and she can see the terrible pain in his eyes.
    He looks so shattered, and tears shimmer in his eyes.
    Kes! So what Amina told me is true? You allowed the lies of this fraud to come between us?
    Stop it, Akoto! Don’t insult the man of God and bring curses on yourself!
    Man of God? You think he’s a man of God because of the cheap miracles he’s been performing?
    Bishop Osuanyi is now close to them, and he utters a cry of agitation.
    Hey, young man, don’t insult God’s anointed or you’ll bring curses on yourself!
    Akoto! It is over! Can’t you understand it? It is over! I love you, but I can’t be with a man who deals in the occult, a man who consults demons and the powers of darkness for money!

    You believe that crap, Kes? You know I’ve always been a Christian! My father was a pastor, and I grew up under the feet of God! I’ve worshipped my God in truth and in spirit all my life! Everything I have, is a blessing from God! You think this pastor is the real deal? He’s a fraud, I tell you, a hungry fraud! He has the powers of evil, and leading all of you astray!
    You better keep that mouth of yours shut, young man. You don’t know who you’re insulting. I can make your life miserable in just a second! I see the shadow of death following you, and unless you humble yourself and allow me to lift it off you, it will soon break you to pieces!
    Akoto turns on him fiercely, and his eyes drill into the man of God with relentless wrath.
    Did you all hear that? Did you hear that, Bishop? The Bible says we should test the spirits, and I ask you, have you tested the spirit behind this man? Did you hear him saying HE can make my life miserable, that HE sees the shadow of death around me, that HE can lift death off me?
    The fury in his eyes was absolutely dreadful now.
    Are you people blind? This man doesn’t use the name of Jesus Christ! It’s all about him, him, HIM!! He wants you to believe he’s powerful, and not the power of God in him, because he doesn’t have the spirit of God in him! Remember, God punished Moses for leading the Israelites astray and not telling them God was responsible for giving them water from the rocks! This man wants you to believe the power comes from him, and yes indeed, it does, because it is he rather who deals with the occult powers to deceive you blind Christians!
    Shut up, Akoto! Just shut up! It is over between us! Why can’t you understand that? God saved me from a terrible future! I hear your mother is still in hospital, blind and paralysed! It could’ve been me! Please, if you want the house and the cars and everything you gave me you can have them back! But please, leave me alone!
    The tears suddenly spurt out of Akoto’s eyes as he looks at Kesewaa dazedly, shaking his head numbly as if she has physically struck him.

    Episode 8

    (voice trembling)
    Don’t do this to me, Kes, my love! I can’t live without you! You’re the only woman I love! Can’t you see what is happening here? This hypocrite is interested in you! He wants you, and that’s why he’s attacking and afflicting me! Don’t allow yourself to be swayed by this devil worshipper!
    Reverend Obuobi’s hand is in his pocket, and he has unwrapped a candy in his pocket.
    He removes his hand and quickly puts the toffee in his mouth, and rolls it between his molars.
    Don’t listen to him, Kesewaa! Yes, it is true that God wants you to be my partner in His Vineyard! I’ve seen the vision many times, but I have been quiet because it disturbs me! But look, this man has blasphemed against me, a true vessel of God, and because of that the spirit in me is going to strike him down this very second! Look, he’s going to be struck down like a cripple, and his hands shall be like that of a leprous man, and he will become an imbecile until he confesses to his devil worship and the ritual he wanted to use to kill Kesewaa!
    Reverend Obuobii then chomps down hard on the strange candy in his mouth, breaking it to pieces.
    And then, amazingly, incredibly, Akoto’s mouth begins to twist to the left!
    The people looking at him gasp with absolute shock!
    Akoto’s fingers suddenly bend inwards until they resemble those of a leprous person!
    Thick saliva drools from his mouth, and his legs suddenly shrivels into malformed trunks, and he falls down hard on the platform!
    He begins to make strange gurgling sounds like a retarded person, and he begins to lick the platform!
    There is absolute shock everywhere!
    The auditorium is stunned into silence!
    Akoto Nyameboame, one of the handsomest, wealthiest, God-fearing bachelors in the world, has suddenly been reduced to a grovelling fool!
    Bishop Osuanyi stares at the boy, and suddenly he moves forward, his face filled with sudden fear and compassion.
    Reverend Obuobi! This man is a powerful man in society! The law will descend on us for this!
    I never touched him! Did anybody see me touching him? I’ve done no wrong! He insulted me, and got his just punishment! All he needs to do is confess that he uses occult powers, and he’ll be free!
    Kesewaa, shocked, moves away from the flailing hands of Akoto as he tries to hold her legs.
    (weeping, grovelling)
    Keshiwap…Keshiiiwaaap! Pleassh helpsh meesh! Ohhhh, my lovesh Keshiiiwaaap! I begsh yoush helpsh meesh pleeeaaashh!
    Oh, Akoto, Akoto! I warned you, but you wouldn’t listen! See what has happened to you because of your devil worship!
    Let this be a lesson to all of you who think you can insult or challenge me, an anointed man! Ushers, come and pick up this sinner and take him to the Miracle Room. Put a chain on him and tie him to a post! Let’s hope he confesses, and I will make him whole again!
    About five ushers approach the pathetic, broken body of Akoto and pick him up.
    They carry him through a door.
    Kesewaa looks after them and shakes her head slowly.
    How can Akoto deceive her like this?
    He is nothing but a wicked, selfish man who dabbles with occultic powers!
    She feels so thankful to God!
    She picks the microphone, and soon begins to sing powerfully!
    More voices join in!
    They have just witnessed another incredible miracle of how God protects the anointed Reverend Obuobi, and they are all in the spirit!

