The beats of the drums sounded in the middle of the night in Asuama village as the dreaded masquerade spirit walked across the length and breadth of the community. The sound of the beats and the sound of the spirit sent chills down the spine of the residents of the village and nobody dared to venture outside or stay up.
The Manga spirit is believed to be the ancestral spirit of the village visiting the land of the living. The spirit is meant to be unseen by the human eyes. Any person who dares to catch a glimpse of the spirit would be visited with instant death.
The previous day, the town crier had gone out to spread the news and remind the people of the rules.
“Everybody listen o
Manga spirit will be visiting us tomorrow night
Nobody should go out of their houses o
Nobody should lit their candle or lamp o
Nobody should cook any food o
Nobody should talk o
Nobody should stay up o
Everybody must lie down and sleep on their bed o
The spirit is coming tomorrow o
If you break the rules you are going to die o”
So by 7 pm, a deadly silence had descended on the village as the villagers complied with the rules. The manga spirit appeared in the village at the stroke of midnight and began roaming around. Anyone who stayed up in defiance was compelled to go to bed by the ethereal and frightening wailing of the spirit.
Even the animals, huddled inside the houses with their owners, kept mute in awe.
But at the edge of the forest, just by the ukana tree, a lamp shone in a thatched house. Nana, a young man was up, seated at his table by the open window, reading a novel, Gulliver Travels by Jonathan Swift. A lover of books, and with an ambition of becoming an academician in the future, he was so engrossed in the adventurous tales in the book that he had become oblivious to the reality of the world around him.
The spirit wailed as it spotted the lamp in the house. It began moving towards the house.
“Woyooooiooo Woyooooiooo!” The angry spirit sounded at the window.
Thrust back to reality, the startled Nana, scampered to lower the wick of the lamp but it was too late. The spirit had grabbed him by the neck.
“What do you think you are doing?” The spirit demanded in a voice that reverberated around the village.
“I was…I was reading” the fearful Nana stuttered.
“You were reading? Are you not afraid of me?”
“I am afraid but I was captivated by the story in the book that I forgot that I was supposed to go to bed at this time, please forgive me,” Nana begged.
“What were you reading? Tell me the story now!” The spirit ordered.
Nana told the story of Gulliver in the land of the dwarfs and giants in a half fearful and half confident tone.
“Hahahahahahaha” The spirit threw back its head and let out a hoarse ring of laughter, and said, “You amuse me. I am going to let you live. Next time don’t disobey me.”
It threw Nana down and ordered him to go to bed.
Nana blew off the light in the lamp and shut the window. Encapsulated by the darkness, he laid on the bed and reflected on his encounter with the spirit. No human encountered the spirit and lived to tell the tale but he had just done so. The spirit had spoken to him and respected him!
“Knowledge is power” Nana whispered as he closed his eyes and drifted off to dreamland.
Outside the spirit roamed about wailing.
And the drumbeats increased in intensity.
“Kpom kpak kpak!
Kpom kpak kpak!
Keyword: Masquerade spirit