48th Installment of Obeah

                                        CHAPTER 21

They walked until they looked down on the clouds. There were no birds or animals; in fact they had not seen any other life forms for a while.

“Stop, stop, can’t breath,” Henry said bending over.

“O K we can stop for a second,”

“Breathe slowly,” Donkor said and he helped Henry lean against a rock.. The wind whistled through the trees that grew out of the side of the mountain. After Henry caught his breath, they started walking. The loudest noise was the crunch of their feet along the path, or the occasional sound of a rock rolling off the side of the mountain. Akosua stopped and the group came to a halt.

“Where was it that you and my mother camped the night before you reached the top of the mountain?” She asked Donkor walked up alongside her.

“Just a little ways up,” he said. They walked among the grey clouds sometimes not able to see where they were going. It was colder and the wind bit into their skin. Akosua looked out at the scene, and beyond the clouds, she still saw the ocean in the distance. The blue skies were littered with white clouds that floated among the grey clouds. The ocean seemed so much smaller from where she stood looking over the side of the mountain. In her head, she heard the sound of seagulls, the ocean rolling onto the sand, the laughter of the kids as they played. She wanted to be back in the village relaxing under a mango tree, listening to the drummers playing. She was jolted back to reality when Donkor spoke.

Its just ahead,”

“About time,” Kwao said as he struggled to breathe.

They walked until they came to a place where the mountain flattened out, and the rocks had small trees with leaves that grew out of cracks. It was a mirror image of the places they had stopped to set up camp on the journey up. The only difference was the cold, and the wind that felt like cold raindrops when it hit their skin. Akosua walked to the back of the flattened out area and dropped down next to wall of rocks that looked like organ pipes. Shrubbery grew out of the cracks in the rocks, but they were all brown. She called to the boy and instructed him to light a fire.

They eat supper; no one really talked as they eat and looked out at the sky. They were close to their destination, and all their thoughts were on the task that was before them. Akosua stayed up late looking at the moon. It was so big she felt like she could hang a rope around it and swing over the jungle, across the ocean, and to where the Ligaroo King held her people captive. She heard some rocks tumble off the side of the mountain and looked around. She knew that out there, someone lurked waiting for the right time to strike. She could not think of them now, she was too close to the top and the spear, she would have to keep a close eye out for any attack. She fell into an uneasy sleep waking up periodically. Donkor sat, looking out at the darkness. He turned and waived at her. She fell asleep, his silhouette fading into the darkness.

As usual, they rose early the next morning. It was cold and the rocks dripped with morning dew. The sun looked small as it rose over the ocean in the distance. Akosua slowly got her gear together. The silence from the night before continued as they got prepared to make their final climb to the top. When they were ready, Akosua stood on a rock,

“This is it, be vigilant. We don’t know what the evil Loas have in store for us. Remember, retrieving the spear is the only way we can defeat the Ligaroo King. Look out for each other and be strong.” She said then jumped off the rock, walked over to Adofo and hugged him. She then walked from one person to the next and hugged them. She had a quiet determined confidence that Henry had not seen before.

“Let’s go,” she said. Adofo took the lead and they began to walk.

They walked for hours, up the winding path and onto what seemed to be a plain. There were no trees, no plants, just rocks with holes in them that looked like the openings to caves. Akosua stopped behind Donkor as he stood looking around.

