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.

A Blessing From The Obeah Man by Celina Grace

A Blessing From The Obeah Man by Celina Grace

Dare you read on? Horrifying, scary, sad and thought-provoking, this short story collection from bestselling author Celina Grace, author of psychological thrillers Lost Girls, The House on Fever Street and the Kate Redman Mysteries will take you on a macabre journey. In the titular story, a honeymooning couple take a wrong turn on their trip around Barbados. The Mourning After brings you a shiversome story from a suicidal teenager. In Freedom Fighter, an unhappy middle-aged man chooses the wrong day to make a bid for freedom, whereas Little Drops of Happiness and Wave Goodbye are tales of darkness from sunny Down Under. Strapping Lass and The Club are for those who prefer, shall we say, a little meat to the story…

Run For Your life

So here I was, in the middle of the night, walking through the bushes. Tress lined the sides of the foot beaten path, it was real dark and I was sweating with fear. I bet you wondering how I ended up walking in the bushes at night eh? Well it all started when me friend Ras Burtrand ran into me in the city. He was all excited, his eyes that was usually dull from smoking ganja was dancing all over the place. He grabbed me hand and said, “Tall boi, leh me tell yuh, I just harvested some ah de best ganja ever, mon, you have to come over and tek a taste,” Well I for one did not need a second invitation, I mean Ras Burtran was known to cultivate some of the best weed in the whole damn country. I mean that man did not just have a green thumb, I mean this man had the golden touch when it comes to growing weed.

Later that afternoon, I went over to the village where Ras Burtran live. His house sat on a small incline, there was no grass, nor trees, just dirt. That man could gross some bad ganja, but he could never get the grass ton grow around his house. He saw me coming and jumped right up. I sat on a big rock next to the door of his one room wooden house waiting. He came out with two of the biggest joints I ever seen. I took the first puff, inhaled and boy did it hit me. and I swear to you I heard African drums playing, lions roaring, monkeys barking. That damn ganja took me back to Africa, I repatriated in me head. Ras Burtran leaned in and smiled, his teeth looking as big as a donkey’s, “What I tell yuh, I bet you feel real nice right now EH?” he said, inhaling a cloud of smoke. All I could do was smile and shake me head, well I believe I shook me head.  Me stomach started rumbling and before I could say anything Ras Burtrand went into his house and came back with a bucket full of freshly picked mangoes, plumbs, sugar apples and guavas. We sat there eating and smoking and before I knew it, night had fallen. Around eleven or so I decided to get back to me village. I did not wanty to take the highway home so I decided to use the short cut through the bushes and boy do I regret that now. Here I was, high as can be, walking through this thick bushes.

I thought I saw someone ahead of me so I stopped, the person seemed to stop too except they seem to be rocking back and forth. I tell you, me whole body went numb and I heard meself breathing hard. We stood for a second, I wanted to turn back but that would have just made me trip longer so I braved up and started walking, the person did not move. As I got closer, I realized that this was no ordinary person, they seemed to have several hands all sticking out from their sides. Me heart almost stopped beating and without thinking I bolted, if they were not going to move I was going to run right through them. Just as I was almost on the person, beast, evil spirit, whatever it was, I changed me mind and took a sharp right, bolting through some vine. I was in full stride, being smacked in the face by branches, bushes with thorns ripped at me arms.  I heard rustling in the bushes next to me, something big was running step for step with me. I heard what sounded like growl that echoed through the trees. Something big was after me. I speed up, me legs burning, me heart pounding. I busted out onto the highway and narrowly escaped being hit by a car. I heard the driver curse and watch the back lights fade away. I stopped and bent over trying to catch me breath. Suddenly the bushes from where I had come shook. I was too tired to run so I braced meself to ward off any beast, evil spirit or devil that came at me. I heard the hoofs before I saw the sheep standing in front of me, looking at me the way I was feeling, surprised. I remember saying to meself, not that explains what was chasing me, but what kind of monster did I see on the path. It was then I remembered, that was the plumb tree I used to climb when I was a boy. Ras Burtrand ganja was way better than I thought. I made a pack, never to smoke and stay late at Ras Burtran’s house.

