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Parts Obeah Storyteller

30th Installment of Obeah

Akosua, Kwao, Lassette and the two warriors were cutting their way through the jungle. Kwao was not his talkative self. He sulked all the way from where they had spent the night. Lassette walked alongside Akosua,

“What is his problem today?” She asked. Akosua hesitated for a second.

“Just being his usual self,” she replied. Lassette walked for a second as if trying to figure out what to say next.

“How much further to your village?” she asked trying to keep up with Akosua.

“About a day’s walk form here,” Akosua said,

“A whole day?” Lassette said as she took a deep breath. Akosua smiled and looked at her,

“We will stop for a rest soon.” She said still smiling.

“Did you learn your religion from your mother?” Lassette asked.

“Yes, our parents took advantage of our freedom and taught us about our homeland. That is how we learned about Obeah. Most of us kids were born in the New World. We were raised worshipping the plantation owner’s god. You said you have seen one of our services?” Akosua asked. Lassette smiled glad that Akosua had spoken to her.

“Yes on the island before the rebellion I witnessed a service. I was a curious child. One night I snuck out of the house and followed the sound of the drums. I saw the slaves chanting and dancing. I was spellbound by what I saw and heard. The beat of the drums made my heart beat faster, the share intensity of the slaves as they prayed. I was intrigued. I attended several services without my parents finding out. But they soon did, that is why they disowned me. They took me to their church so the priest can pray for me I spent many of days in confessionals, but I still went to the services. My father said I was a disgrace to the family they tried to send me back to the Old Country so I ran away. Those Obeah services are what sent me on the path to trying to help free the slaves.” She looked ahead; Kwao had stopped and stood with his index finger to his lips. They listened, the leaves rustled in the wind, the flapping of wings echoed overhead. A duck quaked and waddled through the bushes next to them. When Kwao was satisfied there was no danger he started walking without saying a word. Akosua looked at Lasette; she had a puzzled expression on her face. They started walking, Lassette continued talking,

“Why did you not tell me this last night?” Akosua asked. Lassette looked into the jungle,

“Because I get the reaction that Kwao gave whenever I mention fighting for the slaves’ freedom or attending Obeah services” she said and they were silent for a second. Before Akosua could say anything, Lassette turned to her and looked her in the eye for the first time since the night before.

“If you are the leader of your village, then who is in charge while you are gone?” she asked, more for conversation than wanting to know.

“Adofo,” Akosua said smiling. Lassette reached out and patted Akosua on her arm.

“You are in love,” she said, Akosua looked down to the ground embarrassed.

“I can use butterflies to fly, I can change some people from evil to good, but nothing feels like when am around him.” She said,

“Tell me about him,” Lassette said walking alongside Akosua. Akosua started to talk about Adofo when Kwao abruptly stopped. A large snake hung from a tree branch in front of him. The boy swung his machete cutting the snake in half. He picked up the body of the severed snake and turned to Akosua and Lassette,

“If you two girls were not jabbering I would have seen it sooner and would not have had to kill it.” He said angrily. Akosua took a step towards him,

“Do not forget who is in charge Kwao,” she said. Kwao stared at her like he was about to say something. The two boys stepped up behind Akosua and Lassette. Kwao looked at them still contemplating if he should say something.

“You don’t have to listen to us just pay attention to what you are doing.” Akosua said. Kwoa hesitated, but turned stepped over the dead snake and walked off. Akosua Lassette and the warriors followed.

“Jealousy is a dangerous thing,” she said whispering.

Akosua did not say anything she stared into the jungle, a faraway look in her eyes. A parrot squawked in the trees as they walked.

