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.

32nd Installment of Obeah

Henry grabbed Akosua’s arm but she pulled away, spun him around and ran to one of the warriors. The boy turned to her as if questioning what she was doing. She reached out, took his machete, and charged at the advancing men. The sound of metal against metal filled the air. Lassette ran and hid behind a tree. Henry turned to face an attacker, but was knocked to the ground. The man sat on top of him, the fingers of his left hand wrapped around Henry’s throat, his other hand raised above his head; silver gleamed in the sunlight as he waved a knife. Henry reached up and grabbed the man’s arm.

The man pushed all his weight down and the knife slowly came down to Henry’s face. The attacker’s face was covered with mud and had small cracks from where it had dried from him sweating and being in the heat. Henry moved his back grated against small rocks in the ground beneath him. The man’s whole body was covered with mud and some spots were wet from him sweating. Henry looked into the man’s eyes. It reminded him of the day his uncle died. The man, his body covered with mud, with eyes like his dead uncle, stared at him. That memory sent a wave of fear through him and he strained as the knife got closer to his face. His heart pounded so hard he thought it would explode. Sweat poured down his face and his head rested on a rock as he scrummed and twisted to get away. His attacker growled like an animal.

The knife’s tip touched Henry’s face and he felt his skin begin to break as blood ran down the side of his face. He closed his eyes and tried to muster the strength to push back. Just when he felt the knife going deeper into his flesh his attacker was suddenly pulled off of him. He opened his eyes and saw Adofo standing over him, his hand stretched down. He grabbed it and Adofo pulled him up. Henry looked around for a second. The sounds of battle filled the jungle, screams, grunts, yells, and the sound of metal against metal echoed around the trees. He wiped the blood from his face and looked at his finger. The crimson red felt sticky between his fingers. He searched the ground for his machete and found it.

Henry reached down, picked it up and charged at the nearest attacker. He knocked the man to the ground and swung his machete. The man rolled out of the way and the machete hit a rock sending sparks into the dirt. The attacker got to his feet and rushed at Henry. He side stepped and swung the machete, hitting the man in the back of the head with the dull end of the machete. The man stumbled and fell, but before Henry could make sure the man stayed down another attacker jumped on his back. Henry spun around sending the man flying through the air. He landed on a tree trunk with a thud then fell to the ground and lay still. Henry turned to find another attacker, but stopped when he saw Akosua, machete in hand, battling one of the attackers.

The man was a good half a foot taller than her, but Akosua was quicker. The man swung his club, but Akosua ducked under the blow then she kicked him as he tried to raise the club. He stumbled back and growled angrily. Henry started to go over to help her just as the man charged. His mud covered body almost made him invincible against the ground. Akosua sidestepped and as he went by hit him in the back of the head with the handle of the machete. The man stumbled, fell, and then bounced off the ground. He stood up and looked around as if confused. His dead eyes scanned the scene, a surprised look on his face. Someone blew a conch shell and more attackers rushed out of the jungle. Akosua and her warriors fought hard, but they were over powered. The Attackers formed a circle around them. Slowly they began to close the circle, their clubs held above their heads. They were in arm’s length of Akosua and her warriors when the jungle’s floor moved, and trees popped and cracked. The attackers stopped and looked around. Trees were pushed aside and men about twelve feet tall stepped out of the jungle.

28 installment of OBEAH

“For Christ sake, cut, cut, cut!” Henry screamed. Finally, the plant went limp, and the funnel flopped to the ground, and the hairs wilted immediately. Henry cut Adofo out of the thick leaf. Adofo exhaled as he struggled to get air to his lungs. Henry tried to pull him up, but his arms were covered with slim. He stopped trying and stood over Adofo as he composed himself. Adofo was finally able to stand up and wiped his eyes, and blew slime from his nose.

