The Church Next Door (Complete Story)

The Church Next Door (Episode 1)

The church next door seemed ordinary, and from the outside it cut no impression I had not seem before, but my find there changed my life from the way I knew it. I was about to drive into my compound when I heard a man asking another, “Have you been to that church down the street? It is like Christ himself comes down to worship with them every fellowship day.” The words of that man, whoever he was, somehow burned into my heart the desire to visit the church. Perhaps there was more in play, maybe some force or guilt playing on the edge of my mind made me want to visit the church. Three weeks after I eavesdropped on the conversation of those passers-by.

I finally made it to the church. The very moment I set my feet at the door step of the church, I felt a presence which left me feeling like I had not been to church in a decade; yet I had not missed a church service for the last twelve years. Like everyone else in a new place, I began to assess the church interior decoration. Frankly, it didn’t in any bit look any less impressive than my church. As for the people in the church, they were as much trendy in their dressing as those in my church. I didn’t see a soul who looked like he had just crawled out from a rabbit hole. On the surface it was just like my church. So what is this unusual feeling…? What is this uniqueness about this church? I asked myself. It was there for me to sense, yet I could not define it. It seemed to be gently burning into the dark caverns of my soul. Then my attention was drawn to the pulpit, a young lady had just stepped on it and began to sing. Usually in my church, it would take several songs for me to key in into the spirit of the worship and sometimes I just won’t. I would emptily mime the song and give the impression I was enjoying the worship. However, here, my mouth opened in worship in spite of myself. My hands seemed to lift of their own accord, even though I didn’t want to, and standing to my feet, my eyes seemed to shut of their own volition and I was gone.

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When the worship was over, I opened my eyes and realized I had been crying all along. That night I poured out all of my filth and unworthiness at the feet of Christ and spoke in tongues like a blender. I remembered my wife asking me weeks earlier, “Honey, do you still speak in tongues?” “I guess if I want to, I would,” was my reply. She had asked because for a very long time she had not heard me speak in tongues at home or church. Some minutes later the pastor mounted the pulpit and began to preach. It was teaching actually.

While he ministered, something divine touched me. It felt as though the bible was being preached for the first time to my hearing in many years. The words preached were filled with power and so much revelation, that momentarily I thought my mind was spinning.

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I moved to the edge of my seat and then slipped off and landed on my knees. One or two faces looked my way; the others were too engrossed in the message to pay attention to me. Down on my knees, I searched my bible frantically to know if really the quotations the pastor read were truly in the bible. Right where I was on my knees, I realized I had been lost for a very long time. The comparisons between the church and my family church were stark and striking. In our church we knew a lot about Wall Street market reports. Most of us in church knew the names and the stories of the top 20 richest men and women in the world. Our pastor made sure we didn’t forget. He always repeated their names and their stories. We knew about the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, etc.

I had seen some of our church leaders zealously searching for the book of Jude in the Old Testament and didn’t even know that there is a book called Philemon in the New Testament. Sadly, we knew a lot about CashFlow Quadrant; Rich Dad, Poor Dad; Eat That Frog; Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and so many others.

Just as I made note of the striking differences between my church and this one, a thought crept to the fore of my mind. “Annie! Anita Magbere, my secretary is pregnant for me!” Without thinking about what I was doing, I found my phone and slowly made my way outside to the parking lot.

There I typed a text which read, “Annie, I just found Christ Jesus again, and right now I am ashamed of the illicit relationship I led you into. I am minded to tell my wife all about it tonight. And besides, I do not think we should continue working together.”

Only the previous week, Annie and I had decided she should keep the pregnancy. By the time the church service was over and I headed home, I experienced frissons of dread shooting through my veins. For all the period I was unfaithful to my wife, I gave her no reason to suspect me.

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Through that period, no night passed without my kissing her before she slept. In some nights she would sleep in my arms. My position in the church and how zealously I worked gave nothing away about my unfaithfulness. So how do I face my wife and tell her about Annie and the pregnancy?

On the other hand, how do I face Annie and tell her it was all over? Just some days back, I had asked her if she wanted me to marry her or run away with her.

