50th Installment of Obeah

“Bloody dry air,” Guede said then coughed. The cave shook some more and larger chunks of salt fell from the ceiling and the walls. Henry and the others scrambled to their feet and backed up against the wall of the cave as rocks fell around them. Akosua steadied herself as the floor cracked under her feet. Guede laughed, but this time it sounded like the boom of a violent thunder storm. The cave rattled, the floor opened up, and Akosua plunged the bluish white water.

“Akosua!” Adofo screamed as he stood helplessly. A couple of minutes went by and the rumbling finally stopped. Adofo lay down on the edge of the salt hole and stretched his arm into the water.

“You can’t save her now boy,” Guede said, Adofo picked up a piece of salt and threw it at Guede. The Evil Loa caught the salt rock, stopped smiling, and looked at the boy.

“Look at you. You are a disgrace to your kind. Your father would be ashamed of you. He is strong and you, well look at you, a weak pathetic Akan lover, strengthen up boy, become the apple that did not fall away from the tree.” Guede said smiled then winked at Adofo. The boy looked away from the evil Loa and Henry thought he saw a flash of guilt in Adofo’s eyes. Adofo growled at Guede and turned back to the sunken floor. Akosua’s head suddenly popped up and she grabbed a slab of salt that floated near her. Guede leaned forward,

“Hey Obeah girl, your boyfriend is too weak to help you,” he smiled a triumphant smile. Akosua clung to the salt slab and looked around, but she slipped off and disappeared into the white salty water. Henry, Donkor and the others rushed to the edge of the sink hole. Two minutes went by, five minutes went by, and still Akosua did not resurface

“Your little leader may have decided that death is better than fighting me, now she will be mining forever,” Guede said as he rubbed his hands together with glee.

Akosua sank, her eyes closed. She did not try to swim to the surface; she sank passing pieces of salt as she went. The salty water hugged her, it was warm, but got colder the further she sank. She began to lose consciousness and opened her eyes. Her mother floated out of the misty water and up to her. She was wearing a colourfull outfit from their tribe back in their homeland. There were bracelets with precious gems all up her arms, and a gold necklace lined with emeralds dangled from her neck. Akosua was taken aback at how vibrant the colours were despite the white murky water. The woman floated up to her, she was smiling, and her hazel eyes looked at Akosua lovingly,

“Fight baby fight,” she said then reached out and touched Akosua’s face. Akosua felt like a bolt of lightning went through her. She kicked her legs and shot to the surface. When she broke through she inhaled, her lungs felt like they were going to explode. She swam to the other side of the sinkhole and tried to pull herself up. The salty floor crumbled under her weight and she sank for a second. She kicked her legs and resurfaced. This time Obatala stood over her, his arm stretched down. She reached up and grabbed it and he pulled her out of the water. She was on solid ground on her hands and knees gasping for breath. Guede had climbed down from the headstone and was stomping and screaming like an angry baby.

“Damn you Obatala, Damn you!” He screamed. “You will pay for this interruption!” He kicked one of the smaller headstones and it shattered sending chunks of salt against the cave’s walls. Obatala took Akosua’s arm,

“Wisdom is on your side, let it be your guide,” he said, Akosua looked up to where the spear was hidden. The salt had fallen off around it, and she saw the stoned rock. Guede threw his glasses at them and cursed,

“You will pay you pretend Loa!” he screamed then turned and looked at Henry. His eyes were ablaze with hatred, and his face began to turn a bright red. Henry grabbed his stomach and fell to his knees. He began to throw up, and then fell to the ground shaking like he was having an epileptic fit. Guede stood, his arm stretched out to Henry moving his fingers like he was squeezing an orange. Obatala walked across the pond, his feet never touched water. He got to Henry and knelt down next to him then touched his forehead. Henry stopped trashing around and lay still, his breathing slowly becoming normal. Guede screamed, his voice echoing through the cave, then he turned and ran towards the walls behind the tombstones and vanished into it, his black top hat fell off and rolled into the pond. Donkor went over to Henry and helped him to his feet. Henry looked at him and smiled a weak smile,

“Thank you,” he said and Obatala smiled back at him.

“You are one of us once again, An Akan. Our Gods will protect you.”

