DEATH ROW Episode 4
Location: GRAND CASTLE PRISON
The door of the small VISITORS’ ROOM 1 opens.
The room has a small table and just two metallic chairs bolted to the floor. There is a chair on each side of the metallic table.
Zac Larbi is led inside by two armed prison officials.
As usual his hands are handcuffed, and his feet chained.
He is wearing the white uniform of prisoners with black stars in them.
He looks up and sees AMA BOATEMAA sitting on one of the chairs looking at him silently with tears falling down her eyes.
Across the room is a tall bearded gentleman leaning against the wall with his arms folded across his chest.
The moment Zac sees AMA BOATEMAA tears come to his eyes, and his legs buckle for a moment.
Ama! Oh, no, no, no! I can’t take this! Please, please, take me back! I can’t face her, please!
AMA BOATEMAA, traumatized, gets out of the chair and rushes at Pastor Zac Larbi, but one of the armed guards moves forward and prevents her from embracing the prisoner, his face grim.
You can’t touch the prisoner, miss. Sit down. You have just ten minutes.
AMA BOATEMAA turns a tortured face towards the bearded stranger leaning against the wall.
The man says nothing, just watches them.
Saddened, AMA BOATEMAA walks back to the chair and sits down.
Zac is staring fixedly at the stranger with a slight frown, and with very bright eyes.
One of the guards pushes Zac into the chair, and then he walks towards the metal door and raps on it.
There is the sound of the door being locked from the outside.
The guards stand on each side of the door with their guns held at the ready across their chests.
The stranger then moves from the wall and stretches his hand, and suddenly the heads of both guards drop to their chests, although they are still standing and holding their guns.
And then both of them begin to snore gently.
They are asleep.
AMA BOATEMAA and Zac look at each other, stunned.
The stranger waves his hand again, and the chains and handcuffs around Zac’s hands and ankles fall away silently.
Zac is free.
They both look at the stranger with absolute awe.
He nods once.
You can hug him now, Ama, if you still want to, that is.
The girl makes a strangled sob in her throat, and stands up.
Zac also stands, and the two of them move round the table, and are soon clasped in the fiercest of embraces, whispering endearments as they weep heartbreakingly.
Oh, Zacky, Zacky, Zacky!! You will kill me, Zacky!!
I wronged you, Ama! I hurt you! You shouldn’t be here! Oh, I’m so ashamed! Curse on the day I turned away from your love, Ama! Curse be the day I allowed them to confuse me, to deceive me with those fake visions of Yaa Pomaa and me! Forgive me, Ama, my love!
Their hug is fierce, their love great, their emotions strong.
Ama Boatemaa winds her arms around Zac’s neck, and she draws his head down.
Nothing to forgive, my love! In the end, our love reigned. I hear Yaa is going to marry that crazy Ato!
Yes, she told me. I spoke to her on the phone this morning. I still erroneously believed she and I were meant to be together, but seeing you here, after all the pain I gave you, proves to me that you, and not Yaa, is my true partner in the vineyard of our Lord. Ama, my only true love! Forgive me, Ama Boatemaa! I love only you.
Their lips come dangerously close together.
You two better behave yourselves. The spirit of the Living God is in our presence, and you better show some respect before I struck you down!
Both of them look at him, and even though they are still crying, funny smiles split their faces.
Oh, sir, please! He could be gone tomorrow. At least, let me kiss him once!
Yes, please, just once, before I die, let me feel the kiss of true love.
The law of the Lord knows no compromises, fools! Sin is sin, and you better kill that fornicating spirit rearing up between you before I strike you down with incurable leprosy! Enough! Sit down now.
The two of them part reluctantly and sit down on the metallic chairs.
They hold hands.
Zac cannot take his eyes off the stranger.
He is awed.
I had a dream last night. I was fasting and I was praying and my soul was down, and I fell asleep, and I saw you, and I knew my God has sent someone to come and comfort me.
Good. You speak true vision. But frankly, I don’t know in which direction the Lord is leading me. I’ll ask a question, and if you lie the spirit of the Living God we serve will strike you dead right this instant!
