Friday, 23 May 2014

Oh, Father Tom!

By Diana Gitau


She woke up with a start. It was too hot for 6:00 am and her alarm clock hadn’t even gone off yet. For the past three years, it always went off at exactly 6:00am letting her know that it was time for her morning prayers. Nimo never missed her prayers!

The sun rays were shinning through the curtains, already too bright. She was late for work! There wasn’t even enough time to say a quick prayer. She got out of bed and checked the time on her alarm clock. 11:59pm!

 Well that couldn’t be right. Nimo ran to the living room and checked the wall clock, 11:59pm. It seemed that all the clocks had stopped at the same time. Weird but could be that the batteries were dead.

She got dressed and rushed through the door without taking her breakfast. Outside, streets were completely deserted. The only car that Nimo saw seemed oddly parked. It still had the driver’s door open and engine running like the drive had left hurriedly.  Once again, she cursed herself for having overslept. It was stupid staying up so late watching re-runs of Dexter. It was wrong to watch shows about serial killers but this one had gotten her hooked. The devil was definitely behind her new addiction. Nevertheless, Nimo had decided to watch the show and repent later. She was still cursing her late night activities when she suddenly tripped over a pram. Next to it was a dog leash. However, there was no dog in sight.

At the bus stop, she realized that she had missed the morning bus. That would mean waiting for hours until the midday bus. She looked down at the strangely deserted road hoping to hitchhike. It was not something that she usually did but she didn’t have any other options. She wondered why there was no traffic at all. She had missed last night’s news. Probably there were new traffic laws and drivers were staying off the road to avoid arrest.

Half an hour later, she saw an old car approaching slowly, almost painfully down the road. She hailed it down, nervous but anxious to get to the office. Slowing down, Nimo spotted the driver. He looked shifty. Balding, tooth pick hanging from the side of his mouth which was partially open revealing toothless gaps. The man rewarded her with a wide toothless grin that made her skin crawl.

“Need a lift, pretty lady?”

Everything in her told her to stay away from the toothless man but she thought of how furious her boss would be because of her lateness. She worked as a church Secretary but unlike other priests, Father Tom wasn’t a nice boss. He was strict when it came to the Bible teachings. He was always speaking of the fire and brimstone that would come down on all sinners. He always wagged his meaty fingers at her and screamed every time she got late or had a typing error in her reports. With the thought of an angry Father Tom, Nimo got into the car.

“You smell nice….like a baby…” he greeted her chuckling heartedly. 

 Again, the warning bells went off and Nimo regretted getting into the car.

“What’s a fancy lady like you doing hitchhiking, don’t you have a boyfriend?”

“Okay, let me out of the car.”She tried to sound calm but her voice betrayed her.

“Calm down, no-one is after you….trust me; you are definitely not my type…” he paused briefly shifting on his seat.

“I like them younger, un-corrupted, you know the school uniform wearing kind… you are too old.”

A pedophile!

Nimo wasn’t sure whether to be relieved or follow her instincts and get out of the car. It was still too far to walk to the church. She looked out of the window and said a prayer asking God to watch over her. 

She had been raised well, had always been a staunch Christian, a good daughter and a friend to many. Nimo had worked at the church for the past 6 years and everyone liked her. She was a role model to many young women. 

She briefly wondered what people would think of her if they saw her in the car with the toothless pedophile. Light and darkness never mix. That had always been her motto all her life and she had always kept away from sinners. However, there she was, with the filthy man who was now whistling to a strange tune as he tapped his fingers on the steering wheel.

The road was completely deserted with no cars or pedestrians all the way. Near the church, Nimo saw a parked car. It was on the side of the road, doors opened, definitely looked as if the driver and passengers had left in a hurry. This was the second car that looked hurriedly abandoned.  It was odd but she couldn’t think much about it. Her mind was on getting to work and facing Father Tom.

“Thank you, this is my stop.”

“Okay, tomorrow same time… it’s a date!” He said sniggering. 

Nimo hurriedly walked from the car ignoring the sound of laughter behind her. At the gate, there were also three other cars all left the same way with the doors open. One of the cars still had its engine running.

“Hi Nimo, really good to see you.” It was the old security guard.

Nimo wasn’t very fond of him and had always wondered why the church never fired him. He was a creepy old man, the kind that stared too long even after you walk past them. There were also rumors about him and the women he spent his evenings with. You know the kind of women who earned a living by offering all sorts of companionship to men who could pay for it.

Nimo quickly walked to her office knowing fully well that he was watching her. He would probably be leering at her behind while thinking all kinds of ungodly thoughts. He was a disgusting man.

“Its about time you got here!” Father Tom greeted her. However, he didn’t seem as upset as she had expected.

“Please come into my office,” he muttered as he started walking without waiting for her response.

“Where did everyone go?”

“What do you mean, Father?”

“Haven’t you noticed…. People left…”

“I thought it was odd that there were no people on the streets when I was coming…” 

“I woke up in the middle of the night only to realize that um… my friend…you know the young boy that I have been mentoring…” He interrupted her watching for her reaction.

Nimo didn’t want to tell him that there were rumors about his mentorship of young boys. Actually, most people didn’t believe that he was mentoring anyone.

“Yes… I know bout him.”

“Well I was mentoring him late last night so I asked him to stay the night at my place…”

Oh, Father Tom!

“Well I woke up in the middle of the night and he wasn’t there.”

Nimo looked at him wondering what to say. Should she ask about the boys spending nights at his place or their alleged disappearance in the middle of the night?

“The cook, Maria…also gone! Martin, the gardener …gone!”

Suddenly, Nimo thought back at the oddly parked cars that she had seen along the way. What did it all mean, could it be that….. No, that wasn’t possible!

“ Nimo, we have been left behind!” Father Tom voiced her thoughts almost at the brink of tears.

“ No, the righteous would never be left behind” 

It didn’t make sense. She had served in the church for six years and had faithfully attended church since childhood. She was a good Christian and didn’t even associate with people of darkness.

If people had been taken in the middle of the night, they must have been the sinners. Maybe the righteous were left behind to inherit the earth. The Jehova Witnesses were right! The righteous would inherit the world, they had always said!

“Nimo… Nimo…” 

The sound of Father Tom’s voice brought her back to her new reality. If the righteous were left behind, then why was he still around? Didn’t she just get a ride from a pedophile, and then there was the leering security guard. 

“I always thought you were a good Christian, of course I am a priest so I am righteous so why are we still here?”

Oh, Father Tom!


4 comments:

  1. Captivating!! Such a creative piece of work.

    ReplyDelete
  2. wow, lovely piece there Diana, got me in suspense all the way.......almost 'turned a page' to check whether there was more.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Glad to hear that and thanks for reading....

    ReplyDelete