(The Hand Of God)
After being married for five years, Chuks and his wife, Doris, were blessed with a baby boy.
As the family gathered to celebrate the birth of the new child, Doris seemed to be the happiest woman living.
She had gone through the ordeal of having to answer to her in-laws because she couldn’t bear their son a child. And now that her prayers were finally answered and she had a child to call her own, she knew her mother-in-law would be ashamed and disappointed.
It was a big party Chuks gave to welcome his son and called him Hassan after his later father.
And after all the guests had left that night, he poured his wife, who glowed with pride, a glass of wine as the couples settled to a toast.
“Now, your mother would no longer call me a witch,” Doris said with relief in her eyes.
Chuks smiled. “You don’t blame Mama, do you? It is every mother’s wish to hold their grandson in their arms. I’m sure she’s so proud of you right now.”
Doris shrugged. “As long as I have peace in my home. . .”
Chuks took a deep breath. The word peace was one he wasn’t sure to have until his little boy successfully turned twenty-one and he was able to fulfill the secret vow he made to his secret cult members.
Chuks and his wife were pagans.
Chuks won’t let his wife attend a church or even a mosque. He had devoted his heart to the Ogondo society, a cult his best friend had introduced to him some years back.
And because of his allegiance to the fraternity, he had been made so rich and wealthy.
His wife knew nothing of his devotion to the secret cult society.
He kept so much from her because he didn’t want her to get hurt.
But when she started pressuring him about giving her a son, he had no other choice but to seek help from the group.
They had promised him a child but he was to offer him back alive once he turned twenty-one.
And if anything happened to the child before then, he would have to pay with his own life.
Now Chuks would have to guard the life of his son with all he could.
He couldn’t take that risk or even let him out of his sight.
He had been giving a necklace that was never to leave his son’s neck.
It would protect him from every evil out there.
Chuks was glad Doris never questioned about the red and black necklace; he would have lied to her anyway.
Now his own life had been tied to the safety of his son’s life, including his wealth, and he would do everything to keep the boy safe.
Five years later when Hassan fell sick and was rushed to the hospital where a series of text was carried out on him, Chuks had come running home from his business trip.
“What did the doctor say was wrong with him?” he asked his wife who was by the boy’s bedside. His son looked frail and pale.
“That’s the problem,” Doris said with a teary voice. “The doctors can’t seem to find out what is wrong with him. It’s so strange.”
Chuks looked worried. “We can’t leave the child this way. I’ll be right back. “He turned away even before his wife could stop him.
Chuks wasted no time in seeking the high priest at the Ogondo shrine where they always had their meetings. After he had been given the necklace for his son so many years ago, the priest had promised him that the boy would be safe.
“Calm down,” the old man said.
“I can’t calm down with my son’s life in danger.”
“Are you sure the boy still has the necklace?” the old man asked.
“He still has it around his neck,” Chuks replied.
“Then he must have taken it off sometime.”
“No,” Chuks shook his head. “I gave my wife a stern warning never to take the necklace off the boy’s neck. My son understands, too.”
“From what I see here, the oracle cannot lie. Go and ask your wife and son, the necklace left the the boy’s neck at some point.”
“But what can you do to help me restory my son’s health?” Chuks asked worriedly.
“A huge sacrifice has to be done. Your son will be well again. But it will cost you a heavy sun of money. After this sacrifice is done, your son must never let go of that necklace again.”
“I don’t care how much money is required as long as my son is okay.” Chuks started to bring out a bunch of money from his bag.
By nightfall that same day, Hassan was well again. He had come home from the hospital the next morning and he was up and about like he was never ill. Chuks watched him play on his bicycle, relieved to know that the boy was going to live.
His wife joined him outside carrying a tray of fruit juice.
She placed it on the stool beside her husband and took her seat next to him.
She was happy to see her son playing again.
Chuks turned to his wife now and asked, “Did Hassan take off his necklace?”
“Doris gave her husband a look. “Why would he take off his necklace?”
“You have’nt answered my question.”
“I’d be foolish to let him take it off after you have warned me about it.
Chuks looked confused.
He called Hassan over now.
“Hassan, did you take off your necklace?” he asked slowly.
The boy’s eyes fell. He was quiet and Chuks knew immediately that he did.