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Storyteller

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.

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Storyteller

Its a Nice marning, Slow Down Enjoy

Its a Nice marning, Slow Down Enjoy

Hey you, yes you, take it easy nah, slow down. I know, I know, you have to get to work, make that money, pay the bills, but look at you, sad eyes, stressed, man, come on, for once in your like, simmer down, as a matter of fact, come over here, take a whiff of me, I guarantee you will feel better. I right here, yellow, brilliant and cheesing. What more encouragement you want. Yes that’s it, now tell me you don’t feel better eh? Wait, wait, wait, what you doing? Ha, so my thorns poked you eh, that’s what you get, come on man, don’t pick me, don’t be selfish, leave me here so I can make the next person’s day better. Now go to work, keep that scent in your soul, speak and let rainbow coloured words come out you mouth. Have a good day. Oh man, not another one, you humans just don’t know how to enjoy the moments. Hey you, come over here, stop, take a whiff, you going feel better.

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Stories Storyteller

Run For Your life

So here I was, in the middle of the night, walking through the bushes. Tress lined the sides of the foot beaten path, it was real dark and I was sweating with fear. I bet you wondering how I ended up walking in the bushes at night eh? Well it all started when me friend Ras Burtrand ran into me in the city. He was all excited, his eyes that was usually dull from smoking ganja was dancing all over the place. He grabbed me hand and said, “Tall boi, leh me tell yuh, I just harvested some ah de best ganja ever, mon, you have to come over and tek a taste,” Well I for one did not need a second invitation, I mean Ras Burtran was known to cultivate some of the best weed in the whole damn country. I mean that man did not just have a green thumb, I mean this man had the golden touch when it comes to growing weed.

Later that afternoon, I went over to the village where Ras Burtran live. His house sat on a small incline, there was no grass, nor trees, just dirt. That man could gross some bad ganja, but he could never get the grass ton grow around his house. He saw me coming and jumped right up. I sat on a big rock next to the door of his one room wooden house waiting. He came out with two of the biggest joints I ever seen. I took the first puff, inhaled and boy did it hit me. and I swear to you I heard African drums playing, lions roaring, monkeys barking. That damn ganja took me back to Africa, I repatriated in me head. Ras Burtran leaned in and smiled, his teeth looking as big as a donkey’s, “What I tell yuh, I bet you feel real nice right now EH?” he said, inhaling a cloud of smoke. All I could do was smile and shake me head, well I believe I shook me head.  Me stomach started rumbling and before I could say anything Ras Burtrand went into his house and came back with a bucket full of freshly picked mangoes, plumbs, sugar apples and guavas. We sat there eating and smoking and before I knew it, night had fallen. Around eleven or so I decided to get back to me village. I did not wanty to take the highway home so I decided to use the short cut through the bushes and boy do I regret that now. Here I was, high as can be, walking through this thick bushes.

I thought I saw someone ahead of me so I stopped, the person seemed to stop too except they seem to be rocking back and forth. I tell you, me whole body went numb and I heard meself breathing hard. We stood for a second, I wanted to turn back but that would have just made me trip longer so I braved up and started walking, the person did not move. As I got closer, I realized that this was no ordinary person, they seemed to have several hands all sticking out from their sides. Me heart almost stopped beating and without thinking I bolted, if they were not going to move I was going to run right through them. Just as I was almost on the person, beast, evil spirit, whatever it was, I changed me mind and took a sharp right, bolting through some vine. I was in full stride, being smacked in the face by branches, bushes with thorns ripped at me arms.  I heard rustling in the bushes next to me, something big was running step for step with me. I heard what sounded like growl that echoed through the trees. Something big was after me. I speed up, me legs burning, me heart pounding. I busted out onto the highway and narrowly escaped being hit by a car. I heard the driver curse and watch the back lights fade away. I stopped and bent over trying to catch me breath. Suddenly the bushes from where I had come shook. I was too tired to run so I braced meself to ward off any beast, evil spirit or devil that came at me. I heard the hoofs before I saw the sheep standing in front of me, looking at me the way I was feeling, surprised. I remember saying to meself, not that explains what was chasing me, but what kind of monster did I see on the path. It was then I remembered, that was the plumb tree I used to climb when I was a boy. Ras Burtrand ganja was way better than I thought. I made a pack, never to smoke and stay late at Ras Burtran’s house.

