My story began about two years ago in a quaint suburb of Durban, SA. I have been residing in this suburb for nearly 22 years. Being such a small suburb, all of our surrounding neighbours had become like a family within a family.
One family (house directly opposite to mine) in particular was a bit more reserved and never really socialized with the locality and kept pretty much to themselves. The lady of the house, however, let's call her "Anni" (not her real name) always smiled and greeted me whenever she would see me pottering around my yard. Never getting too familiar or too friendly, she kept aloof.
As time went by, Anni began conversing with a few neighbours surrounding our homes when her husband and her other family members were away. We soon came to know that it was her husband that was against her communicating with anyone outside of their home. So every time she would speak to anyone she would caution them not to mention that she had been out and about chatting to the locality.
As the years had passed, Anni grew closer to my mum and would spend hours chatting to her while hubby was away at work. Confiding in my mum, she had mentioned that she felt uneasy like there was presence in their home and was terrified of being alone and secluded from the outside world. So everyday after hubby would leave, Anni would walk over to spend a few hours with my mum. The closer they grew, the more apparent her fear became.
Suspecting that she could be suffering from depression, my mum suggested she consult a therapist to discuss her growing anxiety and fears. This was to be the last conversation Anni would have with my mum as she soon went into isolation (for reasons unbeknown to us at the time). Days turned into weeks and still we would never see Anni.
Out of sheer concern and desperation to find out where Anni was, my parents spoke with Anni's hubby, let's call him Randy (not his real name) and he was a little less polite than his Mrs. He said that she had taken ill and was resigned to bed. According to Randy, she was slowly but surely succumbing to Dementia/Schizophrenia and had become quite erratic in her moods. She became violent and she had begun harming herself, screaming obscenities at the craziest hours of the night even. Randy was adamant that she wasn't allowed visitors on doctor's orders due to her deteriorating condition.
My parents, with good reason, didn't push any further. It was soon after this conversation had taken place that the other neighbours surrounding our homes began complaining of suspicious screams and crying. At times, even arguing between a male and female voice (which we assumed was Randy and Anni). One night the shouting got so loud that a concerned neighbour contacted the local police complaining of a domestic disturbance.
Once the cops had arrived, they pressed on the buzzer of Anni's home, gained access after Randy had opened up for them and found that there was no disturbance at all inside the home. Anni was asleep and so were her kids. No signs of a struggle or anything was noted. This obviously raised a few eyebrows with the cops who were not very pleased by the apparent "fake report".
Weeks eventually turned into months and still, no visitors came or went from Anni's home. My parents had all but given up on trying to communicate with Randy, when one morning (29 July 2014) my dad was taking out the garbage and saw Anni walk down her driveway with their garbage too. Looking very pale, gaunt-almost skin and bones, weak and very subdued, she dropped off her garbage bags, looked my dad in the eyes with a "blank stare" for a few seconds and then turned around and went back up her driveway without saying a word.
This would be the last time any of us would see Anni. On the afternoon of 30 July 2014, an almost deafening sound resounded from Anni's home. She had shot herself through the right temple. Randy yelled and screamed for help. Hearing this, my parents ran up to the gate. Unable to gain access into the yard, they yelled for help, not knowing what to expect. Randy immediately pressed the buzzer to open up the gate. My parents ran towards the door, which was open already. By this time two other neighbours also responded to Randy's screeches for help. Together they all walked in, only to find Randy standing in a pool of blood next to his wife's lifeless body.
With no explanations of what had transpired, Randy stood weeping. The police was called, EMRS responded as well but she was already gone.
Anni's tragic death shook our once peaceful suburb and for weeks it was the topic that everyone was speaking about. How? Why? And so on. Her death was ruled a suicide and everyone accepted that she had probably did it at her weakest moment due to her rapidly deteriorating mental health condition. Her nearly two year life of fear and anxiety had finally come to an end. Whether or not, Anni was in fact delusional or she really was being affected by an unwanted presence, we will never know. Why did she do it? We may never know. Was she in fact of sound mind and was coerced into taking her life? Answers fail us... Was it her way of ending her suffering? Who knows... Was there really something that she was so terrified of that death was the best alternative? That we may never know...
Soon after Anni's passing, Randy had put the house up for sale and moved out. Which brings me to the crucial part of my story... It was 3 days prior to Randy moving out with his kids, when I was standing outside at my driveway gate and I looked over to Anni's home. For almost a split second, I saw her standing there... Just a split second. She was there smiling... Whether it was a figment of my imagination or her soul saying goodbye I don't know. For that split second, I felt a wave of emotions cover me. I will never forget that feeling or that smile... It has been etched in my mind forever.