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.

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.

42nd Installment of Obeah

He woke up with a start and looked around. It was even darker; he thought he was still in his dreamless sleep. He thought he saw a white flash, but dismissed it as his mind playing tricks on him. He closed his eyes and tried to go back to sleep, but he had this sick feeling that someone or something was moving around in the dark. He opened his eyes and lay there staring up into the dark afraid to move. Suddenly, a female voice whispered into his ear sending chills down his spine. He sat up and looked around. In the dark, he saw the shadows of the Bokor and the boy and girl lying next to him. He tried to peer in the direction of Akosua, but could not see anything. He looked around for a second then smiled to himself; his imagination had to be playing tricks on him.

“Coward,” he muttered,

He lay back down and closed his eyes, but he heard feet shuffle and lifted his head and looked around. The moon must have come out from behind a cloud, because some florescent light seeped through the thick leafy branches of the willow trees. He sat up and scanned the area around him. Small spotlights of silver escaped through the grove of trees. He saw a shadow walk away from where the Bokors had settled down. He waited until the shadow disappeared beyond the beams of silver lights, then got up and followed. He looked around to see if anyone else had noticed, but nobody else moved. He picked up his machete and followed the Bokor. For a second, he thought he should tell Akosua and Adofo what was going on, but he thought if he figured out what was going on, he would be accepted and trusted by the whole group. He tried to be quiet and watch where he was going, but the moonlight did not shine where he was, and he stomped his right foot on a rock. It hurt, and he placed his hand over his mouth. The Bokor materialized into a spot where the moonlight shined through. He walked as if in a trance, his head still, and his steps short and deliberate. He stopped and raised his hand as if reaching out to someone. He started walking again and disappeared beyond the moonlight. Henry tightened his grip on his machete and followed.

He followed the Bokor for about ten minutes going in and out of the moonbeams. Henry walked out of the cluster of willow trees and into the opening next to a stream. The moonlight shined silver on the running water, the sparkle almost hypnotized him. The Bokor stopped just in front of him, so Henry retreated under one of the trees and watched. The man stood looking into the bushes on the other side of the creek. Henry kept looking, wondering what he was up to. A mosquito bit into Henry’s arm and he almost slapped it, but stopped himself and just grinded the insect onto his skin. Suddenly from the bushes, a portion of white material appeared. Henry parted the willow branches and peeped out at the man. Slowly, a woman walked out of the bushes and looked over at the Bokor. He did not move, as the woman walked towards him. Her eyes looked like burning coals; she wore a beautiful wide brimmed hat and a white veil over her face. She was dressed exquisitely, her white blouse had puffy sleeves, and she wore a long white petti coat skirt. She walked with a slight limp, but yet her movements were graceful.

She stopped in front of the Bokor and for a second they looked at each other like long lost lovers reunited. Slowly she stretched her right hand out and the Bokor took it. She pulled him towards her and they began to dance. Her white blouse shimmered silver in the moonlight. Henry was reminded of the dances he saw the colonists do at parties on the plantation. They stopped dancing and began to kiss, then they let go and looked into each other eyes. The orange glows that were her eyes flickered red while she kissed him. She turned away from him and started walking towards the jungle. The Bokor stood for a second, as if making up his mind on wither to follow her. His body swayed forward, then backward. She stopped and looked back at him. He took a tentative step towards her. She stretched her arm out and like a Jumbie he moved towards her.

Henry stepped out from under the willow tree. He tried to scream, he heard the words in his head, but no sound came out of his mouth. He tried to walk towards them, but after he took one step he could not move. Cold chills ran through his body, then his skin tingled and he was hot. Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw another woman walking towards him. He tried to run, and at first he thought he was moving, but suddenly she was in front of him. A sudden weakness took over his body and the machete fell from his fingers. A wolf howled in the jungle, and for a second Henry felt normal again. The stream sparkled as it trickled around rocks; a bird flew over his head squawking. He bent down to pick up his machete, but the woman lifted her petti coat skirt and kicked him with a hoofed leg. The moon grew smaller as he fell backwards. The stars twinkled, even on the jungle floor. The woman turned and ran for the jungle as several shadowy figures ran after her. Henry slipped into unconsciousness.

