Blood on The Altar – Chapter 7

Chapter 7
That was how Blessing and her lover ensured that Sister Ruth’s reign was not long enough. The Coordinator’s voice snapped her back to reality, back into the Pastor’s office from the land of the past,
“Pastor, I already told she will not talk; not when she is guilty of betraying the only Sister who took her in and helped her grow into what she is now.”
“Brother Ade, I have told you to allow the Sister explain the situation herself. Whatever you guys are saying is total darkness to me.”
All these while, Blessing had remained silent, enjoying the session and waiting for the right moment to switch to the next plan. The Coordinator continued, turning to the Pastor,
“Sir, before your arrival, Pastor Ajani, the Pastor that you succeeded, actually called a meeting after he was served a letter to handover, after the series of scandal that rocked his administration; I was privileged to be part of the attendees. He explained to us that Sister Blessing was the one who exposed the text message that incriminated the…”
“Incriminated or exposed?” The Pastor asked him sternly.
Blessing smiled inside of her. She knew the Pastor had seen the situation from her perspective.
“Well…” the Coordinator wanted to say, but the Pastor interjected,
“We need to be very careful about the choice of words here, because the way I am seeing it, I am beginning to accept, just like she accused you, that you are not happy with how Sister Ruth went down in connection to her.” He pointed to Blessing, whose head was still hung low- though, pretentiously.
“I’m sorry about that Sir, but that is not true. We were…I mean, I was glad, but we just thought she shouldn’t have been the one to do that. Not with the way Sister Ruth treated her as a sister.”
“So, you meant to say that if your own flesh and blood is into something that was as bad as that, and yet, held an important office in the Church of God, you would have covered it up?”
“No, Sir.”
“I think you would!” The Pastor said with all certainty. “This is interesting; I believe for the first time, we are really getting to know each other.”
“Ha,” the Coordinator shifted uneasily in his seat, “don’t see it that way, Sir. We were only worried that she should have displayed some kind of loyalty. We believe even a simple loyalty will go a long way.”
“That is true,” the Pastor agreed.
“Thank you Sir,” Brother Ade quickly eased up. “And that was why we were worried when Pastor Ajani said he has prepared a letter of recommendation to suggest Sister Blessing for the post of the Choir Mistress.”
“Interesting,” the Pastor got more interested, “Please continue,” he insisted.
By this time, Blessing knew the plan was hatched, and the result was already out. She sure overheard that Pastor Ajani had recommended her, but she had waited in vain to be announced, only for this new Pastor, Pastor Akin, to make her a vocal leader and blocked all her hope of getting to the coveted throne. But, the way things turned out to be, she realized that Pastor Akin didn’t even know anything about the letter.
“So,” the Coordinator continued, we kicked against it based on the issue you also agreed on- her display of lack of loyalty. We believed that if she can do that to a close colleague, then, she will show no respect to the Church.”
“You see, Brother Ade, the issue of loyalty I agreed with, was not as you are seeing it currently. Sister Blessing has shown her commitment and loyalty to God and not to men, by exposing your friend.”
He paused to see Brother Ade’s reaction, and his reaction was full of defeat. He shook his head, shifted in his seat, and started sweating. But the Pastor continued, much to Blessing’s gladness.
“So,” Pastor Akin continued, “you people going against her because she exposed a particular person who wasn’t even fit for the post of a leader in a Church, are only against God.”
“Ha, Pastor.” He gaped and became more inconvenient in his seat. As it appeared, the tide had turned against him. The plan was working.
Blessing slowly turned her head to look at him without really raising it and winked at the Coordinator. An action only the Coordinator noticed. The Coordinator looked transfixed with surprise.
“Where is the letter of recommendation, Brother Ade?” The Pastor asked.
“It is in my office, Sir.” He replied, fidgeting.
“Why haven’t I seen this letter?”
“Em…Sir, it was agreed, based on the same issue we were talking about…”
“The issue of lack of loyalty, I suppose?”
“Yes Sir.” He said, and nodded at the same time, raising his finger like a pupil wanting to ask his teacher a question.
“Lack of loyalty,” the Pastor paused, “to men, right?”
“Ha! Not like that Sir.” The Coordinator managed to say, clearly showing his surprise at the sudden turn of things against him. Blessing only managed not to laugh.
