Faith

Encountering the Altar Wolf II-By Edward Maroncha

(Continued from Encountering the Altar Wolf I)

Sheila gets into her car and weeps. Why is this happening to her? Is God this cruel? Why is He doing this to her just when she had gone back to him, and when she thought she had her life together?  She had found a righteous man to love and cherish forever. And then it turns to this?

She is still crying when her friend Stella calls. She watches the phone ring until the call terminates. But Stella calls again. Sheila knows that her friend has this annoying habit of calling a thousand times until her calls are picked. It sometimes drives her (Sheila) crazy, but that Stella. She composes herself and picks the call.

“Hello.”

“Sheila, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing. Why?”

“Isaac just posted on the youth group WhatsApp group that he is resigning from his position as our leader because you led him to sin. Wait, have you been crying? What really is going on?”

“He did what?” Sheila cannot contain herself anymore and starts crying again.

“Where are you?”

“In the parking lot of his estate. I don’t know whether I can even drive, Stella. The fool raped me even when I begged him not to.”

“I am on my way.”

Stella is a small bodied woman, standing at only 5’2 and with a lean frame. But that tiny body exudes lots of energy. And there is nothing she loves better than being in the service of her friends. She is intelligent too, and her brains plus her endless energy have seen her rise to the position of Human Resources Director at only 34. She doesn’t usually rub in her title when interacting with her colleagues, but they all respect her nonetheless.

She knows where Isaac lives. Youth officials of the church have held meetings in the leader’s house many times. She arrives in an Uber, pays the guy and as she is trying to explain to the guard the purpose of her visit, she spots Sheila’s blue Toyota Ractis.

“That is my friend in that Ractis. She has fallen sick and is unable to drive, so she asked me to pick her up.”

The guard looks at her suspiciously.

“Where is she sick?”

“I don’t know. We could go and ask her.”

They walk to Sheila’s car where they find her still crying.

“Madam, what is the problem?” the guard asks. Sheila does not respond and just continues crying.

Stella opens the drivers and gently pulls her out. As Stella helps her to the back seat, the guard decides that nothing fishy is going on and returns to his post at the gate. He opens the gate and waits. Stella starts the car and drives it straight to a police station.

“What are we doing here?” Sheila asks when it finally dawns on her what has just happened. “I thought you were taking me home?”

Stella does not respond immediately. She parks the car, closes the windows and the side mirrors and then switches off the engine. She turns and faces the backseat.

“Did you get raped or not?”

“I did but…”

“Good. Then we will do what we have to do. We will go in there and make a report. Then we will go hospital and get you checked while the evidence against that crook is still intact.”

“Why are you doing this? You seem even more upset than I am.”

“You are my sister, Sheila. I have known you for years, I have seen you grow in your faith, I introduced you to our church, and therefore to Isaac. When you were hesitant about him, I vouched for him. If he has done this despicable thing against you, then he has wronged me personally and I swear I will make him pay.”

“You are aware who his father is, aren’t you?”

“Yes I am. His father is certainly not the God that I worship.”

Sheila chuckles, and Stella smiles. They both know what Sheila had been driving at. Deacon Mutua, Isaac’s father, is an influential businessman. He is a church deacon, but Deacon is also his first name. He is a quiet and polite man, but those who know him know that he is a ruthless businessman who will go to any lengths to get what he wants. Sheila and Stella watched as the company they work for nearly collapsed as their billionaire founder and chairman went head to head against Deacon in a tender war. Their company had the technical capacity, the financial muscle and the professionalism for the job, but Deacon had the political connections that their chairman didn’t. Under constant harassment from regulatory institutions, the police and the EACC, their chairman backed out of the tender war. The harassment stopped the same day he announced that the company was dropping its bid.

Stella, as a senior employee of the company, was privy to what was going on. The chairman keeps a committee of six: himself, the company’s CEO, the Company Secretary & Head of Legal, the Chief Accountant, the Marketing Director and the HR Director, who is Stella. While they are supposed to keep him updated on what is going on with the company, he also keeps them updated on anything he does that touches on the company. During that tender war, Stella watched up close how far Deacon was willing to go get his way. She struggled to reconcile this with her image of the pleasant but slightly aloof church treasurer.