She had smiled and said, “I don’t want to hurt your wife, let’s just keep our relationship a secret.” In all of these, one thing was certain, I had met my Lord Jesus Christ again, and no matter where all these would lead, I won’t leave him again. When I got home that night, my wife had only one look at me and observed, “Honey, you like someone who met God face to face tonight.” Her words went through my heart like hot knife through butter.

I steeled myself and made to pass by her with a fake smile on my face. I was afraid to say anything to her, because I just might tell her much more than I was prepared to let on that night. However, my wife being the type that she was reached out and held me from behind, putting her arms around me she asked,

“Won’t you tell me honey? Why are you shining like the sun?” As she turned to face me, she saw beads of tears in my eyes. Worried about what might be wrong with me, she led me into the bedroom and sat me down on the bed. For a few seconds she stared at me and then asked,

“You look positively strange, what’s happening to you, baby?” I could still feel those frissons of dread shooting through me. I could feel my legs and arms shaking. From the look in her eyes, I could tell my wife was slowly becoming afraid of whatever was wrong with me. Inching closer to me, she asked with a whisper,

“Baby love, who is dead in the family? Please tell me.” The tears in my eyes broke like a dam. How on earth do I admit to her that I had been unfaithful to her? How do I look her in the face and tell her that some lady whom she was light years ahead of in beauty was pregnant for me? How do I tell her without hurting her? How do I even admit that I had thought of running away with Annie? Jesus! How do I tell my wife the truth?!


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The Church Next Door (Episode 2)

No! I have to tell her half the truth. I can’t lose my wife! No I can’t! I thought loud in my head. Managing a weak smile which was in much contrast to the mood my broken and sullen appearance had created, I whispered to my loving wife, “I felt the hand of God upon me tonight. I stopped by the church on our street.

Believe me love, God is there…” I paused and gave her time to assess my words. Her eyes were moving desperately from left to right, piercing into my heart. She was searching for signs that I was telling the truth. Convinced she had believed what I said, which was the truth, half the truth though, I continued,

“I heard the truth of God’s word preached tonight… the gospel as of old…” I paused again. My heart was pulsating as rivers of tears pooled from my eyes. “…I have been lost for the past twelve years. My claim to love God was a lie and what we called worship in our family church can best be described as a social hangout or at best a regular business conference. I don’t see how I will make heaven continuing with the sort of worship we have there. I am through with our family church baby,” I said emphatically.

“I will go with you wherever you want to go, especially to this place that brought this zeal and love for God back into your life. When do they have another worship service?” my wife asked. “I brought with me the church bulletin, it contains all the information about the church services and programme,

” I replied rummaging through the pouch which held my bible and sermon note. “Here it is.” She took it from me and said something about the look of the bulletin. I heard her but could not tell what she actually said. My heart was pounding very fast. I was still wondering if to tell her the whole truth. “I think this is an answer to my prayer. I have been meaning to tell you that we should change church. I think our family church has lost it. I can’t quite say it is still a church.”

“Thanks baby,” I said, careful not to say too much. The burden in my heart was threatening to burst out. It felt as though a bucket load of filth had been emptied from my life in my encounter with God at the church. In fact, the thought of the uncountable sex marathon I had with Anita Magbere in my office, made me want to puke several times. “I think we should announce to the children in our morning devotion that we have made up our minds to leave our present church. There is something about this church next door. I can feel it even in this bulletin,” she observed and placed her head on my chest. Just as soon as she did that, she removed it, looked at me oddly and wondered out loud,

“Your heart is beating too fast!” “I do not think I lived the best life I could in the past twelve years as a believer in Christ. What if I had died? I am scared stiff as I think about eternity and hell. I could have been gone you know, baby.”

This time I was the one holding her so firmly that you would have thought she was about to bolt from me. “No matter how bad your mistakes were, the truth is that God has forgiven and cleaned you up. There were times I felt you had forgotten you were saved. I wanted to talk to you about it but chose not to. I felt it might drive a wedge between us.

I am glad God heard my prayers.” I was shocked by her words. Was it obvious? How bad was it? Could it be my wife knows about Annie? My thoughts were racing at the speed of light. Eager to find out from my wife how much clues I gave away about my illicit relationship with Annie while I was backslidden, I asked, “Was my backslidden state that obvious?” “I think you did your best to keep it on the low, but I am your wife after all. I saw it. Others may have been fooled.