“Are you O K?” Henry asked. Adofo tried to talk, but instead a glob of slime spouted out of his mouth. He coughed and bent over and threw up. Henry tapped him on his back and slowly, Adofo stopped retching and stood up still gasping for air.

“I will be O K,” he said between gasps then bent down and picked up his spear.

“Thank you I owe you one,” he said reaching his hand out. Henry took it getting slime on his hand. Adofo smiled.

“Sorry,” he said and he touched Henry’s face. Henry wiped the slime off.

“If you were not covered with snort I would give you a trashing,” he said and they laughed. The jungle was quiet, the big flowers swayed in a mild wind, the animals had disappeared into the jungle, and the scent of the rose bushes was even stronger. Adofo turned to Henry,

“Let’s get out of here, and stay away from those plants.” Adofo said.

                                          CHAPTER 13

It was early evening and swarms of bugs flew around in the jungle. Water dripped off the leaves from the afternoon rain that created a scent of wet wood. Baby birds chirped as their mothers brought them food, foxes barked in their dens. Akosua was lying on a straw mat her eyes closed. She felt like someone was looking at her and opened her eyes. Kwao sat against a tree staring at her. She sat up and looked around,

“You are beautiful even when you day dream,” he said. Akosua rubbed her eyes and yawned.

“You are even beautiful when you yawn,” he said. Akosua stopped and looked at him.

“What has gotten into you, have the heat fried your brain?” she asked and smiled. Kwao looked down at the ground. He was shifting a leaf with a piece of stick.

“I have always had special feelings for you,” he stuttered, shifting nervously against the tree. Akosua blinked surprised,

“I am flattered, but you know am in love with Adofo,” she said. A monkey swung in a tree above them, the branch broke and the monkey fell, but grabbed onto another branch before he hit the ground. Kwao looked at her, a flash of anger in his eyes.

“I am better for you than he is,” he said, but did not look at her,

“Its because am the son of a plantation owner isn’t it?” And before Akosua could respond he spoke again,

“I can offer you eternal life,” he said, Akosua looked at him,

“What do you mean by eternal life?” she asked. Kwao got up

“Never mind, I just wanted to let you know how I feel,” he said and walked into the jungle. Akosua got up and went over to where the two warriors and the blond woman sat. A pot of food bubbled over a fire; its small orange glow flickered in the dark. Akosua sat down next to the woman,

“He has a mean disposition,” the blond woman said and looked in the direction where Kwao had went into the jungle. Akosua smiled an apologetic smile,

“He has had a hard life, this is the first time he have been accepted anywhere, he still have to learn how to trust.” She said and looked at the woman. Her blond hair was matted almost like Akosua’s dreadlocks; her speech was different from the captains, she may have come from a different tribe in the Old Country. The woman looked at Akosua her blue eyes twinkled in the light from the fire.

“What was his problem now?” she asked, Akosua lowered her head embarrassed.

“He just has some feeling he needs to resolve,” She said her face felt hot as she smiled.

“What is your name?” Amelia asked just to change the topic. The woman put a piece of mango in her mouth and chewed. After she swallowed she responded.

“My name is Lassette; I lived on the French island where the first successful slave uprising occurred. My father worked for a plantation owner. Akosua looked into her blue eyes. She was not much older than Akosua,

“”How old are you?” Akosua asked, Lassette hesitated, and she knew that giving her age to an Obeah woman may not be the best thing to do, but this girl had saved her life.

“I am twenty,” the woman responded.

“How was it on that island during the uprising?” Akosua asked,

“It was horrifying. The night before the fighting I heard the drums playing and the slaves chanting, I knew what they were doing, I had seen one of their services. The animal sacrifices gave me nightmares for weeks. The day they revolted, we were prepared to escape. They chased us to the ocean and we were able to flee the island,” She stopped talking and looked up at the grey clouds.

“I stayed in the colonies, but my father and mother went back to the Old Country. I believe that slavery is barbaric, but my father believed that it was necessary to build the colonies. He disowned me.” She said. Akosua shifted to become more comfortable.

