User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active


Prophetess Tanya didn’t just attend Church ; she considered herself to be the epitome of all that Church should be.  She was religious and loved it. She was a prosperous business woman, she wore the finest clothes and shoes and always had a designer handbag to match each outfit. She had a husband who was tired of her (although she didn’t know it) and two children who were sometimes ashamed of her (but she wasn’t aware of that either).

She was the head prophet inside of her local Church (or so she thought)  and as far as she knew she was respected by everybody in the Church- including Pastor Bo Bo.  She was his right hand and he rarely made a move without consulting her. 

She usually  knew the order of the service each Sunday because she was the one who always told the Pastor what she was hearing the Lord say. 

She enjoyed the proud look that Pastor Bo Bo would give her each week when God turned the services in the exact direction that she had predicted. 

She enjoyed the members who always came back to give her a praise report regarding something that she had prophesied to them.

She loved the way that someone always wanted to bless her with something.(although she didn’t need anything). She was highly honored at her Church and she loved every minute of it. She loved the way  the people always looked up to her. Everyone couldn’t wait to see what she would wear or which car she would drive to Church each week.

The Deacons were always waiting to park her car and sometimes they even saved her a special parking space, after all, she was the Church’s only Prophet so why shouldn’t she be treated special? 

She always believed that a Prophet’s mind needed to be clear to hear from God so if having someone else park her car meant that she could hear more clearly from God, then so be it.

Prophetess Tanya was on top of the world- she knew it and she loved it. Things could not have been more perfect in her life; that is… until a stranger arrived in town…

The Midnight Baptist Church was located in the heart of a little town called Midnight, MS- it was so named because the Church was located in one of the darkest parts of town- it’s been said that at 12 o’clock at night in that part of the town, you can’t see your hands before your face.

Some folks even said that at night, the only way to identify your neighbor was by the white of their teeth. All in all, Midnight, MS was a very quiet town. It was one of those places where everybody knew everybody. The neighborhoods were quiet and big, beautiful trees lined the streets.

Most of the children in the town were friends – they really had no choice because there was just one school that went from 1st grade through 12th grade.  There was one playground for the little kids and one skating rink for everyone else.

There were really no secrets in the town of Midnight. Neighbors looked out for each other and everyone always made sure that no one had lack in the town. 

Prophetess Tanya made sure of that herself. 

She was not only the Church Prophet but she was also known as the most generous woman in town.  When people needed a loan they usually came to her before they went to the bank. She could not only lend them money but she could also prophecy as to how long it would take them to repay the loan.  She was good and she knew it – she literally had the town and Church eating out of her hand and she loved the fact that she could control people with her prophecies. 

She sort of got the impression that people were afraid of her. They didn’t know if she would prophesy good or bad over their lives so the townspeople usually tiptoed around her.

Also, because they knew that God showed her things or at least that’s what she told them; nobody wanted her to rat them out so she didn’t usually have trouble with anyone.

Sunday, December 16th, was no different than any other Sunday at the Midnight Baptist Church. Prophetess Tanya drove up like she usually did and one of the Deacons ran out to park her car. 

She stepped out of the car dressed in a purple suit with hat, shoes and bag to match. She was feeling real Holy today and thought that she should dress for the occasion.  She knew that purple was a sign of royalty and she wanted everyone to know that she felt especially close to the Lord today. 

Some days she considered herself to be right up there with Jesus.

Anyway, she walked inside the lobby of the Church and was greeted by the usual members who waited for her each week. She handed her briefcase to one of the ushers and then proceeded on to the Pastor's office.  

When she got into the office she greeted Pastor Bo Bo and First Lady Gwen in her usual way and then waited for Pastor to ask her what she was hearing from the Lord.  

After she’d given her report, Prophetess Tanya went into the sanctuary to take her usual seat on the front row.

What a high time they had in the Lord- the Amens were flying high and the congregation was on fire.  Prophetess Tanya saw this as a perfect opportunity to release more of what she was hearing the Lord say to her.  She slowly rose, walked to the microphone and began to speak to the congregation. Before she knew what happened, people were rushing towards the front of the Church, trying to get to the altar.  

When she woke up she was stretched out on the sofa in her Pastor’s office and a nurse was attending to her.

She asked what happened and was informed by Nurse Cynthia that she’d been accidentally stampede at the altar. 

Prophetess Tanya was furious and began to wonder how people could be so stupid as to run over her.  She arose from the sofa, checked her hat and make-up and walked out of the office.

Service was still going on so she walked back into the sanctuary because it was almost time to open the doors of the Church. She never missed this part of the service because she knew that Pastor was depending on her to let him know if anyone was going to join the Church that day.

She hurried into the sanctuary and took her place at the front of the Church. The room was still spinning a little bit so she held on the side of one of the pews.   When she got back inside, the congregation rose to its feet and gave her a standing ovation. 

After this, she felt bad for calling them all stupid so she just smiled very quietly.

When Pastor Bo Bo extended the invitation to discipleship, a very thin young lady with big, gold-rimmed glasses and an oversized Coat rose and walked down the aisle.  She had on Gym Shoes and a Baseball Cap. 

“Oh my God, look at this poor pitiful creature”, Prophetess Tanya thought to herself. Who would dress like this for Church?  Didn’t she realize where she was coming today? Why couldn’t people dress better when they came to Church?  Tanya made a mental note to add that to her prayer list… God really needed to make people dress appropriately when they came into His house. 

The young lady slowly walked down the aisle and approached Prophetess Tanya. 

Usually Tanya would hug the new members but this time she didn’t. This girl looked so disheveled and unwashed.  

Not only did she have on a Baseball Cap but she also had on a  pink dress ( in December mind you) and  the Gym Shoes were white . Now who in their right mind wore pink and white in December? Tanya couldn’t understand it, if people couldn’t dress correctly for Church, why didn’t they just stay home.

Most of the people in Midnight Baptist dressed to her satisfaction but those who didn’t knew that she had no problem telling them how God wanted them to dress – even if she did have to stretch the truth sometimes.

And no one ever argued with her or questioned her. After all, she was the only prophet in the Church. People didn’t know if she was really hearing from God or not. The more she thought about it, the more she laughed inside. She was amazed at how gullible people were and how desperate they were to hear from God.

Like the time she told Bro. Scott that he needed to pay his tithes in pennies for a year. She would never forget how ridiculous he looked hauling all of those pennies to Church every week. What fool would pay their tithes in pennies- didn’t he know that God didn’t care how you paid so long as you gave? 

So she figured he deserved what he got. He was always running her down asking if she had a Word for him.

She didn’t mean any harm but she was so sick and tired of him acting like she was a gumball machine that you could put a quarter into and get a prophecy out.

Anyway, she did visit him in the hospital after he had hernia surgery.

As the young lady made it to the front of the Church, Tanya directed her to one of the seats and then stepped away.  She was almost disgusted by the sight of her.  “Really”, she thought to herself, “what would make a person look like this. 

Tanya wondered who had invited her to the Church or if she had family or friends in the Church. All of a sudden Tanya decided that she had better change her attitude ,at least until she found out who this young lady was and who she knew in the Church.

At the end of the worship service, Tanya noticed their newest member standing outside near the front door.

She thought this would be a perfect opportunity to find out as much as she could about the newcomer.

She walked up and introduced herself, “Hello, I’m Prophetess Tanya Merriweather, head prophetess”.

The young lady extended her hand towards Tanya and said, “hello, I’m Anna”.  

“Well, Anna, do you have a last name?'' said Tanya.

“Oh, most people just call me Anna”, said the young lady, shyly.

Tanya looked stunned, no one ever denied her anything she asked. 

“Well, who do you know at this Church”? Do you have family here or friends?

“No, '' said Anna, '' I was just walking down the street and well, I guess you could say the Lord led me here”.

Oh, said Tanya, well, what do you do, where do you live? Do you have family in this town? How long have you lived in Midnight?  I’ve never seen you before.”

Just then someone walked up and spoke to Prophetess Tanya – she turned around to speak and when she turned back around – Anna was gone.

“What the devil”, said Tanya, “where did she go?  

Tanya walked around to the side of the Church but didn’t see Anna. 

“Where could she have gone”, thought Tanya.  “Now, I know people don’t disappear into thin air.  Well, anyway, I won’t bother with it right now, I’ll just talk to her later.

Tanya motioned for one of the Deacons to go and get her car, when it came she drove away and couldn’t wait to get home and start investigating.

She needed to know who this young lady was and where she came from. 

There was something amazingly strange about her. 

She had a certain aura about herself; but Tanya couldn’t figure it out. Usually God showed her stuff about people but this time she wasn’t getting anything.

Maybe her spiritual antenna came loose when she was knocked out. Her head still felt a little sore so maybe her mind was blocked.

Maybe she should go to the hospital. Did she have a concussion?  Maybe all she needed was a little rest.

Tanya stopped at the local soul food restaurant and picked up some dinner. They had a lot of good choices today – so much so that Tanya really wanted to get everything. But she finally settled on herb roasted turkey breast with dressing, candied sweet potatoes, turnip greens and cornbread. And to top it all off she ordered banana pudding and a cold iced tea.

She would have sat in the restaurant and eaten but she could never get a moment’s peace when she was out in public. Someone was sure to walk up to her table and want to either have a long conversation with her or someone would surely intrude and invite themselves to sit at her table.

People always wanted to be around her. 

She drove away from the restaurant, grateful that she had made the decision to eat at home. She really wanted some peace and quiet.  

For once, she was glad that Harold (her husband) was on a fishing trip and that Zack and Lela (her kids) were out somewhere with their friends because right now she really needed to lay down and rest. 

She wondered why her family never came to Church with her. Oh well, that was their fault if they wanted to burn in hell, she sure wasn’t going with them.

She told Harold that she would love him until death did them part but she would not love him in HELL and she meant that. There was no way she was going to let a man, any man, take her down.

She refused to let Harold kill her spirit. That’s why she hadn’t slept with him in 6 months. There was no way he was going to deposit his bad spirit inside of her. She knew that demons were transferable and she was taking no chances, not even with him.

And even when it came to Zack and Lela, she loved them but she wasn’t going to HELL with them or for them. 

They all knew that she was a Holy woman of God, who never said or did anything wrong.  They could tell that she was going to HEAVEN and every now and then she didn’t have a problem reminding them that they were going to Hell.

She tried to help them all but there was no hope for any of them. She even started a family devotion but she was the only one who ever showed up. 

But that was alright with her, she’d gotten some people from the Church to come and they had a Alleluia good time whenever they got together, as long as they let her lead.

She had come to the conclusion that some people in Church just didn’t know what the Lord wanted. They didn’t know how to sing or worship and some of them couldn’t even rock and clap at the same time. But as long as she was in charge things always went well.

She had a natural way of causing things to work out the way she wanted them to. 

When she walked into the house, it was dark and quiet. She walked over to the television set and turned it on.

She didn’t like for the house to be too quiet. She sometimes heard things and it always sounded like somebody was walking up in that attic.

She popped her dinner into the microwave to warm it up; then she began to undress. 

She was so glad to get out of this girdle. Nobody knew what she had to put up with. Wearing this thing and trying to hear from God at the same time was a challenge some days. It took her 15 minutes to get it on and even longer to take it off. 

But Tanya wasn’t 137 pounds anymore so wearing the girdle was something that she chose to do. 

She hated to admit it but she had junk in her trunk and if she didn’t control it; it would control her. 

Besides, she saw how Pastor and some of the Deacons were eyeballing her today. She knew that she looked good, even at 270 pounds.

She had beautiful, long, coal, black hair; down to her shoulders and she had the prettiest skin that Mary Kay could give a person. Her teeth were as white as pearls and she made sure that her fingernails were always manicured and she never went more than seven days without a pedicure. 

She couldn’t help the fact that God had made her both beautiful and spiritual. She was all that and a bag of chips with dip and a pepsi on the side and she didn’t mind letting people know.