“There,” he said as he pointed to one of the openings in the rock formation. They walked over to the opening and walked in. It was dark, and the decline was steep, and they struggled to keep their footing as they went down. Fifteen minutes later, the passageway flattened out, and they stepped onto mud. The sun was bright, and it was hard to see after they had walked down the dark tunnel. Akosua stopped and looked around. They were in what looked like a wide valley surrounded by a rock wall as far as the eyes could see. The grass was brown, the trees had no leaves, and the flowers had died the blossoms moldy. They stepped on the dead grass and began walking towards the dead forest. They had not gone twenty feet when there was a thud and a loud scream. Akosua turned around and realized that the girl was missing. She listened, the girl’s voice sounded like she was entrapped in a small cave. Akosua walked towards her voice and almost fell into the whole that the girl had tumbled into. She looked down into a freshly dug grave. Akosua leaned in; the girl was scrambling to get out, her fingers clawing at the mud. Akosua lay down on her stomach reached out, grabbed the girls arm and pulled her out. The girl was covered with black hairy spiders. The child slapped at them, her eyes wide open with fear. Akosua helped her and soon all the spiders were off of her. Akosua stood and looked around. At first glance she did not see the graves, but with closer scrutiny she saw the long rectangular indentations on the surface of the ground. All around them were freshly dug graves. Suddenly, there was ear splitting laughter. Bark fell off the dead trees; the rotted blossoms fell to the ground.

“It’s Guede; he loves death and uses the dead for his evil purposes.” Akosua said, and the group drew their weapons and looked around.

“Keep an eye out, there is no telling what he will send to try and stop us from getting the spear.” She said. They walked on, being careful of the open graves. They walked out of the dead forest and into lush green jungle right before they got to the middle of the valley. Still there were no animals, just beautiful wild flowers and lush green bushes. The grass was soft underfoot, and the air was filled with the scent of blooming flowers. Akosua stopped and listened, there was total silence. Suddenly a figure appeared in front of them and stood before them. Without saying a word he charged at them followed by several more figures that appeared out of thin air. They were all the colour of ash, their eyes and tongue were red, and there were two small horns protruding from their foreheads. Their mouths were open screaming, but no sound came out at first.

Akosua did not react immediately, but as they drew closer she sprang into action.

“Jab Jabs!” she shouted, as she moved out of the way of one of the devils. The Jab Jabs all had clubs that they swung as they charged. Henry swung his machete at one of the Jab Jabs; the demon looked at him in disbelief, and then looked at his own body. There was a long cut that went from his chest to his waist. Ashes spilled out of him cascading down his legs and onto the ground creating a small mound of ashes at his feet. He looked back up at Henry, then vanished leaving a cloud of ash floating in the air. Out of the corner of her eyes, Akosua saw a Jab Jab coming towards her, his club held over his head. She waited until he was close, sidestepped, and pushed him into a tree. The Jab Jab melted into the tree trunk and an ear splitting crack filled the rock valley as the tree exploded. It hit the ground and the valley shook.

47th Installment of Obeah

They climbed for a couple of days, and the higher they got the harder it was to breathe. The closer they got to the top of the mountain, the quieter Akosua became. She was trying to convince herself that she was the one. She looked at her friends. They were depending on her to save them from the Ligaroos. She was just a girl, what if she was not able to do what they expected of her. Sometimes having all these people depend on her was hard to deal with. She often wondered where her childhood had gone. One day she lived on a plantation being the server girl for her master’s daughter, and then suddenly here she was, leading a village.

Being the server girl was not the best existence, but she was still able to find time to be a little girl. She would sometimes play with the plantation owner’s children. Her mother was a house slave, and that gave her a little more privilege than the kids whose parents were field slaves. She did not know why the plantation owner decided to sell her and her mother, but she remembered his wife insisting that they be sold. Her dreams started when she was about six years old, at first, she thought they were nightmares and she was afraid, but one day her mother sat her down and explained to her what her destiny was.

She stood wiping the sweat from her forehead just as the group walked by her, their bodies glistened with sweat, their faces contorted with exhaustion. Henry smiled at her as he walked by. She looked at them, eight men and ten young warriors. She wondered how they could ever defeat the Ligaroo King. Adofo walked by and touched her shoulder, she loved him and when he smiled she felt warm inside. He was strong and loyal and was a good leader. Donkor, she was not sure she quite trusted him, he did join the Bokors and participated in their worship of the evil Loas, but right now she needed his help. Kwao, he was always angry, and she was worried his crush on her would cloud his judgment. She looked at Henry, the kids walked behind him. He seemed to have assimilated quite well, but the truth is he was not a warrior. She started walking back to the front of the group, rocks rolled off the side of the mountain with every step she took. She walked for a couple of minutes until they turned a corner and the sun shined directly into her eyes.

