When I was a kid back on the island, we used to take showers outside, what we call, “Taking a bade” lol. We would catch rain water in a big drum, the hot sun kept that water nice and warm, anyway I would hear my brother outside, taking a bade and singing some calypso song. That boy always singing out there causing all the village dogs to howl, lol. Anyway I would sit there waiting until he was almost done, time to dry off and come in. I would hide behind the door and as he started walking into the house, throw a bowl of flour all over him. He was cursing for so, ha ha ha ha ha ha. Now this went on for hours, he would wash the flower off and try to come in and there I was with more flour, ha ha ha. Man he would curse and threaten to tell Mommy Charles. Yes he was a big mouth telling on me ha ha ha ha ha ha. We would play a cat and mouse game, me chasing him around the house flour in hand, him cursing running ducking. I always wonder why he never beat the crap out of me. You think that is funny ask him about the time I got him with eggs ha ha ha ha. So for all the people I tease, or pick at, try being my brother and living with me ha ha ha ha. Face it, the chocolate giant was born to pick on people.
Life has a way of stopping you in your tracks and se things that you absolutely love has to be set aside while you deal with life. But alas life have given me a reprieve and here I am again with thoughts bubbling, swimming in day dreams, ready to put finger to keyboard and create worlds universes that I can hide in from the real world. I am back.
“Bloody dry air,” Guede said then coughed. The cave shook some more and larger chunks of salt fell from the ceiling and the walls. Henry and the others scrambled to their feet and backed up against the wall of the cave as rocks fell around them. Akosua steadied herself as the floor cracked under her feet. Guede laughed, but this time it sounded like the boom of a violent thunder storm. The cave rattled, the floor opened up, and Akosua plunged the bluish white water.
“Akosua!” Adofo screamed as he stood helplessly. A couple of minutes went by and the rumbling finally stopped. Adofo lay down on the edge of the salt hole and stretched his arm into the water.
“You can’t save her now boy,” Guede said, Adofo picked up a piece of salt and threw it at Guede. The Evil Loa caught the salt rock, stopped smiling, and looked at the boy.
“Look at you. You are a disgrace to your kind. Your father would be ashamed of you. He is strong and you, well look at you, a weak pathetic Akan lover, strengthen up boy, become the apple that did not fall away from the tree.” Guede said smiled then winked at Adofo. The boy looked away from the evil Loa and Henry thought he saw a flash of guilt in Adofo’s eyes. Adofo growled at Guede and turned back to the sunken floor. Akosua’s head suddenly popped up and she grabbed a slab of salt that floated near her. Guede leaned forward,
“Hey Obeah girl, your boyfriend is too weak to help you,” he smiled a triumphant smile. Akosua clung to the salt slab and looked around, but she slipped off and disappeared into the white salty water. Henry, Donkor and the others rushed to the edge of the sink hole. Two minutes went by, five minutes went by, and still Akosua did not resurface
“Your little leader may have decided that death is better than fighting me, now she will be mining forever,” Guede said as he rubbed his hands together with glee.
Akosua sank, her eyes closed. She did not try to swim to the surface; she sank passing pieces of salt as she went. The salty water hugged her, it was warm, but got colder the further she sank. She began to lose consciousness and opened her eyes. Her mother floated out of the misty water and up to her. She was wearing a colourfull outfit from their tribe back in their homeland. There were bracelets with precious gems all up her arms, and a gold necklace lined with emeralds dangled from her neck. Akosua was taken aback at how vibrant the colours were despite the white murky water. The woman floated up to her, she was smiling, and her hazel eyes looked at Akosua lovingly,
“Fight baby fight,” she said then reached out and touched Akosua’s face. Akosua felt like a bolt of lightning went through her. She kicked her legs and shot to the surface. When she broke through she inhaled, her lungs felt like they were going to explode. She swam to the other side of the sinkhole and tried to pull herself up. The salty floor crumbled under her weight and she sank for a second. She kicked her legs and resurfaced. This time Obatala stood over her, his arm stretched down. She reached up and grabbed it and he pulled her out of the water. She was on solid ground on her hands and knees gasping for breath. Guede had climbed down from the headstone and was stomping and screaming like an angry baby.