Obatala turned and floated back across the pond to Akosua. When he stood next to her, Akosau climbed up to the spear’s hiding place, using the salt rocks as steps. She rolled a small boulder away from the hiding place reached in and pulled out the spear. It was wrapped in a red cloth and was about five feet long. She unwrapped the cloth, and held in in her hand. It was pure white, and despite the dim lights, its tip sparkled a little. She touched it, and a surge of warmth went through her body. She felt dizzy for a second as images of her homeland’s history rushed through her head. Then she was hot, it was a soothing feeling that ran under her skin, and she shook once then relaxed. Suddenly, she glowed white, as light settled under her skin, covering her whole body. The cave shook, and the salt walls began to crumble all around her. Big chunks of salt fell from the caves roof splashing into the pond. Akosua looked over at her friends,

“Henry, go get Kwao and some of the others and gather some of this salt, it will come in handy when we battle the Ligaroos!” She shouted over the roar of the crumbling cave. Henry turned and stumbled his way back up the tunnel to the top. Akosua stood among the falling salt rocks. She was calm, the spear glowing in her hand. In her mind Akosua saw her mother smiling. She looked around at the cave, but instead she saw the jungles of her homeland. She was surrounded by elephants, and tigers, and lions, and gorillas. She saw the warriors going off to battle, the hunters coming back to the village with the days catch, the big feasts whenever they had a victory. But most of all, she saw the freedom that her people once had. They danced in the middle of the village. There was laughter and singing, and drumbeats echoed into the dense jungle, across the fields, up and over the mountains, to every village. She looked down at the spear, soon they will have that same freedom on this island.

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.

Obeah Tomorrow Tune in

Ahhhh, Looks like someone, or something is stalking the Akans. Who is it, will they attack, or will they wait until they retrieve the Sword of Salt and then take it from them. Tune in tomorrow, Sunday, as the story continues. Pa Pa Jumbie is looking forward to seeing you.

47th Installment of Obeah

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About five minutes passed before anyone spoke,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

46th Installment of Obeah

                                          CHAPTER 20

They were packed up and ready to go early the next morning. The sun was a dull yellow as it hung over the jungle; the sky was grey just above the trees, blue closer to the sun. Baby birds chirped as they were feed, pup wolves barked, the wind whistled through the rocks. Akosua looked like a warrior that Henry saw in paintings that his father brought back from trips to the Dark Continent. Her spear lay on a rock next to her. In her belt, next to her machete, was one of the biggest knifes Henry ever saw.. Adofo looked at Henry and smiled, it was a strange smile, just a show of teeth. Henry smiled back, but there was an uneasy moment between them. Kwao stood on the rock that Henry and the boy had sat on. He stood like a king on his throne surveying his kingdom. Donkor stood away from the group, looking out at the jungle, Henry wondered what he was thinking. Everyone was silent except for the girl who hummed a tune nervously.

After they were done packing they began to walk up the side of the mountain with Donkor in the lead, Kwoa once again took the rear, and by the look on his face it was evident he was not pleased about it. They walked for about two hours. At first the path they took was grassy, but the higher they got the path turned into rocks and pebbles. They slipped and slide, sending rocks and stones rolling down the side of the hill. Henry looked down, they were high over the jungle and he felt a little dizzy looking down on the tree tops and he stumbled.

“Woo there, don’t look down,” Donkor said. The blue sky went for miles, grey clouds hung over the tree tops in the distance, large flocks of birds flew around diving into the jungle, the sound of their wings bounced off the rocks.

“Damn I wish I had wings,” he said and looked at Akosua and smiled, “

“Sometimes the body needs to go through tribulation to cleanse itself,” she said and kept walking.

The group walked for another hour and came upon a part of the mountain where the path turned onto a flat area. Henry walked onto it and looked around. Rocks went high up, a natural cathedral, bushes stuck out of cracks. Henry dropped his gear on the ground. He looked out over the jungle and saw the ocean in the distance.

“We can rest here,” Akosua said. The rest of the group dropped their gear and sat down. Henry continued to look out at the view. Wild goats scampered on the rocks on the side of the mountain. He looked over at Akosua, then got up and went over and sat next to her, she looked at him.

“How are you doing?” She asked, Henry sat for a second, still a little out of breath,

“Am doing fine,” he said between breaths. He lifted his pouch and took a drink. He looked at Akosua. She looked at him and smiled.

“We will stay the night here,” she said looked at Henry then Donkor. Henry leaned back so she could see the Bokor. Donkor turned to the Bokors and told them to set up the campsite. They got up and with the help of the boys and girls began to unpack the gear.

Late that night Henry woke up and saw Akosua walking down the mountain. He got up and followed her. She stopped, and looked back at him, put her index finger to her lips, and pointed down the path. Henry caught up with her and under the light from the stars; they walked a short distance down the path. Akosua stopped abruptly, and Henry almost bumped into her. She listened for a second, and when she seemed satisfied she turned to him.

“Someone has been following us,” she said, Henry looked into the dark but saw no one. Akosua took one last look then turned and walked past him.

“Whoever it is have been following us since we left the Valley of the Weeping Willows.” She said, Henry followed her, looking back, making sure no one was coming after them.