    Bishop Osuanyi opens the Miracle Room and enters.
    The programme is over and people are leaving, but he has come straight to the room to look at Akoto Nyameboame.
    The Ushers have put a chain around his neck and padlocked it to one of the concrete pillars in the room.
    Akoto is sitting in one corner, crippled and leprous, his mouth twisted and drooling saliva, his fingers curled terribly inward, his legs terrible malformed stumps.
    Bishop Osuanyi begins to tremble, and tears of compassion come to his eyes.
    Behind him the door opens slowly, and he turns.
    Reverend Ebow Obuobi is standing in the doorway, smiling a very dangerous smile as he looks at the Bishop.
    The Bishop walks unsteadily towards him.
    The boy is right, isn’t he? He said we should test the spirits, and it is true. I have been so blind, Ebow. You’re my dead sister’s son! We never knew your father! I raised you as my son and sent you to England to learn the Bible, to become a great man of God, and to lead this church one day. But you didn’t only learn Biblical Theology when you went to England, did you? You learnt the Dark Arts too, didn’t you? You sold your soul to the Devil! You’re not of God! You’ve been using demonic powers all along! Oh, how blind I’ve been!
    Ebow Obuobi enters the room fully and closes the door behind him.
    He smiles slyly.
    I’ve been where you would never dare go, Uncle. Yes, I learnt something much, much more powerful! Something that will bring me money, power and get me anything I want! I travelled to the far reaches of the Earth and gathered the mightiest powers on earth! This is my time, old man, and you better not stand in my way!
    The Bishop sits down wearily on a chair and looks at his nephew with horror.
    Dear Lord, Ebow! You’ve become a devil! And you’re going to cause havoc in my church! Akoto is right! You only attacked him because of Kesewaa, didn’t you? You want Kesewaa for yourself!
    Ebow clasps his hands together and smiles evilly.
    Ah! Kesewaa! The fairest lady of them all! Nobody is as sweet as she is! Mmmm, have you seen that incredible figure of hers? Shapely like figure like a bass guitar, and those shaking buttocks…. Aaaahhhhh, so delicious-looking! And she is greedy too, for money and power, just like me! Oh, yes, I need her! We’re going to get married and become powerful together! I can’t wait to screw that delicious butt on her!! Yummy!! My third leg is even stiff already thinking about all the different ‘one corner’ styles I’m going to give Kesewaa,

    Episode 9

    The Bishop is trembling badly now.
    He raises his right hand and points an unsteady finger at the Reverend.
    No, I will not let you destroy this church with your evil, Ebow! This church is based on sound biblical principles! You don’t preach the Gospel anymore! You only preach prosperity and a load of garbage, and use your demons to perform those miracles! And you’re doing it all for money and power! No, I won’t let you destroy anybody anymore! I’ll let everybody know about you!
    The smile vanishes from Ebow’s face.
    His eyes are now hard and nasty as he looks at his uncle.
    You know, that is why you’re like this, a nonentity and an under-achiever! Did you see how your church was filled tonight with people with money because of my prresence? You’ll always be nothing, just a two-pesewa irrelevant pastor! Grow up, Uncle! The world is changing! There’s money to be made!
    His face was twisted with sick greed that absolutely disgusted the older man.
    People are not interested in your ‘repent or burn in hell’ crap! They want to marry, have money, and sin! So you give them what they want by forgiving their sinful natures and promising them big monies! The church is now huge business, bringing in millions of cedis!
    He gave a bark of a laugh.
    You can be rich and powerful, but no, you always prefer the same old shitty way of doing things! I’m taking over your church whether you like it or not! You can choose to be with me, or wallow in self-pity. Don’t force me to hurt you! What is it going to be?
    Oh, no! I will not let you! I’m a Christian, and I’ll not lose my soul because of you! They’ll know about this!
    Alright, Uncle, have it your way then!
    He smiles, turns and leaves the room.
    The Bishop looks at Akoto miserably.
    Sorry, my friend. I’ll get someone to help you! I’ve been so blind, Akoto. Please forgive me.

    The Bishop also leaves the room, intent on telling the other pastors and Elders the true colours of Obuobi.
    Quickly he emerges in the church room.
    All the Elders, junior pastors and the Bishop’s wife are bunched together and chatting.
    The Bishop sees Kesewaa and her parents preparing to leave.
    They are chatting to Ebow Obuobi.
    With determined steps the Bishop walks towards them.
    Ebow Obuobi looks at the Bishop approaching, and then he gently takes his hand from his pocket.
    There is a strange toffee with a white covering in his hand now.
    It is the same toffee he had eaten before striking Maame Akua and crippling Akoto!
    He unwraps the candy as he speaks a strange language under his breath in a chanting manner, and then he pops the toffee into his mouth.
    Bishop Osuanyi has reached the little group now.
    He raises his hand and he points at Ebow.
    The Bishop tries to speak, and that is when Reverend Obuobi clamps down on the candy hard, breaking it.
    Bishop Osuanyi grips his throat immediately as a great agony suffuses his body.
    He cannot speak now as he fights for breath, his accusing eyes fixed with horror on the reverend.
    He makes gurgling and choking sounds in his throat.
    His wife sees him and begins to run towards him.
    Reverend Obuobi bites on the candy harder, and it crumples to smaller pieces in his mouth.
    Immediately the Bishop Osuanyi screams with dreadful pain; it feels as if every vein and muscle in his body has been severed!
    Blood spurts from his mouth, nose and ears.
    Kesewaa screams!
    Mrs. Osuanyi screams!
    Other people are also screaming when Bishop Osuanyi crashes to the floor.
    Reverend Ebow Obuobi chews the candy harder!
    Bishop Osuanyi begins to thrash terribly on the floor, muttering painfully!
    Reverend Obuobi swallows the rest of the candy, and the Bishop goes limp!
    People crowd around the Bishop.
    An Elder who is a doctor kneels and checks for the pulse of the Bishop.
    There is none.
    Bishop Osuanyi Ayeh is dead!

