Posted in christian

In His Love: Chapter 4

Customer traffic in the brothel lessened the next week; the streets were getting too hot. A famous entrepreneur overdosed on drugs in the area, and the police were picking up any and everybody. 

Amara told her boys not to cross paths with the police for a while until the heat settled. In the evening, she fixed herself up and met with Abiodun, known as Mr. A. They met in the city center, the Central. The area housed government offices, private organizations, and industries. It was the meeting point for big business; too boisterous to be residential.

Grand hotels took up space in the area; for visitors to stay and do business or find pleasure. The Central also boasted clubs for the rich and the super-rich, and for those who sought extreme comfort and escape. Mr. A scheduled a meeting for Amara with an industrialist. A Mr. Marshall, whose wife, traveled out of town for a few days. He and Amara went way back, as she always soothed his lonely heart. 

Excited about the evening, Amara took extra care of her appearance. Mr. A stood in front of the Excellency hotel waiting; the rendezvous point. Dressed in a grey three-piece suit, Amara smiled as she hugged him. “Hello lover, long time.” 

A handsome man in his early fifties, Mr. A kept himself in shape. He smiled back at her, looking her over with approval. “Mr. Marshall can be petty about every little detail. I came to ensure everything goes well. You look beautiful as always, my dear.”

They strolled to the elevator, which took them to the thirteenth floor. “Madam Love would like a word sometime this week if you can make the time.” He said, looking at her. 

Amara did not say a word, waiting for the root of the matter.

“She needs you now, Amara, and you can make so much money off her customers. What’s the hold-up?” 

Amara smiled and turned to him. “Tell her I will call her later in the week to schedule a meeting. Wish me luck.” The elevator doors slid open, she stepped out and walked away.


 Their first book club meeting left them sated. They discussed the first chapter of the chosen book in-depth. The story started with action, a mysterious murder. The chief investigator, the protagonist, suspected a member of the dead man’s family. 

“A question,” Amara started the discussion the next day, once they took their preferred seats in the cafe. 

Gerald removed the book from his backpack and thumbed through to the chapter up for review. “Shoot.” 

“Why would a person kill a member of their family for money? Not their extended family, but mother, father, brother, or sister?” 

“My question would be, what is the value of family to such a person? What did his parents teach him or her about life’s basic values? I am not speaking for the killer, but you would need to put a higher value on money than on whatever the family can provide to take such a step.” 

Amara nodded, thinking about her family. Written off at a time she needed them the most, they seemed like specks of dust on the sand to her now. The whole family, including the extended, treated her like trash. Still, would she go as far as killing them for cash? 

The server brought their coffee and left. 

“So Amara, what does family mean to you?” 

Amara thought about her answer. “Can we find a perfect family situation anywhere? I believe all families have their problems. It is what makes us human; however, I expected more from mine. I can’t blame them because they acted as society expected and shunned the sinner.” 

He smiled. “If you think like that, you can forgive them. I am glad you realize no one is perfect.” 

She laughed. “Forgive them, hah! They think I’m the one who needs forgiveness,” she said, looking out the window. She chose her seat near it because of the view. Thinking there helped clear her head. 

“We all need to identify where we missed it. This would enable us to retrace our steps. If we need to forgive people along the way, why not?” Gerald said. 

Amara looked at him. “Easy to say, but difficult to live out.” She paused. “I was sixteen, scared, and pregnant. Abandoned by all I loved; my parents included. They only accommodated me to avoid the shame of seeing me homeless. No one wanted to talk to, encourage, or help me with the pregnancy. I can never forget the pain of those nine months, ever. You will not believe this, but my parents held a grudge against me the entire period. They still do, for my shameless act. Forgiveness does not come easy to people, my friend. I believe my parents would have sold me at the time for any amount to dispose of me.” She smiled at him. “Story over. Back to the book and the handsome detective.”


Amara arrived at Madam Love’s flat early. A high-rise building in the Central. It boasted a view of the city like a painting in an art gallery. Amara loved the picture. She rang the bell, and a man answered the door. He asked her to sit and wait for the madam; he knew madam expected her. 

She sat on the dark green sofa, which complemented the mauve cushion and the abstract floral wallpaper, a dramatic backdrop in the room. Amara smiled at the metallic ceiling pendant, which housed the light bulb. The decoration reminded her of the high-end clubs. Madam Meg could not compare with Madam Love, though they did the same business. Amara nodded her head; it was time to move up. 

“Hello Amara, so nice of you to come.” Madam Love said as she entered the room in her long floral gown. Tall and still beautiful, men still flocked around her when she appeared in public. Mr. A told Amara the lady hit fifty-five the year before. 

Amara got up and allowed the Madam to kiss her cheeks before they both sat down facing each other. “Hello, Madam, you called, and I answered.” 

“Thank you. Tea or something cool to drink?” Love asked. 

The temperature in the room compared to that of the Swiss Alps. Amara would swear to it, though she had never been. She longed to ask Madam Love if she thought she lived in Antarctica. 

“Tea, please,” Amara said, hoping for the lavender tea she enjoyed the last time she visited. 

“Good choice,” Madam Love rang the bell on the side of the coffee table, invisible to the eye. The man appeared again. “Armand, please serve tea. The Lavender Cinnamon I got from China would be perfect.” He nodded and left. “So, tell me how you are faring. Abiodun told me your madam almost stopped you from working.” 

Amara smiled. “Well, I do not blame her. Who would? She considered our meeting as disloyal to her and took the steps she thought most beneficial for her business.” 

Love threw her head back and laughed. “Business, you say?” She asked, recovering from the joke she enjoyed alone. “Let me tell you how to do business, dear. None of my girls are mine to do as I please. They can do business with my customers from anywhere, if they pay me my cut. The cut, darling, is the essence of the relationship. Without the pay, how do we survive in this cruel world? So, Meg is losing money because of pride and disloyalty? Hah!” Love shook her head. 

