(Continued from The Spiritual Father II)
Dorcas cannot will herself to forget the pained look on that man’s face. It is almost as though the pain in his eyes has been painted on her mind with indelible ink. He is no doubt a man in love. She wonders why a woman like Julia, a woman who has such a caring fiancé, would take herself to the Apostle. She remembers her own encounters with the man and shivers. That man is a monster, and what she is planning to do is risky. She knows she might get killed, but what kind of life is she living anyway? It is better to die than to be the Apostle’s eternal slave. She only hopes that if she dies, then her death will help the authorities to arrest the Apostle and rescue numerous women from his tentacles. She doesn’t know this stranger, and she doesn’t know whether he can help. Even if he is willing to help, he might get killed trying. But she will spell out the risk to him, and he will decide whether it is worth taking.
The restaurant closes at 8.30 pm. After clearing and wiping the tables with her colleagues, Dorcas takes her jacket and steps out of the restaurant and boards a Waiyaki Way bound matatu. It stopped raining about an hour ago but traffic is still quite heavy on the road. She has never understood the relationship between rain and Nairobi traffic. She is apprehensive that 9.30 will find her on the road, because she did not consider the rain factor on traffic when she wrote the note to the stranger. She cannot dare take the call on a matatu, because she suspects that the Apostle’s thugs keep an eye on her in public places. She makes it to the house on time; barely. She gets into her house in Kangemi at 9.28, and the stranger calls her at exactly 9.30 pm.
“Hello Dorcas,” his deep voice says over the phone.
“I saw your note on the bill wallet and figured that you had something important to tell me.”
“Thanks for calling. I don’t know whether it is important, but I will say it and then you will decide whether it is important or not.”
“Before that…would you mind telling me your name? You got mine off the name tag but I do not know yours.”
“Oh sorry, my name is Aaron.”
“I wish I could say it is a pleasure to know you, Aaron, but under the circumstances it does not sound appropriate.”
“I understand what you mean. Tell me, back at the restaurant you sounded scared. Why?”
“Like I said, Apostle Mutuku is not a man to mess around with. I love my life.”
“How would he have known what you were telling me? We could have been discussing the menu. And anyway, at that time he was busy with my fiancée…or should I say ex-fiancee?”
“She is your ex now, Aaron. Maybe even she doesn’t know it yet, but you and she are now past tense. But to answer your question, the Apostle has eyes everywhere. At first I wasn’t even sure that you weren’t one of his agents coming to see which of us girls are loudmouths. Girls have disappeared before, you know.”
“Yet you still spoke to me. And you are speaking to me now.”
“I saw the pain in your eyes when I told you that your Julia was giving herself to the Apostle. There is no way you could have faked that.”
“Why then did you run away so quickly?”
“The Apostle owns Flena Restaurant, and there is always someone trying to get favors from him by snitching on colleagues. The supervisors are the worst. They are all men, and since they know he cannot sleep with them, they try to get into his good books by snitching on us. But even some of the girls do snitch. You know the Apostle has a wide variety of women to sleep with, so sex isn’t a guaranteed way to get favors. Besides, the Apostle sleeps with any of his employees that he fancies, whether the employee consents or not. So sex is not a favor a female employee can give the Apostle in exchange for another favor. Girls who really want to get his attention tend to go the extra mile. Snitching is the most common way to get a few favors, such as a salary increase or a promotion. The man is paranoid and will do anything to get information on his perceived enemies.”
“You said that Julia probably doesn’t know that she and I are done. Do you mind explaining that?”
“The Apostle probably told her that he is cleansing her so that she can enter marriage as a holy woman. That is what he told my sister. Did Julia have a sexual history before you met?”
“As far as I know, she is a virgin. Or was a virgin, because if what you are telling me is accurate, then the Apostle has already deflowered her. Where is your sister now?”