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Pics with verse Storyteller

That Time of Evening

That Time of Evening

It is that time of early evening, when nature finally decides to hide the mistakes that man have made in the daylight, and a warm breeze tickles the leaves of the mango trees, and a confused rooster crows somewhere in the bushes. When the owl hoots while perched on the branch of a breadfruit tree, and the noise of traffic and commerce fades to a simple murmur, and children sit on the veranda to watch the fireflies swirl around the hibiscus tree. Yes it is that time of evening to relax and float.

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Cool Runnings Storyteller

22th Installment of La Diablesse

I walked to the market square but all of the bloody busses were either full or had left the square, I looked round, man it was total pandemonium I mean looters were beginning to break into the stores, a man and a boy were carrying a stove across the empty market square, men, women and children were crashing into store windows grabbing anything they could find. One lady was carrying a lawn mower I knew she the damn woman did even not have a lawn. I stood watching in disbelief, I mean people were acting like bloody animals or something. Me mother had told me bout the riots of 1951, the labour unions had gone on strike and had burned most of the city down Sky Red she called it. I shook me head and walked out of the square, I did not what to stand in the middle of history repeating itself.

I reluctantly began walking the ten miles to me house, occasionally I would pass jeeps loaded with policemen dressed in riot gear, for us on the island that meant they had their guns, they were heading to the city they faces contorted with determination they British made riffles pointed towards the sky. Some of them yelled out me name they knew me as the son of the fearful Sergeant 94 Dickens.

I got to the beach stopped, took me shoes off and started walking, all the things that had happened to me in the last few days were running through me mind like crazy. I walked on the sand were the ocean broke onto the beach, small crabs scurried out of the way when me feet hit the sand next to them, seagulls flew overhead diving into the sea to get their food. I looked across the sea to the city and saw the mist from the teargas floating into the air. I looked away from that scene and tried to concentrate on the beach, it was real empty except for the one or two tourist lying on the sand. I walked up to the medical school and stopped, I knew that Jane might be in she dorm room so I decided to go see if she would like to go for a walk. I walked up a flight of concrete stairs and down a corridor. This building was once a hotel until the medical school bought the building to accommodate the students. I got to the door of she room and stood there for a second composing meself, I mean, I did not want to make she worry.

I knocked lightly on the door and heard rustling inside then the door opened and she stood looking at me, a nervous smile formed on she face but that was immediately replaced by a look of concern.

‘You’re bleeding” she said looking down at me shirt,” I looked down and saw the blood as she took me hand and guided me into the room.

“I am alright,” I said relaxing. “It must have come from one of the students.” She walked away from me and disappeared into she bathroom and returned with a wet washrag and began rubbing the red spots, I stood there enjoying the fact that she was touching me.

After a few seconds she gave up and invited me to sit down in a chair that sat next to a desk in the corner of the room, I sat down as she went back into the bathroom. I looked round at the room I had never been in here before; it was decorated like one of them country homes I had seen in magazines. On the desk was a picture of what I thought was she family, she father stood to the right of she mother and three children between the ages of ten and fifteen were sitting in chairs in front of the couple. There were other pictures hanging on the wall one was of a church covered with snow and the others were of mountains and valleys. She bed was neatly made covered with floral coloured sheet, lots and lots of stuffed animals and six pillows, I wondered where it was she slept on the bed. . There was another picture on the desk of she and she father, they were holding riffles in they hands and she father was holding this humongous turkey in one hand. I looked closely at the picture of she, man that was a real big gun for such a petit woman. She emerged from the bathroom she hair bouncing as she walked.

“I was listening to the radio and heard what happened.” I looked down at the floor and told she the story of the morning’s events, she did not interrupt me she just sat there with a concerned look in she eyes she soft hands cupped mine. When I was done she came over and hugged me and I relaxed closed me eyes as I felt the throbbing of she heart against me chest. After a few seconds she let go of me and returned to the bed.