Categories
Parts Obeah Storyteller

10th Installment of Obeah

One night Henry was awaken by the sound of a conch shell being blown, so he got up and went to the doorway. The kids were running towards the jungle, Adofo ran by,

“Come on let’s go!” Adofo shouted and Henry joined the rush of stampeding bodies. He got to the edge of the village, just before the dark jungle enveloped the path. He looked up at the dark sky, once again balls of fire floated above the village then slowly drifted to the ground. As they touched the earth, they immediately transformed into human forms, they ran through the village destroying as much as they could. At first Henry stood in shock as smoldering footprints littered the ground around the village. Huts busted into flames and animals were mutilated. It was as if the stories the old slave woman told him had come to life right before his eyes. Henry stood shocked at the carnage. One of the Ligaroos grabbed a little boy and threw him to the ground. The child fell on his back then shuffled on his rear trying to escape his attacker. Henry did not think he just ran towards the boy grabbing his arm and dragging him towards the jungle. The Ligaroo laughed, his red eyes glowed in the dark. The child got up and ran into the jungle, but as Henry was about to follow him, the Ligaroo sprang into action, and in a split second Henry was on his back looking up at the creature.

He shook with fear as the beast leaned down.

“Brave lad are we, saving a little slave boy. Does that make you righteous, does that make you better than me?’ The Ligaroo growled. Saliva and blood dripped out of its mouth. Its body shined a little in the silver moonlight, its eyes ignited orange with anger. Henry was surprised that the Ligaroo looked as human as he did. All the stories about blood sucking gave him the impression of a hideous monster; instead the beast looked like a deformed man. The beast sniffed the air,

“Ahhhh plantation overseer’s blood never had rich blood before. I must say, I am tired of the second rate blood of the slaves.” The Ligaroo lifted its head and growled. Henry cowered away as the beast looked down and grabbed him by the throat lifting him off the ground. Henry punched and clawed, but the Ligaroo was slippery, and Henry’s hands slipped off the beast when he tried to grab its arm. Just when he felt the last burst of air escape his mouth, he heard the beast howl in pain. Henry fell to the ground gasping for air; Adofo stood behind the Ligaroo a spear in his hand, blood dripped from its tip. For a second, the Ligaroo stared at Adofo as if in disbelief. The Ligaroo staggered and almost fell, but righted himself and turned to Adofo, again he plunged the spear into the beast, it grunted, the sound echoed through the village and into the jungle. The Ligaroo turned and ran, leaped into the air, transformed into a ball of fire and disappeared into the night sky.

Henry got up and ran. Adofo was behind him and they entered the jungle where it was thick with vines and squeezed into a grove of trees. Henry heard breathing outside the vines as a Ligaroo walked by, his feet crunching on the dry leaves igniting small fires, he growled and it sounded like an angry wolf stalking its prey. Henry peeped through the vines and saw the Ligaroo lift its head as if sniffing the air, it looked around some more, then walked back in the direction of the village.

They waited until they saw the balls of fire light up the night sky and disappear into the darkness. The rains came, drenching the village, extinguishing the fires. They huddled under the thick bushes; their clothes clung to their bodies.

It was early morning before they returned to the village. Adofo and Akosua took the older villagers first, Henry went with them. Some of the huts were burnt to the ground. Henry stepped on the mutilated carcass of a goat and almost threw up as he shook blood and flesh from his feet. Kwao walked up and stood in the middle of the village,

“Am sick of this, we need to fight back,” he screamed kicking a calabash bowl, “Damn Ligaroos, they must die for this, I would worship Marinette-Bwa-Check if it meant ridding us of these beasts,”

“Calm down Kwao, we will deal with them when Yemaya says the time is right,” Akosua said resting her hand on Kwao’s shoulder, “I saw her as clear as I see you now, she spoke like an old woman, but had the beauty of fresh youth. Her eyes were like crystal balls, like a gateway to our future. She will always protect us; she promised me that much and so far, all of her prophecies have come to past. She predicted that our parents would be taken. She said that the great Ligaroo King will try to destroy us, but all we have to do is have faith and she will provide for us.” Akosua said, Kwao pounded the ground with the blunt end of his spear,

“Am tired of sitting here waiting, I say we get in our boats go to that island, get our parents back and destroy the Ligaroos,” he shouted. Some of the warriors yelled their agreement with Kwao. Akosua raised her arm,

“The time is not right,” she said, there was grumbling from the crowd. Akosua lowered her arm,

“Yemaya said that I will feel when the time is right. We need to listen to her. She has always protected our people even in our homeland. She has helped us win many of battles, so be patient and faithful, our day of triumph will come,” she said. Kwao stepped in front of her,

