Bobo the Killer and Pastor Bonifius Kwabla Atoklu were still waiting outside when the first inmates of the shrine came trooping out with cries of happiness and freedom, freed by the strange handsome man who was going around the shrine.
The two men waited anxiously, and soon enough Jon Fii appeared with the limp body of the fetish priestess in his arms.
They rushed to meet him, glad that he was still alive, and awed that his hideous wounds had miraculously disappeared.
It was quite dark in Obosomfie now, but it was still drizzling.
Bobo took Sophia from Jon Fii’s arms because he appeared to be tired from carrying her.
“Where are we taking the witch, pastor?” Bobo asked.
“To her parents’ house,” Jon Fii answered. “And please, she’s not a witch anymore. She’s going to be my wife.”
“Habba, pastor, you craze, I swear!” Bobo cried with horror. “This woman that can fly? And bury you in the grave? And chook you with a knife? Ah, pastor, you have fibroid!”
“She’s alright now, Bobo, my brother,” Jon said in a tired, resigned voice as they moved along the paths of the district.
There were still many people around. Some were still celebrating the rainfall, and many were fetching water from barrels that had been used to harvest the rainfall through the roof gutters.
But, when they saw the three men moving through the town with the inert form of the priestess, they stopped what they were doing and followed them with fear and intrigue being the overriding expressions on their faces.
And by the time they reached the huge, beautiful, sprawling house of the rich Mr. and Mrs. Manu, the crowd following them was quite great! The house-helps opened the main gate and led them inside.
The crowd waited outside.
Jon took Sophia from Bobo when they entered the living-room.
It was a huge, comfortable room.
A generating plant was on, so it was lighted nicely.
The elderly couple in the room looked gentle but gaunt.
The man was short and powerfully-built with iron-grey hair, and he was wearing big knee-length shorts and a huge, loose top.
Sophia had taken her incredible beauty from her mother.
The elderly woman was wearing a long, purple dress with a scarf around her hair, and even at that age she was a flaming beauty. Sophia was an exact replica of her.
She gasped with horror and sudden fear when she saw the limp form of her daughter in the pastor’s arms.
“Nana Yaa!” she cried and rushed forward to touch the girl’s face, her eyes roaming Jon Fii’s face with horror.
“She’s alright, ma’am,” Jon said kindly. “I have to take her to her room upstairs and pray for her.”
“This way, pastor, this way!” Mr. Manu said urgently and led the way up the ornate staircase on their left.
Her room was huge and beautiful, still having the toys she had had as a six-year-old before she was taken to the shrine. There were framed pictures of her and her proud parents on the wall.
Her bed was huge and special, carved with a brilliant design that was both pretty and restful to look at.
Jon Fii stretched her out gently on the bed, and then he moved to the windows and closed them. Mrs. Manu knelt beside the bed and took one of her hands. There were tears of anguish in her eyes.
“She’s not breathing!” she whispered tremulously. “Oh, is she going to be alright?”
Mr. Manu put a hand on Jon’s shoulder.
“Help my daughter, please,” he whispered in a pained voice.
“She’s going to be fine,” Jon said with a reassuring smile. “God is going to heal her. Please, leave us alone.”
Mr. Manu had a hectic time prying his wife away, but finally they all left the room, and Jon Fii shut the door.
It was a long night for him.
He sang, he worshipped, he praised… and he prayed!
On his knees, standing, with hands raised, with hands clasped behind him, with his forehead to the floor, and with tears of anguish, Jon Fii prayed for Sophia, beseeching the God he worshipped to save the girl from the grasp of evil.
He prayed through the night, ceaselessly, passionately, emotionally, prayers wrenched from the deepest part of his soul!
The prayers of a righteous man!
And, in the wee hours of the dawn, as he knelt beside the bed with his head on his clasped hands, he dozed off finally.
He became awake with a start and felt a hand moving gently and tenderly across his head. Jon was numb from kneeling for so long, and felt the needling painful tingling in his veins as blood tried to push through his numbed veins.
