THIS SEAL IS BINDING
It all began as quiet words of knowledge from his family pastor back at home, “Rhema” he called it. “You are made for more, Andrew, You are different. You will dominate Andrew, you will be well known and untouchable. God’s seal is upon you Andrew, and this seal is binding” Pastor Douglas said to him every time he had the opportunity to visit their home, which was every other day. Andrew’s father, an elder in the church, and his mother, the choir mistress had opened their home to church fellowships, rehearsals and other functions.
Andrew desperately wanted his own space, and so was very excited when he got news of his admission to the university. By now, he knew all about his bright future and foretold greatness, he just wanted to live like any other young chap.
Soon, school resumed and Andrew relocated to his new home on campus, against the wishes of his parent to remain at home. He could take no more of the constant vigils, fellowships and prayer meetings. It didn’t matter that he was a Christian, and somewhere deep down, he thought he still loved God, he just really needed his space.
Freshman year was all glitz and glamour, few classes by day and welcome parties by night. Drew, as he was now popularly called was living large and wild, it didn’t hurt that he was intelligent, rich and handsome. The total package, many would say. It didn’t take long for Drew to become well known on all school campuses, and among the movers and shakers of the school.
It came as no surprise when in his second year, he started receiving favours, unsolicited gifts and services from a group of older students on campus, he was invited to hang out with them every weekend, he was indeed being nurtured. Drew could not have been happier, life was different from anything he had experienced back at home. “Pastor Douglas would be glad to see how I am being treated, it’s God’s seal upon me after all, and it is binding” he often thought to himself.
It was this same thought he carried with him that fateful night in his third year when he was officially invited to join the group of movers and shakers on campus. “You will finally become one of us, you’ll be well known and great, you will dominate and have the school at your feet”, the one who looked to be the group leader said arrogantly. Oh, this sounded very much like the pastor’s prophecy and Drew was loving every word of it. All he had to do was take an oath to stick with the brothers, as betrayal would result in an end worse than death. The oath-taking was a no-brainer for Drew, he couldn’t think of any reason to betray a family that was going to bring him so much good, it just wasn’t possible. Subsequently, he had no scruples when he was told to partake of the marking ritual to seal his membership.
Life became very good for Drew, very good but it lasted only for a short while. Soon, everything went downhill, and farther down, he kept falling. His grades started to suffer as he was always busy with the activities of his team. When they weren’t fighting rival gangs, they were either raiding hostels and private homes or partying. Daily, he lost a part of himself he no longer thought existed and it wasn’t long before he became a shadow of himself. Every new day came with its woes, with each new task more despicable than the former, and demons of the previous day wouldn’t take a breather.
“You will have to end him Rewn” his team lead hurled at him for what felt like the hundredth time that evening. It was just the third time, but for each time he said it, Drew heard it in multiples. “You must kill him, else we may not graduate” he repeated, still awaiting a response from Drew. The words “end” and “kill” kept resounding in his heart. Surely, he wasn’t a killer, surely, he wasn’t that person.
Of course, he knew what was at stake, an extra year was no joke, but he couldn’t care less. He had no result to boast of, no bright future to look forward to so he was in no rush to graduate. Killing someone was a no-no.
This was it, Drew had had enough, with a trembling voice, he replied “I want out”. An eery silence followed his announcement, then a burst of derisive laughter from members of his team, “Rewn dear, remember, betrayal results in an end far worse than death” his team lead said menacingly.
The chills that ran along his spine at that reminder were the same ones he woke with every morning following that event. Rest, it seemed, was not for the wicked.
“Rewn”, he had no idea the exact time, but somehow he had hone from being the godly Andrew to the wild Drew, and now Rewn. “A rather fitting name,” he thought to himself from the corner of his prison cell where he was awaiting trial for the murder of his lecturer. It didn’t matter that he may not have pulled the trigger, a man was dead, his team was responsible and someone had to pay. Rewn had successfully ruined his life and everything he touched. Perhaps, he could explain that he wasn’t responsible for his lecturer’s death, maybe, just maybe he would be freed.
From the opposite end of the cell, like a mind reader, his team lead warned while rubbing the membership mark on his left wrist “Remember Rewn, this seal is binding”