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DEATH ROW: 9

DEATH ROW: 9

*”DEATH ROW”*

EPISODE NINE
The news of Bishop Osuanyi Ayeh’s demise sends shock waves throughout the country and through the Christian fraternity.
The story is told about how a hidden tumour in the brain has suddenly ruptured, causing the instant death of the renowned man of God.

People are also told about how the Reverend Ebow Obuobi had tried for several minutes to resurrect the man, and how he had cried and wailed at the sudden death of his uncle and mentor.
The story continues that he has refused to eat, and has quarantined himself in his office in the church seeking the face of God.

There is no doubt, however, that the new General Overseer of Golgotha Heights International is going to be the Reverend Ebow Obuobi.
At an emergency meeting at the church’s headquarters, delegates from all the branches nationwide and beyond who have heard or witnessed the amazing feats of Ebow Obuobi decided to affirm him as the new leader.

The next few days sees many people coming to the church and the Mission House to mourn the Bishop.
Many important and powerful people in society flood in daily to pay homage and console the widow.
And all the while Akoto Nyameboame is kept in a chains in the Miracle Room whilst his mother is on admission in the hospital as her vital organs slowly give way and the doctors begin to consider taking her off the life support system.
They are just waiting for her son to come around and sign the consent form, but it seems the man cannot be found anywhere.

It is his long-time friend, Miss Amina Mohammed, who has stood firm that the woman should not be taken off life support.
Every day she comes to the hospital, totally breaking down each time, to visit the woman and speak to her.
Amina goes to church every day to pray for Maame Akua, and ask God to bring back Akoto.

It is on the third day of Akoto’s disappearance that Amina wakes up in the middle of the night sweating.
She has had a strange dream!
In the dream she had been running in a maze, calling out Akoto’s name, asking where he is, telling him to come back, and asking God why she can’t see her friend.

As she runs through the maze screaming she suddenly comes across a tall man in a black suit and a white shirt.
He is wearing a black tie, and has a hat on his head, and he is wearing dark glasses, and he has a ring of hair around his lips, forming a moustache and a beard.

He looks incredibly handsome, and he tells Amina to go back home.
Amina tells the man she cannot go back without Akoto, and the stranger simply replies that Akoto is fine.
Amina has the same dream the next day, and the next.
On the third night, however, the tall stranger in the dream takes her hand and leads her out of the maze, and as she turns back to look she sees that the maze, indeed, is the church building of Golgotha Heights International!
She goes to the hospital in the morning to visit Maame Akua.

AMINA
(wiping her tears)
Don’t worry, Mama! I think God has listened to our prayers, and He is sending a stranger to help us out!
On the fourth day after the strange dream Amina decides to go to the Golgotha church out of curiosity, at least to see if Akoto is really there as the stranger in her dreams had shown her.
At that same time, Kesewaa has cooked some sweet yam and kontomire stew with red oil and fish, and also prepared some goat light soup, and she sends it to the church.

She takes it to Reverend Obuobi’s office.
She meets a lot of important Pastors and Elders of the church who are trying unsuccessfully to coax the reverend out of the office to eat something light, at least.
Elder Ampofo sees Kesewaa and smiles with relief.
ELDER AMPOFO
Oh, my dear Kesewaa! We hope he listens to you! The church needs a leader, and yet he can’t stop mourning! It is so sad!

KESEWAA
(demurely)
Please let me try!
Kesewaa approaches the door of the office and knocks on it.
She begins to speak, telling the man of God that they are all sorry about the passing of the Bishop, but they need him.
ELDER AMPOFO
(whispering)
Tell him you prepared some food for him.

KESEWAA
Reverend, please, I’ve prepared some food for you, because I care so much! If you don’t come for it I’ll leave, and I’ll not come back again!
They all wait, and then, incredibly, the key turns in the lock, and the door opens slowly.

The Reverend Ebow Obuobi is standing in the doorway.
He looks very haggard and forlorn, his grief showing like a dress.
His face is gaunt, and his cheeks are hollowed, his lips very dry.
His eyes are swollen and red, as if he had been crying, and indeed his cheeks are still wet with tears.

The pastors and elders approach him, all of them crying now, and they embrace the man of God who is hurting so much for the loss of his uncle.
Kesewaa looks at him, and tears swim in her eyes.
Finally, the man of God stands back and addresses the gathering.
REV. OBUOBI

(gravely)
Forgive me for abandoning you in a time like this, but I’m first a human, and there is no person I loved more than my uncle who has been a father to me. I’ve sought the face of the Lord these few days, and I saw an angel handing me a staff with flowers on it, and a golden crown was put on my head. The Lord has spoken, and who am I, a mere mortal, to say no? I accept the Leadership of our noble church.

There is applause, and happy smiles of relief from the pastors and elders.
They hug him again over and over.
ELDER AMPOFO
We’re blessed!
SENIOR PASTOR GYASI
We’re indeed blessed, and from this very moment, in a vision the Lord granted me, you’re to be made an Apostle, and the Ordination Service is going to be tonight, in this very auditorium!
There is more applause and happy remarks. The new Apostle looks at them gravelly.

REV. OBUOBI
I thank all of you. I shall go home then, and make myself presentable for this evening’s grand Ordination. In my dreams too, I saw Kesewaa standing on my left side all the time! It appears a new Mother of the Church has also been chosen. Kesewaa, my dear, do you accept the hand of a humble man of God in marriage?

Kesewaa is stunned!
This is beyond her wildest dreams!
Mother of the Golgotha Heights International Church!
She will be the most powerful woman in the church!
And she will travel all over the world to every branch of the church.
She will be famous, shown on brochures, in magazines, on television!
Wealth, power and happiness will be hers at long last!