“Please, fetch the letter.” The Pastor ordered and turned away from him.
“Now, is your time,” Sister Mary told Blessing. Only she could hear her dead lover talk.
“Sister Blessing,” the Pastor called her softly.
“Sir.” she answered coarsely.
“Are you crying? Please raise your head.” The Pastor pleaded with her. “You don’t need to cry, God has vindicated you once more. Can you hear me, Sister Blessing?”
“Do it, now!” Sister Mary ordered and Blessing bursted into tears. She wailed louder and sniffed harder. The Pastor was helpless- he tried to make her calm. Brother Ade came in; he held the letter to his chest.
“What happened, Sir?” He asked as he closed the door behind him.
“Well, you can hear and see for yourself. It really hurts to think we are doing some good, and people turned it into a bad thing. You people need to apologize to this lady. She has done nothing wrong by exposing the wrong person in this Church,” he lectured.
“I… em…we are very sorry, Sir. I believe we only saw it in a different way back then. But now, I think with all you have said, I know better-God first, Sir.” He finished his damage control speech that was dry anyways.
After a while, Blessing wiped her face and looked up.
“This is your letter of recommendation, I promise to look into it. But I am not promising to go back out of the decision not to have a Choir Mistress for now. You shall remain the vocal leader and we will discuss more on how you can help us with Sister Hannah. I am glad we still have people like you in the Church.”
“Thank you Sir,” she spoke after a long time, half kneeling.
There was a disturbing silence until she broke the silence again, “Can I be excused Sir?” She turned her head backwards to check the time from the wall clock in the Pastor’s office and added, “I need to pray for at least one hour before I break my fast, and as it is, the time is already…”
“Oh, you’re fasting?” The Pastor asked excitedly.
She nodded.
“May the Lord answer your prayers, my daughter,” he prayed.
“Amen Sir,” she replied with a shy smile.
“Please, be quick about it. You can go.” the Pastor said, rubbing his palms together and smiling broadly. It was clear that she has won the Pastor to her side; another step closer.
“Please, remember us in your prayers,” the Pastor called out as she was about to exit the office.
“I will Sir.” She replied and smiled back, closing the door after her. Once the door was closed behind her, she pressed her ears against the door, ready to eavesdrop. The voices were faint, but not faint enough for her not to make sense out of it.
“You need to be very careful as a leader, Brother Ade. We cannot afford to lose such a God fearing Character in this Church. I, personally will not accept that!” The Pastor said.
“I understand Sir, but we can’t just judge a book by its cover. Sister Blessing is not who she was pretending to be Sir. You need to open your eyes!” He said that loudly.
“So, I am blind?” The Pastor asked.
“I am talking of the spiritual eyes, Sir,” he corrected.
“Still the same; you will need to get me a spiritual glasses then, since I am supposedly blind spiritually.”
“Sir, I didn’t mean it that way.” He lamented.
“Please, leave. I have a lot of things to attend to.” The Pastor retaliated.
Blessing quickly left the door and headed to the main exit. As she was close to the door to the main auditorium, her bag got hooked by the door latch and its content spilled. She quickly packed them and tucked them bag into the bag. There was a cucumber; a half-emptied plastic bottle of soft drink, a half-eaten snack, a small note and a pen. She looked around to ensure that nobody saw her and quickly packed her things; she tucked them into the bag with great disorderliness.
As she was closer to the gate, she brought out the snack in her bag and took a quick bite after blowing the dirt from it. Immediately she opened the gate, she bumped into Hannah who was just about to enter. She jumped back in fear.
“I’m sorry, Ma; I didn’t know you were coming.” Hannah apologized.
“Oh, it is okay, Hannah.” She mumbled between mouthfuls and waved her off, trying hard not to let Hannah suspect anything as she forced herself to swallow.
“Alright, take care, Ma.” Hannah said and continued on her way to the office. Blessing watched her with great hate and contempt as she walked away.
“I hope you are ready for the showdown?” She asked Hannah who has already vanished into the office complex and not within an earshot. “I just hope you can handle the heat?” She said again and moved outside the Church premises. She closed the gate, brought out the soft drink from her bag and gulped it all down. She closed her eyes and let out a refreshing loud belch and a big sigh.
“Fasting my foot.” She said and flung away the empty plastic bottle. With a great air of victory and ostentation, she swaggered down the way home.

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