I felt the jitters and stood up, panting, and sweating profusely. It was like a bad nightmare and sure it was. In my dream I had seen myself running, yes running fast as if something was after me. I was tired yet I kept running and running. Then suddenly a hand grabbed me by the shoulder, I struggled to free my hand but to no avail. The hand was hurting me, its long nails pierced into my creamy fair skin and tore it open reviving my skeletal bone, and still I struggled. To worsen it I saw no one but I felt something; a force griping me. It tore my nightwear leaving me only on my underwear. That was when I heard a voice, it was strong and hoarse but at the same time firm and commanding.
“Why do you disturb my rest?” she thundered madly. Her strong husky voice echoed back to my ear like a thunder. The atmosphere was chilly, making the place spooky and terrifying more because everything around seemed to be dancing to the voice.
“Let me be,” I shrieked trying to free my blistered arm. The hold let me go with such a force that sent me staggering until I fell to the ground. On standing up, I saw it. Yes I saw it clear and plain.
She was tall and pretty. Fair and light skinned which matches her silky brown hair. Her face was so white that it shone like light. She was wearing a white transparent night flowing gown that danced in the night cold air like the rustling leaves.
“Who are you?” I queered gripped with dismay. The fair lass laughed hoarsely, causing the land I was standing on to quiver strangely.
“Don’t make me afraid,” I shouted.
To my utter astonishment, the whole place became as serene as a graveyard. I wasn’t wrong about that, I was in the cemetery. I cannot state how or what I was doing here in the first place but I just happened to find my poor self here. Abruptly as If some greater force has possessed me, I started making my way towards a particular grave. It was when I stood on top of the grave that I felt the earth quake beneath me. It was as if it was a tsunami, so I had to run and here I was exchanging inimical conversations with a ghost.
The lass stared hard at my face, the light in her face blending my eyes that I have to shield my face with my hand.
“Please“, she began, “stop disturbing me. Let me be. Please let me be, then out of the blue she became somber. I was in chaos. I couldn’t understand a thing of what she was trying to say.
“What do you mean pretty one?” I lowered my face to hers had asked. Although I was shaken but her reaction the next minute killed all the trepidation in me. I felt something else at that particular moment. I guess that my abrupt question cooled her. She stared up at me again and said the something that was far from what I was expecting from her. I was probably expecting her to split fire from her mouth when next she spoke but that wasn’t what happened when she spoke next. She spoke next with an uttering calm voice that made my blood congeal and paused my heart to a standstill.
“You’re disconcerting me” she began. I thought I heard a sniffle escape from her when she continued again.
“You’re making my stay horrendous. You won’t let me take my place ever since years, why?”
I was dumbfounded when she finished that I found myself moping at her. “Sincerely speaking I don’t know what you’re saying, maybe if you tell me I will know how to help you,” I said when I finally found my voice. I was breathing hard; hoping that maybe I haven’t irked her with my choice of words. I noticed that my voice was quivering but I was feigning to be calm.
“I am Santa Rachael” she shouted in reply and vanished. But even as she vanished that name, that familiar name echoed thousand times to my ears as my eyes snapped open and I woke up to absorb my serene, dark room.
I remained recumbent on the bed without making any attempt to rise up. I was in thought. “Santa Rachael” I repeated severally. I knew I know that name, but where and how I came to know it remained eluded to me. Then it all began to add up as it dawned on me.
She was the unfortunate young lady who has since she was small nursed the sensations to become a nun. However, she was raped on the eve of her nineteenth birthday party. She was supposed to join the reverend sisters at the convent the next day but her dreams never came to fulfillment. It had all happened when she excused herself to go to the toilet and wee. It was told in the daily Texas newspaper that Santa Rachael had refused to give in when the robbers caught her right after she peed. It was after one of the armed robbers out of the seven of them knocked her out heavily on the head, which made her unconscious that they managed to carryout their evil plan. The whole event seemed plotted. It was as if the young men knew that she nursed the dream to join the nuns undefiled and were bent on scattering that dream.