“I have been going from island to island opposing the slave traders and plantation owners,” Lassette said,

“How ironic,” Akosua said, “You were about to be sacrificed by the very people whose freedom you are fighting for,” Lassette nodded,

“It’s a chance that’s worth taking,” she said and smiled. In the dark Kwao spoke,

“What do we have here, a kindoki do gooder?” he said walking out of the bushes. One of the warriors looked up at him,

“Stop talking Kwao, no one wants to hear your hatred right now,” he shouted, Kwao walked over and grabbed the boy’s dreadlocks.

“You shut your mouth!” He shouted, the boy grabbed Kwao’s arm and stood up. They glared at each other.

“That’s enough,” Akosua said, neither warrior relinquish,

“Go for a walk Kwao and calm yourself down,” she said. Kwao hesitated.

“First Henry and now her, you can let these people into your lives but me, I refuse to trust them,” He said and looked at Lassette with pure disdain,

“Kindoki!” Kwao said then walked off.

“I don’t blame him I would be angry too,” Lassette said, Akosua leaned over and looked into the pot,

“He is a good person, but his anger may destroy him,” Akosua said.

Night slowly descended on the jungle and with it came all the sounds that were not heard in the daytime. Frogs croaked and mosquitoes buzzed, bugs swam around the flame, and one of the warriors put a lid over the pot. They sat mere shadows next to the fire, each with their own thoughts.

Segment of New work in Progress. “My Father’s Shadow”

Andre was getting ready to go to the student union,

“Wah you so happy for?” the shadow asked,

“A gurl man ah gurl,”

“You too excited bout dis one why?”

“She real nice,” Andre said. The shadow moved out of the dark and stood next to him in front of the mirror. Its body fluctuated between black and grey.

“Its bout time, you need to settle down,”

“Wah you say, I thought you said a real man don settle wid one woman eh?”

“What, are you questioning me, listen you are grown now time to start a family, a man needs a home base,”

“Oh so now you saying dat I should stick to one woman?” The shadow moved to in front of him and for the first time slapped him in the chest. A chill ran through Andre’s body. He stepped away from the shadow,

“Wah you trying to make me afraid of you?” he asked, the shadow slapped him again,

“You should be, remember I control everything, what you think, what you feel. Like I said you are a grown man now, things are going to be different from here on out,”

“hey am me own man, you don control me and don you forget dat, you hear,” The shadow swung his arm knocking some books off the dresser.

“You don talk to me like dat bouy. I been like you fada for the last ten years and don tink because you got big dat I don have no say in wah you do,”

“To hell with you,”

“Or is it to hell wid you huh, jus because you full ah education and you talking like a white man now don mean you is a bigman.” Andre walked to the door,

“You cant escape me not night or day,” Andre closed the door behind him and walked down the hall, the shadow was right beside him, running along the wall.

Andre arrived at the student union and looked around. He spotted her in the far corner; she was wearing a sun dress, no makeup and sandals. He walked up to her and for a moment she did not acknowledge him.  He stood there feeling stupid,

“Is dis her, man I tink you wasting you damn time here. She stuck up for so,”

“Am going to handle dis,” Andre responded. The shadow started to move behind her and Andre stepped closer to her. She turned around and smiled.

“I see you made it huh?”

“Why wouldn’t I?”

“Why would you?”

“Well if you here den am here,” Andre said.

“Oh dear lord, is dat de best you could do eh? You sound like a bloody stupidy,” the shadow said. Andre looked at him crossed eyes,

“Stay out of dis,”

“What did you say?” the girl asked,

“I sadi what is you name?’

“Claudette,” she said walking away. The shadow followed her and lifted its hand like he was going to smack her but. Andre ran up top her passing through the shadow,

Where to now?” he asked. She turned around and smilled at him.

“Your call,” she said.

