13th Installment of Obeah

                                                  CHAPTER 5

For the next couple of weeks the island was drenched with torrential down pours. Henry had not spoken to Akosua, nor had he seen Kwao. He spent his days feeding the chickens, milking the cows, tending to the crops, and fishing. He was starting to get used to his life on the island. He thought about his family sometimes, but all the work he did helped keep him from feeling sorry for himself,

It was late afternoon when one of the boys ran out of the jungle screaming,

“Ship is on the beach, ship is on the beach!” He said, the villagers grabbed their spears and machetes, and ran through the jungle to the beach. Small children ran past him, dogs ran alongside them. They got to the beach, stopped and peeped out from the jungle and saw a ship tilted against the rocks. They waited for a while, and then slowly Akosua, Adofo and Kwao walked onto the beach and slowly made their way down to the ship. It was in surprisingly good shape after crashing into the rocks. Akosua, Adofo and Kwao walked towards the ship, they stepped on the sand as if it was too hot, and their spears raised, their bodies tense. They got to the ship and looked up at it; there was a big hole on the side. Akosua took a tentative step into the ship then disappeared into the hole followed by Adofo. After a few minutes she reemerged,

“It’s safe!” she shouted and the villagers walked out of the jungle and ran towards the ship. They climbed inside and began to explore the contents. Henry stood behind another young man,

“What do you think happened to the people who were on board?” He asked, the young man looked at him,

“The Ligaroo King must have captured them,” he said and walked into the hole. Akosua was on the deck of the ship looking down at them.

“Come on let us take everything we can use back to the village,” she said. Henry walked into the hole and looked around. Unlocked shackles lay in a pile. Blood mixed with the frothy surf.

“What the hell?” Henry said.

“Ligaroos for sure,” the young man said. The villagers to carry everything they could find. Clothes, tables, chairs, plates, anything they thought they would be able to use. Henry helped and got chairs for his hut. It was nightfall before they were done cleaning the ship of its contents.

The rains had stopped, and the night sky was littered with blinking stars. Henry was awakened by someone breathing close to his ear. He opened his eyes, a pair of red eyes hovered over him. He tried to get up, but he was grabbed by the throat. He tried to scream but fingers tightened around his neck and all he managed was a whisper. He grabbed the person’s hand, but their skin was smooth and slippery and he was unable to get a good grip. The person opened their mouth and a sick smell escaped and a loud growl filled the night. Henry was paralyzed with fear, as he felt teeth rub against his neck,

“You feel safe here, don’t you rich boy?” Henry cried as hot breath bounced off his face.

“What do you want from me?” Henry whispered,

“You are not one of them; you will never be one of them. Join us, we are powerful, we can give you everything you want. Slaves, land, you name it and the Loas will see to it that you have it.

“I do not want to be a beast,’ The Ligaroo raised its head and roared. Then the red eyes floated over him again,

“You will pick these slaves over us,” The Ligaroo howled. “I don’t have to ask you, I can make you one of us,” The Ligoroo said and leaned in, “Am going to take my time with you. You will feel the blood drain out of you.” Henry felt sharp teeth against his neck, then a sucking sensation. Henry took a deep breath, as if savouring his last. Just when he resolved to the fact that he may never see his family again, the beast stood upright, lifted its head to the sky, and let out an ear splitting half howl half scream that echoed into the jungle. Steam floated off its back and hung in the air above Henry like a small cloud. The beast stood for a second, then turned and ran out the doorway almost knocking over a boy who stood with a bucket in his hand. Henry rolled off the makeshift bed and landed on his knees gasping for breath. Salt water dripped down his face and into his mouth and he coughed, his throat burning.

“Are you ok?” the boy asked. He took Henry’s arm and they ran out into the night,

“Come with me,” the boy said pulling Henry along, and they ran out into the night, and once again huts were on fire as villagers screamed and ran into the jungle. Henry ran as fast as he could, but just before he got to the jungle he saw Akosua, she stood in the middle of the village. He stopped; hypnotized by the white light that surrounded her. Leaves whirled around her as a gust of wind swept through the village, sending dust and embers from the burning huts into the air. Three human forms engulfed in flames were approaching her, Henry started to walk towards her, but the boy grabbed his arm and pulled him into the jungle. They hid behind some bushes and watched. The three figures ablaze with orange, red, and yellow charged at her. She raised her arms and pointed at them. They stopped, as some unseen force hit them, and they flew backwards through the air landing on the roof of a hut. The bamboo structure exploded in a flash of orange. The three figures landed on their feet and charged at Akosua leaving footprints of fire in their wake, their howling echoed through the jungle. Birds flew overhead, the animals deep in the jungle erupted in a chorus of barks, roars and bellowing. The three figures charged, steam and fire escaping their mouths as they drew closer to Akosua. A flash of blinding white light emanated from her stopping the figures dead in their tracks. They slumped to the ground, lay there for a second, got up, and ran towards the other side of the jungle leaping into the air, transforming into balls of fire and disappeared over the trees.

Henry and the boy walked out of their hiding place and slowly made their way to Akosua. The bright light around her head softened considerably. She stood in a trance her lips moving as if she was in deep pray, her expression was blank, her eyes transfixed on the sky where the Ligaroos had escaped. Henry stood in front of her, her hazel eyes did not move, it was as if he was not there. He said nothing afraid to disrupt her thoughts. The jungle was silent as a graveyard, villagers gathered, and their eyes bright in the light from the burning huts, sparks flew into the air; dark shadows of birds hovered above, floating like ghosts against the star lit night. Animals from the jungle began to congregate in the village.

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