Where there is space, time is ticking away
Slow like cotton in a gently gust
Sometimes stagnant like a puddle in a pothole
Sometimes winding, a surprise around each space
Space makes room for no man
And no man can truly control space
Where there is space, time is ticking away
Slow like cotton in a gently gust
Sometimes stagnant like a puddle in a pothole
Sometimes winding, a surprise around each space
Space makes room for no man
And no man can truly control space
I woke up in complete darkness, I tried to move but there was no room for me to do it, I attempted to sit up, but I bumped my head on a wooden surface. I laid down trying to figure out where I was, it was quiet I could not even hear the ocean, that is when I realized that I was buried deep under the earth. I began to scream, but the sound just bounced off the top of the coffin and came back to me, so I lay there accepting my fate. Time went by and I heard a noise above me, started screaming again and the noise grew closer and closer until I heard something hard hit the top of the coffin. The lid opened and standing above me were three women in white, they reached in and pulled me out and I found myself floating in the air out to sea and into the ocean. I remember hitting the water thinking that I would drown, but I was surprised that I was able to breathe under the sea. They took me to Larilokan where I met Erzulie Frieda and the other goddesses and that is how I ended up here. I was dead but because my soul was so tortured the goddesses gave me power to roam the earth helping other women like me who are shunned by the living. I thought maybe doing what I do would help them find some peace of mind in the after life. They come from all over, all periods of time trying to find a place they belong, virgins wanting to move on to the other side and I am here to help them.”
She got up and walked round the Alter she white dress pronounced in the darkness, the torches flickered and cracked as a mild wind swept through the cave. I watched she as she walked, she dress smoothed out the sand behind she feet tears rolling down she cheeks. She stopped in the far corner and turned back and glided up to the Alter.
“I don’t expect you to sympathize with us Mr. Dickens, but some things you have no control of and you must now accept your fate, look at it as if you are sacrificing yourself for others, you always wanted to help others, now this is your chance.” She looked down at me waiting to see if I would answer, bloody hell woman, I did not volunteer for this.
“I will not give my life for what you see as a noble cause. You have no right to decide when I should live or die. Doing this makes you no different from the slave masters that tortured you,” I retorted, she looked at me a little disappointed, Jesus; did she expect me to say I understood or something?
“Suit yourself Mr. Dickens. The warriors will love having you to themselves. You will be their best present yet.” Having said that she picked up the tray turned and walked out, I sat there not knowing if I should feel anger or pity towards she, I mean she story was the most horrid I had ever heard but because I was raised with the colonialists ideals does not make it logical for these women to kidnap me for they bloody ceremonies. I lay down on the alter but sat up when I heard a shuffling in the direction of the entrance, I squinted trying to see if anyone was there. A shadow shifted behind the light of the torches I kept looking expecting someone to come out of the darkness but no one did. I looked at the entrance for a few more minutes and finally decided that no one was there. I lay down on the rock facing the entrance I tell you what if any of them came in to attack me I would be ready for them but I soon fell asleep, the whole time I had images bout how I would escape.
ohhhh the world cup reminds me of me and my brothers watching it, Pele, oh the great Pele, how we would make a mess of Mommy Charle’s living room. Throwing cushions. Yelling at the TV, knocking over drinks, and ever so often, a curse word would escape, then one of us would run to the living room door to see if Mommy Charles heard it, because if she did, that was the end of football watching. It was one of the few times she would let us go wild in the well put together living room.
They stood in a large room. There were twelve feet tall pillars that held up the stoned ceiling. The room was square and there were no windows, just the flicker of the lights from the torches that lined the walls. Shadows danced on the walls and on the floor, as a mysterious breeze swept through the room. On the far side, a wooden door opened, it creaked disturbing the eerie silence. Slowly Ampah’s mother walked out followed by the little people. They were so excited they were barely able to contain themselves. They jumped up and down clapping their hands and shouting. They walked to the centre of the room and stopped forming a circle around Ampah’s mother.
