They walked until the trees and the bushes was so thick it blocked out the fading sunlight. Suddenly they heard screaming in the distance but could not tell where it came from. They stopped and listened, the screaming came from ahead of them and they ran towards the sound. Branches snapped, and bugs flew into the air as they ran. Sweat poured down Henry’s face, and his shirt stuck to his back. They came to a place where vines ran up the trunks of trees until they disappeared into the leaves. Henry surveyed the trees and saw that the vines covered all the trees causing their trunks to look like they were wrapped with green rope.
“That is the biggest vines I have ever seen,” Adofo said. The vines moved, but Henry dismissed it as his imagination. There was a scream again. They ran to one of the trees and saw one of the Bokors was entangled in the seven inch thick vines that moved like a pit of snakes as it constricted around him. The Bokor eyes looked like it was about to pop out of his head, his mouth was opened as he gasped for breath. Kwao pulled out his machete and began chopping at the vine. Adofo and Donkor joined him and swung their machetes, grunting as they did. Henry turned around and saw the other Bokor ensnared in the vine on another tree. The man was not moving, his tongue hung out of his mouth,
“Over there!” he shouted and ran over, pulling out his machete.
He arrived at the tree, stumbled and almost fell, but righted himself and looked at the man. His eyes were red from busted veins and his lips had turned blue. Henry began to chop at the vines, his machete stuck in the thick flesh of it and it took all his strength to pull it out. Smaller vines on the stem of the tree wrapped themselves around his ankle and tightened. He did not realize what was happening until he felt them constrict. He ignored them, and kept chopping. A rope of vine reached out and wrapped around his leg, he swung his machete and the vine fell to the ground. A couple of the warriors ran over and began helping him, yellow slime spouted from the middle of the deadly vegetation, as they chopped at it.
The Bokor fell to the ground and was motionless for a second, but then he inhaled sucking in as much air as he could. Henry cut the small vines from around his ankle and went to help the others with the Bokor. They carried both men away from the vines, and sat them down in between two trees that were about fifteen feet apart. Henry dropped to the ground gasping. Akosua knelt down next to the Bokors, closed her eyes and rested the palm of her hands on their chests. Her mouth moved, but no words came out, she reached into a sack on her waist, pulled out some leaves, and rubbed them over the bokor. Slowly they both became more alert.
“What were those?” Adofo asked and Donkor stood up and looked around at the tree.
“Those were Assassin Vines,” he said, Henry got up and stood next to him.
“I know how it feels to be entangled in those,” he said,
“No you got stuck in ordinary vines. These are Simi mobile; they move to pull you into them. They tighten around you until you are dead, and then deposit your remains near their roots. I have never known them to attack people before.” Donkor said. Suddenly, laughter echoed through the jungle.
“Death walks with you,” A voice boomed. Akosua stood up and looked around. The voice faded away as if the person was walking away from them.
The two Bokors were on their feet still shaken, but seemed ready to continue on the journey. Henry looked down at his ankle, there was blood seeping out from
“We need to get to the valley of the Weeping Willow Trees by nightfall,” he said. One of the Bokors spoke up.
“The Valley of the Weeping Willow trees, we heard that place is cursed. Anyone that goes there is snatched away by demons.” he said with fear in his eyes. The other Bokors mumbled among themselves. Years of worshipping the evil Loas had made them extremely superstitious. Donkor raised an arm and they were silent.
“Now that is just a legend,” he said and turned to Akosua.
“If that place is cursed how do you explain your mother and I staying the night there and not being harmed by demons? How do you explain that I stand before you alive and able to take you to the mountain?” It’s just a tale we invented to keep people from trying to go up to the mountain.” He said calmly.
“Are you sure there is no other way to get the mountain top, your cowardly men seem pretty frighten.” Kwao said and looked at the Bokors with disdain. The Bokors glared at him, one of them took a step towards him, but Donkor held his arm up,
“It is the easiest way; believe me, we did not want to go that way, but everywhere else we went it was impossible to get to the top.” He said then began to gather his gear.
“Come on and stay clear of the Assassin Vines,” he said and started walking. Akosua and her warriors followed. The Bokors hesitated, but soon they too followed, making sure they did not get close to the vines.
cuts, he used the sleeves of his shirt to dab at it.