37th Installment of Obeah

                                CHAPTER 16

After her encounter with Marrinette-Bwa-Check, Akosua was more focused on going to Jumbie Island and rescuing her people. She spent a lot of time in the area set up for the warriors to practice their fighting skills. Henry heard her scream, as she threw her spear, or swung her machete, and the sound of the trunk as the weapons hit them. The Ligaroos had not attacked in days, but after the death Adwoa, the village was not the same. Despite the sunny days, the blue skies and the colourful butterflies, the village was a dreary place to be. Kwao had stopped harassing Henry; even he seemed to walk around in a daze. Henry’s hair had gotten long, and one of the girls had twisted it into dreadlocks. It did not look exactly like the other villagers, but he liked it, it made him feel less of an outsider. The villagers were hard at work constructing new huts for when the Bokors arrived. That kept them form thinking about the death of Adwoa. Sometimes the drummers played. It was a slow sad melody, but it seemed to help them grieve.

It was two weeks after Adwoa’s death when the Bokors arrived. They had packed up all they owned, and made the long journey. There were farm animals and pots, and pans, and chairs that mules carried. Akosua greeted Donkor,

“It will be great when we get all the families back together,” he said, Akosua smiled reached up and touched Donkor on the shoulder.

“And we will soon.” She said. Adofo walked up,

“Hi Donkor.” He said, Donkor looked down at him as if he recognized him.

“Noo, you are not little Adofo, you were just a toddler when we left. Look at you, a boy no more. All that muscle, and is that a beard I see spouting there?” Donkor said, touching Adofo’s chin. Adofo looked to the ground a little embarrassed. Akosua laughed.

“Your people will stay with some of us while more huts are completed.” She said.

“Thank you,” Donkor said

“Adofo will take you to your huts.” Akosoa said

Adofo took one of the sacks from Donkor.

“Follow me,” he said. Donkor motioned for his people to follow Adofo through the village, showing them where they would be living. Henry helped several of the Bokors. Some of the villagers came up and helped also. Two of the Bokors moved into his hut. Henry tried to talk to them; they looked at him suspiciously, but said nothing.

The next few days were busy ones. The whole village helped in the preparation for the journey to Nkyene Mountain. They all worked with a sense of purpose, the children and the Bokors together. On several occasions, Henry saw Akosua as she stood outside her hut and watched them work, a big smile on her face.

The sun was rising over the ocean when Akosua announced that there will be a service to evoke the good spirits for protection on their journey. In the late afternoon, when the sun had subsided, and dogs lay lazily under the mango trees, the villagers prepared for the service. He spent a lot of time standing or sitting there since the two Bokors moved in. At night they mumbled in the dark as they talked to each other. Sometimes he heard the word Kindoki, then laughter. He lay there and thought about the journey he was about to embark on. His heart raced up as he thought about what the Loas had in store for them? He thought about his life before he came to the island. He had his trials and tribulations, even for his age, but nothing like the villagers had to endure. But he never thought he would be here, on this island, with former slaves, about to go on a journey to free their people and his sister.

He sat down in the chair, and took a deep breath and looked around the village. The villagers moved around like a restless ocean of white. He saw Ampah; the young warrior carried a drum to the middle of the village where Donkor was helping put wood on a pile. Kwao carried calabash bowls to a table just to the right of the woodpile. Adofo dragged chairs, and placed them at tables. Adofo and Kwao came parallel to one another, each glared. Henry sat there until the darkness of night slowly took over the tropical blue sky. Fireflies hovered over the bushes just inside the jungle, leaving shadows of the bushes on the ground. A wild cat roared, sending birds retreating into the dark. The bonfire was lit, and children ran around it, their faces alight with excitement. Henry got up and went into the hut. The two Bokors sat in chairs on the other side of the room. Henry smiled at them and to his surprise, the young man smiled back at him. Henry sat down on the end of the bed; the Bokor looked at him,

