IF I GO TO HELL ( A SHORT STORY )
Today is Sunday.
My mother screams a lot. Her voice is dangerous to the human ear. In its normal state, it would pass as a sound distortion like a break in transmission of a radio frequency. Yet, she wouldn’t stop screaming and yelling at every given chance. Oh my poor ears, a synonym for endurance.“Tinu! Tinu!! Tinu!!! Tinu!!!! Tinu!!!!!” she kept roaring like a lion. Every morning she yells my name in a bid to wake me up which automatically means that I wake up with an angry face that dissolves as soon as I set my eyes on the portrait of the painting of a naked woman hung on my wall. This painting is my favorite of all the paintings and I placed it adjacent to my bed just so it could serve therapeutic purposes every time I wake up irritated.
The other ones consisted of, the painting of a young girl curled up on the branch of a tree with wings in place of her hands and a smile on a face inspired from the story of the evil child from one of my favorite books, the painting of heaven and hell with a cloud like illustration on the top and red long wavy lines at the bottom consuming the calmness of the blue cloud because evil consumes good in the world and a mosaic, composed out of colorful stones, of two hands intertwined: a feminine and masculine hand representing the bond between my brother and I. This in particular makes me happy and sad altogether.
“Today is Sunday, get ready, we leave the house in 15 minutes. I know you can hear me so you better stand up now. 15 minutes! 15 minutes!! 15 minutes oo!!! “she yelled. God knows that I hated Sundays. It caused me to relive the memory of too much pain. I stood up sluggishly and entered the bathroom to brush my teeth. It’s harmattan season and there’s no way I would bath with cold water. The water heater stopped working two months ago and my father is yet to repair it. He’s only proactive when it involves evil and wickedness.
I stepped out of the bathroom in less than five minutes. I applied moisturizer on my ashy skin and smiled in satisfaction as the cracked lines from my dry skin absorbed the generous amount of moisturizer and obediently went into hiding. Into hiding because it will definitely reappear after a few hours. I felt like those models in body cream commercials with their tender brown skins popping. I used to cry when I was much younger and wished I was in those videos. My brother laughed every time and told me the videos were edited and probably didn’t look that nice in reality. It looked too real not to be real so I never believed him.
The blue pleated skirt with a slit at the side was staring at me as I opened my wardrobe, more like saying “pick me, pick me.” so I wore it and tucked in a white chiffon shirt with a parallelogram shaped double collar designed with a lacy fabric on the collar, sleeve sides and bottom edges. I noticed that the button on the top part was missing and it exposed my breasts. Personally, I didn’t care about it but today is Sunday in a house controlled by strict parents. I definitely do not want to incur the wrath of my falsely holy parents and of God. The punishment of hell inclusive but god forbid that I live in fear of my final abode when I become nonexistent on earth. So, I pinned the edges with a star shaped brooch designed with fake pieces of diamond that arguably looked original.
I hated scents but for unknown reasons, my nose pleasantly inhaled the scent from the airwick air freshener sitting on the dashboard in a round container with a basket-like cover. The packaging was as attractive as the scent. My parents were screaming on the top of their voices as loud music blazed from the car speaker. These people don’t value silence. They irritate my spirit. I suffer from motion sickness and I was very close to throwing up when the car came to a halt. Gratitude was written all over my face. It didn’t last for long as the realization of being in this hypocritical building hit me. I hate it here.
“Praise the Lord somebody. Praiseeeeee the Lord brethren. Today is a good day because the holy spirit has chosen to bless someone today. The louder your Amen, the higher your chances. Praiseeeeee the lord somebody.” The pastor screamed and stamped his foot as his ministerial sign. The church knew him as pastor march the devil. A resounding “hallelujah” echoed from the congregation ; I rolled my eyes. I hate to see all of them happy after snatching my joy away from me.
“You’d better loosen up and stop acting possessed. I don’t understand why you suddenly become deaf and dumb every time you get to church.” My mother whispered in my ear. I nodded and fixed my face on the altar and pretended to enjoy the choir ministration.
Today is Sunday. Scenes of that dream played in my head. It was on a Sunday. I felt the pain growing and growing in my chest. The feeling was different today and intense. The anger clouded my head and I stood up and shouted ‘FUCK YOU, FUCK YOU ALL.” The whole congregation looked in my direction and I could tell from their expressions that they thought I was running mad. My parents held me and forcefully tried to make me sit. I slapped them hard, spat on their faces, cussed them harder and ran out of the building.
It’s been three years since I saw my brother last. My father murdered him. Tife told me earlier that he caught my father in bed with our aunt, Cynthia. They killed him at 19. During his last moments, he was exhausted and I couldn’t bear seeing him in pain so I advised him to report the matters to the church. On that Sunday, Tife hugged me tightly, tighter than usual, as he left, I saw grief that I couldn’t exactly examine and I assured him everything would be fine. I never saw him again.
Around 9pm that night, my parents summoned me to announce Tife’s death. The news shattered me but what destroyed me was the attitude and mannerism my parents used to break the news. With zero empathy and compassion. It was then that I sensed something fishy.
Dead people communicate with their loved ones on earth. Tife did in this dream. The lighting in the room was dull. Tife sat across pastor march the devil ‘s table and narrated his horrifying experience to the pastor. He acted shocked and promised Tife that he’d solve the matter. He placed a call to our parents and they arrived in about 15 minutes. Right there, just like that, father slapped my brother and he died by accident.
Tife further revealed that mother was also having an affair with the pastor. The pastor was aware of the rape issues. In fact, he was the one who brought up the idea that mother could sleep with Tife since my father had refused to fulfill his bed duties to her. Father was also aware but never addressed it because he was sleeping with his sister. A web of secrecy.
The walk to the house was longer than I imagined. My parents were seated in the sitting room by the time I got home. I walked past them and my mother yelled “Come back here. Where do you think you’re going? What was all that drama that happened in church? How dare you disgrace us like that? What happened to all of my teachings about respecting God and the house of God?” I turned back, looked her dead in the face and hissed. Father called on Scorpion, his bodyguard and ordered him to tie me down.
Father crossed his leg and I sighted the gun underneath his laps. “This child you’re playing with fire. Don’t you know that disobedient children like you will burn in hell? I have tried my best to train you in the way of the lord. Your behavior in church today was very sinful and unforgivable. You will burn in hell.”
I laughed hard. Very hard. Looked him in the eyes and said “If I go to hell, I’ll save a seat for you, for all of you.”
My last words. Father pointed his gun at me, pulled the trigger and shot me.
written by : Micheal Ejiro
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