DEATH ROW Episode 2
The huge, black, heavily-armoured police van passes through three fortified and guarded gates before entering the main yard of the GRAND CASTLE PRISON.
It goes forward a bit and then takes a left turn towards the administration block.
It stops behind a long, flat rectangular building which has several offices along its length.
The armed policemen get down, and the back of the van is opened with a series of keys.
Two huge policemen climb inside the van and each takes the arm of Zac Larbi and pull him forward roughly.
Zac is helped down by two burly policemen on the ground as others cover him with guns.
His wrists are handcuffed behind his back, and there are chains around his ankles, weighed down by metal balls which are apparently heavy because he can barely move his legs.
He indeed cuts a pathetic sight as he is dragged towards one of the office rooms. It has an inscription carved into an aluminium plate fixed on the door. It reads:
SUPT. KWESI AKYAW
One of the prison officers knocks on the door, and then opens it.
Zac is pushed rather cruelly into the huge office.
It has a desk and a high-backed swivel chair in one corner.
There is a small fridge and a filling cabinet. On the walls are a few paintings depicting biblical passages.
There are about five armchairs in the room.
And there are three men already waiting in the room.
The prison guards leave the office and close the door behind them.
One of the men in the room is the burly Grand Castle Prison Chaplain, Superintendent Kwesi Akyaw, and he is wearing his uniform.
The second man is the tall, lean PROPHET EBOW BIO, a devout man of God of GOLGOTHA HEIGHTS INTERNATIONAL, the church that Zac attends.
The third man in the group is the short, obese APOSTLE KWAKU ABOAH, Founder and General Overseer of Golgotha Heights International.
The Superintendent is sitting behind his desk.
The two men of God are sitting in the armchairs.
All of them are unsmiling, and have very grim looks on their faces.
As Zac stands there, facing them with a thudding heart, Apostle Aboah gets to his feet, his face enraged, and then he takes three steps forward and slaps Zac hard across the face!
You b******! You ungrateful murderer! How could you do this to the Church? HOW COULD YOU???
He raises his hand again to strike, but the Prophet gets up and pulls him back.
That’s okay, Kweku! That’s okay! He doesn’t deserve any chastisement from you! Let the Lord God deal with him!
Zac Larbi looks at them, and although his lips tremble, and tears course down his face, he does not utter a word.
The Apostle is shaking with rage as he glares at Zac.
You were homeless, Zac Larbi! Your parents died in a fire when you were only five years old! I took you in, and I brought you up! I gave you the best education and treated you like my own child, and you know I had five children already, three boys and two girls, and I could’ve thrown you to the wolves!
But I treated you even better than my own children! I made you a Pastor in God’s own church! I gave you a house of your own, a car of your own, and gave you the daughter of one of the best and richest men in the country to marry! You grew up under the feet of the Lord! I raised you right! So what’s this? WHAT’S THIS, YOU MURDERING INGRATE?
Five young women! FIVE WOMEN! You captured them, RAPED them, and then BLUDGEONED them to death, you sick little b******! What the **** IS WRONG WITH YOU??
His pudgy face is filled with rage, disgust and pain.
He is trembling rather badly.
I’m glad you remember that you raised me under the feet of the Lord, Daddy-
(cutting in harshly)
I’M NOT YOUR BLOODY DADDY! STOP CALLING ME DADDY! I’M NOT DADDY TO A BLOODY MONSTER, A HEARTLESS BEAST! I’VE DISOWNED YOU!!!
That one really hurts Zac.
He looks down at his shackled feet, and he cries with anguish.
Several times he tries to speak, but his voice is choked with his tears, and nothing comes out, only little croaky sounds.
Finally, after a while, he seems to get himself under some semblance of control, and looks up again.
That is the most painful thing I’ve ever heard you utter, Apostle. I never imagined you could ever say that to me.
I’ve said it, AND IT STANDS! YOU’RE NO CHILD OF MINE!! AND I DISOWN YOU!!
So be it, Apostle. I do thank you, though, for taking me in and raising me up in the paths of the Lord. There’s nothing more precious than being brought up right in the ways of God, and for that I’ll forever be grateful to you.