“Come get her boy, is that not the reason you are here?” The little woman said poking Ampahs mother on her side with her club,
“Go ahead mother, sing for you little boy,” she said then giggled. Ampah’s mother began to sing. He recognized the melody from his childhood. His mother sang that to him when he was younger and too afraid of the dark. Ampah started to move towards them but Akosua held him back. She looked around and saw shadows move against the wall next to a hallway to the left of the little people. About ten shadows formed on the walls and then a line of Ju Jus came into the room. With every step they took small bells jingled echoing in the empty space. They wore colourful outfits that had small mirrors stuck all over. Their faces were covered with powder, making them look chalk white. Dark vacant holes were where their eyes should be. They had white gloves on, and held small pouches that they shook over their heads as they moved. Their clothes were baggy, giving the impression that there was air between their skin and the thin material of their garments. The pants they wore came down to just above their knees and were lined with frills. As they stomped, they chanted, their voices deep and guttural.
“Baron Samedi ou prel pini,” They stopped in front of the little people and evil smiles appeared on their faces. Their black eyes turned white then black again, their tongues were black and darted in and out of their mouths.
“Short Knees!” Akosua shouted,
The Short Knees stopped stomping and stood silent for a second holding the pouches above their heads. Then in a blur they brought the pouches down spraying powder into the air. The room became a thick white mist that blinded Akosua and her warriors. They coughed and sneezed, as powder floated into the air, then fell to the floor,, turning the brick floor from dark red to white. The Short Knees was stomping again, the jingle of the bells and white powder made it feel like Christmas and All Saints were the same celebration. When the powder settled, and Akosua and her warriors were able to see again, Ampah’s mother, the little people and the Short Knees had disappeared. Akosua sneezed then looked up. Standing before them were eight Soucouyants, the wives of the Ligaroos, they were just as fierce as their husbands. The devil women stood, their skinless bodies glistened in the light from the torches, salvia dripped from their mouths, and their red eyes stared intently at Akosua and her warriors. Akosua took the club that was soaked in the salt from Nykene Mountain from her belt and prepared for an attack. Suddenly the Soucouyants attacked. The first beast charged at Akosua and morphed into a bear. At first it came at Akosua on all four legs, but when it was close to her it stood up. The beast towered over her, its mouth open, its head trashing from side to side sending saliva floating everywhere. It swung its large paw just as Akosua swung her club.
The Soucouyant behind her changed into a cougar, its teeth almost as big as a ram’s horn. It jumped at Ampah; its large body blocked the light from the torch behind it, and for a second Ampah was not prepared for the attack and was knocked to the ground. The cougar stood over him saliva dripped from its mouth onto Ampah’s face. The boy fumbled on his belt to retrieve his pouch with the salt pellets, then grinded a handful into the cougar’s eyes. The beast roared, then jumped off of him and disappeared into the dark. The last two Soucouyants turned into giant wolves. Their canine scent filled the air as they rushed at the warriors. The warriors retaliated, swinging their clubs, warding off their attackers
The Exterminator came to, but he was not sure because he was in complete darkness, the florescent light was turned off, he tried to adjust his eyes to the darkness, but could not see a damn thing, he was hungry his stomach rumbling as he belched.
I see you are awake,” that same voice said out of the darkness, he had come to hate that accent. Then he heard a foot shuffling next to him, and a chair was sat in front of him, he waited, listening to the breathing of his visitor,
You must be hungry I will feed you if you tell me what I want to know.” The African said. The Exterminator did not respond.
“You know, when I came to this country I thought, thank God, I can find the peace and freedom I never had in my own country, no more violence, no more refugee camps, just peace. But this is a different kind of war, economic survival. My first day in this city I was attacked, couple of kids tried to rob me after I asked them for directions. I was stunned, the richest country in the world and yet people resort to violence to get what they want. I see the news, all the crime, the killings, hell, how different from home could this be. The rich live in safe suburban castles, while the poor attack each other to survive. With the exception of genocide, people here are not much different from my country. It is a strange way of showing how alike we are, but stupidity is universal. There are good people and then there are those who believe themselves to be innovative and use crime to get what they want. We need to focus on what is good about us that make us alike.” He stopped talking and looked at The Exterminator for a second. “Are you one of those innovators? Are you one of those who use violence to make a living?” Nelson said then stopped talking as if waiting for a response, but when he got none he continued.
