“Let’s go now,” one of the twin prodded the other who had no inclination to be mischievous. His nose was buried in Modern Biology.
His sister started to whine, tapping her long nails which had a layer of grit on his reading table. “I said let’s go. We come here just once in a year so let us make the most of it.”
Sighing, he stood up reluctantly albeit all he wanted to do was complete the chapter he was reading but knowing what was coming next, he succumbed. He would be accused of being effeminate, only doing ‘neat’ things. “Where to now?” Disinterest was evident in his gait.
“The cherry tree,” she informed, popping a gum she had been chewing loudly.
He started to argue, “They said we should not go there at night again” -he scratched his hair causing flakes of dandruff to fall but he could not see it under the dim light- “because spirits are there.”
A brow inched high and you could imagine whose it was. “How many spirits have you seen?”
He scratched his head again. It was becoming a habit. “I don’t know but…”
“But nothing. Let’s go.”
Sneaking out of the house was easy as most of the older ones were asleep. The younger ones pretended to be, speaking in a hushed manner not to attract attention.
“Why are we not taking Uyoyo?” He inquired of his twin as they passed the room she stayed in, the yellow light of the lantern still shining through the curtain. Uyoyo was one of their numerous cousins who had accompanied them on many of their stealing missions. When he got no answer, he thought she had not heard him so he asked again, “Why are we…” only to be overridden by, “She is a stupid girl,” in a flippant manner except she could not pull it off because this time, when she filled the gum, what should have produced a pop sound gave a sticky smear on the mouth.
“You look so…,” he searched for the words then clapped when he found it, “picturesque.” This earned him a glare he buffered with a smile.
His twin, namely Priscilla procured a bag meticulously folded from her pocket when they neared the Cherry tree. It grew colder at that time of the night. The ambience started to palpably change too.
“Let us go back,” he advised but his voice was weak.
“Why do you always act like a girl?”
“It’s not like I’m acting like a girl,” he ruffled his hair, “but I’m not comfortable. It’s dark and we can always buy cherry tomorrow.”
Ignoring his protests, she ordered him to start plucking whilst she arranged. She had felt the change too and was inclined to push him to do the hard work.
“No!” He was vehement. “You brought the idea so you should pluck yourself. What are you arranging?”
She tried her usual line but he would not be moved. You could see it how he stubbornly crossed his arms on his chest. He was pissed, thinking of what he could have done with his time.
Anger pushed energy behind his words, “Let.Us.Go.Back.”
Raising her palms in the air, she said, “Fine,” and started to roughly push the light bag inside her pocket. That was when she felt it. At first, she felt as though the cold was the one lifting the hair on her arms, causing it to look like that of a fowl whose feathers had just been plucked off but then, she felt light brushes.
Trying to take flight, she realized she was grounded. Her brain became muddled with inhuman noises of another frequency. If anyone had told her this, she would have dismissed the person in her usual way, attributing the hallucinations to African magic but it was happening to her. Her arms felt like lead and her lids shut.
“David!” She tried to yell but all she heard was the noise made by the air. She wanted to know if he was alright. Surprisingly, apart from the internal voice, she was still well attuned to her environment. From a distance, she heard a rubber tree release. It was said to do so when evil beings passed it by. The most frightening of her ordeal was when she heard the crackling of dried leaves. The way it sounded when it was stepped upon. Something was coming for her.
At that point though, she started to feel unbuckled. Her arms were released of the weight but she could still not open her eyes. The crackling got closer and she froze when an iron grip clamped on her shoulder. The spirit had a deep baritone. “What are you doing out here?” There was no mistaking the anger in that voice and more lucid than ever was who it belonged to. Her father. The lids which was once shut was subject to release with the presence of another human but she dared not open it.