23/07/2024

Wedding Wonder

Making Your Dream Wedding a Reality

The Wedding Ghost

The Wedding Ghost

“The depth of a person’s life is more important that it’s length”

– Swahili (East Africa)

On the North-East slopes of Mount Kenya and adjacent the Kathita River lies a town called Meru, where Nkirote was born and lived all her life as a child.

Nkirote was a well-behaved child who lived by the standards set for her by her parents. She was the kind of girl that most parents wouldn’t waste time to use as a yardstick for judging their children. This made her the envy of a lot of girls her age. People regarded her as a role model; a standard by which every young girl should live by.

Despite the entire attribute she possessed, she wasn’t and has not been happy for many years. To top it all, this was her wedding eve and she was supposed to be happy. Try as she did, she couldn’t stop the numbing fear creeping at her heart with each passing second as the night hours drew closer to her wedding. She looked at the clock on her dressing table; it was fifteen minutes before midnight. Strange as it seemed, there was nothing to be excited about. This was going to be her third attempt at getting married. Her first two weddings were a disaster. ‘Maybe I should cancel the wedding’, she thought to herself.

She tried to sleep but her mind couldn’t help but wander into the painful past; a past she tried so hard to forget; a past full of regret, heartbreaks and shame. Her first wedding was with Gitonga, a guy she met and dated at the University of Nairobi, Kenya.

The story of her life took a sad and unexpected twist on that beautiful day at St. Paul’s Church when she stood in front of the priest smiling and staring into the eyes of the love of her life. As the microphone was handed to her to take her vows, she suddenly saw an apparition; it was the ghost of a little girl putting on the exact type of wedding dress she had on but covered in blood. She screamed in fright and before anyone could stop her, she flung the bouquet of flowers she was holding, pulled her shoes and ran as fast as she could out of the church and into the streets with her family, friends and well-wishers hot on her chase.

She wandered on the streets of Meru for many days, while her family made frantic efforts to find her. A complaint was lodged at the Missing Person’s Unit of the Meru Police Station and thankfully, she was found. However, she was in a mentally unstable situation and had to be admitted into the psychiatric unit of the Meru General Hospital.

Three months later, she was cleared as mentally stable and subsequently discharged from the hospital. She never heard from Gitonga again. It took more than a whole year to recover from the traumatic experience.

Just when all hopes of her ever being happy again had been lost, along came Muiti, and she thought God had brought him to wipe away her tears but little did she know that her happiness would be short-lived. The same thing happened to her on her second wedding to Muiti, but this time, before she could run away, strong hands held her down and prevented her from sprinting out of the church.

Her family was getting increasingly worried. No one knew the cause of this misfortune that befell her. Rumours going round were that she was possessed and needed deliverance, others said she had a mental problem, which was probably hereditary, finally an influential religious group said there was a curse placed on her.

Her mother chose to believe the last group of people and immediately swung into action and with the help of some friends and family members, Nkirote was taken to all manner of places. Her sojourn for healing took flight with a visit to a prominent herbalist named Prof. Onyango where she offered all kinds of sacrifices including taking a bath in the middle of the night at the Turtle beach at Sukamade, to appease the gods. She was also served all sorts of unpalatable concoctions in a bid to chase away the Wedding Ghost.

Nkirote’s home became a platform for chants and demonstration of spiritual gymnastics and prophetic finesse. All manners of soothsayers flaunted their abilities to earn the accolade that would follow whoever delivers Nkirote from her wedding ghost. The family did not stop there, they went after charismatic leaders in the Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian and finally the Pentecostal churches.

The wedding ghost had gained so much popularity in Meru that whoever was getting married received special prayers that would keep Nkirote’s Wedding Ghost far from the celebration.

Her family fussed and made plans for her full recovery. People prayed fervently for the ghost to go away. No one knew what was wrong with her but Nkirote knew what the problem was. She was the only one who knew what was wrong with her but she couldn’t tell. The ghost who constantly appeared to her on her wedding day was Kaimuri Bitok. This was her big secret. She already swore an oath of secrecy and she was bound by it! Even if it cost her, her very life…

However, Nkirote was running out of time. She had to do something. Why has Kaimuri Bitok chosen this time of her life to haunt her? What does the wedding ghost want?