I’ve never been one to lie to the spirit of God, sir. All my life, I’ve asked God to do as He sees fit. That is why I’m of good cheer today, because the strife I’m going through is not even remotely close to what Job went through. And I know my God will not suffer me to go through a strife I can’t cope with. Please, sir, ask your question.
Did you kill those women?
As God is my witness, I’ve never laid eyes on the women before.
The stranger sighs, looking puzzled and sad for a moment.
Then what happened? It means that whilst you were asleep at Camp Golgotha, with no one in your room except yourself, someone who looked exactly like you was creeping around the dark committing these atrocious crimes!
Or someone dressed like me.
No. That cannot be possible. No mask will be that perfect. The person walked like you, talked like you, dressed like you… in fact, he was you in every detail. And yet, I perceive you were never born a twin! How can this riddle be resolved?
Then I have no idea who he is, sir. I’m at peace, though. May the will of God be done in my life. If I live, I’ll live for the Lord, and if I die tomorrow, I’ll die in the Lord. That is all my soul needs.
I’m at my wit’s end. I don’t know what to do next, but yes, the Will of the Lord will be done, and I will be shown a way. Now, if you don’t mind, we have to go because time is of the utmost essence now. You two can continue later, when you are set free, Zac.
Zac jumps to his feet, and there is the jingle of chains, and he looks, alarmed, and sees that once again the handcuffs are around his wrists, and the chains are around his feet, miraculously.
That is so awesome, sir! Maybe, one day, God will consider me fit too, and fill me with such anointing as you have. I don’t suppose you’re going to tell me your name, are you? In the dream I had, your face kept changing, and I couldn’t see it clearly. It seemed to me that God sent someone to help me, but I wouldn’t know that person’s name.
My name is of no import to you now, Zac Larbi. I’ll leave now.
He snaps his fingers, and the guards open their eyes, and one immediately glances at his watch.
Ten minutes are up! Visiting is over!
Zac and Ama Boatemaa smile at each other, and he raises her hand to his lips.
Keep praying, my love. Maybe all is not lost.
I’ll be waiting for you outside, my love. We have the rest of our lives together.
The two doors on each side of the room open simultaneously.
Zac is taken through one, and the visitors leave through the other.
Once outside, they sit in the stranger’s plush car and he drives away in silence.
Ama Boatemaa suddenly reaches out and places her hand on that of the stranger as it lies on the steering-wheel.
What ails you now, miss?
Thank you, sir. Thank you very much!
(glancing at her)
Thank the good Lord, not me. Unless you want-
I beg you, I don’t want any leprosy from head to toe. I thank God very much.
That’s more like it, damsel.
Damsel. DAMSEL? Who uses damsel nowadays?
Location: CENTRAL POLICE STATION
All the necessary documentation for the execution of Pastor Zac Larbi have been obtained and duly signed.
At the Central Police Station, the Member of Parliament, the Chief Executive Officer of the Metropolis, Judge Atinga Awedaga and Chief Inspector Kwabena Bediako are putting final touches to some of the documentation.
They are in a small conference room.
The room is plush and air-conditioned.
There is a knock, and a Sergeant walks in with unease written all over his face.
The people in the room are sitting around a rectangular glass-topped table.
CHIEF INSPECTOR BEDIAKO
Yes, Sergeant, what can we do for you?
Erm, there’s a man outside, sir, saying it is urgent he sees you. He says it is about the Zac Larbi case.
CHIEF INSPECTOR BEDIAKO
And this man gave his name as?
He wouldn’t say, sir. He only-
And that is when the door opens again and the tall stranger enters.
He is wearing dark-blue trousers with a white shirt and matching tie, and he has a white hat on his head and brown sunglasses.
His face is covered with a lot of hair: side-burns, beard, moustache.
He walks forward without any hesitation, and there is something about his demeanour that brooks no argument.
He stops and regards the four people in the room.
You people should postpone the execution because you’re about to kill an innocent man.
