I was running with my eyes closed and when I opened them I was running on a cloud. With every step, lightening bolts lit up the ocean to its depths, and creatures not seen for million s of years stopped in shock when seeing the destruction that humans have inflected on the surface earth.
They walked all night and arrived at the village early in the morning. The sun had risen just above the trees. The air had that early morning smell of fresh earth and blooming flowers. Butterflies were beginning to fly around the flowerbeds in front of the huts. The sun bounced off the dew drenched green leaves.
Someone blew a conch shell and all the villagers came out to greet them. Some of the younger children sang and danced, as the tired travelers slowly made their way through the village. Akosua walked to the centre of the village and raised her arm. The crowd became silent.
“Our journey was a successful one. We will tell you more later. Prepare a feast; we will celebrate our union with the Bokors. Now go prepare, we will rest.” Akosua said the crowd erupted in cheers, then chants. Henry was tired; he stood barely able to keep his eyes opened. The crowd began to disperse and Henry stumbled back to his hut. Some of the villagers patted him on his back as he went.
It was midafternoon when he was woken up by the sound of conch shells being blown. He got up, walked to the door and looked out. His vision was blurred, so he rubbed his eyes and looked again. The village was alive with villagers bustling around. It was like Christmas Eve in the Old Country. He went back into the hut and began to get ready. There was a fresh suit of white clothes laid on one of the chairs. A calabash bowl of water sat at the foot of the bed. He dipped his hands into the bowl of water and splashed some on his face. He yelped as the cold water hit his skin. The drummers began to play and some of the villagers began singing. Henry hurried up and got dressed.
Henry walked out of the hut, the sunlight hit him and he squinted to see where he was going.
“Hey Henry,” a small boy said as he ran by, his white outfit blurry in the bright sunlight, Henry walked to the centre of the village, Kwao and two warriors were carrying a table from the dining hut. Kwao looked over at Henry,
“Hey Kindoki how about a little help here?” he said and smiled. Henry was taken aback by his cheerfulness; he had never seen the boy smile except at the expense of someone else.
“Come on,” Kwao insisted. Henry walked over and grabbed the end of the table. They sat the table down next to some other tables. Kwao walked past him bumping him as he did. As suddenly as he was nice he was back to his old self. Henry shook his head and looked around. Chickens ran around in yards, pigs squealed, goats bleated, and smaller children laughed.
Henry walked over to where some of the children were cooking. Pots of food in bubbled over fires sending steam bellowing into the air. Ampah stood over the caucus of a goat rubbing leaves into it. He smiled when Henry walked up.
Hey warrior how are you doing today?” he asked.
“Am well rested, ready to eat some of this food,” he replied. Ampah reached out and tapped him on the shoulder leaving leaves on his clean shirt.
“Why don’t you come over here and help the master cook create a meal fit for a Loa.” He said, a girl next to him laughed.
“Master cook, just do the job we gave you and do less talking,” she said and the young women erupted into laughter. Henry laughed and looked at Ampah.
“She is just jealous because I am a better cook than she is” he said. The girl splashed him with water from a bowl on the table. Ampah looked over at her,
“Don’t start a war you can’t win Pickiny,” he said, the girl splashed him again and Ampah laughed and continued with what he was doing. Henry grabbed some leaves and began rubbing it into its flesh. Adofo walked up.
“Doing a good job there Henry, put some muscle into it,” he said.
“Join us,” Henry said, Adofo twisted his mouth,
“Not me, you could not pay me to put my hands in that,” he said, then laughed and walked away.
“I slaughter the animals I don’t cook them,” he said in between laughter. A flock of robins flew out of the jungle and came to rest on a small tree next to the table. They chirped, as if having a conversation with each other.
Henry turned to look at the village. Akosua walked into the centre of the village. She wore a laced white dress that came to just above her knees; her dreadlocks were tied behind her head with a white band. A white hibiscus flower was stuck on the right side of her hair; Henry was amazed that she went form fierce warrior one day, to delicate beauty the next. Small children ran up to her and she stopped and hugged them one at a time, she was the closest thing they had to a mother figure. She walked over to the tables and helped some of the girls spread white table clothes over them. Adofo walked up to her, they embraced for a second. Kwao stopped what he was doing and glanced over at them, he always seemed to be near whenever they had an intimate moment.
