Galleons of brilliant clouds sailed across the deep blue sea of the skies as I gazed at the cosmos from this exceeding mountainous height.
The past, present and future flashed before me in a moment. The pre-historic, the medieval and the technological all rolled past as one on the screen of my mind with speed that was faster than light. I saw it all, the gold, the silver, the flora, the fauna and the souls.
The kingdoms, their power and glory tantalized. Mesmerizing was their sweet siren songs, hypnotizing was their splendour and magnificence. The immensity of it all had the power to stir up lust in the soul.
They were what I came for. My mission was to restore all to the initial brilliance and grandeur that existed before the ruinous exchange but most importantly to save Adam’s son.
The tempting thing about the proposition before me was that if I accepted I would not have to go the hard way. Gabbatha’s ridicule, Golgotha’s torture, Calvary’s torment and Roman spikes would be bypassed.
“The price is worship, he said once again, waving his hand around with a flourish, his words beguiling, whispery and musical. Bow and worship me.”
I looked into the eyes of the prince of the world. They were wells brimming with the dark essence of cunning and deception.
“You must have lost your mind, old foe. You cannot change what has been written! I only worship the Lord of Sabaoth and my service is only to Him. Begone!
His cherubic countenance which masked a heart that spawned evil before earth wore its crusty garments crumpled with disappointment. With a howl of anger and disappointment he vanished in a puff of hellish fumes.
A battalion of heavenly hosts came and cheered me for coming out victorious over the wiles of the fallen one…….
The compound was expansive with a garage that had all sorts of sleek cars. There was an Escalade, a G-Wagon, a Range Rover Sports and a vintage Aston Martin. The lawn was green and lush with peacocks strutting all over the place. It was all she could do not to keep her mouth open considering she took an “okada” motorbike to get here. Her head spun like a top at such opulence. A hillbilly in a seven star hotel would have felt more comfortable than Amara at this moment.
She could not believe her luck! She had come fourth in the Black Talent competition and had wept her eyes out. All her dreams had come crashing down. She felt life had dealt her a deadly blow. Amara knew she was very good and had dreamt that winning the competition would have enabled her break her family out of the dungeons of poverty. Her father’s barbershop and her mother’s stockfish business were only able to make them live from hand to mouth. It was really galling that they could not even afford to put some of her mother’s fish in the last egusi soup they made. Furthermore, her younger brother was having a tough time in school and might be withdrawn due to lack of tuition fees.
She was quite livid because her parents were very committed in church. Her mum was the women fellowship leader and her father was a leader in the men’s committee. She was the lead singer in her choir and yet life was dealing them a bad hand. Where was God?
She decided to sort things out herself and left the choir to join a band in town. When the Black Talent competition came up, she bought the form and contested. She had a terrific run but unfortunately lost in the final round. However as fate would have it, Chief Santi, the Head of Gong Musical Studios, one of the foremost recording outfits in town fell in love with her voice and invited her over for a contract. The Chief was known amongst friends as the Venus fly trap because of his propensity to devour on unsuspecting beauties. In all honesty, Amara suspected that the Chief might like other things besides her voice but she threw caution to the dogs.
“Good day Sir,” She greeted the ponderous man sitting behind a desk that would have filled almost the whole space occupied by the room and parlour she and her family of five lived in.
The man was enrobed in flowing white agbada with exuberant embroidery that was so exquisitely knitted. Ghostly tendrils of smoke released from the burning tip of the cigar he held sought for escape from the chilled room. “Good day pretty flower,” he said in a mellifluous voice that belied his size. Please sit down. “Would you like some brandy?” he asked gesturing to the golden fluid in the decanter on his table.
The seat was so soft she felt she was sinking. “I am okay Sir.”
“Stuff and nonsense!” no one comes to my office without taking something, my dear.
“In that case, water would do Sir.”
Chief Santi called for his P.A to bring her some pineapple juice.
They made small talk after which he offered to show her the grounds. The tour took them downstairs, then up the elevator to his pent house. He opened the door for her and for some seconds she was stuck in between two worlds. She knew entering that room was going to change her life forever but the amount of wealth the man displayed had stupefied her. The past and the future pulled her. The ephemeral and the eternal fought for her attention. The shadows of poverty of the present and the glimpse of wealth ahead made a tug of war of her soul. The faces of Sunday school teachers past and the star dusted glamorous images of tomorrow battled.
She crossed the threshold….
Amara became an instant hit! Success came with houses in some of the greatest capitals of the world. Domiciliary accounts and custom made SUV’s were also tasty concomitants. She went on musical tours to most of the major capitals in the world. Her endorsement deals ran into hundreds of millions. No major event featured without her being a part of it. CAF awards, AFCON, political rallies, MBGN, name it! She carted off awards naturally. She was the bee’s knees of the Nigerian musical industry and more!
However, the starry allure came with the baggage of all kinds of men, women, alcohol, drugs, abortions and other vices.
I missed it big time. Frustration had gnawed at my innards with the ferocity of rabid rats. I had followed Him believing he was going to be the next King but instead of pulling down the existing political structure and make me the governor of one Israel’s regions where I would have a whole treasury to myself. Instead, he went about on charity rallies, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, preaching and teaching while Herod retained the throne and the Roman boots kept kicking our posteriors. To make matters worse, He encouraged waste by giving the woman who poured rich perfume worth months of salaries on His feet a thumbs up.
The thirty pieces of silver I betrayed him for out of greed and disappointment had been thrown back at the crusaders of the law. For humanity’s gratification, I spat in the face of divinity! I do not have stomach to face him. The way I have decided to take seems to be the only way. I put my neck into the noose hanging from the gnarled tree….
…Plaster rained from the unusual extra weight. The stool had been kicked out and the noose bit into the neck severing the cervical vertebra. Sphincters popped open with an audible hiss and the odour of faecal effluent mixed with that of the air freshener in the room. When they came to cut her loose, the neck was bent in a grotesque angle with her tongue swollen and blue. Streaks of dry tears marked her visage, desiccated rivulets in a barren wasteland of misery and anguish….
Over the years, the drugs had messed up her voice and taken a toll on her looks. Her ratings fell and invitations to shows had dried up like a desert brook. Her fast and furious living had depleted her resources especially since she never made a habit of saving. Men who used to eat from her hands and worshipped the ground she walked on had gone away in search of younger, hotter entrants on the scene. Her life had fallen apart but the final straw was the confirmatory test that showed she was HIV positive. Following the result, she felt there was nothing left to live for. Her heart had hardened over the years. She could not even consider the never ending mercy of the saviour she had served fervently in her younger days before the trappings of stardom entrapped her.
Her last thought as the coarse rope garrotted her was her favourite Sunday school teacher’s constant admonition. The tears rained….
WHAT SHALL IT PROFIT A MAN, IF HE GAINS THE WHOLE WORLD AND LOSES HIS SOUL…
© 2014 Ekpo Ezechinyere