Armand brought in the tea tray and laid the engraved china set on the coffee table. The tea set transformed the place, giving it a Chinese tearoom look. 

“This is beautiful china, Madam,” Amara said. 

“Thank you, dear. I hope you enjoy your tea.” 

After a few sips of the tea, which filled the nostrils and lingered on the tongue as it warmed its way to the belly, Madam turned to business. 

“Amara, our first meeting did not go well, and I apologize. I underestimated you, thinking a girl from the ghetto would jump at any and everything to work for the big boys in the Central, but you set me straight. It must be why big wigs like Marshall want only you.” Love smiled at her. 

“I want us to build another relationship, this time as equals. You give me my cut, and I give you the big boys. I will set you up in a flat in the Central to make business more accessible for you, and I’ll make sure everything you need is at hand.” She leaned close to Amara. “Say, yes.” 

Amara smiled at Love. No madam would provide you with all Love listed if the stakes did not stack up in her favor. Love would benefit a lot from the deal, and until Amara understood everything in the agreement, she would continue to dilly dally. 

“Thank you, madam, for the kind offer. Give me a week to think?” 

“Haba Amara, do not be coy now. Who else can provide you with all of this? Listen, my time makes money. I will give you two days, nothing more.” 

“Why me, Madam? Many younger and more beautiful girls abound. Girls well-known for their techniques. Why me?” 

Love looked at her, a slight smile on her face. “Because it is you, Amara. Only you would ask such a question. Connected to your inner self, you have clear goals for your life. You carry yourself with enough poise to enter and leave any room. The customers who stick to you can tell. They understand one can’t fake such a personality. Those are the men I want. Men of stature recognize strength and presence when they see it. A woman who knows her power, but still maintains her place, is sexy, don’t you think?” Madam Love burst into laughter. “Oh, I see us making lucky money together, my dear.” 

Amara tilted her head to the side. “Give me two days, madam, and I will send you my answer.” 

The madam beamed. “Fine, I’ll be waiting.”


Alex ran to hug her, and Amara laughed, thankful for the love of the child. She bought Alex books and a toy car. The girl tended towards the boyish. They stood outside her parent’s home and heard her mother speaking to someone on the phone. 

Amara sighed, reluctant to engage. “Where is grandpa?” She asked Alex. 

“He is sleeping, Mama. Grandma says he is down with a fever.” 

Amara nodded and gave Alex the bag of gifts. “I want you to read these books every day. I will take you to the Shawarma place this weekend, and you will read a page from one of them to me… promise?”

“Thanks, Mama, you’re the best.” Alex hugged her again. 

The more Amara looked at Alex, the more she liked Madame Love’s offer. She would achieve her dreams of starting a business and living with Alex. She played with the child, and thoughts of a home, a better school, and a better life for her child flashed through her mind like a dream becoming clearer and clearer. 

“Hey Alex, how about living with Mama soon?” Amara could not stop her thoughts from slipping out of her mouth. 

Alex turned from playing and looked at her. “Can I, Mama?” She asked, the smile of a minute ago gone. 

“No, darling, next time say, ‘may I’, alright?” 

Alex nodded. “May I, Mama?” 

Amara smiled at her. “Yes, soon. Be patient, love, and keep it our little secret. Don’t tell anyone-grandpa or grandma, no one?” 

Alex nodded and turned back to her toy.


Amara was fighting a masked assailant. In the dense darkness, they fought on an empty road. The man tried to choke life out of Amara as he pinned her to the ground. He wore all black, but his red eyes were his only visible features; Amara shuddered at the way they glowed at her. She panicked as her strength ebbed; she kicked as well. The man kept up the chokehold. Her attempts did not deter him in the least. Amara’s hold on him loosened as she lost strength and any hope of being saved in that darkness.

Out of nowhere, he appeared. A man just stepped out of the shadows and strode towards them with speed. The assailant turned to find out the person bearing down on him, when the newcomer placed one hand on the assailant’s arm and threw him off Amara, and into the darkness like garbage. 

Turning to her, he said, “wake up now.” 

Amara woke up to smoke. When she tried to open her eyes, the smoke hurt her. The noise of people screaming and pounding on her door reached her. She staggered from the bed, coughing, and felt her way to the door. She unlocked it and fell into the arms of someone, Nkoli. 

“Oh, thank you, Jesus. Aunty, we have been knocking. People are trying to enter your room through the window to stop the fire. Come to my room.”

Amara could not understand what Nkoli said about the fire and went with her to the room. She lay down exhausted on Nkoli’s mattress on the floor, still coughing. 

“Aunty, since your room is open, let me go back. Please stay down.” 

Amara nodded and smiled at her. She understood Nkoli needed to look out for her. Some girls would use the opportunity to their advantage. Nkoli came back with the keys to Amara’s room and related what she knew of the fire. 

On her way to the toilet, when it was still dark out, smoke filled the hallway. She traced the source to Amara’s room and started knocking. The noise made from knocking woke up the others, and they all tried to force the door open. 

Amara smiled. She changed the door to the room the month before, and if she had not opened it herself, it would have been difficult to open from the hallway. Madame Meg’s boys also tried from the back to remove the barrier at the window in the kitchenette. They found a gaping hole in the new mosquito net Amara changed earlier in the month.

That last bit of information confirmed Amara’s suspicions. Someone tried to burn her room down with her in it. At a loss about who would do such a thing and why, she kept her thoughts to herself.

The fire damaged most of Amara’s kitchen area and burnt up part of the table. The side of the room affected was black with soot. Madam Meg invited her for a meeting after they cleaned up as best as they could that day. 

