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Parts Obeah Storyteller

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.

Categories
Storyteller

Ohh yes yes, Sugar Apples

Ohhh the sweet creamy deliciousness, Oh yes, its Saturday afternoon and a group of boys are all scaling the tree trying to find the ripe ones. They were running around the tree scrambling over the fallen fruit, sometimes destroying it before anyone could get to eat it.  Soon there were way too many boys trying to climb the tree, the branches sagged to the ground as they swung from branch to branch. Then there was a loud booming voice.

“All you get out ah me yard!” The boys stopped, all was quiet, an old man charged out of the house, he moved fast taking into consideration his age. Above his head was a switch and before the boys could react the old man was among them swinging the switch, connecting on anyone he could. Oh the screaming the laughing as the old man chased them out of the yard.

“You little hooligaans!” he screamed. “I know who you are, i know all all yuh muddas, I go tell dem and all yuh go get a good licking. Stay out me yard I tell yuh.” The boys were laughing, some checking themselves for marks from the switch.  oh yes, the things us boys used tio do for some sweet sweet sugar apples.

Categories
Cool Runnings Storyteller

27th Installment of La Diablesse

It was late afternoon and the sun was not as hot as it was earlier in the day. Jane held me hand and I could tell she was a lot more at ease. In the distance we heard gunshots but they did not seem to frighten she as much as they did earlier, I mean the girl grew up in West Virginia them mountains were known for a lot of hunting. We walked back to me house and got there in time to sit at the window and watch the sun fall into the imaginary line in the ocean.

Days went by and Jane had practically moved into me house I sure didn’t mind because she made the house smell like a flower garden. The medical school had gone back to its regular classes though some of the students had left the island, damn cowards were acting like the islanders were going to hurt them or something. Ken’s brother was back I would see him walking in the yard wearing the dirty green uniform of the People’s Revolutionary Army. He would wave at me and shout,

“Long live de revolution,”

I had gotten involved with some of the educational programs instituted by the new government, I mean these people seemed like they would try to do some good, I even spent some of me weekends helping the farmers and them, I tell you what working all day on the banana plantations was a real humbling experience. It amazed me how happy them people was, getting up at the crack of dawn, working until the sky turn gray and the stars twinkled in the sky, damn people had plenty resolve.

Slowly everyone was settling down to the way things were well except for the damn American government they were not too happy at all bout the change in leadership. President Carter had given a speech bout how the communists had taken over the island and somehow the civilized world had to stop the movement of the ungodly system that was spreading through the Caribbean and South America. The former Prime Minister was in exile in New York and was trying his best to trump up support to get rid of the new government. Soon Russians and Cubans came to the island claiming to help build it up I mean why in the hell didn’t them so called super powers leave we alone. Some of the people were not too happy bout them being there but most did not seem concerned with they presence.

I saw Alison at school every day; she was not as intense as she used to be the suspicious look replaced by an odd smile, Mr. Hopson quit and had moved to America, good riddance to bad karma. I even started participating in the military maneuvers the army held to train the people to defend the country in case of an invasion, still I was real cautious bout dealing too much with them, I mean all them damn guns in the hands of young people was not the best thing for the country. Jane sometimes helped with teaching classes with the older people who had not finished they schooling and she seemed to be enjoying sheself, I tell you what, that woman was not only beautiful but she was real generous too. Life was beginning to get back to some kind of normalcy.

One late afternoon, when the island was quiet and the sun hung overhead like a big eye looking down on the ocean, I took Jane to the northern part of the island where me father’s family had come from. It was early April and the landscape was lawn green spotted with while flowers everywhere. We went to a beach where my father used to take us whenever I visited him that was the only happy times I remembered with that man. About two miles off the show was an island, it was not your typical island, in fact in was a rock about one mile long surrendered with very little beach but was plush with forest like vegetation. It looked like the peak of a mountain standing out of the sea bout three quarter of a mile high with a flat top where people would have picnics while looking out at the ocean. We rented a boat from one of the fishermen and rowed the two miles out. I had packed a basket of lunch with a bottle of French wine I had gotten from a fisherman who moonlighted as a smuggler toting wine to South American bars. The sea was unusually choppy for April and the small boat rolled from side to side like crazy, causing Jane to hold on. She had this big smile on she face she hazel eyes alight with excitement. The basket of food slid back and forth on the boats bottom and I used me foot to jam it against the side of the boat.

When we got close to the island I jumped out of the boat intending to pull it the rest of the way in but I miscalculated how deep the water was and sank like a frigging anchor. I struggled to the surface almost hitting me head against the side of the bobbing craft, man, what a clumsy idiot I was. Jane laughed tears rolling down she cheeks and I started to laughed too but swallowed a mouthful of the salty ocean, I grabbed hold of the boat and fought against the waves kicking me legs real hard. After a brief struggle I managed to get the little craft close enough to the beach where me feet touched the sand and I walked the rest of the way pulling the boat behind. I pulled it onto the beach, the waves swirling causing me to lose me grip several times, Jane jumped out of the boat and helped me pull it rest of the way. I plopped down on the sand, exhausted,

“Are you alright?” she asked standing over me, I looked up at she the sun blinding me momentarily.

