19th, July 2010.
Just yesterday, a wind blew past the class. Our lecturer knew what it meant. We thought it was the welcome of the rain but, it was a different kind of wind, that kind of mystical wind that switched off our florescent bulbs and awkwardly brought them back to life. The entrance and exit doors slammed with a loud bang at the same time! The sound of Dr.ums coming from the lower gallery brought with them scary undertones. It looked as though it conformed to the shock that smeared upon our heartbeats. Gently, we heard voices within the winds, but the noise in the class only disrupted her motions.
“It may be surprising, but I tell you that there are ghosts in this class,” Dr. Agu, our lecturer said. The whole class burst into earthshaking laughter.
“How is that possible?” Morgan, an outspoken guy in the class asked.
“I can sense them within your class, can’t you?” Dr. Agu asked. Dr. Agu had always had an inclination to fetishism from childhood. At first we thought he was only joking, the noise died as he cleared his throat and made to speak. “Let me tell you the characteristics of a ghost,” he spoke through his nose this time.
The echoes of noise from the class began to grow wild again.
“That’s it, that’s one of the characteristics of ghost! They keep making noise on and on without a stop,” he spoke in a jocular but firm tone.
The class burst out into wild laughter. His face had assumed a serious pose. After the noise had died down, he spoke again through his nose, this time more slowly. “They go on with strange noises, they are dead but are still living,” he muttered again.
He went on to tell the story of his various encounters with ghosts. I sensed he was speaking the truth but the class was ignorant of this. I was never inclined to believing anything about the dead. But I had a deeper understanding of things. I could always decipher when someone was speaking the truth. And so when he continued his story and the class continued to burst into bouts of laughter, I looked back and saw some heads that were upside, with red caps and feathers on them.
You know that feeling that you get when you see something awkward?
I looked back again to see, but they were nowhere to be found again. Perhaps it was my imagination running wild. I had begun to see things that were not there, all thanks to Dr. Agu’s ghostly tales that gave one an eerie feeling.
I felt jittery as curiosity made me look again. What I saw made me go blank, I was shocked as one of the ghosts was a girl I was having a crush on, Ella. She was a ghost! She saw me and her voice mixed with those of the other ghosts which made the noise to intensify. I was alarmed. I turned my head with a jerk that could have snapped my neck if I had applied an extra force.
“So not all students are humans, even Ella, my heartthrob,” I mumbled to myself as Dr.. Agu’s voice sounded distant. I looked again this time mopping all the while the lecture was on. I willed my neck into a straightforward position, not daring to look back. Beads of sweats trickled down my spine. I was jolted back into reality when Debbie, a Deeper Life but cool girl tugged at my shirt.
“You’ve been staring into space for the past five minutes and everyone has been staring at you and the place you are looking at,” Debbie said softly. I had been so lost that I didn’t know when I stood up. “Are you okay?” she asked.
I forced out a smile. “I’m fine, thank you,” I said gruffly.
“What’s the matter?” Dr. Agu asked. He looked at me, our eyeballs met but there was a force around my eyes that brought his down. He knew I had something to say. But I had to save myself from the class disgrace. I muttered what I felt could save me from the class, “I didn’t want to sleep, and that was why I stood up, sir.”
Thanks to the laughter that greeted my response, it was strong enough to cause an earthquake. I still heard those rumbling laughter behind me but I smiled sheepishly just to salvage my already going bad day.
“See me after the class!” he said as he made his way to the door.
“Are you okay?” she asked with a smile.
“I’m fine, Debbie; believe me,” I said displaying my bright set of teeth.
“You aren’t okay at all, with all that happened back in class!” Debbie persisted. Her questions began to bother me. Her pressures were gaining weight now.
“Ehm, I got blank because of the things that intimidating people like Vera do in class”.
She tried to fathom what I have said and what happened back in class. She just couldn’t. “You need help really,” she said.
“I know,” I muttered.
“I’m so sorry, I have to leave now. I’ve got an appointment elsewhere. When we see later we can discuss this,” she said and waved a goodbye.
“Bye,” I said quietly.
Coldly, I still saw those faces and their laughter before the dark clouds arose. I became bothered, thinking about what I saw and heard. It made me sick with fear.
One thing about ghosts is that once they spot you, they begin to haunt you anywhere you go. My mistake was looking a ghost in the eyes and looking again.
Can you ever imagine that situation when you see a ghost? Never even imagine it. The disillusionment, the phobias, this I bore in my heart long after I left school.
GHOSTS CAN TALK TOO!
21st June, 2010
It was a Saturday afternoon blessed with a humid air. The whispers from the trees did all the soothing the nerves deserved. The salty smell from the bougainvillea trees brought a condensed feeling to us, the wild pines had been gregariously paying obeisance to the gods of nature. The warmth in the environment could catapult one into a feeling of mild euphoria. Only that the school was quiet this time with the absence of students and their incessant chatters. The birds added a cacophony of sonorous music that blended with the emotions the environment brought. The place that gathered us was the Faculty of Arts. We had series of tutorials in order to brush up our learning process. Next week was exam!
The frogs and locusts still continued their grumbling cries at noon. That was not supposed to be, I thought.
We began the tutorials and soon my belly began to rumble. I did not get to eat breakfast that morning, I didn’t like to most times and when I do, it was just few crumbs of bread or a light cereal.
“Are you going downstairs?” someone asked. I looked and saw that it was Mae.
“Yeah, I am,” I said.