“Damn you Obatala, Damn you!” He screamed. “You will pay for this interruption!” He kicked one of the smaller headstones and it shattered sending chunks of salt against the cave’s walls. Obatala took Akosua’s arm,
“Wisdom is on your side, let it be your guide,” he said, Akosua looked up to where the spear was hidden. The salt had fallen off around it, and she saw the stoned rock. Guede threw his glasses at them and cursed,
“You will pay you pretend Loa!” he screamed then turned and looked at Henry. His eyes were ablaze with hatred, and his face began to turn a bright red. Henry grabbed his stomach and fell to his knees. He began to throw up, and then fell to the ground shaking like he was having an epileptic fit. Guede stood, his arm stretched out to Henry moving his fingers like he was squeezing an orange. Obatala walked across the pond, his feet never touched water. He got to Henry and knelt down next to him then touched his forehead. Henry stopped trashing around and lay still, his breathing slowly becoming normal. Guede screamed, his voice echoing through the cave, then he turned and ran towards the walls behind the tombstones and vanished into it, his black top hat fell off and rolled into the pond. Donkor went over to Henry and helped him to his feet. Henry looked at him and smiled a weak smile,
“Thank you,” he said and Obatala smiled back at him.
“You are one of us once again, An Akan. Our Gods will protect you.”
Obatala turned and floated back across the pond to Akosua. When he stood next to her, Akosau climbed up to the spear’s hiding place, using the salt rocks as steps. She rolled a small boulder away from the hiding place reached in and pulled out the spear. It was wrapped in a red cloth and was about five feet long. She unwrapped the cloth, and held in in her hand. It was pure white, and despite the dim lights, its tip sparkled a little. She touched it, and a surge of warmth went through her body. She felt dizzy for a second as images of her homeland’s history rushed through her head. Then she was hot, it was a soothing feeling that ran under her skin, and she shook once then relaxed. Suddenly, she glowed white, as light settled under her skin, covering her whole body. The cave shook, and the salt walls began to crumble all around her. Big chunks of salt fell from the caves roof splashing into the pond. Akosua looked over at her friends,
“Henry, go get Kwao and some of the others and gather some of this salt, it will come in handy when we battle the Ligaroos!” She shouted over the roar of the crumbling cave. Henry turned and stumbled his way back up the tunnel to the top. Akosua stood among the falling salt rocks. She was calm, the spear glowing in her hand. In her mind Akosua saw her mother smiling. She looked around at the cave, but instead she saw the jungles of her homeland. She was surrounded by elephants, and tigers, and lions, and gorillas. She saw the warriors going off to battle, the hunters coming back to the village with the days catch, the big feasts whenever they had a victory. But most of all, she saw the freedom that her people once had. They danced in the middle of the village. There was laughter and singing, and drumbeats echoed into the dense jungle, across the fields, up and over the mountains, to every village. She looked down at the spear, soon they will have that same freedom on this island.
The Jab Jabs came in waves, their voices suddenly echoing through the valley, trees shook and swayed, leaves curled as if hiding with fear.
“This way!” Donkor shouted as he pushed around Akosua. Akosua and the others followed fighting off Jab Jabs as they went. The jab Jabs disappeared every time they were struck, but more of them appeared out of thin air. They ran until they were at the edge of the jungle looking down to the middle of the mountain top. It was like looking down on a snow covered field. The Jab Jabs were fast approaching and they turned around to confront the wave of demons. Akosua swung her Machete and two Jab Jabs disappeared, she coughed as the air around her became a mist of ashes. Their red tongues stretched out, their red eyes blazing but somehow seemed lifeless. Akosua jumped down onto the white ground and Henry and the warriors followed her.
The mountaintop echoed with crunches as they landed on the white earth. Kwao hesitated, his back to the Jab Jabs. One of them hurled his body at Kwao and disappeared into him. The boy stumbled forward onto the white ground. He turned and looked at Akosua and stretched his arm out. At first he looked like he was pleading for help, but instead, his expression changed into a menacing stare. Without saying a word he raised his machete and charged at her. Donkor raised his machete just as Kwao brought his down. The sound of metal against metal echoed loudly. Kwao raised his machete again and Donkor stepped back and blocked Kwao’s swing with his machete. Donkor stumbled back leaving Akosua exposed to Kwao’s attack. The boy lunged at Akosua, ash exploded from his mouth. Akosua looked into his eyes it was turning red. His tongue was stretched out; it was slowly changing from pink to red. The change started from the tip of his tongue, and soon his whole mouth was red. Slowly, he began to turn an ashy colour, the change going up his arm to his body. Akosua prepared herself for his charge, but before he got to her Adofo had wrapped his arm around Kwao from behind. Kwao struggled, his eyes completely red, his tongue had turned into blood red and the upper half of his body was ash coloured. He continued to struggled and almost escaped Adofo’s hold, but Donkor had rushed over and grabbed him. Suddenly his whole body jerked and he leaned forward and threw up violently. Grey bile spilled out of his mouth, and the white ground melted as the grey liquid landed on it. Kwao staggered and stumbled backwards as Adofo and Donkor struggled to hold him up. Akosua walked up to him, the bile bubbled on the white ground fizzed, then disappeared. Akosua touched his face and he opened his eyes. She reached into her sack and pulled her Aron. She shook it over Kwao’s head, its sound echoed with the sound of the wind in the trees. Slowly, Kwao began to look like himself again. The red in his eyes dissolved, as puffs of ash floated out of them. His tongue returned to a healthy pink hue as he coughed out ash. The skin on his arm moved as if the ash was rolling around right under it. It trailed down his arm then escaped through the tips of his fingers in small puffs of ash.. He straightened up and looked around.
