Pastor Montique called Mark before Adrian could tell him. Mark apologized and told they will definitely talk about soon.
Pastor Montique was a statuesque man, even Mark, 6 feet, had to look up to him. He always seemed to always have a smile. Everything about him screamed, follow me. He had the poise, the voice, education and most of all, the hearts of the people. The children flocked him after church. Some came for sweets, others hug and some, to show off their art work from Sunday School. Impatient adults always never liked that he attended to everyone first before they needed his attention for ‘real’ issues. His team seemed to revere the dust under his feet. Dashing into action at his bidding. Mark had grown to love him. In more ways than he considered him, his mentor. He always checked up on him and encouraged him.
“I saw your message. What did you want to talk about?” Pastor asked.
Mark pulled him closer to the wall and said, “I have been struggling financially…” Mark didn’t continue, he couldn’t. His pride stuck in his throat. Pastor quickly said, he understood, and he will see what he can do. Mark had this odd feeling when he heard his response. He said okay and thanked him in advance.
Sarah avoided Rachel the entire time. It was strange how easy it was. Rachel would have come up to her by now. She sat at the back looking ‘out of it’. She would ask her about it soon. But today, she couldn’t deal with a reminder of her terrible secret. She was going home for Ruth’s Birthday. She was turning six on Monday, and she vowed to make her favourite breakfast for her.
Sarah’s mom, Grace, was a guru in the kitchen. They endowed the table with Curried Goat, Baked Chicken, Coconut-Cream Shrimp, Mashed Potatoes and Tossed Salad in Raspberry Dressing.
It was a peaceful for her to watch her family. They laughed and teased each other. Her father looked up after pecking his wife on the cheek. “Are you ok Sarah?” he said.
For once she could say from her heart, “Yes dad, I am.”
Benjamin was in the middle of a hilarious story when they heard a knock on the door. Sarah’s father pulled away to see who it was.
“Malcom!” Sarah heard and all the blood drained from her face. Her father responded, “Ray. What a pleasant surprise.”
They were still hugging when they came in, “How long has it been? A year?” Malcom asked.
“Hardly, I was at the family reunion.” Ray said. Sarah shifted on the seat, remembering she faked sickness not to be there. He greeted everyone but his eyes lingered on Rachel. “Do you want a rag?” Grace asked. Sarah didn’t realize that her blouse had grown sweats marks. “I am fine.” she said and reached for her drink.
After dinner, the parents sent the children up. Ray and his wife were having problems. She didn’t want him home. So, he needed to stay there for the night. Ray said it was her overreacting and his brother believed, his easy going brother couldn’t have started the squabble.
Sarah went to her room early. His presence alone made her edgy. She couldn’t afford her parents to see the truth.
She covered in a grey blanket from head to toe listening to music. Or rather overthinking with music in the background. She relived the moment repeatedly. Her thoughts finally gave her a break when her eyes couldn’t stay open any longer.
Her eyes flew open. The darkness illuminated her confusion. But the person on top of her felt familiar. It was Ray. He turned on the lamp, placed his index finger on his thick lips, and motioned to the shiny metal in his hand. Sarah heard her heartbeat drumming in her ears. Ray started trying to find the end of the blanket. Sarah realized she couldn’t live through this again. She couldn’t give him power over her again. She stretched her hands towards lamp and smashed it in his head. Ray threw his hand to his temples, dropping the knife. Sarah quickly loose the sheets and stamped her foot in his groin. Scurrying off the bed, she ran to her parents’ room. Her father met her in the hallway with a machete in his hand.
“What’s going on Sarah? Is someone in the house?” Her father questioned.
She didn’t know what to say, she only saw his expression move from surprise and then hardened.
“Ray? Is that you?” Her father said: squinting. He lifted the blade of the machete. “What were you doing in my daughter’s room?” He thundered. Ray’s undone zip seemed to blow a gasket in Malcom’s mind. Ray was slender so Malcom easily pinned him to the ground. He lifted his fist and said, “How could you!?” His wife called him mid way and he rested his fist on the floor. Without turning around, he said, ” Call the police. We have a rapist in the house.”
If the noise didn’t wake the children, the flashing lights did. They bewildered the children. Police came and detained Ray while others took statements. Sarah told them everything. The Paramedic noticed Malcom’s breathing and checked his blood pressure. He urged it to calm himself down as his pressure was rising steadily. The neighbours started gathering on the street in front of them.
The police interrupted and told Malcom they would do more investigations as they needed more evidence to go to trial. He might only face a fine for tonight. When they left, Grace tucked Ruth and Nathaniel into bed again. Trying her best to soothe them.
When she came down, she found Malcom arguing with the fifteen-year-old Benjamin about going to his room. Benjamin had wanted to know what had happened, but his father insisted they needed to talk to Sarah alone first. He reluctantly obeyed and went to his room. Malcom beckoned for grace to sit beside him on the coach while Sarah sat on the pouffe in front of them. She started playing with the edge of her left sleeve.
“Why didn’t you tell us?” her father asked.
“He threatened me. He told me he would kill me and make it look like a suicide.” she admitted.
She saw an anger in her father that she never knew before. He didn’t utter a word, but his whole body showed what he was thinking.
Her mom then asked, “When did it happen?”
“Last year around tax time, when he carried me home.” Sarah said.
Grace looked intently at Malcom, almost accusingly.
She saw guilt tore up her father’s face. She didn’t want her father to blame himself or worse; she didn’t want him to feel that she blamed him either. She burst out into tears. Both her parents flew to her. Grabbing her and crying there for about an hour.
Her father encouraged them to get some sleep, they would finish talking in the morning. Her mother slept with her for the night. Warm tears awoke Sarah, but it wasn’t her own. She soon realized it was her mother’s. She was praying. Asking for help for their family. Sarah stayed still for a while and waited until she had long ended. She yarned and sat up in the bed. Her mother sat up too. She looked to her and said, “You are such a brave girl.”
Sarah couldn’t help but nod like a complimented five-year-old. Then she remembered it was Ruth’s birthday. She ran to the bathroom and washed up. She started the breakfast and got to singing. She was putting the eggs on a plate when Benjamin came in with an expression she couldn’t read. He held out a paper to her. She took it and wished she could fall through the floor. It read, “School Teacher Accused of Raping Minister’s Daughter.”
Things are getting stranger by the post! What would your advice to Sarah be!? Tell me in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The best advice will be given a special gift! Precious Thoughts will be having a give-away too for our tenth post in the series! Look out for that Next Friday at 5 pm!