She had returned home to Andrew Street a day before to celebrate her birthday before she finally settles at the convent. It seemed as if one of the men knew about her chastity and knew exactly when to attack her when she was alone. The plan seemed so well planned out not until just when the seventh person was about to force himself on her that someone came towards the lavatory and saw them. The old lady raised an alarm that sent the blokes scrambling for their way out. None of them was caught, the daily Texas paper has written. Soon after the alarm was raised, almost all the party extras ran out and met her lying unconscious on the floor in front of the toilet.
However Santa Rachael did not survived the brutal rape. It was after seven days when everyone was sure she would make it that the event of the evil night stroked her. She gave up the ghost. The doctor’s had said that she died out of shock. It was obvious that she couldn’t live with the memory of that night and the fact that street boys had defiled her.
I felt a jitter and stared around the dark room searchingly. I heard the alarm clock on my bed stand announce the time and knew that I was only 2am in the morning. I still have to go back to bed, I thought uncomfortably, yawning simultaneously. Just as I snapped my eyes close, I found myself floating away into an unfamiliar world. I was going back to the dream I left behind. How possible was that? I could feel her presence; her aura all around me and the jitters were more persistence. I wish I could wake up from this dreadful dream. Why is Santa Rachael haunting me? Then I heard the howling of the wind, which interrupted my thoughts. I looked up and saw her again approaching me with so much hatred in her eyes. She must be wondering why I came back to torment her yet again after all her stern warnings. I knew it was my end. If only I could wake up. Then I felt the jitter again and here I was in my little room awake, sweating profusely like a drowning little fish.
The light was on when I woke up which made me wonder even more. I got down from my bed and headed to the bathroom for a quick bath, when I came out the clock clicked 3.00pm. “Still very early”, I muttered dryly. I knew that I cannot go back to sleep that very night again. No, it was obviously out of the question, so I left my room and headed to the kitchen to make myself some coffee. As I left the kettle on the gas to sizzle, the events in my dream came again to haunt me. I was scared to demise, but I decided to put myself together. I was supposed to be a brave girl. I was the bravest among all the girls in my class I reminded myself. An apparition from a nightmare doesn’t have to scare the daylight out of me. No I pushed it off and turned to the kettle that was already sizzling on the fire. I put the kettle down and brewed myself some coffee; I left it black. Although, I didn’t like to take my coffee black but at a time like this, it was just what I wanted most. I would have loved to take it with sandwich but it was too early so I took two pieces of biscuit and headed to the dinning to help myself.
As I eat, memories of the night kept flashing back into my mind. I wondered what was going on. In as much as I tried to keep the ugly episode off my mind, it kept coming. The white shinning face of Santa Rachael was engraved in my memory. Not in my wildest imagination have I ever thought about a ghost. In fact I don’t believe they ever existed. Why now should the ghost of someone I know nothing about haunt me? Someone in life I have never seen or come across, except history defined her. I shook my head frantically thinking about the lots of mysteries I’ve got to uncover. But first I have to deal with the dreadful image of Santa Rachael.
As I stood up to go, I felt a rush of wind whoosh past me, forcing me back to my seat. It was followed by something that looks more like a whirlwind that changed the atmosphere with a strange sensation. The table and the chairs moved, even the curtains formed a scary image behind the dark dinning. Just when I tried to turn on the light, there was power failure. I’ve got to leave this scary place to the comfort of my bedroom I comforted myself but it wouldn’t work because as I tried to stand up, a force gets me back to my seat. I couldn’t stand it at all, I looked up and saw lots of ghost, it wasn’t my imagination and I knew it, they were around me laughing loud and clapping their strong hands to my ear, I couldn’t hear a thing. The noise was deafening, I clapped my palms to my ear covering it from the eerie sounds but even as I tried the voices came even louder to my ears. It was quiet unbearable.
I gazed around me now, the phantoms were now walking up to me, I can’t stand it. I wish this were another dream so I could wake up from it but it was reality. It was no longer a dream. Across the room I sighted Santa Rachael standing behind the cabinet that was against the kitchen wall, somehow separating the sitting room from the dinning room. She was in between two even scarier fair lasses; their face was more dreadful than hers. There were like those faces that I always pray never to come across, ever. They had deep bruises that ran across their heads and covered their faces with red blood. It scared me and made me edgy. My feet wobbled beneath me. I had to get the hell out of this bad dream. I know I must be hallucinating yet everything seemed so real.