“Moko Jumbies,” Kwao shouted. The giants wore long multi coloured pants that fluttered when they moved. White long sleeved shirt with frills on the ends of the sleeves made them look like pirates. They looked down on the warriors. The attackers began to retreat one by one. One of the Moko Jumbies picked up an attacker and threw him into the jungle. The rest of the attackers ran off screaming,
“Thank you,” Akosua said. The Moko Jumbie reached down and touched her with one of his fingers and smiled, then turned and walked into the jungle his friends right behind him. The tops of the trees moved, birds scattered in every direction, then there was silence.
“Is everybody alright?” Adofo asked and pulled Akosua to him and hugged her. One of the boys had blood running down his arm.
“You’re bleeding,” Akosua said. The boy took one look at his arm then fainted. Henry and Adofo rushed to him and caught him just before he hit the ground. Akosua looked around.
“Where is Lassette?” Akosua asked the machete still gripped in her fingers.
“Lassette!” they screamed and the frightened woman emerged from behind a tree, she was shaking tears rolled down her cheek. Akosua went up to her and hugged her. She melted into Akosua’s arm sobbing. Kwao looked around making sure the attackers were not regrouping, but the jungle was silent, no wind rustled the leaves, no flapping of wings, or grunts, or barks, just dead silence.
They checked each other to make sure no one else was hurt, and then turned to one of the attackers that lay on the ground motionless. They walked over to him and looked down. Like the others he was naked, but his whole body was covered with red mud. A feather stuck out of a headband around his head. His skin was olive coloured and his forehead was flattened. His long hair was also caked with the mud making it look like a pig’s tail after it had dragged its butt across the jungle’s floor.
“Who are they?” Henry asked. Lassette who had finally composed herself spoke up,
“Those are the Arawak, the natives of the islands. They are supposed to be the peaceful tribe unlike their enemies the Arawaks.” She said.
“Their eyes looked like they were dead.” He said,
“The Ligaroo King must have turned them into Jumbies,” Akosua said and for a second they stood in silence looking down at the motionless man.
The Wounded warrior moaned and they looked down at him. He had a deep cut on his arm, blood flowed out of it and he winched in pain as he went in and out of consciousness. Akosua ripped a piece of her dress off and tied it around the boy’s arm. The white material quickly turned red, but it stopped some of the bleeding. Amelia was not satisfied. She turned to Adofo and told him to put pressure on the wound then turned and went into the jungle. She reappeared with a fistful of leaves and applied it to the wound then retied it.
“That should help stop infection,” she said and stood up. Suddenly there was a blast of thunder. Lighting struck the spot where the Arawak lay, and when the smoke dissipated his body was gone. They braced themselves, as ear splitting laughter filled the jungle. Behind them bushes parted and a figure emerged. His whole body was covered with red armor that was made of iron. He held a machete in his right hand, weapons of all kinds hung from him and they clanged whenever he moved. He stopped in front of them and started doing a strange tribal dance. His weapons clinked in time with every move he made. Akosua and the warriors stood, their machetes held over their heads. Suddenly he rushed at them swinging his machete so fast it was a blur.
“Ogoun,” Henry said, Ogoun stopped in front of them.
“Don’t you just love the sound of a good battle,” he said, then threw his head back and laughed.
“If I had my way I would destroy you right now, but Baron Samedi instructed that I leave you to him. Go to Jumbie Island, have your battle with the Ligaroo King, oh what a battle it will be, good against evil, the angelic Obeah woman against the monster blood suckers.” He said as he moved swinging his machete as if doing a choreographed battle dance.
“You don’t care who wins do you? We are just pawns. You will use any means to satisfy your lust for war.” She said, Orgoun swung his machete again and laughed.
“You silly little girl, there will always be someone to possess. You humans are weak, that’s why you are mortal and we the Loas are immortal, we can manipulate you. Look around you, you enslave each other, you destroy whole tribes. Who do you think is controlling all of this, you mortals? Now go home and play with dolls and stop pretending to be a spiritual leader.” He shouted. Birds flew into the air, hoofs of frightened animals pounded on the jungle floor. Thunder blasted and lightening flashed.
“Black magic will never triumph over us,” Akosua retorted. Ogoun laughed again, and then looked at them one at a time pointing his machette at each one.
“Are you going to stop it?” He said. Each word designated to the person he pointed to. He put his hands on his stomach and laughed. Tree branches broke and fell, leaves floated slowly between them, yet there was no wind. A light rain began to fall even though there were no dark clouds in the sky.