“I know de perfect spot, you want to go,”

“Where is it?”

“Leh me surprise you,” he said as he walked ahead of her. She follows him.

From that day on they spent as much time as they could together. Andre was happy; he had stopped chasing girls and had slowed down on his drinking. Claudette was a nice girl and he tried his best to show her the utmost respect.

Wah wrong wid you bouy” the shadow asked. Andre ignored him, “Don ignore me damn it,”

“What do you what?” Andre asked

“OHhhh listen to de island bouy wid he high affluent talk, What do you what?” The shadow said,

“You jus jealous dat’s all,” Andre said going into the bathroom of the small dorm room. He turned on the light but as soon as he sat down on the toilet seat the shadow walked through the closed door.

“Who you tink you is eh? Did you tink you go become a bigshot and leave old shadow behind. Never, I go be here and dere is notten you could do about it,”

“Oh really, we go see bout that,” Andre barked back. Suddenly the shadow was right in front of him, its red eyes floating before him. The shadow inhaled and blew. A small puff of black escaped its mouth. Andre tried to move away, but the small cloud went into his nose and mouth stifling him,

“Nobody gets away from me, nobody leaves me behind. Wey you go I go, who you marry I marry, when you shit I take I is shitting too.” The shadow said. Small puff of black came out of his white mouth. Andre sucked in hard but inhaled nothing.

“Ah could kill you right now if Ah is ready to,” the shadow said then inhaled and the puff of black trailed out of Andre’s mouth and he inhaled.

“Now I is in charge and know dis, you could fight all you want but I go win in de end.” The shadow disappeared, small puffs of black floated in front of Andre. The light came back on and he got up and stumbled back to his bed. He lay there for a second to catch his breath then got up, went to his dresser and got a small bottle of rum and drank the whole thing.

The Naked Drunk

I never saw crack-heads on the island. Mainly drunks, some people love their fire water, but if you ask me, they are just as stupid and equally as dangerous. I was on the beach chilling, watching some kids play football – soccer to some of you. I saw a drunk in ragged old shorts and no shirt. That man was the skinniest person I ever seen. He looked like the rum was drying him up. He was using a cutlass to open a green coconut, but he was swinging it recklessly, becoming a danger to those closest to him. One of his friends tried to take the cutlass away from him and he became belligerent. More of his friends tried to reason with him, but he began swinging the weapon wildly.

Call Babylon!” someone shouted, and the melee escalated. The drunk was not swinging at anybody who came close to him. He was screaming something about the devil and evil angels.

The police arrived but even they could not control the raging drunk. They shuffled around as if doing some kind of voodoo dance, then the drunk broke free and ran for the ocean. He splashed into the emerald-colored water, still holding the cutlass. He swam or waded until he could not stand, and then he started sinking. The police had no choice but to go after him. They reached him, grabbed the cutlasss and dragged him back to shore. When they got to the shore and laid him on the sand, laughter erupted when the people on the beach realized that he had lost his pants in the struggle. His little Dexter was exposed for all to see. That made the drunk furious. He started to fight again. He broke free and began running down the beach with the policemen in hot pursuit, followed by the crowd, laughing and shouting. They finally caught up with him when one of the policemen dropped him with a perfect football slide. But now that they had him down, they hesitated, not wanting to touch his naked body. They finally had to when he tried to get back up. You have never heard such cursing and screaming in your life as they carried him off the beach and to the police station.  

Tune in for the next installment of OBEAH

Looks like Akosua have encountered another evil spirit. Now she will have to save her guest again. Where did he take the woman, what will he do with her, will Akosua be able to save her from any fate that may befall her. Come back Sunday morning to find out. Pa Pa Jumbie is waiting for you.

