Story: Mother-In-Law

    Episode 1

     “I love you more!” Janet said with her heart full of excitement. “Hahahaha!” Emanuel guffawed. “How many times do we have to go through this? I love you way more than you love me. Don’t even think you can catch up with me in this love game. Janet, you are the air I breathe, the water I drink and the sunshine that lights up my world.” Janet strode across the polished floor and swept him off his feet for a second. “I like it when you say those to me, even though I know I love you more,” she said with her face beaming with resplendent smile. “The reason you feel that way is that deep within, you can sense I love you more,” he said and placed a gentle kiss on her lips.
    “I am done arguing about who loves who more. I just can’t wait to show my love to you in our marriage. From all I have read, marriage is where the real test of love is. I hope I won’t become a bad wife soon after our wedding. If I become one to you, then you will have failed the love test,” Janet said strutting about on the polished wood floor. “My love for you has been in training for years, I have over those years developed enough muscles to deal with anything your love comes along with. I still won’t let you scare me. I love you die (so much).” “Okay, I quit. Let our marriage be the proof of it.” “Now you are talking,” Emmanuel said and led her down stairs to continue with their friends to work on their wedding plans.
    Over their two-year courtship, they had learned to find some private time for each other to reaffirm their love and to steal a few pecks and light kisses. Their conversation upstairs was one of those. When they rejoined their friends downstairs, they plunged themselves back into the work of planning every detail of their wedding which was a few weeks away.
    Three Weeks Ago
    Mrs. Eme Asibong, a top bank executive was in her office, hard at work when an old acquaintance she would have paid money just to never to see again, walked in unannounced. “Udo! What are you doing here?! How did you pass the security to get here?” Mrs. Asibong asked, shaking with a measure of fear. Strutting like a peacock, Udo ambled across the floor and reclined into one of the armchairs in her office. There was no smile on his face, and Mrs. Asibong could not remember him ever wearing a smile. “What now? Why are you here?!” she yelled, eager to have him leave her office.
    “Your manners stink to the highest heavens. How long ago was it since we saw last?” Udo asked, admiring her office. Since Mrs. Eme Asibong returned from her studies in the UK, she had received multiple promotions and had become one of the highly placed persons in Gold Bank. It was no surprise her office furnishings held Udo’s attention for a few minutes. “My manners are fine! The truth is that I was hoping to hear of your death! How do you do it? How do you manage to keep yourself alive? Can’t you wake up one morning and drop dead. If I could, I would pay to have you killed,” Mrs. Asibong barked.
    Much to her shock, Udo smiled, revealing his gold-filled set of teeth. “I didn’t know you hate me this much, Eme Asibong.” “If I had the choice to choose between you and the devil, I would choose the devil over you. What brought you here? Please say it and get out!” Udo cast an angry look at her, but she refused to cower. With all the hatred she had for him, she returned the angry look. “How is your son Emmanuel?” Udo asked. “Oh my God! Please don’t ask me to give him up. He is all I have got left. Please Udo, ask for something else! Ask for my life, I will gladly give it up,” Mrs. Udo knelt on the floor, pleading for her son’s life. “Relax Eme, I haven’t come for his life. No one wants him dead.” Mrs. Asibong sprang to her feet with obvious relief on her face…

    Episode 2

    She drew closer to the man whom she loathed much more than the devil. “What then do you want with my son Emmanuel?” she asked. “We need his male strength.” Mrs. Asibong’s jaw dropped in shock. “Why do you and the others hate me this much? Have I not given the best I have? Let him be, please!” “It’s been fourteen years since anyone asked a thing of you. That is fair, isn’t it?” “This is cruel! I can’t give that to you. In fact, I have nothing to give you! Go tell them I have nothing left!” “Madam Eme, we know about your sacrifices, losses and pains. We know you have nothing left. So, out of the nothing you have, we have only asked a little of it from you. Do it, and we will ask nothing of you for the next fourteen years,” Udo said and stood up to leave.
    “Wait Udo!” Mrs. Asibong pleaded. Just then a call came in. She picked it up quickly to dismiss the caller. “Madam, Virgin Atlantic called in now to inform us that your flight to New York will be delayed by six hours. Should I cancel the flight and put you on another airline, and which one, ma?” that was her personal assistant. “Cancel the flight and put me on another airline!” She was hardly in the manner of yelling. Her personal assistant was surprised to hear her yelling easily. Calmly she asked, “Which one would you prefer ma?” “Put me on any one you like, Geraldine!” she barked and dropped the call. Geraldine wanted to go see what was wrong with her, but balked at the idea on a second thought. “Emirates will be fine with her,” Geraldine whispered to herself.
    “Udo, I hope you know what this means. I have only got Emanuel and Arit. If Emanuel cannot procreate, my husband’s lineage will be closed for ever. Please ask for something else,” Mrs. Asibong pleaded. “For every sacrifice you make, there is an equal good attached to it for you. Do it and you will find out that somehow, your husband’s lineage will not close,” Udo said and stepped out of her office. She stood gaping at her door hopelessly. Before she left office that day, she placed a call to Janet, her son’s fiancé, “Hi Janet.” “Good evening mommy!” “How is your wedding plans going? I have been too busy to contribute bits of my ideas, please forgive me.” “Common mommy, I know how busy you are. I am fine with your frequent calls to know how I and Emanuel are doing.” “I would like to see you tomorrow by 2:00 pm at Muri Okunola Park. Can you make that happen?” “Yes mommy, I will do my best to be there.” “Thank you Janet.” “You are welcome mommy.”
    Emanuel’s House
    “Have you noticed my mother has been moody since she got back from New York? I can’t even have a meaningful conversation with her anymore. Sometimes it feels like there is something she is hiding from me. Have you two spoken lately?” Emanuel asked. “No,” Janet lied. Mrs. Asibong had warned her never to reveal their meeting at Muri Okunola Park to him. Had Emanuel concentrated a bit on the look of Janet’s face, he would have seen she was lying. His attention had been drawn away by the new bum shots Janet was spotting. He top was hanging just a little above her belly button, revealing her sublime figure. Emanuel stroke his hand on her flat tummy and whispered into her ears, “I am fighting very hard not to fall for this temptation.” Grudgingly, Emanuel pulled away from her. “I am very sorry I put this on. It usually gets too hot in here when I am cooking for you,” Janet said, smiling. “Maybe I should fix an air conditioner here for you. What do you think?” “Where did you get the idea from? People don’t install air conditioners in their kitchens, baby.” “Okay, maybe I should sell the house and buy another one with a bigger kitchen for us,” Emanuel offered. “Are you kidding me? I love this house! This is where we are going to have all our babies.”
    Just then a frown crept up on her face. She had remembered what her Mrs. Asibong told her about Emanuel possibly being able to have babies. “What is it baby? The smile and glow on your face are gone. Was it something I said?” Emanuel asked. “No. I am just having mood swings. I will be fine in a few minutes,” she lied yet again. There must be something wrong with me. Why are the women in my life suddenly acting strangely ? Emanuel thought to himself.

    Episode 3

    “Do not let our discussion affect your wedding plans. I am working on the situation. It is all going to work out fine. However, on no account should you tell Emanuel about the problem, it will destroy his ego,” Mrs. Asibong warned her daughter in-law to be, Janet. “Okay mommy, but it bothers me nonetheless. How am I meant to handle such a problem in my marriage?” Janet asked. “There is not going to be any problem at all. Your bedroom will be filled with fireworks, I promise you. The reason I told you about this earlier was for you to have an idea that such a problem is possible and for us to work out a solution for it. My husband had it and we found a way around it. I enjoyed my marriage with him until the day he died.” “Okay, mommy. It is gladdening to know there is a way out of this problem.”
    Mrs. Asibong smiled at her and removed her cheque book from her handbag. She wrote a three million naira cheque for her and handed it to her. “This is for my not being part of your wedding plans. Whatever needs to be done that you removed from your budget, I want you to add it right back, and if the money not enough, let me know and I will give you much more money, okay.” Smiling, Janet nodded like a child receiving a new toy from her mother. “But mommy we have everything we need. I am wondering if it would be wise to add this to our already excessive budget.” “Then keep it for any contingencies. It is going to be a big wedding, bills could pop out from blind angles, I have been there before.” “Thanks a lot mommy, you make me very welcome to your family.” “It’s my pleasure. I want the very best for my son, and you happen to be in that category.”
    “So you consider me a good woman?” “No, I don’t.” Janet was taken aback by the frank reply. Her eyes were about to moisten when Mrs. Asibong added, “You are far above the ‘good woman’ category. Janet, you are amongst the best. I and my son are in cloud nine because of you. You are a blessing to us. I am not an ordinary mother…” She paused, drew closer to Janet and whispered, “I look into things before I make my decisions. I looked into you when he brought you to see me the first time. Guess what I saw.” Janet who was blushing now, shook her head and whispered back, “I don’t have a clue.” “Okay, I will tell you. I found that you have a heart of gold. You are not a ‘good woman’, you are an exceptionally good woman.”
    With beads of tears in the corners of her eyes, Janet mumbled, “Thank you mommy. Your love is overwhelming.” “You are welcome. At my current age, all I can do for those around me is to love them. I want you to know also that Arit my daughter loves you just the same way I do. You will make a great daughter in-law, that much I know already, and so does Arit think.” “I can’t say thank you enough. I am out of words. Thanks mommy,” she said amid tears. Mrs. Asibong took her head in her hands and placed a kiss on her forehead. “I have to go back to work now. I have a meeting with our board of directors, we are thinking of opening new branches in Cayman Islands, Sao Tome and Principe and in Banjul Gambia. For me Gambia offers us a much better market and I have to convince the board to go there first. My meeting with the president of Gambia has a lot of positives I think we should take advantage of now.”
    Mrs. Asibong liked to discuss her job with every little chance she would get. She was born for banking job. Janet regarded her happily and said, “Mommy your head is full of your banking job. Go and offload your ideas on the directors.” They did a high five and Mrs. Asibong dashed out of the restaurant.

    Episode 4

    The Wedding
    Since Janet and Emanuel wanted a show stopper for a wedding, they took into consideration much of the plans and ideas their friends provided for them. Though some of them were going to cost lots of money, they did not give a hoot. They were in love and wanted the wedding of their lives; that was what mattered to them. So they went to work implementing the wedding ideas.
    One of their plans for the wedding was to keep their guests comfortable all day by thinking ahead. They planned to surprise their out-of-town guests with custom scented soap so they won’t have to rely on the standard hotel samples. Because they planned on dancing until the next morning, they planned to put out baskets of flip-flops (in their wedding colours) so guests could take their shoes off.
    To make their guests feel like VIPs, they provided them with welcome bags that went beyond a map and with a few snacks. The personalized tote bags were stuffed with mini bottles of bubbly, a gift certificate to their favorite local shop and an individual “Welcome!” note from the couple.
    With lots of cash to spend at their disposal, they planned to send their guests home feeling taken care of by having their valets place small end-of-the-night snacks in guests’ cars before handing over the keys.
    They made their toast time delicious by letting guests customize their champagne. Dishes full of fruit purees, lavender sprigs, citrus twists and flavored ice cubes that could be spooned into glasses of bubbly were made available to make the toast much more fun.
    For a fresh twist on the hot photo booth trend, they rented a video booth where guests could record a quick on-screen message for them. The plan was to have the videographer edit some of the best clips into their wedding video. For their other favorite video “confessions”, they had them posted on their wedding website and encouraged their guests to check them out in their thank-you notes.
    That night, just before Janet and Emanuel left for their hotel room, Mrs. Asibong pulled Janet side and gave her a small box. “There is a ribbon in this box, tonight when he comes to make love to you, find a way to put the ribbon around his male organ…” Mrs. Asibong was saying. “What if he wants to know what it is?” Janet interjected, looking uncomfortable with the idea. “You are a woman Janet, finding a good reason to explain the ribbon away should not be hard for you. Make no mistakes about it, you must put the ribbon on him to ensure that his organ never fails you in sex,” Mrs. Asibong said. There was a lot of sternness in her face which Janet had not seen before. She mistook that for a mother’s determination to protect her son. “Okay, I will do it.” “Good, now go have fun with your brand new husband,” she said patting Janet on the back. In a jiffy she was out of the bar where they hosted the after wedding bash. For a few seconds, Janet’s eyes followed her till she left the bar and disappeared into the darkness outside.
    Janet was worried that her mother in-law was still avoiding Emanuel. She could feel something was wrong but was not able to place her hands on what it was. Outside, Mrs. Asibong placed a call to Udo, “It will be done to night. Before morning his male strength will be deposited in our account. However, his body will not fail him until some weeks after tonight. His wife must never know about what I had her help me do tonight.” “We are proud of you Eme Asibong. Your reward for what you have done tonight will be great.” “I don’t care about your reward, Udo. I have a request to make.” “Eme you don’t make requests through me. You know how this works. In case you have forgotten; when you have a request to make, you go to our chapel and speak to the powers above.” “Udo, I don’t have the time to go down to Ogun State any time soon. Please make the request on my behalf. By tomorrow I will be out of the country to hold meetings with five African presidents and some business executives in Asia, I will not be back for weeks.”
    “What is your request Mrs. Asibong?” “I want my son’s male strength returned after three years and my life take in place of his male strength.” “Are you sure about this Eme?” “I am certain of it.” “You are precious to us; I can’t see the lords accepting your request.” “Since it is not in your power to refuse or accept my request, leave that to the lords and present my request to them.” “Okay Eme, I will do that.” “Thank you.” She dropped the call, walked back to her car and asked her driver to take her to an old friend of hers in Lekki.