“What happened?” he asked, Akosua put her Aron back in the sack.
“You were possessed by the Jab Jab,” she said. She turned and looked at the others; they were all facing the Jab Jabs anticipating an attack. The demons stood, as if stopped by an invincible wall, their red eyes wild, and their tongues hanging out of their mouths. Akosua smiled,
“They can’t come over here,” the Jab Jabs stood for a second an indecisive expression on their faces. Suddenly some of them jumped at them, but they exploded in a mist of white. Ash floated to the ground covering the white surface; it fizzed as a thick layer of ashes landed on it. The rest of them turned and walked back into the jungle, exploding into ashes, turning the green leaves to grey. Akosua turned back to the white field. She stooped down and touched the ground. It looked like white stone and she placed a piece of it on her tongue. Her face twisted as she tasted it,
“It’s salt. Was this here when you and my mother came to hide the spear?” She asked, turning to Donkor. The man looked puzzled as he shook his head.
“No, this was all trees and bushes,” he said then looked around.
“There was a passageway to go underground in the middle of the field.” He said and started walking to the middle. A chorus of crunches echoed across the mountain top as they followed him. Donkor stopped, then took a step and suddenly fell feet first into a hole. Adofo tried to grab him, but he too fell into the hole.
“Are you all O K?” Akosua screamed. At first there was no response, and then Donkor spoke.
“This is the place, you will have to slide down the salt tunnel to get here,” he said. Akosua looked around.
“You come with me, the rest of you stand guard up here.” She said, pointing for Henry, the boy and two of the Bokors to follow her.
Akosua twisted and turned as she slid down on the salt. She came to a stop looking up at Adofo and Donkor. They took her arms and pulled her up. Henry and the others slid down after her, stood up and looked around. The ceiling of the cave was about twenty feet high. The roof of it was a layer of salt and the sun shined through it, creating a rainbow of colours on the white walls. The cave was salt, just like the white field they had just walked on. On the far side, large rocks of salt stood like steps that went about fifteen feet up. At the top, above the last steps of salt was the only natural rock visible.
“Right there,” Donkor said. Akosua looked up at the rock, its beige colour pronounced against the rocks of salt that surrounded it. She lay her gear down and was about to walk over to the steps when laughter filled the cave. Some of the salt rocks cracked and pieces fell, bounced off the salt floor, rolled towards Henry and stopped at his feet.
“Welcome girl witch,” the voice boomed. It echoed through the cave and Akosua looked around to see where it had come from. A man stepped out from behind a salt rock that was shaped like a headstone. It was six feet tall, and as Akosua and her friends watched, a black cross appeared on the front of it. Above the cross were the letters R.I.P, underneath was Akosua’s mother’s name written in red. There were smaller salt rocks surrounding it, they too were shaped like tombstones with the names of each child’s parent on it.
The man wore a black suit, and a black top hat, and dark sunglasses with the right lens knocked out of it. His exposed red eye rolled as he spoke. He used the smaller tombstones as steps to climb onto the bigger one and sat on top of it like a king on his throne.
“This is the perfect spot to sit and watch this momentous occasion. Little witch retrieves Spear of Salt so that she can save her people,” Guede said then threw his head back and laughed. Akosua stood calm and smiled, her eyes never moving away from the evil Loa,
“You don’t intimidate me, you are just a Lackey for Baron Samedi,” she responded. Guede’s laughter disappeared immediately. He puffed on his cigar then leaned forward.
“Go ahead little lady, go get your spear,” he said, and smiled a devilish smile. Akosua looked back at her friends. Adofo stepped forward.
“I will go with you,” he said, but Akosua waived him off.
“I have to do this alone,” She said and took a step.
