By ‘Tola Onayemi
Sam rolled off his bed. Instinctively, he wiped his face with the back of his palm. That didn’t take away the sleep from his eyes. He lifted up his forearm to take a look at his watch. 3:00AM. He didn’t know what made him wake up, but he had that longing in his heart. He couldn’t put his finger on it to name it, but he felt a nudge to pray. He took another glance at his bed and he longed for the comfort of his bed. He slowly sat on the bed and leaned his head backward. He would pray in five minutes. In five minutes, he was snoring. Sleeping and snoring. He didn’t see the red eyes staring at him from the corner.
“Clear. Procrastination; he is sleeping!”
Fifty miles away, Shade rolled to and fro in her bed. She had that feeling again, but didn’t know what to do with it. She looked up at the ceiling and pondered. She travelled in her thought, but the feeling kept tugging at her heart. She didn’t know whether to pray like she always did when she was a lot younger. She stole a glance at the alarm clock. 3:00AM. She had a test later that morning, so she needed to sleep so she could wake up early to revise her notes. She lay down. In thirty seconds, she was snoring.
“Clear. Anxiety; she’s gone to sleep.”
Two hundred miles and two cattle ranches away, Mrs. Opeolu was roused to consciousness. She sat up in bed and looked at her side. No one was there. She became aware of the noise from near distance. He was at it again; writing his books that never end. Then she realized what had brought her to consciousness – that feeling to pray. But she didn’t know what she was supposed to pray about. It had been a dream, but she couldn’t recollect it now. She had vague traces of some part, and knew it wasn’t a pleasant dream. The feeling was getting stronger. She saw from the clock on the dressing table that it was 3:00AM. Just then, the books on the shelf fell off. “Oh!” She dragged herself off the bed to where the books were and started arranging them back up. She then remembered: she hadn’t washed the dishes used for last night’s meal. She would pray after washing the dishes.
“Clear. Activities and busy-ness; she’s been distracted.”
In the basement, Pastor Opeolu rattled on the typewriter. He had been saving two hours every day to type his book. The feeling welled up within him suddenly. His fingers couldn’t go on typing. The feeling filled his heart; the powerful urge to get on his knees. Not now! He had a manuscript to type. He leaned back on his chair, and entertained the wonderful fantasies that filled his mind. When his book is released, it would be a bestseller. He would travel round the globe for his book’s publicity. Presidents will await him at the airport. Show hosts would ask “what motivated you to write such a book?” He wandered in thought.
“Clear. Distraction; He’s fantasizing.”
The demons flew together into the distance, chattering loudly. Yet, no one could hear. The people were all deaf in the spirit.
“I only had to make him sleep!” Laziness shouted.
“I too; she’s pretty easy to deceive. I only had to make her remember her test and the next second she was sleeping!” Anxiety laughed out.
Activities laughed as it said, “I distracted her by giving her something less important to do.”
“He’s on his way and just reported that he was successful.”
The foundations of the earth began to shake. Out of the abyss of the earth rose a gory spirit. As he spoke, smoke came forth.
“Depression. All is clear.”
Bode sat on his bed and held his head. His heart sank in anger, but he didn’t know why. He just knew the atmosphere had changed and he felt horrible.
“I’m just a worthless dump of skin,” he muttered in his tongue. Was that him or someone else? He heard it again in his head. He felt worthless and useless. He stood up and walked out of his balcony. He felt like taking his life. What was the use of his life? He looked towards the Cathedral’s giant clock: 3:00AM.
“Can’t we do anything?” an angel asked.
“We would just stay here and watch him kill himself?”
“There’s little we can do. We were instructed to awaken the Christians to pray, but they seem to be too preoccupied to heed and get on their knees.”
“So we’ll just stay here watching him die?”
“There’s little we can do, there’s no prayer cover for us if we try to attack.”
Bode started crying. He didn’t know why, but he felt like dying. He sobbed and held the metal railing. He wanted to jump down and just die. The feeling kept throbbing in his heart. Jump! Jump! Jump! Hell was paradise! He had no reason to kill himself because he had everything he needed: a beautiful family, good grades, a well-paying job, love and warmth, and a beautiful fiancée. Yet, he felt like dying. He heaved himself over the balcony. At last, he was going to die… Die!
“Yes! We have succeeded” Despondence shouted.
“So much bitterness in the air.”
“So much sadness.”
All the demons chattered.
Bode felt the darkness deep inside and it seemed he was being sucked into that darkness. Bitterness took over his soul as his whole life history and wrong deeds of the past flashed past in seconds. He heaved himself over the balcony and fell from 20ft above the ground. Then, out of the blues, he felt love warming into his heart and a hand dragging him out of darkness. Light shone brightly and the darkness could not comprehend it.
“Hey! What’s happening? We’re losing him!!!” Depression screamed.
Some twenty miles away, Grandma Nnena was on her knees in prayer. She didn’t know why. She didn’t know for whom. She just knew she had to travail in prayers. She spoke in tongues, guided by the Holy Spirit. After minutes of those strange utterances, she felt peace in her heart and stopped. A battle had been won and she just seemed to understand that. She only knew she had to pray because this had happened to her many times in her sixty four years of intercession, since she was six. She thanked God for the victory as peace radiated and grew in her heart. She felt an overwhelming presence in her room.
The angel rested his hand on Grandma Nnena’s shoulders saying, “The effectual fervent prayer of the righteous makes power available. Woman! Your prayer worked.” Of course, she could hear the voice.
The other angel propositioned him. They had to go. Victory had been won.
In the distance, the ambulance blew its siren aloud. Groggy, Bode gave a wry smile. He didn’t know why, but he felt someone had fought for him. It had been like a trance, really. The paramedics called his parents, Pastor and Deaconess Opeolu. “Are you Bode’s parents? Bode just attempted suicide, but he’s now being taken to Riverdale Hospital.”
“My goodness, I have to call shade, his fiancée. We should call Sam, his brother, too!”
This piece was originally published in the 2009 Edition of Campus Mirror, an annual magazine of the Lagos Varsity Christian Union, University of Lagos, Nigeria and has been slightly edited. Tola Onayemi studies Law at the University of Lagos.