Suddenly she heard a scream at the back of the group. She turned and ran towards the sound, her feet sliding on loose rocks. She finally got to the rear of the group and saw Henry leaned over the side on his stomach. One of the Bokors held his feet, but, was slipping to the edge. Donkor got to them before she did and grabbed one of Henry’s legs. Akosua dropped down on her stomach next to Henry. She looked over the edge and saw Kwao hanging his feet dangling. He did not look afraid, just a resolve of his pending death. Henry held him up by one arm, his face contorted with pain. She looked down, but could not see the jungle. The wind bounced off her face causing her dreadlocks to whip around. Trees grew out of the mountainside, rocks stuck out, but neither was close enough for Kwao to put his feet on. Birds flew out of a hole in the mountain, swarming around him. His screams echoed down the mountain.

“Hold on!” Henry screamed, but slowly he was losing his grip on Kwao’s arm.

“Grab my hand!” Akosua shouted, leaning down, stretching her hand down to Kwao. He struggled to bring his other hand up. For a second, Akosua had hold of it, but they were both sweating and she lost her grip. Henry grunted as all of Kwao weight pulled on his shoulder, almost ripping it out of its socket. Donkor and the Bokor warrior slipped closer to the edge, unable to get traction on the loose rocks.. Some of them hit Kwao and he began to bleed form the head. Akosua stretched her arm down again.

“Try again!” she shouted. Henry slide towards the edge and Akosua leaned down more; the other Bokors and the warriors grabbed hold of her legs. Kwao grunted loudly and swung his arm up and grabbed hold of Akosua’s arm. Together they pulled until Kwao was safely on the path. They all lay looking up at the blue sky, trying to catch their breaths.

About five minutes passed before anyone spoke,

“That was close,” Donkor said as he sat up. Akosua smiled and turned to him.

“Now that was good team work,” she said. Kwao sat up and looked over the edge.

“I stopped to take a drink and someone pushed me. Luckily a tree branch stopped me, or I would have been done for.” He said a nervous smile on his face.

“Did you see who it was?” Akosua asked and Kwao looked at her.

“No it happened so fast, one minute I had my head back drinking, and the next I was floating in the air,” he said and laughed nervously. Henry sat up flexing his arm, Kwao avoided looking at him.

“Thank you,” he said as his eyes searched the ground. Henry did not respond, he just shook his head,

“There has been someone following us since we left the Valley of the Weeping Willow trees.” Akosua said and Donkor looked over at her.

“I have had the same feeling too,” he said and they were silent for a second.

“Lets go,” Akosua said suddenly, with renewed determination. They got up gathered their scattered gear and slowly began to walk up the path.

This Sunday Obeah Tune in

Ahhhh, looks like the Akans are on their way to get the Spear of Salt. Do you think the Ligaroo king will let them get it, or do you think he will be sending his most gruesome Jumbies to stop them.  I can tell you now, but then again what fun will that be. You must go on the journey with them, you must tune in on Sunday for the 42nd installment of Obeah. Do it because Papa Jumbie say so. Now lay down, sweet dream my little Jumbies.

Obeah Tomorrow

Well hello me little Jumbies, its another Saturday night. Its the eve of another installment of OOOOBBBBEEEAAAHHH HA HA HA HA HA HA. All you ready to see what the Akans are up to. All you wanting to see what the Ligaroo King has in store for them next. Will it be a spell, will it be a curse, or will it be a mythical beast. Well me Jumbies, I guess you will have to come back tomorrow to find out. But until then, sweet dreams, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