    Episode 10

    The news of Bishop Osuanyi Ayeh’s demise sends shock waves throughout the country and through the Christian fraternity.
    The story is told about how a hidden tumour in the brain has suddenly ruptured, causing the instant death of the renowned man of God.
    People are also told about how the Reverend Ebow Obuobi had tried for several minutes to resurrect the man, and how he had cried and wailed at the sudden death of his uncle and mentor.
    The story continues that he has refused to eat, and has quarantined himself in his office in the church seeking the face of God.
    There is no doubt, however, that the new General Overseer of Golgotha Heights International is going to be the Reverend Ebow Obuobi.
    At an emergency meeting at the church’s headquarters, delegates from all the branches nationwide and beyond who have heard or witnessed the amazing feats of Ebow Obuobi decided to affirm him as the new leader.
    The next few days sees many people coming to the church and the Mission House to mourn the Bishop.
    Many important and powerful people in society flood in daily to pay homage and console the widow.
    And all the while Akoto Nyameboame is kept in a chains in the Miracle Room whilst his mother is on admission in the hospital as her vital organs slowly give way and the doctors begin to consider taking her off the life support system.
    They are just waiting for her son to come around and sign the consent form, but it seems the man cannot be found anywhere.
    It is his long-time friend, Miss Amina Mohammed, who has stood firm that the woman should not be taken off life support.
    Every day she comes to the hospital, totally breaking down each time, to visit the woman and speak to her.
    Amina goes to church every day to pray for Maame Akua, and ask God to bring back Akoto.
    It is on the third day of Akoto’s disappearance that Amina wakes up in the middle of the night sweating.
    She has had a strange dream!
    In the dream she had been running in a maze, calling out Akoto’s name, asking where he is, telling him to come back, and asking God why she can’t see her friend.
    As she runs through the maze screaming she suddenly comes across a tall man in a black suit and a white shirt.
    He is wearing a black tie, and has a hat on his head, and he is wearing dark glasses, and he has a ring of hair around his lips, forming a moustache and a beard.
    He looks incredibly handsome, and he tells Amina to go back home.
    Amina tells the man she cannot go back without Akoto, and the stranger simply replies that Akoto is fine.
    Amina has the same dream the next day, and the next.
    On the third night, however, the tall stranger in the dream takes her hand and leads her out of the maze, and as she turns back to look she sees that the maze, indeed, is the church building of Golgotha Heights International!
    She goes to the hospital in the morning to visit Maame Akua.
    (wiping her tears)
    Don’t worry, Mama! I think God has listened to our prayers, and He is sending a stranger to help us out!
    On the fourth day after the strange dream Amina decides to go to the Golgotha church out of curiosity, at least to see if Akoto is really there as the stranger in her dreams had shown her.
    At that same time, Kesewaa has cooked some sweet yam and kontomire stew with red oil and fish, and also prepared some goat light soup, and she sends it to the church.
    She takes it to Reverend Obuobi’s office.
    She meets a lot of important Pastors and Elders of the church who are trying unsuccessfully to coax the reverend out of the office to eat something light, at least.
    Elder Ampofo sees Kesewaa and smiles with relief.
    Oh, my dear Kesewaa! We hope he listens to you! The church needs a leader, and yet he can’t stop mourning! It is so sad!
    Please let me try!
    Kesewaa approaches the door of the office and knocks on it.
    She begins to speak, telling the man of God that they are all sorry about the passing of the Bishop, but they need him.
    Tell him you prepared some food for him.
    Reverend, please, I’ve prepared some food for you, because I care so much! If you don’t come for it I’ll leave, and I’ll not come back again!
    They all wait, and then, incredibly, the key turns in the lock, and the door opens slowly.

    The Reverend Ebow Obuobi is standing in the doorway.
    He looks very haggard and forlorn, his grief showing like a dress.
    His face is gaunt, and his cheeks are hollowed, his lips very dry.
    His eyes are swollen and red, as if he had been crying, and indeed his cheeks are still wet with tears.
    The pastors and elders approach him, all of them crying now, and they embrace the man of God who is hurting so much for the loss of his uncle.
    Kesewaa looks at him, and tears swim in her eyes.
    Finally, the man of God stands back and addresses the gathering.
    Forgive me for abandoning you in a time like this, but I’m first a human, and there is no person I loved more than my uncle who has been a father to me. I’ve sought the face of the Lord these few days, and I saw an angel handing me a staff with flowers on it, and a golden crown was put on my head. The Lord has spoken, and who am I, a mere mortal, to say no? I accept the Leadership of our noble church.
    There is applause, and happy smiles of relief from the pastors and elders.
    They hug him again over and over.
    We’re blessed!
    We’re indeed blessed, and from this very moment, in a vision the Lord granted me, you’re to be made an Apostle, and the Ordination Service is going to be tonight, in this very auditorium!
    There is more applause and happy remarks. The new Apostle looks at them gravelly.
    I thank all of you. I shall go home then, and make myself presentable for this evening’s grand Ordination. In my dreams too, I saw Kesewaa standing on my left side all the time! It appears a new Mother of the Church has also been chosen. Kesewaa, my dear, do you accept the hand of a humble man of God in marriage?
    Kesewaa is stunned!
    This is beyond her wildest dreams!
    Mother of the Golgotha Heights International Church!
    She will be the most powerful woman in the church!
    And she will travel all over the world to every branch of the church.
    She will be famous, shown on brochures, in magazines, on television!
    Wealth, power and happiness will be hers at long last!
    She will receive more popularity than being married to Akoto Nyameboame!
    There is incredible happiness on her face as she bows her head demurely.

