bookhouse prize

BOOKHOUSE-RETRIBUTION

RETRIBUTION BY RAPULUCHUKWU S. OFOMAH

SYNOPSIS

Today, many have taken to founding churches as no more than a means to an end and this end is not spiritual, but financial. Churches sprout up everywhere and fake prophets with them. These prophets obtain and lie and deceive to get what they want, never minding the problems their actions could case for the victims. The C.C.F. (Cheated Children’s Fellowship) is made up of such victims who have been badly hurt by these false prophets and now, they wish to bring upon the church.........RETIRBUTION.

Edison Uduak is a follower of the CCF, a financial member to be precise. He funds the retribution campaign, but falls in love with a lady, Jane who is not exactly on his side of the fence.

Eventually everything plays out and Edison and Jane are delivered safely out of the country after several attempts on the life of the latter.   

EXCERPT

A low, unpainted hall a few ways into the bushes was the venue of a CCF meeting. CCF; Cheated Children Fellowship. This was a group formed out of frustration by two men who had suffered quite some at the hands of money-grabbing, selfish, greedy, stingy, covetous, lying, scheming, deceiving, falsifying, misleading, pretentious, so-called “men of God.” It was a place where those who felt the same way about these pastors could come together and just speak their mind with those of similar views and opinions.

The CCF meetings were not always done in such secret locations, but something big was in the works right now and mistakes would have grave consequences.

The founders had planned it as a simple group at first, but over time it had grown into a much broader organization, especially in the countries of the two founders’ origin; Nigeria and the USA. Brother Chudi ken Nwankwo and Brother Jerome Bryson were to thank for this beautiful setting. For a long time they had been silent, but talks of effecting the change they wished to see had been spreading for some time and both leaders were here in Nigeria today.

Jerome and Chudi were before the crowd of fifty regional leaders from across the country, their fifty assistants and the few elevated trustworthy fellows in the CCF Nigeria. Among these trustworthy fellows was Mr. Edison Edidiong Uduak, a lucky successful trader in automobiles. He was a handsome man from either Akwa-ibom, or Calabar in far southeastern Nigeria. It didn’t really matter which. They were kin and they shared in each other’s pain and jubilation.

Edison was just twenty-four years, but he had met a boy from the Igbo tribe in central eastern Nigeria when he was younger and both had set out to make money. They worked hard and prayed even harder. The wealth eventually came, but the Igbo boy had died before that time; driven to suicide by the disappointment from a “man of God” who was just eager to take his money. His name had been Arinze Nnaemeka and Edison would never forget him. This was what drove the businessman to find the CCF and give so much loyalty to the union that he was honored as a trustworthy fellow.

Jerome, a light brown fellow with big muscles, long dreads and a handsome face was speaking at the moment.

“Now, these pastors keep stealing from people and giving them bullshit stories in the name of prophecies and revelations and shit.” His accent was African-American. He did not know his African roots, but felt at home here in Nigeria from which his friend, Chudi, hailed. We have to suffer and all they do is take our money. Their lies kill, but they don’t know this. They make us give more than we have just so they can take care of their family. Well we got folks need taking care of too!”

As Jerome spoke, Chudi stood solid beside him, arms crossed. He was 5ft 8”, three inches shorter than his American counterpart. He was a fine man also, but his hair was cut low and he had a clean stub along his jaw. His features were sharp and skin, very dark. Both men stood before the others who were seated on plastic chairs. Before the two leaders was a high wooden table with a black sports bag on top it.

“Pastors say they made their money on their own, but they only say that after they’ve robbed us to get rich,” Jerome continued.

“How many of us can say we have seen one single pastor who was actually a billionaire in naira before he started his church?” Chudi asked. His voice was very African; deep.

“No one dey get better money until them don enter church,” one of the men in the hall announced. He was seated right next to Edison.

Edison was silent. He watched and listened. This was how he had gotten to where he was now in life; silence and observation. He adjusted the cuffs holding the wrists of his black shirt. The shirt went well with his clean black suit pants and Italian shoes.

“They say everything to throw us off and it works on the others, but the CCF knows better!” Jerome snapped.

The other members roared in agreement. It was safe to be loud this far into the bush. They were away from everyone else and in Nigeria no one cared to check out who was planning what, or why. The only time Nigerians took any action was in response to action.

“These pastors take our money and send their children abroad while building schools here which we cannot afford to send our children to,” Chudi spoke now. “They subsidize nothing, but demand we pay more and more. Four services a week, four offerings. Tithe at least once a week. All that money is small alone, but together and when repeated in such a manner as it is, it becomes large. That is how the banks make money.”

“Yes!” Jerome backed his friend. “They change cars like underwear while we keep walking to church for years.”

“I know it was hard coming here to the bush with us, but you will love what we have to tell you,” Chudi spoke now, rubbing his hands together.

Edison assessed the bag on the table before the leaders. It was a simple sport bag. He’d seen several before. What could they have in there that got them so excited and made them call such a secret meeting of only the most loyal members?

“Gentlemen, these people have killed men, women and children,” Jerome spoke, while Chudi unzipped the bag. “They do this and they do not care. They gather the cash and when they die, rather than give it back to the people, they pass it on to children who have been trained so far from home, they know almost nothing of God.”

“Time has come for us to collect our money back,” Chudi said, staring into the open bag with an expressionless face.

“My brothers and sisters in Africa,” said Jerome, “it is time for retribution.”

In that split second before the items in the bag were brought out, Edison guessed what they were and he guessed right.

There was a collective gasp as Chudi pulled out a short, but complex rifle from inside the sports bag.

“Na gun,” someone murmured.

“It’s an S.G. five-five-three” Jerome explained, pulling out a second of the gun Chudi held in his hand now.

“Retribution,” said Chudi, “a justly deserved penalty meted out to an offender.”

“They take our money and build themselves business empires with it!” Jerome barked now. “They give us no credit, no help, no assistance, no recognition. They want us normal niggas when they starting and broke, but once the cash hits, they want rich folks and not the simple guys anymore! Well I say enough is enough!”

“As we are speaking to you, we have members in more than eleven countries already awaiting orders to take action,” Chudi explained. “We have one demand. All wealthy pastors will hand over ninety percent of their wealth to humanitarian organizations, or we will take it by force and if blood will flow, then blood will flow.”

The entire room came alive as the crowd rose from their seats and cheered in support. Edison raised an eyebrow at the idea, but it was clearly beyond his control and deep down, he was glad this was happening.

“False prophets, your judgment day is here!!” Jerome roared.

Edison got on his feet and slowly clapped his hands together. Everyone here had been hurt badly, or knew someone who got hurt badly by one man of God, or the other. They deserved some vengeance and they were giving an option. If the pastors were really working for God, then they did not need the money and could give the ninety percent. Besides, they were all going to heaven in the end, right?

“Since the days of John the Baptist, the kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence and the violence taketh it by force,” Chudi quoted from the Bible. “Well since the days of long ago, these criminal churches taketh our money by trickery, but starting today, we taketh it all back by force!”

The place was electric as joy beyond words filled the hearts of these bereaved men and women. They were glad to finally be able to do this.

For all those who felt they had stolen from the commoners and gotten away with it. Oh something big was coming their way now.

Retribution.

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