He’d woken up on a hospital bed, slowly the memories of his accident replayed in his brain and he thanked God he was still alive. He had been surprised to see Joy, his niece, how had she known about his condition? Had the news gone viral that the great pastor Ita was lying on a hospital bed? He didn’t like the sound of that, but he trusted Helen, she was going to handle everything well. He had enough time to reflect on his life as he’d come face to face with death, what if he had died? He would’ve gone straight to hell, that was why he would shun everything evil and focus on God, and live a righteous life in truth, but could God forgive him and cure him of the unnatural attraction to his daughter? ‘Uncle, I’m sorry for taking so long, I left to receive a call from a friend’ Joy pushed the door open. ‘It’s okay, how’s the family? I hope they aren’t afraid for me, I’ll be fine’ Pastor Ita replied his niece. ‘We are not worried, you’ll pull through, I can see it all over you, you’re so strong, you’ll come out of this’ Joy rubbed his legs. Her uncle was a good man, she couldn’t say much about his wife and his evil seeds of children. She hated Helen so much, that was one of the reasons she rarely visited, and her kids? Well, they were just like their mother, especially Rose, she was a snub and a very arrogant one. ‘Are you okay’? the pastor could see worry in her features. ‘I.. I am fine’ Joy replied. She remembered the incident vividly, though her uncle never got to hear about it. She had trusted Mark like her own brother, one day they’d been together in a room and he’d raped her, they were teenagers, she’d been so scared and hurt, so the only person she’d run to was Helen, but Helen acted like nothing had happened, instead offered her some money to keep mute about it. ‘So, why didn’t you come along with the new maid, you left her to herself and she almost lost the job without your presence’ the pastor said. ‘I had to see a friend’ she lied. In truth, she never wanted to face Mark or his witch of a mother, now she regretted it all. Ajunwa was a very pretty girl, what if Mark tried to force himself on her? They had a lot to discuss. She wished she was financially buoyant, Ajunwa would never have had the option of working as a maid, she only prayed her best friend was safe. ‘You know the funny thing? She actually resembles our last maid, Grace’ the pastor paused as he remembered what had transpired between Grace and Rose. She had found out about their affair and had taunted Rose about it, a fight ensued and Rose killed her,
Helen helped them cover the issue without asking for the real reason behind the fight, if Helen ever found out, she would be heartbroken. ‘I never met Grace…’Joy replied. ‘You stopped visiting me Joy, what happened’? Pastor Ita suddenly asked. ‘Good morning sir’ the door burst open and the maid stepped in with two plastic bags. ‘Ajunwa!’ Joy rushed and hugged her. The pastor just lay smiling as he watched the friendly exchange between the girls, he felt more guilty, these girls were like his daughter, but he’d defiled Rose. ‘I brought your food sir’ Ajunwa set the table as she placed steaming plates of pepper soup and rice before him. ‘Thank you my dear, where is my wife’? the pastor wondered why Helen nor his kids weren’t present to see him. ‘She would be coming later sir’ Ajunwa replied. ‘Okay then, thank you’ he straightened up and worked on the food, that was when the two girls left for outside. Minutes later, Rose stepped into his room and he was surprised to see her. ‘Hello dad? Miss me’? she walked seductively towards him, for the first time, he felt repulsed by her actions. ‘Rose, welcome’ the pastor replied quietly. ‘Welcome? Is that all you have to say’? Rose wondered why this man acted differently. ‘I am sorry honey, where is your mother’? he asked coolly. ‘Gosh dad, you’re getting me all riled up, I come here to see you and you’re asking about Helen, you’re supposed to ask about me, I’m the one who cares and not that b—h’ Rose poked her finger against her chest. ‘Hold on, don’t ever call your mother a b—h before me, how dare you? She bore you for heaven’s sake’ anger coursed through him. ‘Really dad? Why are you doing this? Helen doesn’t love you, in fact, I have evidence that this accident of yours was her plan to get rid of you for good and to take everything you own with her lover whom I just discovered’ Rose quickly fetched the note she’d found in Nelson’s room. ‘What are you talking about’? he got the note from her and ran his eyes over it. ‘Mum has been sleeping with Nelson, I found them on top each other in the garden, then I found this note in his room when she sent me to call him, they had a plan, to kill you and run off with your money, but it failed.’ Rose explained carefully, she had to do anything to gain her dad’s favor. ‘How did you know this’ his hands shivered, how could Helen plot his death, Rose had never lied to him before, so Helen was equally cheating on him, what hurt him most was her plotting to kill him. ‘After I had found this note, I begged mum to report Nelson to the police, I cried for justice, but she said we should forget him, can you imagine that’? she scoffed. ‘I would kill Helen for this betrayal’ he pushed his food aside as he lost appetite. ‘Dad, mother does not love you more than I do, I even advised her not to tell people about your condition, so your members wouldn’t lose faith in you, but do you know she refused it? She told the press everything, it’s all over the news, the papers carry it, that Pastor Ita is almost dead.’ Rose added. ‘Oh my God, switch on the television’ he needed to be sure, if Helen had really done all what his daughter accused her of, then he would forget his title and deal with ‘I told you, it’s all over the news’ Rose switched on the television. Coincidentally, the headlines ran across the screen as ‘breaking news’. ‘Why would she do something like this’? the man was deeply hurt. ‘That’s because she wants you dead in reality, so she could run off with Nelson, but dad, we need to fight back, I’m with you on this, let’s make her life miserable’ Rose said. ‘How do we do that’? he was ready to play by Helen’s rules, the game was a dirty one and he’d get his fingers greasy. ‘I have been working on this plan, thankfully, I have a blogger friend who may help us, we’ll tell the whole world mum killed her maid and buried her in the garden’ Rose paused. The idea had come to her while Romeo had visited. ‘What? That’s really dangerous and it could put us all in trouble’ the pastor objected. ‘No, I am not finished, I would testify in court against mum, saying that I knew about the affair and she tried to kill me too, Grace had found out about the affair and mum had killed her, it’s very easy, we’re totally absolved from this matter, all eyes would now be focused on mum and trust me, even if she comes out of this alive, the stigma that would follow her would be forever’ Rose smiled mischievously. ‘What about Mark’? her father asked, knowing how close the boy was to his mother. ‘He’ll get used to her absence’ Rose replied and pulled at her clothes as she had the urge to make love to her father. ‘Then let’s do it, Helen wouldn’t kill me first’ Pastor Ita relaxed, he needed to hurt her back. ‘I miss you so much daddy’ she spread her legs apart and sat on him. ‘I miss you too angel’ he smiled and kissed her.