    Yes, Apostle, I humbly accept to be your wife!
    She is aware of more laughter, more appreciation, more happiness!
    She is almost faint, fearing she will pass out!
    Finally, when the man of God tells her to set the table for him so that he eats, she picks the basket and enters, trembling with anticipation!
    Oh, life is going to be grand!

    To be continued

    Episode 11

    The reverend then gives her a lot of cheques and an A4 sheet with his bank details on it.
    My dear, kindly deposit these cheques in my account for me tomorrow, okay? When the pressure comes down a bit I’ll go to the bank and open a joint bank account with you. You’ll be a signatory too, and can take any amount you want!
    Kesewaa’s face beams with pleasure!
    It is getting better and better!
    She is going to enjoy life!
    Yes, Apostle, I’ll do that!
    She puts the cheques in her bag and waits with the other elders and pastors for the new Apostle to finish eating, and then she cleans up after him.
    Happy and elated, they all head for the entrance, planning to go home and prepare for the evening’s ordination.
    When they arrive inside the church auditorium, they see Amina coming towards them.
    Kesewaa quickly puts her basket down on a bench and rushes forward to meet Amina.
    Ami! What’s going on? What’re you doing here?
    Amina looks at her best friend and shakes her head sadly.
    Where’s Akoto, Kes?
    A sudden look of guilt crosses Kesewaa’s face and she looks away quickly.
    You know what he wanted to do to me, Ami!
    That’s not what I asked! We haven’t found him in more than a week! He’s here, isn’t he? What have you people done to him?
    Kesewaa looks over her shoulders with sudden worry, her face concerned.
    Shh, shh, shush, Ami! Please keep your voice down!
    Irritated and angry, Amina brushes past Kesewaa and walks towards the group of powerful men of the church.
    Kesewaa, frightened, tries to hold her back, but Amina shrugs free.
    She stands in front of the pastors, elders and the powerful Apostle Ebow Obuobi.
    She glares without fear at the man of God, and her beautiful face is flushed with anger.
    I know Akoto Nyameboame is here. Please, where is he, and how is he? You must release him to me immediately, otherwise when I come back I’ll be with the police!
    The other men look at the Apostle.
    It is evident that they are very uneasy.
    Kesewaa has now reached her friend’s side and she takes her arm angrily.
    What the hell is the meaning of this, Ami? You’re embarrassing us!
    Amina whirls on Kesewaa and speaks with all the venom she feels.
    Shame on you, Kes! Shame on you! How can you betray Akoto’s love like this? Let me tell you something you don’t know, friend! I introduced Akoto to you, remember? I told you I met a man I loved very much, a man I wanted to marry! Of course Akoto’s mother didn’t want him to marry a Northerner, although Akoto had by then encouraged me to embrace Christianity!
    Her face was passionately frantic now.
    I introduced you to him, in the University, and the next thing I knew, he fell in love with you! But I wanted him to be happy, because I loved him so much, and his happiness was more important to me than mine! I never dated again, because he was the only man I knew I was going to love! And so I supported you, as a friend, and kept all the pain inside, refusing to be jealous! I sacrificed my love for your happiness, and yet you stood aside and let this happen to him? Akoto told me this man of God wants you and that is why he said all those terrible thing about your fiancé. Is it true?
    Kesewaa sighs with discomfiture and looks guiltily at her friend.
    Yes, Ami. I won’t lie to you. Akoto uses demonic powers, and it has made him very sick! I’m sorry about that, but the Apostle is going to cure him. But yes, we’re going to get married, the Apostle and me.
    Jesus! You’re such a fool, Kes! You throw Akoto away for this filthy man?
    Hey, better watch your arrogant mouth, and the way you speak to a man of God otherwise I’ll let the most hideous of diseases befall you right now!
    That one gets to Amina.
    She spins, and with a stiff forefinger she jabs the chest of the man of God as she speaks angrily.

    Go ahead and do it, I dare you! You can’t do me foko! Do you hear me? You can’t do me foko! I come from the North! My father, my grandfather, my brothers and my uncles are all Mallams, do you hear me? Only I became a Christian, through Akoto, and my family disowned me!
    She takes a step closer, and her fury is sizzling and absolutely volcanic.
    These powers you’re exhibiting to impress these people doesn’t tickle me one bit! Do you know why? It’s because I grew up in the midst of gods who give eye-boggling demonic powers to my family, and so I’ve seen them a million times! My father can hammer a fresh egg with a cement block and it will never crack! My grandfather can make a person break down with leprosy and cripple a human being with just a flick of his hand!
    She laughed then – a sharp vicious explosion of sound – but it did not soften her eyes.
    My brother can hang in the air for an hour and make the ground open up and swallow up a cow! And my cousin sleeps in a room full of poisonous Mamba snakes, and they all slither away from him with fear! My brother can stand a hundred metres away, raise his hand in the air, and a man will be lifted into the air and slammed on the ground with such force that he would lose all his teeth!
    She drew nearer still to the man of God, her face filled with passion.
    If you’re a man, touch me! Just touch me right now, and all the evil and demonic powers of hundreds of Mallams from my village will visit you this evening and there you will witness the amegah of all evil forces! Now where the hell is Akoto?
    She has spoken with such zeal, such fury, with such power, that the people around her are suddenly filled with more than unease.

