She sneaked wryly into one of her father’s closets, scurrying under and over many out-of-use clothing that hung, lay and littered the closet.
Behind the dusty clotheshorse and garments, she knew there was a door to an alcove, which was so full of memories that it could pass for a badly manicured museum. Only that this tall floor-to-deck oak-wood closet now entombed a history of familial artifacts.
To her, the room had been her usual hide-out. Once in there, she would mingle deeply and dearly with the relics of a family she no longer has, until long after her hide-and-seek game was over, after her seekers were frustrated and her zeal was burnt out.
Today was different. She did not intend to regurgitate the hurts of long ago from which she was slowly recovering. Very aware that she with her father only to serve the court’s terms of custody, all she wished was to ruminate on that last un-churned bits of hatred for her daddy—the chunk of which had fast blended with contentment.
Why then did she allow her cousin talk her into playing?
‘Of course there’s an option,’ her minor mind seemed to say… ‘Just hide away as usual, long enough to feel the finery of mama’s warmth from that cold coarse debris in the alcove.’
She casually reached for the knob of the hidden door but caught air in its stead—Blank! She traced the bar of hewned timber riveted across the entrance. Several others told her this door was sealed. Quickly, she frisked her way out of the closet, and dashed for the garage, as the troubled dust irritated a slight cough.
As she hurried, floating echoes of her cousin’s chanted countdown told her that he was soon to come looking for her. Smartly and swiftly, she found the low air-vent in the wall that both the alcove and the garage shared. In the lush-wealth of experience, she pushed aside its metal-gauze, crawled in and carefully replaced the mesh with feeble innocent fingers.
Standing on anything, she fumbled for the switch and tripped it on. Within negligible fractions of seconds, the room came alive in Jezebel make-ups. Dangling charms and prisms of various metals, crystals and colors bounced off the light in a crisscross of breath-taking disco. Confused, her heart skipped a bit first… then severally.
Beneath the demonic galaxy were chalked shapes and lines of well-divined geometry. Amidst the circular web of accuracy and precision, frightening angles of weird candles and graven saucers were properly woven in place. The only thing disturbed there was the big disgruntled candles she had blindly knocked over in the darkness.
That candle had rolled into the teeth-grip of a horribly blooded skull, which sat on the centre of the shine. On the head of the skull was the picture of her mother—taken before her recent mysterious miscarriage. It was pinned to the skull in one clean sweep with a flick-knife, whose lanyard dragged in the blood that was spilt around the ritual.
Shock held her put for a few suspended moments. Her screams were only in consequence. She trembled and jerked back as fear shook up the recesses of her childish innocence. What she stood on tumbled over. She caught her balance, but lost it, while a reckless adventure of lizards and geckoes stampeded away.
More screams…. and screams! as she fell into the hands of a scourged and botched mannequin, which swayed terribly before a basin that drowned a baby-carcass in blood, mucus and fluid. She did not remember crashing onto the floor of daddy’s sanctum; nor lying lifeless in his hands.
Father came alone, from the farms in his dirty denim, at the call of her nephew. The rest were fast, and the shrine assumed a clean shape again.
After finding herself, her ritualist-father probed deeply into ‘what-she-had-seen’. Mumbling, yet saying nothing, she could only admit the conspiracy that she saw puppets.
“Puppets”, she managed back, slipping away from his sedating gaze. He left, and salty hot-streams flooded the plains of her mortified face.
The rest of the week was quiet; better still, haunted; even aside the arrangement made for her to quit that vicinity. Once in her mother’s arms, she was sure to gush-out the ferments of what she had seen… hoping that the Jesus in her mother would believe her even unto the truth.
…this truth, that her daddy was hiding so much more than he portrayed; much more than a dead puppet.
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