4th Installment of Obeah

                                      CHAPTER 2

Chickens clucked, dogs barked, and the wings of birds flapped as they flew over the hut. He got up and walked to the doorway and peeped out. The guard sat with his back against the hut sound asleep. Henry snuck past him looking around to make sure he was not being watched. He creped by a couple of girls feeding chickens, hid behind one of the mango trees, waited until the girls walked away and ran into the jungle.

He walked on thick grass that covered the jungle floor. Wild tropical flowers bloomed on the trees and on the ground, birds chirped in the trees, and bugs swarmed in large clusters around him. He was not sure where he was going, but he was sure he would find some civilized people he could relate to.

Kwao went to relieve the guard and found him fast asleep. He went into the hut and saw that Henry was gone; he rushed back out and sounded the alarm,

“He escaped, he escaped!” He shouted and every hut in the village emptied as the children ran up to him. Akosua walked up with Adofo.

“He must have gone into the jungle we must go after him before the Bokors get him,” she said. Kwao threw his spear down,

“Why should we go after him, why not let the Bokors turn him into a Jumbie,” He shouted, some of the villagers yelled their agreement with Kwao.

“Because Obatala would want us to,” Akosua said

“He is not one of us he is one of them, I say we let the Bokors turn him in into a Jumbie,” Kwao insisted, Akosua raised her hand and silenced the crowd.

“Now would you want to be a Jumbie, why would you wish that on anyone?” Akosua said. Some of the villagers hung their heads, but said nothing,

“If you don’t want to go then I will go find him, you don’t have to come.” She said, turned and walked away and slowly some of the kids followed her.

Henry ran as fast as he could, he did not know where he was going, but all he wanted to do was escape that village. He would figure out what to do when he was sure he had some distance between him and his captures. He ran until there was no coconut trees, no birds flying over, no sounds of laugher, just the rustling of animals in the thick brush.

Despite the bright tropical sun, darkness descended on the jungle as the brush became thicker, and he struggled to see where he was going. The tree trunks extended into the sky, disappearing in the thick cluster of leaves. They were entrapped in thick vines that danced eerily in the shadows created by the retreating sunlight.Still he pressed on. Small tree branches bounced off his face, large thorns ripped at his arms and legs. It was hot even though he was in the shade, sweat rolled down his face getting into his eyes. He felt his heartbeat pulsating through his whole body. He stopped to catch his breath and rubbed his legs. His hands became sticky with blood. He heard rustling in the bushes behind him and he stopped breathing, his heartbeat pounding in his ear.

He heard the movement again and he felt like he was going to faint. The sound moved closer, and the bushes next to him moved suddenly, as the jungle above him came alive as birds retreated, squawking as they went. He started to run, a stamped of wild pigs rushed past him. He tripped and fell, and landed on one of the animals, as other animals jumped over him, some crashed into trees. Henry got up and started running again, but suddenly came to a dead stop as he became entangled in a thick cluster of vines. It was as if a million hands were holding him. He heard the most ominous blood curling growl, he stopped struggling as the bushes parted and a pair of yellow eyes appeared from the darkness. They stopped and stood suspended about twelve feet in front of him. Henry’s skin felt like it was on fire, he could almost feel the sweat oozing out of his pours. Slowly the yellow eyes moved towards him, and in an instant, the beast was right in front of him, its breath the worst scent he had ever encountered. The beast sniffed and opened its mouth, saliva dripped onto Henry’s face. Then the beast roared, leaves fluttered violently, and the animals exploded into a chorus of barks and squeals and chirps.

When the roar finally stopped, Henry was deaf for a second. The beast hesitated, its yellow eyes peering into Henry’s eyes. It opened its mouth and licked Henry’s face, he felt the bristles on its tongue scrap against his face and he almost fainted. The beast opened its mouth wider, and it seemed like it was going to swallow his whole head, but stopped when a shadow glided through the trees and dropped a rock on its head. The beast stepped back, trampling bushes and small trees as it did. Then another shadow floated down, then another, and another. The beast roared swinging its giant paws at its attackers. But they kept coming and finally the beast gave up and retreated into the jungle.

Henry fought to free himself from the vines, but with every move the vines tightened. He stopped struggling and looked around. All was silent in the jungle, not a bird or an animal stirred. A shadow darted in front of him. Henry tried to follow it with his eyes but it moved too fast. It went by again, and the eerie silence in the jungle continued. The sunlight seeped through the trees sending streaks of yellow light down onto the jungle’s floor. A large bird glided between the trees, a mere shadow in the limited light. Slowly, shadows began to emerge from the dark shrubbery. At first Henry thought it was the Akan warriors and felt relieved, but the closer the shadows got, he realized it was not them. These were grown men, some were tall, but others were less than four feet. One of them stepped forward, his face painted in red and white. The lines crossed his face from one side to the next. The others had the same markings on their faces. The lines were painted, giving the illusion that their eyes were a separate entity from the rest of their faces. Henry struggled with the vines as one of the men stepped towards him pulling out a knife. He felt the man’s breath tickle his nose,

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