    Episode 12

    The Stranger appears…things are going to heat up!
    Read on…
    They are a little scared, but Reverend Obuobi only laughs.
    You have the impudence of an unbeliever, and of course I don’t want to taint the memory of my dead father with a show of vengeance, otherwise you would not have been able to walk out of here on your own two legs! The man you so obviously want to fornicate with is sick, very sick! I was trying to help him, to break the curse on him, but I lost my uncle, and in my grief I have not been able to pray for Akoto. You should leave him here so that we pray for him, or you can take him away. The choice is yours. But remember, if you take him away, he will remain the way he is now. He will never get well!! The ushers will show you where he is! Come, brothers, let’s go and plan!
    The men file past Amina and head for the entrance.
    An usher comes towards Amina, his face scared, and speaks to her.
    Please, follow me! The cursed one is in the Miracle Room!
    Amina follows the Usher to the Miracle Room.
    The young man opens the door, and when Amina enters she stops suddenly and great sobs rack her body at what she sees!
    Akoto is sitting on the floor with a leash around his neck like a dog, and the end of the leash is chained to a concrete pillar.
    His lips are twisted savagely to the left, and his fingers are gnarled and curled and stumpy with leprosy.
    His legs have shrunk like a cripple’s!
    He stinks because evidently the room is not hygienic, and he has urinated on himself several times.
    It seems he has been starved, and so he has not soiled himself with faeces, thankfully.
    Amina is horrified!
    She can barely see because her tears are falling hard.
    Akoto sees her, and he tries to speak, but he is too weak, and tears flood his face as he makes weak gestures towards her with his leprous hands.
    Kesewaa has followed Amina!
    She has not seen Akoto again since the night he had been taken to the Miracle Room.
    What Kesewaa sees shocks her so much that tears come into her eyes immediately!
    (stunned, aghast)
    A. N.! Oh, dear Lord!
    Amina can barely walk.
    She stumbles forward and sits on the floor.
    She gathers Akoto into her arms and holds him tightly.
    Oh, Akoto! My love! My only love! What have they done to you? Get the damn chains off him this instant!!
    Yes, Miss!
    He goes out and comes back a few minutes later with a bunch of keys and unlocks the leash around Akoto’s neck.
    I didn’t know! Oh, Akoto! I didn’t know! I’m so sorry!
    Amina looks at Kesewaa with acid in her eyes.

    Well done, Kesewaa. Go and marry that pastor, and I wish you all the luck. You know something? I’m going to care for this man, and I don’t care if he doesn’t get well. I’m going to stay with him, and love him, and make him happy so that he won’t even remember the nightmare you are!!
    Akoto hears everything, even in the darkness of his afflicted soul, and he turns his face into Amina’s neck and begins to weep pitifully.
    Kesewaa, shattered, cannot take it anymore.
    With a sob she turns and flees from the room!
    With the Usher’s help Amina takes Akoto to the washroom and cleans him up.
    She also cleans the room, and they carry him to a bed in the Miracle Room.
    Amina goes out and buys water and milo and prepares his favourite drink for him: cold cocoa drink.
    She feeds him, and he eats hungrily, and this makes Amina cry even more!
    To see a rich boy who has everything at his beck and call reduced to such a shell really tears her heart apart.
    She looks at him out of her loving eyes and kisses his cheeks.
    My love, I’m going for an ambulance to take you to hospital, okay? Don’t worry at all! I fasted and prayed for three days, and I had a recurring dream in which a tall stranger in a black suit kept telling me that everything is alright. I’m sure God has heard my prayers, and things will be alright. Don’t worry, love! I’ll be back soon.
    Akoto smiles out of his twisted lips, and Amina leaves quickly.
    She decides to go to the Eden Hospital, where Maame Akua is on admission, and arrange for an ambulance for Akoto.
    She gets out of the taxi at the entrance of the huge hospital just as a huge, black, sleek Escalade with tint windows comes to a stop.
    Amina pays the taxi driver and as she begins to walk towards the hospital she casts an admiring look at the Escalade again.
    The driver’s door opens, and then he steps out!
    Amina comes to a complete halt!
    She is shivering as her mouth opens with a combination of shock and horror!
    The man who has emerged from the luxurious car is tall and handsome.
    He is wearing a black suit with a white shirt and a black tie!
    A circle of hair around his lips formed a moustache and a beard, and he is wearing a hat.
    He is also wearing dark shades!
    He is the stranger!
    The man in her dreams!
    The one she sees in the maze in her dreams!