“Today I felt that old feeling, you know, like death walks with me, took me back to the day the rebels attacked, they went through the village killing at random, women, children, even babies. They took us boys and forced us to be soldiers, I came to love killing, it was the only way to stay alive, cause your own friends would kill you to save their own ass. When the U. N. forces finally came, I was relieved, but soon found myself in a refugee camp. Lots of people died there in limbo, waiting for some salvation. Then I found out that there was a tribunal wanting evidence of the human rights violations on my people, they wanted to try rebel leaders for their war crimes, so I testified, lots of good that did because the warlord is still killing today as we sit here, who sent you, did they send, you tell me,”
The Exterminator did not respond, this the man believes that he was sent by some dictator to kill him, he was going to let him keep thinking that while he plot his escape,
“You have a family?” Nelson asked, the Exterminator just looked at him, Nelson kept talking
“I miss my family, someday I will get my revenge, even if it is those animals being executed for what they did,” Nelson sighed and was silent for a second.
The florescent light came on and The Exterminator blinked, never would he believe a florescent light could be so bright, Nelson stood in front of him,
You will tell me who sent you, I will not spend my days looking over my shoulder, nor will I keep running, I will fight off every animal they send to kill me,” he said, The Exterminator looked at him his eyes rolling around in his head, he had not eaten for days, and he was finding it hard to focus, his stomach convulsed with hunger pains, he was dizzy, and he almost passed out,
“You need to eat don’t you? I should cook you something as good as your mother used to make for you,” Nelson said, The Exterminator spat at Nelson, this damn animal was polite, as if he was a priest or something. Nelson turned and dissolved into the darkness beyond the light, and then there was complete darkness.
The Exterminator sat listening, trying to hear anything that would give him any indication of where he was, but there was no sound. The silence was deafening, until he heard a faint shuffle, he sat still and listened intently there it was again. He tried looking around, but could not see anything, and then he felt tiny paws tickle his feet, and then the unmistakable sound of rats. He hated those devilish creatures, he tensed up as what sounded like a stamped of little feet came towards him, their screeching echoing in the dark room, and he bit down so as not to scream. The hairy beasts crawl up his legs and onto his body, he tried to stay still, but the beasts were blood thirsty and he felt them nibbling at his flesh, they were big like small kangaroos. He stiffened up waiting for them to feast on his body, but no sooner had they came in, they ran off in a wave of screeching, and he was left in the darkness, he felt blood running down his face as he slipped into unconsciousness wondering how the African knew about his fear of rats. .
There was silence; the television was still on despite its fall. Its silver light flickered on the green walls sending partial shadows of chairs, tables and the two men throbbing across the walls. The attacker continued talking; Nelson slowly got to his feet and almost fell over but steadied himself. There was a knife on the floor, so he picked it up and crept towards his attacker.
“You mean this is a free one………….. I don’t know, he was here, I messed him up……….. Am going to need help moving this one,” he stopped talking, Nelson was over him now, and he placed the knife against the man’s throat.
“Who the hell are you?” Nelson asks, he heard his attacker’s heart pounding, felt the knife move as the man swallowed.
“Take it easy buddy, am just doing my job,” the man said, his voice a horse whisper. Nelson pressed the knife against the man’s throat; felt the man’s his esophagus move against the steel blade again. There was a wine bottle sitting on the only table left standing, Nelson picked it up and hit the man over the head , he fell sideways onto the couch, the cell phone still in his hand, Nelson picked it up,
“Who is this?” He asked his voice still a whisper, his throat burned when she swallowed,
“Who the hell is this?” The voice responded. Nelson cleared his throat.