“Can you get something for me?” She beckoned at me. She was always fond of sending one to run an errand for her without minding how one felt.
“Why don’t we go down together? It is better that way,” I said staring at her indifferently, hoping to get company to the Brokers shop.
She agreed and we set out to go get some snacks to eat. On our way to the Broker’s shop, something in shadows breezed by us. I stood still and tried to examine what had just occurred. She felt the same thing I felt too.
“Did you feel something pass by us?” We spoke almost at the same time.
I heaved and sighed. “It’s nothing serious,” I said softly. We trudged on. Then we heard a sharp cry like that of a child only that it echoed this time around. We looked back and heard laughter, cynical laughter in front of us. We jumped out of our skin. We heard voices enmeshed with the hooting of owls and hawks.
“You are now part of something greater.” I thought she spoke.
“Did you say something?” I asked Mae. She shook her head and began to shiver. I couldn’t just stand it and watched her that way.
“We run for it,” I told her.
“Okay,” she said still shaking like an electrocuted dog.
I grabbed her hands, closed my eyes and we ran back upstairs. We came back to the class and saw the tremor in the teacher’s voice as if he couldn’t discern what had happened downstairs. Slowly we made our way to our seat oblivious of what the teacher was teaching.
Gradually, we found our voices. Mae spoke first. “They’re down there… Super humans!” She couldn’t fathom the right word.
The class came to an abrupt end. Everyone was facing her now. Her cry shook the whole class.
“Who are those down there?” Ann inquired.
“Probably, she has now become a prophet!” Gozie spoke expecting cackling laughter.
“Old fool. We are talking something important here!” Neche spoke amidst vexation.
The class became silent again.
“Maybe she saw a ghost,” Francis spoke mildly in the softest voice that he could.
“Exactly!’ I raised the tenor of my voice in despair. “That’s it. That’s what we saw. It’s real. We saw them. They spoke. We heard their voices. We heard their laughter,” I spoke mumbling my words all at the same time.
“There’s no such thing as that!” Morgan spoke this time. His influence in the class has become so that any time he spoke, the class followed his words. Even though he might be wrong, the violence and air at which he commanded his words wielded its influence on the class.
“I repeat there’s no such thing as ghost! They are fables. Very untrue!” he spoke with determination again just to see the effect of his words.
“I must say that the metaphysical things belong where they are,” Linus pointed out this time. He was the class grammarian. He had so much ambiguous words at his disposal. “The metaphysical tide owns their place. The physical things are associated to those that are breathing like us! They can never be conjured together. It is imperative that I must say so!” He often spoke after the effects of Morgan’s words. A puppet if I must say.
And so the class went on. And Mae’s frightfulness reduced. And I got my composure.
“But are you sure you really saw ghost?” Teacher Anthony inquired, his head tilting to one side.
“Yes, I saw it!”
The class became quiet, so quiet that you could read it from their breath. Only that the grasses on the outside continued their strange eulogy.
“See ghosts! See them! They are standing by the wall!”
The class became disorganized and scampered for safety. The fracas was growing tempo.
“April fool! Welcome to the month of April fellas!” Gozie said jocularly this clenching his teeth.
“What sort of pig is this?” Kamso, the large-eyed girl spoke, lifting her face up.
And so Gozie did all that he could and finally he got what he wanted. People’s laugher, others hauled words at him, some did cast a big stir with their eyes as if to swallow him. He really didn’t mind for all he cared he has got another feather to his cap as the most important and ridiculous person in the class.
“That was very funny of you, boy,” Teacher Anthony pointed out.
The class sprung back alive like a once god forsaken tractor. Soon, we continued our tutorials without the slight distractions. Only the effect of the eerie air that changed direction and the usual cry of teacher Anthony’s puppet dog brought a minor disturbance.
I knew something was happening out there, something changed inside me. I was hazy about the experience that occurred. I sprung up from my seat, yanked off my bag and began to investigate what had occurred.
A black cat ran past my side. My hatred for cats was not something ephemeral. I knocked my left foot against a wall; I got my composure as I became distracted easily. I descended the stairs expecting the worst to happen but surprisingly I came back to the exact spot where I started.
Katherine stood beside the door next to the stairs. I saw her demeanor as encouraging. I went to her side and she zoomed from eye sight.
“Hello Max!” I heard the sweetest voice I could ever dream of. Katherine had called from behind me. I absorbed the shock easily, I mean Kathy was in a red blouse and knickers that brought half of her bust out and somehow, I began to long for her almost immediately.
“Hey, Kathy, how are you?” I replied with a cozy feeling. The sounds from the bakery’s thunderous noise making generator at the back of the faculty somehow brought a soothing music to the rising tension.
“Maxwell Aneka!” I looked back almost immediately and saw a better Katherine than the one I had seen. I was all alone in a deep blue sea. That was how Katherine called my name any time she wanted to caution me about any venture that I undertook which wasn’t worth it.
“Katherine?!” I called to be sure which was real and I met with dual answers, the best answer any man with a broken home would like to get.
I decided to choose the former Katherine. I wasn’t going to trade my Katherine for anything else. Despite the desperate calls from my back, I decided to trudge forward like American soldiers who never looked back. I raised my head stoutly upward and what I saw disgruntled me from within; a vast image of a beast unimaginably seen than spoken. I screamed in phobia of pain and disillusionment.
The last thing I saw was course mates, Mae and somehow the real Katherine who made me goodbye and a hard hitting of my chest by someone unknown.