DEATH ROW Episode 3
Her parents look at the stranger who has now walked past the journalists and is climbing up to the podium where the Elder is still speaking.
There is… there is something about him… yes, something…
The stranger is approaching Elder Senanu.
All eyes are now fixed on him.
Even the Apostle and his wife are staring at him with questioning eyes.
Elder Senanu’s voice trails off as the stranger now stops very near to him.
Your name is Senanu Setorworfia.
His voice carries through the microphone and so everyone hears him.
The journalists are busy recording and taking pictures.
Yes, I am. But please, I’m in the middle of leading the prayers. If you will wait for a while, I’ll speak to you after the prayers, that is if it is me you want to speak to.
The stranger smiles wanly and places a hand on the Elder’s shoulder.
So, your Apostle says Pastor Larbi derived all the miraculous powers he exhibited right here in this church from demons, from Satan, to be precise. Do you also believe that?
There is stunned silence in the church.
The Elder licks his lips apprehensively, and he turns and looks at his Apostle for help.
Apostle Aboah stands up with sudden anger on his face. He walks forward fast even though his wife tries to hold his hand and whisper to him.
He now comes and stands by Elder Senanu’s side.
Listen, sir, we’re in the middle of a sermon, and the prayer session is one of the most important aspects. Kindly allow the Elder to continue. We’ll respond to any query that may be confusing you after the service.
The stranger looks at the man of God briefly.
Oh, actually I’m not confused in the least. On the contrary, I’m quite well elucidated about people that call themselves Christians and their selfish stands. Now, take Elder Senanu here, a man who has been married for almost twenty years without a child. However, it was right here in this church auditorium, roughly three years ago, when Pastor Zac called all childless couples to the come forward.
Six childless couples responded. He prayed for them, and told them to go home and make love because God has opened the wombs of the women and cleansed the seeds of the men. Six childless couples! Now, they all went home, and the wives, SIX WIVES, all got pregnant that day, and gave birth on the same day! Six wives gave birth to twins, each of them, a boy and girl, ON THE SAME DAY! Six different families, all getting children on the same day! Now, is that true or not?
The silence is electric.
It has shocked everybody present!
Ama Boatemaa clasps her hands in front of her as sheer joy rips through her.
Yes, tell them for me, sir! Remind them saa!
The Apostle’s face is filled with wrath. He takes a step forward again and reaches out to touch the stranger and push him back.
Now look here, stranger, if-
I tell you this, Apostle Kweku Aboah, and I’ll tell you only once. If you dare lay a hand on me, or touch me even slightly, you will be covered with leprosy from head to toe, and you will not be cured until the day you die. You will lose your mind, and you will grovel in the dust like a demented human, and you shall be in so much pain every day that you will pray for death for your pathetic, wretched soul!
He speaks softly, without violence, but the whole room suddenly freezes up, as if a blast of cold wind has passed through, and the windows of the church rattle with a hidden power as the words leave the stranger’s mouth.
It sizzles in the air dangerously, and Apostle Aboah, a survivor, suddenly takes a step backward, knowing deep within him that it is not a mere threat.
Suddenly he is scared, as he has never been scared in his life! Suddenly he knows he is not dealing with any ordinary man.
Sudden tears are now in the eyes of Elder Senanu as he hears the power in the stranger’s voice, a power that only an amazing God can put there.
Everything you said is true, sir.
You and your wife were part of those six childless couples Pastor Larbi prayed for that day, weren’t you?
Yes, sir, we were.
And your wife got pregnant, after twenty years of marriage, and gave birth to twins, a boy and girl! And you went to Pastor Zac Larbi and gave him fifty thousand cedis, but he refused it, and asked you to rather come and give the thanks to God. Is that not so, Elder Sena?
Elder Senanu is now trembling with remorse.
His wife, AFI SETORWORFIA, now gets up and rushes towards the stranger.
She falls down on her knees in front of him and grabs his right leg as terror breaks her face into lines of anguish.