    Episode 5

    Janet gave so much thoughts to the small box her mother in-law gave her, but could not decide if it would be wrong not to go ahead with what she told her to do. Though it bothered her, she just could not see how Mrs. Asibong would want to harm her own son. “Emanuel is her son, perhaps she is right about his having issues with performing well in bed,” she mumbled under her breath. Much to her surprise, Emanuel was standing next to her. “What were you saying to yourself?” he asked, startling her. “Oh God! You had me scared! Why did you sneak up on me?” she asked, hitting him lamely with both hands. Emanuel took her in his hands and kissed her passionately. She melted in his hands and whispered, “I can’t wait for us to get to our hotel.” “Neither can I,” replied Emanuel. “I think at this moment; I am happy we decided to wait till marriage. It suddenly looks awesome,” she said in-between planting several kisses all over his face.
    “I am glad we waited. It was worth it,” Emanuel said as he led her back into the bar. A few hours later, they left the bar and were driven to their hotel. With much anticipation, both of them looked forward to the night. In the heat of the sizzling passion between them in their hotel room, Janet found a good reason to slip the ribbon on Emanuel’s male organ. She had done it expertly, leaving Emanuel thinking it was all part of their foreplay. “What was that? It felt magical. Could you do it again?” Emanuel requested. She was happy to hear the ribbon left a pleasurable feeling on him and so was glad to put it back on him and left it on him as they went on with foreplay.
    When she finally took it off and placed it back in the small box, Emanuel felt a pulsating strength surge through him. “I don’t know what it is, but I feel different. I feel like I can take a thousand women at once right now,” he said breathlessly. “You have to take me first before you can think of a thousand women,” Janet protested. With that, Emanuel took her on and left her in cloud nine all night long. Before morning, they took a break and dozed off. By dawn, Janet could not tell what happened to the ribbon. While they slept after consummating their marriage, something had stealthily entered the room and left with the ribbon. She was certain that she dropped it on the floor, just a little under the bed. She did not like the idea of the ribbon taking wings and flying away by night. A million and one thoughts went through her mind about the ribbon.
    However, when Emanuel finally found the small black box in her bag, she relaxed a bit. Sadly, for them, the box was empty. “You know what baby; I don’t remember placing the box in my hand bag. How did it get in there and where is the ribbon?” “I don’t have a clue honey. The last I saw of it was you removing it from my body and…maybe dropping it on the floor. Don’t bother about the ribbon, we don’t need it, do we? Well, it felt good when we used it, but I think we can do without it…okay if it is important to you, we can order another one.” He had thought she bought it for their honeymoon. The fear of explaining to him how she got it made her give him the impression that it was no big deal it went missing.
    By this time, she was a bit uncomfortable. “What if he doesn’t perform well? Was I meant to use it twice. What if I buy a new one and it doesn’t give him the same pleasure?” Her multiple worries were finally put to rest when Emanuel blew her away once again that morning. “I doubt anyone has ever enjoyed their honeymoon like we have so far! You are something else, baby,” Janet said gasping for breath. “I feel like I am only just beginning. Are you ready for more?” “Give me a few minutes,” Janet replied, happy her mother in-law had given her the ribbon.
    All the days of their honeymoon were filled with fireworks when they were together on the bed. They had left the hotel three days later and flew to Monaco where they spent the rest of their honeymoon. The pleasures of those days would be completely forgotten when their problems would begin…

    Episode 6

    Gold Bank, Mrs. Asibong’s office
     “Have you received the gift?” Mrs. Asibong asked Udo. “Yes Eme, the lords are grateful you obeyed them.” “I would be happy if my son is allowed to enjoy his new wife for some time before his strength begins to fail him.” “Your requests are becoming too much Eme. I think you should spend some time with the lords and make them realize how you feel about this. As for me, you are not going to hear from me or even see me for the next fourteen years. My job is done here.” And that was it. Udo dropped the call. Mrs. Asibong was not happy the way he left and so tried to call him back, but was told the number she dialed was not in existence. Udo had been using one of their magic spells to speak with her over the phone.
    She ran to one of the drawers in her office, unlocked it and removed a small plastic container. She uncorked the container and poured out some white powder from it into her hand. For a few minutes she held her breath to concentrate. Then her lips began to move irregularly until her words became faintly audible. She was making some incantations. Above head, from the air conditioner vent, foggy mist began to waft into her office, then she blew the powder into the air and was gone from her office in that instant.
    The Chapel, Ogun State
    Mrs. Asibong appeared on the doorstep of the chapel, her face contorted with anger. For fractions of minutes, she stood on the step and looked around, there were over fifty worshipers outside the chapel. Then she stormed into the chapel, and went straight to the altar. Kneeling down, she said some prayers. At her right hand, a door creaked open and a man, dressed like a monk waved at her and she stood to her feet and hurried toward him. “All your requests have been deposited here, and the lords have read them. You must wait for their reply,” the man said. “I am glad they listened quickly,” she said as the man led her to a seat. This section of the chapel was dimly lit up and was filled with smokes. The man sat next to her and intently looked into her eyes. “Your soul is drifting from us; you are no longer zealous as you once were. Why is it so?” the man asked.
    “I was made an offer of blessings, riches and peace to join you, but all I have received since that day have been losses. Tell me priest, why should I be happy with something which takes away what I have?” “This was all a test. And you brought it upon yourself in the first place. The lords had cut you some slack for the much sacrifices you had made. However, when they saw your heart had become bitter, and that you no longer visited the chapel, they asked for your son’s strength. Much to everyone’s surprise, you gave it like in old times…” Mrs. Asibong took a sigh of relief and asked, “So my son’s strength will be returned to him?”
    “After you passed the test, you became rebellious. You should have waited to hear from the lords before seeking other means to help your son.” “I was not rebellious! I am a mother! Do you know what it means to give away your son’s future? When I gave you his strength, I gave away all the seeds in him!” she shot back angrily. The man regarded her for a moment and shook his head unhappily. “Do you remember that Udo told you there would be a way for your son to please his wife and have babies?” As she paused to recall that, the knowledge of it came rushing back to her. She raised her head to say something and the man touched her forehead and said, “Go back home, the lords are not happy with you. Your heart has become bitter and dark against us.” “No!!!!” she screamed as she faded away from the man’s presence. In an instant, she found herself back in her office.
    Monaco, the Honeymoon
    “I don’t feel like going back home yet, baby,” Janet said, resting her head on his chest as they lay on the beach. “Back home we can still have as much fun as we want, we can’t spend much longer time here.” “I know, but don’t forget we waited for this moment for a long time.” “Yes, we did. However, I feel like going home. I don’t know why, but that is how I feel. “Okay, if you feel strongly about it, we had better start going home.”

    Episode 7

    Muri Okunola Park, 8: 45 pm
    Mrs. Asibong could not wait to hear from Janet about how things went down at their honeymoon. As soon as Emanuel and Janet were back to the country, she placed a call to have a meeting with her. Their usual joint, Muri Okunola Park, was their rendezvous point. A day after their return to Nigeria, sex was still great between the two of them, Janet could not help but whisper thanks for the ribbon her mother in-law gave her.
    To be stealth about their regular meeting to the park, Janet used a taxi, while Mrs. Asibong used a rented car. Janet was all smiles when she saw her mother in-law. With a half run, she advanced toward her and embraced her happily. There was some look of dejection and discontent on Mrs. Asibong’s face, but Janet was too enraptured to spare a thought for that. “How did it go in Monaco?” Mrs. Asibong asked impatiently. “He was a tiger in bed!” an enthralled Janet replied. She was almost air borne as she spoke. Her eyes emitted joy and her tongue let out living breaths of peace. “He was something else, mommy. I don’t know what he was like before the ribbon, but I like what he is now. I look forward to night time with great expectation!”
    Mrs. Asibong flashed a plastic smile, afraid to tell Janet what would soon follow. “I am happy for you Janet. Such performance in the bedroom is very important to us ladies in marriage… So, how is he? Has he complained about his health since then.” “No ma, he is healthy and strong as a stallion.” “I am glad it all worked out well, Janet… If he gets to complain about anything, do not hesitate to let me know. I will make sure I find a solution to whatever the problem may be, okay?” “Thanks a lot ma. You are one in a million mother in-law… I got you a gift in Paris. I couldn’t pass up the chance to buy you this,” Janet said rummaging in her handbag. From her handbag, she removed a wrapped gift and handed it to her mother in-law.
    “What’s in the gift pack?” Mrs. Asibong asked, smiling. She could not wait, she had to unwrap the gift pack. What the torn gift wrapper revealed was a bottle of ‘Tom Ford’ deodorant. “How did you know Janet? I just exhausted my last bottle! You are such a darling.” She took Janet in her hands for a warm embrace. “I am glad you like it. At some point I was caught in-between Tom Ford and Valentino Uomo…” Mrs. Asibong lowered her head in palpable grief as soon as Janet mentioned Valentino Uomo. “Mommy what is it? Is it something I said?” Janet asked, looking very concerned.
    Mrs. Asibong reached for her handkerchief and wiped off a few beads of tears in the corners of her eyes. Janet was really bothered; she could not fathom why her mother in-law suddenly became flustered. “Mommy, are you okay? What is wrong?” “It’s nothing, my child. Valentino Uomo was my husband’s favourite when he was alive. I am glad you did not buy it. It would have made me remember he died for nothing…” She stopped suddenly and looked at Janet cautiously. She had just told her a bit of what no one knew about her husband’s mysterious death. “Mommy, what do you mean by your husband dying for nothing? I thought he died in his sleep? Emmanuel told me all about it.”
    Mrs. Asibong toughened the look of her face and stared at Janet for a few seconds. Janet felt her heart miss a few beats. Mrs. Asibong saw the look of fear in her eyes and relaxed. “It is nothing my child. Don’t bother with it. When you will have spent over twenties years with Emanuel and you wake up one morning to find him cold in the hands of death, you will understand… These days I miss him a lot. I feel empty without him…” Mrs. Asibong paused and began to cry. Janet took her in her arms and tried to comfort her. Her sobs were deep and rocked her entire body. Janet held her as firmly as she could. “Mommy I have got to take you home now. Please come with me,” Janet said and tried to lead her out of the park. “No Janet, I have a few things to do tonight before I leave for home. Go back home to your husband. I am happy it all worked out well in Monaco,” Mrs. Asibong said and left hurriedly…
    Something is fishy between these two, have you noticed that

    Episode 8

    Her behaviour had made Janet forget to tell her that the ribbon she gave to her had mysteriously gone missing in their hotel room in Monaco. “Well, I will tell her about the missing ribbon when I call her in the week,” Janet said to herself. “Humm! Something isn’t right with my mother in-law. She is acting very strange; and what does she mean by her husband dying for nothing?” Janet said, staring at her iPhone 7 as though the phone could say something back to her or even unravel the mystery for her. She knew she had to tell Emanuel about what his mother said concerning his late father. If something happened to her husband, and after over ten years of his death, she is still worried about it, then Emanuel should know about it, Janet reasoned. Janet was about to make a grave mistake, but there was no one to warn her against it.
    Emanuel’s House, 9: 18 pm
    Emanuel was sitting on a sofa watching a repeat broadcast of a premier league match between Chelsea and Manchester United. The football match held his attention as though it was a live match. Janet entered the living room and greeted, “Hello! I am home darli…” she paused as her eyes rested on the television. Her face creased into a frown. She walked over angrily to stand in front of Emanuel. “Is this why you didn’t call to know the reason I could not return in time?” Janet asked, looking angry. Emanuel stood to his feet and kissed her. She withdrew from him. “How can something that does not have buttocks and b----t be competing with me for my husband? I don’t like the attention you give to football. It scares me!” Emanuel took her in his arms and kissed harder this time. Reluctantly she wrapped her hands around him and kissed him back with as much passion.
    About half an hour later, they lay on a sofa cuddled up in each other’s arms with their garments lying on the tiled floor. “You don’t have to bother about my interest in football baby; it can’t do the things you do and can’t love me back,” Emanuel said amid heavy gulps of breath. “Okay, but sometimes when a football game is on, especially that blue team…” “Chelsea,” Emanuel filled in for her. “Yes, Chelsea. Whenever they are playing you forget me.” “No I don’t; it is just the passion of the game.” “Well I don’t like that kind of passion. It is at par with what we have for each other, and football is not a girl.” “I promise; football won’t take me away from you.”
    Janet looked searchingly into his eyes and responded, “Okay o! I was with mommy this evening…” Emanuel sat up at the mention of his mother. “How is she? I have called her five times since midday and she did not pick up,” he said. “She is okay, but…” “But what?” “She is bothered about something…” “She has been bothered about something even before our wedding. Something is eating her up, and sadly she will not let me in on what it is,” Emanuel interjected. “It may be about your father.” “My father? How could that be? He has been dead for about fourteen years now. I doubt it is.” “Maybe this will make sense to you… Your mother said to me that your father ‘died for nothing’. She sounded as though she was in regret.” “My father died for nothing… my father died for nothing… I can’t connect that statement to any event that can explain what she meant,” Emanuel said thoughtfully. “If there is more to that statement, it will come to light with time. Don’t bug your mind about that… What do I make for you this evening?”
    “I just remembered something,” Emanuel said, looking spaced out. “What is it?” “It is still murky, but this is the part I can recall vividly. A man walked into our bedroom and took something from our bed and said to me, “It is time to take what is mine.” I do not know what he took but it made me sad. I fought him to return what he took, but I was no match for him.” “Hahahahaha!!” Janet began to laugh. “Why are you laughing? The dream was scary to me!” “Since when did you become religious? What you had was a mere dream. Forget it! What do I fix for you tonight?” “Stop trivializing my dream! What I saw was almost real! What the man took destroyed our home! It destroyed our love!” Emanuel screamed, begging her to listen. “It’s okay! It’s okay! I didn’t mean to demean your dream. I am sorry.”
    Emanuel stood up and began to dress up hurriedly. “Where are you going to, baby?” “To speak with my mom!” Emanuel snapped angrily.

    Episode 9

    Lekki, 10:15 PM
    “I was lied to from the beginning! They deceived me! Do you know the amount of sacrifices I have made for the fellowship? They have bled me dry in all respects. I think I would have had a better life without them. Look at me! Look at me Ibinabo! My hands are stained with blood. I have done things I would never have thought I could do. Just when I had thought it was all over, they came looking for my son’s virility. That boy’s marriage is going to break as soon as his strength begins to fail him. How is his wife going to cope? What have I done to myself? Jesus! Look at me…” Mrs. Asibong was saying.
    “Stop Eme! Stop! Just stop!” Ibinabo shouted at her. “But I told you years ago to find a backup brotherhood for days such as these. Let us not lie to ourselves, we knew these fellowships deal in diabolical powers. They have deals with powers beyond us. Once you are in, you become a pawn in their grand scheme of mysteries. I am not blaming you. I know life failed us and we had to look for sources to get back what we lost or could not have. So the truth is we brought this on ourselves. I have lost stuffs which you know quite well. It got to a drastic point and I decided to stop losing things and that is what you are going to do right now! You are done losing stuffs, Eme!” Ibinabo shouted.
    “Yes, I am! I am done with this life of pains and sorrows. I am done! But first I want my son’s virility back. He deserves to enjoy his marriage. I have made enough sacrifices for my son to enjoy that; and he is going to. I just don’t care what it takes!” Mrs. Asibong yelled as she stood to her feet. “That is the spirit my sister! Now let’s go see what we can reclaim.” “Where are we going to, Ibinabo?” “You will find out just yet. Follow me.”
    The two ladies hurried out of Ibinabo’s palatial home, got into her car and drove off into the dark night. Ibinabo’s driver had offered to drive them out, but she had turned his offer down. The business they had to do that night was not the type he should be aware of. Mrs. Asibong’s phone rang several times and she did not pick up. The calls were from Emmanuel. Emmanuel had been seething in anger, waiting for her at her home. He just could not wait to find out what she meant by his father ‘dying in vain’.
    Back at Emmanuel’s house, when Janet could not bear waiting for Emmanuel to return home, she began to call him frantically. “Baby, please you have to come home. You can’t wait all night to see her. I am lonely here,” Janet cried over the phone. Emmanuel was minded to wait it out, but had to leave for his house when Janet would not stop calling and crying.
    Emmanuel’s House 11: 55 PM
    Janet was glad to see Emmanuel return home. He was still a tad angry. “I don’t mean to pry into her life, she is my mother after all, but what in God’s world is she crawling around at such wee hours of the night? The worst part is that she did not go out with any of her cars and would not take my calls. I want to know, what was she acting like when you were with her?” Emmanuel asked as he sunk into a sofa in his living room. “She seemed worked up. I could tell something was troubling her. She didn’t let me in on what it was. She only mentioned that she was missing your father and that he died in vain,” Janet replied while removing Emmanuel’s clothes. “You need to go have your bath and have something to eat,” she added…