She was totally confident in herself and in everything that she did.

She’d also started a very successful nursing business. She had people working for her and that was a good thing. She was good at everything that she did.

She sat down at the table to eat and all of a sudden turned around. She could have sworn someone was standing behind her but no one was there.

Then Tanya remembered the bump on the head that she’d received earlier that day and again determined that maybe she just needed to lay down and rest.

She wondered what would happen if Harold and the kids came home and found her dead. They were so trifling that they didn’t even care enough to come home and see if she was okay after that horrific incident at the Church today.

She knew that they knew what happened. She was a very important person in town so she knew that by now everyone knew what had happened to her.

Oh well, they didn’t appreciate her or her gift right now; but they would one of these days.

Just then the phone rang and it was First Lady Gwen.

“Hello, Sis. Tanya, how are you”, said the First Lady.

“Hey, Sis. Gwen, said Tanya, as she rolled her eyes, “I feel just fine- my head feels a little light but other than that I am fine”

“Good, said First Lady, I sure am glad that God watches out for His own ‘cause you like to be gonna today”. We didn’t know what had happened til’ we saw you laying on the floor, looking like you’d been run over by a truck”.

Prophetess Tanya liked the First Lady alright but sometimes she couldn’t stand her. She always went into too many details about stuff.  Sometimes she just sounded silly.

“Well, thank you Sis. Gwen, for calling to check on me but I need to go and lay down now”, said Tanya.

“Alright, '' said the First Lady, but you call us if you need anything”. 

“Thank you, '' said Tanya, and then she hung up. She was going to have to say a special prayer for First Lady Gwen. She had a nosey spirit and Tanya couldn’t stand that in anybody. 

See, thought Tanya, the problem with some people in the Church is that they had spirits and didn’t know it. Tanya knew that God had called her to correct people like that. She could spot a spirit two miles away.

She knew everybody and she knew the spirits that they had. After all, she was the only prophet in town.

Anyway, she was glad that Sis. Gwen had gotten off of the phone. She remembered when Sis. Gwen had first come to the Church. 

Pastor Bo Bo just all of a sudden showed up one day with a woman that he said was his wife. 

Tanya had never seen Gwen before and didn’t know anything about her; but she heard some folks say that Gwen was a recovering prostitute; but Tanya wasn’t a gossip and she didn’t spread any rumors so she didn’t know if this was true or not.

But she did know one thing, Pastor Bo Bo should have married her. They had dated in 3rd grade and even then he told her that she was the only girl in the world for him.

She was very upset the Sunday  he walked in talking about he was married. What about her? Didn’t 3rd grade mean anything to him? It had taken her a little time to accept it all but in the end she decided that she would be the bigger person and step aside.

But she could tell that he still wanted her. She saw it every time he looked at her. She kept waiting on a prophecy from the Lord to say that Pastor Bo Bo should leave Gwen. She already had a bag packed and waiting in the closet. She would leave Harold in a minute. He didn’t know Jesus and she was tired of wasting her time with him. She deserved to be with a man who was going to Heaven with her and if anybody was going to Heaven, it was Pastor Bo Bo.

Anyway, she would cross that bridge when she got to it. Right now, she needs to rest.

She finished undressing and laid down on the sofa in the living room. This was sometimes her favorite spot in the house.  

She remembered when she had first started out on her own. She didn’t have a bed. Just a broken-down futon that somebody had given her and that was where she slept, ate and sat.  She had it in her living room and it became almost like a place of refuge for her.

Some days she would lay on that futon and just think about her life.  Sometimes she was so lonely that she didn’t know what to do. Her most memorable times were times spent with her remote control. 

But then she met Harold and everything changed. She felt like the luckiest woman in the world.   She was beginning to think that she would never get married or have children but now her prayers had been answered. Not only did he want to marry her but he already had two little children.

She considered herself really blessed that she got the husband and the kids and didn’t have to go through childbirth. 

He said that his first wife had left home one day and never came back. She always used to wonder how a Mother could leave her children; but then the older those boogers grew the more she understood why their Mother left home and never came back.  Sometimes she felt like doing the same thing but she knew that she was the only prophet in town and if she left home; she would have to leave town and Midnight couldn’t afford to be without her.

When she first met Harold, Zack and Lela were the cutest little children she had ever seen. And she’d felt so sorry for them that they didn’t have a Mother to love and care for them.

She loved dressing them up and showing them off.  Zack was two and Lela was three when she and Harold got married.  And they never told the children who their real Mother was – as far as the kids were concerned, Tanya was their real and only Mother.  

That was a secret that she and Harold had been able to hide all of these years. 

There were never any questions or issues about it and she and Harold never offered any explanation to anybody.

Well, as far as Tanya was concerned the good days of home life were over. She just didn’t feel as needed by her husband and children as she used to feel.

It seemed as if the older the kids got, the further she and Harold pulled apart. But she was convinced that they wouldn’t have these problems if only he would do what she said. He always said that he didn’t understand her but that was because he was stupid and he was stupid because he didn’t know Jesus and he didn’t know Jesus because he was too stupid.

He was a good provider and most of the time he never stood in her way so she was okay to put up with him for a while longer.

Tanya must have dozed off because when she opened her eyes all she could see was the clock that read 10:00. 

She jumped up from the sofa and ran into the bathroom where she quickly showered and then ran into the bedroom and started to get dressed.

She chose a very beautiful grey, pleated suit from the closet and matched it with shoes and a handbag. After applying her make-up and fixing  her hair she headed towards the door. But before rushing out the door she checked the clock again and this time it read 10:45.

She was rushing because she didn’t want to be late for Church.  She grabbed her keys and ran towards the door. 

But when she started the car it was dark outside and she couldn’t understand why.

Tanya stood there for a while trying to gather her thoughts but she couldn’t for the life of her figure out why it was dark at 10:45 in the morning. What was really going on?

She walked around outside for a while and then all of a sudden it came to her. It was still Sunday night; not Sunday morning.

It was 10:45pm; not am.  At that moment she felt like such a fool but decided that it was Harold’s fault that she had gotten dressed at 10:30 at night to go to Church.

If only he had listened to her and bought the correct type of clock then she would not have ruined a perfectly clean suit. Now she will have to put it in the cleaners tomorrow.

Tanya went back inside and checked the house. Neither Harold nor the kids were home yet. And she started to wonder where they were.

Tanya started back into the house and her mind fell on the young lady, Anna, who had joined Church earlier that day.  She wondered why Anna appeared so mysterious. She also wondered how Anna could have moved into the town and she (Tanya) did not know about it. Something was definitely not right and she would get to the bottom of it if it was the last thing that she did.

Right now, though, she wondered where her husband and kids were. It was way after 11:00pm and she did not like being home alone, at night.

She decided to take a hot bath and meditate.  She went upstairs and turned in the  water in the tub and then went to the bedroom to get her bubble bath and her pajamas. Just then she thought she heard the front door open. She yelled out, “Harold, is that you”. But no one answered her.

She then yelled for Zack and Lela but no answer. 

She wondered if she should go downstairs or not. Then she began to wonder whether or not she had closed and locked the door when she came back into the house. 

What if someone was in the house with her? What would she do? Should she go ahead and call the police now?

Tanya stood still and began to pray out loud, “Father, in the name of Jesus, I rebuke satan and his demons. I rebuke the demon that would try to break into my house. I lose your blood against satan right now, in the name of Jesus. I lose the warring angels to protect this house right now”.

Tanya, then suddenly had an idea. She knew the power of the Word of God; so she decided to throw her Bible downstairs.  If anybody was down there, they would surely leave once the Word of God hit them.

She tiptoed back into the bedroom and picked up one of her Bibles. 

She then went back and leaned over the banister and began to shout,”satan, I’m giving you one more chance to come clean- show yourself now or prepare to die”, still she got no response. 

So she yelled again, “demons, who are working for satan, show yourself now”. Still she got no response.

She leaned over the banister; threw the Bible down to the first floor and then she ran back into her bedroom and stood behind the door.

She held her breath to see if she could hear anything.  But not a sound.  She then remembered that she had left the water in the tub running and she needed to turn it off. 

“Oh Lord, I need you right now”, said Tanya. By this time her heart was beating faster and she was sweating. But she didn’t know if she was sweating from running, from being scared or from this girdle that she had not yet taken off.   Plus, now she had to pee.

Tanya peered around the door of her bedroom to see if she saw anybody. But she didn’t. She then decided that God had not given her a spirit of fear and that she had all power over the power of the enemy. No devil from hell was going to make her afraid in her own house. 

She grabbed a can of hairspray and made up her mind to go downstairs.

Tanya tiptoed down the stairs, stopped at every other stair to see if she heard or saw anything. She got to the bottom step and peeped around the corner. She didn’t know which room she should check first so she figured she’d start in the living room.

As she rounded the corner to the living room, she saw a pair of feet. 

Tanya screamed, dropped the hairspray and ran back towards the stairs. If she could just make it to the bedroom she would be fine. She was running so fast that she didn’t have time to turn around and see who was behind her.

She made it to the bedroom, locked the door and picked up the phone to dial the police. Her hands were shaking so bad that she could hardly dial the phone. But she knew that her life depended on it so she tried to calm herself down.

The operator picked up and Tanya began to scream her address out and told the operator that the devil had broken into her house and she needed the police right away. 

The operator tried to make sense of what Tanya was saying but finally decided it would just be easier to send a squad car.

When Tanya hung up from the police, she squatted down behind the door in her bedroom and all of a sudden felt something wet on her legs. 

She looked down and realized that she had peed on herself; plus, she could still hear the water running in the bathroom.

Oh, Lord Jesus, what am I gonna do? The devil has sent his demons to kill me. Lord, don’t let me die by myself and please don’t let that tub overflow.

Just then, Tanya heard the doorbell ring. But she didn’t know whether or not she should answer. She went to the bedroom window and contemplated climbing out but then realized she was on the 2nd floor.  When she looked out of the window she could see reflections of the flashing blue lights and was glad that the police had shown up.

Tanya sprinted down the stairs and hurried to open the front door for the police. When they ran in, she ran out.

The police checked the house and came out to tell Tanya that they didn’t find anyone inside the house. 

“But I saw feet in the living room”, said Tanya.  

“Ma’am, all we found was a pair of shoes, but there were no feet in the shoes” said the police. 

WHAT?, let me see the shoes, said Tanya. 

The police held the shoes up and asked Tanya if she knew who they belonged to. Tanya looked at the shoes and told the police that the shoes belonged to Harold, her husband.

She then became furious. If she had told him once, she had told him a thousand times to put his shoes back on the shoe rack whenever he took them off. Just wait until he gets home, she thought. He was surely going to get an ear full.

She hoped the police department wasn’t going to charge her for making a house-call.

Tanya felt embarrassed. The police were looking at her as though she had lost her mind. She thanked them for coming out and hurriedly walked towards her front door. By this time, some of her neighbors had come outside and were standing around looking. 

Tanya wondered why some people were so nosey. Couldn’t everybody just mind their own business? Why did black folks have to come running every time they saw a police car? She couldn’t stand people who had spirits like this- she made a mental note of everybody that she needed to cast that nosey spirit out of. 

She made her way back inside and up to the bathroom. She made it just in time. The water in the tub was filled to the rim and was about to overflow.

Tanya was relieved that no one was in her house but she was also mad at Harold. This was his fault, if he’d been home none of this ever would have happened.

And where were Zack and Lela? What kind of kids would leave their Mother at home alone at night. 

She looked at the clock and it was now 11:30pm. 

Tanya decided she needed to relax so she went to the medicine cabinet and took out a bottle of Nyquil.

When Tanya awoke @ 4am the next morning, Harold was asleep beside her.  She hated sleeping in the same bed with him. He snored like a cow- he always slept on his back, with his mouth wide open.