But I was not. I asked God not to let you drift too far. I cried to him not to let you get ensnared by strange women. I do not know how I would deal with that,” she said and peered into my eyes. The innocence in her eyes broke my heart. “I think I need to have a bath,” I said and stood to my feet. I was afraid I would tell her the whole truth at that point. The way I felt and the guilt ravaging my heart were just too much for my heart to take.

Having heard her confess she did not know how she would take the news of my infidelity to her, I had to find a way of escape from her presence. “Do you want be to join you in the bath and bathe you? It has been long since you asked me to do that. This repentance should also bring with it all the sparks of romance we seem to have forgotten,” my wife said. No way! I was not going to let that happen. I had claimed I wanted to bathe all because I needed to be away from her and clear my head. “I would love to ask you to join me…”

“So what’s stopping you?” she was beginning to sound like she knew more than I was willing to let her in on. I moved closer, stood before her and studied the look of her face and then said, “I need to do a lot of sober reflection. I just realized I was on my way to hell and by God’s grace got saved again. Please let me spend some time by myself,”

I pleaded with tears in my eyes. She smiled… oh how her smile melted my heart. She pouted her lips in my face and closed her eyes. I knew what she was asking for. I knew I had to oblige her, there was not denying her this one. For about five minutes, we kissed passionately.

Kissing her made me feel worse. It brought back the memory of all the immoral things Anita Magbere and I had done in my office. When we broke from the kiss, I slipped out of my clothes and went into the bath, for no reason I could explain, I had an urge to take my phone along to the bathroom. While I had my bath, I cried and pleaded with God not to let my marriage break. I scrubbed my skin as if I could wash away all the blowjobs Annie gave me in the office, the squirting and tweaking she did in my face and the abominable stuffs I did with my tongue on her body to give her sexual pleasure.

I almost pulled out my tongue to give it a good scrub. The feeling of resentment I had for my past life made me want to peel off my skin. I was lost in thought when my phone buzzed. It was a text from Annie. A reply to the text I had sent to her while I was at the church. It read,

“While you tell your wife the whole truth about us, don’t forget to tell her that I have videos of you and I making love in the office, especially those where I had your d–k in my mouth while you moaned my name! I will be glad to fill in for you any details you leave out by morning when I visit your wife with the pictures of you and I naked and covered with your sperm. Good night Mr. Born Again!” “Kill her!!!” was the thought I heard exploding in my head.

It was as if whoever said that was behind me in the bathroom. I felt goose bumps all over me. I had to look around to make sure I was the only one in the bathroom. “I rebuke you Satan! I will never do that! I will never shed blood!” I said authoritatively under my breath.

I had not been that afraid all my life. I was shaking from my head to toes. My breathing became so laborious that I feared my heart would stop. “Gbam! Gbam!! Gbam!!!” That was my wife knocking on the door. “Baby, haven’t you had enough time alone? Your food has been long served. Come out and stop sorrowing!”

“Okay baby! I am coming out now!” I said making effort to sound as though I was alright. I quickly deleted the message Annie sent to me and also deleted the copy of the one I had sent to her at the church. I leapt out of the bathtub and began to dry my body. As I did that, the words I had heard in my head, “Kill her!!!” began to gain ascendancy in my mind.

I shook my head to get rid of them, but they would not leave. I left the bathroom feeling like something ominous and menacing had seized my mind. “Lord please don’t let me kill Annie. It is already bad enough that I cheated my wife and that Annie is pregnant for me,” I prayed under my breath. I looked at my fists in shock, they were both clenched. I only do that when I want to make tough decisions.


The Church Next Door (Episode 3)

It was about three am in the morning when I snapped out of my sleep struggling with a panic attack. I had woken up with dread at the sound of my own voice. “Annie please don’t do this! I beg of you don’t!” Those were the words I was saying in my sleep. I had sprung up from my sleep thinking my wife had heard me.

It was a mighty relief when I found her soundly asleep next to me. I could hear the sound of my own heart beating rapidly. My bones seemed to have been crushed and my strength gone. Clueless and confused, I climbed out of the bed and headed for the guest room. My night had been soured by Annie’s threat to give my wife the videos and pictures of my sexual escapades with her.