“Do you want to hang on to the words of a weak goddess, one that we have never seen but exist in Amelia’s dreams or do you want to live without fear? Stand up and fight for freedom from the Ligaroos,” he shouted, some of the boys pounded their spears on the ground,

“Kwao is right!” One young warrior shouted. “We are warriors what good are we if we sit here and let the Ligaroos do as they please?’ The support boosted Kwao’s confidence,

“Pick up spears and go destroy the Ligaroos once and for all,” he screamed. There were some tentative cheers as Kwao stood with his spear raised above his head. The villagers stood looking from Akosua to Kwao. Akosua looked at him a strange calm expression on her face. Kwao continued,

“So are you going to listen to this girl and her Loa Yemaya, or are you going to follow me to that island?” He shouted, Adofo came forward and pushed Kwao; the indignant Akan stumbled but was caught by one of the boys,

“Shut your mouth!” Adofoh screamed. Kwao tried to charge at him, but he was held back by two young warriors,

“Then go,” Akosua said, Kwao looked at her,

“Go,” she repeated, Kwao glared at Adofo then turned and walked away, two of the boys followed him. There was silence as Akosua stood, a cool wind swept through the village, and slowly, animals emerged from the jungle, monkeys, mongooses, lizards, wild dogs, pigs. It was as if the whole jungle population walked into the village. The villagers watched in awe as the animals stood behind Akosua. Kwao stopped, turned, and looked at her; his spear fell from his hand, Akosua opened her eyes,

“Every day my powers are getting stronger Yemaya said that soon I will be ready, I promise you, we will destroy the Ligaroos,” she said a strange calm in her voice. A large python slithered up her leg and wrapped itself around her, its head above hers, its forked tongue flapping in the air, its fangs exposed menacingly. She turned and faced the jungle, the animals made a path and she walked through, the path of animals closed behind her and followed her as she disappeared into the jungle. Kwao stood confused, the boys that had followed him walked back to the crowd and left him standing alone, and he bent down and picked up his spear, then turned and walked into the jungle.,

Categories
Parts Obeah Storyteller

6th Installment of Obeah

                                            CHAPTER 3

They arrived back at the village just when the moon rose above the trees. Everyone in the village came out to greet them. Chickens clucked, dogs barked, and children sang. They walked into the big dining hut. Food was brought out for Henry, he was hungry, he attacked the food growling and making a mess on the bamboo table. Akosua looked at him and smiled,

“Come see me when you are done, Kwao will show you where,” she said, and she got up and walked out the door into the night followed by Adofo. Kwao sat and looked at Henry,

“You eat like an animal,” he said twisting his mouth in disgust. Henry paid him no mind.

When he was finished eating and got all cleaned up, Kwao led him to a hut that sat just inside the jungle, and just away from the main village. It was surrounded by three smaller huts. Kwao pushed Henry into the doorway and stood outside. Henry looked into the dimly lit room, but saw no one. He walked to the middle of the room. It was a perfect square with a torch in every corner. The yellow glow casted shadows across the bamboo walls. There was a bamboo table to his left. On it sat small bowls with small flames that flickered in the slight breeze that swept through the hut. The table looked like the altar he saw in the Bokors village, some kind of homage to their gods. There were bamboo chairs throughout the room each had crudely made straw dolls sitting in them. There was a strong scent of palm oil throughout the room. Henry stood awkwardly waiting, unsure if he should sit or stand. Just when he decided to go ahead and sit down, Akosua appeared from a dark doorway. She stopped and smiled at him,

“Hi, come sit,” she said and motioned to two chairs next to the window. He walked over and sat down. He heard the wind rustle through the leaves outside, the flap of wings as birds flew around in the jungle. She looked at him still smiling and sat down next to him. The bright light from the torch directly behind her head made it look like there was an orange halo above her head,

“How are you doing?” she asked, Henry hesitated,

“I miss my family,” he said, Akosua rested her hand on his shoulder, her big hazel eyes sympathetic,