“Sit, Amara.” 

Amara thanked her and sat down, waiting. 

“I hope you are alright? No health problems from the fire?” Madam swirled the tea in her tea cup slowly. 

Amara shook her head. “None, Madam, thank you.” 

Madam Meg nodded, sipping from her teacup. “Amara, I will not waste your time. Fate has moved us to the next stage of events. We have been going back and forth about your departure from the brothel. I think this is the best time.

 “My boys found your scented candles around the burnt areas, so you caused this minor disaster. I will not ask you to pay for repairs if you leave without a fuss. I will renovate the room for Nma. She always coveted the little room, and since she is the house star, she deserves to have what she wants. You have decided on Love as your Madam. I hope you find success with her. God be with you in all your future endeavours.”

Amara’s heart stilled. This was the end, though not the way she hoped, and it seemed Meg was done. Her face cracked into a smile she did not feel, as she knelt, then crawled towards Madam Meg. 

“Thank you, Madam. When nobody would, you took me in. You nursed me back to health and helped me start this job. You taught me the ways of the world and helped me stand on my feet. I have not been disloyal. Madame Love hasn’t hired me yet. I understand the reason for your anger, and I ask for forgiveness. I want us to part as friends, not enemies, please?”

Madame Meg looked at her, and the look of sadness in her eyes struck Amara. “Amara, I don’t need this. I took you in as the daughter the man upstairs did not give me, and Alex, like my own. Don’t you understand how much your betrayal hurt? In my shoes, what would you do? I set things up, so in a few years, you would run this place.” She looked up and pointed a finger. “Why can’t people be loyal? Why does everybody want more? Where did the contentment spirit fly to?” She paused, looking down. “Go, go to Love then, and be happy.” 

Amara stood and bowed to Meg. “Goodbye, Madam.”

Posted in christian

In His Love: Chapter 3

Jez Timms on Unsplash

“The invasion took Haraya by surprise. We could not protect ourselves; it was so unexpected. One day, a beautiful garden of Eden and the next, a war-wracked city. Years later, we found out the truth. Our Ekoki neighbors on the east helped the invaders; jealous of God’s constant grace over us.” Elder John, the parish’s oldest, said and shook his withered head, bending as he concentrated on the floor. 

Gerald sat next to him on a pew after an evening service, trying to understand what happened to Wilderness.

“Foreigners invaded Haraya, once secured by the beautiful mountains, which protected her and our neighboring communities. The Otuma people in the north-the desert dwellers, accessed the land they could not enter before the invasion. Created by God as thieves and liars, we knew them for what they are- desecrators of lands. They leave everywhere they touch wretched.” Elder John turned to Gerald looking him in the eye, “beware the Otuma people, son, do not deal with them.” 

Gerald nodded in solemn agreement.

Elder John looked away and forward, as if he was watching the story play out in front of him again. “Over time, our land of forests, lush vegetation, and loving families changed. Like the foreigners who invaded us, we turned greedy. Our people became corrupt and self-serving, forgetting the reason for the peace we enjoyed, but the corruption didn’t start after the invasion. No, it started before; small and festering like an ugly wound.

“The people of Ekuma in the west were aware of the change in Haraya. Our pastor is from there, you know, Pastor Josh.” The elder said, pointing to the pastor’s office. “They appear high and mighty, like white-washed sepulchers. We called them our sister community and enjoyed inter-marriage and good trading relationships with them. Now, Ekuma strains to touch us from afar; treating us like lepers, not wanting to be tainted with the degenerative effect of the invasion.” Elder John spat on the floor of the church, and Gerald wondered if the act did not desecrate the house of God.

“Ekuma stayed safe and content in their land; buffing up their security to keep out foreigners. They kept their children innocent and religious, and their church bells ringing, while we suffered. Ahhh…” He waved his hand with force as if he swatted away an errant fly.

“Our poor lived off the land. Farming, hunting, doing menial work, and serving the rich. We, the underprivileged, couldn’t beat the system, and couldn’t join either.” Elder John said and remained silent for a while, looking off into space. Gerald waited in hope. The story couldn’t have ended.

The Elder shook himself, as if coming out of sleep. “In 1969, it became clear the government would care for some areas, not all. The reports submitted to the people stated that because of the dearth of resources from the land, the government could no longer support the maintenance of specific communities. 

“They provided management incentives for the community heads to enable them to manage themselves. The rich supported their residential and business sites, while the poor communities remained in squalor. In the end, Wilderness, called Zion, degenerated. 

Elder John smiled. “A peaceful place, once home to prayer warriors and God-seekers who gathered to worship and seek God’s face for Haraya. The first government-appointed Community leader wept as he changed the name to what it is now, but in hope.” 

Gerald went to bed that night, understanding in part God’s heart for Wilderness. The next day, as he walked the streets, he took a position over Wilderness. He passed dilapidated buildings, children meant to be in school hawking their mothers’ goods, and he prayed. 

Gerald continued to pray and speak the word of God as he passed the brothel. Men hurried out after a night with girls who did not understand. He also prayed for the girl, God’s choice for him, and walked faster. 

Back at the parish, he laid Wilderness before God, Zion, and spoke to his father in heaven about the time for its restoration. 


On the next Thursday, at noon, Gerald prepared to go visiting. He changed twice, nervous. Frustrated, he looked around and stopped at his reading table; his bible lay on it. Gerald smiled at himself and knelt where he stood in worship. 

“I’m sorry I act so unrighteous, Father. Thank you for the opportunity to do your will. You sent me to her. Help me choose what to wear and what to say. Help me stand as your priest and king in this matter. Open her eyes to you and not to me. I exalt you over today’s meeting in Jesus’ name.”