    Episode 10

    “Sorry babe, I have lost appetite…” “What! Did you say you lost what? Are you aware I have been laboring in the kitchen to make you a nice meal? You have to find your appetite somehow,” Janet retorted. Emmanuel could see his wife was not happy. Refusing to eat her food would be one too many troubles to handle in a night, so he agreed to nibble at some of whatever she had cooked for him. “For all I care, my father died peacefully in his sleep, but what you have told me has left me wondering if there was much more than I have known.” “Let it go baby,” Janet pleaded. “You are making me regret telling you that. Just let it got. Your dad died in peace and that is how it is. Come and have your bath…I will bathe you, if that will make you cool off,” she concluded.
    Emmanuel exhaled to let out some of the steam inside of him. Not even the offer to be bathed by Janet could make him relax. Receiving a bath from Janet was one of his favourite romantic moments together with her. However, in spite of that offer, his mind remained fixated on his father’s death and her mother’s reported comment. A foreboding feeling had been swooshing over him from the time they were on their honeymoon in Monaco. By now Janet had succeeded in peeling off all his clothes, except for his boxer shorts. Holding him by the hand, she led the way to their king size bath. “By the time I am done with you, you won’t remember who your mother or father are, nor your middle name,” she said as they stepped into their bath. Emmanuel chuckled in spite of himself. Turning to face him, she pulled off his boxer shorts, and pressed her body into his and whispered, “Undress me, baby.”
    As Emmanuel’s hands worked to remove her clothes, he recalled a dream his brother had before he died some years back. “My brother Jeffery had a weird dream a night before his death.” Janet made a face, indicating she did not want him to spoil their romantic moment. Nonetheless, she gave him attention, “What did he see?” she asked. “He saw my father walk into his hospital room and said to him, “come and see Jeffery.” According to Jeffrey, he did not want to go, but in spite of himself, he followed him to a garden filled with only white flowers. As soon as they stepped into the garden, my father touched one of the flower petals in the garden and suddenly, all the beautiful flowers began to die, bleeding streams of blood. Jeffery said he was afraid and turned to ask my father why the beautiful garden was dying, only to see my father chained to a metal pole and bleeding from the eyes, nose, mouth and ears. He screamed and woke up. By seven am the next morning, Jeffery was dead.”
    Janet did not like the sound of that. Though he was there with her, she felt fear seizing at her heart. It was as though a third unseen person had joined them in the bath. Janet took hold of him firmly, looking around fearfully. “What is it babe?” Emmanuel asked. “I don’t like the way I feel. It is as though someone else is here with us,” she replied. Emmanuel looked around and just in time, he saw the reflection of a figure in a white shirt on the glass panel of their Jacuzzi. Taking hold of Janet firmly, he whispered, “You just might be right, babe. I think I saw a reflection on that glass.” “You did?” Janet asked, her eyes widening in absolute fear. “Yes,” he whispered. “The problem is that I know the shirt the figure was wearing. I remember it clearly…” “Whose shirt is that?” “My father’s shirt.” “Your father?!” she asked, swallowing hard.
    Mrs. Asibong and Ibinabo, 12:35 AM
    “I have heard your plight madam. We have the solution to your problems right here. We have the power to change what has been done to your son and to stop you from suffering further losses,” a burly, potbellied man, with an unkempt look, said to Mrs. Asibong. The man was probably in his mid-fifties. He worked from his large house. One could tell that his shrine, which was a large room in his house was custom made. It must have been designed when the house plan was being drawn. It was very clear that his customers were politicians and top business moguls.
    “I have heard that before. What is the price I have to pay for you to help me?” Mrs. Asibong asked. The man smiled and said as softly as he could, “Cash is a compulsory first payment here, but it is in most cases not the price people pay for what they want. What you want determines what you pay, and in this case, yours requires an altar to be raised for you and your family, to keep the fellowship from bringing you down. For that to happen, life will be required. That is the real price.”
    “Never! I am done spilling blood! Eme Asibong will never do that again!” Mrs. Asibong spat. “Okay, if you won’t do that, can you give us a part of your body or any of your unborn grandchildren?” the man asked. Mrs. Asibong sighed regretfully and lowered her head to ponder the new option.

    Episode 11

    “Frankly, I am at my wits end. I wouldn’t want to repeat the same mistake I made earlier. I don’t know what to offer right now,” Mrs. Asibong admitted. “I understand your plight, Eme, but you have to act quickly. You and I know your fellowship won’t spare you the moment they find out you are minded to raise an altar against. You know what I mean, and it is going to be tough if you let it happen,” Ibinabo cautioned. “I know, but my conscience is judging me terribly. I can’t afford to take another life from my family to keep going in this path…is there any short term remedy? I need something short term to take my time and make the best decision,” Mrs. Asibong inquired.
    “We have everything you will ask for here. There is a twelve-year-old boy in that room, strip off your clothes and go in to make him happy. When you hear him moan, tell him all that you want and it shall be done for you…” the priest was explaining. “How much time can that buy me?” Mrs. Asibong interjected. “Three months, starting from the moment the boy lets out a pleasurable moan. However, before you walk into that room, you must deposit half a million naira in cash or cheque in that aluminum basin. That is how things work here…one more thing, you will be required to strip off your clothes here before going into that room. You cannot stand before the boy with your clothes on. You will die the moment he sets his sight on you with your clothes on,” the priest explained.
    “I will take it that by doing this, I will have broken all ties with the order of the fellowship I have followed all these years, right?” Mrs. Asibong asked. “Not exactly, but they will know you have sought what they denied you. However, if they choose to attack you, we will stand behind you till the end. We thrive in war and destruction. Your fellowship knows who we are and what we can,” said the priest with a reassuring smile. Mrs. Asibong felt comforted by those words, especially the part about going to war on her behalf. She reached into her purse, fished out her cheque book and wrote the priest a cheque of seven hundred thousand naira. With a rare smile on her face, she informed him, “I added extra two hundred thousand naira on the five hundred thousand for you.” “I can see that here already,” the priest said, pointing at a mirror buried into the hard floor. “We have seen your heart and will help you with all we have at our disposal. Your pains are over from this night,” added the priest.
    While the priest spoke, Mrs. Asibong calmly removed her clothes. Done with that task, she headed for the room which housed the twelve-year-old boy. With the sense of reverence, she had developed over the years she served the fellowship, she pushed the door open and stepped into the room. The room was pitch dark and reeked with rotten human flesh. She wanted to run back for how much her breath was choked out by that foul stench. Before she could take a step backward, a tender voice called her name, “Eme Asibong!” Then the light came on. What she saw on a mat on the floor was a naked boy whose eyes have been brutally gouged out. She was so shaken up by that sight that she almost let out a heart-wrenching cry, but had to forcefully subdue herself from crying.
    “Don’t feel pity for me,” the boy said with a tenderness which took her by surprise. “You are the one who needs to be pitied. You have given everything you have to your fellowship and yet they have offered you nothing. Now your son’s marriage is about to break up because you gave the fellowship his virility,” the boy revealed. The more he spoke, the more the tenderness in his voice became pronounced. Mrs. Eme Asibong felt her heart melt at the sound of the boy’s voice. Then she began to sense a strong a sexual urge. She was surprised to see she could manage that sort of urge. “By your actions, a war will break out against your family and some may die. The fellowship now knows you are here; they will come after you with all they have. However, because you have come here, I will protect you. I will help you. Now come to the mat and make me happy.”
    With trepidation, she took measured steps and went down on the mat. The touch of the boy was like those of a thousand men. The energy around him felt like power voltage. It took about an hour to please the boy. When Mrs. Asibong heard his moan, she began to make her requests as quickly as she could. When she was done, she stood to her feet and let herself out of the room…

    Episode 12

    Emmanuel’s House
    “Now do you believe me? I told you I saw a man take something from our bed and all you did was laugh at me,” Emmanuel said with sarcasm. Their house had become very charged with an ominous presence since Emmanuel saw that figure in their bathroom. On their bed, they lay holding each other with the lights on. None of them was the praying type. They had already prayed as much as they could and lay back on the bed, hoping the presence would lift. “But baby, you told me the figure you saw might be your dad. Why then is he angry with us?” Janet asked. “I wish I had a clue. Perhaps my mother might know,” replied Emmanuel. “I have to call her now,” Janet said looking around for her phone. “Baby my phone is on that table, can you get it for me?” she requested. She was afraid to get off the bed.
    Emmanuel got off the bed and brought her phone to her. She twiddled with her phone for a moment and quickly placed a call to her mother in-law. The phone rang a few times before Mrs. Asibong took her call, “Hello Janet, why are you calling me by this odd hour of the night?” “Mommy, we are under attack! Something is hovering over our house!” “What!!! Something hovering over your house?!” “Yes, mommy. We are really scared. We don’t know what to do!” “Where is my son?” “He is here with me.” “Give him the phone.” Janet handed the phone to Emmanuel. “Emmanuel, what is going on in your house?” “I was hoping you would explain it to me… I think I saw daddy in my bedroom…” “Oh God!!! Did you say you saw your father?!” The sound of fear in her voice was palpable, and Emmanuel took note of it. “Mommy what are you hiding from me?”
    “What is wrong with this boy?! Why would you ask me that question?!” Mrs. Asibong barked. “What did you mean when you told Janet that daddy died for nothing? What are you not telling me? Why is dad showing himself to me after fourteen years of his death? Why do I suddenly remember all the events which happened before and after dad’s death? I want to know the meaning of the white ribbon you tied around his coffin! I want answers now mom!”
    “I have nothing to tell you Emmanuel. If I find out why this is happening I will call you back. For now, I need to get in touch with my fellowship for prayers,” Mrs. Asibong said and hung up. Emmanuel had been hearing about his mother’s fellowship for years without a clue that the fellowship was actually a secret cult. About thirty minutes after the call with Mrs. Asibong, the presence in their home broke and lifted completely.
    Emmanuel and Janet were happy for that and attributed it to Mrs. Asibong calling for prayers over the situation in their house. That night, they had sound sleep and woke up in the morning, happy to see a new day after all they had been through the previous night. After their brief morning prayer, Janet went into the kitchen. Emmanuel went into the bathroom to wash his boxer shorts and some of his wife’s undergarments. While he washed and whistled happily, he began to feel a cold sensation spreading from his abdomen down to his male organ. It was odd and scary. When he could not bear it anymore, he left to tell Janet about how he was feeling.
    When Janet saw the look on Emmanuel’s face, she knew something bad had happened to him. “What is it baby?” she asked with her voice filled with fear. “Something strange is happening to my private part. I feel a cold sensation over it…it feels like that part is dead. I can’t feel it anymore,” Emmanuel explained with his face riddle with morbid fear. Janet rushed forward and pulled down his boxer shorts. To her, Emmanuel seemed fine. She turned off her gas and said, “Come with me, let’s go see if something is wrong with it. It looks fine to me.” Hurriedly, they entered their bedroom.

    Episode 13

    Emmanuel’s House
    On the bed, Emmanuel and Janet lay, doing their best to see if Emmanuel could get a stirring sensation in his private part. For over thirty minutes, Janet labored over Emmanuel to help him rise up, but nothing happened. “This is unusual. I can’t have my male organ working fine just last night and this morning, it goes completely dead! What is going on here?! God what is this!” Emmanuel cried. His wail tore through Janet’s heart. With tears streaming freely from her eyes, she took him in her arms and held him as firmly as could. “We are in this together, baby. Together we are going to find a solution to this. I think the first thing to do now is to get down to the hospital and see a doctor. This is not normal, male organs don’t just die like this. There might be more in play here, but to be very sure, we need to hear from a doctor,” Janet said, trying her best to mask her fears and worries.
    Deep within her, she wondered if Emmanuel’s problem was the problem Mrs. Asibong hinted at before their wedding and for which she gave her the ribbon which they made use of on their wedding night. “Right from the first night we made love after our wedding, I have been feeling like something is wrong with me. I can’t explain it, but I know it within me. Something is wrong with my body,” Emmanuel said amid hot tears cascading from his eyes. His words knocked Janet out of her reverie. “I don’t get it. You performed very well that night and have been doing so since that night. How exactly are you feeling?” Janet asked, wondering what Emmanuel was getting at. “I feel like my body is no longer complete, like something is gone from me.”
    His reply left Janet much more confused. She wanted to ask him about his previous experiences on occasions his male organ crashed completely. She did not know how to ask him about that. She did not want him to know his mother had told her all about it and had informed her that it was a common ailment amongst males in the Asibong family. While she thought hard about the case they had on hand, thoughts of how long she would have to go without sex assailed her thoughts aggressively. In that moment, her mind was like a battleground, a beehive of activities went on in her mind at the same time.
    “Get dressed baby, let’s go see a doctor,” Janet said as she sprang out of bed. The both of them dressed up quickly, ran out of their house, got into their car and drove off. Because Emmanuel did not want their driver to hear their conversation about his crashed male organ, he decided to do the driving. The drive to the hospital was a nightmare for Janet, Emmanuel drove like he was possessed with a demon. Janet had never seen him that mad and angry before. It was as though some other man was in the car with her. From their house to the hospital, Emmanuel never stopped shedding tears. “When I had that feeling from our wedding night, it was as though something told me there was trouble coming. Look at me now, I am worse than a dead man!”
    Emmanuel’s frequent mentioning of what he felt on their wedding night, left Janet wondering if she might be the cause of Emmanuel’s problem. Before she met Emmanuel, she had sexual relations with only two men and none of them had complained of his male organ crashing. Why would this feeling he speaks about start from our wedding night? Janet thought to herself. Then a thought flashed through her mind and she let it out as quickly as it came to her, “When we made love that night, I remember you saying that you had never felt that sort of energy before. What was the energy like?” “At some point it felt like it wasn’t me. As if something was helping.” To Janet, Emmanuel’s words “As if something was helping me ” meant he had never had good sex before. So Mrs. Asibong was right about the males in the Asibong family experiencing male organ crash.

