“Sit down Kwao,” she said without looking at him. He stopped and looked over at the two warriors.
“This is crazy, she doesn’t know if this is going to work, “he barked, Akosua turned to him, the bamboo chair creaked as she did.
“Have faith Kwao,” she said, the boy plopped down in the dirt sending a small dust cloud into the air. Akosua got up and peeped out the door. The guard looked at her, his red and blue face pronounced in the light from the torch in front of the door. Everyone in the village was wearing red and blue and their faces were painted the same. Some carried food, while others carried wood for a bonfire in the middle of the village.
“Help me,” a woman screamed as she reached her arms out to Akosua. Akosua turned to her warriors,
“Let’s go” she said and walked out the door. The guard turned to block her, but she reached out and touched his shoulder, and his resolve seemed to melt, and the spear hung loosely at his side. She pushed past him and followed the screaming woman. Kwao and the two warriors followed her. The blond woman managed to escape and the Bokor chased after her and grabbed her by the hair. She fought back, but to no avail.
They walked to the middle of the village. The woman was being tied to a pole next to the bonfire. She was crying and screaming, but her pleas fell on deaf ears. Two Bokors stood next to her wearing red and blue robes. The bonfire popped and cracked sending sparks everywhere. The Bokors were busy preparing for the nights sacrifice. Akosua stopped in front of the woman. The woman looked at her, tears rolled down her sun tanned face, her blue eyes pleading. The Bokors tighten vines around her. Akosua took a step towards the woman just as the drummers began playing. The Bokors began to congregate, their faces expressionless, their eyes not moving. Their leader walked in from the darkness. He too wore a red and blue robe but with a hood on it. The bottom of the robe touched the dirt giving the illusion that he floated across the uneven ground. Akosua started to walk towards him but Kwao grabbed her arm. The Bokor leader stopped in front of the crying woman. The Bokor congregation became silent.
“To the great Pedro Loa we bring this sacrifice. We implore him to wreak vengeance on those who seek to destroy us,” he said. The drummers played faster whipping the Bokors into a frenzy of dance. The leader danced over to one of the guards and took a machete from him. He danced towards the woman; the hood on his robe covered most of his face giving the impression that he was faceless.
He stopped in front of the woman; she pleaded and struggled against the vines. She looked up to the sky tears rolled down her face, then down her cheeks. The Bokor leader danced, spinning round and round, the bottom of his robe created a cloud of dust. The sharp edges of the machete glittered in the pale light of the bonfire; the drummers played even faster chanting as they did. The Bokors exploded into wild dances. The shadow of birds circled over the village, wolves howled in the jungle, crows’ squawked as they circled the night sky. The Bokor leader stopped in front of the woman and raised his machete. Akosua stepped forward,
“Stop!” she shouted, the Bokor leader stopped and turned around. At first the drummers kept playing, but when they realized their leader had stopped dancing they stopped. A tense silence came over the proceedings as Akosua walked up to the leader.
“I heard you were doing this, but I did not believe it,” she said. He did not move, surprised that she had interrupted the ceremony.
“Is this what you have come to?” she asked looking from the leader to the crowd. Small fireballs popped around the burning wood.
“You used to be Hougans, good people, but you had to form this Angajan, seek vengeance by forming an alliance with the Pedro Loa. Do you want to sell your souls to Baka,” She said, the Bokors mumbled, some of the men took a menacing step towards her. Kwao came forward spear at the ready. Akosua waived him off and turned back to the Leader.
“You knew my mother, you were friends, and people respected you, why have you gone so far into the dark?” She asked, the leader turned and faced his followers.
“We all know why, your too good spirits can’t fight the Ligaroo. You have to fight evil with evil, and you, and your soft spirits, you cannot defeat the Ligaroo. Look around you; look at this village, burnt huts, sad faces. The Ligaroos came and took our families, our children. What do we have but our Pedro Loa and his dark spirits to get the vengeance that we all seek?” He shouted, Akosua listened then responded.
“How long have you been offering sacrifices to the Pedro Loa, where are your families, have you gotten them back?” she asked, some of the Bokors hung their heads not wanting to look Akosua in the eyes. The leader stuck the machete in the ground next to Akosua’s feet.
“They are dead, all dead and we want vengeance.” He screamed. Akosua looked around; behind the Bokors she saw the silhouette of the burnt huts.
“Look at your village, it is obvious that this barbaric behavior has not brought you peace nor has it brought an end to the attacks of the Ligaroos.” She said. The Bokors were silent, a dog howled somewhere in the village.
“It is time we come together it’s the only way we can defeat the Ligaroos, Yemaya says so,” the Bokors mumbled and turned to each other. The leader laughed and stepped in between Akosua and the villagers.
“Why should we listen to you a mere child? Why should we?” he shouted, a man in the village stepped forward his face hidden by the hood of his robe. Akosua looked at him, his eyes shifted from side to side. Their leader raised his arm and the man spoke.
“Years we have suffered, and the Bakas, the great evil spirits have promised that we will have our vengeance, and as you know from our history we can only overcome by inflicting vengeance on those who do harm to us,” the man said. The leader turned around like a preacher on his pulpit yelling,
“Baron Samedi will give us our vengeance,” The Bokors erupted into yells, screams and chants. Akosua waited until they were silent again.
“Baron Samedi is also helping the Ligaroos, how are you so sure that he will pick you over them?” she asked, the Bokors mumbled among themselves. Akosua continued talking,
“But we can defeat the Ligaross, free our people. Shedding the blood of this innocent woman will not bring freedom to anyone. Just because we were slaves, and the masters consider us animals, does not mean we should act like animals. We should be together as one people, one free nation. But here we are fighting among ourselves like so many of our ancestors. For once let us stop history from repeating itself, or we will end up losing this struggle and with it our freedom. I promise you there is a better way.” She said. The Bokor leader stepped towards Akosua his eyes ablaze with anger,
“How? How will you a naive girl, a novice witch defeat the Ligaroo King he is powerful and is more powerful with the Bakas on his side? Do you think that your good spirits can defeat such a powerful evil? What are you going to do slither across the jungle like Obatala, crawl up the Ligaroo’s feet and lick his face with your forked tongue?” He asked sarcastically, the Bokors erupted into laughter,