“I know, we all miss our family,” she said, Henry fought back the tears,

“Where are your parents and how did you end up on this island anyway. Where are the overseers, and foremen, and plantation owners?’ Henry asked, Akosua lifted a copper brown arm to

“Shhhh,” she said smiling, “I will have to tell you the whole story from the start,” she said, Henry sat and looked at her with anticipation. Akosua sat back, her eyes had a faraway look, and she took a deep breath then started talking,

“We were on our way to a sugar cane plantation on some colony. We spent days on that ship, chained and shackled in its belly. The scent of vomit, and feces, and blood and stale human odors filled the ship. Many got sick and died. My little brother did not make it; he died in my mother’s arms. It was hard to tell the time or the days, and after what seemed like weeks we encountered a massive storm. Many were swept into the ocean screaming. We heard an awful crash and the ship came to a stop and tilted to the side. The captain and some of his crew ordered us off the ship. We sat on that beach for days. The captain was hoping that a ship would go by and we would be rescued. Some of the slaves ran into the jungle and that sent the captain into a violent rage. From that day on he used a heavy hand to control the remaining slaves. But he could not because there was a feud between my mother who was an Obeah woman, and a Hougan, a Vodron priest on the ship with us. But he practiced in black magic calling on Baron Samedi the lord of the dead. He became a Bokor; they are rouge Hougans who try to walk on the fence practicing in both realms of good and evil. It is the Bokors who captured you in the jungle.” She said then stopped and took a deep breath.

“My mother and the Bokor leader John fought over everything until one day John tried to put an evil spell on her. When that did not work, he and his followers formed an alliance with the captain, but what they did not take into consideration was the fact that there were Ligaroos among us. At first some slaves said it was a myth, until a child was found dead, all the blood drained from her body.” Akosua stopped talking got up and walked into the room she had appeared from. Henry sat looking around the room. The dolls seemed to have a life of their own. Outside dogs howled, chickens clucked, and pigs squealed. An owl flew over the hut hooting loudly. Akosua came back out of the room and walked over to the window. Lightening flashed across the dark sky followed by ear splitting thunder,

“Chango is angry tonight,” she said, Henry looked at her,

her lips and touched it with her forefinger,

“Who is Chango?” he asked, Akosua walked over to him,

“He is a Loa, a God that controls storms,” she said Henry shook a little as a cold wind swept through the hut causing the bamboo walls to moan eerily. Akosua was standing in front of Henry, her white dress shimmered a little with every flash of lightening, then as if from nowhere she handed him a cup made of coconut shell,

“Lime juice,” she said, and then sat down,

“The feud between my mother and John grew worse until one day another child disappeared and rumours spread throughout the village that the Bokors had used her for black magic. The next day the child was found, all the blood was drained from her body. It was then that my mother and John joined forces to defend the village from the Ligaroos. The beasts attacked John and dragged him into the jungle and he was never heard from again. The rest of the Bokors retreated into the jungle. The captain then resorted to brute force to bring calm to his colony, but he had very little help. His crew was sick from the tropical diseases, their bodies unaccustomed to the climate and most of them died. He knew that it was only a matter of time before the Ligaroos got him. Then one night as I lay in bed, I heard this chilling scream and the village was ablaze. My mother ushered us kids into the jungle and told us she would be back,” Akosua shook a little as she remembered that night. A tear drop rolled down her cheek landing on her dress making a small dark circle on it. The animals in the jungle became silent and the air was still, just like the calm in the middle of a storm. Akosua took a deep breath, and not knowing what to do Henry spoke,

“Were the Bokors going to sacrificed me?” he asked, Akosua looked at him wiping the tear drop from her cheek,

“There are romours that they would sacrifice people to Congo Savanne, a fierce Loa that would grind his captives up like corn and consume them, but that is only romours. They are holy men first and will not harm anyone.” Akosua stopped talking and walked over to the window. The sky had cleared up, the stars and the moon hung over the jungle sending silver light bouncing off the leaves. Henry started to talk, but hesitated, he did not want to ask too many questions, but he wanted to know,

“Who is Marinette- bu….?” He struggled to pronounce. Akosua smiled.

