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A New Quietness: If Not Broken By The Mystery Of The Rat

The nights to follow were filled with a succession of mysterious happenings, with the rat sucking Medelyn’s nipples, and even kissing her lips By Nhamo Muchagumisa Viewed from a distance, the house was the most conspicuous work of the human hand in the entire neighborhood. The brown roof tiles looked like a steaming pool of dark water, radiating under the blue curve of the clear sky. Medelyn was indescribably grateful to her husband who had decided to procure immovable property in a quiet environment. The Premier Community, a few kilometres from Christmas Pass, near Mutare, lived a simple life, whose mainstay was farming, and Medelyn believed in the fruitfulness of such simplicity. The walls of the mansion spelt out their height as Medelyn and Chidagu drove into the weed grown yard of their new property.

The nights to follow were filled with a succession of mysterious happenings, with the rat sucking Medelyn’s nipples, and even kissing her lips

By Nhamo Muchagumisa

Viewed from a distance, the house was the most conspicuous work of the human hand in the entire neighborhood. The brown roof tiles looked like a steaming pool of dark water, radiating under the blue curve of the clear sky.

Medelyn was indescribably grateful to her husband who had decided to procure immovable property in a quiet environment. The Premier Community, a few kilometres from Christmas Pass, near Mutare, lived a simple life, whose mainstay was farming, and Medelyn believed in the fruitfulness of such simplicity.

The walls of the mansion spelt out their height as Medelyn and Chidagu drove into the weed grown yard of their new property. The magical performance of the roof tiles had evaporated from sight, as the grim walls of a once beautiful structure assaulted Medelyn’s eyes.

 

 

The peeling wall paint from which unfavorable weather conditions had erased all cheerfulness forced Medelyn to withdraw her eyes from the derelict structure to look accusingly at Chidagu, who knew what was in his wife’s mind.

Alighting from the car, the couple entered the house through the veranda porch, whose floor was dotted with bat droppings and other marks that characterised a house in a state of neglect.

Chidagu pushed the broken main door and walked into the sitting room, Medelyn following him hard on the hills. The air was heavy with stenches of rotting things. Medelyn felt her feet becoming heavier as she walked on the broken concrete and cement floor.

The force of gravity seemed to have doubled once Medelyn had landed foot into the house. She could feel it on her head and shoulders. Even the clothes she was wearing seemed to have grown heavier.

“Chidagu my Dear, did you ever have the opportunity to inspect the house before paying for it?” Medelyn asked as they entered another room. The strange heaviness had not spared her speech organs as saying the words she had said seemed to have been a major physical task.

 

 

 

“I did not pay for the house. I paid for the land,” Chidagu said testily. “In addition to this one hectare space, there is a nine hectare piece of arable farmland to our disposal across the stream.”

Medelyn was hardly comforted and her discomfort continued to escalate. The only thing that seemed light on Medelyn’s body was the sweat that oozed from every opening on her body.

“So we need to demolish this structure and erect a new one,” Medelyn said emphatically, before a sudden stiffness crept from the soles of her feet, coursing upwards, as if she had barefootedly stepped on a live wire. “This is a beautiful house. It only needs renovation. Within two weeks, your home pride will be rooted in this mansion.”

Chidagu’s reassurance seemed to convey relief through her muscles and the rigidity that had seized them in the blink of an eye evaporated.

At the end of the two weeks Chidagu had promised his wife, the house was a completely new place. The outside walls had been repainted and the pink walls radiated with the splendour of transformation.

The broken concrete and cement floor had been replaced with ceramic floor tiles, the inner walls of the house had been repainted, and ceilings fixed in every room. Broken window panes had been replaced.

Chidagu had heavy duty solar panels mounted on the roof of his new property in order to continue enjoying the comforts the city had exposed him to.

 

 

The young couple started a new life in their new, spacious home. It was a new trend in Zimbabwe that the economically fortunate people were migrating from the city to stay in peri-urban areas.

Chidagu and his wife would commute to Mutare, where they were both formally employed, while at the same time venturing into agricultural production. They would also drive their six year old daughter to school every school day and collect her from school after work.

The couple had only five peaceful nights in the house, then unexpected things started to happen. A huge rat started running errands in the house after 9pm every night. From the noise it made on the floor, in the cupboards, the wardrobes and the ceiling, Medelyn could tell that it was the size of a rabbit.

Once one switched on the lights, the rat ceased its movements, and a strange quietness settled in the house. Chidagu and his wife agreed that rat poison was the answer. “This is the quickest rat poison,” Chidagu said as he added a teaspoon full of the deadly powder into a plate full of pieces of meet.

