Faith

Pawns I-By Edward Maroncha

“I think we should run away,” Jackie tells her boyfriend Adam. They are seated on Jackie’s bed, gazing outside. They can see the gate from Jackie’s bedroom window. But they don’t expect to see anything for maybe another four hours. It is a few minutes to midnight, and their employers, Wilfred & Marion Weodaka, will not be back till around 4 am. When they come back, the headlights of Wilfred Weodaka’s BMW X6, which is the car they left with tonight, will sweep over Jackie’s room, warning Adam that it is time to scamper to his room on the ground floor, near the kitchen. But even though they know that they will get this advance warning, Jackie and Adam have not switched on the light in the room. Jackie’s bedroom is on the first floor and if the light is on, someone can notice it from outside the gate.  Jackie and Adam do not want their bosses to know that they are awake. They always pretend to be asleep when their bosses return. This is especially so for Jackie, whose bedroom is on the same floor as the master bedroom. But with the security lights on outside, there is more than sufficient light in the room for Adam to see the pretty face of his girlfriend.

Both Adam and Jackie are employed by the Weodakas. Jackie is the housekeeper while Adam is the gardener. The Weodakas have a storied mansion sitting on one and a half acres of land.  The homestead, which consists of the house, the lawn and the dual car port, occupies about half an acre of land. The house is surrounded by an extensive lawn only broken by the driveway and the pavements. The driveway goes from the gate to the car port, and one pavement connects the carport to the front door of the main house. There is a second pavement at the back of the house that connects the kitchen to the small gate that leads to the farm. Flower beds surround the house and it is Jackie’s job to tend to them. Adam is the one responsible for the grass though.

The one acre farm is Adam’s fiefdom. It mostly consists of vegetable gardens with sukuma wiki, cow peas, terere, managu, pumpkins, tomatoes as well as tubers such as arrow roots and sweet potatoes. There is also a chicken coop with about fifty chicken at various stages of growth, including ten egg-laying hens. The chicken are kept for both eggs and meat. There are three milk goats which give the family more than enough milk. The vegetables are planted at different times in such a way that at no time does the family lack greens for their meals. The tubers and eggs are mostly for breakfast. There is plenty of surplus of course, but the Weodakas do not sell any of their produce. A few years back they established a feeding program at the local church. With the approval of the parish council, they constructed a kitchen at the church and hired two cooks who cook and serve food to the poor in the village.

Every morning Adam takes vegetables, tubers and milk to the church kitchen for the preparation of that day’s meals. The Weodakas buy maize, beans, rice, maize flour, onions, tea leaves, sugar and salt on a monthly basis and they are stored at the church kitchen. The kitchen serves three types of meals for lunch and supper: ugali/beans/greens, rice/beans/greens and githeri with greens. Breakfast is always tea with boiled arrow roots or sweet potatoes. The idea is that nobody in Kanyamu village should stay hungry. Old men and women who can no longer work and young orphans up to school going age are given priority. Children from poor families are also allowed to come and eat. Able bodied adults, whether poor or otherwise, are not entertained, because Wilfred says it will make them lazy. Everyday Adam also takes eggs, some vegetables and one liter of milk to the parish minister’s house for his family’s consumption.

The feeding program alongside the scholarships the Weodakas give to poor children in the area have made them very popular. Every year they pay school fees for ten children from their sub-location: five in primary school, and five in secondary school. They also help those who, amongst the children they sponsor, make it to university as government-sponsored students but lack little fees that is required. They also give generously when invited to fundraisers whether to raise medical funds or to support children whose education they cannot support fully.

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Although they are relatively young in their late thirties, the Weodakas are very wealthy. They started out quite humbly: Wilfred was a carpenter while his wife was a dress maker. But their businesses have grown in the last ten years: Wilfred has the largest showroom in the area, and he sells luxury furniture, while his wife’s shop is now a premier tailoring shop. They have expanded their business and now they also own the only wholesale shop in Kanyamu market, catering for the needs of all the retail shop keepers in the division, and they also own the only supermarket in the market, one that ensures that locals don’t have to travel to larger towns to experience the luxuries of urban living.

They are a Christian couple; they are members of PCEA Kanyamu Parish, where they are both church elders. In the conservatively religious Kanyamu market and village, it is widely believed that the Weodakas are blessed because of their generous hearts. After all everyone knows the scripture.