She knew that he did it on purpose. She knew that he knew that he would snore and that it would keep her awake. 

She looked at a bag of cotton balls on her nightstand and thought a couple times about stuffing his mouth and nose with them. The only reason she didn’t do it was because she had to get up and pray. 

Tanya always got up at 4am for prayer. She never missed a chance to go in and be with the Lord early in the morning. 

She knew within her heart that God only spent early morning time with the people who were most special to Him and she was lucky to be one of those people.

After prayer, Tanya went into the bathroom and started to get ready for her day.

She would spend a little time at the office today and then she would run some errands.

She was still in the house when Zack came downstairs.

“Well, well, well,” said Tanya. “Look who the cats dragged in”. 

Zack looked around to see who she was talking to and then realized it was him. “Hey, Mama”, said Zack. “And how are you?”asked Tanya”. “Fine”, replied Zack.

“What time did you and your sister get in last night”? asked Tanya.

Oh, a little after midnight, said Zack. 

Ummph, said Tanya. Well, keep on staying out late and you gon’ have dark circles under your eyes. 

She turned around and walked out of the kitchen.

Zack just didn’t understand his Mother sometimes. One day she was nice and quiet and the next day, she was all in his business. He just wished she would butt out. Why was she so nosey? Why did she have to know everything and be a part of everything?

He was 16 now. Why did she still try to treat him like a baby? He wished he could find his real Mother.

Yeah, that’s right. Tanya and his dad didn’t know he knew but he did. He knew that Tanya wasn’t his real Mother but she had always been there for him and Lela so he tried to be nice and respectful to her. He also vowed that he would never give away her secret. If she wanted people to believe that she was Zack & Lela’s real Mother; then so be it. 

But he still vowed to find his real Mother one day. He wanted to know why she left them. He wanted to know what she was thinking when she left.  He remembered her vaguely and he was sure that if he ever saw her anywhere, he would recognize her.

His life with his current parents wasn’t all that bad so he wasn’t complaining. He just wanted to know why his real Mother left.  There was a void in his heart and he knew that only his real Mother could fill it.

He had wanted to talk to Tanya about it but she was always so busy with the Church. And he didn’t dare bother his Father with this thing about his biological Mother. He could see the hurt in his Father’s face sometimes and at those moments he knew that his Father was thinking about the past.

Oh, well, thought Zack. When the time came, he would know it.

Tanya made it to her office a little before 7:00am. She always liked to get there early; before anyone else. She liked to have time to pray over the office and over everybody’s desk before they came in. She didn’t know what type of demons the people would bring in from the weekend. She knew that most of the people who worked for her were smokers and drinkers and were on their way to HELL.

But that was their business if they wanted to go to hell. They knew that she was a prophet and that she was going to heaven. She always left a note on her office door letting them know that they were all going to hell and if they wanted to see Jesus, she could help them. 

But strangely enough, no one ever took her up on her offer.

She wished that she could have hired all ‘saved’ people but the state just wouldn’t agree with her. They said that she would have been discriminating. But she just didn’t see it like that. This was her business and she should have the right to hire whomever she wanted to hire.

Just because the state funded her didn’t mean that they could tell her who to hire. And as soon as she didn’t need their money anymore she was going to tell them just that.

She walked into the lounge area and put on a pot of coffee. She took her holy oil and put a few drops into the coffee pot. 

Her intent was to get God into these heathens anyway she could. She wanted her business to be successful and she felt that she could only do that with God’s people working for her.

She remembered when she had first started “Tanya’s Adult Daycare”, better known as TAD. 

Her aim was to make sure that the elderly in her town, who lived alone, were well cared for.  At first she started out taking the elderly to the Church every weekend and running small errands for them- she figured that she could give them something to do and look after them. 

Then somebody told her that she could get paid for what she was doing. So, after applying for a few grants, she had enough money to hire some part-time workers and set up an office.

All the workers had to do was go out each day and make sure that the elderly were taking their medications. Make sure that their houses were tidy and that they had everything that they needed. They would also run errands for them and occasionally take them out socially.

Tanya liked helping people and she liked even more helping people when she could get paid for it. 

She employed a few people from her Church but not many. She still couldn’t figure out why no one at the Church applied to work for her. She had practically thrown jobs at them. 

“Oh, well”, she thought, “if they wanted to go to hell, by not working for her, that was their business.” Besides, most of the people in the Church were just plain lazy. And that was a spirit that she just couldn’t stand. 

By now it was 8:00 a.m. and no one had shown up at the office yet. She checked the schedule to see who had the first patient and it was Rita.   According to the schedule, Rita should have been in the office @ 7:30am but as usual she was late.

Tanya just couldn’t understand Rita.  She had, out of the goodness of her heart, given Rita a job when no one else would hire her.  Rita was an ex-drug addict but she had completed a Nursing Assistant Program and was doing real good for a while. But lately, Rita had been slacking off real bad on everything. From being at work on time to the way that she looked.  She bet Rita was back on drugs again. But she had to get proof first; then she would fire her on the spot. 

Tanya just couldn’t understand how some people could be so ungrateful.  She had trusted Rita to be where she was supposed to be and do what she was supposed to do and now she just couldn’t depend on Rita for anything.

Well, if she didn’t show up within the next half hour, she would just reassign her patients to someone else.

Right now, she had more important things to worry about.  She had a 9am meeting downtown and needed to get moving.  She was meeting with the Alderman today – there was a vacant lot in town and she really wanted to build a bigger, better office on that site but she needed the city’s approval first.

She sure hoped they wouldn’t give her any trouble. She had waited long and patiently for Mr. Paul to die so that she could buy his house; tear it down and build her a new building.  And now that he was finally dead, she wanted that space and no devil in hell was going to keep her from getting it.

Lord, she had never seen a person live so long. She knew the Bible said we were promised three scores and ten years; but she was sure that somebody had given Mr. Paul an extra 99 years. He had to be at least 150 years old.  

The lot that his house sat on was located perfectly in the center of town. It would be a perfect place for her office because not only would she be the center of attention; but she would be able to see and hear everything.  

It was a quarter before nine when she walked out of her office door. She saw Rita driving up. Tanya glanced at her watch and then looked at Rita.  She wanted Rita to know that she was not happy with her being late.  She stood near the door and tried to wait for Rita to get out of her car but she was taking an awfully long time to get out. And why was Rita wearing sunglasses?  There wasn’t a drop of sun out today. Actually, it looked like rain.

Oh, well, thought Tanya, she would have to talk to Rita when she returned.  She did not want to be late for her meeting but she didn’t want to be too early either. She liked to make an entrance.  She looked especially attractive in her teal, two -piece suit with matching shoes and handbag.  She purposely combed her hair back into a bun and only wore lip gloss today.  She needed to look as professional as possible but still be attractive.  She was glad that it was cool outside – about 60 degrees - and that she was able to wear her mink coat today.  She needed help from the city but she didn’t want to look as though she needed help.

Tanya strutted down the street, making sure to glance over her shoulder every now and then, she just knew that people were looking at her; they always did.

Tanya wasn’t paying attention and when she turned the corner, she bumped into someone. When she looked up she noticed that it was Anna, the young lady from Church yesterday.

Oh excuse me, said Tanya, as she brushed at her mink coat. 

No, excuse me, said Anna.  I wasn’t looking at where I was headed.

Well, you certainly seem to be in a hurry, said Tanya.  

Well, I have an appointment in a few minutes and I don’t want to be late, said Anna. 

Well, isn’t that something, I’m on my way to an appointment, also, said Tanya.

Well, have a good day, said Anna and she was gone as quickly as she had appeared.  

Before Tanya could fix her mouth to say anything else, Anna hurried down the street.

Something is surely wrong with that girl, thought Tanya. Well, anyway, I don’t have time to be concerned with her right now, there’ll be plenty of time for that after my meeting.

Meanwhile, Harold couldn’t believe his luck when he finally woke up.  He was so glad that his wife was gone already.  He couldn’t believe that he’d actually married her.  Sometimes he would look at her and wonder how drunk he really was when he proposed to her.  How could somebody that was supposed to be so Godly; be so wicked?  That’s why he never bothered with going to Church with her.   She was always so Holy and Righteous around the people at Church but at home, she was a devil of a different color.

He would never forget the one year he made the mistake of going to the Church picnic with her. All the way there, she schooled him on how he should act around the people at Church. She criticized the outfit he was wearing; although she picked it out for him to wear. She swore at him for driving what she called too fast. That’s right she cussed him out and then they got to the picnic and she bragged to everybody about what a wonderful Husband he was; she had switched her personalities in an instant.  He had searched her medicine cabinet for Prozac that night after they got home but he couldn’t find medication of any sort.

But that didn’t deter him, he was determined to find out what was wrong with her 

Anna hurried on to the appointment that had brought her to town, anyway.  What a pitiful, pathetic looking little place this was. She wondered how anybody could even live here.  There was no mall, no grocery chain.  Just a dollar store and a grocery store called Piggly Wiggly.  There wasn’t even a hair salon for the women – just some woman called Big Rose who did hair in her kitchen.  

Anna could not believe that she had left New York and come to this stinky little part of the country.  She was determined to handle her business here as quickly as possible and then leave as quickly as she arrived.

She felt inside her purse to make sure that her plane ticket was still there.  Her stay had already lasted longer than she anticipated.   The private investigator that she hired insisted that she needed to be here; that was the only reason she came.  

But four weeks after being in this town was just too much for anybody.  Anyway, she would make the best of it while she could; plus she couldn’t afford to blow her cover right now.  That’s why she had joined that ridiculous Church.  She could not remember the last time she had seen people behave so wildly.  All the jumping and clapping and yelling.  She couldn’t tell if she was at a Church or a boxing match.   

But this would give her just the ammunition that she needed to accomplish what she really came here for.  She wanted people to think that she was a god-fearing Christian.  That way no one would be any wiser when she did what she had come here to do.

That’s right. She was here for what belonged to her and she had determined in her heart that she was not leaving without it.  It had been too many years – years of searching and crying and spending money that she really did not have to spend. But in the end, this would all be worth it.  

She was just a child when it happened but it never left her mind. She had no idea what she was getting into.  She thought that she was in love and that she was ready for what came with a relationship but she couldn’t handle things – that’s why she ran away.  But didn’t she deserve another chance like everybody else?  

When she left home that night all of those years ago she had no idea that she would be gone for so long – she had expected him to wait but he moved away and she never ever heard from him again until now.

Now she had tracked him down and there was no way she was going to go back home empty handed.  Now all she had to do was get the people in this town to trust her.  And that looked like it would not be hard to do.  Everybody seemed friendly and nosey.  All she had to do was make a friend or two and then she would get all of the information that she needed. It didn’t look as if she would have any problems out of anybody – well, maybe one person. That nosey lady from the Church but all she had to do was steer clear of her and she’d be fine.

As Tanya entered the Alderman’s office, she looked around the room to see who else had come seeking after the property that she wanted.  She began to speak in tongues as she sat down.  This got the attention of most of the people in the room. She sat her designer handbag on the table and then took out her Bible.  She had a few minutes before the meeting was to begin so she might as well let these people know who she was.   She began reading out loud. Some people never went to Church and she felt like she had the responsibility to get the Word of God into people no matter what it took.

Just as she got to the 2nd verse of the chapter that she was reading, Alderman Russell started the meeting.  She saw the way he looked at her. They had dated a little bit in high school but he wasn’t her type so she had to cut him loose.  If she had known back then that he would become Alderman she would have accepted his invitation to the prom. But she went with Willie Peters instead because his parents owned the only barbeque pit in town. What a mistake that was, he tried to get her in the back seat of his car that night and then got arrested later on for trying to steal a pig – wonder when he’ll be released from jail, thought Tanya. 20 to life is a long time for stealing a pig. 

