Hey, hey, you see those dark splatters, yeah, the ones that are floating in the lights of the orange flares. Ha ha ha ha, that’s God crying blood. Can you feel the vibration, can you see the blur with every boom, that’s the devil laughing. Thirty wasted years, millions of wasted moments, thousands of daydreams evaporated. One migrate, one separate, one in stalemate. Yeah, begin in the beginning, end up in the beginning. Psst, Psst, come closer, I will whisper this. Stand in the splatter, give a whole new meaning to washed in the blood while you stand in the fire spitting ice to cool down. Demons are memories, he he he he he, they are not lurking, not hiding, just there. Friends and foe, lovers that are loveless. Yes, yes, looks like a roll to me. A roll that starts in the middle and ends before the end. Premature, unfinished, stop.
Akosua twisted and turned as she slid down on the salt. She came to a stop looking up at Adofo and Donkor. They took her arms and pulled her up. Henry and the others slid down after her, stood up and looked around. The ceiling of the cave was about twenty feet high. The roof of it was a layer of salt and the sun shined through it, creating a rainbow of colours on the white walls. The cave was salt, just like the white field they had just walked on. On the far side, large rocks of salt stood like steps that went about fifteen feet up. At the top, above the last steps of salt was the only natural rock visible.
“Right there,” Donkor said. Akosua looked up at the rock, its beige colour pronounced against the rocks of salt that surrounded it. She lay her gear down and was about to walk over to the steps when laughter filled the cave. Some of the salt rocks cracked and pieces fell, bounced off the salt floor, rolled towards Henry and stopped at his feet.
“Welcome girl witch,” the voice boomed. It echoed through the cave and Akosua looked around to see where it had come from. A man stepped out from behind a salt rock that was shaped like a headstone. It was six feet tall, and as Akosua and her friends watched, a black cross appeared on the front of it. Above the cross were the letters R.I.P, underneath was Akosua’s mother’s name written in red. There were smaller salt rocks surrounding it, they too were shaped like tombstones with the names of each child’s parent on it.
The man wore a black suit, and a black top hat, and dark sunglasses with the right lens knocked out of it. His exposed red eye rolled as he spoke. He used the smaller tombstones as steps to climb onto the bigger one and sat on top of it like a king on his throne.
“This is the perfect spot to sit and watch this momentous occasion. Little witch retrieves Spear of Salt so that she can save her people,” Guede said then threw his head back and laughed. Akosua stood calm and smiled, her eyes never moving away from the evil Loa,
“You don’t intimidate me, you are just a Lackey for Baron Samedi,” she responded. Guede’s laughter disappeared immediately. He puffed on his cigar then leaned forward.
“Go ahead little lady, go get your spear,” he said, and smiled a devilish smile. Akosua looked back at her friends. Adofo stepped forward.
“I will go with you,” he said, but Akosua waived him off.
“I have to do this alone,” She said and took a step.
“Ohhh brave little Obeah Woman,” Guede said and laughed. The salt crunched as Akosua stepped on it, it was the loudest sound she had ever heard, it echoed in her head as she took another step. She stepped lightly, but her left foot sank to her ankle in the salt and was slowly sinking more.
“Watch it now; you already stuck your foot in your mouth by challenging me. Be careful you don’t step into a salty grave.” Guede said and roared with laughter. She struggled to free her foot. Adofo started walking towards her, but once again she raised her hand and he stopped. She was finally able to pull her foot out, small chunks of wet salt rolled off her feet as she shook them one at a time. She steadied herself and took a step. Guede’s smile disappeared again; he had an impatient expression on his face. He looked over at Adofo and the others and then back to Akosua.
“You think you can save lives by getting this spear? Don’t you know that life and death is the biggest joke played on man. That’s why I can use the dead to do my evil works, and I can use the living to do my bidding also.” He boasted then laughed as Amelia took another tentative step. Guede continued talking,
“Ask yourself, are the Jab Jabs dead, or are you and your friends the dead ones. Did I order them to attack you, or is this all one big illusion, and you are actually in the afterlife, and I am in control, and you are doing exactly what I want you to do. Is there a spear over there, or is this just one of my games that I so love to play?” Akosua stopped and looked at him.