    Episode 13

    People are staring at the man as he crosses to the entrance of the hospital and approaches Amina.
    She closes her eyes and shakes her head hard, thinking she is hallucinating.
    She opens her eyes again and he is right there!
    He is not smiling, and his face is grim and extremely wrathful, as if he is very angry.
    Y-you! I-I s-s-saw y-you in… I saw yo-yo-you in m-my dr-dr-drea-dreams!
    The stranger doesn’t even stop to look at her, but he speaks in a calm, deep, bass voice.
    I know, lass.
    He walks past her.
    Amina turns with a strangled gasp and follows him.
    He is not in a hurry, but his legs are long, and his strides sure, so she had to run to keep up.
    She reaches his side and reaches out to touch him, and when her hand touches him it further confirms to her that she is not crazy, and that the stranger she has seen in her dream is indeed here.
    He enters the reception and does not stop to ask direction.
    He enters the elevator, and Amina follows him in.
    She is not surprised when he punches the number for the fifth floor, where the FEMALE WARDS are.
    Please, sir, who’re you? What’s your name? How come I saw you in my dreams after my fasting and prayers?
    He looks at her, and the harsh lines of his face does not relax, and indeed he does look a trifle irritated by her questions.
    You prayed to our mighty Lord Jehovah.
    Yes, I did! And for three days I saw you in my dreams! And now you’re here! I’m a bit petrified, really, and freaking out a little, if you see what I mean.
    No, I don’t see what you mean. And I certainly owe you no explanations, lady.
    The lift doors slide open, and the stranger walks out.
    He strides along the corridor, and presently arrives at WARD 5, where Maame Akua is still lying on a bed, attached to the life support machine.
    He slides the glass door open and enters the ward with Amina close behind him.
    There are two male doctors and a female nurse in the ward, and they both look up at the new entrants.
    DOCTOR GYAMBIBI, the elderly man who has been attending to Maame Akua, looks at Amina and smiles.
    Oh, hello again, Amina.
    Hello, Doctor.
    Is this Madam Akua’s son? Mr. Akoto Nyameboame?
    (licking her lips)
    N-no, please. He’s a f-friend.
    In that case you two have to wait outside for a while. Visiting hours is still about an hour away.
    Yes, Doctor. Please, sir, we have to wait outside for a while.
    The stranger does not bother to listen to anyone.
    He walks forward briskly and stands at the foot of the bed looking at the frail woman attached to the life support.
    The younger doctor has a name tag on his coat lapel which says he is DOCTOR AKWASI KISSIEDU.
    Look, sir, with all due respect you should go out. There is a procedure going on. You can come in when we’re done.
    The stranger looks at the doctor without expression.
    You say there’s no God, and you’re bitterly fighting with your wife because she chooses to worship God. She believes that only God can heal your daughter, who was born a week ago with a weak heart, and not expected to live past two weeks.
    The doctors exchange startled glances, and the nurse gasps with shock.
    Doctor Kissiedu puts the clipboard he is holding down with a curse and approaches the stranger angrily.
    Now, look here, you bastard! How the hell did you know that?
    He is reaching out to push the stranger in the chest, and the tall man’s stare drills into him.
    Believe me, Akwasi Kuntukununku, you don’t want to touch me!
    Doctor Kissiedu pauses with even more shock!
    The man has just mentioned his childhood name, the name he has shirked many years ago, the name no one knows.
    He gasps, and he drops his hand, and he takes a step back.
    Listen, sir! What game do you think you’re playing with ME?
    The stranger reaches out suddenly and touches Maame Akua’s right foot.
    If I be a man of the Almighty Jehovah, then with the power vested in me by the Holy Spirit, arise from this bed, woman, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
    And Maame Akua suddenly sits up in bed, coughing!
    She looks around, her eyes once more normal, her limbs once more cured.
    She stares at the stranger standing at the foot of her bed with stunned incredulity.
    Yes, me.
    I saw you in my dreams! I was lost, and you took my hand and led me to my house!
    Then get up and go to your house, woman, and stop your muttering! I have other things to do before the day ends!
    He turns and walks towards the door.

    Episode 14

    The doctors, absolutely scared, jump out of his way with looks of dread and confusion etched deeply on their faces.
    The nurse is trembling rather badly by what she has seen, and she gives a startled scream and jump to one side as Maame Akua tries to get out of the bed.
    The stranger is out of the ward again!
    Amina quickly approaches Maame Akua and takes hold of her shoulders.
    Mama, please, wait here! Don’t go anywhere, okay? I think we’re going to bring Akoto home!
    What’s going on, my daughter? Where’s my son?
    God sent us a helper, Mama! I’ll explain later, but I need to go!
    Maame Akua holds Amina’s hand, and tears are running down her cheeks.
    Amina! You’ve been an angel! I saw you in a dream too, with Akoto, and he was so happy, and I know God wants you to be his partner! Forgive me, daughter, for being a bad Christian and thinking some tribes are better than others! I should have encouraged Akoto to love you a long time ago!
    Amina smiles.
    Our God makes everything beautiful in His own time, Mama! And I know the time is now! Please, lie back down. We’ll be with you soon!
    She turns and runs out of the ward after the stranger.
    Doctor Kissiedu looks at Mama Akua for a moment, and then he suddenly curses and turns for the door.
    He goes out and sees the stranger striding purposefully away.
    Doctor Kissiedu begins to run hard, his heart thudding with sudden resolve.
    He passes Amina, and then he reaches out and catches the arm of the stranger.
    A violent vibration blasts through him, as if electricity is passing through him.
    He gives a muted scream and scrambles back, and would have fallen if the stranger hadn’t reached out instantly to hold him steady.
    I gave you a warning about touching me, Kuntukununku!
    There is abject misery in the doctor’s eyes.
    He is trembling fiercely.
    Please, please! Please help my baby girl! She will be dead by the end of this week! Please, I beg of you, save her!
    The stranger steps away from him and heads for the elevator without a word.
    Doctor Kissiedu once again runs round him and falls down on his knees in tears, reaching out bravely to hold the man’s leg.
    This time there is no violent vibration.
    Now what ails you, Kuntukununku?
    I hate that name! But you can call me that, it’s okay! Please, my daughter! Please, please help her!!