I got up and went over to she desk, turned on she radio trying to get some news, but there was just music, I mean, all this trouble going on in the city and all they could do is play bloody music. I was getting real anxious so I told she I had to leave, I mean, I had to go somewhere to cool meself down. She moved as if she was going to come with me but I told she it would be safer for she to stay, I promised she that I would come back later to let her know I was alright. She followed me holding me hand and I could tell she did not want me to go, we went down the stairs and onto the beach all the while she tried to let me take she with me but I was adamant she did not. She looked up at me and smiled a weak smile god knows I did not want to leave, but I had to be alone. I turned to walk away but she pulled me back and kissed me, man, I got real light headed, slowly she turned, she hair whipping round she shoulder and walked back up the stairs, I watched she until she got to the door opened it and went in.

I walked the rest of the way home feeling like I was walking in another man’s body sweat rolled down me face dripping onto me shirt, damn, I hated sweating. Just up the street some children played in a yard happy that school had let out for the day, I wondered if they understood what had happened, will this affect the way they thought when they got older or will it be just another page in history they would learn in school. I got to the front of me house and found little Ken sitting on the bench in me yard, the poor little fella was crying real hard. I sat down next to him resting me hand on his shoulder.

“What’s wrong?” He fought to hold back the tears making it hard for him to speak.

“Dey arrest me broddrer,” he said and busted into tears again, I did not know what to say, I just sat there with me hands on he shoulder. Before I could think of what to say he mother called him and he got up and walked away without looking at me. The shock I felt earlier was fast being replaced by anger, I mean, it was wrong for the students to defy authority but it was insane what the hooligans did. I walked into the house and tried to settle down but I could not so I grabbed me transistor radio and walked out.

Ten minutes later I was at the edge of the island looking out to sea. I sat down and listened to the ocean crash against the rocks and the wind whistling through the tall grass. Dark clouds came in from the south and the rain swept across the ocean coming towards the land, I threw me head back waiting for the rain to reach me, the downpour hit the ocean below right before I felt the first drops bounce of me skin. I opened me eyes and looked out to sea the ocean was dark blue with occasional patches of black, white froth formed where the waves broke into each other sew mews struggled against the wind as they try to escape the sudden storm, rain created a kind of mist right above the surface of the water and I almost did not see the small fishing boat going by.

I sat there silently as the rain disappeared on the land behind me and white clouds hovered over the ocean and the sun came out bringing with it a welcomed heat. I thought bout the La Diablesse she seemed trivial compared to what I had seen today. I decided to come back to reality and stop letting some strange woman dictate the way I see the world, there was no such thing as a La Diablesse too many real tragedies were going on in the world round me, I must forget this blasted idea of the phantom woman. A flock of seagulls flew by occasionally diving into the ocean coming up with fish in their beaks, further out flying fish jumped in and out of the blue water they bodies shimmering sliver in the sunlight.

I don’t know how long I sat there but by the time I was ready to leave it was dark, I turned me radio on and listened to the announcer, he was talking about what had happened in the city. Most of what he said was bloody rhetoric against the opposition leader, there was no mention of whither there were any dead, just bout injuries suffered by the students and some of the hooligans. Some stupid government minister spoke of reeducating the youth so they don’t fall victim to an ungodly system, I tell you what, I was getting real fed up with them damn politicians.

I had gotten to a part in the dirt road that was lined by tall trees and thick bushes, crickets and frogs interrupted the silence that usually came with the tropical night. Suddenly, me whole damn body tingled and I stopped and looked round to see if there was anyone behind me, I saw no one and kept on walking shaking me head at how jumpy I was. I stopped and looked round and out of the corner of me eye I saw a white misty figure in the bushes just off the road, I froze, I mean, I could not move at all. The stinking figure froze with me and there it was that bloody feeling of helplessness, that same deafening silence, I could not decide what to do so I just stood there watching the figure. Then slowly it floated towards me no leaves moved, it seemed to walk right through them. I wanted to run so bad but me bloody feet felt like they had grown roots in the frigging dirt. Just as the figure came onto the road a car drove up and the figure disappeared, I mean, its like the damn car went right through it, I jumped out of the way the driver yelling at me as he went by. I stood there watching its rear lights fade away from me like eyes of a menacing animal. I turned back to the place where the white figure had stood nothing moved not even the leaves, I mean where the hell was all that damn wind, then like someone lit a fire under me feet I sprung into action and ran the rest of the way home. I got into the house and turned on all the lights and closed all the windows, sat on me bed breathing hard ever so often listening to hear if anyone or anything was trying to break into the house. upbeat, it was then I heard a voice whisper behind me it echoed through the suddenly windy night.