“As sure as I am standing here that spear exists, Yemaya says so,” she said and Guede rolled his exposed eye.
“Yemaya, Yemaya. She is no real Loa. She is loose and she is a trickster. Why would you believe her?” He asked staring at Akosua. She took another step then looked over at Guede,
“My mother brought it here Donkor can attest to that.” She said and took another step. Guede looked over at Donkor.
“Who him, the Bokor,” Guede clapped his hand and laughed, a red teardrop rolled out of his eyes,
“Hi old friend, been to any sacrifices lately. What, are you all of a sudden a good little Hougan. I seem to remember wanting my help. Remember the services, the food, and the human offerings. Thank you I was hungry for food, or hungry for souls, and you were quite willing to satisfy me.” he winked at Donkor, the man shifted from one leg to the next nervously.
“Look how nervous he is, do you think you can trust him?” Guede said,. Akosua looked over at Donkor and gave him a reassuring smile. She took another step, her legs shook a little. Guede sucked his teeth, shook his head, and then sneezed. The ground moved violently and Henry and his friends fell. Akosua braced herself, her hand stretched out at her sides for balance. The salt floor began to crack as the cave rumbled.
It was three in the morning and Akosua was still asleep in the corner. She had not dreamt all night, but now she tossed and turned. Her dark sleep had changed, and now she stood in a field that was engulfed in a thick fog that came up to her waist. She heard animals, and felt them brush against her legs. Birds flew just above the fog, as if in search of something. She heard laughter and tried to figure out where it had come from. The laughter echoed, and the macabre sound seemed to surround her. She saw a black top hat coming towards her; someone or something slowly ascended a flight of stairs. She waited, a face appeared, and it was skeletal like. Despite his dark glasses, his red eyes seemed to be floating in its sockets. He wore a black tuxedo and had cotton plugs in his nostrils like a corpse dressed and prepared for burial. Akosua recognized him; it was Baron Samedi Loa of death. He walked up to her and stopped about an arm’s length away and laughed. He lifted his hand and took a swig from a bottle of rum and puffed on a cigar that dangled from his mouth.
“Me little pickeny.” He said his voice was nasal. “You thik you go win a war with me,” he threw his head back and laughed. Smoke floated out of his mouth. He stopped laughing, took a drink, and then tossed the bottle into the fog. She heard the bottle hit the soft mud then roll a little. A wolf howled then scurried away. Baron Samedi laughed again.
“You don’t have the power to defeat we. Your parents will always be our slaves, Jumbies for life. We will destroy you chosen one or not. “He said, his eyes became a deathly stare, Akosua shivered a little in the damp air.
“You are not all powerful you can be defeated, it has happen in the past,” Akosua said. Baron Samedi threw his head back and laughed.
“That was no defeat, remember, a man who turns and run away, lives to fight another day, and furthermore, do you think I am going to let meself be defeated by a mere child. You should be out playing. Just because you have a boyfriend does not make you big woman,” he said and laughed, smoke bellowed out of his mouth.
“Yemaya and her good spirits will make sure you and your Ligaroos are destroyed,” she said, Baron Samedi took a drag from his cigar and looked at her.
“Yemaya, that Obeah witch, that lose woman, a little of me charm and she would be like sugar in me tea,” he said, a twisted smile on his face. Akosua smiled back and that enraged him.
“You should be afraid of me you little witch. Your services and offerings will not save you and soon you too will become me Jumbies just like you mother.” He shouted then laughed, and backed up. His red eyes flashed with a spark of orange. Slowly drowning out the sound of his laughter was a chorus of voices, some moaned woefully while others screamed causing the area around Akosua to vibrate. Behind him, she saw a human form above the mist. Akosua shook her head but kept on smiling;
“Your black magic doesn’t scare me,” Akosua said. Baron Samedi threw his head back and screamed then charged at her. Just before his body slammed into her, she woke up and looked around. A thick fog floated into the hut from the door. She saw a dark figure looking down on her and sat up, Kwao stood looking in at her. When he realized she was awake he turned and walked away.
