Abdallah, the Deaf child and the Ghost
by Slim Gamoudi
My name is Slim G. I am 31. I am a fine arts student living in a small village in the North of Tunisia. My home is very far from the university which forced me like the other students studying in the capital "Tunis" to rent a house in the city. After four years that I spent in university dormitories, I decided to contact some associations that could help me finish my Post-graduate level by providing me with a place in their dormitories on the condition that I would assist them in cleaning, taking care of the residents in those associations.
After a short, I have been accepted at "The Association for Deaf Children at Borj-Cedria" in Hammem Lif in the suburbs of Tunis (the capital, about 30mns by train to get there). It was the best moments in life living with those deaf children who taught the art of silence and the importance of paralanguage (body language).
Every night, after school, spend the night together playing, I taught them some French words as they taught me sign language which I grew familiar with.
Then, the mystery started when a Senegalese child, with the name of "Abdallah" came. The director of the association asked me to spend the weekends with Abdallah in the dormitory of the big villa (house) which was the location of this association. The house was extremely elegant as its owner was the French wife of the ex-president "Habib Bourguiba". A colonizing conception was embellishing the house with very precious furniture, paintings, crystal cups... a very wealthy aristocratic family used to live here. I was very happy when the director asked to stay during the weekend in this house to take care of Abdallah. I would spend the weekends in this big paradise, with a big garden and fresh air coming from the mountains surrounding the school.
The first weekends, nothing happened. After a short period, the secretary whom I know personally and who was newly-hired told me a strange story about some noise that she believes to hear when everything is silent. Her office was on the second floor while my room was on the third. I laughed at her so many times. The old lady (unmarried) who lived in this house since the days of the president's life in the villa was a very silent lady. She utters few words although she is neither deaf nor unable to speak like those children. Her name is "Najia and she is actually working there still.
A note, all the employees there are very old and they were working for approximately 4O years in the association. I took what Nessrine was repeatedly telling me about the voices as a joke and I thought her trying to jokingly scare me.
Only after a short period, and on a very windy night, I heard some bottles which somebody was breaking on the underground. I decided to go discovering and thought that these were thieves trying to break in and rob the house.
When I was on the stairs, the voice was more intense. I didn't light the place, I was in the dark with a knife in my hand but very scared. When I got to the kitchen where the voice of the broken bottles was coming, silence was there instead.
Abdallah was following me that night in the dark as I decided to protect him. By morning when I was taking a shower, I discovered a little sign in my neck (a red sign). I was astonished and thought it to be a simple infection. But that sign was in fact..
I didn't tell the story to anybody because in this case they would refuse to leave me in the house in the weekends in fear of theft.
Starting from that weekend, I could hear the voice of a lady in the stairs coming through the door of my room. I have been feeling frozen but I liked listening to her footsteps. Strangely enough, Abdallah, the deaf child indicated to me that the lady is coming. Indicating that is telling me. He the hearing an speaking deficient handicapped child.
One winter night, as we were together me and Abdallah, the lady started telling me secrets that I am living by now, the lady's voice was coming from Abdallah's mouth as she was using him as an intermediary.
The stories she has been telling me are so transcendental, transgeneric, supernatural as that voice was indeed pluralistic, polyphonic and polyglottal coming from many people and centuries ...