All the while I was unfaithful to my wife, cavorting with Annie, I never came home and treated my wife and kids with disrespect or gave them the impression that I was too busy to spare time for them. No! That never happened. I was always a happy dad to my kids and a romantic husband to my wife. Sadly, this very night, I was morose at the dining table.

Anita Magbere’s threat had taken the wind out of my sails. I could not play hide-and-seek with my two children and neither had I time for late night play with my wife. My wife was the romantic type. She liked it a lot for me to touch certain parts of her body and be very exploratory with her body in ways that will make an average man go bananas.

I had been barely managing to meeting this need of hers by letting her sleep in my arms and by kissing her to sleep. However, on this night, I feigned sleep the moment my head hit the pillow. I wanted my wife to think I had slept off so I could have some time to myself to hatch the means to stop Annie from exposing me to my wife.

I could not tell when I slept off and began to have the nightmare where I was pleading with Annie not to reveal to my wife the graphic scenes from my sexual romp with her. When I knelt down to pray in the guest room, the first thing I asked God was to make my wife forget whatever she might have heard while I was talking out loud from my sleep. After that selfish request, I began to pray for God to give Annie a change of heart.

I cried and took vows before God about the things I would do if he gave Annie a change of heart. I vowed to God that I will never so much as look at any woman besides my wife. I was so heartbroken that no words could capture the magnitude of pains in my heart. Isn’t it amazing how precious the people we cheated become when we get caught or are in danger of losing our relationship with them.

The more I thought about how pretty my wife was in spite of the two children we had, and how far behind Annie was to her in terms of beauty, I felt like breaking my neck. For the life of me, I could not explain why I cheated on my wife in the first place. In all fairness to Annie, she was not better than my wife in bed.

Back in the day when I still had the fear of God, I would leave work running home to be with my wife; and that was because of the things she did in bed with me. Her imaginations about sex can easily trump those of the best sexual experts.

I still cannot count how many times I came how from work and met my wife stark naked on the couch and her legs spread wide waiting for me. She simply knew how to rock her man. There were days when she would use her lipstick to draw the shape of her on her private part. My job when I returned home from work would be to clean it off and draw a better one, while touching her just the way she wanted. Do I speak of the days she would open the door to me standing naked before me using the f-word to guide me toward her spread legs? So why did I cheat on her, God? Why did I do it? My guess is that I cheated my wife because of evil association.

I had allowed myself to listen to corrupt conversations from the lips of unsaved, immoral, and ungodly men. My uncle was one of them. He had sown an evil seed in my heart the day he asked me, “Have you fu.cked any other woman other than your wife?” Though I had recoiled in shock at the lurid words from his lips, I was so stupid to have sat back and listened to him narrate, with the look of glee on his face, how he enjoyed many other women, and finished off his sexually graphic tales with the comments, “I will encourage you to try it David. Give your wife some break and some university girls.

You need it for a change.” I can swear on my life that it was on that day that the evil seed which later manifested as Anita Magbere was sown in my heart. You see, God is always right. In his word, he says, “Evil company corrupts good manners.” Even though I knew this truth, I allowed myself to be led away into sin.

Whatever doubts I had about following my uncle’s advice was swept away when I heard the seemingly exciting stories of my work colleagues who also cheated their wives. They made it look like a great fun and some achievement to cheat on one’s wife.

So when I started my own company and hired Annie, at the back of my mind, I knew she would try to seduce me one day. In fact, I looked forward to it. This was the reason when she began to ash her boobs before me during those moments we were alone in my office, I did little to stop her. For all I know, I encouraged her to show me more of her mammary glands by saying nothing.

I guess she knew that also and continued to show off her thighs, breast and stomach to me at every chance she got. I was forced to snap out of my long reverie when I heard a foot step outside the door. When the door creaked open and my wife looked in, her pretty face was wrapped up in multiple layers of intimidating frown.

“Good morning love,” I greeted. She stared at me coldly, closed the door and left. Her reaction was the push I needed to make up my mind to kill Anita Magbere. “God I can’t lose her! Annie must die!” I mumbled with shaky lips. Springing to my feet, I ran after my wife. I was certain she must have heard me repeating Annie’s name in the night. While I made a dash for my wife, a thought occurred to me, how are you able to come up with the thought of murder?

