So, who’s the rant king now?

 

So, I held a pen last night and didn’t stop scribbling till I slept off. NB: This was after the lamp I was using had died. If this piece ends abruptly, it is because I cannot read most of what is at the end and I am afraid I cannot get back into the same zone as I was last night to complete in one breath. If this piece does not end abruptly however, then I confess, you are most loyal of all readers and probably more brilliant than I.

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“How far have you fallen? How far have you fallen,” the wingless bird muttered to the wizened tortoise squatted above him. “It’s easy sitting there pretending to be sagacious when you haven’t felt any pain. Not the pain of loss or incompetence”

The tortoise stared back, her lined face expressionless in the gathering gloom of the forest dusk. Then she turned away and ambled out of the grove and through copse of trees for the rocky cliffs beyond. The bird stared, wet eyes glazing over as they strained to focus through a haze of pain. As the mist came down upon his eyes, washing on both sides in the same hue as the spreading blood around its form, he saw at the end of his tunneled vision, a hunched back figure striding to the cliff’s edge to plunge over to the rocky bottom.

Continue reading “So, who’s the rant king now?”

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Zelophehad’s seed

So, I was reading the Bible in church the other day – yes, I do study, and I sorta stumbled on this. And a story grew. Enjoy…

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Zelophehad’s seed

Her father stood at the summit of the mountain, his arms spread out as though to fly or to catch a draft of the wind. The base wind tore at his robes, the air smoky and dense with ash and flinty sparks. At the foot of the mountain a fire seemed to rage, the reddish glow a foreboding backdrop to the man who stood with arms outspread.

“No…” she breathed as she ran towards him, the mountain seeming to become steeper with each step. Below she could hear the sound of jubilation, raucous laughter, the shadows of what seemed as waving arms all reaching for her father. Zelophehad grinned in the light of the flames below, the tongues dancing in his eyes, then he stepped off the edge of the mountain, his robes flapping wildly as he fell.

“Noooo!” Milcah screamed, her hands clutching the empty air as she reached for her father, to see him fall into the fiery darkness, and jolted awake.

It was dark. Looking through the flaps of her tent, she could see the sky, billions of lights danced across the dark blue floor of the firmament, Jehovah’s eyes; the portents of things to come. She got up from her bed, her clothes rustling as she made her way through the mess of pans and skinning knives to the entrance. Standing there, a willowy silhouette, she stared at the night sky and wondered what portent her dream might hold. I wonder how long Father has to foray this time. When would he come home?

Then she heard the scream.

*****

Mahlah held the rabbit by the ears and slipping the knife into the flesh at the throat, skinned the entire animal in one cut. She dropped the skin into the bowl, and began to dissect the rabbit to remove the entrails. On the floor beside her was a narrow tipped, red fletched arrow, one of Noah’s. Several other animals lay on the dirt beside her, their eyes almost lifelike that one would almost believe they lived, but for the arrows sticking out of their throats. Thank Jehovah for Noah’s aim, and the extra food. Noah was easily one of the best shots among the people, everyone knew her aim was uncanny. Not once had she put many a boy to shame in an archery contest, her arrows finding mark in whatever she set her sights on. Oh, that she would find a man soon. Already she was eighteen.

The knife twisted through Mahlah’s fingers, her mind absent, yet her fingers deftly skinning the rabbits in expert strokes that broke no blood. Strange how she should be bemoaning Noah’s insistence that the time had not come to find or even be found by a man. She herself was to be twenty come next Hannukah and yet to be joined before the tabernacle. Though for her, it wasn’t a matter of decision, circumstances beyond her control had dictated it so. She thought of Obed then, and that fateful night as he stole into her tent, his scent filling the small space. She had awoken to his smell, the male virility that poured off him, washing wave over wave upon her desire. Her nostrils had flared, drinking him in, as she reached for his body, her body taut and stiffened peaks of need. Oh, how she had wanted him that day. The knife slid into the furrows of the last rabbit’s neck. But for the scream. Mahlah shook her head. And now, she could not marry. Not anytime soon.

It had been four months now and Obed rarely came back to camp, always out scouting the Promised. She knew he avoided her. Mahlah, put the skin into the bowl.

*****

Tirzah sat upon a rock overlooking the camp. It was a favourite spot of most of the teenagers. The cliff-face of the rock gave a birds-eye view of the entire camp; tents and tents stretching to the lip where the earth kissed the sun. At night with the sky dotted with light, and one could see clearly through the crisp desert air, the beauty of Jehovah in the pillar of fire that rose into the sky. Oh hallelujah! Those were the best times. The camp lights flickering below her, the people moving about like gaily arrayed ants, above the angels flitting about the stars making them twinkle and sparkle, and from her father’s harp sweet melodies even the LORD could not ignore. Then they would dance, light feet skipping on the rocks, Zelophehad was the nimblest of men, his feet barely touching the floor as he twirled and spun, dancing from rock to rock. Tirzah blinked back tears. She said she wouldn’t cry again.

“Look! There she is, the sinner! Daughter of a sinner!”

Tirzah turned to see the boys as they walked towards her. It was Becher and Tahen and their brothers.

“Crying again? Your father was an evil man, perhaps your tears might save your own soul,” laughed Becher.

Tirzah got down from the rock, her back stiff as she tried to ignore them and walk away.

