Thursday, December 8

2

The Great Man of God

by Daniel Nkado



I felt the power of His presence from a hundred yards away.


It was nothing like I have ever experienced before.

It was thick.

Strong.

Numbing.

Inside the chapel, a sizable compound that has been swept so clean you’d wonder if it had been done by angels, I paid the consultation fee and collected my number.

I was number 22.

The 22nd person to see the great prophet.

I couldn’t be happier. Had I not woken up around 4 am to start getting ready, I would have been in the hundreds. Those people who might have to come back the next day because the man of God rarely worked past noon.

Once tired, all in waiting will have to depart.

I couldn’t imagine finding myself in that small, sad group.

Inside the waiting hall, I passed a few legs to reach the seat at the far end, near the wide and screened window.

I could have greeted them, but it is a standing rule that we do not make any noise.

Better not to greet anybody than find myself in the bad book of the mighty prophet.

It was a few minutes past 10 when it finally came to my turn.

My chest throbbed, my legs shaky.

Finally I pushed the door slightly and let myself in.

And I saw him.

The great Anointed.

He looked smaller than I’d ever could have imagined.

The way he perched on his big seat gave the feeling that the padded furniture wasn’t originally made for him.

I greeted him with a bow, he responded with a nod.

I kept standing, praying my awe-softened legs did not give way and I would fall.

Finally I heard him. ‘Sit down,’ he said.

His voice was the gentle flow of holiness.

I took the other of the two consulting chairs on the left.

He asked me my name and I told him.

Chukwuneche Ofonatoduaga.

His thin lips stretched feebly as though he meant to smile.

I became more afraid.

Perhaps he already knew my name days before I finally decided to come.

They said he knows everything. Sees everything. Hears everything. He worked hand in hand with the Almighty.

He asked what had brought me, why I have come.

I told him.

He made the show of that his smile again.

Again, my fear surged.

It took minutes before he started.

‘I see a woman,’ he said.

I nodded, my bare toes wriggling around each other.

‘A very old woman.’

I nodded again.

‘She has a photograph of you, oh…’ he paused, quite so abruptly.

My heart skipped some beats.

‘Neche, what is your relationship with your mother like?’ the prophet asked.

He called me Neche, the familiar short form of my name – as though he’d known me before.

‘Sir, did you say mother?’ I asked.

‘Your mother, yes.’

‘We were fine, sir.’

‘I mean what is the real relationship between you and your mother?’

I looked on. ‘Nothing of note, great prophet. We were fine. I can’t remember anything.’

He hummed, and then smiled again.

‘I saw a woman. I saw a woman take your photograph to somewhere very dark and evil…oh God!’

I became scared.

‘Oh my God!’ the prophet screamed again, still in his slow theatrical tone. ‘Neche tell me the actual relationship between you and your mother!’

‘Sir, we were fine. I really can’t remember anything.’

He shook his head, as if amused by my show of ignorance.

‘I saw a woman pull at her hair to swear. She said anything you lay your hand on would crumble. Which year did your shop got burnt?’

‘2010, man of God.’

‘Which year did robbers attack your home?’

‘Same 2010, sir. Just a few weeks after.’

‘Hmmm.’ He was smiling and shaking his head now.

I felt like crying.

‘Go.’ His voice rose. ‘Go! Tell your mother to release you. Tell her I said she should release you. Just say this to her once and return to my chapel again.’

‘But?’

‘Don’t exchange words with her, do you hear? Just tell her what I said and turn back and leave. Don’t exchange words with her!’

‘Prophet, but?’

‘Go! I said you can go!’

‘But prophet, don’t be angry o, this my mother you refer to is it the one that died since 2006 when I was still in the university?’

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