The Burning Altar by Ayodeji Akintade

The Burning Altar by Ayodeji Akintade

One

Hi there, hope the weather over there is very friendly to you? I hope it is not like somewhere I used to know that was hot as hell itself? Yes! That reminds me of some certain personalities who happened to be citizens of hell. They were having a discussion about someone in particular in which I will reveal the person to you later.

I want you to cast your mind back to a movie titled "Oruko Nla" produced by Femi Ajewole. Can you remember the devils dancing and planning the death of many people in a community? I hope that by now the picture is formed in your mind? Use the same mind for the discussion that was going on, but remove the costumes used and the dancing. It was like that.

Let's me take you further by giving some descriptions.

There was a story building with ten rooms. The building had a fence that refused to conceal the building. It was more of a stamp of territory. The fence was barely 3 feet tall. The house was the kind you would see in Lekki of Lagos. You could imagine how beautiful and magnificent the building was. It was a view to behold. In the dark hours of the day, it was always flooded with light even when the surrounding houses with different structures were always in the comfort of darkness. This story building was a light in the midst of the many houses.

Directly opposite the house was another house which was fenced very highly as if it had something special it was protecting from prying eyes. The fence was gloomy and it was covered with legumes spreading their tentacles on the wall. The gate was made from old metal forged in extreme heat. In other words, it was strong and heavy. It was made in such a way that all could come and see what was inside. It was given the castle treatment. On its top was a golden angel stature who had lost its shinning but somehow was compelling to look at. Its countenance was attractive to anyone. The gate would show you a tarred road leading to the old like castle house. Nothing was attractive about the house, yet you would want to stay there. There was that aura about it that would make anyone wants to identify with the house. Painted in black by the numbers of rain, sunshine and the different weather that had graced the house many years ago.

Then you have the entrance to the house made from the same metal as of the gate. No one could open it unless it opened at will which it did every time of the day. It was painted with a black and red mixture. When it opened at will, you would see a hall with every desire of men. I mean anything a man had, can and could think of was found there. If the mind of man could think of it, it would appear there. You don't believe me, right? Think of something you will really want, now close your eyes and...  You have the picture, right? If yes, you can find it in this room. It is such a shame you don't have right to this hall. The truth is that I am glad that you don't have access to it. Having all your desires play out could prove to be the end of you. I know you won't want that either.

When there are desires, there are people. Multiple were found in the hall carting away with their desires. There was never an end to this. Surprisingly, there was a supply of power in the hall and other rooms in the house, but the power was not constant, many of us can relate to this. Whether there was power or not, the people were happy going about their businesses in the house. There was a doorway leading to a room, where the presumed elders did converge for meetings. It usually seemed that they didn't have a break time for their meeting, there were always locked in discussions. It was always an endless conversation drawing out a map and a plan with the assistance of a large screen fitted to the size of the walls in the room to start or fuel a war. What you would see on the screen are names of men you could imagine. There was a name that was bolder than any other name. The name was Davidson.

Then, a conversation started on this name:

"Stubborn, hard, unforgiven he is."
"We need him out of the picture. "
"I suggest we win him over."
"Have we not tried in the past?"
"So..."
"Let's take him out."
"That is lovely, but with shame. I want him to wear shame like a garment. Let's try again."
"Try what again?"
"Win over him of cause!"
"How?"
"Leave it to me?"
"That's what you said the last time and we lost a comrade, a good one."
"That one will still come visiting. He is already knocking on our door."
"Really?"
"Really, really."
"Share with us your thought."
"If I tell you now, this writer will have nothing to narrate again, so for his sake, let me keep it to myself or should I go ahead?"
"No, don't."

Let's get back to the story building and the people that lived in it. Nine rooms and one large hall larger than the opposite house. The hall was filled with many people smiling and some in awe, some were recovering from injuries. It was such a sight to behold. On the walls of the hall was boldly written:
   "All you ever truly needed is found in here. This is the way, the truth and the life."  

Two

There was a man in his late 30 thirties. He was endowed with beards just like the priest you would see in the scriptures. You should know the beards were longer than that of Osama Bin Laden and fuller. It was a mixture of black with some greys. On his skull, covered with skin was the same kind of hair with many touches of grey. He was highly respected because of many things. One of the things he was respected for was his display of wisdom in any situation. Some would compare his wisdom to that of Solomon, but he would not allow them, he would tell them 'greater than Solomon is here.' He was also a rabbi making disciples. What he emphasised on was how to keep the light on in the house. Everyday for everyone in the house was revelational on light. Hence the light in the house did not faint or decided to live as the sun in all its glory.

