Sunday, July 20, 2014

Flash Fiction: What If The Devil Repented?

‎It was an intense service.

The short and stocky p‎reacher, sporting his trademark pot-belly and multi-colored tie, had led the church in vibrant prayers for upwards of an hour. Demons had been bound and re-bound multiple times, enemies had been thoroughly burnt by fire for the third time that month, and witches of the flying variety had been struck off their brooms by lightning.

I sat in the far corner of the church, nursing a headache from all the noise and trying hard to make myself inconspicuous. My dark shirt and stone-washed jeans blended smoothly into the shadows, and I glanced down at my wristwatch at intervals - waiting for the stroke of nine when this service, nay punishment, would end. Then I would get my chance to walk Ibidun home. My Ibidun. Maybe she would even let me hold her hands this time.

The choir struck up a fast paced song and worshippers started to dance in sharp and isolated motions that reminded me of an Irish jig. The preacher wrapped the microphone cord around his fore-arm as he exhorted the church to clap their hands and stamp the ground as if it were the devil. The racket went up from all around the building as the poor ground, nay devil, took a beating.

And then something happened. The whole auditorium was suddenly plunged into darkness. A few members of the choir sang on for a few notes, then stopped after realizing the sound system had been disabled. Likewise the drummer. Likewise the preacher.

The silence was eerie, and I stood to my feet, startled, as I contemplated what could be responsible for the power outage. A quick glance towards the Choir seats reassured me Ibidun was still standing there. I could not make out her face across the distance, but take away the Sun and I would still know that physique in pitch darkness.

And then a young child spoke, his voice carrying across the vast expanse of the auditorium and echoing in the ‎corners.

"Daddy. I have a question." He paused, maybe to gather his wits and summon more courage - and then continued.

"What would happen if the ‎devil chose to repent tonight?"

‎The preacher must have been stunned, as he gave no response for a few seconds that seemed like an eternity in the darkened, silenced church auditorium.

Another little child answered from across the building. "My daddy says Nigeria will be in trouble if that happens. He will join the PDP as soon as he repents".‎‎

*****


(Inspired by a question I asked in a service in the late 90's that went unanswered, and a conversation on Chxta's facebook wall this morning).‎

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