Fiction: Rapture

February 11, 2016 Fiction , POETRY / FICTION

By

Celestine Chimummunefenwuanya

 

You are a well-read Christian. You carry the pages of the bible like a log of hickory wood on your head. You know more than any other  Christian in your church the facts about the biblical doctrine of the rapture. You know it is the catching away of the saints to the clouds. You know, because you’ve thoroughly read your king-size bible, that this planet earth would not continue this way, would not continue to have hooligans slit the throats of the innocents, have suicide bombers blow to shreds the faithful Christians that sing and worship God in his tabernacle, have the poor suffer in the crest of impecuniosities and the orphans drown in canals and mires because war trails and stalks them. You know that life would not continue in the circle of waking, working and sleeping. You know the earth would not continue to have the Orion clouds gather above it like the thick milk wrenched from the udder of a cow and packed on a white saucer for diluting. And the sun, in the circle of rising, gleaming like a ring of opals and setting. And the moon from crescent to half, then to full.

You know the rapture would mark the end of the human race on earth. You know the rapture is the catching away of the saints to the clouds to meet Jesus. You know the heaven where the saints would go to feast with their savior has beautiful walls of sparkling gold, a diamond-roof that glints in the saffron, filigreed lights in the manner of an acreage of cesium in the sun, it has streets and boulevards and subways laced with beads of silver and emerald, it has tall comely trees growing on sapphires with the leaves of brass and copper. You know more of good beautiful things heaven must be. You know heaven is a holy place. And those who would fly upwards on the day of the rapture must be holy and righteous.

You know much about the rapture that during your last visit to uncle Emefiele in Nairobi you told a few struggling black Kenyans that clustered Gold Street like teeth in the mouth that Christ’s coming is imminent, that Christ and the rapture would come like a thief. You told them with tears in your eyes that the Lord himself, according to apostle Paul in his first epistle to the Thessalonians, shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God and the dead in Christ shall rise first, then they which are alive and HOLY and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so shall they ever be with Jesus.

You told them the category of people who would try to fly but would be thumped back to the ground by the unseen burden of their iniquities; Those ladies who bleach their skins to an outright glossiness, wear mascara on their lips, wear trousers, make palmed hair, wear attachments, the ladies who have boyfriends who slurp their lips and breasts in the night, who romp about the highways in the night with long cigarettes in their fingers; the lesbians, the homosexuals, the boys that keep dreadlocks, sag their trousers, smoke crack and marijuana, have fixes of heroin, methadone and cocaine, pursue girls around like the cat after the rat, those who go to church with their bodies and leave their spirits at home. The married women who sneak about on the ground, their husbands lack sexual stamina in bed, the married men that lust after the long-legged, light-skinned girls that cross their ways.

You did know the best place to stay forever is not hell but heaven and the composite criteria that guarantee this heaven are the rapture and holiness. And having dreamed to fly, soar high on that d-day of rapture back there in Nairobi you lived a holy life, an isolated life that made your uncle envy and loathe you. In Nairobi you lived a careful holy life so pragmatic that your neighbor, Wereko, saw it. That the work-worn people of Gold Street saw it. That the chirruping black girls that go about with big handbags saw it.

Back there in Nairobi. You prayed ten times a day. Thunder seemed to clap in your spine if you happened to walk through the track a girl walked. From the lit balcony of your uncle’s house one night you scrunched your long nose to show your loathing of the street whores that meandered about Gold Street. You simply hated girls not because they were girls but because they were easily used by the devil to make you lust.

Back in Nairobi, you went to church regularly. You were always there an hour before any other person which warranted the new American pastor, John Lewis to ask you to hold the church keys. You were simply holy because you knew it was the superlative criterion with which to rapture and fly when that day comes. You hated sins. You hated girls, you hated lies and Speaking too much.

You know to rapture you must stay out of the ways of ladies until you were due for marriage. But back to Lagos Nigeria. Back to your mother’s house in Ikorodu when you are not yet due for marriage you see a new neighbor that has a bright, heart-shaped face, supple lips that wear purple-cyan all day, round hips, long bronze legs and pointed breasts with round bases that puffed the transparent singlet she wears everyday she comes to fetch water in your mother’s tap. The tap standing in the back of your window. You go to church everyday because you have the rapture in view but for days now seeing her rock her waist beside the tap from your window has sterilized a cell in you. The cell that activates the urge to avert sin, to loathe sin, to pray ten times a day as usual and go to church an hour before the time.

You can’t pray again. Each time you fall on your knees beside your bed what stay tacked in your mind’s eyes is no more the animated scene of the laughing Jesus with Archangels blowing trumpets and a heavy spiral, frosty wind pouring celestial garments on the saints (dead and alive) on earth and collecting them up briskly to the clouds and the sinners wailing and gnashing their teeth for the doom of the antichrist and hell that await them, what now stays  in the wall of your mind is the cruising waist of Enebeli, her flapping breasts, her long legs and her supple voluptuous lips. And every church-day when you are supposed to be in the church singing and preparing yourself for the sermon of the day you busily stand beside your window, watching the cruising waist of Enebeli, the way it bucks about like kites in an eddy, dances like the petals of lotus in the whirlpool, forgetting the rapture and wetting your pants.