22nd installment of Obeah

It was silent for a second, then the surface of the pond rippled, and a head emerged. Its face was androgynous, auburn hair, grey coloured eyes that was blank but looked almost innocent. Slowly the creature moved towards them. They prepared themselves for an attack. Henry hopped he remembered all that Adofo and Ampah had taught him. The creature’s ebony coloured chest appeared. Its dark skin glistened as the sun bounced off the pellets of water that rolled down its body. The creature stopped and looked at the warriors. There was still a piece of the pig hanging from its shoulder. Henry stood behind Adofo, sweat rolled into his eyes, but he was too afraid to move, so he blinked trying to squeeze it out. The creature stepped out of the pond and stopped just outside the rippling water. The creature’s legs were that of a monkey’s, but it stood well over six feet tall. Its tail followed wiggling around in the mud, leaving a swirly path in its wake. For a second the creature and the warriors stood and looked at each other.

“What is it?” Henry asked.

“I don’t know.” Adofo said his voice a whisper. Ampah spoke but, at first only a crackling sound came out. He cleared his throat.

“I don’t know but I don’t think it wants to make friends.” He said his spear ready to be thrown. The creature raised its tail above its head like a cobra ready to strike. The hand slowly emerged from the tip of it and made a fist. Adofo motioned for his friends to form a half circle around it. The creature tilted its head back as if to roar, but cried like a grown man trapped in a grave unable to free himself. Its voice echoed through the jungle sending wild animals scampering to hide. Henry was having a hard time keeping his grip on his machete. His palms were sweating profusely.

The creature stopped crying and looked at them, and for a second it looked like it was asking for their help. Suddenly it charged, Adofo charged towards it his spear held high. Before he could throw the spear the creature flicked its tail. Adofo floated through the air and landed on some bushes, branches broke, bugs fluttered into the air as he landed. The creature turned its attention to Henry. He wanted to stand his ground, but was petrified and turned to run. Ampah saw his chance and threw his spear and the creature cried out in pain. Henry stopped and turned back to the creature. It was trying to pull the spear from its leg. Henry took a deep breath and charged but the creature flicked its tail hitting him on the shoulder. He sailed through the air and landed in a tree, he fell hitting every branch as he did, and he ended up hanging on a branch about three feet from the ground.

The creature stumbled still trying to pull the spear from its leg. Adofo charged and buried his spear in its other leg. The creature screamed and fell backwards. Ampah ran up to it, set his foot on its leg, and pulled his spear out. The creature screamed in pain and for a second it sounded like it was pleading for its life. Henry scrambled to retrieve his machete and ran over to help. He was almost to the creature when it raised its tail and took aim at Ampah. Henry dove into the air swinging his machete. He heard the creature scream as the machete sliced through its tail. Ampah had his spear in his hand; he stuck it into the creature’s chest. Adofo walked up and helped Henry to his feet.

“For a second I thought you grew wings,” he said laughing

“I was driven by fear my friend,” Henry said Ampah stood his right foot on top of the creature. The villagers stood over the lifeless beast.

“Where do you think it came from?” Henry asked. Adofo took a deep breath,

“I have no clue, but I bet the Ligaroos have something to do with it.” He said. Ampah pulled his spear from the creature’s chest. They stood over it for a second then turned and walked away. They had went about four feet when the bushes began to rustle. They turned around. The creature’s body had melted into the tall grass. They ran back to where it lay and to their surprise the creature had transformed into a human being. Ampah knelt down next to the man; his skin was as dark as midnight, his body was ropey with muscles and he had salt and pepper hair. His dark eyes were open wide with fear.

“I know him,” Ampah said, “He was on the ship with us,” Adofo bent down to get a better look at the man.

“I remember him he was taken with our parents. The Ligaroo is using the power of the Pedro Loa to create monsters of their captives.” He said and they were silent for a second.

“How do we know when it is our family that is the monsters?” Henry asked, Adofo turned to him a sad look in his eyes,

“We don’t,” he said. There was silence again then Henry spoke,

“We should bury him,” he said, Adofo and the others nodded and one by one, they set about the solemn task of burying the man.