“Do you think its evil spirits or the La Diablesse? Henry asked. Akosua was walking fast, so Henry had to run to catch up with her.

“No it’s definitely a human,” she said, as Henry walked alongside her.

“Who do you think it is?’ He asked, she stopped and looked out into the dark sky. It was quiet, the jungle too far down to hear the animals.

“Don’t know, but we must be vigilant, keep our eyes open so we are not taken by surprise.” She said and started walking.

“Get some rest; we still have a lot of climbing to do.” She said and went back to her mat. Adofo up when Henry walked by. He watched them exchange a brief embrace before he returned to his mat. The boy was on a mat next to Henry’s and raised his head up,

“Whats going on?” he asked, rubbing his eyes with his fingers,

“Nothing go back to sleep,” Henry said as he lay down looking up at the sky. There were not as many stars as the night they had spent at the base of the mountain. Henry lay there listening for any movement, but all he heard was the sound of the fire cracking. Any noise he heard, other than the fire, he sat up and looked around making sure no one was creeping into the camp. He finally dosed off listening to crickets and other bugs serenading the night.

45th Installment of Obeah

“Get up it’s your watch,” Kwao said. Henry slowly sat up and looked around. The others were asleep, Akosua lay by herself and Adobo was nowhere in sight. Henry stood up and stretched.

“Henry, Henry,” he turned and saw the boy sitting on a rock just above the campsite. Henry grabbed his spear and joined the boy.

“Great spot huh?” the boy said smiling, proud that he had discovered the rock. Henry climbed onto the rock and sat next to the boy. The sky was dark, except for the stars that twinkled silver above the trees. There seemed to be millions of them, each twinkled with its own rhythm. He saw the tops of the trees against the stars where the sky ended and the jungle began. A wolf howled in the jungle. Fireflies floated around them, and the boy cupped one in his hands and watched in amazement as small beams of light escaped through his fingers. The lone torch that lit up the camp popped and cracked in a slight wind.

“Do you remember your parents?” He asked, the boy did not respond for a second as if thinking of what to say.

“Sometimes, but it’s like am asleep and dreaming. I remember my father coming back from hunting, or my mother singing as she cooked. Then I remember my father being sick on the plantation, he had cuts all over his back.” The boy stopped talking and looked out into the darkness of the night. Henry did not say anything; he knew what the cuts were from.

“The old slave master beat him real bad,” The boy looked out at the jungle. In the light from the stars, Henry saw the sadness in his eyes. Then as if to change the subject the boy turned to him.

“Did your father hunt?” He asked,

“No, when I was little we lived in a city. Stone houses, carriages, and lots of people walking about. We rarely went into the countryside.” Henry said then drifted into thought. He was startled by movement in the bushes next to the camp site. Both him, and the boy looked in the direction of the noise. There it was again, it sounded like someone had stepped on a dry piece of wood.

“What was that?” Henry asked. The boy stood on the rock and peered into the bushes

“Must be a wolf,” he said, Henry got up and jumped off the rock. He slowly crept in the direction of the cracking wood. He walked into the bushes and stopped, his spear held above his head. His whole body tingled, and his muscles twitched, he was prepared to throw his spear. Just as he was about to throw the spear, Adobo walked out of the bushes,

“Whoa,” Adobo said and smiled.

“It’s me,” he said as he held his arms up, then turned to Henry and slapped him on his shoulder. Henry lowered his spear.

“Adobo, it is you, I almost threw my spear.” He said, Adobo laughed quietly.

“Nature called, sorry I startled you,” he said as he walked past Henry. Henry turned around and looked at him.

“Well back to bed,” Adobo said and walked away. Henry looked at him, then turned and looked at the bushes from where he had come. He walked over to the bushes and stepped in, nature was calling him too. He kicked something and almost fell. He looked down and saw a dead fox. It twitched and a blood circle formed around its head on the jungle’s floor.

“What in the?” he said. He jumped, his heart raced, and his skin felt like it was on fire. Henry shrugged, urinated against a tree trunk and walked back to the rock.

“What was it?” The boy asked. Henry sat down next to him.

“Adobo relieving himself,” Henry replied.

“Looks like he was attacked by a fox and he killed it.”

“I have seen him kill a giant cat with his bare hands. Adofo is a great warrior. I would like to be like him some day.

They sat in silence and looked out over the jungle. A star shot across the sky and disappeared behind the trees. A wake of vultures flew by, their bodies a mass shadow against the twinkling sky. Henry thought about the climb up the mountain and took a deep breath. He did that when he wanted to stop himself from being nervous. He was ready for anything now, evil spirits, La Disables’, Arawak’s, anything the Evil Loas would conjure. He had to do this to save his sister from the Ligaroos.

,