49th Installment of Obeah

The Jab Jabs came in waves, their voices suddenly echoing through the valley, trees shook and swayed, leaves curled as if hiding with fear.

“This way!” Donkor shouted as he pushed around Akosua. Akosua and the others followed fighting off Jab Jabs as they went. The jab Jabs disappeared every time they were struck, but more of them appeared out of thin air. They ran until they were at the edge of the jungle looking down to the middle of the mountain top. It was like looking down on a snow covered field. The Jab Jabs were fast approaching and they turned around to confront the wave of demons. Akosua swung her Machete and two Jab Jabs disappeared, she coughed as the air around her became a mist of ashes. Their red tongues stretched out, their red eyes blazing but somehow seemed lifeless. Akosua jumped down onto the white ground and Henry and the warriors followed her.

The mountaintop echoed with crunches as they landed on the white earth. Kwao hesitated, his back to the Jab Jabs. One of them hurled his body at Kwao and disappeared into him. The boy stumbled forward onto the white ground. He turned and looked at Akosua and stretched his arm out. At first he looked like he was pleading for help, but instead, his expression changed into a menacing stare. Without saying a word he raised his machete and charged at her. Donkor raised his machete just as Kwao brought his down. The sound of metal against metal echoed loudly. Kwao raised his machete again and Donkor stepped back and blocked Kwao’s swing with his machete. Donkor stumbled back leaving Akosua exposed to Kwao’s attack. The boy lunged at Akosua, ash exploded from his mouth. Akosua looked into his eyes it was turning red. His tongue was stretched out; it was slowly changing from pink to red. The change started from the tip of his tongue, and soon his whole mouth was red. Slowly, he began to turn an ashy colour, the change going up his arm to his body. Akosua prepared herself for his charge, but before he got to her Adofo had wrapped his arm around Kwao from behind. Kwao struggled, his eyes completely red, his tongue had turned into blood red and the upper half of his body was ash coloured. He continued to struggled and almost escaped Adofo’s hold, but Donkor had rushed over and grabbed him. Suddenly his whole body jerked and he leaned forward and threw up violently. Grey bile spilled out of his mouth, and the white ground melted as the grey liquid landed on it. Kwao staggered and stumbled backwards as Adofo and Donkor struggled to hold him up. Akosua walked up to him, the bile bubbled on the white ground fizzed, then disappeared. Akosua touched his face and he opened his eyes. She reached into her sack and pulled her Aron. She shook it over Kwao’s head, its sound echoed with the sound of the wind in the trees. Slowly, Kwao began to look like himself again. The red in his eyes dissolved, as puffs of ash floated out of them. His tongue returned to a healthy pink hue as he coughed out ash. The skin on his arm moved as if the ash was rolling around right under it. It trailed down his arm then escaped through the tips of his fingers in small puffs of ash.. He straightened up and looked around.

“What happened?” he asked, Akosua put her Aron back in the sack.

“You were possessed by the Jab Jab,” she said. She turned and looked at the others; they were all facing the Jab Jabs anticipating an attack. The demons stood, as if stopped by an invincible wall, their red eyes wild, and their tongues hanging out of their mouths. Akosua smiled,

“They can’t come over here,” the Jab Jabs stood for a second an indecisive expression on their faces. Suddenly some of them jumped at them, but they exploded in a mist of white. Ash floated to the ground covering the white surface; it fizzed as a thick layer of ashes landed on it. The rest of them turned and walked back into the jungle, exploding into ashes, turning the green leaves to grey. Akosua turned back to the white field. She stooped down and touched the ground. It looked like white stone and she placed a piece of it on her tongue. Her face twisted as she tasted it,

“It’s salt. Was this here when you and my mother came to hide the spear?” She asked, turning to Donkor. The man looked puzzled as he shook his head.

“No, this was all trees and bushes,” he said then looked around.

“There was a passageway to go underground in the middle of the field.” He said and started walking to the middle. A chorus of crunches echoed across the mountain top as they followed him. Donkor stopped, then took a step and suddenly fell feet first into a hole. Adofo tried to grab him, but he too fell into the hole.

“Are you all O K?” Akosua screamed. At first there was no response, and then Donkor spoke.

“This is the place, you will have to slide down the salt tunnel to get here,” he said. Akosua looked around.

“You come with me, the rest of you stand guard up here.” She said, pointing for Henry, the boy and two of the Bokors to follow her.

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.

