DEATHS IN THE CATHEDRAL: A Tale Of Evil And Its Price! … (18+) … Part 1

The Cathedral Church of The Nation was one of the ancient churches in the ancient city of Ake. It was built on a hectare of land given to the missionaries from England, by the then Oba of the land, to settle. The church was well built with stones from the rocks of the ancient town. The serenity of the environment made it a haven for the British missionaries. However, due to the fetishism of the indigenes and the rejection of the White man’s God, the missionaries, however, relocated to other part of the country to settle and found a new mission school and, as well as a church.
Sometimes, in the late 1990s, the presiding bishop of the diocese was due for retirement, that of course means another bishop would have to succeed him. So, another bishop was ordained; Bishop Agbabiaka; a doctorate degree holder in theology from King’s college, London. This was an added advantage for him, also another feather to his cap. Shortly after the ordination and installation ceremony, he assumed office in the Bishops court: a vicarage for every presiding priest.
After the benediction on a bright Sunday morning in the early week of the month of November, the Dean of the Cathedral mounted the pulpit to read the announcement to the congregation.

Rt Revd Ikukoyi: “With a heart full of appreciation, the family of the newly ordained Bishop, The Bishop of the diocese of Church of The Nation, in person of my Lord Bishop Agbabiaka and his family hereby appreciate every member of the Cathedral and our churches in the diocese for their moral, financial, spiritual and mental supports during his ordination as the Bishop of the Church of the Nation, Ake diocese. May our Lord Jesus Christ in His abundance of mercy, grace and favour cause his light to shine upon everyone.” He read, flipping through the hard cover higher education notebook, where the records and announcements of the church is kept and read from, with his round framed spectacles with lenses as thick as the punt of Coca-Cola beverage bottle, dangling on the bridge of his nose. “Also, we rejoice with the Kutis on the Diamond Jubilee of their father. May good things never cease in the household of every one of us.” He prayed. And the congregation chorused ‘Amen’. And the announcement went on and on.
Shortly, thereafter the service of worship was rounded up. The grace of the Lord was shared and they recited the creed and the anthem of the diocese. Outside the church premises, was family greeting family, felicitating, chattering and rejoicing with one another over one achievement or the other.
Chief Mate: “Barrister Kuti” he beckoned at the man in white African regalia, with a brown suede shoes to complement his outfit.
Barrister Kuti: “yes” he answered, looking back to see who was calling him as he was about to open his white Mercedes Benz at the parking space in the church premises.
Chief Mate: “I called to congratulate you Sir. Happy birthday to you! Igba odun, odun kan ni o, l’oruko Jesu.” He said offering him a handshake.
Barrister Kuti: “oh, thanks so much. I really appreciate you sir. May the good Lord bless your home too sir. You too, shall live to eat the fruits of your labour at old age in good health and sound mind” he prayed, with a bit of British accent in the rising and falling of his tone.
Chief Mate: “oh, thank you so very much, e seun pupo gan ni.” He replied, clapping his thick palms that resembled that of some old man who had spent all his life tilling the earth.
Barrister Mate: “you’re welcome my brother. It’s a pleasure.” He replied walking back to his car.

The Chief Priest of the fraternity, frowned sternly at his inferior members. Dressed in a white Agbada, with kembe and Abeti-Aja cap, a traditional attire popular among the Yorubas, with a woolly one-quarter sized shawl (shaki): which symbolises rank and position in the fraternity hung over his left shoulder, and a sceptre in his right hand. His spoken English was impeccable. He addressed the other members of the fraternity in a rather high pitched voice, venting his anger on anyone that dared to look into his face. He fumed and roared like a wounded lion, raging and hitting the sceptre in his hand on the floor of the fraternity’s meeting room. The fraternity, however, addresses its members by their titles and rank in the group.
Chief Priest: “I am angry with every one of you. The deities are angry. Your dues have not been paid. You all eat, wine, dine and merry in various households, while our sources starve. Have you all forgotten that a river that forgets its source dries up? And if you allow them to strike or source food by themselves, I am sure you all know what the consequence will be. Therefore, before this week runs out, all debts must be paid. No more rolling over of dues. You all pay at the due time”. He ordered the members, as they look face down like some criminal pleading mercy for an offence committed before the judge.
Members: “we are sorry, Alapini. We shall pay our dues”. They all pleaded in unison, still looking face down.
Chief Priest: “I am weary of your pleas. The gods are weary of your pleas. You all should redeem your pledges. That is all I will say”. He said, readjusting the shawl on his shoulder, and waving his fingers at the members. Shortly, after his fuming, a member spoke.
Member One: “Alapini, we are sorry, once again. And please, plead with the deities on our behalf, things for sacrifices are quite difficult to get these days.” He said, looking face down, with a slight feeling of weariness.
Chief Priest: “We all know we keep to dates, when time to redeem pledges occurs. Therefore, if you can’t get your pledges materials, I would rather you improvise.” He said, in a firm tone not minding whose ox was gored. The members grumbled and they all wore an abrupt sad looks. The improvisation, caught them unawares. And this meant a great deal. The word they all loathed to hear.
Member Two: “ha ha, Alapini, it has not got to that now. We shall redeem our pledges. Consult the gods on our behalf to give us more time. We will always do our own part.” He pleaded.
Chief Priest: “I have made my decision and it cannot be reversed. That is the final. No one can reverse the protocol of the fraternity. Things have to be done in order.” He said sternly, without any of the members’ faces. After his affirmation, the meeting was dismissed.
At about 1am in the vicarage of the Cathedral, the Dean and his family was fast asleep. The wife had got up to use the rest room, when she heard some strange sounds. She ignored as she thought it was the usual night noises from the bats and crickets. However, the persistence of the sound and its weirdness made her call on the Dean.
Mrs Ikukoyi: “Dear” she tapped the husband who was deeply asleep. “dear, can you hear any sound?” she asked, looking a bit worried as she opened her eyes as though she would see the object making the sound.
Revd Ikukoyi: “yes, you are still awake” he asked, wiping his face with his palm.
Mrs Ikukoyi: “yes, I went to use the rest room. And on my way back, I heard some strange sounds in the room.” She explained, sitting up in bed.
Revd Ikukoyi: “That is nothing to worry about, you know there are bushes around. It could be those creatures that are more active in the dead of the night.” he said, to ease the tension and worries on the wife’s face.
Mrs Ikukoyi: “the same thing I thought few minutes ago. But as I was about to sleep, the sound became higher and more pronounced.” She said. Almost immediately after this, the sound became more pronounced and the whole vicarage was submerged in the weird incomprehensible sound coming from no particular direction. The Dean and his wife stood up to trace the direction of the sound. On getting to the rest room close to the door linking to the kitchen, the door slammed. They were astonished as to who could be behind the door, since their children were in their different schools. Mrs Ikukoyi followed the Dean behind, holding the hem of his pyjamas shirt, trembling in fear. The wind blew aggressively, whistled and rolled like a whirl wind.


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