This is an excerpt from Tarasha Season 1, posted again due to high demand for it.
Copyright © Oyin Oluwatosin Emmanuel 2016
The day was bright and sunny. The singing heard from every corner of the street was enough to announce to an alien that it was Sunday and churches were having their morning services.
Jefa was seated in the passengers side of the white Range Rover, Omotara was driving. They both looked happy, dressed in matching white native attires. Jefa was moving slowly to the sound of the worship song being played, Omotara was miming along.
They got into the church compound and Omotara followed the directions of the Traffic Marshals and stopped where they instructed her to. She switched off the AC and killed the car engine. In few seconds, both of them stepped out of the car. It was Thanksgiving Sunday, they could hear the Thanksgiving hymn being led by the choir and sang by the large congregation. Omotara held with her her tablet device which contained a Bible and writing applications while Jefa preferred to go with a paper Bible, a pen and a notepad.
The ushers welcomed them warmly and handed them the Thanksgiving leaflet before directing them to the available seats. They got comfortable seats close to the centre of auditorium and dropped their Bibles and gadgets on the chair while they joined the congregation to complete the hymn being sang.
Few minutes later, they were seated and other segments of the service began. Several Thanksgiving verses were read from the Bible and different categories of people are called out to dance round the church and give their Thanksgiving offerings. Omotara and Jefa stood up and joined the group when the coordinator called out those who surrendered their lives to Christ in that year. They had their Thanksgiving envelopes in their hands as they danced to the front of the altar with the other people in their category.
The dancing paused when they got to the front of the pulpit and very few people with outstanding testimonies were called out to share with the rest of the congregation. They dropped their offerings and began to dance back to their seats, Jefa noticed that Omotara was distracted. She had seen something and slowed her dance steps. She was flashing her teeth happily at someone. Jefa glanced at the choir stand and saw Henry seated in front of the keyboard, flashing his teeth back at them happily. He took a hand off the keyboard and waved at them. Omotara and Jefa waved back and faced front.
Just before they passed the front row, they saw another familiar face seated on the second row. He was a government official who had once done them evil, he was shaking his legs to the beat of the song being played. Omotara smiled on seeing him but Jefa was indifferent. Reason being that Omotara had forgiven him and other offenders since she repented but Jefa was still trying to completely forgive them. He silently prayed and confessed words of love under his breath.
The government official looked up and met with their gazes. His smile diminished, in fact, he was visibly shaken. Omotara and Jefa ignored him and kept dancing back to their seats.
The church service ended two hours later and some church members began to depart to their homes immediately while most began to greet themselves and break into groups. Omotara politely excused herself from Jefa and made her way to the choir stand to meet Henry. She met him about standing up from the keyboard. There were three people arranging chairs in front of him, they were those who wanted to learn how to play the keyboard.
‘Hi,’ Henry greeted with a smile on seeing her. He excused himself from the learners and proceeded towards Omotara.
‘Hello,’ Omotara replied his greetings, with a smile too.
‘I was just planning to come and greet you and your brother before you leave.’ Henry gestured for them to walk to the back.
‘No, don’t bother.’ She refused politely. ‘Don’t keep your students waiting, I’ll extend your greetings to your brother’
‘Hehe’ Henry chuckled. He was staring at something behind her. She glanced back to see.
Jefa was walking towards them, making funny faces. She gave way as he moved closer and had a handshake with Henry.
‘Good morning sir,’ Henry bowed in respect.
‘Good morning Henry,’ Jefa replied. He placed his hands behind him and took glances at the faces of both of them. The way he was looking at them made Henry bow his head in shyness. ‘When are you guys getting married?’ He threw a surprising question.
Omotara stared at her brother with her mouth agape. ‘Married? Who told you we are planning to get married?’ She asked.
‘I don’t need an Angel to tell me that, I can perceive it in my spirit.’ Jefa replied with a smile. He turned to Henry whose face was still bowed. ‘You’re the man, talk to me.’ He said and gave Henry a playful jab on his arm.
‘Brother, come on leave him and let’s go.’ Omotara said playfully and grabbed her brother’s arm. ‘You bring a wife to the altar first, then you can now talk about me.’
She held Jefa’s hand and turned to look at Henry’s face. ‘We’ll be leaving now, I’ll call you when we get home’
‘Let me see you…’ Henry tried to offer.
‘No need,’ Tarasha cut in. ‘Go back to your students.’ She gestured with her eyebrows for him to look back. He glanced back to meet the eyes of his waiting students all fixed on him.
‘Alright then, we’ll talk later.’ He said and waved them bye. Jefa offered him another handshake before turning back to leave.
Henry stood on the same spot and watched them walk out of the auditorium holding hands together. The smile on his face was that of a proud man. He was proud he had being able to help the two of them become better persons. Now they looked happier than they used to be.
In ten minutes time, Omotara was already driving out of the church compound with her brother. The plan was to visit the nearest Mr Biggs outlet and take a meal there since they couldn’t wait to eat before coming to church in the morning.
They spotted the closest one and stopped by to take the meal. In another thirty five minutes, they were on their way home. It was after fifteen minutes of driving that Omotara began to notice a black Lexus 2031 model Jeep following them from behind. She kept mute and said nothing to her brother, wanting to verify first in order not to make a false alarm to the unsuspecting man.
‘Where’s this you’re going?’ He asked when she took a route which doesn’t lead to their home. She didn’t reply him, but he could see that her eyes were fixed on the side mirror. He looked back to check what it was. ‘Are they following us?’
‘Definitely, they are.’ She replied.
‘What? Who could that be and why…’ He paused while counting the number of men in the Jeep, two men were seated in front while one was at the back. ‘Three of them, why are they following us?’ He asked no one in particular, he was sure that Omotara was quite as confused as he was.
The roads was in that estate was not too busy with cars that day as it was Sunday. So there was no car obstructing the Jeep from them. Omotara increased the speed of their car. The trailers increased theirs too.
Soon, they began to hear gunshots from behind. Omotara did all she could to hasten their escape but it was futile. The two tyres at the back of the car were deflated wth bullets by the men. Omotara’s driving skills helped her bring their car to a stop, else it would have resulted to an accident, but maybe an accident would have been better.
The Jeep caught up with them and two men came out. One of them remained in the car, it was the same government official they had seen in the church.
The two scary looking men came out with their guns in their hands. They pulled Jefa and Omotara out of the car. The government official soon came to join his boys. Other motorists and pedestrians on the road has turned back and fled on seeing what was happening.
‘Kill the man and bring me the girl.’ He commanded in an evil tone and turned back to the Jeep.
One of the men cocked his gun and pointed it straight at Jefa’s forehead. Jefa could hear Omotara screaming and begging for pity as the bullet was released.