The Villagers formed a circle, they moved, some going clockwise, while other went anti clockwise, but they somehow did not bump into each other. Akosua danced into the circle. She wore a white flowing dress and had a turban wrapped around her head. She had a rattle in her hand that Henry saw in her hut some time back. She called it Aron; it was what Mambos used for healing. She danced to the middle of the circle, and held up two white chickens. She swung them around, feathers floated into the air and slowly fell to the ground. She handed the chickens to Adofo and continued dancing. She hissed like a snake, and the villagers echoed the sound. Akosua’s dancing became more erratic, her arms flailed, her body twisted.. Then she bent over at the waist and jerked as if she was going to throw up. Then she stood up straight, her eyes rolled back in her head, her whole body shook, at first it was barely visible, but soon she shook violently. The villagers danced, their movement became wilder, and their bare feet hit the ground, sending dust clouds into the air. Henry moved closer. Suddenly Akosua stood motionless looking up into the sky. There were no stars, just endless black.

“Obatala give us wisdom and knowledge so we can bring common understanding with our friends the Bokors. Please accept them back as who they are Hougans.” She said her voice raspy, and she jerked when she spoke. Suddenly she began to spin around, her arm stretched out at her side. The drummers played faster, the villagers chanted, their voices drowning the noise of the jungle. Akosua stopped spinning and spoke. This time her voice was baritone almost like a man.

“Treasures await those who live the righteous life. Understanding is the key to peaceful existence.” She hissed as she spoke making it hard to understand her.

“What is happening to her?” Henry asked a woman next to him,

“Obatala is speaking through her,” the young woman responded,

“Go on your journey be patient and you will be granted freedom.” Akosua said, and then she danced, twisting her body, her eyes rolled around in her head. Some of the dancers fell to the ground, twisting and rolling, their white clothes turned dark from the dirt. Akosua stopped dancing, and her jerks and twists turned into a graceful glide, as she moved around the circle. She stopped and spoke, but this time it was the voice of a woman.

“I grant you health and good will on your journey. Have faith and your enemies will not destroy you. Go with love and we will always be with you.”

“Its Yemaya,” the woman said before Henry could ask. Akosua danced around the circle. She looked like she floated above the ground as she moved with the grace of a ballerina. Suddenly she stopped, opened her mouth, a bellow of mist came out that turned into a thick fog. Yemaya danced around her for what felt like a long time then the Loa turned and floated towards the jungle crying. Suddenly the skies lit up with stars, fireflies hovered over the trees, and the jungle came alive with glittering light. Akosua moved to the slow rhythm of the drums. Some of the dancers touched her as they danced, then they fell to the ground twitching. The drummers played faster, the villagers danced and chanted. For the first time, Henry felt the drumbeat. His body twitched, and his hands jerked. Akosua danced over to Henry and took his hands a rush of heat went through his body as she spun him around. The dancers around became a blue and Henry did not feel like himself.

As the night wore on, some of the villagers lay on the ground, some were motionless, while others twitched. Akosua walked around, her magic rattle held over her head as if blessing the villagers. The service went late into the night, long after the younger children were put to bed, and the dogs were too tired to bark. Henry lay on the ground, the dark sky hung over him, the drums a mere murmur. He thought about the time his mother had taken him to church. The robes, the old priest that stood motionless as he spoke, the mumbled response of the parishioners. He hated standing in the quiet lines for communion, the stoic congregation who sat in the pews, as if afraid to move or god would strike them down. The church was lit with candles, and he remembered the shadows of the priests and the acolytes’, sent fear through him as they sang in that strange language. His family was not very religious, and he thought the whole thing was useless anyway. He walked around trying to make sense of all that he had seen. Kwao sat in a daze next to the drummers. Donkor was still dancing, his eyes rolled back in his head. Adofo seemed like the only one not affected by the service. He stood next to Donkor, as if standing guard over the villagers.

36th Installment of Obeah

He was asleep just a short time when he was woken up by Ampah. He got up and followed the boy outside. Several of the villagers carried torches and were screaming a name. Henry walked over to Ampah. He stood next to some of the boys giving them instructions.

“Whats going on?” Henry asked and Ampah turned to him.

“Adwoa is missing,” Ampah said.

“Grab a touch, we are going to look for her,” Ampah said. Henry walked over to one of the huts and got one of the torches that sat in front of it. He walked back to Ampah and lit it with the one that Ampah held.