Well, she wasn’t worry about Alderman Russell. Besides, she could still have him if she wanted him.  She saw the way he was looking at her.

As she sat at the table, her mind shifted back to the young lady that she’d just bumped into.  Anna, the new member from Church.  What kind of an appointment did she have?  She was new in town, who in the world could she be seeing and about what?  Well, maybe it was the salvation army, God knows that poor child needed some new clothes.

Tanya brought her mind back into the meeting long enough to hear that 3 other people, besides her, had made bids for the land. And their bids were higher than hers. Who did they think they were? Didn’t they know who she was?  Didn’t they know the spiritual powers that she possessed?  Well, if they didn’t they would soon find out.  She got up from the table, gathered her things and stomped out of the Alderman’s office.  Just wait, she thought, until they heard from her again – she was going to have a word, from the Lord, for all of them. 

When she got back to her office, all of the workers had arrived.  She took a look at the work chart to make sure that no patients had been missed. Then she went into her office and shut the door. She was so frustrated right now that she didn't know what to do with herself.  She wished she had somebody to talk to but there wasn’t anyone in town that could relate to her. If only she had some friends – some real friends. Oh, there were people who tried to befriend her but she saw right through them and usually all they wanted was something from her.  

Like the time Sis.  Dora invited her over for dinner and then halfway through the worst meal that she’d ever had in her life, Dora had the nerve to ask for a loan.  Honey please and baby bye. She got up and left that house so fast she almost forgot her shoes. How dare she try to use her like that. 

Dora should have just been thankful that Tanya didn’t call the police and report what she did to that chicken. Who ever heard of baked chicken that looked like it was fried.  That was ridiculous. If it was one thing she didn’t like was people who tried to cook but couldn’t. She put that one on her prayer list – she knew that eventually she would have to cast a “non-cooking” spirit out of some people.  Lord, the people on her list who needed deliverance were getting longer and longer.  It seemed like she never had time to do anything but pray. She was tired of doing it all herself.

She had tried to start a Prayer group at Church but people just didn’t know how to pray the way she thought they should so she stopped it.  Now she had the prayer burdens of the whole town on her shoulders but that was the price she paid for being spiritual.

She remembered the time they were at a prayer meeting when Sis. Gwen started to pray about the children, she had already told them that God said to pray about the Church picnic.  Right then and there she shut down the prayer meeting. If people couldn’t pray right they just shouldn’t pray at all.

Anyway, that was then and now that she was the only intercessor in the Church, she didn’t have to worry about the wrong prayers getting to Heaven.

She was just about to leave the office for lunch when Rita walked in.  It was a little after 12 noon, so she knew that all of Rita’s patients had not yet been seen.  

Rita looked like she’d been crying but Tanya didn’t say anything.  Besides, she’d probably been taking a hit from a marijuana cigarette.  Yeah that’s right, Tanya knew about marijuana and she could tell when that spirit was on a person.  

Rita came in and sat down – she told Tanya that she wasn’t feeling well and asked to go home.  

Tanya immediately felt that Rita was not telling the truth but decided to let her go early, anyway.

As soon as Rita had made it to her car, Tanya went out of the back door of the office and got into her own car.  She was going to settle this matter with Rita, once and for all.  No way was she going to pay people who didn’t work.  And she was not going to fall for anybody lying to her.  She waited until Rita had turned the corner; then she proceeded to follow her.  If something was going on with one of her employees, she wanted to know about it.   The one thing she couldn’t stand was people who lied – she immediately put that on her list of spirits that needed to be cast out of people.

Tanya was so busy following Rita that she didn’t notice the figure that stepped off of the curb.  She slammed on her brakes and looked up to see Anna standing in front of the car.  What in the world was this girl doing in the middle of the street?

Tanya got out of her car to see if Anna was okay. But before she could close the car door, Anna was gone.  

Tanya looked this way and then the other trying to find Anna but saw no sign of her.  How could anybody disappear into thin air like that?  Something was definitely wrong with that woman and Tanya was going to find out.

In the meantime, she got back into her car to try and continue trailing Rita but by now it was too late.  Rita was long gone.   That’s all right, thought Tanya, another time, another day.

Anna ran as fast as she could and stood around the corner of a building trying to hide from Tanya.  There was no way she was going to bring any attention to herself by having people run up to see if she was okay – the car barely touched her – her leg hurt a little but she would be okay.  She started to walk but the pain was worse than she thought so she sat down on the ground to rest for a few minutes.  

What was wrong with that crazy lady from Church – why wasn’t she watching where she was driving?  Who in the world drives around with a hat pulled down over their face, anyway?  Something was definitely odd about that but right now Anna couldn’t worry about it, she had to hurry home – she was expecting a very important telephone call and it was one that she could not afford to miss.

Harold walked into the house and was relieved to find that Tanya was not there, yet. The last thing that he needed when he got home was an argument with Tanya.  It never failed.  No matter when he was home, Tanya always found something to argue with him about.  If it wasn’t about the garbage not being pulled to the curb, right; it was about the top being left off of the jelly jar and he didn’t even eat jelly.  It seemed as if she blamed him for everything and he was tired of it.  That is why he did not feel guilty about what he had done.  He was finally going to be free and he could not wait.

Just then Lela walked in the house and greeted her Father.  Harold asked how her day at school had been and she started to cry.  Harold wasn’t used to this so he just stood across the room and looked at her. Oh lord, thought Harold, the craziness in this house was contagious. First his wife; now his daughter. He was curious about what was wrong with Lela but now he was afraid to ask. So he just patted her on the head and walked out of the room.

Lela sat down and looked at the piece of paper in her hand. She could not believe that this was happening to her.  How could this be?  She had been as careful as possible and now her life might be ruined.  She might not be able to go to college like she had planned.  She was probably going to have to drop out of school.  How could she have been so stupid.  She had never done anything like this before –she never thought that the first time she did it things would end up being so horrible. How was she going to explain this to her Mother and Father?

Tanya walked into the house and was surprised to find both Harold and Lela at home. Now what are they doing here, thought Tanya.  I was hoping to have the house to myself for a little while – now I’ll never be able to make those telephone calls in private.  

Harold was out in the back of the house with his head under the hood of a car.  Tanya looked at him with disgust. How had she ended up with a grease monkey? Why couldn’t Harold get a real, decent job like other men?  She had hoped that his obsession with fixing cars would only last a few months and now it had been over 10 years.   All he wore were grease stained overalls and he didn’t even wear those well.  He looked old and tired to her; not young and vibrant like her.  She was 45 but no one would ever know it.  She looked good and she knew it.  When she and Harold were out together she did the best she could to pretend that she wasn’t with him.  Oh well, thought Tanya – this won’t last for much longer.  All she had to do was endure for a little while more and then she would be free; unless of course, he decided to serve Jesus.  She had given him a deadline to get saved and then that was it. She had marked the date on the calendar and if he didn’t do it by then; there was just no hope for him.  

Just then, Zack walked into the house and he too was surprised to find so many people at home so early.  What’s up everybody, said Zack, why ya’ll home already?  

Tanya looked at him with a “don’t even try it” look on her face and he went upstairs. 

She went into the kitchen to start cooking supper.  She went to the freezer and decided on pork chops and candied sweet potatoes – that’s what she wanted and that’s what everybody was going to eat.  Although Harold swore that he no longer ate pork. She fried the pork chops as hard as she could and made the sweet potatoes as sweet as possible.  She loved a good meal like this. After the day she’d had – she deserved to eat whatever she wanted. She tugged at her girdle and wondered why it felt so tight.  Harold probably did something to make it shrink, she thought. Oh well, she would just buy another one tomorrow but she decided right at that moment to start locking up her underwear.  

She called everybody to the dinner table and sat the food in the middle of the table – Zack came in  and fixed a plate but went right to his room and Lela said that she wasn’t hungry.  When Harold came in from outside, he looked at the food and then looked at Tanya.  He didn’t know if he was going to scream or fall out.  Why did Tanya insist on cooking pork when she knew that he didn’t eat pork anymore? The Doctor had told him how deadly it would be for him if he didn’t change his diet. He was more convinced now than ever that Tanya was trying to kill him.  

She felt him staring at her and then she looked up and asked what was wrong with him. Harold didn’t say anything, he just turned around and walked out of the kitchen. He decided to go down to the diner – surely he could eat a salad in peace down there.

Tanya looked at the food on the table and a big grin came across her face; now she could have all the pork chops that she wanted – but why was this girdle pinching her so hard?

When Harold walked into the Diner he saw Pastor BoBo and First Lady Gwen sitting in a booth. 

Harold saw them before they saw him or so he thought –he tried to make a u-turn out of the Diner but it was too late.  

Pastor BoBo stood up and yelled out to Harold. Good evening Bro Harold, said Pastor.  

Oh Lord, they saw me, thought Harold.  He turned around. His intent was to waive and then leave but Pastor beaconed him over to sit with them.  Harold had nothing against the Pastor but he questioned any man that would let Tanya into their Church.  If something was wrong with the members of the Church (like his wife), surely something was wrong with the Pastor, right?

And why does he insist on calling me Bro. Harold, thought Harold. I am not his Brother – we don’t have the same Mother or Father.  Harold had never understood Church people and he was sure that after being married to Tanya he never wanted to have anything to do with a Church.  His wife was a real devil (girdle and all).

Harold sat down and greeted the Pastor and first Lady. He had never spent much time in their company and now he felt so uncomfortable that he started to sweat.  They wanted to know why he was at the diner eating and not at home but he just smiled and shook his head.  He could tell by the look on the Pastor’s face that he didn’t need to go into a full explanation.  They had just sat down to eat and invited Harold to eat with them. He didn’t want to be rude so he accepted their invitation and ordered his salad.  Just as the waitress left the table he looked towards the door and could not believe his eyes. 

Oh God thought Harold, have I just seen a ghost?

Rita made it home and could barely make it into the house before she started to vomit.  Lord, what is wrong with me, thought Rita.  By now, her head was pounding and every bone in her body hurt.  What happened to me, thought Rita?  She tried to trace her steps from the night before but everything was a blur.  The last thing she remembered was walking into the little juke joint club.  She couldn’t remember what happened while she was there and worse than that she couldn’t remember how she got home.  All she knew was that she could hardly pick her head up off of the pillow earlier that morning.  She got up and felt so sick that she couldn’t even take a shower and she surely did not feel like going into work.  But she did not want to hear Tanya’s religious mouth.   

And things were even worse at the office. Rite remembered one day when she went to sit down in one of the chairs and slid right out of the chair onto the floor.  She knew before she hit the floor that the chair was slippery because Tanya had been putting that oil on everything again.  Didn’t she know how dangerous that could be to people? And forget about drinking the coffee – yeah Tanya didn’t think that anybody knew but after a few of them developed diarrhea they figured out that Tanya must have been putting that oil in the coffee that everybody was drinking.  Rita was just running to the bathroom when there was a knock on her door. She hurried to the door and looked out but nearly fell over when she saw who it was – Oh Lord, thought Rita, how did they find me?

It was well after 9pm when Tanya finished cleaning up the kitchen. Unfortunately, there were no leftovers but that was fine with her, she was nice and full.  She decided to soak in the tub for a little bit tonight but needed to first check on Lela who never came down to eat dinner.

She knocked on Lela’s bedroom door but there was no answer. She knocked again but still no answer. Tanya turned the knob and called out to Lela – she didn’t get an answer but she could see Lela snuggled up under the covers. Why did she have the covers pulled way up to her head like that, thought Tanya. 

Well, I won’t bother her tonight, she can just have a big breakfast tomorrow morning. Tanya closed the door and walked into the bathroom.

Just then Lela came out of the closet.  She hid in there so that her Mother wouldn’t see that she was dressed to go out. It was very smart of her to make it look as though somebody was laying in the bed.  