“Why, because you are the chosen one? Look at yourselves, pathetic.” He roared then walked up to Henry,
“Sweat dreams little one,” he said then turned and walked slowly disappearing before he reached the bushes, but they parted and closed as if he still walked through them.
“We will be waiting, but in the meantime, don’t let your guard down.” He said. Henry exhaled and turned to Akosua. She handed the machete back to the boy she had taken it from,
“Next time bring your own,” he said and smiled. Suddenly the rain storm grew stronger. The drops were so big they hurt as they bounced off Henry’s skin.
“Come on lets get back to the village,’ Akosua said. Adofo and Kwao picked up the wounded boy and began walking. Henry, Lassette and the other warriors followed them.
Henry grabbed Akosua’s arm but she pulled away, spun him around and ran to one of the warriors. The boy turned to her as if questioning what she was doing. She reached out, took his machete, and charged at the advancing men. The sound of metal against metal filled the air. Lassette ran and hid behind a tree. Henry turned to face an attacker, but was knocked to the ground. The man sat on top of him, the fingers of his left hand wrapped around Henry’s throat, his other hand raised above his head; silver gleamed in the sunlight as he waved a knife. Henry reached up and grabbed the man’s arm.
The man pushed all his weight down and the knife slowly came down to Henry’s face. The attacker’s face was covered with mud and had small cracks from where it had dried from him sweating and being in the heat. Henry moved his back grated against small rocks in the ground beneath him. The man’s whole body was covered with mud and some spots were wet from him sweating. Henry looked into the man’s eyes. It reminded him of the day his uncle died. The man, his body covered with mud, with eyes like his dead uncle, stared at him. That memory sent a wave of fear through him and he strained as the knife got closer to his face. His heart pounded so hard he thought it would explode. Sweat poured down his face and his head rested on a rock as he scrummed and twisted to get away. His attacker growled like an animal.
The knife’s tip touched Henry’s face and he felt his skin begin to break as blood ran down the side of his face. He closed his eyes and tried to muster the strength to push back. Just when he felt the knife going deeper into his flesh his attacker was suddenly pulled off of him. He opened his eyes and saw Adofo standing over him, his hand stretched down. He grabbed it and Adofo pulled him up. Henry looked around for a second. The sounds of battle filled the jungle, screams, grunts, yells, and the sound of metal against metal echoed around the trees. He wiped the blood from his face and looked at his finger. The crimson red felt sticky between his fingers. He searched the ground for his machete and found it.
Henry reached down, picked it up and charged at the nearest attacker. He knocked the man to the ground and swung his machete. The man rolled out of the way and the machete hit a rock sending sparks into the dirt. The attacker got to his feet and rushed at Henry. He side stepped and swung the machete, hitting the man in the back of the head with the dull end of the machete. The man stumbled and fell, but before Henry could make sure the man stayed down another attacker jumped on his back. Henry spun around sending the man flying through the air. He landed on a tree trunk with a thud then fell to the ground and lay still. Henry turned to find another attacker, but stopped when he saw Akosua, machete in hand, battling one of the attackers.
The man was a good half a foot taller than her, but Akosua was quicker. The man swung his club, but Akosua ducked under the blow then she kicked him as he tried to raise the club. He stumbled back and growled angrily. Henry started to go over to help her just as the man charged. His mud covered body almost made him invincible against the ground. Akosua sidestepped and as he went by hit him in the back of the head with the handle of the machete. The man stumbled, fell, and then bounced off the ground. He stood up and looked around as if confused. His dead eyes scanned the scene, a surprised look on his face. Someone blew a conch shell and more attackers rushed out of the jungle. Akosua and her warriors fought hard, but they were over powered. The Attackers formed a circle around them. Slowly they began to close the circle, their clubs held above their heads. They were in arm’s length of Akosua and her warriors when the jungle’s floor moved, and trees popped and cracked. The attackers stopped and looked around. Trees were pushed aside and men about twelve feet tall stepped out of the jungle.
Been having some issues so today there will be two installments of OBEAH
Who is afraid of the man in the black suit?
He comes in many forms
Cold steel pressed against the head
Deep and sharp to the heart
An acidic taste with a twist of lime
Who is afraid of the man in the black suit
I am not afraid of the man in the black suit
He hides from me like a shy girl
Like love he cowers in the shadows
Just like a pray, he never answers
Deceitful like a testimony
Walks as white light on a Sunday afternoon
Who is afraid of the man in the black suit
The man in the black suit is afraid of me
He slams his iron gate in my face
He says I was too eager to meet him
So he leaves me here to suffer