The Devil’s Own
By Lawrence Kadzitche
Everyone said Noah was destined to be a great pastor in the church. In a few years he had moved from an assistant pastor to a full pastor. At that speed, he could see himself being consecrated bishop before he was forty.
But now one thing blocked Noah’s meteoric rise. His wife. He had never loved her. He had married her because he had known it would help his career. She was the daughter of a very senior pastor in the church.
At that time Noah had thought he could live with her as part of the price for his burning ambition to rise fast in the church hierarchy. But that was before he met Grace, an amazingly beautiful woman who was the leader of the Women’s Guild.
A secret love affair had been going on between the two for a year and half now. This was something he had successfully kept from the ears and eyes of church. But now Grace was pregnant and was demanding that he marry her or she would let the cat out of the bag.
But Grace did not need to threaten him. Of the two women, he loved her only. She was the woman of his dreams while his wife was a woman who came into his life out of sheer necessity.
Polygamy was out of question. The church did not allow it. So was divorce. The family unit was at the core of the teachings of his church. There was no way the church could countenance a divorce involving its pastor. He would be quietly asked to resign.
He knew he could not sit on the matter forever. He was better off doing something now than later when the matter would be out of his control.
But the million kwacha question was: do what?
Even before he started seriously considering the options, he knew deep down his heart the options would not be savoury. It would require eliminating his wife. He was sure his flock would not mind much to see their widowed pastor marry a woman of good standing in the church quiet soon after the demise of his wife.
He found the idea so appealing that he allowed himself a chuckle. It would help him get rid of the woman he did not love and at the same time also give him an opportunity to marry the woman of his dreams. His career was on course and he no longer needed the connections of his wife.
So his mind settled on murdering her. In this dog eat dog life, it was eat or be eaten. He had to eat her now.
His mind made up, the only thing that remained was how to do it. He considered hiring someone. But doing so meant he would have to live with the possibility of the hired killer talking.
No, he had to do it himself. Do it in such a way that her death would appear accidental. That was the best way out. The death of his wife would even boost his career as people would have nothing but the deepest sympathies for him.
His mind made up, he felt good. He already knew how he was going to kill his wife. He left the vestry and made his way to his house whistling his favourite hymn.
He found his wife sitting on the verandah knitting.
“Honey, we need to take a holiday,” he said dropping into an arm chair beside her.
Was it a shadow of suspicion he detected on his wife’s face or just his imagination? But it was gone.
“That’s a good idea. It has been years since we had a holiday,” she said gently.
“True. I think I was dedicating to much time to the work of the Lord neglecting you, my dear.”
Again he thought he saw the shadow of suspicion cross his wife’s face. No, he was wrong. For his wife was hugging him happily.
“We’ll go to the lake,” she told her. “Enjoy ourselves.”
From that time, love descended into the family like mist. They walked hand in hand, hugged each other and the words honey or darling never left their lips. Even their flock did not fail to notice their renewed love.
This charade suited Noah perfectly. When he brought the news of his wife accidental drowning at the lake, no-one would suspect him. They would only remember him as the husband who doted on his wife.
They left the following weekend and booked into a luxurious lakeshore resort.
“Tomorrow, we’ll take a ride on the lake on a cruise boat,” he told her as they lay on the beach soaking up a late sun.
“That’ll be great,” she said kissing him on the cheek. “But you know I can’t swim.”
He laughed. “You know I can’t swim, too. That’s why we’ll be in a boat.”
They hugged and laughed; a couple much in love.
The following morning they took the cruise boat. Noah purposely made sure that they were not wearing life jackets.
When they had gone where they could not be seen from the beach, Noah said suddenly, “Esther, there is something we must discuss now.”
If he had expected she would be surprised, he was disappointed. “Of course I know that. Why else are we here?”
A frown creased his brow. What did she mean by that?
“I loved you, Noah,” she went on. “I know that you married me so that you could use my connections to shoot up in the church hierarchy. But still, I loved you.”
“What are you trying to say?” he inquired suspiciously.
“Even with that knowledge, I could still have put up with you if you’d remained faithful to me,” she said in a voice tinged with self pity. “But you’d to have an affair with that woman with morals of a prostitute. It didn’t take me time to realise you were the devil in disguise. ”
Noah took a deep breath. “Well, you’re right. And I can’t allow you to ruin my career. It all ends here.”
“Certainly,” she said and suddenly lashed out at Noah’s groin.
Noah doubled up with pain, clutching at his loins. She pushed him violently and he toppled over into the water.
As he hit the water, he wondered how she could have outwitted him like this. But she provided the answer.
“You were blinded by your ambitions, Noah,” she screeched. “Fool, you thought I didn’t know all about you and Grace? It’s me people will have sympathy for having lost my dear husband in a drowning accident. So long, sucker!”
Open mouthed, he watched her standing arms akimbo, and legs spread on the boat, a devilish smile on her face. Desperately he tried to swim but he could only beat at the water until the water had filled his body and it went limp.