Bloody Monday

Bloody Monday

I was not supposed to be there, Mommy Charles had insisted I stayed home from school, but being young and feeling invincible will drive a person to making snap decisions. I was curious, I was not able to see what was going on from the window in the house on Lucas street. And now, here I was, running, running, running from the hooligans with machetes, running from the large sticks they were swinging over and over. Running from the teargas, eyes watering, lungs burning. People stampeding, hurdling fallen bodies, screams, angry cursing, blooded school kids, screaming mothers. Then it echoed, one shot, and the screaming crowd became a murmur, like I had dove into the ocean. I was not close to the shot, I just think my humanity died for a second. But I was still running, round the corner onto Lucas street, then back to that house overlooking the harbor. Sitting in the living room, struggling to breath, I was not exhausted, I was being stifled by fear. Outside the screams continue, angry yells, “Yuh go dead, yuh go dead,” Silent pleas, crack of a stick on bone, then a mob of anger. I covered my ears with my hands, lay on the concrete floor, waiting for the nightmare to end.

The Past in Daydreams

The Past in Daydreams

Its all coming back now, seeing that house after 28 years. It was that front door to the street I ran out to see the 82nd airborne floating down. It was that roof that shook with every explosion. You see where the light is on in that front window, yeah right there, it was there I laid in the dark night after night clinching a weapon, hoping that friend or foe do not try to enter. And that dark hill to the far left, it was there I saw the orange flares light up the night. Its that bush fence I hide behind when soldiers drove by, it was from that house I left to catch the plain to become The Dirty Immigrant. Sometimes we run from memories, we try to leave them behind, but then as you live, something brings them back, the loud pop of a car backfiring, the scent of smoke, a helicopter flying by, sirens blaring, shouting, crying, just everyday things can take you back to where you left. And then the urge to go back, because you remember before the chaos there was peace and you long for that peace.

Congo Savanne from Obeah

When they got to the middle of the field they were greeted by a hot breeze that swept across the field shaking the Lilies a little. Akosua stopped and looked around. The blond woman bumped into her, her blue eyes popped out with fear, sweat rolled down her tanned face. The two warriors bumped into the women.

“Did you see something?” One of them asked. The women’s breathing was heard over the sudden silence. The sound of wings flapping echoed, but there were no birds in sight. A grey cloud floated menacingly towards the sun, crows squawked and buzzards hovered. Kwao realized that they had stopped so he turned around and walked back to them.

“What is the problem?” he asked, Akosua raised her arm and he stopped and looked around. A quiet laughter echoed through the field. A whimper escaped the blond woman’s mouth, she was visible shaking, her eyes red from being in the heat.

“Congo Savanne,” Akosua said. The warriors lifted their spears and formed a protective triangle around Akosua and the blond woman. The dark cloud had almost covered the sun, small beams of sunlight escaped through. They shined down on the field like rods of gold. Muffled footsteps raced across the field, and the lilies began to flatten in a circle around them. Kwao and the warriors looked around, their spears held above their heads. The clouds slowly covered the sun causing the sunbeams to disappear one by one. It was dark and silent until buzzards flew overhead, their bodies’ dark against the grey sky. Wolves howled in the distance, they sounded almost human. Suddenly a powerful gust of wind hit them and they were knocked to the ground. The blond woman screamed as Kwao and the warriors struggled to get to their feet. When they did, they saw the blond woman being dragged away by a man wearing white.

“Just like I thought, Congo Savanne, he must be hungry. We need to save her,” Akosua said, Kwao turned to her defiantly,

“Why should I risk my life for this Kindoki?”  He asked, Akosua did not respond, she reached out and took the machete from the belt on his waist and ran after Congo Savanne. The other two warriors ran after her, their spears at the ready. Kwao hesitated but followed.