“It’s the man you just tried to have killed.” Nelson tried to shout, but only managed to sound like he had laryngitis,
“I don’t know you, what the hell is your name and where is my man?” The voice screamed back,
“Oh he is fine, just taking a little nap, who are you working for, did the commander hire you?” Nelson demanded,
“What the hell are you talking about, all I know is you are one dead nigger when I get hold of you!” the voice screamed.
“You don’t have to tell me anything, your man will give me the details, I will find out who you are, and when I do, you will wish you never met me.”
“Who the hell do you think you are, you don’t threaten me you little shit, I could have your balls served to the pigeons in the park, do you know who I am?” The voice screamed. Nelson chuckled then said,
“No I don’t know who you are, why don’t you tell me,” He waited.
“Do you think am an idiot, screw you,” the voice screamed. Nelson dropped the phone and turned to his attacker, the man stirred a little, his green shirt bright against the black leather couch, his dark stone washed jeans spotted with blood, his eyelids fluttered a little, his facial expression that of a baby who just woke up from a nap. The voice on the phone was screaming so Nelson reached down, picked up the phone and turned it off. He went to his closet and retrieved a handcuff; thank god his last roommate was a kinky bastard. He returned to the living room and handcuffed the attacker to the large mahogany center table. The man’s sandy blond hair was caked to his forehead, as a mixture of sweat and blood rolled down his head, and settled just above his eyes. The man opened his eyes and looked at Nelson,
“Who are you and who sent you?” Nelson asked, the man did not answer, his blue eyes cold, and his blond eyebrows translucent against his pale white skin.
“Who sent you?” Nelson insisted, slapping the man on his head blood flew in every direction, fell to the ground, creating nail head size polka dots on the cream coloured carpet. The attacker spat at Nelson, the white and red froth landed on his chest then dropped onto the leather couch.
“Are you sure this is the way you want to play this game?” Nelson asked grabbing the man’s throat, he gasped for breath, his blue eyes growing bigger as if they would pop out of their sockets. Nelson let go of his throat,
“I will get it out of you. You will tell me what I want to know even if it means cutting you up piece by piece.” Nelson said and looked around for his cellphone but could not find it; the house phone lay in pieces next to the television, so he began to walk to the kitchen,
“You are nothing but a nasty immigrant you have no power, when my people get hold of you will wish you had died in your filthy country.” The man shouted, Nelson stopped, turned around walked over to the man and punched him in the face, he fell backwards hitting the floor hard. Nelson spat at the man then turned and walked to the kitchen, he was thinking that he had to get help; he picked up the phone and called his friend,
“Hey Trevor, I need your help man, I have to store something away.” He said, waited for a second then said.
“Thanks man.” Then hung up, he walked back to the living room, the attacker was trying to sit up so Nelson punched him in the jaw and the man flopped back onto the couch.
A sprawling mansion three stories high, a green well-manicured lawn with ancient like Roman statues placed tragically across it, a marble pond with fishes splashing about, and a waterfall cascading out of a stones drain. In the back of the house was a horse farm beautiful stallions ran free in the field behind the house; trees lined the boundary, giving shade to most of the yard. There were other animals on the compound, lamas, peacocks, sheep and goats, the place looked like the Ringling Brothers was about to do a show. A burly man in a tan Toyota drove up, and parked in the front of the house. He walked up to the big wooden door, that door was about twelve feet tall; he opened it and went inside.
The floor of the large hall was covered with Middle Eastern rugs all the way to the other room, white walls that seemed to be fifty feet tall, to the left, an eloquently furnished living room, cream coloured couch and love seat, fifty two inch television, and a large fire place on the far side of the room. Straight ahead form the front door was a stairway, it seemed to go up for miles, like the stairway to heaven; its gold plated railings disappeared into the second floor. A crystal chandelier hung in the middle of the foyer glittered, as light from the open door shined on it. The burly man turned right and walked into the den.
A distinguished looking gentleman sat at a desk at the back of the room, he was about fifty, and his hair was grey on the sides, and it was combed perfectly, as a matter of fact he looked like a statesman, like he belonged in the oval office. The burly man walked in and the distinguished man looked up, his feet on a chair behind the desk, his Italian made shoes shined in the dark, his blue eyes were cold and lifeless, just like a politician.