“Look! She is running,” it was Tahen. “He has to be in hell now. Only the souls of those whose hearts are pure may go to paradise. But those the ground swallows up are doomed forever. Cursed!”

Tirzah whirled, her plaited queue flying as she spoke. “You are an ugly fool, Tahen, and all your brothers. My father may be dead, but better than yours. Cursed is the man who lies with an animal, and surely your mother must be a pig because that snout you have can belong to none less ugly.”

Tahen reddened, his face contorting into a snarl as he lunged for her. Smoothly, she sidestepped to her left, her right hand reaching to smack the back of his head almost playfully as he sailed into the dust.

“I may be wrong,” she danced on the balls of her feet. “She may be a clumsy goat after all. Who else would fall for an oaf such as your father?”

The other brothers, all growling now, surrounded her, fanning into a semi-circle pushing her backwards towards a large rock that jutted out of the ground. Tirzah backed up. They were all larger than she was, but she wasn’t scared. Dan, Tahen’s older brother, brought out a switch, his evil face in a grin. That was when she knew they must have planned it before coming. Tirzah backed away some more, her heart beginning to race now. Maybe she had pushed them too far. Going into a crouch; all her weight on her left leg which she kept backwards, she kept her right foot forward and ready to be lashed out. Tirzah drew up her dress, exposing toned thighs the colour of warm caramel. Maybe she could take them, they were only seven. At that moment, an arrow whistled through the air and thudded firmly into the ground mere inches from Dan’s toe, the red feather fletching waving in the breeze.

“Don’t you think seven is a bit too much for one girl,” her older sister’s voice drawled.

Tirzah glanced up at the rock behind her, grinning widely. Noah sat there carelessly, a man’s breeches showing from underneath her dress as she swung her legs over the edge, another arrow already nocked almost lazily to the bow.

*****

“You shouldn’t tease them so,” said Noah as they walked home, the line of sullen boys in the distance ahead of them.

“And you should teach me how to shoot, then I may not need to,” replied her spitting image of a younger sister.

Noah was beautiful in a dusky Midianese way, her olive green eyes wide and yet flinty, the long lashes giving them a smoky luster set off by the sensuousness of her lips. She was laughing now, her long limbs swinging as she skipped down the side of the mountain back to the camp.

“Father and I have already taught you Ramses fist, what more would you learn?”

“Milcah says it is more of a dance than an art of fighting”

“With Milcah, everything is a dance or a dream,” replied Noah.

“What has Milcah done now?” asked Hoglah, appearing suddenly from behind a rock outcropping, a basket of herbs under her arm. “And what have you girls done to the band of crybabies I saw walk past me cursing deeper than an army of Amalekites?”

The two other sisters, each a copy of the other, burst out laughing.

*****

“What are Shemida’s men doing here?” queried Noah furiously as she burst into her sister’s tent, her olive eyes flashing angrily. Mahlah silenced her with a look. Noah fell silent, and went to stand behind her sister. The five of them; Mahlah, Noah, Milcah, Hoglah and Tirzah, all stood hands clasped in front of them and watched the man sitting before them being attended by six others in leather jerkins, heavy wooden cudgels in their belts.

Shemida looked up from the ledger being read to him, “Ah, my daughter Noah. Good, you are all here.”

“Yes we are, now get on with it.”

Noah started, staring at Mahlah. She had never heard such intensity in her older sister’s voice. That was usually her line. Suddenly she was afraid, whatever would make Mahlah so angry must be really serious.

Shemida paused for a second, his ingratiating grin never leaving his face. “Your father has been dead four months now, may his soul find embrace in the bosom of our father Abraham, and I have allowed you enough time to put your things together. According to the law, since he had no sons, all that he had, including you girls now belongs to me,” he licked his wet lips. “I have decided to take possession after the tabernacle meeting tomorrow, where I will make my intention known to the people. So do well to…”

“No! Never! You will never!” spat Noah. “Our father did no wrong! He never cursed GOD! He was not swallowed up!”

“It is the law child,” smiled Shemida as he sauntered out, his men in tow.

Milcah collapsed on the chair, her head in her hands. Her two younger sisters sat at her feet, eyes all turned to Mahlah. Noah opened her mouth to speak, but Mahlah raised up a finger. “Milcah, go make sure they’ve all gone, then come back. I have a plan.”

*****

Eran crouched in the olive basket, his ears trained to detect the slightest sound. He had watched from the shadows as the little Zelophehad girl scouted the perimeter of their tent, then doubled on her to sneak into the basket. Heard when she announced triumphantly that there was no one about. Eran giggled to himself. No one indeed. Everyone knew who was the lightest footpad in all the people; trained by Caleb himself. He giggled again and listened to hear even further. They were hatching a plan just as Shemida had thought. Silly girls. Eran had to marvel at their bravery though, he almost felt sad for what Shemida would do to them.

*****

The tabernacle of the Ark of Jehovah stood in the middle of the camp, the other dwellings radiating from it for miles around. It was a large structure, the huge tent which housed the ark surrounded by heavy wood pillars which fenced off an area around it within which the white-robed priest and blue sashed Levites could be seen moving. It was the law, upon a certain day, all were to gather at the tabernacle as they made their offerings unto Jehovah and asked for forgiveness of their sins and received instructions on what to do next. Shemida gave his orders quickly to his men, each of them placing a hand on the ram as they filed away. There would be no sin and whatever might be committed, the ceremony started soon and once the priest took the ram, their sins would be absolved as the ram was slain, and with it all ties to the Zelophehad line cut from the world. He could remember his joy that night when the scream had woken almost the whole camp; Zelophehad under all those rocks, not much more than his arms the only things showing.