Please, please, please… I beg of you, sir, not my children! Please don’t harm my children!
Don’t be silly, woman! How can I harm your children, when the Lord our Master Himself suffered children to come to him? Get off the floor this instant and let go my leg before I strike you with something hideous!
Again his voice holds no room for disobedience, and the woman scrambles quickly to her feet, wiping tears from her eyes as she stands besides her husband.
I’m sorry, sir! Very sorry!
You should be, and you should all be ashamed of yourself! Since Pastor Zac Larbi is considered a demon-worshipper, are you going to stand there and tell me the two children he prayed for, and helped you get, are from demons? Is that what you’re saying now, you wretched couple? Are you saying your twins are a gift from Satan?
No, sir! NO, SIR, PLEASE, PLEASE, NO, SIR!
Please. Please forgive us, sir!
And you better stop your blasphemous utterances, because only God, the Almighty, has the power to forgive sins! But listen, this is what you’re going to do. You built a new church building you were going to give to Pastor Larbi as another branch of this church, but because of what happened you have decided with your wife to sell the building.
My God! How did you know that, sir?
I know. You will not sell that building. The Lord of Hosts, the God we serve, wants that building to go to Pastor Larbi to establish a new church. God is going to use it to bring His flock home, do you understand me?
The Elder nods forlornly, so shocked that he can barely utter a word.
Yes, sir! Oh, yes sir!
The stranger turns then and faces the congregation.
He speaks softly.
There was a time King Herod captured James, the brother of John, and had him killed with a sword, and the whole country rejoiced! This pleased the wicked King, and he captured Peter, intending to kill him too. He kept Peter behind four groups of soldiers, and Peter was bound with chains and was sleeping in the middle of two soldiers!
But the Christians gathered, and PRAYED for Peter, and the Lord of Hosts sent his angel to Peter! The chains fell off Peter, and the angel led him out, and when they came to the iron gates the gates opened by themselves, and Peter walked free. It all happened because the church prayed! THEY PRAYED FOR PETER! But what do we see here?
Even if Pastor Zac Larbi is a demon-worshipper, this is the time he needs your prayers, not your condemnation! Christians should learn to pray for each other when someone is in trouble! You should stop the gossips, the rumour-mongering, judging others, the condemnation, the hypocrisy, the holier-than-thou attitudes, because you’re all nothing without the grace of our Lord God! Pray! PRAY FOR EACH OTHER!
The stranger looks around the church, and no one dares to speak.
Finally, he links his hands behind him again, turns, descends the steps and heads for the entrance of the church.
Elder Senanu, trembling, holds his wife’s hand and they turn and head towards the entrance.
Apostle Aboah is suddenly scared.
Elder Senanu is the biggest financier of church programmes, and he gives a lot of money in the church.
Elder? Elder Senanu, where are you going to? It is time to pray for Pastor Zac Larbi, please! That man is right, let’s pray! Come, Elder, please, let’s pray for Zac Larbi! ELDER SENANU, STOP THIS INSTANT, DAMN IT!!
But the Elder does not stop!
Ama Boatemaa and her parents get up too and follow the elder out of the church.
And then, in singles and in twos other people stand up and leave the church, turning deaf ears to the pastor’s screams!
Later, a male journalist flips through the pictures he has taken on his camcorder, and his face suddenly looks alarmed as he flicks the screen continuously.
Oh, no, no, no, no!!
A female friend from another station looks at him with raised eyebrows.
What’s it, my friend?
It is gone! All my pictures and videos of that strange man! They’re all gone!
What? You don’t mean it!
She also sets up her camera and checks.
Her photos and video recordings of the stranger’s dramatic show in the church are all gone!
And soon the news spread.
All the journalists frantically search for their coverage, which they want to be their main headlines.
It is the same.
None of them has the recordings or photos of the stranger.
Somehow, miraculously, every photo and video coverage taken of that strange man has vanished!
Who was that man? Who the hell was that stranger?
Location: THE AMPONSAH RESIDENCE
Mrs. AKUA AMPONSAH pushes open her daughter’s door.
