I remember that day clearly; it was Dec 31st and everyone was preparing for the New Year’s Vigil Service except moi. Mom had been going on and on like a broken record: “Ada, this is the most important period for this incoming year. You need to be in Church praying down favours and blessings for the new year. And I am sure that when we leave, you aren’t going to stay up to pray by 12 midnight”.
“Ada, there are soo many evil spirits and we need to pray away all those spirits of confusion and all and pray in Longlasting Good Health and Riches for the new year.”
“Ada, don’t allow the devil to win” and bla bla bla.
But I was adamant, I was feeling sleepy and I wasn’t ready to spend 4 hours in church fighting off sleep. So I stayed behind.
I went to sleep but awoke an hour later about 11:20 pm and luckily there was light. I shuffled into the Sitting room and started surfing through channels. It seemed most programs were about people welcoming the New Year in different countries. The excitement was already irritating me, “for God’s sake, it’s like another Monday or the first day of another month, everyone should just calm down”.
Around 11:55pm, I moved to the windows already bored with the tv and started admiring the city lights. I was anticipating the fireworks and bangers by 12am. And that was when I noticed the unusual atmosphere.
It seemed there was an eerie silence enveloping the neighbourhood, there was this quiet wind blowing with the rustling of trees and debris on the street somehow apparent. I felt light breaths around me and I broke into goosebumps. And that was when the churchbells went off, there were 5 churches in my neighbourhood but only 3 had bells.
The bells went on and on, they usually stopped after a minute but 5mins later, they could still be heard. That was when I looked towards one church tower and saw shapes sliding down and mingling with the crowd, I could also make out a black shape pushing the bells.
Mon Dieu!! It was starting to look like these halloween scary movies
I pinched myself but it was real: the shapes remained. I followed their movements, some seemed to be merging with people while others just turned into human shapes. People were jubilating on the streets and I could hear the choruses getting louder in the churches. And the shapes were diffusing into homes before my eyes.
And then I heard a loud pitched scream from the next compound……..