This is not who you are. Trust God David. Almost immediately, my hard stance to kill Annie softened. However, the temptation to solve my predicament by killing her was there, though less attractive now. “Baby what is wrong? I greeted you and you did not answer me,” I inquired, pretending I was innocent. She did not answer me; all she did was to turn and sigh. When she tried to walk away, my eyes caught her breast bouncing under her nightgown.

I felt a rush down my g—n. That was the first time I felt that way toward my wife in many years. For me it was a sign from God that my salvation was at hand. God has heard my prayer! I thought to myself. Giving her no time to get away I squeezed my eyes shut, ignoring the guilt and condemnation from the devil and began to smooch her tender parts. As if that was what she wanted, she held me firmly and moaned with a whisper, “Is this repentance or am I losing you, David?” “It is repentance, love,” I replied in a broken tone.

“You were crying in your sleep last night and saying ‘I am sorry for doing it.’” My heart froze at that. I had to swallow several times before I could speak another word, and when I did, it was gibberish, “I will die…God all together…never…” “What are you saying?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I admitted. “Take me to the bedroom and do what you haven’t done in days. I was happy to obey her. At least she did not say I mentioned Annie in my sleep. It was about 11:00 AM when I left home that morning. Just as I drove outside my home, Annie’s call came in. When I picked the call, her once sweet, melodious voiced crooned, “Good morning boss.” “Good morning Annie,” I replied coldly.

“I have been waiting for your call boss. Did you tell your wife about us?” “No, I haven’t.” “I am glad you did not. I was going to make good my threats. Where are you now, sir?” “Driving to work.” “I think we need to talk.” “Yes Annie, we need to talk. Are you at the office?” “No, I am on my way back from seeing my doctor. Our baby is doing ne. Can we meet at our rendezvous or somewhere new?” “I will prefer somewhere new.”

“Where do you have in mind, boss?” “Southern Sun, Ikoyi. Check into a room and wait for me.” “Aaah!” she moaned lustfully. To her another round of sexual marathon was on the cards. I dropped the call and drove to the nearest Shoprite in my neighborhood. When I got inside, I made straight for the kitchen ware section. I bought a steel knife and a pack of kitchen hand gloves.

From there I drove to a shop where I got a body bag and face masks. After that I placed a call to someone I knew at Southern Sun, Ikoyi and made him a mouthwatering offer to help me dispose a luggage from a room I would text to him later.


The Church Next Door (Episode 4)

The drive to Southern Sun, Ikoyi is the most difficult drive I have embarked on so far in my life. It was a miracle that I did not ram into other vehicles on the road or drove my car off the bridge. The guilt in my heart was overwhelming.

I knew that trying to kill Anita Magbere was wrong, but the fear of losing my wife and my family was driving me to it. The voice of the devil in my head was so loud that the fear I felt was magnified over ten times its proportion. When I thought of the joy, the new life and peace I felt in me when I turned back my life to Jesus in that church on my street, I trembled at how fast I was drifting away again.

“So Lord what do I do?” I asked with a little scream, expecting no reply. Almost immediately I heard a voice in my heart, “Thou shalt not kill.” I felt a holy chill from my head down to my toes. When I arrived at Southern Sun Ikoyi, I was shaking from my head to my feet. Steeling my weakened conscience, I rang up Annie, “Hello Anita, which room are you in?”

“I am not at Southern Sun right now, boss,” she replied with so much excitement in her voice. I was infuriated. “So where are you?” “I am at the office sir. I think you should come over to the office. We have just had a big break sir. Procter & Gamble have given us the contract you have been chasing for months.

There is so much money to make, sir! You have to come now!” She was beside herself with excitement. My scheme to end her life at Southern Sun had effectively been crashed. She was right, there was so much money to make. The contract from Procter & Gamble could fetch my company over half a billion Naira.

As much as Annie was a s–t, there was some good in her. She loved to make money, especially for my company. Also she was very good at her work. With the contract from Procter & Gamble having been offered to us, there was no way I would kill her. At least I must wait till the contract had been fully executed.

Realizing Annie will be very much around for months, I began to hurt. That was in spite of the fact that I may not have been able to have hurt even a strand of hair on her body. After I had heard the voice of God saying to me, “Thou shalt not kill.” I was certain I would not have touched her in defiance to the word of God.