“What is it Ramon?” he asked, his voice a husky growl, Ramon started talking, but a girl no more than eight years old ran by outside the door chasing a cream coloured poodle, Ramon shook his head, this house had more animals than the African Jungle. Ramon reached over and closed the door; his big meaty hands looked like it could crush a man’s skull.
“Well?” The man in the suit asked, his dead eyes shifted a little,
“Have you heard from The Exterminator?” he asked. Ramon shifted from one leg to the next as if afraid to answer, but before he did the phone rang, the man in the suit answered,
“Hello.” Then he waited. “Is it done?” Ramon was rocking from one foot to the next.
”Big nigger what big nigger?” He listened.
“I know what you should do, clean the shit up and get back with me.”………. a puzzled look covered the man in the suit face.
“Of course it was the right apartment; you are the one that fucked up.”……….
“What the fuck is going on there, hello, hello.” He listened; a look of angry replaced the puzzled expression.
“Who the hell is this?” He screamed
I don’t know you, what the hell is your name, and where the hell is my man?” The man said then waited.
“You are one dead monkey,” The man in the suit was really angry now, his face was so red he looked like a volcano about to explode.
“Who the hell do you think you are, you don’t threaten me I could have your balls fed to the fishes!” The man screamed spit flying out his mouth. He listened for a second then shouted,
Ramon stood looking at Vince, his eyes did not look dead anymore, they light up anytime he got angry, wanted someone dead, or when he gets the news that they were dead.
I woke up later in the morning sore all over, I swung me feet over the side of the bed and sat there I was real light headed and still a little nauseas. Memories of the night’s events came to me in flashes like a photographer taking black and white pictures and I shook me head trying to get the images out. The door opened and Alison walked in came up to the bed and sat next to me, I looked over at she, she was smiling and for the first time she eyes danced a little.
“How you feeling Mista Dickens?” she asked, I mumbled something unintelligible, but she ignored what I said and kept on talking
“You had a rough night last night huh?” she said as picked up the blood stained suit from the floor. I saw the blood and panicked checking me body to see if I was hurt. When I was satisfied that everything was in order I looked down at meself and saw that I was in me own clothes.
“Who changed me?” I blurted out. Allison looked over at me with a big smile on her face.
“Well,” I insisted, she walked towards the door and stopped there still smiling, damn girl better watch she step before I lose me temper.
“Some of the women in de village did, Dey said you was almost unconscious when dey left you.” She giggled a little knowing what me horrified look was.
“Me grandma wan see you before you leave.” She said and walked out the door holding the dirty clothes in she hands. I got up and followed she into the other room; the bowls, candles and incense were all lit. Alison was standing at a door that I did not notice before, I mean, good lord man how many frigging doors did this little house have? She beckoned me over to she as she pushed the door open. Light flowed out of the room creating streaks of misty silver in the smoke. I stepped through the door looking at she as I went. There was a bed in one corner and a maple coloured table in the other, the table was packed with ornaments and bottles some wrapped in cloth or other material. I stood looking at the table it reminded me of me mother’s bedroom, she had a small shrine in one corner of the room with a statue of Jesus as the centerpiece; I tell you what I used to be real afraid to go into that damn room at night, that statue might have slapped a sinner like me.
“Ahhh, you interested in me gifts to Erzili Frieda?” I jumped when I heard the voice, I was so engrossed with the damn shrine I did not notice the old woman sitting in a chair next to the bed, it was the same woman who had poured the liquid into me mouth the night before. She head hung loosely as if she was asleep she dress spread over the chair making it seem like she was a head without a body. She motioned for me to come closer and I stepped forward bending over so she could see me face.
“May god be wid you me son,” She said stroking me face, she bony fingers pinching me cheeks, bloody hell, why was it they all wanted to touch me blasted face? Skin hung off the sides of she face when she spoke, when she smiled the skin moved from side to side like the loose skin at the bottom of a turkey’s neck.