She will receive more popularity than being married to Akoto Nyameboame!
There is incredible happiness on her face as she bows her head demurely.
KESEWAA
Yes, Apostle, I humbly accept to be your wife!
She is aware of more laughter, more appreciation, more happiness!
She is almost faint, fearing she will pass out!

Finally, when the man of God tells her to set the table for him so that he eats, she picks the basket and enters, trembling with anticipation!
Oh, life is going to be grand!
•••••••••••••

The reverend then gives her a lot of cheques and an A4 sheet with his bank details on it.
REV. OBUOBI
My dear, kindly deposit these cheques in my account for me tomorrow, okay? When the pressure comes down a bit I’ll go to the bank and open a joint bank account with you. You’ll be a signatory too, and can take any amount you want!
Kesewaa’s face beams with pleasure!
It is getting better and better!
She is going to enjoy life!

KESEWAA
Yes, Apostle, I’ll do that!
She puts the cheques in her bag and waits with the other elders and pastors for the new Apostle to finish eating, and then she cleans up after him.
Happy and elated, they all head for the entrance, planning to go home and prepare for the evening’s ordination.
When they arrive inside the church auditorium, they see Amina coming towards them.

Kesewaa quickly puts her basket down on a bench and rushes forward to meet Amina.
KESEWAA
(excited)
Ami! What’s going on? What’re you doing here?
Amina looks at her best friend and shakes her head sadly.
AMINA
Where’s Akoto, Kes?

A sudden look of guilt crosses Kesewaa’s face and she looks away quickly.
KESEWAA
(defensively)
You know what he wanted to do to me, Ami!
AMINA
That’s not what I asked! We haven’t found him in more than a week! He’s here, isn’t he? What have you people done to him?

Kesewaa looks over her shoulders with sudden worry, her face concerned.
KESEWAA
(anxiously)
Shh, shh, shush, Ami! Please keep your voice down!
Irritated and angry, Amina brushes past Kesewaa and walks towards the group of powerful men of the church.
Kesewaa, frightened, tries to hold her back, but Amina shrugs free.

She stands in front of the pastors, elders and the powerful Apostle Ebow Obuobi.
She glares without fear at the man of God, and her beautiful face is flushed with anger.
AMINA
I know Akoto Nyameboame is here. Please, where is he, and how is he? You must release him to me immediately, otherwise when I come back I’ll be with the police!

The other men look at the Apostle.
It is evident that they are very uneasy.
Kesewaa has now reached her friend’s side and she takes her arm angrily.
KESEWAA
(furious)
What the hell is the meaning of this, Ami? You’re embarrassing us!
Amina whirls on Kesewaa and speaks with all the venom she feels.

AMINA
(acidly)
Shame on you, Kes! Shame on you! How can you betray Akoto’s love like this? Let me tell you something you don’t know, friend! I introduced Akoto to you, remember? I told you I met a man I loved very much, a man I wanted to marry! Of course Akoto’s mother didn’t want him to marry a Northerner, although Akoto had by then encouraged me to embrace Christianity!

Her face was passionately frantic now.
AMINA
I introduced you to him, in the University, and the next thing I knew, he fell in love with you! But I wanted him to be happy, because I loved him so much, and his happiness was more important to me than mine! I never dated again, because he was the only man I knew I was going to love! And so I supported you, as a friend, and kept all the pain inside, refusing to be jealous!

I sacrificed my love for your happiness, and yet you stood aside and let this happen to him? Akoto told me this man of God wants you and that is why he said all those terrible thing about your fiancé. Is it true?
Kesewaa sighs with discomfiture and looks guiltily at her friend.
KESEWAA
Yes, Ami. I won’t lie to you. Akoto uses demonic powers, and it has made him very sick! I’m sorry about that, but the Apostle is going to cure him. But yes, we’re going to get married, the Apostle and me.

AMINA
(disgusted)
Jesus! You’re such a fool, Kes! You throw Akoto away for this filthy man?
REV. OBUOBI
(furiously)
Hey, better watch your arrogant mouth, and the way you speak to a man of God otherwise I’ll let the most hideous of diseases befall you right now!
That one gets to Amina.

She spins, and with a stiff forefinger she jabs the chest of the man of God as she speaks angrily.

AMINA
(wrathfully)
Go ahead and do it, I dare you! You can’t do me foko! Do you hear me? You can’t do me foko! I come from the North! My father, my grandfather, my brothers and my uncles are all Mallams, do you hear me? Only I became a Christian, through Akoto, and my family disowned me!
She takes a step closer, and her fury is sizzling and absolutely volcanic.

AMINA
These powers you’re exhibiting to impress these people doesn’t tickle me one bit! Do you know why? It’s because I grew up in the midst of gods who give eye-boggling demonic powers to my family, and so I’ve seen them a million times! My father can hammer a fresh egg with a cement block and it will never crack! My grandfather can make a person break down with leprosy and cripple a human being with just a flick of his hand!

She laughed then – a sharp vicious explosion of sound – but it did not soften her eyes.
AMINA
My brother can hang in the air for an hour and make the ground open up and swallow up a cow! And my cousin sleeps in a room full of poisonous Mamba snakes, and they all slither away from him with fear! My brother can stand a hundred metres away, raise his hand in the air, and a man will be lifted into the air and slammed on the ground with such force that he would lose all his teeth!

She drew nearer still to the man of God, her face filled with passion.
AMINA
If you’re a man, touch me! Just touch me right now, and all the evil and demonic powers of hundreds of Mallams from my village will visit you this evening and there you will witness the amegah of all evil forces! Now where the hell is Akoto?
She has spoken with such zeal, such fury, with such power, that the people around her are suddenly filled with more than unease.
**************
To be Continue..

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