She didn’t want to slip out on a school night, especially with her Mother being so nosey but she had to try to do something about what had happened earlier that day.  She just needed to talk to Gregory about this problem that they had; after all, he was just as responsible as she was and there was no way she was going to face this thing alone.

By the time Harold got done eating dinner and made it back home, it was well after 11pm.  He had not planned to stay at the diner that long but the conversation that he’d had with Pastor BoBo and First Lady Gwen was well worth it all.  

He thought he knew his wife but now he was finding out stuff about her that he never knew. It was as if the woman he had just heard about was a complete stranger. How in the world did the Pastor and First Lady know more about his wife than he did?  

After ten years, he still did not know who he was married to. 

When he’d first met Tanya, he wasn’t ready for another relationship but he was desperate to not have his children grow up without a Mother.  Tanya wasn’t his first choice; she was his only choice at the time.

She wasn’t the finest woman he’d ever seen but she would do. She acted as though she liked his kids and she said that she was in love with him and that was all he needed. Before he knew what was happening, he was proposing to her.  They had a whirlwind romance and an even quicker wedding.

He knew that Tanya attended Church regularly and he started off going with her a couple times a month. After all, she had told him that God would not approve of her marrying someone who was not just like she was, so he did what he had to do to get her to the altar.  

After the wedding he decided that he no longer needed to attend Church anymore so instead of a couple times a month he started to attend once a month and then a couple times here or there until finally he stopped going. He just did not understand Tanya’s devotion to the Church or to the Pastor.  

Their honeymoon was over before it got started.  It consisted of a weekend at a hotel amusement park. It gave both them and the kids something to do.  

It was about 6 months after the wedding that he noticed Tanya start to act strange.  She would be saying that she could hear God talking to her and then she would spend all night shut up in the bathroom praying. She spent more time at the Church than she did with him – at first, it didn’t bother him but when he found out that she had a crush on the Pastor he had insisted that she spend more time at home. 

By this time, they had moved from New York to where they currently resided. He thought that a small, quiet town like Midnight was just the place to raise his children and keep an eye on his current wife. Midnight seemed safe enough; the biggest crime ever reported was about some man stealing a pig and even then nobody got hurt. Actually, the rumor in town was that he did it because his girlfriend wanted fresh pork chops but that was just a rumor. As to this day, nobody knows what really happened. 

 And the weather was the best that anybody could ever ask for. It never got lower than 60 degrees and the people here seemed friendly enough.  Also, there was no automobile repair shop within 60 miles of this place, so he could finally follow his dream of becoming a mechanic and being his own boss.

Yeah, Tanya didn’t act stable sometimes but at least she was consistent. And that was why he had remained married to her for so long. But after more than 10 years of marriage, he felt as though he was just renting a room at a house where Tanya was the landlord. 

He had never seen anybody act so wacky in his life. That is why he was so sure that she had to be on some sort of medication that he was not aware of. 

She did crazy stuff like bring home groceries and put them in the garbage instead of the fridge or like forgetting where she parked the car when she went somewhere.  And she was always checking under the bed or in the closets as though she was looking for somebody. And one night the police were called because neighbors thought that somebody was breaking into a house in the neighborhood; turns out, it was just Tanya. She climbed through a window at the house because she had locked herself out or so she thought. Actually, she was at the wrong house trying to get in. Her excuse was that all of the houses in the neighborhood looked the same, but Harold knew right then and there that something was wrong with her.  

That is why he could not believe how she had the people at the Church literally eating out of her hand. If only they knew how crazy she really was, nobody would listen to anything that she had to say. 

Well, that was something that he planned to take care of also while he was handling everything else. 

 Anna hurried home, limping as little as possible so as not to bring attention to herself. She really needed to be ready when the phone rang. Hopefully, it would be the news that she had waited for.

After all of these years, could she finally be at the point of having unanswered questions finally answered?  Would she finally be able to put the past behind her and move on? She was so glad that her therapist and Attorney had talked her into coming back to face her past so that she could try to move on with her future.

It was so difficult for her to return home after all these years. 

Yeah, that’s right, Midnight was her home, but she had changed so much since the incident that nobody seemed to recognize her. She had lost 75 pounds and now disguised herself behind big black glasses and a dark black wig. She also now dressed differently and spoke with a New York accent. Surely nobody would recognize that she was the same person who had created such a scandal all those years ago.

Rita slid down behind the door and held her breath. She could see outside but no one could see inside.  She saw the men look around and then one of them tried turning her doorknob. She was so glad that she had remembered to lock the door this time. She was shaking and breathing even harder now. Actually, she was scared out of her mind. She thought that she had covered her steps better than this. She was so tired of running from state to state. She was tired of being afraid to walk around outside, freely. She was tired of always looking over her shoulders. She was tired of having to drink her way into a good night’s sleep. Why couldn’t they just leave her alone? 

Then she began to wonder if that is why she was sick all of a sudden. Had they found her in the nightclub and poisoned her? Maybe she wasn’t sick from all of that oil that Tanya used. Maybe they were now trying to murder her.  But why, she had kept her mouth shut like she said she would. She had never told anybody what she saw and yet they wouldn’t leave her alone.

She thought about going to the police but if she did, would they believe her? Besides, she had only seen one police car in all the time that she had been in this city. She wasn’t even sure that they had a police station. So, if she did dial 911, who would come? Lord help me Jesus, thought, Rita. I just can’t take this anymore. 

Meanwhile, Anna finally made it home and quickly sat down to look at her leg. It was really starting to bruise and swell and when she tried to touch it she screamed out in pain.  Oh no, thought, Anna, please don’t let it be broken. I cannot afford to go to the hospital…for more reasons than one. 

She limped into her kitchen and got out a bag of frozen peas and wrapped it in a towel. Maybe if she elevated her leg it would help with the swelling.  As soon as she sat down, she started to cry. Why were things turning out like this? She was tired of being in this stinking little town and so desperately wanted to get back home. She missed her Husband and her baby, but she also knew that she couldn’t leave until she got things settled first. There was no way that she would be able to move on with her future until she got her past fixed.

She popped a few ibuprofens and sat real still. She laid her head back on the chair and began to think about what had brought her here anyway.

She was 17 years old when it happened, she had stayed late at Church one night to help clean up after choir practice. She didn’t know that almost everyone had left because she had been in the basement cleaning the bathroom. When she came up to the first floor, the lights in the sanctuary were off and she didn’t hear anybody. She had called out several times and didn’t get an answer. And then it happened…

Harold walked into the bedroom and Tanya was already in bed, snoring like a man. He hated sleeping with her. They hadn’t had sex in months; she took up most of the bed and hogged the covers so what was the point? He could never get a good nights’ sleep when she was around. He never knew what she was going to do. One night he woke up and she was standing over him with a Bible. Plus, after what he had just heard in the diner, he was sure that he did not want to sleep with her anymore. He couldn’t even stand to be in the same room where she was right now, so he grabbed a pillow and a blanket from the closet and went to the couch. That’s where he will sleep from now on. All of this craziness was going to come to an end soon, he was certain about it. He’d had enough. Enough of the lies and secrets.  Enough of his wife acting crazy. Enough of being afraid to tell his kids the truth. Enough of being unhappy. Enough of smiling when he really felt like crying. Enough of faking a happy home and a happy life. Yes, thought Harold, this would be it. No more. He was about to declare himself a free man…in more ways than one. 

Pastor Bobo & Sis. Gwen got home and neither said anything. They’d had a very quiet ride home and each was wondering what the other was thinking.  Had they said too much to Harold? Had they let too many “cats” out of the bag? Had they told him things that he didn’t know? It was difficult to tell because the expression on his face never changed. Pastor Bobo had never seen a man who smiled so much. He was the Church’s Pastor and he didn’t smile as much as Harold did. And he couldn’t tell if the smile was genuine or if Harold was hiding behind it. 

He walked into the bedroom where his Wife had gone and found her bowed on her knees beside the bed. He knew that she was praying, and he joined her.  He loved his wife and was so grateful that she was a woman who loved God and was full of the Holy Spirit. He knew that people talked bad about her, and she did too, but she never showed it. She always treated those same people with love and respect and when she got done crying from hurt feelings, she went down on her knees and prayed for the same ones who had hurt her. He was the Pastor and wasn’t sure if he had what it took to handle adversity the way that she did. When he heard the things that people said he always wanted to go and stick up for his Wife, but she never let him do it. Always telling him that God would handle everything. She’d had a rough life growing up and even after she was grown, things had not gone well for her. He knew that she only let him in on some of the things from her past, some so painful that he could barely stand to hear but he was also sure that when she was ready, she would share the rest. In the meantime, all he could do was stand by her side and try to make her as proud and happy as she made him. 

Prophetess Tanya rose early the next morning and decided to make breakfast for everybody. She planned to make pancakes from scratch, along with scrambled eggs and bacon and she even found turkey sausage in the freezer for Harold. She couldn’t understand why she was in such a good mood this morning. The sun seemed to be shining brighter and she even thought she heard birds singing. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d had such a restful night.  She didn’t dream, there was no tossing and turning and she didn’t have to fight for the blanket. Which was strange because she always had to fight Harold for the blanket. That is why she had started pinning scriptures to the blanket on their bed. No way was she going to be cold at night; so, if he insisted upon hogging the covers then he would at least get a little Jesus on the side. 

She was in the kitchen and had just started taking out the flour and eggs for the pancakes when she thought she saw somebody run across the yard. She wrapped her robe a little tighter around her waist and went to the back door. She stuck her head out of the door but didn’t see anybody. But she was not crazy, she knew what she saw. Somebody was in her backyard, and she wanted to know why. It was 7 o’clock in the morning and no decent person would be walking around another person’s yard this time of morning. She ran outside and turned on the sprinklers. If anybody was out here, they would be sorry. 

Tanya went back to making breakfast. She was hoping that when her family smelled this good food, they would all come running to the table but even after she yelled that breakfast was ready nobody came into the kitchen. She went upstairs and noticed that Zack’s bedroom door was still closed. It was after 7am so surely he would be up getting ready for school. She stood outside the door and tried to listen but couldn’t hear anything. She then knocked and called his name but still didn’t hear anything. Slowly she turned the knob and started to open the door. She got it opened just enough to peep inside but couldn’t find Zack. 

Lela ran through the backyard – she was hiding behind every bush she could find. No way did she want her Parents to know that she had been out all night. But she had to settle this issue right away. What was she going to do? She had a lot of big decisions to make but she had no clue where to start. Who could she trust? Should she tell her Brother?  Could he keep a secret? Should she run away from home? But how could she? She had no money. Besides where would she go? As far as she knew she had no family other than her Brother, Father and her fake Mother.

Yep, that’s right she knew. As a matter of fact both she and Zack knew about the secret her Father and Tanya had been keeping from them all of these years but what nobody knew is that Lela had been doing some research at school and had found something that could turn her entire household upside down.  

Growing up in this town she always wondered why people looked at her funny and why most people didn’t want their kids to play with her or Zack. As she was growing up she wondered why people would whisper that she was going to be just like her Mother when she grew up.  If Tanya was her Mother, then it wasn’t such a bad thing.  Tanya was successful, she had money, she dressed nice and wore pretty clothes so what was so wrong with being like her Mom.   Sure, Tanya acted strange sometimes, but Lela never displayed any of those tendencies so why were people treating her like this?  She just couldn’t understand until one day she walked into the Cafeteria at school and overheard a conversation that ruined her entire afternoon.

From that moment on she started to hate this town and the nosey, big-mouthed people who lived here. How dare they spread such lies about her family. There was no way what they said happened actually happened! No way!  And Lela made up her mind that she was going to find out the truth and then make everybody in this town pay for the lies!  She had planned to graduate from High School, leave this funky little place, go away and become successful; then come back and expose the truth.    But now – how could she do that after what had just happened to her? Have the people been correct this entire time? Was she turning out just like her Mom?  Whoever that was!