 

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Pics with verse Storyteller

The Past in Daydreams

The Past in Daydreams

Its all coming back now, seeing that house after 28 years. It was that front door to the street I ran out to see the 82nd airborne floating down. It was that roof that shook with every explosion. You see where the light is on in that front window, yeah right there, it was there I laid in the dark night after night clinching a weapon, hoping that friend or foe do not try to enter. And that dark hill to the far left, it was there I saw the orange flares light up the night. Its that bush fence I hide behind when soldiers drove by, it was from that house I left to catch the plain to become The Dirty Immigrant. Sometimes we run from memories, we try to leave them behind, but then as you live, something brings them back, the loud pop of a car backfiring, the scent of smoke, a helicopter flying by, sirens blaring, shouting, crying, just everyday things can take you back to where you left. And then the urge to go back, because you remember before the chaos there was peace and you long for that peace.

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Pics with verse Storyteller

Too high above sea level Chimney Rock

Too high above sea level

Let us just check it out he said, it will not be too bad he says, yet here I was standing on this rock, this slab looking down at the vast nothing. You see I am seven feet tall and yes, I am afraid of heights, hell I get dizzy just looking down at my feet. So here I was, my skinny frame trying to not be blown away by the strong wind sweeping across the slab. Trees and bushes for miles. That is when it happened, as I looked out into the Carolina bushes, the wind bouncing off my face, finally the island boy from below sea level, felt comfortable with heights.

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Food Storyteller

Run Boi Run

Run Boi Run

I ran through de forest, me legs churning, me heart racing for so. Beads ah sweat rolled dung me face, me shirt stuck to me back. I was moving as fast as me skinny fourteen year old legs could take me. I hurdled some bushes, butterflies fluttered into the air, I disturbed dey Sunday simmer dung session. I ran through Miss Mabel yard, she dog took off after me, bloody mutt, dat mangy beast coulda get a good kick in he mouth. I hurdled the fence in she back yard, de wooden structure cracked and popped under me weight. I ran up the steep hill, dung the other side, sending rocks and stones propelling dung the hill. Burst through the wroth iron gate, through the drawing room, into the dining room and stopped. There is was, a full plate of food. Macaroni pie, stewed chicken, rice and peas, and callaloo, me favorite, yes man, me most favorite lunch. I closed me eyes and took a deep breath, oh the smell went through me nostrils and hit me in de back ah me head, I almost fell over. “Go wash yuh han nah boi,” Mommy Charles said. I opened me eyes as she was laying a glass of Passion fruit juice next to the plate ah food, “Ok Mamie,” I said and walked out the back door. I would run a thousand miles for Mommy Charles cooking.

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Stories Storyteller

Mama Melody

Sometimes at night we could hear she, crying, crying crying. At times others would join she, and man, they could make some real noise, wailing like de wind through de Bambo on de hill behind de prison. She walk by me window, I could hear she deep angry breaths, de ‘oman was real sad,. Me granny came into de room with that mischevious smile on she face. “You hear dat,” she said, That is de Mama Mel…ody, she did dead while she still pregnant, dats why she out dey crying all de damn time,” The old ‘oman din say nutton else, she just got up and left de room. I laid there listening to the crying. When I was older and breave enouff to go outside when I heard the Mama Melody crying. I snuck round de house, me heart beating for so. The some animal ran cross me foot, I almost jump out me skin. I heard de crying in the bushes ahead of me. I crept up to the bushes and shook it, five cats jumped out at me. Damn ole ‘oman, she had me fraid all dem years.
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Pics with verse Storyteller

History hidden

History hiden

I used to go to these old sites, where time tries to hide the past with shrubbery. I would stand there and close my eyes, that to relive history, just so I can see first hand what really happened. The British, the Spanish, the French. The Arawaks, the Caribs, the slaves. Is history as it was written, as we see it the same from them, if only I could see it in their eyes, feel their emotions. I would stand there, feel the Trade Winds brush against my face. Like the ghosts of the past touching me, sending chill down my back. I opened my eyes as a plane flew overhead, and for a moment I am caught in two different centuries, and for a second I had to decide where I want to me.