Luke 6: 38 “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

2nd Corinthians 9:6-7 “Remember this, whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Every man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

There is only one thing that the Lord hasn’t given them though, and which they are urged to keep trusting Him for: a child.

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When Jackie and Adam came to work here, they believed that they had landed a deal of a lifetime. They are both hardworking young people, so tending to the farm and homestead of the Weodakas has never been a problem. For the most part the Weodakas have been good employers. They treated them humanely and paid them almost double what other employers paid for similar work. They were the perfect example of Christian employers.

Jackie and Adam were employed by virtue of being active members of the PCEA Kanyamu Parish youth group. Both of them come from poor backgrounds, and they dropped out of school long before the Weodaka’s started sponsoring students’ education in the village. They started dating after they came to work here. They found themselves spending a lot of time together, and romance followed quite naturally. They have been saving so that they can start their own business, and then get married. Until a few months ago they were sure that they would work for the Weodakas for another one year, two at most, and they would be able to open their own small restaurant and sustain themselves.

But for the past few months things have not been going according to plan.

It all started one night when Wilfred visited Jackie’s room at night and raped her. He warned her not to tell anyone, otherwise there would be “serious consequences”. Jackie nonetheless told Adam, and was surprised when he told her that that same night Marion had visited his room and coerced him into sleeping with her. That is when Jackie and Adam started rethinking the couple’s weird behavior, which they had been taking for granted.

Every Tuesday and Thursday night, Wilfred and Marion leave after supper, at around 10PM, and they always return at 4am. They say that they are usually going for Bible study or prayer meetings, but after the first defilement night, Jackie and Adam started questioning that narrative. Who is this that they hold Bible study or prayer meetings with, twice a week and in the middle of the week? But if they are not usually doing Bible Study, where do they normally go? They don’t take alcohol, so they are not usually clubbing. Besides, most people who frequent clubs prefer to do it over the weekends, usually Friday and Saturday nights. Not Tuesdays and Thursdays when they have to show up at work the following morning.

Slowly, and over time, Jackie and Adam have become convinced that their bosses are devil worshipers, and that on Tuesdays and Thursdays they visit Satanic temples. This seems to have been confirmed when Jackie overheard Marion one day telling her husband that the “High Priest” was insisting that they have to take the “first fruit of the womb” soon.

“Have you taken the test?” Wilfred asked.

“Yes, and it is still negative. Has Jackie taken it?”

“You know I cannot ask her directly because she might be suspicious. But I am sure that if she gets pregnant she will tell me. She will have to, because she  will be scared.”

When Jackie told Adam what they had overheard, the two of them concluded that the so called High Priest wanted the sacrifice of a baby, which the Weodakas did not have. They also realised that the Weodakas had started sleeping with them in a desperate attempt to get the sacrificial baby. The plan, Jackie and Adam have concluded, will ensure that if it is Marion who is barren, then Wilfred would make Jackie pregnant. And in the event that Wilfred is impotent, then Adam will make Marion pregnant.

The Weodakas now sleep with their two employees regularly, and even though Jackie and Adam hate it, they haven’t figured out a way to stop it. They are Christians and believe that God is all powerful, but they are very frightened of the Weodakas and their High Priest.

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 “Do you think there is anywhere we can go where they cannot find us?” Adam asks Jackie. “I mean, if they are worshipping the devil, then the devil will help them to find us.”

“I don’t know babe, but I don’t want to give them my child. I had rather struggle to raise him or her than have him or her used as a sacrifice by strangers.”

“Are you telling me that you are pregnant?”

“Yes, I am pregnant.”

“Is it Wilfred’s baby?”

“I don’t know, babe. But what I know is that I am not killing a product of my womb, even if that devil worshipper is the father. And also remember, you and I have been sleeping together too. So it could also be your baby.”

Before anything more can be said, the curtain flutters and a dog, or what appears to be a dog, enters halfway through the window. It is as though it has penetrated through the glass panes. Although the lights are still off in the room, Jackie and Adam can see the animal clearly.

It licks its nose, exposing its fangs, and then addresses them in a perfect human voice.

“You are going nowhere, because that baby is mine. It will be offered as a sacrifice to me when it is born. If you try to run away I will find you, so don’t even think about it.”

The curtain flutters again and it disappears the same way it came.

(Continued Here)

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 –Edward.

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