“You mean Marinette-Bwa-Check?” She asked. Henry looked at the ground a little embarrassed.

“Yes,” he said, Akosua shifted her feet in the dirt

“She is an evil spirit. She is known to eat people.” Akosua responded. Henry felt a little more comfortable.

“What is this word that Kwao keeps calling me?” He asked Akosua smiled again,

“You mean Kindoki?” She asked Henry nodded. “It means evil spirit.” She said as lightening flashed behind her. She continued with what she was saying before Henry asked any more questions.

Categories
Parts Obeah Storyteller

Taken

Henry woke to whispering in his ear. He opened his eyes, and at first he was in complete darkness, then with the aide of silver light in the distance, he saw a shadow of what seemed to be a small child.

“Come wid me,” the child said and began to move towards the silver light.  Henry stood up and looked around, then followed the silhouette of the boy, but stopped when he saw a shadow dart across the light in front of the child. Henry stood for a second listening to his own heartbeat.

“Come on hurry up I go take you to safety,” the child said, his voice a raspy whisper. The silver light grew brighter, the sand under Henry’s feet got warmer, until he stood at the opening of a cave, and looked out into the night, and the moon hovered over what seemed to be a jungle. The child stood in a clearing looking back at Henry.  

“This way,” he said pointing into the jungle. Henry did not move. The only garment the child wore was pants cut off at knees. His eyes were milk white and he stood facing Henry, but his feet were backwards. Henry took a step back.

“What are you?” Henry asked, but suddenly the child was right in front of him

“Come wid me now,” .he insisted. Henry took another step back. The child jumped, floated in the air, landed on Henry’s chest and grabbed him by the throat,

“Get off me you little devil,” Henry yelled. The boy jumped off of Henry and looked around,

“Damned Akans,” he hissed as he sniffed around, then turned and disappeared into the night. Henry started to run towards the jungle, but he was knocked backwards. Henry crumbled to the ground, and the shadow of a man materialized from the dark, followed by six other shadows.

“Get the Douen!” The shadow barked and three of the other young men ran after the phantom child. A young man, about Henry’s age stood directly in front of him holding a torch. His skin glittered, long dreadlocks hung from his head almost touching the ground,

“Move or die Kadoka,” he barked as he stepped closer, his green eyes ablaze with suspicion. Despite his light cultured skin, he looked like a shadow against the light from the torch and the moon.

“Who are you, did the Legatos send you?” The young man asked, as he looked intently into Henry eyes.

“What? Speak English,” Henry said. The young man poked him in the chest with a long spear that had a crudely sharpened tip. Another shadow came up behind him,

“Easy Kwan, why do you call everyone Kadoka?  Not everyone is an evil spirit, get off of him,” The new shadow said then leaned down and the light hit his face. He too was about Henry’s age, but looked older because of his full beard. His long dreadlocks were copper red, his body muscular, and little pellets of sweat glistened on his skin. The one called Kwan persisted,

“He looks like an evil spirit to me, talk Kadoka!” he insisted poking Henry with the spear, 

“Get your filthy hands off of me Cargo,” Henry screamed. Kwan punched Henry and he fell on his back. Kwan lifted his spear, but the bearded young man grabbed his arm.

“Looks like he afraid to me,” The bearded one said and leaned down to get a better look at Henry.

“Crazy Kadoka,” Kwan insisted, and slapped Henry. Out of shear desperation, Henry calmed down and started talking,

“My name is Henry. Our ship was hit by a storm and I was washed overboard, that’s how I got here.” He stuttered, Kwan leaned in until his nose touched Henry’s cheek,

“Likely story, hell, you even smell like a Jumbie. I say we feed him to the monsters,” Kwan said.

“You can’t talk to me like that, I will have my father whip you, now take me to your master!” Henry screamed, Kwan became enraged and slapped Henry repeatedly. The bearded one grabbed him and pulled him off of Henry,

“Let’s take him to Akosua; she will decide what to do.” The bearded one insisted.

“Yeah, let’s do that Adofo, take him to your master, to your puppeteer,” Kwao said, Adofo stopped and turned to him, his beard sparkled a little in the moonlight.