“Wow, now that was a bomboclart struggle,” I said getting to me feet. I walked over to the boat, reached in and picked up the basket and we made the short trek from the beach to the middle of the island. Birds with white feathers and long legs flew into the air as we went by them the bloody things squawking like crazy, me clothes and me dreadlocks stuck to me skin and I was a little chilly as the wind swept through the little island, Jane walked behind me picking seaweed from me back laughing. There were other people on the island some were playing soccer on the other side man them people sure like to scream when they playing. We got to the base of the hill and looked up,

“You up for a short climb?” I asked. She looked at me smiled and began to climb up the rocks that stuck out on the hill like steps, I followed she watching she body move gracefully up the steep incline.

When we got to the top of the hill Jane found the first spot she could and sat down breathing real hard. I sat the basket down next to she and looked round, there were small trees most bout nine to ten feet tall spotted round on the hilltop that was bout two or three hundred yards wide, the grass was thick and soft when it was touched felt like a plush carpet under me foot. I walked over to the edge of the hill and looked down, trees grew out of the side of the hill and the ocean crashed against the rocks bout forty feet down. I looked out at the endless blue sky that was spotted with white cotton candy like clouds, birds flew over the ocean squawking as they head out to sea. I walked back over to where Jane was sitting and dropped down next to she.

“This is beautiful; it is just like what I have seen in the travel brochures.” She leaned she head on me shoulder and we sat there watching a windjammer boat as it struggled against the chopping sea, it lay deep in the water obviously overloaded with cargo that was being shipped to another island. We heard the voices of the people playing soccer on the beach below; children screaming as the waves came ashore crashing into them. I got up and opened the bottle of wine and poured us drinks, Jane took the glass smiling at me, the wind roared through the trees behind us and swept out to sea taking the voices of the people with it, then it died down and the happy screams were loud again. I looked at Jane she was beautiful with the sun bouncing off she tanned skin, she glanced at me my heart was racing so fast I felt it throbbing in me neck.

She laid down the glass of wine, leaned over and kissed me, the wind whipped up she hair and it tickled me face, the sun hid behind a cloud, just for a second, then bright against the green blue ocean. Jane hugged me squeezing me for a minute she body was real warm and I felt she heart pounding against me chest. I opened me eyes and when I did I realized that the world was not as grey as it was the day of the revolution, maybe I am finally starting to get used to the political situation or maybe it was being with Jane that put some colour into my world. One of the birds with long legs landed on the grass bout fifteen feet from us its white body blinding me as the sun shimmered off its feathers. Jane let go of me she shirt wet from squeezing me, picked up she glass and took a sip, the red liquid blending in with she dark red lips. I turned me body to face she and we looked at each other without saying a word. I reached out with me hand and brushed me fingers against she face, she skin was so smooth it was like touching solid air. She leaned into me hand kissing me fingers, I lifted she head gently and kissed she and she wrapped she free hand round me neck, she lips tasting like the wine she had just sipped.

We kissed and caressed each other long enough for the sun to drop to where we could look out to sea and look directly into its glow. The wine glasses had fallen leaving trails of red in the green grass, I got up and refilled them and walked out to the edge of the hilltop. Jane came up behind me and interlocked she arm in mine and we stood there watching the sun play hide and seek behind the low clouds, birds gather on the beach below as the people got into they boats and headed back to the mainland, soon all was quite except for the wind rushing through the trees on the hilltop. When it was almost dark and the wine bottle lay empty on the grass. We headed back to the mainland and drove the winding narrow road back to the city

The blue sky had turned into a mass of twinkling stars, Jane had gone into the bathroom and was taking a shower so I walked over to the window and looked out, there it was again, the ocean I could smell the salt in the crisp night air. I leaned out the window and looked into the yard leaves flew round in small whirlpools as the tropical wind swirled round the mango tree. Out of the corner of me eyes I saw the bushes move I thought nothing of it and just kept looking round. There was calypso music coming from inside Ken’s home, it was an old song by the singer the Mighty Sparrow,

“Sink dem ships to the bottom of the ocean Kennedy is de man for dem,” For some reason President Kennedy was real popular on the island, Dexter’s mother was singing along to the words.