Congo Savanne had the woman by her hair as he dragged her through the lilies creating a trodden path through the blossoms. They reached the end of the field and entered the jungle. Akosua stopped and looked around, there was dead silence. Then ahead of them, partially hidden by thick leaves, Congo Savanne stood,

“Who do you think you are, if you had let that sacrifice be done I would have been fed now am angry and hungry. Walk away this is none of your business witch,” he said, the blond woman screamed but Akosua did not see her.

“You will never rescue your people. The Ligaroo King can conjure up any spirit he wants. He can make good Loas like your Yemaya do his biddings.  He will destroy you and your pathetic little village.” Congo Savanne said. His voice so loud the tree shook a little.

“The Bokors were weak; they could not handle the awesome power that we possess. The Ligaroos will never turn their backs on us. They were smart to call on us to fight you. Together we will destroy you. The Bokors will pay for they betrayal. They should have never formed an alliance with you.” He said as he threw his head back and laughed. Off in the jungle, the blond woman scream. Akosua looked at Congo Savanne, his eyes shifted from left to right as he smiled like an evil, mischievous child. Akosua closed her eyes and there was silence for a second. The woman screamed again and without saying a word Akosua took off running. Kwao and the warriors ran after her. She used the machete to cut branches that was in her way. She ran in and out of the changing light as the grey skies turned white and the sun began to reappear. It was as if Yemaya was giving her light to see where she was going. Kwao tried to keep up with her and was surprised at how fast she ran. Akosua disappeared into a thick grove of trees. Kwao followed her, his spear ready.

6th Installment La Diablesse Chapter 3

Early afternoon was always busy on the island, the streets were buzzing with traffic as people rushed to and from work and school. There was a policeman at the intersection just down the street from the school directing traffic, he stood in a small booth perched fifteen feet up on a wall dividing two streets, from his vantage point he looked down onto an intersection with streets that ran at a strange angle into each other, the constant stream of cars kept the policeman busy as he tried to keep them moving in an orderly flow.

The streets were lined with old English and French styled buildings they wooden walls beginning to deteriorate from years of mechanical weathering, at night, a still darkness engulfs these relics as if trying to hide the secrets of their past occupants, I used to live in one of them houses, inside, metal chandeliers hung from the ceiling, I tell you what, them bloody old time metal fixtures were always malfunctioning. I remember we handyman being electrocuted the poor fella was hanging from the bloody thing he eyes so big he looked like a sick fish.

I walked past the policeman his white gloves signaling the cars as they went by their horns blaring, he black pants were pressed with a sharp crease, the red stripe that ran down the sides a great contrast to the black and gray pinstriped shirt, he hat was tipped down over he eyes a futile attempt to keep them protected from the sun.

Anyway I loved living in the old house because of its history, but it was built into the side of a hill and bullfrogs and rats used to get into the back room. Once when I was nine years old I woke up in the middle of the night and was accosted by two beady red eyes staring at me, man, I swear that stinking rat was smiling at me.

I was almost hit by a car as I crossed the street, jumping out of the way just in time as the driver yelled at me as he went by and I shook me fist at him, bloody idiot. I stood there me heart pounding like crazy, and it was then I got a strange feeling that someone was following me. I looked round and there she was standing on the sidewalk staring at me, she eyes locked to mine as if trying to hypnotize me or something. The crowd of students walking by was like shadows, inconsequential to the psychological war waging between Alison and me. I wanted to go over and talk to she, but instead I turned and walked down one of the side streets. I did not feel hidden enough so I turned down an alley, its cobblestone surface was real slick and I was cautious not to slip, seven feet was a long way to fall.

I passed small shops as I walked trying to concentrate on them so I don’t think bout Alison. There were colourful displays of tropical shirts and shorts neatly placed on racks sitting on the sidewalk in front of the stores. The names of the shops reflected the Middle Eastern immigrants that live on the island; names like Abuds and Kerpalanies were painted on the glass windows and on the walls above the doors. I walked by a Barbour shop, a small boy was squirming in the chair he mother stood beside him adamant that he get he hair trimmed, Music filled the air from one of the stores a clerk was singing lyrics to a Jimmy cliff song as he swept the sidewalk in front of he store.