“He has been swallowed up!” he had screamed too, first in genuine shock, then in earnest as he realized what that would mean.

The Hebrew man drew his kaffiyeh across his mouth as a wind blew from the west kicking dust and sand. Oh, he could not wait to leave this godforsaken desert and live in a city again. It had been forty years now, and though he remembered little of Egypt, he had been little more than a child at the Passover, but it had to be better there. Oh, look what the girls were making him think. Jehovah forgive me. He slapped the head of the ram. Take my sin. He would not be swallowed up.

Take my sin.

*****

Hoglah walked in between the tents, through the back alleyways of the camp. Mahlah’s instructions had been explicit. For no reason were they to walk in the thoroughfare where they would be seen by all. As they made their way to the tabernacle, they would each go singly through the side ways in the shadowy corners, easy prey for those who would attack them. Or so it would seem.

Hoglah could understand. She had understood Mahlah’s motives without explanation, like Noah with her warrior’s mind, Hoglah thought herself to be adept with strategy. It had been their father’s bane to have no sons, but daughters. After their mother died, not long after the birth of Tirzah, he had begun to train them in the arts of the warriors and priests, and also feminine arts of music and dance, for Zelophehad had been a skilled dancer. Each of them could stalk a rabbit up to two paces, and could skin a bear if they had to, and kill a man when the occasion called for it. Her father, their dear father, all he had ever asked in return for the doting he showered, was obedience. Simple obedience. And that was where Hoglah had failed.

“Go get the herbs Hoglah.”

But she had wanted to play with her friends. It wasn’t like she couldn’t get the herbs and return. She had been stubborn. Disobedient. She hadn’t gone. And then there was no light left, and father had climbed the cliff face alone in the dark, so dark he hadn’t seen the crumbling handhold he had hewn in himself so long ago. So dark he didn’t see the fissure that had been growing in the rock. So late had he been climbing, so angry had he been at his stubborn daughter, it had been too late when he saw. And father fell, the landslide toppling rocks upon him, one after another, as his screams rent the night. Cursed is he who the land swallows. But it was the mountain who fell on father. And now, she would pick herbs all the time, for all who needed, all who asked.

Out of the shadows of one of the tents a figure leapt out, a tall man in leather, holding a cudgel and a wicked-looking knife. “Now girl, all you have to do is go back home, and I would not hurt you,” the man smiled.

Hoglah just kept walking towards him. The man lifted his cudgel to strike her. Moving with the swiftness of a cobra, she darted under his arm, the skinning knife flashing out from under her basket of herbs, striking him under his right arm. Twisting around his back, she tore the sharp knife across his back, ripping open leather, flesh and sinew. The man arched his back and neck as the beginnings of a scream began in his chest. Hoglah slit his throat from behind.

She was walking away, knife once more hidden in her basket of leaves when his knee thudded to the ground, his throat a gurgling mess.

“Make sure they attack you first,” Mahlah had said.

*****

Tirzah slid between his legs, her knees scraping the dirt, and reached upwards as her knife sliced off his manhood. The man made to scream as Milcah leapt into the air, the flat of her fingers slamming into his throat paralyzing it in an Anubis strike. The man’s face went blue as he suffocated on the scream of pain his lungs tried to force upwards through the constricted trachea.

Across the tents to their left, the people thronged on the thoroughfare, none looked in their direction.

“Make sure they make no sound, we will not call for attention,” Mahlah had said.

*****

Noah danced.

The five men came at a rush, their eyes furious, mouths open in silent yells. Maybe someone had told them about their fallen comrades. Good. They were afraid. Slipping an arrow out of the quiver strapped to her side, she gripped it in her hand like a dagger and waited. The first man came and she lashed out with her right foot, kicking him to the side, her left arm blocking the thrust of the second man, the arrow in her hand plunging into his neck. She retrieved the arrow, already moving before the blood spurted. She sidestepped the next blow, got under the arm of the attacker and using her shoulder, she broke it and twisted around to stab at his neck from the other side, before dancing in again.

“Whatever happens, leave them dead,” Mahlah had said.

*****

Mahlah walked into the congregation, her head bowed. The black shawl she wrapped around her head doing little to hide the determination in her eyes. Behind her, she led a small goat, the neck bound with sacrificial hempen. Two men dislodged themselves from the crowd and came at her from both sides. Giving no indication that she had seen them until one of the men made to grab her arm, she twisted her hand suddenly like a snake, her nails digging into the man’s flesh as she pulled him close. The force of the pull jerked him downwards and her knee caught him at the underside of his throat in a sickening crunch. The other fellow produced a knife. She dodged his thrust, leaning backwards, letting the knife hand sail in front of her. Then using her left knee to the small of his back, propelled him forward and yanking on his knife hand, plunged his knife into his throat. The man fell.

The crowd scattered, some running to the side, most yelling for Moses. Mahlah stood still as a loose circle of space opened up around her. She stood still even as her sisters joined her and the soldiers surrounded them, spears leveled at the ready. Her sisters seemed uninjured, though their clothes were bloodied and Hoglah was without her bag of leaves. All the while she had not let go of her goat. Moses stood before them, his eyes an angry white storm. “What have you done?” his voice was thunder.