“You mus believe.” She emphasized lowering she hands she chin dropped to she chest and I heard she breath real deep, I guess she too was tired from the night events. I left the room as quietly as I could with Alison directly behind me, she walked me to the front door and opened it.
“Sorry Ah cant offer you breakfast but granma don like it when someone she did a ceremony for stick round too long.” I told she I understood and walked out of the house and I thanked god because I did not want to stay any longer than I had to anyway. The afternoon sun was almost in the middle of the sky and I was blinded by it for a second, the trees had that golden tint and I smelt the sweet scent of mangoes in the air. I walked over to me bike and climbed on, the dirt road was dry making it easier to maneuver through the potholes. The children stood at the end of the road waving goodbye, they chased after the bike until I was moving too fast for them to keep up.
“So you de skeptic? He asked, still not looking at me.
“Me name is Johnny and Ah de one who go pray for you tonight. “He looked round the room as if it was the first time he had been in there, his skeleton like hands rested on he knees shaking a little, he eyes were hollow and seemed to sink way down into his face, I sat frozen I was too bloody afraid to move. He looked up to the window he eyeballs rolled round freely in its sockets and I wondered if that was he way of not making eye contact.
“Ah could tell dat deep down inside you don believe in dis religion.” He shifted a little trying to get comfortable.
“Leh me school you bout wha is happening to you. You were visited by one of the followers of Erzulie Freda. Wicked one dat Freda, She was said to be a beautiful Creole girl who ran round wid a lot of men. After her death she became a Goddess in de after life, now she leads a band of women who died as virgins, dey believe dat in order to go to de other side dey must lose dey pureness. Now she and she followers have marked you as one of dey victims for dey devilish rituals. “He stopped talking for a second to brush he thick fingers across he lips.
“She is a Guede. A spirit of death,” he moaned and shook his head then he bent over and picked up his cane clenching it tightly, veins on he hands popping out even more than they were before.
“Now not all Guedes is evil,” he continued. “But dere is dis fraction who will use dey powers for dey own pleasure. Dat is where de La Diablesse comes in, man dey some devious ones dem La Diablesse, dey use dey beauty and seductive powers to lure you away all to proform an orgy of ceremonies on you.” He lips quivered into what seem to be a smile showing two rows of tobacco stained teeth, he ran he tongue over them as if trying to wipe the stains off. He leaned forward he eyes focusing on the floor, still, it felt like he was looking deep into me seeing things I was too afraid to acknowledge. He settled back into the chair taking a deep breath.
“By youself you have no chance of fighting dem off I know, believe me I know.” He stopped talking and shook a little and I leaned forward trying me best to see the expression on he face then I started to ask the obvious question but he started talking again.
“As much as Ah tried to stop dem dey always found a way to over power me,” he cringed a little poor fella, he actually believe what he was saying. I waited hoping he would continue, but he didn’t he just sat there visible shaking. I was becoming anxious so I leaned forward but suddenly the old man was talking again.
“Dere singing, dere chanting and dat dance dey do, de Banda what a dance, dey hips twirling round, dey bodies twisting in unbelievable positions, dear god, Ah is only man, a weak one back den, how could I fight dem off?” I could not see he face but I heard him sniffing like crazy. I sat there, wishing the old fool would say something that made sense, then I was afraid what if the same thing happen to me what in the hell would I do? I tell you what, at that moment I was a believer, I had to go through with this ceremony whatever it was. I wanted to stand up and walk round the room but I was unable to move so I just sat there me mind racing for so, surely I was not as weak as he was, I mean, I was an educated man, hell I went all the way to London to get this bloody smart, for God’s sake I was a man who knew the ways of the world, Oh god, I was confused so confused I almost got up and walk out but something kept me from moving something real deep in me soul. The wind roared through the trees outside sounding like a dog howling right after its master died. The old man got up and moved to me with surprising speed.
“You mus believe man, you mus believe,” I leaned away from him, it was an involuntary movement but the old man seemed to be offended by it. He stood back shaking his head and for the first time he was looking at me.
