The council of elders sat. Ndifreke was the last to arrive. They all fell silent as soon as he did. Before he walked in Irikefe was saying, “I hope you people will talk about what Ndifreke is doing in this compound. I will not bring it up because they will say I am hating since we are no longer friends. But I’m counting on you old men to talk about it. You will not keep quiet until it turns into something else before you gather here and begin to say ‘this cannot be happening’. Talk now.”

However, after he said his greetings and took a seat the group fell silent. Then Josiah said, “Have you people seen the stage this insecurity of thing has reached? Now Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, where all the security apparatus have their headquarters is being overrun by a coalition of criminals and terrorists.”

“They killed soldiers in a night attack at a military checkpoint close to Zuma Rock, days earlier the brigade of guards was ambushed and three officers and five soldiers were killed. Guards o! Ones guarding Aso Rock!

“No wonder the terrorists holding the kidnapped Abuja – Kaduna train passengers informed the country that they would soon kidnap Buhari.”

“The most frightening thing is the effrontery!”

“They are well sponsored and heavily armed. The Nigerian Army is no longer a match for them. You heard of the eighty soldiers dismissed because they ran from the war front when their ammunition finished. Someone somewhere thought that they should have just remained there with empty guns and get shelled to hell because they are serving Nigeria.

“The Senate has now woken up from their slumber. They disclosed that there were forty-four intelligence reports from the DSS about the Kuje prison break and yet they did nothing.”

“And we have a Commander in Chief of the armed forces who would have surely received these reports.”

“Of course. The man said he is tired and cannot wait to return to his village. If he is tired why wouldn’t he just resign so that we can see what we can salvage from this sinking ship? Naira is now 710 to a dollar, petroleum marketers on their own increased the pump price of petrol. Food inflation and indeed everything else skyrocketing and all our president could say was that he was tired and wanted to go home.”

“Someone moved a motion for his impeachment the other day and Senate president Lawan, the fattest human rubber-stamp shut it down.”

“They have given the President six weeks to deal with the insecurity or face impeachment. Twelve senators from the APC also submitted their defection letters from APC meaning the APC will lose its majority in the Senate. If they then go ahead with the impeachment threat, its bye bye to Buhari.”

“Who said? In the middle of all this, what did our dear Lawan do? He announced a six weeks recess of the senate. By the time they return the administration will be inching closer to completion. No impeachment proceedings will fly I can assure you.”

“We woke up the other day to hear also that Baba dashed Niger vehicles worth billions to fight security. This is after he had renamed an Abuja expressway after the president of Niger and he built a railway into that country. People have even seen an INEC voters registration centers in Niger.”

“Nnamdi Kanu already said that the man in Aso Rock is not Buhari. First, it was Jubrin of Sudan. Jubrin ran away and they brought Yusuf Abubakar Muhammad. Now the man is developing his country.”

“May God help us. Mr Cosmas, you would have been happy to see Pastor Creflo Dollar come out to say the teaching about tithing was false.”

Mr Cosmas shrugged and said “You only need to be alive and have a spark of truth within you to know that I do not lie to you. I am happy that he also drew his counter teaching from the same Bible they use to hoodwink you. In the same Old Testament from where they spin their scam in psalm 50, the Almighty said “The earth and all therein belongs to me. If I were hungry I would not ask you!” Simple as the words are people still tell other people to give to God as though He were an indigent beggar. As the cycle closes and our time on earth ends, more and more of these truths will continue to come out from the most unlikely of sources. Maybe then, you indolent spirits will listen. Whether from the Bible, the Quoran, or the Buddhist Tipitaka, false teachings abound wherever there is religion and until people replace religion with spirituality they will continue to grope in the dark. Hopefully, it is not too late for some by the time they realize.”

They sat and reflected on Mr Cosmas’ words and forgot all about Ndifreke and his latest misdeed until they looked up and saw Elizabeth in front of them glaring at Ndifreke.


“You have refused to take my calls and you haven’t been reading my text messages,” she said when he closed the door of his room.

Ndifreke slouched into an armchair and his head dropped with his chin touching his sternum. He did not look at Elizabeth. He did not offer her a seat.