“We have committed no sin here,” answered Mahlah, her voice cool. “We were attacked by men who would kill us and steal from us, would we not defend ourselves? These men were hired by him!” she pointed at Shemida, who had been trying to disappear into the throng. “And we have brought a sacrifice to plead for mercy.”

One of the soldiers, the son of Nun, grabbed Shemida out of the crowd and threw him at Moses’ feet. The white bearded leader ignored the pleading man. Moses glared at them for what seemed to be an eternity, then he gestured for Eleazar the priest to collect the goat.

“We also come with a grievance before the LORD, and we shall not enter the tabernacle to say it,” added Mahlah.

Moses raised a white eyebrow.

From the fourth book of Moses also known as the Book of Numbers, what comes next is found in chapter 27 verses 1 – 10.

Disclaimer

  • This is a work of fiction, all characters however are based on actual persons though dead, as recorded by the Bible
  • All events may or may not have occurred however, depending on if one would attribute the source of my inspiration to the Holy Spirit of GOD
  • I have never been accused of feminism, and in fact may be the most chauvinistic man alive

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GOD bless you, and GOD bless Nigeria. Peace.

Butterfly

Tears are not enough
What did you assume, little fool?
You think your spine is curved for no reason?
Wailing will profit nothing
sobbing and weeping will not suffice.
As your eyes can never empty
the curve will never straighten.
Embrace the wet dust
then you’ve only just begun.
If mucus were wine
surely you’d be drunk.
Keep at it, furrow your brows
Calluses and scars
Blood and sweat
Wrinkles and age
These be the only propitiations you can make
Because tears will never be enough.

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Every time I am under duress, my already small voice becomes smaller, fading away with each blow life or the devil delivers, until my mouth produces squeaks barely audible to whichever perplexed person is listening and I eventually become mute as I stop talking altogether and become wrapped in my misery.
I like to think that I am not a lazy person but sometimes when challenges come, my first reaction is to stop and let the lamentations spill through my eyes, like a few days ago when I was just celebrating a successful August and looking to shock myself and colleagues by steadily climbing higher this September, and then all of a sudden, a brick wall just sprang up in front of me, right in the face of my joy. I hate that I cry at these times. I hate the weak feel it gives and the frail person it projects me as but try as I may (and have in past times to no avail), my frown always gives way to salty leaks.
Ironically, I feel better after a good cry. So much better that only after tearing up can I function normally again. Only after sobbing and thinking of how the universe is against me am I usually more alert, as I am now, barricading my feelings and emotions, preparing to wave off future blows.
My smiles these days are more from self-pity. I keep comparing myself to friends that have achieved what I am still dreaming of but I find that I am being ungrateful. There are thousands in this country that will be happy to have even half of what I own so I try to replace my stupid self-pity smile with one of gratitude and hope.
I’ll keep pressing forward, bending my back to the full glare of the sun with SZA’s Omega and Sia’s Titanium sending me to sleep when it has set.
Lol.
Look at me talking like I have a choice.

Shalom.