It became a personal crisis for her, a faith crisis rather, and she shared it with her friend Sheila, who had not even given her life to Christ at that point.

“Some of these things he is doing are not Godly, Sheila.”

“Its business, Stella,” Sheila had told her. “These are two billionaires locking horns. They are playing games with each other. I am sure if our boss Simon had the political advantage that Deacon has, he would use it. And I personally don’t see how it goes against his Christian faith. It is not like he is crushing the poor and destitute or anything. He is just holding his own in a war of equals. I don’t think Christ would have wanted His children to be pushovers who roll over at the slightest challenge.”

After the bidding war ended, and having taken Sheila’s words to heart, Stella forgot all the misgivings she had started to develop against the church treasurer. But now all those misgivings are back with a roar. And ironically, it is Sheila who has reminded her what the man represents.

“I know Isaac will use his father to fight us, Sheila. But we have to be strong and believe that God will fight for us. I am also holding out hope that what you told me last year is true.”

“What?”

“That Deacon is a Godly man, and will not use his wealth and influence to fight the poor and destitute.”

“That is difficult for a human being to resist, especially if his son is facing a jail term. Even a Christian is human too. The man will come at us with everything he has.”

Stella sits pensively for a while before speaking again.

“You know I was raped as a child and I never got justice. It was traumatizing to see that idiot smiling at me every time our paths crossed in the village paths. That is why this is so personal for me. But I also realize that this is not my battle. It is yours. So the question is, do you want to do this or not?”

Sheila suddenly opens the back door of the car.

“Let’s do it,” she says with sudden conviction. “Let them kill us if they want to but we have to it.”

“Do what?” a police officer who has come to see why they have parked at the station while not getting out asks.

“File a report.”

“What kind of report?”

“I have been raped.”

“Are you saying you that you did not enjoy it?”

Sheila nearly slaps the cop but Stella intervenes.

“That is really up to the court to decide, officer, isn’t?” she says, pulling Sheila away towards the reporting office. The officer smirks and walks out of the gate.

“Are these the people we are expecting to help us?” Sheila asks.

“Keep the faith my dear.”

The officer they find at the reporting desk is a woman and she is very helpful. She logs their complaint in the Occurrence Book and gives them an O.B number. Then she advises them to go to hospital so that a P3 form can be filled. They thank her and drive out. On the way, however, they are caught up in traffic.

When their boss, the chairman, calls an hour later, they are still in traffic.

“Hello sir,” Stella answers.

“Stella, I will put this bluntly. I am not ready to go to war with Deacon again.”

“Sir I don’t understand…”

“Deacon just told me that you and your friend Sheila have just reported his son to the police. Is that true?”

“Yes sir. Isaac raped Sheila and when she told me about it I took her to the police station to report.”

Realizing that the conversation is about Sheila, she puts the phone on speaker so that Sheila can follow.

“I sympathize with her, Stella. But Deacon thinks I am using the two of you to get revenge on him. He wants war, but I am not ready to fight him.”

“Sir, as we speak. My friend is in pain, emotionally and physically…”

“I understand. I will get her the best medical and psychological treatment available. Deacon is also offering a generous package to settle this matter quietly…”

“No sir, you cannot ask us to do that. What my friend needs is justice, not money.”

“And justice is what you won’t get, Stella. You know that. You saw how that fool humiliated me last year. What do you think he will do to you and your friend? He will crush you like grasshoppers.”

“That may be so, but he will crush us while we are fighting for justice.”

“Alright; but I want you to know this. I will not endanger my businesses and the employment of about thirteen hundred people because of your personal wars with Deacon. If he comes after me I will activate the termination clauses in your employment contracts and cut both of you loose. You will have to fight him alone.”

When he hangs up, Sheila starts sobbing softly. Stella sighs and then bangs the steering wheel with her hands.

(Continued Here.)

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/police-policeman-officer-law-1665104/

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