My Uncle and his new wife have been married for three years now but have no child. Mummy keeps reminding God during our morning devotions and night prayers to “bless your children with the fruit of the womb, o Lord.”
Aunty Julie, who has come to stay with us ever since she fell terribly sick and does not look like she’ll ever leave even though she’s recovered fully, says Uncle and his wife do not deserve to have any children.
I don’t like Aunty Julie. She asserts the most ridiculous things, even going as far as to insinuate that Uncle had a hand in the death of his first wife who died at childbirth.
It’s a good thing Mummy doesn’t tolerate such nonsense talk. How anyone can speak ill of their blood brother amuses me. I guess the only explanation is the sickness might have gone into her head.
Mummy asked me last night if I would like to spend the holidays with my Uncle as his wife was terribly lonely and their maid was away. I didn’t so much as think before saying yes, adding that I’d like to leave first thing in the morning.
Aunty Julie had a word of advice for me.
“Make sure you pray and be careful not to go –“
A good thing Mummy cut her off before she could fill my ears with her delirious nonsense.
I actually like it here. The house is too big for Uncle, his wife and their maid.
And oh, Uncle’s wife is the most hospitable person ever. She keeps asking me what I want to eat, what TV station I’d like to watch if I’d like to play the Play Station 5 . . .
This is heaven!
Uncle will not come home tonight, Aunty Rita tells me, he has significant work to do in the office. You sleep well and make sure you call me if you need anything, she adds.
She doesn’t mention prayers so I bid her goodnight, switched off the light and draw the duvet up.
I awaken to the sound of a baby crying accompanied by the sounds of a woman pounding yam. I can hear it clearly so it’s not coming from my dream.
I pick up the watch that I had placed close to my pillow and strain my eyes to look at the time.
The sounds are getting louder. I need to call Aunty Rita, where is my phone?
Wait! The sounds are getting closer to my door! And what are those footsteps at my window?
Unbidden, Aunty Julie’s voice floats into my head, loud and ominous,
“He used his wife and their baby for rituals. Her spirit roams the house . . .”
Fear envelopes me, causing me to break out in goose pimples. My body is dead cold and I doubt my heart is still beating. I remain inert.
Both the baby’s crying and footsteps have suddenly stopped.
I swallow but my throat is dry. Wait, why is there no moon in the sky?
All of a sudden, as quickly as it had stopped, the baby’s crying resumed, with more ferocity than the first time. My door flies open and I see the most sickly creature ever.
“Blood of Je –“