17th Installment La Diablesse

Silver light from the moon bounced off the white sheets making it look like a marsh with a light fog over it. I lay on the bed, me mind racing, I felt like I should have left right there and then, I mean, all that Obeah was getting me real frustrated. I lay in the bed listening to the distant sounds of the drums ever so often hearing voices as I drifted into sleep.

I tossed and turned as flashes of the night’s events paraded in me dreams, the images so vivid it felt like me bed was lifted up and placed in the middle of that damn clearing on the mountain. I heard the giggling of the children over the rumbling of the drums echoing in me head, Alison was talking to me, she body trembled as the beat of the drums and me heartbeat vibrated, I heard hissing as liquid from the wood dropped into the fire, suddenly the people were dancing round the bed they bodies twirling like a fat man in front of a funny mirror. I tried to get off the bed, but I could not breath, I mean, it felt like all them people was

sitting on me chest, they rushed at me their eyes afire, their faces, well, they had no bloody faces. Out of the sea of human forms Legba John’s face materialized in front of me he eyes peering directly into mine.

“You mus’ believe boy, you mus’ believe.” I was shaking me head, but he grabbed hold of me face forcing me to look at him he fingers feeling like fire against me face. He repeated the same words the expression on he face looked more evil than concerned. The shadows behind him try to push they way into me view, but I pushed Legba John, I mean, I pushed him real hard and the old man fell backwards evaporating into the mist of bodies, the shadows faded and they were replaced by the white ceiling above me. I sat up in the bed and looked round and for a second I could not figure out where the hell I was until I smelt the scent of the incense. I lay back down taking a deep breath these bloody nightmares could turn an educated man into a fool.

I woke up the next morning when a rooster crowed echoing through the valley, the chickens in the yard fought for scraps, pigs squealed in the distance as they competed for food. I got up and changed into me own clothes, I was going to walk out that door and go home. I thought bout the woman in white what if she came back? I stopped and looked out the window; a boy was tossing corn into the yard smiling as the chickens fought each other for the grain. I turned round and headed for the door and went into the voodoo room, it was already lit with candles and the many incense sticks, smoke floated across the room like a thick fog in an alley on London’s west side. I was halfway across the room before I realized Alison was walking next to me.

“Here is you breakfast, she said handing me a tray, I looked at the bakes and saltfish souse me stomach rumbled for so, I hesitated, not wanting to stay but I was so damn hungry I decided to eat before I leave. I took the tray and walked back into the bedroom, the chickens were still fighting in the yard the noise really making me vexed. I sat down on the bed resting the tray on me lap, Alison stood in the doorway looking at me as I began to eat,

“I guess I should leave now huh?” I said without looking up but when I got no response from she I looked up. She was shaking her head.

“Still doubting dis whole ting huh?” she asked.

“You could leave anytime you want,” she said looking at me. “Dere is still one more ceremony we could do to help you.”

I stood up setting the tray down and began circling the bed trying to make up me mind. Alison must have sensed the growing doubts in me because she stepped forward and spoke.

“If you leave now Ah cant guarantee anyting, but if you stay for tonight’s ceremony den Ah can tell you that nothing, Ah mean nothing go harm you.” Anger and frustration welled up in me and I turned to her.

“You must tell me what good last night was for?” I shouted. She took a step backwards and I realized that the tone of me voice had startled she. I took a deep breath trying to calm meself.

“Tell me something damn it,” I said sitting down on the bed. She walked over to me and stood in front of me.

“Last night we were trying to call up the Loa. Implore him to protect you from de evil women.” She stopped talking and looked down at she hands, I moved a little making sure that she was looking at me.

“Tonight we go raise up de spirit, let it surround you and dat way you go leave here protected from any impure thoughts or actions dat may try to posses you, but you mus’ believe.” She last words were emphatic more so than Legba John. I looked up at she, there was a battle waging in me head, see, the teacher in me said I should get up and walk away but the island boy in me was shouting, stay everything will be cool runnings. I looked up at Alison why should I trust them, I mean, anyone of them could be the woman in white, hell, it could be just a big deception to get me to believe, then I remember how I felt when the woman in white appeared for the first time, I had looked out me window many of time and people came and went in the darkness but none of them made me confused, there must be some explanation for this blasted woman in white.

“I will stay. I mean, what do I have to lose.” No sooner had I said the words Alison turned and left the room. I got up followed she into the smoky room and out the front door, the sun hit me and it felt like I had walked into an oven as I stood looking at its orange rays bouncing off the leaves. There was a small plum tree in the yard and I walked over to it picked one of the yellow fruit and popped it into me mouth, yes man, there is nothing like a sweet China plumb.

I started down the stoned walkway to the wooden gate, red, yellow and blue plants shimmered a little in the sunlight, man, it was a beautiful day. I went through the gate and on to the dirt road just as a group of women walked by carrying buckets of clothes on they heads, they did not seem to notice me because they kept walking and talking. I followed them up a winding path lined with mango trees and heavy shrubbery as they gracefully maneuvered the buckets when they came up on low tree branches.

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