35th Installment of Obeah

The sun was going down in the west when they finally sat down to eat. Henry snacked on tropical fruit all afternoon, he could not help himself he was hungry. Akosua sat at the head of the middle table. Her smile radiated across the table, as she laughed and talked with everyone. Henry surveyed the spread. Maroon coloured sweet potatoes, earth tone grey yams, boiled green bananas, vegetables of all kinds sat on the table in calabash bowls. Yellow mangoes, bananas and sour soups, yellow and green paw paws, golden apples, red plumbs and yellow passion fruit spotted green in places. There was chicken, roasted pig, and a roasted goat sat in the middle of the table. Calabash bowls sat in front of every villager. Coconut shell cups with lime juice. Homemade vases lined the middle of each table with bright tropical coloured flowers. This was the most food he had seen in one sitting. It was even larger than the feasts the plantation owner had when he had guests from the Old Country. Akosua stood up,

“Our journey was successful; we have convinced the Bokors to join us in the fight against the Ligaroo King and his followers. We have overcome many obstacles, but this is only the beginning of our fight. The Bokors will come to our village and from here we will leave to retrieve the Spear of Salt. We will build more huts to accommodate our guests. With the grace of Yemaya and Obatala, we will be victorious. But today we will rejoice, eat, drink and be merry.” She said and lifted her coconut shell cup.

“To our health, our success, and for the safe return of our people!” She said and the villagers cheered, some pounded their fists on the tables.

After they had eaten, they sat around the village too stuffed to move. Ampah was on a hammock tied between two mango trees, Adofo and Akosua lay on banana leaves next to Lassette who sat on a tree stump, Kwao and some of the boys were wrestling, their dreadlocks covered with sand. Henry sat in a tree branch looking down on the lazy group. Small children played with dogs and monkeys on the boundary where the village stopped and the jungle began. Lassette sat up,

“Why don’t the Ligaroo King come here himself and destroy the village?” She asked. Kwao and the boys stopped wrestling and looked over. Akosua spoke without sitting up,

“He has no reason to come here. He can send his Ligaroos warriors and Jumbies to kidnap anyone he wants. Plus he knows that we have to come to his island to free our parents, all he has to do is wait to get our strongest all in one place, then it will be easy for him to destroy us.” She said lazily. Lassette mumbled and leaned back looking up at the blue sky. She waited for a second then spoke again,

“How come the Gods and evil spirits don’t attack us themselves?” she asked. This time Akosua sat up.

“They have to possess someone to do their evil deeds. That is why the Arawak’s came, and the beast that Adofo and the boys killed turned into one of us. The evil Loas possessed them and when they are released from that possession they never remember what they did. It’s like the beliefs from your own homeland. Your devil can possess people and cause them to do evil deeds. Your god lives in you, but some of you are possessed by evil.” She said.” Lassette seemed satisfied with Akosua’s answer and settled down. Akosua lay back down, the ocean washed ashore on the beach in the distance; bees buzzed by and went into the jungle. The splash of the dolphins is heard as the wind swept in from the ocean. Henry closed his eyes as the coolness brushed his face. He needed this peaceful time because soon it would be time to go off to battle again.

Night descended on the island and the drummers began to play. The villagersdanced around the bonfire. Henry joined them and danced until his legs began to ache. The fire popped and cracked, and some of the children chased the sparks that floated into the air. Their voices echoed into the jungle, dogs howled and barked, some chasing the children that ran around the fire. Akosua and Adofo had disappeared to their special place on the small beach. Kwao was missing too. Henry knew that he was somewhere spying on the two lovers. It was late when he went back to his hut and flopped down on his bed. The events of the day played out in his head like a living dream. This was the most fun he had had since his mother died. He thought of his sister and said out loud,

“I am coming to rescue you,” his voice interrupting the crickets outside the hut. He fell asleep to images of him and his sister playing in the field behind their home in the Old Country.

31st Installment of Obeah

CHAPTER 14

Adofo and Henry stood on a hill overlooking a valley. A small river meandered down the middle; the crystal water glittered like diamonds, yellow, blue and red flowers lined the banks of the river. Henry sat down and he felt the cool dew on the grass soak through his pants. Adofo sat down next to him. They had walked most of the day and needed to take a rest.