He stood and walked to the wardrobe, opened it, and as he flipped past clothes, he spotted his favorite black t-shirt, hanging on a pair of blue jeans. He took them out. Once dressed, peace settled over him like a warm shroud on a chilly night. His mission was all about God and designed by God, and he found rest.

The question was, would she remember him the way he remembered her? It flashed past, wanting to nag, but he smiled, looking up.

“That’s why I got you, Father. Thank you.”


Winners’ lane bustled with people. Most of the residents were small-time farmers, traders, and of course, the area boys, who milled about transacting their kind of business. People hustled until almost midnight each day. 

Gerald got out of the taxi and closed his eyes, maintaining his place before God in his mind. Unsure what to do next, he stood in the same spot until someone tapped his shoulder from behind. He turned, and three young men stood behind him, their identities undeniable. The one with a scar moved closer.

“What are you looking for, butter boy?” 

Gerald looked around and, seeing no one available to help, left his fate to God. “I’m here for someone.”

Alpha wagged a condemning finger in Gerald’s face. “Who are you looking for in the ghetto? You boys are here again to use our girls’ and run? Boys, beat him.” Alpha said, as he hissed and turned. One of the younger boys kicked Gerald’s leg, and he went down. Another boy lifted his leg to kick Gerald in another part of his body he knew would hurt when they all heard someone shout.


“Snake, this is another one. Leave us so we can finish him.” Alpha said, his tone quiet.

Gerald tried to turn from Alpha to the owner of the voice, whose heels clicked rhythmically on the once tarred road. Her form appeared before him; her face was not in his line of vision. The pain robbed him of breath, and the will to move.

“Help him up.” She said.

Gerald yelped as pain shot up his leg on his way up. He gritted his teeth as he looked up, and his eyes widened. It was her.

She looked at him, with her head cocked to the side, eyes almost in slants. “Aren’t you a pastor? What are you doing here on a Thursday?” She said and folded her arms, waiting.

“I came to visit someone.” 

Amara smiled. “You did? One of the girls catch your fancy?” 

Gerald nodded. “Yes, you did.” 

Amara’s smile fell off her face like a curtain falling off a wall.

“Boys, I’ll deal from here.” She said and turned to Alpha, her meaning clear. He nodded and gestured for the others to leave with him. They left Gerald, dropping the support they offered, and he staggered a little before he regained his balance. The pain forcing tears.

Amara looked at him with a half-smile. “I’m sorry, but I don’t attend to customers anymore. I can recommend some girls you might like. Someone like you would like them young and supple, or are you one of those deep ones who doesn’t care about age or size, as long as they are women?” She said, a wry smile on her face.

Gerald met her gaze, no expression in his. “If you won’t listen to me, I leave.”

Amara walked around him. Once she stood before him again, she said, “Come.”

Gerald followed her into the brothel and straight to the bar area, walking with a limp. When they got to the bar, Amara walked in and gestured with her hand to a seat.

“So, on our way to the bar, none of the girls caught your attention?” She asked and turned to him.

Gerald shook his head. “I need some water, please.”

Amara nodded and called to the barman for water. “They will serve you water. I need to talk to our madam about your request. Give me ten minutes.” 

She left him there, not waiting for a reply. Someone walked from the window area towards him. He recognized the girl who introduced herself as Nma the last time. She sheathed her body in a short dress. Gerald expected a lot of men paid her the attention she craved.

She stood before him. “Hello again. I hoped you would come with Josh yesterday. I missed you.” 

“Do you always call him Josh?” He asked.

Nma smiled. “I call him Pastor Josh to his face. What do I call you, Pastor Gerald?” 

“No, I’m no pastor. I’m assisting Pastor Josh.” 

“Well, Assistant,” she said, moving between his legs and sitting on the painful one. “Let me show you a good time.” She said, as she massaged his head.

Gerald gritted his teeth to stop the yelp, which almost escaped his lips. He got up with a wince and moved her body to the next seat. The strength of her perfume could give him nasal injuries. 

He smiled at her. “Thank you for the offer. Quite a perfume, strong and catchy. I’m here for the lady who brought me to the bar. I’ll wait for her if you don’t mind.” 

Nma looked down and then up at him, presenting him with a smile, which didn’t quite reach her eyes, and fake lashes.”I’m always available, honey. This body and the perfume are yours for free. All you need to do is ask, anytime.” She stood and twerked away, while he sat down again to wait, not noticing.

Amara walked back into the room, looking at him with her customised slight head tilt. “My name is Amara. Our boss asked me to introduce Nma, who just left you as the last alternative. What’s wrong with her?” 

“Nothing is wrong with her or any other woman here. I’m here to talk to you.” 

She moved closer to him. “Look at me,” she said, trailing a hand over her body from shoulder to hips. “What can’t another woman give you?” 

Gerald’s mouth dropped open, a slight opening. Was she flirting with him? “I want you,” he said. Once the words passed his lips, he realized his mistake and shook his head. He tried again. “I’m here to talk to you, I mean.”

Amara leaned into him. “Are you here to pick my brain about the pros and cons of prostitution?” 

Gerald sighed. “Can we go somewhere private where we can talk?” 

Amara smiled. “If I go anywhere with you, you pay, whether we study scripture or know each other.” 

“I’ll pay.”

She turned and walked away. “Follow me.”

They exited the bar and Amara turned left, moving down the hallway. She stopped in front of a door, opened it, and stepped in. Gerald followed her and halted at the entrance. It was a separate world from the one in the brothel. It reminded Gerald of the Alice story. 

He stepped in and from the soft scent of incense to the cleanly painted walls and sparse furnishing, Amara’s other side was clear. The decor looked simple but well thought through. Gerald relaxed, impressed.

“Sit,” she called out from behind the curtain. 