“Ohhh brave little Obeah Woman,” Guede said and laughed. The salt crunched as Akosua stepped on it, it was the loudest sound she had ever heard, it echoed in her head as she took another step. She stepped lightly, but her left foot sank to her ankle in the salt and was slowly sinking more.
“Watch it now; you already stuck your foot in your mouth by challenging me. Be careful you don’t step into a salty grave.” Guede said and roared with laughter. She struggled to free her foot. Adofo started walking towards her, but once again she raised her hand and he stopped. She was finally able to pull her foot out, small chunks of wet salt rolled off her feet as she shook them one at a time. She steadied herself and took a step. Guede’s smile disappeared again; he had an impatient expression on his face. He looked over at Adofo and the others and then back to Akosua.
“You think you can save lives by getting this spear? Don’t you know that life and death is the biggest joke played on man. That’s why I can use the dead to do my evil works, and I can use the living to do my bidding also.” He boasted then laughed as Amelia took another tentative step. Guede continued talking,
“Ask yourself, are the Jab Jabs dead, or are you and your friends the dead ones. Did I order them to attack you, or is this all one big illusion, and you are actually in the afterlife, and I am in control, and you are doing exactly what I want you to do. Is there a spear over there, or is this just one of my games that I so love to play?” Akosua stopped and looked at him.
“As sure as I am standing here that spear exists, Yemaya says so,” she said and Guede rolled his exposed eye.
“Yemaya, Yemaya. She is no real Loa. She is loose and she is a trickster. Why would you believe her?” He asked staring at Akosua. She took another step then looked over at Guede,
“My mother brought it here Donkor can attest to that.” She said and took another step. Guede looked over at Donkor.
“Who him, the Bokor,” Guede clapped his hand and laughed, a red teardrop rolled out of his eyes,
“Hi old friend, been to any sacrifices lately. What, are you all of a sudden a good little Hougan. I seem to remember wanting my help. Remember the services, the food, and the human offerings. Thank you I was hungry for food, or hungry for souls, and you were quite willing to satisfy me.” he winked at Donkor, the man shifted from one leg to the next nervously.
“Look how nervous he is, do you think you can trust him?” Guede said,. Akosua looked over at Donkor and gave him a reassuring smile. She took another step, her legs shook a little. Guede sucked his teeth, shook his head, and then sneezed. The ground moved violently and Henry and his friends fell. Akosua braced herself, her hand stretched out at her sides for balance. The salt floor began to crack as the cave rumbled.
My computer had a unfortunate encounter with my size 18 shoes and can no longer relay Pa Pa Jumbies updates on what is going on with the Akans and The Ligaroo King, so the installments will be done on Saturday nights for a while. Hope you enjoy.
They walked until they looked down on the clouds. There were no birds or animals; in fact they had not seen any other life forms for a while.
“Stop, stop, can’t breath,” Henry said bending over.
“O K we can stop for a second,”
“Breathe slowly,” Donkor said and he helped Henry lean against a rock.. The wind whistled through the trees that grew out of the side of the mountain. After Henry caught his breath, they started walking. The loudest noise was the crunch of their feet along the path, or the occasional sound of a rock rolling off the side of the mountain. Akosua stopped and the group came to a halt.
“Where was it that you and my mother camped the night before you reached the top of the mountain?” She asked Donkor walked up alongside her.
“Just a little ways up,” he said. They walked among the grey clouds sometimes not able to see where they were going. It was colder and the wind bit into their skin. Akosua looked out at the scene, and beyond the clouds, she still saw the ocean in the distance. The blue skies were littered with white clouds that floated among the grey clouds. The ocean seemed so much smaller from where she stood looking over the side of the mountain. In her head, she heard the sound of seagulls, the ocean rolling onto the sand, the laughter of the kids as they played. She wanted to be back in the village relaxing under a mango tree, listening to the drummers playing. She was jolted back to reality when Donkor spoke.
Its just ahead,”
“About time,” Kwao said as he struggled to breathe.
They walked until they came to a place where the mountain flattened out, and the rocks had small trees with leaves that grew out of cracks. It was a mirror image of the places they had stopped to set up camp on the journey up. The only difference was the cold, and the wind that felt like cold raindrops when it hit their skin. Akosua walked to the back of the flattened out area and dropped down next to wall of rocks that looked like organ pipes. Shrubbery grew out of the cracks in the rocks, but they were all brown. She called to the boy and instructed him to light a fire.
