There were quite a few people already in the clearing, the bonfire was smaller that night but there was enough light so I could see the faces of the people yellow brown from the glare of the fire. The drummers had stopped playing and were looking at the far side of the clearing. Out of the shadows a procession of men walked in, they were all wearing white pants, some of them not wearing shirts. The woman at the front of the procession was holding a white fowl in she hands; the bird flapped its wings trying to escape. Slowly the drums began to play and the woman with the chicken began dancing round as she held the bird high in the air offering it up to the gods. Two of the men left the procession and walked over to me, I took a step back; I mean what the hell I just got there. They were standing in front of me and before I had any time to react they grabbed me arms and next thing I knew I was standing in the middle of the men. The wind swept through the people causing some of they turbans to fly off they heads.
I was made to stand at the head of the procession as the men took they places in the crowd. An old woman walked into the circle she was the same old woman from the ceremony the night before, she walked with a slight limp leaning on one of the boys I had played with earlier, Legba John followed he cane hitting the ground in time with the pulsating drums. They came to a stop in front of me I stood there shifting from one foot to the next nervously, the drummers suddenly stopped playing and the crowd grew real quiet, the old woman looked up at me then spoke she voice shaking as she said the words.
“You is possessed boy!” she screamed above the murmuring of the crowd each word uttered as if forced out by some unseen force. I cowered away from she and a small smile cracked she leathery like lips.
“Ah not go hurt you boy. Stand still so Ah could get a good look at you.” She said reaching out with a wrinkled hand, she bracelets jingling as she touched me face, damn, I hated when anyone did that, I mean, it was a gentle touch but hell I was still weary of what she was going to do.
“Smart boy teacher need me help huh?” she said chuckling she eyes were the biggest things on she face and they shifted from left to right when she spoke.
“Well me son, everybody comes back to dey roots sooner or later,” the crowd murmured shaking they heads in agreement.
“Silence!” She shouted she voice firm and authoritative.
“Is time to fight de evil dat have been trying to seduce you. We must set you soul freee!” The crowd began to talk again and the old lady raised she hand to silence them, I looked round at the people, nobody moved, nobody spoke, the glow from the fire making they faces look like boy scouts being told a mesmerizing story, the cracking of the fire was the only thing that broke the silence as sparks floated upwards popping then disappearing in mid air. Slowly the old lady began spinning, man, for an old woman she moved real good. The drummers started to play a slow provocative rhythm as the people in the procession formed a circle round me, the boy stepped back as if uncertain as to what to do next, he gown fluttering gently in the wind as he melted into the darkness beyond the fire. The old lady turned she attention back to me resting she hand on me shoulder.
The people in the procession began dancing to the rhythm of the drums their movement slowly becoming more emphatic, long white gowns covered their feet making it seem like they were floating. As the old woman danced by the crowd some of them reached out and touched she others jerked they bodies uncontrollable. The old woman stopped in front of the woman with the chicken, she took the fowl and spun it round over she head its neck snapped sending its body flying through the air. One of the men danced over to its twitching body, picked it up and drained a couple of drops of blood into a silver cup. Everyone in the circle was dancing now they bodies twisting and turning, they faces contorted yet no sound came out of they mouth. The old lady took the cup from the man and approached me and I was forced to me knees by a strong pair of hands, sweat poured down me body like I was in an invincible shower or something, I tried to get up but the hands were still holding me down. The old lady danced towards me, the cup raised above she head, she white dress twirling round she ankle, she eyes were so big they almost looked like stars that had fallen from the sky. I struggled against the hands holding me, but it was fruitless
The old woman stood above me tilting that bloody cup, I closed me mouth, hell they were going to have to force feed me that damn potion. Someone held me head back causing me mouth to open and I felt the liquid fall into me mouth, oozed down me tongue and hit the back of me throat. Some of it escaped out of the side of me mouth and I brought me hand up and tried to wipe it away, a woman in the crowd was screaming she voice echoed in me head, the old lady was chanting imploring the spirits to come to me aid. Someone pulled me head further back causing some of the liquid to flow into me nose, I swallowed quickly so as to stop meself from drowning, I mean, what the hell were they trying to do kill me or something? The sweet, sticky liquid went down me throat settling heavy on me stomach and I fell forward coughing me head spinning like crazy. The rhythm of the drums ran through me like a raging river and to top things off I sprang to me feet and started dancing round the circle me body twisting in ways I did not know it could. I bumped into other dancers as I frailed me arms then I felt it, this strange tingling feeling. It was the same damn feeling I had when the woman in white appeared to me, me head felt as if it had floated off of me body and I was looking down on the circle, the crowd became one big blur of slow deliberate movement and God help me but my head felt like the one time I tried smoking ganja.
The moon looked like it was bouncing round in the sky. It was then I realized that I was trashing round on the ground looking up at the starry abyss, sparks from the fire floated in the air above me, stopped then dropped to the ground some landing on me, but I felt nothing. Me stomach felt as if someone had placed a sack of rocks on it and soon I was throwing up me chest burning as the bile erupted form me stomach, then I lay there not moving the sour taste in me mouth the only thing I was aware of.
The night wore on the dancing continued and the drummers changed as they tried to keep up the beat, I was dazed stumbling round like I was walking on a cloud that led to heaven’s gate, no one paid much attention to me they were too busy dancing. Alison walked up to me at one point and peered into me face she body blending with the trees, the stars and the fire. She had a small smile on she lips and I tried me best to talk to she but she turned and walked away, I tried to follow she, but I stumbled and fell and just lay there watching the shadows go by. Someone finally pulled me up shouting but all I heard was a roaring sound like a crowd cheering at a football game, me stomach was throbbing; it felt as if someone was playing billiards with small balls in there.
After what seemed like hours I was laying on the ground exhausted, the fire had almost died out and most of the people were gone. I lifted me head up to look round but it felt heavy so I lay back down, I closed me eyes but opened them when I felt like I was going to slip into unconsciousness. Then me body went numb but that numbness was replaced by a sensation that felt like a million army ants were marching right under me skin. I looked over at the smoldering bonfire and there she was smoke whirling round she. I sat up just as she came to me, me heart felt like it had stopped in med beat, I tried to get to me feet but she sat on me chest, man the woman felt heavy for so. I struggled but to no avail,then slowly she leaned forward, me god she was so damn beautiful but she eyes it looked like it was on fire or something, she white dress a blur against the fire behind she. She was smiling as if she as if she knew I still had some doubt about this whole Obeah ceremony. I thought I was fighting she but she was sitting on me chest holding me arms down to me side.
I tensed up anticipating the worst, I swear, I prayed for the first time in a long time, nothing happened so I opened me eyes Alison was standing over me. I looked round frantically then back to Alison, there were two human shadows hovering round behind she, bloody hell, what now? I was lifted up and taken back to the house as the early morning light started to peep through the night sky. I sat on the bed, me head was aching and me eyes felt as if it would pop out of me head. Legba John came into the room and sat in the chair he did not say a word he just sat there like a protective father, I tried talking but me throat was dry and I only managed a crackle, I fell asleep to the stare of Legba John and the sound of the chickens rising to the mourning sun.