39th Installment of Obeah

                                        CHAPTER 17

It was early morning when they began to gather for their journey. A light drizzle bounced off the leaves, landed on the ground, creating a moist layer of top soil on the jungle’s floor. Henry was up early preparing. He made sure he had his machete sharpened his spear tip ready, and a knife which he stuck in his belt. He knew they were packing food, but he made sure to pack a loaf of bread and a small amount of salted fish. Twenty of them were to take the trip. There were young warriors, including him, and ten Bokors. They were all armed and prepared for any circumstance. The younger boys and girls carried the food they would need; they were also to serve as cooks on the long journey. Henry looked around at the youngest boys and girls and wondered which one would not return from the journey. Ampah was to be left in charge of the village. He looked disappointed, but he knew that staying in the village was an important responsibility. The crowd that gathered cheered and patted the back of the members of the group as they walked into the jungle. Lassette stood off from the crowd and waived at Henry as he walked by.

They walked through the jungle and made their way through a path beyond the pond. Younger children followed them shouting goodbye, dogs ran alongside them barking. The sound of the children chanting, and the pigs squealing, and the chickens clucking, disappeared as they got deeper into the jungle. Henry walked up front with Akosua, Adofo and Donkor. Kwao was at the rear of the group, and Henry was glad that he did not have to deal with him.

They walked most of the day before stopping to rest and eat. The jungle was quiet except for the birds that flew from tree to tree chirping. Donkor, Akosua and Adofo plotted the best way to get to Nkyene Mountain. The towering mountain was in the middle of the island. To get to the spear they had to climb straight up the side.

“There have got to be another way to get to the top of that mountain,” Akosua said, swatting the bugs around her face.

“If there is, I don’t know of it,” Donkor said, “Your mother wanted to make the climb as hard as possible so that no one else try to retrieve the spear,”

“Since coming to this new world, nothing in our lives has been easy. The Loas have not forsaken us, a people who overcome tribulation is stronger for it.’ Akosua said and smiled. “We will overcome,”

Henry had never climbed a mountain before. He was looking forward to it, but was worried about what tricks the Evil Loas and the Ligaroo King had in store for them. He looked over at Kwao. The young warrior sat sharpening his machete, his teeth grinded as he concentrated. He noticed that Henry was looking at him. He stopped what he was doing and looked back at Henry,

“What you looking at Kindoki,” he said and glared at Henry. Henry kept looking at him, and he stood up and motioned for Henry to come fight him. Henry smiled and that enraged Kwao.

“Your day will come!” he shouted. The others in the group looked on but said nothing. They had become accustomed to Kwao’s outbursts. Henry looked around at the others. The Bokors sat off to themselves talking in hushed tones. Some of them had used mud to cover their faces. They reminded Henry of the Arawaks, how fearsome they looked covered with the mud. The Bokors too were armed, some of them with clubs and crude shields made from bamboo. They all looked at Henry suspiciously except for Donkor; at least he was nice to Henry. A gentle breeze blew through the jungle and Henry closed his eyes. The leaves rustled, birds chirped and in the distance he heard the sound of a waterfall.

Donkor said something and Henry opened his eyes and saw him talking to two Bokors. They got up, picked up their gear, and walked into the jungle. Donkor went back to Akosua and Adofo and sat down.

By late afternoon they were on the eastern side of the island. Henry had to use his hand to block the sun from his eyes as they walked across a pasture. Most of the grass was green, but in some spots it was brown. Every time someone moved the grass, black, yellow, brown, blue, red with black spots, even solid green butterflies fluttered in the tropical sunlight. They walked across the pasture and back into the jungle. The tall trees blocked out the sun making it cooler. Adofo and Akosua walked in front of Donkor talking when suddenly Akosua stopped.

“Someone or something is here,” she said and looked around. Kwao walked up from behind the group.

“What is the problem?” he asked. Akosua raised her arm and listened.

“Must be the wind,” she said and the small caravan began to move again. Kwao went back to the back bumping into Henry as he went.

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