The Haunted House

It all began in June 2004 when I and my family packed into a newly completed estate. Our own rented duplex was located at the end of a street in the estate. We had neighbors only on the right side while the left side was bushy. We were five in the family; me, my husband and my 3 kids – two boys and a girl. My last child was 5 years and the first was 10 years. I almost lost all of them from this mysterious incident that was later traced to be from my husband’s lineage. We were a happy family but after we packed into this new house, everything started to fall apart.

In the wake of the day we packed in, armed robbers visited us at night, demanded for our valuable belongings and we gave it all, to them. They took 25,000 naira from my husband as he told them it was all that he had and they fled with our Mercedes Benz, the only car we had. Thereafter, my husband managed to buy another cheaper car because we couldn’t do without a vehicle in that estate. He was a doctor and he needed a car to answer emergencies in the hospital, he worked in.

Meanwhile, Junior the last child at his age of 5 started behaving strange. Sometimes he would wake at night, screaming and crying from a bad dream that subjected him to pain. Again, he would scream at the sight of snake, scorpion or finger prints and marks stained in blood he saw on the floor or at the wall, whereby, there were no such things for us to see.

“Could this be he is hallucinating or becoming possessed?” I asked myself at first but my husband always used medical terms to delude us and gave reasons for such attitude.
My husband was not actually a devoted Christian, as for me, I am but not a strong one. Some of his medical explanations made me reluctant to seek a pastor and I still have that remorse for that reluctance. I worked in the bank, so most of my time I gave it to the bank leaving my kids to a housemaid. This Junior’s attitude continued until one day, my housemaid confirmed she saw a cobra which Junior saw, too. They told me as I came back from work that they locked the kitchen where they saw the snake.

I called my husband and he rushed back home. After a thorough search in the kitchen, we found nothing. At this time, I needed no one to convince me due to my maid also saw the same mirage. I had to go and call a pastor. I didn’t want my church people to get to know my family affairs because this could bring rumors and backbiting, which was common in my church; so I decided to curb such things by all means and by seeking a pastor from another church was one means. The pastor came and we began prayers every Saturday evening but to no avail.

Nevertheless, Junior’s problem increased, he threatened with our kitchen knife mostly when I and my husband were at work. Unfortunately, on a horrible day for my three kids and my maid, they saw something like a dog approaching slowly to them in the parlor. The dog had blood stains on its teeth, approaching with fierceness as if it was going to devour them. It was a big dog as they described and very frightening, with blood dropping from its teeth and body. They all shouted and shouted but the dog kept on coming. My maid shrieked out Junior’s name, “Junior! Junior!” there was no answer. So she thought the dog must have devoured Junior. Unknowing, she ran into the kitchen brought out the kitchen knife and pestle. Luck ran into her, she stabbed the knife into the dog and hit the pestle on its head in a fight. The dog collapsed in blood spillage. To their shock, it was junior on the floor, vomiting blood from the bash of the pestle.

I was emotionally mad when I came back at the news of the incident from my neighbor who was informed by her gateman about the cries that were going on in my home. I quickly called my husband before I arrived home but to the worse of it all, I was called on phone minutes later that I should rush to a hospital that my husband may not survive from a fatal accident in which he encountered and until then he was screaming at the sight of something no one could see. Hearing all these at that time, I ran into oblivion.

“Doctor! Doctor! Where are my children?” I queried anxiously as I woke up from unconsciousness and discovered that I was admitted into the hospital. My mother and parent-in-law were there. They told me to calm down but I refused because I wanted to know what finally happened.
“Calm down, calm down my daughter, everything is alright with rest of us,” my father-in-law said.
“Mama, please tell me what happened. Who are the rest of us?” I queried in tears and after some moments of consolation they told me my husband and Junior couldn’t make it. They gave up the ghost.
Three weeks later, we settled every case we had with the police on behalf of our kids. They all saw the same thing and fought to defend their selves, a fortiori, it was unjust to identify them as murderers besides they are very young and so on as the case may be.
During the period of my recuperation, my father-in-law was busy going to one place to the other in search of the cause of my husband’s and Junior’s death and also the happenings in my home. Yet he still didn’t tell us what he discovered, rather he became saddened and silent. My mum and my mother-in-law were with me. They came for a condolence visit and to assist me in prayers because by then I’ve started devoting myself on prayers.
“The enemy might take some but not all. My God is not asleep. He is the King of kings, the Alpha and Omega. The omnipotent God…” we kept on praying every night not knowing we were living on the soil of the enemy.