The Exterminator came to, but he was not sure because he was in complete darkness, the florescent light was turned off, he tried to adjust his eyes to the darkness, but could not see a damn thing, he was hungry his stomach rumbling as he belched.
I see you are awake,” that same voice said out of the darkness, he had come to hate that accent. Then he heard a foot shuffling next to him, and a chair was sat in front of him, he waited, listening to the breathing of his visitor,
You must be hungry I will feed you if you tell me what I want to know.” The African said. The Exterminator did not respond.
“You know, when I came to this country I thought, thank God, I can find the peace and freedom I never had in my own country, no more violence, no more refugee camps, just peace. But this is a different kind of war, economic survival. My first day in this city I was attacked, couple of kids tried to rob me after I asked them for directions. I was stunned, the richest country in the world and yet people resort to violence to get what they want. I see the news, all the crime, the killings, hell, how different from home could this be. The rich live in safe suburban castles, while the poor attack each other to survive. With the exception of genocide, people here are not much different from my country. It is a strange way of showing how alike we are, but stupidity is universal. There are good people and then there are those who believe themselves to be innovative and use crime to get what they want. We need to focus on what is good about us that make us alike.” He stopped talking and looked at The Exterminator for a second. “Are you one of those innovators? Are you one of those who use violence to make a living?” Nelson said then stopped talking as if waiting for a response, but when he got none he continued.
“Today I felt that old feeling, you know, like death walks with me, took me back to the day the rebels attacked, they went through the village killing at random, women, children, even babies. They took us boys and forced us to be soldiers, I came to love killing, it was the only way to stay alive, cause your own friends would kill you to save their own ass. When the U. N. forces finally came, I was relieved, but soon found myself in a refugee camp. Lots of people died there in limbo, waiting for some salvation. Then I found out that there was a tribunal wanting evidence of the human rights violations on my people, they wanted to try rebel leaders for their war crimes, so I testified, lots of good that did because the warlord is still killing today as we sit here, who sent you, did they send, you tell me,”
The Exterminator did not respond, this the man believes that he was sent by some dictator to kill him, he was going to let him keep thinking that while he plot his escape,
“You have a family?” Nelson asked, the Exterminator just looked at him, Nelson kept talking
“I miss my family, someday I will get my revenge, even if it is those animals being executed for what they did,” Nelson sighed and was silent for a second.
The florescent light came on and The Exterminator blinked, never would he believe a florescent light could be so bright, Nelson stood in front of him,
You will tell me who sent you, I will not spend my days looking over my shoulder, nor will I keep running, I will fight off every animal they send to kill me,” he said, The Exterminator looked at him his eyes rolling around in his head, he had not eaten for days, and he was finding it hard to focus, his stomach convulsed with hunger pains, he was dizzy, and he almost passed out,
“You need to eat don’t you? I should cook you something as good as your mother used to make for you,” Nelson said, The Exterminator spat at Nelson, this damn animal was polite, as if he was a priest or something. Nelson turned and dissolved into the darkness beyond the light, and then there was complete darkness.
The Exterminator sat listening, trying to hear anything that would give him any indication of where he was, but there was no sound. The silence was deafening, until he heard a faint shuffle, he sat still and listened intently there it was again. He tried looking around, but could not see anything, and then he felt tiny paws tickle his feet, and then the unmistakable sound of rats. He hated those devilish creatures, he tensed up as what sounded like a stamped of little feet came towards him, their screeching echoing in the dark room, and he bit down so as not to scream. The hairy beasts crawl up his legs and onto his body, he tried to stay still, but the beasts were blood thirsty and he felt them nibbling at his flesh, they were big like small kangaroos. He stiffened up waiting for them to feast on his body, but no sooner had they came in, they ran off in a wave of screeching, and he was left in the darkness, he felt blood running down his face as he slipped into unconsciousness wondering how the African knew about his fear of rats. .