The bushes moved again and I focused me attention on it, I mean that damn goat better stay on the other side. Me frigging heart started to race and the hair on the back of me neck seemed to have a life of they own. I reached up with me hand and rubbed me neck and then I watched as the bushes parted like a crowd at a wedding making way for the bride and for god’s sake there she was, the frigging woman in white. I tried to look away but I was fixated on she as she began floating towards me, me breath came in short bursts causing me lungs to burn like crazy and I grabbed hold of the window frame in an effort to stop meself from climbing out. Suddenly I felt someone touch me on the arm I spun round almost knocking Jane down. At first she looked kind of stunned but then she realized that something was wrong and took me hand,

“What is the matter?” she asked looking into me eyes, I raised me arm and pointed to the yard and she looked past me and scanned the yard for a second then looked back at me took me hand and led me to the bed and sat me down man what a relief it was to get off me weakened legs. I began to catch me breath as she rubbed me back, I tell you what, she sure knew how to rub feeling back into someone.

“I saw she again, she was standing in front of the bushes,” I could see the concern in Jane’s face.

“Are you talking about the woman you told me would appear to you?” she asked and I nodded me head me damn eyes felt like they were on fire or something. She said nothing, she just got up and straddled me and pulled me to she, man that woman sure knew how to relax me.

When me breathing was normal and the tension in me chest had gone Jane kissed me and then got up and walked over to the window, I wanted to stop she but I thought if she saw anything then she would not think I was crazy. She peered out the window looked right then left then turned and walked back to me,

“I did not see anything,” she said sitting down next to me and placed she right palm on me forehead.

“You are burning up,” she said getting up and going into the bathroom and returning with a wet washrag, she placed it on me forehead and the cool material sent shockwaves of chills all through me. I shook a little and she removed the rag for a second looking into me eyes.

“It must have been my imagination,” I stuttered but to tell you the truth I felt like someone knocked the frigging wind out of me

“Shhhhh,” she said and placed the rag back on me forehead, I sat and looked at she forcing a weak smile, she smiled back a loving concerned look in she eyes. I reached up and moved she hand and stood up, the whole damn room turned black and I had to sit back down. I laughed a weak laugh flopped back on the bed and looked up at the ceiling, Jane leaned over me looking into me eyes but she disappeared as flashes of the woman in white floating towards the window ran through me mind and I stiffened a little, Jane rubbed me face with she fingers. I closed me eyes and when I opened them I saw Jane’s face but everything round it was a colourful blur. I tried to smile but by the expression on she face I knew she did not believe I was all right. She leaned over and kissed me cheek and for a split second everything seemed real normal, but then me head felt like a hundred little elves were at work at the base of me skull with tiny rubber hammers. I started to drift off and soon I was unaware of me soundings, I mean I went out just like that. When I woke up Jane was sitting on the bed next to me.,I sat up, now I knew how Rip Van Wrinkle felt after forty years of sleep, Jane went to the kitchen and came back with a glass of water with ice in it, I took the glass and sipped the ice cubes clanged round on the crystal

“You feel better?” She asked as she brushed she fingers cross me face. I shook me head and tried to sit up but Jane gently pushed me back down.

“Get some more rest,” she said took the glass then got up and walked away. I lay there I must have slept the whole damn weekend because before I knew it I had to get up and go to the school.

The week went by slowly, classes in the school were uneventful, and the government seemed as if they were settling into a pattern. Alison would sometimes ask me how I was doing but I never told she bout the last encounter. The suspicious expression crept back into she face whenever she spoke to me bout the woman in white, but she never really pressed the issue. Everywhere on the island were young people dressed in military uniforms carrying guns, I mean I even saw a fifteen year old in uniform I didn’t like the fact that them children were carrying guns round.

Categories
Food Storyteller

Sour to Sweet

Sour to Sweet

Ahhhh the tambran, the sweet, sour taste, I used to walked home from school in the hot tropical sun and I always had to walk by this tambran tree, now this tree was not in the usual place, nooooo, it had to be right on the edge of a precipice, dangling over the cliff, the ocean forty feet below, rocks stuck out of the emerald swirl. I stood looking at the tree, its branches laden with the with the desired fruit. In walked us to its trunk, the waves crashed against the rocks below. My heart raced up as I grabbed a low branch an hoisted myself into the tree. The branch bent under my weight and for a second I hesitated. But the lust for that sweet taste of tambran balls lingered in my mouth. I swung from branch to branch, filling up my pockets, and when they were filled, I filled up by book bag. I felt the wind whip around me, the salty taste of the air around me. I shimmied down the tree trunk, stumbled, grabbed some bushes and pulled myself away from the cliffs edge. I ran all the way home, into the kitchen, broke the tambrans out of their shells, got some sugar, flour, pepper and salt and mixed it in with the tambran. When all was mixed together, I rolled them into small balls and set them on a plate. I popped one in my mouth, ohhh the sweetness, ohhh the sour, I felt my eyes roll back in my head from the pleasure of it all. It was well worth hanging over a precipice to get to this moment.