    Episode 14

    Oddly, she felt relieved. If my mother in-law could handle this problem for this long, she must have a permanent solution to fix it, Janet thought. As they pulled into the hospital, she reached out and kissed Emmanuel as passionately as she could. “It’s all going to be fine baby, our sex life is not over yet. Like I said earlier, we are in this together,” Janet said encouraging him. Before they stepped out of their car, she brought her face to his and in a romantic manner, kissed away his tears. “Stop crying my love, I am here with you. I believe that even tonight, we will make love,” Janet assured him.
    Though her words were meant to encourage Emmanuel, they ended up shocking him, he almost asked her if she had anything to do with his male organ crashing. Janet could see he was stunned by what she said, but did not know which part staggered him. Holding hands like they had no care in the world, they ambled into the hospital reception with panache. On the grounds of Emmanuel’s wealthy background, he was quickly processed and sent in to see an urologist.
    “It’s okay, Mr. Emmanuel. I want you to calm down and explain all that has happened to me. I need the history of this problem to be able to find out what made it crash,” the doctor encouraged Emmanuel. Janet took his hand and robbed them tenderly. While Emmanuel was speaking to the doctor earlier, she would seductively run her fingers over Emmanuel’s private part to see if he could get any reaction, sadly Emmanuel did not react to her touch.
    “As far as I am concerned it began on our wedding night,” Emmanuel began. Janet didn’t like Emmanuel mentioning it began that night. She felt it was pointing accusing fingers at her. “We had great sex that night though and our sex has been great since that day till this happened this morning,” Janet interjected, eager to absolve herself of any blames and suspicion. “Okay, Madam. But I want to hear from him about what he felt or experienced that night,” the doctor said. “We were in the act of sex when I felt something move from the upper part of my body and slowly went down to my private part and exited through my male organ…” “That was o----m! It feels that way for some men,” the doctor interjected.
    “No! That was not o----m! I have had sex a couple of times before! I know what o----m is like, at least my own o----m!” Emmanuel yelled at the doctor, slamming his hands on the table. Both the doctor and Janet were shocked by his outburst. Emmanuel raised his hands in the air and apologized, “I am really sorry for that. I am losing it. Please forgive me.” “It’s okay. I understand your plight, but try to get a hold of yourself,” said the doctor. Emmanuel nodded his head in agreement. Janet reached for his private part again, fondled it hard and whispered, “You never told me you had sex more than once before we got married? I thought the one you told me about was your only experience.” “I never told you because you never asked!” Emmanuel snapped at her.
    She was shaken by that and so got up and left the doctor’s office. “Can you continue with your experience that night?” asked the doctor. “Though the experience was for me very sexually satisfying, I felt something leaving my body. Doctor, the feeling was real,” Emmanuel explained. The doctor bowed his head and pondered what Emmanuel had said. “Have you felt that way since that night?” asked the doctor after much thought. “No, I have not. But I must add here that I have been feeling incomplete since that night.” “How has your sex been since then?” “I have been performing in bed as if I had the strength of ten men. My wife likes it, but it scares me. That is not me. Sometimes I can’t recognize myself in bed. That is not me doctor!” “It’s okay… Do you have an idea of how long you could stay in bed before this experience began?”
    Emmanuel thought for a moment and replied, “It’s been long I had sex before that night. I think the last time was in my secondary school days. I was in class six then. If my memory serves me right, I lasted about thirteen to fifteen minutes and I wasn’t acting like a beast. I was a normal person.” “Do you act like a beast when you are having sex with your wife?” “Yes, the energy is usually too much for me do bear…” “There you go! Thanks for being honest with me! You are putting excessive pressure on your male organ! Does your wife use rope on you during sex? I mean does she tie your hands, neck, feet and other body parts?” “No, she does not. We don’t use such things in our sex… Wait! I just remembered something. That first night we had sex, I mean our wedding night, she used a ribbon on me.”
    “How did she use it?” “She put it around my male organ…” “Was the ribbon tight on your body during sex? If yes, that can cause problems to your reproductive organ, are you aware of that?” “No. But the ribbon was very loose. It was far loose on me than a condom.” “I want to hear from her. Please call her back. Did you people come with the ribbon? I will like to see it.” “We did not.” Emmanuel twiddled with his phone to place a call to Janet. “Why haven’t you been having sex all these years?” asked the doctor. “It is against my religion. In the past when I had sex, I would feel guilty and sick with myself for days, and so I stopped having sex. When I met my wife, we agreed to wait till we get married,” Emmanuel explained. “Did she agree to that willingly?” “Yes, she did. There were many times I would have us get sexually active with each other and she said no.” “Okay. We are going to conduct some tests on you, after that we will be able to determine why your male organ crashed.
    “I can’t get through to her, she is busy on the phone. Let me go find her outside,” Emanuel explained.

    Episode 15

    At the reception in the hospital, Emmanuel looked around for Janet; but she was not there. At first his thought was that she had left for home in anger. He stepped out of the reception, redialing her phone number, it was still busy. He was worried. He stood scanning around, he spotted a feminine figure near where their car was parked, and so he went to see if she was the one. On a closer look, she wasn’t the one. With his arms akimbo, he stood in the morning sun looking forlorn.
    Far across the street, in a restaurant, was Janet. She was seated by the glass with her eyes glued to the street. She wanted to know when Emmanuel would drive out of the hospital so they could go home together. On her right ear was her phone, she had been talking with her mother in-law. “No, you didn’t get all I said mommy. He told me that it started with a cold sensation which spread from his abdomen down to his male organ…” “Okay, I get it now. I thought you people woke up and found it dead. That was what I understood…I know this must be hard for the both of you, but do not despair, I will seek a solution for it before the day is over okay… One more thing Janet, when I mentioned to you that my husband died in vain, I did not mean for you to go divulging that to Emmanuel. I am a widow; I know the pains of living every day without my husband. There are just some things neither you nor Emmanuel will understand. I think you were careless there and it has become an issue between my son and I. Really, I am not happy with you,” Mrs. Asibong said, venting her displeasure with Janet. “I am sorry mommy, actually I thought I was helping by telling him that. When we were together at the park, you seemed very flustered. I feared for you ma,” Janet said, explaining herself.
    “Let it go. Emmanuel is my son; I know how to handle him. I think you should go back to the hospital and be with him. This is a tough time for him. Stay close to him no matter how grumpy he gets. Giving him some distance is not ideal.” “Okay ma. Let me be going back to him.” “Okay.” Just as her call with her mother in-law ended, Emmanuel’s call crashed in, “Hello baby! Where are you?” Emmanuel asked. From where Janet stood, she saw him step out of the hospital premises. “I am looking at you right now. I am across the street.” “Please come over to the hospital. You shouldn’t have gone far. I am sorry I snapped at you.” “I am sorry baby. I should have shown more understanding. The present situation is hard for you.”
    Janet dropped the call and dashed out of the restaurant. Across the street was Emmanuel looking her way. When she crossed the road and reached him, they hugged like they had been away from each other for a while. Emmanuel kissed her and sustained it a bit longer than usual. Janet understood that act. He was asking her not to leave him again. With a gentle pat on his back, she whispered, “I won’t leave you again, no matter what happens.” He nodded and led her back to the doctor’s office.
    “Your husband mentioned to me that you people made use of a certain ribbon on your wedding night,” the doctor began. “I want to know; how did you use it?” he asked. Janet moved uncertainly on her seat. From the time Mrs. Asibong had given her the ribbon, she had not felt good about it. The only reason she used it was just to make sure what her mother in-law said could happen did not happen. “I put it around his male organ and he liked it,” she said, her throat feeling extremely dry. “I want to know if it was tied firmly around his organ while you people made love?” “No, it was not. I merely touched his organ with it. It was like dropping it on him. It was nothing more than that. He wasn’t wearing it when we made love, right baby?” Janet asked, slowly regaining her composure. “Yes, I wasn’t,” replied Emmanuel.

    Episode 16

     “Okay, if you say so. His problem has to be something else. I hope that the tests we will conduct now will reveal what it is,” said the doctor. “Would it be possible for us to get the results today?” Emmanuel asked. “No, the best we can do is tomorrow afternoon. We need time to do proper diagnosis. This is a unique case and has to be handled with professionalism,” replied the doctor. “We will wait, thought tomorrow afternoon seems like eternity,” Janet chipped in. The doctor chuckled, prompting Emmanuel and Janet to laugh in spite of themselves.
    About an hour later, Emmanuel was through with the tests. To make himself feel better, he hurried out of the hospital with Janet and drove home. On the drive home, he asked, “What will we be doing from now till tomorrow afternoon when the tests result will come out?” “I will try my best to wake it…” Janet was saying. “No! Please don’t,” Emmanuel interjected pleadingly. Janet was stunned by that. “Why did you say that? Don’t you want it up again?” “How do you think I would feel, if you fail again?” he paused for his meaning to sink in. “My ego is already in tatters. If you try again and it fails to rise, what do you think I will do? How do you think I will feel? Let us just pretend this never happened, can we do that?” “Yes baby, we can…is there a football game today?” she asked. Her question pulled Emmanuel from the abyss of dejection and sorrowful thoughts. “I think there is one…a big one. Chelsea has a game with Arsenal!” “I will watch it with you. I think it is time to activate your other lover – football.”
    Emmanuel looked her thoughtfully, leaned toward her and planted a kiss on her lips. “I didn’t miss it when I asked you to marry me. You are something else.” “I am glad I said yes. Not even this crash will pull me away from you.” “Aah!! Eeeh!!!” Emmanuel shouted bouncing up on his seat. Janet was startled. “What is it?!” “I just felt a tingling sensation down my g---n…” “Let me see! Let me see!” Janet shouted, unzipping his trouser. With a loud screeching noise, Emmanuel pulled their car off the road and ground it to a halt under a tree nearby. She was working on his male organ with frenzy. “Can you feel anything baby?” she asked. “Yes, but it is too faint.” “That is better than nothing!” Janet said aloud, her voice filled with hope. Bending over him again, she began to work on him.
    The Spiritual Home
    “My son’s virility has gone from him completely. I want it restored. You said you can do all things. What do I offer for that?” Mrs. Asibong asked. Her voice was filled with determination and sternness. Beside her was Ibinabo her friend. “I have already told you, madam. What you did with the boy was only for protection and it will last only for three months. You need an altar to retake what was taken from your son,” said the priest. “Go ahead and raise the altar,” she said with utter determination. “That is not how it is done. We will need you to drop a cheque of five million in that aluminum basin and then proceed to give us a life which must be offered to our gods,” explained the priest.
    “Earlier you told me I can offer the life of an unborn child, right?” “Yes, I did. We accept that.” “If I give you this life, and you raise an altar for me, would my son’s virility be restored soon and would he be able to have children?” “Yes, he will be able to have children…but there is something you must know, when you offered your fellowship your son’s male strength, you offered along with it all the seeds in his loins. Even his unborn children are now under the chains of your fellowship. It was a mighty sacrifice you offered to the fellowship, woman. By that act of yours, you have destroyed generations of men and women.” The priest paused, watching as his words sunk into Mrs. Asibong with greater clarity.
    “Are you saying that I can’t offer you any of Emmanuel’s unborn children?” “That is not exactly my meaning; but this is what I meant. You cannot offer your fellowship generations of men and women locked in your son’s g---n and offer us only one unborn child to break them out.” “How many of my son’s unborn children do you want?” “Through my mirror, I can see he will have four children, we want three out of the four. Let one be his.” “No! You can’t have three! I will give you only one child!” “Then we will not help you, except you offer us more lives.” Mrs. Asibong turned to look at her friend with hot tears streaming from her eyes. Ibinabo drew closer to her and squeezed her hand firmly. “Don’t you have another live to offer?” asked Ibinabo. “No, I only have my daughter, Arit and her family, and they are untouchable…wait!” A thought had occurred to her. Turning toward the priest, she asked, “Can I offer my son’s wife, Janet?” “Of course! By marriage covenant, she has become part of your family…”

    Episode 17

    Forlornly, Janet raised her head and asked, “The feeling is gone, right? You don’t feel a thing anymore, do you?” “There might be hope. It seems to be coming alive a bit,” Emmanuel said, trying to sound courageous. “But it is still looking limp,” Janet pointed out. Emmanuel wrapped his arms around her and they held each other for a few minutes. Silently the two of them cried as tears flowed freely. “Let us go home and try a bit more. If I have begun to feel some semblance of life down there, then there is hope,” Emmanuel said.
    Janet nodded a ‘yes’, like a little girl. Emmanuel zipped up and brought the car to life. On the drive home, not much was said between them. They were content to be left alone to their reveries. If Emmanuel said that in the past he had sex with other women and was fine, what then could have crashed his male organ? For God sake, what does he actually mean by something leaving his body on our wedding night? God I am confused! From our wedding night, we have been having great sex until the morning after the night his dead father showed up in our house. It has to be his father who crashed his male organ! It is him! He must have come to destroy the power of the ribbon my mother in-law gave me. After all my mother in-law mentioned such problem already exists in their family. The dead man brought this on my husband! He did it! Janet thought in her head.
    I have been fine all my life until the night of our wedding. God, I did everything right. In honour to your word, I kept myself from premarital sex. Why would this happen to me? God, I prayed with fasting for weeks, seeking your face about Janet before I married her. Why would something leave my body on the night of our wedding? I believe that thing was my male strength. It is just manifesting now. I was not in sin or error when I made love to my wife. God she is my wife! I did not commit fornication with her! Why then would something leave my body …” He paused. An ugly thought had flashed through his mind.
    He turned and stared coldly at Janet who was looking out through the window lost in her own thoughts. The visage of his face was marred with disdain for her. The only way that could have happened is if Janet is dedicated to a shrine or a member of an evil cult…wait! She might even be jinxed. Jesus! How could I have been this blind?! She must have a spiritual husband. He must be the man I saw taking something from our matrimonial bed… Emmanuel paused again. This time he was 100% certain he had nailed it. He had finally found the root of his problem. I think she knows. Could it be the reason she never allowed me to touch her before we got married? This now explains how she was able to keep to our purity vow. Without her strength, I could have violated the vow many times. Huh… I have got to talk to someone about this. I am living with a woman joined to spiritual entity in the water world. It must be him who took my virility , Emmanuel concluded his dark thoughts.
    When they got home, Emmanuel went straight to the bedroom, pulled off his clothes and went into the bathroom. Janet suspected nothing, she was slow in removing her clothes, her mind was still filled with much thoughts. When she was done removing her clothes, when went to the bathroom door and tried to push it open. Much to her shock, it was locked from inside. They never lock their bathroom door; they just close it. She put it down to Emmanuel being sad over the crashing of his male organ. She knocked gently on the door and said, “Baby open the door, let me join you.” There was no response. Janet got angry and banged harder on the door. “Baby, open the door!!!” she yelled, yet there was no response from Emmanuel. She could hear the crashing sound of water, so Emmanuel was fine. While she was still standing before the door, the sound of running water stopped and after a brief moment, Emmanuel stepped out and mumbled, “I am done, you can go in and use the bathroom now.”
    “What has come over you? I wanted us to play in the bathroom. Please understand that this is not easier on me. It is not at all!” Emmanuel stood and looked at her with his eyes filled with hatred. He opened his mouth to say something, but decided against it. Janet saw the look in his eyes and understood it for what it was. Her heart sunk into her stomach. “Baby what did I do? Why did you look at me that way?” Janet cried out. Her legs shook and could hardly hold up her body. She lowered herself to the floor and sat on it, still naked. Emmanuel walked over to the wardrobe and began to dress up.