    I am but a mortal, Kuntukununku. I have no power to heal your daughter!
    Oh, please! Damn it! Damn it, man! That woman you just cured… damn it, she wasn’t expected to live! She was brain dead, man! Only her heart had a trace of life! She wasn’t supposed to wake up and be able to speak and be cured of all that massive organ and tissue damage! But you healed her!
    Get out of my face, Kuntukununku! I have no powers, I told you, fool! I didn’t heal that woman. I’m but a messenger!
    What? But you healed that wo-
    (breaking in)
    He didn’t heal the woman, Doc. God healed her. That’s what this man is trying to tell you!
    Doctor Kissiedu’s eyes fill up with tears now.
    Still on his knees he raises both his arms upward and shuts his eyes as tears rack his body.
    I believe now, sir, that God does exist, and that His son Jesus Christ died for my sins! I repent of my sins, please! I’ll be going to church with my wife, always! I’ll get baptized! I believe, God, dear Lord, please heal my daughter!!
    The stranger looks at the broken man and steps past him again.
    In two minutes your wife will call and tell you your daughter is now crying, and that the doctors have taken her out of the support system, and she is breast-feeding her! The Good Lord has heard your prayer, and Heaven is happy because another lost sheep has come home, Kuntukununku, you fool!!
    The Doctor springs to his feet, but the elevator doors are open and the stranger has entered with Amina.
    Wait! Please, sir, wait! I-
    The elevator doors swing close, and just then the doctor’s phone rings.
    He takes it out with trembling hands.
    It is his wife!
    He picks the call.
    Hello, darling. Ewura Adwoa is up, out of the life support system, and you’re breast-feeding her for the first time, isn’t it? Wait for me, I’m coming over right now.
    There is a strangled gasp in his ear, and his wife begins to cry uncontrollably.
    (tremulously, stunned)
    How did you know, my love? How did you hear of the awesome miracle that just happened? I was watching her and suddenly she opened her eyes and started crying and the doctors came in and took her out and listened to her heartbeats and gave her to me to feed and they’re all confused and waiting to run scans and tests and they can’t understand wh-
    (overwhelmed, weeping)
    Darling, darling, darling, please breathe! Breathe, my love! I know what happened! I have the strangest news for you, darling. Wait, I’m coming over to the Maternity Ward right now! We’re going to church this Sunday!!

    Episode 15(Final)