He raised his head and looked into her eyes.
She smiled at him from that beautiful face, and her hand gently moved against his cheek. With a strangled cry she moved towards him suddenly and wrapped her arms around his head, pressing his face against the warm, soft, and incredible comforts of her breasts.
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“Jon!” she cried, and her body shook with sudden tears of relief. “Thank you, dear. Oh, thank you for not giving up on me.”
Jon Fii put his arms around her and squeezed her tightly, and his fear ebbed out of his body as a great feeling of peace and happiness engulfed him. They remained like that for a long time, and then he finally spoke against her breasts, his voice muffled.
“The way I’m feeling, I think I must leave,” he said finally. “I can’t kick you like I’ve been kicking others, so I guess I have to flee before I make God angry.”
“I affect you that much?” she whispered with a passionate giggle as her tears fell on his shoulder.
“Yeah, you do, you witch,” he said tenderly.
“Ah,” she said. “I feel it too. Haven’t felt that way for any man. But, this is nice, really nice. Do you want to kiss me?”
“With all my soul, but I cannot do that, because I cannot stop when I do that,” he said softly. “But I cannot live my life like that, so I’ll baptize you, and make you my wife.”
She gasped and stiffened, and then she pushed back from him and gazed into his tired, upturned face with eyes that were blurred with tears.
“Jon!” she whispered. “What did you say?”
“Marry me, please,” he whispered tenderly. “I don’t know how this started, and how it came to bind me this tightly, and so I must assume this is how God intends it to be. I’ve never uttered these words before to anyone, Nana Yaa. But I adore you. Your beauty takes my breath away, and I want to hold you like this for the rest of my life. Please, because you now hold a great part of my happiness, marry me.”
He saw how sweet and innocent her face became.
In the end, she was just a young, lovely, girl whose life had been stolen, and had been presented with a second chance. Gone was the hatred and the fierce evil. Hers was pure innocence and joy now, a joy that made her bloom out like a petal unfolding in the last glows of the dying sun.
She was beautiful and lovely, a sight that would be etched for eternity in his heart. Her tears fell on his upturned face as she nodded, unable to speak, and then held his face in both hands and suddenly lowered her head, and then her warm, sweet lips found his.
It shook him to the very foundations of his soul, and for a moment he was lost in that exploratory kiss of two virgins discovering paradise. But, somehow, he found the strength to come up for breath and jumped to his feet with a haunted look on his face as he watched her giggling and putting a hand across her lips, her face filled with mischief and happiness.
“Yaa, don’t do that!” he said panting.
Giggling, she pointed to the noticeable bulge distending his trousers.
“What’s that, Yaw Bosomfi?” she giggled. “Snake in your trousers?”
“Oh, Yaa!” he said as he broke into giggles. “You’ll be the fall of me! Get up! Your parents are dying to see you!”
She gasped suddenly, and a look of dismay came across her face.
“I hurt them, Jon!” she whispered. “I was so mean to them when I was… when I became the fetish priestess! My hurt was within, I guess, somehow hating them for giving me up! So, I refused to see them, and treated them badly!”
“Their love for you always remained strong,” he said gently. “Go to them.”
She nodded suddenly, bounced out of the bed and raced to the door.
When she threw it open, she saw her troubled parents in the corridor.
“Yaa!” Mrs. Manu shouted and held out her arms as tears engulfed her!
Without a word Sophia embraced her parents, and the three held each other tightly as their tears fell, and washed away the years of heartache, pain, bitterness, and helplessness.
Later, glowing in the strength of their reunion, they entered the room, and found Pastor Jon Fii fast asleep on the bed.
And he was snoring slightly.
“Finally, a real pastor,” Mr. Manu said gently.
“Heard he has a real machine gun!” Mrs. Manu said with a happy giggle.
“I love him,” Sophia said tenderly as she looked down at his handsome face. “And I’m going to marry him.”
“Praise God for that!” Mrs. Manu said happily. “Oh, what a day! What a day the Lord has made!”
to be continued