    Episode 18

    With deep groans, Janet began to cry. She had not had to cry much since they began to date. However, her cries were usually too hard for Emmanuel to deal with. Emmanuel resisted it all he could, and when he was about to leave the bedroom, he walked over to her, tapped her on the back and said tacitly, “It is all going to be fine. I think I have figured it out.” Janet was eager to hear what he figured out. “Okay can you let me in on it? What is responsible for your male organ crashing?” she asked. Emmanuel ignored her and left the room, banging the door behind him as loud as he could. Janet shook terribly where she sat, clutching her chest.
    To her, it was a dream. Emmanuel was not capable of that. She could not believe her eyes. Weakly she picked herself up from the floor and threw herself on the bed. She must have cried for close to an hour before she decided to act on a thought on her mind. With the energy offered by the thought on her mind, she went into the bathroom, had her bath and dressed up quickly. She was going to pay a visit to Emmanuel’s father’s grave. Her intention was to plead with him to release her husband’s virility. She had convinced herself he was the one who took it.
    The Spiritual House
    “There is however, something you must know about your son’s wife, Janet,” the priest added. “What is it?” Mrs. Asibong asked. “She is very pure and your son is going to have his best seeds with her. Thanks for offering us such a soul. This is how it will be done, we will let her have three children for your son, but during the time she will have her fourth child, we will slay her and the new born child. You don’t know what you have offered us. The fourth child that shall come from Janet shall be no ordinary child!” the priest said elatedly.
    “What did you mean when you said Janet is pure and that my son shall have his best seeds with her?” Mrs. Asibong asked. “Your son can remarry and even have children by his second wife, but both his wife and the children from her shall all be a big mistake. They are not ordained to be part of Emmanuel’s life. Janet is part of his star… I can see you have been told about your son’s star.” “Yes, I have, but I didn’t know Janet was part of it.”
    “It is time to start madam Asibong! Drop five million naira in that basin and give us Janet’s picture,” the priest announced with the sound of bliss in his voice. “I will need to go out and print her picture. I have it here in my phone,” explained Mrs. Asibong. “You will do that later, let us proceed with the rest for now.” “Okay, if you say so.”
    For a moment, Mrs. Asibong was thoughtful. She was wondering if her decision to offer Janet’s life was the right decision. Ibinabo pulled her aside and asked, “Are you sure you want to offer Janet’s life? Young women like her are hard to find. Look at how excited the priest is about taking her life. Something is off here, Eme. I feel it strongly. I think that girl should live.” “I have no one else to give. I hate to do this, but the girl has already begun to turn my son against me. I told her something no one knows, and she foolishly told my son.” “What did she tell your son?” “I mistakenly let it slip that my husband died for nothing, only for her to tell Emmanuel. Now Emmanuel is suspecting me of having something to do with his father’s death.”
    “That is bad, if it hurts you that much, and if you don’t want the girl in your son’s life anymore, then offer her life. The choice is yours.” “My mind is made up,” Mrs. Asibong said as she rummaged in her bag for her cheque book. She found it and without delay wrote the priest a five million naira cheque and tossed it into the aluminum basin. “Good! That is good. Now strip down and stand before this altar. I will need you to make a binding confession here that you are offering to this altar the life of your fourth grandchild by Emmanuel and Janet, along with Janet’s life.”
    Mrs. Asibong stripped down frenziedly like a woman striping off her clothes to join her husband in bed. Standing stark naked before the altar with her hands raised high, she began, “I Eme Asibong offer this altar the life of my fourth grand child who shall be born by Emmanuel my son and Janet his wife. I also offer the life of my son’s wife Janet. Both lives shall be taken after she delivers her fourth child. I offer them to you, o great altar, for you to break and terminate all curses and afflictions placed upon me and my family by the fellowship. Most of all I want my son’s virility to be returned to him this day.”
    “Step closer to the altar,” the priest instructed. Mrs. Asibong moved closer. “Stretch forth your hand toward the altar,” said the priest. Mrs. Asibong did so. Without warning, the priest pulled out a knife and slashed her palm and held it over the altar as her blood dropped over it. Mrs. Asibong cried out in much pain, struggling to break free from the priest, but she could not. When the priest was satisfied, he released his grip on her hand and let her go.

    Episode 19

    At Emmanuel’s father’s grave, Janet stood. She had brought with her a flower bouquet to make the dead happy. A cursory look around revealed to her that the grave before which she stood had been neglected for quite a long time. The other graves had fresh flowers on them and were not overgrown with grass. For a moment, she wanted to walk away. She felt guilty for having come to the grave only because she needed the help of the one who lay dead inside it.
    While she pondered how much the grave had been neglected, and how she might proceed with the request for which she had come, a stocky man with a bowed out leg, approached her. The man was seemingly in his mid-fifties. He had bristly beard and looked unkempt. With difficulty, he staggered on his feet, bouncing up and down as his legs were unequal in length. “Good day madam. Does the grave belong to your family?” he asked, making much effort to smile. “Yes, it does,” replied Janet. “The dead can be pacified; they can be shown love. I have often wondered what heinous life the person in this grave committed in his lifetime that his relatives have thought it wise to neglect him. I know he is a man because I have often seen him sitting on his grave at nights looking forlorn and his eye filled with tears…”
    “Have you?” Janet asked, her voice filled with fear and trepidation. The man was happy to gain her attention. “Yes, I have. For more than eighteen years I have worked here. By now some of the dead here know me and I know them…” he paused. “So you know the man in this grave then?” asked Janet. “No, I don’t. He prefers to keep his distance and is always in tears. My guess is that he died suddenly. He did not die a good death.” “You might be right. I am his daughter in-law. I have seen enough lately to know he might not have died a good death…” “Don’t worry; however he died, he can be pacified. You can have me weed his grave, bring perfumed flowers for his grave and you can read him words of love. Look at this…” He dug into his b----t pocket and dragged out a rumpled piece of paper.
    “…this is a poem for the dead. It was written by a celebrated Ghana witch doctor…” the man continued. Janet shrank back at the mention of witch doctor. “…do not fear, you will not be harmed. This poem in my hand, works wonders with the dead. I will do all I mentioned just for a token. I am afraid to go home to my wife and children tonight,” the man concluded, almost pleading. “Why are you afraid to go home, sir?” “I can’t not bear to watch my wife and children go to bed yet another night without food. The government doesn’t care about those who watch the dead anymore. My wife who often helped me out with the responsibilities at home had her shop destroyed in the name of city beautification. As I speak, hunger and lack have made my home their camp. For three months now, I have not been paid my salary…”
    Janet raised her hand and hushed the man. She could not bear to listen anymore to the man’s gory tale about his lack. She rummaged in her purse and removed a wad of one thousand naira notes and gave it to the man. “You must go home to night! Make sure your wife and children get something to eat please,” Janet said.
    The man went down on his knees to thank her, but she hurriedly pulled him to his feet. “Don’t do that please! All I need from you right now, is to weed this grave and place the perfumed flowers you mentioned on it.” “I will be most glad to do that madam. Please, come over here and sit down,” he said, motioning Janet to a wooden seat under a mango tree some distance away. “Don’t call me madam, you are old enough to be my father. My name is Janet,” she cautioned. “Okay, madam, I will not call you madam again.” Janet had to chuckle at his reply in spite of herself. “Can I ask you a question sir?” Janet asked. “Yes madam, you can.” “I am afraid the man in that grave, took something from me…not exactly from me, though, but from my husband. Do you think if I pacify him he would return it?”

    Episode 20

    The man made effort to rest on his one good leg, raising his frame like an orator about to address the Greek parliament in old times, he began, “You see, madam, the loss in death has for ages been misconstrued. Those who suffer the real loss in death are not the living. Though the living cry the loudest, it is the dead who suffer the real loss. They are the ones who can’t taste good wine ever again or wear new clothe fashion. They are the ones who can’t spend time with their wives, husbands or loved ones. They see us giggle and laugh, but they sit quiet in loneliness. They see us use modern technology, but they only wonder what the use is like to us…” he paused and searched Janet’s eyes. Janet clearly could not make out where he was headed with his lecture about the loss of the dead. He saw that, and so made his last point which drove home his meaning. “…the dead would be glad for anything you do to let them know they are remembered. I have often heard them wailing by night over the torture of their loneliness, particularly the lost souls amongst them.”
    “So your point is that my father in-law will be glad to return what he took?” Janet asked with an edge of impatience to her voice. “Yes, he will be glad to. After all, he has finally got someone’s attention.” “I like this!” Janet echoed, completely surprised she said that.
    For the next twenty minutes she sat under that mango tree and waited for the man to clean the grave and drop the perfumed flowers so she could read her dead father in-law the poem which would make him glad. A few times she tried Emmanuel’s phone number but he did not pick up. She was worried about his attitude, but hoped all that would change for the better by the time she persuaded her father in-law to return what he supposedly took.
    Emmanuel and his Friend
    “I hate to admit it. I am afraid to tell anyone this, but the truth is, right now, I can’t afford an erection or even have any feelings in my male organ,” Emmanuel said to his friend, Samson. Samson shifted uncertainly in his chair wondering if he heard Emmanuel well. “How…how did you come to this? How… I mean what happened, Emma?” Samson asked, almost choking on his words. “It is my wife! I suspect my wife. It all began on our wedding night. While we made love…our first love since we knew each other, something left my body. Ever since then, I have not felt the same. The height of it now is that my male organ is as good as dead. I know there is something down there only because I have this weird occasional jolts down there as if my male organ was battling to come back to life…” Emmanuel paused and wiped at a bead of tear in the corners of his left eye. Samson drew closer to him and tapped gently on his right thigh. “It is okay, Emma. All hope is not lost. The same gods who afflicted a child with itches, also gave him fingernails to scratch them… Tell me why you think your wife is responsible for the crash of your male organ?”
    “I think she is jinxed. I believe she has a spiritual husband. Come to think of it, why else would I lose my pride as man when I began to have formal relations with her as my wife? Why didn’t I lose my strength before I had sex with her? Why didn’t I have this experience those days I slept with other girls? Whatever happened to my male organ is connected to my wife, I am certain of it!” “Phew!! Spiritual husbands can be stubborn and jealous; they are one problem you don’t want to have. If indeed, a spiritual husband is responsible for what happened to you, there is a way to find out.” “How? Tell me please,” Emmanuel asked, shifting to the edge of his seat. “You have to give your attention to another woman…” “What! I can’t do that! I don’t want to go back to my sins!” “Wait! Wait, Emmanuel! I am not saying you should embrace infidelity… This is my meaning, spiritual husbands are proud and jealous evil spirits. If you make them think they have won, they will leave you alone. The way out is to use their pride against them. You have to give your wife some distance and turn your attention to another woman. If your male strength returns, then your wife is your problem…”
    “And if it doesn’t?” “Then something else took your male strength.” Emmanuel stood up and paced about the living room, wondering how he could do what Samson had suggested. He returned to his seat and asked, “How do I find a woman that will not expose me to the world?” “I will take care of that for you. I have a lady friend whose mere appearance will cause your male organ to riot back to life. That is if a spiritual husband is responsible for what happened to you. You must treat this lady like you treat your wife. The idea is to fool the spiritual husband into thinking you have left your wife for him.” “Wait, Sammy, how did you learn all this?” “My grandmother served water spirits. While growing up I saw unbelievable things. I saw barren women, get pregnant after they pacified their spiritual husbands. I saw men regain their libido when they appeased their spiritual wives or warded off their wives’ spiritual husbands. The spiritual world is as real as this one, or maybe even muc