You’ve seen me, Apostle! You’ve seen how the Good Lord favoured me! In church, at Camp Golgotha when we go on retreats, everywhere, you saw how God used me minister, to heal the sick, and to win souls! Why then do you ALSO believe me capable of these heinous crimes?
BECAUSE YOU SOLD YOUR SOUL TO THE DEVIL! BECAUSE YOU RAPE WOMEN AND BLUDGEON THEM TO DEATH, CUT OFF THEIR HEADS AND EAT THEIR HEARTS!
THAT’S WHERE YOUR EVIL POWERS WERE COMING FROM, DEVIL WORSHIPPER, AND YOU DECEIVED US INTO THINKING YOUR GRACE CAME FROM GOD!! MAY YOU ROT IN THE HOTTEST DEPTHS OF HELL FOR DOING THIS TO THE CHURCH!!
If you believe this of me, then there’s nothing to say. I will die the day after tomorrow, but I’m not afraid. I know my ways are right with God, and I’m innocent. Even if God does not vindicate me, I still give Him worship, and adoration, and will never condemn my God.
The Superintendent finally gets out of his chair and comes round the desk, his voice is agitated when he speaks:
SUPT. KWESI AKYAW
How can you stand there and claim to be innocent, son? A court of seven jury members found you guilty. The Appeals Court found you guilty. Alright, let’s even discount the verdict of the courts. I also am a member of Golgotha Heights, a great church that holds a Christian Revival Retreat at Camp Golgotha on the mountains twice every year.
Two years ago, five women went missing from the retreat grounds. Our security cameras showed you capturing them and dragging them out of the camp! There is an abandoned cabin in the woods, and that is where the police found the headless bodies of the women! They also found video recordings you apparently made yourself on a camcorder and forgot it in the cabin, and these videos showed you raping the women one at a time, and then bashing their heads in with a heavy stump of wood.
And then you cut out their hearts. You ate some of the hearts raw, and cooked some! And you stand there and claim innocence? Meanwhile there was no question about a disguise because the man in the videos spoke like you, looked like you, and in fact you’re that man! And there is absolutely no record of your parents giving birth to twins! So how can you stand there and claim innocence, my son? That is an insult to sane people like us!
Yes, sir. I saw the videos, and indeed the man in the videos looks exactly like me, so exact that I’m even shocked to my bones, and I still don’t understand it. But that is the truth…he just looked like me, in every detail, but it wasn’t me! He’s still out there somewhere. But it doesn’t matter now. Everything is in the hands of God!
SUPT. KWESI AKYAW
My God! You’ve no heart! You’re indeed an animal!
The Prophet stands in front of Zac, his long face filled with false piousness, his hands open in a semblance of meekness, his eyes exuding a compassion that Zac knows isn’t real.
Zac, Zac, Zac! You know this little incident has had a very grave impact on the church! We’re losing a lot of our congregation as a direct result of the backlash from this case. Surely, you don’t want the flock to scatter, do you?
What do you want from me, Prophet?
You’ll be dead in three days, my son. Now, the congregation is depleting simply because you have not shown any sign of remorse for these dastardly acts. They want to see the humility you always extol them to show. Remember, most of them came to the church because of your charisma and the zeal you showed, and most of them are in the church because they love you.
Now they see you as a murderer, and they don’t want anything to do with that! But, if you go public and show some regrets, and tell them that you’ve been working with dark powers and that they should stay in the church and learn from the Goodness of Apostle Aboah, it will stop the defection, and bring this glorious church back to its stature!
Zac Larbi stares at the Prophet, totally shocked.
You want me to say that all the miracles I did were by the powers of Satan?
Now, look, my son! You don’t have to believe it! But it is a sacrifice to save God’s church! Just a little sacrifice. Already everybody believes you’re a demon worshipper, so confessing to it in publicly won’t change anything. In the next office are some selected journalists from some television, radio and newspaper companies.
Just use five minutes to meet them, and apologise and show some regret and confess that you’ve been a Satan worshipper all along, and that the Apostle had no link to what you did! Just as Jesus Christ sacrificed for sinners, this is a small sacrifice you need to do to save the church! If you confess like that the people would stop leaving the church, Zack.
Zac takes a painful step from the man, his face screwed up with pain.