“So young, so foolish. Do you tink dat all you education could save you from dem.? I too thought so, yeah, all we who does practice Obeah are not uneducated fools you know. I went to the University of the West Indies, even spent some time at Oxford University, yeah man, I used to think I was immune form all ah dis, but here I is, ah Obeah priest, when dem La Diablesse take me I became a believer”, he took a step towards me and grabbed me face.
“Look at me boy, Ah is a living testimony of what could happen if you don have faith.” He course hands scraped against me face he eyes rolled round in the sockets but somehow I knew he was looking right at me.
“You better believe young man. You better believe.” After he barked out he final warning he turned and walked over to where he had dropped he cane then walked towards the door, it creaked as he opened it and I sat dazed as it closed behind him, bloody man put fear in me heart then left me alone in this obeah house.
When the last puff of smoke was sucked back into the other room, I lay on the bed and looked up at the ceiling scratching me head as an eruption of loneliness rushed through me. I thought of the school and the other teachers, man, if only they knew I was here, I would be ruined as a teacher for sure, I could almost hear they snickering, see they looks of reproach. I thought of how cruel this intersection of cultural beliefs were, grandparents teaching one thing and modern education teaching another. I thought of me mother and how disappointed she would be of me, I could hear she stern voice calling, telling me how irrational I was. The thought of me mother being hurt by this made me sad so I tried me best to block the thoughts of she from me mind. I thought of the university in London, the very one that me mother insisted I attend, I remembered the late night intellectual conversations I had with the professors and the students, they persistence to try and get me to talk bout voodoo, me trying me best to change the subject, I mean, at that time I was real ashamed of me culture. Thanks to me Grandma, she always gave me an earful bout local African culture, something she said I should never be ashamed of. Man, sitting there feeling sorry for meself I almost forgot why I was there, the La Diablesse, why did she pick me? Was it a random thing or was she trying to use me disbelief against me. I lay there thinking until the room was so dark me hands were like shadows against the light from the moon shining through the window.
I sat up and slowly got to me feet, I groped round on the wall next to the door trying to find the bloody light switch, when I found one I flicked it on and went back to the bed. I looked down at the clothes, slowly I began to undress, I mean I was here, why not go through with it, maybe it might help with the nightmare of the woman in white.
There was no question at all that the front house belonged to Alison’s grandmother because bright colours distinguished it from the other two. The front door was painted in yellow and the frame in bright blue, the bright green roof shimmered in spots when the descending sun seeped through the trees round the house. I got off the bike and walked up the pebble-stoned walkway to a small wooden gate, I mean, what kind of strange people were they? No fence round the house just this bloody wooden gate. I shook me head and pushed open the gate and walked up three concrete steps, stumbled and almost fell into the door, damn steps was too small for me size seventeen shoes. I looked up at the door, there was a red cross painted on the middle of it and I leaned forward trying to get a better look at it, I remembered me grandmother telling me that some obeah priests used goat blood to paint crosses on they doors something to do with Passover I believe. Hesitantly I ran me fingers along the smooth surface when suddenly the door opened and I found meself looking up into the eyes of an old lady, she was wearing a gray dress the coarse material brushing against me face as a gently breeze escaped from inside the house.
“Wey you want?” she barked. I straightened up but still did not say anything I was vexed with meself, I mean, it was just a bloody old lady.
“You ah dummyboy?” she demanded a large mole on she bottom lip moved up and down when she spoke.
“I am Alison’s teacher,” I said, me voice a whisper. “She said I should come here to get help.” She eyes never left me face and for a moment she did not seem to know what the hell I was talking bout. I started to speak again but she raised she arm stopping me.
“Don jus stand dere, come in,” I got to me feet and followed she inside me heart pounding and me mouth suddenly dry. Before I could compose meself she disappeared into another room and I was left standing alone.
I sat down in the chair nearest to me wondering where the hell that damn woman went. There was incense lit in every corner of the room, teardrops oozed out the side of me eyes and rolled down me cheeks and I shut me eyes then open them trying me best to clean them. The chair poked into me skin and I looked down it was made out of Bamboo, now who in they right mind would have old bamboo furniture, I mean, the damn thing felt like I was sitting on needles or something. I cursed a little and slowly I shifted me position trying to make meself comfortable.