Like a child who had lost his way, I turned my car away from Southern Sun and drove to my office. At the office, Annie was full of energy and was working hard like a horse. Even though I was cold toward her and maintained my distance, she seemed not to care. On this day, you would have thought that she was the boss and I was working for her. She kept on barking orders to everyone, including me.

Making money was simply her second nature. It did not matter to her who owns the money, making it was her only interest and from what I saw, she derived so much joy from it. At some point in the day, she finally took notice of how lazily I was working; and much to my dismay, she yelled at me in front of my other staff, “Excuse me boss, if you are not ready to work, go home!

We have a job to deliver to a Fortune 500 company and you are working as though that was not important to you!” My face turned red and I looked at some of my staff present. They all turned away their faces and pretended they did not hear Anita. In that moment, my mind began to play games on me. Could it be that they know I have been sleeping with Anita in my office? I thought. God I am finished!

One way or the other my wife will find out. A couple of them know her! While I pondered all these, my knees tottered and seemed to go off their joints. I wanted to step over to where Anita was and give her a hot slap just to save face. However, when I turned toward her, I met her gaze fixed squarely on me. She seemed poised for a fight. g q y p g The look in her eyes cut the appearance of one who was reading my mind.

A few times in the past she had successfully read my mind. When I asked how she did it, she simply put it down to the fact that she was having sex with me regularly. I wasn’t expecting it, but she did it. While I stood fixed to my spot, she walked over to me, brought her mouth to my right ear and whispered, “If you don’t get a hold of yourself, you are going to do what you will regret for the rest of your life. Stopping thinking they know that you have been f**king the hell out of me. They don’t know a thing about that.

I am sorry if I embarrassed you; but you have to start working like the boss I know. When we get this job done, I will do whatever you want me to do, I promise.” It wasn’t meant to be, but her word gave me a glint of hope and I began to work more like myself. When she returned to her table, she said out loud, “Boss I am sorry I embarrassed you.

I think I am over excited about this contract. You know we can work things around a bit and convince Procter & Gamble to pay us up to one billion.” The heavy burden of guilt in my heart was dissolving fast. I smiled and said to her, “You are forgiven Annie.” My face turned sour immediately.

I didn’t mean to say ‘Annie’ but ‘Anita’. Annie was the name I called her when we had sex – something I was ashamed of. Thank God, my words seemed to loosen everyone present and so we began to work like we used to. Long after everyone else had left the office, Anita and I continued to work till 8:30 pm. While we worked she did not bring up the subject of her pregnancy for me, nor about our relationship coming to a sudden end.

She did not make any advances toward me and I was happy to keep my distance from her. It was like those days she had joined my company newly. When she came into my office to say was about to leave, I said goodbye to her without raising my face from what I was doing on my work table.

There was something different with me when I got home that night. It had started from the office. I had a ring of joy in my heart which I could not explain. Right from the entrance door, I began to play with my children. They punched and kicked me for not playing with them the previous day. I let them drag me down to the floor and sat on me. I was still in my suit and I did not mind.

The sound of their laughter and the joy ringing out from their hearts was worth more than anything in the whole wide world. When my wife came out and saw us playing on the floor, she screamed with her hands over her mouth, “Oh my God!” She was pleasantly surprised. Even our dog, Chloe (a white Samoyed breed), joined us in the play.

When I finally got away from the children and embraced my wife, my left hand found its way into her undergarment, running my fingers over her pubic hair, I whispered, “I am ready to shave it off tonight. I am in the mood.” She guffawed and whispered back, “I can’t wait. I left it for you to shave. God knows I would not have shaved it in ten years if you did not.” My briefcase was still by the door. My children and our dog had turned it into a play object and I didn’t care.

Lifting my wife, I put her on my shoulder and made for the bedroom. Inside we ripped off our clothes and I bore her to the bathroom. It took over an hour before we came out. Life was back on track at the home front for me, though there was still the threat of Anita Magbere out there. The next day I arrived at work still happy. I and my staff worked till 12:00 noon and still there was no sign of Annie.

She had not shown up for work and neither could anyone reach her on her mobile phone. At first I was happy that she did not show up for work. However, when no one could reach her till 6:00 PM, we all became worried. I had to send someone to her house to find out what was wrong with her. The lady I sent to her house got there and called to break the news that no one had seen her since she left for work the previous day.

