Episode 1: Wedded to Death

Engr Collins Bassey slept that night a satisfied man. His wife, his newly wedded wife, lay beside him. It was their first night together as husband and wife. She smiled with pleasure and relief, relieved that the first part of her project had just been successful. The second part had just begun. There was no time to waste.

She had successfully sent him to the world beyond, at least temporarily for the moment, after throes of unending love. She gazed at him. Seeing his calm, peaceful and contentedly smiling face, she glared at him. Still the famous Engineer slept on, oblivious of his wife’s stern countenance. How could he have imagined otherwise. To him, he was safe in the hollow of a friend, a partner in life and for life.

Engr Bassey believed himself a lucky man, loved by God and society, blessed beyond human imagination. All the years of agony and pain, all the moments spent in worry and discontentment – the years of the locusts – had suddenly disappeared the moment the Federal Ministry of Environment accepted to fund his proposal on Save the Environment through Greening Waste. It was a revolution. Even the newly elected President, Mr Peter Obi, was impressed with Engr Bassey’s innovative project of generating safe and clean energy through ordinary waste products from the environment.

At the heart of Engr Bassey’s Midas touch was Utibe – a robot of unimaginable sophistication that takes in waste of any kind and transforms it into green and clean energy to power homes, business premises and even the nation at large. Utibe came in different capacities; from the one that could be used for homes to the ones that could power villages, towns and cities. It was a revolution in Nigeria, and the world was awed. However, Utibe created another serious problem. Waste, in all its forms, became dear overnight; scarce even. The city spaces became a haven of cleanliness because waste was gold hunted down by everyone who owned Utibe or had a stake in its industry. All thanks to Engr Collins Bassey, a proud son of Akwa Abasi Ibom State, born and raised in Atabong in Okobo, the land of the brave hearts.

But Engr Bassey was a fated man, unlucky to be married to his wife, Emily.

Emily glared again, this time the animosity in her eyes was fiery. How she hates him whom she calls ‘Empty Man’, ‘Walking Corpse’ and ‘Bloody Commoner’ – just as all such men are referred to in their Coven. Engr Bassey’s mistake was that while he was in the University, he had refused to belong. In fact, his gravest mistake was that of taunting the cultists every time he preached in his fellowship, Tacsfon, referring to them as ‘Sea Lords’ who only walked on land and as ‘Land Lords’ who owned nothing but live in rented shanties, as well as ‘Air Lords’ who struggled to breathe at night.

How Engr Bassey hurt the most powerful Coven Chief with his biting and sarcastic words remained a mystery, but an enlarged Coven Congregation was summoned and, after a long deliberation, it was decided that Engr Bassey must die on the 7th of July 2037, at the age of 45. The roadmap to his death was clearly defined, divined and marked; well documented and sealed with the Vulture’s Oath: ‘We cannot eat anything but Engr Collins Bassey’s flesh. And we cannot eat it until it’s decayed through death’. The Oath was drafted by the Coven Chief himself, Engr Professor Mkpokporo Ekodd, whom Engr Bassey’s satiric words had offended.

It was agreed at the Coven that there was no way Engr Bassey would be made a member of the secret society so as to be made to pay for his sins. There was also no one who was willing to pay for Engr Bassey’s f?ckups. At that time, Engr Bassey was Papa or campus Evangelist training to be an Engineer. The only way was to allow Engr Bassey to have two children by a coven wife and then have him cut off from the face of the earth. The Coven was to ensure that Engr Bassey did not marry any other woman apart from a female member of the Coven carefully selected for him, but without his knowledge.

A group of the Coven members were selected to watch Engr Bassey, study his life, know his likes and dislikes, his favourite meals, drinks, colours, temperaments, birthday and astrological signs, the kind of women he smiled at, even down to Engr Bassey’s mother’s character traits that the son admired. These pieces of information were got through seemingly harmless questions and discussions by Coven agents who hung around him in and outside the fellowship as friends and acquaintances.

After Engr Bassey graduated summa cum laude from Adversity University, Uyo, and was called by the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to serve in Oyo State, the Coven followed him to his place of primary assignment. It was there that Engr Bassey, through a ‘chanced encounter’, met his wife. But there was nothing left to chance by the Coven, whose members believed that accidents, coincidences or chances could be drawn, mapped out and executed.

The truth is that the Coven had ensured that no romantic relationship involving Engr Bassey and a non-coven member would ever work. This explained Engr Bassey’s relationship woes all his life. The Coven had in place a mechanism to destroy any relationship or marriage match that did not go down well with their plans for either of the individuals; that is, if the Coven was interested in them. But the Coven was always interested in marriages because it was a weapon to recruit future members and destroy resistant individuals.

Emily had been well-groomed to destroy Engr Bassey. She was his alter-ego, his ideal woman. The Coven discovered her when Engr Bassey was in his final year. She was a third year student of Accounting. The recruitment was not difficult because Emily was an indigent student. Even if she wasn’t poor, the Coven had the power to create desperate situations in the life of an individual so that they could do ANYTHING to get out of it. Emily was brought in and taken through the initiation ceremonies, given her first assignment, which she executed with ease and pleasure (poisoning a rich randy non-coven pensioner after he had willed a substantial part of his wealth to the Charity owned by the Coven); and then she was given her life assignment – Engr Collins Bassey.

Emily’s assignment was simple: court Engr Bassey, make him fall in love with her, marry him, have two children with him, ruin his life and send him to the world beyond, letting him know, in his final moments, that it was the Coven that sent her. Her reward? Emily would leave for the United States where the man of her dreams would be waiting for her at the age of 35. Surely, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start living your dream at 35; rich, independent and free, and a worthy servant of the Coven at that.

Emily glared again at her helpless victim, her husband. She could easily finish him off tonight, she thought. But she has to follow through the timeline specified by the Coven. The Coven is never rash and they never rush.

Prayer Point: Oh Lord! let me not marry my enemy in Jesus’ name. Amen!

©Eyoh Etim, 2023.

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