He sat on the chair and looked at the odd items on her table. Madame Bovary, the Penguin version, lay near a tablet placed face down. He looked at her and back at the table. Did they belong to her?

She stepped out from behind the curtain, carrying a sealed bottle of water and a glass tumbler on a tray. She placed them beside Gerald and sat on the bed, looking at him.

Gerald smiled. “Are you reading Madame Bovary?”

Looking at the book, she smiled and nodded, “have you read it?”

“No. Do you read often?” 

“Any chance I get. Some of my loyal customers own library cards. With their help, I can borrow books from the Library in the Central whenever I want. However, I don’t think we are here to discuss reading, are we?”

Gerald liked her straight-forward manner. “No, we are not. Just to talk.” He said with a smile.

“Sure, as long as we don’t talk about God.”

He nodded. “Fair enough.”

He remained quiet for a while as he prayed about his opening.

“You are on the clock, man of God,” she said, looking at the clock hanging on the wall.

“I knew you as a child.” He began.

Amara laughed. “Not possible. We are from different worlds.”

“Some years ago, you saved me in front of your mother’s shop from some young boys who threatened to beat the devil out of me,” he said, smiling. “Your mother gave me money for transport, and you made sure I got home safe. I never forgot the incident. Do you remember?”

Amara turned away, as if in thought. When she turned back, her expression was blank. “I don’t, but how are you sure I am the girl from your past?”

 Gerald looked at the mark on the side of her face.

“Oh, the mark,” she said, nodding.

Gerald bent his head in disappointment, thinking of the next thing to say. He planned the story of his salvation at her hands as his starter. 

“How is your mother?”

“She’s fine.”

“I understand your comment about the separate worlds we come from, but are we all not similar underneath?” he asked.

Amara laughed, long and loud. “Similar? Did you say similar? Where did you go to school?” She asked.

“In London and Switzerland.”

“My complete education, or the lack of it, stopped on these streets. So, please do not insult me by comparing us. How long are you paying for?”

“How much is the charge for an hour?”

“Why would you be paying for an hour? What are we talking about?” She asked, and when he kept looking at her, she continued, “the cost for an hour of my time is 5000 haras.”

“Isn’t that steep?” He asked.

The sides of her lips turned up. “What, for a prostitute? No, I warned you to choose someone else. This prostitute does not work anymore, a fact I spelled out to you. When I do work, I do not come cheap. So, can you pay Mr.?”

“My name is Gerald, and yes, I will pay, and keep paying.”

Amara looked at him, leaning forward as if to ask a question, but leaned back again.

“Am I boring you?” He asked.

“Your money, your headache, Mister; however, I can teach you a little about pleasure.” She said, leaning forward again and moving close to his seat. “Listen, if your conscience is the problem here, don’t worry. God doesn’t come this far. I promise you pleasure you’ve never experienced before. What do you say?” she asked, smiling.

He smiled, covering the heavy, steady thump of his heart, and picked the book. “What books do you like?”

She sighed, moving back into the bed. “I like mystery, sci-fi, and erotica to keep me updated.” She said and smiled again, her look intense.

He nodded, standing up. He was uncomfortable, and it was moving to a level 10 mark. “How long has this session been?”

She looked at her bedroom clock. “Thirty minutes, give or take.”

“May I transfer the amount for an hour to your account?”

She smiled. “Why not?”

She provided her account details while he made the transfer on his phone. He showed her the success notification and turned towards the door. She got down from the bed and followed him. She bumped into him as he turned to speak to her, and he held her hand to steady her.

“I will keep coming here for you. I want to understand what happened to the girl who saved my life.” He said, looking into her eyes.

She removed her hand from his and turned away. “If she is the reason you are coming here, don’t bother. The girl you remember died and went to hell. It will be difficult for me to attend to you again. As I told you earlier, the madam of this place wants me to stop work.”

“Then, may I take you out sometime?”

“For what reason? Do you like me?” She asked, looking into his eyes.

He nodded, looking back at her.

She looked away. “Well, I don’t like you. You church types think we are here waiting for you to come and save us.” She looked back at him, her eyes narrowed, a bit of anger flashing. “Newsflash, this one is ready for hell. I’m waiting for the bus, if the accursed place exists.” She went back to her bed, gesturing for him to leave with her hand.

Gerald looked in the pocket of his jeans for a pen and the small notepad he always carried. He wrote his name, address, and phone number. He tore the page out and placed it under the book, where she would find it.

“I will visit you again. I am neither here to transform you, only God can, nor am I here out of gratitude. You are a major part of my life. If you gave up on God, God did not give up on you. He will always love you, accept it. Take care.” 

He left her room, not turning back as he limped into the street. His body’s response to her shocked him. Gerald took his time with women, getting to know them before desire built up. He wondered whether the sudden need resulted because of her location and work. He needed help with this one as sure as the night came after the day.


Gerald went to a bookstore the next morning and bought books in the genres she had mentioned, but no erotica. He asked the Holy Spirit for help with his purchases and took the books straight to the brothel in the taxi he hired. 

Amara stood outside the brothel, talking to the same area boys when Gerald arrived. He got out of the cab and waited for her to finish. Alpha nudged her, nodding towards him, and she turned. She looked at him and the bag in his hand and turned back to the group, not saying a word. He waited. Five minutes later, the discussion group separated. Amara walked up to him and stood, not speaking. Gerald smiled as he lifted the bag of books in his hand. “I brought books.” 

Amara looked at the bag and back at him, not saying anything.

“Can we go somewhere to talk?” He asked.

“What makes you think I want to talk to you? You might be one of those crazy people whose madness is not yet full-blown.”

Gerald laughed. “Come on.”

She turned away from him for some seconds and turned back. “To take me out, you will double the money for my time. Is it alright with you?”