    Episode 21

    With a huge smile on his face, the cemetery keeper walked to Janet where she was sitting under the mango tree and announced he was done with his work of weeding her father in-law’s grave, and had presented him with perfumed flowers. “So, can I go read him the poem now, right?” she asked. “Yes, I believe he can’t wait to hear those words,” said the man.
    Staggering on his bad limbs, he followed Janet back to the grave. Janet was not sure, but somewhere in the recesses of her mind was the knowledge that what she was doing bothered on necromancy. To lighten her mind, heavily burdened with guilt, she mumbled a short prayer to God. “Dear God, please forgive me. I am not sure about this, but in my current dire situation, this is the only solution I can get my hands on.” That prayer did not lighten her heavy heart, but it afforded her some pseudo comfort, for having condemned the act of communicating with the dead before she embarked on it.
    For the next ten minutes, Janet summoned her intellectual astuteness and read the words of the poem as though she was reading the wordings of a holy poem in the church. Her mind was so focused on the words of the poem that she did not see any of the rather paranormal activities happening around the grave. The cemetery keeper was mesmerized. He was almost delirious by what he saw. As Janet read the words, the sand on the grave seemed to bounce up and down in a rhythmic fashion. It was at the point she finished reading the poem that she turned her gaze back to the man next to her. The man was literally jazzed.
    “What is it sir?” she asked. The man looked up, his face wrapped up in Elysium. With stuttering lips, he replied, “I… I… Saw the grave… The grave danced! I saw the grave dance! The dead in it is happy!” That was not something to say to a lady totally naïve about spiritual things and the dead. Janet felt her heart beat irregularly with pungent twinge of pain. She stepped away from the grave, afraid it might open up and swallow her whole. Then a blast of wind blew in-between them and a voice like the voice of the wind whispered, “Find my killer and you will have found your oppressor.”
    The effect of the voice was so staggering that her feet could not hold her up any longer. Irrespective of her class, she sat on the ground, wishing she was home. I don’t get it. Why did he not tell me who killed him, instead of sending me to find the person? Janet thought. As if her father in-law was in her head, a voice spoke to her again, “In my death I was forbidden to speak of what happened to me. I want to, but I can’t. If you don’t find who killed me, you will be next.” That was it for Janet. She could not take any more of that paranormal conversation. She stood to her feet and bolted away, trying very hard not to scream her head off.
    Because of his deformity, the cemetery keeper could not keep up with Janet. All he could do was shout at her to stop running, but Janet would have none of that. She was done with seeking help from the dead.
    Emmanuel’s Home
    Emmanuel was home by now and very much bothered by what his friend had told him to do. “As much as I am afraid Janet might be jinxed, I cannot bear to cheat on her. What if it turns out I am wrong?” Emmanuel whispered to himself as he paced about his living room. While he walked about his living room restlessly, his eyes rested on a picture of his father on the wall and a thought seized his mind. “What on earth was my father here for the other night?” he asked aloud to no one. Before he could process that thought, another one hit him, “What did mom mean by daddy ‘died in vain’?” Like a prey being hypnotized by a serpent, he sunk into the closest sofa to him. “God please help me! I don’t know how we came to this… Look at me trying to cheat on my wife… My mother saying my father died in vain… My male strength gone mysteriously and the dead showing up in my house… and there is even a remote possibility that my wife might have a spiritual husband. How can a happy life turn so sour in a short time?” he wondered as he prayed.
    He was lost in his searing thoughts of sorrow, when Janet barged into the house. She was almost beside herself. When Emmanuel saw the look of her face, he was shocked. He could not bear to ignore her. Janet was happy to meet him at home. She ran toward him and threw herself on him and began to sob deeply. Emmanuel was full of thoughts as to why she was crying. He assumed that perhaps she was about to confess to him what she knew about his condition. Patiently he waited for her to speak up. “Baby we are in trouble,” she said as if Emmanuel did not know that much.
    “We have been in trouble since our wedding night, that much is clear to me,” Emmanuel said with sarcasm. “I spoke with your father; he said…” Janet was saying. She was stopped by the look on Emmanuel’s face. “You spoke with my father!” he wondered. Emmanuel could hear his own heartbeat. “Yes, I did. I went to his grave to plead with him to return your male strength which I supposed he took from you…” “And he spoke to you?” “It wasn’t that straightforward. I did some things to please him.” Emmanuel became much more afraid of her. He shifted away from her. His thoughts were, “So you are not just jinxed, you practice witchcraft too?”
    Janet could see he was a bit distracted and so she asked. “Are you listening to me, baby?” “Yes, what did you do to make my father speak to you?” He was beginning to give his worries away in the manner he spoke. “You, your mother and Arit neglected him for long. His grave was not weeded and no one brought him flowers. I was told by the cemetery keeper that most nights he was seen sitting on his grave crying.” “Crying? My father was crying?” “Yes he was. He told me he was killed…” That was the clincher. Instead of shifting away from Janet, he moved closer. “Did he tell you who killed him?” he asked with a whisper. “No he did not. But he warned me that if we do not find his killer, I will be killed soon.” The thought of Janet dying made Emmanuel realize how much he really loved her.
    Taking her into his hands warmly and his eyes locked with hers, he said with frightening cold voice, “I will kill a whole nation than let any harm come upon you.” The sound of that was very reassuring to Janet. She nodded, happy that his cold attitude toward her was thawing. “But my father should have told you who killed him,” Emmanuel thought aloud. “I wanted him to tell me, but he said he was forbidden in his death to reveal the person’s identity or the things he knows. I am afraid to admit that he sounded as though he was killed by an occult power. You can’t kill a man and shut his mouth from speaking what he knew, except you are using occult powers,” Janet said.
    Emmanuel picked his phone to call his friend who suggested he find another woman to show love to prove if Janet was jinxed and in that instance, he felt his male organ swing back to life as if it broke out from under a ceiling. With both hands he grabbed his private part, looking embarrassed. “It is back to life! Baby I can feel it like before! My male organ is back to life!” Emmanuel shouted. Janet could not move. Her mouth hung wide open in shock as she looked spaced out. “Your father has done it. He has fought for us,” she whispered. Emmanuel stood up, lifted her in his arms and made a dash toward the bedroom.
    Mrs. Asibong’s Office
    She was giving her personal assistant some instructions when her phone rang. It was not her regular ring tone. She knew who was calling and it had been eleven long years since they spoke last. She had carried his number and assigned a special tone to it in each of her new phones, those long years. “I am sorry, that is an important call and I have to take it in privacy,” she said to her personal; assistant. Hastily she walked her assistant to the door and shut it. She went back to her table and picked the call, “Hello, you are not meant to call me except something goes wrong. So, tell me, what has gone wrong?” “Your daughter in-law visited your husband’s grave today. I heard she had his grave weeded, gave him perfumed flowers and read him a poem,” a male voice said. “And…?” “Nothing more,” replied the male voice.
    Her breathing became strong and beads of sweat appeared on her forehead. “I looked into that girl before I allowed her to come into my home. Why didn’t I see all this? This is the second time she would set beyond her bounds… Have you looked at the chains, are they still in place?” “You have nothing to worry about. The chains are in place.” “But the other night, he was seen in my son’s house. How did that happen?” “If there was trouble, I would have told him. It was not him that they saw, he sent another to appear like him. I knew about that and there was no way I could stop it.” “I thought as much,” Mrs. Asibong said with a sigh of relief. “I would have you watch him closely tonight, find out how he fares. You know if he breaks out, the rest will come with him,” she added. “Yes I know.” “Thanks for the information, I will deal ruthlessly with my daughter in-law.”

    Episode 22

    Emmanuel’s House, Bedroom
    Breathing heavily, Janet stared rapturously at Emmanuel’s body. Every bit of muscle in his body was pulsating. With infectious smile and a happy heart, she whispered, “You are back baby. You took me on like a stallion. At some point, I could not breathe. You are back, my love. We can now make babies; what do you think?” “I have no issues with making babies, but we have to first take seriously what my father told you and find out who wants you dead. I think it will be foolhardy to relegate that and move on. On the other hand, we have not found out why my male organ crashed in the manner it did,” said Emmanuel thoughtfully. “You are right, but how do we go about finding the person who killed your father and wants me dead?” Janet concurred. “Going by what my mother said to you, she knows something about how my dad died. She might not want to let us in on it, but I am certain she knows what we don’t. I will find a way to make her tell me what she knows…” “What if she refuses?” Janet interjected. “Then I will look for alternative ways to find out what happened to my father.”
    “I hope the alternative ways will not make things worse than they already are?” Janet asked. Emmanuel gently pulled her over to his body, planted several kisses all over her body and then replied her. “I will be very careful. Whichever means I choose to find out the truth will not put us in much more trouble than we already are. I will make sure of that, okay.” Janet kissed him and whispered seductively, “Okay baby… It feels like it was long time ago that we made love last…” “We just made love now,” Emmanuel interjected. “I know, but that was just a test. Now let’s do the real thing…” “I thought I heard you say you almost could not breathe…” “Stop talking and get down to business, baby. I know you understand my meaning. You are just being silly.” Smiling mischievously, Emmanuel said, “Yeah, I understand you actually…” Janet responded to that with a knock on his head. “Aw!! What was that for?” he asked, rubbing his hand on the spot Janet knocked on his head. “For making me explain too much… You were not done explaining before I gave you the knock, continue or I’ll give you more knocks.”
    Acting like a little boy, trying not to offend his mother, Emmanuel continued, “The reason you felt that way was because of the fear we felt over the crash. To me, it seemed like my life was over. I can’t even imagine what must have gone on in your mind. Any chance I will hear them?” Janet began to laugh. “I see, they must have been very terrible to make you laugh this much,” Emmanuel pointed out. “They were bad, dark and evil. I could not imagine living for the rest of life without sex in my marriage. The fear of that killed me a thousand times.” “Was there a chance you would have left me or cheated on me?” Emmanuel asked, looking at her quizzically. “Those two thoughts made me mad. They kept coming at me like storms. I have to admit; I almost went nuts under their crushing blows.” “Did you get to make any of the decisions then? They were possibilities, right?” Janet regarded him for a while and with a smile replied, “I am not that easy to beat down. I did not. Your crash was not even up to a day long. How could I have made such grave decisions that soon? How about you? Were you going to run away from me or go to other ladies to see if they could wake it…? You know when such things happen, somehow, the woman becomes a suspect. Did you think I was a witch?”
    A look of guilt took over Emmanuel’s face. He looked down on the bed, unable to look her in the eyes. “I know you baby. You thought I was a witch or perhaps jinxed. When you banged the door and left me, it felt like you banged the door of my heart. Even while we were with the doctor, you sounded like having sex with me on our wedding night was responsible for what left your body,” Janet carefully pointed out. “I am very sorry, baby. I thought that somehow my problem had something to do with you…” “Because it happened the first time we made love, right? Perhaps you thought I had a spiritual husband who took your male strength away for touching his wife,” she interjected. Emmanuel reacted with so much shock at what she said that Janet could see he thought all she mentioned.
    Ibinabo’s House
    “I have made up my mind to deal with Janet, and I have decided to do it now,” Mrs. Asibong said to her friend, Ibinabo. “What did she do this time?” asked Ibinabo. “She went to visit my dead husband. From what I gathered before I left work this evening, she managed to stir the spirit of my dead husband.” “This Janet must be very strong spiritually. Did her action weaken the chains you placed on your husband’s spirit?” “No, she did not. However, if I don’t serve her some bitter pills to swallow, she might break the chains.” “How are you going to do that seeing you have made a deal which somehow forbids you from inflicting damaging hurt on her? Don’t forget she is the major sacrifice you have offered to get the restoration and protection you want.”
    “I know Ibinabo. My plan is to inflict her with a sickness. If she was not my daughter in-law, believe me, I would have shut her womb and thrown the key into the Atlantic Ocean. She is a pest! An annoying pest!” “I still have not figured out why you hate her this much. If she was my daughter in-law, I would have kept her far away from all this. I am certain you are making a mistake. Have you thought about it that if you inflict her with a sickness, it might affect her ability to bear you the grandchildren the priest spoke of and also the one you have offered to our lord?” “So are you suggesting I sit back and watch her destroy my life?” “She is not after you, Eme. I am certain she does not even know she is doing some things you don’t like. A couple of months ago, she was the best daughter in-law a mother in-law could have. Now she is a devil. Eme, please, be very careful with that girl.”
    Mrs. Asibong’s phone began to ring. She checked to see who was calling. It turned out to be Janet. “Talk about the devil and he somehow shows up. The witch is the one calling me. What could she want to tell me?” “That your son’s male organ is back to life and that she has been rocking it all evening,” Ibinabo joked. “You know, you are right. I need to hear that,” Mrs. Asibong said and picked the call. “Hello Jenny girl! What good news have you got for me?” Mrs. Asibong asked as though she was not mad with Janet. “Mommy, the missing servant is back and is working at electric pace. I can’t get enough of as it is,” Janet said with the sound of joy in her heart. “I can’t be happier for you. I think the two of you should seriously give making babies a thought. I wouldn’t want that servant to pack up again without a grandchild for me. In fact, tell Emmanuel I ordered for grandchildren.” “Okay, mommy, I will pass your message across to him.” “Alright Jenny, enjoy the revived servant as much as you can. It is yours for the keeps,” Mrs. Asibong signed off.
    Janet could not help giggling at her mother in-law’s comment.
    At the bathroom from where she had made the call, she leaned on the wall and laughed hard after the call had ended. The imagination evoked by the comment, “… enjoy the revived servant as much as you can. It is yours for the keeps ” was so graphic that her thoughts went back to some things she had thought when Emmanuel’s male organ was still nonfunctional. At the living room, Emmanuel was on the phone with a man his friend, Samson, had helped him get in touch with. “How long will it take you to find out all I have told you about?” Emmanuel asked. “Give me three days. I sense a strong occult presence around you. I have to be careful with this case, it usually doesn’t end well,” the man at the other end of the call said. “Please sir, do it quickly. Whoever is after me, is also after my wife.” “Yes, you are right. I see covenants involving blood and graves with chains… You know what, Mr. Emmanuel, let us end this call. I need to look into your family now. So much has gone wrong for long.” “Okay, sir.”
    All through that evening and late into the night, Emmanuel and Janet did their best to enjoy as much romantic moments as they could. Emmanuel even called the doctor handling his case to inform him that his male organ had come back and had been working very fine. So, that evening was filled with joy and no one was expecting what began about 1: 56 am in the morning. For Janet it was only a nightmare until she snapped out of her sleep with a scream and found her matrimonial bed soaked with blood. In the far corner of their bedroom were two human-like shadows holding in their hands bloody objects which Janet figured out to be some organs from her body. She turned to look at Emmanuel who was next to her only to find him sound asleep in spite of her ear-piercing screams.