The people around the table look at each other with varying expressions of anger, irritation and mirth on their faces.
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
And who might you be, sir? And who gave you the authority to come in here with your nonsense?
The stranger turns his attention to him.
I’m not subject to your authority, sir, or any authority under the sun.
DISTRICT CHIEF EXECUTIVE
Another nutcase. A self-styled evangelist, no doubt, living in the woods.
Chief Inspector, would you please get this clown out of here?
You will listen to what I have to tell you. If you go ahead with this execution, the wrath of God will be on you, because the blood you’re about to spill is innocent blood, and the human life you’re about to end is God’s anointed vessel.
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
Will you cut out that crap, you mad b******? Arrest this man, Bediako!
How can he arrest me, when he can’t even get out of his chair?
All of them begin to speak at once, with varying degrees of anger.
Chief Inspector Kwabena Bediako puts his hand on the glass-topped table to leverage himself up, but he finds out suddenly that he cannot stand up.
He tries again and again, but it seems his body is suddenly glued, and although he can move his hand and legs, he cannot leverage himself up! He simply cannot get out of his chair!
The others are staring at him with anger at first, and then all of them try to stand up, and they find out that they also cannot move out of their chairs.
After several attempts to stand up and failing to do so, they turn stunned and scared eyes on the stranger, whose face is impassive and whose eyes had a glint of fury in them.
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
A f****** magician, are you? No wonder you’re dealing with the same demonic powers that evil Pastor deals in!
There’s no evil power that can be capable of rendering all of you powerless to move. You watch your words, mister. You’re slowly stoking my ire, and believe me, you won’t like it one bit if I get angry at you for ridiculing the ways of the Lord. Like I’m saying, you should postpone the execution. It shouldn’t happen tomorrow.
CHIEF INSPECTOR BEDIAKO
And why? WHY?? You’re being abstract and absolutely nonsensical! If you have some evidence, Mister, give it, and stop trying to scare us with your supernatural powers!
You seem like a fair man, Mr. Bediako. Has it occurred to you, watching all the videos of the killer, that he used his right hand dominantly, whilst Pastor Zac Larbi is left-handed?
Is that all the evidence you have? He could’ve have used his right hand deliberately, and that is exactly what he did.
The stranger turns his gaze on him, and his face is not nice at that moment at all.
I watched you in the courtroom, Mr. Awedega. I’ve had the compulsion ever since, and the urge, to do something to hurt you because, of a truth, you did fill me with ire in that courtroom with your blatant disregard for the human characteristic called truth. If I had had my way, you would’ve suffered a most tragic malady in that courtroom.
As it is, my ire is severely stoked, and my control is stretched to the utmost. I’ll give you a modicum of advice, though. It will be in your best interest not to utter any word further, otherwise I will call the wrath of the Almighty on you, and believe me, Mr. Judge, you won’t find the judgement I give you savoury in the least!
He speaks with such passion, with such authority, and with such malice, that it finally communicates to the people in the room that indeed, the stranger is somebody they do not want to cross.
There is a sudden coldness in the room, and a palpable danger, and many a throat goes dry.
Judge Awedega seems to shrink further into his seat, and on his face is palpable fear.
CHIEF INSPECTOR BEDIAKO
You don’t really believe you can just walk in here and tell us to stay execution for a day, and we follow like lame sheep, do you? No, Mister, you need to give us something more, otherwise the execution will go on. That is the law of this country. A competent court of law and the Appeals Court both found him guilty!
This is the law! And the Bible even stipulates that what belongs to Caesar should go to Caesar! So give us something more, otherwise your threats will not avail to anything!
The stranger looks at the policeman and nods.
Like I said, you’re a fair man. The crimes levelled against Pastor Zac Larbi were in truth committed by his doppelganger. Tomorrow, you’ll execute Pastor Zac Larbi in the morning, six a.m. By seven a.m. the doppelganger will commit the same crime at the same point. If you delay the execution by even one hour, you will catch the doppelganger in the act.
The stranger turns then and leaves the room.
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