I was obliged to write about one of the many urban legends of Namibia which i grew up with. Urban legends have never really been explored before in Namibia, or at least not to a great extent despite the impact they have had on Namibians. I have often encountered difficulty in identifying the themes in my short stories but hopefully my reader will have more luck with that than me :).
~~ The Legend Of Maria Ghost
My name is Maria Kariepo, but I’m commonly known as Maria Ghost. Some have seen my true form while others have only claimed to have grasped my presence. Many have speculated on how I look like; a humanoid reptilian hybrid, a haggard witch and even a succubus to name a few instances. Some have even said I was Satan’s first bride who failed to bear him an heir and once I failed to do so, he unleashed his wrath upon me. Such buffoons! They do not know what happened, and for their sake and the rest of humanity, it is best that they remain oblivious to the horrors and abominations that habour this realm. I am neither dead nor alive, neither an angel nor a demon and certainly not human anymore. I simply drift through reality with no purpose, save perhaps, exacting my vengeance upon the scoundrel who did this to me.
It all began on November 12th, 1965 when I began working as a house keeper for Hans and Karla von Francois and their two children, seven year old Adele and three year old Karl in their Old Location home. Hans worked somewhere in the administrative government while the country was still under South African rule and Karla was a housewife who did nothing except do her hair and nails and chat with her friends the whole day until her husband returned from work. Karla was a beautiful woman blessed with a near perfect physique and long, silky black hair while her eyes were emerald green. She was a proud woman of elegance but an aura of gloom always seemed to surround her; she rarely smiled unless to play with her son Karl, who was named after her or when she had to wring out a dead smile to embrace her husband when he came home. Now and then I’d always notice a few bruises on her flawless skin or a black eye on her perfectly moulded face. Unfortunately her outward beauty did not reflect her personality. When it was just her, me and her kids, she wasn’t the kindest nor the rudest but always became despicable whenever her friends came over. Around them I became the good for thing, hairless and stupid monkey.
I always wondered how a man like Hans managed to marry a woman like Karla. Hans was tall, blonde and blue eyed but he had a face only a mother would love. He was scrawny with bulging eyes and if I may say so, somehow looked like a rat. He was seemingly a nice man and even suggested I stay with them in their backroom because it was always a hustle arriving to work from Katutura on time. On occasion I heard screams from inside the house and the next morning, beautiful Karla had a black eye and bruises on her soft white skin. I never dared to interfere. Other than the children who always made a mess of things, cleaning their house wasn’t a difficult task. I cleaned every bedroom in that five bed roomed house but the there was a room that no one, even Karla herself, was not allowed to enter. Hans would go inside every evening after dinner and stayed there for over three hours and the following morning there was a thick odor which smelled like vinegar and some unknown chemical around the house.
One day after I was done with the daily work, I retired to my room where I lay on my bed reading my Bible when Adele came knocking at my door wanting to play. She was such a sweet child I could hardly believe she had such parents. Karla always played with Karl and often neglected Adele. I once overheard her say she loved Karl more because he reminded her of her twin brother whom she hadn’t seen or heard from ever since he enlisted for the South African Defense Force. While we played with a ball, Adele accidently kicked it through the open window of the room no one was allowed to enter. Karla and Karl were both asleep while Hans was at work and after great persuasion from Adele, I climbed through the window which wasn’t too high up, into that room. It was very dark with a large desk standing exactly opposite the entrance. With the little sunlight which peered through the window, I navigated my way through that room. It was far bigger than I had initially thought and due to lack of vision, I kept tripping on numerous thick books lying on the floor and bumping across other objects that I finally decided to crawl on my knees and hands until I found the ball and threw it out to Adele. As I climbed out the window Adele’s eyes bulged in horror as her ball was covered in blood! She pointed her little white finger at my hands and as I looked at them, I too saw that my hands were covered in a red liquid. I tried to convince myself that it was red paint until I brought my palm to the tip of my tongue and smelled both hands. It was definitely blood! I thought perhaps that I had cut myself, but this was not the case. I don’t remember how I hadn’t felt the moisture on my hands sooner. After this discovery, I rushed to the outside tap and washed my hands and cleaned Adele and her ball. For a girl of that age, she was surprisingly composed, perhaps even more than I had been. She probably knew that if we were to be caught, she would get the beating of her life and I would lose my job, but an uncontrollable urge of curiosity swelled upon me that I succumbed to it. I rushed to my room and conjured a state of disarray as I searched for a flashlight through a small mountain of clothes and uniform. I ran to that room and climbed in through the window while Adele simply looked on. As I looked around with my vision now greatly aided but the flashlight, I saw books as thick as bibles but after opening several, I saw they all contained nothing holy except pictures of grotesque, hideous creatures from other worlds yet to grace the human eye.