    Episode 23

    Janet shook Emmanuel violently amid her screams. Emmanuel woke with a startle, blinking his eyes repeatedly. It took about thirty seconds before the horror before him sunk in. The bed was soaked in blood and two human-like shadows were in a corner of their bedroom holding stuffs he could not decipher. All he knew was that whatever things they were holding were dropping blood to the floor. Without a thought, he jumped out of bed, grabbed Janet and headed for the door. On their way to the door, they were yelling the name of Jesus and pleading his blood. They were too scared to observe what happened when they began to use that name. The two shadows seemed to plunge into some sort of confusion. Twice they rammed into each other as though they were trying to find an exit route in each other. It was as though they didn’t want to hang around anymore and gloat over what they had done to Janet. The excitement on their faces was replaced with the look of dread. Their attempt to escape from the bedroom was successful on the third try. Seeming to step into the wall, they vanished from the bedroom.
    Janet and Emmanuel were at the door when Emmanuel turned and noticed that the two devils had vanished, taking with them whatever it was they had in their hands. “Baby! Baby! They are gone! The devils are gone! Thank you Jesus! Thank you Lord!” Emmanuel shouted, his eyes darting about the room.
    Janet was not in the mood to say a word. She was sure she knew what those devils had removed from her body, they were her womb and some intestinal organs. She was busy running her fingers all over her body. Things were gone from her body that much she knew. Much to her shock, though she could feel she had been cut open by the devils they saw in their room, there was no cut on her body. It was very strange to her; she could not understand it. Though she could feel the cut of devils’ blades, yet there was not an injury on her body. “Where is the blood from then? I saw them cut me open in my dream. Where is this much blood from? Lord what is this?” she mumbled to herself.
    Emmanuel was on the floor praying out his heart. Through the years when people began to die mysteriously in his family, it was his devotion to God which saw him through. Sadly, since things got better and life became less stressful, his faith had waned and he turned his attention to other things. With what he had seen that night, he had no choice than to pray. “Baby stop!!!” Janet yelled. Emmanuel was shocked by the sound of her voice. “I know what those devils left with…” she paused. As if a light bulb had been turned on in his head, Emmanuel sprang to his feet from where he was kneeling, and began to feel his body. The first place he touched was his male organ; from that point, he moved his hands to feel other parts of his body. He was happy to have only blood stains on him.
    “What did they leave with?” he asked after he was satisfied with checking himself for any possible missing parts. “My womb,” Janet said with hot tears streaming from her eyes. Emmanuel took quick steps toward her and hugged her in spite of the blood stains all over her. “Don’t say such a thing, how could they take your womb? Is there any cut on your body?” Emmanuel cautioned her, pulled away a bit, and began to feel her blood-stained body for any knife cuts.
    Fighting hard to keep a rein on her emotions, Janet began to narrate her nightmare to him, “I saw those devils enter our bedroom in my dream but I could not run from them. They did something to me and immobilized me. I wanted to scream, but could not. I tried to fight them, but I could not. With those knives you saw in their hands, they cut me open and removed my womb…” she paused, breathing heavily. Then she busted into tears.
    Emmanuel hugged her yet again and tried his best to calm her. That was hard to do, Janet was terrified beyond words. Amid her cry, she began to explain what those devils said to her hearing, “Baby, the devils said some things while they were removing my womb.” “What did they say?” Emmanuel asked breathlessly, giving away his fear. “One of them said to the other, ‘let us see how she will give birth to that sacrifice’. When he had said that, the other one began to laugh hysterically and mockingly said, ‘when the wait for the sacrifice she gave them becomes endless, they will turn against her and she will run back to us. When that happens, we will demand the most precious things and not just Emmanuel’s male organ’. Baby I heard these words clearly. I still hear them in my head,” Janet concluded.
    Emmanuel let go of her. “I don’t understand. Who is the ‘she’ they were talking about?” he asked with a wary look on his face. He was beginning to think again that Janet was a member of a secret cult. “I don’t know who that is; but whoever she is, from what the devils said, she is offering our body parts and even unborn children to devils,” Janet replied. Emmanuel was so focused on who the ‘she’ might be that he lost the meaning of what the devils had said to each other. It took Janet’s words for the meaning to home. As if a light bulb had turned on in his head, he asked with a scream, “Wait! Does that mean my male organ failed because someone offered it to those devils?” “That is what it means, baby.” “Jesus! This is not happening. This can’t be true… Baby is there a chance you are the one they are talking about? Are you the ‘she’? Are you somehow jinxed? Do you belong to some evil cult which I don’t know about?” Emmanuel asked, his face contorted by the anger in his heart.
    Janet could not believe her ears. She stared at Emmanuel unbelievably, her mouth hanging very low in shock. “What did you just ask me?” she managed to ask, her words laced with venomous anger. “You heard me right! I demand to know the truth right now! Are you the one they were talking about!!!” Emmanuel barked maniacally, sounding clearly beside himself with anger. Janet had had enough, she took two quick steps and stood shoulder to shoulder before Emmanuel and yelled back, “Go ask your mother who said your father died in vain!!! Go ask your father who said he was killed and that whoever killed him is after me!!!” Her words were so loud that they seemed to push Emmanuel backward a bit. Emmanuel was poised for a fight with Janet when he noticed a figure walk into the bathroom. In anger he went after it, leaving Janet terrified by the way he moved.
    When he yanked the door of the bathroom open, he yelled, “Daddy show yourself! Stop hiding in corners!” Then his eyes rested on the words written with blood on the mirror. In utter shock, he whispered, “Baby, you have to see this.” Picking her steps fearfully toward Emmanuel who stood by the door of the bathroom, she asked, “What is it?” “You have to see it.” She was too afraid, so she hid behind Emmanuel and peeked into the bathroom. The words on the mirror read, “Emmanuel stop fighting in vain and go in search of him who killed me. When you find that person, you will have found who is after you and your wife.” When Janet read the words, she sighed loudly and walked away. “Perhaps I wrote that on the mirror also to fool you! You know what Emmanuel, you are disgusting!” she shouted and began to cry again. Emmanuel could not take his eyes off the words on the mirror.
    “Who is this person?” Emmanuel asked a little audibly. Just like when Janet visited her father in-law’s grave, a wind blew by and Emmanuel heard a voice saying, “Look back at your dreams after my death. Visit Jeffery’s grave.” Emmanuel held his ears and winced in pain. Though the words were gentle, yet they burnt his ears. “Baby, my father just spoke to me. He has told me what to do!” “Go to hell! Don’t you ever talk to me again! I am witch! I am the person who took your male strength, cut your wife open to remove her womb and offered your unborn children to the devil. Don’t you ever forget that! I am not your baby Emmanuel! I am a witch!” Janet yelled at him, crying. In that instance, Emmanuel knew his marriage had taken a major hit. He had hurt his wife beyond words could describe. Sadly, he had no idea how to mend the broken fence. He stood helplessly looking at Janet as she cried her heart out on the floor where she sat.
    “God, what do I do now, I have hurt my wife?” he prayed. Janet sprang to her feet, surprising him. She grabbed her finger and forcefully pulled out her wedding ring and stoned it at Emmanuel. The ring hit Emmanuel on the forehead and bounced off. “I am done with you! I cannot continue to live with a man who thinks I am a witch every time something goes wrong in our marriage. I hate you! Emmanuel I hate you!!!” Janet screamed. She ran into the bathroom and locked the door from behind. Emmanuel picked up the ring and went to the door to plead with her to forgive him. “Baby, I am very sorry. I wish I could take back those words I said. Please forgive me.” “I have told you already, Emmanuel, I am not your baby! I am leaving your house today. Once I come out of this bathroom, I will pack my things and leave you!” Emmanuel ran to the bedroom door, locked it and hid the key. Janet had been deeply hurt, from the way she spoke, he knew she would leave him that day.

    Episode 24

    Mrs. Asibong was sound asleep on her bed. The time was 2:15 am. Then her phone rang. It was the priest whom she gave the lives of Janet and her unborn child. With an angry sigh she reached for her phone. “Hello priest, why call me at this odd hour? Is everything okay?” she asked. “All is not well! You have to get down to our shrine this minute!” said the priest, loudly. “What is wrong priest?! How do you expect me to drive out by this time all alone?” “Mrs. Asibong, you have no choice than to do that. All the lives in your family depend on it. I have called your friend, Ibinabo, she is on her way to your house with some people. You have to get down here immediately!” “Okay priest, I will come over to the shrine now that I know Ibinabo is on her way to my house with some people. Please can you let me in on what is wrong? Please I beg of you.” “Mrs. Asibong, there is trouble. Your fellowship has offered a counter sacrifice to undo the sacrifice you offered to us.”
    “My fellowship? I thought you had silenced them once and for all. How is this possible?” Mrs. Eme Asibong asked, feeling like fish out of water. “I hate to admit to you that we underestimated them. Have you spoken to your son and his wife?” “No, I have not.” “Please get in touch with them. It is highly important that you do so right now,” said the priest as he hung up the phone.
    Mrs. Asibong was beside herself with worry and anxiety. “What has my fellowship done? Where is all this headed to now?” she said out loud to herself. Her hands were shaking as she tried to call Emmanuel. As if on cue, Emmanuel’s call crashed in, “Hello mom!” “Hello Emmanuel.” “Mommy! We have been under attack for the past few hours! The worst part is that Janet wants to leave me!” Emmanuel blurted out breathlessly. “Calm down Emmanuel! I want to hear about the attack, what actually happened?” she asked. “Mom, as I speak right now, our bed and much of our bedroom are covered with blood…” “Blood! Oh God! From where?” she interjected. “Janet woke me up from sleep with a loud scream only for me to see two spirits in our bedroom and our bed covered with blood. The spirits had in their hands Janet’s womb and some intestinal organs. My wife is not going to be able to give birth to any child ever again! Mom please help! Please help me!” Emmanuel cried.
    Mrs. Asibong felt her tongue cleave to her upper palate. She could hardly utter a word. Thoughts of all sorts were going through her mind at that point. What have I done? Mrs. Asibong thought to herself “Mom!!! Are you there?” Emmanuel’s loud query woke her from her thoughts. “I am here Emmanuel. You know what? Make sure Janet does not leave your house! I am going to look for help right away. Did you hear me?” “Yes ma,” Emmanuel replied with hope. “Good. Keep her in your house and make sure she does not leave you.” Before Emmanuel could get the chance to tell her what his father had told him, she dropped the call.
    A loud car horn blared from outside the compound and she knew Ibinabo and her team had arrived. Just then her phone began to ring. It was Ibinabo. “Hello IB (short for Ibinabo),” said Mrs. Asibong. “Are you ready to leave with us? The priest told me he was going to call you. You should be ready be now,” Ibinabo inquired urgently. “I am afraid am not yet ready. I spoke with my son, he said they were attacked this morning. The worst has happened IB…” “Get a hold of yourself and get out of your house! We are here to find the solution to your problem,” interjected Ibinabo. There was no time to dress herself very well. All Mrs. Asibong could do was find a wrapper and tied it around her nightgown. She reached for her handbag and phone and dashed out of her bedroom.
    On her way out, she found a pair of leather slip-on and slipped her feet in on them. Outside, she yelled, “Musa!!!” The gate man busted out of his gatehouse with his arrow and bow, ready to shoot any intruder. Mrs. Asibong held her hands up in fear and screamed, “Please don’t shoot Musa! I am the one! It is your madam!” “Kei! I for kill am for you now! Where is the thief, madam? ” asked Musa in pidgin English. “There is no thief around Musa. Open the gate I need to go somewhere right now.” “Madam! You want to go somewhere by this time? Ah! It is not good time to go out. Thieves, spirits, they go out by this time.
    This time not good for going out ,” Musa cautioned. “Thanks Musa for your concern, however, I must go out now. My son is in trouble, I have to go help him and his wife. Open the gate please.”
    “Eme!!! What on earth are you discussing with that gate man? Come out let’s go!” Ibinabo shouted from outside the gate. Musa ran to the gate and then realized he had left the key inside the gatehouse. He ran back into the house, found the key and dashed out. As he unlocked the gate, he narrated a short dream he had to his boss. “ Madam, trouble is find you. I saw it in my dream. Oga come with plenty dead people. I see you mad. You commot your clothe run enter market …” He paused to push the gate wide open. Mrs. Asibong stood transfixed. She could not lift a limb nor bat an eyelid. Outside the gate were Ibinabo and some men. “Common lets go,” Ibinabo encouraged her.
    “You have to hear this IB… Musa who did you say you saw in your dream?” Ibinabo ran into the compound, obviously to drag Mrs. Asibong away. “I saw Oga, your husband,” replied Musa. His words struck both Ibinabo and Mrs. Asibong with awe. “Who told you that the person you saw was my husband? I only hired you a couple of months ago. My husband died fourteen years ago!” Musa smiled proudly and squirmed his shoulders with self-assurance. “Your husband is Mr. Asibong. Is he not?” Musa asked. “He is. How did you come to know him?” “What could this mean?” Ibinabo asked in fear. “He came to me in my dream. He told me he is coming…” He paused and drew nearer to the two women. With a whisper he continued, “I know he is angry about something, but I know how to stop him. I am a good melicine (medicine) man.” Mrs. Asibong and Ibinabo looked at each other in disbelief.
    “Musa when I get back we will discuss this, okay,” said Mrs. Asibong. Grabbing Ibinabo’s hand, they ran into the car waiting for them outside. On the drive to see the priest, Mrs. Asibong wondered aloud about what Musa told them. “How is it that the chains are on his grave and yet he still moves about causing me troubles?” “Eme, you have to get rid of that your gate man. It is just like he said, he is a medicine man. I fear he may have been looking into your life. I am afraid he was the one who reached out to your dead husband’s spirit. You will be shocked by the level of voodoo these Hausa gate men have,” said Ibinabo. “I swear I will kill that gate man if he is the one reaching out to my dead husband’s spirit.” “I said do it! He is the one! My mirror just confirmed it,” Ibinabo claimed. Without delay, Mrs. Asibong placed a call to Jumbo, her professional assassin. “Jumbo, go to my house right now and remove my gate man from the face of this earth. He has crossed his boundary. Make sure his body is never found.” “Okay madam,’ replied a sleepy Jumbo.
    Emmanuel’s House
    Still fuming, Janet stepped out of the bathroom and quickly began to pack her personal effects. Emmanuel did not try to stop her. He had locked the door and wanted her to wear out her anger by packing her load. His silence and gaze had Janet worried. She had expected him to plead with her and try to stop her from packing, but he did not. In-between packing her load, she would stop and look at Emmanuel worriedly. Emmanuel took notice of those looks and pretended he did not. They gave him so much hope. At least she still cares , he thought. To confuse Janet a bit more, he stood up and went into the bathroom and had his bath. It was a hurried bath. When he came out, he had a bucket of soapy water and a rag. After removing the blood stained bedsheet, he began to clean the blood on the floor.
    Janet still could not figure out what he was up to. She was aware that Emmanuel had called someone while she was in the bathroom. However, she had no clue who the person was or what they discussed. She felt the outcome of the call was the reason Emmanuel stopped pleading with her not to leave him. Why would he be crying and pleading with me while I was in the bathroom and suddenly stop after the call he made , she thought. To find out what was on his mind, Janet started a shouting match. “I guess you had made up your mind to end the relationship as well, right? Your silence says it all! I should have known it was a big mistake getting married to you,” she said, hoping Emmanuel would reveal what was on his mind.
    The Priest, the Shrine
    With a run, Mrs. Asibong, Ibinabo and her team ran into the priest’s house. Walking hastily like generals during a war, they made their way into the lavish shrine. On seeing Mrs. Asibong, the priest announced, “Your fellowship has struck us hard! They have removed Janet’s womb so that your sacrifice to us will never be born!” Mrs. Asibong felt giddy, and somehow managed to steady herself. She pondered the words of the priest and asked, “But you told me you people are powerful enough to protect me and my family. How did you let this happen? I slept with that boy inside and gave you millions! How about that?! You took my blood; and all you could do with that was let this happen!”
    “Don’t you ever call the powerful one a boy again!” yelled the priest. “Wait, priest. Do you mean that both your cult and her fellowship are at war over Janet’s life?” Ibinabo asked with her jaw hanging wide open. The priest nodded a ‘yes’ dejectedly.

