He held me and led me through a dark forest. My heart was beating fast, and I really hoped He could not hear it.
“Anike”, he began as He squeezed my hand. “Why is your heart beating fast?”
“I do not know, Father”
“Are you scared of the dark forest?” He asked as He looked lovingly into my eyes.
I looked at the ugly trees and the bats with their shiny red eyes. The whole forest smelt of demons and dirty stuff. I wanted to puke.
“Yes, Father, I am “, I replied as I looked down. I wasn’t happy that I was scared. I didn’t want to be scared. I wanted to be as bold as a lion like He said I should.
“Anike, you can trust Me, trust Me Anike”
“Father I trust You.”
“Father I trust You”
And He disappeared.
It seemed like a flash when he disappeared.
“Father, where are You?”
I turned around, and all I could see was… all I could see was nothing.
“Father”, I screamed again, this time, at the top of my lungs.
Still no answer…
I didn’t know what to do. I refused to cry. “I am strong”, I began to chant as I stood there like a lost puppy.
All of a sudden, I began to hear noises. Noises? Yes, Noises. Dark smoke began to emanate from the floor. I began to wonder what was going on. My heart continued to beat faster. I sensed something evil was about to happen.
All of a sudden, I began to see flashes
Of how I stole Kike’s money as a child.
Of how I threw Tanimomo’s clothes into the well because I was jealous of her.
Of how I kissed my friend, Yemisi, and how I got into the world of lesbianism in the University.
How I lied severally to find my way out of every situation.
How I cheated during exams.
How I made out with Kingsley and other guys.
How I compromised severally.
I began to scream. I wondered where all these memories were coming from.
Then Voices began to emerge.
“You Cheat! How can God possibly forgive you?”
“Sinner like you, you liar and cheat… You are going to hell, give up while you have the chance”.
I began to run, hoping that leaving that place would drown the voice. But the place became darker and darker, and the voice became louder and louder…
“God can never forgive you. You will never marry a good man. Good men are for women who don’t sleep around”
I screamed aloud again. I cried, and I wanted to die. The voices were unbecoming. I became even more afraid. I didn’t know what to do.
I knew that was Father’s voice, but I looked around… I saw…no one.
All of a sudden, something painful hit me from behind. I passed out immediately.
Five minutes later, I woke up surrounded by people. Kingsley, Taiwo, John, Lanre and Wunmi – the guys I made out with, Kike, Tanimomo, Yemisi, my parents, Joke, my Sunday school teacher…. People who represented my life…who had been in my past… I didn’t understand what was going on. I got up and tried to run, only to realize that my legs were bound to a chains held by every single one of them.
I began to sob. I had never felt so alone in my entire life. I didn’t understand why Father left me. All of a sudden, I looked up, and saw a man coming. He looked so handsome. His eyes were green and he held a staff in his hand. As he came, everyone bowed to him… except me. He didn’t look like Father… he wasn’t anything close to Father’s Son.
“Won’t you bow to me, you infidel?”
I looked at him, and then I recognized the voice. It was the voice of….he…the deceiver. I became even more afraid, I didn’t know what to do.
You shall have no other god before me
“I will not bow to you, you are not Father…” I replied angrily. I was angry Father left me. He said I should ….
The voice was louder than ever, I just knew it…I knew it…that Father had not left me. All of a sudden, I felt an upsurge of power from my bones. I began to scream and speak… As I spoke, the place began to shake, and the deceiver got mad, and ran away almost immediately. As he ran, Kingsley and every other person ran with him. I continued to scream for 30 minutes.
I opened my eyes and Father was standing before me, smiling. I could barely remember what I said, or how I screamed.
“Shhh…Shhh…Shhh… don’t say a thing my daughter”
“You thought I left you? I will NEVER leave you, Anike, but you must trust Me on everything…”
He pulled me up and held me close. He kissed my forehead, and I knew I was home with Him.
“Trust Me; I am involved in everything about you. Forget your past, look ahead, trust Me Anike…”
His voice continued to echo, as I began to float in the sky….
AND I WOKE UP….IT WAS ALL A DREAM….
* * *
…to be continued…The final episode
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Written by Oyinkansola Ige
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