One fatal morning, after a thundery night of rainfall which was unprecedented, apparently, it was like only my house had that experience of the awful wind, thunderstorm and heavy shower of the night. We were all scared at the nature of that rain, most especially now my husband is gone and my father-in-law wasn’t around too; so we had no man to offer a manly protection just in case anything or nothing happens. We were even scared to embark on a long prayer at that time of the night because none of us were able to hold our eyes closed for a while. I kept on glancing fearfully through the corners of the wall and the windows in the room. Flashes of light could be seen through the window due to lightening. Thereafter, sleep came unknowingly and we all sleep off.
An hour after I woke up in the morning, everyone had already woken. We came together again for a morning prayer but discovered that my first child, Chima wasn’t yet there with us. So I sent my second child – my only daughter, Joy, to go and call Chima in his room. Surprisingly, she said on her return that Chima refused to wake up.
“Did you shake him?” my mother asked.
“Yes I did, I even bit him but he didn’t wake up,” Joy answered.
“Oh my God!” I exclaimed immediately as we all stood up for Chima’s room.
“Chima! Chima!” to no avail as we were shaking him; I couldn’t hold myself anymore. I fell on the floor, threw away my headscarf and began to wail. We all wept that morning as sympathizers came in, due to the sound of our wails which attracted them. Chima was dead. Perhaps, he died in slumber.
“Why me lord?” my mind asked as my heart wept. “Why should I deserve all these? For what offence have I committed? I’ve been struggling to make a happy home but my enemies kept turning it miserable and fearful. Now I have just one child left. I lost my job because the bank couldn’t afford my absence. I’ve not yet received any gratuity from my husband’s place of work but just a little consolation gift. I’ve no business that could generate little income for me except my income from the bank and now I’m going into the red. My health is depreciating and many other psychological and emotional traumas,” I soliloquized on another fateful morning.

Thither and then, I saw my father-in-law through the window, burying something into the garden of our compound. I became infuriated in one way or the other.
“Could it be that Papa (as I used to call him) was behind all these deaths?” I asked myself and ran outside in annoyance and confronted him with a question on what was that he buried. Without ado and denial, he told me it was some charms the native doctor said he should bury that it was going to be a lasting solution to these deaths.

I couldn’t even speak a word. It occurred to me why I didn’t even go to some of these native doctors at least for the cause of the problem but not the solution, because I believed that they don’t actually offer perennial solutions as seen sometimes on movies, but could trace the cause if it had to do with a spiritual or earthly enemy. I swallowed it all as if I accepted such a solution from Papa and walked away.
I went to my friend who could help me locate one of these native doctors as I was still figuring out if that was the reason Papa kept silent all these while, maybe a native doctor must have told him something that has a scintilla of truth which could be the cause of these eerie things like blood prints, finger and foot prints stained in blood and many other prints I couldn’t figure out that has been happening in my house before Junior died.

“Remove your shoes and walk barefoot into this holy place. I know why you are here. And your husband’s father was also here for the same reason.” These were the words of the native doctor which made me so anxious. That was more than a coincidence. The native doctor told me in a sincere manner, that he had pity for me because I was innocent. My father-in-law had been going from one native doctor to the other for a perennial solution. When my father-in-law came to him (the native doctor), he told him (my father-in-law) there was nothing he (the native doctor) could do to end those deaths and strange happenings which were as a result of, and in revenge for what he (my father-in-law) did many years ago.
“What could this be, the wise one?” I asked
“My daughter, your husband’s father killed a man by the help of a charm many years ago when that estate you people are living now were bushes and farms. He was at loggerheads with this man for the actual ownership of a piece of land but now that pieces of land that was bushes and farms has been bought by the government and converted to an estate. Today, it’s more than a coincidence that the house which your family is living was where the charm and the man were buried. The blood prints you and your family saw were all the prints of this man. The deaths and downfall in your family are his architects. That charm has been reversed because unknowingly you people fell against the precautions of it, by crossings its path. The charm’s path was never to be crossed. Your family shouldn’t have packed into that house or even that estate because you never know, you might walk or drive pass where the charm was buried. Finally, to bring to an end to this, now that this threatening spirit is on a mission of revenge; which is almost coming to an end. To end this before he ends it himself, you must…remember that you have to do it very fast because if he ends it before you, there’ll be no you to end it, in the first place. Everyone in your father’s-in-law lineage will die including those joined by matrimony. So you must as I said earlier, make a human sacrifice of someone who is in the lineage. You mustn’t make it ceremonial, just kill that person whenever such thunderstorm befalls and the best person to use for this sacrifice is your father-in-law. As long as your father-in-law lives, that spirit will have no rest and will always be in fury. If I give you a charm to help you do that, history might repeat itself and if you pack out of that house, it changes nothing. The path has been crossed, already. It can never be uncrossed when crossed. You may leave now because I don’t think there’s another solution, not even going to a native doctor or the other as your father-in-law is doing.” Those were the words of the native doctor which left me ruminating, why didn’t I figure out those stormy nights that ensues the death of a family member. So if this storm happens again it means someone is going to die in my family.