You could call him handsome because he was in every sense. He was heavily built with his six packs always trying to force their way out for all to see. The colour of his eyes was blue and blue was a rare colour to have which he had. He was named Davidson. The head of Lighthouse.

A leader by example.

Meanwhile, outside the house, was a man in suit, navy blue who took up a lamentation against the Lighthouse.  His lamentation goes like this:
"Who are you?
What think you?
Our fathers never wanted this
They were comfortable
So are we
We don't have need for your light
It is alien
Our fathers taught us well
Never allow strange light comes amidst thee
But you have allowed it
No more strange light
Let there be darkness
What our eyes are accustomed to
Let there be darkness
Where our feet won't hit the rocks
Let there be darkness
When we are the predators
Let there be darkness
Where true desires dance out naked for all to see
Let there be darkness
Where our dooms lie."

Soon many people started joining him and there was a mammoth crowd outside Lighthouse. They were all screaming,
"Let darkness prevails
We are sons of darkness
No more light
Let there be darkness."

As their noise got to the peak, there was a greater light that shone from Lighthouse and covered them. Some were captured by the light as they found their way to Lighthouse. The rest ran to the safety of Darkhouse. There was no breakthrough for them today. They lived to fight another day. The battle of light and darkness is not a day war, it is continuous...

There was party as they rejoiced that many came to the light. The fattest cow was killed. They were arrayed in expensive clothes and golden rings were put upon them. The light-captured were thrilled to see the warmness and the love that was expressed to them. It was as if they were never in Darkhouse.

The presumed elders started murmuring about what took place. There were pointing blames at one another. It went for hours before one of them finally came to his sense.
"We know this will happen. Abi now?"
"But... The number is too much!"
"We took a great hit today."
"We must come up with another plan."
"Yes, this I agree with."
"Bring he that was knocking on the door in. We could use him for the job."
"This time we must do a thorough work"
"Let's visit the record books, we can take wisdom from it."

Three

Davidson was in his room. His room was a the centre of the building. It was the heart of the house as everything about the house got its source from the room. The room was called 'White Room'

Inside the White Room was a wooden chair used in public secondary schools by one corner. At the centre of the room was an altar, 3 feet tall. On it were logs of wood burning fiercely. As powerful as the burning was it didn't escape or touch any other furniture in the room. It was the fire that lit the whole house. It was Davidson's job to tend the burning altar. The instruction was that fire must not go out on the altar. He had been diligent in keeping to this instruction. Most of the time, day and night you would only find him in the room. He rarely went out except he wanted to offload the excess materials in his body system and when he wanted to teach. His life revolved around this. Part of his discipline was he would not sleep on bed only on the chair available in the room. The only window was facing the backyard of the house. Mostly, no one ever visited the yard. It was always silent.

You may be thinking how did he eat. You don't have to worry about it because he ate and he was on a different kind of diet suitable for his kind of assignment.


                           ••••••••••••••••••••
There you see
Looking at the fairy creatures
They are wonderfully made by God
Deadly on earth
As the needs be
Instruction of destruction
Yet, God-beloved creatures
At the centre of God's love

Midnight started with deep sleep, everywhere was silent. There was no noise except the stubborn mosquitoes looking for who to feed on. Then, out of the silence came a lovely sound of an angel in a long white nightdress. She was making such a beautiful melody that would get anyone hook up. Her melody was
"There you see
There is much more from me
I am at the centre of God's creation
I am loved
Love is of God
I have this love in me
I am sweet
The pinnacle of all that is sweet
Come and I will give you love."

She was twisting like an actress from India.

It was at this time Davidson was feeling bored with his assignment. It had become a monotonous act for him. He was repeating the same thing everyday. He wanted to have a change of event. He was still contemplating when the beautiful melody sliced through his widow and rested on his eardrums. The voice drew him closer to the window. He opened the window to investigate the source of the voice. Lo and behold, his eyes saw a woman in the backyard close to his widow singing and dancing the Indian's way. He was held sway by her appearance and her voice. He watched her performance till he recalled that he had to add woods to the burning ones on the altar. He quickly added the woods to the fire only to return and found the lady missing. There was a longing in him to see her again. He hoped she would show up the following midnight. His prayer was answered the next midnight. He couldn't sleep, he was restless waiting for her voice to come to him and he wasn't disappointed. Days turned into weeks for him. He was enjoying the company of the lady with her melodies.

It happened on a particular night that the lady decided to shoot her shot.

**"I've got all the makings for a feast—
today I made my offerings, my vows are all paid,
So now I've come to find you,
hoping to catch sight of your face—and here you are!
I've spread fresh, clean sheets on my bed,
colourful imported linens.
My bed is aromatic with spices
and exotic fragrances.
Come, let's make love all night,
spend the night in ecstatic lovemaking!
My husband's not home; he's away on business,
and he won't be back for a month."