Sis Gwen had just put a load of clothes in the Washer when she turned around and caught a reflection of herself in the Mirror that hung on the wall of her Laundry Room. Every time she came into this room to do laundry she would look at herself in this Mirror and remember that just like her Washing Machine cleaned her clothes; Jesus had also cleaned her soul.  She remembered the life that she used to live and nearly came to tears when she thought about where she was now. 

She could not believe how much her life had changed from someone who begged for food and did unthinkable things for money to where she was now. Who would have thought that someday  she would be the Wife of a Preacher – not just a Preacher but a Pastor.  There was a point in her life when the people in the Church would cross the street to avoid her and now here she was sitting on the front row every week. Praying for people who would have spit in her face rather than speak to her. Laying hands on people who treated her like she had leprosy at one point in her life. Who would have thought that the girl who lived as though she hated God, in her past life, was now His number one fan?  Oh yeah, thought Sis Gwen, she’d  had a rough life. Growing up in poverty, hanging out with the wrong crowd, behind three grades in School, standing on the corner trying to make a few dollars, getting pregnant; not knowing who the Fathers were. Leaving behind babies that she never got to hold or kiss or care for. She felt so bad because she loved kids. But her Father was not in the picture and her Mother was too busy working to try to make ends meet to give her much attention. So, what was she supposed to do?  She found other ways to entertain herself, but nothing had ever satisfied the longing in her heart like the day she found out that she was pregnant. Finally, she would have somebody to love her unconditionally and somebody that she could shower all of her love on.  She wasn’t a bad person; she was just misguided. She never meant to do any of the things that she had done; it was all for survival.

She would never forget the night she met her Husband (Pastor Raphael Burlington); but everybody called him Pastor Bobo for short.  She was invited to a tent meeting by a street evangelism crew. They would make it their business to come out to the streets on Saturday nights to evangelize. Gwen was so fed up with them that she promised to come to a revival just so they wouldn’t scare off the customer that she was waiting for. However, on the night of the revival she had no intention of going. But something just wouldn’t let her stay away. She tried working the corner that night, but she had no customers (which was strange); she found a cheap motel and got a room where she could get high but the high didn’t work.  She didn’t understand why she couldn’t sleep, she couldn’t eat, she couldn’t even sit still. So she decided that it probably wouldn’t  hurt if she went to the tent meeting.  Maybe if they saw her there they would stop coming to her corner trying to tell her about Jesus.  So she washed up the very best that she could and went. She wasn’t as nervous inside of a Tent as she would have been inside of a Church Building. This was outside, nobody cared who came and nobody cared how anybody looked. She could just blend into the crowd and nobody would notice. But she was used to that – seems like all her life nobody had ever noticed her. 

She got to the Tent and stood in the back (behind as many people as possible). The Preacher had just taken his place behind the pulpit so surely this wouldn’t take long. But before he began to preach, he prayed.  He didn’t ask anybody to walk to the front if they wanted to pray. He just began to pray but it was the most powerful, sincere Prayer she had ever heard. She tried to bow her head and close her eyes but everything he was praying was what she was feeling so every now and then she would sneak a peek to see if he was looking directly at her. Surely, he was standing up there praying about her, but his eyes were closed and his head was down. But how did he know what she needed? And how could he be praying about her? Surely the people from the street evangelistic team had told him about her! But that couldn’t be possible, they didn’t know her. She never told them anything about herself. So, what was going on?  At this point she started to get mad because surely somebody had told this man her business. She wanted to storm out, but she was too intrigued to leave. So, she decided that she would find a seat and sit down and stare at him until he knew that she was upset with him. 

By the time he had finished praying she was in tears and then he started to speak and he said something that she had never heard before; he said that God loved her and that He loved her so much that He sent His only Son to die for her sins; then he had the nerve to say that God could change her life. Now he had to be joking or trying to trick the people. Because all of her life she had never been loved or felt love from the people that she saw everyday so how could she be loved by somebody that she couldn’t see and that probably couldn’t even see her?  And what was this business he was talking about God changing her life? Everybody knew that she was what she was, and she would never be anything better. Her own family had already told her that she was nothing and would never be anybody, so she had stopped trying to be what she wanted to be and settled for being what everybody else said that she was.  It wasn’t easy having to make a living catering to the needs of strange men but she did what she had to do because life just would never get any better for her or so she thought.  As she sat there and thought about her life she all of a sudden began to cry; not just a regular cry. But these tears came from a place so deep down inside of her that she couldn’t control even when she tried to stop, she couldn’t. She cried so hard that she doubled over and went down to the ground on her knees. She didn’t even realize what was going on but suddenly her hands were lifted, and she was begging God to prove that He loved her. She was begging God to change this life that she lived because all of a sudden, she wanted better; she wanted different. She cried and she cried, and she cried… she cried for all of the years that she had been rejected. She cried for all the times she was told she wasn’t good enough. She cried for being too dark complected and for being too skinny. She cried for a Mom who didn’t understand her and a Father who didn’t want her. She cried for all the things she had lost. She cried all the times that she was lonely and alone. She cried until she had no more tears and she lay on the ground because she had no more strength. And to this day she still couldn’t explain it to anybody, but something happened to her that night under that Tent and God changed her life.   

So as she stared at herself in that mirror she couldn’t help but remember what she used to be but she also couldn’t help but Praise God for what she was now.  She knew that she had no right being a Pastors’ Wife. Some of the people in the Church never let her forget it; especially Prophetess Tanya.  But she was also now realizing that this was Gods’ doing and not hers. She was in love with Jesus before she fell in love with her Husband so no matter what anybody thought she knew that she had a call on her life; even if that call was just to be her Husband’s Wife. She was determined to do it and to do it right. 

Tanya started to get dressed. She had a full day today. She wanted to visit some of her patients to survey how well the Workers were doing. She was feeling angelic today so she decided on a White, ankle length maxi dress.  She had matching pearl earrings and a pearl necklace and she also managed to find a Bracelet that accented the outfit. She couldn’t decide what to do with her hair so she decided that a Top Bun would be just elegant; plus, it made her Neck look leaner. She just could not understand why it looked like her Neck was getting shorter. Maybe Harold was doing something to her at night while she slept. She made a mental note to buy some cameras for the Bedroom. If he was doing something to her Neck; he would be sorry. The one thing that couldn’t stand was short necked people and she was not going to be one of them.  She quickly added this to her Prayer list – to pray for all the people with short necks.  

As she made her way downstairs, she realized that everybody had already left the house and once again she was alone. She just couldn’t understand why her Husband and kids always left before she was dressed or came home after she was asleep. What was wrong with them? Didn’t they know what a dangerous world she lived in? Didn’t they realize that she was the only Prophet in town and needed to be protected? Just as she was pondering these things, she heard a siren and ran down the stairs. She needed to get outside to see what was going on. It was 8am and the one thing that she couldn’t stand was loud noises early in the morning. If somebody needed an Ambulance, why couldn’t they wait until a decent hour to call 911?  Why couldn’t people just be more considerate? Right then she made a note to put these people on her Prayer list so that they would learn not to dial 911 before 10am.  As she got outside, she realized that it was not an Ambulance but it was the Police and they were parked out in front of her house.  She went right up to the Police Car and demanded to know why they were making noise so early in the morning.  The Police said that they had reports of a peeping Tom and that he was in her backyard. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. A peeping Tom at 8 o’clock in the morning? Weren’t people supposed to do that at night? Couldn’t anybody do anything right? Boy this Prayer list was getting longer, now she had to stop and add this foolishness.   Then all of a sudden she stopped and remembered that earlier that morning she thought that she had seen somebody in her yard but she wasn’t sure.  She shared this information with the Police and he told her to stay out front while he checked the back of the house. When he turned around Tanya was right on his heels with a Can of Wasp Spray for protection. No way was he going to the back of her house alone. She had just done her garden and didn’t want anybody to mess it up; not even the Police; plus, he might need her help. As they made their way to the back of the house, they both noticed foot prints.  She just could not believe that not only had somebody been in her yard, but they had the nerve to step on her Flowers. Tanya was so upset that she started to pray and speak in tongues. Then she realized that if Harold had put up the Fence like she had told him to do none of this would have happened.  He was the one responsible for the peeping Tom and for her Flowers being destroyed. 

Why couldn’t he do anything right?  

Once the police left she realized that she needed to get to the office so she got in the Car and started to drive away.

All of a sudden she noticed the Police behind her with his Siren on. She could not believe this. He knew how traumatized she was so why was he stopping her now? When she finally stopped, they both got out of their Cars and Tanya couldn’t wait to hear what he had to say. He had the nerve to ask where she was headed and if she knew why he had stopped her. Tanya let him know that she didn’t have time for games because she had to get into the Office. Finally, he told her that she was being stopped for car theft. Her mouth fell open and she almost fainted. He had to be kidding. Didn’t he know who she was? She had never stolen anything in her entire life (except one time $5 from her Mothers’ Purse) but that didn’t count because she was a child. So, what did he mean about car theft?  He proceeded to ask Tanya to turn around and look at the car she was driving. Why would she do that? It was her Car and she didn’t need to look at it.  Once he insisted, she turned around and noticed a bumper sticker with a picture of Betty Boop. Tanya nearly fell over and told the Police that this was not her bumper sticker and that someone must have put it in there to play a joke on her. He went on to explain that not only was it not her bumper sticker; it wasn’t even her Car. It seems that she and the neighbor had identical cars and in all the excitement about the peeping Tom she had gotten into his Car and drove away. Well, said Tanya, it’s not my fault, he never should have bought the same type of Car as me and he should not have left his keys inside. She was going to have to add this to her Prayer list… all the people who had the same type of Car that she had. 

Anna had left Mississippi when she was only 17 years old. After the incident she knew that she could not stay in a town this small and everybody not talk about her or stare at her everywhere she went. She started to feel as if she was a 3-eyed monster. She could hear the whispers and she heard the gossips and saw the ugly looks that people would give her. After a while she started to feel like a circus freak and she just couldn’t stand it. She barely came out of her room anymore and couldn’t bear to try to finish High School here. But she was so disappointed. She had really wanted to graduate. She would have been the first person in her family with a High School Diploma but now all of that had changed. She had to leave this town. So, one night she found a map, closed her eyes and just pointed. When she opened her eyes, her finger was on New York. She didn’t know a soul there, but she didn’t care. It was best if she went to some place where nobody knew her. So she waited until everybody was asleep that night. She packed as much as she could stuff into her Backpack and broke open a Jar where she had been saving money for College.  She had managed to save almost $2,000.00. It wasn’t much but she knew that it would buy her a bus ticket away from Midnight and that was all she cared about. She had risked everything that she had to get away. Life in New York had not been easy, but she had stayed in a really cheap motel for a while and eventually found a job. When she was able to do so she found an even cheaper apartment so that she was able to live and still save some money. No one ever questioned why a 17 year old was living alone so she offered no answers. All she knew was that this was her new start and she worked hard to make it work. But even as she went about her day-to-day life in a new town she just could not get the images of that night out of her head. She was always a good girl. She went to School every day and attended Church every week. She obeyed her Mom and always did whatever she could to help her other siblings so she just could not understand why this had happened to her. What did she do that deserve it? Was it something that she said? Was it the way that she looked? Was it something that she wore? And that is why she had, after all these years, come back to Midnight, Mississippi. She was here to get answers and she was not leaving until somebody in this town made her whole again. She was here to tell all those gossips from years ago just where they could go and to get even with everybody who had treated her badly. As she thought about this, she opened her Purse and took out the Gun that she had brought.  That’s right, she had brought all the help that she needed to get the answers that she wanted. She didn’t care if she had to take the whole town hostage, she would do what she had to do.  