He would pay her from his foreign account after today; he didn’t have enough in their local currency to continue transacting with her. “Sure, why not? Where to?”

She smiled at him and asked for five minutes. 


Ten minutes later, they sat in a taxi headed towards a cafe outside Wilderness. The location looked a little different from Wilderness but appeared cleaner and saner. 

Gerald raised a brow when they got there, following Amara to the counter where they placed their coffee orders. Gerald ordered black coffee, while Amara ordered a Macchiato, before they went to find seats. 

Amara looked at the bag in his hand. “Did you bring me anything?”

“I told you I bought books for you.”

Amara smiled at him. It transformed her face, making her look younger. Gerald smiled back; grateful his purchases elicited such a reaction. He handed her the bag, observing her face as she took out the six books he bought her, one after the other, and read the blurbs.

A server brought their coffee and left.

She looked up. “Thank you. Do not pay double today; I am so pleased.”

“I’m happy too.” Gerald said, praising God.

Amara sighed. “I wish I had friends who read. My dream has always been to read with people. Are you acquainted with any reading groups?”

Gerald shook his head at the question before a thought crossed his mind. “I am not aware of any such groups, but even if I did, you would read their choice for the period, not yours. So, what if I become your reading partner?”

“Do you like to read?” She asked.

“Yes, I picked books written by my favorite authors for you. What do you say?”

“Well, I don’t want to waste your time or anything, but if you insist.” She said, smiling at him.

Gerald nodded. “How do we go about our reading?”

He smiled as she tilted her head. “We’ll need to meet often. Is three times a week too much?” she asked.

“Perfect. You can add more days.”

Amara smiled, her eyes widening. “Do you mean it? What if I said five days a week?”


Amara pumped the air with her fist. “Yes! What time every day would do? I am good at noon, and we can read or discuss the book for an hour.”

Gerald nodded, drinking his coffee. “It works for me, as well. When do we start?”

“How about tomorrow? I will not hold you to the agreement on the payment we discussed.” She smiled. “I’m not supposed to take money from you, but a girl has got to eat. So, you will pay me the hourly rate?”

“Fine, I understand. We start tomorrow?”

Amara nodded, drinking her coffee, and looking at the books again. She picked one and gave it to him. “Why don’t we start with this one? I like the storyline. Do you have a copy?”

He looked at the book and noted the name. “No, but I can get it. Where do we meet for our discussions?”

“This place is alright. I know the owners, and I am comfortable. Is it convenient for you?”

Gerald smiled.

Amara leaned forward. “Why me?”

Gerald leaned back into the comfort of his seat.

She continued her queries. “Why are you interested in me? Why not a younger girl, smarter or among your class?” She stayed in position, watching his face.

He leaned forward, close to her. “You wouldn’t believe it if I told you, but please trust this; everything I do with you is with a sound mind. I want us to be friends, and not because you saved me all those years ago. I promise you, the more we meet, the more you will know me, and I hope you will want to relate with me as well.”

She looked like she wanted to say something but thought against it, as she tilted her head to the side, still watching him. Looking down at the book, she smiled as she continued to drink her coffee. Gerald shook his head at the wisdom of God.

Posted in christian

In His Love: Chapter 2

Sharon McCutcheon – Unsplash

Gerald worked out early every morning – a walking routine he created for himself. He liked how people walked past with swift steps on their way to their various businesses, minding their own. Gerald’s walk did two things: enabled him to talk to God, and he learned the routes in Wilderness. His daily workout routine started at 5 am, but he did not leave the church premises until 6:30 am, as he waited for more light.
He prayed about everybody he encountered on the way: the mothers who rose early to prepare their children for school, people who set up to sell their wares for the day, those hurrying to work, and even the loitering area boys.
On entering the heart of Wilderness, the environment changed; even in the near daylight, it seemed as if darkness hovered, blended in and dominated. The toppling houses, the roads filled with rubbish heaps, the aggressiveness and anger the inhabitants reacted with at the slightest provocation, and their penchant to distrust first and ask questions later. He avoided this part of Wilderness; however, God led him this way today and who was he to say no? He did not want to end up in a giant animal’s belly. He took the scriptures at its literal meaning.
He moved through a street with measured steps. He noted the name scrawled on the wall of a house, Winner’s lane, before the commotion before him caught his attention. Some men gathered around a man like vultures. The assailants looked like area boys, harassing the one on the ground for money. Gerald pleaded with God not to send him to help and tried to turn around to leave the street.
“Keep walking,” He heard in his heart.
He continued forward, and as he passed the scene, he spotted her. She stood over the man on the ground like an Amazon. The smile on her face made it obvious she held the reins. He was not aware he stopped walking. She captivated him with the aura of power she held herself up by, but the mark on her face registered more. The scar called to him like an old memory, willing him to remember. His eyes followed every move she made until the group released the man and all walked away.
“She is the one,” He heard again.
Gerald realised he had been standing in the same position, fear forgotten. God’s words registered. He looked up at the sky, mouth open for a while, passers-by looked at him funny. He closed his mouth and continued walking; this time away from the street.
“I don’t understand, Father, which one?” He asked.
He spoke out loud and did not get a response. He understood to whom his Father referred.