We could not go to the police because it was too early. Annie’s disappearance dragged on into the third day. Both she and her car were nowhere to be found and neither could her phone be reached. On the third day we reported her disappearance to the police. All of us at my company were quizzed by the police and nothing came up which might help them. They had to turn their attention to her mobile phone carrier network to help them track her movement in the past three days.


The Church Next Door (Episode 5)

The search for Annie took longer than anyone had expected. The tenth day of her disappearance had come with the news that she had gone to her friend’s house the last day she was seen at my office. That had brought for us all at my company a short lived excitement. As far as the police were concerned, her phone went off from her mobile network about 11:40 PM the same day, at Ikorodu. “Ikorodu?

What was Annie doing at Ikorodu at 11:40 PM?” I asked myself out loud in my office. The police trackers said that was where they lost track of her mobile phone. Her friend whom she had gone to see the last day she reported to work lived in Lekki and sadly, she lived alone. Her neighbors did know a thing about her. All they could tell the police was that she was always driving in and out of her house in assorted cars. She rarely spoke to anyone on her street and seemed to be very happy with life.

They claimed she cut the figure of a self-sufficient lady. None of the street dwellers had seen Annie the evening she had visited her friend. On my part, I saw what was going on as Annie’s business. Don’t get me wrong, I was worried and concerned for her safety. However, as far as I could see, it had nothing to do with me.

I had since repented of my intentions to kill her, though forgiving myself was the hard part. I had struggles over that. The heinous design to kill her was to grave for me to forget. It made me feel sick. It increased the load of guilt in my heart. That period was though for me because I had to pretend at home that everything was alright. I did not want to give my wife any reason to suspect that I was in trouble or had done anything foolish.

For her and the children, I was a brand new husband and father. However, at nights, I prayed down the roof, asking God to help me. I was ready to own up to my wife the sinful life I had lived. The fact that Annie just vanished did not make me think my problems were over. I feared she could resurface and make good her threats or even try to blackmail me.

I did not forget that she knew about the Procter & Gamble deal which was worth hundreds of millions and with the potential to hit one-billion-naira mark. While the police searched for Annie, my family and I switched from our old family church to the new one on our street. In the midst of my woes, that was the best thing which happened to both my family and I.

The fellowship and the revival we received and enjoyed in the church were amazing. The church members could love even the worst sinner to heaven. I did not mean to tell anyone about my plight, but because of how they took my family and I; I had to pour out my heart to the pastor of the church.

As you would expect, I was scared for telling anyone and had expected the pastor to open his bible and tell me just how filthy I was and how hell re was fitting for men like me. He didn’t. Instead he told me about his own mistakes in the past and how he had found Christ Jesus in the midst of his sins, pains and troubles.

His words gave me hope. My fears were whittled down in size. That day we prayed for what seemed like thirty minutes. We did not forget to pray for Annie too. My new found pastor was confident that she was not in danger but was in much sorrows. We asked God to help her and heal her.

Two days after the prayers, Anita Magbere returned home. Just like she vanished, she reappeared. Before I got a call from her, the police had told me that she reported herself not missing a few hours earlier at a police station in Ikeja. Somehow she must have found out that she had been declared missing.

All she said to me on the phone when she called was, “I want to see you at my house now, boss.” I had no chance to say a thing before she dropped the call. Quickly I called my pastor and told him what she said. He said, “Give me a moment, I will call you back. Don’t do anything till I call you back.” I knew he was going to seek God’s face on the matter. I was restless as I sat in my office waiting for his call. I could not do a thing, not even breathe well.

It took some fifteen minutes before my pastor called back. “David, go see her. God is with you,” my pastor said over the phone. I was disappointed. I had expected him to give me details of what I might expect at Annie’s house. But you see, my pastor was not like the new age prophets who took the place of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the believers who followed them.

He detested that and condemned it at every chance he got. Even though it was unscriptural to be led entirely by prophecy, I wanted it at that point. “Why do I feel you are disappointed?” my pastor asked. “I wish I could get to know what I am walking into,” I replied.

“Do you have peace in your heart, David?” I paused for a minute and listened to my heart. I was very much afraid, but beneath that maelstrom of dread, I picked up something I will describe as ‘budding fruit of peace’. “I think the Lord is trying to tell me not to be afraid,” I said finally.

