I stood in a vast field of lovely flowers. I grinned, filled with some joy I couldn’t fathom. Music seemed to stream from the side of the field I was headed. Oh how glorious and welcoming it sounded! I was so excited for some reason.
I couldn’t wait to get there, wherever that was. I took my sweet time. What a lovely place. I bent over to smell a red rose. A cool, scented breeze wafted across my face, seeming to tickle me. I closed my eyes and basked in it.
A voice pierced the air and echoed in the atmosphere. “Let her live and not die!”
I looked around, I couldn’t see anyone. Suddenly, I came to myself. Where was I by the way? A trance? A vision?
“She cannot die! Not on my watch!” That sounded like William. Where was he? And where was I?
In spite of the confusion in my head, I seemed kind of relaxed. I couldn’t understand why. I continued my stroll through the field.
A voice was weeping, shaking with the energy of it. William? William! Why was he crying? Oh, the bitter anguish cut me to the quick. How could I reach him and comfort him? Why was he crying?
“No sir, she’s going nowhere. I will marry her and we’ll have babies together. Remember the plan you have for us? We are meant to conquer nations and bring kingdoms to the knowledge of Christ. We were meant to raise godly seeds that will be your inheritance. Lord? No.” His voice was choked with sobs. “No, Lord. No. No.”
The field seemed endless, the fragrance was tantalizing like nothing I’d smelled before. I heard a bunch of children and a woman laughing behind me. I turned. A pretty woman and three little boys were walking towards me. The boys were about 11 years old.
“Hello?” I said, glad to finally meet someone here.
She smiled warmly. “Hello there. I’m Eunice. These are…”
The three boys chirped their names one after the other.
They were triplets.
“Nice to meet you,” the boys chorused in unison.
I laughed at their coordinated response, waving at them. “Nice to meet you too. You’re adorable. You have lovely boys ma. Where are you going?”
She looked as confused as I was. “I have no idea, but that would be paradise? We were shot in our Church in Kaduna.”
I jumped, my mouth falling open. What? Everything began to fall into place. Was I dead? Was I? I tried to remember the last thing that happened before I saw myself here. They started returning like flashbacks or perhaps, a distant dream.
I’d jumped from my hostel backyard and hit my head on something. But I didn’t die. Did I? I remembered running into the cafeteria, but that was all I could remember. I looked across the vast field. I couldn’t see its beginning or end, so there was no way of telling how I got here.
“How did you die?” Daniel asked, observing me quietly.
My eyes widened. “I didn’t die.” Or was I dead? I touched my hand. I could feel my skin. I pinched myself really hard and yelped at the pain. I inhaled deeply, the sweet fragrance filling my senses. For goodness sake, I was breathing. So, how exactly was I dead?
The small group stood watching me.
I looked around the place, nothing appeared remotely familiar. In fact, everything had a certain ethereal quality. I lifted my face towards the sky and almost jumped out of my skin! There was no sky. No cloud. No sun. Nothing. It was just an expanse of… Light? A mixture of emerald green and sky blue decorated it. Diamonds twinkled here and there.
My gaze returned to them. I was starting to panic. “Where are we?”
Samuel shrugged non-chalantly, heading off towards a sunflower. “Dead I guess.”
His brothers giggled.
I shook my head stiffly. I couldn’t be dead.
“I love your dress,” the woman said.
My dress? That was when I noticed my dress for the first time! It was a deep blue gown with tiny precious stones arranged in heart shapes on it. It swirled around my ankle and rose gracefully to my neck. I loved it! My head came up again. I stared at her in disbelief.
“You’re right. You didn’t die. Those who die in Christ, though their mortal bodies be destroyed, their spirits will live forever.” She smiled kindly, her eyes crinkling at the edges. She was a small woman with a friendly demeanor.
I stood shell-shocked, trying to comprehend or perhaps, accept it. That is, I’d left William behind? My family? My friends? School? Fellowship? I was like really, really dead right now? I released a breath, resigning to the latest development. I looked around again, picking a new interest in my environment. Now what? I turned to the woman.
“Why did they shoot you? And I’m guessing these are your children?”
She walked slowly, chuckling when a butterfly perched on Samuel’s nose and flew away. I fell into step beside her.
“I wouldn’t renounce Jesus.” Her jaws tightened, mirroring her determination. She looked at her children fondly. “They wouldn’t, either. They can’t wait to meet their Daddy. He went to be with the Lord years ago. Died in an accident.”
Everything was still strange to me. Suddenly, a wind knocked me flat on my back. I tried to get up, but I couldn’t find the strength. I saw the woman’s face hovering above mine. The three boys gathered to stare at me too. The woman was saying something, but her voice was gradually becoming a distant whisper.
I couldn’t make out her words. I tried to read her lips. I think she was asking if there was a dear one I’d left behind, who had the capacity to stand in the gap? Or something of the kind? I wasn’t sure.
The oblivion beckoning me was sweet and soothing. I actually loved it. I made myself comfortable on the cushion of flowers I’d fallen into. They weren’t pricky. How uncanny was that?
For another moment, I was adrift again, fading into unconsciousness.
To be continued…