You could say that Teri’s demise was caused by malaria. But to say that is to agree with the doctors and to agree with the doctors is to be simplistic. After all, what do doctors know? Studying human anatomy does not make one an expert on all things concerning life and death, does it?
That those doctors didn’t stop to consider that Teri’s passing was quite possibly caused by the sudden appearance of a big black cat in the hospital vicinity just further reflects on their lack of professionalism. They should have known, like Teri’s mother knew, that a black cat symbolised evil.
Upon hearing the sad news and the strange circumstances of Teri’s departure, ‘prayer warriors’ declared that the spirit of death was roaming the school. They went from one corner of the school to the other, shouting in loud voices to intimidate death.
This went a long way in creating panic and unrest among the students. Consequently, people’s dead ancestors started showing up in their dreams, beckoning them to ‘the other side.’ Night time became a time for screaming contests as people took turns waking up from nightmares.
One girl even dared to sleep on Teri’s bed as if she had not paid attention when the topic “The Dead Are Not Dead” was taught in religious education. Well naturally, Teri appeared in her dream and pushed her off the bed, causing her to have a great fall. Everyone vacated the cubicle where this crime took place.
Just when we were about to recover from this series of distressing events, death came calling again. Some girl just suddenly fell down and was overtaken by outrageous spasms. We called for help but in the meantime, we formed a ring around her and begged God to save her life, not because we loved her but because we didn’t have the emotional capacity to handle the aftermath of death.
God heard our prayers and the girl got well. As it turns out, she had taken an overdose of paraffin. It was originally thought that she had been rude enough to attempt suicide without leaving a note. But then she confessed that she had been digesting cotton balls doused with paraffin in an effort to lose weight.
The school administration then decided that it was time to get rid of death. It was a two-fold approach.
First, they did an abrupt, thorough search of our suitcases and cubicles. Not a single drop of liquid was left in sight. Juice, water, milk, liquid soap was all gone. It was declared that anyone who felt thirsty had to take a trip to the kitchen and drink water under the watchful eye of the head cook.
Next, they commanded us to make proper use of our mosquito nets. Some had cut off pieces of the material and they were now using them as sieves. Others had refused to use the nets because nets were coarse and surely, it was better to be dead than to have terrible skin.
In the end, death lost the battle and left us alone. It only came back four years later to take the life of the school dog. Well, the dog wasn’t even ours really. It just wandered around the school compound. Besides, it had lived a long, healthy life.