I curse the day I will let the devil take credit for the wonders God used me to do! Let me die, and let me die in shame, but I will NEVER denounce my living God, do you hear me? NEVER!!
The Apostle pushes the Prophet aside, and once again he slaps the hapless Zac twice across the face.
Blasphemer! Satan apprentice! Worker of iniquity, of things vile! You’re a demon, Zac! May you die in pain! May the God we worship torture your soul in hell!
Zac falls to the ground as the man of God continues to punch him.
It takes the combined efforts of the Prison Chaplain and the Prophet to pull the Apostle off Zac.
The chaplain opens the door of the office.
SUPT. KWESI AKYAW
Come, take him away to his cell!
Three prison officers enter and lift Zac off the floor.
He is bleeding from the nose and the lips where the Apostle has punched him.
He looks at them with, incredibly, compassionate eyes.
I forgive you, Apostle! May God forgive you too.
He is taken away, and the three men inside watch him leave with impotent rage!
Location: GOLGOTHA HEIGHTS CHURCH
It is evening.
The gigantic and luxurious auditorium of the church is filled to capacity.
There are the usual congregation, and there are other people who have come to church just because of the court case and Zac’s imprisonment.
And then there are the journalists!
From television, radio, print and social platforms.
They are present to capture the views of the church leaders on the death sentence passed on Pastor Zac Larbi.
The raised platform where the Apostle and the Elders of the church sit is luxuriously-decorated with expensive leather chairs, a deep-seated sofa for the Apostle and his wife, a gigantic gold-framed portrait of Jesus and other Christian paraphernalia.
The cameras are rolling…
The Apostle is preaching, and his topic is on the joys of truly worshipping the living God.
Sitting on the front row in the congregation are Ama Boatemaa and her parents.
She is trying to be calm, but the Apostle’s words are really hurting her.
She begins to cry when the Apostle suddenly states that they visited Zac Larbi in prison, and he confessed to being a demon worshipper, and that he got his powers of healing and miracles from Satan.
No, no, no! What’s he saying? That can’t be true? Zac will never say such a thing!
Her mother, OBAAPA SISI, put an arm around her daughter’s shoulders and pulls her close.
Her father, AGYA KOFI, pats her hand reassuringly.
There, there, my dear! Do not fret yourself so much.
The Apostle continues to say a lot of derogatory things about Zac, and finally ends his preaching:
Today has been a sad day for me. Zac is more than a son to me, and to listen to him crying and begging to be forgiven by the congregation really cut my soul open. We prayed for him, and we exorcised the demonic spirits in him. He is going to die, yes, but we are convinced he will die a changed man, and his soul will be for the Lord.
We beseech the congregation to pray for him for the rest of the week. The will of our Lord will always be done, and no one can escape from sin even if they cloak themselves with the facade of being righteous! May the Lord be with us all!
There are cries of anguish from a lot of people in the congregation. People begin to weep again, and the cameras of the journalists go round slowly, capturing every scene.
Apostle Aboah sits beside his beautiful wife in the sofa, and he begins to weep uncontrollably, and his wife puts her arms around him to comfort him.
A tall, well-built middle-aged man stands up and walks towards the altar, his face very sad.
His impeccable suit, shoes, and ornaments indicate that he is a very wealthy man.
He raises a mournful beseeching sinner’s song as he picks up the microphone.
Several voices join in the song, and finally he stands behind the pulpit and speaks gravely.
(in a deeply accented voice)
I’m Elder Senanu Setorworfia! It is indeed a great shock to us that a man we so much respected, a man we so much believed in as having the spirit of God, finally turned out to be a demon-worshipper, filled with the vilest spirits! We’re going to pray, that God will spare us such a presence ever again in this church…
As he continues to speak, saying really bad things about Zac Larbi, a tall man in dark suit sitting in the back row stands up.
He is wearing a hat, and has a really thick beard, a full moustache and overgrown sideburns.
Conspicuously, he is wearing dark glasses even in the evening setting of the church.
He begins to walk down the aisle towards the podium with his hands linked behind his back.
When he passes the front row Ama Boatemaa suddenly gasps with shock.
Her mother looks at her with concern.
What’s it, my dear?
That’s the man, Sisi! The stranger at the court! The one who promised to take me to see Zac!
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