‘It’s been so long my friend, I miss you so much,you hardly call or text’ Joy was so excited to see her friend ‘I’m sorry Joy, but I’m here now, how’s the village and how’s my mum’? I asked. I wish I could share in her joy but my mind was occupied with so many things. ‘She’s fine,
I told her about my journey and she sends her greetings’ Joy replied coolly as she realized I wasn’t in a good mood. ‘What’s wrong Aju? You don’t look too happy, are you angry that I left you that day? I’m so sorry, I wish you could understand’ Joy sighed, she wished her friend could know the reason she stayed back from her uncle’s house. ‘I don’t know Joy, I wish I could talk about it’ I replied, I could feel it, the pain of what Mark did to me, the shame and the heart ache that rode along broken trust. ‘Ajunwa? Talk to me’ Joy neared me. I turned back and stared deeply into her eyes, not knowing how to start, how to explain it to her. ‘Mark raped me’ I blurted out. I expected her to shout, to scream and call fire, that was how she expressed her anger, to my surprise, she remained very still, instead she started sobbing and her body vibrated with each sob. ‘Joy? Please don’t cry, I’ve gotten over it, though it still hurts, I am fine, just that I would do about anything to make your cousin miserable in this life’ I rushed to her comfort. ‘How could he do such a wicked thing to you, I hate him so much, I would kill him with my bare hands’ she grunted. I glanced around nervously and thanked God we were alone at the car park, nobody could see us like this. ‘I am fine Joy, just get up, I have other things to tell you’ I replied, I needed to show her the video clip I’d found in Grace’s room and about Helen’s affair too. ‘No you’re not, that b—–d raped me when I was fifteen, I hate him so much, this is all my fault, I should never have let you come here’ she said and I understood why she’d cried so hard. ‘Calm down Joy, we’ll talk about this later, right now we have a bigger issue on our hands and I don’t know how to handle it’ I reached for the video camera and showed it to her. ‘what’s this’? she eyed me suspiciously. ‘Just watch’ I replied. ‘No, god forbid, what is this? It can’t be real, it’s photoshopped’ she gasped with shock. ‘No it’s not and you know that, Helen is equally cheating on her husband, that house is filled with dirty secrets and I don’t know how to handle that, if I run, I fear I may lose my life, just like Grace’ I paused, I was quite sure Grace was dead, no innocent person could survive in that house, even if they did, the darkness in each person would overshadow them and swallow them up. Grace must have discovered something, Helen’s affair or this and she tried to escape and they killed her and probably faked her death. ‘This is dirty, how could they be sleeping together’? Joy spat. ‘What should we do with it’? I asked. ‘I understand everything now, when we were younger, Rose was too close to her dad, even as young girls, she chased all the guys away, I thought she was a lesbian at some point’ Joy said. ‘Well, it appears she was preoccupied with her father, now back to my question, what do we do’? I asked. ‘Honestly, I don’t know, if my Uncle finds out you have this video, then he would do almost anything to have it, and that means killing could be one of the options’ Joy sounded scared. ‘Well, I’ll hold unto it, something could up and I just may use it as leverage’ I replied. ‘Ajunwa, I think you should follow me back to the village, let’s disappear before they kill you like they did this Grace, please, I already blame myself for the rape, don’t allow me to cry when they kill you’ Joy fell on her knees. I was about saying something in return, when my phone rang. ‘Good afternoon Ajunwa, I need to see you urgently, return home’ Helen ended the call before I could reply. ‘Who was that’? Joy asked. ‘Who else than your aunt? See, I am not running, I need to hurt Mark like he did me, I need to stand up to him’ I replied more determined than ever. ‘I can’t, the pain is too much to bear’ Joy replied weakly. ‘Then you rise up and fight the pain, Mark is our pain’. ‘I can’t Aju, since you wouldn’t listen, I would leave you, call me if anything weird happens, I’m outta here’Joy walked away. ‘I can’t walk away’ I whispered, I had to stay and fight back.