“Adwao!” they shouted. The jungle was dark except for the torches that seemed to float through the air between the bushes. Rodents rustled in the underbrush, owls hooted in the trees, bats screeched and flew off into the night. They searched for hours, combing the underbrush until someone shouted,

“Over here!” footsteps sped up as they rushed to the voice. Henry got to where the voice came from and looked down into a grove of small trees. The little girl lay under a hibiscus tree motionless. Akosua was on her knees next to her.

“She is gone,” she said as she caressed the child’s face. The jungle was silent except for the cracking of the fire from the torches. They stood, their faces illuminated by with shadows. Akosua picked up the girls lifeless body and carried her back to one of the huts next to her own.

The Villagers stood, some cried, while the older ones tried to console them. Henry and Ampah stood there for a while then walked back to Henry’s hut.

“She looked like all the blood was drawn from her body,” Ampah said, his face a mere shadow in the pale yellow light.

“I did not hear the Ligaroos attack,” Henry said.

“There must be one among us,” Ampah said and they sat in the chairs outside Henry’s hut for a second listening to the jungle.

I can’t wait to get my hands on a Ligaroo,” Henry said. Ampah was silent for a moment looking into the dark jungle.

“So do I, I will spill blood for every person who died at their hands,” he said. The sound of frogs croaking filled the silence, crying could be heard in the hut next door.

“I knew something was up, the other night, while I slept, I felt someone next to me, their breath was awful, but when I woke up, there was no one there,” Ampah said.

“The same thing happened to me,” Henry said. Ampah looked over at him and said nonchalantly.

“You should sleep with one eye open, and your machete near my friend,” and got up and walked away. Henry got up and walked into his hut. He stopped at the doorway and held the torch out in front of him. When he was satisfied that no one else was in there he walked in. He took the unlit torch from its holder and placed the lit one in it. He walked over to the chair where the machete lay, picked it up and went to his bed. A dog howled and he lifted his head and looked around. Whenever the wind blew shadows rushed at him, then retreated when the wind dissipated He rested his head back down and closed his eye. The image of the Adwao imprinted in his mind. He felt himself falling asleep and jerked awake, then felt around in the bed next to him for the machete. He hugged the weapon and soon fell asleep.

Adwoa was buried next to the pond the following day. The drummers played, a slow deliberate beat, as they carried her body from the centre of the village to where she was buried. The village was Salome for a couple of days. Some of the villagers looked at each other suspiciously. No one accused anyone, but it was obvious what they were thinking. Henry had not seen Akosua; she had walked into the jungle after the child was buried.

Akosua sat on a bamboo chair looking out at the pond. There was an empty chair next to her with a calabash bowl of food on it. The scent of the roasted chicken filled the air attracting bugs. They settled on the rice in clusters, buzzing as they fed, Akosua had not touched the food. Frogs jumped in and out of the murky pond, ducks and swans glided across the surface. Akosua was in deep thought when a thick fog appeared over the pond. At first, she ignored the change, but then a figure walked towards her. She sat up and looked. It was a woman. She was light skinned and beautiful, and she glided across the pond like a princess gliding down the aisle on her wedding day. The woman stepped onto the ground. The fog dissipated, and Akosua saw the face of Yemaya. The girl smiled as the Loa walked up the bank of the pond and stopped in front of her.

“Hello my child,” Yemaya said. Akosua reached out her hand and Yemaya took it. Akosua thought the palm of her hand was unusually coarse, after all, Yemaya was a gentile. Akosua picked up the calabash bowl of food and Yemaya sat down next to her. Her white dress brushed the top of the blades of grass as she sat gracefully. She looked at Akosua.

“I see that you have had a hard time lately. How have you been doing?” she asked Akosua fought back tears.

“Its o k dear go ahead and let it out,” Yemaya said. Akosua rested her head on Yemaya’s head and sobbed.

“This is hard, I don’t know if I am the one to do this.” Akosua said between tears. Yemaya ran her fingers through Akosua’s hair.

