Death Row Episode 5

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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.

AGYA KOFI

(softly)

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.

THE STRANGER

(calmly)

Your name is Senanu Setorworfia.

His voice carries through the microphone and so everyone hears him.

The journalists are busy recording and taking pictures.

ELDER SENA

(apprehensively)

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.

THE STRANGER

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.

APOSTLE ABOAH

(frostily)

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.

THE STRANGER

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 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.

AMA BOATEMAA

(whispering)

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.

APOSTLE ABOAH

(pugnaciously)

Now, look here, stranger, if-

THE STRANGER

(softly)

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.

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ELDER SENA

(miserably)

Everything you said is true, sir.

THE STRANGER

(tightly)

You and your wife were part of those six childless couples Pastor Larbi prayed for that day, weren’t you?

ELDER SENA

(trembling)

Yes, sir, we were.

THE STRANGER

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.

AFI

(weeping)

Please, please, please… I beg of you, sir, not my children! Please don’t harm my children!

THE STRANGER

(frostily)

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 beside her husband.

AFI

I’m sorry, sir! Very sorry!

THE STRANGER

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?

AFI

(horrified)

No, sir! NO, SIR, PLEASE, PLEASE, NO, SIR!

ElDER SENA

(remorsefully)

Please. Please forgive us, sir!

THE STRANGER

(calmly)

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.

ELDER SENA

(stunned)

My God! How did you know that, sir?

THE STRANGER

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.

ELDER SENA

Yes, sir! Oh, yes sir!

The stranger turns then and faces the congregation.

He speaks softly.