Tanya finally made it into the office and once again she was the only person there. As she unlocked the Door she noticed that all of the lights were out and that was unusual. She stood at the Door and yelled to see if perhaps somebody else really was in the back and had accidentally turned off the Lights. She couldn’t decide whether or not she should go inside so once again she yelled to see if anyone would answer. She continued to stand outside and contemplated whether she should go in. She looked around and there was barely anybody on the street this morning so if she needed help there was no one around to help. She wondered whether she should dial 911. But if she did and nothing was wrong, they might charge her, and she couldn’t take that chance. So, she felt around inside of her Purse for her Pepper Spray and her Bible.  She didn’t have the Bible inside of this Purse but did have her Pepper Spray so she took it out, sprayed it into the air then quickly shut the door and ran outside. But all of a sudden, her Eyes began to burn and she started to cough and gag. Oh lord, thought Tanya, what happened? Is somebody trying to poison me? She was coughing so hard that she fell on her Knees but just then a Police Car came by. When they saw her on the ground they stopped and came over to help. Tanya could hardly talk but she managed to tell the Police that somebody had turned off the lights in her Office; had tried to poison her and was waiting in the back to murder her. Immediately they went inside and came back out again to let her know that nobody was in her Office and they found the light switch and turned on the lights. Then Tanya wanted to know why somebody had tried to poison her- The police told her that they found no evidence of poison. When she was finally able to get up off the ground her Pepper Spray fell out of her hand and then they all knew what had happened. As she sprayed it into the air she had accidentally sprayed her own face. When the Police heard this one of them started to laugh and Tanya made a mental note to add them to her Prayer list. The one thing she couldn’t stand was people who laughed at other people and once she discovered the name of this spirit she was going to cast it out of him. 

She continued inside the office and grabbed a cup of water to drink; then she went into the bathroom to wash her face. It was nearly 8:30am and none of the workers had gotten there yet. But today Tanya didn’t mind. It gave her enough time to Anoint the office and make her special Coffee.

Rita had not had an easy life but the past few years she had done everything that she could to turn things around.  She had changed her City and gotten new friends. She had changed her name and bought new clothes. She changed her hair and switched from Glasses to Contact Lens. But it seemed as if no matter what she did they always found her, and she was so tired of running and hiding and not being able to live a life of freedom.  She thought that coming to a town this small and out of the way would finally be a place where she could plant her roots. After all, it was one of the smallest places she had ever seen. There was only one Highway; no streetlights and the cemetery was the backyard of the Church.  Who would want to live here and who would want to come here to track down somebody? Rita just could not understand why it kept happening. Only one or two people knew where she was so that meant that somebody was ratting her out; but who? 

It had been more than 15 years since she was released from Prison. That’s right, she had served time for a crime that she wasn’t even sure she committed. She had been so high on Alcohol that night that she blacked out. She couldn’t remember what happened because when she woke up and came to herself she was already in the back of a Police Car. So, when they told her that she was being arrested she said okay and laid over on the seat and went to sleep. The next thing she knew someone was spraying her in the face with cold water. 

At first, she thought that she was at some sort of a strange party then she saw the Guns and Handcuffs and people were yelling at her and shoving her from one room to another.  Then she started to panic and tried to leave. She got up to run and fell face first on the ground. She couldn’t understand what was going on and why her Feet wouldn’t move. Then she realized that her ankles were shackled and she had on Handcuffs. She didn’t know what to do next so she pretended she was on fire and started to roll around on the floor and scream. She didn’t know how long she was on the floor because the next thing she remembered was being brought strapped to a Chair. 

When she finally calmed down, she realized that screaming and kicking wouldn’t help her and she needed to figure out a way to get out of here. But every time she thought about the fact that she was in Jail she just didn’t understand why. Sure, she drank every day, but she had never had trouble with the law – she minded her business and they stayed away from her. 

They finally came and told her that she could make a phone call and she asked them who they wanted her to call. The Officer at the Desk looked at her as though she had lost her mind. Then she realized that they were offering her to call someone and tell them that she was in Jail. The only problem with this was that she couldn’t remember anybody’s phone number. Her mind was a complete blank right now and suddenly she became so scared that she started to shake and cry again.  How about that? Out of all of the people that she knew she didn’t know anybody’s phone number and couldn’t think of anybody who could help her. She walked away from the phone, sat down on the Bench and cried as quietly as she could

Pastor BoBo got into his Office the next day and sat down behind his Desk. He recalled the conversation he and his Wife had with Harold the night before and then he became worried that perhaps he had said too much. After all, it was okay for a Husband and a Wife to have secrets from one another, but this was something that he just didn’t feel like he could keep to himself any longer. Besides, he thought that Harold already knew. Surely if he lived with Tanya, he knew about her and about her past but Pastor BoBo had been wrong. He could tell by the look on Harolds’ Face that everything he was hearing was news to him. The smile that Harold always wore suddenly turned into a frown.  But once Pastor Bobo started talking, he just couldn’t stop. After all he was a man of God and lying was not something that was easy for him to do. So, the more questions Harold asks the more information Pastor Bobo shared with him.  

Pastor Bobo had not seen Tanya for more than 20 years then all of a sudden one day she showed up at a Church where he was preaching and said that she was a Prophet.  Every time he had asked where her original Church was located or who her Pastor was he noticed that she always changed the subject. 

But that didn’t matter to him. He was happily married to someone that he never thought he would ever be married to. Every time he looked at Gwen he was amazed at her strength and kindness. He could see the compassion in her eyes for other people, but he could also see the pain behind those eyes and the deep, deep thought that sometimes he would find her in. He didn’t remember her from the tent revival all those years ago but did remember when he fell in love with her. There was something about her that simply drew him to her. It wasn’t her looks (although he thought she was beautiful) but it was something that he could see deep down within her soul. He saw a woman that had led a very hard life and just needed somebody to believe in her and give her a chance. The more he got to know her the more he liked her. She was very shy and had up a wall that he thought he would never be able to penetrate. Once he got to know her, he found that she was a woman with a painful past but a heart of pure gold. He loved the fact that she didn’t try to pretend to be something that she wasn’t. Although he wasn’t proud of the life that she had led he was appreciative of the fact that she used it as a way to help other young ladies who might be headed down the same path. Everyone was shocked when he came back to Midnight as a married man but then as word got out that he had married an ex-prostitute he was even more shocked at the people who stood by his side.  He was so proud of the people that he Pastored. They were some of the most loving, understanding people he knew. Although there were a few who still needed to know the “Agape” love of God for the most part they accepted his Wife without issue. And he loved the fact that she insisted that everyone call her Gwen and that she didn’t try to jockey for a special position within the Church because she was his Wife. Her only priority was to be his Helper. He had never seen a woman who prayed and fasted as much as his Wife and most of the time it was for him or the Church or a member of the Church. She never asked for anything but always made sure that he had whatever he needed, and he could tell that she really did love him. Because if the truth were really told he had to admit to himself that he had not led the best or easiest life and although he followed God now there was a time in his life when he didn’t give two cents about God or about the Church. As a matter of fact, he had done some things that he was not proud of and he hoped nobody ever found out about.

On her way home from the Office Tanya stopped at the grocery store. She could never find anything that she wanted so she simply bought what she could. She simply hated the fact that this place was so small. She liked the stores that she used to shop at in New York. You could go into a grocery so big that it would take hours just to look at everything. Plus, if you saw somebody that you didn’t wanna talk to, there were plenty of places to hide.  Here in Midnight, it seemed like every time she shopped the whole town was in the store.  Although secretly she knew why the stores were always crowded whenever she went into them; it was because everybody wanted to see her.  She always wore the latest designs, from top to bottom. So, she didn’t really mind the way people stared at her. Every town needed a local celebrity and she just happened to fulfill that role for the town of Midnight. She was special and she knew it. She had to constantly remind people that she was a Prophet and could see inside of their souls. This usually either drew people to her or caused them to stay their distance. Either way, she didn’t care. 

Today was Friday and what was better on a Friday than Catfish and Spaghetti. Tanya knew that she made the best Catfish in Midnight although there were other people who tried to cook Fish; they never tasted like hers. That was something that she needed to add to her Prayer list; people who didn’t know how to cook Catfish. 

As she made her way over to the Fish Counter, she glanced down one of the aisles and saw Anna.  She was wearing Orange Jogging Pants, Green Gym Shoes, and a Yellow Sweater.  Tanya just could not understand why this girl couldn’t get her colors right. What was wrong with her? Didn’t anybody ever teach her anything? Even the crayons in a box were in order. Well, thought Tanya, “I will just make it my personal assignment to teach her how to dress”. 

Just then Anna looked up, saw Tanya, and immediately started to leave. She could hear Tanya calling her, but she simply walked as fast as she could on her injured leg. No way was she to have another encounter with this crazy lady. Anna wished this place was bigger so that she could find a place to hide. Tanya was right on her heels. Just then Anna saw a stack of boxes near the back of the store and stooped down behind them. By the time Tanya made it to the area she could no longer locate Anna.

Tanya stood up in the middle of the floor and began to yell out Annas’ Name. But Anna didn’t make a sound and soon people started to gather around Tanya trying to figure out why she was standing up calling out to someone who wasn’t there.  Tanya noticed the crown gathering and she turned around to ask if anyone had seen Anna. Nobody even knew who Anna was who Tanya was talking about and pretty soon they all just guessed that she was acting crazy again. 

By the time Tanya left the area Anna had been stopped for so long that she had trouble standing up and now her leg was hurting more than usual. She began to put back the items that she intended to buy, and her only hope was that Tanya had finally left the Store. 

Zack made it home from School and walked into the House to find his Father sitting in the Living Room in the dark.  He switched on the light and Harold nearly jumped up out of his Chair. When he realized it was Zack he felt a little better.  For a minute he thought that Tanya had made it home and she was the last person in the world that he wanted to encounter this evening. He’d had a very bad day at work and just needed time to compose himself. He still couldn’t believe that she was back in town. When he was at the Diner with Pastor Bobo and Gwen he thought that she saw her but then she was gone so quickly he wasn’t sure. But today, as he was working under the hood of a Car he looked up and there she was standing right in front of him. After all these years – she was back. The only thing that he couldn’t figure out was how she had located him. And now as he was standing in front of his Son, he didn’t know how he would break the news to his kids that their Mom was back. 

Anna finally made it home. She didn’t know what she was going to eat for Dinner. Because of Tanya she couldn’t even buy the few groceries that she needed. But as she thought back on her day she had to admit that it has been very, very interesting. She was out when she stumbled upon someone that she knew a long time ago. She remembered them but because she had changed so much they didn’t remember her. So she simply pretended that she had dropped something so that she could keep her head down. Because she was sure that if anybody ever looked into her eyes they would be able to identify who she really was. Anna was so close to getting what she came to town for that she couldn’t take a chance and mess things up now. All she wanted was her name to be vindicated and she wanted the truth to be told; then she could leave. She looked at the clothes that she was wearing and started to laugh. No way would she have dressed this in New York. As a matter of fact she had her own personal stylist and tailor who made sure that each time she stepped out of the door she looked like a fashion model. So having to disguise herself in these disgusting clothes was almost laughable to her. She missed her Husband who was so patient and kind. Who would have thought that she would end up marrying a Doctor? Although she didn’t know it when they first met she was so happy that he could provide her with everything that she needed.  But the one thing that he couldn’t give back to her was her dignity and innocence that she had lost. It took years for her to tell her Husband about her past but she was so thankful that once she did he encouraged her to come back home, to Midnight, to set the record straight. She had every resource available to her so if she needed to pay off somebody she would do just that.  