I left the Alley and walked into the market square, there was a cluster of mini buses in they designated area, red, green and gold colours reflected off they metallic bodies. Each bus had a name painted on the front or on the side, names like Charlie’s Pride and Hurricane Victory, I mean, them fellas really took care of they busses. There were also big wooden busses made from flatbed trucks and they traveled mainly to the Northern part of the island, they were real practical for the venders who carried big loads of fruit and vegetable to the marketplace.

I stopped and surveyed the venders me mouth started to water a little, I mean, there were Mangoes, Guavas, pawpaws, chinups, oranges, red and yellow plumbs, Mammie Apples and bananas all displayed on wooden trays or on the ground on caucus bags, venders haggled over prices with their customers they gestures emphatic, they voices rose above the melee. There was a large building behind the venders, inside, different types of meat were being sold, pig snout, Blood pudding and salted fish, even some of the wild meat on the island could be found in there. The fresh scent of Manique, Tatoo and Mountain Chicken filled the air; I tell you what, smelling that fresh meat always brought me to the verge of being sick. I walked across the square and onto the street that ran parallel to it and I stood in the doorway of a shop that sold chickens and chicken feed, the fowls clucked and chirped as workers and patrons walked by they cages.

There were lots of students from various schools milling round the square, it was one thirty in the afternoon and all of the secondary schools had let out for the day. The mixture of uniforms made it seem like there was a student rally going on, some of them wore white shirts with dark green pants while the girls were dressed in white blouses and dark blue pleated skirts. I smiled to myself as I looked at their uncomfortable faces, poor bastards, eighty degrees out here and they had to wear ties and blazers aimlessly walking about waiting for they respective buses.

People who worked in the stores nearby mingled with the students and I could tell by the looks on their faces they were annoyed by the student’s presence. Most of the young men were sporting big Afros and bellbottom pants, they hair fluttering in the slight breeze.

I was a little more relaxed now, observing the activities in the square was one of me favorite things to do, still, I found meself thinking bout Alison. It was not uncommon for some of the islanders to practice the religion that came out of the slave trade, most of the practitioners lived on the Northern side of the island where all those county people live, Alison grew up with she grandmother in a small village where the old lady was known as an Obeah Priestess, I had never met she, but some of me students who lived in the same village were truly afraid of she. I was interrupted from me thoughts by the sound of the young men round me whistling, so I turned me head to the right trying to see what was causing the commotion and found meself looking directly into the eyes of this beautiful young lady. She beige coloured blouse barely able to cover she bosoms, she full lips complimented she perfect Afro centric face, she skirt came to just above she knees showing off she long brown legs. As she went by, the scent of she perfume filled the air surrounding me, she hips swaying from side to side as she made a path through the hoard of admiring young men. I closed me eyes trying to store that image in me mind but when I opened me eyes I was startled to see Alison standing in front of me, man, why wouldn’t this obeah princess leave me alone? For a moment I did not move, the image of the young lady’s swaying hips bounced round in me mind like a tennis ball at Wimbledon.

“She go come back,” Alison said she eyes wild and shifty.

“I hope so,” I said unconsciously.

“Not she, Ah talking bout de La Diablesse, she go come back and take you away.” She was close to me now she mint scented breath tickling me face.

“You have to stop this nonsense right now. Those stories are just that, stories, there is no La Diablesse, no spirits that would come and take you away at night!” I shouted and started walking across the street to the buses, I bet me damn face turned dark purple as she followed me shouting.

“You go learn, and when you do, it go be too late.” I climbed onto the nearest bus trying to hide meself in the small seats. The bus driver climbed in behind the wheel and to me great relief drove out of the square, Alison stood at the corner, she face contorted with determination as she watched the bus pull away. The driver navigated his way through the narrow streets and out of the market square.