“So it is true.”

Ndifreke remained silent.

“How pathetic Ndifreke. Why are you men like this for goodness sake? A mere child! It’s statutory rape. You should be in jail!”

Still, Ndifreke said nothing.

“You came to me over Jonjo and the same girl. You threatened fire and brimstone. You wanted to go to the police and the United Nations. So how do you feel now?”

She moved closer to him and spoke into his face. “How do you feel now brother Ndi. Isn’t that what she called you? Didn’t I tell you to stop playing brother? Didn’t I tell you to send her to me as I could tell that she was lost and needed someone to rein her in? What did you do? You threw your friends away and employed her and five minutes later stuck your filthy thing into her. You should be ashamed of yourself Ndifreke. I will report you and you will pay for this. There is no way I will let this go.”

She turned to leave then he spoke up.

“Do you believe in dreams?”

She stopped and looked at him. He was not looking at her still. He had not shifted from that defeated position.

“Do you believe in the significance of dreams?”

“What are you talking about?”

“For five days now I have been seeing the same dream. Two talking birds.”

“Is it the birds that made you commit statutory rape? You, a supposed role model?”


“Yes, what?”

“Yes. The birds.”

Elizabeth scoffed and said, “This is a new one. Everyone else blames the devil but you blame birds from your dream.”

“Please sit down Lizzy.”

“You must be out of your mind.”

“For the love of God and everything that is good please sit.”

Something about the way he spoke. His quiescence in the face of imminent doom. The only other chair in the room was a double-seater. A small glass table in the center separated them.

“I am ashamed of myself. The worst part is that if she walked in here now I will do it again.”

“A few years in Kirikiri will take care of that and I will make sure.”

“The birds are always talking. They said they caused me to be this way. I have memorized the conversation. They finish by saying “We will turn his attention towards women. It will be his only preoccupation. It would be fun if he impregnates another person. It is what his people want. It is what we will ensure. He will die between the legs of a woman.”


“I have seen them and heard those words for five nights consecutively. I was not always like this. Like every young man, I like women but I had restraint. When I first came here Maya was my world. I remember when Josephine first came. I couldn’t even see the fuss. I wouldn’t look at her twice, or anyone else for that matter. Then one day it didn’t matter anymore. I went after anyone who would open their legs.”

“Thanks for reminding me of my stupidity.”

“It’s not like that.”

“She cheated. You had good grounds to seek solace elsewhere.”

“The way I loved her, I would have fought for her. Instead, all I wanted was someone else.”

“So I was a mistake. You regret being with me. Your little birds sent me your way right?”

“Help me, Lizzy. Tell me why I have the dreams.”

“Why don’t you talk to that cult man that lives here?”

“Mr Cosmas?”

“That’s his name.”

“Is that what you people think of him? A cult man?”

“He is not a Christian or Muslim and they say he knows everything about the spirit world. What else could he be?”

On another day Ndifreke would have laughed. But she was right. Mr Cosmas was the one to ask whatever they chose to call him. But he could see that she was deep in thought.

While she desperately wanted to see him punished for what he did, Elizabeth knew that there was something in what he was saying. Her life would possibly have taken a different trajectory if something similar had not happened to her father while they grew up. He was a successful businessman, diligent in his doings, and took no prisoners. Then they sat on his matter and pushed his eyes towards women. He fathered twenty-three children from ten women and his business ran aground as a result. They would not have known if not for a dying witch who confessed on her deathbed. Elizabeth did not believe it at the time. Some said the woman was only seeking attention, but knowing her father growing up and then one day seeing him with alcohol and women after one visit to the village made her wonder. Only one thing saved her and her mother and siblings from complete destruction.

“I will take you to go and see someone. I have had to do this a few times.”

“Who is that?”

“A prophetess. Someone who hears from God. She will pray, check, and tell you what is happening. She will even give you prayer to do to come out of it.”

“Come on Lizzy.”

“Then get ready for the police because either way, I am going to do something about you. I want to see you in front of my gate in one hour then we proceed.”

Ndifreke thought about it for a minute and said “Okay but can I speak to Mr Cosmas first?”