“How can a place so beautiful have such evil things happen?” Henry asked, Adofo was drinking from a water pouch,

“You put man in anything beautiful and he finds a way to bring evil to it. Birds don’t enslave each other; butterflies don’t put evil spells on dragon flied. The difference between them and us is we have the intelligence justify that it is our nature to be evil, at least that is what my father once told me.” He replied. Henry scanned the valley. A flock of parrots flew into the trees on the other side of the jungle. Henry followed them as they glided over the water and back into the jungle.

“My father said that sometimes evil deeds are necessary for progress. My sister said it was his ways of making his job not seem as bad as it is,” Henry said. Adofo were looking around.

“Hey look,” Adofo said pointing. Henry looked in the direction he had pointed. A group of five people emerged from the jungle and walked along the river bank.

“It’s Akosua and the others,” he said and got up and started walking. They stumbled down the mild decline trying not to fall. Rocks tumbled down the hill taking chunks of mud with them. They reached the river and waded through a part of it that was ankle deep. The cool water felt good in the afternoon heat. Fish swam out of the way with every step they took.

“Akosua!” Adofo shouted. Akosua and her group stopped and looked around.

“Hey!” Adofo shouted again. Akosua saw them and began running. They met and stood in the middle of the river, the water rushed past their waist. It was crystal, until the point where it touched their bodies, then it was greyish, white. Akosua’s dress floated above the water, it looked like it was about to wash away with the rushing swell. Kwao stood his eyes ablaze with jealousy. Adofo and Akosua stood for a moment holding each other, and then looked into each other’s eyes. The parrots flew overhead, their feathers a rainbow of colours in the tropical blue sky. Kwao stepped forward.

“You were told to stay in the village,” he said walking past Adofo bumping him on his shoulder as he went.

“I wanted to make sure the lady I love was safe,” Adofo said, smiling at Akosua. Kwao kept walking trying hard not to look at Adofo.

“Come on, we have to get back to the village since no one is in charge,” he said.

“Ampah can handle it,” he said. The two warriors walked up to Adofo and hugged him,

“It’s good to see you friend,” one of them said as he smiled. Lassette walked past him looked at him then looked at Akosua and smiled. Adofo looked at Akosua.

“Long story,” she said “I will tell you when we get back to the village.” She said then took Adofo’s hand and they followed the others up the hill and back into the jungle.

It was late afternoon, hot and muggy as they walked across a field of wild cotton bushes. Small cotton balls floated around in the air around them and into the jungle. Bugs flew between them as if hypnotized by the sweat that glistened off their bodies. Kwao had not spoken since Adofo and Henry showed up. He pushed ahead trying not to listen to what was being said behind him. Lassette walked behind Akosua and Adofo. She was breathing hard, her mouth open, her eyes red from being in the sun too long. Her beige coloured dress was ripped and came to just above her knees. There were scratches on her legs from the bushes and thorns that ripped at her skin. Adofo and Akosua talked, their voices the loudest thing in an otherwise quiet jungle. Kwao stopped,

“Shhhh” he said, he looked around for a second. Adofo and Akosua walked up next to him. He stood like a cat; his eyes scanned the jungle, his spear at the ready.

“What is it?” Adofo asked. Kwao looked at him as if to silence him. They stood for a minute then Kwao relaxed.

“Stop the chattering and stay alert,” he said and began walking. Adofo caught up with him,

“We saw what looked like boats coming towards the island earlier,” he whispered.

“And you are just telling me that,”Kwao said. Adofo looked a little exasperated

“I just remembered,” he said, Kwao rolled his eyes,

“If you were not so captivated by love you would have remembered,” Kwao retorted.

“I am telling you now so be alert.” Adofo said and he stared at Bartholomew.

“Make sure and let the boys know,” Kwao barked and walked off.

They got to a part of the jungle where the trees stood tall and there were no bushes around their trunks. The red top soil was hard and it crunched when they stepped on it. A peacock trotted by, its tail a glitter of colours. They stopped and watched it go by. Lassette tried to step in front of it, but the bird evaded her and lumbered away. Henry took a drink of water, and then brushed the back of his hand across his forehead.

