I regained consciousness lying on white sand, I tried to get up but the world round me felt like it had broken away from its axis, I closed me eyes until the spinning stopped then got to me feet and surveyed me surroundings. I was standing on a small beach no longer then two hundred yards long, me body was covered with seaweeds that stuck to me like wet rope; damn things made me feel like I was tired up or something. I peeled the weeds off and slowly walked towards the road. I felt a sharp pain on me stomach winching, I looked down and saw burned skin hanging out of a circular wound; I tell you what it stung like crazy as the salty ocean water ran into it, I ignored the pain and kept walking up the slight incline to the leveled part of the beach, steel drum music filled the air from beyond the clump of coconut trees just ahead so I walked through the trees careful not to step on the seashells lying on the ground, the wind swept through the trees causing dried out coconuts to fall from them, crows squawked as they tried to escape the noise.
The music grew louder and it was accompanied by the sound of a crowd laughing and singing. I came onto the street and was suddenly pushed into a crowd of people dancing to the rhythm of calypso music, I maneuvered through the mob and stood on the sidewalk next to the coconut grove, people were going by in waves of colour that sparkled in the early morning sun. I stepped off the sidewalk and pushed me way through the crowd, bodies went by me they faces alight with joy, some of them looked at me but did not seem to care I was there. Jab Jabs dancing by they blackened bodies startled me a little, they red eyes and red tongues bounced up and down as they jumped up and down, some of them beating on milk cans with sticks, other had tire irons and long nails beating to the rhythm, and others held counch shell to they lips blowing into them the sound echoing through the crowds. . I stepped back onto the sidewalk cowering away from them; I mean devilish revelers were not what I needed to see. They went by smearing the on lookers with they black hands, teasing children with they snakes and bullfrogs as they clung to they mother’s skirts trying to escape the devilish masqueraders as they sang,
“Jab Jab, I want a penny!” I shook a little remembering the voices of the La Diablesse screaming in the cave.
The Jab Jabs went by and was replaced by a group of Short Knees. They sprayed powder on the spectators sending them scurrying from the white mist, the bells on the waistband of they costumes jingling as they stomped they feet and despite the crowds attempt to escape, the powder floated into the are creating a mist above they heads then landing on them leaving them looking like the walking dead. I watched they ghostly faces gleam with pleasure as the they disappeared down the street.
I stepped onto the street again and was immediately caught in a rush of bodies. I fell to the pavement looking up at the soles of shoes
“Drank too much me bouy?” laughed a man as he took me hand and pulled me up, I stood up and stared at him confused, he looked me up and down and an astonished expression appeared on his face.
“You naked,” he shouted in disbelief, I stumbled backwards looking round wildly as some of the revelers stopped and looked at me, then began to form a circle round me some of they faces contorted with dis“Dat is de Teacher boy!” screamed a female voice. A hush came over the crowd the music fading in the background, I looked down at me body and instinctively tried to cover meself with me hands. I pushed me way through as the silent astonishment turned into hysterical laughter.
I scanned the sidewalk desperately looking for something to hide me shame when a woman walked by handing me a skirt as she went, me heart skipped a beat when I realized it was the leader of the La Diablesse, I mean, bloody hell, why was she following me? I held the skirt and looked at she as she danced away, I wanted to thank she but she disappeared into the crowd. I looked round trying to figure out where I was but the crowd was too thick making it impossible for me to see any street signs so I walked round aimlessly bumping into people as I went. I started to figure out that it was the yearly carnival and people were too busy dancing to pay any attention to me, then I was stunned when I realized that it was the month of August the time when carnival was celebrated on the island, I was in the captivity of the La Diablesse for over three months. Anger welled up in me as I thought bout the experience I had encountered, I began to cry tears of joy as it set in that I had escaped, the sky opened up and it started to drizzle causing some of the revelers to scamper for cover.
There was a street sign on the corner and I realized that I was on a street just down from the school. I ran through the crowd shoving anyone that got in me way, some of the drunken men threw punches wildly as I pushed them but they were too damn intoxicated to cause any real damage, I wanted to get home so I can see if Jane was still on the island.
I managed to get out of the centre of the city to where there were less people, some of them were tired revelers sitting on the sidewalks half asleep, dunk or high I suspected. Stragglers walked to and from the melee some singing and shouting if only they knew the hell I just came from, friendly faces walked by laughing talking and enjoying themselves, the smell of Roti being cooked came from a roadside stand and people flocked the vender trying to get something to eat. The rain was coming down hard now and some of the people were running into shops and restaurants along the side of the streets, I did not try to escape the rain, I mean; I was enjoying being outside too much. As I turned in the direction of home I was confronted by several people I knew, they were asking me to buy them drinks, I mean, here I was walking round with a damn skirt on without pockets and they were asking for bloody money, I shook me head at them and they walked away stumbling as they went. I went onto the street that ran alongside the waterfront; small fishing boats were docked close to the wall that separated the ocean from the street, I began to feel more comfortable knowing that no one would think me out of place wearing a skirt, hell it was carnival time. I stopped at a small shop for a drink of water, the man behind the counter handed me a glass of orange juice instead.
“You look like you need it.’ He said as he turned to the next customer, I thanked him and then looked round at the other patrons, on the other side of the shop a young lady sat at a table she back towards me, she was eating from a large bowl looking out to sea. Me heart skipped a beat as I thought I recognized she and with anger welling up in me I got up and walked over to she, she looked up at me and I almost fainted, she was the splitting image of the young girl in the cave, she smiled sending a wave of fear and anger through me, I screamed at she and she jumped up holding the bowl in she hand.
“Wha you want!” she screamed backing away from me.
“Its her,” I shouted the glass of orange juice falling out of me hand. I took a step towards she intent on knocking she down and she lifted the bowl and threw it at me, I ducked and the bowl hit the wall behind the counter just missing the shop owner. Two men came forward and grabbed me, I tell you what, I knocked the men off me and charged at she tables and chairs went in all directions. A woman wearing a colourful African print dress was holding the girl back; food flew out of she mouth as she screamed.
“He crazy, he ah crazy man!” More men tackled me and I struggled to free meself from them but they held on one of them shouting to the shop owner to call the police. I sank into unconsciousness me body going limp.