Read Episode 1, Away from the Cross
He wanted to be like Francis Bacon and Cindy Sherman, their art represented him. He was good at disguise, and despair wasn’t as far away from him as he thought.
Josiah rose from the mat he had laid his weary body the previous night. The white content in the paper called his attention again. He felt it smile at him.
“I will give you peace” the voice spoke coarsely
Peace. He scoffed while his mind replayed the memories of his past.
“Josiah, come here” he called, a cigarette in hand.
“Good boy, are you ready for tonight?” he was grinning in between
Tonight. What was happening again this night? Josiah pondered, but to avoid being beaten, he smiled weakly.
Come unto me; all ye that are heavy laden; and I will give you rest. The young lad’s voice vibrated through his room, he heard the loud sound coming from the bell rung in the company of his voice. Was Daniel at it again? he murmured out of sleep.
Jesus is calling you to come; come unto him; Daniel continued; and he was forced to rise from his bed, annoyed.
“Will you shut the fuck up, Daniel?” he shouted stepping out of his room. He owned two rooms in the complex, the largest in the building.
Daniel, adjusting his glasses looked up at him; a smile preceding his word “I am sorry; did I wake you up again?” he asked, despite knowing he did.
“Damn you, that ain’t a question. You are blabbering” he clobbered.
“I’m sorry; you know; today is my first day at the film institute. I sensed they would ask me to act being a preacher; you know it is a Christian film institute” he explained himself, as Josiah rested on the wooden door frame staring at him in disbelief, bare-chested.
“You don’t believe me?”
“Of course, I don’t; another noise from you; and you are going to have it with me this morning” Josiah left with a small warning. Daniel ran after him, “But, you know; Jesus is calling you”
Josiah turned back at him, with a stern look “No more Jesus talk, remember; no more Jesus talk; if you don’t want to end up on the street. I only allowed you to stay with me in this apartment because of Gideon. I won’t give room for any excesses. Be careful”
“Oops,” the sound escaped Daniel’s lip; who quickly covered his mouth. Another mistake, he was going to be kicked out. His elder brother warned him, “Josiah might look soft on the outside, but don’t go beyond your boundary. Lest you see a side of him you don’t want to”
He had relocated to this area in the town for his 4 months’ intensive film academy training at Flaming Grounds Ministry. He had better watch his actions if he didn’t want trouble.
Will you keep quiet, Daniel? He heard the voice, knowing whose it was.
“I don’t want to, but God, just take control. You have a reason why you brought me into his life; I am sure; you will be in charge” he prayed, walking back into his room.
Picking up his black bag; he hung it across his body; brushed his hair; applied some balm on his lips; he stepped out of the apartment, his car keys in hand. Josiah looked around the quiet neighborhood, threw one of the gums he had retrieved from his back pocket into his mouth. He stepped down the stairs.
“Hey, man” the tattooed-bodied friend of his greeting. One day, he was going to consider tattooing a snake on his body. He wasn’t sure, he was ready yet.
“My guy” Josiah greeted, with a side shoulder hug.
“Mehn, how have you been man?”
“You know, good” he smiled, as the sunlight peered into his face.
“How about the stuff, man? Good or nay?”
“Of course, good. I am gonna need some strong dose this week”
“The usual” Georgia asked
“A little step higher” he sniffed
“My guy, my guy” came the hailing, as they hugged themselves briefly.
“We are good guys; I will send one of my boys to your studio today. Send the money to my aza”
“Aiit” Josiah nodded, walking off to his car.
Georgia laughed as he climbed the stairs that led to the apartment. “My regular customer” he whispered to himself.
“Coming through, coming through” he heard a young voice from the upper section of the stairs, Georgia looked up, surprised to see the new boy staying with Josiah running. His hair unkempt, papers dropped down his bag as he climbed down; he was panting mid-way to pick some of them.
“Easy, easy” he mouthed, as the young boy of 20 looked up at him, giving him a genuine smile, one he hasn’t seen in weeks. “Thank you”, the boy walked past him, zipped up his bag. And for a second, he thought Daniel was gone.
The boy ran back, holding a mini-sized paper in his hand; he handed it over to him saying “Make sure you read that, Mr. Georgia; and don’t forget, God loves you” he dashed off waving back at him.
“I am late, oh God; how did I sleep off?” Georgia heard him complaining as he walked down the stairs to the road.
“WTF, what just happened?” he asked himself, staring at the paper the young lad had handed over to him. It read “God’s love letter”
Whatever he thought within; folding the tract. He brought out a cigarette from his pocket, lightened it up, as he walked to his room.
Josiah parked his car by the studio, stood by its door for some minutes; before stepping in.
“Welcome Jossy” Bimbo, his secretary greeted.
“Keep the formality, Bimbo. Are there any sales from last week’s audition yet? Did those who promise to pay call? And, what about the M&D fashion store; did they love the painting I sent yet?” he kept throwing the questions at her.
Bimbo stood, with a pen and small jotter in her hand. Will he be pleased with the responses she would give him? Josiah noticed her reluctance. He didn’t want to hear her say it.
“Don’t worry; I know the answer already” he spoke with defeated shoulders, walking off.
Everyone keeps thinking he wasn’t experienced enough to be an independent artist; he was living a life of luxury he couldn’t even afford. That must be what they thought. Why have a secretary, have a studio if you are just starting? They told him that.
Those who came for the exhibition last week were Georgia’s friend and that of Bimbo. Top companies he had reached out to, showed interest at first, but suddenly bolted out.
“Your art is boring”
“Stop being like Francis Bacon nor Cindy Sherman; you are too young to draw like them”
“Your drawing is sad; did you have a tough childhood?”
“This isn’t art; this is trash”
People couldn’t stop commenting, they never did. Dropping the bag on the stool, he picked up his brush; clenching his fist tight against it.
They are wrong
And he was going to show them, they were.
Just like his father
“Jossy, your father called again” Bimbo dropped the bombshell, after standing behind him for minutes.
“And so?” he growled, his voice tight and deep.
“I… I…; oh, never mind” Bimbo stuttered, before dashing out his office.
Josiah screamed, as he threw the brush at a painting he had spent weeks on.
The doctor walked in, the old man standing before the window staring blankly at the sky. “Lost in thought again, Mr. Maduke?” he asked occupying the free space next to him.
“My days are almost numbered doctor, and there is one thing; I would love to do before I die” his voice filled with pain and regret. Jonathan, the doctor rested his hand on his shoulder, patting him.
“And, you will. Trust God”
“I have no choice either, but trust him” he sighed in defeat.
Episode 3 drops next week Friday… Join the conversation here: Online Christian Stories