“Maybe you are not my dear,” she said. Akosua lifted her head and looked at the Loa. Yemaya looked into her eyes,

“Maybe you are not the chosen one,” she insisted. Akosua wiped the tears.

“But you said….,” Akosua began to say.

“Never mind what I said child, even us Loas can be wrong.” Yemaya said, Akosua stood up and looked down at the woman.

“I am sorry, but maybe you are too weak to lead your village into a battle with the Ligaroo King.” Akosua walked to the edge of the pond, the fog partially engulfed her. Akosua looked back at Yemaya, she sat stoic, no expression on her face. Maybe she was right; maybe she was not strong enough to take on the responsibility of leading her people to freedom. Out of the fog, a swan floated towards her on the water. Akosua turned to Yemaya.

“If not me then who?” She asked, The Loa smiled at her.

“Don’t worry us good spirits will find someone else. We have the power to choose,” Yemaya said. Akosua looked down at the woman; the Loa was looking at the ground. Akosua looked at the Loas fingers, the three wedding bands that she usually wore were missing. Akosua sat down.

“It is good to have you help me work through these hard times.” She said. Yemaya smiled. Akosua looked around, and then looked down at the calabash of food she had laid down on the grass. She reached down and picked it up.

“You look hungry here have a bite to eat.” She said. Yemaya looked at the food and seemed like she was going to throw up. She took the calabash bowl and set it on her lap, picked up a piece of chicken, and raised it to her mouth. She looked at the food like it was laced with poison, then looked up at Akosua without moving her head, the blacks of her eyes pointed straight up. Suddenly she growled and grinded her teeth. She looked up to the sky and screamed.

“You know I can’t eat food that the cooks have touched.” She screamed and threw the calabash bowl to the ground. Slowly her physical features changed as she screamed and growled. The frogs jumped into the pond, the ducks and swans flapped their wings, as they retreated into the fog that suddenly thickened. The woman looked up at Akosua. Half of her body was Marinette-Bwa-Check, the other half Yemaya. Her eyes were ablaze with anger, her face twisted with contempt and hate. She got up and rushed at Akosua, the girl backed up until she stood at the edge of the pond, her heels touching the water.

“You little witch, I will cut you up and cook you into a stew and have you for dinner.” She screamed. Saliva shot out of her mouth and landed in the pond. The water bubbled, and steam rose with every drop of saliva. Dead frogs floated to the surface. Akosua stepped to her and reached her hand out. The Loa had completely transformed into Marrinette-Bwa-Check, she jerked away from Akosua, as if afraid to be touched.

“Fire go burn you,” she screamed, Akosua tried to touch her again,

“You don’t have to be evil. You can be the way you used to be in our homeland.” Akosua said. Marrinette-Bwa-Check threw her head back and screamed a loud scream that turned into a laugh, a laugh that turned into a growl. The Loa disappeared across the pond. Birds flew out of the trees and retreated into the jungle. Akosua stood; her hand was still outstretched, her eyes closed.

“You, a mere girl you think you can change me. I have ripped men’s hearts out and fed them to the animals. What do you think I will do to you child?” she screamed. Akosua opened her eyes and looked at the Evil Loa. Marrinette_Bwa_Check trembled then backed away from Akosua.

“You will be destroyed, you will be destroyed!” she screamed, as she ran to the pond and disappeared into the fog leaving ripples on the water. The jungle was silent, as if every animal was hiding from the wrath of the evil Loa. Slowly, the fog went away. The dragon flies came back and buzzed around the pond, frogs croaked and hopped from Lilly to Lilly. The bodies of the dead frogs had disappeared with the evil Loa, and the pond was back to its serene peace. Akosua turned away from the pond and slowly walked back to the village.

Uninvited

Ahhhh I don’t want to wake up
This anger feels good
Feels like a shooting start is bouncing around in me
Looking for a way out
It is circled with fire and ice
Feels like a Chinese carnival
Dragon hissing steam instead of fire
Voodoo meeting without dancers
Just drum beats pulsating
A rainbow with one colour
Bright orange vibrating
Love with too much passion
Flashes of darkness
Raindrops of tropical colours
But alas I must wake up
Let the colours dissipate
Uninvited reality takes its place