Before, you woke up to do the morning cry around almost the streets in Ikorodu with your bible fitfully clenched in your armpit talking things, preaching facts that revolved round the rapture but for days now because the sacred parts of you that preserve the spirit of devotion and righteousness has been monopolized by the cruising waist of Enebeli, by the burning urge to grasp Enebeli to your hairy chest and have her lips romantically slurped. But now despite you have a very wee interest in doing morning cry again, you wake around eight thirty a.m instead of the usual five fifteen because you spend your time rolling on your bed, masturbating and thinking you have Enebeli in your arms.

The other day, back home from the poultry where you work in the hatchery department, you took a shower and after a nap you decided to read the book of revelation because it is the book that draws you to the burning feeling of the rapture, to the love of the alluring splendor of heaven. You’ve flapped to the book of psalm and making for the proverbs when the breeze, heavy breeze fluffed through your window louvers and flung the lavender curtain up and Enebeli was there beside the tap as usual, this time she was not in the singlet that leaves her bold shoulders bare and some pulling parts of her abdomen less concealed, she wore a fluffy legense that fitfully matted on her naked shaped- body. You lost momentum. You flung your bible to the étagère, it passed the rods and swept the beige top shelf and landed beside your box of rapture books collection. You felt a flotilla of fire shrouding you. You gasped for breath and quickly you were on your bed sensually masturbating and slurping your lips. You woke up, fell into your pants and looked out from the window but she was gone. Regret and shame overshadowed you. You wept and managed to kneel down for forgiveness since you were aware the sinner with contrite spirit would sure be forgiven.

You are an usher in your church. Before, you stood from the beginning of the service till the end, but not now, you stand, then sit, you sit then stand and in different occasions Jibike Obatala the new convert you use to tap and trudge out of sleep now catches you sleeping while standing and because she is a girl, bright as Enebeli, when she taps you up to do your work you want to fall on her, curl her into your arms because that is the literal thing you’ve been doing with the flowing nudity of Enebeli in your sleep.

You now speak and think less about the rapture. Morning cry is now a vestigial of doomed past. You now come to church last every Sunday. You now speak for yourself when Okitipupa tries to underrate you for being an omo ina in your workplace. You now laugh unnecessarily over trivial jokes you had indulgently smiled over before. You now pray feebly and quickly a time in two days. Now when your pastor preaches about the rapture, of its eminence, before,  you grow hot and Somber when the church is over you kindly pick your bible home without greeting and weep and pour your heart before the face of the Lord in your bedroom for more purification, for more conviction that your name is written in the book of life, not so now. Now, you, as such message on what had haunted you your entire life falls from the pulpit rather than feel preened in the heart as usual, you, whisper to your self haven’t we heard about the rapture days without number. It is not a new thing and you press your phone, you chat in 2go, instagram, bado, whatsap, facebook and twitter with Enebeli. You tell her how you wish the service would soon become over so she would meet you in your rendezvous, in the uncompleted building beside the City’s Central School. You talk about your love for her. When the service is over you laugh about and greet everybody like you’ve not just listened to a sermon on rapture. Your voice is no more the loudest and the weeping when you pray after a touching sermon. You become visibly lukewarm and cold in the things of the Lord which warranted your mother and your pastor to worry and wonder what has gone wrong in the life of a dynamic righteous brother that had once thrived in spiritual matters.

When your pastor asked you last Sunday in his office, why he no more hears you preach about the streets every morning, why you now come late to church, go feral over trivial issues, why you do your ushering work and money-accounting in a shilly-shally way that calls for some probing, why you now raised your hair a little bit from the low cut. You laughed and told him, you’ve never changed a little bit, that you still do all that you’ve always done only in more secretive ways to avoid the public applause you’ve gotten so far before it would enter your brain. Your pastor believed in you, he prayed with you in his office and you smiled home. And continued to keep a secret. A very secret affair with your lover Enebeli.

Today is Sunday. You prepare for church. As you prepare, before, you sing the soul-staring songs of Jim Reeves, Macrae Williams and Don Meon, but today as you prepare you sing Bracket’s Yori yori, Don Jazzy’s Eminado and Tu Face Idibia’s You are my African queen. You sing it so vigorously because the whole of the verses the songs carry stridently emphasized your love and heartfelt desire for Enebeli. Last night you were warned in your dream to dump Enebeli and ask for forgiveness of sin, that no one having put his hand on the plough and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God. And you’ve been warned that the rapture day is around the corner. Before when such dream comes to you, you bolt from your bed and pray earnestly. But last night you woke and felt the aura of Enebeli’s waist engulfing you, you made to pray but you slumped on your bed and masturbated until your eyes turned red and empty. And now this morning you continue to think about Enebeli and expresses your thoughts with secular songs. You are tired of masturbating when you actually have a girlfriend that is ready to spread her legs out for you freely anytime, anywhere, as you stand as an usher in the middle aisle you text to Enebeli how necessary it is for her to meet you three times in a week in your place of meeting. And you tell her you masturbate more than often because you feel her terribly and when she’s not before you, you pulled your thing like it were a stump needing to be uprooted from a land that needs be turned to a football pitch.