Back at the parish, Gerald took a bath, readied himself, and walked down to the communal dining area for breakfast. Pastor Josh, the Parish Pastor, sat at the head of the table, reading the papers.
“Good morning, Pastor,” Gerald said in greeting as he took a seat.
“Ah, good morning, Gerald.” Pastor Josh responded, smiling.
A handsome man who could hit fifty soon, Pastor Josh treated Gerald with a bit more kindness than necessary. The ready smiles and constant approvals seemed a bit much in Gerald’s estimation. The Pastor dressed in the required black shirt and grey trousers with a name tag sewn on his shirt. Except for the weight in the stomach area, Pastor Josh wore his youthful face creased with smiles, and strode with a strong and confident gait.
“So, Gerald, what are your plans for the day?”
“May I follow you on your visitation rounds? I need to acquaint myself with the area. My walks are not as revealing as I would like because I’m avoiding the area boys as best as I can.”
Pastor Josh smiled as he put his paper down. “Not a problem. You will get used to them—some areas, faster than others. The people are neither trusting, nor do they appreciate strangers.”
Gerald smiled at him. “Don’t worry, pastor. I believe this is God’s place for me. I will acclimatise soon.”
The pastor nodded and turned to read his paper. “In time, my boy, in time.”
Gerald thought about his task to assist in the Wilderness Parish. He remembered the day he returned to Haraya, the graduate of an international cooking school in Switzerland. He arrived ready to do God’s work, the call on his life a priority which consumed him. Cooking was his second love.
The first sight that welcomed him as he arrived at the airport was the poor, women and children. Youths milled about the roads, waving their cardboard paper, chanting freedom choruses, demonstrating for better governance. On one of those cardboard sheets, the name Wilderness stood out, painted in red, the paint bleeding on the paper as if it wept.
His parents could not answer his questions.
“Listen, boy, the deplorable state of the people started from way back, the fault of past governments. The new administration can’t correct everything. Eat the food you took your time to cook and be merry with your family. Let those people care for themselves. They’ve been doing it for decades.” His father said, ignoring the way his son gaped back at him.
Gerald went to God. The day after his arrival home, he took a taxi to Wilderness; the cardboard sign stuck to his heart. Overwhelmed at the raw stench of human sweat, foodstuff on display on the roads, dirty gutters reeking to the heavens, and rubbish heaps, he couldn’t stay five minutes in the area.
Wilderness laid heavy on his chest, and he continued to ask God what to do. From experience, he waited, knowing the burden from God was an assignment God would lead and guide him through. As a member of The Transformation Place Church, Worldwide, he asked his church members in the Church’s headquarters for details of the Parish Pastor of the Wilderness branch.
A friend introduced him to Pastor Josh, and, after a brief discussion, Gerald donated to the Parish. He continued to do this for a while until God asked him one evening as he prayed.
“Who can I send?”
Gerald stopped praying. God’s expectations were clear, but Gerald’s mind was not. He sat down at his writing-table. “Do you want me to go, Father?”
“Who can I send?”
He looked up at the roof and replied, “Send me.”
The next week, he got a letter inviting him to the Church President’s office. They had met once or twice since his return from Switzerland, but the invitation baffled him. He got ready and went to meet the man.
Their conversation still shocked Gerald whenever he thought about it. The President heard about Gerald’s support and interest in the Wilderness parish, and since the parish needed help, would he be willing to assist the pastor with his duties? The executive council prayed about it and chose Gerald from a list of others, including young pastors.
A second request for his help also came Pastor Josh, as he tabled his need for aid before the Executive body of the Church. He informed them about Gerald’s heart for God, for Wilderness, and his generosity. Although Gerald did not possess any pastoring experience, the council, in making their decision, hoped his passion would help the Parish and its pastor.
Gerald, in shock, agreed, knowing God had spoken. He would never forget the President’s last words.
“God may have brought you back to Haraya for Wilderness.”
To the utter disappointment of his family, he gave up employment in a Swiss luxury hotel, an opportunity his parents boasted about amidst their friends, for the job in Wilderness. His mother had still not forgiven him.
He started work as the Pastor’s assistant the week after the discussion with the President. He did not know how long the job would last, but believed God stood with him in his assignment.
At last, the cook laid his food out before him, cutting off his thought process. She smiled at him, and he winked at her. She reminded him of his grandmother and how she tolerated his opinions on cooking. Gerald turned to eat, a wistful smile on his lips.
Pastor Josh lowered the paper. “Did she accept the tips from you?” He asked in a whisper.
Gerald smiled. “She did, and I am still alive. The flavour of the rice this morning will stay on your tongue till lunchtime. Try it.”
Josh nodded. “Good. I was waiting for your verdict before trying anything.”
He opened his plastic food cover and looked at the rice. The appearance was not much better than before, but the aroma beckoned to him and he ate before passing judgment. As he tasted his first fork full, he looked up at Gerald, his eyes widening with every chew.
“The sauce still lingers on the tongue. It’s as if she cooked it on firewood, like the rice my grandmother made for us as children. Fantastic, my boy!” the Pastor said, grinning, before he leaned forward close to Gerald, “but please help her with the presentation and keep mentoring her on new recipes. If that is all you do, we will be forever grateful for your presence. Hah! At this rate, we will soon start eating gourmet food here.” He said and turned back to his food, clapping his hands as he dug in.
Gerald continued eating; his smile gone and his appetite with it. He chewed slowly, his mouth moving as he listened to the Pastor’s noisy activity. Gerald glanced at the Pastor, assessing the man’s motives for the first time and hoping he was not over-thinking things. He laid his thoughts before God, asking for wisdom and guidance.