Mama

MAMA

Mama used to make sure we prayed every morning before she came down with the nameless disease. She would beat and bang on our locked door with a frenzy such that it was impossible for even a log to sleep through it. I don’t know why we kept locking it day after day because we stood up ourselves to open it though amidst grumbles and sometimes tears especially when we had stayed up till very late, peeping through the spaces in the walls at the prostitute next door grunting and sweating as man after man graced her bed.
When she had succeeded in rousing us, she made us brush our teeth, saying only over her dead body would we talk to our heavenly father with morning halitosis. She made sure we brushed twice always, the first round underwent inspection which none of the six of us ever passed. She said it was to wake us properly, and that she wanted to hear retching noises in the second. No retching, no coming out of the small badly lit bathroom crowded with all six of us making varying disgusting retching sounds, spitting phlegm and toothpaste foam at each other’s feet. Not a single one of us ever had bad breath, God forbid, where would such a terrible thing come from when we peeled our gums and tongues twice every single day? Not even when Kelechi at fifteen was dying with AIDS did his breath stink. He picked up his bones from the bed in the free clinic down the road where mama worked as a cleaner at five o’ clock every single day and retched till the nurses came running and the other patients cursed him in their morphine-induced sleep.
The prayers every morning those days were plagued with nods and mumbles except for mama and the unlucky person leading the praise and worship songs. Mama’s voice would shake the very foundation of our wooden shack and we would jerk out of sleep and bob our heads like fish out of water, slipping in and out of consciousness according to the tempo of the songs. Then we would cast demons and principalities and familiar spirits by speaking in tongues. Mama monitored our mouths as hers moved at alarming speed, so we spoke. Biola uttered Igbo gibberish mixing it with Yoruba while Yusuf spoke heavily adulterated Hausa which always earned him a pat on the head. The rest of us relied on consonants punctuated with vowels and she wouldn’t notice. Not because she didn’t want to but because she was too busy sweating and thrashing all around as she hit our sparse furniture atop where we perched to give her more room. The furniture with their sharp splint ends where they had broken and the nails that held them in place jutting out and tearing her ebony skin, the scars now numerous and interlocked like a badly drawn map. We only stopped praying when she stopped moving. That was when we knew that she had overcome, when we knew the demons had left and the principalities and powers had taken their leave. The knot of her wrapper always came undone no matter how well she tied it before the sessions and Ochuko and Emmanuel would cover her with their tattered shirts till she woke up from sleep filled with visions which she would explain in full details to remind us that the Lord was kinder and more powerful than evil spirits. Those evil spirits that made mama’s husband chase her out of the house because his mother had died soon after she and mama had a quarrel concerning the lack of salt in mama’s efo riro soup. They had both screamed at each other, mama’s husband’s mother accusing her of serving tasteless food to her son which she didn’t blame her for anyways because she came from a forsaken tribe where their women were just men with breasts who bewitched men into marrying them and mama retorted that anybody who wanted her to induce hypertension in her husband would die first. It happened the very next morning that mama’s husband’s mother did not rise. Witch, her husband had screamed, his kind eyes now hard as he tossed her belongings to the streets. Mama couldn’t go back to her parents. They had told her she had ostracized herself and become an outcast by marrying a man whose eyes watered when he spoke, a lazy man who didn’t have a farm but had the shameless job of making and mending clothes, who laughed and clapped his hands too much, why didn’t she just marry a woman instead? Those same evil spirits that caused a drunken taxi driver to hit her on the night she was chased out with her box of clothes on her head as she walked aimlessly on the streets. She had woken up in the hospital down the road where the matron had taken pity upon her after hearing her story and offered her the cleaning job. Three weeks and a cast after, she still couldn’t walk and that was when mama made the vow for her legs, the vow that brought us into her life. From Kelechi whose mother ran away and left him pink and screaming in the hospital after she discovered they both had the incurable disease to Yusuf who was part of a gang of hungry adolescent thieves that came to raid the hospital pantry late one night when mama had stayed behind to help with a worrisome patient. The very same evil spirits that caused the government to demolish the hospital during the construction of drainage on the street, the same drainage we had devoted a morning prayer session for to be attended to as the last rainy season had left us with guinea worms crawling out of all our orifices. Mama said the demons and spirits followed her because they knew she was a threat to them. They wanted to kill her with problems but she would stand strong, raise us to become warriors and show the Lord that she was worthy of a gold crown when she got to heaven.
All these happened years ago, and I am now married with my own children. I do not know where my four siblings live, we never ask for each other’s addresses or phone numbers when we go back home once every year just like now. We never bring our families because it is our alone time with mama and even the full-time help leaves. Kelechi’s tombstone is in the bedroom where we all sleep and for a whole week we are teenagers again though this time, mama is too old to rouse us for devotion. She doesn’t even know who we are half the time. She asks everyday when we go to greet her in her room, my doctor friend had said it was inevitable when I told him of our prayer sessions years ago. Your children, we always tell her. My womb is with the Lord, she would retort in our language, presented as a holy sacrifice, I never pushed or experienced birth pangs, who are you liars? And I, the eldest always give the final argument, we are the children of your kind heart and compassion.
We have awoken today and mama is dead. Rock solid and cold on her bed with her slackened breasts spread over her abdomen. There are no tears, what for? She has finally defeated the evil spirits, principalities and familiar spirits as we all intercede for others in places of prayer and we have all declined requests and pleas to lead congregations. One after the other we get our toothbrushes and file into the bathroom, now covered in tiles and fitted with a sink.

It’s time to talk to our heavenly father.

 

 

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God bless Nigeria and will help bring back our girls.

Retribution: Sambisa

I wrote this today after church, after thinking of the foolishness of these insurgents to think they could bully Christians. And then, with anger and idk..wishfulness, I penned.

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“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty…casting down everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of GOD” – 1Cor 10:4-5

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Akin Prayed.

Lifting into the air in a push that shook the earth, he twisted his body in a half spin and barreled straight into his attacker, the bullets whizzing past his horizontal frame. The attacker fell. Without pausing, he pushed off the fallen man with his hands, using his speed to twist again to his left, his left foot connecting with the head of the attacker. The man fell.

Akin turned to the other two, his eyes blazing.

Both men dropped their rifles and turned to flee.

Not so fast.

He Prayed again.

Below the feet of the running men, the grass seemed to move, algal growth on the blades causing them to become slippery. Both men fell. Stretching his arms out, Akin closed his eyes and Believed. The men suddenly jerked backwards as though pulled by an invisible force. The Avenger grinned, his teeth the only white in the gloom of the forest. As the men sped towards his, their clothes fluttering in the speed, their cries loud in the stillness, Akin opened his eyes and leapt forward. His sleek form tore through the air, and as he passed their middle in mid-air, he turned, whipping his legs backwards, causing his arms to come forward and slapping their heads together with his palms.

The forest of Sambisa echoed with the crack of their skulls as they fell to the ground, several birds taking to the air in fright. The Avenger landed a half-second later, his flat, naked chest heaving, his anger still unsated.

*****

“We will soak the land with the blood of Christians”

GOD heard. GOD Answered.

*****

The Avenger picked himself out of his crouch. The men were still alive, very much so, but in so much pain. They could barely cry or pass out. Which is as it should be.

*****

A few hours ago, Akin had been in his house in Maryland, Lagos. The bible had been open, and he had been praying. The Boko Haram  had just issued another threat against Christian students in other schools outside Chibok. The words had been simple in themselves.