Every day you see Enebeli. You slurp the tilts of her twins. And she soaks yours until you belched like the zonked and oiled. You continued this secret sin until the doctrine of the rapture turned uninteresting and dead in that part of your mind that had revered it. Before it was amorphous but when it became conspicuous that you’ve abandoned the feeling of the rapture’s eminence Oh! How art the mighty falling are the words of the Angels for you in heaven. Not that the significance of the rapture is completely alienated from you, you simply now believe the rapture would take much days in the future to come. As you maintained this secret sin you hope you would change very soon and return your mind to God.

Because you feared your mother would begin to suspect you, that people would begin to think you’ve fallen away from faith, that you are doomed, that you would not make it when the rapture comes, you reenergize your religious activities only in a lopsided way. You give much regard to the public aspect of it like evangelism and ignored the private part like secret prayers. And it is the worst sin. To appear holy in the public, in the eyes of the people, but a monster inside.

Once your mother suspected something fishy about the way you gazed at Enebeli’s waist each time she entered the compound to fetch water. And when she approached you, you told her she should not be filthy-minded, that you are holy and sanctified. She shrugged her shoulder and warned you of the rapture. She told you that with the things going on in the world the rapture will soon take place. You laughed (an unusual thing about you) and nodded your head.

You continued in vigorous evangelism. And in vigorous leaking of Enebeli’s tilts and nobody knows it except God. You continued to live a hypocritical life. To tell your mother how ready you are for the rapture.

You seem to forget what had motivated you to take interest in rapture. Those who failed to rapture would face the agony of the Armageddon and the Magog, the anti-Christ and chiefly hell. The antichrist would torment those who failed to fly. The antichrist would slit their throats, pluck their eyes, haul a hot lead in their mouths and slice their arms until they agree with him and forsake Christ. If they could bear the pain till death then they bought heaven with their own blood. It would be terrible. You can’t stand it hence you decided in those days in Nairobi to be holy so you would fly away when the time comes, so you would watch the whole horror like the most thrilling American thriller from the window of your apartment in heaven. And like you’ve suddenly forgotten that beauty is nothing but a common skin expression. You allowed Enebeli’s waist to drive you away from the consciousness of the most pivotal issue on earth.

Year eighty thousand and twenty rolled away yesterday and today begins the year eighty thousand and twenty-one. You are picking out the broken eggs and mopping the spilt yolks in the hatchery department in Okeowo Poultry farm when you heard the smartening noise that hit you heavily from the window. It comes from outside. Your rush out and you behold a heavy pandemonium and commotion in the town. People run to and fro. Pregnant women who can’t run crawl on the roadsides wailing for help but nobody offered help because everyone runs for safety and to nowhere, silver lights fill the world, the earth aglow. Little children wail about for their mothers, like their mothers suddenly disappeared, there were lots of car accidents, and flow of blood on the way, the passengers incurring bruises that would ordinarily lead to death but they are alive, some with broken heads, some with broken abdomens with dropping intestines wail and will for death but death would not come. Cars, lorries and buses continued to smack heads in front of you and never-dying casualties grope about like a squadron of vampires. You wonder what causes the accidents and soon you come to know that something happened and their drivers disappeared. Your manager runs. Those who hate you for being an omo ina run too. Those who steal and sell layers and chickens run too. Dumebi, the one you warn to stop following girls runs too. Everybody did run. You too must run. And you begin to run. As you run past Adekunle Avenue you see Enebeli. She runs too. You ask her why people run. She flails before you your mother’s favorite gown, the one she wears at home. And tells you the rapture has taken place and the saints and your mother are gone.

You fling your mouth open. Gaze into the clouds, behold! the collating saints, the archangels and the smiling Jesus you dream to meet. The rapture has indeed taken place. You look into the breasts of Enebeli that had enchanted you away from the consciousness of this day, what you see now isn’t what lures you to sleep anymore, now you see the dribbling brews of Olugwu scrunched leaves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celestine Chimummunefenwuanya  

Celestine Chimummunefenwuanya, a Nigerian young veteran Photographer, songwriter, organist, poet, playwright, short story writer, novelist and lover of birds and wild animals. A Chelsea fan that enjoys table tennis, football, basketball and frequently romps through woods for scenic animalistic displays. He visits a Nigerian stone mine from which he derives heart-ripping hunches and vibes. African stone mine workers travail in felters of pains and emotional conudrums and he catalogues these in photo-images and as graphically as possible in a new novel ‘Five Fingers’ he currently works on. He’d be happy to share it with an experienced publisher that cares.

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