39th Installment of Obeah

                                        CHAPTER 17

It was early morning when they began to gather for their journey. A light drizzle bounced off the leaves, landed on the ground, creating a moist layer of top soil on the jungle’s floor. Henry was up early preparing. He made sure he had his machete sharpened his spear tip ready, and a knife which he stuck in his belt. He knew they were packing food, but he made sure to pack a loaf of bread and a small amount of salted fish. Twenty of them were to take the trip. There were young warriors, including him, and ten Bokors. They were all armed and prepared for any circumstance. The younger boys and girls carried the food they would need; they were also to serve as cooks on the long journey. Henry looked around at the youngest boys and girls and wondered which one would not return from the journey. Ampah was to be left in charge of the village. He looked disappointed, but he knew that staying in the village was an important responsibility. The crowd that gathered cheered and patted the back of the members of the group as they walked into the jungle. Lassette stood off from the crowd and waived at Henry as he walked by.

They walked through the jungle and made their way through a path beyond the pond. Younger children followed them shouting goodbye, dogs ran alongside them barking. The sound of the children chanting, and the pigs squealing, and the chickens clucking, disappeared as they got deeper into the jungle. Henry walked up front with Akosua, Adofo and Donkor. Kwao was at the rear of the group, and Henry was glad that he did not have to deal with him.

They walked most of the day before stopping to rest and eat. The jungle was quiet except for the birds that flew from tree to tree chirping. Donkor, Akosua and Adofo plotted the best way to get to Nkyene Mountain. The towering mountain was in the middle of the island. To get to the spear they had to climb straight up the side.

“There have got to be another way to get to the top of that mountain,” Akosua said, swatting the bugs around her face.

“If there is, I don’t know of it,” Donkor said, “Your mother wanted to make the climb as hard as possible so that no one else try to retrieve the spear,”

“Since coming to this new world, nothing in our lives has been easy. The Loas have not forsaken us, a people who overcome tribulation is stronger for it.’ Akosua said and smiled. “We will overcome,”

Henry had never climbed a mountain before. He was looking forward to it, but was worried about what tricks the Evil Loas and the Ligaroo King had in store for them. He looked over at Kwao. The young warrior sat sharpening his machete, his teeth grinded as he concentrated. He noticed that Henry was looking at him. He stopped what he was doing and looked back at Henry,

“What you looking at Kindoki,” he said and glared at Henry. Henry kept looking at him, and he stood up and motioned for Henry to come fight him. Henry smiled and that enraged Kwao.

“Your day will come!” he shouted. The others in the group looked on but said nothing. They had become accustomed to Kwao’s outbursts. Henry looked around at the others. The Bokors sat off to themselves talking in hushed tones. Some of them had used mud to cover their faces. They reminded Henry of the Arawaks, how fearsome they looked covered with the mud. The Bokors too were armed, some of them with clubs and crude shields made from bamboo. They all looked at Henry suspiciously except for Donkor; at least he was nice to Henry. A gentle breeze blew through the jungle and Henry closed his eyes. The leaves rustled, birds chirped and in the distance he heard the sound of a waterfall.

Donkor said something and Henry opened his eyes and saw him talking to two Bokors. They got up, picked up their gear, and walked into the jungle. Donkor went back to Akosua and Adofo and sat down.

By late afternoon they were on the eastern side of the island. Henry had to use his hand to block the sun from his eyes as they walked across a pasture. Most of the grass was green, but in some spots it was brown. Every time someone moved the grass, black, yellow, brown, blue, red with black spots, even solid green butterflies fluttered in the tropical sunlight. They walked across the pasture and back into the jungle. The tall trees blocked out the sun making it cooler. Adofo and Akosua walked in front of Donkor talking when suddenly Akosua stopped.

“Someone or something is here,” she said and looked around. Kwao walked up from behind the group.

“What is the problem?” he asked. Akosua raised her arm and listened.

“Must be the wind,” she said and the small caravan began to move again. Kwao went back to the back bumping into Henry as he went.

Sunday Walk

Ahhh yes, the sun is beating down on the earth, that tropical breeze is whistling through the trees, powder puff clouds floating across the sky, its nice and quiet. Hmmm, I think its a great time to take a walk. Through the flower garden, in between the bougainvillea plants, past the hibiscus trees. Yes man, when the scent of one blossom fades, it is replaced by another. Walk through the knee high grass, through the mass of butterflies fluttering around, past the plum trees, past the mango tree, under the bird’s nest hanging from the branch of the soursop tree. Now I can hear the ocean, the flock of seagulls diving for their food. Down to the edge of the cliff, find my favorite to sit on. Ahhh yes, that cool sea breeze tickles my skin. So I will sit here, feeling the heat of the sun, then the relief of the cool breeze and watch the emerald ocean, the white clouds performing a theatrical masterpiece against the blue skies. Small boats lazily gliding by, flying fish popping out of the ocean. Yes, its Sunday, peace day on the island.