Nkirote wasn’t quite sure of what Kaimuri Bitok wanted but this is as far as she remembers…

Roughly twelve years ago, She attended Maua Girls Secondary School, Meru in Kenya. Nkirote and her friends were being promoted to a new class. It was special as they were graduating to Senior Secondary School. They couldn’t help but bask in the euphoria of it all. They imagined the power and privileges that accompanied being a senior.

At last, the days of sending them on unnecessary errands, punishing them at the slightest infraction and extorting their pocket money was over. It was time they also enjoyed such privileges. It was really going to be so much fun they chatted excitedly to themselves. For the first time they all looked forward to resumption.

Her closest friends Mwenda and Lela were so much fun to be with and they made the challenges of being a junior student a little less stressful as they always found a way of deriving humour out of every uncomfortable situation.

Mwenda was stubborn, daring and headstrong, always known for getting the three of them into trouble. Lela was always unpredictable. Nkirote was a passionate follower, soft and ever pleasing. They considered themselves the perfect combination. Classmates usually referred to them as the three musketeers.

One hot evening, all three decided to go swimming. On arrival at the pool, they were surprised to find a junior student there. Junior students were not allowed access to the pool late in the evening and without supervision. The opportunity to assert their authority presented itself on a platter of gold and they weren’t about to let it slip by.

Without wasting time, they confronted her and demanded to know why she was there. They yelled at her and commanded she vacates the pool immediately. Before she could come up with a reasonable explanation, Mwenda impulsively jumped into the pool in an attempt to physically carry her out.

Little did they know she wasn’t going to give up without a fight. She fought and kicked hard against Mwenda. Both were gasping for breath as the fight degenerated into a more physical battle. Nkirote and Lela watched on in shock.

Lela who couldn’t stand the embarrassment of watching a mere junior student retaliate with such vigour joined in.

Lela joined Mwenda and together they overpowered her.

Nkirote stood there rooted in indecision and watched in horror as her friends did the unthinkable. They joined forces until they were sure she was resting peacefully at the bottom of the pool.

In an instant, the reality of what they had done suddenly hit them. Nkirote was the first to break into a run while the other two rushed out of the pool and ran after her in great fear and uncertainty. She was heading straight to the housemistress to raise an alarm in order to save the girl’s life. Since she was stupid enough not to stop her friends, she could at least make it good by saving the poor girl’s life. She hadn’t gone halfway to the housemistress, when her friends caught up with her and pulled her back.

They gave her a hard talk. They explained to her what the consequences of her action could amount to. They would all be in great trouble. Mwenda persuaded them to take an oath, which they did.

The next day, the news of the swimming pool incident spread like wildfire across the school. The victim was Kaimuri Bitok. The name echoed all over. The guilt, trauma and regret haunted Nkirote. The weight of the crime was unbearable for her. She fell seriously ill and was granted permission to go home. She never returned or had any contact with her friends. The incident of that night remained permanently etched on her memory.

Nkirote spoke to no one about it. She had kept her end of the bargain and hoped the others had done the same. Now her whole life was falling apart. She couldn’t forgive herself. She wished she could turn back the hands of time. It was too late!

“Nkirote!” “Nkirote!” the voice of the Reverend Father jolted her out of her reverie. “Its time to take your vows. You don’t want to leave this young man waiting, would you?”

With that, she silently took her vows while looking around in great fear hoping that the wedding ghost would not reappear.

Ecstatic shouts of “Happy Married Life!” arose from the congregation as friends, family and well-wishers all surrounded them with joy and jubilation. Songs of celebration followed as the newly weds danced out of the church.

“I have a surprise for you.”. Her husband whispered to her in excitement. “Here, come let me show you.” He said, leading her into a private place. Just then, to her greatest surprise, three ladies started walking towards her. She looked at them and recognized two out of the three ladies but she couldn’t make out who the third one was. “Mwenda and Lela!” She thought to herself. “Impossible!”

… And there they were, advancing towards her. The third lady was staring straight into her eyes. Nkirote in total confusion, looked on in wide-eyed horror as she came closer, extending her hands to her, she said, “Hi, I’m Kaimuri Bitok.”

THE END.

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