“She lives in Kilimani, in the house that my parents had bought before they died. She has three kids with the Apostle. She still attends the Apostle’s church, and most of her income goes to him. I still don’t get what the Apostle does to otherwise intelligent women to make them so stupid. When my sister met the Apostle, she had everything. She had a career and she was engaged to be married to a wonderful man. Both she and her fiancé came from well-to-do families. My father was a businessman, and my mother was a civil servant. They had done well for themselves. There were three of us: my sister, who is the first born, my late brother and I. My sister’s ex-fiancé’s folks are doctors, and he himself is a doctor. They run a private hospital here in Nairobi. But my sister gave up everything to be the Apostle’s slave.”
“How did you end up working for the Apostle if your parents were well-to-do?”
“My parents and my brother were murdered by thugs when I was in form four, first term. My sister and I were spared because we were not in the house that night. My sister had rented an apartment in Roysambu after getting a job, and I was away in boarding school. After the funeral my sister moved into our house in Kilimani and she took control of our parents’ assets and businesses. When I came home for the school holiday, I discovered that Victor had been right: my sister was sleeping with the Apostle. The Apostle would come to the house and would spend the night with my sister. After a few days, he demanded to sleep with me as well…”
“No way,” Aaron gasps.
“Yes. Sometimes the Apostle would sleep with both of us at the same time, and sometimes he would take me alone arguing that he would be left with my sister after I went back to school. My sister would later tell me that the Apostle was “cleansing” us by sexually transferring his spiritual power to us, because apparently sex is not a physical act but a spiritual exercise. I was in form four so I endured until I did my KCSE. I was in boarding school, so I only put up with him during the April and August holidays. After KCSE I ran away and went to live with my grandparents. My father’s parents, that is. I came to discover much later that my sister had sold many of our parent’s assets and gave the money to the Apostle’s church.”
“How did you end up working for the Apostle then?”
“Barely a month after I settled in the village in Makueni, I discovered I was pregnant. Shortly after that my grandparents started receiving threats from the Apostle’s thugs. My sister told them that I was a gangster and that the thugs who were threatening them were my accomplices. That is probably the time she was transferring property, so she probably needed to ostracize me. My paternal grandparents kicked me out and my sister refused to take me back into our parents’ house. I wanted to go to my maternal grandparents, but they lived in Kisii, and I was in Makueni, pregnant, broke and homeless. I did not even have a cell phone. The Apostle’s thugs found me and took me to him. I think that was his plan all along. He gave me this job on three conditions. The first is that my child is my sole responsibility; the second is that I should never talk about him ever and the third is that I should be ready to give my body to him any time he wishes. Sometimes he pulls me from work, rapes me in that room where you saw him take Julia and then leaves. Yet I have to continue working as if nothing happened. Sometimes he “gifts” me to his friends to be raped.”
Dorcas is crying softly now.
“I am so sorry Dorcas. I will do everything in my power to protect you.”
“You can’t protect me, Aaron. I told you all this because I need you to bring down the Apostle, and save many other women, including your fiancée. Talk sense to Julia, assuming it is not too late for her. The Apostle will make her his slave. My sister transferred everything she owns to him, including the house in Kilimani. The only reason he allows her to stay there is because she has a good job and so makes him money. If she gets fired today I can assure you that he will throw her and the children to the streets. Or perhaps he will give her a job like mine and tell his dogs to amuse themselves with her. Tell Julia to wake up before it is too late. The so-called Apostle should be rotting in jail. If Julia sees him for who he is, she can be helpful in bringing him down. But please be careful, Aaron. The Apostle will kill you if he realizes you are investigating him, and be prepared because Julia may refuse to help. She has probably been brainwashed already.”
“I will. But I also want to help you.”
“You can’t. It is too late for me. I can actually hear someone banging the door, and I don’t ever get visitors. It must be the Apostle’s thugs.”
“How would they have known you are talking to me tonight?”
“I don’t know. Maybe someone saw me writing that note to you. If I don’t make it tonight, tell Julia that I died trying to save her and other women. Please find a way to expose that con pastor; my death cannot be in vain.”
“You are not going to die Dorcas. And by the way, where is your child?”
Before Dorcas can respond, Aaron hears something like a door crashing and Dorcas starts screaming.
Image by sspiehs3 from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/cross-sunset-silhouette-god-1772560/
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