Estimated reading time — 3 minutes
When my sister was about 15 she lived with our mother, in the North West Province of South Africa. It’s bush-veld area, which means lots of thorn trees, long yellow grass, very few neighbors, and silence. They lived in an old farm house on the very top of a hill in the middle of several farms. In South Africa, we call a hill a koppi.
It was like an island in a sea of rolling yellow waves and it could get pretty lonely and quiet up there. If you stood outside and screamed bloody murder, there would be no-one close enough to hear you.
My sister, being a difficult teenager, refused to go to public school. She preferred to live with my mom on their koppi in the middle of nowhere, and be home-schooled. Weeks would go by without them seeing another soul. Certainly not a life I could live, which was why I was back in the city with my dad at a public school.
As if the isolation and silence weren’t enough, strange things would happen in that house. Every now and then the stereo and lights would turn on or off by themselves, doors would open and close, outside lights would burst for no reason at all, and most people who would come to visit and stay the night, often had bizarre nightmares.I know I did. But despite all this, the two of them loved living in their strange old house on the koppi.
My mom had two dogs, Moony (named after Professor Lupin in Harry Potter) an Irish wolfhound, and Tujon, a border collie. Every afternoon my mom would take them for a long walk down the dusty farm roads, and come back just as the sun was setting. My sister would often go with her on the daily dog walk, but this day she stayed behind, caught up in her studies.
My mom and the dogs had been gone for about an hour, so my sister was expecting them back any minute. Sure enough, from her seat in front of her desk in the study, she heard my mom calling to Moony as they came through the front gate, and then the gate shutting behind them. Shortly after that, she heard my mom’s heavy hiking boots walking across the slate tiles towards the front door. My sister got up from her seat to go greet them.
As she stepped in to the hallway Tujon came rushing past her, almost tripping her. Tujon ran down the hallway and in to my mothers bedroom at the end of it, and my sister continued through the lounge to the front door to say hi to my mom.
When she got to the front door it was closed and locked.
A bit confused, she went to the back door through the kitchen. It too was closed and locked. Perplexed, my sister went back down the hallway, checking the study, her bedroom, and the bathroom. Still nothing. Finally she went to my mom’s bedroom, where she knew Tujon had to be. She had seen him run in there. She had felt him brush past her legs. The silly dog had almost tripped her!
The room was empty and silent, just like the rest of the house.
There were only two ways in and out of that house, the front and the back door. Both doors were closed and locked and every window in the house had security bars, so there was no way of getting in or out through a window. Clearly she was absolutely alone in the house.
My sister says that it was at this point that she started panicking a bit. She unlocked the front door and went outside She walked right around the house, checked the garden shed, went out the front gate and walked down the road a bit, all the while calling to my mom and the dogs.
Nothing. She was alone.
Thirty minutes later, my mom and the dogs arrived home from their walk to find my sister sitting on the front step, white as a sheet, clinging to the poor cat like her life depended on it.
Who knows why such a thing would happen. Maybe all the silence had made my sister a bit prone to fantasies, though she swears high and low that she didn’t imagine it, and that nothing like it ever happened again.
All I know for sure, is that when I was staying with them on holidays, I refused to ever be left alone on that hill…
Credit To – My little sister Lindi