He couldn't believe his ears. He knew he couldn't do it.
He responded no to her.
Note. Their conversation was in the midnight and from his window to the yard where she was. It was a romantic sight set in Romeo and Juliet.

She pressed him.
"Won't you want to know my name?"
He thought it wise to know her name since it would be probably the last time he would see her.
"What is the name, my dear angel?"
"Sheba. The mother of love. A love creation of God, ready to bless."
"I know you like what you see, there is no going to be harm done tonight. It is just you and I alone in the world of love and no complication. I am a free gift made for you. Come to me. Let us invest in love."

His inside was screaming no, but his body was aching desperately for a touch of love. For the first time he had been in his room, he felt the hotness of the fire as warm sweats broke out from him. The heat was intense.
"Don't think about it. Just jump from the window and I keep you from falling. You will only fall into my bosom."
Davidson escaped the window and was caught by her bosom.

Four

Fire alarms rang at the presumed elders gathering and they shouted "the work is done."
"Send the firefighters now." One of the presumed elders said into a telephone on the table.
"He has done a good job."
"You mean Sheba?"
"He is she not him."
"How?"
"We offered her all her heart desires. Money, fame, power, position, and stuff like these."
"She does not know who she is and we make use of it to our advantage."
"What's next?"
"The domination of darkness."
"Where are the firefighters?"

They were in Davidson's room, the centre of Lighthouse. They strolled into the apartment as all were asleep and Davidson was with Sheba.  There were dressed in their uniforms as firefighters with their hose. They opened the hose and waters from Babylon came flooding the burning altar, till there was not a single ember. A few seconds later, Lighthouse turned into a dark house. There was screaming, panicking and wailing, but it was quite the opposite at Darkhouse. There was rejoicing. Residents of the house were singing

"All hail darkness our Lord
For he reigns supreme
For his kingdom spreads all over the world
It has no end
Who can stop him?
Who is like him?
Perfect in beauty
A cheerful giver
The lover of men
He reigns
Let his reign knows no end
Darkness is here
Darkness has won
Let there be darkness
Now and forever."

As the last ember died, Davidson felt a coldness inside of him. He felt there was something gone in him. He felt lost. Something was taken away from his eyes. He saw the lady by his side covered with a sleeping robe. He saw he was naked and he quickly dressed. He didn't know what to do. He cast his sight towards the house as he was at the backyard only to be greeted with total darkness, but he couldn't hear the wailing of his people. It was at this moment he knew he fucked up big time.

What could he do?
He was courageous enough to look Sheba in the eyes and told her to get dressed.
*"I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight: I am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants."*

He dragged Sheba along with him as he made for the house. On his way, they encountered a great light and a voice came unto them saying:
"... For you were dead, but now alive. Lost, but now found. Your sins are forgiven. Go and sin no more my children. Davidson, my son, look to your right there is provision for fire on the burning altar."
The light and the voice disappeared to reveal a burning torch. He took it and ran towards the house. The people of Lighthouse saw this and a song came from them
"Salvation to our Lord
Who sits on the throne
And to the lamb
Forever, amen."
Soon, Lighthouse was full of light and melody could be heard.

The gathering of the devils or the presumed elders had been put to shame.
"No, it's not possible!
We did our work
We can't be defeated
Darkness must reign."

They made a vow to come up with a better plan.
"Lighthouse and Davidson will fall"

The end for now.



References

• ** Proverbs 7: 13-20 (MSG)
• * Luke 15: 18-19 (ASV)

 


23/Post a Comment/Comments

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  1. This is nice. Lovely piece.

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  2. Waoh.. This is Awesome

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  3. This is excellent sir. More wisdom

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  4. Wow... This is great sir... More Wisdom sir

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  5. I love your intro though.... The part you try forming image in the readers mind referencing a drama... πŸ˜€πŸ˜€... That's creativity... Kudos

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  6. Inspirational! A good read.

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  7. Eow?! Wow! Wow! This in deed a great one.

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  8. Awesome. Great story. How I wish I have the hard copy. God bless your wisdom.

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  9. This is eye opening.. Great insights shared.. God bless you !!

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  10. Oluwatosin I. Ajayi16 March 2022 at 09:01

    Great.

    Try to break down bulky paragraphs to aid reading.

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  11. This is interesting. A beautiful piece you have here.

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  12. Awesome πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌ

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  13. Wonderful
    More wisdom and more insight for you

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  14. Good work keep it up

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  15. This is a great eye opener. More insight and wisdom sir

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  16. Brave Writing. Wonderful. Kit up Mr ADEDEJI AKINTADE. Well done. More strength Sir. I love you Sir .from TC.

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