    Episode 25

    “So what is the way out now?” Mrs. Asibong asked. “We need more sacrifices. The ones you offered earlier are virtually nonexistent. Maybe we should not have accepted future sacrifices from you. With those sacrifices on our altar, things would have been different by now,” explained the priest. “You accepted what I offered; I even slept with your young lord, how come all that suddenly count for nothing? How about the money I gave?!” Mrs. Asibong fumed. “We need blood madam! With blood we will do a lot for you right now!” said the priest. “I have no more blood to offer you! Your words count for nothing! You boasted that you and your shrine specialize in war, how is it that right now my fellowship has left you looking like a puppet shrine?” “You just don’t understand Mrs. Asibong. Your fellowship took this current case to a higher ground. They offered five young virgin young people to an altar higher than ours. The spirits who took your daughter in-law’s womb rank above us. As it is, there is very little we can do. Give us blood and we will turn this situation to your favour.” “This can’t be happening! I can’t believe what you just said…” said Mrs. Asibong. She turned to her friend Ibinabo and asked, “Why in God’s world did you bring me to such a place Ibinabo?”
    “Frankly, Eme I am as shocked as you are,” Ibinabo said helplessly. “There will always be something you can do, Mrs. Asibong,” the priest said to encourage her. “I can offer you nothing! I have lost my faith in you and your shrine! Maybe you want me to offer you my life…” She paused. “Okay, take Janet’s life! Since her womb is gone, she is no longer useful to my son or to anyone.” “Yes! I think in this situation that is a good offer, priest,” concurred Ibinabo. “The spirits who took her womb left with much more than that. As we speak, some intestinal parts from Janet are lying on an altar somewhere in Haiti. We cannot take her as a sacrifice anymore. A higher altar has received her. Don’t forget you had given her to us earlier. Even if your current offer was valid, we already have her life. You have to give us another life,” the priest explained further.
    Mrs. Asibong turned around, gestured at Ibinabo and said, “Let’s get out of here! There is nothing here for me. I will go plead my case with the fellowship.” “The fellowship will not hear you Mrs. Asibong. I think you should know that the sacrifice you offered to us caused them great pain. If you leave here without offering any human blood, you will be taking a great risk. Your fellowship will be happy to eat you alive. Believe me, without our protection no one is safe in your family,” warned the priest. “Thanks a lot, priest. Right now I will prefer to handle this situation by myself.”
    Without delay, Mrs. Asibong and Ibinabo got into the vehicle which had driven them to the shrine and they headed back to her house. “What are you going to do now? From what has been done to Janet we can see that your fellowship is out for blood,” Ibinabo inquired. “Let’s hope Jumbo has not killed my gate man…” she was saying. “Your gate man?!” Ibinabo interjected. “Yes, he claimed to know what to do. I will prefer to leave my destiny in his hands than your lousy priest and boy lord.” Mrs. Asibong dialed Jumbo’s phone number and waited impatiently for him to pick. “Please pick up. Pick up Jumbo,” she said to herself.
    Emmanuel’s House
    “I have not made up my mind to leave you. I love you with all my heart and I do not regret getting married to you. I am very sorry for the things I said to you. Please forgive me.” Janet was surprised his openness about being wrong. She had expected him to dig his heels in and ignore her. She was going to say something when she felt something crawling down her right thigh. She touched it and it felt watery. When she brought her hand to her face to see what it was, what she saw was blood. Fear seized her heart. “Baby look,” she said, raising her hand for Emmanuel to see. “Oh no! Not again! Where is that from?” Emmanuel asked moving closer to her. “My thigh. I think is from my private part.” “You are not menstruating. How could you be bleeding now?” “Aaah!” Janet screamed clutching her tummy. She had felt a sharp painful movement in her stomach.
    Emmanuel grabbed her in his hands as she tottered on her feet, seeming to crash to the floor. “What is it baby?” Emmanuel asked, almost crying. “Something is moving around painfully in my stomach!” she cried out. Emmanuel lowered her to the floor and reached for his phone. He placed a call to his friend Samson. ‘Sammy please drive over to my house now! Janet is dying! Something is moving about in her stomach! Please help me!” “Emmanuel take her to a hospital and call for a pastor to pray for her! I will meet you at the hospital. Something horribly wrong is going on in your family. The spiritualist you spoke to yesterday about your problems is dead!” Samson said, sounding really scared. “What did you just say?” Emmanuel asked, shaking from head to toes. “You heard me right! The man is dead. His servant told me the spiritualist claimed to have found out who is after you and your wife. After making that claim, he was attacked, according to his servant, by a snake right in his spiritual house,” Samson explained.
    “Help me baby!!!” Janet cried out from the floor where she lay. Her cry jolted Emmanuel. He dropped the call and ran to her. “Help me please, baby,” Janet pleaded. Her bleeding had increased and so was the pain she felt. Her face had begun to look pale. Emmanuel sprang to his feet, picked her nightgown and got her dressed in it. Lifting her, Emanuel bolted out of the house, heading for his car which was parked outside.
    Mrs. Asibong and Her Gate Man
    “What do you mean by you cannot find him?!” Mrs. Asibong shouted at Jumbo. “Madam, we have been here for over one hour and yet there has been no sign of your gate man,” said Jumbo. “You have killed him! Just tell me the truth! You have killed him!” Mrs. Asibong continued to shout. “Calm down and hear him out Eme,” Ibinabo pleaded. “I won’t, he is lying to me! Tell me Jumbo, why were you not picking my calls? I called you several times, did I not?” asked Mrs. Asibong. “Madam, you are not listening to yourself. Do you actually hear the things you are saying? How could you wake me from my sweet sleep, order me to kill your gate man and I would still be here after killing him. Have we spoken since you gave me that instruction? Why on earth would I lie to you then?”
    “ Taawai!!! ” Mrs. Asibong slapped Jumbo. “Don’t you ever talk to me that way again!” shouted Mrs. Asibong. Jumbo robbed his hand on his face, laughing. “Madam, Jumbo has told you the truth, we have not killed your gate man. Only God knows where he went to. We have not seen him since we arrived here. Maybe he has a Fulani girlfriend he went to visit seeing you had left home,” said Sadiq, one of Jumbo’s two colleagues. “Sadiq, look around. Does this highbrow, exclusive estate look to you like Oshodi? How on earth would a poor Fulani girl find her way into this place?” “Eme, I told you earlier that your gate man is a wizard. I won’t be surprise if he is hanging in the air listening to all we have said. How did you even find such a man to hire him as your gate man?” Ibinabo asked. “Madam, you don come back? You no waste time o! ” Everyone turned in shock to the direction the voice came from. It was Musa, he had his bow and arrow loaded and ready to shoot. “Where have you been Musa?” Mrs. Asibong asked angrily. “I have been here listening to you.
    When I tell you say I can catch any thief you think say I dey lie, ba ?” Musa asked derisively. Jumbo and his two colleagues reached for their guns but dropped them suddenly to the ground, because their guns had become too hot to touch with bare hands. Musa guffawed at them. Much to himself than to them he said, “ My juju no get part two.”
    He approached them menacingly with his bow and arrow strained on them. Backing away, Mrs. Asibong began to plead with him. “Musa, please don’t shoot me! Don’t shoot anybody, please! I need your help! You said you can help me, abi ? Now I need your help. Your dream is true. You saw right, I am in trouble please help me Musa!”

    Episode 26 (Final)

    Emmanuel was fortunate for Janet to still have some life left in her by the time he arrived at the hospital. God was so gracious to him that there were two doctors present at that time of the night. He pulled up his car in front of the hospital reception, jumped out, and picked up Janet and ran into the hospital screaming, at the top of his voice, “Help! Somebody help! My wife is dying!” Nurses circled him with a stretcher, had him put Janet on it and they wheeled her away. It was quite an eventful night at the hospital. Emmanuel had cried so much that every medical staff present that night, had to lend their help some way or the other to save Janet.
    At the theater where Janet was wheeled into, doctors and nurses battled in futility to stop Janet from bleeding to death. One of the doctors had to leave the theater to interview Emmanuel to find out what actually led to her bleeding. “I don’t know what your religious creed is, but my wife’s condition is as a result of demonic attacks. We woke up from sleep a few hours ago with our bedsheet and floor covered with blood. Some demonic entities harvested some of my wife’s internal organs and left with them,” Emmanuel explained to the doctor.
    “If it is as you said, then there is nothing medical science can do for her. I wish you had told us this earlier. Only prayer can save your wife now. Let me see what we can do,” the female doctor said and ran back into the theater. Emmanuel bolted out of the hospital with no clue where he was going. When he reached his car, he turned right back into the hospital and went outside again. He was clearly beside himself. “God save my wife! I am helpless right now! No one can save Janet at the moment except you!” he cried out. He reached for his phone and began to dial the phone numbers of as many pastors as he could remember. Most of the numbers were off. Backed up against the wall and with no help in sight, Emmanuel dialed his mother, Mrs. Asibong and informed her of the situation of things. When he dropped the call, he dropped to knees and began to pour out his heart to God in prayers.
    The sky above gleamed with lightning and light showers began to cascade down to the earth. Emmanuel did not move, he remained on his knees making his request known to God. A few nurses had tears in their eyes watching him pray in the rain.
    Back in the theater, the female doctor who happened to be a devout Christian had rallied a few people to pray for Janet. Standing around the operating table on which Janet lay, they began to pray for her. While they prayed, their number swelled. All who had seen Emmanuel distraught and praying desperately in the rain made their way to the theater to join the prayers. Those who could not, bent their heads and offered up prayers to God. On the operating table on which Janet lay, she seemed lifeless with a pool of blood oozing from between her legs.
    Mrs. Asibong’s House
    Mrs. Asibong had managed to talk down Musa and struck a deal with him to help her. Of course Musa haggled hard until he got her to part with lots of money before he agreed to offer his help. “Your froblem (problem) is much. Many doors are ofen (open) in your life. Your fellowship knows this and they are using it very well to keep you busy while they launch attacks to kill your daughter in-law whose life and that of her unborn child you offered to stop them. I know you killed your husband and three of your children. This will be very difficult. Your fellowship has turned their spirits against you. You must be prepared for anything,” Musa said to Mrs. Asibong, holding nothing back. Jumbo signaled to his colleagues and they quietly let themselves out of Mrs. Asibong’s compound. They had heard too much for one night. Jumbo knew Mrs. Asibong was a bad woman but did not know her wickedness went as high as what Musa revealed about her.
    Working frenziedly, Musa offered Mrs. Asibong some mixtures to drink and gave her some to spread around her house. With his voodoo, he conjured smoke around the house. From afar, one would have thought that the house was on fire. For the first time in years, Mrs. Asibong saw her husband and three children whose lives she offered to her fellowship. They stood in the smoke Musa conjured, looking mean and menacing. Musa displayed his mastery at what he was doing that night by placing chains on Mrs. Asibong’s husband and her three children. With that done, Musa announced, “We have kept your husband and three children quiet, at least till morning. Now what do you want me to do with your daughter in-law? Should I put hern out of her pains by killing her or should I save her?” “No, how can you kill her? I want her alive! If her being alive is a problem to my fellowship, then I want her alive by all means!” Mrs. Asibong yelled. “Okay, I will need her ficture (picture) and that of Emmanuel too,” Musa said. Mrs. Asibong beckoned to Ibinabo to accompany her into her house. She was clearly rattled with fear. Though her husband and children had been chained, she was still afraid of them. On the other hand, she could not tell what her fellowship might send against her.
    Mrs. Asibong and Ibinabo had hardly stepped away from the litany of charms Musa spread out on the ground, when a mighty thunder struck Musa and his charms and left nothing behind. Mrs. Asibong and her friend stood petrified. They could not lift a limb. Her last hope of defense had been obliterated by a single strike of thunder. As the reality of what had happened dawned on her, she and her friend began to back away into her house slowly. Just like he and his voodoo trappings vanished, Musa reappeared with all the charms he had on the ground. There was a bloody gash on his head. “There is no time left! Go and get me the
    fictures (pictures) I asked for!” Musa barked. Mrs. Asibong bolted off and in a jiffy reappeared with the pictures of Janet and Emmanuel. When they returned, there was already an aluminum basin filled with water on the ground. “Throw the fictures (pictures) into the basin!” Musa instructed.
    Mrs. Asibong threw the pictures into the basin and in that instance, a resplendent wave of light belched from the basin and almost left all of them blind. “Eeh! Fower (power)! Sufer (super)
    fower!” Musa screamed and made a dash toward the gate. That was the last Mrs. Asibong saw of him. Seeing their last hope was gone, Ibinabo bolted away. Mrs. Asibong made to follow her but slumped to the ground. While she lay alone on the floor. Crying for help, her husband and three children whose lives she offered to her fellowship circled around her with the chains on their hands gone.
    The Hospital
    Emmanuel was still on his knees, praying in the rain when he thought he saw someone like an angelic being. He seemed to tell him, “Rise to your feet, it is over!” His very words seemed to lift him to his feet. Emmanuel ran into the hospital with an unexplainable ring of joy in his heart. When he drew closer to the door of the theater, he heard joyous shout coming from inside the theater. He ran inside and saw Janet sitting up on the operating table, fine and okay. All the people around her, who had been praying for her were in an ecstatic mood. Emmanuel ran to Janet and hugged her. “Our God is awesome! He sent his angel and delivered you from the jaws of death!” Emmanuel shouted as they embraced each other. “Oh! Did you see the angel too?” Janet asked. “Yes, I did, he spoke to me. He told me it is all over,” replied Emmanuel. “He woke me from death and gave me back all the organs those demons took,” Janet said. She jumped off the operating table, prostrated on the floor and began to confess her sins.
    Emmanuel joined her, praying, “God, an unserious man like me cried out to you in my trouble and you heard me! I will serve you till I die!” All those present joined them on the floor and began to give God thanks.
    The Next Day, Mrs. Asibong’s House
    Emmanuel and Janet had been summoned to his mother’s house by one of her neighbours. Emmanuel and Janet were still in a celebration mood about 9:00 am the next morning when he got a call to come over to his mother’s house urgently. The caller had refused to tell him why it was very urgent for him to come immediately. He and Janet had to dress up and left as quickly as they could.
    When they arrived at his mother’s house there was quite a crowd present. Emmanuel was struck dumb when he saw his mother, Mrs. Asibong, on the ground, mired with blood and reeking with a pungent stench of decay. Next to her were four putrefied human skulls. Shocked and confused, Emmanuel asked, “What is going on here? What happened to my mother?” Just then Arit, Emmanuel’s sister arrived with her husband and children. “We think it will be best to ask your mother what happened to her,” said one of the neighbours present. “Mommy! Mommy!! What happened to my mother?!” Arit cried. She ran toward her mother, but she raised her hand and shooed her off. “We heard your mother crying out for help this morning and we came in and saw this. Please ask her to tell you what she already has told us,” said the neighbour who had called Emmanuel and Arit.
    “I am not the mother you have thought me to be all this while. Emmanuel, I am the one who took your male strength. I offered it to my fellowship. Of course, my so called fellowship is a secret cult,” Mrs. Asibong began. Emmanuel looked from Janet to his sister Arit. He was speechless. “I did much more evil than that. I am the one who killed your father, two brothers and sister. These are their heads. I have been cursed to dwell with their decaying body parts till I die.” Janet opened her mouth to ask her a question, but she raised her hand and stopped her. “You are wondering about the ribbon, right?” she asked Janet. “Yes, I just thought about it now!” Janet shouted. “I made sure your thoughts never went in that direction. It was the ribbon. I used it to take away Emmanuel’s male strength. I fooled you with the story I told you about men in our family. It was all a lie… You are one tough lady. You should not be alive now… I offered you and one of your unborn children to another cult to keep my fellowship from destroying me. Sadly, things went wrong for me after that. It was my fellowship who took your womb and some organs to nullify the sacrifice I offered against them…” she paused.
    Emmanuel could not take what he had heard. He sat on the bare ground and held his chin in his hands while tears flowed freely from his eyes. All the dreams he had in the past and those his brothers had, began to make sense to him. Arit dropped two hands on her head and stood frozen. Janet was numb, she could feel nothing. To her, all she had heard seemed like a dream.
    “I do not ask any of you to forgive me. I committed much evil. I don’t deserve forgiveness. However, this one thing I will ask of you. Please don’t ever leave that God who delivered you from my hands and from the hands of the evil cults I brought into this family.” With that said, Mrs. Asibong laid her head back on the ground. Till the day she died, she never spoke another word to any person. Arit and Emmanuel abandoned her on the very spot they met her and never came back a single day to check on her. The stench from her decaying body became so much that her neighbours had to arrange and moved her to a forest at the outskirts of the city. It was there that she took her last breath.

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