Gerald followed as Pastor Josh left the parish for visitation at 2 pm that afternoon. Pastor Josh warned they would visit a dangerous part of Wilderness-a brothel on Winner’s lane. The Pastor visited there every Wednesday and always bought groceries for the girls, as he referred to them. Gerald expected the cook would go to the market for the groceries, but Pastor Josh explained it would waste time and recommended they buy what they needed at a local store.
At the store, Pastor Josh bought foodstuffs in cartons and other feminine things for the women. Gerald looked away, embarrassed at how Josh picked intimate female items with ease. At the counter, the shop owner smiled at the pastor, greeting him like an old customer. Gerald noted the huge amount of bills exchanged for their transaction.
They packed the shopping bags into the car and sped off. Gerald prayed as they drove along the streets of Wilderness. He prayed for the children, the youth, mothers, and fathers. The thought of the amazon with a mark flashed in his mind-his girl. He shook his head.
“Are you alright?” Pastor Josh asked, glancing at him and back at the road.
Gerald smiled: “I’m fine, sir. I feel drowsy. I need more sleep.”
Pastor Josh nodded, concentrating on his driving.
What a lie, and when did the girl become his? Someone he did not know? What would his mother think about her background and upbringing? She almost gave up on him with the Wilderness news. Now she would disown him outright.
Gerald closed his eyes. Father, I thank you for this situation. I don’t know what you want me to do with this gift. I believe there is light to guide me on this path. Take the glory, my God. He opened his eyes as their car entered Winner’s lane. Gerald looked around, hoping to see her again. Pastor Josh stopped the car and parked it in front of an old bungalow.


The house, like other bungalows lined up on the lane, possessed communal rooms for bathing, cooking and attending to visitors. They contained eight to ten rooms lined in a hallway, on the left and right, facing each other. The present owners either rented them out room by room, or their children still lived there. In the present, the houses remained standing only in the ghetto, reserved for the poor.
The bungalow housing the brothel looked different. Fenced roundabout, with a small gate in front of it, it resembled a widow’s cottage. At two in the afternoon, young ladies littered the front yard, sitting, playing games, and looking out for potential customers.
Once the car stopped, some girls came out to greet pastor Josh and to help with the bags. A few ladies choose to help Gerald, casting inquiring glances and flirtatious smiles. He smiled back at some, and nodded at the others, saying hello to each one. Pastor Josh led him to the meeting room-the brothel bar. Five young ladies followed them into the small room. Gerald stood by the door, leaning against a wall, and paid attention as Pastor Josh made the meeting as interactive as possible.
He tried to assess Pastor Josh’s teaching style and wondered how he would have done it if he was in the Pastor’s position. He looked around the bar to the two small windows on opposite sides and bare walls, and spotted the girl by the window looking at him. She winked.
Her beautiful skin glittered with oil like another membrane. Gerald nodded at her and looked away, back to the walls. The walls were blue ages ago, but now stained with age and dust, acquired other colors. The paint work looked like the work of a depressed artist.
Gerald noticed someone standing by his side at the door. He turned and faced the amazon, and all speech evaporated from his head as he gazed at her.
“Have we met?” she asked.
She smiled. “Why are you staring at me? Never seen a beautiful woman before?”
Gerald looked away. “No.” He shook his head. “I’m sorry.”
“Well, Mr. Looker, are you here for the girls? You’re a bit early,” she said, smiling.
“No, I came with Pastor Josh.”
She looked at Pastor Josh and back at him. “Oh, you are one of those,” she said and turned to walk away.
“One of what?” he asked.
“Those,” she called out.
“What in God’s name is she doing here?” He asked out loud. He also wondered about the mark on her face, why he couldn’t get it out of his head.
“Do you know Amara?” The oiled-up girl from the window asked. She stood in front of him, invading his space with each step. Gerald spotted Pastor Josh leaving the bar and looked at the girl again. She was a beauty, but the coldness in her eyes and smile put him off.
“No, I don’t. What’s your name?” he asked.
“Nma,” she said and turned to Pastor Josh as he came to stand by Gerald’s side. “You didn’t introduce us to your friend, Pastor.”
“Ah, forgive me. Everybody, this is Gerald, my new assistant in the parish. He will visit with me from now on. Gerald, the beautiful lady with you, is Nma. This pretty one in front of me is Oge, and,” Pastor Josh turned to point at the other girls, “these are Nkoli, Anwuli, and Funmi. Say, welcome girls.”
After the visit, both men remained deep in their thoughts on their way back to the parish.


Just before Gerald fell asleep, Amara’s face flashed in his mind and zapped away like smoke. It wasn’t the face she had grown into, but the face of the girl with the mark, who had saved him many years ago. Gerald sat up in disbelief, recalling all that had happened the first time he met Amara; it seemed impossible.
He had tried to forget those memories for the past eighteen years. He yielded them to God years after the incident, when the most-skilled psychiatrists had failed to help him with the nightmares. Amara saved his life. How could he have forgotten her?
Years ago, Wilderness, called a different name, appeared well above the poverty line, but signs showed the degeneration process creeping in. He got lost one afternoon after school and missed the school bus, when his class toured the area on a school excursion trip.
The area boys, children as well, chased him around for a while, when a girl about his age, with a snake-like mark on her face, stopped the chase and dared the boys to touch Gerald. The commotion happened in front of her mother’s shop, and the woman rushed out to chase the boys away. After listening to him, the girl’s mother gave him enough money to get him out of Wilderness by bus. He thanked her and turned to leave, but the girl stopped him.
“Can you go home from here?” She asked. He shook his head and looked down. “Come, I will take you to the bus stop.” She said, leading him by hand.
Amara took him to the bus stop and put him on a bus going to the Central, his side of town. She explained his predicament to the driver, asking him to drop Gerald off at the right stop.
He tossed on his bed, still unable to believe the amazon woman was the same girl, and stood, unable to sleep. Gerald picked his Bible and read, seeking wisdom as he turned to Jeremiah 32: 37-41:
‘Behold, I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them in My anger, in My fury, and in great wrath; I will bring them back to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely. They shall be my people, and I will be their God; then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me. Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all my heart, and with all My soul.’
He knelt to pray.
“This is my plan for Haraya. You will marry her as I have married Haraya to myself. She will be yours, as Haraya is mine. Do not be afraid; I am with you.” The Holy Spirit said.
Gerald bowed his head low to the ground and worshipped.