Sis Gwen knew that there were a lot of secrets in this little town of Midnight; she knew that because a favorite pastime of most folk was gossip. She always ended up hearing something; even the stuff that she didn’t want to hear or didn’t need to hear. After all she was a Pastors’ Wife and she tried very hard to carry herself with dignity and class and to be a walking example of the Proverbs 31 woman but sometimes it was so hard to keep her mouth shut about certain things.   She would usually share what she could with her Husband and then the rest she just talked to God about but she was always careful because of all of the secrets in town she probably had the biggest, mind blowing one of all.  If only people knew the other side of her story.  There had been times when she wanted to tell somebody, anybody, just so that she could get it off of her chest. Some days she felt as if the weight of carrying this thing would crush her. She wondered if her Husband would still feel the same way about her if she told him?  She wondered whether or not she would be put out of Church or run out of town?  Sometimes she thought about just running away; then she wouldn’t have to explain anything to anybody and would not have to be the subject of the towns’ gossip.  But each time she thought about leaving she remembered how much she loved her Husband and her Church and even this little town.  But she was also afraid of falling back into her old lifestyle. She had no job, she had no college education and had not told anyone that she had just learned to read. So what would she do with herself if she left her Husband? Who would take care of her?  She was a professional at only one thing and she had promised God that she would never go back to that lifestyle. But that still did not stop the butterflies in her stomach whenever she saw certain people. That didn’t know her from wondering if any of the town whispers were about her.  

Before she realized what was happening she had kneeled down in the middle of the Living Room to Pray. She cried and prayed and talked to God. Asking Him for wisdom and guidance regarding her secrets.  She was crying so hard and praying so loud that she didn’t hear her Husband walk into the House. When she was done praying and turned to get up off of the floor she saw him standing there just staring at her with a look of horror on his face. 

Tanya made it home and found Harold sitting in the Living Room. She said hello but he never answered; for some reason he acted as if he didn’t hear her so she started singing really loud but even then he never turned around to acknowledge her so by now she was wondering if maybe he had sat in the Chair and died. Maybe that’s why he wasn’t saying anything. So Tanya stopped in her tracks and listened to see if she could hear anything or anybody else in the house. What if somebody had broken into the House and killed Harold and was now hiding so that they could get her too. How she wished she had learned how to shoot a Gun but for some reason nobody would teach her and nobody would let her buy a firearm.  All she had was her high heel Shoe for protection so she took one of them off and made it back to the Front Door.  She opened the Door slightly just in case she had to run out. She felt as if she should have checked on Harold but what if he was sitting there dead? She didn’t want to find a dead body.  Then she began to wonder what she would do with her furniture if Harold had died in her house?  She had just bought that Chair he was sitting in.  If he had died in that Chair she was going to be so upset. She had it shipped all the way from New York. That was something she would add to her Prayer list.  People needed to be sure not to die on other peoples’ stuff.  

As she stood at the door she still could not see Harold moving. She need to find out if he was alive or not but was afraid to go across the room to check. She was looking around for something to poke him with but couldn’t find anything then she looked down and saw her other Shoe. She decided to throw it at him.  But she had just gotten these Shoes and she really like them. If her shoe hit a dead man she would never be able to wear them again but she felt like she had to do something so she picked it up and aimed.  She wasn’t quite sure where to throw it so she closed her eyes and let it go.  

When the Shoe hit Harold she let out a scream so loud that it scared Tanya so she closed the Door and ran down the street screaming for help.

Just then Zack ran down the stairs and found his Father on the floor, holding the side of his Head which now had a small cut that was beginning to bleed. Zack helped him up off of the floor and asked what had happened.  Harold told Zack that somebody had come into the House and attacked him so immediately Zack dialed 911.

Tanya was still running and screaming when she heard the Police sirens but when they bypassed her and kept driving towards her House she was sure that Harold was dead.  And all she could think about was her Chair and her Shoe. 

By now people had started to gather around so Tanya hobbled, bare foot back towards her house. She ran to the front door expecting to see Harold covered in a White sheet but instead he was sitting on the floor getting a bandage. When Tanya saw that he was alive she immediately picked up her Shoe and put it back on. When Harold saw the Shoe he knew right away what had happened and began to ask Tanya why she had hit him in the head with a Shoe. She explained to him and the paramedics that she thought he was dead and was trying to check to see if he was still breathing.  Harold just looked at her and shook his head.  He just did not understand this woman. Who hits somebody in the head with a Shoe to see if they are still alive?  Tanya looked at Harold and said that he should have been grateful that she had hit him otherwise the Paramedics wouldn’t be there; he looked at her and reminded her that they were there because she had been hit in the head with a Shoe. 

Tanya just didn’t understand some people. She felt like she had saved his life and he just did not appreciate it. Now she had something else to add to her Prayer list – people who were not grateful when other people got the medical help!  Boy, thought Tanya, this list is getting too long. 

By the time the Paramedics were leaving, Lela walked into the House and wanted to know what was going on. Tanya tried explaining that she thought Harold was dead, Zack said that Tanya had hit Harold in the head with a Shoe and Harold told Lela that her Mama was crazy.

Lela stood her wondering if this would be a good time to share her news with the family or if she should wait for a better opportunity.  She guessed it really didn’t matter when because she would eventually have to let them know. She just didn’t know how they would all react, including Zack. 

Tanya went upstairs to get out of her work clothes so that she could start Dinner. She had such a craving this evening for Catfish and Hushpuppies and French Fries.  Usually this was a Friday night meal but after all of the commotion that Harold had caused she really felt like she needed Catfish. 

As she was getting undressed she started to wonder why it was that Harold was sitting in the Chair so still and didn’t answer when she called. Maybe he had a stroke or something and couldn’t move , though Tanya. But she was so glad that he had not died in her new Chair. She had to remember to move it out of the Living Room. If it was one thing she would not tolerate and that was Harold dying in her new Chair.  Or maybe she would leave it in the Living Room and just tell her not to sit in it if he felt like he was going to die. 

Oh well, thought Tanya, she would get to that later. Right now she needs to get Dinner started. 

Zack went back to his room and laid across his Bed. He simply did not understand his Mom.  Sometimes she was so nice and kind and sweet and then other times he wondered if she needed to be locked up for observation. What kind of a Wife throws a 3 inch high heeled shoe at her Husband to see whether or not he was dead?  Zack was so glad that his Dad was alright because he just could not imagine a life with only Tanya in it. His Dad was the stabilizing force in the house and if he wasn’t around Zack shuddered to think what would happen.  He was grateful for his Mom and she was nice and all but he still had to face the reality that she wasn’t his real Mom. He wondered how she and his Dad would take the news once they found out that he knew the truth?  Would they yell or cry? Would he be put on punishment?  Knowing His Mom she would try to put him on time out even though he was almost 17 years old.  He didn’t want to say or do anything that would hurt either of them but he didn’t know how much longer he could hold on to this secret. Every day it ate at him a little bit more. He was having trouble sleeping and eating and concentrating at School. And to make matters worse he thought that he might have seen his real Mom in one of the stores. At least that’s who one of the Neighbors told him she was. 

As Rita contemplated her life she wished that she could go back to all of those earlier years. She would have done things so much differently, starting with not drinking so much.   She remembered her favorite drink being Beer, it didn’t matter what brand; as long as it was cold.  She could drink Beer better than any man and she never got drunk; at least that is what she thought. But one morning she woke up at her front door, keys still in the door and she couldn’t remember how she got home. Then there was the time she was  outside in her Robe and couldn’t remember how she got there and she couldn’t forget the time she went to the store in a coat and boots but nothing else because she forgot to put on clothes. But that didn’t mean she had a drinking problem, she just forgot things sometimes. 

While she was locked up she had gotten sober. It was hard but it was necessary and now she could think more clearly than she had ever done. It was Jail where she had met Tanya.

That’s right. She and Tanya had actually shared a cell together and that is where she learned about Tanyas’ plot to get back at some man that she felt had wronged her when they were in 3rd grade. It didn’t make sense at the time that somebody would carry a 3rd grade grudge but Rita didn’t question anything because Tanya was getting out soon and had promised to help Rita. But all Rita had to do was one small favor for Tanya.  So Rita did what she was asked and started some not so nice rumors about this man but what Rita didn’t know is that he was a gangster and had actually put a hit out on her all of those years ago and Tanya never came through with her promise to help. 

After all of these years Rita was still running for her life and that had led her right to the town of Midnight where she finally tracked down Tanya. At first Tanya pretended that she didn’t know or remember Rita but when Rita threatened to expose her to the town Tanya gave Rita a job and helped her get a place to live. That is why Rita worked whenever she wanted and still demanded that Tanya give her a full paycheck. 

She owed her! 

First lady Gwen was dusting the inside of the Sanctuary when she heard the doorbell of the Church ring.  She went to answer the door and was surprised to see one of their newest members standing at the Door. Anna greeted Gwen and then asked if she could sit inside of the Sanctuary for a few minutes. Gwen knew that she would be at the Church for a little while longer and decided to go clean the bathrooms while Anna waited inside the Sanctuary. As soon as she sat down all the memories from those years earlier came flooding back to her and it was all she could do not to fall down to her knees and cry. But she knew that she had to choke those emotions back down and be strong in order to do what she came here to do and then felt inside of her Purse to be sure the Gun was still there. 

Lady Gwen finished cleaning the bathrooms and then walked to Pastor Bobos’ office to see if he was ready to leave the Church. She knocked on his Door but there was no answer so she slowly opened it and peeked inside only to discover that he was not there. She then wondered if perhaps he had made his way to the front of the building to wait for her so she started to walk down the hallway – that’s when she heard the loud voices. She had no idea who that could be because nobody was in the Church except her and her Husband ; then she remembered that she had just let in their newest member and Gwen started to run as fast as she could towards the Sanctuary but she got there and the doors to enter were locked. She didn’t know what was going on but she could hear voices coming from the inside. At this point she didn’t know what to do so panic set in and she couldn’t even remember the number to dial for 911 so she fell down on her knees and started to Pray. Then she heard the gunshot!

Harold was feeling better after his fiasco with Tanya from the night before. His head still hurt a little but after a few Aspirin he was okay. He decided that he could not trust himself to be in the same house with her so he decided to sleep in the office of his repair shop. He still could not believe that she had actually hit him in the head with a Shoe because she thought that he was dead. If he wasn’t dead that Shoe almost took him out.  He just didn’t know how he was going to deal with Tanya and what could possibly be the Mother of these kids being back in town. When Harold left New York all of those years ago he was sure that he covered his tracks and that no one would ever find out who he was and what he had done but now he started to wonder what was going to happen if he was ever discovered?  Could he face jail time? Would he lose the kids?  Now his mind began to wonder if she should just pack a bag and leave town and let Tanya deal with his mess? After all of the hell she had put them through she deserved a little trouble.  

As he sat on the sofa in his Office his mind wandered back to his time in New York.  He had suffered so much heartache and pain and was starting to wonder if life was worth living until something miraculous happened. He was standing on the bus stop when a young girl, struggling with twin babies, asked him to keep an eye on them while she went inside to get change for the  Bus. As soon as she went inside he knew this was his chance so he grabbed the strollers and ran as fast as he could.  Since he lived around the corner, at the time, he was inside of his apartment before anybody knew what happened and since nobody, except him, saw the girl with the babies nobody believed her when she reported the incident to the police. As a matter of fact a rumor in the neighborhood was that she had made up the entire incident for attention but Harold was the only person who knew that was not the truth. Back then Harold had discovered that he could not give his first Wife what she so desperately wanted and that was a baby so he devised a plan to get her a baby no matter what he had to do. He had been watching this girl and those babies at the bus stop for days and today was the day that he finally executed his plan. But the only problem was that when he got to his apartment his Wife was gone. She had packed up her stuff and left him a note that simply read, “bye”. He could not believe what was happening. He had just stolen, not one but two babies, all for nothing. And he couldn’t give them back because then everybody would know that he was the one who took them in the first place but he also knew that he could not raise children alone.



Donate a little?

Use PayPal to support our efforts:


Genre Poll

Your Favorite Genre?

Sign Up for info from Short-Story.Me!

Stories Tips And Advice