The Choice (chapter 32c)

Sarah landed a slap on his face and hit his chest with her head. “You, stupid man, despite all I went through in your hands, you still killed my son.”

“What have you done, Sarah?” Mama Faronbi said and shot up. She tried to pull Sarah away from Baba. But Sarah was too angry. Her bones were filled with rage. “What! You slapped me. May the gods punish you,” Baba Fagbami said, his hand on his cheek. Sarah looked around and seized the wooden paddle within her reach. She dashed at Baba Fagbami again and hit him with the paddle as much as she could. She pulled the wrapper around his waist and dug into his skin with her teeth in many areas. Baba Fagbami screamed in pain.

Mama Faronbi tried to separate the two. She could imagine the pain of losing an only child. But she also knew the hazard involved in fighting Baba Fagbami. “Sarah, it’s okay. Leave him alone. Please. Remove your hands. Move away,” Mama Faronbi said. Sarah stepped backward. “This wicked man slept with me uncountable times while I was with him; he made me do all sorts of unspeakable things and yet could not revive my son. He’s a terrible man, Mama. Leave me, let me destroy his body with my teeth,” Sarah said, furious. “Ah, Baba! Is that true? I’m finding it hard to believe. Did you do all she said?” Mama Faronbi said. “You have not done well. I’m disappointed in you. You have betrayed my trust. The gods will punish you. You’ll not escape.” Baba Fagbami pushed Mama Faronbi out of the way and ran into the inner chamber. He couldn’t bear the humiliation. How dare a young woman to inflict so much pain on him?

Baba Fagbami took a small gourd from his altar. He poured some of its content—black powder—onto his palms and walked out. “You both have beckoned to trouble. Now it will visit you,” he said. Sarah jumped up. “You are the one who will be troubled. You are—” Baba Fagbami blew air on the powder, and it flew from his hands. Some spilled on Sarah, and she fell to the ground. “Whom do you think you are dealing with? Leave us in peace and follow your son,” Baba Fagbami said, angry. Mama Faronbi ran to Sarah and shook her. “Sarah! Sarah! Ah!” Sarah was unresponsive. Mama Faronbi rose to her feet and ran to Baba Fagbami. “Baba, what have you done?” She locked his wrapper in her hands. “Revive her for me. Baba Fagbami, my daughter-in-law must not die.”

“Leave my cloth right away before I send you to where your daughter-in-law has gone,” Baba Fagbami said. “I won’t leave you until you wake her up. What will I tell her husband? What will I say to people out there? Wake her up now, or else I will tell the whole world what you have done.”

Baba Fagbami muttered the incantation under his breath and hit Mama Faronbi’s chest. She fell and hit her head against the hard floor. Baba Fagbami eyed her. “Good for you two! I’ll give whatever it requires not to be put to shame,” he said and hissed. “Greet my ancestors in the world of the dead,” he added.

Baba Fagbami walked towards the inner chamber. His eyes caught the mantle he had thrown away angrily. He turned in its direction and bent to pick it up. As his hands touched the mantle, thunder struck him. He staggered. “Ewo! Abomination! No. I can’t die. The offshoot of a hand never dies in the presence of the hand. The offshoot of the feet never dies while the feet are alive. The eyes of the elephant never see its anus. Ah!” Baba Fagbami said. He held to his chest and staggered. “Highest god, it’s me, your son. Forgive me for throwing you away in anger. I am Fagbamila. II can’t d-die,” he said before he fell and shut his eyes in death. He had offended his god, and his god had snuffed life out of him.♣♣♣

Sarah struggled, but the wind was stronger than she could wiggle out of. The wind moved her against her will towards the north end. The closer she got to the end, the hotter it was, and the more pain that gnawed at her brain. She tried to run in the opposite direction, but the boisterous wind was stronger. It swept her forward, closer, and closer to the lake of fire. Sarah wailed. She begged for mercy. She couldn’t imagine herself being thrown into the lake of unquenchable fire.

But the north end was no place for mercy. It was a place of judgment. A place of torment and agony. A place of neglect. A place of pain and shame. A place of regrets. The pain that the loud groans and wails that filled her ears caused her was nothing compared to the anguish in her soul. In spite of all Sarah had been through, all she had suffered, she would still be thrown into this kind of fire. Fire whose heat scorched her with fury while she was yet miles away. Only if she had known! She would have stuck to the Lord. She wouldn’t have compromised.

Indeed, the Preacher in Ecclesiastes was right. Ecclesiastes 1:2–4 says, “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” What profit has a man from all his labor In which he toils under the sun? One generation passes away, and another generation comes, But the earth abides forever.” “Oh! No!” Sarah screamed as the wind dumped her into the endless pit. No ladder could bring her out. She was doomed forever. Doomed to suffer. Sarah screamed endlessly. The fire tore her apart. Fiber after fiber. No word could describe the intensity of the fire. She gnashed her teeth and wept. Sarah needed no one to tell her now that hell was real. She could only wish she hadn’t tuned in to the world’s frequency. It was too late now. Too late to retrace her step. What a pity!

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