I looked round the room but I could not tell what colour it was because the smoke settled on the walls creating a black, gray cloud. There were dolls everywhere and the shadows on their faces made them look almost life like as if at any moment one of them would stand up and start a frigging conversation with me. Right then I wanted to get up and run but I told meself that everything was cool runnings so I settled back down. The curtains on the lone window shifted as the early evening breeze pushed it; I mean good lord, what have I gotten meself into? Alison materialized out of the smoke startling me, man, I need to stop talking to meself so much. She body made a pathway through the thick smog as she stopped in front of me smoke whirled round she then dissipated in the breeze.
“You all right Mr. Dickens?” She asked bending over and looking into me eyes.
“Yes, I am fine,” I replied, brushing away a teardrop that rolled down me cheek.
“Come on den, Ah go show you to you room.” I got up and followed her to a door that seemed to appear at the side of the room me water logged shoes squeaking as we went. I stepped through the door into a Victorian looking bedroom, I tell you what, the difference between this room and the one I just came from was like night and day. There was a huge window that took up one side of the room, a cream coloured laced curtain hung from it barely touching the floor, a mahogany dresser stood at the foot of the bed and on top of it were pictures of Alison, so I walked over to the dresser and looked at the black and white photographs. There was two of her as a baby and one of her when she was still a pupil at the small Primary school just a short distance up the road. There was a jewelry box over flowing with bracelets and necklaces, Jesus, did she think she had enough jewelry or what? I turned round in a tight circle surveying the room, surprisingly there was no smoke in there not even the sent of the incense violated the room.
“Dere is you change of clothes,” Man, I jumped so high me head almost touch the ceiling, I mean I had completely forgotten Alison was still in the room. She was pointing to a suit of clothes that lay in the middle of the bed so I walked over and picked up the garments
“Ah go come back to get you later on for de ceremony,” she said. I was still feeling the clothes not paying any attention to she at all so I was surprised when I turned round and realized the girl had already left the room.
I sat down on the bed me head started to hurt a little. I looked at the light blue paint on the walls it made the room seem brighter in the fading afternoon light.
There was a grandfather clock sitting in the far corner of the room and I watched the hands go round, I mean, I was looking at the bloody thing so long it’s ticking and me heart were beating the same frigging rhythm.
I heard a commotion in the backyard so I got up and walked over to the window, there were two roosters fighting while the other chickens scrambled round trying to get out of the way, dirt and feathers flew into the air as the two roosters tried to get the upper hand on each other. After bout three minutes of wings flying and intense clucking one of the roosters gave up and ran away its wings flapping vigorously, I chuckled to myself, run brother run before he kills you.
I opened the window and leaned out its wooden frame pressed against me elbow making them hurt a little, the late afternoon sun gave me enough light to see what the yard looked like, Aloe trees were planted along the sides of the house, it was common for Islanders to plant these trees because it was believed that they had the power to keep out evil spirits. Some people even eat the bitter plant believing that it would cleanse them, Idiots, that plant was so bitter it could make you hair stand straight on your head. The chickens had stopped milling round in the dirt and were beginning to settle down for the night, a bat flew by a mere shadow in the florescent light.
I went back into the room and sat down on the bed thinking hard bout why I was there and what good it would do for me. An owl hooted outside and I got up and began looking round for a light switch but stopped when I heard the door creek. Puffs of smoke seeped through then disappeared as it was sucked back into the other room. I waited, a dull pain in me chest as me heart rate sped up like crazy. It was just a few moments, but I tell you man, it seemed like a hundred years before an old man walked into the room surrounded by a cloud of smoke. He did not even look at me as he walked over to a chair beside the door and sat down, he wrinkled hands clasped round a homemade cane that supported the weight from he hunched over body, thick veins ran up and down he arms disappearing under the sleeves of his shirt. He dropped the cane onto the flow,