It is always hard to find a good place to be alone with your girlfriend. But in front of a deserted chapel, out on a dark country road, surely you should be guaranteed at least a few moments of privacy?
Michael was 19-years-old, and very, very proud of his new car. He couldn’t wait to take his new girlfriend out on the weekend. It was just getting dark when they drove out to the little chapel at Tal-Balal (Malta) known as the Chapel of St Philip and St Jacob.
The chapel is a little gem of rural architecture, built in 1730. According to the entry in “Bliet u Rhula Maltin”, It has a little belfry and a single bell. The book calls It an unexpected facade”, one you would not expect to find at Tal-Balal.
And unexpected is certainly what it turned out to be for Michael, who certainly did not have architecture on his mind. In fact, for a first date, he and his girlfriend were getting on very well indeed. So much so that he needed a quick breath of fresh air and got out of the car to answer the call of nature.
The area was deserted. Every now and then, the lights of a car would whizz past but the place would once again be plunged into inky blackness. There was no-one else around.
Michael got back into his car, and tried to get his arm round hIs girlfriend again, in that nonchalant way that 19-year-olds have, anxious not to rush the girl but also conscious that he had to work fast as she would have to be home soon.
But the romantic atmosphere was suddenly shattered. Someone was banging on all the windows of the car. The thuds speeded up, going round and round the car, beating onto the back, side windows even the front windscreen and then round again.
The couple’s Immediate reaction was that there was someone outside. The car windows were slightly steamed up but they could still see through them. There was no-one outside.
And then the banging become so rapid that no human could have been involved. It would have been Impossible for anyone to get around the car that fast, especially across the bonnet. Whoever it was would have had to splay themselves across the bonnet.
Michael’s girlfriend started screaming, putting her hands over her ears to shut out the awful noise. The car shook with each thud on the glass.
Michael straightened up his seat, trying to turn the key in the ignition, in the age old instinct to flee.
He pressed the accelerator too hard and flooded the engine. It wouldn’t start. He tried again, trying to swallow down his panic, trying to ignore the noise, the screaming, the rocking of the car, absolutely terrified himself. The engine started, and the noises stopped, as suddenly as they had started.
After the banging, the silence seemed just as unnatural.
Without exchanging a word, he drove away as fast as he could, his girlfriend still heaving with sobs.
It was all over in less than two minutes.
Years have now gone by, but Michael never did find out what had happened. There were no marks on his brand new car, and he and his girlfriend are certain that there was no on else around.
It was some time before they could even talk about it. But someone later told them that suicide victims had been buried in the ground by the chapel.
The chapel stands as it did, the only witness to what happened that evening, whatever it was …
This post was written by Albert Saliba