“Then don’t be afraid David.” I took his advice and tried not to be afraid, but it was hard. At Annie’s house, I met her alone. She had a turban on her head and wore a long, red gown which covered her hands and feet. Her face was expressionless. “Good day boss,” she said as she let me into her living room.

“Good day Anita.” To mask my fear of whatever was coming, I asked, “What happened to you Annie? Were you kidnapped? Are you okay?” Then she smiled. “I am fine boss. In fact, I have never been this ne ever before.” What is she saying? I asked myself. “Give me a moment please,”

she said and disappeared into the bedroom. She returned in a jiffy with an envelope and handed it toward me. I could not reach out for it. I was afraid. “Take it boss, you need to read what’s inside,” she encouraged me. Managing to, I took the envelope from her and hurriedly pulled out the content.

I didn’t have to read the entire content. The heading was enough for me. “You are leaving my company Annie! Why?” “Call me Anita. I prefer that name,” she said sounding very cold. “Tell me please. What is going on Anita?” “I don’t want to work for you anymore or share the same office building with you. It… it…”

“I what…? We have a big deal from Procter & Gamble! And there are more coming! I will raise your salary and give you whatever you want! Don’t leave now Annie… am sorry, I meant Anita,” I said breathlessly, hoping to get her to open up and tell me what was going on. Annie raced her head to look at me and I saw tears polling down like Victoria Falls. “I don’t need anything from you, boss… the pictures and the videos of you and I in those acts are gone, and so also the baby…

I lost it,” she said as her entire body shook. My heart broke for her. I tried to take her in my arms, but she pushed me away violently and screamed, “Don’t touch me!” “What is going on Anita Magbere! Put me out of my misery please! Talk to me! What on earth is going on with you?” I yelled at her. Like a little girl, she recoiled and began to sob intensely. I let her unburden her heart through the sob.

When she was done crying, she wiped her tears and said to me, “You claimed to have found Jesus, well, you are no longer alone. I have not only found him; I have seen him. My very eyes have seen him…” she paused. My jaw dropped in shock and my eyes almost popped out of their sockets. As she spoke, it seemed to me that her whole body was taking another form. She seemed to glow like the sun.

“I am sorry for the things we did together. I am sorry for the threat I made to you. That was then, I am a new person now. You may not believe me, but I am,” she said with her head bowed. “I believe you! How did you lose the pregnancy?” I asked, almost in tears myself.

My heart was threatening to blow up with pain. All I could think of was how I was going to kill her. “I miscarried it the night I left office after working late with you. I guess I put myself through too much strain. That was what the doctor suggested.” There was silence which seemed interminable between us. “How did you meet Jesus?” I broke the silence. “Through my friend. The one who lives at Lekki.

She is now a Jesus freak. She claims to have seen Jesus at a camp meeting she unwillingly attended. While she narrated to me her story, I felt like I heard someone call my name. I turned only to see Jesus standing behind me. With a smile beyond any the world has seen, he said to me, ‘I can show you what she saw too, Anita,’” she replied.

There was yet another silence as she smiled at me. “Boss, I am willing to die just to keep what I saw. This is why we can’t work together anymore. I don’t want to be tempted back to my old ways with you.” “Your phone was tracked to Ikorodu…” “Yes, after my encounter with Jesus, my friend took me to a prayer meeting with her friends there.

It was there that I decided to dismember my phone. I didn’t want anything with you or anyone until I was done with the Lord. My friend helped me hide my car in an uncompleted building belonging to one of her friends… boss I am sorry I mocked you for making peace with Christ again. I didn’t know any better then.” That was it for me. I could not take the guilt in my heart anymore. I sprang to my feet and ran out of her house.

While Anita spoke to me and smiled happily, all I kept thinking was how I would have killed her at Southern Sun Ikoyi. In my frenzied drive away from her house, I rammed my car into a truck loaded with wet sand. It was a ghastly motor accident on my part.

My head took a massive hit and broken shards of glass lacerated my body. Fortunately for me, while death took over my body in my crumpled car and I slipped into glory, I saw a mighty, glorious hand touch my right shoulder and a voice said, “David go back, it is not yet your time.”


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