Yaa Pomaa is lying on the bed in her beautiful night gown.
She is lying on her stomach, a laptop in front of her as she chats with her friends.
She looks up when the door opens and smiles at her mother.
There’s a call for you, dear, on the main line.
Yaa Pomaa turns over.
She is a very beautiful girl indeed, as sweet as the morning dew, and as lovely as the Garden of Eden.
Who is it, Mom? Is it Ato?
(shaking her head)
Just pick the call, dear.
Yaa Pomaa puckers her lips with mock annoyance and reaches for the receiver.
Just then her father appears behind her mother, his face filled with reproach as he looks at his wife.
Yaa Pomaa lifts the receiver.
The voice at the other end of the phone is gentle, hurt and shattered.
Yaa. Is this how you treat me? You’ve never bothered to visit me in more than a year since my arrest, and you refuse to pick my calls. Why, Yaa? What have I done to you to deserve this?
Yaa Pomaa gasps, and looks at her mother with sudden accusing eyes filled with anger.
Zac! Why are you doing this to me? I’ve removed our engagement ring and given it back to Apostle Aboah, together with all the other items you presented! My parents have sent them back to Apostle Aboah, Zac! Please, stop pestering me! It is over between us!
Oh, Yaa! So you also believe me capable of these terrible crimes? So you never even loved me just a little bit?
Stop it, Zac, please! You don’t expect me to stay engaged to a man who raped five women, killed them, cut of their heads and ate their hearts, do you? Can you just imagine the trauma my family and I went through, Zac? Please, I beg of you, stop calling me! I’ve now accepted Ato’s proposal, and we’re going to get married. Please, stay away from me. The little time you have left, you should use it to pray to God to forgive you!
Ato? Ato Quaicoe? You’re going to marry the boy who made you pregnant once and refused to accept responsibility, forcing you to abort the baby and almost dying in the process? Is that the boy you’re going to marry now?
Stop judging me, Zac! He has changed! His parents came to see mine! His father is also one of the richest men in the church and Apostle Aboah has already blessed the union! It is over, Zac. I’m sorry, but it’s over between you and me!
Yaa! How can you treat me this way? Please, my love, don’t do this to me! Don’t break my heart in this most painful moment, in this darkest hour of my life!
Yaw Pomaa’s father, KWADWO BOSOMFI AMPONSAH, walks forward, takes the receiver from her hand, and slams it down on the phone.
Yaa Pomaa is weeping now.
Her father sits on the bed and takes her in his arms
It is okay, my love, it is okay. Everything is going to be fine!
His wife watches them for a while and shakes her head.
Kwadwo, are you sure we’re doing the right thing?
Her husband looks angrily at her.
What’s wrong with you, Akua? Why did you let her speak to that evil boy? I’m warning you for the very last time, Akua, don’t ever let that evil man near our daughter again!
None of you were in church yesterday evening, Kwadwo! I keep telling you there was a stranger there, a very terrible man who shut down the Apostle and almost cursed him! That man spoke like an angel, Yaa, and he says Zac might be innocent!
Innocent my ass! Innocent? That boy is a devil, and by this time tomorrow he will be dead! Yaa is going to marry Ato, and that is the end of the matter!
Open your eyes, Kwadwo! Is it because Ato’s parents are rich? He’s bad for your daughter, Kwadwo! He’s a womanizer, a smoker, a liar, irresponsible, and a woman-beater and heaven knows what else!
You know it is true, dear! I’m just trying to help!
Well, you’re not helping! I’m your daughter, so please support what I want! Zac is a murderer, and will be dead by tomorrow! Just support me, Mom, that is all I’m asking!
(shaking her head slowly)
If you had been in church last evening, and heard that stranger, you wouldn’t be saying this! I only pray for you, and hope for the best for you. It is my hope that your dreams come true, Yaa, and I hope you don’t live to regret this day, both of you.
She turns and leaves the room.
Yaa Pomaa weeps, and her enraged father consoles her.
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