“LORD, they have threatened Your name, they have poured scorn and insulted the name of the LORD, answer if you will oh LORD, the same GOD of  Elijah, answer your call and answer with fire”

Then…”Use me Oh LORD”

Right from his little table, a crack ran across the wall to the roof, the sheets of asbestos in the ceiling shook and fell to the floor, the room vibrated with a Presence, in the kitchen the knives rattled in their shelves, all across the walls a blue light seemed to shimmer as a shortage blew out all the appliances.

“And you shall receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you…”

*****

And he had known what he needed to do. It did not concern him that he wore only a pair of boxers and a singlet. The Power of GOD was at his disposal. A quick Prayer and he appeared at the mouth of the forest. The dark yawn beckoned him. Behind, he could see the perimeter formed by the Nigerian Soldiers. He considered going to them, but his Spirit rejected the thought, and so he walked in.

It hadn’t taken time for the quartet of militants to find him.

In the distance, a US Military Strategist with the UN stood with a Nigerian Colonel as he swept the forest with his binoculars. The strategist gasped.

Wetin…what is it sir?” queried the Colonel, his hand flying to the pistol in his belt. He had been jumpy since getting this close to the forest, and calling the US Captain ‘sir’, seemed to be the least of his blunders at the moment.

Signing up at the NDA was probably top of the list.

“Oh nothing, for second I could almost swear I saw a twelve or thirteen year old boy walk into that forest shirtless,” said the US Captain.

“Oh,” replied the Colonel, his hand still on his well-polished Sig-Sauer. “It is probably one of all those children of the mammy-market sellers. Maybe he wants to sh…to defecate. I will send someone to drive him out.”

He bounded through the trees, running as fast as his legs could go – which was very fast, he leapt over fallen branches, weaving in and out of the trees without slowing. By now, the Army might have poured into the forest, the sounds of the gunshots having drawn them. He didn’t wonder what they will make of the bodies he left behind, he didn’t care. All he wanted to do was rescue those girls and punish the impudent.

*****

From the nest of branches in a tree, he saw something glint in the last of the evening sun that seeped through the dusky foliage. Akin focused and Believed. His vision sharpened and narrowed, giving the illusion of looking through a narrow tube with blurry edges. At the end, he saw the terrorist hidden behind the sniper rifle, a radio transmitter near his lips. Even with the distance, he could see the fear and surprise in the eyes hidden behind the kaffiyeh the terrorist wore to hide his face. Instinctively, Akin knew he must not let the terrorist use the radio. Only seconds remained. Too few for him to reach the trees in time, yet enough, while the terrorist remained frozen in shock. Without pausing in his race, his eyes still focused on the sniper, he scooped some stones from the ground into his hand.

“You come with bombs and killings and the terror of children and women and men. But I come with the Power of GOD!” he yelled as he flung the stones.
They shot upwards, miniature rockets, the first stone tore through the radio in the man’s hand, severing first the speaker-phone, then the entire circuitry. The others shredded the branches the terrorist perched on, the force of impact rendering them into splinters. The terrorist fell in a cloud of matchsticks and kindling.

Before he reached the ground, Akin was there. Catching him in mid-air, his tiny arms bearing the weight easily, he stopped the man’s descent momentarily, then turned and slammed him into the ground with so much force, the man’s vertebrae broke, paralyzing him forever. Beneath the body a spider-web of cracks ran across the forest floor in a small crater.

Akin kept running, the Praise never ceasing from his lips.

*****
The man who called himself Abubakar Shekau hadn’t always been crazy. Raised by his mother, he had learned his first Arithmetic and English in a Christian missionary school just outside Minna in Niger state. The circumstances that led to his crack and final descent down the slope into despotic insanity are not for this tale. That day however, he sat in his room, the wrap for his turban tied around his waist, his legs propped on the table as he used his Android phone to search the internet for ‘Hot sexy anal girls’.

The sudden eruption of gunfire in his camp shocked him out of his pornographic  meditations. Slipping on a jalabia robe, he arranged the turban over his shaggy hair and made for the door, as it burst open in an explosion of splinters and gravel.

Akin landed in the camp in a frenzy of Prayers.

*****

On sighting the camp, he had increased his pace, putting on a burst of speed and at the last second Believed in a jump that sailed him over the wooden-stake fence and into the sentry post near the gatehouse. Two terrorists stood inside, gleaming machetes at their sides. They had seen him over the fence coming in, and had been expecting him. The first man took a swipe. Akin jumped over the attack, planting his feet into the man’s chest using the momentum generated to fly backwards into the second man. He extended his fingers, rigid rods of steel, and plunged into the eyes of the second man. The man let out a yelp as both of them fell, his eye sockets bleeding a mess 0of blood and vitrous humour. Akin turned to see the first man pick himself from the floor and lift a pistol. The man grinned.

Akin grinned.

The man’s grin faltered. But he shot anyway, the automatic pistol set at burst, his finger tight on the trigger. The first bullet missed Akin by a mile, slamming instead into a tree on the other side of the sentry post.

Akin Prayed on the Gospel of peace. His feet moved.

Sliding forward so fast, he seemed to be a flurry of figures, the half-naked boy weaved in between the bullet paths, their trajectories slow and obvious to him as he moved into the shooter’s space. He shoved the flat of his right hand upwards to knock out the spent pistol from the terrorist’s hand, the other hand slammed into the infidel’s solar plexus, shocking the air out of him and smashing him through the bamboo wall of the sentry post to the ground fifteen feet below.