Thereafter, the thundery night came again, we couldn’t invite our new pastor that time because the stormy night was unpredictable and at that time it came few minutes past 1AM when we were all asleep. Luckily, my father-in-law was around that very night. I didn’t know how I woke up concurrently with the rising of the rain. I closed my windows and remembered the words of the native doctor.
“I could be killed after this night whereby my last child will follow too,” I said to myself. “The sins of every man have to live with him and not after him. I cannot die because of another man’s fate.”
I sneaked out of my room towards the room where Papa was sleeping not knowing he was awake and fully aware of the cause of the thunderstorm and heavy rain of that night.
“Where are you going?” someone asked as I startled and flipped, it was Papa.
“Eh, I am… I am going to close some of the windows downstairs,” I stammered nervously because I never expected Papa of all persons would see me as I crouched. He said okay that I should go ahead. When I was returning, I met him again on the staircase and he asked me whether any window was open. I answered, no, and asked in return why he was asking such a question. We both had a scowl and he answered that he knew that I was lying and also knew what I was planning. I paused for a while and retorted.
“What do you know I was planning?”
“You were planning to kill me,” he answered.
“Kill you?” I retorted once again but this time he brought out his right hand from his back, revealing a kitchen knife he had hidden behind his back while we were talking. We exchanged words angrily based on the situation of our family.

Thither and then, he pointed the knife thinking I wasn’t aware. Smartly, I dodged his murder attempt and luck ran out of him, he missed one of the stairs and fell. I rushed for his knife that fell off and with so much shudder, I stabbed him as he was trying to bring out something from his pocket which I later discovered was a charm.
Suddenly, it was as if my muscles froze. I was so perplexed. I’ve actually killed someone who happens to be my father-in-law. I thought of this as I squat and sat leaning by the wall right there Papa fell, with my hands crossed on my head.

Later in the morning when the storm cleared, as I couldn’t sleep that night; I kept Papa in a place no one will find and packed all my belongings since I couldn’t think straight. I made up my mind to leave that ground of the enemy and if eventually no one died that night after the storm, it would mean to me that I’ve ended it just as the native doctor said. I woke everyone up and told them we were leaving that house, right away. I gave them a Hobson’s choice and they had to follow me as if something was about to happen that morning.
Three days later, I heard from the news that a house had collapsed in that estate and left one victim behind. I was shocked as I discovered it was my house and now the police have discovered Papa’s body and might find out what actually happened to Papa. Meanwhile, I still couldn’t nurse the feeling of having killed someone, so I told my mother and mother-in-law the whole story – how I killed Papa but to my amazement they accepted it in good fate that I had no other choice. It was a nemesis that should be stopped from out growing and that I acted at self-defense. Papa was going to kill me either way, by that knife or by that charm in his pocket.

Today, as I speak from this court room, my confession story which I pleaded guilty and reported to the police by my own initiative because I couldn’t bear the thought of killing my own father-in-law. I beseech my Lord to pass his judgment with mercy and I thank you all for your patience throughout my confession story.

Culled from: “Once Upon A Time in Umuaka” by Emmanuel Aghado

ISBN: 9781301655830  ASIN: B00AGZVAFI

 



16 thoughts on “The Haunted House” by Emmanuel (@Emmanuelpro)

  1. Nice read and good plot.
    But I find that you explain too much. You spoon-feed your readers much too much than required. For instance the excerpt below:
    “When my father-in-
    law came to him (the native doctor), he told him (my
    father-in-law) there was nothing he (the native
    doctor) could do to end those deaths and strange
    happenings which were as a result of, and in
    revenge for what he (my father-in-law) did many
    years ago.”
    Those in parenthesis is really redundant!
    Well done.

