They got to the centre of the village when suddenly what looked like a small child appeared in front of them. The small figure turned and ran ahead of them then dissolved into the darkness. Akosua stopped and held her arm up. Once again the childlike figure darted in front of them and disappeared between two houses. The figure moved so fast Akosua could not tell if it was a boy or a girl. Akosua raised her machete and looked around. The warriors joined her in the centre of the path; they too held their machetes up expecting an attack. Laughter filled the village, it was one lone shriek that bounced off the stoned walls and echoed through the mud huts. They huddled together trying to see if anyone was close to them. As if materializing from thin air, someone was among them swinging a small club with spikes on it. Akosua looked around just in time to see the figure charging at her. It was a little person, she looked like she was covered in dirt, her dress was ripped, and her bare feet were caked with mud. Her hair was grey and her face looked like leather that was left out in the sun too long. Her eyes were bright red and she breathed like she had a bad cold. Akosua moved out of her way as she ran by screaming and cursing. The little woman stumbled and fell, grunted, then jumped up and faced Akosua.
“You want the Ligaroo King, you will have to go through us first,” She said then put her fingers to her mouth and whistled. Twelve other little people materialized from the darkness behind her. They stood, none of them above four feet tall. They all held clubs in their hands and they looked at Akosua and her friends menacingly. The little woman turned to her friends,
“Look here, we have some visitors. I bet the king would be real grateful if we captured them and bring them to him, don’t you think? Yes I think, yes I think. Yes this will be a rich bounty,” She said. Her friends laughed and snickered, some snorting, their eyes wild with anticipation, hitting the ground with their clubs. The dog reappeared next to them and started barking. One of the little people kicked dirt at it and the dog scampered off. They stared down Akosua and her warriors, their eyes gleaming with the prospect of getting paid for the capture of the intruders.
“You children ready to play,” the little woman said as she raised her hand.
“Lets get them” She shouted and they charged screaming. Dogs barked and came running. The sound of wooden windows closing filled the air as the villagers stayed clear of the ruckus. Akosua grabbed a little man by his shirt but she lost her grip, and he stumbled to the ground. The man landed on his back, his legs in the air. He looked up at her, his eyes on fire with rage. He scrambled to his feet and hugged Akosua’s leg trying to sink his teeth into her flesh. Akosua grabbed his hand and pulled him off of her, the little man growled and grinded his rotting teeth. She held his arm as he struggled to kick her. Behind her, she heard some of her warriors groan in pain as they are struck with the spiked clubs. The little man was still struggling and managed to pull himself away from Akosua. He fell and rolled across the ground, ending up at the feet of the little woman who had first attacked them. She whistled again, and her companions scrambled to stand next to her. They surrounded the fallen little man and helped him up. When he was up, and they had dusted him off, the little woman turned to Akosua wagging her index finger at her,
“You are nothing but a big bully!” She screamed shaking her fists. They all gritted they rotted teeth and growled at Akosua. The sound of drums floated into the village on the winds that made leaves swirl around on the ground. The scent of smoke from the bonfire filled the air. The little woman held her club up.
“You want us you big bullies, come and get us,” she shrieked, and she and her companions erupted in a chorus of yells, their shadows moved around on the ground as they danced.
“We know where your people are,” the little woman sang mocking Akosua and her warriors. Akosua took a step towards them. They turned and ran, leaving a cloud of dust in their wake. Akosua hesitated, but Ampah ran past her and went after the little people,
“Ampah, wait!” Akosua screamed and ran after him, the others followed close behind. Ampah turned right ahead of them, and they followed, but stopped to avoid running him over. The boy stood looking up at the big house. Vultures circled over the roof, loud splashes came from the moat.
Akosua walked to the edge of the moat, it was wider than she expected. There was a large splash and the dark water came alive with ripples. Akosua jumped back as the cold water soaked her dress; she turned to the front of the house, a stone bridge led to a large wooden door that looked more like the opening to a cave than a doorway. Akosua heard the laughter of the little woman and her friends inside. It reminded her of the drunken parties at the plantation. She would lie in bed at night and listen to them, as the slave owners rampaged through the slaves’ quarters. She once asked her mother why they would come to the quarters, but her mother never told her. The little people’s voices echoed, as if they were in a big empty room. Akosua walked up to the bridge looking around to make sure there was no surprise attack. They got to the beginning of the bridge, and she raised her hand. The little woman laughed again,
“Come and get us, or do you need a little incentive?” she said and continued laughing. Akosua knew that this may well be a trap, so she turned to her warriors and motioned for them to walk away. Just when she was about to give the order, a woman appeared in the doorway. The woman wore a white dress that was torn and dirty, and she stood with her hands clasped in front of her like a humble slave. Akosua looked at the woman for a second. Ampah stepped forward,
“Ma Ma?” he said and started walking over the bridge