“Its bloody hot here,” he said, Kwao looked back at him,

“What Kindoki can’t take a little heat?” he said then snickered.

“Shhhh!” Adofo said, Kwao gave him an evil look and was about to say something when an arrow whizzed by his head and stuck in the tree next to him. They froze for a second, then there was a shrilling war cry and an army of men rushed out of the jungle screaming. Henry pulled out his machete and braced himself. Adofo bumped into him,

“Take Akosua and the lady and go hide,” he said.

30th Installment of Obeah

Akosua, Kwao, Lassette and the two warriors were cutting their way through the jungle. Kwao was not his talkative self. He sulked all the way from where they had spent the night. Lassette walked alongside Akosua,

“What is his problem today?” She asked. Akosua hesitated for a second.

“Just being his usual self,” she replied. Lassette walked for a second as if trying to figure out what to say next.

“How much further to your village?” she asked trying to keep up with Akosua.

“About a day’s walk form here,” Akosua said,

“A whole day?” Lassette said as she took a deep breath. Akosua smiled and looked at her,

“We will stop for a rest soon.” She said still smiling.

“Did you learn your religion from your mother?” Lassette asked.

“Yes, our parents took advantage of our freedom and taught us about our homeland. That is how we learned about Obeah. Most of us kids were born in the New World. We were raised worshipping the plantation owner’s god. You said you have seen one of our services?” Akosua asked. Lassette smiled glad that Akosua had spoken to her.

“Yes on the island before the rebellion I witnessed a service. I was a curious child. One night I snuck out of the house and followed the sound of the drums. I saw the slaves chanting and dancing. I was spellbound by what I saw and heard. The beat of the drums made my heart beat faster, the share intensity of the slaves as they prayed. I was intrigued. I attended several services without my parents finding out. But they soon did, that is why they disowned me. They took me to their church so the priest can pray for me I spent many of days in confessionals, but I still went to the services. My father said I was a disgrace to the family they tried to send me back to the Old Country so I ran away. Those Obeah services are what sent me on the path to trying to help free the slaves.” She looked ahead; Kwao had stopped and stood with his index finger to his lips. They listened, the leaves rustled in the wind, the flapping of wings echoed overhead. A duck quaked and waddled through the bushes next to them. When Kwao was satisfied there was no danger he started walking without saying a word. Akosua looked at Lasette; she had a puzzled expression on her face. They started walking, Lassette continued talking,

“Why did you not tell me this last night?” Akosua asked. Lassette looked into the jungle,

“Because I get the reaction that Kwao gave whenever I mention fighting for the slaves’ freedom or attending Obeah services” she said and they were silent for a second. Before Akosua could say anything, Lassette turned to her and looked her in the eye for the first time since the night before.

“If you are the leader of your village, then who is in charge while you are gone?” she asked, more for conversation than wanting to know.

“Adofo,” Akosua said smiling. Lassette reached out and patted Akosua on her arm.

“You are in love,” she said, Akosua looked down to the ground embarrassed.

“I can use butterflies to fly, I can change some people from evil to good, but nothing feels like when am around him.” She said,

“Tell me about him,” Lassette said walking alongside Akosua. Akosua started to talk about Adofo when Kwao abruptly stopped. A large snake hung from a tree branch in front of him. The boy swung his machete cutting the snake in half. He picked up the body of the severed snake and turned to Akosua and Lassette,

“If you two girls were not jabbering I would have seen it sooner and would not have had to kill it.” He said angrily. Akosua took a step towards him,

“Do not forget who is in charge Kwao,” she said. Kwao stared at her like he was about to say something. The two boys stepped up behind Akosua and Lassette. Kwao looked at them still contemplating if he should say something.

“You don’t have to listen to us just pay attention to what you are doing.” Akosua said. Kwoa hesitated, but turned stepped over the dead snake and walked off. Akosua Lassette and the warriors followed.

“Jealousy is a dangerous thing,” she said whispering.

Akosua did not say anything she stared into the jungle, a faraway look in her eyes. A parrot squawked in the trees as they walked.