“Let the creature die, we won’t allow the rat to rob us of our nocturnal peace,” Medelyn said, excited.

That night, there was the noise of something alive dropping from the ceiling of Chidagu and Medelyn’s bed room, then it raced into the kitchen. No more noise was heard for three minutes, then the movement of the same creature, albeit very slow, judging from the intervals at which the noise of its treading paws hit her eardrums.

“At last,” Chidagu spoke into his wife’s ear, “the rat has had its meal.” “So, let it be, I am desperate for a peaceful night.”

Husband and wife did not see the remains of the rat on the following day. Then two days down the line, they expected to sense the smell of the rat’s rotting carcass, but the freshness of the inner quarters of the house remained in place.

 

 

As Medelyn had started forgetting the rat something, uncanny happened on the fifth night after the rat’s death. She felt the lick of a small tongue on the soul of her foot and kicked violently at nothing in particular. “What is the matter?” Chidagu asked, “Do we have another rat?”

“No, I think I was dreaming,” Medelyn said, trying to go back to sleep. But hardly had sleep started settling on her eyes, did she sense the mysterious tongue on her right nipple, the less sensitive of the two of her feminine digits. A tickling sense raced down her body and she screamed.

“You must be having nightmares,” Chidagu said, drawing his wife’s sweating body into his arms.

The nights to follow were filled with a succession of mysterious happenings, the rat sucking Medelyn’s nipples, her navel, her toes, even kissing her lips. Strangely, Evelyn, their daughter slept peacefully every night, and Chidagu never had contact with the rat apart from hearing its strange noises.

Husband and wife finally agreed that they needed to hire an exorcist to cleanse the house of evil spirits. Although they had not sold their city house, Chidagu and Medelyn were not prepared to relocate to their city house. The spirits seemed to have sensitive ears because once this decision was made, peace returned to the couple’s nights.

The thought of hiring a spiritualist slowly began to wane from the couple’s thoughtful considerations. But mystery crawled back into their world, albeit not within the walls of the house.

Whenever Medelyn fell asleep, she heard in her sleep footfalls in the distance, as if a group of people were approaching the house. The first time she heard the footfalls, the noise ceased in the fringes of the house’s immediate surrounding, and silence returned to her night. The next night, the footfalls came to a halt just at her doorstep, and she thought she could hear some hushed conversations going on.

 

 

The noises of the footfalls, and the subsequent quiet discussions became the rhythm of her nights but Chidagu claimed not to hear anything of that nature.

Then one Saturday morning, a group of ten people, led by an elderly man who should have been in his sixties walked into Chidagu and Medelyn’s yard. Chidagu and Medelyn received them well, thinking that they were the former property owner’s relatives.

“We have come to pay our last respects to Chadenga, who once worked for you and died five years ago,” said the elder. “Most likely he worked for the former owner of the property, who now lives in town,” Chidagu answered trying to figure out the situation.

Phone calls were made, and the former owner of the property said he would come the following day. The newcomers spent their nights at the resettlement chairman’s place.

Chidagu and Medelyn did not get involved in the talks involving the former property owner and the newcomers. They felt it was none of their business, but a week after the departure of the strangers, a young woman of Medelyn’s age brought the story of the strange visitors to Medelyn’s doorstep.

“Those people came all the way from Mozambique. A young man from their family once worked for the man who owned this property before you came in. “The young man was around twenty-one when his employer told him that he had found him a suitable woman to marry. But that was an act of kindness,” Medelyn said.

“Wait,” the young woman said, “It did not take long before the woman told Chadenga that she had skipped her menses, and Chadenga hastened to make a down payment of the bride price as he had saved a little money. His employer played the go between. Then he swindled him of the money?” Medelyn asked.

“No, two days after payment had been made, Chadenga, returning from an errand his master had assigned him, caught his employer being intimate with his wife to be in this house. Too bad, then his employer killed him?” Medelyn asked touched.

“No, Chadenga consumed rat poison and died in this house, even though his master had promised to pay him a lot of money so that he would leave the neighborhood and start a new life somewhere else.”

Medelyn did not bother to tell Chidagu the story of Chadenga. He would one day hear it from someone else. But it had pained her greatly.

The property owner had certainly made the girl pregnant and then decided to cheat Chadenga into taking up the residue of his amoral behaviour. She took the sad story to bed a couple of nights after hearing it, but apart from the anger the story had caused her, a new quietness had settled in her new home.

 

Nhamo Muchagumisa is an English Language and Literature teacher, and he writes from Odzi. He writes in his own capacity and can be contacted on +263777460162. Email him at: muchagumisan@gmail.com

 

 

 

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Zimbabwe Digital Express

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Facebook: Zimbabwe Digital News

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