  2. Blood of God….what a story

  3. Thanks @Chime221 for your observation.
    Actually, i thought of that but i figured that the “he” & “him” in that part is ambiguous. It could confuse the reader not to know who is the he and who is the him. You know, at one point “he” was for the native doctor and at the other point, “he” was for the father-in-law. So i dont know, i just felt like clearify it because it’s a confession story at a law court. When youre giving testimony in a law court there’s need to be clear.
    So all these reasons prompted me to clearify the story since its a first person singular testimony. The woman is narrating her own story so as to be treated with mercy by judge and jury.
    But if it means that i explained too much, well what can i say, it wasnt easy for me to write an unpredictable story. Most people would predict that the family would just do fasting and praying and the whole voodoo thing would go anyway. Thats why i changed it to an unpredictable end.

    1. Actually I didn’t thought of the law court scene when I said those in parenthesis are redundant, but then, it does not take away that fact. And it goes to tell the difference between written and spoken words.

      Pardon me for failing to commend the sudden twist in expectation; that unpredictability.
      Well done.

  4. ….i love supernaturals, I like this story very much….you tried making the beautiful narration flow well….but the flow wasn’t too perfect for me…you could have trimmed away so many unnecessary things…and yet still making the narration cool….the way you used words too was good but could be made better.

    i jes hope she finds her inner peace…that is very important….God is not really a prob. cuz shes forgiven already..

    WELL DONE

  5. Hmmmm, na sooooo

    how will I sleep tonight now ?

  6. Thanks @Omoniyi for your comment. Yeah, she will find her inner peace.

  7. Hehehe @clemency I hope say you been sleep well oh? I hope say nothing make meow meow for your window? Lol
    Thanks for your comment.

    1. Lol, I had forgotten by the time I slept.

  8. It’s a nice Tale. I liked it. Well done.

  9. @emmanuelpro, the story was straightforward, but I would have liked it better if you had made it more suspenseful by showing the action, rather than telling it to us.

    For example, you have this:

    “Unfortunately, on a horrible day for my three kids and my maid, they saw something like a dog approaching slowly to them in the parlor. The dog had blood stains on its teeth, approaching with fierceness as if it was going to devour them.”

    Something like this would sound more alive:

    ‘One day, I was in the kitchen with my maid, when we heard something growling from the dining room. I was immediately alarmed.

    “Patience, did you leave the door open?”

    “N-no ma,” the maid stammered; she had heard the noise, and was just as afraid.

    “Please go and check what that is.” I was ashamed of my cowardice, sending her out instead of going myself, but the events of the last few days had made me very tense.

    Before she could do anything, a huge beast of a dog charged into kitchen, growling and barking and spraying gobbets of blood around the kitchen. Patience, myself and the kids fled in terror and huddled against the kitchen wall.”

    Also, at a point, I felt that the recounting of the mishaps was becoming a bit repetitive. I feel that two or three tragedies are enough to make the point that the house is haunted.

    Lastly, check your work for errors. Unfortunately, I found quite a few, like

    “Could this be he is hallucinating or becoming possessed?” > “Could it be that he was hallucinating or becoming possessed?”

    “I needed no one to convince me due to my maid also saw the same mirage” > “I needed no one to convince me because my maid had also seen the same mirage”

    “…by then I’ve started devoting myself on prayers” > “…by then I had started devoting myself to prayers/being more prayerful”

    “The deaths and downfall in your family are his architects.” > “The deaths and disasters in your family are his handiwork.”

    Kr&w.

  10. Thanks @TolaO for your input. Yeah i fully agree, “showing the action” is much better than “telling the action”.
    Well, what can i say? Showing the action has never been easy for me, most especially with this story – my first short story – written in 2006. But, I’m gonna start showing the action in my new stories written from now on.
    Also, I felt then that, you know, telling the action and narrating step by step the mishaps (to some point) is permissible, based on the fact that, the heroine is testifying in the Courtroom; you know, trying to say all she can to win the mercy of the Judge & the Jury. Which means, is more of a “told” story than a “shown” story.

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