Some books had signs of hexagrams and inverted crosses on them while one book in particular, simply titled The Necronomicon, caught my attention. I picked it up and began reading its content. As I paged through, I read of beings that are said to have existed long before the earth and will continue to exist long after humanity has perished. These beings are also said to slumber in the deepest, darkest depths of the earth simply waiting to be awakened… I feel pity for the author of that book because he or she was clearly a demented soul. As I read that horrid book which spoke of archaic beings whose names cannot be mentioned, a sharp chill shot down my spine and my heart nearly pounded out of my chest as I heard someone grasp for air. They sounded injured and in pain but just before I began looking where the sound came from, I remembered how easily I could lose my job which was something I could not afford. I had a daughter to support and finding another job in this day and age was no easy feat, especially for a black woman. I left that room filled with fear and a deep sense of resentment towards my curiosity. I went to my room, locked the door and lay on my bed. Adele knew better than to ask what I saw. She remained quiet and went in the house. Two evenings later I heard a loud wail which came from the house. I ran to see what was wrong but upon seeing Karla, it was clearly something horrible. Her arms and beautiful ocean blue dress were covered in blood while the crying ruined her make-up. I asked her what was wrong but she simply remained quiet, went to her bedroom and shut the door. I saw that the door to Hans’s forbidden room was open by a few centimeters. I took the lantern which lay in front of Karla’s bedroom and lit it to aid my vision as I prepared to enter that dark, horrid, God- forsaken room. I walked cautiously toward it and pushed the door slightly with my index finger. I will not lie when I say I was extremely scared and the squeaking sound made by the door hinges was anything but consoling. I brought my lantern closer to the walls and saw odd symbols and with odd, prayer like phrases such as “Praise the lord of the earth who slumbers beneath its bosom…” or “I surrender myself to the prince of this world…” I saw large, odd symbols drawn on the floor, pungent incense which struck my nose and that sound of someone grasping for air once more. This time it came from the corner of the room. As I bent down to see what it was I shrieked in horror at what I saw. It was a man whose limbs have been mutilated with odd feller like protrusions emerging in their place, eyes plucked out and a body covered in an odd green substance. It was now evident that Hans was in league with Satan, or something much more worse. One of the feller-like things wrapped itself around my ankle with that thing itself somewhat looking up at me and tried to utter something before drawing its last breath. I ran out of that room and knocked on Karla’s door like a madwoman. She opened the door suddenly and without a single emotion on her face she said: “The thing in there is my twin brother…or was my brother…”. “Let’s call the police!” I exclaimed. “No…Hans’s brother has a high post in the police force.” Replied Karla, again with no emotion. As we stood there, Hans walked in with Adele and Karl with the children each holding coned chocolate ice cream. He smiled as he walked in but as soon he saw that his dark chamber was breached, that happy face turned into a wrathful one intent on bringing hell’s wrath down upon an unfortunate victim. He charged straight for me and Karla but she went to her room and shut the door. He wrapped his scrawny, white hands around my neck and began chocking the life out of me as those big, bulging blue eyes peered down into my soul. As I prepared to meet my maker, Karla emerged from the room with a shot gun. She struck him at the back of his head and pushed him back with strength I never knew those slender arms of hers possessed. When the distance was considerable, she stepped ahead of me as I gasped for air, held the shot gun with skill and aimed at Hans and with a thunderous deafening sound, blew his head and neck to kingdom come! The recoil, however, was so powerful it sent the two of us flying backward into the dark room which harbored abominations. She stood up unfazed, went to her bedroom and came back with the car keys to their blue Chevrolet C10 parked outside and a hand holding a stack of hundreds of South African dollar bills tied together in a rubber band. She signaled me to follow her, took her kids and the four of us drove off. I have always seen Karla as superficial, two faced, racist and poor excuse of a mother but in this moment her strength, decisiveness and endurance reminded me of my own mother. In the drizzling rain in this dark night on our way out of Old Location, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw Hans in the rear view mirror, perfectly looking normal, running to catch up to us. At first, I believed he was wasting his time but after looking closely, the way he ran and the speed at which he ran was unnatural. The engine suddenly blew up and Karla lost control as the car rammed straight into a large tree on the corner of the street. Adele was thrown out through the windshield while Karl’s head lay on his mother’s lap as he was unconscious. Hans appeared and broke the door window and choked Karla to death and broke Karl’s neck with a single grip of his right hand. He dragged me out of the car and struck me unconscious. I found myself bound to a bed in that horrid room when I woke up and screamed as loud as I could and struggled until I could no longer do so. Hans walked in and climbed on top of me, ripped my clothes off and plunged a dagger deep into my chest as he recited incantations in an unfamiliar language. After that he slit my throat and collected the blood which flowed freely in a bowl like tap water flowing in a glass. He mixed it with the same green substance I had seen on that humanoid abomination and drank some of it and poured the rest on me. Suddenly a large, nebulous entity appeared which engulfed me and as it did, Hans grinned ghoulishly upon me as I felt my spirit fade. Although I am not sure if I was dead, I am certain I did not taste death. When I awoke from my supposed death, I could not fathom my new form. I didn’t know what I was, but I knew God had forsaken me. Despite the humanoid form I was in, it had no fixed shape as I moved like a cloud of perverse shape and color. I grasped different dimensions and finally saw the beings written in the book they call the Necronomicon and beheld the one they call Cthulhu. May God unleash His wrath on the one responsible for that being’s existence as no human mind can possibly begin to conjure such a perverse and diabolic creature that cannot be described without inciting madness. I searched for Hans but I never set eyes on him again. May he burn in hell! My poor daughter is now but an orphan. Her father died shortly after the December 10th uprising and now here I am. I only hope that God will take pity on her.
I have made my presence known to few humans over time and none of them could ever fathom my existence. Some believe in my existence while others make a mockery of it. The citizens of Old Location, or rather, Windhoek, do not know the forces they trifle with when they call my name at night, and more importantly, they do not know what type of monsters are harboured by this world. I only hope that they will never have to know.
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