Henry was still asleep under the mango tree when suddenly his body became hot, like he was floating above the pits of hell. Out of the darkness he saw someone standing in front of him. Henry blinked and rubbed his eyes. The man’s face looked like it was made of iron; his green jacket had black stripes on it that made him look tall. He leaned down towards Henry, his hand hidden behind his back. Henry squinted to see if he recognized the man, but his dark face blended with the starless sky behind him. Lightening blasted, turning the night into a sheet of white. Thunder exploded and the ground shook like a violent earthquake rumbled across the island. Henry’s heart raced up as the blinding lightening flash again, followed by the ground shaking thunder. Henry tried to stand up, but he stumbled and fell hitting his back against the trunk of the mango tree. The man turned to Henry, his iron face blended in with the dark sky. He took another step towards Henry his right hand still hidden behind him. Henry cowered away, his vision blurred from the moving earth. Suddenly the man lifted his arm above his head; he was holding a machete,
“Gren mwe fret” he screamed in a nasal voice. The machete’s sharp edge glittered in the lightening flash. Henry screamed, as the man brought the machete down. Henry grabbed his arm, his skin felt like iron and he heard the pops and cracks as his fingers began to give out under the weight of the man. Suddenly he was sitting up looking up at the star filled sky.
Henry looked around; he was lying on the ground next to the mango tree. He checked his body to make sure all his parts was still where they should be. He tried to stand up, but his legs buckled under him and he hit the ground with a sickening thud. He lay there, as a mixture of hot and cold rushed through him. He shook violently, his joints felt as if they were being ripped from his body. Suddenly Adofo stood looking down at him.
“Are you O K?” he asked. Henry tried to talk but his tongue felt like it was glued to the bottom of his mouth. Adofo tried to help him up, but he stumbled and Adofo caught him just before he hit the ground.
Adofo took Henry through the village; some of the children followed them. Henry mumbled as Adofo led him into a hut on the other side of the village. Adofo sat him down in a chair next to a table, and then disappeared into another room. Henry looked around the room, but his vision was like looking through a glass bottle. His head throbbed; it was as if the drummers were sitting at the base of his skull ponding their drums. Adofo returned with a bowl made from a coconut shell and handed it to Henry. He looked at it for a second then took a drink, it was bitter and he coughed a little. Adofo sat in a chair on the other side of the table. His dreadlocks moved a little and yellow light escaped through it.
“What happened to you, you look like you saw a ghost when I found you,” he said, Henry swallowed before he spoke,
“Just a bad nightmare,” he said then described the dream to Adofo. The villagers stood at the door peeping in.
“That was the spirit Ogoun the warrior Loa. He loves the noise of battle and helps people gain political power. He revels in uttering vulgar phases that don’t make any sense, but such is the ways of his crude nature. Some say they have seen him cut himself with his machete, but there is never any blood or wounds on his body. Why would he be in your dreams?” Adofo said and looked at Henry.
“Indeed, why would he be in my dream?” Henry echoed Adofo sat back in his chair.
“It must be some kind of warning. The Ligaroo King and his followers are sensing that we plan to rescue our people so they are trying to scare us away.” He said, stood up and walked to the doorway and rubbed the head of a boy peeping in.
She was relentless in her efforts to get me to go to church. I never had the nerve to tell her I was not Christian. Still, I love that old lady; she always made me laugh. I once gave in and went to church with her. It was the most surreal experience I have had in church. It was a church she called Good Old Regular Baptist. The women sat on one side and the men the other. The women were not allowed to speak. They just sat there, eyes forward, that strange smile on their faces. Then a bowl with water was brought out and they proceeded to wash each other’s feet. I did not participate. I was not about to put my hands on old people’s feet. Speaking of my mother-in-law, I did the strangest thing with her one day. She took us up to the family’s cemetery and low and behold there was a headstone with her name on it. Someone had removed it from its spot next to her father so she had me move it back. Bloody thing was dead weight, no pun intended; actually, pun intended. It was really strange thinking that someday she would be under the stone I just laid down. Talk about walking on someone’s grave, only she was walking on her own.