Akin jumped into the camp, the Power of GOD radiating all around him.

*****

Shekau sped down the dirt road, the Jeep Wrangler screaming in protest under his ministrations. He had to get away. He was bleeding from a gash in his forehead, the injury resulting from a stone cutting into his head when the side of his room blew in from the impact of having an Armoured Personnel Carrier tossed into it. Tossed in a by a small child who probably weighed less than 50kg.

Jesus! He exclaimed in his mind, his shock overriding his awareness in the singular outburst, he needed to get away fast.

In the open-roofed Jeep, he heard a whine such as you hear when an object falls from a great height. Shekau looked up to see an object, the boy, fall out of the sky directly in front of him.

“Jesus!” he exclaimed outright.

You’re almost right, thought Akin the Christian, as he slammed feet first into the bonnet of the Jeep. The front tires imploded as the springs burst, forcing the front of the vehicle to collapse downwards so forcefully it flipped the back over the boy. Akin reached upwards and grabbed the terrorist leader as the Jeep flew over, his hand curling around the matted beard and yanking downwards. Shekau fell out of the Jeep, his yell cut short as he was yanked out unceremoniously. The Jeep somersaulted into a clump of trees and exploded, showering the air with shrapnel, none coming near them, but falling merely to the right and left in their thousands.

Shekau whimpered before the bloodstained boy, tears and mucus mixing with the blood on his face.

“Please…”
______________________

I want to write that he was dismembered. That he had his toes cut, or his fingernails pulled out or a million other things that are painful and whatnot. But Jesus, wouldn’t I guess..so..idk..

Maybe when I type this I will or would not..idk..

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GOD bless Nigeria.

The Account of Saul

Now, it will be very easy, and completely understandable if anyone read this and thought me probably anti-Semitic, but that is not my intention. The story of Saul has pained me in the past, and upon reading it today, I was reminded of the trials an ordinary man was put through. I would chronicle them, and you may make your inferences.

The Account of Saul

It began simply.
Miz’ath the tanner, sat upon a rock looking over the mountains. His eyes were black, the lids thin and papery from too many days staring at the sun. He was a goodly man, strong and caring towards his family. It was his fortune and misfortune that he sat on that stone that day. For there he was, humming a song under his breath, a blade of grass between his lips when he saw a strange thing. Approaching him with speed, a cloud of dust and the sound of beating hooves. Philistines! Miz’ath feared, for though he was a man of Zuph and a believer in the LORD, it was many years the Philistines had held Israel bondage, and he was quite vulnerable, he knew, to a very sharp blade.
He sprang to his feet, ready to run the fastest sprint of his forty-odd years at the first sign of a gleaming blade. That was when he saw the really strange thing. Twenty asses, their backs branded with a Benjaminite symbol, stampeded past him, their hooves drumming a rumbling tattoo. The eyes of the asses were wide and crazed, and they ran like the very devils were after them. Around him they went, and sprinted back the way they came. No one was whipping them. No one was chasing them. The asses ran of their own accord. An impossible thing. No one believed Miz’ath. Not till this day.

*****

But the asses of Kish the Banjaminite were missing that day, and he sent his son Saul, a very tall and well appointed man, to go fetch them. Saul journeyed after the asses to Zuph where he met Samuel, a man of GOD and seer since childhood, and inquired of him where the asses could be. But the asses were back in the land of Kish, by some strange miracle returned, and Samuel, hearkening of Jehovah, blessed Saul and anointed him Captain over all the people.
But people are not so easily convinced, and neither was Saul.

*****

As a man, Saul had never had any illusions. He was of the tribe of Benjamin, the minority of the people of Isra-el, and he was content with a few servants and the asses and oxen of his father. In time, perhaps he would have gone into Ahinoam his wife, once more, and she would have borne him another son as a protector to Merab and Michal, his daughters. So when Samuel spoke to him, he believed little, and spoke to none in his family all that the seer had said.

But the LORD is powerful and praised be his name!

Samuel called the children of Isra-el, from all the tribes in the land, and a lot was cast: The great election by the Spirit of the King of Isra-el. The tribe of Benjamin, against all odds was chosen in this lot. And another lot was cast within the tribe. And within it, the family of Matri was taken. Again, the people wondered. And by the Spirit, a man was chosen of the family of Matri, the son of Kish, who was the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the man Saul. The word was confirmed, Saul King. And yet the man was absent, hiding in the stuff. But Samuel found him, and behold when he stood, he was a good head and shoulders taller than all who stood there. And the people cried, “GOD save the King!”
But many doubted and disbelieved and despised him. And so it was for a while.

But calamity creates the strangest bedfellows, and it is true even in old Israel.

Of the Ammonites, there was a brash and bearded man, whose club was daily stained red and whose countenance was the etching of warding plates. His name was Nahash and he camped against the people of Jabesh-gilead of Israel and threatened to put out their right eyes. When Saul was told of this, he was in the field mowing. A pleasant day, and a warm sun. In anger, he took up the oxen and slew them. Tearing the meat into pieces, he sent to all the villages and the towns, great and small, from coast to coast of Israel.

