Episode One

The humid Dschang air hung heavy, thick with the scent of grief and woodsmoke. Sixteen-year-old Clarisse stood by her mother’s freshly dug grave, the red earth a clear contrast to her black mourning dress. Tears, silent and endless, streamed down her face, blurring the image of the mourners gathered around. Her mother, a vibrant market woman with a laugh that could fill a room, was gone, stolen away by cancer.

Orphaned and lost, Clarisse knew her options were limited. Her father, a charming layabout who’d vanished years ago, was nothing but a faded memory. Her only remaining family lived in Douala, a city she had only heard about and never visited. Auntie Mami, her father’s elder sister, had a reputation that preceded her – a woman known for her sharp tongue and even sharper elbows. Yet, Douala was all Clarisse had.

The journey was a blur of rumbling buses and choked highways. Douala, a chaotic symphony of unmatched noise and sizzling street food, assaulted her senses. Auntie Mami’s house, a squat concrete structure in a dusty neighborhood, was a far cry from the warmth of her childhood home. The air crackled with tension as Clarisse was introduced to her cousins, Sarah and Joseph, both a year older and already sporting the air of entitlement that comes with being the favored grandchildren.

“This is your room,” Auntie Mami announced, gesturing towards a narrow space under the stairs. Cobwebs adorned the single window like horrific curtains, The air was stale and dusty, smelling like things hadn’t been used in a long time. A dim light bulb barely lit up the room, showing broken furniture and walls with ripped wallpaper.

“But Auntie,” Joseph piped up, a smirk playing on his lips, “isn’t that the room you usually store the…” he trailed off, his eyes wandering towards Sarah.

Sarah, all sharp cheekbones with a smile that seemed to hold a secret, finished his sentence, “The special yams, right Mami? The ones you use for your… rituals?”

Auntie Mami glared. Sweat dripped down her face even though it was a cool evening. “Nonsense, Joseph. This is Clarisse’s room now. And there are no such things as rituals in this house. We are a God-fearing family,” she said in a voice that sounded fake-holy and made Clarisse shiver.

That night, the city buzzed with activity outside Clarisse’s window. Inside, she unpacked her few things: a beat-up Bible, her mom’s lucky smooth stone, and an old accounting book. Just as she put the Bible under her pillow, a loud noise came from upstairs! She heard strange singing and shaking sounds, like dried leaves blowing on each other. Clarisse’s stomach tossed with fear

The next morning, the house was strangely silent. Sarah and Joseph were gone, and Auntie Mami sat at the kitchen table, with a deep frown on her face. A half-eaten bowl of kondre sat in front of her, untouched.

“Good morning, Auntie Mami,” Clarisse said cautiously.

Auntie Mami looked up, her eyes were red and puffy. “Did you sleep well, Clarisse?” she asked with a hoarse voice.  – “Yes, thank you,” Clarisse lied. The chanting from the previous night echoed in her mind.

The next few days were crazy and confusing for Clarisse. At school, she did amazing! Numbers were easy for her, and she could solve problems really fast. She liked math because it was clear and predictable, unlike everything else going on in her life. But  kids started talking about her behind her back. They said she was too good at math, like it wasn’t normal. They even hinted that maybe it had something to do with the strange things people said about Auntie Mami.

One day after school, Clarisse was walking home when she saw a group of women gathered in a tiny path. A strong, unpleasant smell filled the air and made her scrunch up her nose. Wondering what was going on, she got a little closer to see better.

“Ah,” one of the women, adorned with an elaborate cowrie shell necklace, her voice, like dry leaves rustling against cracked earth, “A new face. You must be Clarisse, Auntie Mami’s niece.”

Clarisse jumped a bit when the woman spoke in a way that seemed to suggest she knew something Clarisse didn’t. “Yes,”  suddenly self-conscious, she mumbled.

The woman laughed harshly, a sound that made Clarisse shiver. “You remind me of your aunt, but you can’t handle your special gift yet, unlike her.”

“Gift?” Clarisse echoed, fear filling her voice.

Want to study or work abroad with
Globus Education Systems?

How will studying abroad redefine your world? We can’t wait to find out.


Head Office

Copyright © 2024. All rights reserved.

At Globus Education Systems, we pride ourselves on our extensive expertise and experience in the field of study and work abroad.


We create solutions that are specific to your needs. Book a one-on-one session with us now.