“Whatever. Know that as far as I am concerned, your choices are that you either come with me or get ready to face the law. Don’t forget also that I opened myself up for gossip and ridicule when I gave myself to you. This hurts. So you will let me do what I want to do. Whether it is to prove that you are being manipulated or that you are another good-for-nothing pervert who should be behind bars, you will cooperate with me.”


“Firstly no human being can hear from God directly,” Mr Cosmas began. “It is one big fallacy borne out of ignorance. Every human being has a spirit and that spirit is connected to the spiritual realm from where impressions can be received. Now due to the fall of man and spiritual indolence, not everyone can clearly get these impressions anymore. But we do get a whiff every now and again through our conscience and sometimes through dreams. But there are people who are gifted clairvoyants. I believe this prophetess your friend is talking about is one of those. Indeed, they can see and perceive things from a different plane of existence and do receive messages. A spiritual happening precedes everything that happens in the physical. A person who is able to access that realm can see how something was conceived and recount the same long after a deed has been done. But one thing you must know is that a seer cannot see beyond the realm they can attain outside of their physical bodies. Remember what I told you about spiritual gravity? The spirit of one who has lived well and done good is light and can easily ascend. That of a wicked and evil person is dense and so when they die they sink to the regions corresponding to how they are. While in the physical body, a seer can only see as far as the realm corresponding to their spiritual gravity. So for that reason, you must be wary of the seer you visit. In fact, some of you that run to spiritualists are spiritually higher than them even if you do not see visions as they do. That gift also comes with its own burden and they also have problems like all of us. If they can’t always help themselves, I wonder how they can help you.”

“So you say I should not go with her? Ndifreke said.

“From what you tell me, you don’t have a choice in the matter.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Go. Let what I have told you help you not to get carried away. People become stupid the moment someone tells them something they know is true. It’s not so much a big deal. If you were not so lazy you’ll figure it all out by yourselves.”

“So you mean you can interpret all your dreams?”

“I do not need to visit anyone because I had a dream.”

“Okay, one last question. If they don’t hear from God who do they hear from?”

“There are numerous helpers and beings in the beyond working day and night. Just as you are on earth carrying out your purpose, others in other planes are as well and for some, it is their role to relay messages to gifted ones. Keep an open mind young friend and I pray for strength for you.”

“One last thing sir. She said you are a cultist. People outside here call you a cult man.”

Mr Cosmas chuckled and said, “People like to talk nonsense.”


“Guy, e be like say your guy don collect. Aunty Lizzy looks mad.”

“Na him problem be dat. Wetin dey worry me now be say Alhaji don give somebody one of my rooms. The man dey pack in today. So I get to move my bed from the second room. See wetin you cause?”

“Sorry na my guy. Na that wowo geh with K-leg wey we wan help. Now wey she don do wetin she do she don get the work? Ndifreke get her time again?”

Irikefe scoffed.

His phone rang. He looked at the caller ID and his face fell.

“Who be that?”

“The new guy. Hin dey outside.”

Irikefe and Castro went out of the room together and met the man in the frontage. He had a ghana-must-go bag and a fake Nike kit bag that served as a travel bag. A kerosene stove, a wall hanger, and a mattress rested on the wall underneath the windowpane of the first downstairs room. He was a tall and lanky albino with squit eyes and wore a jacket and tie inside which he was sweating profusely. He offered Irikefe a hand while seeming to be looking in the direction of Castro.

“Prince White?” Irikefe said.

“That’s me. Happy to finally meet you.”

“You brought your things already.”

“No time to waste.”

“You live alone?”

“No with my son. I’m a single father of one.”

“Where is he?”

Prince White looked around and did not see anyone he knew.

“Oxide!” He called.


“Where did this boy go just now?”


“Yes Papa!” a boy of about eleven called from the corridor and emerged soon after, panting.

“Where you go na na na na wey we just reach here?”

“Papa I go piss.”

‘Where you pass wey I no see you?”

“I pass backyard sir.”

Prince glared at the boy. He had a normal complexion with a full head of hair and a playful face that spoke of mischief.

“Make we enter house first you go see me.”

“Ehen Efe. Meet my son Oxide, short for Carbon-di-oxide.”