Suddenly a hand griped me by the neck, trying to strangle me. I let out an earsplitting, shrill scream, as the power came back I saw my parents running into the dinning room; alarm on their faces.
“Debbie ’re you aright?” my mom asked cuddling me. I shook my head frantically.
“Why the terrifying scream?” my dad asked with a bitter commanding voice probably for the disturbed sleep. When I said nothing but only whimpered he continued.
“I thought you should be in your room by this hour of the day. Why are you here?” he asked with a rather emotional, calm voice.
“Dad I’m so sorry, I woke you and mom from your sleep. Please forgive me.”
“That’s okay”. He halved a sigh and came close to me. Drawing out a seat and sitting beside me. “Now tell us why you screamed.” He said calmly with a consoling fatherly voice.
“Mom, dad”, I called calmly looking into their inquisitive faces.
“Yes love” my dad replied taking my hand into his hand. “Tell us love”, my mom added drawing out a sit too.
“Mom, dad, do you believe in ghosts?” I guess my question came as a surprise because I noticed the way my parents stared at each other then back at me, their countenance strange.
“Where did you get that from?” my father’s voice was stern and brusque.
“What’s that honey?” my Mom asked trying to be cool but her voice betrayed her because she sounded petrified. I noticed from her comment that she was tensed up.
“So they do exist dad”, I said admits whimpering, I was trying not to dwell in my mother’s fears.
“Shout up there Debbie. Now listen there are nothing like ghosts. It doesn’t exist. It just never existed” His voice was strong, husky and very commanding.
“But dad was there anybody like Santa Rachael in existences five decades ago?”
I noticed that this again was an astonishing question because I saw my father’s face tighten at the furrow as he stared hard at me.
“I don’t think so“, he replied avoiding the question.
“Now I remember love. Yes” my mom said with a nod of her head. “She died after a rape fifty years ago on the eve of her birthday party. You weren’t born yet, in fact most people weren’t born then.” She explained.
“Where did you get that hideous story from?” My father asked my mother though he focused his attention on me. I guess he was shushing my mum with his eyes. He must be very furious that she concurred to answer my question.
“I read it a year ago dad from the of Texas daily newspaper I saw in the library. It was stocked with old newspapers in the archive.”
“Okay your point is made”, he said finally. “Maybe there was something like Santa Rachael five decades ago. Maybe she really existed and died but that is all it was about her, nothing special. However what I am more perturbed about now is how the ghost stuff came into the picture.”
“Dad,” I breathed out loud. I was finding it hard to speak the word. “I saw her,” I screamed out. “I saw her, I’m sure. I saw her with her chums some minutes ago.”
“You saw who?” My mom asked alarmed.
“Santa Rachael”. I stared into her face as the words slipped off my lips.
“Claptrap!” I heard my dad scream out as he rose to his feet.
“But dad I’m sure it was her. It’s true, I really saw her”. I cried out trying to prove my point.
“It’s can’t be true dear” he said sweetly leaning beside me. “It’s just your imagination deceiving you.”
“Dad it’s not my imagination. I am sure I saw her. She was here dad. I know I saw Santa Rachael, the lady, with a bump at the right side of her head”.
“Now will you shut up” my dad commanded, sounding aggressive as he sprigged to his two feet and stood like a giant before me.
“But Dad ….”, I cried out.
“I said shut up your gob. Now get up and get into your room”, he commanded.
I quietly got up and started to head into my room. Why my dad cannot believe me was beyond my understanding. He could at lest have given me a listening ear, I thought. As I went into my room I heard my mom shouting on my dad.
“That was so churlish, William” she said.
“You really think so?” I heard dad ask her. “Well I think that’s enough to stop that girl from imagining worthless things.”
“Oh! why can’t he just believe that I’m telling the truth? Why did he think, that I can just wake up one night to hallucinate about Santa Rachael? Someone, I have never met before.” I inhaled deeply and lay on my bed trying hard not to sleep but I slept. It wasn’t long after I slept that my alarm clock roused me up announcing the time of 6.00am. Thank God its morning, I sighed as I rose up from bed. I headed to the bathroom to brush my teeth and have a long refreshing shower before heading to the kitchen to make breakfast.