They eat supper; no one really talked as they eat and looked out at the sky. They were close to their destination, and all their thoughts were on the task that was before them. Akosua stayed up late looking at the moon. It was so big she felt like she could hang a rope around it and swing over the jungle, across the ocean, and to where the Ligaroo King held her people captive. She heard some rocks tumble off the side of the mountain and looked around. She knew that out there, someone lurked waiting for the right time to strike. She could not think of them now, she was too close to the top and the spear, she would have to keep a close eye out for any attack. She fell into an uneasy sleep waking up periodically. Donkor sat, looking out at the darkness. He turned and waived at her. She fell asleep, his silhouette fading into the darkness.
As usual, they rose early the next morning. It was cold and the rocks dripped with morning dew. The sun looked small as it rose over the ocean in the distance. Akosua slowly got her gear together. The silence from the night before continued as they got prepared to make their final climb to the top. When they were ready, Akosua stood on a rock,
“This is it, be vigilant. We don’t know what the evil Loas have in store for us. Remember, retrieving the spear is the only way we can defeat the Ligaroo King. Look out for each other and be strong.” She said then jumped off the rock, walked over to Adofo and hugged him. She then walked from one person to the next and hugged them. She had a quiet determined confidence that Henry had not seen before.
“Let’s go,” she said. Adofo took the lead and they began to walk.
They walked for hours, up the winding path and onto what seemed to be a plain. There were no trees, no plants, just rocks with holes in them that looked like the openings to caves. Akosua stopped behind Donkor as he stood looking around.
“There,” he said as he pointed to one of the openings in the rock formation. They walked over to the opening and walked in. It was dark, and the decline was steep, and they struggled to keep their footing as they went down. Fifteen minutes later, the passageway flattened out, and they stepped onto mud. The sun was bright, and it was hard to see after they had walked down the dark tunnel. Akosua stopped and looked around. They were in what looked like a wide valley surrounded by a rock wall as far as the eyes could see. The grass was brown, the trees had no leaves, and the flowers had died the blossoms moldy. They stepped on the dead grass and began walking towards the dead forest. They had not gone twenty feet when there was a thud and a loud scream. Akosua turned around and realized that the girl was missing. She listened, the girl’s voice sounded like she was entrapped in a small cave. Akosua walked towards her voice and almost fell into the whole that the girl had tumbled into. She looked down into a freshly dug grave. Akosua leaned in; the girl was scrambling to get out, her fingers clawing at the mud. Akosua lay down on her stomach reached out, grabbed the girls arm and pulled her out. The girl was covered with black hairy spiders. The child slapped at them, her eyes wide open with fear. Akosua helped her and soon all the spiders were off of her. Akosua stood and looked around. At first glance she did not see the graves, but with closer scrutiny she saw the long rectangular indentations on the surface of the ground. All around them were freshly dug graves. Suddenly, there was ear splitting laughter. Bark fell off the dead trees; the rotted blossoms fell to the ground.
“It’s Guede; he loves death and uses the dead for his evil purposes.” Akosua said, and the group drew their weapons and looked around.
“Keep an eye out, there is no telling what he will send to try and stop us from getting the spear.” She said. They walked on, being careful of the open graves. They walked out of the dead forest and into lush green jungle right before they got to the middle of the valley. Still there were no animals, just beautiful wild flowers and lush green bushes. The grass was soft underfoot, and the air was filled with the scent of blooming flowers. Akosua stopped and listened, there was total silence. Suddenly a figure appeared in front of them and stood before them. Without saying a word he charged at them followed by several more figures that appeared out of thin air. They were all the colour of ash, their eyes and tongue were red, and there were two small horns protruding from their foreheads. Their mouths were open screaming, but no sound came out at first.
Akosua did not react immediately, but as they drew closer she sprang into action.
“Jab Jabs!” she shouted, as she moved out of the way of one of the devils. The Jab Jabs all had clubs that they swung as they charged. Henry swung his machete at one of the Jab Jabs; the demon looked at him in disbelief, and then looked at his own body. There was a long cut that went from his chest to his waist. Ashes spilled out of him cascading down his legs and onto the ground creating a small mound of ashes at his feet. He looked back up at Henry, then vanished leaving a cloud of ash floating in the air. Out of the corner of her eyes, Akosua saw a Jab Jab coming towards her, his club held over his head. She waited until he was close, sidestepped, and pushed him into a tree. The Jab Jab melted into the tree trunk and an ear splitting crack filled the rock valley as the tree exploded. It hit the ground and the valley shook.
Ahhhh, Looks like someone, or something is stalking the Akans. Who is it, will they attack, or will they wait until they retrieve the Sword of Salt and then take it from them. Tune in tomorrow, Sunday, as the story continues. Pa Pa Jumbie is looking forward to seeing you.