“Behold these oxen pieces, if you don’t come out to support me and Samuel, I swear, your house shall be as these oxen”

It was a good message. A scary message. And the people came out. Three hundred thousand Isra-el, and thirty thousand fierce men of Judah. The battle was won easily and the people crowned Saul, king.

This was only the beginning of his trouble.

*****

You know when you’re destined for great things, but you don’t want them. All he wanted was a simple life, and kinghood was thrust upon him. Prophesied kinghood, all events orchestrated by Power beyond him. He couldn’t help it, Saul, he couldn’t. A man, the first King of Israel, and he was destined to fail.

*****

It was maybe three years later, when the Philistines gathered themselves thirty thousand chariots, six thousand horsemen and enough people as the sand on a beach. A great multitude they were, and they came to wage war against Isra-el. Now, they, the Philistines, were greatly angered because Jonathan, son of Saul, had with a thousand men, slain an entire Philistine garrison at Geba, an act of war.
Samuel instructed Saul and told him, gather the Hebrews and wait for me, seven days. But the people were scared, and some fled the country. Some waited in Gilgal with Saul, their souls faint and their hearts trembling and when on the seventh day, Samuel had still not come, the Philistines were closer than before and the people began to panic again. Many scattered. So Saul made a sacrifice. And as soon as he did so, Samuel appeared and in anger cursed him and his kingdom.
Saul was shocked. The circumstances had called for it. The people were fleeing, Samuel the seer was nowhere in sight, there was nothing left to do, so he had sacrificed while he waited for Samuel. It was the goodly thing. But Samuel was angry and left Saul. All the people left, and with Saul and Jonathan remained only six hundred men.
Of this six hundred, there wasn’t a single weapon of war between them, save the swords of Jonathan and Saul. For in the whole of Israel, the Philistines had ensured not a smith was found, lest the Hebrews make for themselves spears and swords. But Jonathan was a brilliant man, skilled in counter-insurgency and the darkest of the clandestine arts.
First he wore a hood for a while, then substituted himself with a likeness, purportedly with Ahiah, great-grandson of Eli, who was priest of Shiloh before Samuel’s birth, and snuck into the Philistine barracks with none but his amour bearer. And he said:

“Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised, it may be that the LORD will work for us, for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.”

And alone, Jonathan and his amour bearer stood before an entire garrison, two men standing before three thousand. And in the first slaughter, they killed twenty. And so the Philistines feared and ran, each falling upon his brother in their haste to flee. And the bravery of Jonathan and his faith in GOD was evident that day.

But few remember it.

That same day, with victory within their grasp as they saw what Jonathan had done, Saul ordered that the people fast, and not eat a bite until they had vanquished their enemies. But Jonathan was not present and he did not know. So, while they chased after the Philistines, he saw honey on the ground and he took and ate. And his eyes were enlightened, and he was stronger while the people grew faint with hunger. But because he had eaten, after Saul had said, cursed be the man who eats before all their enemies had been destroyed, Jonathan had to die. He who had wrought the great salvation for Israel was to die because he tasted a little honey, in ignorance.
It was a sad day for Israel, and the people were hungry.
Saul made an offering to GOD, to ask for guidance, but GOD answered him not. And he wondered, what was the sin? [for then, he did not know of Jonathan’s transgression, because the people told him not] So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonathan. And so Saul asked what he did, and after being told, condemned his son to die. But the people refused and swore not to let a hair on Jonathan’s head be harmed, and so Jonathan was saved by good luck.
And in this case, Saul had obeyed first. Not long after, when they warred with the Amalekites, he sacrificed first and Samuel cursed his kingdom again. All that was detestable, all that was vile, Saul destroyed of the Amalekites, and all that was good; of the fattest cattle and oxen, he sacrificed to the LORD, taking none for himself or the people of Isra-el, for he sought only to appease the LORD. But that was not the commandment, and despite his intentions, GOD repented he made Saul king. For GOD has greater delight in obedience than in sacrifice. And though Saul begged and knelt before Samuel, and pled his case before the eyes of the elders of Israel, Samuel turned from him and the LORD heard him not.

And thus, the First kingdom of the Hebrews ended. And a Bethlehemite was chosen and raised to be king, even under Saul’s roof, though not of his house. A young man, David, prone to easy sin, but contrite in heart, a good man, and a man after GOD’s own heart.

1 Samuel 9 – 1 Samuel 15.

WRITER’S NOTE:
This is something each of us could have read ourselves, I simply painted this to give an all round picture of the man and the situation. But the letter killeth, so you could read this from the Bible on your own. The important thing, the question that bothers me; was it fair? Did he deserve it? If you read past chapter 15 of the book of Samuel, you see a story of man who slowly fell obsession, reduced to epileptic fits and rages. A man who believed strongly in his GOD-given [bestowed more like, bequeathed even] right to rule, and was driven mad as a result. A man who was subverted by his own subjects, usurped, and upon his divine throne, replaced by a shepherd boy. His name, all but forgotten in the annals of history, remembered only as the villain in the David stories and in pictures as the one who threw the spear. If it were that he had sought the position, had wanted to be a king, it would be different. But he didn’t, it was forced upon him, a burden he was destined to buckle under.

Disclaimer:
• Again, I did not seek to defame the Testaments. I merely read and wonder in sadness.
• I am a Christian. And I love GOD.

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GOD bless Nigeria.

The Anointed King

The Anointed King