    But there is something strange going on!
    Obuobi’s voice is amplified, as if there are a million living things inside him all screaming!
    People can hear the  voices of men, women, children and animals coming from the apostle’s throat!
    Apostle Obuobi stands up and steps out of his ceremonial dress, still screaming in the million voices of the things inside him!
    Quite suddenly he takes off his singlet and throws it away, and steps out of his trousers.
    Now he is wearing only boxers, and his hands hold the edge to rip it off.
    The stranger approaches and points a hand at him.
    Be still, demons! In the name of Jesus Christ whose resurrection power has filled us with the authority over all demons, I cast you out of this man, you host of demons! Come out of this vessel!!
    Apostle Obuobi falls down on the podium, jerking spasmodically as hordes of demons leave his body, but of course only the stranger sees the terrified horde of demons leaving the man’s body and crashing out of the windows with screeches of terror!
    And soon Apostle Obuobi is lying on the podium, shivering and weeping like a child!
    And something else is happening!
    Elder Ampofo screams as he feels pains in his eyes…
    Mrs. Sika Nyantakyi screams and falls down, her body once more gripped with paralysis!
    And one by one people fall as all the diseases Reverend Obuobi has cured fall back on the people who were cured!
    Elder Ampofo is blind again!
    Mrs. Sika Nyantakyi is paralyzed again!
    There is weeping, wailing, mourning and gnashing of teeth all around the church auditorium.
    Sheer terror has gripped everybody as they stare at the stranger.
    Kesewaa is holding her mother and wailing in anguish!
    Mr. Nyantakyi is weeping inconsolably!
    The stranger looks at Amina.
    He’s coming. Go and meet him!
    Amina, weeping with unbridled joy, runs hard towards the entrance that leads to the Miracle Room, but Akoto Nyameboame comes out through the doorway!
    He is completely healed, and although his clothes are dirty, he looks handsome and fit!
    He and Amina embrace tightly, and their tears merge.
    Amina, Amina, Amina! What a fool I have been, throwing away the gold of your love for the glittering beauty of Kesewaa which is as vain as it is hollow! Please, my love, how does Mrs. Amina Nyameboame sound to you?
    She laughs hard with total happiness and squeezes Akoto hard.
    (dying with happiness)
    Oh, what a terrible name! Amina Nyameboame! What a horrible name, my love, but one I’ll wear with pride and happiness my whole life! I love you, Akoto. Always have, always will!
    The stranger cannot stand all the cries of pain and horror around him.
    He spreads his arms wide and speaks.
    None of you deserve redemption, because you foolishly followed signs and wonders, forsaking the Gospel of our Lord! To show you that there is indeed joy and peace in the God we serve, you will receive your healing again only when a real servant of God lays his hands on you, and pray for you! And I know of no better servant of God than one called Akoto Nyameboame!
    The auditorium is hushed as all eyes turn to Akoto.
    The fake Apostle Obuobi stands up groggily.
    He is shivering as he walks towards the stranger, and then he stops in front of the tall man.
    He clasps his hands in front of him in supplication and speaks passionately with tears in his eyes.
    Please, please! How can I also get this great power? I didn’t know there is a power that is far greater than the powers from the underground of the earth! Please, sir, take me as an apprentice, or let me give you money! I have a lot of money saved and I can give half to you so that you let me have this incredible power! I can make you rich! Just teach me how to get a power as great as yours!
    There is death on the stranger’s face as he raises his hand!
    Apostle Obuobi clutches his chest with a loud wail as shards of acute pain shoots through his body!
    He screams in agony as he looks at the face of the stranger, and sees that there is death in the man’s eyes!
    Reverend Obuobi knows that he is going to die, and even as the pain in his heart intensifies and sudden tears fall down his face, he begs for his life!
    (in an agonized whisper)
    Please…oh…please…have…mercy…on…me! Do…not…kill…me…pleaaaase!!
    There is still rage in the stranger’s eyes, and he squeezes harder, and Obuobi falls to his knees in excruciating pain!
    Suddenly the stranger’s other arm comes up, as if he is shading his eyes from the glow of something too bright to watch.
    The stranger speaks with frustration!
    No, no, no! Don’t do this to me, Gabriel!
    It appears that he is speaking to somebody or something that is invisible, and again an eerie silence reigns in the church room, and it is only Obuobi who continues to moan with his pain.
    Come on! What do you mean this is not the appointed time for him? He killed Osuanyi Ayeh, and he still wants to corrupt the ways of the Lord! He’s greedy and unrepentant!! I tell you, this piece of dung doesn’t deserve to live!
    The stranger becomes silent, only raising his arm higher to shield his eyes from whatever he alone is seeing.
    He appears to be listening.
    (in a calmer voice)
    Alright, alright! I won’t kill him! I’ve sinned against my Father! Forgive me, Father, for forgetting that Your ways are higher than mine. I forgot that this vile man is also your creation, also your son, and you want to wait for him to repent too! I’m sorry, forgive me, Father! Only You can forgive me, because you are my Father, and it is only You I can sin against!
    He drops his hands, and immediately the pain leaves Obuobi’s heart, and he begins to breathe with acute relief, but the horror does not leave his face.
    And then, suddenly, the stranger draws back his left hand and slaps Ebow Obuobi so hard that he is slammed hard on top of the podium, and droplets of blood emit from his nostrils and his mouth!
    The slap shocks everybody into silence.
    It has been a most savage cauldron of fury unleashed in that terrifying slap.
    The stranger holds up both hands in supplication and steps back, shaking his head at the angel standing on the podium whom the other people cannot see.
    You didn’t tell me I can’t hit him, Gabriel, you didn’t! It is your fault, really, tell Father that, please!
    He points a finger at the dazed Obuobi.
    And behold, Saul was persecuting the Lord, but on the way to Damascus he was stricken blind, and sent to a man of God to be healed. In likewise manner do I strike you blind, deaf, mute and crippled in the name of Jesus! And you’ll receive salvation when your heart acknowledges the Lord, and Akoto Nyameboame lays hands on you, and prays for you!
    And immediately as Ebow Obuobi screams, he suddenly loses his sight!
    His screams ceases because he has become dumb and deaf.
    And, amazingly, his legs are crippled.
    There he lies on the podium, broken and pathetic as tears course down his cheeks.
    And Akoto looks at Obuobi and smiles… but it isn’t a very nice smile!
    The Stranger turns away, jumps down from the podium and begins to walk fast towards the entrance!
    No, no, sir! Please wait! Don’t leave, please! Let me show you my appreciation!
    The stranger speaks without stopping or turning.
    Show appreciation to God, only God, fool!
    They watch him go out the entrance.
    Akoto shakes his head with wonder and wipes tears from his face.
    Indeed, God is God! And God is good.
    All the time, my love, all the time!
    Kesewaa approaches Akoto, and her face is cut into lines of acute remorse, shame and longing.
    Akoto, please, my love!
    Your wetin? I beg, madam, wedge koraa!
    He walks past her.
    Kesewaa reaches out to touch him, but Amina slaps her hand away.
    Stop it, Kes. He’s mine now!
    Akoto walks past Mr. and Mrs. Nyantakyi.
    Oh, Asew…
    (repressing his anger)
    Abeg, massa, don’t start!
    He walks past him too, and then he reaches out behind him.
    Amina puts her hand in his, and together they walk out of the church.
    After a while she slips her arm around his waist and he slips his arm around her shoulders.

    Who was that stranger, I wonder? Wow, such awesome powers! And he was speaking to Jehovah God on the podium! Did God descend, you think?
    (sighing and shaking his head)
    I don’t think it was God. He called whatever it was Gabriel. I think there was an angel on the podium with us. That stranger is someone God loves so much! It’ll be so awesome to be loved by God like that, don’t you think? Damn, I’ll give all my riches to have powers like that!
    I beg you, don’t let him come and slap you like a goat! Did you see the way he slapped Obuobi like a goat? Isn’t it a sin for a man of God to slap somebody like that?
    It’s a holy sin, I guess! Just like Jesus beat the crap outta those gamblers in the church.
    They burst into laughter…
    The future seems so good.
    But the stranger said you have to put your hands on those people – the blind and the sick, including Kes’ mother and Obuobi – and pray for them to receive healing. You should do that, please, my love.
    Madam, abeg, Madam, make I go find some fufu and light soup with goat meat blow first wai, for my soul to descend first. They go fit wait one day!
    You’re wicked, Akoto!
    You sure? Forgotten how God rained fire on the Sodomites? Let me bluff small, my love!
    They smile at each other.
    Everything, indeed, works out for the best for those who love the Lord.

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